Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thursday Tutorials...figuring out the pacing

Figuring out the pacing of a story and deciding what to include within your novel is difficult and one that many writers struggle with.

For today’s tutorial post I though I’d share some advice from Dee Henderson. She discusses various problems that authors encounter and provides a possible solution to that problem. I promise that almost all of you will identify with at least one of these situations.

Just fyi: Henderson is a Romantic Suspense writer and one of my favorite contemporary authors.

This is her advice for writers:

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If you have a tendency to rush to begin scenes:

Start slower to give the reader a sense of the building drama that is about to unfold. Think of it like the music score in a movie, the music begins to cue you in that something big is coming even before the action erupts so that the viewer will anticipate what is coming.

For example: instead of a car accident scene starting with the 911 call, back up in time and start the scene with her driving and rounding a curve and realizing the car behind her was approaching too fast and then the impact and the surprise as her car was hit. Create anticipation.

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If you have a tendency to change points of views within the same scene:

As a writer you don’t have to try as hard to write descriptions and small movements and capture facial expressions when you can switch points of view and give the reader what both characters are thinking as a scene happens. So your story doesn’t read as rich as it could. Your reader can also often get confused, thinking a passage is what one character is thinking, when you’ve switched and its the other character having the thought.

In the rewrites, build more story components into your chapters so your characters can express themselves, but you can also keep control of the point of view changes. Think of every scene as having 5 possible segments. You don’t need to include all five segments in each scene, but you should keep as many as you need to help your story be complete and have good movement.

The 5 segments are:

pre-scene setup – her point of view and what she is doing
pre-scene setup – his point of view and what he is doing
the scene – in the point of view of either him or her, but no changes mid scene
post-scene reflection in her point of view – thoughts observations and decisions she makes
post-scene reflection in his point of view – thoughts observations and decisions he makes

I will often write the core scene itself from his point of view, and then from hers, to see which version of the story I like best.

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If you have a tendency to pause the story to explain information:

here’s your dilemma:
- your character already knows everything which has occurred to this point
- your reader doesn’t know any of it

A writer often thinks all the information the character knows has to be given to the reader quickly in order for a reader to follow the story. You want to avoid that instinct.

Let your characters live their normal lives, doing, saying, thinking, feeling what they would in real life. Then tuck information the reader needs to know into those scenes. Give out information slowly as the story unfolds, so that the reader is allowed to catch up with your characters. Resist the tendency to pause the story to give information.

In fact you want to create open questions in a reader’s mind precisely so you can answer them later. What happened? is a wonderful way to keep reader’s turning the page.

Show me what is happening – this lets me be part of the story.
Tell me less.

If you want to get a topic out in the open, have someone ask a question which brings up a memory, which starts a conversation, which gives a character a chance to share a fact from their history.

The reader can learn information at the same time the other main character does.

Rewrite with two thoughts in mind:

- cut out the information which is not relevant to the chapter outcome.

- simplify to the heart of the matter.

When you do leave in a telling passage, remember the goal with a telling passage is information density.  Less words tends to mean more clarity and better writing.


I hope that helps some of you. Good luck with all of your writing endeavors.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Whimsical Wednesdays...journalism.

I have briefly mentioned in passing that I'm currently employed as a journalist, a freelance writer for four newspapers. However, I haven't really talked about it much here on my blog and so that's what today's Whimsical Wednesday post is going to be focused on.

Journalists often gets a bad rap, but not all of them should. Journalism is tough. Not all journalists write yellow journalism and are unethical. And most of them aren't as stupid as this cartoon suggests. But it does make me laugh.



It is unlike any other writing I've ever done. It's not the time to show off your spectacular vocabulary. It's not the time to dive deep into your own thoughts and feelings and explore your own beliefs. 

Journalism is the time to be concise with your writing. Short, simple, and straight to the point. As my Dad says, "Journalism writing isn't supposed to be like Joyce. Make your writing more like Hemingway." (My dad kindly edits all my articles.)

Short and concise doesn't mean that you don't need to have a firm understanding of the English language and rhetoric, because you do. You need to be able to use literary tools such as variation in syntax (sentence lengths) to drive your point and control the pacing of an article.  The masters of journalism know when to speed up the pacing or slow it down just through their word choice, punctuation, and sentence lengths.

Journalism is all about hooking your reader in the first line and getting them to read past the first paragraph.

Your job is to inform the public about an event, an issue, or simply highlight the life of an amazing individual. It's about overcoming your fears and talking to people from all walks of life about various topics. It's about getting inside the head of a different individual and sharing their story in a way that's relatable to somebody who has a completely different lifestyle. It's about presenting information in a way that is both informative and entertaining.

None of that is an easy feat. Journalism a difficult puzzle to piece together. Good journalistic writing is all about the research, the presentation, and the execution.
It's Friday night at seven fifty pm and you get a call saying can you cover this story at eight. You quickly go take pictures and scribble frantic notes, quickly conduct interviews with your tape recorder and you scribbling notes. Rush home, bust out the first draft, edit, edit and then  two hours later it's time to submit it. You click send and that's it. Your article will be in print soon and the cycle repeats itself.

Journalism is high-energy, fast-paced, and a rush. I've been privileged to view events and people from an entirely new light through this job. Journalism is tough, but it's a thrill. It's writing and any opportunity I have to write, I'll take.

That's my post on journalism. It's not novel writing or reading, but I hope that maybe that will give you a deeper appreciation for journalism.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Blame Alana for this.

I must admit I was surprised when I heard Alana’s voice refusing to be silenced. She was unusually bold and persistent. I kept trying to push her aside by saying no I’ve already posted once today, no I already have my Monday Manifestos post, and no I’m really just too busy for this right now.

Apparently, since I refused to listen, she resorted to writing me a letter, which was quite bold of her. I’m so proud.

Dear Danica,

I thought we had already overcome this little miscommunication. I thought that you agreed that you were actually going to start working on The Chosen One and actually finish rewriting it. Instead I’m stuck wandering in a gray tunnel. It’s dark and creepy and I’ve been in there for months without being able to sleep.

So I just thought that maybe by chance, you could actually start working on this again. I know you are afraid to finish this project, because it’s the first one that you ever started and actually finished writing. It was a six year project, but now you write novels in about two to three months. What I’m suggesting is that it doesn’t need to take six years to rewrite. Please finish rewriting it!

I think finishing it by the end of the summer might be a nice goal to set for yourself. Just finish the rewrite. It doesn’t have to be perfect. You made such great progress for about two months. Can’t we go back to that point in time?

In case I haven’t made myself clear enough, please please please please keep working on my novel. Great things are waiting just around the corner. You just need to push past these last few introductory pages.

I know you’ve been jazzed about Black Rose and I want you to keep working on those stories, but please work on my story too.

Sincerely,

Alana Monroe

If I'm being truthful, Alana is right. Maybe I am just afraid to finish her novel. I explored my literary short story phase and am currently in my Black Rose phase. I want to work on The Chosen One, but I keep pushing it aside.

I need to stop doing that. So Alana is once again right, as usual. I will start working on The Chosen One again.

Alana: Did you hear that? She’s going to start working on our story again. You aren’t lying again are you? Last time, you said that you didn’t keep your promise.

Me: I promise.

Alana: Then go to work right now.

Me: Alana, I have a final tomorrow.

Alana: Nope, if you don’t get started now, then you won’t.

When did she get so demanding?

Alana: Since you refuse to start working on my story. Now get.

Me: Alright, Alana, I’ll get on it.

Well I better go keep my promise.

Belated Monday Manifestos Post.....Lillian Durrant

I can explain....let's just say last minute work assignments. I worked eight hours Friday, twelve hours Saturday, and Sunday was filled with family stuff, and then Monday night was oh I have a major project involving straws, glue, and eggs that kept cracking (don't ask) that I hadn't finish. So yeah three hours of sleep later and I realized I hadn't posted my blog post.

Not that you guys really care, but the point is I wanted to post this post and so I'm posting it on Tuesday. I know I'm a rebel.

This is my Monday Manifestos post and is from Lillian Durrant's perspective. I introduced her earlier in http://danicapage.blogspot.com/2011/05/2nd-nwoc-post-one-lillian-lorraine.html. I didn't feel like that gave a very accurate portrait of who she was and it bothered me. Maybe that's why she's my first Monday post.

I hope you enjoy it. I took the idea of her writing a journal entry and went from there. It's not an actual excerpt from my novel, but I think it's a pretty insightful look into her character.

Lillian stared down at the journal her grandmother had given her years ago and started fingering the binding. Other people could keep journals and document their fears, dreams, and thoughts. She couldn't. It was simply too dangerous. If Black Rose got a hold of it--she knew what would happen. And yet she couldn't shake the pressing need just to start writing and recording her thoughts. She didn't know what she wanted to say and knew it would be too dangerous to say anything too personal, but she couldn't help it. She just needed to start writing.

My name is Lillian Lorraine Durrant and well you have probably heard of me--or if not at least heard me singing on the radio.

That's an odd statement to be able to make and one that unnerves me. I'm so well known and yet I don't think there are over ten people who could truly say they know me and even then most of them would be mistaken. That is everybody but Eric.

Eric is my brother and I love him, but I know I'm a burden to him. All I ever do is worry him. Nothing I do will change that.

I don't really know exactly what I hoped to accomplish with this entry. I don't want to spill my inner thoughts or feelings. I don't want to share anything about me really. I don't dare say anything about my friends either, because that will instantly make them a target. They already are, but I don't want to draw any more attention to them.

So, instead I'm just kind of rambling and filling space. Like I said earlier everybody "knows" me, but in reality they only know the facade that I've so carefully constructed. I'm not going to lie, it's a depressing thought.

She stared at what she had written and frantically ripped it out and tore it to shreds. She couldn't take those kinds of risks. Black Rose would glean information from anything. She couldn't keep a journal. She couldn't write about her thoughts or feelings. Why had she messed with fate? She stared at the shreds of paper and threw them away. No she couldn't writer her feelings. It would be better just to keep them bottled up inside where nobody could get hurt.

And that's Monday Manifestos post number one. Lillian is a tought character for me to describe. She's so multifaceted that it’s hard to accurately portray her. But I hope that gave you a glimpse.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thursday Tutorials...slaying the beast

Writer’s block in some form is something most authors deal with, whether it’s simply struggling to find the right words, the desire to write, or at a loss as to what comes next. It’s a monster that threatens to impede our progress.

For today’s Tuesday Tutorials post I’m going to share advice that Tamora Pierce gave about overcoming writer’s blog. Tamora Pierce is an amazing fantasy writer. She wrote the Trickster's Choice series, The Lioness Rampant, and many other popular series.
  • Introduce a new character, a strong one with an individual style in speech, dress and  behavior--one who will cause the other characters to review their own actions and motives to decide where they stand with regard to the new character. Don't forget that with me, at least, new characters include animals: most characters will react to an animal intrusion of some kind in an interesting way.
  • Have something dramatic happen. As Raymond Chandler put it, "Have someone come through the door with a gun in his hand." (My husband translates this as "Have a troll come through the door with a spear in his hand.") Machinery or vehicles (cars, wagons, horses, camels) can break down; your characters can be attacked by robbers or pirates; a flood or tornado sweeps through. Stage a war or an elopement or a financial crash. New, hard circumstances force characters to sink or swim, and the way you show how they do either will move things along.
  • Change the point of view from which you tell the story. If you're doing it from inside one character's head, try switching to another character's point of view. If you're telling the story from an all-seeing, third person ("he/she thought") point of view, try narrowing your focus down to one character telling the story in first person, as Huckleberry Finn and Anne Frank tell their stories. If down the road in the world you've created someone has written a book or encyclopedia about these events, insert a nonfiction-like segment (that doesn't give the important stuff away) as a change of pace. Try telling it as a poem, or a play (you can convert it to story form later).
  • Put this story aside, and start something else: letters, an article, a poem, a play, an art project. Look at the story in a day, or a week, or a couple of months. It may be fresh for you then; it may spark new ideas.
  • If you have an intelligent friend who's into the things you're writing about, talk it out with him/her. My husband often supplies wonderful new ideas so I can get past whatever hangs me up, and my family and friends are used to mysterious phone calls asking about things seemingly out of the blue, like what gems would you wear with a scarlet gown, or how tall are pole beans in late June?
  • Most important of all, know when it's time to quit. Sometimes you take an idea as far as it will go, then run out of steam. This is completely normal. When I began to write, I must have started 25 things for each one I completed. Whether you finish something or not, you'll still have learned as you wrote. The things you learn and ideas you developed, even in a project you don't finish, can be brought to your next project, and the next, and the next. Sooner or later you'll have a story which you can carry to a finish.
Refer to: http://www.tamora-pierce.com/faq.html for original source.

I personally love introducing a new character when I’m stumped or throwing an unexpected twist. Even if that twist doesn’t work you’re still writing and it might be enough to get you going again.
I also find that if there is a scene you simply can’t write that skipping ahead can be highly effective. You don’t have to write a linear pattern. If you don’t want to write a scene, then skip to a scene you do want to write.

Best of luck! Overcoming writers block or whatever you want to call it is tough, but just remember you can slay the beast.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Whimsical Wednesdays...Nike of Samothrace


One of my passions in life besides writing is studying art and art history. In particular, I love art from Ancient Greece, the Italian Renaissance, and the Baroque period. However, I do love a lot of pieces from other times periods as well.

One of my favorite pieces of all-time is the Nike of Samothrace also known as the Winged Victory. This incredible piece was created in approximately the second century BCE.

The skill that was required to shape this piece out of a stone of marble with such rudimentary tools has always astounded me. This elegance and regality of this piece is simply awe-inspiring. Her theatrical stance, and her billowing drapery all classify this as a Hellenistic piece.

The Nike was constructed to appear as if she was just landing after a long flight and is perched on the prow of a ship. A reflecting pool created the illusion that the warship was sailing out of its rectangular base while a missing fountain simulated sea spray.

However, an even more intriguing fact is that this piece wasn’t discovered until 1863. This piece lasted this long out in the open. The Nike of Samothrace is now located in the Louvre Museum. This piece is simply exquisite.


An interesting side note: this piece appears in Funny Face, a comical musical starring Fred Astaire and Audrey Hepburn. (I’m a huge Hepburn fan.) Whenever I watch this show, I have to watch that scene over and over.

All in all the Nike of Samothrace is an absolutely incredible piece. If you ever have the chance to visit Paris, you don't want to miss seeing it.

Simply because I wanted to...

I tend to be ultra organized almost to the point of near OCD.

For example, I like lists…love them actually. I make random lists all the time: reasons not to kiss a frozen pole or reasons to attempt bungee jumping today (which isn’t ever going to happen.)  And I also love pro-con lists. I'm a firm believer in list making.

The point is that I am going to make my blog more organized with themes associated with certain days. I am not saying that I will do this every week, because I won’t. But I’ll try to do this fairly frequently.
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Monday Manifestos- a blog post that will be from a character’s perspective, whether that be a journal entry, a rant, a speech, an excerpt, an interview, etc. (My way of continuing on NWOC on a more regular basis.)

To-Read Tuesdays - a day dedicated to talking about great upcoming authors, books that I’ve been dying to read, and anything else about reading.

Whimsical Wednesdays- Just a day where I will talk about other things. Maybe something that’s completely random or maybe just a chance to share something I like. For example, I love music and art. Both are powerful, inspirational, and have shaped my life and my beliefs. Both will probably show up frequently in Whimsical Wednesday.

Thursday Tutorials - this is mainly because I need to do the research myself, but maybe it will benefit some of you guys. I’m going to post helpful links, how-to articles, interviews about writing process, and basically any wisdom about writing from other more knowledgeable and more experienced people.

Saturday Sabbaticals- which I’ve explained previously in my post: http://danicapage.blogspot.com/2011/05/saturday-sabbaticalsan-explanation.html

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Today I’ll post my first post for Whimsical Wednesdays.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

2nd NWOC Post Six-- Kade Mordelli

Kade Mordelli will be the star in this post. Kade is an FBI agent too. Here’s NWOC post 6.

Kade Mordelli, I’d like to ask you a few questions.

I don’t see why you would need to, but sure.

Kade, you are known as a tracker. Why?

I am tenacious when fugitives are involved. If one is on the run, I put everything else on hold until I find them.

Why did you become an agent?

I wanted to be one nearly my entire life.

Was Sammy’s death a trigger?

It was, but that’s not why I became an agent. I just wanted to be one.

Fair enough. You have a brother who’s a pilot and one who is a cop and you’re with the FBI. None of which are exactly common careers.

My family has always been drawn to the unusual, the bold, the daring, and the extreme. When I was fifteen, my brothers dared me to go cliff diving. I was terrified of heights, but I did it. Because that’s just how my family is. We all jumped. It didn’t matter that we were afraid. It only mattered that my brothers were at my side and together we’d overcome that fear.

You sound like you’re very close to your family.

I am. My family is very important to me.

So you’re a family man?

I guess so, but I’m not married. So who knows for sure.
Is marriage in the cards?

As of right now? No, I’ve got some great friends, but nothing romantic.

Thanks for your time.

That right there is Kade. Kade is intense but he also has a sensitive side that very few people see. He’s really close to his family and a great agent.

In NWOC post 7 the last and final post…I’m going to interview Eric Matthew Durrant. Eric is Lillian’s big brother, not an easy task. He’s the star of Black Rose number 6. Eric is a sheriff. He’s a character I haven’t exactly completed his character sketch, but this will be a great start. See you soon!

2nd NWOC Post Five-- Haille Anne Nimmers

Okay third time is the charm right. I have now tried to post this post on my blog three times. One time my computer basically decided to be stubborn and internet wouldn’t connect. The second time I got the post already to go and then accidentally clicked delete, but third time is the charm….so here we go again.

I’m going to finally try to post NWOC post 5 along with 6 because I have six ready to go…just not five. Funny how that works.

My rant is over now. Sorry about that.

Haille, I’d like to ask you a few questions.

Really? Are you sure you want to do that?

Yes, I’m sure.

Oh, okay then.

Haille, you have three older siblings?

Yes, I’m the youngest of four…

Your sister Laura was murdered.

Yes.

How did that affect you?

It was very difficult.

Care to expound?

I took her death very badly. We were close. It’s...actually if you don’t mind, could we by chance maybe talk about something else.

Certainly, you’re a model. Can you tell me a little bit about that experience?

Laura always wanted me to be a model and so I went for it. I’ve been modeling for over ten years now.

What do you love about modeling?

Love? That’s a really strong word.

So you don’t love modeling then?

Modeling is what I do for a living, of course I love it.

Why?

That's hard to explain.

Okay, if you say so.

I do...it was really nice talking to you. Bye.

And that right there is Haille. A tad insecure and hesitant to talk to anybody. Haille tries to be perfect. Failure isn't an option.

I'm going to post NWOC post 6 now. In post six, I'm going to introduce you to Kade Mordelli. Kade also starrs in Black Rose #6.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

2nd NWOC Post Three-Kyle Jay Nimmers

Well here's NWOC post three. This time it is from FBI Agent Kyle Nimmer's perspective. Here you go:

Kyle Nimmers, may I ask you a few questions?

Sure. What about?

You’re the oldest in your family. After your mother died, did you feel the need to fulfill that role?
I had three younger sisters. They took it hard, especially Haille. She was just so young when it happened. Yes, I felt responsible to make sure that their needs were taken care of and that they were happy. I wanted to help them, protect them if I could.

This desire to protect your loved ones seems to have defined your life is that correct.

Yes, maybe it’s a big brotherly instinct, but being in the FBI simply played up that instinct if anything. My sisters have been dealt a hard hand in life and yeah I do want to protect tem if I can.

What made you want to be an FBI agent?

I always loved mysteries and I grew up with an intense desire to solve them. In crisis, most people get anxious and need to speed up. I’m the opposite I slow down and start analyzing my options. It’s almost instinctive. I just handle pressure well. I wanted to help protect those who couldn’t protect themselves.

Your mother died in your childhood, your father and sister were murdered, and your other sister almost died in a fire. Then in your career you are faced by these types of experiences quite frequently. How do you deal with all the traumatic experiences that surround you in your personal life as well as your work life?

When it comes to work, I play an intense game of basketball to let off the steam. It’s harder to shake the personal traumatic experiences. I choose to focus my anger and harness it into a desire to solve those cases. I direct my anger and funnel into my work in the means of motivation. You can’t afford to get angry when you’re an FBI agent. Anger simply leads to foolish decisions that can get you and your partner killed. You have to discover how you can harness that anger.

Your partner is your best friend in the truest sense of the word?

Yes, my partner is Jack and he is also my best friend. Jack thinks very differently than me. He’s action driven. He never stops moving. He has this intensity about him when working a case that is hard to parallel. I’m a little more rational and a little less insane.

Is Jack your basketball buddy?

Yes, Jack is the one I turn to whenever I need to let off some steam, whenever I need to talk, or need advice. Jack is a great guy.

No love interest though?

No, not really. I have a lot of friends who are girls…but nothing romantic. They are all too busy getting themselves into trouble. I constantly have to step in and get them out of the mess they get themselves into.

So you’re a protector to your family, your friends, and in your job?

I’ve never really thought of it that way…but I guess you could say that. It’s not something I do on purpose. It just instinctively happens. It’s just part of my makeup.

Thanks, Kyle.

And that’s Kyle Nimmers. Tomorrow I’ll introduce you to Darcie Pay Warburton.

I’ve mentioned her a few times already. She really is one of my favorite characters and one that I think I’ve developed the most. I’ve already given so many sketches of her personality and who she is. So I’ll simply say that Darcie is a Private Investigator with a need for speed and a knack for getting into trouble. She’s an absolute klutz and curious to a fault. She’s at odds with her family and it hurts her more than she realizes. Darcie stars in Black Rose number four.  

That’s Darcie in a nutshell. See you tomorrow for post number four.

Saturday Sabbaticals...an explanation

Why did I name this post Saturday Sabbaticals? Let me explain.

 When I read, I enter worlds different than my own. I journey into another character's head, another world, and another scenario. I am able to explore ideas, emotions, dreams, and fears that otherwise I might never have been able to feel.

I have had the opportunity to travel back in time to 1800 Russia with Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. I've traveled to the civilizations of ancient Rome and Greece with Homer and Socrates. I've explored parallel universes with Maria Snyder. I've joined the ranks of wizards with J. K. Rowling. I've walked on Middle Earth with J. R.R. Tolkien. I've fallen in love and lost through Nicolas Spark's works. I've lived on the wild frontier with DeAnne Gist. The list could go on and on.

As a child I used to stay up until all hours of the night reading and that is a trait that has never worn off. Even now I can be found at four in the morning with a book curled in my hand frantically turning those last pages.

Once I start a book, I have to finish it, preferably in one sitting. Which makes starting a book past nine o'clock a very bad idea. I've promised myself that I won't start a book past eight thirty, but that's a promise I simply can't keep.  I say I'll only read one hundred pages max, but that quickly turns into only two hundred, only three hundred, and so on. Until next thing I know it's four thirty and I have to wake up at five.
That has happened on more than one occasion.

Some people say that reading is old fashioned or a waste of time. I disagree. Reading is powerful. It's magical. It's my own little sabbatical where I can go anywhere, feel anything, and by anyone. It's my oasis. One that I wish more people found for themselves.


Note: Saturday Sabbaticals will be something I post weekly. I mentioned this idea yesterday. But I'll reiterate my point. I want to dedicate more posts to reading. So every Saturday, through my Saturday Sabbaticals' posts, I'll talk about reading in some capacity. I'll still mention reading in other posts, but every Saturday I will post specifically about reading.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Two posts in one day...:)

Sorry, I've come to the realization that my posts regarding reading have been very sparse lately...as in I think I've only posted three on reading recently. Whoops.

I'm new to this whole blogging concept and am trying to figure out how exactly I want to do this, so bear with me.

I've decided that every Saturday during the summer I will post something about reading, whether it be a review, my thoughts about an author, or just my thoughts about a book in general. I will try very hard to ensure I post something about reading every Saturday, but if I miss a Saturday every now and then please don't hold it against me.

I officially promise to dedicate more posts to reading.

2nd NWOC Post Four-- Darcie Pay Warburton

I’ve already introduced Darcie to you so I’ve decided to do this NWOC post a little differently. Instead of me being the interviewer. I’m going to let my other character Simon Campbell be the interviewer. Simon  is a lawyer (a profession Darcie despises) and is also a star in Black Rose #4.
I’m going to showcase this interview in the form of an excerpt from the novel. Hope you enjoy.

“Darcie, you’ve got your moping face on,” Autumn said.
            She smiled, “Autumn, it was just a long day.”
            “I can tell. Two pieces of pie. Forget to eat dinner again?”
            She nodded, “Lost track of time again.”
            “Alright, I’ll hassle you about your terrible eating habits later.”
            Darcie turned her attention back to her pie still absorbing the conversations around her. To her left was a couple on their first date. In front of her, there was a mother and daughter arguing about a lost phone. To her right was a man in a suit eating a late dinner. Fancy suit. He definitely stood out. He also seemed vaguely familiar. He caught her staring and nodded his head in acknowledgement. She quickly turned her attention back to her pie.
            To her surprise he walked over to her, “I’m new to this town and heard Autumn’s was the best eating place.”
            Darcie smiled, “Yes it is. You moved here?”
             “Yes, I moved in the Gibbon’s house.”
            Darcie winced. That house held memories. The Yates murder still haunted her, even though it had happened years ago.
            “So your name is Darcie.”
            She nodded, “Yes and you are?”
            “I’m Simon.”
            She looked at him. She enjoyed matching names with faces. He looked like a Simon. Tall, dark hair, dark eyes, fairly muscular, fancy suit, and a fancy briefcase. He seemed familiar.
            “So businessmen or lawyer,” she said eyeing his briefcase. She noticed the book entitled An Exegesis of Law in the Twenty First Century that was sticking out of his briefcase and added, “I’m guessing you’re a lawyer.”
            “You’re good. Let me guess. Police?”
“What makes you choose that?”
            “You choose the back table and scan the room. You could probably tell me every conversation going on.”
            Darcie shook her head thoroughly amused, “Close, but not quite. I turned PI a few years ago.”
            “Why?”
            She frowned. The truth was complicated and not one she was willing to share, “I wanted to be able to choose my own cases.”
            He stared nodding, “That’s the same with me. I moved here and am opening my own firm.”
            She stared finally making the connection, “Simon Campbell? Partners with Chase and Lott. I thought you seemed familiar.”
            “Yes, how did you know that?”
She went for the half-truth. “Lott is my brother-in-law and I’ve had the…” she broke off  unsure how to continue. It definitely wasn’t a pleasure, “I've had the opportunity to meet Ronald on a few occasions.”
“Bronson Lott is a good guy. I’ll miss working with him. Wait did you say your brother-in-law? You’re a Warburton?”
            She stared at her pie not wanting to see his reaction, “Yes, I’m a Warburton, Darcie Pay Warburton.”
“I know your family. I didn’t know they had a third daughter.”
She winced. Her family didn’t talk about her—that wasn’t surprising. “Yes, well I have heard about you. Now if you’ll excuse me I’ll just be leaving.”

That’s Darcie for you. And much to my joy, I got to introduce Darcie and Simon at the same time.  And that’s NWOC post number four.

For NWOC post number five  I’m going to introduce you to Haille Anne Nimmers, who stars in Black Rose #5. Haille is a character that’s hard to explain. I’ve introduced you to her briefly before as well. Haille is a model…but she hates it. She feels so insecure and vulnerable all the time and she has knack for getting herself into terrible situations. Kyle has always had to be there to bail her out…a fact that she hates.

See you for NWOC #5.

Monday, May 9, 2011

2nd NWOC Post Two-Marissa Sage Nimmers

Well here's 2nd NWOC post two:

Marissa, I’d like to ask you a few questions.

Certainly.

Why did you become a psychiatrist?

My mother died when I was very young. Her death was very tough on both my family and myself. I quickly realized that people can’t deal with grief on their own. I wanted to help people overcome that type of grief and pain. I knew very early on in life that I wanted to be a psychiatrist.

You yourself have suffered from a lot of tragedy? Your mother died, your father and sister were murdered, you were shot at yourself, and you almost were killed in a fire. Do you think that this tragedy has helped you be a better psychiatrist and how have you dealt with that grief?

I think that my experiences have maybe have allowed me to empathize more with my clients. However, many of the clients I meet with have suffered from pasts that are filled with much more tragedy, heartache, and suffering than mine. But even still you can’t really compare grief. People grieve in different ways. Trying to say that one person should be tougher than somebody else simply isn’t the right approach. My past is different than anybody else’s and so naturally I handle my past different than anybody else would.

How do you deal with your grief?

I’ve been blessed with a tremendous family and incredible friends. They are always there to help me through whatever comes my way…and I simply hope that I can return the favor.

You were a fire victim and had skin grafts conducted on most of your body. How do you cope with that traumatic of an experience?

Being in denial is one of the worst things you can do. I could try to pretend that it never happened, but that simply isn’t an option. I’m a fire victim…and that’s something that I have to live with. I’m still capable of doing everything that I love. I could have died and I’m truly just thankful to be alive. I cope by remembering the truth. The reality is that traumatic experiences are hard to shake, but life continues to go on. I had to learn to keep living day by day. It wasn’t easy at first, but every single day it got easier. You just have to keep pressing forward. Eventually, those traumatic experiences fade into the background.

Thanks for your time.

Yep, thank you.

And that right there is Marissa Sage Nimmers.

Tomorrow for NWOC post three I debated between sharing a post from Ella Marie Statton or Kyle Jay Nimmers. After a long battle, I’ve decided to share a post from Kyle Jay Nimmers.

(I’m already realizing that this NWOC might have to extend past seven posts to say at least twelve…sorry, but that’s really looking like it’s going to happen :) )

Kyle Jay Nimmers is Marissa’s older brother who stars in Black Rose #3. He’s the protector of the family. He’s an FBI agent and he is determined to ensure Marissa’s safety. He is greatly concerned with his other sister Haille too. Haille and Marissa’s relationship is strained and Kyle is often caught in the middle. It’s tough, but he’s determined to make sure everybody in his family is protected…no matter what the cost.

See you tomorrow for post three!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

2nd NWOC Post One-Lillian Lorraine Durrant

Lillian Durrant, I'd like to interview you. Would you care to tell me about yourself?

An interview without a television or camera crew? You a newspaper journalist then?

(Funny thing is that in real life I am.) I’m not interviewing your for a newspaper either.

Then why are you interviewing me?

I’m just curious. Tell me a little bit about yourself.

I’m a singer, I used to be a cop.

Do you care to expound?

Not really. What else is there to say?

Why did you quit your job as a cop?

I got shot and took some time off. My brother dared me to try out on that television show. I won and my singing career launched. After that I wasn’t really hirable as a cop, I guess.

So you miss being a cop?

Yes and no.

You’re not going to expound on that either?

No, I don’t really see why I would.

(I warned you it’s impossible to get anything out of her.) You’re really close to your brother?

Why would you ask that? She asks suspiciously.

Simply curious.

Why?

I just am.

Why did you say you were asking me these questions again?

I didn’t.

Listen lady, I have to go.

The inside scoop: A stranger was asking her a bunch of questions who claimed she didn’t belong to the press. That would have immediately set off red flags in Lillian’s head. She immediately assumed I was lying and was with the press and or was with Black Rose, the  crime group that is blackmailing her, and so she was on guard from the very first question.

Just because I feel like this wasn’t much of an NWOC post and I still feel like you know nothing about Lillian…I’m going to show an excerpt from the novel Black Rose number one. This is really rough, but here you go:

The phone clicked and she threw it against the wall in frustration.
            “Some greeting, Lily.”
            She turned around stunned, “Eric, I didn’t think you were coming until tomorrow.”
            “Changed my mind.”
            “How did you get in?” she asked.
            “I have a key.”
            “There’s no way Grandmother would give you a key,” Lillian teased avoiding looking at his face in an attempt to hide her swollen face.
            “You’re right, but I still have a key,” he said before turning serious, “Why aren’t you looking at me?”
            She hesitantly raised her head and saw Eric’s expression transform into one of pure hatred.
            “What happened?”
            “Let’s go downstairs, Eric.”
            She stood up and slid past him hoping she could avoid the inevitable conversation.
            “Your arm…you broke your arm and you smell like gunfire. You have some explaining to do, Lillian.”
             Why was Eric a sheriff? Nothing got past him.
            “Eric!”
            “No don’t Eric me. You owe me an explanation.”
            “I don’t owe you anything.”
            “You quit working at the station. Yes, singing is a worthy career, but you always wanted to do more than just sing. Then you moved in with Grandmother and you shut everybody out. Everybody is worried about you. Travis is even worried. You’ve hurt all of them, including me.”
            Lillian kept her face void of all emotion suppressing the guilt she felt. “Eric, don’t tell me who I have hurt. I’m doing the best I can.”
            “No you’ve given up. You’re retreating back into silence and pushing everybody away again.”
            “Eric! Let’s not talk about this.”
            “You can bet we’re going to keep talking about this. Singing professionally was never your dream and it sill isn’t.”
            “I haven’t given up. You have no right to judge me. I’m doing my best.”
            “No you’re not, Lily. You’re afraid and hiding. You don’t think I’m hurting. Anita was my fiancee. You shut down after her death. I know she was your best friend, but she was my fiancee. You have to keep living.”
            The doorbell rand and Lillian quickly answered it grateful for the distraction. She had always hated confrontations.

And that is a rough sketch of Lillian Lorraine Durrant. Tomorrow for my second NWOC post 2, I’ll introduce you to Marissa Sage Nimmers.

Marissa stars in Black Rose #2. She’s a psychiatrist who nearly died in a fire four years ago. The fire she could handle, but the fact that it was meant to kill her after a hit man missed and killed her father and sister instead is harder to overcome. She’s able to help others overcome their grief, but  she can’t overcome her own. But she’s fine; she’s handling her problems just fine. But when her life is threatened again, she realizes that maybe she isn’t doing as well as she thought.

Well there’s Marissa in a nutshell. See you tomorrow!
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