Friday, November 30, 2012

Don't Freak Out, But...

Well, Thanksgiving is past, NaNoWriMo is over today (I completed almost 30,000 words on my new novel-woot!) so the next stop on road is the end of the Mayan 2012 calendar round. What's in store for us? 

It could be a catastrophe, plenty have been predicted: wars, earthquakes, meteor strikes or maybe the feared plasma burst said to be coming from the sun that would have the potential of knocking out all electronics: (do not watch if you are susceptible to conspiracy theory freak-out)

Or, maybe we are slated for UFO contact on top of Chichen Itza? Well, apparently contact has already happened. So, what did they say? This video puts most of the longest lasting theories together. You decide whether they are bunk as you listen to the many sources in this one (scientists, UFO contactees, Star Trek, the Bible, etc.) and decide for yourself: 

(You can skip the advertisements as they pop up during the video by clicking the Skip button on the right of the screen).

What do you think? Freaked out or encouraged? If we don't evolve, are we doomed on 12-21-2012?

Friday, November 23, 2012

After the Pumpkin Pie, Then What?

Now that the last morsel of turkey, stuffing or pie has been consumed, and you are finished scrambling to get those Black Friday sales, you might be thinking about how interesting it would be to write about the conversation that erupted at the Thanksgiving table, or the latest gossip about eccentric Aunt Betty or maybe what your brother's crazy kid has gone off and done now. 

In case you got hold of that wish bone, and wished to become a writer, you might like to hear why writers have chosen writing as a career. Thirteen other writers (below) and myself have created a blog hop today. You you can hop around to read about: 
Why I became a writer.

For myself, I couldn’t help being a writer. My life forced me into it.

After responsibilities to others for most of my life, I am finally accomplishing the one thing I wanted to do for me—be a working writer (published). The journey has been a long one, but I have always been a writer at heart. 

As an only child, I probably used my imagination more than most. One of my strongest memories was the weekly visit to the library as a preschooler. To this day I can see the richly painted murals covering the floor to ceiling walls of that library in Queens, New York. While the librarian read the stories and fairy tales pictured on the walls, I got lost in my imagination.

After my fairy tale phase (I read every known fairy tale I could get my hands on, from around the world), I was drawn to mysteries—most heavily weighted toward Edgar Allan Poe, then comics-the darker, scarier ones were best, like Tales from the Crypt. 

Of course there were the weekly radio serials that forced me to visualize the stories (The Green Hornet, Lone Ranger, The Whistler, to name a few). 

I spent my 25 cent allowance on Saturdays mornings to get a bag of popcorn and watch two feature films (and a string of about twenty cartoons). That didn't include the first rate motion pictures I went to every week with my mother.  We would travel into Manhattan to the movie palaces of the day (I was stimulated to imagine scenarios just walking through the opulent lobbies), and I spent hours afterwards playacting what I had seen on the screen.

When I wasn't playing 'cowboys and Indians' with my younger cousins in the woods nearby our homes, I would make up stories on the spot when they begged me to tell them one. 

I went through a lot of emotional angst in my early years which led me to escape into writing in journals, creating poetry, exploring philosophies and the metaphysical—the weirder or more unconventional the better. Thinking at the edges. I always wrote as a way to cope, meditate, pull out and explore deeper ideas. During all that interior work, I hadn't imagined writing any of that stuff down for public consumption.

In the back of my mind I thought I would eventually write children’s books, drawing from the storytelling with my cousins, but then I had a déjà vu incident on a vacation in Mexico that affected me deeply. When I came back from that trip, I had an opportunity to do a free-write for a training I was involved in as an elementary school teacher. What did I write about? You guessed it, the Mexico incident. The idea hooked me.

I knew it was time to find a writing teacher, which I did. It took me years to uncover the whole story, and during that time I learned the craft of writing while continuing on with my main responsibilities.

I find writing to be a joy, a yoga of self discipline offering a great sense of accomplishment, and I like the time exploring my imagination. You have to like the process of working alone until you get it down, and I do, then the time it takes to edit your work. If you are fortunate enough to have a good critique group, you learn to listen to their advice and apply the changes necessary.

Fast forward to today. That novel that took all those years to write will be published by Oak Tree Press. The story, Dance The Dream Awake, is set in present day Yucatan and highlights a past Mayan life that influences my protagonist's current life, her loves and her struggles, amidst murder and intrigue. It will be coming out soon, date yet to be announced

Thankfully, my second book is already half completed. Writing is exciting, cathartic and fulfilling--not to mention frustrating, head banging, and time-consuming, but when each story is finished, very satisfying.

*Thirteen other professional writer friends and myself who have blogs have joined together to post on this same theme, “Why I Became a Writer.” Take a moment to pop on in and read their accounts on what drives them in the pursuit of our favorite obsession, writing. You will find them interesting, inspiring or funny--to suit your taste.   

Did anything you experienced during your Thanksgiving Day holiday or Black Friday shopping spree inspire you to write? I welcome your comments.

John Brantingham and Sunny Frazier:
Chris Swinney:
Stephen Brayton:
Carole Avila:

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Smell Something Burning?

            Where has Cora gone? Why no post this week? Gone to writing for NaNoWriMo, that’s where.

            I am in the middle of pushing out my next novel. The thing is, I think I have two novels in one, or it might even be three novels. The realization hit me when I remembered I’ve done this before—too many subplots that maybe weren’t subplots. I had to take the weekend to sort it all out as to what my story was, losing precious time and momentum to reach my quest for 50,000 words completed by the end of November.

            In the midst of burrowing through mounds of paper trying to sort it all out this past weekend, I burned the stew I was making—twice. After the first time, I picked out the parts not burned and then added them to a fresh pot of vegetables only to burn out the liquid and bottom layer, again. All that was left was a salty mush of potatoes with some puny carrots and meat peeking through.

            My husband was not happy (who would be?) but he bravely picked through the mush stew to find the meat and vegetables that were edible. Not a harsh word came out of his mouth. (Yes, he is as patient and wonderful as he sounds.) Afterwards, I felt so guilty I drove to Baskin Robbins for ice cream to soothe our stomachs.

            Ah, well, I will have a story by that date, just not sure which one—and it may not be finished but I will know which story and what direction. Meanwhile, I will be writing full steam ahead. (With no more cooking until Thanksgiving.)

So how are all you NaNos doing?  Any tragedies to share?

Ever burn the beans? That is so much worse!

Monday, November 5, 2012


I’m taking a break from my blog this week. I’m on the NaNoWriMo writing train and 
chugging along nicely. . .Choo--choo.

Instead, here's some entertainment from Glenn Miller and the Modernaires, from the film "Sun Valley Serenade" (1941):    Chattanooga-Choo-Choo

If that wasn't enough, or if you enjoy old movies--try this one:
The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B with the Andrew's sisters singing and dancing. 

See you next week. . . . .