Works in Progress Blog Hop: and a Look Inside

I’ve been nominated by two very lovely bloggers, Marie Bailey and Barb Taub, to participate in this W.I.P. blog hop and have been so busy with my local writers’ group and spring break and my grandchildren (as anyone who follows me on Facebook knows) that I have not given much time to blogging for two weeks.

So, just what have I been up to?

I completed a crime novel. It’s been beta read, edited and proofed and is waiting on me to complete two more novels in the same genre. I have other works in progress and one of these is a sort of sequel to Red Clay and Roses. Also set in Georgia, it is in the same time period, 1950s-60s, and involves two sisters, one of which is the mother of Hannah, the nurse/narrator from Red Clay and Roses.

In Part Two of Red Clay and Roses, there is a relationship involving my cousin, Sybil, (the only real name in the book—she’s an eighty-three year old woman now in real life) she was a high-spirited, fiercely independent, white woman and an entrepreneur in those times.

She became infatuated with Nathan, a black man, and Nathan was enamored with her. Nathan was a medical student and active in the Civil Rights Movement.

When I finished the book, I sent it off for editorial reviews. Kirkus and Reader’s Favorite were very kind to me. Another set of professional editors weren’t. Their primary complaint was that Nathan and Sybil got only a chapter or two of getting to know each other before they were throwing down for fast sex in the middle of a pine forest.

Now, I was telling the story as Sybil had told it to me.

And quite frankly, though a jolly old married woman now, in my single years I was a bit of a slut. So I had no problems with Sybil’s story. But these editors were critical and felt I should have built up to Nathan and Sybil’s interlude with more romance.

Romance has just never been my thing. Some people love it. But I’m out of my comfort zone.

In my sequel, my work in progress, one of the sisters gets deeply involved with a man. A romance develops. And I have to write it. To hone my craft and develop my skills, I’ve been practicing by writing little romantic short stories. I had opportunity to read one of these to an audience of about 60 people last week. What fun!!!

Sebastian's birthday and reading at Stardust 004

They laughed at the funny parts, wept at the emotionally moving parts and came up to me afterwards with wonderful compliments and expressions of appreciation, so I must have done something right.

This spurred me to get back to my W.I.P. The TENTATIVE Title is “Surviving Sister” and I must tell you that every word you read here is subject to change at this point. The two sisters personalities are night and day, but they share a mental illness that manifests itself differently, and each has their own way of coping.

Here’s what I have:

Chapter One:

Time had a way of taking a perfectly good moment and turning it into something terrible. Not that all moments in time were bad ones. Many were wonderful. But in an instant, all that seemed beautiful could change. It happened so quickly, like lightning hitting a tree, splitting its trunk and splaying its branches. Sometimes it was insidious, the unpleasantness creeping up and then, unexpectedly, there was a pinnacle moment of certainty that life was never going to be the same. It happened all too often for Barber sisters, Claudette and Carol.

Chapter Two:

No police arrived on the scene. No neighbors came calling. Mama woke up lying in the floor with her head propped on several pillows, disoriented and confused, an hour after the incident. Claudette and Carol had already changed her clothes as she had soiled herself. This was not the first time Claudette had seen her mother in this condition, but it had been a very long time. Mama had not had such a fit since she was married to her last husband. The medicines had been effective, up until now. It did not take Laura Belle long to get up, reorient herself, and recall what had occurred. The first thing she asked, “Did anyone get hurt?”

Chapter Three:

It was early yet and moonlight glistened across the damp lawn. The shadow of the great Victorian house loomed over the driveway in front of the carriage house that had been converted into a garage. Uncle Durham parked the car. Laura Belle and Claudette had drifted off to sleep and did not immediately stir. Carol leapt from the car the second it stopped, spying Miss Josephine sweeping the back porch steps.

“Lawdy chil’, how you have grown,” Miss Josephine said, halting her chore and holding still the broom. “You’re taller now than your mama!”

“Five foot two, but I’ll never be as tall as Claudette.” Carol shrugged, ran to the porch and gave Miss Josephine a warm hug.

“I know’d y’all was a comin’ today, but I had no idea y’all would be here afore the rooster crowed. I best put on another pan of biscuits!”

The next part of this blog hop is to nominate three more people to tell about their works in progress. A few lines about the first few chapters.

I’m looking at Craig Boyack at Entertaining Stories, who always has something interesting going on.

K. Leigh Michaels, a Y.A. writer with a house full of inspiration.

and Tim Baker, of Blindoggbooks, who has a set of awesome crime novels with iconic character, Ike, and is currently working on something he describes as quite different concerning Karma.

Rules are simple:

  • Link back to the person who nominated you.
  • Write a little about and give the first few lines of your first three chapters from your WIP.
  • Nominate some other writers to do the same.

I’ve done my part, won’t you join me and let us into your storytelling process?

How To Force A Redirect To The Classic WordPress.com Editor Interface

I was glad to see this as I simply can’t stand the new editor for new posts. It’s made for mobile and I’m at a PC. It’s a simple process and fast.

Diary of Dennis

classic editor wordpress

The Solution To Use The Classic Editor

If you are blogger at wordpress.com, this post here will help you to solve a big problem. As you have noticed, the decision makers at WordPress want to force you to use the recent new editor interfaces that is purely designed for mobile devices and for users who only create short-form content. This is of course a pain if you are desktop user and if you like to create long-form content as well. In this post you will learn how to get back to the classic editor permanently.

In the new editor form, we had a link back to the classic editor but that link is now gone too. WordPress does not have the intention to give us the link back as you can read here in the forums. If you go through this huge forum thread, you will find out…

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Spring Has Sprung

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This photograph was taken by a childhood friend in Georgia. That’s Pine Mountain in the background.

I truly miss the four seasons.  The photo reminded me of my daughter’s first spring in Michigan.

My grandmother had daffodils on her farm as thick as these in this photograph; paper whites, daffodils, butter-n-eggs, doubles, singles, white, orange and yellow. They multiplied dramatically and had to be thinned every year.

I transplanted planted bulbs all over our farm when my children were small. These daffodils from Grandmother’s farm eventually blanketed the green floor of the pecan orchard beside our home.

The first spring my daughter was in Michigan I received a phone call from her. She was in a debate with her college peers about whether or not daffodils grew wild in Georgia. They do around the old homestead sites, but somebody planted them at one time. My daughter had no memory of me planting those daffodils, only that they were everywhere and beautiful.

You never know when you might be making a memory.

Presenting: Three Ghosts – On Sale Now!

Katie Sullivan author of Changelings in the Mist Has a new book out: Three Ghosts

The D/A Dialogues

Cover Art by Casey T. Malone Cover Art by Casey T. Malone

What do you do when the decisions you’ve made come back to haunt you? How do you make them right? Can you, when one wrong move will mean lives lost?

Deirdre O’Brien, an American political-activist living in Dublin, married the wrong man – and had to kill him to save the lives of thousands. Fifteen years later, he’s back from the dead, with a horrific plan to destroy the tenuous peace between Belfast, Dublin and London. To stop him, Dee will throw herself at a seedy underworld, where nothing is what it seems, and trust is a commodity too short in supply.

She only has three days – three days, and three ghosts. She will confront them, or risk becoming one herself.

The Race is On!

I first presented Three Ghosts as a serialized short story here at the blog, but as the story…

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Two seconds after my last post, WOW is live.

Will O’ the Wisp is LIVE!

Entertaining Stories

It was a gloomy day at the Writing Cabin. I went into my paranormal office and sat at Patty Hall’s roll top desk to begin my day. The enchanted window showed an image of giant spiders attacking New York. Why do things attack New York or Tokyo? There are some perfectly wonderful other cities on Earth they could attack.

I opened the desk, pulled on my lab coat, and went to work. I needed to upload Will O’ the Wisp to Amazon to make Patty’s story available to everyone. This is a great tale, and I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever written. It’s even suitable for young adults.

I kept getting the red message that I forgot something. Amazon even deleted my blurb and made me write it out again. This is par for the course, and I soldiered on.

The enchanted beer horns tip toed into my…

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What’s at the Core of Character Development?

Some posts I make are informative and useful and some are just the rambling inside my head type posts that may or may not be of interest to anyone else. This is one of the latter.

 

Luckily, I managed to breeze through my CEUs and finished them up over the weekend. That surprised me after seeing the material I had to cover. I only missed one question out of six test modules. It was one on domestic violence concerning House Bill 1099. It was a trick question.

 

Admittedly, it made me feel pretty good to ace these tests. It affirmed my professional expertise.

 

Monday, I took up some research for a project that’s still in the planning stages. I’ve been re-reading Stephen King, Dean Koontz and Thomas Harris, and a barrage of scientific journal articles on paranormal psychology.

 

Although I am a scientist, I’ve always been interested in parapsychology. For several years of my career, I worked in psychiatric nursing in both crisis stabilization and in a forensics unit that managed the criminally insane and the incarcerated. I’ve seen some really weird things occur in the spiritual realm (not scientifically explainable). I’ve also had personal experience with clairvoyant dreams/nightmares.

 

With the medical model of psychiatry, so much has been scientifically explained through the understanding of neurotransmitters. These are endogenous chemicals that transmit signals across a synapse from one neuron (nerve cell) to another ‘target’ neuron. Their exact numbers are unknown but more than 100 chemical messengers have been identified.

 

Pharmacology and chemistry have worked hand-in-hand to learn the mechanisms of action and create drugs, primarily those that affect monoamines like: dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine, histamine and serotonin, which have profound effects on the brain, mood, personality and behavior.

 

Millions of people who would have otherwise been crippled by brain anomalies have received treatment that resulted in them being able to live productive lives. The organic component of human behavior can be changed with mind altering drugs. This organic, or biological, aspect is just one component of who we are. In nursing, my training program was a biopsychosocial model that considers three dimensions. The brain and the mind are considered separately.

 

In considering the mind, one dimension is spirit. Humans are spiritual by nature. Apart from all theological considerations the human spiritual capacity is wondrous indeed. As elusive as its definition, the human spirit includes our intellect, emotions, fears, passions, and creativity.

 

In the two most widely accepted contemporary definitions, human spirit and psyche are considered to be the mental functions of awareness, insight, understanding, judgment and other reasoning powers, entities of emotion, images, memory and personality.

The soul is the self, the “I” that inhabits the body and acts through it.

The soul can be the essence or embodiment of a specified quality, like the soul of a piece of composed music. It is also an immaterial part of a human being, regarded as immortal.

I didn’t set out to write a dissertation on the human spirit and soul, but was seriously considering character development. So often, I read in reviews that characters are one dimensional or not fully developed, and I was pondering over what exactly makes a character well-rounded, fully developed. The ones who stay with us, that we remember forever, that never die, are the ones who have soul. The author has managed to make them immortal. They have awareness, insight, understanding, judgment and other reasoning powers, entities of emotion, images, memory and personality. They will live on long after their authors are gone.

It takes time and words to create spirit and soul in a character. In this day of fast food, fast everything, readers want both. They want fast action and character development. I’ve read tons of character development posts advising people on how to draw up their character profiles, and while there are hundreds that speak to character traits and appearances, few speak to the soul of the character.

The “I” that inhabits the body and acts through it is the most important feature of character development, whether endearing or wicked. This “I” is at the core of character development.

In metaphysics, the “I” is the ego, a conscious, thinking subject, the part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and the unconscious and is responsible for reality testing and a sense of personal identity, self-awareness.

I thought of Scarlett, Hannibal, Merlin, Lastat and Louise, Pennywise, Rowan Mayfair, Odd Thomas, Jane Eyre, Chablis, Jack Torrance, James and Catskinner, Ryan Lemmon, Bilbo Baggins, Catherine and Heathcliff…I could go on and on, but the point is that these characters all have soul, good or bad. They have been richly developed so as to be unforgettable. They think and they act. They aren’t characters that I particularly relate to, but they have an admirable depth. They aren’t simply entertaining, but embody complex psyche that penetrates deeply making them memorable.

When you read, do you get invested into the spirit of your characters?

When you write to tell your stories do you consider spirit of the characters?

Can you name some unforgettable characters that had soul?