Tuesday, November 27, 2012

How the Colors of Time Were Born

Recently, someone asked me how I came up with the idea for the Colors of Time. I thought if one person asked, other people might be interested as well, so here’s the story.

When I first began writing Screwing Up Time, I thought Miranda was a ghost. But it didn’t take long before she told me that she was a traveler through time. Immediately, I began to wonder how she traveled and what her experience would be. Since alchemy, which seems strange and mystical to us, was the science of Miranda’s day, it seemed only natural that an elixir would transport her.

And then, I wondered what the physical experience of traveling through time would be like. So I closed my eyes and became Miranda. I felt time passing me, its touch against my skin. And I saw the seasons pass in white winter, green spring, red summer, and orange brown autumn. But the colors weren’t just visual experiences of light, they had tremendous intensity. And I began to question what they were like. Did they have being? Volition? What if they were violated? How would they express their anger? What would restrain them?

And the colors of time were born.

I love the colors. I love the dimensionality they bring to the setting. Anything is possible. But writing the colors of time is difficult. Creatively, it’s very demanding because of the intensity of the experience, which needs to be different every time.
In writing first drafts, I give the scenes with the colors only a cursory sketch. When I go back to edit, I find all the colors of time scenes in each book I’ve written and make sure the new sketches are fresh. Then, I close my eyes and go through the colors with Mark and Miranda. And then, I share their experiences with you.

Book 3 Update. I’m almost 20,000 words into book 3 of the Screwing Up Time series. Most first drafts that I write are usually 50,000 (with final drafts ending at 75,000 to 80,000 words). So I’m almost halfway. Though the Christmas holidays will probably cut into my writing quite a bit. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Characterization and the Gift of Face Blindness

Today you can find me guest blogging at Laurel's Leaves. Laurel asked me to write on characterization, and I discuss how I use my face blindness as a strength in building characterization.

If you're not familiar with face blindness (prosopagnosia), it means that I don't recognize faces. Sometimes even my kids' faces. Yeah, really.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

#6 Ranking!

Did you hear a gleeful shout this morning? That was me. When I woke up this morning, I discovered that Screwing Up Time was now #6 on Amazon Kindle's teen fiction bestseller list.

I know it can't last for long. But the moment is wonderful. A big thank you to everyone who's bought the book and told their friends about it!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A New Character

In last week’s blog post, I mentioned that I’d begun writing book 3. I’m over 10,000 words into the novel (an average first draft for me is about 50,000 words and a finished novel is about 80,000 words). So, I’ve got a good start.

One of the most interesting things to me as a writer is getting to meet new characters. Don’t get me wrong, I love Mark and Miranda. But new characters always spice things up, both for me and the main characters.

The newest character is Nin. She is first mentioned in my new short story, “Screwing Up Mongolia,” which is part of the Winter Wonders anthology, and comes out next month. (Though she doesn’t show up in the story.) Her first appearance is in book 3, and I couldn’t wait to meet her. (I don’t plan out my novels in detail before I write them. I sort of put the characters together and let them tell their story.)

And now that I’ve met Nin…wow. She’s a woman with secrets. And attitude. She’s fascinating, but not someone you want to take on vacation with you. Not if you want to relax. I wish I could tell you more, but I’m only just getting to know her. Besides she craves her anonymity, and if I tell you too much, she might hurt me. Or worse, refuse to talk. Characters sometimes do that.

BTW, the other day, Melissa Pearl of YAlicious asked me to do a blog post on why I chose Babylon as my setting for book 2. Clickhere to find out the answer.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Screwing Up Babylon Thanks

In case you missed Friday’s blog post (not my normal blogging day), the big news is that Screwing Up Babylon is available at Amazon!! Click here.

I’m very excited! We had a book release party at home with all the trimmings. And let me just say that the Wensleydale cheese with cranberries was amazing, smoked salmon with cream cheese and lemon-pepper on crackers will make you drool, and blackberry-Cabernet dark chocolate is the ultimate dessert.

I want to thank to my beta readers Sharmon Gazaway, Ariel Keller, and Melissa Pearl (who just released a new book too—Betwixt—it’s great). And another big thanks to Kirsten Walker for proofreading. And a how-did-you-read-my-mind thank you to Tara Rimondi, graphic artist extraordinaire.

To all my readers, thank you for making writing worthwhile and I hope you enjoy Screwing Up Babylon.

One more thing, I’m already well into writing book three. Squee!!