Writers want everyone to love their work, or at least to like it, or at the very least to not hate it. It’s why we agonize over plots, over story arcs and characters, settings and scenes and dialog. It’s why we get feedback from as many sources as possible. It’s why we write and revise and crumple and delete and start over. We want you to love our work, thus loving us by extension - at the very least; we want you not to hate us.
One of the hardest things about writing is striking a balance between ‘realistic’ for our characters and their relationships to each other, and ‘fantasy’ for our readers. For example, some readers get angry or annoyed when the hero or heroine isn't perfect, when they make foolish choices or silly mistakes like real people do. Other readers get angry or annoyed over the exact opposite.
I will use my novel Tempus as an example since I happen to know exactly what the author knew and thought at all times. If you are reading this I am going to assume you've read the book, so it won’t be necessary for me to explain who the characters are, etc.
Let’s take a look at Jessie together, shall we?
I know so much more about her than you can or will ever know. I know everything she thinks, feels, hopes, fears, or dreams and more importantly I know why, even when she doesn't. I will always know more about her than she does, or than you do. (That means I also know Gabriel and Steve better too, and yeah, it’s awesome.) All you can do as a reader is draw conclusions based on the information given, by ‘observing’ her and those around her. Those conclusions sometimes surprise me.
I enjoy reading what others say about my characters because it tells me about readers’ perceptions. Jessie has been called juvenile, mature, childish, funny, boring, witty, stupid, smart, charming, whiny, strong, weak, brilliant, and dozens of other diverse adjectives. How can one person be all those things simultaneously? What one person loved about her, another person hated. What one person thought made her seem real and honest caused another person to see her as fake and shallow. How can that be?
Jessie is Jessie is Jessie, and the description of her does not change from book to book, yet the perception of her changes from reader to reader.
Because Jessie is all those things, and so much more. The fact that readers perceive her differently based on what they themselves bring to the table means that I have indeed created a multidimensional character that is “real.” Just as we don’t like every real person we come in contact with, how can a created character be ‘real’ if everyone who ever ‘meets’ her loves her? Gabriel and Steve love her, and to the story itself, that’s all that matters.
A question I have been asked a couple of times, and that I have seen mentioned in reviews and discussions, is how could Jessie be so shallow as to break up with nice guys over trivial things. If you are one of those people, think about it. Put yourself in her shoes. It’s psych 101.
Jessie lost her Mom at a young age, so no full-time female role-model. Dad has his own issues that he can’t/won’t face because he lost the love of his life (and Jessie really can’t bring someone home to meet Daddy anyway.) She was rejected by her first crush, on her birthday of all days. Then, to top it all off, she has a crazy gift/curse she has to hide and can’t control. You’re surprised she has relationship issues? Give her a break, will ya? At least she is aware that it isn't normal, and they say that’s half the battle.
Another thing that a few have mentioned as shallow is her little shopping spree/makeover. Again, P101 people. If you’ll notice, her little spree takes place after Gabriel. Before Gabriel, she was content to fade into the background, in fact she preferred it. Just because you didn't know about the sixty two days and she didn't know about the sixty two days doesn't mean I, the all-knowing one, didn't know about the sixty two days. I knew she had a reason to make a change, and so did her subconscious.
That brings us to the sixty two days.
Several people have mentioned they wish the book had started with the sixty two days, or that those days had been included. If I had done that, it would have been an entirely different book. You could not have ‘lived’ Jessie’s confusion; you could not have ‘felt’ Gabriel’s agony - not in the same way you did without those days. The relationships with Julie, with her Dad, and with Steve would all have felt different as well.
Some have said they knew from the moment Jessie ‘saw’ Gabriel that “they were meant to be together, so what was the point of Steve?” To that I first respond “What was the point of any relationship in your life that ever ended?” Then I answer that Steve reveals to us different sides of Jessie, of her Father, of Julie, and even Gabriel. He causes Gabriel to reexamine his relationships with Jessie and his own Father, and to reassess his role as a traveler. And that’s just his role in this story.
In the end, it all comes down to this: Every reader is unique, and you can’t please everyone. Some will think what we wrote was perfect and others will think it is hopelessly flawed. Some will think it is too easy to understand, and others with think it is impossible to decipher – and their reasons for opposite perceptions will be identical.
The best thing a writer can do is be true to their characters and to the story they wish to tell. With any luck most who read it will ‘get it,’ and not just ‘get it,’ but truly enjoy it. That’s the one thing we most hope for - that you love it. At the very least; we want you not to hate it.
As many of you know I have not updated ANYTHING lately. I do tweet now and then, but not much more than a few times a week. There are many reasons for that, so I will fill you in a bit.
I have been working on the sequel to Tempus for a year. It has been an on and off struggle for many reasons. The first reason is that my husband and I own a business and we were busier last year than we have ever been. It was good because we made a lot of money. It was bad because I am "the office" and was kept busy from dawn 'til dusk and beyond, leaving little or no time to write.
The second reason is that once things slowed down with work there were some serious personal issues had by others in my life where my assistance was needed - not demanded, not required, but needed
. I did the best I could to help, and continued to write whenever (rare) spare time was found.
The third reason is that once that situation was under control, yet another unexpected situation came along. The 'short' of it is that I now have a terminal friend living with me and my family and under my care and they have no family who will take on the responsibility.
I am only sharing this because I have kept so many waiting and I want you/them to understand that it is not lack of ideas or lack of desire - it is lack of time and energy - and it is wearing on me in a million ways. Rest assured that I know where the sequel is going and (mostly) how it will get there, it is just taking much, much longer than planned. It will be completed as soon as possible, but I refuse to write a bunch of gibberish just so it can be 'finished.' I hope everyone understands.
P.S. If you have ANY extra energy, PLEASE send it my way. ;-)
Last year I happened to stumble upon and fall in love with a book. The name of the book was Ethereal, and it was written by Addison Moore. As a matter of fact, it was the subject of my very first
book review on this website. That review can be found HERE
I became a fan of Addison on Goodreads, and after speaking to her, found she was the sweetest person you could ever imagine. I have read all of her Celestra series books (thank goodness there are more to come!) and if you have not yet done so, go get them NOW. Seriously. You can find them HERE
. They will keep you literally on the edge of your seat!
Now for the really good part. 20th Century Fox has optioned film rights to the Celestra Series with the intent of turning it into a T.V. series
! That's right! We could be seeing Skyla, Gage, Logan, and Marshall on a weekly basis IN THE FLESH. (They are going to have to find some pretty amazing flesh to do them justice, though.) If you don't know who I am talking about, get back up there to the link and GO GET THE BOOKS!
I am just all goose-pimply giddy over this, and SO excited for Addison that I ran through my house whooping. (My pets thought I had lost my mind. It was funny.) So heartfelt congratulations to Addison and the residents of Paragon Island.
You can read more about it on Addisons blog, which can be found HERE.
I worked in health care for many years. My specialty was Geriatrics, more specifically Geriatric Alzheimer's and Dementia. There are a million stories I could tell about the many wonderful people I cared for, but there are almost as many stories I could tell (good and bad) about my co-workers. This is a co-worker story.
I worked with an angel.
She was an older lady who wore large, old-fashioned coke-bottle glasses and still had to tilt her head and squint to see sometimes. She kept her hair short because she "didn't have time to fuss with it." She was slow and methodical.
Everyone loved her, but not everyone could work with her. As I said before, she was slow and methodical. What I didn't say was the emphasis was on the slow. She wasn't slow because she didn't want to work, she was slow because she was exhausted, physically, mentally, and emotionally. We worked the night shift.
She worked at night because her husband worked all day......... separate shifts for twenty nine years.
They had three children, a boy and two girls. The boy and oldest girl were healthy, grown, and out on their own. The youngest, however, was still at home. She was still at home because an institution was unthinkable. She was twenty nine years old.
When Lisa was born, the doctors said she wouldn't make it past two. She had mental and physical problems serious enough that the doctor recommended she be placed in an institution, to be "made comfortable until she passed." She would never walk, never communicate, never be aware of anything. The angel said "No, God gave her to me for a reason." A few months later, the angel took Lisa home.
The angel and her husband were not rich people. They had two other children and a modest home. The angel had not worked since the birth of their first child because her and her husband believed the best people to raise their children were, of course, themselves. All that had to change after Lisa.
Lisa had to have a special, expensive bed. She had tubes everywhere because she couldn't eat, or use the bathroom. She was on many different medications. Everyone and everything had to be clean and sterile, the slightest illness could be fatal. Lisa had to have medication, or breathing treatments, or feedings, or something else every two to three hours around the clock. For the first year of her life, she did little more than occasionally open and close her eyes. That was enough for the angel.
By the time I met the angel, Lisa was twenty five years old. That's twenty three years past two. Twenty five years of around the clock care. Twenty five years of sacrifice. The doctor had been right about only one thing; Lisa couldn't walk. The doctor would have been right about everything though, if not for the angel.
For four years I listened to the stories, about the first time Lisa became "aware," the first time she talked, the first time she tasted ice cream, how she learned to read, and she even eventually learned to use the computer and made "friends" with people online. She also became "healthy" enough to go out now and then without fear of getting sick. She loved old movies, and music, and animals. I heard so much about her I felt like I knew her.
I was working a double-shift, night-shift and morning. The angel called and asked if her check was in. I told her it was and she said "I think I'll bring Lisa with me to pick it up, so you can meet her." I told her that would be great.
An hour later the front doors opened, and the angel wheeled in this little tiny girl. She was surrounded by pillows on each side because she was oddly shaped and curved and couldn't sit up without them. She had little pillow things against the sides of her head because she had a hard time controlling her neck. Her arms and legs were all different lengths. She had big coke-bottle glasses......... and she had one of the biggest smiles I have ever seen.
I went over and knelt down in front of the wheelchair. She met my eyes and said in a clear voice "Hi, I'm Lisa. Do you have any dogs or cats?"
For the next hour I sat and talked to her about anything and everything. She told me about her friends, her pets, her favorite books. She asked me questions about my life, my friends, my likes and dislikes. We talked about her mom and dad and siblings. She asked if I thought there were dogs and cats in heaven. I told her I didn't know, but I'd like to think so. It was one of the most memorable hours of my whole life. When it was time to leave, she didn't want to. She took my hand as we went toward the door and she said "You're my moms friend. You're my friend now." I said "I sure am!" Then they left.
It was only a few months later that Lisa passed away. At the funeral, the pastor who did the eulogy knew the family well, knew Lisa well. He talked about her amazing life, and her amazing parents. Lisa, and her mother, were an inspiration to all whose lives they touched. There were so many lessons to be learned from them, to learn still, about who and what we are supposed to be in our own little part of the grand scheme.
Down here on earth walks an angel among us. Because of her, I had an unforgettable hour spent with a special person who might not have been. Because of them, I saw first hand that there is true joy in sacrifice. Because of them, I know that one can smile in spite of hardship, if only one wants to.
If there are dogs and cats in heaven, Lisa, I know for certain who cares for them.
I was trying to catch up on email (if you have sent me one requiring a response and have not received one just know I'm trying to get there) and noticed something interesting. The responses to Tempus have been about 99% positive. In that 99% are a small number of people who say they were still confused about certain things after reading. Then there are an equal number of people who say it was a little too easy to figure out certain things. What is odd is that those things, the "confusing" and the "too easy," are pretty much the same things. I then noticed that pattern in reviews or comments about other books in the same genre. Why do you think that is?
Trying to find a good balance is what makes writing a bit of a "job." Some readers are more analytical, and they are the ones more likely to say "too easy." Some readers are more emotional, and they are the ones more likely to say "confusing." Plotting is hard work, writing with fire is hard work, and balancing the two is harder work still. The next time you read a book try this; if you are confused, let go of some emotion for a little while and then see if things make sense. If it was too easy, place yourself in the characters shoes and feel what they were feeling...and consider whether you would have figured out what was going on if you were in their situation.
I like to think I am a fairly balanced reader. If I figure out something easily, though, it's because I am a genius. If it's confusing, then I must just be hormonal that day (cuz I'm still a genius, okay?) *Grins*
One of my favorite movies of all time is Men In Black. I love everything about it. It makes me laugh, it makes me cry, it makes me laugh until I cry... and believe it or not, as silly and outrageously impossible as most of it is, it makes me really
How much do we really know about the world, and worlds around us? Not as much as we like to pretend we know - and deep down, we are all aware of that. It is that unknown that allows us to truly suspend disbelief when we read about things such as werewolves, or 5th dimensions, or time travel, or flying monkeys. It is precisely because we know we don't know everything
, and we know we never, ever will that we are able to believe in what seems at first to be impossible. Einstein believed in the impossible
- then he proved the possibilities, and time has proven him right, over and over and over.
Men In Black. That movie really makes me think. I think of possibilities...
Agent Kay explained it best when he said:
"Fifteen hundred years ago everybody knew
the Earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, everybody knew
the Earth was flat, and fifteen minutes ago, you knew that humans were alone on this planet. Imagine what you'll know tomorrow."
Well, maybe not 'stranger,' but often every bit as strange. Where do you think the best ideas come from? Einstein believed time-travel was possible... Read this,
and tell me what you
Age is irrelevant when it comes to love - there is no such thing as 'too young' or 'too old.'
I don't care how old you are right now, 16 or 36, it doesn't matter
. Remember that feeling? Remember that ache? Maybe it was yesterday, or twenty years ago, but he looked at you from under his lashes, gave you that secret smile, and your legs turned to jelly. He threw you a wink across the room and you couldn't catch your breath until your best friend pinched your arm. Remember
Maybe you were standing in line somewhere - lunch-line, library, getting tickets for the football game - doesn't matter
. His hand touched yours, that slight caress, soft and tentative - he liked you, but he was a little afraid you might not like him back. If you didn't, he could just pretend it was an accident. But you liked him too, and you smiled. Then he said 'Hi' with that sexy, deep voice and your eyes locked and you both held your breath. Remember
Some have it, some lost it, some just dream of it, but no doubt about it, we all want it.....that connection that we know
exists, that deeper feeling of living and breathing someone, that flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone
relationship. It's part of what we live for, what we were created to have and to be. It is what we search for in faces and between pages. We don't wonder if it's out there, we know
It's out there, but the only way to find it is to be patient
and pay attention
Meanwhile, be thankful for books like Tempus
, where you can at least read about it. ;-)
There is a new book blog on the scene that promises to be pure awesomeness! TheBookHookup
will hook you up with the latest great reads, book news, reviews and contests just for starters. If you love to Eat Breathe Read
should be your destination!
Go show them some love, and tell them I sent you. Really, tell them I sent you because I want
them to know I sent you. :D
I find it interesting that since the first Harry Potter book (for 'magic and mystery') and the first Twilight book (for 'paranormal romance') made it to the big-time, adult fans of YA fiction have come out of the woodwork (or forests, closets, fireplaces, coffins, or wherever else they were hiding.)
Were they there all along, hiding in the isles at B&N and pretending to buy that hot new teen romance for their niece or that awesome new dragon adventure for their nephew, or did it take these books to make the adults stop and take a closer look?
What is it that draws them to YA? What draws you? Is it for you, like it is for me, remembering that first feeling of true love, or that thought in the back of your mind how cool it would be to have a superpower to zap the algebra I teacher with? Is it the tingle you get in the pit of your stomach when the hero gives his first sexy wink, or that feeling of smug satisfaction when the bad guy goes flying through the air thanks to that powerful spell he didn't know you...I mean the main character, knew? ;-)
What is it? Tell me, cuz I really wanna know.
And by the way, if it's that first feeling of true love or that tingly stomach when the hero winks, go get my novel Tempus (if you haven't already.) Trust me.