Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sometimes You Just Have to get Lost in a Book

So, for the last couple of months I've been anxiously awaiting the release of If I Die, the fifth book in the Soul Screamers series by Rachel Vincent.  And at long last, I was able to go to the book store and purchase it yesterday. 

Let me just begin with WOW!!!  I love the series but this book was by far the best.  And there are still two more books scheduled for this series.  I literally spent a couple of hours last night and most of this morning reading the book and hated to put it down for even a minute.  It was a roller-coaster ride of shocks, tears, laughter, heart-break, unexpected surprises, a few hoped-for surprises, mystery and intrigue, and so much more.  I think I'm still in awe of how awesome the book really is and am trying to remember the last time an entire series captivated me so greatly.

Rachel Vincent has developed a world and characters to such a depth that most authors strive for but never quite achieve.  Her writing style is something that truly impresses and inspires me and it never ceases to amaze me the amount of time and energy she spends in not only writing but also in connecting on a personal level with all of her fans.  I follow her blogs and on Facebook and she's always taking the time to comment to things her fans have written.  This is an author that should definitely be a role-model and inspiration to others.

With all of this said, I think I need to sign-off and revisit some of my favorite parts in this book and just basically get lost in it one more time.  I'll write more once I find my way back to reality...

Monday, September 26, 2011

So Many Books, So Little Time

This weekend, I was catching up on some blogs and discovered a list of Top 100 YA Books.  I'm not sure where the list originated, but this is the blog I read about it from:

Anyway, I got to looking at the list and realized that I had read about 29 of the books on the list.  Some of the books I had on my Books To Buy list and some got added to that list.  The rest of the books I had either never heard of or had no interest in.

So, when I finished adding to my Books To Buy list, I suddenly had 42 books staring back at me.  And I'm sure that the list will continue to grow as I discover more books that already exist or add books that will be releasing in the coming months.  That's why I've titled this post the way I have; because there are a great many books out in the world clamoring for attention and yet I only have so much time....sigh.

And I have to ask the question: Where in the world were these books when I was in high school and had the time to read at least one book a day or every two days?  I sometimes feel like I'm reliving my teen years because a lot of the books that have caught my interest are in the Young Adult genre and are incredibly good.

So, with all that said, I have an ever-growing list of books I want to read and another list of books I want to re-read.  Now if I could just find the time...but then I wouldn't get to do all the other things I enjoy doing, like writing and spending time with my Muse and all the other important things in life that I enjoy.  I guess, then, I will continue to do what I've been doing all along and reading when I do have time and maybe I will eventually get through all of those books on my list, which will then be replaced with new books.  The never-ending cycle, but it's a good cycle to get caught up in!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Which Character Am I Today?

As any writer (novice or otherwise) knows, characters are the integral part of any story.  Basically, you can't have a story if you don't have a character.  Whether it's one character or a hundred, they have to be there for the story to exist.

With that said, I imagine it's also a well-understood fact that sometimes a writer can have too many characters taking up space in the writer's brain.  I believe this usually happens when the writer takes on more than one writing project and they're in love with each of the writing projects.  Of course, I can truly only speak for myself and this is an issue I deal with a lot: Which character am I today?

I have a lot of writing projects on my plate.  Some I've been playing with for years, others I've just suddenly had inspiration for and find myself writing feverishly for hours on those new inspirations.  But it's always the same issue: Which character am I today?

I am currently working on two publishable projects (the other projects I consider more of my writing exercises in character interaction, plot development, or scene description).  One project I've already spoken of: The L & L Mysteries.  In those, I alternate between being Leyla Richards and Lucien Vintera, two completely different characters and I'm not just referring to them as being of the opposite sex of each other.  Their personalities are completely different and there are days when I feel like Leyla and days when I feel like Lucien.  And most of the time, I never know which day is which until I wake up in the morning and have had at least one cup of coffee.  (Yeah, I'm a java freak!)

The other project is currently Untitled but has the makings of being at least four books, possibly more.  The main character (as of right now) is a girl named Rosalita Martinez (Rosi to her mom and brother, but everyone else better call her Rosa or she gets a little prickly).  The reason I say as of right now is because I intend to introduce a character later on that the reader will start to see from that character's perspective as well as continuing to read from Rosa's perspective.  But right now, it's all Rosa and it's very challenging!

So, now I have Leyla, Lucien, and Rosa residing in my head, all vying for a chance to be the star of the day, so to speak.  And each one has a unique personality that makes them perfect for the series they are associated with.

Which character am I today?  The answer (for today only) is.....Rosa!  So, I better get going before she gets impatient (she is 16, after all) and does something I don't really want her to least not just yet. ;)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

No Internet Blues

Ugh, having no internet for several days is the pits!  There's no ability to read my favorite blogs, watch movies or shows, or even check the weather.  As you've guessed, my internet was down for several days and I am just now getting back online again. 

When the internet goes, it's strange how out of touch you feel with the world.  And I'm of the age that still remembers a time before the internet.  (Shocking, I know, but there was a time before internet.)

The first day without internet wasn't so bad.  I actually managed to get two book covers designed and am very excited with how well they turned out.  The second day got a little more depressing as I really was wanting to catch up with certain blogs and see what all was going on with some of my favorite authors and the books they are writing.  (I'm ridiculously addicted to the Soul Screamers series by Rachel Vincent - - and have been following that blog religiously for quite a while!)  And as the no internet days progressed, the blues really sank in.

But then, my mood perked up when, lo and behold, I finally had an internet signal after lunch today!  I danced a little happy jig and thanked the internet gods for not making me suffer any longer.  And then immediately hopped online to check my e-mails and read the posts that had been made over the last several days on the blogs I follow.

So now that my internet withdrawals have dulled some due to obsessive surfing and reading for the last hour, it's now time for me to calmly get back to work.

**does a happy dance and offers thanks again to the internet gods**

Monday, September 19, 2011

Focus...Focus...Damn I lost it!

Okay, I don't know about anyone else, but sometimes the most challenging aspect of working at home is that five-letter "F" word: FOCUS.

Not only do I write for a living (yeah, it's awesome), but I'm also the co-owner, CEO, webmaster, cover designer, and co-editor of Cressen Books LLC.  And I probably forgot a few titles in there, but when there are only two employees of a publishing company, you do whatever needs to be done.  I'm just grateful that my Muse handles the finance and the marketing end of things (those are definitely not my forte).

And as you can see, I have already lost sight of what I was beginning to muse about: FOCUS.  As I was saying, I work at home, which is great and really lends itself to contributing to the creative flow process.  But the downside to working at home is that there is always a distraction of some sort.  It can come in the form of catching up on my favorite blogs, watching The Daily Show when I should be working on a book cover (yes, I'm a huge Jon Stewart fan!!), or reading a book on my Android because I find myself dying to know what's going to happen next to someone else's characters instead of writing what's going to happen to my characters.

So the battle rages trying to be diligent and get all the stuff done I need to while resisting the urge to be distracted by so many enticing things.  And how do I accomplish that?  I have absolutely no idea.  Just kidding.  I've learned over the last year and a half that I've been working from home that distractions are inevitable.

So, instead of forcing myself to finish that book cover or write the next scene in the mystery, I try to loosely divide up my day to include distractions.  I set aside time to peruse my favorite blogs, watch an episode of The Daily Show, and read a little further along to find out what's going to happen next to someone else's characters.  And in between all of these fun distractions, I tell myself to FOCUS on what my creative juices are leaning towards at the moment.  When I do this, I find that I spend a lot more time on the "work" stuff and less time being distracted by other things because I know that at some point during the day, I'll take some time to allow myself to be distracted.

With that said, it's not always easy and sometimes this method doesn't work out very well.  But as a whole, it works best for me.  So, now that I've indulged in one of my fun distractions, it's time for me to FOCUS and get back to "work" figuring out just how I'm going to progress my character through the next scene.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Art of Deceit

So, a little more about who I am.  I'm the author for a new mystery series called The L & L Mysteries.  The first book in the series, "Spanish Intrigue", was released in April 2011.  After many months of edits and re-writes, book 2 in the series, "The Art of Deceit", is now available.

Well, what is The L & L Mysteries you ask?  It's a series about a 16-year-old girl named Leyla Richards and a 17-year-old boy named Lucien Vintera (hence the L & L part) who find themselves involved in various mysteries.  This series began as just something fun to write while I was attending college classes at the University of Baltimore.  Three years later, I found that I had five books in draft for this series and decided to start putting the finishing touches on them.

It has been a fun series to write so far.  I write from both Leyla's and Lucien's perspectives, so getting into the head of each of these characters can be quite intriguing and definitely challenging.  These books are intended for readers age 10 and up, mainly for the 10-14 crowd.

Anyway, as this post is titled after the 2nd book in the series, I again wanted to mention it's release and how excited I am to hold the finished book in my happy little hands!  Both books are available for purchase at my publishing company's website:  They can also be purchased for the Kindle via Amazon's website.

That's all for now.  My Muse and I are in the process of building a fancy little firepit on our back deck.  I'd better get back at it so I can soon enjoy toasting marshmallows over the open flames! 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

There's Always a Beginning....

Thanks to the encouragement of my Muse I have finally decided to take the plunge and create my own blog.  He always tells me that he gets blamed for everything, so why should this be any different?

Anyway, I realize there is a lot to learn where blogs are concerned and I have no delusions of becoming Blogger Extraordinaire overnight.  These things, like so many things in life, take time and patience and just a dash of effort.  But one thing I'm coming to learn quickly is that you can put as little or as much effort as you want into your blog and it's okay.  Why?  Because it's your blog.  (Okay, in this case, it's my blog.)

So, for all the posts that will follow, one thing is for certain: there will probably be much rambling involved.  And that rambling will probably center on novels I'm working on at the moment and the characters and their worlds I'm trying to create.  But I reserve the right to ramble about other topics that might be floating around in my brain at the moment.

Beware all ye that follow me...strange musings are inevitable!  You've been warned.  Now let the fun begin...