Tag Archives: writing

Near Death in the Neon City

The thing about Vegas is that it’s not just one night; an eternity can pass between sunset and sunrise. I cannot tell say certainty that what I’m about to tell you is fact. I can only affirm it happened and let it serve as a warning to others who are foolish enough to venture into the night.
Seductive shimmering stars of neon light, up and down the boulevard drawing people into the boisterous opened mouthed casinos. Play Here, Win Big. Bewitching girls hint at untold hedonism to all who enter. The song of the slots a siren’s call, the scintillating color attracts the eye, a paradise or hell dependent on the roll of a single dice. Once inside, one of the menagerie of sensory stimulation a path twists through the vastness, never does it pass an exit.
Stale cigarette smoke permeates the low coin tables while the sweet cherry aroma of pipe tobacco separates the high limit tables. Angels in heels without wings rush by with plastic smiles, bringing nectars from the Gods to the brave seated at the tables. Large enforcers in suits watch over the room handpicking the visitors that will elevate to heaven or plunge down into the rings of hell.
Time does not pass here once you enter. No clocks to tick, no digital display, no windows to let you know the sun has risen to burn away your sins. Time passes differently in these walls than in the real world.
The masses that come here begging to have their everyday lives suspended for a few meager hours, will risk everything for the smallest of wins. Where else do people come and pay for the privilege of experiencing death, night after night, in all its stages. After the first big loss there is denial, the feeling of being alone and taken advantage of. Another roll of the dice brings on the anger at one’s self and the casino for tricking them into playing and losing. Another inferior hand and its time to make a deal with the Powers That Be. Another bad beat leads to depression and misery. Another pathetic hand and acceptance sinks in, with the idea to acquire more capital. But, in Vegas the final stage of death does not come, only the sun returns to save you from yourself.
In the night anything can happen, rising to the status of a God or sinking down to hell or falling further down where even the gut snakes and degenerates can no longer find you. If you’re lucky enough for the sun to rise and you are given a second chance, flee. Pack your bags and run because if night falls again you will never escape.

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Critique Groups

So I decided to take the next step in being a better writer. Well, ok, not exactly. My husband has been writing a screenplay since before we met, a short. I started dragging him with me to my writer’s group and introduced him to some other screenplay writers. He decided to join their critique group. You are probably wondering why this should make any difference to my writing, but I’m getting to that.
He is being critique tonight so I’m tagging along. I’ve have never been to a critique group before. I rely mostly on my friends who read the genre that I write in. You may think I’m being a wuss but when pushed my friends can be just has biting and critical as anybody else. Sometimes more so, or that might just be my take on it.
First thing I can tell you about critique groups is that they look a lot like any meeting where people are going to talk about their addiction. There is plenty of caffeine and sugar available everywhere you turn. You can tell who is on the chopping block for the evening because of the pale deer in headlights look on their faces.
At the sound of the bell everyone gathers around the table. Critics are given 2-5 minutes, timed, to state what they like and what they didn’t like. They make it around the circle quickly with no response from the person whose screenplay it is. After everyone states what he or she have to say there is a 10 minutes discussion period before they move on to the next victim.
I have to say it wasn’t has painful as I was expecting. There were a lot of great ideas kicked around the table. It’s truly amazing to see a group of people sharing the knowledge of something they love. A critique group has it’s upsides by my little group of friends might kill me if I didn’t let them read it first.

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Prepping for camp

So it’s time to prep for CampNanoWriMo already. I’ve got my story in mind and have begun fleshing out my characters in my head. But, this year I’m going for a completely different approach to my writing. I usually have a skyrocketing word count in the first week maybe even into the second week and then life as a way of messing with me so I miss my mark.

This year I’m going for writing the book in the first weekend of the challenge. I’ve cleared my schedule told everybody I know that I will be busily writing for the weekend. In fact I’ve shouted it from the rooftop. I will not let anything distract me the first weekend. I have other writing task and life that task that will kick in hard in the 2nd week of April, so everything depends on that first weekend.

I’m confident that if I prep characters and location before hand I will be able to finish the book in a long weekend. I’ve even got a head set so I can just to the computer. I will let you know how that works, but it’s definitely worth a try.

I wish all of you CampNanoWriMo preppers Good Luck and happy writing.

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Panic sets in

So it just hit me today that I have a pitch set up for April with a literary agent for a book that isn’t done yet. Well now that that’s off my chest I feel even worse. I have a 12 chapter book and 3 chapters are done. I’ve been coming up with ideas for weeks straight and they disappear as soon as I sit down. Ugh! So today is the day I sit down and stay there until something appears on the screen. Even if it’s dribble it will be a start. I wrote the book in no time nanowrimo.org of course, but now that I’m on to the editing process and it’s slow and hard.

I have a ton of ideas for other books including the next one in this series but I have to complete the first one and figure out how I am going to get it out into the world. Deep breath, I will complete this project it is important. 

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Meet the author Irene I. Blea

Irene I. Blea was born and raised here in Northern New Mexico. She has long studied her homeland and it’s customs, as form chairperson of the Department of Mexican American studies at California University-Los Angeles she brings a unique prospective to her novels. The first in her trilogy chronicling the life of Suzanna, a young girl born to a poor family in northern New Mexico and the role gender inequality and religion play in shaping a young girl’s life.

The book is rich in description and details transport you in to the beauty and intensity of northern New Mexico of the past. Suzanne is a lovely little girl growing up in devastating circumstances common to so many poor uneducated women. The heart wrenching coming of age story of one young girl’s struggle to keep her family together miles from her nearest neighbors.

Speaking with the author she said the subject was not hard for her to write. She had many years in women’s studied and her own personal and painful experience to draw from. The trouble came in trying to create Don Felipe has a full character. “I just could not give him a full character sketch, make him real, until I had a 15 page Word conversation with him. This material never got into the novel, but I drew on it to finally get him written on the page. He was the most difficult character because I did not like him and he did not, via the dialog exercise, like me.”

The author’s descriptive writing style brings the characters and the scenery to life. The second book in the trilogy Poor People’s Flower will be released in mid February 2014.

Check out more at NMEntertains.com

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No excuses (even good ones)

How could I get so far behind when I started off so far ahead? Yes I’m back to talk about the NaNoWriMo. I’m at 30,000 words for the novel I’m writing for this month. It’s not great but still doable to make it this time around. You may wonder how I got so distracted this time after making such lofty promises? Well, My excuse is still an excuse but it’s different then any others before it. I’ve been too busy writing to write.

Yep, you read that right. I’ve been knocking out anywhere from 3,000-5,000 words a day, just not in my NaNoWriMo novel. I’ve been working for a magazine and putting out articles like a madman, I’m running this blog (which I’m still getting up to speed), and I am working on another novel so that it can go off to editing and be ready for print in early 2014.

With all that writing going on I can confidently say I totally made my word goal for the month already. So I will be joining many of you in making the last desperate push to finish up this novel by the deadline. I believe I can still do it. All my articles for the month are done so don’t call me until Dec1st.

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A kinky way to break writer’s block

Ever had writer’s block or for that fact of the matter any kind of block in your way of getting the job done. That immense wall that, that stops you in your tracks, keeps you pacing for hours, racking your brain trying to get the inspiration needed to get started. Well my only solution for that kind of block is to step out of your comfort zone and learn something new. So the other night I did just that.

Step one I went to Self Serve’s website to see what was on their calendar this month for workshops, and one just happened to catch my eye, Writing Erotica with Rachel Kramer Bussel. Writing, check one that’s what I do. Erotica, check two everybody as experienced it once in their life. Something new, check three I have never done check one and check two together before. So I called the store and signed up for class. Then I sat around waiting and pacing for the new activity to blow my mind. Luckily it was a short wait. I got to class early and was greeted by the wonderful friendly staff at Self Serve before making myself comfortable in the circle of chairs that were set up for the workshop.

Rachel opened the workshop with introduction and sample readings to put the apprehensive audience at ease. Once the ice was broken we moved in to writing lesson to further loosen everyone up and teach people to see everyday things in a new light. The workshop closed with a discussion and the highs and lows of getting published. Overall the night was eye opening, comfortable, and informative. I loved the class the experience was amazing and I will be trying another of the many interesting workshops offered at Self Serve. Please check out their calendar and pick your next great experience.

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Sideline from the NaNoWriMo marathon but not out

Ok so just over a week into NaNoWriMo and I have been sidelined with a migraine. I however am still writing this blog and do you know why? Because I have to sit down and attempt to write something so I don’t lose my motivation. I’m currently ahead in my word count slated to finish on the 15th of the month so missing a day of writing isn’t the end of the world. It’s not really even putting behind. So I should just relax in a dark room and figure out how to remove my head for the next few hours until this passes right?

            Wrong. I made a promised to myself I would write everyday regardless of anything. Even if it is just 15mins somewhere between getting out of bed and the world crashing down around me for the third time that day. I know my writing is not up to par today (and that par can be set pretty low some days) but I have to do it. Or it will be come ok to miss for a good reason and certainly fine to miss for a better reason and then acceptable to miss for no reason at all. I refuse to be the reason why I miss out on a goal I set for myself. I may not make the word count I was hoping for today, but I will make a word count. So please if you take anything away from this piece of barely readable, migraine afflicted pile of words take this. The promises you make to yourself are the most important to keep.

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SouthWest Writers and NaNoWriMo

Have you ever wanted to write a book? How about a poem or maybe a magazine article? Well, this is the month to get motivated. November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). This online community helps both struggling and published writers set down 50,000 words in one month by sending out pep talks, guidelines, and other motivators to get the job done.

            If you are looking for something more up close and personal or a way to keep the motivation going all year around, we have the local group you have been looking for.  SouthWest Writers meets the first Saturday and the third Tuesday of every month with a local focus on NaNoWriMo during the month of November. They meet in Albuquerque at New Life Presbyterian Church (5540 Eubank NE).

            Each meeting consists of business at hand, a meet and greet, and a speaker for the day. The speakers are there to share their experiences in the world of writing. They are open about their successes and failures and want the people attending the meetings to learn from their mistakes so they can avoid making the same ones. The environment is supportive, encouraging, and everyone there is friendly.  You will find that conversation is easy to have, regardless of whether you’re a newbie who hasn’t written a word or a published author with twenty books under your belt.

            SouthWest Writers also offers four to six week classes and day-long workshops covering a variety of subjects all related to writing. Members always receive discounts and access to their newsletter, SouthWest Sage, a monthly publication that will inform you of events in town such as local author book signings and writing groups for the genre of your choosing.

            If you want to write, now is the time to start with NANoWriMo.  You can visit them online or at local meetups around your area. In December, SouthWest Writers will be there to guide you through your next steps. If you don’t make your word count this month, don’t worry – SouthWest Writers has classes and workshops in January to help you plot out your project and see it through to completion.  Find them online at SouthWest Writers

New Mexico Entertainment Magazine

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NaNoWriMo Trials and tribulations

Ok so I’m going to be soul bearingly honest with you people. I have participated in NaNoWriMo 2 times prior to this month. Once in November where I started a Young Adult novel, or YA as it’s known in the industry, that I ended up finding in Feb of the following year, and during the summer camp 2013 I started another YA novel that I ended up finishing in Sept. So it’s clear I suck with deadlines. To remedy that situation for this year I’ve been reading a bunch of books about how to write a novel. Things like plotting to increase you word count. Character building for meaning. This I thought would help me complete this novel on time and avoid the pitfalls that have plagued me before.  Most of these books didn’t tell me anything I hadn’t already tried before, but I tried to stay positive.

So this year NaNoWriMo began Friday. I sat down dutifully on Thursday evening for the millionth time to plot out a story to write in Nov. When nothing came to mind I decide maybe I should just skip it this time, after all I had two books that needed a lot of attention from me before going to an editor, that I still need to find, that’s a whole different can of worms.  I got up Friday morning and opened my computer and decided I would focus the time I had set aside to write on editing. Then it hit me. A line out of the blue popped into my head in a female voice followed by a background pictures. So I wrote it down.

Here I am Nov.3 three days in to writing a thriller, a murder, a mystery maybe I’m not really sure I don’t get to find out what happens next until I sit down in front of the computer to write. I think about what might happen next while I’m doing those other things one does during the day, but I don’t know. I sit down often with a clear idea of what I’m going to write but the character takes over. This is her story I’m just the fingers and the keyboards.

Just over 8,000 words in I’m on track to hit my goal and hit it early. I’m making myself accountable to me and to you. Now I’m dying to know what happens next so back to the novel I go.

It’s not too late to start the challenge or just take a look around  www.NaNoWrimo.org

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