Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Stop and Smell the Roses Blog Bouquet - Winner!

We have a winner of an ebook copy of "A Daughter's Promise"! Congratulations to Jana Richards. Jana, please email me at cdclemetson@aol.com and I can send the book to you!

Thanks to everyone that left comments and stopped by the Stop and Smell the Roses Blog Bouquet! It was a fun day and the comments were great!

Don't forget to go after your dreams!

Happy Reading!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Stop and Smell the Roses Blog Bouquet

Thanks for stopping on the Tour!

If you're looking for the next stop on the Stop and Smell the Roses Blog Bouquet, you've made it! Its a blog tour sponsored by the authors of The Wild Rose Press. Twenty authors, twenty blogs, and twenty prizes! At every stop of the tour, leave a comment and you'll be entered to win a prize from that author.

Find the Bouquet in your Life

We each have our own bouquets in life, made up of individual people who give us love and support, and play different roles along our journey. Put together, their "bouquet" enriches our lives and helps make us strong.

When we're born, we start out with the stems of our bouquet--our parents, brothers and sisters, and family. They are the root of us, the root of who we are. They are our foundation and the ones that show us the right way to grow and take care of ourselves. Then as we get older, and find our way through college and first jobs, we collect even more flowers through the friendships we make, work relationships, neighbors, and all the people we come to share our lives with.

As our life progresses, our bouquet gets bigger and more vibrant and abundant. Along the way, we learn that sometimes a stem will be with us our entire lives, while others may be with us for just the time we need them, or the time they need us. But no matter how small the connection, they can make an impact on us that lasts out entire lives.

Thinking through the tragic events from this week, I realized that Michael Jackson's awe-inspiring talent is part of my own bouquet. (Not just the fact that when I was twelve years old, I declared that I was going to marry him and we'd have three children!) But every time I listened to his songs, I danced, sang along, and always--always felt inspired. Years later, when I sit down to write a new story, but I'm not feeling motivated, it is the inspiration and go-get'em attitude of others, like Michael Jackson, that have touched my life and taught me how to get going. Whenever I hear one of his songs now, they bring back memories of being inspired and feeling as if I can tackle the Great American Novel. And as I learn more about his legacy through TV broadcasts and the news, I realize all of the lives his talent has impacted. It gets me thinking about how truly important it is to share ourselves with others--our dreams, our hopes, and our fears.

Think about your own bouquet. Who is it in your life that inspires you? Cares for you? Supports you? Find your bouquet, and hold onto it. Take a deep breathe in and don't forget to take time to enjoy its beauty.

A random drawn winner of a commenter on this blog will win an e-book of "A Daughter's Promise". See www.christineclemetson.com for an excerpt and trailer. Winner announced tomorrow morning here! Stay tuned.

Now....On to the Next Tour Stop

Please check out all the authors on the tour. Don't forget to leave a comment for your chance to win a prize!




















Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sneaky Writers- Everyday Moments as Inspiration by Sandy Lender

Please welcome special Guest, fantasy author Sandy Lender!

Some of you may have heard me say this before. Writers are sneaky people. Terry Brooks says of writers in his book SOMETIMES THE MAGIC WORKS: “Much of what happens around us goes into a storage bin in our minds for future consideration and possible use in a book down the line. What we observe is as important to us in determining what we write as what we know.”

When you’re around a writer, you need to watch your p’s and q’s (that’s pints and quarts to the English majors among us). Writers use everyday stuff that you might not think is intriguing and turn it into a plot device or bit of dialogue. If it happens in front of us, it’s fair game. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the presence of a non-fiction memoir-writer or a sci-fi/fantasy geek like me who makes up worlds that you could never envision a simple grocery store conversation ending up in. Oh, yes. Imagine my poor mom’s surprise to learn that a certain embarrassing moment from the early ’80s ended up in print.

I put this story on my brand spankin’ new Web site at www.authorsandylender.com, but I’ll share it here again because it’s so bizarre…and…well…Mom doesn’t read these things so I figure it’s safe. He he.

I was probably 12 or 13. Innocent. Na├»ve. We were in the check-out lane at the grocery store and I stared mindlessly at the tabloids. The headline on one about discussing a sensitive topic with your teens struck me as odd, so I turned to Mom at the other end of the buggy and asked, loudly, “Mom, what’s virginity?” Of course I mispronounced it. Long “I” on the “jine.” Virjinety.

Some people around us snickered, hiding their faces from my blushing mother. She leaned forward and said, lowly, “I’ll tell you in the car.”


Years later, that recalled scene struck me as funny, and I knew the young, precocious version of Amanda Chariss, the heroine in the CHOICES MEANT FOR GODS trilogy, had to pull some such stunt on her wizard guardian Hrazon. (I figured Hrazon would forgive me for it.) But the scene would have to be a flashback because my lovely Chariss is 20 years old when we meet her in CHOICES MEANT FOR GODS. She knows what virginity is.

So I wrote a scene from Chariss and Hrazon’s early travels laced with a little danger due to Chariss’s age and the condition of Onweald’s social system, but it just didn’t fit in the novel. There wasn’t a place to put it. Yet it was so charming that I wasn’t content to delete and forget it. I wanted to share it with the readers who had fallen in love with Chariss. I pulled it into a short story called “Joveran Border Crossing” for my short story chapbook WHAT CHOICES WE MADE.

That’s how an embarrassing moment for my mom ended up in print in a fantasy story more than two decades later. Seems so easy, doesn’t it? These situations happen daily for writers. We see something that may seem ordinary or mundane to everybody else, but it’s story fodder for us. When you see one of us whip out a notepad and start scribbling like mad, you know something’s going in the storage bin for a future book.

Thank you for checking in on the tour today, and please don’t tell my mom this is on the ’net again. He he.

"Some days, I just want the dragon to win.”

Choices Meant for Gods - Blurb

Not even the gods noticed when Chariss was born with the mark of The Protector. Now she and her wizard guardian seek shelter from a mad sorcerer in a household not just full of secrets and false hope, but watched by the god who will unwittingly reveal her role in an impending war.

When an orphan sets aside a lifetime of running and fear to accept the responsibilities of guarding an arrogant deity, can she face the trials in the prophecies she uncovers? Will Nigel Taiman of her latest refuge dare to use his dragon heritage to bind her to his estate or to help her in her duty?

Thank you Sandy for stopping by! Please check out Sandy's other blog tour stops here. Sandy will be giving away an autographed hard cover, first edition of Choices Meant for Gods each week of her tour to one commenter! Good luck!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Can you Smell that Story?

So the other day I was pulling into my favorite coffee place (Dunkin of course!) and all of a sudden, WHAM!, a memory brought me smack back down to the middle of my 10th grade science class. I was sitting next to --well, I can't remember his name at the moment, but he was my lab partner. And very cute too. But one small problem. We had a dead frog laying on his back on the table in front of us, and my lab partner had the scalpel in his hand and the expectation that I would make the second cut. I know exactly what you're thinking..... Iced hazelnut, skim milk, and one sugar reminds you of dissecting a frog in high school?


When I pulled through the drive up, I had both windows and the moon roof open--and then it hit me. The Smell. The same exact smell of the cleaner or antiseptic or whatever the science teacher used to clean the desks, floor, and all the areas around where the frog dissection took place. I don't know the name of the cleanser, or really what exactly they used, but I hope you get the picture. But I do remember one thing. That smell evoked such a strong memory in me that I was transported back to a time that took place more than twenty years ago.

The whole frog experience made such a strong connection with me because that day in the science lab was attached to an emotion, maybe even more than one. Anger. Stubborness. Disgust. I refused to dissect the frog. In fact, I think my mom even had to go to the school because I would not even consider the idea of touching it.

Even though that was an off-the-wall example, it basically describes the same process with fiction writing. When we create a powerful scene, and really in all the scenes we write, we attach emotion. But, to evoke the memorable story-gripping emotion, we have to use the five senses... smell, hearing, touch, taste and vision. That way, the reader can connect an emotion to the scene like I connected that smell to the battle I had about dissecting the frog.

Yes, I could "see the frog" but how did I feel about my experience with the frog? So here goes. If I had to put my experience with the frog according to the senses, this is what it would read like:

  • Smell: Hazy antiseptic-like odor shot up my nasal passages with the fierceness of poison.
  • Hear: The incessant beat of my heart quickened, drumming thickly in my ears.
  • Touch: My hands were paralyzed, unable, unwilling to embrace the idea of touching the frog's slick coat.
  • Taste: A tasteless lump formed in the back of my throat.
  • Vision: Lifeless frog, spread like an eagle. (okay that may be a little hokey pokey, but you get the picture!)
When the smell of antiseptic hit me, it didn't matter where I was. Being in a line for coffee was a casualty. I could have been anywhere and the smell would have evoked the same emotion! And if we're lucky, our readers will remember our stories the same way-- a long time after closing the book.

I did enjoy my iced coffee after the drive-thru, and I had a nice time remembering my lab partner. ;)

Happy Writing!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Saying Goodbye--Letting our Characters into the World

Nope, this isn't about saying goodbye to my blog. This is about saying goodbye to characters in our stories. You know the ones. Through the course of your book, you've gotten to know them. After all, you made up their lives! You gave them a name, gave them a way to talk, and showed them how to act. But after a while, the tables turn, don't they? They begin to show you how they want to act, and talk, and interact with other characters. Just like bringing a child up in the world, our characters take on their own identity, and some of the things they do surprise us. They take us through the twists and turns of their conflicts, resolutions and happily ever afters.

As you grow a relationship with these heroes, heroines, and ultimate bad guys, your compassion and unconditional love for them develops and thickens through the course of the story. They become part of your family. You live and breathe their actions as you pursue your word count for the day. The words we use to describe them on the page transform into living, breathing people. They even talk to you at all odd hours of the night. And you know every one of their thoughts.. You do help them make decisions, but primarily its their personalities that drive the story--their hangups and their strong points.

But somehow, as the story winds down, and the time nears for them to launch their story to the world, they don't need you to help them along the way. Once you write "The End", they want to say goodbye for good. Part of us wants to hold on, and never let them out into the world, but the other part of us wants to scream to readers "I hope you love them as much as I do!".

As writers, we miss the friends we create. But its the readers who keep them alive, by their interest and the emotion they feel from our stories. At book signings and author events, we can talk about our characters and re-live our time with them through the eyes of our readers. That is one of the greatest joys of being a writer. We get to grow characters, set them out to the world, and then experience the joy others have found in them.

And then....and then we get to start over again and get to know the new characters in town. :)