Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Writing on Wednesday: Setting the Scene for In Time by Christine Locke

What I'm Reading, Listening to, and Watching Right Now

Reading: Joan of Arc by Mark Twain
Here's my most embarrassing revelation for the week....  I may have known about this book at one time, but I don't think so.  How can a person graduate with and MA in Comparative Lit and Not know that Mark Twain wrote a historical novel about the teenage saint?  Especially embarrassing since it was his favorite among his own works.  I did not know that.  There's always something new to learn about your favorite authors.  This has crossover interest for me: my children are studying medieval times this year.

Twain is especially passionate about his subject, Joan of Arc.  Here are a few lines: 
As the years and the decades drifted by, and the spectacle of the marvellous child's meteor flight across the war-firmament of France and its extinction in the smoke-clouds of the stake receded deeper and deeper into the past and grew ever more strange and wonderful and divine and pathetic, I came to comprehend and recognize her at last for what she was--the most noble life that was ever born into this world save only One. --Mark Twain, Joan of Arc

Listening to: "Autumn" 
Open Door was set in summer, which worked well since I was prepping it for publication during the summer.  To set the mood in a different season for In Time, I grabbed a copy of this classical collection off iTunes for not too much.  It does the trick!

Watching: (sigh) "Murder She Wrote"
Having trouble finding somehting that's interesting enough that I want to keep playing it but not too distracting from the writing.  My fall back is, of course, "Murder She Wrote."  Are there any writers my age who don't stream that one?  Well, maybe you won't admit it, but you KNOW you do! When I was writing Open Door, I loved to stream "Dark Shadows" on Netflix, but they only have so many episodes, so I ran out.  Alas.

Since I'm sharing...I might as well tell you that the best episode, ever, was actually two: "Nan's Ghost," Parts I & II.  A trip to Ireland, an ornate castle, an elegant ghost and hidden treasure...this one has it all!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Magic on Monday: Inspiration by Christine Locke

Writing the second in a series of three novels about magic now....  This is my desk at the moment, so if you'd like clues as to where Carin's story is going, here you go!

Never underestimate the power of the right book to inspire magic in your writing.  We bibliophiles know that our collection of books can give us strength in moments of seeking for that next plot twist or thematic idea.

"I believe in the magic of books. I believe that during certain periods in our lives we are drawn to particular books--whether it's strolling down the aisles of a bookshop with no idea whatsoever of what it is that we want to read and suddenly finding the most perfect, most wonderfully suitable book staring us right in the face. Unblinking. Or a chance meeting with a stranger or friend who recommends a book we would never ordinarily reach for. Books have the ability to find their own way into our lives.” --Cecelia Ahern

I'll say more about one of these books on Wednesday; as for the rest, I'll list them here in case you can't read the titles:
The Language of Flowers, Kate Greenaway
A Moveable Feast, Earnest Hemingway
Walden, Henry David Thoreau
The Uses of Enchantment, Bruno Bettelheim
Clarissa, Samuel Richardson
Vogue Fashion, Linda Watson
The Basic Writings of C.G. Jung

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday: The Ingenue by Christine Locke

This week, the gothic novel's ingenue takes center stage.  Sometimes, the (usually young) heroine has a male counterpart, who may or may not be her romantic interest, but will be young and innocent, like she is.

We don't meet Carin's counterpart right away in Open Door.  In fact, if you try to guess who it is after reading a chapter or two, you might be surprised!

For today's Six Sentence Sunday, meet our heroine, Carin, who knows very little about herself and her family--even less than she realizes.

     So they had not mattered to Carin, these quirks of her mother's.  Carin enjoyed a freedom the other kids at her schools did not.  She accepted there was something about her mother she would never understand.  But she failed to grasp, until now, that her mother's secrets were also her secrets.  "Our name isn't White, baby...." 
     Her mother wanted her to take the old photo album in the attic and hide it to protect their secret.

Thanks for stopping by!  As always, happy reading!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tips Tuesday: Build Follower List & Share Your Favorites by Christine Locke

Things I've picked up on my newbie indi-publishing journey this fall:

1.  Instead of tweeting your books more and more often, grow your list of followers.  I could not understand why so many of my twitterfriends who were also writers would tweet their books so often.  I was tempted to do the same, so I even wrote a blog post swearing off the practice.  I still avoid shameless self-promotion on twitter.  However, last time I ran a free book promo on KDP, I did notice something new.  Tweeting the freebie a few times did increase downloads.  The difference?  I now have over 3,000 followers, and the last time I did that my follow list had maybe 900 people.  The best advice I can give for finding quality followers is that although it's fabulous to have other writers follow you (and you should always follow them back!) it's also important to look for potential followers who share interests that might draw them to your book.

2.  Soundtracks are cool!  Sharing your favorite movie and booklists is awesome, too!  Something that writers know about each other but readers don't always know about writers: we are story junkies.  I mean it.  We are glued to the page/tube/AMC ticketbooth, and yeah, we are a little ashamed to admit it.  We can't stop ourselves from figuring out where the story is going and thinking, "Aha! I knew it!"  when we are right and, "Oh, man, my ending was so much better!" when we are wrong.  We might not want to admit what we had streaming on Netflix while we wrote the closing scene to our latest novel, but that kind of information is pretty cool because it gives potential readers a window into our creative process.  And that, in a way, serves the same function as the "suggested items" box on amazon.  After all, if they like your music/video/book playlist, they might like what you wrote, too.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Magic on Monday by Christine Locke

“There are some things, after all, that Sally Owens knows for certain: Always throw spilled salt over your left shoulder. Keep rosemary by your garden gate. Add pepper to your mashed potatoes. Plant roses and lavender, for luck. Fall in love whenever you can.” ― Alice Hoffman, Practical Magic

What's the most important element in a story with magic?

I think many readers would say consistency.  A few might want originiality in magical descriptions, an author who can "make it new."  Or what about making a magical tale educational?  After all, it's been said that J. K. Rowling made Latin cool again; the dead language is on the lips of every child who imitates Hermione's masterful spells.

I get asked to write about how to write stories with magic, and while all of the above are increasingly important, I think the most significant thing an author can remember when writing a story with magic is that, in reality, we read about magic in order to understand ourselves.  We may say that we like paranormal tales because we want to get away from reality, but there's really more to it than that.  After all, going on vacation is not the same as moving to another city.  In the real world, we escape in order to come home.

In my stories, magic is fun and dangerous and exciting, but it's also going to reveal more to the character than they have found in themselves so far.  It's going to challenge them, make them stronger, better, more inspired.  It might be a terrifying journey at times, but it's where they arrive in the end that counts--not unlike life, after all.

“We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all of the power we need inside ourselves already.”  ― J.K. Rowling

Why do you write about magic?  If you have a favorite magical tale, what makes it your favorite?  Is it originality?  Consistency?  Consequences?  Something else?

Happy Monday, all, and happy writing!

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” ― W.B. Yeats

Friday, October 5, 2012


"And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise.  The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt."  ~Sylvia Plath

Two quotes to sum up what I'm feeling this week as I write, proofread and edit, write, proofread and edit, in a cycle that feels much like lather, rinse, repeat.
Lewis reminds me to aim high, and Plath--always good for a reality check--reminds me not to dither-dally in doubt when I edit phrases like "writable about"!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Will return to regular posting soon...

No, I have not abandoned my blog!  I am, however, furiously writing to meet my 2012 deadline to release In Time, the sequel to Open Door.  I will give you a sneak peak of the In Time cover, and I will also need beta readers, so if you are interested in this, by all means let me know!  Back to work for me....

Photo Credit: Ambient Ideas/Shutterstock