Monday, August 30, 2010

Make-Believe Mondays takes a short break this week

Make-Believe Mondays is taking a short break this week while I iron out some details such as why my website is down.  Emails sent to me at debra@debraparmley.com are of course not coming in while this problem exists so if you have emailed me about being interviewed on Make-Believe Mondays please be patient.

Next week interviews resume and on Sept 6th my guest is Julia Knight.   

Thank you for your patience.

Debra

Monday, August 23, 2010

Make-Believe Mondays With Fiona Jayde

Today on Make-Believe Mondays my guest is Fiona Jayde.

Debra:  Ray Bradbury said, “We are cups, constantly being filled.  The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.”  How do you keep your creative cup filled?

FJ: I actually am very active in "filling my cups" :) I call it input and output (I'm a web geek) and I'm very conscious of keeping the ratio at an equilibrium.

I'm an avid reader which is a constant source of inspiration. I'm also a huge fan of NETFLIX - which is terrific not only for ideas but also for research. I gorge on all sorts of things - from documentaries about priceless art which disappeared in WWII to my current fascination with The Tudors.

Debra: Input and output.  I like that.  :-) 

Is there a point when your characters begin to come alive and you can see and hear them?  

FJ:  Yes - very much so! This usually happens at the end of the first draft - just in time for revisions! (This is sometimes hard because those same characters try to take over and deviate from the plot - and the control freak in me, well, freaks!

Debra:  

Some very famous authors have played with language, creating words for people or places that no one has ever heard of.  Have you ever played with words in that way and if so how?

FJ:  I have - though I cheat:) Being bilingual in English and Russian, I often combine Russian translations of words into new ways to come up with a new word. This really helps when naming planets or ships or technology parts or not-yet-discovered metal ores.

Debra:   Oh yes, it would.  How fascinating!

As a child did any particular book or author pull you into their imaginary world?
FJ:  My parents were very clever in getting me to read - they read aloud the Wizard Of Oz until they got to the middle of the book and then told me to read the rest myself. The Russian version of the Wizard of Oz is actually part of a series of books (the last one being about Aliens coming to kingdom) and I absolutely loved the fantasy world that the author had created. I consistently re-read those books as I grew up - in fact I still have them in my library:)

Debra:  Now I'm wishing I could read Russian so I could read those as well.

Is there anything else you would like to add about the role of imagination, and dreams in creating fiction?  Any other message for our readers?

FJ:  I think dreams and imagination is really only 50 percent in creating fiction. I know a number of people who are wildly imaginative, insanely creative - but who don't really get things done. Creativity and talent is one thing, but discipline is really what ends up making good fiction. The "Butt in seat" syndrome:)

Debra:  Yes, so very true.  Otherwise we'd all be staring out the windows daydreaming instead of sitting in front of our computers. :-)
Fiona Jayde, thank you for joining us here on this Make-believe Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers.  

Readers please visit www.fionajayde.com


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Debra's News/Debra is Watching:

It's been a busy week and this week promises to be busy as well with remodeling of the livingroom almost done.  This is the part I do, the furniture and window coverings, lighting and decorations. I'm loving the new hardwood floors and wondering why anyone would want carpet in the main rooms.  Going with a more open, less cluttered look.  Clean, open, airy and organized.  I'm getting organized in many areas of my life, including my writing as well.  I believe I'll be more productive that way.   

The agent search continues. I have a partial out with one agent and plan to send out more very soon.  

Authors of fiction who wish to be interviewed on Make-Believe Mondays please use the form on my website
or email me.




Monday, August 16, 2010

Make-Believe Monday with Mary Eason

Today on Make-Believe Mondays my guest is Mary Eason.

Mary, first, tell us a little bit about the manuscript
 you’re working on now.

Mary:  Standing On The Edge Of Goodbye is an inspirational romance about second chances. Matt Stevens is finished with life. Grieving the death of his son, Matt withdraws from humanity, sequestering himself in a mountain cabin far from the reaches of anything human-anything that may remind him of the life he can no longer have...that is until Kate Alexander arrives on his doorstep and begins to strip away the bitterness he carries in his heart.
Running from an abusive ex-husband who tried to murder her, Kate Alexander's life is turned upside-down. Learning of her grandmother's death-the only woman who ever believed in her-is almost Kate's complete undoing, especially when the devastating news comes from a man so lacking in human emotion he may as well be a robot. Yet, Kate is drawn to Matt Stevens in a way she's never before experienced. Could there be more to this unlikely friend of her Grandmother's-something beyond the cold surface he presents to the world?
 
Debra:  Ray Bradbury said, “We are cups, constantly being filled.  The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.”  How do you keep your creative cup filled?

Mary:  By reading. I love to read. It not only ignites my creative juices, but it helps me to relax and unwind.



Debra:  Is there a point when your characters begin to come alive and you can see and hear them? 

Mary:  When I first begin a story, it starts with a basic idea that might come to me in a dream or from something I’ve read or head on TV. From there the characters begin to come alive along with the storyline. I usually simmer on a new book idea for a few days to get the backbone of the story mapped out in my head. And then, well then the characters take over and it never ends up like I expected.

Debra: That's part of the fun of writing, I think. The way characters and stories can surprised you.

Some very famous authors have played with language, creating words for people or places that no one has ever heard of.  Have you ever played with words in that way and if so how?

Mary:  No, I cannot say that I’ve played with words. In some of my romantic suspense stories, I have taken certain liberties with law enforcement procedures and protocol, but that’s entirely different.

Debra:  For some writers, dreams play a role in creating fiction.  Has this been true for you?  Have you ever dreamed a scene or an image that later wound up in one of your books?

Mary:  Definitely. I’d say about 80% of my stories come to be in dreams. Many times, I’ll dream most of the story that ends up becoming a book. 

Debra:  How wonderful to have such a vivid dream life. Some of the best stories have come from dreams.

As a child did any particular book or author pull you into their imaginary world?

Mary: I was a huge Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney fan growing up. They’ve definitely influenced my romantic suspense writing. 



Debra:  Oh I was a fan too. :-)  Devoured their books

If there were no categories for books, no reader expectations to meet, and you could create the wildest work of imagination that you could think of what kind of story would that be?

Mary:  Its funny you should say that because that’s pretty much my process for getting a new book typed. I start with my idea then allow myself to simply write. I don’t worry about boundaries, or genres or pleasing anyone but the characters in my head. 

Debra: Awesome to be writing with complete freedom.

Is there anything else you would like to add about the role of imagination, and dreams in creating fiction?  Any other message for our readers?

Mary:  I believe that as a writer, my next book is limited only by my imagination. And there’s nothing more intimidating or exciting than sitting down in front of a blank computer screen and writing those first few words that later become the story of your dreams. 

Debra:  So true.  Mary, thank you for joining us here on this Make-believe Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers. 

Mary:  Thanks for allowing me to spend time with you and your readers.

Debra: It's been a pleasure.

Readers can visit Mary at

www.maryeason.com

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Debra's News/Debra is Watching:

Continuing revisions on the novella, also planning to submit to another agent on my list of preferred agents this week.  While it is not true that once you are published you'll never get another rejection letter, I have had two of the nicest ones I've ever received from agents recently.  It's important that I match up with the right agent for me, so I am far from discouraged.  The letters tell me that it's more about finding the right match that it is about my writing or this story. And the right match is worth waiting for.
 
What else is new?  Lately I've been getting emails from various people wanting writing advice, so I decided to post in the notes section of my facebook fan page.  I'll do that every so often and pick topics which relate to the questions I'm getting.

And I also have some spots on the Make-Believe Mondays calendar to fill.  If you are an author of fiction you can request an interview using the form on my website,
www.debraparmley.com
or by sending me an email.

Until next time,

Love and Light,

Debra

Monday, August 09, 2010

Make-Believe Monday with Anne Calhoun

Today on Make-Believe Mondays my guest is Anne Calhoun.

Anne, first tell us a little bit about the manuscript you're working on now.

Anne:  I've just finished another set of revisions to a contemporary romantic suspense I began in 2007 and set aside for months at a time to work on other projects. The hero is an undercover cop and the heroine owns the bar he's sneakily managed to get a job in because he suspects she's working with a gang to run drugs and guns. She's got secrets, of course, but working with a drug lord isn't one of them. ;-) This is a straightforward romantic suspense, emphasis on romantic, and a departure from my more familiar work in the erotic romance subgenre. I'm also in the middle of a single title length erotic novel with a secret lover theme. I tend to work on a project, set it aside, work on something else, come back to Project A, repeat ad infinitum until I reach "done" and submit the book somewhere.

Debra: Now I'm wondering what secrets she has, of course. ;-)  That is my writing process as well. From one to the other.

Ray Bradbury said, "We are cups, constantly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out." How do you keep your creative cup filled?

Anne: Very good question. I asked an author I really, really admire this question at a recent conference and she said, "I'm not. I want the summer off to be with my kids, so right now it's work, work, work." I'm not in her position (multiple contracts with multiple publishers) so I can rejuvenate at will! To keep my cup filled I read outside the romance genre. I'm a huge fan of Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan series. My editor introduced me to Connie Willis and I've become the Ambassador of Connie Willis, talking her up to anyone I know, because her books are so thought provoking and well-written. The same goes for Laurie R. King, Mary Doria Russell, Geraldine Brooks...smart, women writing smart, smart books. Basically I graze on whatever fiction or non-fiction catches my interest. I see a writer's brain as a big compost heap. If I put in good stuff (meaning writing that is above, way above, my own writing level and from a variety of sources - other genres, newspapers, magazines, movies, TV shows, life in general) and let it sit,  occasionally turning it to add oxygen and microbes/chocolate, I'll get good compost (meaning good ideas, dialogue, metaphors, language, etc) back out. It's a slow process.

Debra: What a great way to explain it. Yes, if we want to get the good stuff to come out, we need to put the good stuff in. It's all fodder for the page.  :-)

Is there a point when your characters begin to come alive and you can see and hear them?

Anne: My characters come alive through dialogue. When they start talking at inconvenient times - the grocery store, the car, church - they're coming alive in my brain. But I often don't know them well until I've been through several drafts of the book, beginning to end. I think Jenny Crusie said she writes fifty to a hundred drafts of her books. I'm not quite there, but it's close. I need to see and hear them in multiple situations before they and, more importantly, their interactions with the other characters, become clear to me.

Debra: Wow, fifty to a hundred. That's a lot!

As a child, did any particular book or author pull you into their imaginary world?

Anne:  Yes, although perhaps not children's books. I remember being completely enthralled by Terry Brooks' Shannara series, as well as the Dragonlance books, the early ones, but I was a teenager when this happened.  The books that really did this for me, thought, were the early Clive Cussler books - Raise the Titanic and Night Train.  But, without a doubt, the very first time this happened was with Kathleen E Woodiwiss's A Rose in Winter.  That book was serialized in a women's magazine in the early '80's and I read the magazine version, then went to the library and got all her books.  I was perhaps ten or eleven at that point, probably too young for the content, but for better or worse, my parents never censored my reading material.

Debra:  It's nice to have parents and librarians who don't censor the reading.  So often a child's reading level will be way above their grade level. And so often those readers grow up to be authors.  So you were drawn to romance at a very early age! 

Anne:  I've always been captivated by the romance element in fiction/movies (not Cussler's though, LOL), and it's why I'll watch the first Bourne movie over and over, but couldn't care less about the next two.  When Marie dies minutes into the second movie, I was like, "WTF is that all about?" I kept watching at that point only for Matt Damon eye candy, and Joan Allen's wonderful performance.  At my sister's urging I recently watched Battlestar Galactica on DVD. About halfway through the fifth season I emailed her and said, "If Starbuck and Apollo don't end up together, I'm going to be pissed!" She wrote back and said, "This is not a series specializingin happy endings, Anne." That's all she said. My sister = voice of reason. I realized then that I'm hardwired to search for the HEA (happy every after), even in the most desperate of situations. That said, BSG is one of the best TV series I've ever watched (after The Wire) and I can't recommend it enough.

Debra:  Sisters are great for that, aren't they?  :-)  And now I am going to have to search for that series because I've never seen it!

If there were no categories for books, no reader expectations to meet and you could create the wildest work of imagination that you could think of, what kind of story would that be?

Anne:  Questions like that make my brain shut down!  I have a terrible time suspending disbelief. I watch actionmovies and think, "Yeah, that's just like my life. Yup. Every week some guy comes into my supermarket and takes everyone hostage, then falls in love with the FBI agent sent to bring him in before they team up to use fifty crates of ketchup, a bottle of vinegar, and a tube sock to blow the entire strip mall to kingdom come."  It's TERRIBLE!  I'm completely unable to enjoy just about anything produced in Hollywood today, LOL.  That's why I loved The Wire to the point of watching it back to back to back the night the DVDs arrived from Netflix, and dreaming about the characters.  But when a fictional work does grab me, a la BSG, I am completely and totally there.

Debra:  :-)  LOL I dislike grocery shopping so much that, well it's probably a good thing that doesn't really happen at our supermarkets or I'd never go.  Well unless they were going to blow things up with ketchup.  LOL Now that might make it worthwhile. ;-)

Is there anything else you would like to add about the role of imagination, and dreams in creating fiction? Any other message for our readers?

Anne:  Imagination's a funny thing.  One book I frequently recommend to creative folks is Twyla Tharp's The creative Habit.  In that book she talks about creative DNA, about the way we use our chosen art form to say something about the world.  I see happily ever afters, and that's just the way I am. (Interestingly/FWIW I don't see them in real life.  Fall in love/get married or don't.  Makes no difference to me.  But in ficiton...don't pull the rug out from under me, and make me believe the HEA is real, heart-felt, and life-long.)  We all have our own creative DNA, and I think we do our best work when we honor that and apply ourselves diligently to bringing that vision out to the best of our ability.

I also believe that while some of our creative instincts are deeply embedded, we will grow and change as artists.  I love to see my favorite authors trying something new because it tells me they're growing as people.  I may not like their new endeavors, but the artist side of me is happy they're putting stuff into the compost heap and getting rich new earth out.

Debra:  Another great book to be added to the to be read list.  Thank you!  And Anne, I want to thank thank you for joining me here on this Make-Believe Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers.  May your compost heap always be full of good things and rich new earth to write with.

Readers may visit Anne at
www.annecalhoun.com
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Debra's News/Debra is Watching:

This weekend I was in Atlanta where my friend Amani put on a wonderful bellydance workshop with the marvelous Mahoumed Reda.  It was one of those experiences of a lifetime and reminded me how much joy there is in the dance.

I believe life is meant to be danced, lived and written about.

And in the news?  One of the things which came through my Twitter while I was away dancing was the news re:Dorchester Publishing Update.
This is also the business model for my publishing house, Samhain. Books are released first as e-books then six to eight months later in trade paperback.

I've believed for some time that books are in more forms than most publishers can afford to keep producing.  We have hardbacks, mass market paperbacks, trade paperbacks and e-books.  Last year I was at a writers conference having this exact conversation and I remember saying I believed at least one of the forms is going to fall away.  Will it be mass market?  I don't have a crystal ball, but it's kind of looking that way, isn't it?   

So what is an author to do?  Well, life is a dance and in this dance the music keeps changing.  We don't control the music.  It does no good to stand around complaining about the music.  And standing around isn't really living.  We can only control how we dance to it and what partners we dance with. But if we keep dancing and living and writing...if we do that we may just find joy in the dance.
 
www.debraparmley.com

Until next time keep dancing.

Love and light,

Debra

Monday, August 02, 2010

Make-Believe Monday with Teresa Noelle-Roberts

Today on Make-Believe Mondays my guest is Teresa Noelle-Roberts.

Teresa, first, tell us a little bit about the manuscript you're working on now.


Teresa:  Manuscript? Singular? If only my brain was that straightforward. 
First there's the brand-new book, Foxes' Den, which is the second work in the Duals and Donovans series from Samhain.

As for works in progress, I'm writing two paranormal series for two different publishers and have installments for each underway.
For Samhain, I'm working on the next book in the Duals and Donovans series, which includes Lions' Pride and Foxes' Den. The third book, tentatively called Shamans' Sanctuary, stars the sexy cousin of Rafe, one of the heroes from Lions' Pride. It has duals (my version of shifters), Native American shamans, evil sorcerers, a broken-hearted female cop who discovers her shamanic gifts, and guest appearances by the three main characters of Lions' Pride.

For Phaze, I'm winding up the Seasons of Sorania Cycle of slightly kinky fantasy romance (Lady Sun Has Risen, Rain at Midsummer and the forthcoming Threshing the Grain) with The Longest Night. It's a holiday story with a twist, set during this culture's version of Yule or Winter Solstice celebrations. What would you do if a sexy naked satyr stumbles into your house, desperately in need of your help, while you're getting ready for the holidays? Laeca soesn't quite tie a bow on him, but it becomes clear the gods have sent them to each other as a gift.

And if two paranormals aren't enough, I'm also working on a sexy contemporary comedy with my coauthor Dayle A Dermatis. We write together as Sophie Mouette.


Debra: Quite a few in the works then.  One good thing about having so many is that it helps prevent writers block. You can always go work on a different one when the first one starts to slow down.


Ray Bradbury said, 'We are cups, constantly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out." How do you keep your creative cup filled?

Teresa:  If I could, I'd travel constantly. Being exposed to new places, especially ones with beautiful scenery and/or a rich history, always sparks my creativity. Since constant travel isn't feasible on a writer's budget, I explore the area where I live with a fresh eye whenever possible. A walk in the woods, a trip to the beach, a visit to some historic spot, be it Plimouth Plantations, a museum or an old factory or cemetary, can all spark something inside me. What comes out of those visits may have no obvious connection to where I've been.

I also find that various forms of creativity feed one another. In addition to writing, I belly dance, garden and cook seriously and also knit and take photographs, both with more enthusiasm than skill. The physical challenge of dance, the multi-sensory experience of cooking and gardening, and the visual and kinesthetic aspects of knitting and photography all seem to help the writing. Needless to say, I also read omnivorously.


Debra: As a former travel consultant who has visited many countries I can attest to that. Travel expands the mind and feeds the soul.  I also spend some time as a professional belly dancer and know well the challenge of dance, but also the joy and how it feeds the soul. :-) 


As a child, did any particular book or author pull you into their imaginary world? 


Teresa:  Even as a child, I read anything I could get my hands on, so I could ramble about this question for pages and pages. But I'll spare you all by focusing on one book.

T.H. White's The Once and Future King, a retelling of the King Arthur legends, has haunted me for years. The first section, The Sword in the Stone, is about Arthur's boyhood and is light-hearted enough it was made into a Disney cartoon. I'm not sure my mother realized for years that I kept reading after the story becomes dark and twisted and tragic. I think the book may have influenced me more as a writer than books I reread more often. White takes a familiar story, reinterprets it through a contemporary lens (World War II, in his case), and makes even the villains well-rounded, with understandable motivations. I'm not by any means as brilliant and scholarly as White, but I think he influenced the way I look at mythology and legend as source material-and at my tendency to put wordplay and humor into even tense scenes.

Debra:  It's a beautiful thing how one book can influence a life.  The magic and power of words and how words and stories stay with us. What a wonderful craft we practice.  :-)


For some writers, dreams play a role in creating fiction. Has this been true for you? Have you ever dreamed a scene or an image that later wound up in one of your books?


I frequently dream in print and can see finished stories and poems on a page in front of me. Alas, when I wake up they're gone!

I have the first few chapters of an urban fantasy involving a djinn, a graduate student and the struggle for control of oil in the Middle East that grew out of a dream. I'm a bit daunted by the degree of research I'd need to make the book work, as it would weave in a lot of fairly obscure follklore and classical Arabic poetry as well as contemporary politics.


Debra:  Oh but if you were to write that one.... Well if you do, be sure to let me know as I'd want to read it.


Is there anything else you'd like to share with our readers?


Teresa:  You can catch more of my rambles at 
www.teresanoelleroberts.blogspot.com or friend me on Facebook. I'm there as Teresa Noelle Roberts. My website is www.teresanoelleroberts.com", but I'll warn you it's perpetually under construction.


Teresae, thank you for joining us here on this Make-Believe Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers.

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Debra's News/Debra is watching:


I will be away for several days this week visiting the Atlanta area, combining my love of travel with my love of belly dance and of course my writing.  Will share my adventures over on the facebook fan page upon my return. 


The contemporary romance is out to two agents and fingers crossed.  The novella is under revision and I am still doing research for the medieval romance.  Last week I went over the manuscripts I'd started to choose one to finish next and the novella won because it was the closest to being done.


And of course trying to stay cool in the Memphis heat.  It looks as if August is going to be a hot one.


Sign up over on my website for my newsletter and a chance to win an ebook.  Newsletters will go out once a month starting in October.

www.debraparmley.com


Until next time, stay cool and enjoy the rest of your summer


Love and light,
Debra










Monday, July 26, 2010

Make-Believe Monday with Kimberly Troutte

Today on Make-Believe Mondays my guest is Kimberly Troutte.

Kimberly, first, tell us a little bit about the manuscript  you’re working on now. 

Kimberly:  My newly released print book, Catch Me in Castile, is a paranormal romantic suspense set in Spain. It’s about a woman battling Anxiety Disorder who finds comfort in the healing arms of a Spanish doctor—until a fifteenth-century ghost warns her that being with the man is dangerous, possibly even lethal.

The manuscript I am working on right now is about a woman and her son who are hiding for their lives in a quiet offbeat town until the boy becomes famous from an ear surgery that allows him to hear God.

Debra:  Fascinating.  I have to wonder if the ear surgeon would then be swamped with requests for that same surgery.

Ray Bradbury said, “We are cups, constantly being filled.  The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.”  How do you keep your creative cup filled?

Kimberly:  That’s beautiful, isn’t it? I’ve had the opportunity to hear Mr. Bradbury speak several times at the Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference. He is such an inspirational man, so full of encouragement for writers.
I keep my cup filled by playing with my kids. I have two boys who challenge me, make me laugh, keep my feet grounded, and my heart soaring. We hike in the mountains together, swim, boogie-board, dance, go to the river and try to catch polly-wogs.
Life is always exciting with two boys.

Debra:  How fortunate you are!  I always wanted to hear him speak but never had the chance.  So I look for his writings and as I collect quotes, well this is one of my favorites.  It is very beautiful.
My two sons are grown now, but I remember those days.  Polly-wogs make me smile.  :-)

Is there a point when your characters begin to come alive and you can see and hear them? 

Kimberly:  Yes. It’s thrilling when this happens. And a little exhausting. I tend to be able to “hear” my characters best when I’m in bed, everyone else is asleep and I am starting to drop off. All of a sudden dialogue pops in to my head and I know if I don’t get up and write it down, I’ll lose it in the morning. When I am deep into writing, I will usually be up typing until 1:00 in the a.m. It is amazing when the characters take shape. And many times they will change the story once I know them a little better. This makes it fun for me and adds twists and surprises that I never anticipate.

Debra:  The people in your stories must be night owls.  :-)  Mine are too.  They refuse to speak before 10:00 am, ever. lol


As a child did any particular book or author pull you into their imaginary world?

Kimberly:  As a kid, I read all of my dad’s hand-me-down books. I was enthralled by novels that where set in exotic locales, like those written by James Clavell, Leon Uris, and Pearl S. Buck. Anya Seton wrote a book called Green Darkness that took place in the past and present and made me want to write something similar when I grew up.

Debra:  Now there's another book to add to the to be read list.  Thank you.


Is there anything else you would like to add about the role of imagination, and dreams in creating fiction?  Any other message for our readers?

Kimberly:  Imagination is like magic. It creates new worlds, new lives, intricate stories. Imagination is what allows a writer to play the “what-if” game. For Catch Me in Castile I had a lot of what-if questions. What if a woman who thinks she is losing her mind is the only person who can see a 15th Century ghost? What if that ghost tells her she is in danger? Imagination is the key.

Debra:  So very true, Kimberly.  Excellent thoughts to leave us with.  Imagination is the key. 
Thank you for joining us here on this Make-believe Monday to talk about imagination and creation and to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers.

Kimberly:  Thank you for having me!

Debra:  It's been my pleasure.

Readers please visit Kimberly at

www.kimberlytroutte.com

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Debra's News/Debra is watching this week:
I'll be uploading pics from various author events onto Debra's facebook fan page
Thank you to everyone who made the switch over from my personal page to my fan page.  I simply don't have time to keep up with a personal page (which is one reason I shut it down) and the pubic pages and still have the time I need to write.  And really, the writing needs to come first.  :-)

So how is the writing coming along?  Well there's a completed manuscript waiting for the right agent to fall in love with it so it can find a home.  Then there are the uncompleted manuscripts which are calling to me even now.

www.debraparmley.com
This fall there will be some changes to the website and I plan to start sending out a monthly newsletter.

Debra on MySpace
Here you can find some photos from my travels around the world.  I'll add to those periodically.

But for now, I am off to write!

Until next time, stay cool and enjoy your summer.  Each day is a gift.

Love and light,

Debra

Monday, July 19, 2010

Make-Believe Monday with Meg Benjamin

Today on Make-Believe Mondays my guest is Meg Benjamin.

Meg, first, tell us a little bit about the manuscript  you’re working on now. 

Meg:  My fourth Konigsburg book, Long Time Gone, was just published by Samhain Publishing on July 6. It’s the story of Erik Toleffson, a reformed bully and petty criminal who’s now the chief of police. Obviously, he needs to prove himself. Here’s the blurb:
A future with the woman of his dreams is within his grasp…if the past will stay that way.
Konigsburg, Book 4
Erik Toleffson wasn’t looking to become Chief of Police. He’s got enough trouble trying to rebuild his relationship with his three brothers who, until just recently, ran the other way when he approached. He’s not the bully they grew up with, but bad memories are tough to overcome.
Morgan Barrett is as worn out as a vat full of crushed grape skins. She never planned to run Cedar Creek Winery, but there’s no one else to shoulder the load as her father recovers from an injury. All she needs is a little sleep. Just a five-minute nap in the booth at the Dew Drop Inn…if that guy across the bar would stop staring at her as if putting her head down on the table is a crime.
After Morgan yawns in Erik’s face, there’s nowhere to go but up. With time, though, their relationship warms like a perfectly blended Bordeaux. Until the shady mayor digs into Erik’s past and dredges up information that could drive a permanent wedge between him and his brothers—and sour any chance of a future with Morgan.
Warning: Contains hot sex with mango sherbet, crooked politicians, yuppie bikers, Bored Ducks, and a Maine Coon Cat with attitude.

Debra: Ray Bradbury said, “We are cups, constantly being filled.  The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.”  How do you keep your creative cup filled?

Meg:  I think it’s important to read while you write, and not just people who write the same things you do. For example, I love mystery writer Jane Haddam, who’s about as unromantic as you can get. But she’s an absolute whiz at creating characters, particularly villains who are awful people but still fascinating in their own right. I’ve learned a lot from her, and from wonderful prose stylists like Sarah Smith, James Lee Burke and Eloisa James. I’ll never write like they do, but I love to read their books just to experience their style.

Debra:  Oh, I agree.  I'm believe authors should read as widely as possible.  Good writing is good writing, whatever the genre.

Is there a point when your characters begin to come alive and you can see and hear them?


Meg:  I’m a total planner—I need to have most of the plot worked out in advance (although I find I always veer off into unexpected areas no matter how much planning I do). I plan the characters too, but people are always a lot harder to pin down. As they talk to each other, I begin to get to know them, and I find myself thinking “Wouldn’t it be interesting if he did this?” or “Why would he feel like that?” As the characters become characters, that is, as they become people, they start to move in directions I never planned—and that’s a lot of fun!

Debra: It's great when those characters come alive and start driving the story.  Of course not being a plotter or planner I like that part.  lol I've always wondered how authors in the other camp felt about it when it happens. 

As a child did any particular book or author pull you into their imaginary world?

Meg:  I loved the Narnia books when I was a child, and a book called Half-Magic about a family of children who find a magic coin, only it only provides you with half of what you wish for! Both of these series start in the real and work to the fantastic, which is my favorite way of doing things.

Debra:  Oh I must look for Half-Magic.  Hadn't heard of that one.  Loved Narnia as well.   

Is there anything else you would like to add about the role of imagination, and dreams in creating fiction?  Any other message for our readers?

Meg:  Imagination doesn’t necessarily have to be wild—I’m working on an urban fantasy that takes place here in the foothills suburbs of Denver. Sometimes it’s more fun to take something familiar and everyday and see what happens when you introduce a foreign element that shakes everything up.

Debra:  And that's where most good stories begin.  On the day the shakes everything up.

Meg, thank you for joining us here on this Make-believe Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers.
Readers visit Meg at 
www.megbenjamin.com
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Debra's News/Debra is watching:

Continuing the agent search this week I will be sending out the contemp manuscript to a few agents.  Tidying up the word files and the hard copy files this week as well.  Had no idea I had so many stories started.  Files constist of novel length manuscripts started, one novella which needs to be completed, short stories I wrote several years ago and hundreds of poems.  I'm always writing something and should have the files better organized.  I'm finding random bits of writing tucked into files and yes even once piece written on a napkin.  Now it's not that I think every little thing I've written must be saved.  Oh no.  In fact the second half of the manuscript I'm now sending to agents had been tossed out and completely redone.  That's half a book.  But the thing about these bits of writings is that they contain story ideas, character ideas, etc. and those I do not want to lose.  So I guess I've become a bit of a paper pack rack and something must be done about that.  At least getting it all into files where I can find what I'm looking for when I want it in hand.  

www.debraparmley.com

Monday, June 28, 2010

Make-Believe Monday with M J Frederick

Today on Make-Believe Mondays my guest is M J Frederick.

Welcome M J!  First, please tell us a little bit about the manuscript
 you’re working on now.

MJ:  Thanks so much for having me! I love talking writing! Right now I’m revising a straight contemporary romance which combines a friends-to-lovers element with a road trip from Minnesota to Seattle during a snowstorm. I’m having so much fun building the tension! I’m also playing with the plot of a new romantic suspense that takes place on a cruise ship. I hope to start working on that one later this week.

Debra:  It's a pleasure having you here.  Road trips certainly have a way of bringing people together or pushing them apart, add a snowstorm and it just intensifies.  I have a completed contemp set on a cruise ship also, which I'm sending out to agents currently.  I'm partial to romance on the sea from all the trips I took while working as a travel consultant.  Bet that one will be fun for you to write!

Ray Bradbury said, “We are cups, constantly being filled.  The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.”  How do you keep your creative cup filled?


M J:  My very favorite thing is to go to the museum. It’s free on Tuesday nights, and when I’m there, I just want to grab a pen and notebook and start writing. It’s nothing in particular that I see, but the atmosphere fills me up. Also, going to historical buildings. Here in San Antonio, we have the Alamo and the missions. Those always light a spark in me.

Debra:  Wonderful ideas all!

Is there a point when your characters begin to come alive and you can see and hear them? 

M J:  If they don’t, I know I have a problem. If they aren’t real for me, I worry they won’t be real for the reader. Sometimes it’s that I haven’t spent enough time with them, or didn’t do enough to develop their personalities. When I first started writing, I wasn’t writing every day so I spent a lot longer thinking about my characters. I had characters set in a certain town near my grandparents’ place and now every time I drive through that town I think of those characters! I really should revisit that story….



Debra:  Oh, yes, it sounds as if they are calling to you.

For some writers, dreams play a role in creating fiction.  Has this been true for you?  Have you ever dreamed a scene or an image that later wound up in one of your books?


M J:  How funny you should ask. Beneath the Surface, my July Samhain book (in print July 6!) came from a dream. I dreamed of archaeologists working in the jungle and being kidnapped by guerillas. I fully intended to write that book, but the dh pointed out it could get pretty gritty, especially for the heroine. Around that time, one of the cable stations started playing the movie Twister a lot. I was drawn into the reunion aspect of the story, and Beneath the Surface took off from there.




Debra:  Fascinating.  Hmm maybe there are two books emerging from your dream.  Dream worlds can be so rich and vivid.

As a child did any particular book or author pull you into their imaginary world?

M J:  Trixie Belden! I recently rebuilt my collection. I loved the friendships of those novels, the adventures, the different settings. I wanted to be Honey Wheeler so bad. Then there were the Little House on the Prairie books, which weren’t imaginary, I guess, but I loved traveling back in time to her world (as long as I could eat Double-Stuff Oreos while reading them!)


Debra:  Oh, I wanted to be Honey Wheeler too.  (And don't tempt me with those Double-Stuff Oreos now, or I'll be in trouble.)  lol

M J thank you for joining us here on this Make-believe Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers. 

Readers please visit M J at
www.mjfredrick.com
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Debra's News/Debra is watching:

I'll be chatting more on my Facebook Fan Page, as I close my personal page.  Soon there will be pics from writing events I've attended (and yes some of those handsome cover models) as well as talk about the writing life.  Stay tuned.    


I'll be writing this week on Tue and Wed most of the day.  Also plan to get a partial of the contemporary romance in the mail to an agent I've had my eye on.  ;-)  Wish me luck!


www.debraparmley.com

Until next time, stay cool in this summer heat and have a Happy Fourth of July!

Love, light and joy,

Debra

Monday, June 21, 2010

Make-Believe Monday with Christine Price

Today on Make-Believe Mondays my guest is Christine Price.  Christine, first, tell us a little bit about the manuscript  you’re working on now.

Christine: Well, my new work (due out in September from Carina Press) is a horror-romance hybrid, which focuses on a young man with psychic powers who falls into the clutches of a mad scientist, only to find love in the most unexpected place.

Debra:  How exciting to be one of the first authors at Carina Press!  Congrats!  It sounds like an exciting story.

Ray Bradbury said, “We are cups, constantly being filled.  The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.”  How do you keep your creative cup filled?

Christine:  I draw inspiration from a LOT of different places. Whether it’s a particularly memorable episode of The Tudors or a good book, I seem to be unable to stop myself from suddenly getting a trillion ideas racing through my head all at once. The only problem with that is that it conflicts with my attention span, which is roughly that of a goldfish. I always have a half-dozen serious projects going on at once, and another dozen waiting for my attention on the backburner.

Debra:  The Tudors, hmm I need to check that one out.  Thank you.  It's nice to have more than one project going.  I'm a firm believer in that and suspect it prevents writers block.  Because if one story frustrates on any given day there's the option to jump over to the other one!

Is there a point when your characters begin to come alive and you can see and hear them? 

Christine:  Characters for me are interesting. I tend to come up with small snippets of dialogue first. From there, I start wondering what sort of person would actually SAY the stuff that’s suddenly appeared on my screen. From there, it just tends to escalate. When they really start showing up for me, though, is when I find a song that reminds me of them. Take one of my newest characters, Matt. I love him to death, and a large part of his character was developed while I was listening to “Falling For the First Time” by the Barenaked Ladies.

Debra:   Fascinating.  I've been doing these interviews for four years now and you're the first author to say this about songs.

Some very famous authors have played with language, creating words for people or places that no one has ever heard of.  Have you ever played with words in that way and if so how?

Christine:  Absolutely! One of my first passions was high fantasy, and I spent a whole year working on a project that needed about three different unique languages (all of them to come up with a way to say ‘zombie’ strangely enough). I’ve never gone so far as to actually create an entire language (the prospect terrifies me), but I think that every good fantasy writer has the ability to develop something unique to their world, and often that defies the languages that already exist.

Debra:  Yes, so true.  Hmm you have me wondering how many different ways there are to say zombie now.  :-)

For some writers, dreams play a role in creating fiction.  Has this been true for you?  Have you ever dreamed a scene or an image that later wound up in one of your books?

Christine:  I’ll be honest: the entire premise for Soul Bond was based on a dream. As I recall, the dream actually started out on a pirate ship, but Julian and Ellis were very definitely there. When I saw the open call Samhain had going on for space opera, I knew that it would work. I think I remembered three things from the dream besides the characters. Something about a ring, a sacrifice for love, and a long-awaited reunion. It was probably the most vivid dream I’ve ever had.

Debra:  Wonderful!  Some very good books have come from the author having a vivid dream.

As a child did any particular book or author pull you into their imaginary world?

Christine:  For me, it was more like which mundane task could pull me OUT. If I had to pick one particularly influential author, however, I would have to say that Patricia C. Wrede’s Enchanted Forest chronicles were the whole reason I got turned onto fantasy in the first place. Her character Cimorene was the first strong female character in a fantasy series that I’d ever read about, and I felt like I could relate more to her than any of the male heroes that had come before her.

Debra:  Another to add to the to be read list then.  :-)  Thank you. 

If there were no categories for books, no reader expectations to meet, and you could create the wildest work of imagination that you could think of what kind of story would that be?

Christine:  What a fantastic question! I don’t know what the book would look like, but it would definitely have hot men kissing. All kidding aside, I think it’s important for any writer to just write what they love. Reader expectations and categories are absolutely important, but passion is what ultimately breaks through.

Debra:  Thank you!  This is so very true.

Is there anything else you would like to add about the role of imagination, and dreams in creating fiction?  Any other message for our readers?

Christine:  A long time ago, I heard that the most effective brainstorming sessions cannot have anyone say ‘no’ or claim that something is silly. I apply the same thing to my writing. My imagination gets triggered by the weirdest things, and as long as I sit back and enjoy the ride, instead of resisting it, it never lets me down.

Debra:  Good advice.  Christine, thank you for joining us here on this Make-believe Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers. 

Christine can be found haunting her blog at
www.christinepricewrites.com and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/CPriceIsWrite. Her first work, Soul Bond, was released last month

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Debra's News/Debra is watching:

The weather here in the Memphis area has been getting up to 100 and this sort of weather always has me slowing down to that southern summer pace.  Sitting and sipping a glass of something cold while observing people is one thing that feeds this writers creative cup.  Like Christine, I have multiple projects started, though I tend to only mention the one I'm working full steam ahead on.  This week I'll be pulling them out, looking them over and deciding which one calls to me the loudest.  I'm still researching for the Scotland set medieval and continuing the agent search with the most recently completed manuscript, so in the meantime I need to use the writing muscles again until I'm ready to jump start the medieval story.  This is the beauty of having more than one project waiting in the wings.

you can find me any number of places such as

www.debraparmley.com
Debra's facebook fanpage

Till next time, stay cool and remember to drink plenty of cold liquids.

Love and light,

Debra

Monday, June 14, 2010

Make-Believe Monday with Tina Donahue


Today on Make-Believe Mondays my guest is Tina Donahue.
Tina, welcome.
Is there a point when your characters begin to come alive and you can see and hear them?

Tina:  Generally by page five of the story my characters take over and I’m just an observer, recording what’s happening. It used to be page 50, but the more I write, the quicker the characters begin to come alive. I’m still hoping that they will someday take the reins on page 1, making things very easy for me. 

Debra: Wouldn't that be wonderful?  Mine haven't ever done that before chapter three.  It would certainly make the re-writing easier. 

Some very famous authors have played with language, creating words for people or places that no one has ever heard of.  Have you ever played with words in that way and if so how?

Tina:  I’ve played with places that way. I wrote a paranormal a long time ago where I created a new universe for the lovers. It was a lot of fun and I thought it would be easy plot-wise because there weren’t any rules like in the real world. I learned quickly, that wasn’t true. If you give your character the ability to let’s say walk through walls on page 20 and then on page 50 he needs to escape the villains, but you don’t want him to (in order to build tension/suspense) you have to figure out why he could walk through walls at one point but not at another – kind of like Kryptonite stopping Superman. So even make-believe worlds have a ton of rules in order to make sense.

Debra:  Sometimes I think the make-believe worlds are harder because of that.  With the ordinary mundane world we already know the how and sometimes the why of things. 

As a child did any particular book or author pull you into their imaginary world?

Tina:  I still recall reading “Mystery in Old Quebec”. To this day, I can see the peeling wallpaper in the room in my mind and the way the firelight flickered over the furniture. I got so hooked on the story and imagery, everything else faded away.

Debra:  That's a lovely image.  It's wonderful to be pulled into a world.

If there were no categories for books, no reader expectations to meet, and you could create the wildest work of imagination that you could think of what kind of story would that be?

Tina:  The paranormal I was speaking about earlier. I actually rewrote the history of mankind in it, beginning with creation. Maybe someday I’ll go back, polish the ms up and see if it sells.

Debra:  Yes, I think if it calls to you, then you should!  Tina, thank you for joining us here on this Make-believe Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers. 

Readers visit Tina at www.tinadonahue.com

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Debra's News/ Debra is Watching:

I've been away for a few weeks.  Celebrated my birthday with a birthday luau, been researching for the Scottish historical romance I'll soon be writing.  Not quite ready to start that one yet, so I'll be working on some of the other stories I've started to keep the writing muscles in shape as well as submitting one of my completed novels to agents.  The great agent search is on and this takes time to find a good one.

It's been up in the 100's today here in the south.  Till next week, stay cool, stay safe and healthy.

Love and light,
Debra

www.debraparmley.com

Monday, May 24, 2010

Make-Believe Monday with Tarra Blaize

This morning on Make-Believe Mondays I'd like to welcome Tarra Blaize.

Ray Bradbury said, “We are cups, constantly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.” How do you keep your creative cup filled?

Tarra:  By reading what has poured out of other writers’ cups. Nothing motivates me more than reading a fantastic book. I love being pulled into another story where I can forget everything in my world because I am so intent on another one. When I reluctantly have to leave that haven, it makes me even more determined to try to create my own version for other readers.

Debra:   Is there a point when your characters begin to come alive and you can see and hear them?

Tarra:  Once my characters hit their first barrier, the way they react ends up defining them more than any hypothetical thinking on my part. I really try to let the characters write themselves, because whatever flows in my writing will hopefully translate best with readers when they read it. Failure is not about falling, but failing to get back up. The strongest method to bring a character to life is to throw his or her worst nightmare into their path… and make them find something inside of themselves to overcome the odds.

Debra:  For some writers, dreams play a role in creating fiction. Has this been true for you? Have you ever dreamed a scene or an image that later wound up in one of your books?

Tarra:  I laughed when I read this. I had total writers’ block with this novella, until I had an incredibly vivid dream that, with some reshaping and editing, turned into the first few scenes of the Break. In the dream, I got to be an undercover spy who was experiencing agony at being forced to betray a demon who had captivated emotions in ways that should have never happened. This character, of course, became my heroine Layla, and the demon became Gethin. I should note that this rarely ever happens to me, but I’m so grateful that it did!

Debra:  It's a wonderful thing when it does happen.  :-)  Imagination can be so strong and fully present in our dreams.

As a child did any particular book or author pull you into their imaginary world?

Tarra:  I was a total bookworm even as a child, and always had at least three books on hand: one that I was currently reading, another for when I finished my current one, and the third should I finish the second one as well! One of the books that shaped me early on to love romance is Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted, a retelling of Cinderella. If you haven’t read it you should – it’s for all ages, just like any brilliant young adult novel!

Debra:  I'll have to add that one to my list!

 Is there anything else you would like to add about the role of imagination, and dreams in creating fiction? Any other message for our readers?

Tarra:  I cannot imagine fiction without imagination or dreams. Let alone the author, but for readers, is this not integral to your reading experience? As a writer, my job is complete if you can walk away after reading my story, but not walk away from the story. I hope that whatever I’ve written entertained you so well, that your imagination keeps working even after the last word, and you dream the “what if…” of putting yourself in my characters’ shoes. My goal is to provide an alternate reality, and I cannot do that successfully if I fail to stimulate your creative side and sense of wonder as well.

Debra:  Tarra, that is so true.  Thank you for joining us here on this Make-believe Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers.

To learn more about Tarra and her books visit Tarra's website www.tarablaze.com
st Samhain
or Amazon Angels and Demons

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Debra's News/Debra is watching:

Currently I am researching for the Scottish hstorical romance I'll soon be writing.  It will be set in the 12th century.  I was able to see the new Robin Hood movie last week (which was wonderful) and I believe that counts as research too.  :-)  Such pretty gowns made me want to start sewing and the archery made me anxious to get out my new bow and learn to use it.  Perhaps this weekend.


debraparmley.com

Monday, May 17, 2010

Make-Believe Monday with Brad Parks

Today on Make-Believe Mondays my guest is Brad Parks. I first met Brad at the Romantic Times Book Lovers convention in Columbus OH at the big book signing where we were seated next to each other. He has a great sense of humor which made the signing all the more fun.

Brad, first, tell us a little bit about the manuscript you’re working on now.

Brad; It’s the third book in my mystery series with St. Martin’s Press, which features the adventures of Carter Ross, the sometimes-dashing investigative reporter. This one won’t be out until 2012, so I don’t want to get people too excited – it would feel like a big tease – but right now I’ve got Carter trapped in a car with a homicidal maniac on a deserted road in the middle of a thunderstorm. It’s not looking too good for our hero. But I can confirm he managed to make it alive out of the second book, EYES OF THE INNOCENT (due out early 2011). So maybe he’ll find a way to escape this time, too.

Debra: Okay, too late. I want to know how he gets out of that mess! But it's okay, a little bit of teasing is allowed. :-)

Ray Bradbury said, “We are cups, constantly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.” How do you keep your creative cup filled?

Brad: I used to be a sportswriter, and am therefore a fan of sports movies. In one of the great all-time baseball movies, Bull Durham, the grizzled veteran catcher, played by Kevin Costner, gives the wild young pitcher, played by Tim Robbins, his first piece of advice: “Don’t think. It can only hurt the ballclub.” That rather neatly sums up my feelings about creativity in two ways. One, I try not to think about creativity very much – not how it works, why it works or what makes it work sometimes and not others. I’m afraid I’ll jinx myself. And, two, my most creative thoughts come when I’m not thinking actively about being creative – when I’m driving a car, doing the dishes, or doing something else that is keeping my mind minimally occupied. There’s something about keeping your conscious mind a little bit busy that allows your subconscious to bust out and do what it does naturally.

Debra: Yes there is something to that. The subconscious is key, I believe. It's a bit like trying to remember someones name and trying so hard that it won't come, then you go off to do something else and voila. There it is. So true.

Is there a point when your characters begin to come alive and you can see and hear them?

Brad: Before I wrote a lot of fiction, I’d occasionally find myself watching some famous author being interviewed. Inevitably, he’d get asked, “Well, famous author, how do you know what comes next in your books?” And the famous author would reply, “My characters tell me where the story needs to go.” And I’d always think, “Yeah? Do your characters tell you you’re a nut bag, too? Because that’s what you sound like right now.”

Then there I was, writing my first Carter Ross novel (FACES OF THE GONE, which came out last December). I’m in the middle of this scene where Carter, in his quest for a certain piece of information, has to smoke marijuana with a bunch of gang members so they’ll know he’s not a cop. Now, Carter is a pretty clean-cut guy who tried pot once or twice in college and never touched it since. Nevertheless, he tokes up, the gang members tell him what he needs to know and I’m thinking that’s going to be the end of it. It’s time for the next scene, right? Except when I tried to make Carter rise off the couch, he started tugging on my sleeve and giggling. “Dude,” he said. “I can’t go anywhere. I’m stoned out of my mind.” I shook my head and said, “Come on Carter. You can’t just sit on the couch for the next three hours. It’s boring and this book is supposed to have a lot of action in it. Let’s go.” Carter refused to move, so I made him get up anyway, and the next thing I knew he was stumbling all over the place, crashing into walls and… well, you get the point. It turned into one of my favorite scenes (you can read it at http://www.bradparksbooks.com/faces-of-the-gone2.php) and it established something I have come to accept as a fiction writer: My characters do tell me where the story is going to go, I just have to make sure I’m listening.

Debra: Now that is a great story to illustrate this point. I always find it interesting when an author is reluctant to say they hear their story people. It probably has to do with not wanting to sound crazy. But then some will say the voices in my mind tell me.... and that one makes me smile too. You've managed to cover both aspects quite well.

Some very famous authors have played with language, creating words for people or places that no one has ever heard of. Have you ever played with words in that way and if so how?

Brad: My stuff is pretty well grounded in reality. So, no, I haven’t created anything like that. But I certainly wouldn’t be averse to it. The point of language is to communicate meaning. As long as the reader is getting meaning out of the invented word? I say inventimicate all you want.

Debra: Inventimicate is a good one. :-)

For some writers, dreams play a role in creating fiction. Has this been true for you? Have you ever dreamed a scene or an image that later wound up in one of your books?

Brad: My dreams are, by and large, much too freaky to turn into a book. I fear some psychoanalyst would read it, interpret it, and insist I was a danger to society who needed to be institutionalized.

Debra: Though if you ever got the urge there's always the use of a pen name.

As a child did any particular book or author pull you into their imaginary world?

Brad: I mean, who didn’t see themselves living in a giant peach with Roald Dahl? Or feel the intense desire, thanks to Beverly Cleary, to pull the boing boing curls of a girl named Susan? But I think my favorite book as a kid was GENTLE BEN by Walt Morey. It’s about a boy from Alaska who adopts a grizzly bear. I must have read it twenty times. I wanted to have a pet bear so badly I would actually fantasize about my family taking a trip to Alaska and stumbling upon an orphaned bear cub. (Then I grew up, hit puberty, and started fantasizing about other things… I also read that Alaska has way more guys than women and realized that really wasn’t going to be the place for me if I ever wanted to get a date).

Debra: I remember that book! Haven't thought if it in years though. You're the first to mention GENTLE BEN which now that I think of it, is amazing. Because it's a very good book.

If there were no categories for books, no reader expectations to meet, and you could create the wildest work of imagination that you could think of what kind of story would that be?

Brad: Well, I think it would be a book about a boy wizard who goes off to a boarding school for other young wizards and then… what? That’s been done already? Aw, shucks.

Debra: Yeah, darn it. If you'd only been faster with that one. :-)

Brad: No, seriously, I’m actually thankful for reader expectations. It gives me some kind of guide. Otherwise, I’m like a horse without blinders – all skittish and distracted, looking around at everything instead of focusing on the task ahead of me. Besides, the chief expectation for a mystery writer is that the crime gets solved at the end. And, really, that’s not too onerous. I feel like I still get plenty of imaginary rope with which to hang myself.

Debra: Yes there's still plenty of room (or rope) for the imagination to play within a mystery world.

Is there anything else you would like to add about the role of imagination, and dreams in creating fiction? Any other message for our readers?

I recently spoke to a group of middle schoolers who were taking a year-long writing class. I wanted to demystify the writing process for them a little bit, so I talked about how I approach a new book: Basically, I start with characters who have a problem they need to solve. So we worked together to invent some characters and then began brainstorming a plot. It was amazing the way their minds’ worked. Sure, some of what they came up with was pretty derivative – obviously drawn from whatever television shows they liked. But some of it was really original and just, well, out there, in ways both good and bad. It was so far out there that the teacher, who was doing her best to keep them on task, began reigning them in a little bit. And I don’t blame the teacher, who had to maintain some semblance of order in the classroom. But it did strike me that the young brain was this incredibly fertile thing, capable of sprouting all these wonderful, wild ideas; it was only the grown-ups who needed things to fit into a neat box. So it’s made me mindful of sometimes going back to my own middle school self – minus the braces and awkwardness – and channeling some of that great craziness.

Debra: Oh, now that is a beautiful story and message to share. Thank you for adding that one. And thank you for joining me here on this Make-believe Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers.

Visit Brad Parks’ website www.BradParksBooks.com
and Brad Parks on Facebook. You can also follow Brad_Parks on Twitter.

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Debra's News/Debra is watching:

Last weekend I went to an SCA medieval reinactment event called Crown List which is where they fight for who will be King and Queen. It was great fun and I enjoyed the pageantry, the fighting and the medieval feast. Just enjoyed it while absorbing it all in for the medieval romance I will soon be starting. This is my research and planning period for the story.

I'm also sending my contemporary romance out to agents this week as the great agent search is on. Otherwise this will be a quiet week and I find I'm needing one of those. Those are important too, to recharge and refill the creative cup.

www.debraparmley.com

Monday, May 10, 2010

Make-Believe Monday with Roland Mann

Today on Make-Believe Mondays my guest is Roland Mann.

Roland, first, tell us a little bit about the manuscript you’re working on now.

Roland: The working title of my current project is The Interns. It came about because I enrolled in the MFA in Creative Writing at Spalding University. I already had 25,000 words of a book I was working on, but the program strongly suggested students produce new material. I’d actually written the very first “scene” as a comic strip that I wanted to pitch to a local newspaper. It didn’t happen, but the scene remained in my head. When I began to generate the pages for the MFA program, that scene popped into my head and became the first three chapters. The story itself is about a young superhero who’s finished his time at The Academy and is assigned to do his Internship. He’s assigned to a small town in the South and things don’t work out the way he imagined they would, being a superhero and all.

Debra: The story sounds very intriguing. Also, those stories that won't let us go, well I think they need to be written and so often turn out to be the best ones an author will write.

Ray Bradbury said, “We are cups, constantly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.” How do you keep your creative cup filled?

Roland: I love Ray Bradbury. In fact, he’s part of my answer to a following question! J Personally, I think creative people are filled by everything around them, and I mean everything. Though some might try to tell you otherwise, authors/writers can’t remove themselves completely from their work. No, I’m not trying to suggest that when you read a book, the author is the main character, but a part of that author and who he is, is in the work somehow. That said, some of the things I do: obviously, I read a lot. Currently the stuff I’m reading is all for school, but it’s a pretty big load—not that I’m complaining. It’s better than working math problems! Another thing I do is eavesdrop. No, not the illegal kind, but the kind where when I’m out and about, I listen to people. Cellphones have helped that “research” aspect for writers tremendously. Give most people a cellphone and they become oblivious of their surroundings and speak at volumes louder than normal. You can get really good bits of dialogue that way!

Debra: Oh, I love him too. His work and his words of advice are true gems. And I agree with you about removing ourselves from the work. We can get distance but it's still authorial voice coming through at least in good stories it is. And math problems? Shiver. Anything but those. lol. Eavesdropping is a tremendous source. Perhaps everything an author encounters is potential fodder for the page. I'm now thinking I should pay more attention to people on cell phones. :-)

Is there a point when your characters begin to come alive and you can see and hear them?

Roland: That’s a cool question. Y’know, I think it’s kind of like our relationships with “real” people. The longer you spend with them, the more time you invest in them, the better you know them. I think that may be why series are so popular—you’ve invested yourself reading one book, so that when the 2nd (or 3rd or more) book comes out, you already “know” that character. I feel that’s why television series are popular and why new ones are hard to get going. To answer specifically, I felt I really knew Caleb (the main character in The Interns) after I’d finished chapter 6, and then revised the entire chaps 1-6.

Debra: Oh thanks, Roland. :-) That's a great way to explain it. Perhaps our story people become more real the more we get to know them as authors and as readers, then they become less like characters.

As a child did any particular book or author pull you into their imaginary world?

Roland: The first one I name may not be exactly what you or your readers anticipate. For me, the first to suck me in was Stan Lee, the man that created or co-created half of the Marvel universe. As a kid, I didn’t really like to read—had no interest in it. Mom, being the good mom she is, sought a way to get me more interested in reading. She introduced me to comic books and the Marvel Universe. I fell in love with the characters almost immediately. Those comics led me to explore other work, and I found writers like HG Wells, Ray Bradbury and Jules Verne.

Debra: I wonder how many children enter the world of reading through comic books? Bless all the mothers like yours who encourage their children to find a route into reading that they enjoy. That story world of imagination, there's nothing like it. The world of story is such a magical place, whether the route to it is a comic book, a hardback or audio book,or lately an e-book or graphic novel. The story world is where the magic is and I'll never understand why people fret so over the route into it.

Is there anything else you would like to add about the role of imagination, and dreams in creating fiction? Any other message for our readers?

Roland: I told you about the book I’m working on, but I would also like to tell you about the one that will be out in just a matter of days. If you had the chance to re-do part of your life, would you? Even if it meant dying earlier? Buying Time is a book that explores this very thing for two men, who purchase part of their past and attempt to relive it. When I get the book in my hands, I’ll announce it on my blog www.rolandmann.wordpress.com and let folks know how they can get it. Thanks for having me here!

Debra: Roland it has been a true pleasure. Thank you for joining us here on this Make-believe Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers.

Readers may find Roland at
www.rolandmann.wordpress.com
www.facebook.com/rolandmann
http://rolandmann.wordpress.com/projects/buyingtime/

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Debra's News/Debra is watching:

I'm home from the Romantic Times convention in Columbus, OH and pictures will soon be up on my website. www.debraparmley.com

There has been a lot going on during the convention and beyond. Here in the mid-south, there has been terrible flooding. Millington, TN is only 20 minutes from my house and to drive home I had to come through Nashville which also had terrible flooding. I'm happy to report that my home is fine as are family members and friends. Some of my friends have lost their homes to flooding and the relief and repair efforts continue here.

My second novel is complete and this week I begin the search for an agent. I will also start playing with the beginning of a new novel, which means exploratory writing, research, imagining....
....one of my favorite times is the beginning of a new novel, when anything I can imagine is possible.

Until next time, stay safe and healthy and hug your loved ones.

Love and light,
Debra

Monday, April 19, 2010

Make-Believe Mondays rests while I head to the Romantic Times Convention - author interviews will resume May 10th

Make-Believe Mondays will take a small rest while I head to the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in Columbus, Ohio. I will be heading to Ohio this weekend and driving back on Monday May 3rd. Make-Believe Mondays author interviews will resume Monday, May 10th.

I'm very pleased that the conference is being held in Columbus, Ohio this year, because it is where I was born! And this will be my first book signing in Ohio, something I have looked forward to with the release of my first book, A DESPERATE JOURNEY.

Here is a partial list of places you will find me in Columbus:

If you are not attending the conference, but live or work in the area this event is open to the public for a small fee of $5.00 at the door.
SATURDAY MAY 1st :11:00 AM - 2:00 PM GIANT BOOK FAIR

Where can you meet your favorite authors, get your pic taken with them or a cover model, or get a sneak preview to what's coming out in the wonderful world of women's fiction? At the one and only RT Booklovers Convention Book Fair! Over 300 authors will autograph books, posters and bookmarks, and you can bring your favorite "keeper" books to have your fav author sign them!!

For those bringing collectibles and "keeper" books, we will clearly label the books for you, so as not to mistake them for new books!

All registered attendees will enter 15 minutes prior to the public opening.

The location is:
Hyatt Regency Columbus
350 North High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215
USA
800 989 8816

And of course who could miss the Mr Romance contest, which has launch the careers of so many cover models?
SATURDAY May 1st: 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM MR. ROMANCE COMPETITION

Past winners of the Mr. Romance competiton and their covers

Can there be that many gorgeous guys in one place? Who will the next Mr. Romance be? Come help us choose the lucky guy who will win a cover shoot with romance giant Dorchester Publishing.

Also, if you are attending the conference, I'm pleased to have my own panel this year:
WEDNESDAY APRIL 28th: 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM HEALTH AND WELL-BEING:WRITERS BREAK-
- THE MIND BODY CONNECTION

Spending hours at the computer can create stiffness, aches and pains. Using skills she learned as a professional belly dancer, Debra Parmley will teach you how to apply yoga and dance movements in your daily writing routine to stay limber, relaxed and in the flow. Panelists: Debra Parmley


Other news:
I'm pleased to announce that my contemporary romance was completed just yesterday. There's a certain satisfaction which comes from typing THE END. Now I am ready to find the agent who is the right match for me. Also finishing up the western novella which I promised my editor and I am thrilled that she will be attending the conference as well so I'll get to meet her in person. All good things. :-)

For those who can't attend the conference and wish to follow me on Twitter, here's where you'll find me. If there's anything you'd like me to report on, send me a tweet and I'll do my best.

And for those who wish to follow this Make-Believe Monday blog, I just added a clickable link for that off to the tight hand side of the blog. Following always makes me think of that song by Genesis. "I will follow you, will you follow me..." Just one of those things that makes me smile. :-)

Until next time...

Love and light,

Debra

www.debraparmley.com

Monday, April 12, 2010

Make-Believe Monday revisits the very first interview hosted here with Lucy Monroe

Today I thought it would be fun to re-run the very first interview I did here on Make-Believe Mondays, back in Jan, of 2006. As you can see the questions have remained the same. Over the years I've interviewed hundreds of authors and you can find them all in the archives.

So now....the very first interview revisited:

I'm thrilled to introduce my dear friend and mentor Lucy Monroe on our first Make-believe Monday.

Lucy writes wonderful romances filled with heroic men and modern women and she writes for three publishing houses. Berkley Sensation, Harlequin Presents and Kensington Brava. On my most recent visit to her website I counted 51 books!

She truly is an amazing author, so let's find out what she has to say about creativity and imagination.

Mark Twain said, "You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus." How do you fill your creative well to keep your imagination in focus?

Lucy:For one thing, you can't stay creative if all you do is create. So, taking time off from creating is a must for me...just not an easy thing to do. I also love to read magazines...not gossip rags (yuck), but stuff like "The Smitsonian", "Architectural Digest" and "Harper's Bazaar", etc. I've just recently taken up knitting and a rousing game of Perquacky with my family can be very creativity enhancing. I also read tons, both fiction and nonfiction, but romance is my favorite. I re-read my favorite authors over and over again and I think that helps me write better. Learning in cockpit as they say. But it fills up my creative well to sip at someone else's.

What a lovely thought. I can just picture authors visiting each other and dipping down to gather that cool clear water before sipping. Creative works can nourish the soul that way.

Is there a point when your characters begin to come alive and you can see and hear them?

Lucy:Usually before I ever type the first word in their story, but sometimes they are nebulous beings that only become concrete after I've really settled the first 50 or so pages of their stories. They always do become concrete and very real to me at some point in the process though.

For some writers, dreams play a role in creating fiction. Has this been true for you? Have you ever dreamed a scene or an image that later wound up in one of your books?

Lucy:I get lots of story ideas from dreams and find that I dream more vividly (and remember my dreams better) when I'm not writing. So, clearly, I've got to get better about taking time off if I want more story ideas to buzz around inside my brain. My agent calls it thinking time...for me, it's dreaming time.

Lucy, thank you for joining us and sharing a glimpse into the creative life of an author. May your dreams be plentiful and your well always full.

To learn more about Lucy and the many stories she's written, visit www.lucymonroe.com
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Debra's News/Debra is watching:

This week the mad dash is on to get ready for the Romantic Times Booklovers convention. I've a manuscript to finish, gift bags for booksellers to make, promotional materials ordered and waiting for them, costumes to plan and a schedule to finalize. I'm thrilled that it will be held in Columbus, Ohio this year because Columbus is where I was born. My parents still live about an hour away and my sister and her family live in the area as well, so it will be nice to be able to visit with my family again.

On Wed April the 28th from 2:30 to 3:30 I am teaching a panel all my own which I am very excited about. It's the first time I will be offering this one.

HEALTH AND WELL-BEING:WRITERS BREAK-- THE MIND BODY CONNECTION

WEDNESDAY: Spending hours at the computer can create stiffness, aches and pains. Using skills she learned as a professional belly dancer, Debra Parmley will teach you how to apply yoga and dance movements in your daily writing routine to stay limber, relaxed and in the flow.
Panelists: Debra Parmley

If you will be attending I would love to see you there!

www.debraparmley.com

I've added a link on this blog today where you can click to subscribe and follow. Thanks for reading! Comments are always a surprise and a joy.

Love and light, until next time,

Debra