Being Yourself / Finding Your Voice

A twofold post in some ways.  Always strive to be who you are, not what you think you should be, or someone tells you to be.  Goes without saying, but what the heck?  😉

We have certain mannerisms, expressions/speech patterns, views, appearances, and so forth that define who we are.  Each and every one of us is unique—like a twinkling star in the vast, ever-changing sky.  That’s pretty damn cool.  We should rejoice in that.

That relates to personal/private lives as much as professional ones.  We can spend months, if not years, determining our style (how and what we’re going to write), how we want to be perceived and, yes, who we are as authors.

As in our personal lives, we’re influenced by outside sources—nothing wrong with that, long as we recognize and hold on to who we are.  When we begin to mimic [talk, advocate, look like] someone else, then the uniqueness and originality is nonexistent. The voice we project belongs to another.

Admire fellow writers and artists and give credit and compliments where due.  Read, read, read.  Learn, learn, learn.  And . . . yes . . . write, write, write.  Don’t emulate someone to the point where you’ve become an imitator, an impersonator.  That deprives the reading world of a[nother] potentially great novelist, playwright, poet, or blogger.  It robs the world of you.

Nothing comes easy.  That’s a given.  And it may prove a challenge, even a struggle, to determine the unique person you are . . . and find that distinctive [exceptional] voice that is solely yours.  Don’t cheat us—or yourself—of that.

Shine as only you can.

When You Think You Can’t Keep Going . . . Keep Going!

The hardest thing about being a writer or blogger, or you-fill-in-the-[      ]er, is to keep going.  You have another job, the kids and/or partner want your attention, someone’s criticized your work, you’re suffering from insomnia so the ol’ gray matter’s not cooperating, you feel like crap . . . the reasons are many.

I’ve been feeling overwhelmed for a wee while now.  My writing’s not happening due to an overbrimming plate.  The Japanese course is tough and, although I’m studying/reviewing every day, it’s not sinking in the way it should  (or I’d like it to).  My grades are “ech”.  Sure, I could apply myself more—I could quit my day job and study all day long.  Then maybe, just maybe, I’d do [a lot] better.

Like others who may be in a similar boat, I am beating myself up.  But I do excel at that, having been doing that for years.  I learned it from others who were good at browbeating [me].  As such, it’s tough to shake the I’m-not-as-good-as-others mindset; it was “programmed” from a very young age.

So, here I am.  Poor little old me (emphasis on the “old”).  <sigh>  I can’t get it right.  I should give up.  <moan, groan>  Why bother?  <sniffle>

You know why I shouldn’t give up . . . why I should bother?  Because no one has the right to put a damper on how I feel.  I’m doing the best that I can [at this juncture].  Maybe I’ll do better.  Maybe not.  But I’m doing.  And that’s all that matters.

So, my friends, if you’re experiencing a dry or downward spiraling spell, don’t give up.  Sure, easy to say; difficult to do.  But “difficult” is only a word.  And as writers/bloggers, we’ve been known to through those around . . . in abundance.  So, let’s throw them back.

It’s within us to persevere.  To push through.  There may be a bad day (may be ten), but there will be a good one  (may be ten).  When you [truly] think you can’t keep going, take a long deep breath, square those shoulders, and say—shout!—I can and will keep going!

. . . Yes, you can.

Still Show? . . . Still Tell?

Belonging to different on-line writers’ groups provides an array of viewpoints re approaches to writing.

♣  No, you don’t have to use Times New Roman font anymore.  ♣  Nothing wrong with using [a jumble of] various POVs.  ♣  Don’t put two spaces after a period.  Old school.  Old hat.  ♣  On no account do you have to show and tell; many great writers didn’t!

That’s why they were great.  They possessed talent.  They had a distinct voice.  They knew how to detail and describe, and draw in readers.

Newbie writers—sorry if “newbie” is a bygone word, but I rather like it—haven’t yet mastered a voice or style.  And, if they have, hats off!  You’re nothing short of genius (using that as an adjective, just to be clear).

Perhaps you don’t want to be show-don’t-tell writer.  Nothing wrong with that.  But maybe employing the approach, if only as a learning tool, isn’t a bad or worthless suggestion.  We develop as writers—as we do in any profession or craft—by practicing, studying and applying what we’ve learned.

That’s it.  Short and sweet.  And that phrase still applies . . . I’m telling you.  😉

A Little Sunshine Warms More than the Heart

Just when you think nothing good or pleasant is ever going to happen again, a teeny-weeny transient occurrence transpires and you think—believe—hey, maybe there is a ray of sunshine beyond the darksome clouds. 

My mother’s long-term-care home held a fundraiser recently where balloon-wielding residents were wheeled around the block by caregivers and PSWs.  Led by an adorable [ever-smiling] Corgi-mix canine proudly and happily seated on a woman’s lap and two coordinators joyfully displaying a mammoth banner, off we trundled—50+ wheelchairs on a mission.

The excitement and cheer were tangible, the sky cloudless and brilliant blue, the sun lemon-yellow bright and warming.  A better day you couldn’t ask for.  Tears welled (yours truly is a sponge for emotion) and very nearly cascaded as passing drivers waved and honked.  They expressed support.  . . . They cared.

How glorious!  It renewed faith and hope; yes, both may well wane again, individual and international  problems and plights being what they are.  But, at least for the interim, the boost of optimism—that ray of sunshine—was, and is, most welcome.  I’m going to hang on [tightly] to it for as long as I can.  😉

Hear We Go . . . Again

A short and sweet FYI post . . .

The P.I.s from the Triple Threat Investigation Agency are thrilled.  HA-HA-HA-HA, their fourth official case, is being made into an audio book. Kathy Handrock, who narrated Coco’s Nuts and Forever Poi, is at the helm again.

A quick rundown . . .

HA-HA-HA-HA has JJ, Rey, and Linda on a serial killer’s buddy list.  The GrimReaperPeeper, or GRP, has taken intense [obsessive] interest in the trio.  When he’s not taunting and teasing them, he’s challenging the private eyes to “play the game”—by his rules.

His texts and calls are frequent and calling cards are never that far.  He’s smart, scheming, and dangerous.  And clever and cunning to boot because DNA and fingerprints are never found . . . not on the tortured bodies, not on the black roses he leaves pinned on his hapless victims, not by the waterways and streams where they’re found.

JJ, Rey, and Linda delve into the symbolism of flowers and water as they attempt to figure out what makes GRP tick.  Maybe there’s something in this crazed serial killer’s past that has prompted him to kill in the manner he does?  Finding facts and clues proves challenging, but they can be as relentless as their “admirer”.  They’ll figure out who he is if it’s the last thing they do!

And it may well be . . .

Who’s Hustling Whom?

Hey, it’s Rey!

Hey, it’s JJ!

Stop stealing my greeting, Cousin Jilly!

It’s not solely yours, Cousin Reynalda!

Good grief.  Hi, it’s Linda and I’m taking over, ladies.  Go bicker elsewhere.  . . . Go on!

Now that my colleagues are gone, I can get into this post.  It’s a quick one, a down and dirty as my squabbling BFF might say.

We’re still solving our latest case (Disco’s Dead and so is Mo-Mo).  It’s a puzzler.  Just who killed Mo-Mo Martine those many decades ago?  It could be any number of people—and some of them may already be doing the hustle with Mo-Mo on the otherworldly colorful disco dance floor.  Others are boogying down . . . and bowing out (permanently).

Here’s an extract (JJ tells it best) . . .

As we parked the Jeep a block from the bank, yet another call came in.  Given we had some time before meeting Paige Penner, I put the cell on speaker again and leaned back in the driver’s seat.  Sach lowered his seat, stretched his legs, and tucked his hands behind his neck.

“You and your comrades have been calling a lot of people, hoping to solve a decades-old case,” Pug McWilliams chortled, sounding strangely like The Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr in the 1939 version of The Wizard of Oz).

That was quick.  Sach, my “comrade”, feeling proactive, had only left a voicemail ten minutes ago.  “It’s really a new case, given Mo-Mo Martine was only recently found.”

“You say toe-may-toe, I say tow-maw-tow,” he laughed—in the manner of that cowardly lion.

Sach and I looked at each other with what-the-fuck? expressions (it was kind of, well, creepy).

“What can I tell you?  Who did it?  Don’t know.  Could have been Johnny Baloney.  Could have been me.”  More laughter.

Was it you?” I queried.

A snicker.  “Wish it had been, in a way.  I’d like to take credit for it—get a few hearty pats on the back from those still around who care.  But no, it wasn’t me.”

Idly, I watched Saturday traffic pass.  “You had a major fight though.  It was said you were very angry with Mo-Mo after that.”

“Wouldn’t you be if you lost four teeth and had thousands of dollars of dental work done as a result?”  A snort.  “Never mind that, at the time, I was a pretty good amateur boxer and I looked pretty f’g silly having been thrashed by my stupid flabby cousin.”

“The guy got in a couple of lucky punches, that’s all,” Sach offered consolingly.  “You know though?  You should have sued.”

“Yeah, he did get in those punches quick.  Caught me totally unawares.”  Pug sighed.   “Sue that prick?  That’d have gone over like a lead balloon—as in two lead-filled balloons attached to my legs.”

“Did he do that often?” I inquired.  “No one we’ve spoken to has actually stated that.”

“The guy was no saint,” he answered caustically.  “He never got his hands dirty, save when he was cooking, but he had the right people take care of things for him.  And they did it very well and very discreetly.”

Sach and I looked at each other again—with wide, pleased smiles.

“Some real dirt,” Sach mouthed.  He then ventured to ask, “Who’d he off?”

We’ll—hmm, maybe that should be I’ll—keep you updated as to how things fare.

Aloha from the Triple Threat Investigation Agency—enjoy the weekend!

Hear We Go . . .

The audiobook for Coco’s Nuts, the fourth book in the Oahu-based Triple Threat Investigation Agency series—featuring private eyes JJ, Rey, and Linda—is now available on Audible . . . and should now be live on Amazon and iTunes.  😊

Coco’s Nuts finds the three rookie private eyes entrenched in their second professional assignment: proving socialite-turned-trucker Buddy Feuer did not shoot her boss, infamous entrepreneur Jimmy Picolo.

Despite what the evidence suggests, JJ, Rey and Linda are certain that Buddy has been set up.  In their quest for answers, JJ, Rey and Linda contend with a slew of suspects.  Several persons hated Picolo enough to kill him but locating the one who pulled the trigger proves challenging, and the trio endeavors to uncover a killer amid another cast of curious and unconventional characters.

 Their detecting travels lead them along a few detours, like the world of gambling and debt-collecting limb-breakers.  Picolo’s daughter, Annia, owes thousands of dollars in Vegas and Oahu.  Might this have motivated her to kill her father—so that she could collect a sizeable inheritance?  What about Picolo’s son?  Could Jimmy Junior have been [too] eager to take over his father’s multiple businesses?  What of nutty Coco Peterson, a Picolo employee, who has been missing since his boss’ murder?  The odd little fellow (pest, some call him), appears to be a central piece in this perplexing puzzler.

Perhaps you might be interested in checking out how the P.I.s fare?  Here are the official Audible links:

US: https://www.audible.com/pd/B0B3541LKT/?source_code=AUDFPWS0223189MWT-BK-ACX0-310244&ref=acx_bty_BK_ACX0_310244_rh_us

UK: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/B0B356PR3S/?source_code=AUKFrDlWS02231890H6-BK-ACX0-310244&ref=acx_bty_BK_ACX0_310244_rh_uk

Aloha!

Reel ‘Em In

With all ya’ve got.  Hey, it’s Rey today.

The Boss has 103 errands, Linda’s doing volunteer work at the animal shelter, and Linda’s up north, surfing again.  So, that leaves me to post today.  I was all for sharing my latest sale finds, but Linda pooh-poohed that.  JJ didn’t care much for my second idea: talking about my actress life.  The Boss thought, considering it’s been a wee while, maybe a post related to writing or blogging would be a good idea.  Yeah, sure, whatever.  Yawno. 

It’s no secret that I don’t like to read much.  But if I’m going to pick up a book and keep it picked up—as in not jamming it in a drawer or recycling bin ‘cause it’s boring the <bleep> outta me—it had better catch my interest from the get-go.  It has to reel me in.

I don’t think it matters what the genre is, though maybe if it’s a thriller, suspense, mystery and/or within those categories, something dramatic or frightening or shocking would be a great way to begin, because John’s adventures at the grocery store ain’t gonna cut it.

The strident sound of breaking glass reverberated throughout the small, dilapidated dwelling.  Having stepped onto the porch but seconds before, Nathan whirled.  His fifth victim couldn’t have done that.  She was dead.

I wrote that—with Lindy-Loo’s help; in fact, she kinda proofed this post (let me keep my voice, something the Boss was talking about recently, but made the content “snap” a bit more).  It works, don’t you think?  Aren’t you curious to find out what happened . . . who the victim is . . . what led up to this? 

Other genres might not have such a suspenseful, chilling, or dark opening, but they have to be intriguing enough to keep a reader—someone like me—captivated.  With a romance, something like this might garner my interest.

Accepting an invitation to the gala had seemed like a good idea.  How was Vivana to know he’d be there?  That he’d openly and haughtily snub her, and flirt brazenly with other women?   Cad.  Wasn’t that the word used, once upon a time, to describe an unprincipled man?  Yeah, that was Calvin.  A cad—of the most double-dealing kind.

The opening for a science-fiction or fantasy (and anything in between) novel should be no different.  Evoke . . . draw . . . appeal.

The third moon shone crimson before dark voluminous clouds glided across it like former fairground banners.  There was rain in the dense, damp air.  As was tension.  Something ghastly—and unforeseen—was about to transpire and Roget was the only one to know.  Could he stop it?  Should he stop it?

An opening sentence/paragraph is probably the most crucial part of the book; it can make or break you.  And, as a writer hoping to attract an abundance of readers, I’m sure you’d opt for the “make” instead of “break”; am I right? 

‘Nuff said.  For now.  Go reel ‘em in! 

 

The Stuff that Dreams are Made Of

Recently, I’d started cleaning up the storage unit downstairs.  <bleep>  Just how much “stuff” can one cram in such a small space?  A lot, let me tell you!  Twenty-years-plus of binders and bins abound (they actually seem to have morphed).

Most of it is writing done over the span of 30 years—manuscripts primarily, some scripts, outlines, and research materials.  The intent [now a hazy memory]: keep them to appreciate the evolution. Looking back [while scanning first pages] my dream of being a successful, established author was just that: a dream.  😉

I got through maybe 1/5 of the stuff, my works of genius <LMAO> but what a great eye-opening exercise.  Yes (thankfully and gratefully)!  This writer, like fine red wine, had improved with time/age.  I could see that my writing has developed by leaps and bounds . . . and I understood why publishers and agents never wanted to take me on during those early [formative] years.

When I first began, I was so sure my stories were solid/unique (as in a great read) and, subsequently, saleable.  Surprise, surprise.  They weren’t.  Maybe the ideas were there, but the execution wasn’t; if it had been, the right approach (talent/skill) might have resulted in acceptance (a contract) instead of rejection (a heaping pile).  Back then, I simply wasn’t honed enough.  I hadn’t found my voice.

That’s what really makes a writer, doesn’t it?  His/her voice.  That distinct, gripping, fascinating voice that differs with every last one of us.

If you, as an aspiring writer, are ever feeling discouraged or uncertain whether to carry on (it can be daunting, to be sure, finding and executing ideas), carry on.  Believe in yourself and your dream.  If it’s in your heart to write, do it.  And keep doing it.  Learn from mistakes.  That’s how we grow.  That’s how we realize dreams.  😉

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