Ze weekend, she has begun!

Well, it’s Friday, and you know what that means – there should be a photo post today! But thanks to my lovely guest, and the fact that I’ve had a wild and crazy day and I have a wedding to go to tomorrow, I’m going to forego today’s usual Photo Friday post. I’ll still get it posted, but it may not be till Sunday or Monday. So until then, have a great weekend, stay safe, and keep cool!

(c) 2012. All rights reserved.

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Killing your darlings

It’s a bonus post!  That’s right, as a special treat from that all-around wonderful author, Lisa McKay, I’ve got another guest post for you!  As I’m sure every writer out there can, I totally relate to the pain that comes with the necessity of “killing your darlings.”  Sometimes it’s quite easy, but sometimes it really is murder.  Today, Lisa shares her thoughts on killing your darlings.

Last week, after a string of awful nights, I decided to write a children’s story.  The fun I had writing this little story did not make up for the exhaustion and aggravations of the previous week, but it helped.  As I rhymed my way through verses about dogs, roosters, mosquitoes and various other midnight misadventures I even found myself laughing.

My 2nd favorite line was the one about wishing all the roosters would die, but my absolute favorite line of the whole piece came at the end of the stanza about mosquitoes.

Love at the Speed of Email, an excerpt

And now, an excerpt from “Spinsters Abroad,” the first chapter of Love at the Speed of Email:

I don’t feel ready for kids yet.  I don’t have that powerful soul-deep hunger to be a mother that I hear some of my girlfriends talk about.  I’m not sure I ever will.  But I am starting to catch myself wondering sometimes, in a much more abstract fashion, whether I’m going to miss out altogether on those beauties and struggles peculiar to parenthood or on learning how to be genuinely vulnerable in a way I suspect that only the bond of marriage allows.  And whether, if I do, I’ll wake up in fifteen years and still believe that it was worth it – this choice that I have made again and again throughout my twenties to pursue adventure and novelty and helping people in faraway lands rather than stability and continuity and helping people in a land I claim as mine.

These are melancholy moments.  These are days when I wake up and wonder whether I wouldn’t perhaps feel happier, more fulfilled or less restless on a radically different path.  When I would really like to come home to someone who’s vowed to be interested in how my day was.  When I just want someone to bring me coffee in bed or rub my shoulders uninvited.

Yet, right alongside these wonderings that sometimes dead-end in dying alone at ninety lie other wonderings, other fears.

After a nomadic life that has largely been defined by coming and (always, inevitably) going, am I even capable of the sort of commitment demanded by marriage and children and a place called home?

I touched on this confused tangle of longings recently with a girlfriend for whom I was a bridesmaid a decade ago.  Jane is now living on a verdant pecan farm in Australia ten miles from my parents’ place, complete with a sweet prince of a husband, two little girls, a dog, two cats, a horse, and a veggie garden.

“You know, I want your life sometimes,” I confessed near the end of our conversation.

Jane laughed.  “My brain is turning to mush with no one but the kids to talk to all day, and when you say that you spent – Eloise, I told you to stay at the table while you finish your milk!  Sit back down please – when you say that you spent last week in Boston at a conference and you’re off to New York next week, I want your life.”

-pgs. 24-25, “Spinsters Abroad,” Love at the Speed of Email by Lisa McKay
Photo courtesy of Lisa McKay

(c) 2012.  All rights reserved.

And now, the interview!

Lisa McKay, author and guest poster extraordinaire
Photo courtesy of Lisa McKay

Hopefully you all stopped by yesterday to check out the awesome guest post by the fabulous Lisa McKay.  If you didn’t, well, why not?  Go on then, go check it out.  I’ll wait.  Have you read it then?  Okay, good.  Because now comes the fabulous interview!  (Is it okay that I’ve used the word fabulous twice in one paragraph now? Yes?  Okay, good. :))

Your first book was a novel.  What were some of the challenges you faced in switching from fiction to creative nonfiction?

When I was writing my first novel (My Hands Came Away Red), I found myself getting surprised by what was happening.  As I figured out the “what” of plot, however, an understanding of my characters’ actions and reactions followed fairly naturally.

Writing a memoir reversed this process.  I already knew what happened – I’d lived it – but I had to work much harder to figure out what it all meant to me, then and now.

The plotting process was different, too.  With the novel, I wrote my way into the story blind, without an outline.  As I wrote, the story gained momentum as events unfolded.

In contrast, I had a clear vision for the start and end of the memoir, bu little idea of how I was going to get from one place to the other.  Despite repeated outlines, I continued to flounder in the middle until the very final drafts of the manuscript.

Tell us about your new book.  What inspired you to write memoir?

Love at the Speed of Email is the story of an old-fashioned courtship made possible by modern technology.

Lisa looks as if she has it made.  She has turned her nomadic childhood and forensic psychology training into a successful career as a stress management trainer for humanitarian aid workers.  She lives in Los Angeles, travels the world, and her first novel has just been published to some acclaim.  But as she turns 31, Lisa realizes that she is still single, constantly on airplanes, and increasingly wondering where home is and what it really means to commit to a person, place, place, or career.  When an intriguing stranger living on the other side of the world emails her out of the blue, she must decide whether she will risk trying to answer those questions.  Her decision will change her life.

I didn’t intend for this second book to be a memoir.  In fact, I was working on a novel on human trafficking when my husband, Mike, and I became engaged.  But as we began to plan our wedding I found it increasingly difficult to flip in and out of such vastly different worlds – the happiness of the one I was living in and the harshness of the one I was trying to write about.

I’d spent my childhood living in countries as diverse as Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.  I carried Australian and Canadian passports.  I was living in Los Angeles working for a nonprofit organization that provided psychological support to humanitarian workers worldwide.  I was hopelessly confused as to where home was.  Perhaps, I thought, I could write my way towards clarity.  That’s when I started working on the memoir.

Do you enjoy writing in any other genres?  What genres do you enjoy reading?

The answer to these and other questions are this-a-way! Follow me!

Six tips for marketing self-published books

And now, the fabulous guest post by Lisa McKay, author of My Hands Came Away Red and Love at the Speed of Email!  Marketing is a tricky beast, whether you’re traditionally published or self-published, and Lisa has knowledge of both realms.  To learn more about this wonderful author, you can start by visiting her website at www.lisamckaywriting.com.  Don’t forget to pick up a copy of her memoir, Love at the Speed of Email, available here!

Last Wednesday I wrote about the challenge that marketing can be for self-publishing authors.  I asked what you would do if you were in charge of marketing my memoir, Love at the Speed of Email, and was flooded with responses.

Well, not exactly.

Let the fun begin!

Love at the Speed of Email is the story of old-fashioned courtship made possible by modern technology – the tale of two people separated by the Pacific Ocean who build a long-distance relationship entirely via email.  Along the way, the narrator – a global nomad who has spent her life as the transient resident of eight different countries – must confront troubling questions about where home really is and what it means to commit to a person, a place, or a career.

Lisa looks as if she has it made.  She has turned her nomadic childhood and forensic psychology training into a successful career as a stress management trainer for humanitarian aid workers.  She lives in Los Angeles, travels the world, and her first novel has just been published to some acclaim.  But as she turns 31, Lisa realizes that she is still single, constantly on airplanes, and increasingly wondering where home is and what it really means to commit to a person, place, or career.  When an intriguing stranger living on the other side of the world emails her out of the blue, she must decide whether she will risk trying to answer those questions.  Her decision will change her life.

Lisa McKay is a psychologist who specializes in stress, trauma, and resilience.  She currently lives in Laos.  Love at the Speed of Email is her second book.  To learn more, visit www.lisamckaywriting.com.

For more fun with this fantastic author, stop back tomorrow for Day Two of this special four-day event!

(c) 2012.  All rights reserved.

*crash*

That sound you just heard?  You know, the one that sounded like a dead body being dumped from a second story window?  That’s the sound of me crashing after Cricket’s birthday party.  The coffee I had with my milk and sugar this morning wore off sometime around 11:30 a.m. and zzzzzzz…

(c) 2012.  All rights reserved.

Zombified

Between preparing for Cricket’s birthday party and participating in the follow party hosted by Charlotte Castle on Facebook yesterday, I’m feeling a bit zombified today.  The follow party was great fun – I’ve made some new friends, gained some new followers, and had some great conversations.  But this zombie feeling isn’t likely to let up soon – Cricket’s party is tomorrow and I still have lots to do yet.  I’m taking a break for now, though.  I need a good nap.

I’m still struggling to believe that come Monday, Cricket will be two years old.  It seems like just yesterday we brought him home from the hospital, all excited and filled with joy at the prospect of the new life that was ours to mold.  I must admit, my favorite part of having kids with Seymour (namely, Cricket and Thumper) is that we don’t have to share them with anyone else (Tadpole and Tomcat each come from previous marriages and, while we normally get along pretty well with our exes, there are always times when things don’t go the way we would like them to go or when we don’t get to have the kids when we would like to have them because they’re with their other parents – it’s just part of being divorced).  For instance, Tomcat and Tadpole are with their other parents this weekend and as far as I know will not be able to come to Cricket’s party tomorrow.  It’s a disappointment, but it comes with the territory when you’re a divorced parent.  That’s just the way life goes.

Anyway, my boys are getting so big that it’s hard to believe.  In just over a month I’ll be doing all this again in preparation for Thumper’s first birthday!  To be honest, I’m just glad he’s made it to his birthday because when he was born, we weren’t sure he would.  His birth was vastly different from his brother’s – instead of a joyful event full of smiles and visitors, it was an anxiety-ridden event full of worry and panic.  It all seems like such a long time ago, but at the same time, it feels like only yesterday.  It’s funny how time pulls that off.

And now, to nap.  Don’t forget to stop back Monday, when I’ll be kicking off four days of posts featuring Lisa McKay and her latest book, Love at the Speed of Email!  You won’t want to miss it!

(c) 2012.  All rights reserved.

Tinker, tenor, author, spy

Okay, so that was a rather poor Star Trek reference, but it made me smile. (I can’t help it; I love the Doctor. :))  Anyway, my good friend Lindsey Parsons has published her first novel, Vortex, and you can find it on both Amazon and Amazon UK.

On a night when prophecies stir, an outraged dragon vents his anger, Damian is ripped from everything he knows and Sam’s nightmares become real…

Sam isn’t enjoying university life, she’s disillusioned with her course and having second thoughts about her future.  It doesn’t help that she keeps having a scary recurring nightmare and when she thinks things couldn’t get worse, a creepy man follows her back to her room.

Damian is unique, he has silver eyes, horns, and wings, he is also being visited by a ghost girl.  She looks so sad and frightened he feels compelled to help her, but the night he reaches out to save her from a dragon’s fiery breath he gets ripped from his life, his world, from everything he knows.

Now it’s Damian who’s lost in an unfamiliar world that’s devoid of magic and full of strange monsters.  His only connection with home is Sam, who he recognizes as the ghost girl.  Sam has to put aside her fear and disbelief in Damian’s explanations about himself to try and help him find his way home.  But in a world without magic is this possible?

To learn more about Lindsey, click here to read her recent interview with Tricia Drammeh and here to read her interview with Kate Jack.  Help support this great author!

(c) 2012.  All rights reserved.

It’s five o’clock somewhere…

It’s five o’clock somewhere, right?  Why the heck can’t it be five o’clock here?  I just want to go home and sit in my lovely air-conditioned living room and relax with my guys. *sigh*

Also, check out The Page Turner!  It’s a super cool blog run by a great gal and one of yesterday’s posts featured The Lokana Chronicles!  Needless to say, I was pretty stoked.  Be sure to check out the pages 105 Tips for Writers and A Page Turner for a look at the awesome Page Turner software.  The software isn’t live yet, but it sounds like they hope to start beta testing pretty soon.  I personally can’t wait to start playing around with it.

And now, I think I’ll try to rest my poor sun-fried brain.  It’s another scorcher out there today and another one of my kids has another ballgame tonight.  Tadpole played a doubleheader last night (won one, lost one) and Tomcat has a game tonight (not a doubleheader, thank goodness).  I missed out last night because it was too hot for Cricket and Thumper to be outside and I think I’m going to miss out tonight, too, because it’s actually hotter today than yesterday (mid-nineties for temps, heat indices in the lower triple digits, humidity levels approaching 100% – yesterday was pretty similar, but with 30-40 mph winds all day long on top of all that).  Blargh.

(c) 2012.  All rights reserved.