Thursday, April 30, 2015

Zoo

I rediscovered the joy of visiting the zoo when I was learning how to use my SLR.


My favorite is the Bronx Zoo, where I can spend an entire day viewing the exhibits.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Yes

Say yes to a new day, new opportunities and new experiences.

In most colleges, students are required to take Core classes to strengthen basic skills, to get a better understanding of themselves and the world around them, and to broaden their horizons. Once a person graduates, he should make a point to continue trying new things.

There will always be people who will try to discourage others from stepping out of a comfort zone and exploring new avenues. However, a person should not let the fears of others hold him back.

Not every experience will be enjoyable, but there could be some pleasant surprises along the way.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

X-rays

I became fascinated with x-rays after I fell and slammed my right shoulder into the side of the bathtub. After viewing the image the doctor left on the screen in his office, I wondered what other parts of my body looked like.

Since then, I've had images taken of my right hand and right foot. Thanks to modern technology, I'm able to get copies of the x-rays on CD.

However, as fascinating at the x-rays are, images from an MRI are even better.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Writing

Whenever someone says, "I always wanted to write a book. What should I do?"

I always answer with, "write the book."

The person usually looks at me like I'm holding back on a secret that will help transform the idea in his head into to a work of art. However, there's no chant or magical wand that gets the words on the paper.

A person can attend conferences, participate in workshops and study books all day long, but he will not produce anything until he sits his butt in a chair and puts his fingers on the keyboard.

Therefore, stop looking for the secret formula and get to work. It's the only way you'll get things done.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Voice

No, not the television show, but the song by Ultravox.

I was going to feature Ultravox for my 'U" post, but when I saw the official music video, it was nothing like what I pictured whenever I hear the song. I then came across this video created by a fan, which is more like what I envision.


Friday, April 24, 2015

Until December - Mirrors

On November 15, 1986, Until December opened for Gene Loves Jezebel at The Ritz. I had never heard of the band before that night, but by the time their set was complete, I was a fan.

"Heaven" may be considered their biggest hit, but my favorite is "Mirrors."

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Travelling

I love traveling...exploring cities, learning their histories and capturing their beauty.

Friendship of Salem, Massachusetts


I hope to visit every state.

Newport Harbor Lighthouse, Rhode Island

Thankfully, the conferences I attend give me the opportunity to fulfill my dream.

Riverwalk, Texas

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Research

An error can pull a reader out of the story, and in some cases, make her abandon the book. These errors can include, but are not limited to, incorrect placement of landmarks, incorrect usage of language, and stereotypes of people and regions.

Research is the key to creating a believable universe that holds a reader’s attention. How much research is needed depends on the subgenre, how much detail the author plans to include and the author’s level of expertise (i.e. if the author’s knowledge came solely from television dramas, she should consider another source).

Research no longer entails hours in a library, pouring over dusty books to verify facts. An author can find websites devoted to topics of interests. She can also interview experts in the field, visit museums or take classes to get hands-on experience with a skill that a character may have. And, if it is in the author’s budget, she could travel to the location in which the story is set.


By devoting a little time and effort to research, an author can add realism to a novel.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Quieting the Voices in My Head

I enjoy forming plots and developing worlds, but the main reason I write is to make my characters happy.

My characters have stories and they will stop at nothing to get them told. I wake up in the morning to them chattering in my head. During the day they pop in and out of my mind teasing me with excerpts from their lives. And, as I close my eyes at night, they tell me how scenes should play out.

They hound me day and night, refusing to be quiet. It isn't until their stories are told that they finally settle down... or, at least, step aside for the next cast of characters.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Pretzels

When it comes sweets and junk food, I'm worse than a five year old. Having no self-control, I will eat an entire package of Twizzlers or a large bucket a popcorn in one sitting. Therefore, to prevent the stomach that usually occurs after I overindulge in my favorite snacks, I avoid purchasing everything...with the exception of pretzels.

I'm a pretzel junkie and will go out of my way to make certain I get my daily fix.  I'm very picky about the pretzels I eat. My favorite is Synder Snaps, but when those can't be found, I enjoy Synder sticks or Utz extra thins.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Observations


Put away your cell phone as you walk down the street. Admire the architecture of the city or the wonders of Mother Nature.

Writing can be made stronger by observation. Authors who study the world around them are able to better describe what their characters see, hear, smell, taste and feel.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Neighbors

New York taken from Palisades Park
New Jersey taken from the George Washington Bridge

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Music



Whenever I write, I have music playing in the background. The genre depends on what I'm writing and mood of the novel. For Sweet Jazz I compiled a playlist of jazz tunes. While I created a playlist of popular music from the 1950s for my upcoming novel, A Bookie's Odds.

My favorite genre is goth. There is something about songs from The Cure, Gene Loves Jezebel and Lowlife that help relax me or brighten my mood.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Life Does Not Begin At 40...

My life actually began at 39.

After I purchased my first SLR and followed my dream, my whole world opened up.


Though I prefer shooting landscapes, I love the challenge of the action shots.


Monday, April 13, 2015

Killing Your Darlings

After painstakingly analyzing every word to create the perfect scene, the last thing an author wants to do is delete even one letter. However, no matter how attached we are to our scenes if they do not move the story forward, they need to be removed.

It is not easy for an author to get rid of a scene she likes. She may prefer to cut of an arm instead. But, once she rereads her work, she will see how much better it is without the padding.

If the scene means that much to the author, she can consider putting it aside to use in another work or expand the scene into a short story.


Saturday, April 11, 2015

Juicy Scenes?

One of the biggest misconceptions about romance novels is that they have sex in them. A romance novel can range from sweet, in which all action takes place off the page, to spicy, in which the author goes into graphic details about the act.

The main goal of a romance novel is to show a couple overcoming internal and external conflicts in order to achieve a happily-ever-after or a happy-for-now. Sometimes they may have sex during their journey; other times they may not believe the act is necessary for them to achieve their goals.

Whether the characters consummate their relationship before the end of the story depends on their beliefs, their goals and the situations they find themselves in. Therefore, before an author adds a sex scene, she should ask whether the act will help move the story forward or if it is simply filler.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Interviews

Authors sometimes have to conduct interviews to get more information for their novels. However, before bombarding someone with questions, there are a few tips to remember. 
  1. Inform the interviewee that you are conducting research for your novel.
  2. Show up on time for the interview.
  3. Be prepared with specific questions.
  4. If there is a question the interviewee does not want to answer, do not press the issue.
  5. However, if the person enjoys telling stories, sit back and listen.
  6. If the interviewee goes off topic or you do not have the time to hear a life story, politely steer the interview back to the specific question you asked.
  7. If you want to record the interview, ask before pulling out any recording device.
  8. After the interview, thank the interviewee for speaking with you and follow up with a thank you letter or token of appreciation.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

George Washington Bridge


Walking across the George Washington Bridge was not something I looked forward to doing. However, if I did not take the trip, I knew I would regret it.

On my last birthday, I faced my fear of heights and accompanied my son on the hike from Washington Heights in New York to the Palisades in New Jersey.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Edward


This is one of the few pictures I was able to get of my son when he was a teenager. If you look close enough, you can see the tip of his hair peeping out from under the quilt.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Dreams

Cass didn’t know why she bothered. It wasn’t like she didn’t have enough to do so she had to fuss over a man who refused to take care of himself.

From his grimaces, it was obvious Randy needed a doctor, not the alcohol-drenched washrag she held. But, no, he was too stubborn to seek a professional.


She had a right mind to drop the cloth on his face, pick up her bag, and go home. Yet the purple and black bruises on his face, along with the crusted blood on his lip and above his eye, brought out the caretaker in her. She couldn’t leave him in his condition, no matter how much he tried to push her away.

This scene came to me in a dream. It was the first one I wrote for my debut novel Sweet Jazz.

Friday, April 03, 2015

The Cloisters



Though I was born and raised in New York, in 2009 I spent the summer touring the city. Besides The Cloisters, I visited every Botanical Gardens and Zoo in the five boroughs.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

A Bookie's Odds

Georgia dragged her feet until she was six inches in front of Nicholas. She reached up for the keys. He wrapped his fingers around hers, pulled her hand to his lips and kissed the back.

“Smile.” His tone softened as he pressed the pipe into her free hand. “Everything’ll be all right.”

Georgia shook her head. She knew it wouldn’t. Nicholas may have given her the weapon, but he was still capable of inflicting damage with his bare hands.

Since editor said she wanted to contract A Bookie's Odds, I haven't been able to stop squealing and dancing.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Author...Artist...Jane of All Trades



"You don't know what you want to do with yourself."

This comment was said by someone close to me as I described the latest artistic project that caught my interest. Though the lack of support stung, it did not come as a total surprise to me.

Some people believe in focusing all their attention on one activity. While I agree practice makes perfect, I also believe life is too short to limit one's focus.

Besides writing, I enjoy drawing and photography. I have also studied painting and stone carving. And, I'm always looking for new projects to work on.