A little something from years ago ...

A few years ago, I entered the following essay in a blog contest (on a writer's blog that has since become obsolete or I would link to it). My essay was a featured entry and since I am working on THE PROMISE edit, this is all I can post for the moment. Enjoy!


As I was driving down the interstate the other day, I was thinking about something I had recently read about writers and inspiration and the passion it takes to be an effective story teller. Before I could mentally finish the silent review of what I had read, my mind had taken me back to my most recent affair. I’ve had many affairs, ten of them in fact, yet my affairs aren’t the traditional betrayals you hear about in a celebrity magazine or the local day spa. My affairs go a little something like this; I live somewhere else, somewhere I’ve seen featured on a calendar or postcard, somewhere with no smog, no inversion, no rain clouds, no dirty, left-over snow, or pungent smoke from nearby mountain fires. I am the heroine. I am smart and sexy, and the object of desire for every man within a hundred miles of me. I am desperately in love with the hero and wouldn’t you know it? He’s desperately in love with me, too. My life is complicated but not a “normal complicated”. It’s complicated in ways I don’t know if I, me, the real person could withstand, but the “other me” does and most often times with perseverance, class, and style. In my affair, there are no mundane issues to deal with. Running out of milk or locking my keys in the car doesn’t happen in my other life. Oh, no. The travesties in my alternative life might include infidelity, rape, drug addiction, emotional abuse, adoption, assault, infertility, secrets, fires, lies, kidnapping, fraud, exploitation, and death, just to name a few. And as I deal with each fictitious trial in my bonus life, I am taken away from the “normal complicated” issues I should be dealing with but don’t have the mental energy nor the desire to.

You see, I start an affair, an alternate life, and it literally consumes me. My mind, my responsibilities, my behavior, my desires are all controlled by the story. Two great kids, a wonderful husband, and a friendly little dog can’t keep me from thinking about anything else. I wake up in my story, and even with a full day’s schedule, my time is spent thinking and/or writing about my most recent affair. I lay in bed at night speaking dialog to the voices in my head that are the characters in the story. I sometimes dream in my affairs, only to wake the next morning and start the vicious cycle all over again. This process lasts for days, weeks, months--as long as it takes, until I type the final word of the novel and put an end to the affair, whether or not I or my heroic lover want to end it.

Back to the drive down the interstate. I was lost in thought of where the characters in my most recent story needed to go when a loud, resounding question entered my head.

Am I losing my mind?

I don’t know who asked the question. It could be the male protagonist in my previous novel, a muscular, educated man that wasn’t too happy that I had to end our affair. It could be my poor husband of sixteen years, wondering when my latest novel is going to be completed so that I will clean up the house a bit, or maybe cook a warm meal that doesn’t require a can opener. Maybe it came from me, my own sanity calling for me to get back on track with my life, focus on my own trials, the real ones--grocery shopping, homework with the kids, my relationship with my real-life lover. Honestly, I don’t know who asked the question, and sadly enough, I didn’t have an immediate answer.

I know I can’t be the only writer who literally looses themselves in a story. I can’t be the only writer who eats, sleeps and breathes their affairs. I can’t believe that I am the only writer, amongst the hundreds of thousands of writers on the planet that is obsessed with my alternate life—at least I don’t want to believe I am the only one. If I am, I think I’ve got my answer to the question . . . undeniably. "



I think I might be in a funk. Everything bugs me. I'm inpatient. I'm cold all the time. Normally I'm in love with the cold days of winter -- layered clothing, extra blankets, hot cocoa -- but right now, I'm just cold.
I need to get out of this funk I'm in. I'm doing well professionally. Amazing things are happening with the book. I am getting fantastic feedback. I know exactly where I want to go with THE TRAIT series and who I want to work with, but it doesn't seem to help my frostbitten psyche.

Maybe a top 5 will help?


#5 - Soak in hot bath while watching a chick flick. My daughter says it's a heavenly waste of time that I should indulge in.

#4 - Drink more soda. Yes, I actually have room to increase my soda intake because as of late, I have substantially cut back.

#3 - Scrapbook.

#2 - Finish Hive Mind.

#1 - Bake some sort of bread, cake-ish bread, not yeast bread.

I'll let you know if hot water, carbonation, my paper trimmer, my keyboard or the cake works.



What's in a name?

I have started the preliminary outline for my next series, PARADIGM. Starting a new story is one of my favorite "jobs" as a writer. To get to pick a location and create a setting, to take a character and give it a name, a physical description, a personality, strengths and weaknesses ... the conception of a new, alternate world is so thoroughly enjoyable for me.
Except for one small part of it ... I am out of names.

Recently on my Facebook page, I asked my friends to help me out by offering up some of their favorite male and female names. They listed some great ones, but there's so much more to picking a name than just saying, "Oh, I like that."

1. Where does the name come from?
2. What does the name mean?
3. What/who do I think of when I hear it?
4. Does it phonetically go with the character, the characters family and his/her surname?
5. Are there psychological, social, philosophical or historical facts that go with the name?

Let's look at Chandler Tyler. Those of you who have read my book know who Chandler is. He's Brynn's ex-boyfriend and like her, he changes a great deal from what he was like at the beginning of the story to the end of it. When I created his character, I struggled to find the right name for him. He's big, quiet, ruggedly handsome, kind, and at times, selfish. I looked over my many lists of potential names and scoured my favorite name site until I saw Chandler.

1. The origin of the name is English. Perfect for Chandler - there's not much cultural diversity to him, much like a good, sturdy English name.
2. The meaning of the name is Candle Maker. Again, perfect - considering what Chandler ends up doing for a living.
3. When I first considered the name I thought big, dumb athlete - just like Brynn initially sees him. But I also thought cute, nice and pleasant.
4. Yes, it sounds like his parents saw him as Chandler when he was born.
5. I wasn't about to name him Angus or Lennie. And to quote myself, "I haven't watched any episodes of Friends, so no. I didn't get his name from that Chandler."

I have to say, Chandler is one of my favorite regular characters in THE TRAIT SERIES. He truly loves Brynn and for that, I can't help but to love him in return. I think his name fits him well.

So, as I begin another series, so begins the search for the perfect names for my main characters. I've used so many names, on the average between 50 - 80 per three books series, my lists grown thin. Naming the main characters, and some of the recurring secondary characters like Chandler, is sadly becoming a struggle rather than an enjoyment.

Kristin ("Christian", German origin)