Thankful

During this weekend of Thankfulness and full heart, I reflect on what I am most grateful. The things which fill me with immeasurable joy are my husband, children, family, and friends. I know I can be a selfish creature, artists usually are. I have had many discussions at length about how the life of an author is all consuming and can leech from relationships if not placed in check.

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To illustrate my point, here are a couple examples:

While sitting at a restaurant on a long overdue date, my husband was telling me about his day and an exciting new client. Beside us sat a group of women who were obviously on a girls night out to escape from their daily lives. I found myself in the middle of two conversations. Nodding blankly at my husband, while listening to the fascinating dialogue between those women. Their dialogue was snappy, concise, and hilarious. My mind began to file away bits and pieces of their brilliant dialogue to use for future reference for a novel. My poor husband stopped talking and that is when my eyes focused on his grim set mouth.

“You aren’t even listening,” he said.

“I’m so sorry, please start over,” I replied as the women’s conversation vanished in a poof.

“No, the moment is lost now.”

And so it goes…

Another selfish experience was when I asked my husband for a kiss. I never need to ask for kisses, he just does. Anyway, he leaned in and brushed his lips against mine. I pulled back. “Add a bit more passion,” I said. He didn’t need to be asked twice. The kiss deepened and he placed one hand around the small of my back and another behind my head and pulled me in close. Good, I thought. But, hmm… what would happen next in the scene?

Oh I am terrible, I know. I wasn’t kissing my husband, I was recreating a scene for my work in progress. There must be some corner in heaven or hell reserved for people like me. I pulled back again and left my husband short of breath.

“Okay, now, graze your thumb over my lips.”

He lifted an eyebrow, but did as he was told.

“Not like that, maybe slower,” I said. I closed my eyes and my wonderful husband created the scene perfectly and even enhanced a few things. I mean, it was fantastic and exactly how I had imagined the scene in my novel to unfold. “Thanks!” I said, jumping back out of his fervent arms.

“Wait! You can’t just… leave me like this.”

I giggled and ran to my computer to write a scene that involved kissing and grazing a thumb over lips.

And so it goes…

My poor, wonderful husband and family are guinea pigs for my novels. That is so wrong, but the selfish part of me says it’s alright. I gather inspiration for love, joy and happiness from my family and loved ones. I gather inspiration for hate, anger, and hurt from the news, strangers, and painful memories. I grab bits and pieces for character development from people I admire or people I don’t care too much for. Then I place them into the puzzle of my novel along with the pieces of setting, theme, voice, and storyline.

I have really tried to be more thoughtful and conscious in my relationships. It is easy for everyone to get swept away in things that distract us from one another. Everywhere we turn, there are interferences with social media, TV, media, and for an author, it is the writing itself that puts you apart. I find myself constantly nagging my teenager to put down her smart phone and be with the family. I realized I was doing the same thing, only with stories in my head. Sometimes I have to consciously tell my mind to not focus on my fictional story and live my non-fiction life.

Above all, I am thankful for loving kindness from my family.

I am thankful to be a creator of life and art.

I am thankful for inspiring people and in turn, thankful that I may inspire others.

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

-Tara

“Eight Birds for Christmas” is only $.99!

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BUY LINKS FOR MY BRAND NEW NOVELLA EIGHT BIRDS FOR CHRISTMAS

Amazon US:  http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Companion-Novella-Broken-Smiles-ebook/dp/B00PR3N962/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1416335434&sr=1-2

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Christmas-Companion-Novella-Broken-Smiles-ebook/dp/B00PR3N962/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1416341410&sr=8-5&keywords=Eight+Birds+for+Christmas

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/eight-birds-for-christmas

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/eight-birds-for-christmas-tara-mayoros/1120792055?ean=2940150641716

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/494278

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23586445-eight-birds-for-christmas

Cover reveal for Eight Birds for Christmas!!

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Here is my cover for EIGHT BIRDS FOR CHRISTMAS!!!

Release date is November 18th

This heartwarming short novella is perfect for a cozy night sitting beside the fire.

Here is a synopsis:

A Holiday funeral sends Laidan into a dormancy of sadness. Holed up in her mother’s lake house with her best friend and her bodyguard, birds appear one by one as gifts that help her through a time of grieving. Each birds carries with it a word and a hope that things will begin to look up.

Hurt from the realization that the rock star life Laidan led had made her selfish, the birds reveal forgotten memories and glimpses into how she can become a better person. It will take confronting her past to make peace with her future. By taking to heart the gifts the birds bring, Laidan begins to realize the true meaning of Christmas and that there are other ways that she can share her song.

Research Before the Internet – Interviews!

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Often times I circle into a tornado of research. I love it! Hours later, I find my footing again and tackle writing armed with dizzying details to help breathe more life into my story.

I remember as a child interviewing my Grandmother for a school report. As I sat with her for hours and hours talking about her intriguing childhood, I think somewhere deep within me, a spark burst to life. I discovered that I loved stories and I loved to write them down.

For my novel Broken Smiles, I interviewed musicians, music producers, and people who have made it their life’s work to study Chinese history and culture. There is a part of my book where the characters go to Morocco. I have never been to Morocco, but I have been fascinated with that country for quite some time and someday hope to visit. I thought I had done enough research. I was happy with the scenes and details about my characters in Morocco.

That was until I actually interviewed someone who had just returned from living there for years.

As I was sitting in church one day, the speakers introduced themselves as just moving from Rabat, Morocco where they worked in the embassy. My curiosity was piqued because that was the exact city where the setting of my novel takes place. Right away I approached the couple and asked to interview them. I sent the woman my chapters of Morocco for critique and came armed with a million questions.

I absolutely loved thumbing through her photos, touching her hijabs and kaftan (clothing that they wear) and looking at her furniture and decorations. I had questions about the flora and discovered names of local plants that I had not found on google. (Because I am a horticulturist, correct vegetation in setting is a huge deal to me.) She told me about a specific tea that is served with a flourish and production. I learned what people wear at the beaches and I even had to change a few things to get it right. We talked for hours about the many details of the melting pot of cultures that are in Morocco. She was so detailed in her descriptions, that I could almost smell the exotic spices.

As I walked away with a grin on my face, I knew she loved to tell me her story — just like my Grandmother did all those years ago. You see, in the end aren’t we all just stories? Don’t we all want to share our experiences and history with others?

It is our duty as authors to get it right.

It is our responsibility to take the time to add details in our stories. That is what breathes life into them.

I suggest if you do interview someone for your novel, come prepared with specific questions, but also let them talk. Magic happens when their stories come to life — those stories you will never find online. You could never capture that kind of research by simply doing an internet search. With the world at our fingertips, I think us authors have lost a bit of  where research began and that is connecting with others and listening to their stories. I encourage you to reach out and interview people, show interest, and gain information from others experiences so that you can make your own stories stronger.

Have you ever interviewed someone for your work in progress? If so, how did it go? I’d love to hear. 🙂

Happy writing!

Tara