My tumultuous relationship with a manuscript:

My tumultuous relationship with a manuscript:

Upon first meeting, nearly seven years ago, it was love at first sight. I was overcome. Passionate words were brought to life in the quiet hours of night. I pined over my new manuscript when we were not together during the days. The characters, the setting, the story, consumed my thoughts like the raging hormones of a teenager.

Oh we had some glorious times! I felt alive, free, and blissfully happy! But love is blindness and so I didn’t see the mistakes, the enormous plot holes, or the seeds of doubt over my entire outline. I was blinded by cutest couple awards and sweet caresses at night.

Over the years those relationship problems have grown more acute. I’ve sat down with my manuscript and have given it a stern talking to about its wayward looks and wild side. I’ve tried to wrap it up into a clean outline. But we end up laughing, then crying, because both of us know that isn’t us. But the thing that really kills us is the comparison . . . the looking at the success of other relationships, then looking at each other and saying, “why can’t we be like that?”

Over the years I have shown this manuscript to my friends and put it through relationship advice. We even went through intense therapy for a year. Some friends thought it was adorable and that we were perfect for each other. My therapist? Not so much. The advice was welcome, but hurt, and I wondered if I was in an unhealthy relationship with my manuscript. I’ve revised and reworked it nearly twenty times. How could something I love hurt me so?

There have been moments, sometimes years, when we have broken up. I needed space. I dated around in the form of publishing three other books. I flirted and finished a dozen other stories. This manuscript has killed me and I have killed it and either we cannot live together anymore with all these questions and wondering, or we have to date exclusively. It’s all or nothing.

I keep going back to the bones, to the root of our love, and looking at it without the advice or the critique of others. I’ve dissected it to the point that I might have killed the passion. When you fight so much, where is there room for fun and passion?

So, I’m asking for relationship advise. What do I do with this manuscript? To completely break up with it would shatter my heart. To stay in this relationship would take a great deal of work and most likely more future cutting heartache. Maybe I try one last time to resurrect what first brought us together. Maybe the years have matured both of us. Maybe we will survive this. Maybe we won’t. Maybe, Maybe. What May Be?

Maybe I just let it go…

But maybe I don’t…

** Update on our relationship status: **

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I took these questions and concerns to the mountains and contemplated our final break up. I stared at a jagged mountain without a trail. Upon the pine-scented breeze a gentle kiss caressed my cheek, followed by a whisper in my ear.

“I love you,” my manuscript said to me.

I thought about the weight of my response. Old lessons, and encouraging keynotes, and even my own thoughts, came to mind. My eyes drifted again to where the shrouded summit met the clouds. Another attempt at an ascent, with my manuscript in tow, might kill me. I’d been circling this relationship, this mountain, worrying about breaking up, but also worrying about staying together.

I waited a long time to respond. But this manuscript is patient, even though the feeling is unreciprocated. I took a deep breath in lungs that aren’t used to high elevation changes. I placed my ailing feet in a river that had given me lazy comfort.

A peaceful feeling swept over me and a tiny smile found a tiny trail up that enormous mountain.

“I love you, too,” I whispered, as I prepared myself for the climb.

*******

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SO:

Just like a mature relationship, there will be rules, and blisters, and cliffs and grand vistas. And I will look for joy in all of them.

Here is my plan.

HERE IS MY DAY ONE!   (head nod to Storymakers and Jennifer Nelson)

#1 – Mentally and spiritually prepare myself everyday to make this relationship work. Ask for inspiration. Pray. Meditate. Whatever it takes to calm my mind to look at this clearly so that I don’t lose my temper and storm off.

#2 – Look to the future. Reflect on the past in brief moments, but approach this as a new exciting adventure. Even though the packaging or substance is the same, it will have different wrapping. Accept that it might look different . . . again.

#3 – Follow your heart. You’ve listened to enough critique, and feedback, and praise, and especially rejection. Take everything you’ve learned from all those other relationships and put everything into this one. No matter what happens after you’ve given it your all–and you thought you already had–you will rest knowing that you did it with clarity.

#4 – Climb. Everyday climb. Some days the trail will be easy, other days you will have hardly moved. Just move or your body and mind will atrophy. It will come at you like a sudden mountain storm. Remember the elements are fighting against you and you will want to give up if you take the time to stop. It would have been easier to just start another completely different project. But there is history between the two of you and you have weathered many storms.

#5 – Don’t doubt. You were given an answer on what to do about this relationship. Don’t doubt it. Simple as that.

#6 – Surround yourself by inspiration. Make time for creative-minded friends who encourage and uplift. Go to the mountains at least once a week to write or to be surrounded by setting. Summer or winter, explore nature. This is an instant inspiration for me. Take long breaks from social media. Maybe this isn’t for everyone, but social media zaps the creative flow instantly for me. Before I check any social media sites, open up my manuscript first. Show my manuscript that it comes first. Show love and it will return the love.

#7 – Get on a schedule. Organize the household necessities first so that your mind is clear and open. It’s different for everyone, but for me it is a clean kitchen, exercise, work (whether it’s at my job, or doing housework, paying bills, etc.) Then make time for writing by turning all electronic devices and social media off.

#8 – Have fun! Writing is fun. Well, it is more torturous than fun, but if you approach writing with the above goals and don’t give up, then hopefully you will reach the summit with a gratifying smile. Learn to enjoy the journey, not the destination. And absolutely, do not compare. Comparison kills gratitude. Comparison is like a free fall off a cliff. And right now everything hinges on begin grateful for this journey.

More detailed goals just for me:

  • I know that my best writing moments are in the middle of the night. This one is hard for me to figure out. Just know that if I go to bed early I will notoriously wake up in the middle of the night to write. Or if I stay up late, learn how to deal with no sleep. It’s just a fact, no matter how hard I try to work on sleep. You’ve been nocturnal your entire life, just succumb to it. Apply more make-up to the bags under your eyes because we have committed to get off the caffeine, remember?
  • Social Media: For real, get off it. Even though you have deleted it from your phone, maybe have someone else reset a password and then tell you once a week what it is so that you can check it. It seems extreme, but it is a time suck, an energy suck, and a creativity suck. This includes Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram. Twitter doesn’t count, I’m never on there because I hate it. My blog: update my progress weekly on the comment section of this post regarding the progress of working on my manuscript.
  • Go back to not watching TV. Whaaa, Supernatural, I love you, but I’m kind of getting frustrated with season six anyway. Okay, I can watch the new season of Fixer-Upper on Tuesday nights. I really am happier when I am not watching TV and am instead reading or living inside my own stories.
  • Read more. Actually, I get obsessed while reading and have to finish the book in one sitting. Everything else falls away, so read with caution that it will take away from writing. Read excellent words when I do so.
  • Create my create space. Finish my art and writing room. But in the meantime, don’t slack on writing as I’m “waiting” for my space to be ideal. It’s in the mindset, not the daily setting.
  • Save home renovations for Saturdays. This has been the #1 culprit of why my writing has stopped. I’ve lived in chaos and now that the home is coming together, don’t spend time nit-picking all the little projects that still need to be done. You’ve made a to-do list, so get it out of your mental list and work on checking it off on Saturdays.
  • Good music, good attitude, good vibes. Just live in a good space. I have been filled with so much criticism and negative feelings about this manuscript that I need to look for positivity. Flirt together, introduce new things, and let go of the words that aren’t working.    *Fall in love with this manuscript again!*

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My goal is to reach this summit by the end of the year. My summit is to finish revising this manuscript because I love it and I believe that together we can climb hard things.

Thanks for stopping by,

Tara

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The Christmas Bike: pre-order!

I am excited to announce that my third novel,

The Christmas Bike,

is set for release on October 11, 2016 and available for pre-order! (click on link)

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Here is a brief synopsis:

Christmas is already going to be tough for Marie and her family. When a series of events is set in motion long before a Christmas Eve tragedy, she is too occupied to notice God’s grace. An emergency letter to Santa sets her on a quest for a Christmas miracle. With time running out, she prays for the first time in a long time. A miracle does happen, but it is not what she expected.

***

This story is true and it happened to me. I wrote this little novella beside the fireplace and twinkling lights of the Christmas tree, while the rest of the house slept. The inspiration to write this story was because of another author who had a similar situation happen to her during the holiday season. I will write about that experience in a later post.

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I also wrote The Christmas Bike as a Christmas gift to my mother and sisters.

I had no intention to seek publication because, to me, it wrote more like a journal entry and less like a structured book. My feelings were raw, my memories thick. It’s the kind of story that was written in a blur of magic.

I hope it feels like magic when you read it. I hope you in turn notice the little miracles in your life, connect the dots, and know that you are not alone.

My publisher and I have been collecting endorsements from people. But my favorite endorsements are personal ones that came from my sisters and mother who encouraged me/forced me to seek representation.

Here are a few professional endorsements:

The Christmas Bike is a tender and sometimes heartbreaking story, told with a rare authenticity; a real, behind the scenes view of motherhood, of struggle, and miracles. Sugar doesn’t fix everything.Angie Fenimore, NYT bestselling author of Beyond the Darkness.

The Christmas Bike broke my heart, then mended it. I love this book!
– Tonya Vistaunet. Owner of A Happy Vista and author of the Color Land series.

Charming narration and a heart-warming journey—I laughed, I cried, and then I went back and read it again.
Laura Rollins, author of Shadows of Angels

The Christmas Bike is more than just another Christmas story—it’s one of resilience, of hope, and of finding the grace we long for.
Emily Wing Smith, author of The Way He Lived and All Better Now.

You are welcome to follow more of my journey writing this novella by viewing my hashtag on Instagram #thechristmasbike.

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Thank you! I can’t wait to get this book into stores and into your hands! And with a price tag that costs less than a gourmet cup of hot cocoa, The Christmas Bike is a perfect read for a winter’s night. 🙂

  • Tara

To view my other books you can click here.

 

 

Fairy Gardens & Writing: how they relate

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Planting fairy gardens is one of my favorite things to do every spring. I do this for one of my jobs and on occasion, I teach how-to’s.

I’ve planted countless container pots over the seventeen years I’ve been doing this, but planting fairy gardens feels completely different and is always exciting to me.

Here’s why:

I escape into the mini world I am planting. Just like I escape into the worlds I create while writing.

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The writing and planting connection didn’t come to me until recently, while teaching a customer how to plant a desert landscape fairy garden.

“That’s the fairies’ winter home,” I said to her. “They go there when the frost covers their forests.”

The woman looked up at me with big eyes. “Ohmygosh. Yes! I didn’t think of that, but yes!”

I twirled over to another customer. “Oooo,” I said. “I like how those stepping stones trail off beneath that maiden hair fern. Where is it leading to?”

The girl looked up at me and showed her toothy grin. “A waterfall.”

And that’s when years and years of why I love planting mini landscapes, clicked.

It all stems from creating a believable SETTING!

Now, there are rules to planting fairy gardens, just like there are rules to writing.

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1- Scale: Nothing bugs me more than having a huge fairy, or dog, or bird bath right beside an iddy-biddy fairy house the same size. You need to have stepping stones in relation to the fairy house or have people bigger than animals. So, look for trinkets and decor that are to scale.

Scale in writing: This is called world-building. What are the rules, the magic system, the laws? Keep it consistent, and tight, and to scale. Don’t make the reader confused with things that don’t make sense.

 

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2- Plants: To set your fairy garden up for success, the plants all need to be able to survive in one pot together. Don’t plant outdoor with indoor. Or succulents and cacti with ferns. Or sun plants with shade plants. I know this seems like common knowledge, but this is the #1 issue I’ve seen. People buy plants just because they are pretty and then wonder why the beautiful flowers aren’t blooming inside in a dark room.

Plants with writing: I could go on, and on, and on about setting. In fact I have, many times on this blog. Here’s an award winning article I wrote about setting, if interested. I am extremely picky of the plants I see in novels. If the author names a real plant, in my mind, it better be able to grow in that realistic setting. If it’s fantasy, well, go crazy.

 

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3- Layers and texture: A woman I helped the other day was creating an herb fairy garden. She had rosemary, lavender, and curry all grouped together. She asked why it wasn’t working. I moved a few things around and added parsley, basil, and thyme between them. “It’s because all those plants have the same, slender leaves. See how they stand out now that they are next to other, cohesive plants with different texture?” I said. Think how a real forest grows with tall trees, shrubs, then ground cover. Add layers.

Layers and texture in writing: Resonance. Hints. Metaphor. What are you trying to say to the reader? What is the underlying theme? That’s the layers. – Voice. Substance. Emotion. How do you want it to make the reader feel? That’s your texture.

 

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Now, the fun part about fairy gardens is the play time. It’s the escapism. I made this one of The Shire. The whole time I was planting it, I thought about how much I love Tolkien and the vibrant way he creates setting. A customer came in and bought it right as I put it on the table to sell. She was a huge Tolkien fan like me. We were kindred spirits right away and it was because of the playful, whimsical thing that I’d created. It was cool.

As authors, writing should be fun. Creating things are fun. You have the power to create a world that others can escape into. I watch kids, and adults, play with the gardens I create, just like people can read the books I create.

And giving people that escapism to another world, is pretty cool.

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Here are some of my Instagram photos. You’re welcome to follow me for other planting, art, or writing tips.

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Thanks for stopping by!

  • Tara

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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

Writer’s Block vs. Writer’s Resistance

Rarely do I suffer from writer’s block.

But this past weekend, I was self-diagnosed with an often extreme case of writer’s resistance.

Let me explain the difference between the two and how to overcome them.

This past weekend, I went to Comicon (so fun!) and listened to a panel of fellow authors. Many of the writing workshops were about overcoming Writer’s Block. The advise given was that when someone experiences writer’s block, it is usually your subconscious mind telling you that something within the story is not working.

*Go for a walk, clear your head, and give it a rest. Even meditate. By clearing our minds of all the chatter, whether it be from your characters or the internal critic, we become more open minded. And an open mind is a more imaginative mind.

*Write and think about the troublesome scene just before bed. Our amazing subconscious minds are problem solving for us, and while we sleep, answers to questions tend to work themselves out. I don’t know how many times I have woken upon in the morning with everything figured out. I even keep paper beside my bed to jot down ideas in the middle of the night.

*Eliminate distractions. Unplug! Seriously turn off the phone and while you are writing, don’t have the internet on. I have become very adamant about this because, if there is a text or some other distraction, I’ve found that it’s an hour later before my story is flowing out of me again.

*Clean your workspace. This especially works for artists. I have an art room/office space. When it is cluttered, my mind is cluttered and it is hard for me to concentrate.

*Get inspired by other avenues of the creative process. Last weekend I went to a concert and something about the music and the atmosphere made my fingers itch to hurry home and write out a scene that I had been dreading earlier. Stroll through an art museum, go to a good movie, or buy a new music album.

*Although some authors don’t agree with me, I would say work on something else. The most impenetrable case of writers block that came to me, happened because of a rejection that was disheartening. I didn’t want to write, in fact, I doubted the whole process and shelfed that project for a long time. Another story began to bud and excitement came to me in small bursts. A new voice, a new story, and fresh characters! It was like I was meeting brand new friends. In turn, my excitement leaked into the writer’s block of my other work. Soon, the flood gates opened and I was ready to tackle it again.

Writer’s resistance on the other hand is something that plagues me, and probably always will. I find excuses to do other things instead of writing, especially when I am under pressure to edit or revise. When under a deadline, I suddenly decide to work on a DIY project, like the time I upscaled my lamps.

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Or I’ll make a weird wreath out of Atlas pages.

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Or I’ll start a new painting.

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Or paint a concrete planter turquoise.

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Or… well, the list goes on.

The thing is, I am much more then an author. We all are much more than one thing. To me, writer’s resistance is not bad. My subconscious mind is only telling me that I’ve done enough and balance must be found. I tend to lose myself in my writing and sometimes it can be hard to surface.

Here are some things that help with writer’s resistance.

*Have a friend or someone you need to answer to. Maybe time each other or do a competition to see how many words you can write in an hour, or a day, or a week, or a month (Nanowrimo).

*Stick to a schedule. Set aside a time that you can be in solitude and write.

As you can see, I don’t have many answers about writer’s resistance. It is important to listen to the cycles of our creative process. This week I haven’t been writing at all, but I have done five paintings and taught ten kids how to play guitar. Next week is another week and I am ready to tackle my stories head on again.

What are some ways you have overcome writer’s block or writer’s resistance? I’d love to hear about them.

-Tara

Gardening and Writing – how they relate.

I love to garden. I’ve always kept my fingernails as stubs because the feel of dirt between my fingers, invigorates me.

I’ve posted how teaching guitar and writing relate HERE.
I’ve posted how skiing and writing relate HERE.

Now I want to make the connection with writing and gardening.

I’ve worked on and off in garden centers for over fifteen years. I’ve narrowed it down to five stages of being successful in a garden and how it relates to writing.

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*Planning your garden:
Is it North facing? – re-think. How is the soil? – enrichment is key. What plants do you want to see in the fall? Think ahead. Envision your garden in its bounteous splendor! Envision what that homemade salsa is going to taste like. Can you taste it? “Hmm… maybe another plant of cilantro is needed.”

Envision your full grown garden.

*Planning your novel:
Basic bones here. Is it sci-fi, fantasy, romance, children’s, young adult?
Some authors are outliners. Some authors are pantsers. I am a hybrid between the two. I am too spontaneous to completely stick to an outline. When a scene strikes, I have to write it right then, on a napkin if I have to, just to get it out.
But, I am also a loose outliner. I have the outline to my novels hanging as butcher paper on my bedroom walls. Read more about that process HERE.
Also, when I write a scene, I have an outline below my cursor so I know where the story is going. If a word, or phrase, or dialogue strikes me and I am not in that part of the story yet, I put it in my bottom notes that just moves along with my writing.

Envision your story.

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*Planting your garden:

These little seedlings look so small and helpless. They need good soil, fertilizer, sunlight, water, and some need staking. It is a lot of hot, dirty work. (the part I love)

Set your baby plants up for success!

*Planting your novel:
We all start out uneducated and naive. We need to do the work and learn the craft. So go to conferences, join a critique group (or three, like me), build relationships in the writing world. It is a lot of work, and sometimes this stunts the creative flow, but your writing will get better.

Set your novel up for success!

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*Caring for your garden:
Sometimes the plants just need to grow. Make sure they are taken care of, then leave them alone to do their thing. You can love plants to death. In fact, I saw that more often, then with the neglected plants. Root rot is the cause of many a poor plants death.

Step away for a time!

*Caring for your novel:
After you have finished the novel, or the scene, or whatever you feel is done – leave it alone. Work on something else, go to classes, learn, get second opinions. Come back and look at it with new eyes. You will notice things that were not there before. This is so important to me. I often get so wrapped up in the details and the thrill of putting words on paper, that I don’t see the overall problems.

Step away for a time!

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*Harvesting your garden:
This is the time to enjoy the fruits of your labor! You can see what plants did well and what struggled. Take notes for next year. You can share your bounty. (I mean who has ever had zucchini growing out of their ears!)

Share your talent and hard work!

*Harvesting your novel:
You have accomplished something that 81% of people say they will do, but 2% of people actually pull through! That is a huge accomplishment! Don’t focus on other people. Be happy with what you have accomplished. It took many seasons, rainstorms, weeds, bugs, whatever, to get to the end result.

Now share your talent and hard work!

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*Canning your harvest: (this is bonus)
Once you’ve harvested your garden, toiled endlessly over it, now is the time to package it into pretty canning jars.

This is for the future.

*Canning your novel:
No matter how you go about publishing, whether it be with a big or small publisher, self-publish, or just print a few copies for your family or generations to come. You have packaged it, preserved it in a timepiece.

This is for the future.

I love this quote:

‘I shall live beyond death, and I shall sing in your ears
Even after the vast sea-wave carries me back
To the vast sea-depth.
I shall sit at your board though without a body,
And I shall go with you to your fields, a spirit invisible.
I shall come to you at your fireside, a guest unseen.
Death changes nothing but the mask that covers our faces.
The woodsman shall be still a woodsman,
The ploughman, a ploughman,
And he who sang his song to the wind shall sing it also to the moving spheres.’

– Kahlil Gibran

Happy planting!
Tara

My Writing Process Blog Tour

Thank you Jodi Milner over at http://myliteraryquest.wordpress.com for the opportunity to be a part of this blog tour. Jodi writes epic fantasy and is a very talented writer. She is my Vice President in Anwa Storytellers. She keeps me in line and helps me, as the President, to remember upcoming dates, introduce new members, and nudges me to stay on track during our meetings! I tend to be scatterbrained. (ask my kids and husband!) I am always anxious to hear her feedback because she offers marvelous critiquing.

The blog tour asks for four questions.

What am I working on?

Well, a lot actually! I am deep into editing for my debut novel Broken Smiles, set tentatively for an August release through Astraea Press. To counter the rigorous brain-pain of editing, I have to write creatively.

My creative outlet right now, is working on the second book in the Vagabond trilogy. It is a Young Adult Fantasy and dark romance. Hop on over to my “Works in Progress” for more info on those books. I am so excited for this series! Although they still need work before I submit, I feel like my writing has grown since I started on them almost three years ago. I did get a request for the manuscript from my dream publisher. So, I am also polishing the first novel to send over to them.

How does my work differ from others in my genre?

My novel Vagabond differs because I want it to feel real. Sure, it has plenty of fantastical elements, but I also want to create a sense that my novels could actually be real. The creatures in Vagabond are a subject that many people actually believe in – Sasquatch!

For many summers, I would move horses through the mountains of Montana to a horse ranch. In college, the mountains called me home and I moved there. My love for that part of the world runs through my veins like the raging wild rivers that weave through that majestic country. I think because of my deep love for the mountains, the setting of Yellowstone National Park comes alive. I have actually referred to my journals and sketchbooks while I lived there, to echo into my novels. It’s been a fun world to escape into.

Why do I write what I do?

Um, because the story won’t leave me alone until I do!

I know this is ridiculous, but I have a contemporary Women’s Romance fiction (Broken Smiles), a YA fantasy trilogy (Vagabond), a middle grade series (from a young boys perspective), a Christmas novella, a screenplay, and a children’s book. It’s such an amateur move to write in so many different genres.

Do I care? . . . No!

I am still finding my voice. I am still finding my niche. I know I love writing romance, but I have really enjoyed exploring writing things my two boys would like.

How does my writing process work?

The process of writing, for me, usually occurs in the middle of the night, when everyone else is asleep. Or, I tend to be a professional daydreamer (hence the comment above about being scatterbrained!)

I have long sheets of butcher paper for every novel on the walls next to my bed. I have numbered all of the chapters in my books. During the dark hours, when my brain wakes me up with an idea or a passage of dialogue, I click on my Petzl headlight and scribble down my ideas onto the chapter where it should go. I can hopefully then fall asleep again. When the thoughts won’t leave me alone, I sigh, grab my computer, and head downstairs to write until the genius (see link) leaves me.

So I guess this explains why I look like a zombie sometimes and why I occasionally zone out when someone is talking to me.

 – Tara Mayoros –

I now will continue this blog on to a couple outstanding authors. Check out their blogs and books.

Jeff Salter – http://taketwoonromance.weebly.com

Bio: Jeff Salter is a Somerset, KY resident. Published by Astraea Press & Dingbat Publishing. Retired library administrator. Former newspaper photo-journalist & editor. U.S. Air Force veteran. Fiction already released: four novels & two novellas. Three new releases scheduled for 2014.

Brenda Gallaherhttp://brendabirchgallaher.blogspot.com

Bio: Brenda Birch Gallaher is a writer who has lived in 22 states and has visited 9 foreign countries. She is the middle of five children so she has plenty of accidents/incidents from her childhood to choose from to include in any given story she is writing on. She has one novel out to a publisher waiting for a good answer while working on her next project.