What’s Ahead…

There will be more excerpts from Chicago Down to come after the holidays.

How this book is coming together is very strange to me. Usually I write a book from beginning to end, then edit. I move something from one spot to the other, or switch chapters around, adding those personality tweaks or sparkling language.

But this one is not like that. I’m writing bits and pieces. It’s unusual for me to not just write from Point A to Point B. It could be because there is much research involved, giving me new ideas at every turn. I mean, who wouldn’t have to research Al Capone and the 1920s? But I also found that the main characters have a colorful background. And these things must be explained before they are brought together. They have to follow their paths. Weaving their way to one another.

Also, I’m eyeing early March to launch my actual author website. I’m excited for that. A website! Woot!

I know it’s a long time in coming, but I’m shooting November or December 2015 to release The Devil Plays Dice, which is the sequel to Someday Always Comes. It was published January 2013. I never expected it to take so long to write its sequel.  But, then again, it took me 10 years to edit and publish Someday Always Comes.  I wanted Someday to be as perfect as i could make it without a professional edit… I couldn’t afford that at the time. However,  I just knew it was time to put it out there no matter what. I am pleased with my efforts and grateful that  a few people read the book.  🙂

It’s time for Tess, Sweet, Brianna, & Kyle to make a comeback.

Thanks for reading.

Another One Done

Greetings!

Whew! Finally. My YA/paranormal novella, Storm Dwellers, is off for editing to Shawn Pfister.

This is only my second self-published book. I’m nervous. If you haven’t yet, check out my previous new adult novel,  Someday Always Comes,  available in paperback & Kindle on Amazon.com. Also, paperback is available at Createspace. I’m currently working on its sequel,  The Devil Plays Dice.

Now, to be sure on book cover design for Storm Dwellers. I think I have the needed elements included.  Now for the appropriate colors. How can one be sure? I should be able to seek out book design before mid September.

Yes. An on-time book release for October. Just before Halloween. I’m super excited for this short, fast-moving story. Stay tuned, all, for more information to come.

Thanks for reading.

The Devil Plays Dice Too (A Sneak Peak!)

Hi All,

I’m posting an excerpt from the tentatively titled, The Devil Plays Dice Too, which is the sequel to the recently published Someday Always Comes. This is a very rough, barely edited first draft subject to change at any nanosecond. I just wanted to give you all a sneak peak.

I hope you’ll enjoy it. Please feel free to leave constructive criticism and comments.

***********

THE DEVIL PLAYS DICE TOO
CHAPTER ONE

Our house was in total bedlam with cops and emergency personnel buzzing all around. Hypnotizing red, white and blue lights swirled around the neighborhood like disco balls possessed, ricocheting off buildings, cars, trees, the driveway. It was Spring Break, 2010, but for me it was more like Independence Day, as the strobe lights pierced the twilight like the rainbow colors of sky rockets on the Fourth of July.

It was déjà vu, and despite the iron fencing and the fact that our home was far from the street with a driveway two city blocks long separating the road from us, I knew the neighbors and the press had their faces smashed against the vertical bars of the front gates.

I’d experienced such bedazzlement before. But this time it was all slow motion to me and came with a much higher price: the newspapers, magazines, and TV news stations to name a few. For heaven’s sake, what were we going to do? The usually reclusive lifestyle my family and I enjoyed was now busted to pieces.

God, how I hope there would be a lesson for the public in this one. Otherwise, my daughter was just a murderer. Plain and simple.

My husband, Seth, tried to talk to me but I couldn’t really understand what he said. I stood leaning up against one of the pillars of our front porch. I slid down it landing on the top stair, head in hands, crying like a fool. Emotionally and physically drained, I just didn’t know what else to do. I thought this wouldn’t happen to me ever again.

And then there was Detective Ron Rosales. Yes, you read right. Rosales. He was there too. He was always there. Remember all those things I’d said about cops in the past, well, Rosales turned out to be different. He kept up with me for the most part. Always checking in on how I was and keeping up with the births of my kids. He and his wife, Anna, visited us now and then, and we them. Getting together for barbecues and such. Anna came to all my baby showers. They didn’t come to our wedding, of course, since we got married so far away and Rosales had to work. Crime doesn’t stop for a trip to the Virgin Islands.

Of course, I called him Ron ever after. When my kids were tots, they’d lovingly call him, Detective Ronny. He rushed to Wilmette from Chicago when he heard through the fast-and-furious police grapevine what had occurred at my house. But, I’m not sure if his being there made me feel any better. It did a bit, legally, but not really emotionally. Nothing made it better, despite that he understood me. I never saw this mess coming.

The half hour or so before the Wilmette cops showed up were the worst minutes of my life. Now I know what you’re thinking. You read Someday Always Comes, didn’t you? You’re saying, hell no! Something can be worse than some of the episodes in that story?

When I finally looked up, my eyes fell on my twelve-year-old daughter, Audra. She was perched on a stone bench in our front yard, poised like a warrior queen, looking at me pitifully as I cried like an idiot. My aunt, Kathy, sat by her side, holding her hand. My lifelong friend, Brianna, stood nearby with her arms folded biting her lower lip, trying to hold back her tears as she nervously turned this way and that way looking for answers that she’d never find.

Poor Audra. It should’ve been me by my kid’s side, not Kathy. But, I just couldn’t do it. My Audra was way too proud to take my love and coddling. She seems made of stone, that girl. I swear it. I have no idea where she gets that from.

No. I could not take care of her. I felt responsible for the whole thing. Seth and me, both. Then there was Kathy and Brianna. They were there too. Nothing we could do would change anything. We couldn’t protect the babies. We tried but there was just no way. There’s no way you can do anything when desperate, criminally insane men have their automatic weapons turned on your kids.

All our kids were there. Not just mine, but Brianna’s and Kathy’s too. We had no idea where Audra and Diana were when those terrible men broke into our home to terrorize us. But then, an infinite time later, there came Audra out of nowhere from below, like a wizard. Like, Rambo.

For the first time in many years, terrible menace visited me once again and this time I had no idea how things would turn out. And now that my kid shot a monster, I had serious reservations about Audra’s future as the authorities carried the body of a dead man-beast out of our formerly peaceful abode, all zipped up in a vinyl bag. Yes, it was worse than ever before.

What could we do? Despite there was so many of us adults, we were in no position to tackle two madmen with guns and put the kids’ lives in jeopardy, or risk the children seeing one of us killed. I wanted to shield the children. I would’ve died for any of them. Mine, Brianna’s, Kathy’s; even my son, Bret’s, best friend, Donald. Jesus, there was another woman’s child in my house. And his mom wasn’t there. Don’t you people understand that? Another woman, who expected me and Seth to guarantee the safety of her son; a woman we’ve known since Bret started kindergarten nearly ten years earlier.

There stood Donald, all wide eyed and breathing heavy. Both scared and shocked, but yet I’d look at him and see the wheels turning. He was trying as hard as the rest of us to figure a way out the mess.

And there we all were. All of us with our hands in the air…Seth and me, Brianna, Kathy; dare I say, even my twenty-year old son, Brandon. And we were helpless as one of the crazy monsters waved a gun at my two year old daughter, Abby, threatening me with her life as she cried and sucked on her fingers.

Well, there was only one chance…and once the intruders were distracted, Audra shot one of them and killed him. In an instant, instinctively Seth, Brandon, Bret and Donald jumped on the remaining man and nearly beat him to a pulp, wrestling the gun away, as Brianna and Kathy grabbed and ushered the other children out of harm’s way. We always taught our kids to face trouble head on, and Audra did that, despite she had to shoot the prick in the back.

Audra did it. She committed murder to save the rest of us. See, I know deep down it’s not about adults versus children. It’s who’s in the position to do the job right, and are they sharp enough, smart enough, steady enough to do what needs to be done if presented with the opportunity to try to put an end to a frightening, deadly situation. And my Audra was, as any of my intelligent children might have been. God knows, they’re all smarter than their mom.

Really though, we never know how things will turn out until after we take a chance. Sometimes we are forced to do things we would not normally do for the people we care about; for those who mean the most to us. Sometimes, a bigger tragedy can be stopped by a smaller one, like taking the life of one man, er…fiend…to save the lives of several innocents. We can’t know how things will turn out when we set out with an idea or goal in mind. No matter how safe or scared you feel, no matter how much you plan or don’t plan, care or don’t care…doesn’t matter…just throw any scenario out there. You never know what’s going to happen during the means to an end.

Unfortunately for most of us, knowledge comes after the roll of the dice. And we still keep playing.

Copyright 2013 Wanda S. Paryla

Book Review – Crystal Promise: The Shattered Crystal

Hello Readers!

I recently finished reading Crystal Promise: The Shattered Crystal, by indie author, James Funfer, and left my review on Amazon and Goodreads. I’m copying it here to share with you as well.

I am not great at reviewing. Some reviewers like to start with “This story is about a…”. I don’t do that because I’ll end up retelling the story and spoiling it for everyone. So here’s my review. I’d like to add that this book is a quick read and it keeps one questioning. There was barely a dull moment. It’s a little YA, a little fantasy, a little sci-fi. Happy reading!

My review re-posted from Amazon:

“When I read the blurb on the back cover, I was not sure what to expect. It didn’t relay the same message as the description here on Amazon. I was a bit confused at first. When I downloaded the book, I knew it would involve or center around young people, but at the same time I expected a whole lot of adult conspiracies going on, weaving in and out of the story, and more of an adult-packed novel with elders trying to take over this world. I expected a lot of young victims from the story in my head.

While there are young victims, it’s not the adults who totally stir them, but they, themselves, who do the stirring. I did not get what I expected. What I found is a pleasing array of personal stories nicely intertwined into the fabric of a place I’ve never been (and in the case of Novem, a place I’ll never go except in Funfer stories!) along with history, culture and war. Not just former war, but looming revolt. I saw a truth about how everything we do affects others down the line, in the fabric of time, and how no matter what, we have to do what’s best for us at any given moment. Yes, it’s a good thing to be selfless, yet at the same time we sometimes – given the circumstances – have to do what we need to in order to live. Oh how love, survival, and friendship can be thorny roses, indeed. I found myself racing through the pages to see what would happen next and to whom and was barely bored a moment.

I was drawn to several of the characters, my two most favorites being Jacoby and Julio. I was even angered by some of the characters to the point that I talked out loud to myself! When a character incites me in such a way, the author’s done their job. I’ve read books by well-known best selling…I mean, really best sellers with high sales…and their characters didn’t evoke feelings like some of these characters did for me. I tend to observe characters more than story in books; I have to know they’re not the author. I want to see that they are themselves, and are alive and well. James Funfer does that in this story. He lets these characters live.

Because there’s truth behind it, I thoroughly enjoy when an author includes young people facing situations that might change their lives drastically, forever, and there are seemingly no level-headed adults around to lend guidance. And the ones who try end up sucked up in the darkness. It’s like this for the teens in this novel. Dare I say, although it’s not described this way here on Amazon, this makes a great young adult or coming of age novel that adults, both male and female, can enjoy.

I refuse to add any spoilers, so let me just say… I got to the end and did not find the result I anticipated, or assumed I might find. I also realize that while this book is a story in and of itself, and some of the tales told in it have been tied up, this story is also a seed. It’s not meant to be an end, but a beginning. This is not a tale of what was, but what will be. If you like a series with a “book 1″ that plants the seeds for more…that will only get better…this one’s for you.

I’ll be waiting for the next book.”

 

Link to the book & other reviews on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Crystal-Promise-The-Shattered-Book/dp/0615665195/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1364917068&sr=8-6&keywords=crystal+promise

The author & this book are also on Goodreads. Incidentally, it’s listed as a Giveaway. Enter to win March 19 – May 1, 2013. Link to the book on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15790188-crystal-promise?ac=1

Writing Organically

WRITING ORGANICALLY…

Or “organic writing.” Interesting words, all.

I first read the term organic writing somewhere on Internet a couple months ago. I don’t know how long the term’s been around, or who coined it, or why. I just know it fits me fine.

I’ve never sat down and wrote a synopsis in my life…first. In school, I wrote the paper or essay then made the paragraph or two-long synopsis. I hate outlines too. I hated it when I had to do a science experiment and write a long paper describing every step, turning point, find and assessment. Oh, don’t forget your outline!…said every teacher everywhere.

I know what the teacher expected. She wanted us to think through what we were going to do and make note of the steps first. Not! I didn’t do it then either. I never made the steps. I just threw gasoline on the fire and jumped up and down smiling like a lunatic at the blaze, then wrote a report.

I write my fiction quite like that as well. If you hear me use the term outlining that usually means that I’m making a list of characters, character traits, and all the places they’ll visit. Do they like pizza with or without mushrooms? Outlining might include, or actually be, character mapping. For my “vampire” related series, the vampires and others in the story have family lines and some characters are reincarnates, so I had to do a tree to keep all the peeps or history in order.

In my new release, Someday Always Comes, I did absolutely no outlining, nor did I write a synopsis beforehand. Sorry, I can’t work that way. The most I did with them is a little cataloguing of who they are and their entrances into the story. I did this because there are characters who are mentioned at one point in time, then disappear. I wanted to keep track of these characters so that I could clear up loose ends and tie things together, leaving no strings lying about.

I started a synopsis, for the first time ever, for a story idea I’ve been toying with – a novel called The Ghosts of Willow Marsh. I started it a long, long…long time ago, and the synopsis is at about 1 ½ pages, while the story is much further along. Whenever I pull up the synopsis, I just stare at the blinking cursor. So, se la vie, synopsis.

One of my favorite things is when the synopsis actually turns into the story, as it did with Someday Always Comes. Hey, biotches, you can’t stop the muse. I highly doubt I will ever outline anything…I mean, while being true to the definition of outline anyway.

Currently, I’m dabbling with three or so different writing projects, and they’re all vying for my time and attention. It won’t be long before one of them wins out over the others and I’ll start pecking away diligently at the computer.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I do work out scenes, and sometimes write them out by hand. In fact, for one of said projects I’m working on now, the very tentatively titled, Rise of the Witch Clan, I have several scenes on paper. Unfortunately none of those scenes are bridged to any other scenes, and collectively make zero sense. Also, I have questions written down, with different ideas or answers. A question about a ring. A question about a book. Yadda. Then I have tentative answers.

I keep an electronic folder for deleted scenes, or scenes I might save to possibly rework into the story, or its sequel. I mean that whole scene about the missing Suri being found, then summoned through a water fountain, gown flowing, hovering there like a goddess…Hell, surely there’s room for that beautiful scene somewhere. Of course, I know it doesn’t sound beautiful to you, but it does in my head, and once the reasoning behind it…the why and who, etc….is accurately revealed, it’ll be lovely to you too when I describe it thoughtfully. You just wait.

But also, I have no real structure to anything I do. I like to plot and plan, but I don’t like to stick to any rigorous schedule. I’m the type of person that would tour a foreign country with a group, stray from the path, slay a few beasts, meet and marry someone who looks like Leo DiCaprio, and wind up living with magical elves in northern Wales…er… or somewhere, for eternity. Never returning home again.

Okay. Back on track. I read an article in March/April 2013 issue of Writer’s Digest called “Go Organic”, by Steven James. Steven James is supposed to be a best-selling author of many things, even some critically acclaimed things. But, I never heard of him, so I had to look him up. Yes, he’s done a lot. For shame, perhaps I should read one of his books.

Geeze, where was I? Oh, Steven James wrote an awesome article called “Go Organic.” Right. We established that. And, guess what? I have the same view points as he does. I write in the same fashion as he does…as far as mechanics goes. I don’t have a best seller, but we’ll see later. I also love that he quoted from one of my favorite books on writing. Yep, “On Writing” by Stephen King. James describes how he “loves Stephen King’s analogy…comparing stories to fossils that we, the story-tellers, are uncovering. To plot out a story is to decide beforehand what kind of dinosaur it is.” He quotes King, “Plot is, I think, the good writer’s last resort, and the dullard’s first choice.”

James goes on to say that the analogy helps him to think of his writing less as something he creates and more of something he uncovers. I like that. That’s how I feel too. Wouldn’t you know it? Me, Steven James, and Stephen King all think alike. Spooky!

With Someday Always Comes, I just wrote it. From start to finished. But each day, I’d go back and read the work from the day before; sometimes from several days before, but always striving for realism and fluidity. Continuity. I didn’t want my characters to say back on Tuesday that they were going somewhere on Sunday, then didn’t go. I didn’t want their personalities changing accidentally. The changes, if any, would be gradual and as a result of some event.

I don’t want to create some roadmap for every story and follow it to the tee. Then what happens when the muse slaps your marbles around and…wham!…story line change. But guess what? We have this outline…the story’s progressed by the outline. We can’t change it!

No, I’m not a fly-by-night writer. Okay, well sometimes I fly around at night. But that’s a whole other blog. I want my stories to have depth. I want strong, natural bridges and scene changes. I want my characters to make their own choices when backed into a corner, when being approached by Big Foot on a road less traveled, or while wondering what to do while staring into the eyes of their true love for the first time in ten years.

Whaat? Who the hell has time for pulling out maps in those situations! Really? When would anyone have time to pull out a map and ask directions while running across desert sands from a man-eating shark with legs while trying to find Amelia Earhart? I’ll tell you who are the only people who could pull that off…that whole…“Stop Mr. Landshark, I know not in which direction we goeth! Please, let me consult the Map of Sultan before we fall into quicksand or some other shit and lose our pants”… the Wayans Brothers. So, I’ll leave that dramatics and comedy in their capable hands.

So, I will remain organic. I am so glad someone invented that really cool term. And guess what all you English teachers of mine, give me an F if you must. But no more forced outline writing for me. How can I write spectacularly that way?

Steven James has a good opinion and idea in his Go Organic article regarding creativity:

“Forget all that rubbish you’ve heard about staying on track and not following rabbit trails. Of course you should follow them. It’s inherent to the creative process….What you first thought was just a rabbit trail leading nowhere in particular might take you to a breathtaking overlook that eclipses everything you previously had in mind.

Without serendipitous discoveries, your story runs the risk of feeling artificial and prepackaged. Give yourself the freedom to explore the terrain of your story…embrace the adventure.”

As I said, it’s a good article. Make sure you grab this copy of Writer’s Digest.

I did some snooping on the internet regarding organic writing. My view is that there are several organic writers out there and many described the roots of organic writing the same, yet they have their own way of going about it. A little bit of this, and a little bit of that. No junk.

I just can’t create any other way. Are you an organic writer too?

Final Edits Complete – Someday Always Comes

Whew! I finally finished editing Someday Always Comes. I have a few minor changes to make but that won’t take too long.

I always save each chapter individually as I write so it’s easier to find things and edit instead of writing my books in one long, boring, scrolling document. So, with editing complete, creating the merged scrolling document is also complete, now I just have to convert to PDF for upload to the publishing site.

This has not been a fun experience. I never thought I’d see the damned end of it. I’m glad I just have to do some double-checking for grammatical errors and I can move on. Hunting down mistakes will be easy now that I’ve merged the chapters into one document. I hate nothing more than seeing “your” when it should be “you’re,” or “there” when it should be “their.” Ugh! And being a self-published author, I don’t want my readers to have to endure that nonsense either. Now if I can just get “into” and “in to” in order, we’d be fine.

That being said, I hope I don’t get my copy and read through it to find all sorts of crappy errors. Thank the gods for print on demand! I can change it in an instant if anyone finds mistakes. Please tell me if you read a copy and find any crazy errors.

I’ll let you all know the release date as soon as I do.

Thanks for your support!