Chicago Down- Cover Blurb

Greetings all,

I’m working on a draft of Chicago Down’s back cover description.  Here’s a peek at what I’ve compiled from the short synopsis so far. I’m still working on trying to dwindle it a bit more.

*****

Salbatora vows to honor her father’s last request: find Eliot Ness to help free her brother who was wrongly arrested for Prohibition violations. She abandons her Texas home, leaving behind memories, and the living dead.

Ness isn’t the only thing Sal finds. Chicago struggles under Prohibition. While its citizens covertly indulge in spirits, a sinister darkness grows. Born of greed, it’s more disturbing than a lust for alcohol. While gangsters battle over territories, the undead have no preference as they run amok, and the Illinois governor has lost his mind to a madcap plot to corral Chicago’s mounting zombie populace.

An unlikely team, Sal Guerrera, Eliot Ness, and Al Capone form an unusual camaraderie as they fight the Screamin’ Mimis, as Al calls them. They develop a strategy to deter the governor’s plan which will collapse the weakened city. But can they end the evil’s terrorizing hold? When they learn how the dead sprang to life, they must strike at the source to set Chicago free. And they may not survive alive.

Chicago, are you ready for your unsung heroes? (Note: this line is slated for the cover, as opposed to the back blurb.)

Copyright 2017 Wanda Paryla

A New Look

Good day to you all.

I’m all too happy to admit how much my author/writer friends have, unknowingly, inspired me to not give up my craft.

Several times over the past couple of years, I’ve mentioned on Facebook how hard it’s become for me to write. Once upon a time, the words flowed like water to wine. Like rapids even. Then one day, they were seemingly gone. Dried up. It went beyond writer’s block. The words were just gone. It was so bad that I asked the doctor if I could be getting Alzheimer’s. I was lost.

But my hopes that the words would return to me were kept alive vicariously through others. I’d watch their progress, secretly cheering them on. Their words and the thrill of performing their craft were not lost. Quite the contrary.

Recently, I got very ill. And as I lay in my hospital bed the first week in January waiting for the cardiologist to tell me I had some terrible heart ailment (luckily and thankfully, my heart & arteries are as exquisite and tough as Ethan Hunt), I was also very lucky. Due to these terrifying circumstances, I had some time to go over the good old mistakes-made list. I got a chance to see what many others never get to. My heart appears healthy.  But no one knew that for sure at the time.

Alone in the middle of the night – hooked up to all sorts of scary, beeping shit – in an all too quiet room in the cardiac unit, perhaps dying at 46, I was scared shitless as this Scorpio held back her emotions.

Hell, if I died, I was not going out all dramatic like a pussy. Heck, no. I’m Scorpio. I rule death. And if She’s coming for me, she better have 40 silver fucking pitchforks.

Regardless of how worried this warrior pretended not to be, death nor sleep ever came.

At the top of my mistakes-made list was not the things that I thought would be there such as vacations I didn’t take, the kids I didn’t birth, or sorrow at fights with family members. Nothing about a Master’s degree, or the lottery, or all the sugar I’ve consumed in my lifetime. Not even apologies never spoken.

There were two things there. Two sorrows. They are: never loving in return the men that loved me; never giving them a chance. They DID love me. I know that now.

The next is: giving up on my writing for reasons truly unknown to me at the time. I was beaten into submission by me, but had no clue.

Some who know me chalked up the lost interest in writing to depression, sadness, anger, etc. All sorts of barriers. A couple of thrifty pals delegated it to my recent obsession with fixing my past. Or my desire to live there, which actually may have caused my sadness. Maybe they are correct. It was destroying me on many levels. Keeping me blind to all the good; allowing me to only see the bad. I was drowning.

I had no idea what was going on. Maybe I was blind on purpose. That happens, you know? I think I’ve been fighting my age. Maybe those who are older than I know what I mean.

So I enjoyed watching my writer friends. I think if there was no Internet,  I might not have had access to them and who knows where I’d be now. In what state of mind.

They are all winners. And despite that I wasn’t writing, they didn’t treat me any differently than they had years ago. They let me stay in the winner’s circle while, unknowingly, hanging on to me by threads.

I’ve been ill before and hospitalized. But never with something potentially life-threatening.  Life ending. For awhile I was like, “FTW? Figures.” But, while we’re still searching for answers, I’m very much alive. My mistakes-made list is changeable because I’m not dead yet. It’s changeable because I’ve seen others change directions many times.

Scorpio may rule death, but also rebirth. I’m reborn. It’s not time to return to the Underworld just yet. The gods have forced my eyes toward what I should see: the good. This goes beyond writing. It encompasses my spirituality and beliefs. It extends to who I know, where I live, as well as to my abilities of storytelling. My ancestors have given me a gift, and I’m still alive to use it. I should not abuse that.

My advice: do not fight the inevitable.  Change only what can certainly be moved. Let the rest go.

Thank you for reading.

-Wanda

When Your Own Writing Sickens You…

Book fire

 

That’s right. You read the title correctly.

 
Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever looked at a pile of your own manuscript sitting there, just minding its own business as it has for an undocumented amount of time, and you hate it? Just the thought of flipping through it makes you want to vomit. Or leave the house?

 
Maybe you’ve got a bunch of work saved on your hard drive, flash drive, or in Drop Box – or some other “cloud” archive, and the thought of opening it and looking at even the title of one or more of that crap makes you want to drink vodka. Have you experienced that?

 
Okay, so, those are extreme. (Maybe for you, but not for me.)

 
I had been going like mad. Muse was hitting me with ideas and storylines and character development like she was hurling mud pies at me. I had all I could do to keep up…or duck. You all know what mud pies are? I don’t think there’s a place in the world where anyone under the age of, maybe 35, isn’t familiar with a mud pie. But one cannot be sure. I’m sure. Haha.

 
Anyway, so there we were – her and I, just plugging along. A new idea, a new chapter. An old idea, a few new paragraphs. My notebook is half full of ideas and all the juicy things that go with them. Oh yes, a mile a minute.
Then, nothing. A few months ago, I hit a brick wall. No, I did not get writer’s block. It wasn’t even procrastination. It was plain old, bonafide….something. Something bad. Laziness is wrong. Maybe it was something more like depression, but that’s not really accurate either. I just stopped. I had just got finished writing a line and stopped for the day. I saved everything, turned off the computer, and that was it. That was all I wrote.

 
Oh, I tried a few things. Tried to look at stuff. Then my own writing made me sick. I hated it. I came so close to deleting months, even years of work. But I couldn’t do it. I would imagine myself printing everything out and burning it in the street.

 
Then I went numb and found myself just doing nothing. And the truth is I did not give one stinky hoot. Really. I was like, “Yay! I’m free! No more writing.” Oh boy. Then I’d get upset and feel guilty.

 
Then it set in hard. This depression-like feeling. And as silly as it sounds, I didn’t relate it to my writing. I mean, my lack thereof. Months went by. In fact, much of this year has gone by and my writing has just been lying around dormant for most of the months that have passed.

 
I started Chicago Down. Then, I worked on Angel Maker. Then I started slacking. Then some odd tale with no name came into my mind. I wrote 3,000 words then stopped again. I really did as I said. I shut down the computer and never did anything else.

 
Starting around the Independence Day weekend, I started thinking about myself. Not in a narcissistic kind of way. Just about my past in general. I always felt I had some talent lurking somewhere. Ever since I was a kid. Talent for writing fiction. I also had interest in directing movies or making music videos. I went to broadcasting school in my early twenties. Many people don’t know that. I think I would have made a good deejay.

 
I thought I’d make a great this or that throughout my lifetime. Unfortunately, I never tried a great many of those things. There were some I did try, but didn’t take them far enough to even glimpse a result.

 
Starting and finishing my book, Someday Always Comes, was a great accomplishment for me where my interests lie. But now it sits on a virtual Amazon shelf over two years after publication all alone. My very own love, my pride and joy. My very own Gone with the Wind. I didn’t know what to do with it. I’m broken-hearted about it. How can I revive it?

 
I’ve been considering other authors I’m familiar with, whose growth I have witnessed in the world of writing and publishing, and public relations, etc. I’ve been bearing in mind what they’ve been doing and how they accomplish what they do or what they have in the past. Then I was thinking about myself with those things in mind.

 
I think I got ho-hummed over my failure to promote, or to know how to promote, Someday Always Comes. I feel the story is worth reading. Really, I do. I caused its failure. That makes me sad. And, to go a step further, I did not know how to redeem it after interest dropped. More and more time went by and then I just gave up, citing the book is too old to revive. But after thinking about others that I know have talent – and how they succeeded, or at least keep an active voice in the publishing and self-publishing worlds, I see my awful, passive mistakes. I knew they were there all along. I did. I knew. I just refused to look because I might feel even worse than I had been previously.

 
But after looking at my work – all this work lying around on the floor, on flash drives, just all around, I did not feel worse. Sure, I felt brainless while milling it over. Then I thought, “Why are you crying over spilled milk when there’s more in the refrigerator? Here’s a towel – clean it up, Silly!”

 
Yes, I talk to myself like that often. But don’t overlook the whole point. Or even half of the point. I knew immediately that I had to stop this. I’ve been doing this crap most of my adult life: being negative toward myself and giving up on my projects; my interests. I’ve also found that when those closest to me do not care about my projects, or support me, I give up on them more quickly. I find my excitement fizzles out. I get a “No one cares. So who cares anymore? Not me,” attitude and I stop working the project, and even stop talking about it or other ideas.

 
I often long for other writers to talk to about my work. But I don’t know anyone personally, here in the same area. I don’t even know if I can be active member of any physical writing group. I have this phobia about my work. I really do. I know some of you do too. How do you get past the fear of sharing your unfinished work and it being stolen. Yeah, like someone wants to steal from me. Actually, the truth is, I had something stolen from me once many, many years ago. I guess the experience still makes me uneasy.

 
Ok. So no one cares. My sister doesn’t care. My brother doesn’t care. My niece doesn’t care. My mom, now she is always ready to listen to me. She doesn’t read anymore, but she likes me to read my work to her. When I read it, she “hears” my mistakes or any odd language or sentences. She’s always been a great help. But I have no one else to support me. Or anyone to talk to about what I do. And the sad thing is, they just do not care. My family situation is a blog for another day. In truth, it doesn’t surprise me one bit that I do not get support from them.

 
But wait. What the hell? No one cares? Some do. My readers do. They’ve said so. It’s been helpful to have their support and to have people that show curiosity. I admit that. But, hell. I care too. Fuck all those who are born to care due to their role in my life. If they do not give a damn enough about me or my work to read my book, screw it! I care about it. My 20 fans and readers care. I have a few friends that care.

 
The writing. It’s what is mine. And guess what my family of uncaring meanies, I do have fans. A few prized diamonds in the rough, they are. My small bundle of joy. I have a coworker who read Someday Always Comes, and I share my other work with her. She gives me nothing but praise. She has passed my book all around the office. She tells everyone that I am a great writer. I love it. Yes, yes I do. Even if she is stretching the truth a bit, it’s okay.

 
Support from family, friends, even coworkers means everything. However, with all the ups and downs – like mine…family doesn’t care, coworkers do care…I think as writers we should pick and choose our support – not the other way around. What I mean is, we need to seek it out. If we just stand around waiting for it…we’d be waiting for ages. I took a chance on telling a coworker who reads a lot about my book. She’s an avid reader and has given me overwhelming feedback. See? I would not have gotten a new fan and great feedback if I didn’t take a chance on her. Seek it. Don’t wait for it to find you.

 
Suddenly, I feel revived. I feel my accomplishments like I never had in the past. I feel all those half-finished manuscripts calling me. I feel the readers waiting for them. I do, I feel it. Can you feel it?

 

Conspiracy – What’s It Mean?

Greetings!

I posed this on my private Facebook page and I thought I’d present this question on my blog here as well. This will also feed to Twitter, my Facebook author page and other sites. I hope you will lend me some feedback if the subject strikes you as interesting at all. Thank you in advance for your thoughts.  🙂

From Facebook:

HELP! What do you think of when you see or hear the word, CONSPIRACY?

Is a conspiracy only a plan for the future, or something that has occurred in the past? Or can a conspiracy remain so even as it’s being played out? Does that make sense?

I’m asking because I am struggling with using it in a book title. Some of you may recall my “The Adam Conspiracy” which is the working title of one of my babies that’s been on the shelf, then off again, for years. I pull it out for inspiration usually. But I believe the time is coming for it to not go back upon the shelf. Now I am struggling with the title. It’s always kept me focused, but I am not sure what “The Adam Conspiracy” will mean to a person before they read the back cover or skim a page.

Back to December – the Synopsis

Hello again, friends and readers.

Below you can read a synopsis of a holiday story I’m working on. I’d like to publish in time for the 2015 holidays. This is a 2nd-draft synopsis. I’ve already begun writing the book, so I’d like to share the synopsis with you. Of course, I’m not much of a synopsis writer – I’m terrible at it, and usually deviate from the plan when I do get into a story anyway.

This is a quick synopsis, more like the long version of a back cover, so the end is not revealed. Only more questions.  😉

Your comments are always welcome.

Here goes nothing. Enjoy!

 

BACK TO DECEMBER
Synopsis:
After graduating college with a bachelor’s degree in creative writing, Joy can’t see herself going back to the one-horse town she grew up in. She sees no future in playwriting there, or anywhere else in Texas, whatsoever. She knows she has to go somewhere else to make her dreams a reality. With ideas of grandeur, places like Los Angeles and New York City etch all sorts of pretty lies on her brain.

 
During her last months at college, Joy meets and becomes enamored with her ticket out. One of her plays peaks the interest of handsome Blake Grant, a PhD student and son of a popular playwright. The beautiful, romantic former Homecoming Queen leaves her old high school flame, Sam, behind to run off with her new man; an exciting man who convinces her she is everything to him.

 
Her heart wanders back to Sam sometimes and the awful way she ended their six-year romance during a cold December rain. The guilt haunts her so she cuts most ties with her roots; not just with Sam, but with her lifelong best friend, Cammy , her former teachers, and even her own father. She cannot let those memories interfere with the present.

 
Joy’s play becomes a Broadway hit, as her husband, a talent agent, lights up the grandest stages with his clients. Life is striking and busy until a house fire destroys her life. Blake takes what’s left of her dignity as he dumps her for someone else. To top it all off, the woman who is supposed to be her best friend betrays her in an unforgivable way, breaking Joy’s trust in her forever.

 
Joy is emotionally and physically scarred for eternity. She knows nothing but regret, grief, and betrayal, and after realizing the last few years of her life were a lie, she wonders if she would be better off dead.

 
Broken, frightened, exhausted and alone, Joy is unable to stand life in New York with nothing but ghosts to keep her company. She comes to realize that the last few years of her life had been an illusion and she longs for those old creature comforts and real friends of home.

 
Embarrassed and ashamed – not just of how her life turned out, or of the scars the fire left on her, but of her actions before she left for New York, she returns to her hometown of Greenland. With the exception of a few vacations to the Texas Gulf Coast, and a weekend or two in Austin, the tiny Central Texas town, population 1000, surrounded by family-owned farms and cattle and horse ranches had been all she had known until her move to New York City.

 
As she approaches the old homestead on a rainy Christmas Eve, she is unsure of her future. What she left behind in New York was hell. It was thwarting, heart wrenching and sickening. A thousand questions run through her mind. Can her family overlook her former transgressions? Will she and her father be able to mend their broken fences? And, how much do the good folks of Greenland really know about her time away? Can the people she grew up with forgive a small-town girl’s ideas of greatness and welcome her back into the fold?

 
Even more worrisome, what humiliation will she face after leaving her old flame standing in the rain one night to run off with a big-city guy? Can he forgive? Will he be able to look past her scars as if they’re not there?

 
She wants no one’s pity. She just wants to go home. If only she could go back to that December and make it right.

 

 

 

Copyright 2015 Wanda S. Paryla

2015 Goals And Changes

2015 GOALS and CHANGES

I am still thinking about 2015. In my last blog regarding the subject, I wrote about no longer letting people take things from me: my time, my successes, my joys, etc.

But there are other things I have in mind too. Things that did not really seem to matter to me until I gave them some thought.

I have been thinking about the Border’s bookstores that went out of business. My local Border’s – despite it was what could be considered a “big-box retailer” – was my oasis; my get-away-from-it-all place. The atmosphere, the people who worked there, the whole place was special to me despite it was a Border’s. It had a small-business feel. It was located in a town where public transportation is virtually non-existent, so when I went there, I knew I would not be followed by my family of stalkers.

When it closed, I mourned for weeks. I was lost. I even cried. That’s how important that place was for me. There was just no place like the café there where they knew my name and what I liked to order most. I miss them all. Those jerks closed all Border’s stores and as far as I am concerned, they made a HUGE mistake. Like huge. Bigger than big.

So over the last couple of years, with no other place that could adapt to my needs or me to its atmosphere, I’ve been wandering lost. I cannot find a place with the ambiance that that particular store and café afforded me. I go out to a certain Barnes & Noble once in a while. The one that is closest to my home; however, it is farther than the old Border’s used to be. I don’t get there often enough to become a regular, and I certainly do not get the treatment and service I got at the Border’s that was in LaGrange, IL. That is the place so many story ideas came alive for me. It was a place of Ah-ha! moments. There was so much inspiration there. I loved being in the café at the winter holidays because the store was on a corner and the café overlooked the town square. The scene was so graceful and nostalgic with those large windows framing a view of holiday lights, snow, scurrying people, and the original train depot. It was like something out of a story book; like a Hallmark original Christmas movie.

Now here I am, always looking for that next nook to hide in. Then I thought, “Well, how about my small-town library?” I mean, sure, there’s no window views, or a café, but it’s nice and quiet and it needs business to keep going. I’ve made it a goal to check out more library books this year, and to actually use the quiet atmosphere as a place to hide away and write. I can bring my laptop and dive in. Even if I use it only a couple of weekend days per month, it’ll be more than I have in the past.

As far as checking out books to read or for research, I rarely do that either. I take it in spurts. Instead, I found myself wishing I had a Chicago Public Library card. Well, in truth, my local library can get whatever I might need in most cases. I guess the massive size of many Chicago branches is what really holds my interest. But my village library needs business too. The town I live in has a population of less than 12,500. I like it that way…I just wish it was further away from Chicago. So why in Hades do I want to go to Chicago? I hate it anyway. Blah! All they do there is rob people and murder one another.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I, or anyone other citizen of my town, cannot be murdered within the village limits, but we like our rose-colored glasses. I mean, between 2000 and 2012 there were only 3 murders: one in 2000, one in 2009, and again in 2011. I do not know the stats for 2013 -14. There has been a good deal of thefts, robberies, and car thefts. However, if we could look at the reports we’ll probably find that many of these were either committed by dumbass teens or people NOT from the village. They were committed by Chicagoans and creeps from suburbs that share garbage with Chicago, suburbs like Burbank and Oak Lawn. Maybe Bridgeview.

Anyway, I can still walk my dog here after the sun goes down without calling for a police escort and sending out homing pigeons to check for creepy people.

Oh, I really got off topic, right? I guess I just wanted to paint a picture of a small-town library that needs its business. I try to use our local businesses, but we don’t have many. I try often to utilize small businesses instead of big-box retailers when I can, and I’ll even drive to other ‘burbs to go to these places. Sometimes you will even find me in Chicago once in a blue moon. I find, though, that these are specialty shops where I find essentials that big retailers do not dare to sell. And that’s okay with me.

Since my town’s library is small and runs on a strict operating budget, I have decided to be a better patron. I usually donate to them books I’ve read, especially the nice hardcover books. Evens so, a few times this past summer I found myself selling them at the used bookstore. I will not do that this year. While I enjoy shopping at the used bookstore, I think I’ll stick to buying instead of selling in 2015.

In addition to my goals to be a better library user, and to better frequent small businesses, and of course, to not let people steal my thunder, most of my goals for 2015 revolve around writing.

The only resolution I made for 2015 is to be a writer. Yes, I said a WRITER. Even this resolution must be completed in small steps and goals to be accomplished. I am very tired of the term “writer’s block.” I use that term sometimes. Others use it. I’m not sure that every time I can’t finished something, or come up with a new idea, or a twist, spin, climax, or a new character I should call it writer’s block. Therefore, I am nixing that term from my vocabulary for 2015. Let’s see if it helps me any where progress is concerned.

Truly, I think writer’s block is the easy way out. A way for us to avoid questions like: Are you writing a new book? How’s that new book coming along? Did you finish writing that book? How’s that new character working out? Did you do that research on Three Stooges you talked about a few months back? Have you worked out your new writing schedule? Is Mary Poppins still singing to you during your showers? Is IT and Stephen King still invading your nightmares? Does Scooby-Doo still dance in a tutu behind your eyelids while you meditate? What color is this character’s eyes; is he a cowboy who rides a camel? You said a camel, right?

You get the picture. So, no more writer’s block. If anyone on WordPress, Facebook, or Twitter, etc., sees me write the term writer’s block in regards to myself, or hears me speak it…please remind me that there’s no such term (according to me).

On top of all that, I have other goals – actually, there is a resolution, but a big one that must be met through baby steps and one goal at a time. This is why so many resolutions fail. We attempt to meet the resolution in the first couple of months, if not the first couple of weeks. For example, we cannot come off of the winter holidays – Thanksgiving, Yule, Christmas and New Year’s – and expect to lose 50 pounds by February 14. It won’t happen. And so it goes with many resolutions. You must make small goals to reach that 50. Try 5 or 10 pounds first. Even if you lose only 15 pounds by the end of December 2015, you did not fail at the entire resolution, so do not give up. You will still be healthier than you were on December 31, 2014.

For me, my most important goal resolves around my spirituality. I intend on finding it again. It’s going to take most of the year. I’m on a journey. I assure you, I have to do this.

My next goal is health related. Not necessarily weight-loss related, but it might turn out to be a plus. Some of you may recall (especially my Facebook friends) that I’ve talked about some health problems I acquired during the last couple of years. So my health goals revolve around that. I’ve never been one to challenge a healthcare professional’s best advice. I know they are correct and that I have to do what it takes to keep my colon in shape. Colons cannot be replaced yet. Not like livers, kidneys, hearts and the like. It’s one of those if-you-abuse-it-you’ll-lose-it organs.

So my goals regarding health are to walk more, eat more veggies and avoid things I know damned well make me sick. No more ground beef! The infections are going to plague me regardless, and the hospital is unavoidable, but I can do things to lower the impact, soften the blow and slow things down.

I heard on the news a couple of days back that they…whoever THEY are…may have found a cure for colon infections. I pray for it. If you’ve never had an episode of Diverticulitis, where you vomit so hard that you are sure your colon has moved into your stomach, and your vision goes black except for those stars – one in each eye – right before you lose your senses and fall over between the toilet and the sink and get stuck – most cannot imagine. Yep. That’s me.

So I must, for my own good, make some healthcare goals.

I read Scorpio’s horoscope for 2015. It looks good. I find that it relates to some of my goals, some I’ve mentioned here and a few I’ll keep to myself.

I hope that you are having a great 2015 so far. Remember, junk those resolutions, or set GOALS to accomplish them. You might find it more helpful in accomplishing ideas and hopes.

Thanks for reading!