Archive for June, 2016
NEW WEEK NEW FACE – CAROL STRATTON
Writing About Autism and Making It Real
Several readers have asked how I have been able to portray an autistic boy so realistically in my book, Lake Surrender. I answer that it was my job as a teacher’s aide, seventeen years ago where I worked with some severely impaired autistic high school students which inspired Lake Surrender. They put a mark on my heart and a desire to write about these special kids.
Seventeen years ago I walked into a spacious classroom with about five students and a teacher. A couple of the students looked up and then continued their twirling, stationery bike riding or practicing their name on a whiteboard. Unlike a normal classroom of teenagers, it was silent except for an inappropriate giggle from one student and a “Wahaaa” from another student. Welcome to the A-1 autistic impaired classroom.
The teacher, Ms. Crandall, made up for the class’s lack of communication with her energetic conversation talking about my new position. We went over my assignments as I took in the assortment of kids.
Dustin was the loudest. The curly haired teen loved two things in life, Hoover Dam and the Wright brothers. He would talk in a booming voice about those two subjects for hours on end.
Joel always had a grin on his face. Age sixteen, he lived for slicking back his dark hair with hair ointment and taking his sweet time on the stationery bike as he went for a leisure ride. He was never in a hurry and always repeated back anything anyone said to him. He never had his comb far from him in his back pocket as vanity had his number.
One of the most severely impaired students was Josh. He usually kept himself curled up in a tight ball and had a perpetual grin on his face. No one, not even his mother knew what curious thoughts went through his mind as he couldn’t talk. But, boy could he run. We called him a “bolter.” A few times he threw the entire school into an uproar as he played hide and seek around to the horror of his aide, Dena.
Robby never knew any emotion but happy. With his short buzz cut, he loved to rock back and forth and clap to any music was able to navigate himself with his cane, being blind by birth. When he heard we would be going somewhere outside of class, he’d be the first to up out of his seat.
Paul, on the other hand, had a wicked sense of humor. He had been very heavy but in his junior high school classes his teacher made him walk up and down stairs when he got out of line. Needless to say, he lost lots of weight. Unfortunately, I had to watch myself when I was around. Supervising his stair climbing one day, we took a break and I sat down on a step above him. Before I knew it, he had almost pulled me down the steps below.
The only girl, Sarah, was quite tall and blonde. Although she couldn’t speak physically, she used sign language to communicate her message, loud and clear when she wanted something, using sign language. Her object of desire was usually some other girl’s barrette or headband.
From the minute I walked into the classroom located in our high school’s farthest wing, I knew I wanted to write about these kids. They each lived in a small world of their own and our job as teachers and aides was to bring them into a larger social sphere.
Many students and faculty secretly labeled us the “weirdo” class and stayed miles away from our wing, but others came every week, volunteering and to be a part of our little family. And, the longer I worked with my kids, the more I wanted to know what made them tick. Even with their severe disabilities they had definite personality quirks, likes and dislikes.
I fell in love with the A-1 class, and will always remember them. As they learned to trust me, and I them, I saw God’s goodness working in them. They showed me in their unique way that God hasn’t abandoned someone who can’t relate to the outside world. For all I know my students may have had a deeper understanding of the Almighty than I ever might have.
We live in a world of perfection, but in our search for the ultimate prizes we often miss the quirky and unique experiences. And it’s often those occurrences which reflect the great Creator.
Carol has been a freelance writer for 14 years,writing over 300 articles and is currently a reporter for the Mooresville Weekly. She has a degree in Recreation Therapy and has worked with autistic children in a classroom, an experience that inspired her to write about a woman with an autistic son.
She speaks at national writing conferences as well as MOPS and other women’s groups about personality temperaments, friendship and encouraging yourself.
Carol is married to her husband John who she calls her “muse” and has four grown children and four grandchildren. Currently she and her husband, John, live in Mooresville, North Carolina where she loves to hike and play guitar and mandolin while learning to love liver mush.
Carol’s debut novel, Lake Surrender is published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas and is available on Amazon at: http://tinyurl.com/hln7nv9.
Carol’s debut novel, Lake Surrender is published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas and is available on Amazon at: http://tinyurl.com/hln7nv9.
Carol Stratton, New Week New Face, NWNF, Lake Surrender, Changing Zip Codes, Autism, Teaching Special Needs Children, World of Perfection
Posted in blog posts, blogwords, tagged Connections, Edie Melson, Fighting Fear, Friday Feature, Right Brain Left Brain, Stories by Design, The Write Conversaton, Tips to Silence Your Internal Editor, While My Soldier Serves on June 24, 2016| Leave a Comment »
BLOGWORDS – Friday 24 June 2016 – TIPS to SILENCE YOUR INTERNAL EDITOR
Hullo, All, and welcome! Today’s post is borrowed* from writer pal, the lovely Edie Melson, and was originally posted on her blog, The Write Conversation. http://thewriteconversation.blogspot.com/2013/07/tips-to-silence-your-internal-editor.html
A huge thanks to Edie for letting me share her words!
TIPS to SILENCE YOUR INTERNAL EDITOR
I’ve spoken with a lot of writers who have trouble disconnecting their INTERNAL EDITOR when they’re working on an early draft of a manuscript. This overly helpful person lives inside most of us and comes in handy when we’re putting the finishing touches on our manuscript. But when we’re in the midst of a creative surge, that same person can short circuit our progress.
Today’s post will give you the tips you need to silence your Internal Editor.
First you should know there’s a scientific reason for that roadblock. The creative act of writing your first draft stems from the right side—or creative side—of the brain. Later in the process, when polishing begins, the left side takes over. Here are some of the characteristics of each side.
- Visual in process, focusing more on patterns and images.
- Generally intuitive, led by feelings.
- Is the epitome of multi-tasking, able to process ideas simultaneously.
- Progresses from the big picture to the details.
- Lacks organization, utilizes free association.
- More verbal, needs to find specific words to express ideas.
- Analytical, led by logic.
- Takes things step by step, one idea at a time.
- Organizes details first before moving to the big picture.
- Very organized, utilizing lists and detailed plans.
Mixing up the process—trying to use both sides of the brain at the same time—can lead to a tangled mess and a major roadblock. All of this information is good to know, but what if our left-brained, Internal Editor won’t go away? How do we make her be quiet? Unfortunately, there isn’t one way that works for everyone, but here are some tips that should help.
- Don’t give in to temptation. Our Internal Editor gets stronger the more frequently we give in to her demands. If she thinks you need a certain word before you can finish that sentence, stay strong. Type XXX and go on. Later, during the rewriting process, you’ll have plenty of time to find the right word. This goes for anything that demands you slow the creative process. At this point in your manuscript speed is your best friend.
- Set a daily and weekly word count goal. This can often sidetrack the Internal Editor because of her need to meet a goal. Sometimes, in her drive to succeed she can even become an ally.
- Make lists in a separate notebook. Use your computer for the story, but if the need for details overshadows the creative urge, make a quick note in a notebook. Don’t let yourself get bogged down, but let the free association part of your right brain give you ideas to explore later with your more logical left side.
- Don’t give in to fear. Many times our Internal Editor is driven by fear. Fear that this draft isn’t good, won’t work or just doesn’t make sense. Remind yourself that this version isn’t written in stone. Sometimes just giving ourselves permission to write what Anne Lamott calls the sh*%&# first draft is all we need to derail our Internal Editor.
All of these can help, but I’d like to know what tricks you use to keep that INNER EDITOR quiet.
Don’t forget to join the conversation!
Thanks again, Edie, for allowing me to share your words of wisdom!
Edie Melson is a leading professional in the writing industry. She’s a sought after writing instructor; and her heart to help others define and reach their dreams has connected her with writers all over the country. She’s the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, as well as a popular faculty member at numerous others.
She’s a prolific writer, publishing thousands of articles over the years, and has a popular writing blog, The Write Conversation. Edie is a regular contributor on the popular Novel Rocket and Inspire a Fire websites, as well as social media mentor for My Book Therapy and the social media director for Southern Writers Magazine.
In keeping up with the leading edge of all things digital Edie has become known as one of the go-to experts on Twitter, Facebook, and social media for writers wanting to learn how to plug in. Her bestselling eBook on this subject, has recently been updated and expanded and re-released as Connections: Social Media and Networking Techniques for Writers.
Fighting Fear, Winning the War at Home When Your Soldier Leaves for Battle, is Edie’s heart project. This devotional book for those with family members in the military debuted on Veterans Day, 2011.
Look for her two newest books for military families debuting in January 2014: While My Son Serves and While My Husband Serves.
She’s a member of numerous civic and professional organizations, including Blue Star Mothers, the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, The Christian Pen, and American Christian Fiction Writers.
Edie has been married to high school sweetheart, Kirk, for 30+ years and they’ve raised three sons. You can also connect with Edie on Twitter – @EdieMelson and Facebook.
* borrowed because I’m getting ready for my bit trip! (see First Friday Feature, 3 June) And because, well, networking and that’s how that works!
Tips to Silence Your Internal Editor, Edie Melson, The Write Conversaton, Stories by Design, Friday Feature, Right Brain Left Brain, While My Soldier Serves, Fighting Fear, Connections
BLOGWORDS SPECIAL REPORT – Tuesday 21 June 2016 – LEAVING ON A JET PLANE / BOOK REVIEW – TOLD YOU SO by KRISTEN HEITZMANN
Posted in blog posts, book review, tagged #freefall, blogwords, book review, Fly Robin Fly, Kristen Heitzmann, Leaving on a Jet Plane, Pride and Prejudice, Special Edition, The Edge of Recall, Told You So, Told You Twice, Tuesday Reviews-Day on June 21, 2016| Leave a Comment »
LEAVING ON A JET PLANE
You may have noticed that Tuesdays are when I post reviews on my blog. And there is a review coming. But there is another “event” today that doesn’t happen very often, at least not for me. In fact, it hasn’t happened for almost 20 years—I will be boarding a plane this evening. Did I mention I love flying?
Now that may not sound extraordinary to you. And I don’t guess in the grand scheme of things it really is. But for me, it’s huge. For me, it is a breakthrough. In many ways, I have been “on hold” for a long time, growing my faith, stretching, trusting Father God to align me, align my life with His Word. It’s not an easy journey but it’s a victorious one.
“But for a girl who grew up as in Invisiblet— “Once upon a time, there was a little girl who was invisible. Or she thought she was invisible, felt that way at least. And when she felt people were staring at her, she wished she was invisible. That little girl was me. Hello, my name is Robin, and I’m a recovering invisiblet. I wasn’t shy, I was terrified. And that made it quite difficult to make friends. Or to be a friend.” [blog post 02 May 2014] —this gift is more than a gift. It is gold. I see Father’s hand, orchestrating the whole thing. All so I could have my desired trip. I asked, and He made a way.” just ‘cause I wanted it, a little girl asking Father for something shiny and pretty. [blog post 03 June 2016]
Besides my high school reunion, there are a few friends I’ll get to see. Kristen Heitzmann is one of those friends. And tomorrow afternoon, she and her daughter and I will be hiking. Oh yes, I can hike now! (Gently still, of course!) See my post, ON KNEE SURGERY and BEING IN HOSPITAL ON MY BIRTHDAY, 12 February 2016.
So hiking AND flying AND spending time with friends! Yeah, that’s a Special Report! And it’s only getting better from here!
And I now return you to [my] regularly scheduled programming…..
BOOK REVIEW – TOLD YOU SO
BOOK REVIEW – TOLD YOU SO by KRISTEN HEITZMANN
Personalities clash. Oil and water, fire and ice. A romantic and a cynic.
Grace Evangeline knows her latest novel will make a smash hit onstage. Devin Bressard is sure his stage is not the place for it. Grace is relentless and tenacious, though, pursuing Devin, leading them to a forced collaboration.
Will the collaboration bring success? Will the resulting script make it to the stage? Or will Devin lose his sanity in the process?
One calamity after another, one too many disasters, and Devin is ready to wash his hands of anything to do with Grave Evangeline. Will they overcome the frisson between them and let the spark of passion ignite? Or will their difference of vision break them and drive a wedge between them that cannot be undone?
A favourite author of this reviewer, Ms. Heitzmann, has written another one out of the fiction ballpark. Intense characters, intense emotions and convictions. Intense situations. Real and honest reactions. Characters who are true to human nature. I could identify with both Grace and with Devin, even as they are seeming polar opposites. I felt the drive and need that compelled Grace to pursue her goal—and only the best was good enough, Devin Bressard. I also felt Devin’s resistance; I do not like to be pushed or bullied into something (even if I know it’s a good thing.) I felt his hackles burr as Grace was relentless against him.
And I felt the tension of attraction that neither of them desired, or wanted to admit.
I anxiously await the sequel to this suspenseful-romantical-comical nod to Pride and Prejudice, Told You Twice.
Kristen Heitzmann is the bestselling author of contemporary romantic suspense, psychological suspense, and historical novels, including Colorado Book Award finalist The Still of Night, Christy Award finalists Indivisible and The Tender Vine, and Christy Award winners Secrets and The Breath of Dawn that won both a Christy Award and Inspirational Readers Choice Award and was a finalist for a people’s choice award in the Netherlands. She is a fiction track and workshop teacher at writers conferences. An artist and musician, she’ll also be found hiking the Colorado Rocky Mountain trails near her home where she lives with her husband, pets, extended family, and wildlife.
Blogwords, Special Report, Leaving on a Jet Plane, Tuesday Reviews-Day, Book Review, Told You So, Kristen Heitzmann, Freefall, The Edge of Recall, Told You Twice, Pride and Prejudice
Posted in blog posts, guest post, tagged #NWNF, Bat Crazy, Carole Brown, guest post, Knight in Shining Apron, New Week New Face, Personalities and Heroes, Sabotaged Christmas, The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman on June 20, 2016| 4 Comments »
NEW WEEK NEW FACE – CAROLE BROWN
Personalities and Heroes
Once you begin writing, once you’ve released more than one book, you’re faced with decisions that are peculiar to your first one. That is: creating personalities of your characters that differ from the previous one.
How important is that? Very.
Here’s a couple personality examples I’ve given two of my male protagonists:
- In Sabotaged Christmas, the first book in the Appleton, West Virginia Romantic Mysteries series, I gave Perrin Douglas a loner personality. Because of his deceased wife’s feckless attitude with her marriage vows, he had little use for the female species that happened to cross his path. He was just as happy sitting secluded (and hidden) in his home, writing, and away from prying eyes that might somehow discern the hurt in his heart. His previous life when he’d worked as a college professor–even then he was serious and responsible about his duties, his life and his family. He didn’t care for nonsense.
- With Tyrell Walker in the first book of my WWII Spies, With Music in Their Hearts, series, he was an all-around good, smart man and serious about what he wanted out of life, yet fun to be with. He was a person who made others feel safe and comfortable to talk with him about their problems. His parents hadn’t had the best marriage, but his grandparents were prime examples of what love should be all about. They were the influence that Tyrell needed, and it showed in his personality.
Now, in Knight in Shining Apron, I needed a man who was comfortable with himself and others. I have this nifty little book by Tim LaHaye called Why You Act the Way You Do, and in the book are descriptions of different personality types. One of these is the Sanguine Personality.
Here’s how one dictionary explains it: optimistic or positive, especially in an apparently bad or difficult situation. Optimistic, bullish, hopeful, buoyant, positive, cheerful, cheery, upbeat.
So how did I create Joel?
- Bullish: Joel was a bit of a bully, not in a seriously bad way, but he liked his way and he was persistent in trying to bring Starli out of the dumps, getting her to smile, and working to make her forget her troubles
- Which is a good thing for the most part. But sometimes he was so-o-o confident, he could make the other person feel just a bit uneasy. Joel was such a caring person, that it hardly ever happened, but the tendency was there and had the potentiality to surface.
- He was smart, won awards and received job offers even before finishing school. He was perceptive and discerning with those he was around.
- Joel was generous to a fault, gave his time and work to countries and those in need.
- He was creative and talented, and took pride in doing his best and doing well.
- When he gave his love, he did it with all his love and might.
It’s generally bandied about that opposites attract, and going on that supposition (or is it fact?), pairing Joel with Starli was a good choice. Given that Joel was a faithful Christian and Starli was a practicing Christian, it was inevitable that both would be able to work out the differences in the way they approached or looked at life.
With Joel, his heart safely in God’s control, gives him the discipline that keeps his negative traits in check.
Personalities matter. Matching the right one with the right character, learning that characters are not all good or all bad, and digging deep into your characters personalities, their lives and their habits is a priority for authors.
If you’re an author I’d love to hear how and why you created a character in your book
If you’re a reader, I’d love to find out what kind of character interests you? Can you forgive a “bad” character if they show change?
Besides being an active participant of many writing groups, Carole enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense, tough topics, romance and whimsy into her books, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?
Personal blog: http://sunnebnkwrtr.blogspot.com/
Word Sharpeners: https://wordsharpeners.wordpress.com/
Stitches in Time: http://stitchesthrutime.blogspot.com/
Barn Door Book Loft: http://www.barndoorbookloft.net/
Knight in Shining Apron Cover Blurb:
Starli Cameron gave up her career plans to be a concert pianist to marry the man of her dreams. He turned out to be a nightmare. When he dies in a car accident, Starli takes the insurance money and builds a successful and upscale restaurant: Apple Blossoms in rural West Virginia. Threats from someone determined to ruin her life and the suspicious romantic advances from her new chef force Starli to search her heart and finally turn to God for real healing.
Sir Joel Peterman-Blair, top notch chef from England, is roped by his uncle, into filling in as head Chef at Apple Blossoms. Joel, with his sanguine-personality, has always laughed and flirted his way through life. But now, confronted with and attracted to the most beautiful woman he’s ever met, Joel has to prove his sincerity and depth of character to his icy-cold employer. Can his love for God and for this woman reach out far enough to rescue her from her own mistrust and bitterness? Will he learn that life is not all play?
And can they both work together to find the source of threats that seem to be coming from Starli’s past?
Carole Brown, New Week New Face, NWNF, Guest Post, Personalities and Heroes, Knight in Shining Apron, The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman, Bat Crazy, Sabotaged Christmas