Domestic Violence, Essays, Memoir

Single, Never Married

I’m a dedicated Swagbucks addict, which means I participate in online surveys on practically a daily basis. As most surveys do, these usually collect your typical demographic data, such as sex, race, gross annual income, and marital status. These should be relatively easy questions to answer, but I’ve often hesitated when I came upon the marital status question. I know what the technical answer is, but I have strong feelings regarding what I feel is my “real” answer.

The marital status question typically gives the survey respondent the options of married, divorced, something regarding living with someone you’re not married to, and single/never married. Technically, I was legally married at one time, and I was then legally divorced after about ten years of said legal marriage. However, when I look back upon that marriage, I don’t feel as though I was ever actually “married.” Continue reading “Single, Never Married”

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Book Reviews

Book Review: Pimp in the Pulpit and Pimp in the Pulpit II

Pimp in the Pulpit and Pimp in the Pulpit II by Thomas Leslie McRae are two episodic novellas that would make for some great television—not network television due to the strong language, but Netflix or Hulu could turn these stories into a first-rate original series.

Pimp in the Pulpit covers

My favorite thing about these two novellas is the conversational tone that feels like you’re sitting at a cookout next to your gossipy old aunt who always keeps you caught up on family dramas. But this old aunt isn’t just gossipy, she’s hilarious, and she doesn’t mind repeating every foul word that flew during each new altercation! The insults were one of the most creative parts of these stories, and they had me laughing and shaking my head from page one. Continue reading “Book Review: Pimp in the Pulpit and Pimp in the Pulpit II”

Novel Writing

I have two new #novels in the works!

I am so excited about my writing right now! I just finished a rough draft of the second of two novel manuscripts that I plan to finish by the middle of this year!

It usually takes me some time to switch from writing mode to revising mode, but it really helps that I set one of the manuscripts aside and moved on to the next one before editing this time. Revisions are already going well, and I hope to have this manuscript ready to share with my creative writing workshop in just a few weeks!

How about I tell you what I’ve been working on so you can share in my excitement?

Project #1: Demons of the Night

I started this book quite some time ago when I had one of those dreams that was too good to not write it into a scene. This novel is very different from my last two. It’s an adult book that includes witches, demons, and philandering preachers. It’s a battle of good and evil, where it’s not always obvious which side is which.

Image Credit: https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/halloween-demon_955179.htm Designed by Freepik

At the center of this battle is Docia, a sheltered young woman whose father and step-mother are determined to keep her sequestered within the “safe” world of her grandfather’s church compound and seem unlikely to ever allow her to move forward into a life of her own choosing. Continue reading “I have two new #novels in the works!”

Music, Relationships

You’re not bad at love; you just have high standards. And that’s okay! #badatlove

With Valentine’s Day (aka Singles Awareness Day) coming up, love will be on the minds of many. How can you avoid thinking about such a commercialized holiday that the retailers and advertisers won’t let you escape? Unfortunately, many will also be beating themselves up over their inability to find love. Bad at Love, by Halsey, might just be this year’s single’s awareness anthem. But as I listen to the words to this song on the radio at least twice a day, I keep thinking: Are you really bad at love, or do you just have high standards?

Each verse of this song analyzes a situation in which the song writer is purportedly bad at love. In the first, Halsey laments over a boy back home who, “tastes like Jack when I’m kissing him; So I told him that I never really liked his friends; Now he’s gone and he’s calling me a bitch again.”

He tastes like Jack when I’m kissing him; So I told him that I never really liked his friends; Now he’s gone and he’s calling me a bitch again.

Hmmm. He sure sounds like a winner. I mean, if you can’t make it work with a guy who always tastes like hard liquor and thinks it’s okay to call you a bitch, who CAN you make it work with, right? Wrong. This guy sounds to me like he might grow up to be a mean drunk. Do you want to be his punching bag someday? No. You don’t. You’re not bad at love. You just dodged a bullet on that one. Let’s move on. Continue reading “You’re not bad at love; you just have high standards. And that’s okay! #badatlove”

Valley of the Bees

Sustainable Arts Foundation loves Valley of the Bees!

Earlier this year, I applied for a competitive writing grant through the Sustainable Arts Foundation. The winners were recently announced, and though I did not win this time, the jurors who reviewed my application packet had great things to say about Valley of the Bees. The following comments are direct quotes from the very nice rejection email they sent: Continue reading “Sustainable Arts Foundation loves Valley of the Bees!”

Writing Basics

Characterization and exposition in fiction writing

Characterization is the process of using words on a page to transform a figure of the writer’s imagination into a living, breathing, whole person in the imagination of a reader.

Characterization meme
Characterization is the process of using words on a page to transform a figure of the writer’s imagination into a living, breathing, whole person in the imagination of a reader.

Exposition = Narrative Summary

In the context of characterization, exposition is a comprehensive explanation of a character, consisting of a list of physical attributes, historical background, psychological profile, or a combination of some or all of these elements. Continue reading “Characterization and exposition in fiction writing”

Writing Basics

Writing interior monologue: A god’s-eye view

The omniscient narrator can explain what’s going on in the heads of all these people. But, does the reader really need to know what everyone is thinking?

In many ways, the rules for writing in omniscient point of view are almost the exact opposite of those for writing in a closer perspective. In omniscient POV, the narrator isn’t stuck inside the protagonist’s perspective, but instead sees and knows everything. The omniscient narrator can tell the reader what happened five hundred years ago before the protagonist was born and what is happening inside the head of a random lady crossing the street in front of the protagonist’s car (that is, if it’s relevant to the story!)

The more distance you put between the narrator’s POV and the main character’s POV, the harder it is to write interior monologue without using thought tags. In omniscient point of view, the narrator might just need those thought tags to tell the reader what other characters are thinking. But not always, so do ask yourself if there is a better way each time you insert a thought tag! Continue reading “Writing interior monologue: A god’s-eye view”

Writing Basics

Writing interior monologue: Up close and personal

In yesterday’s post, I mentioned that writing interior monologue can be easiest when writing in first person and third person limited. Today, let’s delve a bit deeper into that perspective.

As I said before, it is quite simple to write interior monologue in first person point of view, as long as you remember that the narration is already something of an internal monologue in itself. Consider yourself in the situation you are writing. If you are wondering about something, how often does the monologue occur in your head as, “I wonder what he thinks he’s doing.” Or, is it more like, “What does he think he’s doing?” without adding an unnecessary explainer? Continue reading “Writing interior monologue: Up close and personal”

Writing Basics

Interior monologue in fiction writing

Interior monologue is the expression of a character’s thoughts, feelings, and impressions in a narrative. It is much like the internal monologue that runs through all our heads pretty much every waking second of every day. (Though writers should only share the thoughts that are relevant to the story!)

An excerpt from Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Second Edition: How to Edit Yourself Into Print
An excerpt from Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Second Edition: How to Edit Yourself Into Print

Writing interior monologue can be difficult to do well. You may be tempted to use trigger words and phrases like “I wondered,” “he thought,” and “she felt like” to express your point of view character’s internal monologue. You may also be tempted to use quotation marks around the character’s thoughts or italicize the font to show that the words are being expressed inside the character’s head rather than with her physical voice. However, if you use these tactics regularly, you should probably stop! Continue reading “Interior monologue in fiction writing”