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Client Spotlight: Author of Kick-Ass Heroines @ShondaBrock

Shonda Brock Interview.jpgShonda Brock and I have been working together for a long time and how it has flown by! We’ve had so much fun over the years. We knew we were destined to make a good creative team because we both were born on January 22nd. We also both appreciate wine, books, and yoga.

Shonda Brock served in the US Military before becoming a medical professional and a busy mom. Somehow, she manages to squeeze in some writing every now and then. She is also an indie author advocate, hosting Paranormal Author Interviews and some of the best writing contests on the web.

Her paranormal romance series, Eternal Traces, features powerful female characters, exotic locations, and fascinating historical references. Readers who like diverse romances layered with mysticism, pulse-pounding action, and a fair amount of blood will enjoy her books.

I’m thrilled to introduce you to Shonda. I’ll leave all her links at the end. Please leave your comments for her as well!

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Writer Crush Wednesday: Leo Tolstoy

Writer Crush Wednesday Leo Tolstoy.jpg

This Writer Crush Wednesday, I’m sharing a passage from a book I finally read last year. Yes, last year! But this excerpt is so good I’m still thinking about these few paragraphs months and months later. I’ll probably always think about them. They’re from Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina at the very moment Anna and Count Vronsky succumb to their passions. I won’t ruin it by trying to explain all that’s going on here. Just read.


He felt what a murderer must feel, when he sees the body he has robbed of life. That body, robbed by him of life, was their love, the first stage of their love. There was something awful and revolting in the memory of what had been bought at this fearful price of shame. Shame at their spiritual nakedness crushed her and infected him. But in spite of all the murderer’s horror before the body of his victim, he must hack it to pieces, hide the body, must use what he has gained by his murder.

And with fury, as it were with passion, the murderer falls on the body, and drags it and hacks at it; so he covered her face and shoulders with kisses. She held his hand, and did not stir. “Yes, these kisses–that is what has been bought by this shame. Yes, and one hand, which will always be mine–the hand of my accomplice.” She lifted up that hand and kissed it. He sank on his knees and tried to see her face; but she hid it, and said nothing. At last, as though making an effort over herself, she got up and pushed him away. Her face was still as beautiful, but it was only the more pitiful for that.

“All is over,” she said; “I have nothing but you. Remember that.”


This is how I want to write when I grow up.

What do you think of this passage?

Have you read Anna Karenina?

What writers have blown you away?

Are Writers Sociopaths?

William Somerset Maugham Quote Artists

Excerpt from Of Human Bondage by William Somerset Maugham.

I finally finished reading Of Human Bondage. Honestly, I didn’t want it to end. It’s an amazing book that resonated with me on multiple levels. My copy has kept me company toilet-side for the past year and is dog-eared and slathered in orange highlighter. I’ll probably be posting more quotes from the book whenever they come to mind.

There were so many “Yes!” moments for me in the story watching Philip explore what it means to be an artist, not only of writing or painting, but an artist of his own life.

What do you sacrifice for art?

For authenticity?

For beauty?

For originality?

For love?

This quote, spoken by Philip’s friend Clutton, is a perfect example.

Oh, my dear fellow, if you want to be a gentleman you must give up being an artist. They’ve got nothing to do with one another. You hear of men painting pot-boilers to keep an aged mother – well it shows they’re excellent sons, but it’s no excuse for bad work. They’re only tradesmen. An artist would let his mother go to the workhouse. There’s a writer I know over here who told me that his wife died in childbirth. He was in love with her and he was mad with grief, but as he sat at the bedside watching her die he found himself making mental notes of how she looked and what she said and the things he was feeling. Gentlemanly, isn’t it?”

I think every writer develops the capacity to objectify people, events, and emotions. We have to distance ourselves from them so that we can examine them – whether they are tragic, vulgar, absurd, joyful, wrathful – and render them in their truest light according to our perspective (or that of our characters). The more I write, the more skilled I become at this distancing. It’s kind of creepy.

Does this make artists predatory, opportunistic sociopaths?

Weeelll, I say.. not completely.

I admit, I do sometimes pursue adventures in the same way the proverbial lawyer chases an ambulance, but I also do it as a means to greater understanding and depth of experience. For me it’s a form of delirious homage for all the mysteries, horrors, and delights of existence. It allows me to ignore my ego’s emotional investment in a situation so that I have the ability to look at it simply as it is, and not what I believe it is or should be.

(Let’s hope I’m not outing myself on some personality disorder here.)

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Have at it below!

Free Kindle eBook: The Wrong David

Fall in love with a person you can't have

Free this weekend!

To celebrate the one year anniversary of my first published work, I’m offering my novelette, The Wrong David, free all weekend.


Here are some of the reviews…

“…a very entertaining, sexually wrought, wistful romp throughout the beaches and streets of Marseille.”

“Fuelled by boozy days and nights of over-indulgence David finds a voice we didn’t think he had. The scene is set for a perfect indiscretion – but there’s a twist in the tail!”

“Anyone who has ever secretly longed for the significant other of a close friend will immediately identify with this well-written story set in the South of France. The dialog is sharp and the characters believable. The writing is both funny and poignant. The Wrong David entertains and delivers.”

“I loved this little book and highly recommend you take an afternoon to yourself, grab a bottle of wine, and get lost in Marseille and The Wrong David.”

“…for an endearing look at love, loyalty, timing and being in the moment.”

“An entertaining read that leaves you yearning. Well written and captivating.”


Read all reviews.

Download your copy here.

No Kindle? No problem. Read Kindle books on any computer or device. Click here.

🙂 Once you’ve finished, please let me know how you liked it by leaving your review on Amazon. 

Seasick, Yet Still Docked

I spent many afternoons languishing in delicious melancholy to this song.

I am a poor, freezing-cold soul,
So far from where I intended to go.
Scavenging through life’s very constant lulls,
So far from where I’m determined to go.

Wish I knew the way to reach the one I love.
There is no way.
Wish I had the charm to attract the one I love,
But, you see, I’ve got no charm.

Tonight I’ve consumed much more than I can hold,
Oh, this is very clear to you.
And you can tell I have never really loved.
You can tell, by the way, I sleep all day.

And all of my life no-one gave me anything.
No-one has ever given me anything.
My love is as sharp as a needle in your eye.
You must be such a fool to pass me by.

Lyrics Seasick, Yet Still Docked

Holy or broken, it’s always “Hallelujah”

 

Jeff Buckley’s version of Hallelujah became more poignant for me after his somewhat absurd and untimely death, especially when I contemplated the meaning behind the song’s words.

I like Jeff Kober’s interpretation of Leonard Cohen’s masterpiece, which I have pasted from his blog about Vedic meditation.

 

Hallelujah begins with reference to one of the great kings of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic world and mythos:

I’ve heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don’t really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

 

In the second verse, Mr. Cohen takes his musings into the realm of love while continuing with the Biblical imagery, now including Samson and Delilah:

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you to a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

 

Thus far Mr. Buckley’s version remains faithful to Mr. Cohen’s, and this faithfulness continues through the next two verses, both of which deal with the fraility of love and memories of what once was, and always with the holy chorus repeating its praise of the Creator:

Baby I have been here before
I know this room, I’ve walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you.
I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

There was a time you let me know
What’s really going on below
But now you never show it to me, do you?
And remember when I moved in you
The holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

 

This is where it becomes interesting. This next verse also is shared by both Mr. Cohen and Mr. Buckley, but, aside from the repeating chorus ending the song (itself one of the most sublime croonings you ever will hear), this is Mr. Buckley’s last word on the subject:

Maybe there’s a God above
But all I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shot at someone who outdrew you.
It’s not a cry you can hear at night
It’s not somebody who has seen the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

 

Sad, despairing, hopeless. Maybe there’s a God (not that he’ll ever do me any good), but love, that place wherein I sought salvation here on the earth–love itself is darker and more full of despair even than my heart.

This is the version so many have re-recorded. Ending here. How many? The song has been recorded more than 150 times.

Mr. Cohen is now 76 years old. He has spent and continues to spend time and attention and energy examining the spiritual aspect of things. He knows that nothing real ends in despair. Here’s his next verse:

You say I took the name in vain
I don’t even know the name
But if I did, well really, what’s it to you?
There’s a blaze of light in every word
It doesn’t matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

 

“There’s a blaze of light in every word.” “In the beginning was the Word.” God is in everything, the holy and the broken. And all of it is Hallelujah, all worthy of praise. There is nothing that is not God.

And what does the humble poet, do, knowing this? Mr. Cohen’s final verse:

I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah”

 

I struggle with comprehending our existence in this mind-blowingly vast Universe, but even though I’m confused about who I am and why I’m here, I find this song tremendously comforting.

Whether we are lost or not, whether we are bitter are not, we must make ourselves submissive and grateful to the beauty and wondrousness of it all.

Believer or non-believer,

Peaceful or discontent,

Holy or broken,

It’s always Hallelujah.

 

 

Subscribe to Jeff Kober’s Vedic meditation blog. (I highly recommend it!)

 

Rest in Peace Jeff Buckley 1966-1997

Win The Wrong David on Deranged Writers

best-window-displays_tiffany-co_2013_christmas_01

Hello, my friends! Today’s the last day to enter to win my novelette, The Wrong David, at Deranged Writers for their December Delights festivities. I know it’s kind of a last minute announcement, but I’ve been traveling the past few weeks and I’m totally disoriented. Apologies!

TheWrongDavid.BookCover

To win a copy, just pop by Deranged Writers and visit Anne and Chani. If you’re feeling Scroogy, they will put you in the holiday mood with food, decor, folklore, and travel.

Enter by visiting these posts! (Follow directions at the bottom)

HOLIDAY FOOD & DRINK: BREUDHER

GOOD OLD ST. NICK

CHRISTMAS SONGS VOL. ONE

HOLIDAY DECOR: CHRISTMAS AT TIFFANY’S

HOLIDAY DESTINATION WISH LIST: CHRISTMAS IN PARIS

 

Learn more about The Wrong David.

Exciting News for “The Sculptor”

Kristine Poole with her sculpture Bling and the Gleipnir Ribbon.

Kristine Poole with her sculpture “Bling and the Gleipnir Ribbon.”

Artist Kristine Poole will be helping me with my series-in-progress!

My series, under the working title The Sculptor of New Hope, was a spontaneous creation. I didn’t have time to do the proper research when I decided to attempt my first National Novel Writing Month. I blasted the books out, guessing and imagining what the process of sculpting was like, with no idea of the techniques and technical aspects of the art.

Fast forward two and half years.

I’m wrapping up the third and last book this month and am beginning to gorge on information before revisions so I can add realism and depth to the narrative. I love my characters and their story and I want to be diligent about incorporating all facts and details, leaving nothing to question. There were some major issues that needed to be addressed.

My first problem, which would have potentially derailed the whole concept the story, was if life-sized ceramic sculpture was even possible. I easily found documentation on marble, bronze, or smaller ceramic sculpture, but not the kind of work I imagined for my sculptor. I had a difficult time finding any detailed information on the web, until I came across the work of Kristine Poole.

"we remain in the experience of being bound, when in fact, the only restraint is wholly self-imposed." K Poole

“we remain in the experience of being bound, when in fact, the only restraint is wholly self-imposed.” K Poole

I felt immediately drawn to her sculpture. I poured over her whole website, and noticed that not only were the sculptures exquisite in form and beauty, they each had a message that resonated deeply with me.

Then I visited her blog page (she’s also an eloquent writer) and discovered that as an artist, she shares the same moments of fear and self-doubt a writer experiences. I jumped to subscribe to her blog, but I didn’t see a form or button to sign up. It was only because of that that I had the nerve to send her a contact form to ask to be added to her mailing list, and in the process, tell her a bit about my story.

I can’t tell you how ecstatic I was when she returned the email and offered to help me with my book. Not only will Kristine’s expertise give the story the dimension and credibility it deserves, it will give me the motivation to work tirelessly to realize the vision. With another artist investing her time and energy into my project, I must make my very best effort. I no longer have the luxury of entertaining doubt, and Kristine’s journey as an artist and her intention with her Bound Series inspires me. It gives me the courage to put myself out there and never give up.

Kristine Poole lives in Santa Fe with her husband, painter and sculptor, Colin Poole, with whom she frequently collaborates. Her current series will be debuted at Evoke Contemporary Gallery in Santa Fe next spring, and one of Kristine and Colin Poole’s collaborative sculptures is featured as the Silver Award winner in the Dimensional Category in “Spectrum 21: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art,” released Nov. 11.

Read her full artist bio here.

I will be sharing my interviews with Kristine Poole in future posts.

In the meantime, have look at more of her fascinating and provocative artwork on kristinepoole.com and read her inspiring articles, Approaching the “Bound Series” Surfaces and Entering the Artist’s World.

View more incredible painting and sculpture on Colin Poole’s website at colinpoole.com.

 Please leave your thoughts and comments for Kristine Poole and me below!