Monthly Archives: October 2013

The Day My Best Friend Betrayed Me…

Like most betrayals, it happened in the wee hours of the morning. The pain is still fresh in my mind. The anguish, the heartbreak and fear, too.

I’ll never forget it because exactly two days earlier, I’d uploaded Terms of Surrender to all of the online retailers and I had everything ready for the release date. I was excited to finally start book 3 in the Rocky Mountain Romance series. Sara’s story was just dying to be written.

On top of it all, I was ready for a break. A few days off to announce Terms of Surrender to the world, spend some time with my family, restock the fridge, push a vacuum around, and maybe read a book.

Unable to sleep, I was in my home office, playing with a new software design app while I thought about changing my website design (which is what I do when I’m between books).

image copyright unknown

image copyright unknown

And then my six month old MacBook Air, which I happen to love ALMOST as much as I love my dear Hubs and family, sent me an error message. Then another and another and another and another and another…until there was nothing but a black screen on my notebook and a sick feeling in my gut.

Betrayed by my best friend, my computer.

It wasn’t the first time, of course. I’d been ditched by computers before, but this time seemed so much worse. Six months earlier, I’d made the switch from PC to Mac, and like any new relationship, I gave my new best friend my heart and soul and trust. And in doing so, I ignored the fact that I should protect our relationship by performing the occasional backup.

Instead, I trusted my friend to be there through thick and thin…and in the process lost every last bit of work I’d done since last May.

For the past month, instead of writing book 3, I’ve spent my time rebuilding all of the files I lost. I’ve also invested in an automatic backup system (since apparently I’m incapable of performing the simple task of the occasional backup which might have saved the relationship).

My trust is gone, at least for the moment. In the months to come, if my friend performs without further errors, I’ll grow comfortable and forget that backups are a necessary part of our relationship. But as long as the automatic backup system does his job, the next betrayal shouldn’t hurt quite so bad.

Are you the trusting type? Or are you emotionally and physically prepared for your computer’s inevitable betrayal?

 

Have a happy and safe Halloween!

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…

I have a big nose.Hayes-3062-5x7

I don’t think about it often. Most times I forget how big my nose is until I catch a glimpse of it in one of those mirrors where you can see yourself from all angles. When this happens, I’m often shocked to realize I’d forgotten how my profile looks. Huh, I tend to think. Oh, yeah. I do have a big nose.

It’s not gargantuan. Or grotesque. Or life-altering. It’s got a big bump in the middle. Big noses run in my family. My mom has the same bump, although hers isn’t as noticeable—which is probably why I tend to forget about mine. My sister had a big nose, but thanks to her severely deviated septum, she no longer does. I remember how she looked after her surgery with her head in bandages, her face swollen and purple, and I thought, okay, my nose isn’t so bad. My dad had a crooked nose and thanks to the beauty of genetics, I ended up with the bump and the curve.

My husband and I went on a reward trip for his job a number of years ago. We met another couple that we saw several times over the course of the weekend. One evening, after a few cocktails, he said, “Your nose is so…” He paused and I’m pretty sure I leaned toward him, anticipating with a sense of wonder and dread what he was going to say. I didn’t dare look at my husband, for I’m sure he was smirking. I did sneak a glance at the man’s wife and she looked as if she would like to disappear into the fibers of the rug upon which we were standing. He finally, after the very dramatic pause concluded, “interesting.”

Good save. And yes, my husband was indeed smirking. But you know what? He was right. It is interesting. Three generations of my family right smack in the center of my face.

What about you? Do you see something in the mirror you’d like to change but realize it represents where you came from? If so, would you please share?

What’s All the Fuss About Christian Gray?

book to movieOne of my least favorite interview questions I get about my books is the one asking who my dream cast of characters would be.  I can never come up with a “dream cast” because I specifically wrote my books so as NOT to bring a certain actor/character to the reader’s mind.  Most times (but not all) I don’t have anyone in my own mind when I create the people on the pages.  Sure I add descriptive characteristics—height, body type, hair and eye color—but I like the reader to be able to fill in a few of the blanks so they can “dream” up their own image of the hero or heroine and the secondary players.

My family says I do this because my eye sight is so poor that I have trouble concentrating on people’s faces, so everyone is “fuzzy” to me.  A valid point, but not true in this case.  My reluctance to assign the image of a living person to my characters comes from having my enjoyment of a particular book diminished when the book is made into a movie and the actor or actress playing the characters are not even remotely who I was picturing when I read the book.  Or worse, when a particular author says she fashioned her heroine after a specific actress (who plays a ninny on TV) and I’m really not seeing it.  I was enjoying the book until that point and after her revelation; it went right to the DNF pile.

I realize I’m probably in the minority here.  Lots of readers want that mental picture.  I’m pretty sure it’s because we live in a society that doesn’t require us to use our imagination very much anymore.  But, I honestly think the best books are those that allow readers to see things through a slightly different lens:  their own.  And, guess what, we all don’t see things the same way.  Case in point, when coming up for the “Dream Cast” for Foolish Games in preparation for a blog tour, I asked my beta readers to help me out and come up with some names.  Each one came up with a vastly different cast.  And that’s okay.  (Check my website www.tracysolheim.com for details on the blog tour and you’ll be able to see who I picked.)

James Dornan Stephane Cardinale/Corbis/Splash News Online

James Dornan
Stephane Cardinale/Corbis/Splash News Online

This brings us to Christian Gray.  Full disclosure here, I haven’t read the books yet.  (One of the downsides to being an author is you rarely get time to read anything else.  Just ask my book club, I’m two months behind!)  When I found out 50 Shades of Gray was going to be a movie, I tabled the series to my TBR pile.  I find it’s easier to see the movie first then read the book.  Often the book is better and I don’t feel as let down afterwards.  (The jury’s still out in this case.)

Having not read 50 Shades, I wasn’t vested in the casting aspect of the movie, but many, many people had opinions.  I’m not a huge fan of Charlie Hunnam.  He’s a little too swarthy and unwashed for me.  Kind of like Brad Pitt.  (Yeah, I know, I’m weird.)  The new guy, though, Jamie Dornan, he’s kind of hot.  Even though I haven’t read the book, I’ve picked up the gist of the plot from the synopsis and conversations—at one point, everyone was talking about it!  Dornan seems to fit the Christian Gray I’d picture.  But that doesn’t mean he’s who millions of other readers pictured.    My sympathies go to the casting director; it’s hard to pick a “dream cast”.

 

What do you think?  Did they cast the right guy for the part of Christian Gray?  Have you ever had a book “ruined” for you by the casting of movie?  Has a movie ever made a book better?

To NaNo or Not to NaNo?

fastest writerWith November a week away, many authors are asking themselves whether to participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), an annual event where we novelists make ourselves even crazier than we already are. The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. In case you’re wondering, that comes to about 1,667 words a day. Assuming the writers don’t edit as they go, most can churn out that number of words in 1-1/2 to 2 hours. So it’s definitely doable. The question is, is churning out words a good goal?

For some writers, the answer is yes. Getting words on the page is arguably the hardest part of being a writer. Often we spend so much time on non-writing activities like research and plotting that we don’t spend enough time putting words on the page. For many beginners, just getting through the process of turning off their internal editor and writing from the heart is the biggest hurdle to cross.

NaNoWriMo can be a big motivator. Participants urge each other forward through forums and Twitter sprints. At the end of the month, most won’t have a publishable novel, but they’ll have either a completed first draft or a good beginning of one. That’s the first step toward becoming a published novelist.

For other writers, though, NaNoWriMo can work against their natural process. If I do writing sprints (where the goal is 1000 words in an hour), I end up having to revise so much that it actually takes longer than if I had worked at a slower pace and chosen my words more carefully in the first place. Plus, I like to edit as I go. It helps me see the shape of the scene or chapter as it’s progressing.

If fast drafting isn’t for you, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t participate in NaNoWriMo. Maybe 50,000 words shouldn’t be your goal. Can you write an hour a day? Or 6,000 words a week? Figure out what will get your fingers on the keyboard in November, and commit to that. Also take advantage of the resources available on the NaNoWriMo website. Put some time into prewriting exercises, like those recommended by Alexandra Sokoloff. Or check out the story structure articles on Michael Hauge’s website. The important thing is to write—not to plan to write or to talk about writing or even to edit, but to produce new words at a steady pace every day. Ultimately, that’s what makes us writers.

We write.

(Photo credit: Image by Krzysztof Szkurlatowski: 12frames.eu)

Cover Reveal!

So excited about my current series, Ladd Springs. Set in the eastern Tennessee mountains, this romantic mystery family saga has been so much FUN to write! A bit ambitious writing five books in a year, but a great experience. This current book (#4) centers on my a guy with a natural talent when it comes to the horses but an all too unfortunate lack of talent when it comes to making good, sensible decisions. But then again, he’s a man ruled by his passion.

LaddHaven_LG_2013

When Troy Parker returns home, a pregnant Casey Owens rejects him outright asserting he lost his right to honesty when he abandoned her to pursue his fortune in Kentucky. Jimmy Sweeney, friend and ally to Casey, never cared for Troy and is more than willing to take part in her deception.

Jack Foster has a few tricks of his own, beginning with reconciling his daughter Felicity Wilkins with the Foster family. Her mother, Delaney Wilkins, wants nothing to do with family reunions, knowing some relations are best left buried.

But as time passes, lies unravel. Casey can no longer deny her feelings for Troy and confronts him about the pregnancy. Felicity is doing some confronting of her own now that she’s learned a disturbing truth.  Yet it’s Delaney’s confession that causes families to collide as folks take sides, shattering both past and future generations, ensnaring Casey and Felicity in painful complications for which neither is prepared…

Family feuds run deep and wide, threatening even the most solid of unions. Find out who survives the perils in this chapter of Ladd Springs…

What do you think? Now back to the keyboard for the final details of the explosive finale!

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