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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Hello everyone.
Christmas is upon us and the New Year is just around the corner. I can't believe how this year is almost over and what a year it has been. My year in a nutshell:
January, I finished my first novel ever.
February, went to my very first winter Olympics in Vancouver, BC.
March, went to Vegas for the first time.
June, I graduated from community college and celebrated my fifth wedding anniversary.
July, I joined Willamette Writer's Association.
August, I attended my first ever Writer's Conference and talked to several agents. Oh and I started to blog. *squeal*
September, I passed my RHIT national exam and went on the most amazing vacation tour of Virginia with my friend.
December, attended my first ever Writer's Fair and met some awesome local authors. I also discovered that my genre was romance, ahem, I mean paranormal romance. (sounds more interesting.)

That about sums it up. I started this blog five months ago and to date I have five followers, two comments and over 200 hits on my page. I'm absolutely shocked that so many people have visited my site and read my rambling. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for your support. It really means a lot to me.

*sniff, sniff*

Okay moving along, books: I just finished The Cowboy and the Vampire.
*cover photo courtesy of Facebook *
What a fun ride. After reading over 40 vampire novels in the last two years, it was quite refreshing to dive into this different take on the world of the undead. Plus after meeting the authors, it just made it all the more exciting. Its like a good Western but with a bite. (pun intended) Great story, excellent plot, fabulous characters. I highly recommend it. And you can buy it by clicking here

Right now I'm reading Delcroix Academy: The Candidates by Inara Scott So far I'm hooked and I have to exercise great will power to refrain myself from reading it continuously throughout the evening. I have to make time for writing as well.

Speaking of writing, that has been going quite well. In the last five days I have written over 16,000 words and a total of 45 pages, never mind all the holiday stuff, work, and life in general. My goal is at least 25K words but am aiming for 30K by New Year's Eve and I'm really hoping ya'll are gonna hold me to it!

Next week I'm on vacation from work and will use that time wisely to achieve my goal. Which means I won't be blogging again till after the first of the year. So Merry Christmas and we'll see ya in 2011.
Cheers,
Melania

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Writer's Faire and other things....

Hello my lovelies,
Bless you all for your loyalty to this aspiring author/blogger. May karma bring you an abundance of goodies, especially during this holiday season. Speaking of holidays, I about peed my pants when I looked at my work calendar this morning and realized that Christmas is next week. I KNOW, Right??? Thankfully I have all my shopping done which consists of a few gift cards for family that live far away. For those close by I either bake something or give a homemade canned something.

*Spoiler Alert* This year its Salsa. *End Spoiler*

Okay so anyways...back to writing. The last three days have been super productive. I just love it when all the words come so easily and my fingers tap away at a musical speed. YES. YES. YES. Me loves it indeed. So for those who haven't read my blog in a while, let me catch you up. For those who have, bare with me.
So about three weeks ago I decided to revisit my first novel Six Roses and spend some good quality time polishing it up and making it shine. This has been a really great experience this far.

The biggest accomplishment to date is that I have finally found the voice for one of my characters. This is HUGE, because I have been struggling with this ever since I started writing almost two year ago. I've rewritten one book twice (Six Roses) and I've more then half way done with another. All them my main character has the same voice. BORING!!!!!

When I decided to re-write SR (for the third time) I also decided to change some of the chapters and write it from the other main characters' point of view. This actually forced me to start playing with the voice-thing, because the two that I'm working with is a 500 year old vampire and a 18 year old gypsy apprentice (also male). Very different voices indeed. Yesterday I finally nailed the gypsy boy. I had written a whole chapter from his view point and suddenly realized that the voice had changed. It was VERY different from the main female character. You have no idea how happy this makes me!

Okay so other news is that last week I went to the Willamette Writer's Faire and I got to meet some of the most amazing published authors that are local to either Portland or the Willamette Valley. I even bought some books. For your viewing pleasure here are the ones that caught my attention and I actually had some conversations. You can click on the title to go to their website.

1. Clark Hays and Kathleen McFall "The Cowboy and the Vampire" I only had enough money in my purse to buy this book and of course they were kind enough to sign it for me. For all you vampire lovers out there, this one is golden. I'm half way done with it and currently am battling with myself as to whether to write or read. I'm at 50/50 compromise at the moment, but will probably finish it this weekend.
2. Inara Scott "Delcroix Academy: the Candidates" This is a children/YA book. Very Percy Jackson and the Olympians meets Harry Potter and parties with Gossip Girls. In fact the author shares the same publisher/editor as Rick Riordan. I talked to her the longest. She was so nice and gave me so many tips and sources for beginner writers. She also gave me the first chapter to read. Of course, I was hooked and as soon as I got home I ordered it on Amazon.
3. Erin Cole "Grave Echoes" This is a mystery that is based here in Portland. How cool is that?! I haven't had a chance to read it, but it's on my list to read after I'm done with the ones I already bought. She was a delight to speak with and I look forward to diving into her suspense-filled world.
4. Kaylin McFarren "Flaherty's Crossing" This is a Romance and I'm adding it to my list because the main character is Irish. I kinda have a thing for the Irish. :) It actually looks pretty good. Maybe I'll save this one for vacation.

That's about it for now. Wow this is my longest post yet!
Cheers.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Love is in the air

It's 3:30 in the morning and I really should be asleep instead of confessing my newest realization on the worldwide web. So here it is....

There's a small slight itty-bitty minuet chance that I might be a Romance writer.

*crickets, crickets*

I love Romance. Not to be confused with breast-heaving Fabio-on-the-cover paper backs. Those have their place in the Romance family. Not big into sex scenes, however I do enjoy reading them on occasion when it fits the story. I like a good boy-meets-girl-falls-in-love. How it all happens (the courting, the foreplay, the passion) is what really excites me. Make it a forbidden romance and I'm hooked. That's right, folks, I'm a shameless romantic at heart.

With that being said, I DO love a good fantasy novel that is full of action, suspense, and romance. My goal is to create a story that has the perfect balance of the three, basically a reflection of something I would want to read.

So there you have it: Early Morning Confessions and Realizations by Melania Tolan

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Reading, reading, and more reading....

I've been working on Six Roses for the last couple of days or shall I say been attempting to. However, I've found myself completely immersed in different author's blogs. The one that has captivated my attention is Aprilynne Pike, fantasy YA author of Wings and Spells. She started her blog in May 2006 and it wasn't until November 2007 that she got her book contract through Harper Collins. It was May 2009 that her debut novel Wings came out. Yesterday I read all of her 2006 posts. Today the 2007. Two more years and two more days to go. It's been interesting seeing her posts change over the course of two years. Her blog gives me great hope.

The other blog that has peaked my interest is Jeaniene Frost, a phenomenal urban fantasy author I discovered recently (read a short story of hers in the anthology Death's Excellent Vacation and was hooked at first bite. Waiting for the first book of her series Halfway to the Grave to be ready for pickup at the library.) She gives a timeline from the moment she started her writing to publishing process. It took her over four years from the time she started writing to when her first book published!!!

Does this discourage me? Absolutely not. Getting a book published is a dream of mine. Getting there will be extremely challenging at times and there would be days I want to give up. BUT it can be done and in the case of Jeaniene, she didn't know anything about the publishing industry and look how far she's made it.

Yes sometimes it's necessary to take a break from writing and read what the professionals have to say about it. Hear their story and their struggles. It really inspires me to push forward. Who knows maybe this time next year, I might be posting something to the affect of "OMG, I got a book deal!"

Cheers!

PS. I'm currently reading Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol. Can hardly put it down.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

KISS

Being open to learning is something I strongly encourage as well as practice. Today I learned about KISS ~Keep it Simple, Stupid. Seems basic and rather common sense, but you'd be surprised how we humans love to complicate our lives with insignificant nonsense.
I took a week break from my novel, The Vampire Novelist, basically because I was at a stand still. I know where to take the story and what's suppose to happen, but I just couldn't get it written in an manner that wouldn't put the reader, never mind the writer, to sleep. My solution: just stop and take a break. During this week long break, it finally hit me what was happening. Besides the possibility that I may have a mild case of ADD, I realized I was over complicating the story for the sake of having an interesting plot. At the same time I read some online advice from other published authors of urban fantasy. What I learned from them was, that revising and editing one book for about six months before starting on the next is good practice for a beginner writer. So TVN is going on hold for a while now and I have begun revisiting my first novel Six Roses.
This is where the KISS comes in. The whole reason I scraped that book after spending almost a year writing and rewriting it was that it sucked. Why did it suck? Because I overcomplicated the plot. Therefore before I write anything else I'm going to polish, edit, simplify, and rewrite my vampire baby till it shines.
Keep it Simple Stupid!!!
~Mel

Friday, November 19, 2010

Potter time!

Hello,
Yes, I know it's been far too long since my last blog, but I have been busy. Last evening I had some friends over for dinner and one of them shared this Horoscope website. If you click on the link it will take you to mine, gemini. There on that page is a picture of a modern tarot/oracle card with the title "Monkey Mind." That card, the title, and the picture are a small glimpse of the inside of my brain. Spectacular, isn't it? It's a wonder I'm not on medication.
My writing has been all over the place. So many stories keep sprouting out of nowhere and demanding to be forged in ink or become a word document. However through the madness I have been able to keep plugging away at my vampire novel. Been kind of in a writing creative bubble, which has been keeping me in hermit status as of late. But I had to drop everything this evening to go see the seventh installment of Harry Potter. Excellent film. Bawled my eyes out at the end. And am extremely upset about the fact I have to wait eight bloody more months for Part Two. Thank goodness for good books that provide a pleasant distraction from the pain of waiting. Never mind the fact I have a book to finish. Scratch that two books. More details on that to come.
Lovely weekend to you all,
Mel

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Learning as I go.

I haven't written much since last Sunday. But I've been learning loads. First of all I follow one of my favorite author's blog everyday and this week she had lots of great writing advice that really helped me push my story today. Following an author's blog is something I learned from my last WW meeting. As an aspiring writer I need all the advice I can get, if that advice comes from someone that I enjoy reading their books, then all the better.

Now that the normal NW fall weather is in full swing, I foresee serious days of writing ahead. Something about rain really get my creative juices flowing.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Slow Progress

Hello World,
It is almost 5 am on a Sunday morning. My brain is going in a million directions. I know that I should write something, but so much is coming through my fingers can't keep up and most of it is a confusing cluster of nonsense. This my friends is what happens when you open the creative channels. Sometimes great stuff comes through, other times it's all jumbled up making no sense at all.
So I'm going to start typing and hope that something sensible will come out so I can finish chapter 17. I'm at a point in the story where not much is happening to move the story. My main character is in a hospital bed recovering from acute blood loss anemia and several mysterious injuries. I know what happens next, but I'm really struggling on how to word this next phase of my character's life without boring the reader. It is during this time that everything changes in her life so it's important. With that being said, I will say good-bye for now so I can make sense of the madness that demands to be written. Cheers!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Something new

Happy Friday,
Normally when I am writing I sit on the couch or in bed with pillows propping me up. I also write on the MAX on the way to work. Tonight I am trying something new. I'm going to write at my kitchen table next to my newly canned jars of salsa. Why the change? No real reason, just want to do something different. We shall see if it works. So far my cat Earl is scratching on the balcony door to go outside and my cat Mitzu is on my lap wanting my undivided attention. I open the door to let them outside only to hear the next door neighbors kid outside throwing the mother of all tantrums. *sigh* Time to bring out the old headphones and turn on Pandora. Ah, much better.
Must finish Chapter 15. However I'm having the most difficult time, because all I want to do is go to Six Roses, my first novel, and make all these new modifications to the story that have been bouncing off the walls of my brain. They say you should stick with the story you are working on and finish it. Well, I'm going to compromise. For each chapter that I finish for The Vampire Novelist, I will allow myself to go and make one change to Six Roses. This way I'm not breaking the rules; not really.
After a long Friday afternoon nap, I'm revving that ol' creative motor up. It's going to be a long night. :)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Book Fun!!

I'm completely pumped!!! I just came from my first Willamette Writer's Monthly Meeting and this evening our guest speaker is Karen Azinger the author of The Steel Queen, a fantasy novel coming out next year. She was amazing and many of her suggestions regarding the writing process and getting published really resonated with me. She was so inspiring that I have a fresh ideas for my second version of my first vampire novel, a book I thought I would never go back to, but only reference from for my current project.
Unfortunately it's 10pm and I'm completely pooped. Sleep and work get in the way of my creative process, but both are necessary.... Till next time...

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Sometime after 3pm

Excerpt from my journal from 9-30-10
I'm sitting basking in the sunlight with my feet in the cool water of Teacher's Fountain in Director's Park near the Library MAX stop. I missed my train, so I figured I could take advantage of this extra time by dipping my feet in this delightful water. Today the temperature climbed slightly into the 80's. These are the perfect last days of summer.
This moment right now is the most perfect moment of the day. I'm off work. My mother made it to Israel safely. The sun is out. The children are playing in the fountain having a grand old time. The adults are smiling in their offspring's delight. There is a gentle warm breeze with a hit of fall coolness. Life is certainly good and the world around me seems to reflect that sentiment. Ahh...Breathe... and take in all in... Cherish this moment...



I love moments like these. I tuck them away to be used on a day when life seems far from perfect. From those 15 minutes at the fountain, a well-spring of inspiration came forth and I was able to write a whole chapter thereafter.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

VA fun!


Good Morning!
It’s about 6am on this fine rainy Saturday morning. Why up so early? Because I couldn’t sleep. I know, it’s a boring answer. In fact I’ve been up since 3am, which is going to make for a long day considering I’m attending a high school reunion this afternoon. There may be a slight chance I may squeeze in a nap before then- at least I can hope.  Enough about my unusual sleeping patterns.
It’s been exactly three weeks since I started this blog and I have a total of five followers, which I’m stoked about. In the last three weeks much has happened. First, I took my RHIT (Registered Health Information Technician) exam and passed. This was for my work at the hospital and the last thing I needed to do after I completed my AS in Health Information Management.  I can’t tell you how good it feels to have this behind me. Now I can fully focus on my finishing my novel and sending it to a literary agent that expressed interest in my work. But before I could do that, I had to enjoy a little R & R which leads me to my second major event in the last three weeks.
During the week of Labor Day I went on vacation to Ohio, Virginia, and Kentucky. Why would I leave the beautiful NW for the Midwest? Visiting my friends and visiting historical sites in VA. My dear friend, M,  is a major Civil War buff and makes the perfect traveling companion through VA, not to mention what a delightful woman she is to be around. So here are a few pictures from our trip.

Martha Washington Inn in Abdington, VA. We stayed in this lovely hotel that was used as a hospital during the Civil War. The third floor is supposedly haunted. That’s where we slept, but we didn’t hear or see anything. 

Yours truly with a view from the BlueRidge Parkway.

Virginia Military Institute with the statue of Stonewall Jackson.

Close up.

Staying at The Homestead, built in the 1700’s. This place was unbelievable and by far the finest most luxurious place I’ve ever slept in. I mean presidents come here to vacation or to make major political announcements.

M and I at the Jefferson Pools near the Homestead. These hot spring pools are the reason the Homestead was built. Many notable historical people have come and taken in these waters seeking relief from ailments. It was amazing to float about the pool and thinking about those individuals that had come here hundreds of years ago.

Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. Fascinating individual reflected in his home.

Inn at Meander Plantation. A bed and breakfast we stayed in. Built in the 1700’s. Jefferson and General Lafayette stayed here.

Montpelier, James and Dolly Madison’s home. This was the highlight of my trip. The energy that I felt as I walked through that house and the grounds will stay with me forever. It is here that I fell in love again with Dolly Madison. I remembered reading about her back in high school history class, but to actually be in her house and hear about her now, it was enough for me to go buy a thick book on this brilliant woman. That’s right I bought a book that had nothing about vampires! I also bought a book about the “Little Great Madison” because I’m absolutely fascinated by this incredible small man that became our fourth president and was one of the masterminds behind the Constitution.
A few other highlights on my trip was seeing my college roommates and caves. My trip became a caving adventure. 
Natural Bridge Caverns in  Natural Bridge, VA
Luray Caverns in Luray, VA
Mammoth Caves National Park, Kentucky
Great Onyx Cave at Mammoth Cave National Park. (Not connected to the Mammoth Cave System)
It was wonderful seeing my friends, caving, visiting historical sites, and staying in fantastic places, but man was it nice coming home. I sure missed my boys, all three of them. My cats haven't left my side since I've arrived.
This last week was spent catching up on household things and now it’s time to buckle down and write! This trip has been a huge source of inspiration, something I didn’t expect. So with that I sign off so I may get some writing in before my reunion.
Stay tuned, more to come on the novel. Maybe some snippets????
Cheers,

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Here we go!

Hello World!
For many years I've read other people's blabberings about chickens, crocheting, writing, cooking, traveling, religious/political view points, etc..... After watching Julie and Julia and reading others blogs as they attempt to complete projects, I thought "Why not?" Everybody else and their mother is sharing something on the web, why can't I?
Just like Julie Powell wondered what could she blog about, I asked the same question. What am I doing that someone might give a hoot about? Really, now. I live a quite boring life. Every morning, I get up and work in a file room of a hospital. When my shift is done, I ride the public transportation back home to my "lovely" neighborhood, where I am greeted by my two feline friends when I step through my front door. I check my email, feed the kitties, water my outdoor patio garden (if its that time of the year), fix something to eat, pack the next days lunches for my hubby and I, do whatever else needs to be done and then *pause for suspense* it happens....
Just as it begins to get dark outside, the inspiration begins to flow. Yup it all happens at night (or sometimes when I've filled the 200th ER visit). From the dark shadows characters emerge, plots unravel, mysteries tease, magic begins to spin, scenes begin to play over the screen of my mind, and I become completely absorbed in my fantasy world. Some nights its a flash flood. Others are more of a pitter patter of gentle rain. But one thing is for certain, if I don't write some of these visions down, they remain trapped in that thick skull of mine causing all sorts of mischief and mayhem to my sanity.
Okay so maybe my writing is a form of therapy. Well, let me tell ya, it sure has saved me loads of buckaroos!! So my point is why the hell not share with the world my "adventures?" And not just about writing a vampire novel, but other wonderful tidbits of information that I learn along the way?
So I welcome you into my crazy world and hope that you enjoy the ride as much as I do.
Cheers