Specifically, yesterday I was working on a scene that sees two characters disagreeing strongly and moving towards an “explosion,” while a third witnesses the rising tension. This morning, I thought on yesterday’s post. I suppose I could now reply to this question:
6. When did you last talk to yourself? When did you last berate yourself to the point of tears?
It wasn’t merely “talk.” As I was writing yesterday, I was often having a real go. It got pretty heated.
I do write occasionally while talking out loud – particularly when it comes to stretches of extended dialogue, and especially when there are multiple participants. I find it helps me to listen to how it reads to “the ear” as realistic chatter. Good thing I was alone in this case, as the “last third” of me tried several times to step in and calm the increasingly nasty and confrontational other “two-thirds”:
Ah, our loving families. That’s only part of the exchange – which is also the first “sneak peek” I will share into the rough draft for the third (as yet unnamed) novel in the series.
By the way, none of the, uh, “three” of me got teary or berated myself.
Have a good Thursday, wherever you are in the world. ;-)
I’ve you’ve ever written about romance and relationships, you know it’s a minefield. We are all full of foibles. For those of us who pen fiction, trying to capture humans in print in order to bring characters of both sexes realistically to life is never simple.
Then there’s caricature. And humo(u)r. Recently, courtesy of Twitter, I came across this:
Those questions come from a woman. Therefore, as a man, I tread here lightly. I will say this, though: they are mostly hilarious. A few choice examples:
13. Tell me in which ways I remind you of your mother.
Yep, that’ll frighten off most guys for sure. That’s a keeper. If in need, try that on any man.
14. If you had to murder one of your closest friends in cold blood, which one would you choose?
On the surface, that also seems a winner. But be careful. Before trying to answer, quite a few men might also be thinking, ‘Wow, that clearly deranged mind of hers makes me fancy her even more.’ (Not me, of course. I wouldn’t have thought that.)
15. Who on Earth wears Crocs to a dinner date? In the winter, no less?
This couldn’t be directed at me. I’ve never owned a pair. I thought they were for five year olds?
30. Imagine you slept with my best friend. How was it?
Now, for a man, here’s where marital status matters greatly. Coming at you from a girlfriend, well, that question’s one thing. But if comes at you from your wife…. it has now become MUCH scarier.
32. Share the last time you faked a British accent to sound smarter.
This has to be from an American web site. For has the author actually been to certain, uh, intellectual locales here in the United Kingdom? Or ever even watched EastEnders?
Have a good day, wherever you are in the world. That’s enough now. Everyone off the internet. Back to work! :-)
I was wrong in my post the other day. “Melvin” didn’t go to Ukraine. I’d thought he had, but his ex-wife rang Mrs. Nello late Saturday and said he hadn’t gone after all.
And it looks like he won’t be going there again. After about 8 years of involvement and visiting for only short periods, it seems “Oksana” is suddenly not keen on him moving there for a semi-permanent stay.
The end of another routine, long distance romance? We hope it’s just that. But it looks much worse.
He had indeed just paid for a house there – and the house is evidently in her name ONLY. I won’t say how much money went towards it, but according to his ex-wife it was A HELLUVA LOT. One never knows, but right now it’s hard to believe he’ll see any of that money again.
Why in only her name? My initial reaction was to shake my head in disbelief. I said to Mrs. Nello that this “Oksana” is probably a “pro”: she knows how to “handle” foreign “suitors.”
If what has happened has indeed happened, it makes sense. Naturally she didn’t want “Melvin” moving there. It would have hampered her “business” if other men were also handing her money and visiting her occasionally.
You usually read about stuff like this in the Daily Mail, but never would imagine it could happen to someone you know. He did all of this with his eyes open. If it has gone as it seems to, he’s probably pretty embarrassed about it too.
It’s sad. I can’t comprehend what on earth he was thinking? He’s not a “stupid” man.
You may wonder why his ex-wife cares? That many another woman would revel in an ex-husband’s romantic misfortunes? Especially something like this?
Not in this case. They aren’t on bad terms. Yes, their marriage ended (he ended it), but she has since re-married happily. “Melvin” and her new husband even get along well.
It sounds a bit like a sitcom, I know.
In any case, we hope we just misunderstand. Yet I’m trying to think of another plausible explanation, and I can’t. One wonders how many men actually fall for this sort of thing?
Time for another cup of coffee. Hope you’re having a good Monday, wherever you are in the world. :-)
I’ve been unwinding post-Frontiers publication. It snowed a bit late yesterday here on the Catskills, uh, “frontier.” I snapped this from our house just before dusk:
I got a fire going too. (And yes, yes, in the fireplace!)
And I messed around on Twitter for a while. After polishing off a nearly 100,000 word novel, my brain currently feels like mush. 140 characters at a time on Twitter is about all I can manage. ;-)
By the way, if you use Twitter, feel free to follow me (if you’d like to). I’ll follow you back. I ramble on about, well, just about everything on Twitter (not just writing), and I also enjoy chatting and just having a laugh on it.
I then finished with a pizza. In the background, for a time some Sir Paul McCartney played. After, I watched the NY Islanders defeat Ottawa in overtime. (No matter where I live, having been young on Long Island when they were NHL champions four years in a row in the early 1980s, and never having forgotten that, I will always have a soft spot for that since mostly underachieving team.)
Yes, and as you can gather I really know how to live it up when the wife is not in town. ;-)
Have a good Wednesday, wherever you are in the world. :-)
So today, Frontiers is now – FINALLY! – officially published. It doesn’t seem for sale on Amazon.com just yet. However, I presume it will be available on Amazons everywhere in paperback and for Kindle within the next few hours.
This long year (for me) is now, at last, winding down.
* * *
The characters we met last year in the first volume, Passports, are, by the end of Frontiers, much more familiar to us. By the end of the latter, we’ve gotten to know them pretty well. We’re been with them in their laughter as well as their pain.
There are right decisions made. There are the right things said at the right time. There is humor. There are also shortcomings. There is stupidity. There are foolish statements. There is naïveté. There are loose ends. We see there are no pat answers.
In short, we are parachuted into their lives. I want them to be “three-dimensional,” to read as if they are real people, and perhaps even become your friends too. I hope I have even partly achieved that ambitious goal.
* * *
What happens to them subsequently is for a planned third volume. When you create characters, you suddenly feel “responsible” for them. They are words on a page, yet now almost 200,000 words and two novels later, I care about them all very much. I hope you will too.
Having read Passports helps greatly in better understanding Frontiers as its follow on. However, doing so is not absolutely essential. If you do choose to read Frontiers, I hope you enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed – well, if I’m honest, not 100 percent of the time, but often – writing it.
I will add sidebar links to it on here, etc., and so on, shortly. First, I may take a few days off. You know of course that it’s not that I don’t like you all. ;-) It’s just I’m drained and need to “recharge” a little.
It is a good time to say this once more: Thank you again for reading and following my modest novel-writing site.
Have a good Monday, wherever you are in the world. :-)
If you have a dry eye after reading this, well you’re sure as heck a lot tougher than I am. CBC News shares the tale of how a Canadian World War One soldier’s unidentified remains were identified recently:
Sidney Halliday died in the Battle of Amiens, 1918
How was he matched to his body nearly a century later? Thanks to having also unearthed with him in that French field a locket engraved with his Winnipeg girlfriend’s name (which inside also contained a lock of her hair) and, vitally, because he had also left her $10 in his will. Her name was found in his will.
If you’d woven that into a novel, some middle-aged reviewer who hadn’t written an original anything since university creative writing would probably have laughed at you for being gooey, trite and sentimental.
Given what my uncle had messaged me recently about my perhaps writing a “cozy mystery” novel, I’m now really pleased I’d soldiered on with that Frontiers chapter I’d struggled with getting “right” for months. Whew. Apparently it was worth the effort. One proofreader has emailed me that she was floored by it:
Wow!…. (Woman’s name omitted)’s dilemma certainly holds the reader’s attention….
It is, shall we say, something of “a shocker.” Naturally I don’t want to give away too much. The only hints I’ll drop here are, uh, alcohol, a razor sharp knife, and a scarf, are all involved. ;-)
I was privately quite full of myself over her take. (As you see, I deleted her mention of the character’s name.) And I’ll admit, yes, I couldn’t wait to share it here. After all, that’s what novel-writing is essentially all about: wowing readers and holding their attention. [#fistshake]
It arrived yesterday afternoon. The first paperback copy! Here it is!:
You may know you’ve written 100,000 words. And you may see it on a screen. However, it never seems quite real and legit until you finally see your struggle in print. (To me, anyway.)
Oh, and here they are, posing together:
I think they sit well side by side. And they should. Being a series, I’ve made sure they are laid out similarly.
Now to the next task: re-reading and scribbling in that Frontiers “proof” copy. Time to scour it word by word, pencil in hand, for small errors. Final corrections.
New York governor Andrew Cuomo, a word of advice: you should’ve penned fiction. Young adult perhaps. Maybe vampires too. (Note: I have already apologized for the lack of vampires in my work.)
Although many might also assert that a political memoir could be, uh, rather “fictional” too.
What I write about here revolves around a group of intriguing twenty and thirty-somethings from several countries and a variety of cultures and upbringings. And their families. And, uh, crime novelist Uncle Bill too. (Don’t want to forget Uncle Bill!)
Have a good weekend, wherever in the world you are reading this. :-)
Oh, and Happy Halloween. Be mindful of the politiciansthe vampires roaming around out there tonight!
Well, the full sequel is now “out there”…. being looked at for the first time by others besides myself. This may be even more of a “story shocker” for them than the first book. It is also making the “proof read” rounds in a far more complete form than did the series opener.
Almost a year’s worth of struggle. A personal hell at times. To say that I’m feeling “nervous” – even a bit sick to my stomach – is an understatement.
Having broadband finally installed meant I had, uh, no more excuses for avoiding sending off large files. It was past time, and I well knew that. You can write yourself silly, producing hundreds of thousands of words, but if no one ever reads what you’ve produced, if it never touches someone else, or gets them thinking, there’s no point really.
Anyway, time now to pursue something of the mundane, but decidedly necessary: to put a second bed back together. ;-)
Have a good Tuesday, wherever you are reading this. :-)
We all know that genuine romances have begun thanks to the web. Marriages have even resulted. Numerous people’s lives have been happily transformed.
Then, looking on, there are certain relationships that begin over the net that give us pause. “Melvin” is divorced from a friend of my wife’s. After their breakup some 8 years ago, he had told his ex-wife about a Ukrainian named “Oksana.”
Yes, that’s right. I had vaguely thought they were reasonably close in age, but have recently been told she’s about 25 years younger than he is. (He is about ten years older than all of us.) Apparently she lives near Odessa. (In case you ever wanna stop by.) I’ve also been told he insisted he did not know her while they were still married.
Okaaaaay. Yes, you there, I can’t see you, but I bet you’re shaking your head too. Given the divorce, most of our info naturally comes via third parties. Over the years, we’ve had loads of unanswered questions.
Because it has long sounded, well, fishy. (There’s a shocker, eh!) Yet perhaps it’s a legitimate romance? Who are we to draw conclusions?
Still, even among an American or British, or European couple from the same country, we outsiders would probably gently question any such May-December relationship. What is “Oksana” getting out of it? Understand, “Melvin” is not exactly a British version of George Clooney either.
Then again, maybe there is love? But if there is, after 8 years a marriage usually happens in a long-distance relationship. Or at least some form of cohabitation has appeared.
A few weeks ago, when we were visiting his ex-wife, unexpectedly “Melvin” appeared. He had popped by for some reason, but the women were out. So I was able to chat with him alone and for longer than at any time since their divorce 8 years ago. Before it, he and I had been cordial, and even friendly.
He balanced on a sofa arm on the other side of the lounge, and breaking the momentary silence between us, he started the conversation: “I guess you’ve heard? Uh, Ukraine? Oksana?”
I said I had.
He seemed a bit uneasy. He said he’s moving to Odessa in the spring. I decided not to judge, to see if I could find out anything more.
I pointed out matter of factly that Ukraine’s not in the European Union, and unmarried he can’t just up sticks and settle there as if it were, say, Poland. He seemed a bit caught out, and replied he can stay 90 days without a visa, which is what he has been doing all these years – going back and forth for shortish periods.
He seemed to relax as we spoke, perhaps relieved I didn’t call him names or laugh at him or something.
“Is she Catholic or Orthodox?” I asked. (He’s CoE, but irreligious.)
“You do know there’s a war going on there right now?” (Hundreds of miles away from Odessa; and I knew that. I was just asking questions.)
“I’ve not been there,” I noted, “but I’m guessing living there is a lot different in some ways to living in Western Europe or America?” (He nodded.)
“How much Ukrainian have you learned to live there?” (A little. Not much, he said.)
I also voiced polite surprise at his saying “Oksana” has no desire to move here to Britain. To me, if you love someone – truly love someone – you’d live anywhere. (After all, he says he’s moving to Ukraine.) And a move to Britain is not exactly moving from Ukraine to Mars. He mumbled something about her not wanting to leave her family….
I write this post today because last night his ex-wife phoned Mrs. Nello, and during their chat noted that “Melvin” says he bought a house there several months ago. He also told her that in buying a house the Ukrainian authorities will let him stay. That would seem unlikely; but, then again, maybe Ukraine has some “foreign investment” scheme whereby if you bring in money, you are given residency?
Hmmm. Who knows the truth in all this? I do know he either chose to be evasive with me in not mentioning the house purchase, or he’s lying to his ex-wife about having bought the house. (As if lying to an ex-wife – lying to me hardly matters – has never happened ever before? I know.)
I don’t really care what he does with himself. “Melvin’s” an adult, and if he’s been content flying back and forth to Ukraine to see “Oksana” for nearly 8 years with no evident commitment from her, that’s his business. One has to believe money almost certainly went her way too.
My gut tells me it’s about money. I suppose I just feel a bit sorry for him too. Eight years? Geez. I hope he’s not going to feel like a complete fool at some point if he arrives there unannounced and walks in on “Oksana” and a Ukrainian boyfriend who’s about the same age as she is.
I know this post has zero to do with my books. Ah, but given what I write, I look for inspiration all over the place. At the very least, this episode provides me with some potentially useful “fiction” future story material! ;-)
Hope you’re having a good Saturday, wherever you are reading this in the world. :-)
UPDATE: Having seen this post, Mrs. Nello said I’d “had quite a go at him.” Actually, if I sounded harsh, I didn’t mean it. It’s just the whole situation sounds to me, well, decidedly odd and full of potentially big trouble for him.