Similarities

You ever read a book and your mouth drops open and you’re just shocked because you swear to all that is good and holy in this world that you had the exact same idea?  And within that book, there’s a scene or two or a conversation that was exactly like what you had pictured with your characters?

It’s happened to me.   Twice now.

One was so similar that the characters even said dialogue lines that I had already thought of.

I’m not going to lie.  At first, I was a little bit pissed.  There goes that brilliant idea I had!  Now I can’t write it.  It’s been done, and done in the way that I would have done it, so it has to go away. And, admittedly, I was kind of glad that I had read the books so I didn’t put in all that time and energy to write the book when it would be rejected as plagiarism.

But after the initial shock, I was sort of…pleased.  There is someone else’s brain out there that works just like mine!  It was kind of comforting to know that I’m not alone in this world…at least not in the slightly strange way my brain works.

So, as sad as I am to see the story idea having to get tossed, it was also kind of validating to know that my ideas are not complete crap.  🙂

You’re My Inspiration

The release of Dr. Feelgood is only two weeks away!  Huzzah!  You can check it out here.  On February 10th, the anthology goes live in both ebook and paperback formats.  An anthology of 14 short stories centered around those in the medical profession.

My contribution, Hero Worship, is about Alex Sullivan, a paramedic, and Matt Carter.  They are brought together by a bee and a scheming best friend.  In the end, they find love (of course!).

I will fully admit that the idea for this story was sparked when I saw the submission call.  It was in the back of my mind when one day, drinking my morning coffee, the opening scene flashed in my head.

Paramedics have always been a fascination for me.  I even contemplated being on at one time, when I discovered that I could actually stand up in an ambulance.  My sister has a friend who was a paramedic for a lot of years before he moved to the fire department and when I needed a little clarification on some things, he helped out.  Rest assured that my information is accurate…at least for my area.  I am aware that things differ within companies and areas.  After the draft was complete and tweaked with the help of my awesome beta, I sent it off.  A few weeks later, I was told it would be included in the anthology.

Hearing that news is never going to get old.

So this one was inspired by a submission cal.  But really, any little thing can inspire me.  Like someone showing up at the door when they aren’t supposed to and waking you up.  And that right there is what sparked my current WIP.

 

Insistent

You ever get an idea that just will not leave you alone?  That doesn’t care that you’re supposed to be working on about five other things?  But it’s exciting and persistent…and actually scares you to death.

I mean, the world building alone is completely daunting.  There’s just no way I can do it justice.  Details aren’t my strongest suit sometimes so the thought of building this world terrifies me.

But it won’t leave me alone and I might just have to write it anyway.  Even if AU’s and urban fantasies don’t sell as well or get panned by reviewers.  Going with the premise that nothing I write is going to make every single person happy–because they all bring their own likes and perspectives to the table–then I might as well write the story that won’t leave me alone.

Maybe it’s exactly the change of pace I need to get back in the groove.

Play a Game With Me

My sister and I were having a conversation about books we liked, specifically in the M/M genre.  Our tastes vary widely.  She doesn’t like a lot of angst, anything that’s too over the top drama, nothing BDSM–in fact, she likes the straight forward, happy, fluffy, two boys meet, have a few getting together issues, fall in love and live happily ever after.

On a whim, I said, “Play a game with me.  Tell me the premise of what you want to read.”

She did.  She told me a bit about the two boys, a bit about their personalities, an overview of the sort of conflict she wants to see, and came up with a cute twist.  Then she waggled her eyebrows and gave me a little “cat-head nuzzling” and batted her eyelashes and asked me to write it,

So, now that’s in my queue too.  And that one will be especially fun.  Because it’s for my sister.

Flash Fic Friday

I gave a bit of a yelp when the soggy tennis ball landed in my lap.   The drool that had been soaking the felt started seeping into my pants.  I looked up, shocked, to see a huge white dog sitting in front me me, it’s mouth stretched in a wide grin, a pink tongue lolling out the side as it panted.  I cast my gaze around the immediate area, trying to see if I could discern to whom the dog belonged.  But it didn’t appear that anyone else had intruded on the quite corner of the park where I had chosen to have my lunch.

I stared at the dog.  It stared back.  I gingerly picked up the ball.  The dog bounced to all fours, it’s entire body practically vibrating with anticipation.  I couldn’t quite suppress the smile that threatened my mouth as I levered my arm back and threw the ball as hard and as far as I could.  The dog took off, a blur of white, chasing after it’s toy.  I shook my head, a little amused, and picked up my book again.  It hardly seemed like any time had passed before the ball once again landed with a soggy plop in my lap.  This time, I didn’t hesitate.  I threw the ball.

When the ball appeared a third time, I marked the page, shut my book with a quiet snap, and resigned myself to playing fetch with the animal until it’s owner showed up or the dog failed to return.

“Artemis!”

The panicked shout broke the quiet.  Birds in a nearby tree squawked and took off.  I’d been lost in the quiet rhythm of the act of fetch and it startled me too.  I looked up as a man jogged closer.

“Artemis!  Where are you, boy?”

The dog had been returning with the ball for about the twentieth time when it heard the shout.  It dropped the ball in my lap but instead of waiting for me to throw it again, it took off toward the man at a breakneck speed.  Even at a distance, I could see the relief in the man’s features as he dropped to one knee to receive the dog.  I chuckled, picked up the ball and my now empty lunch sack, and ambled over.

“I believe this belongs to you?” I said softly, holding out the ball.

The man started as if I’d surprised him.  He took the ball and looked down at the dog, “Artemis, you silly boy.  You’re not supposed to interrupt other people just to play fetch.”  The man clipped the leash that was dangling off his wrist onto the dog’s collar and stood up.

“I’m sorry about this,” he said, his face turning slightly pink.  “He usually doesn’t run away from me when we’re playing but every once in a while–”

I held up my hand, cutting him off.  “It’s no problem, really.  I enjoyed Artemis’s company.”

“Still,” the man said, with a shake of his head.  His smile was a little chagrinned.  He held out his hand.  “I’m Brandon, by the way.  This lump of fur is Artemis.”

“Mark,” I responded, shaking the proffered hand.  Brandon sucked in a breath when our skin met and I knew he felt that jolt of electricity too.  I let my hand linger in his bigger one, not wanting to pull away.  He was so warm.  His smile was brilliant.  I wanted to thank Artemis for his antics, because it allowed me to have this moment with a pretty man.

“Well, Mark,” Brandon said slowly, his gaze traveling up and down my body.  I imagined I could feel it like a touch.  “Can we make it up to you?  Maybe with coffee at kiosk over there?”

I barely suppressed the happy dance I wanted to do.  He wanted to prolong our time together.  I was so on board with that.  I had to take a second before I answered so that I was sure my voice would be steady.  “Thanks.  That’d be nice.”

We started to walk in that direction, silence falling between us.  I didn’t know what to say.  It wasn’t often that I gained the attention of a good looking guy.  Nerves made my tongue thick.  I cleared my throat and cast my mind for something, anything, to say.

Before I could, Artemis lunged in front of me, then dashed behind, effectively winding his leash around my knees and causing me to crash into Brandon.  Only some fancy footwork on his part kept us both from tumbling to the ground.  I turned beat red, embarrassed even though it wasn’t my fault.  Brandon let out a soft chuckle, untangled us, and made sure I was standing.

“You okay?” Brandon asked.  I nodded and willed the blush to leave my cheeks.

Brandon looked down at the dog that was now sitting patiently by his side.  “Are you trying to tell me something?”

The dog gave one bark and appeared to be smiling again.  Brandon shook his head.  When he turned to look at me, his gaze heated.  “Artemis likes you.  I happen to know he’s an excellent judge of character.  After we get coffee, you maybe want to meet me for dinner?  I promise to leave the meddling dog at home.”

He was asking me out?  That never happened to me.  It seemed too good to be true.   A hundred responses ran through my head but what came out of my mouth was, “Far be it for me to ignore the matchmaking abilities of a dog.”

That seemed to be the answer both Brandon and Artemis were looking for because they both smiled at me.  I ducked my head and smiled too.  I’d never imagined I’d end up with a date when I’d decided to enjoy my lunch in the sunshine.  And I’d never had a clue that dogs were such good matchmakers.

Let’s Start At The Very Beginning

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away…

It was a dark and stormy night…

Marley was dead: to begin with…

In all my web perusing, I’ve read how other authors write.  One thing I’ve learned, without a doubt, is that everyone’s process is a little bit different.  Some need music, some complete silence.  Some write an outline they stick to religiously, some fly by the seat of their pants.  Some can jump around, writing scenes out of sequence…I, most certainly, cannot.

I have to start at the beginning.  Word one.  While I do “see” scenes out of order, I can’t write them that way.  For me, the only way I can make a coherent story is to start with the first word and write each consecutive word until I get to the last.  That’s not to say things don’t get switched around, added or deleted, and rewritten out of order when I edit.  But for the first draft?  That initial putting the story on the page?  For me, it all starts at the beginning.  

As a reader, the beginning is often what makes or breaks a book for me, too.  That beginning has to grab me, make me want to find out more about these characters I’ve been introduced to, or I find the whole thing lacking.  I think that is, actually, a fairly universal truth.  And perhaps that’s why I need to write that way as well.  If I can’t get the beginning to to grab my attention when the characters live in my head, how can I expect a reader to want to follow their journey?

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’m not knocking anyone else’s method.  If you can write scenes out of order, more power to you.  I just don’t operate that way.  For me, the beginning is where it all starts.   As soon as I can figure out that, I can write a story.

Writing, Interrupted

Sometimes, life just gets in the way.

It’s hard for a person like me, and I’m sure other authors can attest to this, when life gets in the way of putting the words on the page.  But the fact is, life needs to be lived.  There are things that have to be taken care of and, for me, a day job to go to.  And sometimes all that other stuff interrupts the writing.  And as much as you want to sit at the computer and tell the stories that are swimming in your brain, you have no choice but to step away.

It was like that for me last week.  That’s why there was only one post and that is why, regrettably, there was no flash fic on Friday.  I hope it’s not something that occurs very often and I hope it’s not an unforgivable trespass.

But the past couple of days, I’ve managed to get in some stellar plotting.  I have to let ideas percolate for a while before I can even begin to get them on the page.  I see scenes in my head and I have to “play” them several times before I know if they’ll work or not.  I have to write out–long hand–some ideas and notes to see if I can make it to the end of the tale.  I don’t outline in the traditional sense, but I do write notes and paragraphs of the beginning, middle, and end so that I know where I intend to go.  When I’m actually writing, sometimes that changes as I go.  But I need a basic plot settled firmly in my head before I can even think of beginning to write.

I got there this weekend and this week, there should be plenty of words on the page.