From Brage to page

Standard

brage-norse-god

Brage: In Norse mythology, the god of poetry and prose, and son of Odin.

Thought that was fitting since my book deals with old mythologies and lost histories from that general part of the world. Really I focus on Irish history, pre-Christianity and for that matter, pre-recorded history.

So I write fiction.

But how does one get from an idea, a story, a character, to immortalizing it in ink? How does one get from Brage to page?

For me, it begins with an impulse, a feeling. An emotional pull inwards that demands my attention. And it manifests into a fictitious event, like two soul mates meeting for the first time, and what that would feel like and how would it play out. What would they SAY to each other? And from there I literally WATCH a scene in my mind’s eye. I see these people speaking to each other, hear their words, feel their emotions and it catches like wildfire.

So now I scramble for pen and paper- and of course I am not prepared, so maybe I have a broken pencil and a napkin, or worse, I’m writing in red lipstick on my vanity mirror. I’ve written on everything with anything I could find, just to record these moments. That’s all a book is really, a cohesive collection of moments the author managed to catch, with as much authenticity to the moment as possible. Staying true to the characters and how they react, how they respond to each other, is important and will allow the story to write itself.

I don’t think writers…. wait a minute, wrong word…. I don’t think STORYTELLERS, cause that’s what we are, have to over complicate the writing process. Just write it down. What you see, what you feel. Reread it in a  day or so. Let it grow. Write more. Don’t worry about it making sense yet.

I used to write ‘episodes’ as I called them. 15 single spaced pages that completed an entire ‘thought’. Sometimes it was 5 short scenes that expressed that ONE feeling and sometimes it was 2 longer scenes that made an ‘episode’. Soon, I ended up with about 10 episodes, so when I started my first novel I went back to these episodes and fit them in like puzzle pieces, either full chapters or parts of chapters and then I smoothed it all out by editing them in seamlessly with the other scenes around it. Voila! Book.

I guess it’s like baking? I don’t bake- but I told my writing group (informal name for my friends for life who helped me finish the first book) I told them my chapters were cupcakes! And all the cupcakes together equalled one BIG cake that was delicious! They liked that idea and began writing their own cupcakes and the technique helped them.

Do this; pick a quiet time in your day. For me it is when I first wake up or when I am laying down to sleep. And I go to that feeling. I go to that scene. I watch those characters. And it grows. It unfolds. And then I scramble up and find a crayon and an old receipt from Target and scratch it out! No, be prepared. I sleep with 2 notebooks beside me and I move them from room to room all day. I always have one in my purse, anywhere I go. (I had to get a bigger purse).

Don’t over complicate it. Write 5 sentences if that’s all you have. And when you get another impulse, write more! Write it, damn it! Cause I can’t imagine dying one day with this story still inside of me. Dormant. In the darkness. My characters deserve better than that and so do yours!

Advertisements

The Noise

Standard

You know, the stuff that buzzes and trends and mainstreams. The stuff I have no clue, nor does anyone else for that matter, how to pierce. If I were Justin Bieber, it would be much easier.

For an author, in a world where most people watch videos and have smart phones in their hands 24/7, how does one get a BOOK noticed? Well, we have ebooks and that’s been a great option, a clever way of getting the tech junkies to READ. But that’s contributed to some heartbreaking changes in the literary world, Barnes and Noble is scheduled to close it’s last brick and mortar in Queens within the next two weeks and more people now wait for the TV series or movie to come out, rather than READ anything that isn’t a Tweet.

I’ve decided, whether I’m right or wrong I really don’t care, that the best way to market, promote and sell, shouldn’t be over-complicated or reinvented. I have an extensive background in sales from portrait photography to real estate and I’ve met (probably) thousands of people at this point in my life, and all of them responded to ME. And some have admitted that they took a recommendation from a friend who had an equally good experience with ME. Word of mouth marketing is free and the most effective tool in sales. Hands down. So how do I get ME out in front of everyone so everyone can recommend me to everyone else, especially if the ultimate goal is to sell a book?

Media stunts. No just kidding. I think it starts right in your own circle of friends and acquaintances. Don’t worry about family, they will buy the book anyway, or not, no matter what you do. I think the answer is meeting people. Relating to them on a basic human level. Not only at work, or in your normal trajectory each day, but go out of your way to meet more people. Help a stranger with their bags, hold the door for someone, sort of random acts of kindness are jarring to the Matrix anyway! People will notice if you’ve taken the time to notice THEM. Then they actually SEE YOU. And more importantly, you’ve piqued their interest.

If you have nothing nice to say don’t say anything- or even better, if you’re being nice just to promote yourself, it won’t work. Be genuine. It’ll feel good too. And eventually people will like you and they’ll want to help you with whatever you do.

In my real estate field I’ve met dozens of people in publishing, and yet after hundreds of rejections, I’ve self-published. Why? I wasn’t following this advice. I hadn’t truly solidified it yet. I was TELLING them about my book and ASKING them to read it. WRONG!!!! I should have been talking about THEM and made a real impression, and in conversation, the writing of my debut novel may have come up. It may not. Let it be organic. And if it’s a numbers game, get in front of more people! Volunteer! I don’t care for what! Anything!

On that note, I have a Christmas Party tonight. I was invited by the Vice President of the co-op board, of the building I have 33 sales in since 2013. I made a significant impression on him and the 33 people I’ve helped to place in that building. What better way to sneak it in, since all the good work is done and these people are INTERESTED in me now, since I had their best interest at the forefront when they needed someone there. 34 more people will be ordering my book when it’s released. Because I made them matter to me, and now I matter to them.

And here’s the good news… there’s thousands of buildings out there 😉

Happy Holidays!

A Letter to my Soul Mate

Standard

If ever we are to know love the way Eamin the Majae and Madros Strongblood know it, we would be locked in an endless battle for the other, the victory a mere fleeting moment of you on my lips. If ever we are to know love like they do, we would know great pain in that very instant and it would tame us like a child learning the heat of a flame, to not love so fiercely that we lose ourselves. If ever we know love like they do, we would be bound forever by an unbreakable force so complete it fills our lungs with concrete, crushing our weakened hearts with each desperate breath, with each syllable in the phrase, ‘I love you’.

They say you do not incarnate with your soul mate, that you leave them behind at Home where we return after each life. They say that your soul mate guides you from the otherworld to your highest understanding and that they help you to learn what lessons you came to master. I think that is true. For in the case of the love story within the fabric of my story, the two soul mates Eamin and Madros incarnated together can do nothing but yearn for each other, while both in the flesh. They ignore their duty, their purpose, their life lessons just to be together. Great turmoil is caused in their quest to find each other and great evil is done in the name of love. Of course when we are young and stupid, we all feel this way about someone, however with time we learn to weather it, and love others more appropriately. That’s not to say the partner you choose for your current life is not your match, or your true love, or your spiritual compliment. Of course they are, and they are kindred souls with you. Just as important, just as special, just as much a part of you as your soul mate is. Like our dear Findathuil and Eamin. You need kindred souls to incarnate with you to share the journey of life with, to find joy with, to feel love with.

I will say to my soul mate, somewhere out in the ether of the universe, or as I like to joke, somewhere drunk in a bar in Singapore (if you ended up coming here after all!) I have to remind myself that we chose this. I made a decision to come here, there must have been something I lost, like my keys and I swear I left them right here…. no, seriously. Back I came, and there are lessons to learn while I’ve done so. But, at times I think that was a very foolish decision and why would I choose to be split in half and tossed to the wolves? Perhaps it was to share this story, which in some ways is our story, perhaps in all ways it is and I am channeling you. Maybe that is the lesson, to learn to live without you, as Eamin and Madros must do until their lives end and they return Home.

In this series of books you will see how Madros’ soul mate incarnated within his lifetime, an event not set forth by the universe, but by the all powerful Lady Atya of the Majae, Eamin’s mother. She knew that no other person with his great power and wealth would love her daughter in her lifetime, and no greater oath could bind two people so completely. Atya manipulated their lives, robbing Madros of his untimely death and killing off the immortal woman Eamin was. All to be sure she would be reborn and then aged to adulthood by a powerful spell, just to be matched again, in the flesh with her soul mate. Seemingly brilliant, irresponsibly rash and recklessly set in motion to control the fate of the world.

Bridging the Worlds

Standard

I was speaking to a friend about ‘modern society’ and the lives we shape for ourselves today. We can all agree it is exponentially different than the lives of old, the lives in our history and the societies our ancestors suffered. One thing I’m finding in common with all my friends and colleagues is that we wish to reach back into that history, to live a more simple and fulfilling life. When good and evil were easy as day and night and the will to live was tested daily, and the glory to die for what we believe in was always near.

My story reaches back into that time where I feel most connected and comfortable. All I do is imagine myself standing there in this world, in that time, with these amazing, strong, unpredictable people in their untamed realms of men, and I record what they do and what they say just like a journalist covering an event in history. I am fascinated by their choices and their relationships and how they choose everyday to be good or evil. Some of them are lost in the grey between, others are righteously fighting for the side of good. Others are fallen and dark-spirited, but all of them are clearly drawn. I don’t seek to manipulate or influence their story, nor do I draw many conclusions. I allow the characters the freedom to do that for themselves.

My story could be about anything in any time, just pick my characters out and plop them down in an old western or in a comedy, for all I care, and they will still be who they are, changed by their circumstance but always true to themselves. I chose this time and this legendary ‘medieval’ setting to push them to the brink of death and war and devastation to bring out their inner survivors. Pressed by the desperation and magic of these ancient times one is truly shaped by the happenings around them. Their choices within these happenings shape them further, making them nothing like us in modernity at all, and yet, still completely real and accessible to what is inherent to our eternal, connected souls.