Tip: My May giveaway to one lucky commenter is a $10 Amazon or B & N gift card. I'll draw at the end of the month from all commenters on posts during May.
My main character in the young adult Whispering Woods series, Mia Taylor, is a synesthete. Synesthesia is a neurological condition that doesn't impede normal activities. As a matter of fact, it enhances rather than detracts from life. There are very specific kinds of synesthesia and my character experiences multiple types of sensory perception.
In a nutshell, Mia has several sensory perceptions that are crossed so she experiences the world in a different way. In the beginning of the series, she kept this medical condition a secret for many reasons. Her older brother had been tested for many "disorders" as a child, so she reasoned that she didn't want to be different or labeled as dysfunctional.
I read a book last week with the most unique hero I've ever come across. The hero experienced his world very different from the rest of us.
In Jennifer Ashley's first book in her Highland Pleasures series, Lord Ian MacKenzie has been an outcast from most social circles and considered mad. His brother rescued him from a life in an asylum. The older brother recognized Ian's ability to memorize lengthy documents after one reading and to recite conversations verbatim.
In the book, Lord Ian cannot look people in the eye, doesn't understand social expectations, has difficulty engaging in long conversations, and can become lost in the study of a visual detail. Passages in the book explain his study of pattern and shape. He's a collector of Ming pottery and obsessively acquires pieces.
He's blunt in conversation. The heroine in the book, Beth, is at first fascinated by his blunt mannerisms. The author does a fantastic job of revealing Ian MacKenzie's character, layer by layer. He's become one of my favorite book characters.
“We don't fit in, you and me," he said. "We're both oddities no one knows what to do with. But we fit together." He took her hand, pressed her palm to his, then laced their fingers through each other's. "We fit.”
― Jennifer Ashley, The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie
If you follow my blog, you know that I love Ted Talk videos. Here is one of a synesthete named Daniel Tammet. If you must skip ahead, begin at the 4:00 min. mark to see an explanation of how Tammet perceives numbers.
Every author has to cut scenes. Some are easy to cut. Others cling to the manuscript with a cocklebur vengeance.
This is a scene I cut from Whisper of Memory (Whispering Woods #2). Both my beta reader and editor suggested I cut it. So, on to the cutting floor it went. Why do authors cut a scene? There are numerous reasons. Maybe the scene doesn't add to the story. Or a scene can slow the action.
I still love the following deleted scene for some reason. Austin and Em are secondary characters in the series.This is one of the short scenes from Austin's point of view.
Hope you enjoy. My May giveaway to one lucky commenter is a $10 Amazon or B & N gift card. I'll draw at the end of the month from all commenters on posts during May.
If you're an author, have you cut scenes you loved? As a reader, do you enjoy deleted scenes from authors?
Austin sat in the circular drive waiting for Em to come to the door. He had turned the engine off and sat back with his eyes closed. The passenger door opened with a soft whoosh, and Em jumped in.
"What's up?" Em closed the door.
"Nothing. Just bored."
"You decided to see if I could entertain you?" She snorted. "Since when do you come hang out at my house when you're bored? Is this the apocalypse?"
"You're getting to be a real downer. You know it?"
"Yeah. I'm sick to death of hearing myself whine. I should leave here. Transfer to somewhere normal with normal friends who worry about normal things."
"It sure isn't this. We talk about keeping Mia safe and figuring out what is going on. We should be sitting around watching movies in your living room."
They both looked at the front of the house and knew Austin wouldn't be going inside. Em wasn't allowed to have visitors over unless it was planned, scheduled, and had a permission slip attached.
"Don't you ever have homework in college?" Em shifted to angle toward Austin. The darkness hid his face.
"Is that all you ever think about? Homework?" He didn't wait for her to answer. "And I don't have homework. That's high school."
"Oh." Silence. "I miss hanging out with Mia, too."
Austin reached over to the glove compartment to remove something camouflaged by the dark interior of the Jeep. Seconds later, he held a cigarette between his lip and flicked the lighter.
"Maybe I should go. Your mom know you're outside?" Austin stared at the front of the house. The security light cast a bright beam illuminating the front entry and bushes.
"She's watching television in her room. She's in for the night."
"Since when do you smoke?"
"Since lately."He took a drag and exhaled.
Em coughed. She frowned at him and opened her mouth to say something. He wasn't in the mood to hear Em giving him grief. His mother had handed out the weekly lecture earlier today. A lecture about not doing the millions of things that would ruin his health.
"Let's walk." Austin opened his door and grabbed his jacket from the seat.
"I need to go in and get a coat. It's freezing out here."
"No. Take mine. I don't need it."
Em eyed him before taking the jacket from his hand. Shrugging into it, she pulled her long hair over the collar and smiled. "Thanks. Now tell me what's really going on."
Austin headed down Em's paved driveway. He looked back to see the dimly lit upstairs windows. "Let's walk around that bend up there." Austin quietly moved at a brisk pace and Em fought to keep up.
He slowed as they turned a corner and could no longer be seen from an upstairs window. "What do you think Em? You think that we're going to make it out of college? Mia and Dimension Dork will settle down and have a family? Raise some mini-dorks."
"No. They're only dating. Why do you have to be so dramatic. And he's not a dork. Why are you calling him that?"
"Mia, you are my destined gatekeeper for the galaxies. I am unable to be complete without you. And your uncanny ability to find me a new place to exit when necessary." Austin's voice rose dramatically while gesturing a hand clutching his heart. The cigarette fell, and he bent to pick it up.
Em stared at him without smiling.
Austin shook his head. "Okay, he's not a dork. He talks like one. He's a dork with some muscles and a pretty face."
"No, he's not. And he really cares about Mia. You don't see it because you're bent on hating him."
"I wouldn't hate the guy if he dated you. I might still think he's a freak, but I wouldn't have this overwhelming urge to rub his face on the concrete every time I see him."
"Yeah. I realize that. Does Mia know?"
"How you feel about all this." Em reached over to grab the cigarette and pulled it to her lips. She inhaled and sputtered before handing it back. "That is so gross."
Austin dropped the cigarette and smashed it with the toe of his boot. "I think Mia knows."
"So you've told her."
He hesitated. "No. Not in words."
"You drew a picture or what? Or maybe you handed her a note that said I like you. Check the box if you like me," she said, each word dripping sarcasm. At his silence, she added, "This isn't third grade, but you have to be obvious. With words." She waited for him to reply. "Maybe you do need the note."
Austin moved to sit on a large rock which sat conveniently at the edge of the drive. Emily sat on the ground beside him with her legs crossed underneath her. She gripped Austin's jacket tightly in front and tucked her chin against the collar.
"Do you think it would make a difference?" Austin's voice came out gravelly and uncertain. He cleared his throat and looked the other way. Talking to Em felt easy, but they were treading into the land of no-return. He wasn't her BFF and almost wished they were talking about the latest Quest of Zion tourney. Hell, they'd be talking about pedicures next.
He thought she considered the question too long.
"That's my answer," he said. New topic in order.
"I think she's really into Regulus. Maybe even in love with him. But that doesn't mean it's forever and she ought to know where she stands with you. I'm trying to protect you." Em laid a hand on his knee.
"You can't decide whose side you're on, can you?"
"Oh, I'm only on Mia's side."
"What about my side? Aren't we friends?"
"You can take care of yourself. Besides, I have a bad feeling about all this. I've never seen her act this way over a guy."
"Do you know something? 'Cause if you're keeping something from me--."
"I know a person should only have to deal with a finite number of issues. There should be a limit. So, if this goes badly, she's going to need us. We both have to be here for her right now."
"How'd you get so smart?"
"Hangin' out with you, I guess."
I had a post last week about aliens. It's been mentioned that technically, Regulus is an alien. In case you aren't familiar with my Whispering Woods characters, Regulus is from a different dimension. He appears to be physically like any guy you'd pass on the street.
I enjoyed the blog comments last week from my post, Obsessed With Aliens.
Rusty Carl of The Blutonian Death Egg
remarked, "I wouldn't say I *love* aliens, but I like them a lot. I wish there were more movies that portrayed them in more alien-y fashion."I guess I want to feel safe and pretend aliens would look just like us.
I found an interesting explanation that talks about how Star Trek developed a justification at one point as to why there were humanoid lifeforms in the storyline. The following explanation was copied from Wikipedia
In much of science fiction, the reason for the abundance of humanoid aliens is not explained and requires suspension of disbelief. In some cases, however, explanations have been offered for this. In Star Trek, the abundance of humanoid aliens within the Star Trek universe is explained by advancing the story of a primordial humanoid civilization, the Ancient humanoids, who seeded the galaxy with genetically-engineered cells to guide the evolution of life on a multitude of worlds toward a humanoid form. In the television series Stargate SG-1, the Jaffa are explained as being an offshoot of humanity bred by the Goa'uld to suit their purposes, hence their almost-human appearance and physiology, while many other "alien" characters are actually the descendants of humans who were removed from Earth by the Goa'uld for use as slaves.
So, are you a Trekkie? Ever wonder why the aliens looked so similar to us? Have a vote for most interesting movie/book/television alien ever? Think you have aliens for neighbors?
This concludes my two-part pondering on aliens. For a more interesting topic, here's my January giveaway. Entry options change throughout the month, so there are different ways to enter if you visit often.
I own two cairn terriers
and try not to talk about them all the time. It can become obnoxious. One of my cairns is extremely smart. We are talking "people" smart. He talks to me all the time. If his lips and tongue could move to form the plosives, nasals, fricatives, affricates and approximants in speech, we'd have ourselves the most articulate dog on earth. My younger (and larger) cairn is so sweet; he makes my heart melt. He's the one who sticks close to me while I write. I worked with a national cairn rescue organization for a while and heartily recommend that people consider rescue. I purchased my dogs from breeders before I knew about the rescued dog and his life. I will look to rescue one in the future. It's not for everyone, but some will find the perfect dog from these types of organizations. The pictures are of my two. The links below are for the national organization that I volunteered with before devoting my spare time to writing.Want to read more posts about the letter C? Click here to see the list of A -Z Challenge participants.
Colonel Potter's Cairn Terrier Rescue Page: http://cairnrescue.com/
Adopt a cairn: http://adopt.cairnrescue.com/index.php
Adoption FAQ page: http://cairnrescue.com/adoption/faqs.htmClick on any image below to enlarge it.
Have you ever wanted to laugh and cry simultaneously? I mean, out of relief — not because you're a psycho who spent too many hours banging on the keyboard in the middle of the night like Jack Torrance of The Shining. Well, that's me. Happy, happy, happy...with a small tear in the corner of my eye and maybe just a little crazy. Normal crazy. It's my release day for the second book in The Whispering Woods series, Whisper of Memory. Take a look at the blurb, the book trailer, and don't forget to enter the giveaway contest!
Weapons training and winter formals… a deadly combination
All Mia ever wanted was to fit in at Whispering Woods High. But being a portal-finder who dates a guy from another dimension sort of makes it hard. A month ago her brother disappeared, and agents from the IIA began policing people’s movements through dimensions. She’d trusted Dr. Bleeker from the local university when he’d told her the IIA were the bad guys. But even a girl with an extraordinary ability to sense things can make mistakes.
Now two people are dead, and as a portal gatekeeper for the IIA, Mia needs to find Dr. Bleeker before he hurts anyone else. And her boyfriend Regulus, an Agent for the IIA, carries secrets of his own. Between learning about weaponry, finding the perfect dress for the winter formal, and catching bad guys, who has time to fit in? AMAZON B & N GOODREADS OMNILIT KOBO
The wonderful people listed below are supporting me today and in the coming days. Why? Because no party is complete without your friends. Please visit them!
In April, the fun continues with a blog tour of book review sites hosted by Bree of The Magic Attic
. There are twenty stops
in all with excerpts, reviews, and blog posts. That's a lot of chances to win with comments!
If you are looking for the Rafflecopter Giveaway widget, please click on this link
to enter the contest.
I had a recent post on my blog by Jake
(technical guru AKA my son) who explained the creative process involved with a romance trading card. My release date for Whisper of Memory
, Book 2 in the Whispering Woods series, is March 16th. I asked Jake to create the card.
Jake created the card easily because he still had the native file
for my first card for The Waiting Booth
. Click here to compare
. I knew that I wanted the cards to have the book cover on one side and a character profile on the other. To look at samples of other cards, go to http://romancetradingcards.com/
.On that site, you'll see that some people use blurbs and book quotes.
Mia Taylor is the main character, so it was natural for her to be the first card character for The Waiting Booth
. Then I had to decide who would come next. I almost chose to place two characters, Regulus and Arizona, on the card for Whisper of Memory
. I changed my mind because I like clean lines, white space, and a focus. I didn't want to dilute the importance of Regulus in the story.
I've inserted a screenshot of the graphics software layers panel from the first card. If you haven't worked in a graphic program like Photoshop, this will mean nothing to you. If you have, then you will see how separating each element into a layer of the image allowed Jake to make easy substitutions. He already had a template. He asked that I prepare the book cover side, and I did that in Fireworks which is a similar program.
The character profile side of the card matches the front nicely with a wintry feel. I'm in love with the way the border makes me feel cold and frostbitten.
I'm excited about my new card. I placed a huge order from http://gotprint.net/g/welcome.do
and my son said I was crazy. He said, "What are you going to do with all those?"
"Give them away," I answered. So, if you would like to receive a romance trading card for each book, send an email to brinda [at] brindaberry [dot] com with your postal address. I'll send cards to the first ten people who request.
Before I start gushing over how much I love my new cover, I have been remiss in thanking some awesome writers for blog awards. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Please click on their names below and visit two great blogs.You'll then understand why they were the original recipients of these awards.
Oh cover, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways....
Warning: There will be shameless begging for help with promotion in the following form. This material is not intended for highway use. All information collected will be used in a completely self-serving fashion. Do not attempt to try this on your blog as it may not work. All rights reserved - but some wrongs are still available.
I thought I would post some work today with a popular meme called Six-Sentence Sunday. My selection is from the second book in the Whispering Woods series. Book 1 is The Waiting Booth and was released in digital format in July 2011. Book 2 is Whisper of Memory and here are the first six sentences. I look forward to announcing a release date soon. Have a wonderful Sunday!
The dead leaves formed an ochre carpet on the ground that spoke in crunchy whispers as I backed up two steps. Watching the leaves begin to whirl like a waterspout in the ocean, I waited. I identified the spot before I heard the buzzing or saw the air lifting the leaves. Even before I saw the sienna orange veil drape over the ground. The tingly sensation moving through me from head to toe told me it was a portal.
I smiled in anticipation of seeing Regulus today.