28 July 2017

One Man's Inspiration

Where does inspiration come from? Well, the short answer is—everywhere. If you observe the world around you, you are bound to find inspiration for a character or a plot or a scene.

I happened to stumble onto this article the other day. It recounts the inspiration behind ten famous horror flicks. Read it, if you have the time. It’s interesting. What really caught my attention was the last entry, number 1 on the countdown—Alien.

Alien is one of my favorite films, for a number of reasons. I could write a blog about that, but today is not the day. What I was focused on was the inspiration behind the film’s most famous scene, the chestburster scene. I could never quite understand why it is referred to as that—the chestburster scene. The alien really comes from Kane’s stomach, not his chest!

The screenwriter for Alien was Dan O’Bannon. He died in 2009 at the age of 63 (way too young). His death had a real impact on me. First, because he wrote one of my favorite films. That in itself was a reason to mourn, but then I found out what his cause of death was—complications from Crohn’s Disease. I was diagnosed the year before his death, and I remember having mixed feelings over the whole thing. I shared something with the screenwriter who wrote one of my favorite films, yet that something was awful and took his life.

So, of course, the chestburster scene took on a whole new meaning. I just knew it could not be a coincidence. And sure enough, it’s been confirmed over and over. The scene, and the whole concept of how the alien kills it's host, was inspired by Dan O’Bannon’s own experience with Crohn’s Disease. Inspiration? You could say so.

So, is the chestburster scene a good portrayal of the pain of Crohn’s? You bet.

If you can’t stomach (pun intended) the real chestburster scene, watch the tamer YouTube LEGO version here. It's amazing. 

27 July 2017

A Title For Book Four

A strange thing happened yesterday. Out of nowhere, the title for my fourth book just materialized. That has never happened before. Well, maybe it did for Vocation, but the plot and title for my second book kind of went hand-in-hand. They became one entity. Not so with book four. It has a title, but no real plot, yet. When these things happen, I have learned to step aside. It feels like I am being led somewhere, and I imagine I am. Most likely the title will inspire the plot. 

What's the title? 

You'll have to wait and see.  

25 July 2017

Time, We Ought to Use It Wisely

It’s funny how time can pass, but then it seems like no time has passed at all.” That is a quote taken from my second novel, Vocation. The speaker is Bridget Landry, and she is commenting on a reunion with a friend from her past.

Bridget Landry has a lot in common with her author, and I imagine this is what it will be like, if and when, we make it to heaven. It will be as if time has passed in the blink of an eye. After all, there is no time in eternity.

I had breakfast with a friend this past Saturday. She and I have a lot in common, and we haven’t seen each other in a very long time. I’m guessing it’s been close to two years. The conversation was good, the food was good, and the company was good. But, more than anything was the good feeling that came from being with someone who wanted to share her time with me. 

Time is a rare commodity these days, and soon it will pass away.

I’m reaching the age now where I begin to wonder where has all the time gone. I imagine time flies more quickly when you have more time behind you than in front of you. But then again, none of us really knows how much time we have left.

Lesson learned: time is precious, we ought to use it wisely.  

18 July 2017

What's It All About--Branding (Part 2)

My plan for Part 2 of my discussion on branding was to explain my own branding and how it came about. Then I got to thinking . . . shouldn’t my brand speak for itself? I mean, isn’t that the point of branding in the first place? Isn’t it supposed to communicate on its own? So, I thought better of the whole idea. If I have to explain my branding, then it’s actually a failure. Some things are better left unsaid. 

So, I guess I will give an update on book 3. I don’t imagine it will be published until next year some time. I am still working on the story, but I am almost finished correcting the plot problems. After that, it will need a final edit by me before I send it off for the final edits and proofreading.

My next task is to get moving on the cover. I have the graphic, but with this novel I am going to a professional cover designer. I am planning to have her design the cover for Incorruptible and maybe redesign the covers for A Future Spring and Vocation to match—again, that pesky branding.  When all that is done, I can look to book 4.

That’s about all for now.

11 July 2017

What's It All About--Branding

Everyone who is anyone in social media tells you, you must have branding. All those in the know in the publishing world, tell you, in order to sell your books, you must have branding.

So, what exactly is branding?

I cannot for the life of me tell you.

I have spent the last year reading and researching how to brand your product (for me, that would be my writing), and I still have no clue how to brand myself or what my brand even is. I recognize branding when I see it on the websites of other authors, but I can’t figure it out for myself. 

For anyone who reads my blog, you have probably noticed that I have changed my theme and color scheme over and over and over. I was trying to find my brand. And on that task I have failed miserably. I don’t know what makes my voice unique or what draws my readers. So I have been stumbling around in the dark, trying to figure out what my brand is and how I can convey it to my readers.

The experts mention fonts and colors and using them across all forms of media. I’ve read about it all. They discuss combining your business persona with your private persona, and inevitably, if you do what they say, you will discover your own brand. I did the quizzes and read more. I collected pins on Pinterest, leading me to blogs that have distinctive branding, with colors and fonts and phrases and graphics, but I still couldn’t figure out what my brand was.

Then, I thought, maybe I just don’t have one. Yes, maybe I just don’t have a brand. Or even worse, maybe I just don’t know who I am.

So, I decided to let go of it all, let go and forget about branding. After all, I’ve broken most of the rules already, and I haven’t regretted it. So what, if I don’t have a brand. Does it really matter? Who would notice anyway?

Then, bam. It happened. I found it. Or maybe, it found me. And this time I think it may stick.

I heard a homily on Saturday that hit me. Then, on a whim I found myself visiting a local farm. Yet, it still wasn’t clear, but then I remembered something my mother-in-law used to say, and suddenly my brand was born.

I’ll explain it all in my next blog post.

Here are some updates: my crochet project—nothing, my writing—nothing, my branding—found.