CROCUS…

This is kind of a state of affairs post and a lot of what I’m writing about this time has been covered in previous blogs so I’ll just touch on them today.

“White Wolf Moon” was written over many years because at the outset I had no thoughts of actually publishing a book. It is a collection of actual events in my life, conversations I’d had with co-workers when I was employed at a local bookshop, and just plain silly thoughts (mostly fictional) that popped into my head. A friend convinced me (by putting up the money) to self-publish my efforts and so I became a published author. While I still have trouble calling myself a published author I realize it’s simply fact and really, I am proud of the title. The point is that there was no pressure to write the first book.

There was pressure on the second (which, finally, has really started to come together) but I know I did it to myself. Along with the obvious “I had my whole life to gather materials for the first one and now I have a few months to write the second one” pressure,  the readers of “White Wolf Moon” have inadvertently provided a little pressure of their own.

I have three pages of comments and suggestions from readers on what they’d like to see in a sequel and I made the mistake of trying to incorporate every suggestion. Suddenly I realized I wasn’t writing from the gut. I was giving one character a question that would result in another character replying with a response that covered off someone else’s idea. It all felt forced…unnatural. With “White Wolf Moon” I improvised most of the dialogue into my digital voice recorder and worked from there. After editing I felt it sounded more natural even if it wasn’t as grammatically correct as it should be. This dialogue (along with the characters themselves) has garnered most of the good comments. While I will attempt to give everyone what they want, it isn’t the focus now. Life isn’t laid out for us. It’s a series of moments and events that mostly have no plan…we have to accept and react to what happens. On a smaller scale if, for some reason, you’d like to know the name of Evan’s first serious girlfriend…unless it falls naturally into a conversation you might be disappointed (Irene, by the way). I’ve gone back to the way I wrote the first book and I’m letting the characters drive the dialogue and most, if not all of the questions and suggestions will be addressed.

Another pressure I put on myself was the need to be working on the sequel every minute. It’s always with me of course. I can be driving and see something that sparks an idea for an interesting situation or I might be digging in the garden and come up with a slightly bent and better take on some previously written material. I’m always thinking about it but I’m not necessarily at the laptop writing it. I took a me-day last week and drove my birthday present RC truck around the back yard for most of the day (along with yard clean-up while the batteries were recharging). That evening I looked at the computer and felt as though I hadn’t accomplished anything. I was actually quite angry with myself for wasting an entire day. The next morning I sat at the computer and started typing. I quickly realized that taking that day away was a good thing. I went back through said previously written material cleaning up and restructuring what I thought was good to begin with plus I wrote another 1800 words…all before lunch.

Along with all the above it seemed to me that “White Wolf Moon” had peaked. It goes in waves, this book selling thing, but this last wave seemed to stay offshore a lot longer than the others. While it has accomplished my primary goal which was to pay for itself, being human I now want more. Just when I was beginning to sadly accept that the ride was winding down along came a few more sales (and some suspected pirated copies which, in an oddball way, is kind of flattering) and a lot of really great comments (see previous blog). It’s amazing what a little ego-stroking will do for your attitude. I’m back on track and feeling really good about the way this is all coming together.

Spring is here. The wind is warm, the sun is bright, and yesterday the first Crocus said “hello”…

flowr

Hello!

SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION…

Reviews are pretty tough to come by, good or bad, but this one was just posted at Lybrary and I decided it’s time to puff out my chest a bit….

ginn2

“White Wolf Moon is one of those books I might not have read had it not been recommended to me by my mother. Although I’m not a big fan of ebooks I do have a reader but download only on occasion. After nearly a year I only have five books on the device. I still prefer paper bound books and had I seen White Wolf Moon in my favorite bookstore I would have certainly taken a look and, based on the cover and a quick scan of the contents, I would have bought it with no hesitation.
Other reviews of this book praise the characters and dialogue and I would agree that I was drawn into each of their lives. The humor is sometimes obvious and sometimes subtle and I confess to missing some of the song and singer references (the punishment for being thirty) but this didn’t detract from the simple pleasure of reading about “those days” and getting a different slant on events of the Sixties. I say this because from what I’ve read about this book it seems to be aimed at the baby-boomers but I’m not in that group and I found this one of my most enjoyable reads.
I quickly grew to love the people in this story and found myself in tears, both happy and sad, a few times. I also grew to love Ginn and the relationship she has with Evan. My grandfather lived on a farm and had a wolf cross, grey not white, and she was the most gentle and loving dog I’ve ever met. Shandra was her name although I don’t know where it came from.
I would like to read more about these people, all of them. I closed the book but found myself wondering how they’re doing and realized that this wasn’t enough. They feel like friends and I like knowing what my friends are up to.
I’ve been hooked on a book before, it happens quite often, and I will sometimes read certain titles multiple times. It’s hard to pinpoint why I’m on my third reading of White Wolf Moon but the more I read, the more I find. I discover subtleties that I missed previously, philosophies that sneak up on me while I’m at work or trying to go to sleep. I love Evan and his way of looking at things and I find myself trying to take his more laid-back approach to events in my life. Jenn refers to this as his “philosophical banter” and quickly you learn that there’s a lot of thought behind his ramblings.
White Wolf Moon sneaks up on you. On the surface it is such a light and easy read. It’s only when you realize you’ve read a hundred pages and had a good laugh or cry that you are aware of how involved you’ve become with Evan, Marie and the rest of the “crowd”.
It goes without saying that I love this book and I am looking forward to a second or even third in the series. Trilogies are all the rage, are they not?
Shannon Tyler”

My Friend Flicker…

flick02After my stumbling block last week I’m finally back on track with some new writing but I promised Mary Ann I would post the above photo. I woke up one morning last summer to the most irritating sound of this critter pecking at the aluminum vent above my head. The photo is pretty much as it was taken, yes…the sky was that blue. Other than a slight crop and auto-level nothing has been done to it. Camera is a Fujifilm Finepix S1000.

Okay…back to work.

Go with your gut….

wolfblog

picture copyright Soul Wolf Journey 2012

I have been struggling with a scene for almost a week. Normally I’d move on to something else and come back to the stumbling block but this is one of those critical points that will determine where the story-line goes from here. Without giving too much away it involves two of the central characters stumbling upon a wolf in the wild. For those that have read “White Wolf Moon” this would be considered a spoiler but I need to give you at least some idea of what this scene is about.

I wrote the first draft on Monday, writing well into the late evening. I’d spent a lot of my reading time researching wolf psychology previous to writing “White Wolf Moon”. From what I’d learned I felt I understood what would really happen in this new situation and could tell it realistically. I was incredibly pleased with what I’d come up with and looked forward to filling and smoothing out the details on Tuesday. When I re-read it the next morning my only thought was “how cheesy and implausible is this anyway?” and I rewrote the ending, trying a different outcome. Since then I have spent far too many hours writing four different endings, all resulting in the same “cheesy” feeling. No matter what I did the result of my efforts felt forced and far-fetched. Yesterday I decided that it would be easier to scrap the whole idea and try a totally different scenario to get my point across. In order to start again I needed to find some information on the psychology of wolves but this time in a wildlife park or sanctuary setting, assuming it might be different. I hoped I could adapt my ideas into this somewhat restrictive setting and still keep the story-line moving.

I got on the internet and one of the first articles that came up not only related my original in-the-wild idea but, different environment aside, echoed the first ending. What I considered to be fantasy and “way out there” has actually happened many times and the majority of these real-life encounters has ended in much the same manner as I had ended my first draft. These actual encounters have been called “special” and “unbelievable”, two of the words I would use to describe my original scene…which, as of an hour ago,  is finally finished. All it took was a little research to confirm that, as the old saying goes, truth is stranger than fiction…or in this case, the same.

I suppose I could feel that I’d wasted three days although I don’t. Putting the same characters in slightly different situations was a good exercise and provided a valuable learning experience. Just because I thought I’d made it up doesn’t mean it hasn’t actually happened.

Go with your gut…and your imagination. That’s where good stories come from and when the two of them are in sync the results can be, like meeting a wolf in the wild, pretty special.