Music Monday — Lenny Kravitz “Fly Away”

Before he was Cinna in The Hunger Games, Lenny Kravitz was an incredible rocker.  Actually, he’s still an incredible rocker, but some of you may only know him as an actor, and you really owe it to yourselves to get to know his music.

So, why is “Fly Away” this Monday’s song?

Well, because it’s always, always always, been a favorite of mine. And, I’ve always thought it’s the perfect song for Grace from Winging It!  She wants her wings for exactly this reason!

Also, I have to fly away today, making this post much shorter than normal.  I’m off to finish some work on a newsletter that’s about to go out to the folks on my mailing list.  If you haven’t signed up yet click here.   I absolutely will not spam you.  If I do things right, it’ll be about twice a year that I send an update on upcoming releases.

Even if you don’t want to clickety-click, you should make time to watch this video of  “Fly Away”.  The audio is not quite as good as the original, but it’s waaay cooler. Promise.


November 5, 2012. Tags: , , , , , . music. Leave a comment.

Some Rumors Confirmed

It seems like I always include fantastical things in my books, so these three things seemed–I don’t know…interesting.

Dolphins Talk  — In Dolphin Girl, Jane speaks with the dolphins. I don’t know if you saw this piece on the TODAY Show about the beluga whale named NOC (pronounced No Sea), who learned how to vocalize in a lower octaves, which sound remarkably human. Here’s a link to YouTube where you can listen to the whale’s conversation.  I wonder what he’s saying?  Any guesses?

Guardian Angels Exist — In Winging It!, Grace is an Angel-in-Training who is skipping school to try to earn her wings while serving as an apprentice. In yet another clip from the TODAY Show, here’s a real-life guardian angel. In fact, I’m writing a new story for Grace where she spends a bit of time in the hospital with her Assignment.  Look for Gifted! soon.

Wishes Granted —  In My Wishful Thinking, Logan and her best friend Emily share a genie, who grants anything they desire. Sorry but I don’t have a clip from TODAY (yet). But I did have a few wishes granted.  Namely that the proof of the paperback arrived today and it’s ready to go and the ebook is already for sale at Amazon. And! My Wishful Thinking is a POTW (Pick of the Week) by Orangeberry. All in all, some nice wishes granted.

October 24, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Music Monday — Katy Perry Firework

In my last post, I mentioned that Lo, the  main character from My Wishful Thinking looked like Katy Perry, and probably this song is why.

The story is set during the summer before Lo’s senior year of high school and a critical scene happens on July 4th. Plus, there are a bunch  of ways the genie, Eugene, resembles a firework.  This song is upbeat and inspirational, so why do I always tear up when listening?

Maybe I’m thinking about Lo.

If you’re interested, there’s a giveaway over at Goodreads for MWT.  Just head here to enter. 

October 15, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

The Next Big Thing

I’m pretty enthusiastic about this blog hop and thankful that Kai Strand asked me to participate. Not because I think one of my books will be The Next Big Thing, but rather, because this hop is about a lot of authors getting together to share their readers and to help them to find other great authors to read. That is very, very  exciting!  And, who knows? Maybe one of the authors will be the next big thing, and I’ll have had a hand in helping them.

If you’re just joining the hop, the dealio is that each author is supposed to anser ten questions about one of their works, either a book or work in progress. I decided to focus on My Wishful Thinking, which is set to release later this month.

So, without further delays, here we go —

What is the working title of your book?

The title of my upcoming book is My Wishful Thinking. It’s the story two best friends who must share a lovable, but nerdy, genie.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I’ve suspected for a while that a lot of the ideas for my books come from T.V. shows I watched  as a kid.  Somehow pieces of those shows are buried deep in my subconscious, and I end up twisting them into something new, and, hopefully, more contemporary.  I guess that means this book came from the show “I Dream of Jeannie.”

What genre does your book fall under?

It’s definitely a lighthearted teen/YA book set in our world with magical elements.  Is that urban fantasy? Magical realism? I don’t know for sure, but it’s a little like “I Dream of Jeannie.”  😀

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Can I pick someone other than actors?  Because the images in my mind are personalities or celebrities but not necessarily actors.  Lo, the MC needs to look like Katy Perry, but act more like Pink.  She’s a little hard on the outside, but pretty gooshy when you get beyond her exterior.  For Eugene, I’d pick a young Prince Harry.  He’s respectable with a little mischief lurking.  And, I’ve always thought of Em as Erin Sanders, who played Quinn on Zoey 101.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

This is cliché, but – Be careful what you wish for.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Self–published, although I prefer the term indie-published because I do contract out the cover, the editing, the formatting, etc.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Ha! Depends on how you look at it.

If you count from when I first had the idea, and started outlining and wrote the opening scenes, then it’s two years.

But the truth is I didn’t work on this for a solid two years.  After I did all that getting-it-started stuff, I put it on the back burner and worked on other things.  While any project is on the backburner, it stays on a very low simmer. Actually, I do this with all my books, and I probably have about twenty things simmering right now.  That can seem overwhelming at times, but at least I won’t run out of ideas.

For this one, I might have gotten an idea about one of the wishes the girls made, or a little revealed to me about who an antagonist might be.

Then, from the point I took it off the backburner and decided to cook it up, it was five to six months of regular writing to finish the first draft.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

It’s similar in tone to my novel Winging It!  It’s also a little like Sarah Mylanowski’s Gimme A Call in that they main character is trying to re-shape their life for the better.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

Uh, probably that TV Show, again – “I Dream of Jeannie” — but seriously, I really enjoy writing books that are light, include some heart, and if I can include something a little bit magical. Besides, who wouldn’t love to have a personal genie?

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

There is a more serious thread about Lo’s parents’ divorce and her single mom who is struggling to do a good job at parenting.  My parents split up when I was in college and while nothing in my life was as messy as Lo’s (both my parents are great!), I remember wishing then that they’d get back together.  I think that’s normal, and actually common, so for anyone who has been through that, maybe they’ll see some of themselves in Lo.

Before you go, I hope you’ll stop by Kai’s blog to read her post from last week.  And next week please check out these five fabulous  authors/writers: 

Tonya Kappes

Kristina Miranda

Shana Norris

Mike Purfield

Adriana Ryan

All great in no particular order, or ….actually in alphabetical order by last name 😉

October 10, 2012. Uncategorized. 6 comments.

12 Ways Books are like Babies

Dolphin Girl turns one today.

It seems absolutely amazing to say this, given that I thought it was doomed to be a dusty drawer book.  While it’s been awhile since I was a new parent, I can’t help but think how much all the ups and downs of this past year are like having a new baby. So, here are some of the similarities I’ve noticed.

1. Sleepless nights.

Coming up with scenes for the next book? Remembering something you forgot to do? A Kindle Select free run, anyone? Are these the things that woke you up or kept you up?  They were for me.

2. Checking to make sure the baby is alive.

The book equivalent of tiptoeing into the nursery is signing into KDP to check your sales. If you hit refresh-refresh-refresh, you probably were the type of parent that would wake your baby just to make sure.

3. Less social life and free time.

You receive an invitation to hang with friends, but you’re involved in something else for the book. It could be a blog tour, or promotion, or interview or, or, or…

So you decline and watch over your book instead.  If only there were book babysitters, then you could still go out and phone home ten times to see how things are going.

4. You must fight the urge to over share.

When you do finally go out, you must fight this with all your will power.  You know those parents that have hundreds of pictures and want to tell you about diaper changes. Don’t be that person. No one cares that you need one more review before ENT will feature your book.  No one.

Well, maybe  other authors at KB, but that’s it.

5. The weight you put on is worth it.

The biggest, most disappointing difference is that you don’t immediately lose weight when you release a book. But really, who cares about buying new clothes? You wear a lot of sweat pants when you write, anyway.

Take heart. It will come off, but it requires a determination that you never needed bb (before book or before baby, whichever you prefer).

6. You never realized how much stuff it would require.

Babies need strollers, binkies, bottles, and lots and lots of clothes. Books need covers, a web site, editing, social media, and blog posts with adorable pictures like this one.

7. The support you get from others (and who gives it) surprises you.

You think grandma will be the biggest fan of your baby (and maybe your book, too).  But it doesn’t always happen that way.  In fact, a lot of your support comes from those who are going through the same trials at the same time.

8. Nothing is just yours any longer.

With babies, you are required to share more. With writing, the book is what you share. And sharing your book is waaay scarier than sharing your stuff, because now you’re out there for everyone to see. Don’t fret. It’ll be okay and you’ll even get used to it.

9. You let go of perfection.

Your house is not as clean, because there are so many book-ish things that need your attention first. When you find the time to clean, you’d rather write. Not only are you forced to handle house stuff differently, but also somewhere in that first year, you realize your child – the book – is not perfect either.

Oh, well. Nothing is.

10. The second child doesn’t get as much attention.

You fully intend to not fall into the trap of not giving as much to your second book (or your second child), but it happens the all the same.  Because you still love your first book and you can’t just drop it like a hot potato, so now your love is spread around, perhaps a bit thinner.  It’s not that you love it any less, but it can never be the one and only.

11. You believe once again in the things you believed as a child.

You begin to believe in magic and luck. Perhaps you’ll be visited by the book version of the tooth fairy–the Amazon fairy, who deposits sales into your KDP account late at night while you sleep.

12. It doesn’t really change you.

With a baby you’re now A MOM.  With your book you can call yourself AN AUTHOR (if you want). But those titles don’t change who you are at your core.  Your values are still the same. And as much as we all would like the event to magically transform us, and make us better than we were before, it doesn’t.

So, here are my top twelve.  There are others and maybe you even have a favorite.

Each book only gets one first birthday, and to celebrate this one for Dolphin Girl, I’ve lowered the price to 99 cents.  You can find it here at Amazon  

October 3, 2012. Tags: , , , . Uncategorized. 7 comments.

Music Monday — Novel Pacing like The Beach Boys

Music Monday is back after a long hiatus and we’re going to go completely old school today circa 1966 or 67 with The Beach Boys.

As we quickly approach the end of summer, I thought it’d be nice to have one last hurrah. I’m fairly certain all of you have listened to the classic “Good Vibrations” at some point in your life. It’s catchy, upbeat, retro and perfect for summertime.

But how closely have you listened?

Because, it’s a much more complex song than it sounds on the surface, and in fact, that’s part of the genius of it.

I love the harmonies on this song—not only on the vocals, but also what is being done instrumentally.  It’s incredible the way Brian Wilson wove parts of this song together, which is what I aim for when writing. (I fall short, but aim for it, anyway.) While harmony could be a topic for its own post, I really want to talk about this song as a model for pacing.

“Good Vibrations” is a long song by the standards of the 1960s.  Three minutes was what musicians were supposed to shoot for and it’s over four, so it definitely broke some pre-conceived notion of what a song was supposed to be. Still, beyond its length, the the unusual way its paced is remarkable; sometimes happily upbeat, sometimes melancholy, sometimes building toward a climax.  After a quick listen I counted at least seven significant changes to pace and could probably argue for more if you include chorus or  transitions.  The ones I’m counting occur at 1:50, 2:18, 2:55, 3:09, 3:28, 3:46 and 4:00.

What’s amazing is that all of these distinctly different tunes blend into one practically perfect song.

If you look purely at timing, the changes occur at fairly regular intervals.  There are also two times where the song echoes the good vibrations rif  from the beginning:  it happens during the piece that begins at 2:18, and again at the piece that begins at 3:09. One thing is certain when you listen for pacing–the changes are not predictable.

When I think about trying to translate that kind of structure into writing, my brain feels like it might explode.

It’s not an exaggeration to say Brian Wilson is a genius. I think he took huge risks with this song, although we probably take them for granted because the song has become so familiar.

So, how does this help me or you—any writer or reader or music fan?  It helps me to think about looking at my novel holistically.  Can I take readers through a series of different emotions? Can I tell a story without it becoming too predictable? Can I look for places where an echo might unify things?

For readers or music fans I hope it provides some insight into the truly remarkable things that are possible when we create.

Now, I hope everyone enjoys this version of “Good Vibrations.”

September 17, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , . music. Leave a comment.

An Interview with Guido Henkel

Today’s interview, which should have been yesterday’s post, is with horror writer Guido Henkel.  Grace took a look at all of his books and picked the one about angels, HEAVENS ON FIRE, as her favorite.  Here’s a little about the book:

When our world becomes a mere pawn in an epic battle between Heaven and Hell, Jason Dark faces a challenge that threatens to shatter the very fabric of reality. As immortal angels die and harbingers of death and destruction escape the fiery pits of hell itself, the Geisterjäger and his companions receive a desperate call for help! Will they be able to save mankind in the face of an onslaught of demons or will our fate burn as brightly as the streets of London?

I’ve read the sample for this book and the writing is very evocative of setting and mood, gothic in an old-school sense, which makes it distinctive for the horror genre.

Okay, turning things over to Grace…

Hiya, Guido.  I love those wings on your cover, *whispers* even if the blood is a teeny bit troubling. So your your Muse must be doing a great job inspiring you. What’s the next project they’re helping you out on?

After finishing “Fu Man Chu’s Vampire,” I have actually decided to write another game, as opposed to writing another book. I am originally coming from a computer games background and I just felt the desire again to create a new casual game for mobile devices. Usually flip-flopping between disciplines helps me to keep me creative juices flowing.

Cool! I’m a big fan of Bubble Town, but that’s probably not what you’re talking about. *sighs* it’s not very adventure-y.  Say, which of your characters are you most like? One of the game ones?

I am not sure I am anything like any of them.

Not even a teeny bit?

Hmm…. A while ago I started writing a thriller/adventure – a project I have abandoned since – and the main character had a lot in common with myself. Other than that, I think I share certain facets with each of the characters that I write. I’m a bit Jason Dark, a bit Dr. Prometheus, a bit Fu Man Chu, and a bit of my re-imagined H.G. Wells. After all, we write what we know…

That makes sense. A lot of authors—mine included—say that there’s a piece of them in a most of their characters, and yours have very interesting names. So, what’s your favorite book? Is it scary too?  

Mark Frost’s “The List of Seven” is my all-time favorite. It is a book I re-read every other year, and it is the book that has influenced me tremendously in the creation of my own Jason Dark series of supernatural mysteries. It is the book I wish I had written.

Ah! All writers have one of those!  Now, I’m gonna ask you something and it might seem strange, but in your opinion what makes a guy character swoony-worthy?

I have no idea, hahaha. Being a guy makes it a little hard for me to think of guys as being swoony-worthy. Now, women, that’s a different story entirely…

Oh well, it was worth a try, because I’m still trying to figure the whole thing out myself.  I promise to clue you in once I have a better handle on things. This next question is probably a better one. If you could go to a rock concert in Heaven, who would you go see? (*hint* you have to pick someone who is dead)

I’d love to see Jimi Hendrix. I was too young to have had the chance to ever see him perform, but his influence on rock music can still be felt in almost every rock guitar player. I would have loved to see the emotional magic he did with his guitar every time he entered the stage.

Awesome!  I know all kinds of random stuff about him…like he couldn’t read music and was left-handed so he had to play his guitar upside down.  Over in Paradise he’s setting his guitar on fire every night, but it’s not anything like your book.  Anyway, It’s pretty cool. If you want to see him…way down the road, that is, you need to do the confession thing.  So, what’s your biggest writing sin?

That I do not take my writing seriously enough. I know fellow authors who sweat over every word. Some of them would rather give a limb than change a word they wrote. I am usually not in love with my writing. If an editor suggests a change, and I agree with the reason, it is easy for me to simply make the change. I’ve never seen myself as the ultimate authority – not even when it comes to my own work.

That doesn’t sound very bad, Guido!  Now, are you more of a rule follower or a rebel? Why?

Until recently I didn’t even care about the three-act structure in writing. It was something I left to others. I have embraced it a bit more these days, but still, I prefer to write the way I feel the story should unfold and flow and not the way the academic rules try to impose on me. So, call me a rebel.

Hurray for rebels! They’re the humans who change the world and it wouldn’t be good if the world had never changed and evolved at all.

What — other than your Muse, of course — inspires you?

My creativity lives off cross-pollination. I can get inspired by anything, an image, a mood, music, a line of lyrics, a word someone says, the list is endless. I find other people’s enthusiasm endlessly inspiring, too, though. Every time I come back from a writer conference, I usually just want to sit down and write, write, write.

I love that so many different things inspire you!  What themes do you write about or what do you want readers to take from your books.

Most of my books are horror-themed. Not the all-out grossfest kind of horror, though, but the moody atmospheric style, like old black and white Universal monster movies. I usually do not approach a story with an agenda. It is usually more a case of “What if…” that develops into something bigger. What if demons actually managed to force their way into Heaven and began to kill angels, as in “Heavens of Fire?” What if good ambition is becoming perverted by fanaticism, as in “Dr. Prometheus?” What if love were so strong that it turns into a curse, as in “From a Watery Grave?” What if dying is more an act of paying dues than a physical state, as in “Dead by Dawn”

I simply love to toy with these thoughts and ideas, spin a story around them and in the end I hope reader will simply have a fun read. A diversion.

Those are awesome “what ifs…”, but I must confess the one about the demons in heaven scares me…hmm…but, that’s the point, I suppose. Finally, is there anything you’d like me to mention to your Guardian Angel?  

I was wondering if he or she could, perhaps, explain this karma thing to me again, because it doesn’t seem to work…

Oh, Guido!  There are a lot of humans in Paradise who would tell you otherwise. It does work, I promise. Unfortunately, sometimes it seems like it takes too long.  Keeping being good.  J  I’ll say “hi” to your Guardian for you.

Thanks, Grace and GuidoIf you’re a fan of scary stories check out Guido’s books on Amazon here.

And you can also follow him on Twitter or find out more about him, his books, games and e-book services at

September 11, 2012. Tags: , , , , . author interviews. 1 comment.

An Interview with Kai Strand

Way, way, way back in April and May, Grace, the flighty Angel in Training main character from Winging It!, interviewed a whole bunch of authors. But there were two particular favorites of mine who were left out:  Kai Strand and Guido Henkel. So, we’re going to resurrect (please excuse the pun) the interviews. Today, you’ll have the chance to get to know Kai a little better. And on Monday, please look for Guido’s interview.

Okay, time to turn the reins over to Grace.

Hey Kai!  It’s really great to meet you, especially since I already got to know your MC earlier this year over at your blog. Let’s get started. Your Muse must be doing a great job inspiring you.  What’s the next project they’re helping you out on?

I’ve been tapping into my teenage muse’s mind recently to work on a new young adult novel. A boy, a girl, lots of sweaty palms and palpitating hearts. It’s fun.

Well, palpitating hearts sounds good, although sweaty palms just sounds, I don’t know… sweaty.  Can you tell me which of your characters you are most like? Please don’t say the sweaty one. 😉

I’m an incurable priss, so is Natalie, the main character in my new tween novel, SAVE THE LEMMINGS! I’m not intelligent like she is, though. Luckily for me I had great friends growing up, who managed to overlook my need to not only follow rules but also enforce them. Natalie’s friends are the same. They tease her a bit, but truly it’s why they love her.

I get that. Natalie kind of grew on me, too, by the end of the interview in April.

Um, my author makes me ask this next question. You don’t have to answer it, but you probably will if you’re a by-the-book gal.

 Do you have a favorite book? Of all time?

I don’t do favorites because they change with my moods or the weather or life’s circumstances. But I have a healthy appreciation for Harry Potter, Goblet of Fire. Emotional, epic, harrowing, sweet, heartbreaking and there’s a dragon. It is such a complete tale.

And it’s soooo long, too. 

Okay, changing topics. In your opinion what makes a guy character swoony-worthy?

It’s the little things; hands touching, lingering look, barely there smile. Oh and really good hair.

Good hair grooming is a plus.  I just love Victor’s sun-streaked…um, sorry for the digression, but you are so right about the little things. Now, if Mr. Good Hair were to say…take you to a rock concert in Heaven, who would you go see? (*hint* you have to pick someone who is dead)

Dude, the true rockers aren’t dead yet. AND they’re still rockin’. Look at Steven Tyler!

I know, dude. He looks like a lady and has good hair!

Seriously, even though I am a rocker, I’d actually want to see Mozart. What I wouldn’t give to see him in action. To watch him be transported into his own music would be the ultimate. I’d really love to watch him compose. But I would need his thoughts to play out loud. Does he hear the full symphony or each individual instrument?

Huh. I don’t know, but if I ever run into him, I’ll ask. Ready for another 180 degree change in direction? Don’t answer. You’ll get used to me hopping all over the place. (I hope)

 It’s confession time.  What’s your biggest writing sin?

 Remember that admission about me being an incurable priss?


Not being able to break rules?

I believe I said I remembered.

Yeah, I’m not one to have big confessions. I’d say my biggest ‘sin’ is lack of writing discipline. Since that is so boring, I’ll move on to the next question.

Okay, and sorry if I seemed a little rude there. We actually have a group of undisciplined writers from the first set of interviews. (If you missed them the first time they started here., but please finish Kai’s interview before you go linking off.) They call themselves procrastinators and my author is guilty as sin.

 Now, I think I know the answer to this one. Are you more of a rule follower or a rebel?   

 As previously stated – rule follower.

HA! You got me. But, why?

I have no idea why. I have a son who is like me and I always feel a bit sorry for him because I know he’ll never be able to truly relax – unless it is written into the rules somewhere.

Aww…that makes me kinda sad, too. Okay, I’m going to write one for him, and you too.

Kai and her son, I command you to relax.

*whispers* This doesn’t carry the same weight as if it came from The Big Guy, himself, but I am an Angel in Training, y’know? Besides, it’s such a priviledge to be able to help you Humans out.  Now, what — other than your Muse, of course — inspires you?

 Music, nature, children, joy, reading, necessity.

I love that! Especially the thing about necessity!

 And, what do you want readers to take from your books.

I want readers to know that the choices life presents are sometimes really flippin’ hard to decide on and even harder to act on. It’s important to pull up the proverbial bootstraps and do the hard work.  My middle grade novel, The Weaver, is about a girl who can’t get better at telling stories until she applies some hard work and persistence. My upcoming novel, SAVE THE LEMMINGS!, is about a girl who has to restore her reputation after being the recipient of media bashing.

But I said sometimes. When the choices aren’t hard, readers should enjoy their life, their love and their blessings, which both girls do in my books.

That is really awesome, Kai. Life isn’t easy, even for Angels. Is there anything you’d like me to mention to yours?  I mean your Guardian Angel.  ‘Cause I totally have contacts.

Can you please tell him or her what a rock star I think they are? I’ve never broken a bone and have only a few gray hairs. I stay calm during a crisis and only fall apart after safety is restored. The only thing I’d ask is if they see my metabolism (which died and went to heaven a few years back), could they somehow restore it to me so I can eat all the pizza I want again? Those days I miss.

That’s really nice. It sounds like you have a Guardian that works as hard as you do, and, I’ll see what I can do about the metabolism-pizza request.

Thanks for hosting me today, Grace! If your readers would like to know more about my writing and me, they can visit I can also be found on Facebook and Twitter (@KaiStrand).

You are very welcome, Kai and I’ll turn you back over to Shel now.    

Kai, thanks so much for mentioning where you are on the web and I’d like everyone to know they can find SAVE THE LEMMINGS here. And your second new release—you’ve been very busy this summer— THE WISHING WELL here.  I haven’t had a chance to read either of these yet, but I did read THE WEAVER and it was beautifully written.

So, check ‘em out and then come back on Monday for my friend, Guido.

September 7, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , . author interviews. 1 comment.

Dolphins are like junior high school girls?

A super quick post today.  At the beginning of August the LA Times ran this story ,which asserts dolphins are like  junior high school girls because they hang out in cliques based on certain social behaviors.

I thought the article was really cool, especially since I used pods in Dolphin Girl as a metaphor for cliques, but I think the LA Times got one thing wrong. Cliques don’t just exist for junior high school girls. They exist in high school and adulthood, boys and girls, men and women. I consider political parties, religions, special interests or any way that someone might label themselves as the definition of an elite social group.

It seems we don’t outgrow it when we turn fourteen. Or fifteen. Or even sixteen.

My cliques are: wife, mom, mom of teenager (because this is a special badge of honor), sports mom (this badge requires an even greater commitment), Catholic, writer, reader, storyteller, indie-pubbed, daughter, aunt, sister, dog lover, dolphin lover, music lover, cookie baker, dieter, art appreciator, …etc.

What cliques are you a member of?

August 13, 2012. Tags: , , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Michael Phelps, the Olympics and Writing

Doesn’t he remind you of Sam?

It seems hard to believe that four years ago I was hard at work on a major revision of Dolphin Girl, pulling apart every chapter in an effort to make the story more focused.  In the book, Jane, the main character, has a crush on a popular athlete Sam Rojas.  In the original version, Sam was a baseball player.

During the revision, I spent a lot of time thinking about why Jane felt a connection with dolphins and why she felt a connection to Sam, too. I believe I had an a-ha moment during Michael Phelps’s 200 butterfly in 2008.

It went something like this – Omigod, he’s Sam.

Phelps even looked a little bit like the way I’d already written Sam—tall, gangly arms, boyish grin.  The only problem was Sam played baseball and he needed to be a swimmer so that dolphin girl Jane could have her dolphin boy.

Out of the Olympic swimming, came huge slashes to the manuscript and new chapters. I obsessed about everything Phelps-ian. In one of his races his goggles filled with water, so I used that. Sam shows Jane how to use the goggles before her swim with the dolphins and he tells her it sucks when you get water in them. And, at a swim meet Jane is there to photograph Sam as he swims the fly. She wishes momentarily that she could be on the bottom of the pool to capture his swim from a dolphin’s point of view. If you’ve spent any time watching NBC’s coverage, they definitely have the dolphin-cam.

All of this proves, that writers write when we’re not in front of a computer, which means no one should feel bad about slacking. Life is our material.

I’ve been spending a lot of time watching the Olympics and Phelps…and other sports, too.  Dolphin Girl is already written and I doubt there will be any kind of sequel, but who know what material might come from other events.

At the beginning of this year’s games, I was heartbroken (like some other Phelps fans, I’m sure) with his fourth place finish. Fourth in the world didn’t make him a slouch, but I wanted more for Michael/Sam. So…I was extremely happy that the games turned around for him. It’s been wonderful to follow his success and as he swam the medley relay last night, I hoped that Phelps might swim one event—a fly—in Rio.

But, if he doesn’t, there’s always YouTube.  🙂

August 5, 2012. Tags: , , , , . dolphin girl. Leave a comment.

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