Category Archives: paranormal

Mr. Holland’s Opus

Anyone remember that movie?

It came out about the same time as Powder.

Both movies made me weep crocodile tears and kill off about thirty trees’ worth of tissues. They’re both one of those movies that I could only watch once, but I remember vividly and has yet to leave my mind.

Anyway…That’s the reference. The actual story for this post is this: I’ve decided that Human Touch may very well be my Mr. Holland’s Opus, but instead of creating the most beautiful piece of music, I’m trying to create a saga type tale along Harry Potter lines, minus the wizards, add ghosts, demons, but still witchery and religion mingling in a rom com YA.

Yeah, I still need a lot of work on finding the perfect genre for this sweeping series of stories that I would love to finish, that I want to share with other people, that I know is supposed to be out there in the universe somewhere rather than sitting in various Word docs and Scrivener files…and sitting in my brain.

This story has been ___ years in the making. The story idea started in my head in 2010, written out in a short “Note to Self” post-it on my computer–a literal post-it stuck to the laptop lid. 2011 it was a passing thought as I couldn’t figure out the story, the hook. 2012 it clicked when I was at Comic Con…and I was literally seven to ten people (depending if I let the others in my group go before me or after me) away from meeting someone while camping out for the Thursday Hall H opener. And after, I sat thinking, as most of the line was going to sleep…this is how my ghost would feel if this guy just missed her. She would be super bummed, like it should happen, but she’s a fracken ghost in love with a human…

And everything just became a waterfall. Possible names. Possible places. Events that go on in a high school senior’s life, things my ghost would have missed out on, the things that have changed from the 1980s to the (then) present day of 2012.

And this tale started spilling onto journal pages decorated with birds and trees. And when I had a rough plan, I began to type and type and type. Through tired fingers, tired brains, and temporary carpal tunnel as I’ve never typed that much before in a single sitting. Nikki and McClane came to life. The only thing I didn’t have, was an ending. Did I want to go typical HEA or did I want to go with reality?

I opted for HEA with a twist, leading to another book, then another, then another, then plans for two more just on their story, plans on four others for stories of other characters, then the alternate ending story which, truthfully is a book within itself (and almost completed in first draft now).

Spring 2013 – I had the first three books of Human Touch series typed. I call this first half of the series my baby, though it’s been said to never call it that. But in my eyes, it is. July to April to complete the three (very long) books in first draft. Nine long, learning filled months. The amount of time for a baby to grow and be born. My baby.

Fall 2013 – The first work was edited and formatted and re-written…a few times…then voila! I considered her done. Researched queries…which admittedly is still a weak point of mine…and sent them out. No after no. I’ve had about four personalized noes, feels like a thousand form noes, and a few that said it was great, but the genre was falling apart and they were taking less Paranormal Romance YA…which, this truly is being about ghosts…not that Vampire/Werewolf stuff they say is Paranormal. (THOSE ARE SUPERNATURAL!)

So fine. I put it away for a bit. Made some changes. Wound up expanding on the story. to over 150,000 words…and it still doesn’t cover everything.

And after taking out what was considered “non-essential” I had it down to 126,000…but it lost so much to me. Nikki’s personality was gone. Events that run through all six books, some through three, gone. Nothing made sense anymore. I hated it.

Summer 2014 – Queried that version. Again, the same amount of noes. pretty much just like that first list. So I put it away. Very far away. I even have drafts in a folder labeled: NEVER LOOK AT THESE AGAIN

Seriously. Those drafts are horrible. I hate them, but I refuse to delete them. Reminders of how terribly things can go wrong when writing.

Fall 2014 – Started another series, Love, Darrows. (As if I hadn’t written Last Man Standing, Life Imitating Art, Life Inspiring Art, and an untitled novella in there.) And it took a while to find my style and voice. I am pithy. I am also very verbose. (150,000 + words for one book!…*looking at Order of the Phoenix and wondering the comparison on that.*) I don’t like info dumps, though everyone critiquing my story (except the BFF and someone whose opinion on writing I trust more than Honest Abe) kept harping on show don’t tell. But I was showing. Maybe not in long-winded descriptions like most authors seem to do, like most agents seem to like as these books/stories are published. I think it detracts from the story. (see also The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo) I think describing bits and pieces that are important works with all of the events going on in the story. You’re getting the story. You’re getting the descriptions. You don’t need to know that McClane is in a western style shirt that is blue plaid with small black lines broken up with white and a t-shirt under that came from some band Nikki thinks is fake because Thirty Seconds to Mars makes no sense, though DeLoreans going 88 mph to time travel makes perfect sense, and how those items pair well with his tight denim jeans then the boots, cowboy not work, but I’ve seen some places where even the color of the shoelaces have been described just to paint the complete picture.

I hate it.

So it would go with me that Nikki would notice the worn jeans that are just right tight. She would jaw drop at those old boots of his, as though he’s been riding out on the range all day and is just now swooping into town all dusty. But then they talk… He says, “Hey, Kitten. You ready?” as “Hi, Cowboy,” wisps from her in a quiet breath. She can’t think of an answer to the rest. That hours later, during a hug, Thirty Seconds to Mars must make some great music. That t-shirt has been worn a thousand times, because it’s the softest thing she’s rested her cheek on. McClane’s football-sculpted chest rock was hard though. Then during their moonlight stroll, he offered her this cowboy shirt that was blue, plaid, and thin when she was shuddering from the cold breeze swarming them.

Something like that. That’s not even a part of the story which is how easy those characters are for me to write.

So here we are. 2015. Summer-ish. The story has been put away for a year now. One whole year–with the small exception of formatting a chapter for self-pub(?) here and there as writer’s block hits or I am too tired and it’s easier to type what I see than think. . And these characters are screaming at me. Like taking Cruz, Tyler, and Jamie–three guys from the newest story I’m writing–and shoving them to the side as though they aren’t important. McClane, Nikki, and Jaden are screaming at me, “Pay attention to us!” And a thought hit…what if I took my longest draft to date (the 156,000+ one) and kept the events the same, because they are perfect, and used my way of show not tell, only highlighting the most important things to these characters instead of painting out every little detail like I have.

And yesterday, since it was bothering me and I couldn’t go to sleep until I had it done…

I took chapter two…the real, almost original start to my story, the moment I love…it starts with him and her and it will end with him and her…and typed it out as though Nikki was talking through Quentin with less poetry. So far, I’ve condensed 2,505 words down to 1,600, and divided two-thirds of a chapter into two smaller chapters.

I rather like it. This is just a smidge more Nikki from the first drafts then the rambling long-windedness I hate.

So I’m now toying with writing the rest like this. Like Quentin without the poetry, but with the voice on an 18-year-old girl from 1989. Like it was. Taking this format that a few agents have liked enough to ask for full drafts of Darrows…That maybe there is a light to the end of this Human Touch tunnel

My Opus.

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Filed under author woes, editing worries, finding myself, human touch, learning lessons, love darrows, my opus, paranormal, rewrite it, self publish, self-doubt, supernatural, write

Human Touch.

Here it is. The cover. I made it myself. It reflects the story as well as fitting the rest of the series with some minor adjustments to the cover for each book.

*deep breath*

This is it. I’m going to put this out there. On my own. The first chapter will be going out soon. And I’m working on typing the others into proper format…and there she goes.

*heavy sigh*

My first-born novel is going to be taking her first steps soon.
I’m nervous. Excited. Scared to death.

This is her birth announcement.

Human Touch.

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Filed under a story, book covers, human touch, paranormal, self publish

#PitMad is tomorrow.

Am thinking of participating.

Am thinking of how to pitch Human Touch.

Not paranormal, but with a ghost. Romance all the way. Definitely a YA series for this half.

I’m leaning towards doing something someone told me last year to avoid doing. Maybe it will be just what I need to do to make this work. I’m going to bring in the tales that this story kind of grew from. I’m talking split-aparts. To others, this is more like soul mates–although I will argue this to my death–they are not the same thing.

Years ago before Google was the go to search, I yahoo’ed the term split-aparts. There wasn’t much at the time. I mean, this was the dawning of the internet when I looked it up. All I found was a simple Japanese folktale about a man and a woman who met each other and realized they were halves that completed a whole. They lived and loved long lives. And when it came time to move on into the next world, they laid side by side, hand in hand so that their souls would move onto the next world together.

Sweet. Simple.

A few years ago, I came across the Greek version of this tale. Pretty much the same thing, except it gets a little freaky and weird. But then what Greek mythological tale doesn’t. Yeah, I’m looking at you Oedipus, even though you can’t see that.

{Greek Mythology}

Was that Oedipus jab too soon? Anyway…

I like to make things difficult. Twist them until they’re barely recognizable. That’s what this story is. A very weird, long, twisting, epic version of tales like these with ghosts, humans, Heaven, Hell, Atlantis, worlds both on this side of life and the other, the other side’s answer to the FBI, the occult, high school, the 80s, now, Michael J Fox, Rick Springfiield, and purgatory…It starts off slow yet fast, confusing and sweet and builds into something that takes you to places that are either so real it’s like earth or so made up it couldn’t possibly exist. All nice and neatly wrapped up within tales of love, lost loves, hateful bullying, another important issue I won’t mention without screaming spoiler alert, cheating significant others, fidelity, jealousy, life and death.

And that’s all within the first three books. The last three are this and more. (Something just clicked yesterday…a problem I was having in a specific piece of the story…problem solved now) I’m excited to get them finished. More excited for someone other than myself and two others to actually give this tale a read.

Now, if I can get that description down to 140 characters, I’m going to so rock #PitMad. Assuming the term split-apart doesn’t chase anyone off…

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Filed under author woes, human touch, love story, paranormal, Pitch Wars, publish it, write

Paranormal as a genre…

My first novel is in the paranormal genre. I love that it is. It’s one of my favorite genres to read and to write. Ever since I’ve first read Stephen King. What I hate about that genre is the large, unending classifications of beings that are placed into it.

Paranormal ~ ghostly, celestial, metaphysical, unearthly.

“A Gh-Gh-Gh-GHOST!” ~ Norville “Shaggy” Rogers, Scooby-Doo

Ghostly being the most common synonym. It means my story is a definite paranormal tale. What I don’t understand is how vampires, werewolves, zombies, mummies, etc and so forth are also listed as paranormal. These beings are more supernatural in character. (IMO)

Supernatural ~ superhuman, mythical, legendary

This is how I am discovering why my genre is over-saturated and unappealing to agents. Because of the influx of these popular creatures, ghosts get left out in the dark. (Pun intended.) I think they see “paranormal” and shut down on reading the rest of the query, because there is no space for more Edward Cullens (Twilight) or Sam Roths (Shiver) to run around. The population is trying to be wrangled into control in this land of creatures that exist in YA world.

There is always space for Eric Northman, though. In the adult genre, anyway.

Since moving my novel genre to the bottom of the letter, I have had some great and wonderful noes sent my way. Writing, good. Voice, fantastic. Paranormal, hard sell. A positive is that ghost tales are making a comeback. Slowly. And that agents might be partial to a ghost tale now. I think if I can rework the query, find a way to omit the word “paranormal” from any genre reference…maybe replace it with the word “ghost”. How about…A romance that is hauntingly fresh–I like that–then maybe I can attract an agent? Or get chosen for #PitchWars?

Because this is my last task before #PitchWars is up and running. Get that query fixed up, yet again. Get someone to notice my nice, sweet, fluffy romance in the YA world of ghosts…I know someone will love this tale as much as I do. I just need to get their attention away from those overly handsome vampires and über furry werewolves.

This is not the Michael J Fox Teen Wolf I remember…

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Filed under author woes, human touch, learning lessons, paranormal, Pitch Wars, query, supernatural