Month: December 2014

How to describe a beautiful woman in your writing

One thing I struggle with and devote an inordinate amount of time to, is the description of beautiful woman in my fiction. How do I convey to my readers that one of my characters is in love?

For thousands of years writers have struggled with love and romance in writing. It is one of the most visited themes. Love interests are exciting and necessary. Necessary because it is real. People fall in love, falling in love is a major event in any persons life.

Helen of Troy is one of the most beautiful women in literature. She was described in the 1600’s by Christopher Marlowe:

“Was this the face that launch’d a thousand ships
And burnt the topless towers of Ilium”

This is a powerful way to describe a persons beauty without actually describing them. Could a woman be so beautiful that the Navy is launched and a city destroyed?

J D Salinger described a woman in the following way:

“She wasn’t doing a thing that I could see, except standing there leaning on the balcony railing, holding the universe together.”

So it is not necessary to gush over someones nose or eyes or to describe their face at all.

“He stepped down, trying not to look long at her, as if she were the sun, yet he saw her, like the sun, even without looking.”

― Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

To achieve an effect in literature it is necessary only to create a feeling in the reader. You do not have to hammer or repeat each point. You are not drilling out a cavity you are planting a seed. All these descriptions are powerful and give the readers hints so they create the appropriate images,

I will leave with W B Yeats. He is hoping his daughter will grow up to be a wonderful person. He does so with precision and lyrical majesty:

May she be granted beauty and yet not
Beauty to make a stranger’s eye distraught,
Or hers before a looking-glass, for such,
Being made beautiful overmuch,
Consider beauty a sufficient end,
Lose natural kindness and maybe
The heart-revealing intimacy
That chooses right, and never find a friend.

– A prayer for my daughter

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Christmas

I had a great Christmas thank you and I hope you had a nice Christmas as well.

I always prefer Christmas Eve to Boxing Day. Boxing Day is the acceptance that the special time is over. On Christmas Eve I went for a walk toward some hills near where I live. It was a dark night with a thin crescent moon and the stars were clear and white. I was struck by the beauty of the world. The magic of nature and the universe and into my mind came the thought, why worry about stupid things? I know it is not a particularly clever thought and I know that it is easy for me to be alone on Christmas Eve and conceive such an idea but deep down it is true.

Accept the things you cannot change

change the things you can

and have wisdom to know the difference.

I am sitting here now with the post Christmas blues but I am happy.

I have the following resolutions for 2015;

I ate too much chocolate so I will need to exercise and eat less

I want to concentrate on my writing

I want to read more books

I want to be kinder to others and

I want my book The Bomber, which is being released in June to be a success.

Two things made me sad over these holidays.

The first was the thought of all the poor homeless animals that suffer on our streets

and the other was the lonely people who have no one over Christmas.

One of the worst ways to suffer is to spend Christmas day alone. There are people who wake up and go to bed on Christmas day and do not speak to another human. The people who feel unloved and rejected. To these people I wish all the best for. Some are alone by choice and some by circumstance. I hope they find ways to cope.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Stop the Cavalry – Jona Lewie

Hey, Mr. Churchill comes over here
To say we’re doing splendidly
But it’s very cold out here in the snow
Marching to and from the enemy
Oh, I say it’s tough, I have had enough
Can you stop the Cavalry?

I have had to fight, almost every night
Down throughout these centuries
That is when I say, oh yes, yet again
Can you stop the Cavalry?

Mary Bradley waits at home
In the nuclear fall-out zone
Wish I could be dancing now
In the arms of the girl I love

Wish I was at home for Christmas
Bang, that’s another bomb on another town
While the Tsar and Jim have tea
If I get home, live to tell the tale
I’ll run for all presidencies
If I get elected I’ll stop, I will stop the Cavalry

Wish I was at home for Christmas
Wish I could be dancing now
In the arms of the girl I love
Mary Bradley waits at home
She’s been waiting two years long
Wish I was at home for Christmas

Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis by Tom Waits

Hey Charlie I’m pregnant

living on 9th street
right above a dirty bookstore
off Euclid Avenue
I stopped taking dope
and I quit drinking whiskey
my old man plays the trombone
and works out at the track.

He says that he loves me
even though its not his baby
he said that he’ll raise him up
like he would his own son
he gave me a ring
that was worn by his mother
and he takes me out dancin
every saturday night.

Hey Charlie I think about you
everytime I pass a filling station
on account of all the grease
you used to wear in your hair
I still have that record
little anthony & the imperials
but someone stole my record player
how do you like that?

Hey Charlie I almost went crazy
after mario got busted
so I went back to omaha to
live with my folks
everyone I used to know
is either dead or in prison
so I came back in minneapolis
this time I think I’m gonna stay.

Hey Charlie I think I’m happy
for the first time since my accident.
I wish I had all the money
that we used to spend on dope.
I’d buy me a used car lot
and I wouldn’t sell any of em
I’d just drive a different car
every day dependin’ on how
I feel.

Hey Charlie
for christ sake
if you want to know
the truth of it?
I don’t have a husband
he don’t play the trombone

I need to borrow money
to pay this lawyer
and Charlie, hey
I’ll be eligible for parole
come Valentines Day.

-Tom Waits

Short Story: David O’Sullivan

A short story for Christmas.

The Published Pen

SHORT STORY

We love sharing short stories by our authors on Writing Wednesday. We had to skip yesterday to celebrate all things Leigh Raines for her debut release of We’re All Mad Here.

Leigh was the first author to sign on to French Press Bookworks and our second highest selling debut author in our Pen Name Publishing family!

Today, we’re going to highlight another great short from author David O’Sullivan.  December’s theme of the month is “Magic”, set in place to celebrate the holiday season.

Don’t forget to check out David O’Sullivans quips and writing on his blog, www.davidgosullivan.com and follow him on twitter – @1davidosullivan

MAGIC OF CHRISTMAS

Seven o’clock at night Simon came downstairs and went out into the street into the freezing cold December, it being only a few days to Christmas. Under Simon’s arm he had tucked away from the cold his wife’s second volume of The Complete…

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Leigh Raines ‘We’re All Mad Here’ release and interview.

Today is the big day, Leigh Raines novel ‘We’re All Mad Here’ is released and I am excitedly awaiting my copy to arrive. Leigh is a good friend of mine, a nice person and an exceptional writer. Her debut novel released through French Press Bookworks (www.frenchpressbookworks.com) is a novel that will allow the reader to enter the world of a young woman in a mad world;

Jade Thompson had the kind of adolescence you would find in a Norman Rockwell painting. But at 19-years-old when her seemingly normal life is flipped on its head, she’s forced to take a closer look at the relationships in her life and the decisions she has made.

It feels as if she has fallen down a rabbit hole. As she returns to college and stumbles through her new reality, she finds herself more than a little lost. With the help of her three closest friends, we spend the year with Jade through her ups and downs where she discovers everyone is a little bit mad in the world. 

Here is an excerpt:

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Please have a look at http://www.Leighraines.com to explore this author’s ideas and works.

She was kind enough to answer a set of my questions and to coincide with the books release, I found out a little more about Leigh.

Author Photo 1
1. Please tell me about yourself.
L: I’m just a girl, who wrote a book years ago not knowing what I’d eventually do with it….and now it releases this week and I’m altogether excited and terrified. A little about me? Born and raised just outside of Manhattan, big family, went to Lehigh University, studied Journalism. Love all things pop culture, work for a TV critique website, I love the way people use creative mediums to tell stories. Favorite shows in the world are Friday Night Lights and One Tree Hill. My French bulldog is named Minka for FNL. Favorite books, is a much hard question!
2. What do you like to read?
L: I read a lot of indie authors, mostly New Adult, young romance. I do read the popular best-seller stuff and I like some historical fiction and memoirs. I love a good love story.
3. What are you reading right now and what do you think you will read next?
L: I tend to read more than one book at once, especially because I have the nasty habit of staying up all night to finish a book I’m really into. So before bed you’ll find me reading “The Andy Cohen Diaries” because it’s funny, but I’m not addicted to finding out the ending. Last few: “The World According to Rachel” by Layne Harper, “The Before Now and After Then” by Peter Monn, “All I want (Alabama Summer)” by J. Daniels, “Captivated by You” by Sylvia Day. Next: “Maybe Not” spinoff of an awesome Colleen Hoover book called “Maybe Someday” and the “Real” series by Katy Evans, because I keep hearing about it.
4. Why do you like to write?
L: It’s therapeutic. I love telling a story. This book I wrote started as a cathartic thing for me and then I wanted to have a little fun with it. I also do weekly TV reviews. I like to just break down a story and discuss it.
5. Tell us about where you come from and where you live now.
L: I’m from Rockland County, New York and now I live on the Upper East Side in Manhattan with my boyfriend and dog. My family has a house on coastal Georgia that is a second home and I love. The only other place I’ve ever really lived was Eastern Pennsylvania for college.
6. If you could invite any person, alive today or from history, to a dinner party who would you invite and why?
L: Such a hard question, especially narrowing it down! Author wise: Jacqueline Susann because “Valley of the Dolls” was such a scandal and it also made me want to spice up my own book. I feel like she’d have a lot of juicy tales. I’m such a huge TV nerd so I’d want to meet Connie Britton and Sophia Bush, two of my favorite actresses who are also really philanthropic and inspiring woman. From a personal standpoint, I never met my grandfather whom I was named for and my boyfriend’s mother passed away 9 years ago and I want to meet the woman who raised this man I love so much.
7. What advice can you give to people trying to achieve their dreams?
L: Don’t settle and get comfortable. Rejection is normal. If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.
8. Can you tell us about the new book you have coming out and about your inspiration?
L: Some personal experiences inspired my book, but there was also a motto of “All that glitters is not gold.” Someone can have a normal great life and meltdown anyway because that is just life! I think mental health is a really important conversation to be having, especially with today’s youth. Also when I started writing this probably a decade ago, there was such a gap in the publishing industry without the New Adult category. College age is such a formative time. I wanted to delve into that.
9. Can you give us a quote from your favorite book?
L: Considering I probably can’t even narrow down a favorite book….I seriously should just link you to my Kindle Highlights page! You know I have hundreds of quotes saved on both my phone and laptop. Here are a few favorites (serious quotes):

“There are all kinds of love in this world, but never the same love twice.”- F. Scott Fitzgerald
“There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood leads on to fortune. But omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat, and we must take the current when it serves. Or lose the ventures before us.” – Julius Caesar
“Blessed are the hearts that can bend, they shall never be broken.”- Albert Camus
And of course “Clear Eyes, Full hearts, Can’t Lose”- Friday Night Lights

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Thank you Leigh.

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Leigh Raines ‘We’re All Mad Here’ French Press Bookworks.

Released December 10th 2014 available electronically, online or through any good bookstore. 

ZOELLA WRITES ?

When I awoke a few mornings ago the news was emailed to me that a female blogger had sold 78,109 books in seven days, making her the highest selling novelist since Jesus wrote the New Testament. (just kidding, it was ghost written).

The usual amount of jealousy washed across me until I calmed down and told myself she did a great job amassing such a loyal audience and then finding the time to write an 80,000 word novel to sell to them.

Then today I hear that although the characters and the story in the novel ‘Girl Online’ are Zoe Suggs, the novel was written by a ghost writer. A conflicting amount of feelings went to battle within my innards.

Schadenfreude, surprise, sadness, disappointment.

This happening has occupied my thoughts for the last hour or so and I am trying very hard to see both sides.

First I feel manipulated by large corporations, they see something popular then try to milk the public for every dollar they can squeeze from them. They announced plans for many more novels to be released under Sugg’s name, they want a Sugg book under each Christmas tree, all young girls should have this book or they will be left behind.

But publishers need these types of books to exist. They need these massive sellers to keep the other books coming. A big seller like this enables the publisher to take risks on other writers.

Then I thought about the betrayal that someone purporting to be a creative artist, selling their work to a huge audience, then revealing that the work was created by someone else completely. This is a huge crime in the art world.

But on the other hand writing a novel is hard work. It is a huge task for someone to sit down and write. All published writers are given editorial help. Editors make books better, and it makes sense to have outside help.

When I consider both sides to this argument I still feel that a dishonest act has occurred. Someone else wrote this story, all Penguin needed to do is write “by Zoe Sugg” in big letters and put “with so and so” in small letters underneath and there would be no problem. Fiction wiring requires complete honesty. It may sound silly but there is truth and trust in fiction writing, it is a direct connection between the reader and the author. It is a cultural curiosity that authors are important, you need to know who the story teller is before you invest in the relationship that forms between the two covers.

The Great Gatsby, 1984, Frankenstein, to me these great novels are my friends, their authors are my friends, I do not want to think of authors as editorial teams in large publishing houses, I want authors to be people battling away in private rooms desperate to tell me the best story they can.

I feel sorry for Zoe Sugg and I do not hold any animosity toward her personally, but I want nothing to do with her book. However, I fear I am uncertain, if I were in the same position as her would I sin as she has or would I be strong enough to do the ‘write’ thing.

photo the-house-of-frankenstein

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: ANA FRANCO

I recently spoke with Ana Franco, she is an author, her debut book is ‘Down the Wormhole’ published through French Press Bookworks (www.frenchpressbookworks.com) It will be released March 17th 2015.

She is a lovely and kind person. I know this because she likes cats. I cannot wait to get a copy of her novel.

Ana

Please tell me about yourself.

Oh, there’s nothing really different about me from any other human being walking around. I mean, I am a super villain behind your backs and I’m scheming how to bring Darth Vader and Lord Voldemort to work with me so I can conquer the world, muahahaha! No. I’m kidding. Umm… people always called me a nerd, but I don’t think I am one. I didn’t get very good grades on high school, but shhh! I like to blog, to read, to write, to listen to music (favorite band will be Imagine Dragons forever), to play videogame (ugh, and I still haven’t finished playing The Last of Us…) and I love TV series. Oh, and movies too. I have lots of posters on my bedroom. Thinking now… I think there is one of Jurassic Park, two of Once Upon a Time, one of Arrow, one of Sherlock, one of Beauty and the Beast, one of Harry Potter, one of Star Wars, one of Lilo and Stitch and one Marvel heroes and one of Loki alone. I had one of Jack Frost too, but this poster died long ago. Long sad story. But see, I’m a very normal girl!

What do you like to read?

Oh, bits of this and bits of that! As you might have noticed from my collection of posters, I quite like fantasy – every kind of fantasy. As long as you present me a world that you’ll make me want to live in, I’ll read the story. And this is no secret as well that I love fanfics. And sometimes I read screenplays, because they’re fun to read. Oh… and yeah, there’s college books. Not that I like them, though.
What are you reading right now and what do you think you will read next?

Right now I’m reading the questions here so I can answer that. But okay, I just finished a Harry Potter fanfic (I’ll never get enough of this universe, oops) and I was reading a very bizarre book called Winkie (don’t remember the name of the author right now) – but I dropped it because… well, because it is bizarre. I don’t know what I’ll read next – maybe a book from Stephen King that my mom’s bugging me to read for a while.
Why do you like to write?

I just do. Don’t know what else to say. It’s like (brace yourselves, here comes the cliché) breathing really hard – it’s part of who I am (sorry, I didn’t feel the need to alert you about another cliché, haha).

Tell us where you come from and where you live now.

You know those cities that movies talk about in Western stories? “A very peaceful town until Edward Scissorshands appeared…”? That’s kind of it, just without the Scissorshands part

If you could invite any person, alive today or from history, to a dinner party party who would invite and why?

Audrey Hepburn! Who knows, maybe she will invite me for a breakfast at Tiffany’s…

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What advice can you give to people trying to achieve their dreams?

“Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high, and the dreams that you dreamed of once in a lullaby […] dreams really do come true.”

Can you tell us about the new book you have coming out and your inspiration?

Yes, of course! The book’s Down The Wormhole, my new baby. I don’t really how any better way to describe it but using one of the phrases on my original pitch: “A young orphan girls bonds with four mythological gods while trying to find a true home for herself”. A girl who is named “Kitty” thanks to my sick obsession (I prefer the term “love”, though) over cats. The inspiration part is very… embarrassing. You see, I was having a lunch during at Unicamp (University of Campinas) and was thinking about a fanfic that I started reading the day before (don’t even ask what which one or about what, I forgot about it once I started working on my book) that had a lonely orphan girl befriending a charming little orphan boy from the orphanage neighbor to hers. The image of the kids talking refused to leave me alone. So, during my break, I went to my mom and told her my “situation”. And asked her for what she thought I could construct from this “prompt”. We thought and talked during the whole break – and by the end of it, I had some ideas – like about Aphrodite’s love story with Medusa, about Kitty befriending Anubis and few other less important things. I just wrote down my ideas and started to work on it later. Boom! The story gained a life of its own! =D
Can you give us a quote from your favorite book?

I have lots of favorites books, but sure, here’s one that I think you all might be familiar with: “Alice laughed: ‘There’s no use trying,’ she said; ‘one can’t believe impossible things.’ 
’I daresay you haven’t had much practice,’ said the Queen. ‘When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.’”

Thank you Ana! 

Kathy’s post

I love Simon and Garfunkel. I listen to their music all the time, on rainy days, at nights or when I feel like relaxing. I can even remember the first time I heard Simon and Garfunkel music. The first song I ever heard from S+G was Mrs. Robinson. It came on the radio when I was about eleven years old. I can remember being struck by the lyrics and the tune. All through University I had their music. The best of S+G was the last cassette tape I ever bought, I remember listening to Old friends after work once when I was twenty one. They have been a life long companion.

I have probably been listening to Paul Simon longer still. When I was a little child in 1986 my mother bought ‘Graceland’ and it was all she played. She would pick me up from school and we would drive home listening to it. I was enraptured by the man. The upbeat tempo, the incredible words, I love Graceland, it is one of my favorite albums. I credit Paul Simon (and my mother for playing his tape everyday) for helping me form a love of writing and words. For a few years I was unaware that Paul Simon was the Simon of Simon and Garfunkel. I was surprised when I found that out.

A story I find interesting is the woman behind Paul’s lyrics. In many of his songs he refers to a woman named Kathy, such as in America and Kathy’s song. He also refers to her in Overs and others where she is not named. Kathy is Kathy Chitty. Paul met her while he lived and worked in London in the early 60’s. Kathy Chitty today lives in a small cottage in Wales. Her influence on Paul Simon helped him create some of the world’s greatest songs. She never liked the attention and she has hidden herself form the spotlight and now does not invite anyone to contact to her about her past. Paul Simon has referred to his time with her as his ‘Most peaceful time’.

Below are the lyrics to Kathy’s song and a photo of Paul’s first album cover, he is seating with Kathy.

“Kathy’s Song”

I hear the drizzle of the rain
Like a memory it falls
Soft and warm continuing
Tapping on my roof and walls.

And from the shelter of my mind
Through the window of my eyes
I gaze beyond the rain-drenched streets
To England where my heart lies.

My mind’s distracted and diffused
My thoughts are many miles away
They lie with you when you’re asleep
And kiss you when you start your day.

And as a song I was writing is left undone
I don’t know why I spend my time
Writing songs I can’t believe
With words that tear and strain to rhyme.

And so you see I have come to doubt
All that I once held as true
I stand alone without beliefs
The only truth I know is you.

And as I watch the drops of rain
Weave their weary paths and die
I know that I am like the rain
There but for the grace of you go I.

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