Sodaro's Stories

January 30, 2012

Good morning to me!

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 2:21 pm
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So yesterday, I was awakened at 5:30 by the gentle ‘ahem’ of my characters, Ty and Mackenzie, who told me that now that I knew the back story of the other two books in the series, that I had a Thanksgiving dinner to plan. I thanked them for the reminder and snuggled deeper into my covers. That lasted about long enough for my eyes to close before they (along with my Muse) began to talk about all that went into having a Thanksgiving with 12 people present, which as they intended, got me out of bed.
Now before all of you worry that I really have lost my last marble, that no one is worrying about planning a Thanksgiving meal at the end of January, or even scarier, that I would be the one planning such a feast, let me reassure you that I do indeed care for everyone too much to cook for them…I completely give kudos to my family who have the passion for the cooking…a passion that skipped me completely. And cooking done right, just like anything else done right, needs that passion to make it work and to make it worth the time.
So my Thanksgiving dinner will be purely fictional…there will be 12 people present: Ty’s parents; Ty and his sister, Kate; Chris (Ty’s cousin), Chris’ unofficially adopted 6-year old son, Ryan, Chris’s best friend and recently-made-wife, Stacey; Josh Summers (childhood friend of Ty and Chris who pretty much lived with his two friends due to a horrible home life); Dillan (Josh’s girlfriend), and her 3-year old daughter, Jamie. There will also be an odd assortment of pets that have found their way to the house over the years (a completely intentional nod to the all-of-us-house). Chaos is sure to ensue.
So Happy Thanksgiving to them and good morning to me.


January 23, 2012

Looking over my Shoulder

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 4:21 pm
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Recently I was describing to a friend of mine that when writing is at its absolute best, it feels quite honestly as if I am watching my characters act out a scene and doing my very best to record the scene as I watched it and that after the characters act it out, they come and stand over my shoulders, watching to make sure I have gotten it written down correctly and adequately.
Now, of course, in real life, if people were standing over my shoulders and critiquing my every move, I would get a bit irritated for I enjoy working independently and effectively, but my fictional people don’t bother me at all (except of course, when they refuse to tell me their names — that is quite pesky).
My hope (and those of you who have read my first book or will read my future books, can let me know if I do this) is to capture a scene with enough detail and magic so that the characters are as real to you as they are to me and that the story line sweeps you up so that the scenes play out in your head as clearly and fantastically as they are acted out in mine.
It is really quite fun to be in my head sometimes. The characters act out the scene as I frantically try to find the way to put into words what I have pictured. My characters will give suggestions or rework a scene until we get it right, and my Muse will laugh, clap, cry, dance, or smile depending on what is going on in the scene. Yes indeed…quite fun to be in my head.

January 17, 2012

Unbelievably blessed…

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 10:45 pm
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So today, in the midst of all of the other chaos and upcoming potentially positive life-changing events, I hit a new low in my strides to be an independent grown-up…I won’t bore you all with the details, but suffice it to say, I learned a valuable lesson or two today that I will not soon forget.
I learned to ask for help. I ask for help from God…the universe…my guardian angels…but asking for help from humans is something I struggle with, though I don’t know exactly why this is true. I dislike admitting I can’t handle everything all by myself. A true fault to be sure, and one that caused me unnecessary panic and self-doubt. I know I am on the way to making it…I know that I have the strength within me to rise to any challenge and do whatever needs to be done. Thanks to the events of today, I also know that I am unbelievably blessed.
Yes, I have known this before and will know it again in the future…but today, people lifted me up and didn’t let my spirits fall. They too see the changes that are on the horizon, and just like the song that started this blog a year and a half ago, “let me throw one more dice, I know that I can win…I’m waiting for my real life to begin.”
Today I was reminded that people think more of me and have more faith in me and lift me higher than I could ever think or have or fly all by myself.
I also learned that writing every day, having that balance that is so needed for me, also helps to remind me that all that I have worked for, all that I work for today, and all that I will continue to work for in the future, is not for nothing…

January 15, 2012

Just jump!!

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 3:30 pm
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Every so often in life, doors open on their own — without you knocking on them, pounding on them, trying to beat them down, or even just wiggling the doorknob to see if they’re unlocked. Sometimes, you just have to fully open your heart and mind to allow for new possibilities to happen.
This happens in relationships…A single mom afraid of trying again…a man brave enough to try…A door to possibilities opens up — sounds like a recipe for those happy-ever-after stories that we all enjoy so much…will they make it? That remains to be seen, of course, and is, naturally, the ultimate hope. But the point is that they jumped through that door, which gives hope to us all.
This happens in jobs…A girl, content enough with blessings that appear in abundance in her life, but wanting more to help herself and her extended family and her dreams to have a shiny future. A job interview falls into her lap, opening her up to possibilities of a fresh start and far surpassing her entire myriad of dreams. Does she get the job? That, of course, remains to be seen, and is, naturally, what we hope…but the point is that she gets on that plane — and realizes that she is open to possibilities wherever they may take her.
Open yourself up to possibilities — put no limits on your dreams — never settle for less than everything you want — and allow yourself to see those open doors. When one shows up…don’t question; just jump.

January 12, 2012

Serenity Prayer

“grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
I have this in multiple locations of my apartment. I have it at eye level at each of those locations so that I am constantly reminded to let go of that which is not in my control — to change what is in my control to do so — and to know one from the other.
As much as I would like to, I cannot change the lives, feelings, or situations of others to better suit what I think is best. I can take every step to change my own situation, to be open to new possibilities, to new situations that fit more naturally and completely with those things I want. I need to keep this difference in mind.
This is also true in my fictional worlds. Some of you will say this is nonsense — I created the world and the characters that exist therein…but as many authors will attest to — I may have a general idea of what I want to happen in a story, but for the most part, the getting from point A to point 42, I usually am watching the characters act it out and I am merely the recorder of the scene trying to keep the hell up and stay the heck out-of-the-way.
Usually this makes for a better story than would have existed if I was left to my own devices…Which to complete this thought and bring it full circle, is also the end result when I relinquish control and allow things to come to their natural conclusion without me trying to “fix” things.
So here’s to a year of accepting that which is not up to me to change, changing what I need to, and using these brains I value so much to know which is which.

January 9, 2012

Tabula Rasa– blank slate

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 2:15 pm
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The year begins, full of promise and hope
There is so much potential in that fresh, new calendar year
The mistakes you made last Year are behind you
The path ahead, for the moment, is clear.
Brand new opportunities await you
No one knows what the universe has in store
Around this corner is full of surprises
There is always that promise of something more.

Maybe this year is the one where your dreams come true
Or maybe you get closer to your true road
Maybe you will find that perfect job
Maybe you find love instead of kissing yet another toad
Maybe this year is the best one yet
And reality surpasses all of your dreams
Maybe this year you win whatever lottery you believe in
Or you get to be a part of the winning team.

There are few things more exciting
Than the hope of a brand new shot
Nothing has been written for this year yet
So go out and give it all you’ve got
Your life is exactly what you make of it
You can change your life, no matter your age
Learn from the past and look to the future;
Welcome to a brand new calendar page.
Michelle Sodaro
1 January 2012

A friend of mine does Tektonten Papercraft (you should really look this up…AMAZING stuff!!!) and blogs about new and old creations every day. He mentioned to me that he had his 500th blog when I only had my 100th…so I thought I would share some poetry with my readers from time to time…Enjoy, and as always, let me know what you think.

January 8, 2012

On being a Gemini

“Be really whole. And all things will come to you.” Lao-Tzu
Sometimes I wonder if I had been born under a different astrological sign, if my life would be calmer. I was asked recently, whether I wanted to continue working in education or if I wanted to further pursue my life as an author. I adamantly said, yes. I want to do both.
My logical twin is the one who revels in the education/administration world. She eats up creating lesson plans and to-do lists and meetings and discussions about curriculum and the world of teaching…she also drools at those “this is why I do this” discussions teachers get to have with students some days. Logical twin loves the clean, organized, supported writing that goes with my doctorate research. She loves responsibility and purpose and working with other people.
My other twin is the emotional one. She’s my creative writer and she just wants to put pen to paper and let the magic happen. She doesn’t want outlines and formulas; she wants to just see what happens. emotional twin loves to dance and play and can’t wait to see what comes next. She writes my poetry and my novels and hates the outlines that logical twin sometimes throws in to keep the novels moving in some-sort of forward direction. And I just did an “outline” (rough sketch, very open to change) for the “hockey” story I am working on, and emotional twin has to admit that it is nice to have some sort of idea what’s coming next….but mostly she just wants to play.
The problems I have had in the past came directly from not having balance between the two, distinct parts of me. I thought I had to choose…I thought, as did the person who asked the question of me, that I had to be either an educator/administrator OR an author. What I want, I mean at the truest, deepest core of me; is both. I want to work in education AND I want to be an author. I could no sooner leave the educational world as I could stop writing. I want to do as the quote states; I want to be really whole.

January 4, 2012

Dear Voices in my Head…

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 10:15 pm
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I can hardly sit still for all of the bouncing in my head. I love how much energy is up there right now. I love how much excitement is just filling my mind…it is beautiful and so amazing and I want to be right up there with you bouncing and jumping around. The disco ball and loud dance music at all hours is especially exciting. You guys throw one hell of a party and I would love love love to be up all hours of the day and night working on getting each and every one of you closer to being as beautiful as Whatever you Make of It. I absolutely promise that is my ultimate goal…to see each of you written, typed, and bound so that everyone in the actual world can meet you and love you and cry for you and laugh with you as I have done since I created you…I really want this…more than you could know…I want this.
I know all of you were there when I opened the box from iUniverse — when I held my first-born. I heard the collective gasp, felt the community hugs, heard the clapping and the quiet sobs of “she’s so beautiful”..I know each of you has eavesdropped on every conversation with every friend who has read Whatever you Make of ItI’ve heard the whispers “They love Jac and Jyn..will they love me too” I have heard your every happiness and worry.
I felt the welcome you have shown to ever new story and I have to commend all of you — with every new story, you welcomed the characters in with open arms — no jealousy, no comments that I should finish something before letting in new people…no chastising or negativitiy…just welcoming the new characters and showing them the ropes. You all are the ultimate ideal family and I am so proud to know each of you.
2011 was te year for me to focus on all of you and my doctorate. I know some of you were worried when I started job searching — worried I would go back to that place where I didn’t laugh, didn’t dance, didn’t play with any of you…all I did was make you empty promises of soon, soon we will play.
In all honesty, I could handle making more money…but, sigh, I’m not willing to put you on pause again…I can’t put you all back in the box. I’m enjoying writing until my wrist goes numb…not to mention all of your dancing and jumping has decimated the box.
With all of this being said, I conclude this letter with a request…if there is a way we could have some quiet time those hours I am teaching and a couple of hours a night so I could grab a nap, I promise to play with all of you as much as humanly possible.
Your Author


Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 3:12 pm
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Okay, at the risk of sounding really crazy right now, and any of you who have ever talked to me face-to-face about my books, or more specifically, about my characters, will be more accustomed to the content of this post. Those of you who have never had the aforementioned experience, buckle up and hold on — we’re going for a ride in my subconscious.
So, for the last month, my focus has been primarily on finishing the first draft of Arianna. I finished it and will edit and actually have the conclusion in the coming weeks. My muse likes to play with the ending. She dances around and around with it until she gets the perfect last line. Then, she, of course, waits until 2:30 in the morning to tell me about it, but I am too impressed with what she came up with to even be irritated. (Still with me? Because we haven’t even gotten to the crazy part of the ride yet…I’m just easing you into it.)
So while I have been working on getting Arianna as close to complete as possible, I have heard the whisperings and have felt the peeks around the corners of my mind…there is a mismatched chorus of voices, all saying…”Pick me!!!! OOOOOOH!!! Pick me!!!” (This would be the last chance for the chicken exit, by the way).
I have the voices of my teens in my play Ten by Ten who are demanding to be heard. (As this will likely be performed later this year, this is my primary focus this week and next).
I have Brenda in Crusin for Love who is telling me she is way behind schedule and that her cruise ship is ready to sail already.
I have Lara who has been stuck on I-70 West in the middle of Kansas because the year I was going to Colorado to research Driven West, the state caught on fire.
I have Allison who confessed to her 5 vigilante killings of horrible, horrible men and she would like to get on with her jail sentence.
I have Jamie who is torn between the safe love of one man and the undeniable passion with his brother.
I have my Free Spirits series that is ready to travel back and forth in time to make sure that history, and therefore the future, happens correctly before the evil forces have their way and change everything.
I have Kylie who would like to solve some mysteries before her Private Investigator business goes bankrupt.
There’s Aleena, my serial killer/prostitute who has some revenge to carry out for her less-than-ideal childhood.
I have Dr. Jo Crawford who think I have done enough research about the cheating habits of men to have written her dissertation on relationships.
There’s Mel, who would like me to figure out her roommate situation.
There are the people in my 3rd and 4th books in the Back on Track series that would like to begin their journeys to get their lives back.
Rebecca and Johnathon would like their book life to be created in the second Whatever you Make of It so that we are one step closer to Jac and Jyn being real.
Ali would like to hook up with the sexy policeman to be able to reunite her brother and best friend who fell apart in Breaking Trust.
Then there are the new kids…not the band, Thank God, but the two new sets of 3 that are going to be cute and fun to write. Going to the hockey game on New Year’s Eve gave me sooooo many ideas…and of course my muse is pulling for the other series as it deals with honoring muses…
These are the voices in my head, all dancing and jumping around and trying to out sell the others as to what novel would be best to play with next…
This concludes our ride into my subconscious…I hope it was enlightening…and not too scary.

January 1, 2012

Looking forward, looking back

In Roman mythology, Janus was the god of beginnings and endings, the god of transitions. He was depicted by 2 faces — one looking forward; the other looking backward. So appropriate for our beginning of a new calendar year. We get to turn that page, still blank with ample space for amazing, wonderful, terrifying, awe-inspiring adventures.
I love the promise of that blank calendar page almost as much as I love the promise of a brand-new notebook. It’s magical to me, wondering what will come next.
2011 was a ground-breaking year for me…and 2012 holds the promise of so much more of everything I have ever wanted. So, in honor of the god of beginnings and endings, I am doing some looking forward, looking back thinking…
1. Financial
2011 — I made it. Barely perhaps, but I made it. This was the year for part-time work and full-time novel-writing/Doctorate work. I got a bit behind, but am okay with most things now.
2012 — If not for needing to save fo my last two quarters of my doctorate in June and September, I would happily stay working where I currently am…my schedule is open enough that I can write to my heart’s content.
2. Doctorate
2011 — Streamlined the paper-writing process, started Literature Review for Dissertation, and with the help and positive reinforcement of friends, got through the course where the instructor told me I could not write.
2012 — On leave of absence until June, working on next-to-last paper, continuing Literature Review, have only one course, one paper, and 2 residencies until I am All But Dissertation.
3. Physical
2011 – rejoined gym, went sporadically
2012 –go on a more regular basis to see results, change some eating habits
4. Emotional
2011 — took shortcuts in things just to feel something
2012 — Know what I want and what I can’t settle for
5. Books read
2011 — 31 (9 short of my goal — but if I could count the umpteen articles I have read for research, I would have far surpassed my goal)
2012 — Goal: 40 books, I’m on it!!!
6. Living Space
2011 — moved into my pretty apartment
2012 — Pretty sure I’m staying put, most likely…maybe. Want to live on a beach someday, for now I have a picture of a beach in front of my desk.
7. Published Author
2011 — Published Whatever you Make of It, got bit HARD by the publishing bug
2012 — Want to finish every project simultaneously — will publish as much as possible this year. Will also send some off to traditional publishers, now that I have multiples.
8. Tattoo
2011 — Got my stack of books started
2012 — Fill in more books as able, design and get Gemini tattoo and writer’s quill tattoo.
9. Socialization
2011 — went out a bit to prevent complete transformation into a hermit.
2012 — will push myself out the door and out of my pajamas more often, even if it is only across the street to Starbucks.
10. Getting the word out
2011 — starting using twitter and Facebook, handed out business cards to some friends and ONE COMPLETE STRANGER!!
2012 — will have website designed, will continue to blog, will have at least one self-promotion activity per month.
2012 is going to be great!!! Such a fan.

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