Sodaro's Stories

April 30, 2013

Not far off…

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 3:34 pm
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It is always nice when you find out you are not too far off from where you need to be doing…that you are doing almost all that you are supposed to be doing…that even though you may feel as if you are barely staying afloat…that the next big wave could be the one to drag you under water, that you are actually better at treading water than you worried…that maybe, just maybe there is nothing to worry about at all.
I started reading a book called Creating your Writing Platform and I am only a little ways in, but so far…I am starting things out correctly for my second career. I have Facebook, I have Twitter (though I don’t really tweet near as much as I am supposed to), I have LinkedIn, I have a website being built. and I have a bit of a following to build from as I continue to get more and more books out of my head and into the world.
Three years ago, I lost one of the best people I have known. Well, lost in the physical sense…he is still with me every step I take closer to a future that started with a loving push from him. He told me to shit or get off the pot, basically…and though I know I would have gotten there regardless, it was his push and support that got me going. I published my first book Whatever you Make of It and I felt him right there with me, as I did when I published my Arianna’s Honor, as I will with every book I publish from here on out. I have learned from each book, have shortened and made more efficient the process, am learning to do a better job at self-promotion (though it is still awkward to do in my classes), am learning to do a better job of time management since I have a job to do and I job I want to do, and have been trying to be a more conscientious family member and friend.
It is nice to know that I am not as far off from where I should be, as I thought. It is nice to know that I have a strong start to making a living as an author and that the things I have set in motion will continue to grow as I publish my 3rd and 4th and so on…book. I can do this…I was really worried, when I started reading the book, that I was going to quickly be frustrated by learning all of the things that I should have been doing all along, knowing I would be wondering what memo I had missed, worrying how I was going to add any more tasks to my already full plate, and it is reassuring to know that my gut instincts are at least correct about writing, even if they are completely off about men right now, but then the bar was set on that mark, 3 years ago…and that bar was set quite high.

April 25, 2013

NEXT!!!

As I approach the final chapters of the first draft of Redeeming Trust, which is the sequel to Broken Trust, there exists in my head a cacophony of excitement. Now, those of you who know me, could attest to the fact that this chaos is rather common as it is not at all unusual as at any given time there are multiple conversations between my characters, my muse, and myself. That is a true enough fact…the inner workings of my mind are magnificient.
What always happens, as a novel moves from the “In Progress” pile to the “Draft Done” pile, is the whisperings of random characters get more pronounced…every character begins to express his or her plot points and special features in hopes of being in the coveted “NEXT” spot. It’s really exciting to be next. To know that they will be the next one to get all the OOOOH’s and AAAAAH’s and their story will get all the attention and praise. It’s thrilling to be next.
Picture, if you will, a lot that has car salesmen from a plethora of dealerships, looking to sell a wide variety of automobiles. Each of them is convinced that their car, truck, van, SUV, etc is THE ONE you are looking for…the features of their particular vehicle are the perfect features for me. Yeah, that is my head…but instead of whatever car salesmen you picture, it is fictional characters that I have known for years or have just met and I want to love them all at the same time. I would love for every one of my stories to be next…
I have a thought on which one I want to be next…you see there is a series, Lucky Charms, and I have written the third book in the series, Hat Trick…my logical choice for the NEXT project is First Down which starts the series and then Stealing Second which is the middle child for that series…this would then have the series of drafts complete…
My muse is fantastic. She always keeps me focused and if we start to lose steam when we are writing, a stack of pancakes or a good song gets her back to work. Ultimately, she decides what project we work on next…and I have learned to defer to her judgement. Sometimes stories are not ready to be told yet…she knows better than I do…so we will see what she picks for the NEXT project. But in a few more chapters, one more story gets taken off the “To Write” pile and put in the “To Edit” pile, which then will add to the “To Publish” pile.
Yeah, there is a party going on inside my head celebrating this…and each character is loudly shouting out the reasons his/her respective story should be NEXT…so if you talk to me and I didn’t respond…I didn’t hear you.

April 21, 2013

Weaving tapestries

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 6:41 pm
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It amazes me, the complexity of life’s tapestries. The frantic weaving of the universe to make sure that these two lives cross paths at the exact moment they are most needed. Sometimes it is a love that needs to happen at that right time because, unbeknownst to both parties, the time left in one of the lover’s hourglass is running low. The meeting happened and was as intense as it needed to be to accomplish its purpose.
Sometimes it is that friend that you meet by a seemingly random coincidence, that has you both working at the same place at the exact right time, and you meet right before something HUGE happens in one or both lives and the friendship becomes something you can’t imagine every having had to be without. That friend is the one you go to when you need to laugh or cry and either is always offered and given with open arms.
Sometimes you meet a kindred spirit…a fellow writer who understands exactly the trials and tribulations of talking to characters, forcing characters to work through the “boring” parts of the plot so you can get to the exciting parts. Someone who has conversations with people that only real in the author’s mind for now…but are starting to come alive to others as well. It is an amazing feeling to not feel as crazy…or at least to know that you are not alone in your crazy.
Sometimes I question whether or not my time at a certain place is done…whether I should seek out other, if not greener, than a different shade of green, pastures for my non-writing time. And then I meet one more person that my life would not be the same if I hadn’t met them, and I am, once again, reminded that I am right where I am supposed to be, and I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing.
Sometimes the intricate pattern of life’s tapestries just amazes me…and I am grateful to be a part of it, and even more grateful, that though I may wish to, that I can’t actually see the whole picture. Discovering it as I go along is much more fulfilling.

April 17, 2013

My One Thing

“If I traded it all
If I gave it all away for one thing
Just for one thing.
If I sorted it out
If I knew all about this one thing
Wouldn’t that be something.”
“One Thing” Finger Eleven
I have written about this song before, I know…but the lyrics haunt me in the best possible ways. Since my book signing a month ago…this song has been even more true. He talks about being “restless tonight because I wasted the light” and I think of any day that passes without my putting pen to paper is wasted. I write every day. I try to. Some days it’s half an hour; some days it’s half the day. Some days it’s an outline, a freewrite, a journal, a chapter, a poem, a note about a project (new or old)…but I write every day.
I have been given a gift of time, if you will. By sharing expenses with someone who has become a better friend than I could have hoped for…by sharing a family and a home, I am able to teach part-time and write every morning. I don’t know how much time I get to teach part-time and write full time…but I plan on making the most of it.
I see my friends with spouses and children and I wonder if I will find love again…I still miss my dear friend and no one has even come close to him, but I also know that writing is my truest love and deepest passion and I wonder if perhaps, my giving my all to this one thing has made me incapable of giving my all to a relationship at this time in my life. Or perhaps the memory of a love lost is still too fresh. Or perhaps simply, it is just not my time to focus on that. Maybe, this gift of time is to focus on my One Thing. Just this one thing. This one thing for which I would trade all other things. Maybe this time is meant for me to give my all to my writing and kick this author gig off the ground.
The publication of Whatever You Make of It and Arianna’s Honor lit a fire in me that will not be extinguished. The book signing fanned the flame and knowing that Broken Trust will come out this fall with its sequel, Redeeming Trust, being out next spring, help me to focus my energy in the right direction. Help me to give my all to my one thing…just this one thing.

April 14, 2013

Solar Powered

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 7:24 pm
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I am solar powered…without a doubt. My energy level is definitely affected by how much sunshine I have seen and so spring is always tricky for me as is winter. This last few days has been gray and rainy…add that to my work level at current, and the three-year anniversary of the death of someone very dear to me and let’s just say it’s been a struggle. I’ve still been writing every day, trying to recharge my batteries as best I can. The magic of pen to paper still works…it always does. The magic of pen-to-paper keeps me going and plugging along at my novel…helping me get one page and one page and one more page closer to my goal of another first draft done.
I know when I am making my living with my books, there will be days when there is no sunshine…and yes, the lamps that have the “sun bulbs” get me close to charged, but it is nice to know that I can still put pen to paper and get a little bit of battery juice…enough to get me by until the sun recharges me completely. What is amazing, is that 5 minutes of direct sunlight and I am full of optimism, happiness, genuine smiles, and a hope for my future that is as bright as the sunshine. There are no problems or negative people or obstacles…my island is in clear view and it’s nothing but the future being so bright, I will always have to wear shades.
For those of you who have to deal with me when I have had enough sunlight, I apologize…most of the time I am easy-going and care free…but if I haven’t had enough sunshine, then my fuse gets rather short and my irritation is shown in every action and on every facial feature. For the sake of the sanity to myself and the welfare of all of those who have to be around me during cloudy days, I promise to write at least a little bit every single day, as that keeps my growl to a minimum and keeps me from getting too irritated too easily…but if you wanted to bring me chocolate or a Coca-Cola…that wouldn’t be the worst of ideas.

April 10, 2013

A bit random

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 2:36 pm
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Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising how often this is a response to something I have said or texted…some people get used to my randomness and some thrive on it, adding to multiple conversations without losing the thread of any of the respective conversations. Some people find my randomness annoying, and I usually find out who these people are rather quickly and make a mental note (which I try really hard to remember) to not contact them with random. They prefer minimal or at least linear conversations…I try to keep that in mind.
The reason behind the random thoughts from me…and I absolutely refuse to think of my random thoughts as a problem…but the reason behind them is simply…my head is a very, very busy place. I have about 25 novels started up there, each with respective characters who like a wide array of things. There is a plethora of ideas bouncing around between the characters, trying to match up the best plot idea with the best characters.
Added to this, I have the research projects of about 100 students adding to my mental picnic. I try very hard to keep the topics in mind as I am searching the Internet for different things or hearing different snippets of conversations, so that when I talk to the student I can add something to the topic of research. Sometimes I even match up the correct research topic with the correct student…not always, but sometimes.
In addition to this, I also have my lesson plans for my respective classes. Having a completely different class each day is a challenge, but it works for me as my thoughts change day-to-day regardless.
Oh yeah, and there is also my research for my PhD, which I swear I am going to finish one of these days. I hear things from my adult learners and it connects to the article I read for one of my papers.
My brain is a very busy place…and I love it. I thrive on the random. It gives me the ability to focus on making the most of this gift of time. It allows me to take full advantage of the blessing of my current situation. It is also nice that thinking about one topic generates brain juice about other topics…which is probably why sleep often is not always my most faithful companion…but I don’t care.
So if I have sent you a random, awkward text…I would apologize, but chances are I have already switched topics in my mind.

April 7, 2013

Love it, love it, love it

I love being an author. I love everything about it. I love the writing, I love the creative process, I love the editing and polishing of a draft. I love the beginning of a story where I am getting to meet my characters for the first time. I love the process where I learn their stories and get to watch them act out the scenes…when the writing is so smooth and free flowing that it really is just up to me to keep up and get things down as the characters act them out on the screen in my head.
I love the middles of the story where there are plot twists and parts of it come out as pictured and some things get noted to be fixed later. I love the parts where the characters and I stare at each other and wait for someone to have an idea about what to do next. Suddenly someone says, “hey, how about we try…” and we are off and running again…break is over and it’s back on stage with me diligently writing down the dialogue, actions, facial expressions, etc.
Endings challenge me, but I still love the endings. I love the idea that my characters have found the happily-ever-after that often alludes us in reality. I love the idea that they go on in their lives after the story is over and they have the lives they always wanted. I touch upon this a bit in Whatever you Make of It when Jyn is upset because she wonders what happens to them after the book is over and Jac tells her that no matter what happens, they would be together. I know in my head…the constant picnic scene I have that has all of my characters from all of my novels there…it is almost as if they get to play and relax while it’s the other character’s turns to get to work. As I’ve mentioned. It’s a fantastic place in my head.
I love it when people ask me about my novels. I love it when they ask me about my characters. I love it when I see them holding my books. I love it when they ask me when my next one is coming out, and have I decided what was coming next.
And I even love the times when I am blocked because I know it is simply a matter of too many ideas trying to come out all at one time and the funnel gets clogged with creativity. I know that any freewriting I do will help that and I can make lists to get things organized and that it will be flowing like it should be soon. I love knowing it will always come back.
I love being an author. Love it; love it; love it. Yup.

April 3, 2013

Endings

“Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop”
Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
Endings are peculiar things, which makes it no wonder this quote from the fantastically peculiar Alice in Wonderland,  came to mind as I was pondering the ending to Redeeming Trust. Those of you who have been with me a while, know that, as a general rule, endings vex me. There is an almost paralyzing fear of endings because they are the epitome of a bad taste left in the mouth.
Endings can mean the difference between a reader recommending a current book, or not…and a reader picking up another book by me, or not…
The ending to my first two, came to me w the help of my muse, who is always on the job and often laughs at her human for the undue stress I cause myself.  But it was a different kind of stress. Arianna’s Honor has a sequel which is already outlined. Whatever you Make of It could have a sequel or be a series. It’s open.
Redeeming Trust, however, IS the sequel. I need the ending of Broken Trust to be strong enough to get people to Redeeming, but I need Redeeming’s ending to be solid. There won’t be a third one to tie up any remaining loose ends.
So as I am outlining, in pencil, where I want the last third of the book to go, I am wondering about the King’s advice to Alice…and thinking about knowing when I get to the end, to stop.

April 1, 2013

Kicking the OCD up a notch

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 7:21 pm
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As it usually happens, when one aspect of life gets busier, other aspects follow suit, and it is just up to you to dig in your heels and hang on the best you can. What I find is that when my plate gets full, I kick my OCD into high gear and just get it done. There are no other options as far as I am concerned.
So my book signing was amazing…and it really just reaffirmed what I had figured out the instant I held my first copy of Whatever you Make of It and again what I knew as I held the first copy of Arianna’s Honor. This author gig is EXACTLY what I want my life to be. Since 3/16, my writing has been kicked into high gear, and it’s not going to slow down any time soon.
I have decided to get my website and business side of things into the front area of my plate. This is something I have needed help with to get started and a friend of mine, who knows little bits of just about everything, is helping with that part. And it’s been a long time coming and something I have definitely needed to get out of the “someday” category and into the “now” category.
I signed up for a “Writing for Children” course because that is something I have wanted to do for a while, and thought now would be a good time since my current living situation and employment situation allowed that to be a possibility. I wanted to learn how to take the ideas I have for kids’ books and turn them into reality.
And of course…I kicked all of this up a notch, and I am so glad I did…every day I wake up loving that I get to be an author…and I still love my teaching job…but as it always happens, it also got kicked up a notch or two…And it’s all I can do to keep my head above water…but this I know (and you should know, if you know me at all) that when the plate starts to spin, the OCD kicks in and I make lists and cross things off lists and I know this…I GET THINGS DONE.
So watch out world. I’m on a creatively-inspired high that is being majorly fueled by OCD.

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