Sodaro's Stories

June 19, 2016

30 Days of Blog: Author Things –Sleep

I get some of my best ideas from my dreams…from those times when sleep is my friend, when my knee is not aching and the bone spurs are not aggravated which make the sheet hurt me…when my kittens realize there is an entire bed and they don’t need to sleep on top of me…when my mind has quieted enough to get to stage 4 REM…

It’s rare when all of those things happen at the same time, and usually as soon as they do, I have to get up to use the restroom…and then I have to start the process over again…

But when the dreams come, some of my best story ideas come with it. I met Arianna in a dream and instantly knew she would be the heroine of Arianna’s Honor and Arianna’s Destiny. I met Ali and Sam and Ben in a dream and knew Broken Trust  would be followed by Redeeming Trust (though I had not yet met Ali’s match yet.)

I have so many ideas that come from my dreams (when ColorNotes really comes in handy yet again because I can record enough of the idea to remember it in the morning).


June 17, 2016

30 Days of Blogs: Author things –ColorNotes

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 12:12 pm
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I have blogged about this app before. I have praised its name and sang songs about its glory…it’s true, I mean I was in the car and the song was really horrid, but it’s true. I mean who wouldn’t love color-coordinated post-its for project ideas? I do my grocery lists here. I keep poetry snippits here. I keep ideas about any number of my random projects here. And it’s all color-coordinated and at my fingertips. It’s also synced to some account so I never lose my goodies…I think Facebook…because what isn’t synced to Facebook (I’m distracting my “big brother paranoia” with shiny things right now). It’s free for Android but costs like $2.00 for iThings (yet another argument for why Android is better…but I digress). It’s lovely.

color notes

June 16, 2016

30 Days of Blogs: Author things –Freedom

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 12:24 pm
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There is no freedom for me quite like the blank page. It’s the one place where I don’t feel like I have to pretend or hide. It is the one place I feel completely free to be me. I can be as inappropriate as I want. I can be as happy as I want. I can be as sad as I want. I can be as confused as I want…I can just be.

I have never been a fan of censorship. As an author it makes me cringe…as a teacher, it also makes me uncomfortable. (I am not talking about parents being parents…they need to shelter kids a bit and have a say in what is in their kids lives. I’m not a parent. I don’t play one on TV.)

My master’s thesis was about the healing power of writing. And I have proven it in my own life a thousand times over…and the biggest part of that healing has come from the freedom of being able to say whatever I wanted to the blank page and know I wouldn’t be judged or questioned or ridiculed for what I put on the paper. I can get it all out, unfiltered and raw…and through that I can sort through what the true enemy to me is (usually myself)…where the true hurt lies, where the purest joy is found…what is at the core of me.  True healing comes from the true freedom of the blank page. As the pen fills the page (or the words flow across the computer screen) there is a pressure release that is felt…and the tension and fears and doubts all dissipate into the air…

June 15, 2016

30 Days of Blogs: Author things — pancakes

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 1:57 pm
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I had something else planned to write about today, but decided instead to pay homage to my favorite author food. (And it is one that I can ALMOST eat with my left hand.)

I was stuck on how to finish a chapter. I’d write a few words. Stare at the page…my pen…my kittens…the wall…write a few more words…stare at the page…my pen…the kittens…the wall…you get the picture. In an hour and a half, I only wrote 150 words. This is a deplorable wph (words per hour). I knew how I wanted the next chapter to start…and so much of me wanted to just skip to the next chapter to get the pen moving again. Just leave half of Chapter 22 unwritten and move on…but instead I switched to another project.

So this morning, I had to wait for the DMV to open, so I went to IHOP and had their pancakes…their perfect, fluffy, pancakes…and I opened my notebook to Chapter 22…took a deep breath and the magic happened. Chapter 22 practically wrote itself and as is my favorite writing time, it was my job to just keep up with the pen moving across the page.

Now to plunge head first into Chapter 23…which has been waiting patiently at the tip of my tongue…or pen, as the case may be.


June 14, 2016

30 Days of Blogs: Author things — Space

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 11:58 am
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No, not the final frontier…though I do enjoy Star Trek (not enough to be an official Trekkie…)

There’s something amazing about having my own writing space…my own desk…a place where my projects are not disturbed or moved or organized (there is a method to the madness, but of course there is madness in the method as well.).

I try not to grade in my office space, but sometimes it is unavoidable…as much as I try to keep my teacher life separate from my author life, sometimes there is inevitable crossover, but it is minimal.

I can leave my current project open on my desk, ready for me to pick up my pen the next time I sit down and I know, without question, that no one has read or touched my work. (It’s amazing living with people who respect me and my sacred space :D)

I have a pretty desk and a cup full of my favorite pens. I have my current projects close at hand, my ear buds at the ready. I have my Little Pink Notebook charged for any typing I need to do.

And when I sit there, the world disappears for a while, and my author life becomes my reality…with two cats who try to nap as close to me as they can. It’s pretty close to perfect, and it’s mine.

June 13, 2016

30 Days of Blogs: Author Things -Blank stare

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 12:11 pm
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Sometimes when people are talking to me about things I don’t understand (math, computers, how fax machines are not, in fact, magic…) I get this blank stare on my face. I have tuned them out and am mentally playing with an existing story or going to a world where fax machines are actually seen for the bits of wizardry that they are.

And then sometimes when people are actually conversing with me about topics I do understand, I still have the blank stare on my face (this also happens when people are talking near me or even about me…I am an equal opportunity blank stare-er.

If it happens during a good conversation, chances are I am trying to figure out where the conversation could go in a novel. Who would say what…how would I improve the conversation (since this one I am currently involved in or near, has to be the rough draft)…oh, my characters would NEVER say that…how can I fix it…

If it happens during a boring conversation (politics, most conspiracy theories, kicking a dead horse conversations, the Packers, the Cardinals, or anything to do with most reality TV shows) I am likely working on a scene from any of the novels that currently exist in my head and/or on paper.

I do try to participate and be “social” and “normal” but considering I have to put those words in quotes…you can decide for yourself if I’m successful or not. If I take my phone to the bathroom (or just whip it out right there at the table) chances are almost certain, I am getting out ColorNotes to jot down a snippet of the conversation. Please speak clearly. This is for posterity’s sake.

June 12, 2016

30 Days of Blogs: Author things — My muse

Filed under: Uncategorized — michelle sodaro @ 11:41 am
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Cue the cheesy 80’s music video…Rod Stewart singing “Forever Young”

Stella is my muse. She is the perpetual 12-yr old fairy that has no concept of sleeping in, the appeal of boys, or “days off”

I have always felt her presence, have always known she was there, but it wasn’t until 6 years ago that I knew her name. Before that she would come visit when she saw I was writing, but then she would leave in a huff whenever a job or a family member or (worst of all) a guy got between me and my writing.

6  years ago, I didn’t know what I was going to do…all the plans he and I had made seemed impossible with him gone. How was I supposed to do this all by myself? And I cried and I cried and I cried…and she allowed me to get it out of my system for a bit until I thought “I give up on being an author. It’s too much to do without him” then she cleared her little throat, patted me on the shoulder with a “there, there” and “that’s enough now.” And when my tear-filled eyes looked at her, she smiled…flitted about my head in an array of green and purple sparkles and said, “I’m Stella. Now let’s get to work.” I nodded, said “um…okay.” and sat down to write…and I haven’t stopped since…She won’t let me.

30 Days of Blogs: Author Things –Workouts

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 2:40 am

I know, I know…I was kind of surprised too…but as I was thinking about what author things I would consider to be my favorites, this came to mind. And I couldn’t dismiss it…because the truth of it is, doing a daily workout helps me to be healthy in general…it also helps me with my writing.

People told me that once I got into workouts I would fall in love with them and would miss them if I missed a day…I laughed because that is the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard. People told me that I would WANT to do them and I just stared at them and said, “no, I would rather just write. Thanks.”

The nice thing about writing is that it helps me get to where I want to get physically, of course…what is also nice is that if I am stuck on a chapter, I can do some arm exercises or pop in a DVD and do a 20-minute  workout and by doing so, I am not thinking about said chapter, I am thinking about sucking in my tummy or my breathing or my right knee and can I do another set and then suddenly I know what my chapter needs. SO I am a fan or workouts. Finally

June 10, 2016

30 Days of blogs: Author things –Solitude

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 12:12 pm
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I enjoy time to myself more than most people I know. There are some people who cannot be alone…cannot have time where it is just them by themselves without other people around. These people fascinate me (as all people do)

An author life demands solitude. You can (and need to) talk to and interact with other people about writing, about life, about adorable kittens and pups, about the price of tea in China (if such things are in your wheelhouse of conversation). You can discuss plans and give plot teasers and talk about your characters as if they are really sitting next to you (this gets varied responses, by the way…) But at the end of the day, (or beginning of the day as is my preference) it is the author and his/her medium of choice. For me, it is a notebook and a pen and my music…drowning out the world and its multitude of chaos and noise. It is me, putting pen to paper and allowing the magic to happen, which has to exist outside of the real world, because the real world is full of colorful, shiny distractions…and those don’t get the novel written.

The promoting and the networking and the selling of the book…that requires you to be around people and talking and smiling. That will use the same skill set I use for teaching. My extroverted, make a new friend if I am in an elevator for more than one floor, spread my positive sunshine, talk to strangers, be around people side of my life…

but the actual writing part…that is all me…all day long. And one of my favorite things, especially after showing everyone the side of me that is extroverted…is to have a little alone time with my words to make pretty novels and short stories and poems and essays.


June 9, 2016

30 Days of Blogs: Author things –Pens

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 11:40 am
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I love pens. I mean I LOVE pens. I love how they look in their packages at the store, love how they look in the tubs with the other pens, love how they feel in my hand as I write. Sometimes the hardest decision of the day is not which project do I work on, but which pen should I use today 😀

I have hundreds of pens. HUNDREDS…I added them up last year with the idea that I would use up what I have before I buy more, but then stores put the word NEW on a package and my eyes light up like a Christmas tree. NEW PENS!!!! I don’t have those!!!!

I will never run out of pens…and perish the thought…

People think I am odd for writing things out long hand…and I suppose, as I sit here and type on my laptop, I can see where they are coming from, in theory…but it works for me…and as I am about to click send on my 5th novel (July 1st) and as I have 5 more first drafts typed and waiting for me…not to mention over 400 poems, 15 short stories, and about 12 non-fiction projects…I can definitely see how typing everything first would be more efficient..sort of. See, my laptop has this “delete” button and “backspace” button and it is entirely too easy to edit as I type. Whereas with my writing, it is FORWARD HO! And I don’t look back until the draft is done. It’s easier for me to make continual progress on the first draft if it is butt in chair and pen on paper. This is what works for me. Others have different methods and I applaud them. What works for me is writing things out and watching in a sort-of hypnotic state as the words fill the page and have what was blank, now covered in bits of my soul that flowed out of myself and onto the page with a pen…okay, that sounds a bit much…all I am saying is pens work for me. Ahem.


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