Category Archives: Undesirable

This is not the MondayBlog you are looking for.

Yes, I had plans for this post.  Maybe.  Sort of.

Ok, I’ll ‘fess up.  I’ve been so focused on Undesirable, wanting to finish the last chapter and a half already.  Some authors experience grief when typing ‘The End’ to their books.  Not me.  When this is done, I’m moving on to Uncivilized, which has its bare bones typed in already.  Even after that, there’s the Santa Fe Trail, Orphan Trains, and either the Pony Express or the Mormon Trail.

Then too, I may take it in a totally different direction and go all science fiction on everyone.  I know, logically, that I’ll be more likely to see superstar success if I stick to and build up one genre of my work.  Emotionally and as a reader, I never read just one genre.  How can I write only one?

So my question is, if anyone chooses to answer, are you a laser focused reader or writer?  Or are you more of a shotgun, reading or writing everything and anything?  Answer in the comments and don’t be shy!

A quote for #MondayBlogs

“Now I know the full power of evil. It makes ugliness seem beautiful and goodness seem ugly and weak.” – August Strindberg

Villains.  Who doesn’t love defeating a good bad guy?  Who doesn’t love seeing a bad good guy struggle with his inner demons?

Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel for Undesirable, planned release is July 4th, the characters for The Very Worst Man have already started giving me their witty one liners.  Their quips bubble to the surface like those mud volcanoes shown on the Science Channel.  Snippets of mean things run through my brain from the bad guy soon followed by clever retorts from the good guy.

I should probably stick to talking about Undesirable, book two in my Oregon Trails series.  I should talk about how Sam and Marie deal with a huge confrontation that’s happening in a few thousand words.  Maybe blog about how fun it will be to write an emotional reaction and how the event spreads ripples through their little community.  I should do that with the subliminal message of “Buy my book.”

However, Alexandra and Hayden’s story is nagging me to no end.  The Very Worst Man picks up a little of where The Very Best Man left off, though both are stand alone.  There’s been some, what, critique?  Complaints?  Suggestions?  Requests, maybe, to have a bit of a WWE smack down on Dave and Jane’s part.  That’s not the kind of people they are, and yet anyone is capable of anything and it might just be fun to write a courtroom fight scene.  I’ll have to see what’s boiling up from my creativity’s depths.

I have a ton of them in paper form and several more bookmarked on my web browsers.  Some were hand drawn and now available via Google, while others are the latest in tourist roadmaps.  Still more are from National Geographic with infinite detail of every mountain and valley in our country.  I have more maps than those of just the United States, of course.  I’m trying to ignore them in favor of finishing the Oregon Trail series. After this project and all its intensive research, I’m totally in favor of writing something either present day or set in the far future.

“What?  That can’t happen!  You just pulled that out of your butt!”

“Why yes, yes I did.”

So back to the maps and why I have access to so many.  Well known landmarks in the 1800’s aren’t the same as the ones we take note of now.  In some places, the original trail crisscrosses highways.  In others, it runs through privately owned land.  Is every single step along the way to Portland vital to the story?  Yes, and no.  Sure, I could have a character die by falling down a steep cliff into the river below.  Could it be the Green River, or would it best to use the Snake River?

 

This is Green River.

green_river_valley_wy

 

 

 

 

 

A bad place for a cliff death. That might be a good thing.  So, the victim will have to wait until the Snake River.  Even then, the banks aren’t steep the entire way.  Landscapes like this is why I study the topography of my settings.  It’s also fun to see what surprises the terrain and weather can bring to my characters as well.

Fun fact about the Oregon Trail!  You could have left Independence, Missouri, near where I live, and maybe reach Oregon before October.  If nothing tragic happened, other than a death or two, it would be possible.  But if you waited to leave next week?  It’d be a whole lot better if you just waited until next April.  Otherwise, you’d risk a catastrophe of Donner proportions.  Read here for more information.

What the?!

I missed yet another Monday Blogging?  For crap’s sake!  This does not speak well of my consistency.  Maybe the only thing consistent about me is my inconsistency.

So what have I been doing?  A lot of NOT writing.  American Legion Auxiliary, changing over to AT&T U-verse, teaching knitting, spring cleaning, spring training (way out of shape!), getting my tiny child ready to graduate high school, and all those tasks that needed doing before the list above could be done.

Sounds like a lot of excuses dressed up like reasons.

I’m not a big fan of excuses.  Now that a few big events are done, I can focus on getting to the halfway mark of Undesirable.  One of the huge positives to come out of not writing is how there’s been a book trailer created.  It is amazing!  My daughter and I have been fine tuning it, and now we need to buy the stock footage.  We reviewed a lot of other book trailers and this one is terrific.  Vicky has made more small movies since then and the kid is really super good.  I’ll have to get her to post a few on here later.

Yes, I’m all over the place in this post.  Mainly because my mind is still on Undesirable.  I’m a few paragraphs away from being done with the current chapter and I’m all like, “Write this post faster so you can get back to it already!!”  Time to obey my inner slave driver.

I Need More Sex

I’m halfway through with writing a book, Undesirable.  The plan?  To have it chock full of hot, romantic, adulterous pioneer sex.

The result so far?  Not even a kiss between the two main characters.  This is a romance, they’re supposed to at least kiss.

Not until chapter six, I guess.

So, the question on most non-writer’s minds is most likely why can’t I just force the issue?  Aren’t I, as the author, the one in control?

To which I answer, I was in control, but now I’m not.  I created the setting and conflict.  I created the characters, each with their own lives and motivations.  They’re not 3-D, more like 100-D, with that many dimensions to them.  Again, why can I not ‘write’ them what to do?

Because my work with creating them is done. It’s kind of like having adult children.  You can set things up to be easy or difficult, but in the end, character drives their actions.  I think in the best stories I’ve ever watched or read, the characters are always true to themselves.  Sam in Undesirable is a straight arrow, intent on right and wrong.  Even if wrong is where he wants to go, he won’t because that’s not who he is.  Marie, his love interest in the novel, is also an honest person.  Her feelings for Sam are growing but her love for her husband is keeping her from giving in to them.  Me?  I’d planned on them having a make out session in chapter one, and yet, it’s in chapter six that they kiss.  I’m not even sure they’ll do that, to be honest.

So now I put it back on you.  Are readers in an instant gratification world fine with extended sexual tension?  Can characters be truly that strong in a writer’s mind that they call the shots?  Is adding violence a good way to substitute for the lack of sex?

Being Accurate is Exhausting!

My biggest fear in writing anything historical is someone coming up to me and saying, “That was wrong.” Checking and rechecking everything takes a lot of time. Enough that, at the moment, I’d like to write anything that’s in the present day and familiar. Not the future, because that would take tons of research, too, into today’s technology extrapolated by X number of years.

Don’t get me wrong, I do LOVE research. It’s my favorite part of writing. But sometimes? I just want the words to flow and damned the facts. Instead, I’m on Google Earth, inching my way along the Oregon Trail from overhead, and typing out each tiny little paragraph at the same time.

You Are Here!

Who doesn’t love a clear label? And who doesn’t love a map that says “You are here?” Especially when you’re lost and all.

This is a great picture showing where exactly I’m herding my pioneers in Undesirable. Between South Pass and Lombard Ferry, there’s a whole lot of nothing. Well, sagebrush and gravel, but no water. Even if they take one of the green routes to the Green River, there are two small rivers that might have water for the people and animals. Heavy on the might, because even in July, the spring thaw had just begun in the higher elevations. Snowfall was a real possibility in the high desert. Days there are hot and the nights freezing cold.

The average distance traveled per day for people so far had been anywhere from 15 to 20 miles a day. To get through this stretch of dry, people went as far as 30 to 45 miles in a day. By the time they reached South Pass, their shoes and clothes would be worn to nearly nothing.

There’s tons more information at Greater South Pass Historic Landscape alliance, the site where I found this picture. Click on the photo to go visit them and learn more about their work. For more information on my work, try one of the menu items above, particularly the Oregon Trail tab.