Houses of the Broken and Other Stories

Posts tagged “inspiration

When the Levee Breaks

When I grow up, and I mean when I have more control over my own destiny and find myself on the other side of the management desk, I intend to turn things around. Tell your friends what we’re like. Tell our competition what we do. If you don’t like something, say it. Don’t leave it a carefully guarded mystery, festering in a cave of fearful doubt.

The world is slammed with non disclosure agreements and expectations. But I want to disclose. Oh, how I want to disclose.

Too many strings make for a heavy burden when you have to keep nearly every aspect of your daily involvements short, sweet and anonymous. No one wants to get bad press, but the more iron clad the agreement, the more you should keep a wary eye to the big, flashy smiles behind them.

Some people *ahem* are good at telling stories. Some people *ahem* love telling stories and some of the best stories aren’t fiction. Does someone need a champion? Someone to blow the chained cubicles wide open? Someone to ask the other minions if they’ve been treated the same? (I hear some people are good at asking all the wrong questions.)

The best way to keep people happy is to keep your promises. Setbacks are reasonable, if not expected. Deception, well, don’t expect that to succeed for long. Ignoring problems also doesn’t tend to make them go away, unless your goal is to alienate and irritate people in to leaving. And those people, aren’t going to recommend you later down the line, even if they are subject to a gag order.

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“The Call”

On Friday the 13th, under the Fullness of the Honey Moon… I’d like to announce that I got ‘the call.’

The call. THE call. The CALL.

I liked your manuscript! Tell me more!

An hour later, my head was spinning. Is this for real? Couldn’t be… my cautious nature waited for the other shoe to drop… and waited… and I reviewed the draft contract… and waited to hear that shoe go ‘thump’ and then… hard copy of the contract made out to me, notarized and in my hot little hands!

No thumps required.

Without fear and further ado, I’d like to announce my signing with Cliffhanger Press, for my debut novel manuscript Houses of the Broken.

I was thrilled to talk and work through everything with TJ Loveless, and can’t wait to see what kind of package we can put together. I just hope she doesn’t have to empty out too many red pens on my manuscript! *eep*

Buckle up for a new adventure! I still can’t believe it’s happening… But please, keep your shoes to yourself….

 


Coming in to the light.

My first book signing has been confirmed! September 14th, I will be having a signing at the Erie Book Store. I am both excited and anxious.

Up to now I’ve kept my identity… obscured… in my publications. There are a variety of reasons, but most of them come back to my day job and the potential clash of realities.

There is the question of who I want to be. Who am I? This part of me? It’s not the part that sits pushing technical documents around 8 hours a day. It’s not the part of me that’s expected to be responsible, reasonable and a good example at all times. It’s my artistic side. The side that gets to flex her mind, think outside the box and stir up mischief. The side that gets paid for pushing people into woodchippers. <spoilers>

How do I bring what’s inside, out?

“I am me.” That’s a phrase I often used in adolescences to give myself solace that being different might not be such a bad thing. But the truth is that on the surface, I’m not so different; just your ordinary, average office worker. Nothing to see here. But that’s not who I want to be, that’s who I’m expected to be.

So what’s a girl to do when the facets of her identity are at odds with each other? How do I show who I am and not the facade I’m expected to maintain on a daily basis?

If anyone has some suggestions, I’m all ears…


Lessons to Myself

In retrospect, I’ve always been a writer. I say ‘retrospect’ because even now, sometimes I have hard time actually calling myself a writer. I surely didn’t believe it back then.

Rarely did I have an audience, or any desire to pass on my musings to anyone other than my  closest friends. A long span of time was spent post-college working on semi-academic pursuits. Essays responding to the experience and situations of my chosen profession. True, but often jaded snippets of my professional life and getting my legs in the world of the drone worker.

I hope I can find them.

Time has passed and these sentiments have been in the dusty file cabinet in the back of my mind for a long time. Being young and idealistic is sometimes a horrible fate, but that’s when you have the most energy to swim upstream.

Still, I used those opportunities as a tool and/or excuse to keep myself writing. Did anyone care? Not really. But it gave me a good reason to sit there and pound away at my keyboard without drawing too many questions.

In the wee hours, my work was different. The occasional short story. A start to a novel here and there that never made it past page 5. And poetry. Lots and lots of poetry.

Lots.

Journaling was also a good outlet for working through my thoughts, and sometimes I do revisit those entries. More snapshots of my life. In a mere few words I shoot back in time and remember the exact smell and feel of the situation. I rarely journaled about happy things though, so tripping down memory lane can be bittersweet if not bemusing.

But it all adds to the tapestry of thought and experience that is ‘me’. And sometimes finding a phrase, or a quote, that was inspirational 10 years ago can jog a feeling or a whole new idea that can be applied to things today.

Each page is a seed from which a larger idea can grow. They keep me thinking, pushing, tracing my evolution and future aspirations. Maybe I should really call them “Lessons to Myself.” Conclusions I made so many years ago still ring true today.

“Don’t forget yourself,” being one of my favorites. But every so often, I do. And every so often I’m there to remind myself.


Discipline.

First of all, for all those brought here looking for leathers and feathers, this is not about you. Sorry, that’s a whole other post. I’m talking about good old, self controlled, nose to the grindstone discipline. The kind that motivates you to do what you do, to make yourself better, to hone your skills and to get into a good habit.

Habit’s are hard. It’s hard to kick bad ones and even harder to start good ones. That New Year’s resolution you made to eat better, exercise more, be nicer to you coworkers? How’s that going right about now? No matter how good your intentions, it’s often tough to carve out time to sit down, focus and commune with your inner Muse. Muse’s are fickle beasts, but you have to feed them often or else they’re hell to lure back off of the sofa from their piles of bacon and duck based reality TV. They need action, and so do you!

Less talk, more action.

Call it what you want, but I like that as an inspirational slogan. I find myself sometimes caught in what one friend refers to as: analysis paralysis. It happens when I’m picking out a new computer, it happens when I’m looking for the perfect pair of black boots, and it happens when I’m trying to put a story together in my head. A million variations of ‘If this, then that…’ drone on in my brain, driving me to the point of fatigue. Two hours later I look up, no resolution has been made, and I’m ready for bed.

It’s easy to over think things or to over discuss things. Sometimes this is a good trait, if you can thoroughly go through your options but… and this is a BUT…. you need to know when to stop and make a decision. Nothing creative will ever truly be ‘finished.’ There is always more that could be done, tweaked, moved, streamlined, polished… sometimes you just have to accept your idea and act on it.

The difference between a writer and a wanna-be writer? Writers write. It’s just that simple.

Maybe it’s notes on the back of a receipt, maybe it’s a text to yourself on the phone, maybe it’s a whole day of pouring your soul out into a blank journal, any way you cut it, it’s progress. Don’t assume you’ll just remember things later… as confident as we are in our memory skills, there’s always something ready and willing to pop up like a weed in the place of the masterful idea you once had while in yoga, but never bothered to jot down.

So get off your ass, sit your ass down and put the thoughts into corporeal form. Don’t make me have to crack that whip.

It’s Mz. Alton, if you’re nasty.