Jun
30
2011
3

Too Happy to Write?

So I was a bit bummed yesterday. It’s not my normal state. I’ve worked so hard in this last year to be happy and create a life I’m pleased with. There have definitely been some tough weeks, but I’m pretty happy, on average. Being this age just rocks. I love it.

But wow. Yesterday, I was a little down, and I sure got a lot of good writing done while feeling blue, LOL. It was sooo much easier to write about my characters’ problems.

If I found that I needed to be unhappy to write, I’d quit in an instant. It’s not going to happen. Happy writing girl is fine with me, thank you very much.

However, I have noticed that in years past, I’d be so emotionally involved in my character’s lives, that I would come home from a writing day half-traumatized, LOL. I’d have to talk myself down, remind myself that I had not actually experienced what my characters had just experienced.

Now, I won’t have anything to do with my characters’ drama. I let them do their thing.

And I’m wondering if that’s a good thing or not. I used to easily write 5,000 words a day; now I’m lucky if I can squeeze in 500 words or so.

Maybe this is just a passing phase. I mean, I’ve been through a lot of change lately, so maybe I just don’t have the extra energy right now to indulge in my characters’ dramas. Maybe at some future point, I’ll be able to do expend more energy empathizing with my characters. I don’t know.

What do you think?

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Written by Natasha Fondren in: Musings,Writing Craft |
Jun
27
2011
18

The Only Thing…

There is only one thing I miss about living in a house: a bathtub.

*closes eyes*

*dreamily sighs at the memory*

I can’t tell you how often I fantasize about dipping into a tub of hot water with pretty-smelling salts and bubble bath and candles and a good book.

I used to fill the tube with the shower, so that I’d get all those positive ions, steam, and a luxurious bath all in one.

*sighs*

What is the one thing in your house you would miss most?

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Written by Natasha Fondren in: My Adventures |
Jun
21
2011
8

Smiles Everywhere

As I was walking to lunch today, I was noticing how everybody in Tucson is so friendly. Everyone smiles. And they’re not polite smiles; as I’m walking around, it seems that everyone gives me a great big, genuine smile.

People here are so nice.

(That’s all. I’ve got tons of work to do.)

I hope you’re having a great week!

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Written by Natasha Fondren in: Beautiful People |
Jun
15
2011
12

The Unfolding House

Things must be changing. I love little. I love having no clutter. I love having only a small amount of possessions… just the things I use every day. I mean, wow—I spent so much time getting rid of stuff before I took to the road.

But yes, I think things are changing.

I keep having this recurring dream. In it, I buy a new RV… except it’s more like a fifth wheel that sort of turns into a house as I walk in.

When I first walk in, it’s a normal fifth wheel. There is a living room to the right, a little bit of a kitchen, and a dinette. And I decide I’ll put my grand piano where the dinette is. When I climb the steps to the bedroom, I discover there’s a hallway. And there’s two bedrooms.

And I think, perfect! I’ll use one bedroom to sleep in, and then one for a workout room! I’ll put mirrors on one side and empty the whole thing out except for an elliptical, a TV, DVD, and a few weights.

But then I think I want to put my piano in there and make a piano room, and I can’t decide. So I go out into the hallway, and suddenly this house unfolds to room after room after room. And there’s plenty of rooms—even for an office, a piano room, and a workout room. Plus a bedroom and a sitting room and a big bathroom and… every time I round a corner, there’s another bedroom. The kitchen is soooooo nice.

It’s weird.

I think I want a house.

Have you had any recurring dreams lately?

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Written by Natasha Fondren in: Musings |
Jun
14
2011
13

Wherein Natasha Makes Fun

When I woke up this morning, I ran out to the desert for a quick two-mile hike. I’m looking for snakes. I live in the snake capitol of the country, and I have not seen a snake in nearly two years. Not a single one. (Except for the time I went to South Dakota for a couple days. Ironic, huh?)

image

But I keep going out and looking. And I was thinking that I have such a fun life. My work is fun, my exercise is fun, and my fun is fun. It’s amazing how much my life has changed in the two years.

What’s weird is I’m afraid of snakes. And I’m starting rock climbing and I’m afraid of heights. But maybe I’m not afraid anymore, because I’m so excited. Or maybe I suddenly think facing my fears is fun. (Weirdo!)

As I was walking, I remembered how, in German, if translated literally, one doesn’t say, “She is fun.” One says, “She makes fun.”

I’m not going to turn this blog post into a lesson that says, “See! All you have to do is make a bunch of fun, and you’ll have a fun life!”

Yee-ick.

I totally realize how fortunate I am. I just hit a lucky streak. You guys gave me a whole awesome business. And okay, I did do a ton of work to get here. When I was little, I somehow knew the first half of my life wouldn’t be that great, but the second half would totally rock.

So I’ve been working really hard to make sure that came true, LOL. Knock on wood, I hope it continues. Maybe it’s just how being this age feels.

How do you make fun?

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Written by Natasha Fondren in: My Adventures | Tags:
Jun
09
2011
10

I’m in Love!!!

It’s Groupon. I’m heads over heel in love. It’s more than a coupon; it’s totally a way to discover a city!

So I’ve already hit my monthly Groupon limit in my budget (yes, it’s become a line item in my budget). To the yoga and the bellydancing, I’ve added two more things:

Kettleball. (Um, I’m basically expecting that to be good for me and painful.)

Rock Climbing!!!!

Which is funny, because I’m afraid of heights. It should be fun, though!

I’m having a blast, but I’m only sleeping three to six hours a night. I have so much work to do. I’m torn between excitement at discovering a city and its people–and exhaustion.

I sort of feel like hibernating for two weeks and doing nothing but work until I’m way ahead… but then I’d get lonely.

How in the world do you have time for a social life?!

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Written by Natasha Fondren in: My Adventures |
Jun
08
2011
5

The Sweetness. Or, More Tears

Daggonit. I cried. I know it’s just tortoises. Just freakin’ tortoises. Maybe it’s the song. Maybe it’s the accompanying text. Maybe I’m just a bleeding heart. But… the sweetness!!!!!

*sniffles*

The video made me think, though. We have a Mother’s Day, a Father’s Day, a Grandparent’s Day, a Children’s Day… why don’t we have a Best Friend Day? Cause mine’s the best, for sure. She deserves a holiday! Or maybe some people would feel left out.

What about a Friend Day?

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Written by Natasha Fondren in: Cuteness |
Jun
06
2011
12

About That Grass: Working for Myself

I’m always so surprised at how people react to me working for myself. Half the time, people continually ask me if I’m searching for a “real” job—as if the only way is to work for someone else—or they gravitate to the other side and act like working for oneself is some sort of special achievement.

It’s not. Aside from the fact that I credit you guys for leading me to and helping me build the eBook Artisans, I’ve been working for myself all of my adult life, outside of a few part-time jobs in college. Working in the “real world” would be as foreign and strange and difficult as going solo would be for those who’ve worked for a company all their life.

People always act like I can “fall back” on a real job, but to me, it would be much easier just to make myself another job. And my education was so specialized, that I don’t have the proper pieces of paper for lots of jobs. Companies tend not to understand that some (most?) people are self-learners and can pretty much figure things out or educate themselves.

I love running and growing my own businesses. When I hear of people who are laid off, I’m always thankful. People say real jobs have more job security, but I can’t lose my job in one fell swoop.

It can trickle away… and in the meantime, I can develop other skills or businesses or just increase my marketing.

I’m biased, of course. I love the life I’ve chosen. I love the empowerment that comes from working for myself, not to mention the security of diverse income streams.

The grass does seem really green, though, for those who get regular paychecks and benefits. :-)

It’s just different, though. It’s a different mindset, mostly. I think some people who work for companies approach it like they’re working for themselves: comfortably moving between jobs and companies and opportunities in a way that looks a lot like self-employment, to me.

What do you think? Where is the grass greener for you?

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Written by Natasha Fondren in: Musings |
Jun
03
2011
11

Fire! Or, I’m a Little Pyro Girl

I love fire. When I was in conservatory, I built a bit of a fire on my dorm room floor with candles and paper. I smelled up the whole dorm with smoke, LOL. (I was lucky not to get in trouble!) Fire is just so mesmerizing and relaxing!

When I taught, there was nothing better than a fire after a night of teaching. Instant relaxation. I miss my fireplace! I miss the Fireplace Borders!

But now I get my first up-close wildfire! I hate to say it, but it’s so exciting! It’s gorgeous. Of course, no one’s been hurt and no structures have been damaged yet, so probably the gorgeous factor will diminish should any of things happen.

They named it, LOL: the Murphy Fire. It’s growing. It’s up to 14,000 acres now. Luckily it’s spreading south, because we’re about ten miles north.

At night, it’s gorgeous!

image

I’m glad I don’t live in this house:

image

Even the smoke is somewhat pretty at night:

image

But the smoke is really bad to breathe. I’m spending every day up in Tucson just to avoid breathing it all day. This morning, my cat unhappily frowned at me when I left. (I haz major guilt.)

And my walks have been suspended, because I have to stay inside or I have an asthma attack. This is KILLING me. I need to figure out where I can safely hike at night up in Tucson, because I’m dying to go walking.

They’re supposed to get it “contained” by Tuesday, but there will still be smoke, I hear. :-( And it’ll still burn. :-(

Ever see a wildfire at night? In real life, not on TV?

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Written by Natasha Fondren in: My Adventures |
Jun
02
2011
9

Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Sidekicks by Mark Terry

imageGuest post today by Mark Terry! His newest book, The Valley of Shadows, comes out on June 7 and is available for pre-order at Amazon, in hardcover, for Kindle, and for Nook. You can check out his website here or visit his awesome blog!

 

Or do we? I’m a big fan of PI novels, and many modern PI novels involve a sidekick: Spenser had Hawk (or Susan); Elvis Cole has Joe Pike; Travis McGee had Meyer. Hey, Batman had Robin!

And chick-lit and romance novels often have the female lead with her best buddy girlfriend.

As writers we tend to want some sort of foil for our main characters to bounce off. Why?

I’m not sure it’s completely necessary, but for the most part our main characters don’t exist in a vacuum, they have to interact with people. Having a sidekick of some sort allows the writer to compare their behavior to someone. In PI fiction this tends to allow the private eye to be the moral center, for there to be things they won’t do, while working with a sociopath sidekick. Makes the PI look better, I guess.

image With my Derek Stillwater novels I’ve tried to stay away from a sidekick, or at least a regular sidekick. Derek’s a troubleshooter with Homeland Security and his job is to show up after terrorism events of one type or another and try to prevent the next one. In each book to-date, I’ve teamed him up with someone. In the first one, THE DEVIL’S PITCHFORK, it was loosely with a male FBI agent, but for the most part, Derek worked alone. image In THE SERPENT’S KISS, he was teamed up with a female FBI agent and they worked very closely. In THE FALLEN, for the most part, Derek was teamed up with a civilian who got caught up in events. In my upcoming book featuring Derek, THE VALLEY OF SHADOWS, I actually play with this concept a bit.

First, he agrees to work with an FBI agent who has no field experience and her specialty area is financial intelligence. But that’s short-lived and he teams up with an old acquaintance (at gunpoint, for the most part) who used to be with image the CIA but is now a gunrunner. Then he teams up with a former lover, a terrorism expert with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. This is a very reluctant teaming, because they do not get along well at all. Too much history.

One problem I have with sidekicks is they generally get along too well with your main character. All fiction is built on conflict and sidekicks don’t generally create conflict, although I’m a fan of most sidekicks in PI fiction. But forcing someone to work with or deal with someone who causes friction is a terrific way of building conflict into the characterization of your books. Take, for instance, Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch. Bosch doesn’t have sidekicks, although sometimes he has partners – but Harry brings conflict with him wherever he goes. Have baggage, will travel.

What do you think? Does your main character need a sidekick? Or conflict?

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Written by Natasha Fondren in: Books,Guest Posts |

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