In Search of the Fiction Fairy

award-wining author Mia Zachary's online diary where she ponders the meaning of life, strives to improve her craft and generally mouths off

Friday, September 29, 2006

Philosophy Friday


We survived the two tornados that touched down in our neighborhood last night!
My husband's hand surgery went well this morning.
My CP Melissa James' latest book goes on sale tomorrow!

"There's a transition stage that happens when a writer goes from not-writing to writing or back again. It's probably different for everyone (I get more of a jolt when I have to stop writing) but I think there are ways to make it easier.

I clear my mind as much as possible before I begin writing, usually with morning meditation. At night, before I edit, I take a shower or soak in the tub... I think attitude also factors in how abrupt or shocking the transition from person to writer or editor is. I look at the blank page as work space, not that blind white glaring eye as other writers often describe it. I'm not afraid of it; we're old pals... I have no expectations, no hovering self-critic; writing well for me means not worrying about writing well at all. Fighting the words, letting frustration set up house in my head or getting tangled up in a quest for utter perfection only inhibits me. The more relaxed and calm I am, the better writer or editor I become.

Find the things that do the same for you and that transition may get a bit easier." - Lynn Viehl, Paperback Writer

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things about Mia Zachary

1. I was born in Chitose, Hokkaido, Japan
2. My real name means 'new moon' in Japanese
3. I've lived in four different countries
4. I've visited ten others
5. There are twelve more I still want to see
6. I speak English fluently and get by in two others
7. My first date with my DH was to a play about syphilis
8. I married him 1yr and 13 days after our first date
9. We didn't tell anyone... For two years
10. It's a long story
11. I am a writer not a storyteller
12. I see the scenes of my books like movies
13. Someday I'd like to write a screenplay

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I'll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It's easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Links to other Thursday Thirteen!

Monday, September 25, 2006

RECOMMEND: Enslave me Lucas

I can't say enough about SLAVE TO SENSATION by Nalini Singh. The world she created with such verisimilitude sicked me right into the story. The heroine is strong and wonderfully developed with a very believable conflict. But it's the hero, Lucas, I've been dreaming about long after I finished the book. Half- man, half panther and all sexy! Go treat yourself to this wonderful read!

In a world that denies emotions, where the ruling Psy punish any sign of desire, Sascha Duncan must conceal the feelings that brand her as flawed. To reveal them would be to sentence herself to the horror of “rehabilitation”— the complete psychic erasure of everything she ever was….

Both human and animal, Lucas Hunter is a Changeling hungry for the very sensations the Psy disdain. After centuries of uneasy co-existence, these two races are now on the verge of war over the brutal murders of several Changeling women. Lucas is determined to find the Psy killer who butchered his packmate, and Sascha is his ticket into their closely guarded society.

But he soon discovers that this ice-cold Psy is very capable of passion—and that the animal in him is fascinated by her. Caught between their conflicting worlds, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identities—or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation…

SLAVE TO SENSATION is a superb story demonstrating the power of love and physical touch. The Psy have made every effort to create a world of logical and emotionless beings similar to Star Trek's Spock. Instead, beings with no moral conscience are being formed as exemplified by the serial killer preying on the changeling women. Love and physical touch can be very soothing and healing and Ms. Singh provides an exemplary story demonstrating this vividly to the reader.

Nalini Singh breathes life into her characters and even secondary characters, such as Tamsyn, have an unexpected depth to them. This story, although complete in and of itself, is wide open for sequels as the reader will want to know more about the fabulous cast of characters created by Ms. Singh. One can only hope that a sequel is in the works as SLAVE TO SENSATION is easily one of the best books published this year in the paranormal genre. - Deborah Wiley for KWIPS AND KRITIQUES

Friday, September 22, 2006

Philosophy Friday


I sent Spirit Dance to my editor. Yeah.
It was 10 days early. Yeah!
I re-read HP5-OOTP and HP6-THBP

"Do you constantly compare yourself to others and then feel badly when compared to them? Comparison doesn't motivate us to do more or be better, instead it makes us feel we'll never be good enough and we aren't right now. Action: Write out the 5 qualities you like best about yourself. Then write out what you value most in your life. When you go to a place of comparison, notice how similar you are with the other person vs. what is different. Begin to create a list of adjectives that describe you - at least 25 positive words about your greatness. Whenever you notice yourself in a comparison mode, think of some of the adjectives that describe YOU. "
-- Terri Levine President, Comprehensive Coaching, Author of Living an Extraordinary Life

Thursday, September 21, 2006

RECOMMEND - This one takes the bait

I first picked up BAITED by Crystal Green because I've met her and she is just one of the nicest people. I took it to the cash register because I always buys books by fellow authors that I personally like. That is not however the reason I lost (excuse the pun) five hours of my life reading BAITED straight through in one sitting.

FROM INSTANT HEIRESS... Her billionaire mentor’s invitation to go sailing with his family seemed a timely break for diver Katsu “Kat” Espinoza. Until she saw the yacht’s captain—Will Ashton, her treacherous, still-too-appealing ex—and her mentor made a shocking announcement: Kat was his newest heir!

TO PREY? She could handle the angry accusations, the ice-cold shoulders. But when the boat was wrecked, stranding them all on a deserted island, Kat suspected that someone had more permanent solution in mind. With the survivors looking to her for leadership and Will being maddeningly secretive, Kat considered who among them might be truly dangerous.
Then the survivors began to disappear, one…by one….

BOTTOM LINE If you're looking to lose several hours, find Crystal Green's BAITED and settle in for a fast-paced, well-plotted read that offers beautiful turns of phrase and unexpected twists!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Okay...Now what?

It's gone! I'd finished my novella, SPIRIT DANCE, last Friday and sent it on to two critiquers, as well as going over it myself. The revisions only took a few days and I submitted the manuscript this morning. Yeah!

So now I have a few days of quiet before moving on.

Well, sort of quiet. The house is a mess and we have company coming this weekend and I've got some other writing business stuff to do and my son's birthday party to plan and ...

Friday, September 15, 2006

Philosophy Friday


The manuscript for SPIRIT DANCE is finished!
I'm going to send my son to school and then sleep all day!!

Back in JulyI started to sweat the fast-approaching October 1 deadline for a novella I hadn't started yet. (Well, actually I had a 6 page prologue in the point of view of a terciary character.) But nothing done on the main story. And there's another story I'm dying to get back to, so I set a goal of September 1 to have this novella completed.

Today is September 15th, so obviously I didn't make my self-imposed deadline. But the point is that I did set a deadline and although it needed to be adjusted for the Unforseens, I pushed myself to meet the challenge. I'm still two weeks ahead of my contractual submission date. So, as far as I'm concerned, my goal was still met!

"A good goal is not a fairy-tale castle shimmering, half-described, at the edge of wakefulness. Good goals are not warm feelings, hot hunches, or a nagging itch down your spine. These are all fine and wonderful things, and they can inspire goals, but they are NOT goals. A good goal is concrete, plain, stark, explainable in words of one syllable to people who know nothing about what you hope to do. Good goals require neither the word 'thing,' nor wild hand gestures to get across. "I'm going to write a 100,000 word fantasy novel" is an acceptable starting goal. As for "I'm going to, ah, do this thing, ah, where, a, I sit down and listen to my MUSE, and ah, await inspiration ... and then I'm going to internalize ... ::gesture, gesture:: ...," No. Saints preserve us, no. You cannot hit a target you cannot clearly see. " - Holly Lisle, whose websites is overflowing with writerly knowledge and advice

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Home Stretch

I'm starting the last chapter of my WIP with great hopes of finishing the novella by the end of the week!

So to keep you entertained, go here:
To see a trailer for the new James Bond
To read a free story I started and helped write
To get a preview of Melissa James' Oct release
To play a game based on a book
To see writers in their natural habitat

Speaking of which... I need to get back to mine....

Monday, September 11, 2006

Five Years Later

Where were you the day our world changed?

I was at home with my then almost-two-year old watching the Disney channel and had not one clue what had happened until my husband called about the first tower. I flipped the channel and watched in abject horror as, right before my eyes on live television, the second plane hit. As it was for many Americans and others around the world, the next couple of days were spent glued to the TV set in disbelief....

It's been five years now and whether or not we're winning the War on Terror is a matter of opinion. But one thing I know is that I'm proud of our country, proud of the military folks laying their lives on the line to protect our freedom and the philosophy of a democratic nation. I believe America is the greatest country on earth and I know I'm damned lucky to live here- even with the problems we still have- and not somewhere else. I also believe that someday we'll look back on that fateful day and say,"That's when is all began. That was the beginning of a painful and difficult change that ultimately led to a better life for all of us."

"O say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming?Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight,O'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming?And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there.O say, does that star-spangled banner yet waveO'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen thro' the mists of the deep,Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,In full glory reflected, now shines on the stream:'Tis the star-spangled banner: O, long may it waveO'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly sworeThat the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,A home and a country should leave us no more?Their blood has wash'd out their foul footsteps' pollution.No refuge could save the hireling and slaveFrom the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave:And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth waveO'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O thus be it ever when free-men shall standBetween their lov'd home and the war's desolation;Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n-rescued landPraise the Pow'r that hath made and preserv'd us a nation!Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,And this be our motto: “In God is our trust!”And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall waveO'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!"

--Francis Scott Key, September 13, 1814

Friday, September 08, 2006

Philosophy Friday



Uumm..... Thinking......
Dunno. In a bit of a mood today...


I can't seem to see the trees for the forest today.

My CPs tell me that my current Work in Progress is very good but I'm all stressed out about how much still has to be written and the quality overall. Rachel thinks the level of story conflict works well; Lisa thinks there needs to be more deep and complex emotion.

So I'm doing the only thing I can and advising you to do the same:

Monday, September 04, 2006

Don't Muck with It

That was one of the late Steve Irwin's catch phrases, along with "Crikey! She's a real beauty!"

He died today- or rather yesterday since Australia's time zone is 14 ahead of mine- in a freak accident caused by a sting ray's barb. Apparently sting rays don't sting unless they feel scared and Steve accidentally scared it. The toxin isn't poisonous but the stab through Steve's heart was.

I have to say I really adored that guy and his shows. The first time I ever saw his Crocodile Hunter show was at a friend's house and I remember thinking, 'This guy is a complete lunatic. But I did learn a lot about crocs.' The first song my son ever sang by himself was the theme to The Croc Files: "Here we go again adventuring, where the wild, wild creatures hang. We're gonna have a gorgeous very very dangerous time my friend..."

I was especially enamored of the story about how Steve met his American wife, Terri. He said in an interview it was love at first sight for him when Terri visited Australia Zoo on holiday. And it must have been for her as well because I can't imagine leaving your family, friends and country to go halfway around the world to marry a guy who plays with snakes otherwise.

I don't know why I'm so upset by this- I didn't know him personally. But I really liked him and this is almost as much of a shock as Princess Diana and John Kennedy Jr.'s deaths. I guess because Steve Irwin was such a nature nut and handled so many different kind of critters and made it look so easy, it made you think he was invincible.

I just find it sadly ironic that he was killed by one of the many creatures he cared so much about.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Philosophy Friday


My son is back in school so now I can get my afternoon naps back

Now that I've gotten some sleep, the migraine headaches I've been fighting are gone

Now that the migraines are gone, I've broken through my latest bout of writers block by resetting my personal deadline to a more attainable date

Now that I've given myself a break, I was able to write 10 pages

"Take a premise and then go a few steps further. Raise stakes. Layer in character conflicts. Build a setting that's unusual. Plot more tightly. More ingredients. More original elements. It's fine to start with an idea that's been done, but then twist it. Show it from a different, surprising character's point of view. Then have other things happen to your character. Give the character other important goals. Put in an unusual romance. Add a mystery. Add huge complications.

Create antagonists who don't want your protagonist to succeed because it ruins their own goals and maybe they're sneaky about anonymously trying to sabotage them or maybe they come right out and boldly try to stop them. Give your protagonist a more unusual life: an unusual occupation or ties to a particular setting or secret. Add intensifiers: A handicap or time limit so your characters need to succeed even more on every level.

Invent. Create. Don't stop layering too soon. Don't stop developing the story before it's enthralling and complex and completely unpredictable. " -literary agent Rachel Vater, of Lowernstein-Yost