Monday, September 12, 2011

Toad's Tuesday Tutorial

Posted by Mackenzie Crowne at 8:30 PM
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J. Thaddeus here.  After years of following my adventurous lead, Mac has struck out on a craze of her own.  ‘I’m a writer,’ she claims, and the old girl has given it her best shot.  I could do better, of course.  I’d add a word here, a turn of phrase there.  But does she listen?  Stubborn, I tell you.  Maybe she’ll listen to you.  How would you improve on her prose?

     From GIFT OF THE REALM, a fantasy (fairie) romance.

Cistin,” Keely muttered as the translation popped into her mind.  When she opened her eyes, her kitchen was nowhere in sight.  Instead, she remained in the garden with Colin crouched in front of her, his angry face inches from hers. 
“Cut it out,” he snarled.  “You’re not going anywhere until we’ve talked.”
“Then let go of me,” she demanded. 
Surprising her, he did.  Closing her eyes, she repeated the process, with the same results.  Disgusted, she gave him a withering glare. 
“Why didn’t it work?”
He straightened.  Hip cocked, he folded those fabulous arms that had held her so gently not an hour earlier, across his chest.  His smile was smug.
“You’re not the only one with gifts, darlin'.”

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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Welcome to my mania

Posted by Mackenzie Crowne at 10:01 AM
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Did you ever have one of those, “Okay, that’s it, time for a change" moments? I’m not talking about some random New Year’s resolution, or a new hair cut, or even that moment when you could no longer zip your favorite pair of jeans.  I’m talking about one of those, I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore, moments. If you have, then you understand what I’m asking. 
My moment came in the spring of 2008.  I’d been happily wandering through life, enjoying the scenery, while I meandered through whatever new adventure presented itself.  Like J. Thaddeus Toad on his wild ride, life presented any number of fads and manias that drew my interest, and like Toad, I had a short attention span.  Inevitably, some new, bright and shiny notion would send me off in another direction.
My switch from one mania to another was never a conscious decision exactly, it always just sort of…happened.  Over the years, I dabbled in many things.  At one point, I filled my spare room with craft supplies.  A good friend was a marvel at producing gorgeous Christmas wreaths.  I soon discovered that I sucked at crafting.  The yard sale earned a whopping thirty-four dollars, but my spare room was clean of twigs and bows once more. 
Another time I purchased a used sewing machine from a charming, eighty-year old woman whose fingers were bent and curled with arthritis.  The new valances over my windows were presentable, but I cringe whenever I come across an old picture of my boys wearing the results of my foray into the world of patterns and thimbles. Don't most people have one arm longer than the other?  Doctor Seuss would be so proud.  I gave the old lady’s machine to a friend.
Don’t get me wrong, I occasionally got involved in something I felt strongly about, and managed to see things through to an acceptable conclusion.  Like the time I went to battle with the local school board.  Perseverance won the day, and I consider being black-balled by the powers that be one of my most gratifying accomplishments.  But when a contingent of interested parents and teachers urged me to take the next step, and run for a seat on the board, I knew it was time for a new mania.  I just don’t have the killer instinct required for a life in politics.
Other than spending time with family and friends, the only one of my manias that hasn’t faded with time is my writing.  I was ten when I penned my first short story, and dreamed of seeing it in print.  But, like Toad, I never gave that lifelong passion the attention it deserved.  Busy running in a million different directions, I treated my passion as more of a hobby than a burning need, despite the persistent antics of the characters living in my head.
Then, on a crisp spring morning, three years ago, I faced my moment.  It slammed into me within the confines of a small, windowless room, delivered by a tiny sprite of a woman.  An oncologist.  J Thaddeus Toad and I were introduced to the concept of mortality that morning, and from that moment on, Toad was on his own.  If I was going to make the effort to beat breast cancer, subjecting myself to physical disfigurement, and debilitating treatments, then I owed it to myself to do whatever it took to bring my dream to fruition. 
I’d like to say, mission accomplished, and I suppose I could, considering that GIFT OF THE REALM, my first published manuscript, will be available through The Wild Rose Press sometime next spring.  But claiming victory, and stopping there, is so Toad.  I don’t think that way anymore. 
This is my first posting on my very own blog.  The very concept boggles my mind.  But I’m a survivor, and a published author, and with the concept of mortality firmly in place, I won’t be settling for just a piece of my dream.  I want it all.  I have much to learn about the publishing industry, and God knows there is always room for improvement in the practicing of my craft.  I’m open to any suggestions that can help me along my path.  You're here.  Any thoughts?
In the meantime, have you faced your moment?  What was it, and what are you doing about it?
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