Friday Favorites: Character Chat–Loralee

Hey ya’ll,

Kay’s up to her eyeballs editing her novel, Murder on Music Row so she’s letting me blog and I’m so damned excited I’m about to pee in my pants. (Oops…She said if I cussed I couldn’t blog again, so forget I said damned.)

My name’s Loralee (Lor to my friends) and I’m Nan’s best friend in the whole wide world. (Remember Nan? She did this blog thing last Friday—and did a great job too. I’m proud as punch for her.) Anyways me and Nan have been joined at the hip since I transferred to FRA in 7th grade. Franklin Road Academy is the private school Nan went to since kindergarten. I liked her right off the bat ‘cause she came right up to me and introduced herself. She said she’d show me the ropes. I thought that was pretty gutsy ‘specially since I was about a foot taller than her. (She hadn’t had her growth spurt yet.) But we hit it off like bees on honey and I ended up spending the weekend at her house. Her and her parents made me feel like family. I even lived with them senior year ‘cause my man-chasing momma moved to Kentucky to be near her online soul mate.

I’m a country music singer and I’m good enough to get a few gigs around town. I ain’t had my big break yet, but I can feel it’s acoming in my bones. In fact, the day Randy got hisself killed I was singing at Tootsie’s (in the airport, not downtown, but it’s a start). Of course I know Nan didn’t do it. I know her better than anybody and she just don’t have it in her bones to hurt nothing. Hell, I mean heck, she even takes spiders and crap like that outside instead of just squashing them and being done with it.

Anyways, Nan’s in a pickle ‘cause somebody clobbered her sorry, good-for-nothing ex-boyfriend with one of his own doggone Grammys and then he went and died from it. His timing was piss-poor (as always) ‘cause Nan’s the one who done found him. He was still alive when she got there so of course she called 911. Now would she of gone and done that if she’d hit him herself? No, duh! The Nashville cops sure don’t act like the ones on Law and Order ‘cause when Randy up and died at Vanderbilt Hospital, they came knocking on Nan’s front door. They even had the balls to take her downtown for questioning. But she’s got so many friends a lawyer was there to spring her before they could say squat.

Some people say I go on and on and on, so I’ll end this here blog post for now…especially since I know I’ll be back soon. Why I hardly cussed at all and who could stay mad at me even I did? See you next time!

~Loralee

Wednesday Wisdom: The Battle of My Brain

Whose bright idea was it to call my Wednesday posts “Wednesday Wisdom” anyway? What could I possibly know that other writers don’t?  Oh, the pressure of imparting wisdom…

I do know this: I struggle to find a balance between the right and left sides of my brain.

I don’t read a book and say, “Ah, so that’s how it’s done.” Instead I read a book and say, “I could have written this.” Then my left brain kicks in and asks, “So, why didn’t you?” To which, of course, my right brain has no answer.

The problem is I’m neither right nor left brain dominate. On any given day, I could be either. I’m a list maker (or I’d never get anything done), analytical (when necessary), rational (most of the time), and objective (I’d like to think). All of these are left brain characteristics. But I’m also emotional (too much so), intuitive (to the point it scares me), random (as you’ve probably noted from reading my blog posts) and creative (again, I’d like to think). These are right brain functions.  My conclusion is I’m whole-brained.

On the surface this might seem to be the best of both worlds. In my world it’s extremely frustrating.

For most of my life I’ve lived a left brain existence. I excelled academically and was successful in the business world.  It was safe. It was predictable. For me, it was profitable. However, there was always an underlying frustration that was only sated when I could add something creative to a project.

With my focus on writing, I’ve embarked on a more right brain existence. When I’m in writing mode, I zone out. I lose track of time, forget to eat, and can stay up all night without getting sleepy.  It’s frightening. It’s unpredictable. It’s not yet profitable (except for personal satisfaction).  The frustration then changes to a need for structure and logic.

How do I reconcile the two? I don’t.  I let both sides function enough to be fulfilled. For example, when I write fiction (right brain) I also create spreadsheets (left brain). When I start a book, I craft a master spreadsheet with a page for each of my characters. It helps me keep up with their appearances, mannerisms and other characteristics that make them unique. It also satisfies my need for left brain activity and allows me to continue to write without remorse…at least until I forget an appointment or fail to do something else that’s important.  Then it’s back to the tug-of-war.

Question of the Day

Are you right brained or left brained?

Here’s a quick online test if you aren’t sure.  Right Brain/ Left Brain Quiz. — FYI – my score was 16/16.

Come back Friday to meet Loralee, another character from Murder on Music Row.

~Kay

Monday Muse: What is a muse anyway?

The vote is in and my Monday blogs will be called “Monday Muse.” So…what exactly does  muse mean?

There are inconsistencies in the origin of the word. My preference follows the tradition of Greek mythology where Zeus and Mnemosyne slept together for nine consecutive nights and created nine daughters. (That must have been some pregnancy!) Each daughter (or muse) reigned over one area of the creative arts, providing inspiration and deep thoughts in her area of expertise.

In ancient times muses were often invoked at the beginning of an epic poem or hymn to guide the storyteller (or author) through it. Some believed authors were merely mouthpieces for the muses.  But they’ve withstood the test of time and are still present in modern English. Words such as amuse, museum and music all symbolize creativity and originality.

Muses, like Starbucks, can be found everywhere. They could be our children, significant others, mentors, or even perfect (or imperfect) strangers.

I was introduced to Greek mythology (as well as Shakespeare, Chaucer, Milton and others) by my high school English teacher, Jerry Strickland. He was only six or seven years older than me—a hometown boy who went “off” to college and returned to teach at our small, remote high school.  We were about hundred miles from any large city but Mr. Strickland made sure his seniors got to see at least one theatrical production (usually Shakespeare) each term. I fondly remember his college-bound English class where we rearranged our desks into a circle to read Homer. I credit him with my passion for literature. I learned this weekend he has severe Alzheimer’s disease and is confined to a nursing home. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.

Thoughts for the week

Who or what is your muse? Is your muse always the same or does it change? Comment on how your muse inspires you.

I think I’ll conjure up my memories of Mr. Strickland as my muse this week. I can’t wait to see where that leads me.

Until Wednesday…

~ Kay



Friday Favorites: Character Chat–Nan

Hi there,

Kay’s editing our novel even more so I get to be the first guest blogger from Murder on Music Row.

My name’s Nan and I’m the main character in MOMR—unless you’re one of those folks who thinks the main character is the person who actually got murdered. In that case, it most certainly is not me—it’d be my ex-boyfriend, Randy. I’ll tell you up front I didn’t kill him, but unfortunately the police and his wife (yep—he was married) aren’t so sure. So I’ve asked my two BFF’s to help me find the real killer.

This murder came at the most inopportune time for me. See, we just broke up two weeks before he got killed and I left town to get my head on straight before seeing him again. Now that was a big sacrifice for me because I’m a self-employed hair stylist which means I don’t get a paid vacation. When I’m not working, there’s no paycheck. But I majored in business at UT-K so I’m a pretty good business woman, if I do say so myself, and I’ve got a rainy day fund for emergencies just like this. AND I’m smart enough to know if I didn’t get far, far away from Randy, he’d try to smooth-talk his way back into my life.

We’d been seeing each other for about two years before all this mess. Now I want to go on the record as saying I did not know he was married when we started dating. Really, I didn’t. And by the time I found out, he already had me under his spell. Fool that I am I believed he’d leave his wife and love me forever—just like he said. Then one of my clients told me she’d heard that Amy (that’s his wife) was pregnant. Let me tell you, I went major league ballistic. I called him names that would to this day get my mouth washed out with soap and I’m 35 years old! Lucky for me neither my mom nor my grandmamma were within hearing distance.

Well, Kay said I couldn’t be too wordy if I ever wanted to blog again so I guess I’ll sign off for now. But I’ll be back, along with some of the other characters from MOMR, so you can get to know us a little bit while we (patiently) wait for Kay to find us an agent.  Until next time. . .Adiós.

~Nan

Homework 101

The assignment for the first week of my online blogging class was to announce the focus of my blog.  As a reminder, my focus is on writing as presented in my earlier post:  Ready, Aim, Focus! « Kay Elam Writes. Disclaimer: We’ve not covered how to link back to older posts in my class yet. I’m just experimenting so this might not work.  But, then again, it might. Even if it doesn’t maybe I’ll get bonus points for trying.

The assignment for this week is to:

~~Develop a blogging schedule—it seems consistency is desirable. Who knew???
~~Develop a plan for sticking to the schedule—I think we’re being graded on this!
~~Post the plan on my blog—which is what I’m doing now.

I’ve decided to blog three times a week—on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Considering I averaged two blogs a month before starting this class, three times a week seems like a reasonable goal. (Yeah, right!) The cool thing is I don’t have to do it in real-time.  There’s actually a way to schedule blog entries to post in the future. See, I have learned something in my class!

But, if I’d known this earlier, I might not have gotten my Comcast issues resolved.  A couple of weeks ago I was having a pity party as I waited for someone to come fix my too-new-to-be-broken dishwasher and for Comcast to come fix my phones—again. What did I do? I blogged about it in  So… « Kay Elam Writes. (Disclaimer still applies!) I was more amused than annoyed, but lo and behold I got a comment on my blog from someone at Comcast who wanted to help me. Long story short, I checked him out, he was legit, a local manager got involved and my phones are working (at least for the moment).

Now, to get back on track….although it’s a good idea to create an arsenal of posts to see me though busy times or writer’s block, there’s no rule that says I can’t still blog in the moment as well…so readers beware.

My assignment also encouraged us to consider further defining our posts so our readers will know what to expect when.  Here’s my plan:

~~Monday Memo or Monday Muse—let me know which you prefer by this Sunday, majority rules. (How’s that for soliciting comments?) This post will be something inspirational or thought-provoking to start the writing week.
~~Wednesday Wisdom—will be things I’ve learned from my own hit-or-miss method of writing. My insights might be accepted practices for seasoned writers, but if they were epiphanies for me they might just turn on a light bulb for other struggling writers.
~~Friday Favorites—I hope to have fun with all my posts, but Friday will be when I will allow let my imagination run wild. For example, this Friday, one of the characters from my novel, Murder on Music Row, will be my guest blogger…and if she doesn’t mess it up, I’ll let other characters blog on future Fridays.

I’ll try this format for a while and see how it goes. One of the best things about blogging is if something isn’t working it can easily be changed. Let me know what you like and what you don’t like. And don’t forget, YOU get to pick the name for Monday’s blog title. (My first contest—yippee!)

See you Friday for this week’s “favorite.”

~Kay

An Update on my Book(s)

My first novel, Murder on Music Row, is a cozy mystery set right here in Nashville, Tennessee.  It’s about a thirty-five-year-old, college-educated hair stylist who finds her still married ex-lover bludgeoned with his recently won Grammy Award. Her fingerprints are all over the heavy statuette, so when he dies she becomes the main suspect. She does what any smart southern belle would do—she enlists her faithful entourage of eclectic friends to help prove her innocence. Their escapades traverse the Music City as they scheme to find the real killer.

MOMR is the first in a series of lighthearted, quick-read books featuring the same entertaining characters.  You’ll meet some of them soon, as guest bloggers right here on my blog.

I’ve also started a second novel about a year in the life of a women’s therapy group as well as a book of nonfiction called Exit Strategy. And of course I’m working on additional books for the Nashville Murder Series.

I’ll be seeking an agent and/or publisher soon. Let the queries begin!



Ready, Aim, Focus!

The purpose of my blog has always been to create a readership for my writing, but guess what… I got sidetracked and started blogging about the other dramas in my life. Behold, I’ve seen the error of my ways and am now back on track.

My epiphany came this week when I started an online blogging class through Wow! (Women on Writing)  Our first assignment in Blogging 101 was to define the focus and mission of our blogs. Oops!  From looking at my entries thus far, you’d be hard pressed to know what my focus has been…so I’m going to tell you. It’s about my writing. Go back to my earliest entries (or to the category “Writing”) and you’ll see I had the best of intentions.

My blogging classmates are from all over the country and our subject matter expert (i.e. teacher) is in Illinois. We’ll be at this for several weeks so there’s no telling what you’ll see me post. But hang in there…it will be fun.

My first success story is I’ve finally figured out how to invite my readers to subscribe to my blog posts via e-mail; so please do that right now…and please leave me comments, lots of comments, so my teacher will know I have readers.

Previously, I’d only told a few people about my blog. However, I’m ready to put the word out…I think. Maybe we should wait and see how the class goes!

So…

…Yesterday the phone guy came out and stayed all of 15 minutes. He said we’d had some issues in the neighborhood over the past few days, but they’d been cleared. I double checked my dial tone and all seemed fine. I called the security company and got the security system back up and running. All’s well that ends well? Not!

This morning I was once again awakened by the phone. What is it with these early morning phone calls?  (We’re in the Central time zone…hello!) Anyway, the static was so bad I could barely hear. So…I called Comcast again and, to their credit, they had someone out here within the hour. He spent over two hours checking everything that could be checked. The dial tone was again fine and this time I placed a call to verify the connection was clear. He did say the static might return and showed me which wires I could cut should that happen. (Really!) Of course, I would no longer have service to my bonus room/office, but I wouldn’t have static either. The alternative would be to have the  phone wiring redone to the bonus room and I’m just not ready for that expense…yet. I can always bring a portable phone up here, and who needs a fax anyway?

My husband came home and said he’d tried to call but got a 1/2 ring, then it cut off. WHY hadn’t I checked to make sure I could receive incoming calls before the technician left??? So…I called Comcast yet another time and navigated through their auto-attendant until I got a service rep. She tested the phone, said calls weren’t going through (duh!) and promised to send the tech back out today.

I’m still waiting on the dishwasher repair guy. I’m waiting on the phone guy to return. At least I have a shiny new driveway!