Archive | July 2009

Oscar Friedman’s Freakish Occurence – Part Six

In the words of Lewis Carrol, “Curiouser and curiouser”. Just when Oscar thinks things can’t really get much worse, they do. The GPS goes crazy, carrying him far from his destination, finally bringing him where he needs go. Hoping to find someone he can really talk to about it, he invites Jasmine to go to dinner with him.

Jasmine Bond met Oscar in the hotel lobby at six twenty-five and they went to dinner together. They shared a bottle of wine as they waited for their meal to arrive. Oscar was finally able to relax and unwind after his trying day. He had nearly made up his mind to tell Jasmine how the car had been behaving when their appetizers arrived. Instead, he ate his soup, chatting with Jasmine about her day at work and his book signing. The subject of the car’s behavior didn’t come up.

By dessert, Oscar felt as if he’d known Jasmine his entire life. Slightly buzzed, he gazed into her fabulous blue eyes, smiling rather foolishly. Jasmine, equally as inebriated, smiled back at him.

“You know, I think I’ll have to call a cab to go home. I don’t think I can drive in this condition.”

“Me either,” he chuckled. “You know what I want to do?” He raised his eyebrows like Grouch Marx.

Jasmine laughed, shaking her blonde curls.

“I wanna go dancing. You like to dance?”

“I love to dance! Where can we go?”

“The hotel has a lounge with dancing, sir,” the waitress told them in a quiet voice. “They are open until three.”

“Shank of the evening!” Oscar said more loudly than he meant to.

Handing the waitress a generous tip, he walked unsteadily to the lounge with Jasmine. They danced and drank until the lounge closed. Uncertain that she could get home, Jasmine hesitated at the doorway.

“Come upstairs. I’ll make coffee. Then you can call a cab.”

“Okay,” she agreed. “I like coffee.”

Between the two of them, they got his door open. It took nearly five minutes of laughing and shushing to get the card to work. They collapsed together on the king sized bed, laughing giddily.

“You know what, Bond. Jasmine Bond?”

“Nope. What?”

“I’d really like to kiss you,” Oscar said, suddenly feeling less giddy.

“I’d really like that,” she replied, grabbing his coat collar.

Totally out of character, Oscar found himself not only kissing Jasmine Bond, but doing things on a first date he’d never done before. In a turn of events that caught them both by surprise, they were naked and kissing. Somehow, making love seemed like the right thing to do, so they did. Following an even more logical sequence of events, they tried it again just to make sure they had done it right the first time, only to find that they had.

Parts 1 – 5 are found on this site or at http://secondwindpub.wordpress.com/

Music Creates a Mood

I played a piece of music for my husband yesterday, “Requiem for a Dream” by Clint Mansell. To me the melody was somewhat haunting, beautiful, melodic, creating an ‘otherworldly’ feeling to it. He listened to it and kept backing away from my chair.

“What is that? It’s very discordant. It’s evil.”

Okay…. hadn’t thought of it that way. A little creepy, yes. Dark & brooding, decidedly, but evil? Not a word I’d use to describe an instrumental piece of music. He absolutely hated the song. I was rather disappointed, because I really liked it. I was almost afraid to play it while he was out here. I waited until he went to bed to listen to the song.

I use a lot of music when I write. I like the tempo for pacing scenes. I use the mood the story creates to enhance my own as I write. I sometimes build a scene off a particular song, or mention it in the story itself as background to the action. One song upon which I built a story, was “Linger” by the Cranberries. It’s a slow, lilting, sorrowful melody. Why I chose it for this particular couple, I don’t know. They ended up together, rather than apart like the couple in the song. But it fit them.

Another song I used recently was “Primavera” by Ludovico Einaudi. I don’t know how many times I listen to this magnificent piece of music, but as I read, I feel the rhythm of the song throughout the story, particularly in the love scenes.

Carlos Santana’s melodies often feature in my stories. I love his music. It’s so intricate and evocative, making me want to dance and sing. I don’t know how many of my stories his songs are mentioned in, but at least four that I can think of right off the top of my head. My favorite songs are “Maria, Maria“, “Soul Sacrifice“, “Smooth” and “Europa“. There are others, but these feature the highest on my list.

I frequently hear songs on TV shows or in movies that fuel my creative juices. One such was a song I heard on “Jake 2.0” a very short lived television show. The song was lovely, sad, heart rending…. It took me over four hours to track it down on-line, but I finally found “Love Can Save Us All” by Tommy Homes. Another song I heard in a TV show was “Let It Be Me” by Ray LaMontagne. It was used as background to a scene in “Fringe”. Yet another, from an episode of “Lost”. It sounds like an old time gospel song, but it’s rather modern (1997). The title is “I Shall Not Walk Alone” by Ben Harper. The recording they used was sung by The Blind Boys of Alabama.

How does music affect your writing? Do you use it for pacing, inspiration, mood? Maybe it’s just there to block out the environment. (I do that too). Is music important to you? What type do you listen to when you write?

“Ring Up the Curtain” a work in progress by Dellani Oakes

Posting a quote from a work in progress called “Ring Up the Curtain” It struck me as rather funny and quirky, so I decided to share it. This is part of a longer conversation between Shaine Gregory and 3 of her guy friends – Colt – a man she recently met, Brent – her boyfriend & Romy – his cousin.

“Brent, dude, you are one lucky man.” Colt grinned at him. “You’ve got a woman who doesn’t mind telling you what turns her on.”

“Naked men,” Brent chuckled.

“Nearly naked, thanks. I like a little left to the imagination. I mean, when you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.” Shaine corrected.

Three men groaned loudly.

“That hurts,” Brent said. “We like to think we’re all unique.”

“Baby, that’s like asking me which skateboard I want to ride, the long or the short one. They all have wheels, they all have sandpaper on top and they get me where I want to go. The decoration is different, the wheels faster or slower, but they’re all skateboards.”

“You’re comparing a man’s package to a skateboard?” Colt looked confused and somewhat disheartened. “That’s not even right.”

“You cut me to the quick, love,” Romy said. “We men are rather attached to our personal units, you understand. Are you saying size isn’t a factor?”

They leaned toward her, curious. Shaine giggled, tossing her head.

“It matters some. Too big is almost as bad as too small. Each woman has her own idea of just right, kind of like Goldilocks.”

“Well, the three bears here wanna know, what’s just right?” Colt smirked.

“You really want to know?”

They were hanging on her every word. Nodding, they scooted closer as she leaned over the table.

“Ask Brent, cause it’s in his pants.” She smiled sweetly, excusing herself from the table.

Their laughter followed her to the ladies’ room, fading slightly as the door closed.

When Something You Write Makes You Cry

sea of destiny coverI just got done writing one of the saddest books I’ve ever written. Unusual for me, because most of my work is pretty upbeat. It might be intense or action packed, even hot and steamy, but not sad. I don’t mean depressing, because the story is one of hope and it has a happy ending. However, I had a lot of moments when I found myself in tears.

Crazy. I’m the one writing it, and it’s making me cry. Does that make sense? When we write something that moves us to tears, is that a fair judge of how our readers will be affected? Does it make us even crazier than we thought we were? Or is it something else?

I like to hope that what I’m writing creates an emotional response in my readers. I want my words to excite them, get their imaginations moving and energize their senses. A story is more than just words on a page. They become meaningless and dull if they don’t go somewhere. What if that somewhere is dark, murky, frightening? Or conversely, light, humorous, whimsical? Sometimes that place is sadness, remorse, resignation.

The story I wrote hasn’t really got a title yet, so let me give a brief synopsis. Kyle, a 34 year old single father, is still grieving after the death of his wife, Margo. She died from cancer five months prior to the beginning of the book. Haunted by his inability to fix the situation and make her well, he buries himself in work and the responsibilities of raising three children alone. Seeing him heading toward an early grave himself, his boss (who is also a good friend) forces him to take a month off to get himself together.

At his boss’ insistence, Kyle books a cruise and takes his children and housekeeper/ friend, Carmelita, with him. The first night at dinner, he meets Emily. Beautiful and vivacious despite the fact that she’s recently finished chemo therapy, Emily captures his heart. His children love her, Carmelita likes her, everything is perfect – until he discovers that Emily, too, is dying. By the time he finds out, he’s already falling in love.

Kyle’s past comes back to haunt him and he makes a disastrous mistake, thus jeopardizing his relationship with Emily. Tortured by guilt and self-doubt, he falls into a very dark, emotional place. It is a story of regret, rebirth, renewed faith, resignation and remembrance. It also made me cry like crazy.

I felt compelled to update this many moons later. This story, which at the time didn’t have a title, is now called Sea of Destiny and I am currently sharing it on Cereal Authors blog. You can find the posts here.

Oscar Friedman’s Freakish Occurence – part 4

Shaking his head, Oscar walked into the store, looking for his publisher and the other authors. He found them gathered in a comfortable area near the back of the store. There were several upholstered chairs and a coordinating loveseat arranged in a cozy manner. Most of the authors were sitting down sipping different teas. The store sold every imaginable tea as well as books. Oscar fell in love with the environment as soon as he walked in.

Patrick, his publisher, came forward with his hand extended. “Great you could make it, Oscar! Let me introduce the gang.” He went around the group introducing the others proudly, a wide grin on his face. “So that’s the rest of our little family,” he chuckled.

The store opened a few minutes later and customers dribbled in at first, then more as the morning wore on. Several of them stayed as the authors read excerpts from their books. All of them were well received. Oscar sold six books. Feeling elated, he talked several minutes to a pair of elderly ladies who were thinking of buying the books for their reading group.

A piercing, annoying whine filled the air. A customer who was just walking through the door, glanced at the parking lot over his shoulder. “Someone’s car alarm,” he pointed. “That white Prius.”

Cursing rather more loudly than he intended, Oscar ran outside. The remote refused to work from the doorway. He had to walk over to the car and use it less than four feet away. Muttering darkly, he walked back inside to apologize, but the women had chosen another book instead. Giving him dubious glares, they left quickly.

“Oscar, what’s wrong with you?” Patrick asked him, eyes concerned.

“That car will be the death of me!”

He told the whole sordid tale. By the end of it, he had quite an audience of customers and authors alike. Everyone listened with rapt attention.

“I feel like the dumb thing is out to get me,” he finished lamely.

Patrick, who was a former counselor, put his arm around Oscar’s shoulders. “You know that’s delusional, right? This isn’t one of your spine tinglers, Oscar. This is real life. In real life, cars don’t have a personality and the GPS doesn’t reprimand you for going the wrong way.”

“I know that, Patrick. I can’t help how it feels, can I?”

“I guess not. Have Jim brew you a cup of that relaxation tea. Have a seat and drink it. It will help you calm down. I’ll lead you to the next venue.”

“Thanks, Patrick. I’ll do that.”

He sipped the relaxing brew, letting his eyes drift shut. He didn’t realize, until Patrick woke him, that he’d fallen asleep. It was time to leave for the next venue. Feeling somewhat better after his nap, he got in the car. He turned it on, not setting the GPS. Patrick pulled up and he followed him out of the parking lot.

“Calculating route,” the GPS said in a chilly voice.

“I didn’t set you. You’re not supposed to be working.”

Stopped at a light, he fiddled with the GPS, but the light changed before he made any progress. Trying to keep his eyes on Patrick in the heavy traffic, he ignored the GPS until the next light. Satisfied that it was off, he waited for the light to change. The car stalled. Cursing, he fought to restart it, but it was being stubborn. Honking accompanied his attempts and Patrick pulled away, oblivious to the fact that Oscar wasn’t following him.

The car started up on its own, hurling him into oncoming traffic as the light changed at the intersection. Spinning the wheel, he got back in his lane, accompanied by the shouts, honks and finger gestures from other drivers.

“Sorry!” He called to no one in particular. “I’m from out of town!”  He caught up with Patrick at the next light. His phone rang.

“Thought I’d lost you, buddy.”

“Car’s being a pain in the butt, Pat.”

“You okay?”

“Yeah. I’m fine. Keep going.”

“Okay. Call if you need me.”

“Yeah.” He hung up, tossing the phone on the passenger’s seat.

“Calculating route.”

“You aren’t even supposed to be on, you stupid, sorry, crappy, piece of …. Shit!” The car stopped dead in the middle of the intersection. “Oh, no! What’s going on?”

Nothing he did this time would restart the car. He sat there, holding up traffic from all roads, desperately trying to restart the car. A police officer pulled up a few minutes later. Oscar’s automatic window refused to go down. He mimed that he needed to open the door. The police officer stepped warily away from the car.

“I’m sorry,” Oscar began. In a shaking voice he explained his problem.

“Won’t start, huh?” The officer looked angry, turning red in the face as the car purred to life.

“I swear! It was totally dead. It got hit by lighting last night. It’s been acting up every since.”

“Just get out of my intersection,” the cop growled. “Move it! Now!”

“Yes, sir. I’m moving!” Hopping back in, he fastened his belt and took off. “Dammit, now I’ve lost Patrick.” He tried to call, but the phone, which had been fully charged that morning, was totally dead.

Desperate, he set the GPS. “Calculating route,” the cheery voice greeted him. “Right turn in .5 miles.”

“Well, at least it’s working at the moment – I hope.” He followed the GPS which seemed to be on the right track. Less than three miles from his destination, it directed him off the main road onto a side road.