Telepathy is Hard [#AuthorToolboxBlogHop]

There’s been a sense of dissonance with my author groups that I’m part of lately. So many of my friends used to be pushing toward that next book, that next project, the next book festival, and getting excited about what was coming next. Now though so many of them are despondent when they look at their author career, and it really isn’t surprising why.

Some of us have been in quarantine for over three months even while others are able to go freely where they want. Many authors I’ve spoken with are in the same boat, either due to their own health issues or for loves ones. Then the protests began and the excessive use of force from police departments kept me glued to live feeds every evening near curfew to see what would happen, to keep an eye out for people on the ground. I had friends get involved in protests who had to run away from tear gas and rubber bullets. Still the violence hasn’t stopped. Just the other day a police officer killed a black man for falling asleep in his car here in Atlanta. There’s a constant sense of outrage and desperation right now that’s impossible to miss.

It’s difficult to write when your heart is bleeding for the world around you. It’s difficult to put aside your fears and worries when you see all the people risking their lives daily to be heard.

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

Stephen King called writing telepathy. After describing a scene, he writes the following in his book, On Writing.

This is what we’re looking at, and we all see it. I didn’t tell you. You didn’t ask me. I never opened my mouth and you never opened yours. We’re not even in the same year together, let alone the same room… except we are together. We are close. We’re having a meeting of the minds. […] We’ve engaged in an act of telepathy.

I think back to this concept regularly when I’m struggling with my writing. Creating a scene or a character for readers to identify and care for is an act of telepathy, and if an author has a hard time expressing the image they have in their head, or worse yet, if they have a hard time even picturing the scene they want to convey, then static comes across the line. Readers pick up on that static, whether they realize it or not. They feel the loss of focus or a character doing something that doesn’t make sense. They feel that discontinuity.

When the world feels like it’s on fire, authors can have a hard time channeling their minds into words. It’s understandable that there’s static. It’s understandable to get frustrated because it’s too hard to focus and the words won’t come out. It’s okay to feel like the characters aren’t behaving properly. It’s impossible to extract writing from the time and place that it was written. As creators of worlds, people, and locations, authors need to be aware of the static that gets in the way and allow it to exist. Sometimes the static is there for a reason.

Somehow over the past couple of months I found the mindset to write a book, Chosen, the last book in the Stolen series. I finished writing it a month into quarantine and finished editing it after the police violence at protests began dying down last week. I focused my outrage and pain into my novel, into my characters, and into scenes which ended up being eerily similar to the scenes I read about online. I had characters house protagonists despite risking their lives to do it. I had enemies hide behind their military troops. I had powerful characters admit that they were in too much pain to carry on in battle.

Basically I allowed the real world to infiltrate my book world in a way that expanded the world. I allowed some crossover, but only if it made sense. I channeled the emotions I felt from hearing these stories and from watching these horrors. Sometimes I realized the crossover was happening as I wrote the book, but other times I didn’t realize it until I was editing.

I know that the writing process is very different for everyone, and that we all have different ways of coping with the stress going on in the world, but I hope that hearing how I have come to terms with it helped. Chosen was meant to be written during this time and it is truly reflected in the storyline.

My advice is to listen to that static and see if it can push you in the right direction. See if it’s trying to encourage a change of direction or a change in a character. I hope you find a way to continue your craft despite the difficulties we are dealing with now and on the long road ahead.

A Bittersweet Ending

The last month or two have been crazy, both with the world in general and in my very busy writing corner. It’s led me to be a little behind on posting here, but I’m hoping to fix that! So first up some announcements.

Updates on Chosen

I have officially turned in my fully written and fully edited copy of Chosen, book 3 of the Stolen series! Somehow through everything that has been going on, between the COVID-19 outbreak and all the violence and tears of the last few weeks, I was able to focus and finish this book. It really is a culmination of years of work since I first started writing Stolen in 2013. That’s a good seven years of work to get here, and wow, what a ride!

Shaleigh has grown so much throughout the books, but so have the other characters too. Each one of them have grown into their unique selves and I’m really happy with that. I’m so excited to share the final chapter of this emotional trilogy with everyone.

However it’s also bittersweet. I’ve fallen in love with these characters and the world, and it’s going to be very difficult to let go of them. I’ve had these characters in my head for years, so it’s difficult to just let go of them. However I also have a very full plate of other books in my brain that also want attention.

In Progress

Speaking of… the next book I’ll be tackling is Colton Fen’s novel, currently titled Descent. It’s the first of the Colton Fen series and Night Feeders is going to be book 0.5. This book has had an ongoing facelift and I’m going in to work on it more with a long list of to-do items to tackle.

After that, I’ll be working on the long-awaited sequel to The She-Wolf of Kanta, which I plan to make a full-length book. I have a whole outline figured out and plan to write the entire book long-hand. I’ve already started writing on it, but it still has a long way to go to reach completion.

There are the projects I’m comfortable sharing now, but there are a bunch more I’ve hinted at during interviews or in chats that are on the horizon. So expect to hear more announcements and progress updates as I go.

The Seeking is now available to pre-order!

I’m thrilled to share that The Seeking is now available to pre-order on Amazon! This dark young adult horror novel has already had reviews come in on Goodreads, and I’m thrilled with the feedback so far! This book features weird creatures, a diverse cast of characters, and terrifying monsters.

Review: Lullaby of Flames

Finished 4/9/2020

I went in completely blind on this short story, which is how I prefer to experience a story to be honest, so I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t expect our teenage lead, Cori, to fall down a pit into Hell.

This story took a number of unexpected twists and turns, and had a number of characters I really enjoyed, such as Rigel and Lilith. Cori was great from beginning to end though despite her big mistake, and speaking of, wow this ending!

Candace Robinson’s stories are always so creative and this was no exception. I seriously don’t know how she dreams up these stories, but I’m here for them!

This is a great read for fans of the 80s films of Legend or Labyrinth! Especially if you enjoy being taken by surprise.

My Rating: 5/5 stars… that ending!

Review: Zombie Road

Finished: 4/5/2020

I love dystopian novels and I enjoy zombie books, so I knew I would probably enjoy Zombie Road, the first book in Simpson’s intense Convoy of Carnage series. We follow a group of truckers at a truck stop in Nevada and watch how they revert back to their military origins when a zombie outbreak takes out most of the world in a 24-hour period.

This book is hard to put down once you start. As you switch from Gunny and his friends in a truck stop in Nevada, to his wife stuck in an upper floor of her office in downtown Atlanta, and to their son trapped in detention in High School, the intensity is ramps up quickly. Simpson has an incredible hand for action and for mixing undeniable humor in his worlds.

These chapters are short and sweet which keeps the pacing flowing smooth and maintains a high level of action throughout. I was reminded of George R. R. Martin in how I hated switching away from a perspective, but by the end of the chapter I was invested in this new character and didn’t want to switch from them. He has an incredible way of defining characters and coming up with nicknames for them that stay true to their character throughout the story. His pacing is so great though that at almost 400 pages long, I had no idea each page flew past so quickly because I was so engrossed in the world.

An excellent starter in a series that is going on seven installments right now. I’m definitely looking forward to reading more in his series!

In real life, Simpson is a truck driver, and as you read this he’s probably running urgent equipment and supplies across the country to hospitals and doctors who are in dire need right now. He’s a true hero.

My rating: 5/5 zombie head shots!

Happy Release Day to Broken!

Wow, we are finally here, Broken, Book 2 of the Stolen series is now out in the world and I’m so excited (and nervous)!

We left Shaleigh off at a bit of a cliffhanger in a place that is definitely hostile and with an uncertain future. In Broken, things get darker as we follow both Shaleigh and Colin as they try to survive.

My publisher, Parliament House Press, has decided to lower the cost of all its ebooks to help support those who are struggling due to the coronavirus, and that includes both Stolen and Broken. Both books can be obtained for the low price of $0.99 right now. We all need books and the arts in general to help us through this difficult time right now, and all of the authors agreed that we wanted to help in any small way we could.

I hope you enjoy Broken! Stay safe out there and escape into a good book for a while. It’s certainly helped me lately.

Where to Find Stolen and Broken:

Stolen – Amazon

Broken – Amazon

Broken Paperback – The Parliament House