Research today and yesterday


In today’s world of the internet if we want to learn something most often we go right to Google and pull up links on whatever topic we are interested in. There is a lot of crap out there and a lot of wrong info but if you dig deep enough you find gems.

You hear constantly that research was better and more accurate in the days before the web. Take it from me that is not true. There were tons of books, written with a slant that was that of the ruling attitude of the times. But there were also a lot of interesting books to be read.

When I was a kid I was really interested in the stories of before times. Of how other cultures thought of how the world began, would end and of other creatures. In seventh grade I had one of the most amazingly dry history teachers of all time. His delivery of information was almost ponderous up till he started telling us about Egypt. Then he came alive with burning eyes. It was like being taught by a mummy that had come unwrapped to tell us all about the legends of his people. It was then I decided I wanted to be an Archaeologist.  This was long before I learned the difference between archaeologists, anthropologists, historians, archivists, etc. I believed until I was in my senior year of high school if I wanted to study the tales of other long gone cultures I would have to be an archaeologist. But in my senior year I was disabused of the dream of becoming one. First by teachers and counselors who pushed me into business classes and then by my mom telling me that college was too expensive and that I needed to make a living.

Now I know that there were a lot of scholarships, grants and loan systems out there that would have helped me go to school but no one at the time mentioned them to me. Now I know it was because I was both from the projects and a girl. They didn’t think I was right for the college world and that it was best I go to work right away. Or if I was to take classes it should be data entry (yes that was a field of study back then) or bookkeeping courses. I worked for years as a bookkeeper and did data entry but I continued to pick up books on whatever subject interested me.

For the types of books I was interested in going to the local library was really useless. As wonderful as the Nashua Public library was, it was lacking seriously in books on ancient cultures belief systems and the fiction I liked to read. So I turned to places like the new age book store that I found in western Mass when I was visiting friends. I got a lot of books that would be considered white light nut job stuff by some of the people I know back then. They told thing from a nontraditional slant which is just what I was looking for at the time.

Thankfully now we have many more ways to do research and cultures to research. Any of you who have actually read the stories and books I have put out will see the basis in ancient stories of my work. Everything from Celtic to Japanese to some of the native cultures of the North American continent.

Now what started this rambling blog post is I was sitting down reading a novel I downloaded from Amazon on a free offer.  Like my Death Walks Through stories this had a different take on the incarnation of Death. You don’t realize it through most of the novel because it is written richly with lots of understanding of the Navajo culture to it.

I was drawn into the take by the detail and the feel of the story. Unlike many other Urban Fantasies written in the 21st century this one was gentle in pacing and very respectful of both the Navajo and the white people in the story. While there was a pair of MIBs trying to get the mysterious item in the story, they were really the only cliche in the entire novel.

Research and an open mind gave this writer a novel that was quietly amazing. I plan on reviewing it up on Amazon later today. If you are interested in reading my reviews of books over there just look for Lisa Williamson. Though that can be confusing as there are two of us with that name who are publishing. I am NOT the one who wrote the book about a young woman, The Art of Being Normal. That is NOT mine. I write fantasy, etc.

 

Hello once more


Well as you know it has been a while since I wrote anything at all. Lots of reasons but the biggest for this blog is that I just haven’t had the drive to write. Generally I write something but for months now I have been unmotivated.

While my own personal work, books, stories, poetry, drabble and dribbles, etc are on the back burner but my mind keeps going. So how about we do more analysis of trends in fiction of all kinds.

As a fan of good characters I have been enjoying the current takes on Sherlock Holmes. In the past decade there are three different takes on This classic character. Yes I am talking about all three today. From Robert Downey Jr’s movie take to Benedict Cumberbatch’s British Sherlock and Johnny Lee Miller’s American take on the same character.

In each we see a different face on the classic character.  The modern takes are in many ways so much better because the character has become very three dimensional. He is no longer the two dimensional character of the 1800s. He no longer is just the cold, ex druggy with just one drive. Now we see the reasons behind how he became who he is. Why he had the drug habit, why he only seems to trust a very small amount of people and why he is willing to go to extremes.

Plus one of the best parts is that they have, in this current century, started to make the female characters three dimensional. The recent takes on Sherlock’s paramore, on Doctor Watson’s wife and on Mrs Hudson has been so very much fun to watch. No longer in modern fiction can we have half the population under explored and that makes for fine watching.

Now as a writer I have done my best to explore characters in many ways. Sherlock is not one I have tried other than in a video game. The Great Detective is of course the basis of many of the detectives we read, watch and play to this day.

 

 

The difficulty of picking a title


All writers know that we need a good title to catch the attention of our readers. After an eye catching cover, the title really brings people to at least take a moment to look at your book.

Now as many of you know I have been writing for a long time. Coming up with titles is a real pain. There are thousands of books out there, all using titles that you just might have wanted to use. What to do right? Searching every single e-retailer would make any author throw up their hands and just give up. Thing is you just can’t do that with every story you write. Think about it folks. The average novel writer might just put out one book every year or two, but those who write shorter fiction like I do would be going back and forth, changing their title a thousand times before they could publish.

As an example one of my earliest online stories was a Ranma 1/2 fan fiction that I titled Sins of the Father. Go to Amazon and you will easily pull up 20 pages of work with similar titles, 15 on the first page alone. They come from every single genre out there for sure.

Now I could go on and make a chart of how many other titles that I can used would have multiples but it would be depressing.

Random thoughts and babbles while having allergies


Well last night wasn’t fun. Like so many I have allergies. Woke up in the morning with congestion which moved on to a half head of pressure, then pain, nausea, light and sound sensitivity and lethargy. Made me not want to do much. Then when I finally gave in and took an allergy pill before bed, while the mind would not shut down! Lots of very weird and funky stuff would not stop till I got up and wrote them down. Here is what goes on in the mind of the Mad Writer when she can’t sleep.

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First a really bad poem

Summertime
sniffles abound
Alergies to what
Everything it seems

Restless
Can’t sleep
sun up too long
missing long cool nights
Can’t wait for fall

Lying in bed
pain in my head
tasting alergies
go to sleep you said

Wishing it was easy
only slightly less weezy
meds aren’t even helping
making me too cheesy

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Then this dribble

Bloody Annoying

I told him back off, leave me alone. If he had listened then I wouldn’t be watching as his blood pooled beneath him. Never say I am doing nothing and to make you a sandwich when I am writing. Really, just get up and do it yourself, stupid. Sorry dear.

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Then some various story ideas. From this one I am gonna call Zombies, Viruses and Mad Men

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It’s been ten years since everything collapsed. The old world ended pretty messily.
There were monsters of mankind’s making, both living and dead. Things were pretty bad for a long time, but nothing can last forever.

While the big cities had turned into wastelands or war zones, there were still places out in the world that were barely touched by the madness that had descended. Places that had been hidden so well that they looked like a part of the natural world around them. There were pocket valleys high in the mountains or small islands shrouded by mist on the big lakes. Small enclaves deep into the desserts where few went and even underground caverns that held groups who knew how to hide.

When what ever it was that animated the dead ran out, bodies covered the streets and fields where humanity used to be the thickest. Then came the year of disease. Those who had not succumbed to the viruses let loose by the governments and those thinking they would overthrow those governments changed. There were good, bad and truly evil left, but the numbers of humans dropped from seven billion to just under a million world wide.

I imagine there were places never touched by the plagues, places that the militias hadn’t risen or that the mafias hadn’t taken. I was young when it all went down, a mere child if you want the truth. Recounting how I survived the city after my mother had hidden me away before she had been taken by the gang is another tale, one I try not to remember. It took me a long few weeks to get past the men with guns during the day and the monsters at night.

Before it collapsed there were all kinds of theories. The most popular was of course the whole zombie/virus thing. So many thought they could just blow the heads off and they would survive.

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To the beginnings of a possible YA story

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I wanted to be a good daughter and support my parents, but the idea of switching school into a private academy one hundred miles from all my friends was bad enough. Being forced into wearing a uniform with knee socks and a little skirt? Well let me tell you I argued with my parents.

“Mom, come one! This is ridiculous!”

My mom just smile and shook her head. “It isn’t ridiculous persay, sweet heart.”

I tolled my eyes as I tried to tug the skirt down to show less leg. “Really, Mom? You would have never wore this…this!”

My mother chuckled even more before reaching behind me. “Well, I wouldn’t know about that.” She opened what I thought was just some boring old book and turned it toward me. “Open up to page 65, Sara.”

Out of curiosity I did and I swear my eyes near popped out of my head. There in living color was a picture of a much younger version of my mother dressed in the same uniform. She wore it with more style than I thought she had. I mean come on this is my mom. She usually was found dressed in jeans and a tshirt, yet she made that uniform look like something straight out of my favorite manga.

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You never know what might come out of my head at night. There was another bit but I dont share erotic content. Nope I write it down and sell it! Now here is hoping one of those two story bits turns into something more than a few paragraphs in a folder. Back to the salt mines

 

Been a while and look what happens


Hey you few brave and loyal blog readers. Yeah it has been a while. Life threw me a number of curveballs since last summer. The details are too many to go into but I apologize for not being a good little blogger/writer and keeping the world up to date.

Today I have seen one real sign of what happens when a writer drops out of sight for a while. When I googled myself I found that another Lisa Williamson who is a writer has taken over. Now what bugs me is a writer with just one book with the same name is a big name. Okay I am sure her book is a good one but really it is just a book about the current hot topic of transgender people.

First off, NOT ME. Those who have contacted me thinking I was her, sorry. I am a writer of short stories, flash fiction, poetry, novels and so much more. I write fantasy, science fiction, horror and paranormal romance. I try not to grab onto something that is the hot topic and write a tale. My stories are filled with wonder, magic and other worldliness along with real issues. My characters are diverse but I haven’t and dont plan on making a character who is focused on their sexuality. I write about issues that are old yet always new.

So if you read this thinking I was the Lisa Williamson who wrote, The Art of Being Normal, I’m sorry. You can find her other places. If you are on the other hand a fan of things like elves, dragons, guardians, wizards, witches and more? Well I am the author you are looking for.

I took off time after my last novel, A Fragile Peace, at first because I was burned out, but then for technical and yes health reasons. Now I am back to putting out work and I have released six collections of short stories and flash fictions, some that have bee seen before and some that have not. I am back to writing things both as Lisa Williamson and as LA Mason.  Hopefully totally new work with spark a resurgence of people reading my work.

Spring has sprung for real thankfully


Well I have been a both busy and lazy lately. Last week I just wasn’t feeling up to writing my blogs, instead I just read and read and read and read….yup did the thing that makes us the best of authors.

Every writer needs to read. Because we need to see what else is out there. Not just in the field we write but what else the world likes. Now we need to read not just our genre, but as many genres as we can. I tend to delve into fantasy, science fiction, romance, paranormal, mystery, western, the occasional biography, manga and of course comic books.

Yes folks I mentioned illustrated work. See the truth is manga and comic books is a great source of writing. While they don’t have to go into the world setting like we do, describing everything. They do have to give you depth to the characters to make you care enough to buy the next issue.

For example I will pick one of my all time favorite comic book series, Elfquest. Now I started reading this way way way back (1982) yes that far back. When it was coming out about three or four times a year in this huge format. It was stylish, intense and well written. The characters were very diverse (yes all those elves each had personalities) It dealt with racism, violence, love, tenderness and so much more. The fact that they are doing a current series that ties up many of the threads that have been made in the various issues shows how long a series can endure. The Pinis (author and artist) have taken us along for a very long ride and managed to keep us determined to read every last word.

As an author I only hope to write a story that can have people still reading it thirty years later. It is something I think most authors dream of. In this world of needing to sell the most, the biggest total we forget that we aren’t writing to make the most money, we are writing to tell a story and to hopefully find people who love our words.

I of course have been writing since I was young. With working on my oldest character’s next set of books, I am bringing people back around to reading a character who means a lot to me. Loralil is a huge part of me. While no, I am not a 4’10” sexy silver haired warrior/bard elf, I have grown as a person and a writer along with her. I have dealt with some of my own internal fears by writing her and I will continue to do so. Every writer will have that one character who means more to them than the rest. In my case it is her. So you gentle readers. Do any of you have characters the you find more Interesting than the rest?

How about we look at writing Irish?


Okay I know but today is St Patrick’s Day and all things Irish are getting their due. While we have things like Black History month and Hispanic Heritage month, those of us of Irish descent have only a day and it is a day for drunken revelry? Please!

As my readers know I am of Scot-Irish descent. Basically that means that in my family history a man from Scotland married a woman from Ireland. Yup, that is what we know. But because of that I have always been interested in Irish (and Scottish) folklore and characters.

Now it is most obvious in my book, The Traveler, which I am putting on discount starting today for the next month. I have Enya, a girl with a wee bit of a brogue and a Pooka. Pookas for those of you who don’t know are a type of fae. In specific they are a shapeshifting horse fae that has many different legends attached to them. The most common is their power to attract riders, use their magic to stick said rider to their back so that they could drown them.

Now I did not have my Pooka do that of course. The Traveler is a fantasy romance novel that I consider light and sweet. It is no where near as dark as my Loralil books but it does have the traditionally needed battle scenes and prophecy.

Now if you decide to write Irish characters you can’t just throw a bit of a brogue into the speech pattern of your characters. You need to remember that this very rich culture has many different creatures that have been used in fantasy and are greatly misinterpreted even today. Do your research.

One of the places I have on the computer for a go to is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_mythology

Of course you can just go to your search engine and type in Irish mythology or Irish myths and Legends. Now like everything on the web make sure you hit up more than one resource. You want as complete an idea as you can get.

One thing that might be fun is to look up the irish tartans. Yes I said Irish ones. A little known fact is that the Scottish are not the only people who had clan plaids. Now this is a bit harder to research but it will give your character a bit more of distinction. Even if you are writing an urban fantasy and only have your character wearing a tie or a scarf you will be adding a touch to make your story richer.

Blessed Yule, Happy Chanukah, merry Christmas…or whatever you follow


Yup the week of the holidays is upon us. There is so much going on right now that the little things get lost. As a writer I try to spend my time paying attention to the little things. Tales from cultures not mine, the beauty of the winter world around me. Lots of interesting things to write about and to read.

While I put out a holiday collection and I am part of a holiday anthology, it is not the best part of the holidays for me. Decorating and baking and making chocolates and of course giving gifts to those I love is what this holiday is about.

So since my daughter is on school vacation for the next two weeks, I will probably not get a lot of writing done. I plan on taking this time to work out which of my works in progress to dive into for the upcoming year.

Have a good holiday everyone and next week I will go over how my year has been as an indie author in 2014.

And a second annoucement


As a writer I know just how important marketing is. So today I am going to be doing more than one blog here. The first was for the raffle copter but this one is a different animal all together. So here is what I was sent by the wonderful Natasha Johnstone

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Blurb

Silka Fontein was a typical rich little girl until she disappeared 15 years ago, right after her high school graduation after party. What happened to her? No one knows where she went to or why she had left so suddenly. Now, after all these years she returns home, different and completely changed, with secrets so deadly that everyone’s lives are in danger!
She reunites with Taber Blake, her childhood friend turned quintessential playboy. As they fight their unexpected attraction for one another, a series of action packed events have them fighting for their lives. It is then that Taber’s own lethal secrets are exposed in the process. Will their attraction be enough to survive the truth?

This mish-mash of action, adventure, comedy, romance, mystery, suspense and drama is spy thrilling, spine chilling read bound to keep you begging for more! Available in an Adult or PG rated version, you will have no reason not escape into their world and hearts.

Author Bio

Ash was born on Christmas Day 1974. So started a life of “Merry Christmas…And oh! Happy Birthday too.” Before you say, “Aw Shame” and break out the tissues, please know that Ash is a Christmas Diva! There are always two presents …or else!

Reading and writing was a big part of Ash’s life growing up. Being a typical rebel, rather than joining the cut-throat corporate world after graduating, Ash became a vegetarian hippie instead and went into the gardening/ nursery business. The irony of a vegetarian “plant lover” is still lost this award winning Horticulturist to this day.
Ash traded comfortable hemp attire for corporate cotton later on and became the Purchasing Manager for McDonald’s Asia, Pacific, Middle East and Africa region. These days neither the high flying corporate Exec or the vegetarian hippie exist, but rather the family orientated book lover with not so much spare time to read anymore.

The eternal rebel loves to connect with fans (or “Stoneys!” as they are lovingly referred to). So, go on and stalk away, you rebel you!
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Excerpt

She sat looking at him, gently sipping her coffee, smiling slightly and slowly blinking. She had always been confident, but he had never thought of that confidence as being sexy. To him her confidence was arrogance when he was young. Since he had become an adult he realized how wrong he had been. The caliber of women he dated was far from confident, trusting or loyal. They were insecure, jealous, whiney, clingy little girls that loved him only as long as his credit cards were at their disposal.
Which reminded him: “How did you get Amber so spot on? She was highly impressed with you.”
Silka gave a huge grin.
“I had my fair share of gold diggers. Amber will be anything and everything you want her to be, until the day you marry her. That is when you will see her true colors.” She suddenly realized that this was nothing new to him, although he looked as if he had just discovered a turd in his coffee. He leaned back in his chair.
“What have you been up to all these years?” he asked boldly.
“Why don’t you tell me about your side first?” she requested looking as if she could melt a polar ice cap.
“Fine. Graduated high school, obviously, fulfilled other obligations, spent a gap year traveling the world, finished university and then went to work for my dad. Spill it!” he shot a challenging look back at her as he turned the tables.
“Love to, but I am running late for work,” she said glancing at her watch. He paused for a second.
“Very well,” he smiled smoothly. As they stood up, he followed her towards the door. “Same time tomorrow?” he asked.
“Only if I get the next round. Thank you for the coffee.”
“Not a problem,” he said as they stepped onto the pavement. For a moment they stood there staring at each other. She smiled suddenly, and turned to cross the road.
“Bye, Tay.”
“Bye, Silly,” he yelled back. Sure enough he stood there watching her glide into the building across the street.
Climbing into the back of his chauffeur driven car, Taber wondered if she had taken offense at the mention of the name he used to pull out of the box regularly to rile her up. It got her every time.
Silka used to hate being called Silly. She hadn’t heard that name in ages. It used to make her angry, but hearing it out of his gorgeous mouth today made her smile. His mouth was all she could think of as she headed out the elevator, into the parking garage, and drove out to the place she really worked at, in the outskirts of town, in a car that was not really hers, no less.

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So folks, follow the links. There is a lot of wonderful stuff to be found there and enjoy the holidays!

The difference a page makes


As a writer of short stories I am always looking for places to publish my work. Mostly I have wisely published them myself on the ebook retailers out there. With the amount of work I have out there now I have of course decided to combine them together into collections.

But with the growth of sites all over looking for flash fiction I thought I would try a couple of them myself. In most cases they accept your work and put them up for people to read. And of course in most cases I send them things that have not been published before but I have in fact send a couple of my published tales over to the site Quarterreads.com

Now I am very confused about this site. They want poetry and stories under two thousand words, which I can do of course. I have one tale that they have accepted and no one seems to look at (you can see it here)

https://quarterreads.com/story.php?id=121

Once I got the first one up I decided to toss over a handful more of my work. Some poems and quickie flash fictions, which are under five hundred words. Every one of them were rejected for being too short! They actually said that the work submitted were unfinished…which is so wrong.

Okay now that confused me. See any of you who have read my poetry collections know that I write short free verse poetry. In most cases the poetry is only eight to twelve lines long and are COMPLETE! Same with the quickie fiction I posted. These are quickie, tales meant to be under 500 words.

Well okay I thought, maybe i need to send them over something longer. I looked over my published tales and decided to send them Partings and Twas the Night. A ghost story that has been edited over and over to the form it is now and a science fiction Christmas tale that again, edited and complete.  Well today I got an email again stating that they need editing and to be COMPLETED! Really? This has made me decide to give this place a skip. If a tale that has nine reviews on Amazon that are four and five stars then I would say they just don’t like my style and wish them a lot of business and luck. The concept of having flash fictions and short short stories up for sale for a quarter a read is a great idea but it looks like I don’t fit their idea of stories.