Archive for the ‘#openbook’ Tag

Personhood   4 comments

January 13, 2020

Your characters have been placed in Witness Protection. What three truths about themselves do they want to keep?

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Boomerang Ideas

This is an interesting topic. Someone else sent it to me and I submitted it to our fearless leader PJ MacLayne, not expecting her to decide to use it immediately. YIKES!

Transformation Project

I can’t think of any of my characters who would enter the actual Witness Protection program because most of the people entering that are criminals who have rolled over on other criminals. Some of my characters aren’t as pure as the fresh-driven snow, but none of them are rolling over on the Bononno family. I really had to think long about this question.

Spies Live a Similar Life

I have characters who have changed their identities to go undercover working for the government. Shane Delaney is also Eric Faraday and Joel Rhys. He lived for four years as Eric “Ric” Faraday while Joel Rhys was a paper identity to hide his assets. As “Eric”, Shane kept a lot of his past identity. He was vague about what state he grew up in (somewhere in the Midwest to explain his accent) and he just didn’t say the names of family. But he kept that he’d graduated from Embry-Riddle with a degree in aeronautical engineering. His name was a compilation of his real middle name and his mother’s maiden name, chosen for the ease of remembering them. Shane explains to someone who was a friend during his undercover days who has discovered his real identity “I didn’t lie much beyond my name because the more lies you tell, the harder it is to keep it all straight.”

Returning to Real Life

Javier Chavez is also Francis Xavier and Martin Pulgarin. Javi was much further undercover with some really dangerous people. Francis Xavier was technically a terrorist because terrorists only allow other terrorists to get close enough to collect information on their terrorist activities. Javier kept almost none of his identity for that role — his age and his gender — because those are hard to change and fairly intrinsic to who most people are.

His next identity of Martin Pulgarin didn’t last long and he added being a Spanish speaker. Now that he’s decided to be Javier Chavez (his real name) it is a bit like being in Witness Protection because he hasn’t been Javier Chavez in more than a decade and even that identity is pretty thin. He grew up with no family, an orphan in foster care with a string of custodians. He barely remembers his parents and has had limited romantic relationships. He isn’t sure what he values now that his job as a spy is over. He’s building a brand-new identity, made more poignant because he’s going blind and he may have found a woman who seems to accept him for who he has never had a chance to be.

Currently, he’s keeping a few things. He’s a male in his early-to-mid thirties. He’s keeping his name because he’s come to realize that living lies has negative consequences. Speaking Spanish is the one thing he got from his parents and it’s a valuable skill he can still use when he can’t see. Another tenuous connection he’s keeping is Ami, his lover. Is he keeping her because he loves her or because he’s going to need her help when he can’t see at all? Well, we’ll find out when the time comes. And because I am a discovery writer, I don’t actually know that answer. I’m not even sure why he’s going blind. I know the science behind his medical condition, but I don’t yet know the story purpose behind his blindness. I’m pretty sure if Javi could vote on it, it wouldn’t be his choice to give up his eyesight to become a new person.

Asking Myself

This topic forced me to ask questions of myself — what would I keep if I were forced to forge a new identity. My answers are different from what my characters answered and that’s important because my characters aren’t me. They’re merely the voices in my head that want their stories told.

Reflection Time   4 comments

December 30, 2019

Do your characters celebrate New Years’ and if so, how? If not, why not?

Fairbanks Sparktacular

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A Word from the History/Philosophy Geek

As the world counts down to midnight, we’re turning our blogs toward the subject of the New Year and celebrations our characters might engage in.

Historically, the new year wasn’t always on Jan. 1, and still isn’t in some cultures.

The ancient Mesopotamians celebrated their 12-day-long New Year’s festival of Akitu on the vernal equinox, while the Greeks partied around the winter solstice, on Dec. 20. The Roman historian Censorius reported that the Egyptians celebrated another lap around the sun on July 20. During the Roman era, March marked the beginning of the calendar. Then, in 46 B.C., Julius Caesar created the Julian calendar, which set the new year when it is celebrated today. That didn’t standardize the day. New Year’s celebrations continued to drift back and forth in the calendar, even landing on Christmas Day at some points, until Pope Gregory XIII implemented the Gregorian calendar in 1582, which was an attempt to make the calendar stop wandering with the seasons.

Though the selection of the new year is essentially arbitrary from a planetary perspective, there is one noteworthy astronomical event that occurs around this time: The Earth is closest to the sun in early January, a point known as the perihelion.

Nowadays, Jan. 1 is almost universally recognized as the beginning of the new year, though there are a few holdouts: Afghanistan, Ethiopian, Iran, Nepal and Saudi Arabia rely on their own calendars. Different religions also celebrate their New Year’s at different times. For instance, the Jewish calendar is lunar, and its New Year’s festival, Rosh Hashanah, is typically celebrated between September and October. The Islamic calendar is also lunar, and the timing of the new year can drift significantly (In 2008, the Islamic New Year was celebrated on Dec. 29, while it fell on Sept. 22 in 2017). The Chinese calendar is also lunar, but the Chinese New Year falls between Jan. 21 and Feb. 20.

Why does the start of the new year carry such special symbolism that its celebration is practically universal? Behavior this ubiquitous must surely be tied to something intrinsic in the human animal, something profoundly meaningful and important, given all the energy and resources we invest not just in the celebration but also in our efforts to make good on a fresh set of resolutions, even though we mostly fail to keep them. It may be that the symbolism we attach to this moment is rooted in one of the most powerful motivations of all: survival.

Human beings love to party and we seem to enjoy patterns. As our birthdays do, New Year’s Day provides us the chance to celebrate having made it through another 365 days, the unit of time by which we keep chronological score of our lives. Another year over, and we’re still here! Time to raise our glasses and toast our survival.

Resolutions are about survival, too—living healthier, better, longer? New Year’s resolutions are examples of the universal human desire to have some control over the future that is unsettling and unknowable. To counter that worrisome powerlessness, we do things to take control. We resolve to diet, exercise, quit smoking, and to start saving. Committing to them, at least for a moment, gives us a feeling of more control over the uncertain days to come.

There are hundreds of good-luck rituals woven among New Year celebrations, also practiced in the name of exercising a little control over fate. The Dutch, for whom the circle is a symbol of success, eat donuts. Greeks bake special Vassilopitta cake with a coin inside, bestowing good luck in the coming year on whoever finds it in his or her slice. Fireworks on New Year’s Eve started in China millennia ago as a way to chase off evil spirits. The Japanese hold New Year’s Bonenkai, or “forget-the-year parties,” to bid farewell to the problems and concerns of the past year and prepare for a better new one. Disagreements and misunderstandings between people are supposed to be resolved, and grudges set aside. In a New Year’s ritual for many cultures, houses are scrubbed to sweep out the bad vibes and make room for better ones (which was also the connection to bringing evergreens into our houses back in the Celtic era).

A lot of evangelical Christians I know celebrate New Years with a “watch night.” They get together to eat massive amounts of food, play games, shoot off fireworks, stand around a bonfire and pray for their family, friends, community, state, nation and the world.

Everywhere, New Year’s is a moment to consider our weaknesses, mull over how we might reduce the vulnerabilities they pose, and to do something about the scary powerlessness that comes from thinking about the unsettling unknown of what lies ahead. As common as these shared behaviors are across both history and culture, it’s fascinating to realize that the special ways that people note this unique passage of one day into the next are probably all manifestations of the human animal’s fundamental imperative for survival.

First, not all my characters celebrate modern holidays

In Daermad Cycle, no, my Celdryans (descendants of Celts) do not celebrate New Year’s like Americans and Europeans do. Although the Romans (they call them Rawmanes) of their era would have celebrated something like New Year’s midwinter, they were not thoroughly romanized before they left Europe to somehow find their way to Daermad and found the kingdom of Celdryan. In thoroughly Celtic fashion, the Celdryans celebrate their “new year” in November and they call it Samhain. There are elements of Dia de le Morte in their worship – they believe the dead walk on Samhain.

The Kin (an indigenous people who live nearby) celebrate the winter and summer solstices and consider the winter solstice to be the start of their new year. Their culture is one of laughter, dance and community, so the solstice is just a larger gathering of laughing people and dancing, although they also use it as a time to record the year’s events and the memorialize prior year’s events.

What Happens in Kansas

Shifting my attention to Transformation Project — the story is set in modern America the day after tomorrow following a series of terrorism attacks that have devastated the government and much of society. I focus on a small town in the Midwest that keeps surviving by sheer grit, innovation and faith.

Of course they still “celebrate” the holidays they were used to. In Gathering In (the most recent book in the series) the Delaney family gathered for Thanksgiving and their annual tradition of saying what each person is grateful for in the midst of death and destruction took on new and poignant meaning. When 30 million people died around you recently, your definition of gratitude changes dramatically.

In “Winter’s Reckoning” (the next as-yet-unpublished book in the series) the family gathers for New Year’s Eve. They are a largely evangelical family living in a conservative town. Shane is an agnostic bordering on atheism and some of the adopted family members may not have as deep a faith, but the Delaneys are mostly church-going people. When they gather for a celebration of New Year’s, there will be a faith-based focus. The town is running low on food and medicine and their hopeful view from Thanksgiving seems misplaced. The Delaneys lost a family member at the end of Gathering In and a member of the household is recovering from serious injuries in the next room, so they keep it low key – a Dungeons and Dragons campaign, hot tea, popcorn and toast, and good company. Certainly they’re going to pray for their community and the larger situation. Will also they review the year past and consider the future? That would have been part of the watch night in previous years, but are they brave enough to do that in the midst of an overwhelming disaster? Do they want to consider how they contributed to it or what it’s going to take to recover from it? The characters haven’t told me what they’re going to do yet.

A Holiday Dedicated to Drinking

From the very first book in the series, I established Rob Delaney is a recovering alcoholic. It’s just a part of his life and it’s not central to the story. At the end of Gathering In, he might have been headed toward a relapse. As I write the story of that first New Years since the end of the world as they knew it, I pause to consider if Rob might struggle with a holiday dedicated to getting drunk. While those of us who don’t have a problem with alcohol thoroughly enjoy ourselves, we may well be torturing people who can’t safely participate.

Bright Lights & Big Booms

Fireworks are an amazing thing and here in Fairbanks, Alaska, New Years is the only time we can really enjoy them. Memorial Day, the 4th of July and Labor Day never get dark enough at night to do justice to brightly colored lights in the sky and we risk setting the forests on fire. But New Year’s Eve, we have a huge community-wide fireworks display and then tons of little ones done by ordinary people funding North Pole Christian School by patronizing its fireworks booth. The night is 18 hours long and fireworks don’t still have enough heat when they hit the ground to set anything on fire. We can enjoy in freedom and without fear.

I wanted to include some fireworks in the New Year’s celebration in Emmaus, Kansas, because fireworks are a quintessentially American way to celebrate New Years. And, truthfully, what are the use of fireworks during an apocalyptic situation? I suppose you could collect all that black powder into a massive bomb, but practically, their best use is to brighten a dark night make even darker by human evil to other humans.

I didn’t even know I considered fireworks to be a sign of hope until I started writing it, but I really didn’t know the side effect of fireworks. Yes, hope for those who don’t suffer PTSD, but when I get into the head of my characters, they tell me their stories. In Transformation Project, a few of my characters have been to war and when one of them said “incoming,” I was struck by what exploding artillery shells over your house roof must do to veterans.

A Timely Prompt

Sometimes a blog prompt will cause me to consider deeper questions than I might otherwise have thought about when writing a scene. This week’s prompt came at a time when I’m already thinking of New Year’s and so, more work for me, but a better book, no doubt.

I wonder what my fellow blog hoppers are thinking.

Posted December 30, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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Lessons Learned #OpenBook Blog Hop   Leave a comment

December 23, 2019 How did publishing your first book change your process of writing? I started a list of everything that changed about my writing after publishing my first book, and realized this p…

Source: Lessons Learned #OpenBook Blog Hop

Posted December 23, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in #openbook

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Blog Hopping Everything must Change.   Leave a comment

Richard Dee talks about how his writing process changed after he published his first book.

Posted December 23, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in #openbook

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Time's The Thing   9 comments

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

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Introducing My Process

Writers are as individual as snowflakes. We each follow our own writing process, often born from natural routines that just “feel” right to us. No two people write the same way.

I am definitely a discovery writer — what some people call a pantser. I don’t enjoy organizing a story and knowing where the plot is going before I get there. It’s not my process.

When I wrote The Willow Branch, it was part of a longer manuscript that I broke down into smaller novels. It took me 15 years of writing to get to a point where I knew how the story would end and felt I could publish the novel.

Clearly, my writing processes has changed since I published that first novel. I have two series in process and am about to launch a third.

Yet, I remain a discovery writer.

What’s changed?

In some ways, nothing has changed. I’m still a discovery writer whose characters tell me their stories and I write them down. Now that I’m writing for an audience instead of for my own entertainment, I set deadlines for myself. If I’m going to publish at least one novel a year, plus probably a short for an anthology, I can’t waste a lot of time being nonproductive.

I’ve never had any trouble with ideas. Inspiration is all around me – from routine situations I see in a new way, a childhood memory I’m coming to grips with, or a conversation I overhear on an elevator. My imagination takes flight whenever I’m not actively engaged in conversation with someone else. If I contemplate something for a while, a character will often start telling me the story of how they interact with that idea or event. I feel compelled to write it down. Their stories are the essence of my novels.

The problem with character-driven discovery writing is I used to never know what was going to happen in the plot of a story until I wrote it.

Obviously, that was going to work for publishing a series

Writing a series takes some organization and long-form planning, kind of like piecing together a puzzle. I actually know how Transformation Project will end. I have the broad outline of the series in hand. Each book just fills in between the major plot points. I never did that before I published a book and then thought “Wait, there’s an audience that’s going to want the next books and remember how you felt when a novelist seemed to get distracted and not come out with the next installment for a half-decade. Don’t be that writer.”

Writing Faster

My plans are broad and each book just fills in between the major plot points which are already known. I’m ready to start writing a single novel in one of my series. I used to not care about word count, but now I have to keep it in view. I can still allow myself to wander off topic a bit — to allow a bit of free writing — but I know I need to provide myself with direction and not allow too much distraction. Writing is a regular part of my day. I still take breaks when I need to, but I know I can’t play around too long or I’ll find myself stressed out in a few months when I’m staring at a deadline that’s about to munch me.

Then Come Revision

I didn’t used to be really concerned with revising. Back when I was writing for my own entertainment, revision wasn’t a major part of my writing process because I could just keep writing and add whatever I wanted to write with no concern whatsoever about what anyone else might think of the story. Now, I need to pay attention to what someone else might think of what I’m writing.

The average novel has between 60,000 and 100,000 words. Some books are too short and others are too long. I want to hit the sweet spot where my readers are well-satisfied, but not bored, where they get all the information they need without feeling overwhelmed. Sometime when I finish a rough draft and I take a good long look at the manuscript, I feel there’s something missing that needs to be added in. Other times, I have to remove details because they’re just too much, extraneous or repetitive. Sometimes I move scenes or dialogue around to improve the pacing of the story.

Editing

I really treat revising and editing as one whole process. I know some people take it as two separate processes, but I check for grammar, spelling, punctuation while I’m also revising. As the revision process goes along, I revise less and edit more. I reach for finer and finer grades of editing. One of my last steps is to listen to the manuscript read aloud. I take advice from beta readers and an editor.

Cover Design

This is something that has definitely changed since I published my first novel. My daughter is an artist and she designed the cover for The Willow Branch. It was a lovely cover, but an electrical storm fried my zip drive during a back up and wiped out my cover images, and she wasn’t available to recreate it. She recommended I work with a friend of hers, who encouraged me to design my own cover. He taught me how to use photo-editing software and introduced me to sources. And I played and made a lot of bad covers before I started to make good ones. I’m not really an artist, but my daughter points out that I did okay in college art classes and the art of making covers is really the same technique as making collages.

Then Comes Publishing

I don’t consider publishing to be a part of my writing process. There’s some who would say designing a cover falls under publishing, but I generally start working on the cover early in the writing process, so I include it there.

I’m a soup-to-nuts independent writer, so I have my fingers in every aspect of the writing and publishing process. In my journalism days, we still did typography by hand, so I do the formatting and the layout,

The Main Change

Time. I now know there’s a clock on my production. I try to produce a reasonable word count every day, although I don’t worry if I take a couple of days off occasionally. My goal is to write between a 60-80,000 manuscript in three months, so I can work on other projects during the down times and still have about three months for editing, betas, more editing and formatting.

I find as I work on books that I’m really enjoying the process of completing a book on a deadline. It’s a challenge that I wouldn’t have seen me taking to back when I published The Willow Branch five years ago, but now it’s fun and there’s a sense of accomplishment from knowing I can actually do that, while still being true to my characters and the stories they tell me.

Posted December 23, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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Whatever It Takes   5 comments

What are the most important resources for writers? (Magazines, books, websites, etc.)

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Most Important? For All Writers?

I’m not sure I can answer this question for ALL writers and there are a whole range of resources that are ALL intermittently important. I know what resources are important to me more often than other resources.

Does Anyone Still Read Magazines?

Magazines are certainly the listed resource I use the least. They’re expensive, for one thing. Average magazine at Barnes & Noble is almost as expensive as a discount paperback. The fact that there is a whole section of magazines at the store suggests someone reads them, but I rarely see a lot of people in that section. And, it costs a lot of money to read usually one worthwhile article per issue, so I don’t use them as often as I used to.

That said, my book Hullabaloo on Main Street was almost entirely inspired by a magazine article I read right after the 2016 presidential election. Note that link leads to the article hosted on the internet.

Books Are Better

I read a lot of books. I get a lot of ideas from the books I read. Books allow a long-form exploration of certain topics. And they last. Some of the books I’ve read were published hundreds of years ago. Brilliant ideas wear well. They may never have been super popular ideas. They may not have captured the attention of a huge slice of the population. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t brilliant ideas that have stood the test of time. My husband will tell you that I am a book addict. He has occasionally threatened to stage an intervention, but both our offspring and most of our friends are readers, so refuse to see where there might be a problem with groaning book shelves. And, then there’s my online book collection.

Newspapers Are Still Around

Like magazines, newspapers are kind of a dying breed, but I get a lot of inspiration sometimes just scanning the front page of our local newspaper, which I still have an online subscription to. Because I’m writing “day-after-tomorrow” apocalyptic, the news of the day can be very informative. In some ways, I wish I hadn’t killed off President Dobson in Transformation Project in the first book. Impeachment would be a fun topic to pursue as a societal destabilizer.

Knowledge at Your Fingertips

The Internet is like having the world’s brain in your pocket. More or less instant contact with a huge range of information curated by a vast array of people with diverse points of view. Even the wrong information can be helpful if you want your characters to disagree with one another sometimes.

To date, I’ve studied or deepened my knowledge of corn farming, airplane flying, suitcase nukes, coal mining, rock climbing, the history of the Wyandot tribe, a couple of small towns in Kansas, hypothermia, the streetscape of several US cities, and hundreds of other topics using the Internet. I’ve found many of those old books on the Web.

The Internet very much improves the lives of writers who need knowledge on a diverse range of topics.

Don’t Forget People

Writing can be a solitary enterprise and many authors prefer to dwell in the world inhabited by our imaginary friends, but there’s a wealth of information in the heads of your fellow real humans too.

My friend Ray knows everything that is to know about guns. He can even talk about guns that have been out of production since the Revolutionary War. Why wouldn’t I use that resources to inform the gun-toting habits of the people of Emmaus in Transformation Project.

There’s a lot of veterans in my hometown and I have managed not to piss off some of them with the view that they chose a profession with the unitary goal of subjugating everyone and killing those that resist. So, of course, I ask them questions and use their answers.

My mom was a true horse-woman, having grown up on a North Dakota farm during the Depression, when horses were still used for plowing. I also have a few friends who remain horse owners (or are they owned by their horses?). Daermad Cycle is a pre-combustion engine society, so talking with people who know something about horses is useful. The side benefit is they usually let me ride their horses so I can understand what they mean by their terms.

A good friend of ours did four years in Alaska prison for manslaughter. He is not the inspiration for my returning felon story, but he is a source of a lot of the emotions and experiences of the main character. I thank Bern for his willingness to share what I know is a time in his life he’d just like to forget … and can’t.

I live in a college town and sometimes it’s helpful to talk to scientists about topics – they are subject matter experts. It’s useful to talk to the engineers at work about how things work. After 15 years working for a social work agency, I have several friends who are experts on PTSD, which Shane Delaney in Transformation Project suffers from. There are so many subject matter experts that many of us don’t even recognize, sometimes living right next door to us.

It’s A Holistic Approach

Like so many things in life, it takes variety to make a whole. Whatever works for you may not work for me and depending on what I’m writing, different resources may be needed. I wonder what my fellow blog-hoppers think on this topic.

Posted December 16, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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Meet Shane Delaney   8 comments

Interview one of your characters. Introduce them to a new audience or give existing readers new insight into their motivations.

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Getting to Know My Characters

I’ll be honest. I don’t do character interviews. I know authors who swear by them, but I prefer to get to know my characters in a more organic way. I’ve almost never interviewed my friends, either (exceptions have been made when they’re subject-matter experts). I get to know them by hanging out with them and listening to what they have to say or observing what they do in particular situations.

This is also how I get to know my characters. They tell me their stories. I write them down. Often, they talk to me during odd times — hopefully not in a meeting at work where I’m supposed to be paying attention or church (ditto). It’s just organic and free-form. I don’t seek out the communication. It just is. I think if I asked my characters questions, they might stop talking to me. And, trust me, I don’t want any of them to do that in the middle of a book series.

BUT …

I decided to give it a try and see where it led me. I put out six questions and just invited the characters to answer them. And here you go. I’m really surprised Shane Delaney chose to answer the questions. I really expected either Cai or one of the women to bite on the topic. Shane isn’t particularly friendly or communicative even with other characters in Transformation Project.

A Brief Overview of Shane Delaney

Shane Delaney is 27 years old, a former mercenary who came home to rest after some devastating emotional trauma while on overseas duty. Even five books in the series, you don’t know what that trauma was because he doesn’t want to deal with it. Book Six (Winter’s Reckoning) spends a lot of time in Shane’s head, so there may be answers soon.

He is one of the main characters in Transformation Project and starts Book 1 (Life as We Knew It) with his own gun in his mouth. His depression and PTSD take the form of being irritable, not sleeping, and having nightmares, and his treatment for it is constant motion. As long as he’s focused on worthwhile goals, like saving the town, he’s functional. Let things get quiet, though, and he starts to nosedive. In terms of where the series is headed for this character … winter’s coming and at the end of Gathering In, Shane suffered a big loss, so you can maybe guess at the general trend for his life. But right now, he doesn’t know that.

What do you carry in your pockets/duffel bag?

You mean, my go-bag? A change of clothes, between 3 and 10 spare 9mm ammo mags (fully loaded 14 rounds, of course), a box of 45 shells for my backup weapon, extra sets of identification, a hunting knife, rope, a tarp, a windproof lighter, a box of tinder, backup batteries for my notebook computer and my work cell, extra charge cords for both, a double handful of Power Bars and a couple of canteens of water. I might also have a sleeping bag, hat, gloves and a coat if it’s winter.

On my person, I carry my current set of identification, my cell, the keys to whatever vehicle I’m driving, my 9mm and, usually, a set of zip-tie handcuffs. I might also carry a hunting knife.

How do you feel about your home/living space?

Wow, that concept of home — that’s — it’s been a while. I guess my folks’ house is my home. I used to feel safe there. I don’t know if I’ll ever feel safe anywhere again, but it’s the closest I come now. The people I love are there. If they weren’t – burn it to the ground. Who cares about a soul-less shell of wood? You know?

What early event shaped you the most?

When I was 13, I got bucked by a horse. A rattler spooked him and he bolted, swiped me off on a live-oak tree. I was miles from town with a dislocated shoulder and some broken ribs. My folks weren’t expecting me back for a couple of days and they aren’t the type to act on their worry over me, so I knew I was in trouble. When the horse circled back, I dragged myself back into the saddle and rode into town. I was just about unconscious when I rode up to the house and fell out of the saddle onto the lawn. I kind of learned never to give up from that. Pain is almost never as bad as you think it is. You can go forward if you just get up and move. Collapse when you get to a safe place.

Where is your favorite place and why?

The pilot’s seat of a small plane on the leading edge of a storm front. I’m in complete control in a beautiful dangerous situation. You can feel the buzz of the lightning’s electricity through the airframe, but it can’t kill you because you’re not grounded. I love that feeling of being tossed around by a force greater than myself, knowing that there’s a slim chance it could kill me, but completely sure I have the skills to live through it. I savor that juxtaposition of peril and control. It’s like balancing on a knife edge – an electrified knife’s edge.

What are your most important values?

Family, friends, loyalty, stubbornness, courage and a sense of realism. There’s no need for untoward pessimism in most of life, but I don’t believe in sugar-coating things either. Optimism is a mental illness, in my opinion.

What emotion/feeling are you afraid to experience?

Those come in plural, don’t you know.

I’m terrified of grownup love. I lost someone and I don’t ever want to feel that way again. In fact, I’m pretty sure I won’t survive it next time. I won’t want to.

Helplessness kills me. As long as I can respond to something — even if I’m responding wrongly – I feel like I can fix whatever is wrong. But if I’ve been rendered impotent – unable — I just can’t do that.

That’s why grief is so hard for me. I can’t fix death. I can’t shoot it or punch it in the nose. I can’t bargain with it. But six weeks ago, 30 million people died in a holocaust and now the people around me are dying. I know grief is coming and … yeah, I’m scared witless.

A word from the author …

Shane Delaney is part of an ensemble cast of characters in the Transformation Project series. Come get to know them.

Posted December 9, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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