Aug.16

In Pursuit of a Latin Romance…

One of my very first experiences with stories of romance was through the Spanish soap operas called Novelas. Night after night, I would see my grandmother sit in front of the TV, enthralled by episodes of desire, heartache, loss and redemption.

These tales of beautiful women and the über masculine men who loved them, held a draw like no other. They built within me an image of an ideal romance in which the heroine is swept up by a dark and muscular man whose passionate words and fiery kisses would leave her breathless.

For me, growing up in a bilingual household, I have always lived in between both the Spanish and English language. But for me the language of romance has always been in Spanish. I would return to those first images of the smoldering embraces where he whispers endearments, calling his love, “Mi cielo,” my heaven, or professes his undying love as he calls her, “Mi vida,” my life.   But the one that still gets me every time is, “Mi tesoro,” my treasure, spoken with a roll of the tongue.

Those novelas shaped my internal vision of romance. As I got older and discovered the wonderful and amazing stories within romance novels, I looked for stories that reflected my ideal romance. I still longed to become drawn into stories laced with those Spanish endearments. I wanted the heroines to look like the women I grew up with. I wanted heroes with dark features and bronzed skin. Those stories, however, have been rather elusive.

In my quest for stories of Latin romance, I in turn discovered my own passion as a writer. I write stories with heroines that look and speak as I do. And of course with heroes that rumble deep throated words of romance in Spanish. I fill my pages with my ideal romance, stories with touch of Latin passion in them.

Uncategorized

Jul.17

On Writing…Connections

As writers there are any number of books, articles and blogs that look to give the tips and tricks for cultivating a successful writing career. One tip I have come across numerous times is to join a writer’s group. For some, the mere mention of walking into to a group of other writers and sharing your work has been known to induce a cold sweat and clammy hands; its fear factor second behind pitching your work for the first time.

The first group I joined consisted of 8 women I had either never met or had met, once or twice before. Not exactly the most ideal way to ease into sharing your work, but I figured if I was going to join a group I would go with the first opportunity. So off I went, feet first over the edge.

Now generally, I am able to talk in front of people and convey my opinions with confidence and ease. Then it was my turn to share the piece I was working on and I became a wreck. As I read, I flushed to a shade somewhere between crimson and purple and my voice quivered so badly I sounded like a scared goat. It was definitely not my shining moment.

But as the weeks stretched to months, we built a connection. I began to seek out these women for not just their feedback on my writing but for their support. We were all striving to a common dream of being writers. Family and friends are definitely a support, but it is the person that has lost sleep over a sentence, or has faltered in the face of a deadline and a glaring blank page, that will truly connect with our angst.   When I’d become frustrated and discouraged, they would not tell me, “You’re working too hard, just take a break.” They would rally to push me forward and help me find my way back on track.

Sadly, time and circumstance got in the way and that writers group disbanded. But I recently had dinner with several of the women. In that room the same energy surged and we found our connection was still there. We went around the room and spoke of recent pitfalls and triumphs and it was magical. A great writers group will become more than getting someone to help you with an awkward sentence here or there. Once you find the one that’s right for you (not all groups will suit), it will become a support and connection, that as a writer, you will not want to be without.

Self Discovery,Challenges,Motivation,Writing,On Writing

Jul.02

What The Wall Has Taught Me

The first half of the year is done, and what have I learned from it?

I’ve learned that hitting the wall hurts, and hitting it more than once leaves a bruise.   But, in the healing I have found my resilience.

There has been a significant learning curve for me.   My passion and belief in myself as a writer and artist is what has kept me rising from the dust and ashes again and again.

Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls. -Joseph Campbell
These months have taught me that my creativity requires me to use a more tactile and basic technique. For me, the creative process must begin with no more than a pen and paper.  I must start with these basic tools before I can even attempt to sit before the canvas or a keyboard.   Attempting to follow the methods and structures of others has failed me time and time again.  But in this approach I found I can be consistent.

So, maybe for you, my dear Constant Reader, this year has been filled with the sort of magical kismet that has the stars aligning to present one opportunity after the other for you.   Or, if your year has been more like my own, you have found yourself standing in full dark with no stars to light your way.

Courage dear heart.

Regardless your path or methodology, stay the course. Hold true to your dream and the universe will follow.  I look forward to seeing what the rest of the year will hold.

Self Discovery,Challenges,Motivation,Writing,Quotes,Constant Reader

Jun.17

Dear Universe…

I find I am at a crossroads and my thoughts are heavy with possibilities and potential outcomes. My bearings are askew and I find myself left of center. There is a crackling of static electricity rising from my skin; a verve of ideas that has me restless and apprehensive. And yet, I find I am pulled and distracted from the path yet again.

Tonight, even as I am soothed by the sounds of a sleeping house around me, there is, in the distance, the sound of a clock ticking.

The Universe is not outside of you. Look inside yourself; everything that you want, you already have. Rumi
It is a clock of my own design, massive and gaudy. It ticks away the minutes I have wasted, opportunities squandered and the foreboding sense that the greatness within me may never see the light of day.

Stories and characters are banging at the walls of my mind. Paintings burst like supernovas in my dreams and within minutes of waking they dissipate into vapor. Life has arrived in the midst of my creative burst; a colossus with no care for my plans. He sets boulders in my path and bricks on my shoulders to carry. And I push forward.

As I write this, I find that with each word I type, my hope swells. I sat with the intention of completing one word, maybe one sentence, with no clear outcome in mind, but now the words have begun to flow.
Therefore, I am writing this as a proclamation to the universe. I will speak into being that I cannot be broken from my dreams. I may stray from the path but I will not lose sight of it. A heavy heart and an anxious, worried mind has slowed my gait but still I strive.

Dear Universe, I believe in myself. I will not fail.

Self Discovery,Challenges,Motivation,Writing,Quotes

Jun.01

The Abundance Within

There is a bone deep weariness within me fighting to take over as I sit writing this.  It has been a difficult week.  Sleep has become elusive and the periphery of my vision has been tinged with black.   And still I know that alongside this exhaustion resides a hope which is as bright and alert as the rising sun.

My heart constricts yet again as one more obstacle has been placed before me. But that will not deter me.  I have willed myself to take another step and then another.  Giving in to the exhaustion and despair will not due.

Who am I to bemoan hard times when others under greater hardships have persevered, achieved and surpassed with grace and peace in their hearts?

In every moment you have a choice about how you want to use two of your most precious resources your attention and your intention.
– Deepak Chopra

I have dropped the ball so many times in this first half of the year that it feels as though my palms have been greased.   But still I trust that there is an abundance within me; a well spring of greatness I have yet to tap into. 

I envision it as a ball of light which lives deep within the core of me.  Some days it is barely a flicker and others it is a ball of raging fire which envelopes me; racing through my nerve endings, so that it sizzles and sparks with all I set my mind to and touch.

But tonight I am tired and heart heavy.  I write this to remind myself to push forward and keep trying.  Even as my feet are leaden beneath me, I resolve to take another step and then another.

There is an abundance within me.

God please give me the grace to set it free.

Self Discovery,Challenges,Motivation,Writing,Quotes

May.16

Planting Seeds

I have an idea which I have built into the core of the novel I am currently working on.    I am writing with the intention of planting a seed in the mind of my reader; a seed of possibility.  It is a seed born of lost loves, old crushes and lovers of nights past.

Sure the sexy and steamy parts of a story will pull readers in, but there is also the lure of possibility.  What draws the Constant Reader in is the fantasy of it all; things that they know could never happen but nonetheless they love getting caught up in the idea that it could.  But for me there should also be a touch of the actual; some anchor in reality for the Constant Reader to be able to associate with.  It is in the actual that they will find their possibility and connect to a part of the novel.  It is there that the novel becomes more than just a story for them.  That is when they can begin to imagine that fate will weave a web of events and chance encounters that will bring their love back to them.

I have an image of my reader in my mind and it is to her and her possibilities that I am writing.  For her I will put in to the story all my best plot twists and intrigue.  I will write to keep her turning pages.  I want her to be so enthralled with the story that she will make moments throughout her day to get back to it.  I want her to be caught within those lines until the very end.

And when she puts the book down after the last line is read, I want my seedling of possibility to sprout.  I will have planted it with a kiss and a blessing for fated love.  I want her to wonder if maybe, someway or somehow my heroine’s story could happen to her.   Could she one day get back to the love that she lost so many years ago?  Maybe he is her teenage love which burned so hot and intense it terrified her and she ran.  He is the love she has wondered about for so many years.  What kind of man has he become?  So many unanswered questions that build on themselves and she imagines any number of scenarios of how they would meet again.

Black-white Photographs of 1980s New YorkAnd just as those last tendrils of the daydream fades and she pulls herself back into the reality of her everyday life,  she will step off a crowded train as she does every day, but on this day she will hear a familiar, “Hey Love.” And he will be there.

Ah Fate… you are you are a sneaky beast; there I go falling for your trap yet again.

 

Writing,Romance,Novel,Constant Reader

May.01

My Dear Reader

My Dear Reader,

I want to share with you something which has me red-faced and more than a bit chagrined.  I’ve slid down a slick slope of idleness and am at a loss as to how I got there.  I’m angry and frustrated with myself over my unproductive slip.

I’ve lost my flow and I’m struggling.

I share this not as a woe is me story, but in the hopes of helping my fellow writer, artist, dreamer and achiever who is awash in self-doubt and at a loss of how to truly articulate what their going through to the people around them.

For every person, whose momentum since the New Year, has rocketed them on an ever reaching celestial path, there are those like myself that are overwrought with ennui.   I write this as someone who was previously on the ball, working my hustle day and night and now it is a daily struggle to get just one thing accomplished.  I have no doubt that I am not the only one who is embarrassed at all I can’t seem to accomplish.  I worked so hard in the prior year to grow and take myself to the next level and now it seems I battle to motivate myself more than ever before.

I can tell you that March and April were no friends to me.  They brought with them a stockpile of issues, stress, headache and heartache.  And honestly I let them get the best of me, but I am only human.

I am not a machine and can only handle but so much.  Routines are broken.  No system or method is impervious to change.  It is in the pursuit of progress that we must evolve and if we don’t then the universe (at least in my case), will step in and show us a thing or two until we do.

I have begun to make small strides to pull myself back up.  Yet I still can’t say that I have my feet completely under me but, I forge ahead.  All things in their due time.

So to all those shooting stars out there having a phenomenal year I say, soar higher.  And to those who are struggling as I am, I offer the words of C.S. Lewis, “Courage, dear heart!”  We can make it back to where we want to be.  We must have faith in ourselves; in the untapped greatness within us.  We must evolve and create new paths for ourselves if we want to get back to where we once were.

Repeat after me…

Re-adjust

Re-align

Push ahead.

I am with you and believe in the greatness within you.

Siempre,

V-

Self Discovery,Challenges,Motivation,Writing,Quotes

Apr.07

My Writing Process

I recently received an email from writer and all around phenomenal woman, Del Carmen, rallying a group of writers to talk about their writing process. Thank you Del Carmen for asking me to contribute, I’m very excited to be part of the fun.

Without further ado, here is a bit on my writing process…

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What am I working on?

To know me, is to know that I am not satisfied unless I have a few things going at once. My writing is much in the same. I have been working on my first novel; a story of lost loves, romance, lust and personal awakenings. I am also working on a short story with a bit more heat to it. It is an erotica piece about a blind date that goes very, very right. Insert wink here.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

My romances are reflective of the urban and multicultural life I live. My heroines are Latina; they are cosmopolitan, they are ambitious dreamers and fighters, as are the men they love and lust for. There are still so few culturally diverse characters in the mainstream; I write to bridge that gap. I am writing stories that reflect love and romances that are organic and find root where the will with no qualms about race or cultural background.

Why do I write what I do?

To put it as simply as possible, I write what I love. I have always been a sucker for a good romance. I fall in love right along with my heroes and heroines. I write stories of love and possibilities: stories that fill in all the ”what if’s” that we daydream of but never follow through on. I live vicariously through my stories and all their different experiences and adventures.

How does my writing process work?

My writing process is more  fluid than structured. I do whatever helps the story evolve. I get an idea, and it is usually a certain scene that is most prominent for me. I then write from wherever the story is the most vivid in my mind and expand from there. Also my subway commute in the mornings and evening seems to help get my creative mind going, so I try to have paper and a pen with me at all times, but when that fails I use my phone. I write both settings and dialogue as the voices of the characters become clear in my mind.idea

From my hand written notes I then go to my laptop.  There I try to make sense of what in moment seems to be pure genius and at second glance looks differently. I have had more than one moment where I have truly no idea what I wrote. But it is from there that I build and flesh out the story and then I revise, revise, revise.

That was just a bit about my writer-self. Please check out these other fabulous writers who are also blogging about their writing process today, Monday, April 7.

Visit them and find out just how different we are and yet how similar. They are:

Del Carmen writes hot, kinky, satisfying erotica. Visit her at www.mydelcarmen.com.

Mercedes Cruz writes fun and kinky erotica based on characters living in New York City. Visit her at www.mercedescruzromance.blogspot.com.

F.Leonora Solomon is a Ravenous Romance editor and writer living in New York City. Visit her at fdotleonora.wordpress.com.

And, don’t forget to also check out how Lise Horton writes at www.lisehorton.blogspot.com. She is the amazing writer that started this blog hop on the writing process.

Writing

Mar.16

A Candle in the Dark…

There has been an unyielding sense of ennui that has wrapped itself around my shoulders. It laid in like a second skin and I just couldn’t seem to shake it.

So I turned to what has always been my comfort…books and the stories that live within them. My status as a constant reader, while it’s had moments of wax and wane over the years, has held as a steady necessity for me. It is within a book’s pages that I turn when I find myself lost in moments of weariness. I looked through my catalogue of books already read, knowing it would be there that I would find my reprieve. This feeling which grew from a mild nagging to a sudden constriction of my creative flow, would only be improved by the familiarity of a story, well-known and loved.

I settled on a romance; a novella I’ve read a couple times already. Some would mock the choice, I’m sure, but everyone’s comfort is their own, and I find no shame in mine, nor have I ever cared much what others thought of my choices in literature. But I digress…

I eased into the story and familiarity of the characters created by author Patricia Briggs in “Alpha and Omega” and felt the tightening slowly alleviated with each page turned. The story, a paranormal romance, is also one of fate and destined love. It is the story of Anna, a broken and battered woman, and Charles a powerful, heart harden and stoic man; a story of soul mates. Their story, as favorite stories are known to do for those that love them, improved my mood. It was through the storytelling and writing (thank you Mrs. Briggs, I have been your Constant Reader for some time now) but also in something much deeper that I found solace in.

Within the lines of this story lies a tale of hope; even when life feels at its most dire there is light and within that light is love, strong and unwavering. This may be the opinion of one foolhardy romantic, but it was that thought that eased my restless heart.

So, my message to you, my fellow Constant Reader is to go forth and seek out your comfort, wherever it lives and cherish it.

This is my candle in the dark…what is yours?

Challenges,Writing,Romance,Constant Reader

Mar.01

Deadlines

I recently had an epiphany. It came in the form of an SOS from another writer given a tight deadline for edits from her publisher. She asked for my help as a second set of eyes and I agreed without hesitation.

The catch? The edits needed to be back to her that same night. I received the piece at 10pm and was finally able to send it back by 1:30am. The next day, as I sat behind my desk at my 9-5, I realized I’d done for her what I wasn’t doing for myself.

“The enemy is our chattering brain, which, if we give it so much as a nanosecond, will start producing excuses, alibis, transparent self-justifications, and a million reasons why we can’t/shouldn’t/won’t do what we know we need to do.” –Steven Pressfield

I had become lazy, subconsciously nursing my own self-doubt. I made the process harder than it needed to be so that I could tell myself it was okay that I wasn’t writing. I was missing opportunities and deadlines for submissions, but could not produce a valid reason for it.

But, the real question I was left asking myself was, why? Why was I willing to lose sleep and work late into the night for another writer but not be willing to do the same for myself? Fear, self-doubt, self-consciousness, take your pick. I was feeding into my own anxieties and in turn shutting myself down.

Spark.
Fan.
Flame.

It was so easy to find the excuses not to do what I knew was completely within my means to accomplish. I’d become the foil within the story of my own life. And now that I was able to see that, I couldn’t un-see it. I have been writing, revising and producing work of my own everyday since. I have set short tight deadlines, (I realized as well that I do better with them than without) and have not let myself waver from them.

With each new day, I will make the conscious decision to push past the resistance I have created in my own mind. I will overcome the self-doubt that was preventing me from putting out the work I know is within me.

The deadlines are looming. I am more productive than ever…it’s time to get to work.

Self Discovery,Challenges,Motivation,Writing,Quotes