Friday, March 21, 2014

Deleted paragraph from new book Parenting Pauses: Learning about new things during edits

While I was going through the final edits on the manuscript for my new book, Parenting Pauses: Life as a Deaf Parent, my editor, Denise Bartlett, sent me an email about one paragraph in particular that caught her eye. She informed me that there is an app available to turn voicemail messages into actual print messages that users can read. I asked for more info about this and she gave me details, as well as how much this has helped her, a HEARING person! I was really excited to learn about this and checked it out. I decided on YouMail, but haven't been able to get it to work on my phone just yet. Hopefully, when I have more time, I can look into it and I hope I can get it set up on my phone. I still receive voicemail messages even to this day.

Here is the paragraph that was deleted:

"One thing that makes me feel this way about cell phones with texting ability is voicemail. I have received so many voicemail messages ever since I started using a cell phone, I swear I’ll need to go into therapy someday if they don’t stop. Of course I can’t use voicemail, because I can’t hear the messages! I have tried to figure out how to turn off voicemail or even block incoming messages, but that’s not possible as of yet. I have had to delete several voicemail messages. Unfortunately, a hearing person thinking they are calling another hearing person gets angry if I don’t return their calls then ends up leaving several voicemail messages one after the other on my phone. This has actually happened from one particular number and it’s always a headache deleting each new voice message after it comes in. Again, I tried to block that number, but no luck there."

Here is the revised paragraph:

"Voicemail used to be a problem for me, because of course I can’t hear any of the messages left on my phone. At first, I elected to just ignore these messages, since the person who was calling my phone obviously did not know me since they didn’t know I was deaf, so it was no big deal. But then I later learned that teachers, schools and even secretaries at doctor offices had tried to reach me through voicemail, all to no avail. After some time, I was informed of an app available for smartphones that turns voicemail messages into a text message, putting what the person said into words. What a wonderful innovation! I have yet to find one that suits my needs for my phone but I have been told that this particular app has been immensely helpful. I could see how it could be helpful to a deaf person receiving voicemail messages."

Check out Parenting Pauses: Life as a Deaf Parent here.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Deleted scene from Shadow of Samhain

This is a deleted scene from my novel, Shadow of Samhain. In this scene, my character, Malissa, is making coffees and her best friend, Sade, pops in for a visit. This scene was used as a way for Malissa to share her good news and to show what kind of friendship the two girls share.

Here is the scene:

“Hey, you!”
Malissa turned from the counter and smiled. She walked over to Sade and hugged her. “Hey yourself. I didn’t hear you come in.”
Sade grinned as she plopped onto one of the barstools lining the other side of the counter. “Your brother let me in,” She pouted. “But he ran away.”
Malissa returned the pout. “I sorry.”
Sade laughed. “I’ll get him one of these days!” She sighed, rubbing her hands up and down her legs. “So. What are you making?”
Malissa grinned as she turned around and walked back over to the blender she’d been throwing things into. “It’s a surprise,” she coyly answered. She grinned as she placed the lid on the blender and turned it on.
“A surprise?” Sade asked from behind her.
Malissa finished blending the ingredients before she heard Sade talk again. “Hey, I’m all for surprises!”
She chuckled as she removed the lid from the blender. “Good! Then that means I don’t have to celebrate all by my lonesome.”
She poured the drink into two transparent coffee cups then set the blender pitcher back down. She picked them up and carried them to the counter. She handed one to Sade. “Try it.”
Sade studied her but took a long swig of the drink just as she did. Malissa inwardly smiled as she noticed her friend’s surprised reaction.
“Hey, that’s pretty good!” Sade said, placing the cup down. “What is it?”
“Mocha caramel frappe. Or something close to it. I think I got it right after trying to make it a hundred times today.”
Sade blinked. “Wow, you must’ve been pretty bored today!”
Malissa grinned, trying to contain her excitement as she shook her head. “Nope! Not bored at all. Actually, I was kinda busy.”
“And that’s why we’re celebrating?” Sade asked.
Malissa leaned toward her. “I got a job.”
Sade jumped up. “All right!” They cheered and fell into an embrace. Malissa laughed as she moved away. “I now officially work at The Mighty Bean!”
“That’s awesome!” Sade nudged her. “Hey, maybe you can get me a discount sometime.”
Malissa laughed. “Sure, sure.”
Sade picked up her drink again and assumed a serious air as she held it up, ready for a toast. “To a new beginning.”
Malissa grinned, clinking her cup with her friend’s. “To a new beginning.”
As she drank from her cup, Sade thoughtfully added, “And maybe a hot date every once in a while.”
Malissa almost spit out her drink as she laughed. “One thing at a time, Sade,” she reminded after she recomposed herself. “The first thing I have to do is call my parents and give them the news.”
“And while you’re at it, clean that junk out of your room.”
Malissa thought about this. She knew exactly what kind of stuff in her room was the “junk” Sade was referring to. And, the more she thought about it, the more she realized that her friend was right. Just as it was time to put away childish things once someone grew up, it was time for her to put away her dream things now that she had her footing in the world. Now that she could actually survive on her own. She would have to survive without the dream obsession.
“Yes,” she said, considering this change. “Yes, you are probably right.”


At first, I was thinking of using this scene at a later part of the book. But as I worked more on this new draft, I realized that this particular scene didn't work anymore, for two reasons:

1. I had to show that Sade, my character's best friend who was moving in with her, was actually trying to HELP Malissa instead of once again saying something like "They're just dreams! Get over it!" It would take something else for Sade to actually help Malissa with her dream problem, so I completely changed gears.

2. Malissa actually shares the news about her job with her family. In the final scene where this happens, a new plot twist takes place and so I decided to "kill two birds with one stone" and use Malissa's announcement and a change in the story, as well as revealing something about a character, all in that one scene.

Check out Shadow of Samhain here (with excerpt) and here (Amazon link)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Breast cancer poetry

When it comes to writing a book, I want to make that book meaningful. I want to make that book a force to contend with, something that will inspire people and make them smile or think about things.

I want the book to have VALUE.

And while I love poetry and want to encourage people to read more poetry, I understand that this is not something I can push in a book that, well, isn't "about" reading poetry. The particular book in question -- the ebook, I should say -- is my newest book, On the Wings of Pink Angels: Triumph, Struggle and Courage Against Breast Cancer. And while there is "breast cancer poetry" out there, I felt that what I included about it in my blog series from 2009 just wasn't enough to highlight breast cancer poetry. 

For this reason, I decided not to include that particular post in the ebook. However, that post will stay on my Palms to Pines blog, but because "it got cut" from my manuscript, I will include it here:

Breast cancer survivor poetry

The act of writing poetry can have an enormously profound sense of healing and empowerment. For some, it is the best way, maybe even the only way, for them to cope with the struggles they face in life.
For a breast cancer fighter and/or survivor, writing poetry can have an extra special bonus. Not only is the writing of poetry itself good for their spirit, but it is also an inspiration for others who read their words.
Here are some links to where you can find poems written by breast cancer survivors:

Pink Ribbon Poetry:

Breast Cancer DIY Poetry:

Breast Cancer poems:

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Do gargoyles get cold?

Recently, I completed writing poems for a poetry book my daughter invited me to co-author with her. The poetry book is a collection of poems about mythological creatures. The manuscript is nearly complete and we are submitting it very soon (as in, tomorrow!). Over the weekend, I have gone over my poems, editing and revising where needed. One poem was changed a bit. This particular poem has a gargoyle in it.

In the poem, the gargoyle goes into a boy's house and tells him it's too cold to stay outside. But as I went over the poem again, I started to wonder if "gargoyles getting cold" was a good idea I wanted to pass on to young readers (since the book is for kids). What if they started to get worried about all the gargoyles getting cold? Especially during the winter when they are covered with snow. I have seen both The Hunchback of Notre Dame movies, but I don't recall the gargoyles in those movies getting cold. Not sure if this has been put forth in other kids' movies or TV shows.

Still, I didn't want to cause any worry or concern.

So instead of making the gargoyle come into a warm and toasty home because he was cold, I revised the poem and made it where he came in just because he was uncomfortable sitting up on the roof. Surely, there must be at least one gargoyle out there in the wold who gets a bit uncomfortable from time to time while perched up on the roof.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The wrong POV

My point-of-view (POV) was playing a trick on me again. 

As a writer, I know how important POV is. The idea when using POV is to remain consistent. Remain in ONE person's POV during each episode or scene. Sometimes, however, I end up head-hopping or include someone else's POV in a chapter when the chapter is supposed to be written in another character's POV.


This is one of my faults as a writer and it can happen very easily. Sometimes, I may not even catch this mistake during edits! Still, I know I have to watch out for it when rereading manuscripts.

While working on the rewrites for Shadow of Samhain, I came across one scene in a chapter that presented two problems: One, that it was in the wrong character's POV and, two, it was one scene too many! My goal with each chapter was to keep it to two scenes (though an extra might've snuck in there somewhere). Since I had to have something else much more important happen in that very chapter, this scene got cut. I summarized what happened in this scene in my character's thoughts during the scene that followed, so it was all good.

Here is the scene:

The phone rang and Janay leaned against the wall as she answered it. “Hello?”

“Hi, Mom. It’s me.”

She smiled. “Hi, Malissa! I’m so glad that you’ve called!”

There was a silence, then Malissa asked, “Why?”

“Well, because we haven’t heard from you for a while,” Janay said, smiling as she sat at the kitchen table. She made sure her brown suede skirt wasn’t crumpled as she sat down and she adjusted the gold necklace with a golden heart locket across her white short-sleeved blouse. She moved a strand of hair from her eyes, putting it with the other straying hairs from the bun she had her hair up in. It was strange for her daughter to ask why she was glad to hear from her, but decided not to pursue it. She also decided not to pursue why her daughter sounded so uneasy. “How’s school?”

“Oh, school’s real good, Mom. The semester is out in just a few days and I think I did good on my finals.”

She nodded. Her daughter sounded more comfortable now. “That’s really great, honey. I’m sure you did very well. Are you going to come visit us for Christmas?”

“Oh, yeah, probably.” There was a pause, then she sounded uncomfortable again as she said, “Mom, I wanted to ask you about something.”

“What’s that?”

Another pause. “Well, um ... did you send me my old journal in the mail?”

She grinned. “Yes, I did. Did you get it?”

“Yes.” Another pause. “How did you find it?”

“Oh. Well, the night before I found it, I had a dream about this man. He told me that you needed your journal. I had no idea what he meant or why he was telling me this. That was all that he said: ‘Malissa needs the journal.’ I tried to ask him questions but it’s like he couldn’t hear me talking to him. I had actually found your journal in your room.” She bit her lip. Maybe she shouldn’t add that she had read the thing from front to back.

She smiled as she waited for her daughter’s response, remembering her dream. She had never seen the man in her dreams before, but he had a strange sense about him. She’d felt as though he was a part of her in some way. He was dressed all in white robes and he looked like an angel. Janay remembered how she had felt so secure and happy after she awoke from that dream.

The seconds ticked away and Malissa still hadn’t said anything. Was she doing something else now? If so, she was doing it awful quietly. She looked down at the placemat on the table, deciding to give her daughter a few minutes more as she absently tapped it with her manicured nail.

Malissa still wasn’t saying anything. She heard her steadily breathing on the other end, but didn’t even hear her whisper a response.

She moved the receiver from her ear to give it a quick inspection, ensuring the cord was still connected to it, then held it against her ear again. “Malissa?”

When she heard Malissa speak again, the voice on the other line sounded so alien, she at first thought it wasn’t her daughter. It must have been fear gripping Malissa’s throat as she managed to slowly ask, “What did this man look like?”

Friday, February 24, 2012

The wrong motive

For a change, I am posting something on here that was cut from something I am CURRENTLY working on and something not yet published.

This is from my first ever sci-fi short story. I started it up years ago but never finished it. I could not decide on an ending then and I can't figure out an ending now. I have discovered that one reason why I can't decide on an ending (I have several ideas) is because I can't figure out my antagonist's motive for doing what he did in the story. (His name is John Jake Pitt.) Right now, I am at the part where he is holding my main character, Robert Altman, captive and he owes up to what he did. I realized that this particular motive wasn't going to work because it was just not realistic enough for it to make the plot work. So I have cut it from my story. (I will press on and hopefully complete this thing!)

Memories of what Pitt had done flashed through his mind. He growled, suddenly grateful for the restraints holding him back because he was ready to beat the shit out of the guy. “You son of a bitch! Don’t you realize what you’ve done! You’ve corrupted an entire alien race! We’re supposed to be studying them and learning about them, not interbreeding with them!”
Pitt shook his head again. “You’re wasting your breath yelling at me, Bob. It’s not going to do any good. There’s already a good population of the alien/human hybrids on Earth. You’re too late to do anything about it.”
Altman leveled his gaze. “How many?” When Pitt didn’t answer, he gritted his teeth again. “How many!”
Pitt shook his head. “It’s hard to say. Two, maybe three.”
He shook his head. “Thousand.”
Altman felt a whoosh of dizziness swim over him. It was a good thing he was sitting down. “My God.”
“Oh, God would never have thought of doing something like this. This, Bob, is the future of intelligent life. This is what’s going to save future generations of the human race. We know how the alien/human hybrids fare on Earth, but we haven’t studied them enough to know how they’ll fare on other worlds, other planets. Sadly, some have died when we tried to see if they could survive on planets in the Habitable Zone. Cronus, Spartan. But there are other planets out there, and if we find the right match, then the human race can be gone before Earth is.”
“Do you even hear yourself? You’re talking about replacing humankind with a hybrid. What makes you think this would work? That people would even go along with it?”
He shrugged. “Well, it’s a start.”

REASON FOR CUTTING: Not realistic enough to work.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The wrong kind of introductory paragraph

"Confession time: I’m a word junkie. But, you know what? So are a lot of other writers. We love writing words and we love reading words, too. And I must admit that I read A LOT of words. Even though I planned to cut down on book reviewing this year, that just ain’t happening. It seems I’ve gotten used to reading 3 different books at a time (it helps to space out those reading periods and add some writing time in between!) and I’m still doing that. And I’m still scouring news sites and reading a boatload of magazines and even E-newsletters. Old habits, and all."

REASON FOR CUTTING: This was an introductory paragr
aph to a blog post on my writing blog. After some thought, I realized that being a "word junkie" was not the right slant I wanted to take related to my reasons for the blog post. So it was removed.

Read this blog post here:

Got an idea for something to write? Write it!