Archive for the ‘Fiction Writing’ Category
Amy’s Own has been published! To see if you are intrigued by the story and like my style of writing, the first 3 chapters are available for sampling here.
Amy’s Own may be purchased as an ebook through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Sony, Kobo, and as an ibook through Apple’s iTunes. Print books may be purchased from Amazon or directly from the author.
To all who shell out the $2.99 for the ebook or splurge and spend $14.99 on a print copy, I say thank you, grazie mille, and l’chaim!
Please feel free to share you thoughts, comments, and criticisms. Leave a comment here or email katwardphoto(at)msn.com. I look forward to hearing from you…
17 March 2012: It’s been a while. These past months, in addition to shooting headshots and writing for Hometown Pasadena (thank you, Colleen!), I have been immersed in helping organize a book festival for Pasadena, CA.
LitFest Pasadena was scheduled for today, Saturday, March 17th. I have time to sit in front of my computer because even though our winter has been quite dry, a weekend storm decided to dump a lake-full of rain and plunge the temperature into the low 50’s (way too cold for us thin-skinned Southern Californians!). We have postponed the event to May 12th as the Old Farmer’s Almanac states that rain has only fallen once in the last ten years on that day, and it won’t be too close to the massive, size-of-a-little-city event that’s called the L.A. Times Festival of Books, which is in April.
Fingers crossed for date #2.
The upside is that in having a deadline for LitFest, my partners and I at Lovely pubs, our new indie publishing company, have finished our first products.
Lori Bertazzon already has her Where Are You Stuck? self-help workbook that’s selling and going strong. Her husband, Kevin Bertazzon, in addition to ISMS: A Faery Mobster Story, now has his graphic novel Too Bubbly printed which looks amazing and is laugh-out-loud funny; and I have finally finished—and printed—my novel Amy’s Own.
A paperback copy is ready with your name on it!
Amy’s Own is $14 plus shipping, which runs $6. If you have any questions, you can email me at katwardphoto(at)msn(dot)com.
I’d like to make this post longer, but my brain is fried, and not in a tasty grilled cheese kind of way.
I’ve been having the time of my life finishing the book and working on LitFest, but it’s been heaps more work than I thought it would be, and this here almost 1/2 century ol’ body of cells is not what it once was. Time is a creepin’ and a sneekin’ up on meh! So, I’m hunkering down for the rest of the weekend in hopes of recouping some essential vigor. I’ll be in touch…
Drifting Away by Aimi-chuu
An excerpt from the novel I’m currently writing about Samantha Stosur, a 13-year-old American girl living in the 3rd Millennium.
Can she feel the desperation in my eyes? But the annoyance, hurt and anger shooting out of hers immediately absorbs and dismisses whatever’s coming out of mine. She has squashed me without thinking.
Who is this being? She’s talking (I know it’s my mother), but the words are muffled like she’s on the other side of extra thick glass, even when she’s holding me. The rock-hard coating around me prevents me from feeling her. I know her hair is shiny because I can see it, but I can’t feel it under my fingers. This is what an anxiety attack feels like.
My tongue feels so swollen in my mouth that I think I can’t talk; the evening continues in silence.
What do you do when your tummy’s flipping like when Uncle Ross tosses flapjacks three feet into the air and they smack back down into the frying pan, only to be flipped again and again even though they’re crying out, “I’m done. I’m done!”
Is that what Mrs. Doweel feels, her tummy squirmy as she’s walking her fingers along each nub of her rosary beads? Or, does her direct line to Jesus (Hay-soos) bring her inner calm? Where’s my Haysoos when I need one? Uncle Ross ain’t playing that role. Melo may look the part, but he has too many voices in his head already to be able to make room to hear mine. Maybe Nancy could be the female version, be my La Haysoosita. But when she’s stoned, it’s like she’s trekking in some land and I don’t have the proper I.D.
I’m just afraid. I feel like I’m shivering from the inside out. No one can see anything, but I know I’m shaking uncontrollably. Rattling inside, like Mom’s car engine that started to knock around, faster and faster, getting louder and more ominous—until it stopped. Dead. Right in the middle of the highway that stretches from the Guadalupe Mountains to Santa Fe. One of the goddamnedest strips of road you ever saw; no structure of any kind in sight from horizon to horizon—and that includes straining to see any teensy-weensy sign of human life or dwelling while slowly, slowly turning in a complete circle. All this with the sun setting and darkness slamming down like a final curtain. Frosting on the cake: Mom was off her meds and had no scotch. I’m feeling that kind of scared.
This body is a shell I hardly know I’m inhabiting. Sometimes, if I reach really hard, stretch out my leg as far as it will go, my big toe can briefly touch Mother Earth, and momentarily I remember what it feels like to feel grounded, solid within myself, my body a vessel to fuel my brain and feed my mind, intellect, thoughts, emotions and decisions. But when life cracks wide open, what’s left to decide?
My big toe breaks from the earth and I am untethered. Why should I care what I do with this body? It’s now not even a shell, but a dry, brittle husk—and I’m no longer the tenant.
© 2011 Excerpt from Keeping Sane, and Other Aspirations by Kat Ward
This posting is another part of my current novel, though it’s not necessarily the next to come in the final manuscript. This introduces another character in the story of Samantha Stosur, an 11-year-old American girl in the 3rd Millennium.
“It’s the light. You must always take the side of the light. Resist the dark, Samantha, dear. Don’t let it lure you under.”
That’s Mrs. Marcie Doweel. Two down and one apartment over. At a gazillion plus, she isn’t a fraction taller than I am (considered a “good” height at 5′ 4″ in the fifth grade). Mrs. Doweel seems just as wide as she is tall but that may be the illusion of her narrow front door. Her apartment is always ablaze with lights, even during the day. As her body blocks the entranceway, she has a halo-head of light above her that makes it hard to truly see her face, which is fine because now that she’s past the octo-decade she’s kind of covered with what they call skin tags. My Uncle Ross is sprouting dozens of them, even on his neck and at the point of the “V” of all his t-shirts that are more undershirts and no child should be subjected to seeing the dark outline of his—yes, I’m going to say it—nipples, especially when the hair on them pushes against the meagre cotton and puffs it out. It’s enough to turn a girl sideways.
Anyway, shadow works well on Mrs. Doweel’s face, though I know if she realized a part of her was in darkness she would pop a majority of her pulled-too-tight buttons. Once she asked me in I saw that her apartment was a treasure chest of religious icons. Virgin Marys hang, sit, drape, and loom next to pictures, statues, throw blankets and pillows of Mary and her baby Jesus (who always looks like he has the face of a middle-aged man). Oddly, the grown-up Jesus’ that Mrs. Doweel has around—crucified on the cross repeated half a dozen times along the ivy wallpapered living room or carrying his cross or riding the donkey or having his last meal—is quite good looking in a rugged, manual laborer sort of way.
But, the freakiest of the freaky is the life-sized head wearing a crown of thorns with thick red drips of paint running down his face representing his blood (I re-emphasize that this is life-sized) which is kept pristine under a dome of glass. I had to put down my juice cup of V-8 when I first caught him looking at me; my hand shaking as it tried to find space on the side table with the year-round crèche stable scene (minus you know who). I nearly leapt off the couch, the plastic ripping at my thighs (don’t sit on the couch while wearing shorts in the heat of the summer) and made my excuses.
Mrs. Doweel seemed momentarily flustered. “I thought we were having a lovely visit,” she said.
I calmed down a bit when I looked back from the front door and Jesus was still staring; magic like the Mona Lisa—he’s eyeing everyone. Thank you, Jesus, ’cause I don’t need any religious hooji-booj in my life, though Mrs. D would say it’s a sign that I might want to do a little prayer or two, ’cause her savior is obviously eyeing me for a reason. A dark, evil-eye reason.
The thing is, I like the dark. It feels restful to have all of us hyped-up souls take a time out. It seems to me like people speed through their day like they’re in an all-out sprint. Sometimes this life feels like a whole lot of elbow swinging, the shoulder-height kind, the way basketball players swing after a rebound (elbows up and out) holding tight onto the ball, twisting at the waist right and left to clear out any of the opposing team. Mine, mine, mine. “Looking out for number one,” Uncle Ross would say. “Nothing wrong with that.” But, I’m not so sure. How does number two feel? Hell, what about number twenty-two? They’ve gotta feel like crapola.
The night is stillness, it’s down time. Of course, I know the quieted souls are merely re-energizing so they can do it all again once their alarms start kicking up a fuss, but I feel like I’m getting some respite (vocab list #4), so I can be re-energized to meet them head on.
© 2011 Keeping Sane, and Other Aspirations by Kat Ward
I thought since this blog is partly named after the novel I am currently writing, that I’d share a piece of what I have, introducing the narrator and main character.
KEEPING SANE, AND OTHER ASPIRATIONS
An American Girl
In the 3rd Millennium
Sanity questions lapping up against the mind of an eleven-year-old; that’s odd, right? Like, what eleven-year-old should be thinking about being sane or insane, or wondering if it runs in the family, along certain bloodlines or simply does a snatch an’ grab for anyone within reach? I’m still working out whether or not my future includes succumbing to it and hitting 911 on my speed dial (I jot that down in the “Not Good” column) or whether my constant alertness and a well-timed right hook will keep lurking loony-tunes way the hell away from me.
But who am I kidding? Questionable sanity is running rampant in my world. I suppose you may be around in the end, and then you can make your own conclusions. If I feel like I’m heading straight for padded walls, I’ll suggest you put the book down and call it a day. There’s no need for you to go with me on that ride. I’m sure you have enough of your own problems; life is hard enough as it is.
“Life is hard.” Didn’t that statement knock the barrettes out of my hair the first time I heard it. Uncle Ross introduced that sound-bite philosophy the afternoon he dragged Mom home from a pre-Wednesday night binge. Uh, it’s Wednesday, guys. Aren’t binges supposed to be for Friday and Saturday? Thursday at the earliest. Jesus, Wednesday; I knew that was a bad sign.
Dad had moved out the month before. I still saw him almost every day, which I think only accelerated Mom’s bingeing. It’s gotta be hard to get over your first love now that you’re twelve years older and got a body chock-full of cellulite, stretch marks and sagging boobies. I think that was the kick in the ass more than anything. Mom no longer feels young and pretty, and now she’s been dumped. She ardently believes that the least Dad could do since he was the other half in creating me (thus the reason she’ll not be buying any bikinis in her future) is to stand by her now and worship her body, no matter what it looks like. The problem is, Dad still looks like a god with six-pack abs, python arms and long girly-lashes that all the ladies envy. Mom’s pissed. It doesn’t help when our new next-door neighbor stops to welcome us, her two young boys wrapped around her toned thighs, her taut abs (extra-obvious below her cropped top) grabbing Mom’s attention, taunting her.
I find Mom sobbing in her bedroom.
“It’s not fair!” she cries. She says more, but it’s rather incoherent, the crook of her elbow receiving the brunt of it.
Uncle Ross overhears her and shouts back, “Life isn’t fair, woman. Life is hard. You know that. Now, get in here and crack a beer with me.”
Mom waves me out of the room and I’m glad to go because I have no idea what to say. I walk past Uncle Ross to get into the kitchen and he whispers to me, “Her ass ain’t never going to draw any guy’s eyes again, so we’s just got to distract her a bit.”
“By getting her fatter?” I say.
“Nah, by keeping her distracted, I said. And maybe a bit tight.”
Ah, Christ, I think, then grab myself a Mountain Dew and make a beeline for my bedroom. When Uncle Ross helps her get drunk he just climbs into his ancient Chevy and swerves home. I’m the one who’s stuck wiping Mom’s head with cold cloths, making sure she doesn’t choke on her vomit and cleaning up the toilet seat after she hasn’t aimed quite as she should. I also get to slog through her hangover pity-party the next morning, when she’s feeling so bad that not only do I have to make my own breakfast and lunch, fake her signature on the permission slip for a class trip to see Taming of the Shrew, but I get to dig out my rain boots and coat, and leave early enough to catch the metro bus—’cause she’s still too drunk to drive me. Yeah, thanks, Uncle Ross. Spot on.
I write his name in the “Not Good” column. In ink.
© 2011 Keeping Sane, and Other Aspirations by Kat Ward.
I want followers.
I NEED followers!
Because—oh, shit, oh, shit, oh, shit— I might fail.
If I faithfully submit my query letter for my manuscript Amy’s Own, include the synopsis and sample chapters when requested, keep track of my email queries—yeah, how many have been “sent” off into the technological cosmos, the ethereal void, never to be heard from again? If I keep tramping to the post office to mail via snail to the last holdouts who still regard something tangible as something of value (until they consider the contents of no value). If I continue with this day-in and day-out, month-after-month and I realize I’m down to my last few 3×5 cards (all the others graffitied in red with permanent marker). If no agent or publishing house, no established, traditional entity wants my novel—then what?
I need to self-publish.
For that to succeed, I need to have an established audience; followers. For that to happen, I need to create an internet presence; Facebook, twitter, email, LinkedIn—deep breath—writer info websites, writers’ groups on the web, writers sharing their work on the web, writers critiquing work on the web. Phew! Jesus! I need to entertain, be witty, intellectual and insightful. Aach! Feeling a little parched here. I need to hold your attention day-after-day, month-after-month, in the hope that on the day I self-publish; the day I offer my “gift” to the world; the day I throw my mind, body & soul onto the railroad tracks and wish for the best—that you, you and YOU! will buy my book.
Won’t you all—all of you who link with me as “friend”—would you please, please go buy my self-published novel?
Excuse me? Oh, $14.95 is too much for a hardcopy that represents the last decade of my creative life and for which I’ve been saving these last 2 years so I could pay a printing house to make a short run of 100 copies?
Still, no? Well, here you go; the e-book’s only $1.99.
What’s that? Well, I was kind of hoping not to have a closing out sale until the spring—you know, thinking maybe my book might catch on by then. But, yeah, I know, the economy still stinks (Obama/Bush, yada, whoever).
Okay, okay. Go ahead, 99 cents. Take it. No, that IS the sale price!
Thank God for grandmother Eli: “Honey, it’s not so bad—somewhere in the world, it’s cocktail hour.”