Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Between Time and Place

Packing’s been the name of the game this week. Tomorrow I hop on a plane for Texas to attend a friend’s wedding, sans kids. Then on Sunday I hope another flight to Florida to meet up with the kids at in-laws for a week of fun in the sun!

But enough of what I’m doing. 

I’ve finally gotten around to reading The Time Baroness by Georgina Young-Ellis; A book graciously given to me by Mister International Mark for reading and reviewing. He chosen well, yet again (though I have to confess I liked A Thousand Glass Flowers better). But, the cool thing about the time baroness is that it proved to be valuable research for my Phoenixes.

How, you ask? Well it’s simple Cassandra ends up in a similar situation to Sarah. Only Cassandra’s a bit more, okay A LOT more prepared because it’s scheduled time travel and Cassandra has a return date. She’s been studying the time period – that of Jane Austin – she’s had a few pieces of clothing made – she’ll buy the rest when she gets there – and her turn has now come.

Choosing to go three years after Jane Austin passed away, Cassandra embarks on a one year journey into the life style Jane’s books embodied. She’s there to observe and take notes, to write a paper about her experiences. But, just being an observer is hard than she thought, as she’s drawn to the upper, and lower, class circles. Finding herself in her own Austin like tale, Cassandra must face increasingly difficult challenges as her year long stay comes to a close.

In a way Sarah’s jealous, since Cassandra has a way to return home to her family and friends, but I suspect that in some ways Cassandra might be jealous of Sarah – especially if you discount everything that goes on in book 3. Anyway back to how this is research. Well Georgina probably did a lot of research and her portrayal of Cassandra’s acceptance, how she both is and is not, was something for me to take note of.

Looking at those notes I’m thinking Sarah may be disguising herself as a man sooner than I thought. Now won’t that put Jason in a funny pickle. It certainly will put an interesting spin on book 1. I’m kind of looking forward to it.

Now it’s well past my bedtime, so I say 'Adios', and if you all like next Wednesday I’ll post up my, technically Sarah and Jason’s, responses to the 2012 March Beautiful People questions. Unless you want me to regale you with tales of the wedding and Florida.

*giggles and grin*
:} Leigh, Cathryn

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Imaginary Friends need Love Too!

Last week I talked about where I get my strong and independent female characters. Today I thought I’d talk about how Sarah’s Phoenix got started. I’ve probably mentioned it a little bit but, I thought I’d go into more detail. It starts in my childhood

*Wayne’s World Dream Sequence Motion*

I don’t know when my parents told me, but it feels like I’ve always known that I had a brother. Unfortunately, he died about a month before I was born after a year or more of being sick. There was a one in four chance that I could develop the same sickness because it’s due to a recessive gene.

Around the time of my parents’ separation, I created an imaginary friend. Wishing that I had a sibling to share my turmoil with the person I talked to was always male. I never gave him a name though. He was just always there when I needed him. he’s the one how got to hear me rant and rave as tears poured down my face, just because my  mom’s bf had put pieces in the puzzle I was working on. (Hey I was 14 or so, very emotionally unbalanced and that guy... well he’s another story.)

Life moved on an I got boyfriends and that imaginary guy friend receded into the back of my head. I met my hubby, we dated, we moved across country together, then we got married and started trying to have kids.

*Back to Life, Back to Reality*

Now I know that Sarah & Jason (the original title of Sarah’s Phoenix) was typed into the computer in about 2005, the year my daughter was born, so either early that year, or, as is more likely, in 2004 I wrote Sarah & Jason in a notebook; or two. There are bits and pieces of it in numerous places.

Writing it was like documenting a waking dream. In those days I’d wake up at six in the morning to get ready for work, but after I’d eaten I lie on the couch daydreaming; but not. It was like the story had a spell on me and I would spend a half hour each morning living it like it was a dream, a very real dream. Then I would write it. I even wrote it at work, when I had spare moments. That’s what there are printed paged paper clipped to the original notebook.

The story has come a long way from that waking dream. Certainly Wholawski, named because he was supposed to be a donkey cavity (creative synonyms for the win!), has become a lot more sadistic than I ever wanted him to be. But, Jason, the supposedly imaginary friend of Sarah, turned out to be my childhood imaginary friend.

Apparently, now that I was happily married, I had no need for him. But, being me, I couldn’t just abandon him. I like my happy endings. I have one, so why shouldn’t he? Enter Sarah, the protagonist most like me, only a bit more kick donkey. *giggles* She gets to play the role I would have loved to have (before I met my hubby) – girl travels to what she thought was her own imaginary world to help conquer an evil man and find true love all at the same time!

Yes, I love my happy endings so much I gave one to my childhood imaginary friend...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Strong Inspirations

Inspiration strikes in odd places. Today mine came from by Sierra Godfrey’s blog post on Woman’s History Month. She asked that we think about women in our lives and be thankful for them.

I’m going to be thankful for the strong women, who aren’t necessarily in my life, but they’ve influenced it beyond a doubt. I’m not talking fictional people, or authors.  Charley R. already posted what amounts to my Ode to Anne McCaffrey *grin* these are the women whose genes I have running in my system.

These are the women of my previous generations that have inspired my character to be the women they are. And they all funneled through my mother and into me. I’m sure my dad’s side of the family had its share, seeing as my Abuela was a Missionary down in South America. I just happen to know my mom’s family a bit better.

My Mom:
  • It might have taken her a bit to get through the divorce and find a proper mate, but she did it. More than that she took up the back breaking work of cleaning houses to put food on the table and clothing on my back.
  • She never gave up her dream of graduating college either. She beat me to it too. She walked down the aisle to get her Bachelors the week before I did.
  • She’s my real life Cinderella, with a closet of ball gown to prove that finding your Frog Prince isn’t always that easy. (What? My step-father happens to be a French Swamp Yankee, and they both love my analogy).

My Grandmother (mother’s side):
  • Oh Nellie, where to begin with her? Anyone who has read my collaborative story, Faerie Bound, on Protagonize, will know Haddie. Haddie pretty much is my grandmother. She was vocal in town hall in her day, she raised six boys with my mom’s help and raised hell with anyone who might cross her.
  • Case in point – She became a Court Advocate for abused women, taking up a position in the court that served the town she raised her boys in. Sometimes the abusers would try to approach her desk (located in a hallway mind you) to harass ‘their woman’. Well the moment my grandmother caught their eye they’d be all ‘yes ma’am’ no ma’am’ ‘I’ll just be going now Mrs. B.’
  • In fact I could give you all sorts of anecdotes about her. Some good some bad. Maybe on another day.

My great-grandmother, (mother’s, mother’s side):
  • I actually got to know her as the little old lady who made yummy donuts and collected bells.
  • She sang in the choir and held faith fast, despite an abusive husband.
  • She stayed independent in her own home, up until the last few years.
  • As I love telling people, she camped out with the girl scouts until she was 76 at which point she declared sleeping on the ground wasn’t good for her back.

My great-grandmother (mother’s father’s side):
  • I’ve only heard stories about her, but she sounds pretty amazing.
  • For one she was a trolley car conductor in Maine. We’re talking turn of the last century people (1920s/30s)! That’s a pretty amazing job for a woman to have back then.
  • When she separated from her husband, whom she never divorced, she bought the house across the street from his and cleaned houses to support herself and her boys and a couple nieces and nephews.

How can I not write strong female protagonists when these women are in my blood? What about you, is there someone, or a group of someones who have influenced you?

:} Cathryn Leigh

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Pocketful of Sunshine

Pocketful of Sunshine clip from “Easy A“, a great flick about thinking before speaking and the power of the rumor mill. I can get that song suck in my head without hearing it though, but I don’t mind. It’s a great song, very catchy. Someday I ought to fully listen to the lyrics just to make sure I agree with them (for the most part) there are a lot of songs out there I start singing to an then go blech.

Oh well. Today’s post is dedicated to an award I got nominated for by my good friend Miriam. She may want to take it back when I return her novel, Watching, at the end of the month. I’m currently sinking my editing teeth into it and I’m being ruthless! Seriously I’m amazed at all the red I’ve put on it and I’m not even paying attention to grammar or spelling (they are not my forte).

Anyway before I procrastinate too long, here are my answers from the Comfy Chair of the Spanish Inquisition. :}

The Sunshine Award 
  • Thank Miriam, whonominated me: So thank you Miriam, may your blog resound with the words of a thousand viewers... or something like that.
  • Favorite colors: Purple, royal purple that is, the kind they used to make from snails shells.
  • Favorite animal: Unicorn, which in my mind, is not an imaginary beast, but that’s another story all together.
  • Favorite number: 42, seriously that has to be obvious!
  • Favorite drink: Hot chocolate, the rich creamy kind with whipped cream and chocolate shavings... nom nom nom
  • Facebook or Twitter: Facebook: Twitter is too fast for me. I tried and gave up. No time for it right now.
  • Your passion: Writing is the first thought that comes to mind, then reading, dancing and creating.
  • Giving or Receiving: Well now it depends on the situation. Giving a well thought out gift gives just as much joy as receiving the well thought out gift. And seeing kids faces light up at Christmas time is seriously awesome...
  • Favorite pattern: A natural one... Twills are kind of nice though, simple yet elegant, erm... *shrug*
  • Favorite day of the week: Tough one and it’s a toss-up between Monday and Friday. Hey I look forward to the week and Weekend! *grin*
  • Favorite flower: Crocus, they are a symbol that spring is coming (despite the snow flurry on Monday).
So there you have it, and I suppose I’m supposed to send this out again... Any volunteers? :}

If not I pass it on to Charley R, because she never fails to make me smile at least once a day in one of our many conversations... And To Marc / Eloosive because he’s slowly but surely making his way through my Phoenix trilogy and I love his Daily Writing Practice Blog. :}

:} Cathryn Leigh