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The WHY of Your Story

Rosemary:

I feel like a sloth for breaking my blog silence with a reblog. But it’s from DFW Writer’s Workshop, and it has something really key to say about writing, even if it was written by my arch-nemesis A. Lee Martinez.

Emotional intent is what turns a plot into a story. It’s simple, but sometimes hard to explain, and ALM does a great job. Even if you’re not a writer, you might find it interesting to know why some scenes connect with your gut, and some never get past your head.

See you on the flip side, peeps. –Rosemary

Originally posted on DFW Writers Workshop:

The first thing you should ask yourself is why?

A. Lee Martinez A. Lee Martinez

Writing isn’t as simple as putting down words on paper. If it was, everyone would be doing it, and at times, it feels like everyone thinks they can. If we’re talking about sitting in front of a keyboard and typing until you have a few pages, then, yes, everyone can do it. There’s a difference between doing it and doing it well.

Asking why is that difference.

Let’s stick with fiction for the moment. Much of this applies to non-fiction as well, but it’s easier to focus on one right now. Fiction is, generally, a series of scenes that string together to form an overarching story. All basic stuff, you might think, but you would be wrong.

The Why (capital W from this point on) is Why this scene must exist in the first place. Your initial answer…

View original 380 more words

It was the best of cons, it was the crowdedest of cons.

So, San Diego Comic Con happened. I took some video but I haven’t had a chance to approve it. I tend to get a lot of up the nostril shots when I try to get cute with the video feature on my phone. You’ll have to content yourself with still photos.

Friends Kate and Jenny and I wait for the shuttle to pick up our badges. The first of many shuttle waits.

Friends Kate and Jenny and I wait for the shuttle to pick up our badges. The first of many shuttle waits.

Anyway. I guess my main impression was the lines and and the crowds. There was tons of cool stuff. Saw the Twelfth Doctor Who looking for a restaurant. Discovered that I have some kind of recognition malfunction where I don’t recognize people from TV, even if they’re standing right next to me. I’m pretty sure someone was at some point.

Mostly it was this crazy weekend ping ponging between “that is so cool” and “I am in hell.”

Captain Carter (Kate) poses with the Team.

Captain Carter (Kate) poses with the Team.

The Mashable #MashBash (which was amazing, and also, Elijah Wood was the DJ)

The Mashable #MashBash (which was amazing, and also, Elijah Wood was the DJ)

So. Many. People.

So. Many. People.

You basically have to buckle down and decide to enjoy yourself, no matter what. If you’re in the right place at the right time for something cool, enjoy it. Make the most of it. But if you go in with an “I must see/get all the things” attitude… well, you’ll either be unsuccessful and surly, or successful and annoying. (In other words, do not get between a fan and his Comic Con Exclusive Collectible.)

Was it fun? Yes, because I was there with my friends, and there’s this in the trenches camaraderie that happens. Also, they tell me it’s like childbirth–after you recover, you only remember that it was worth it. I don’t have a kid, so I’ll have to take their word on that.

So, I have a question. If you could go to one panel to listen to the cast, crew, writer, or director of some book/show/movie… what would it be?  What would YOU camp out overnight to see?

Brace Yourself. Comic Con Is Coming

I… have no idea what happened to June. Like, the entire month.

Let me recap the month for you: work.work.work.work.work.work.HOLY.CRAP.COMIC.CON.IS.IN.TWO.WEEKS.totaldenial.
work.work.panic.work.work.work.TOTAL.MELTDOWN.threats.from.friends.if.I.backout.
work.work.panic.DEPART FOR CALIFORNIA.

Technically that last part happened in July.

So, yeah. I’m going to be at San Diego Comic Con this week. I was supposed to go last year, but had to not go at pretty much the last minute.  I’ve not mentioned this because 1) I’ve been working really really hard both to afford the trip and to get some Very Important Stuff done before I go, had have barely come up for air, let alone Internet; 2) I’ve been in denial. Seriously. I have no plan, I don’t know who is going to be there (unless I know them personally), and I have my calming mantra Sharpied on my arm.

Just in case you live under a rock, San Diego Comic Con is such a huge thing that it makes even normal non-nerd news cycles, because it’s not just deep nerd stuff, but movies and TV shows and all that. Why do people go? Because random stuff like this happens:

Loki surprise appearance at  Comic Con

Loki surprise appearance at Comic ConC

Cool, right? I’m going to a place where there is a real possibility someone famous (more famous than me) could photo bomb my selfie.

Why am I panicking? To get to the panel where the above surprise happened you had to stand in this:

The line to get into the infamous

The line to get into the infamous “Hall H”

Obviously, I’m not going to do that. But here’s what the inside looks like (according to my research, by which I mean my Googling, because if it’s on the Internet, it must be true):

comic con crowd

Right now, you are all going “Rosemary, you WIMP.”

Am I? Maybe I am a walking Panic Attack waiting to happen.

Or maybe I’m posting those pictures from past comic cons so you won’t envy me too much.

The truth this, I’ll be hanging out where the book stuff is happening, which won’t be nearly the madhouse that the movie stuff is.  My friends Rachel Caine, Jenny Martin, and A. Lee Martinez (and many other acquaintances) will be on panels. If you ARE going to SDCC and you want a break from the MAJOR madness and deal with only MINOR madness, look them up and come see us.

(I’ll be the one rocking myself in the corner. Ha. Ha. Just Kidding.)

Or you can follow me on Twitter and see if anyone famous photobombs my selfies.

Professor X Photobombs Wolverine and fans. Hashtag Epic

Professor X Photobombs Wolverine and fans. Hashtag Epic

Email Shenanigans of the Undead

The Stuff:

Due to Internet Shenanigans, I have a new email address. Any and all comments will get to me regardless, but if you want to email me directly don’t use the readrosemary.com address, because it will go into the black void of space.

You can reach me at rosemary.clementmoore@gmail.com

No hyphen, and the period doesn’t really matter except to make it easier to read.

And yeah. If you’re waiting on an email answer from me, this may be why. You might want to resend. *chagrin*

COOL STUFF:

Strange Afterlives CoverMy colleague A. Lee Martinez has edited STRANGE AFTERLIVES, an anthology of stories about undead things. Not on purpose, but the authors are all part of the DFW Writer’s Workshop. Despite the fact that A. Lee Martinez is my arch-nemesis, I agreed to contribute a story to the anthology, and you can get the ebook here on Amazon for 99 cents. Just a note, the stories range from gruesome to hilarious to poignant, and there’s adult content in some (but not all) of the stories. But 99 cents! That’s less than a cup of coffee.

 

 

Get TRACKED

Reading TRACKED by Jenny Martin may have been my favorite part of 2015 so far. Tracked cover

Really? Yes, really.  Here are the reasons why:

1) I’ve had a pretty tame year so far.

2) It was an incredible relief to read Jenny’s book and, you know, like it. Not only like it, but think it’s amazing. Jenny and I are friends, and it would have been extremely awkward for me if her book sucked. Wednesday nights at IHOP would be excruciating. So thank you, Jenny, for writing such a fantastic book that I can recommend without reservation. I know you did it just to make my life easier.

3) TRACKED is simply a great read. It hits all the marks as far as Things I Like In Books: feisty heroine (Phee) who gets to do badass things (race cars really really fast); solidly crafted fictional world (the corporately controlled planet Castra); swoon-worthy cohorts with personalities beyond the Designated Love Interest (loyal Bear and roguish Cash); rollicking, rebellious plot worthy of the very best space opera.

Imagine Fast and the Furious but more like Star Wars…if Princess Leia was a scrappy orphan street racer. There’s something for everyone in this book.

4) The pace is great, it’s action packed, and Phee’s voice is infinitely readable and relatable. It hits the sweet spot between tough and vulnerable and wry. It’s neither ponderous nor flippant. (Voice is one of the hardest things to explain, because it’s how the story is told. Have you ever read a book and gone, “Oh my God, lighten up,” or “I would love to read about this supernatural team of stenographers, but it’s like a completely shallow airhead is telling this story…”? That’s voice.)

Jenny has an amazing grasp of tone, which goes along with voice. She’s just so good at choosing exactly the right word for the scene or the sentence. It sounds simple, but it’s surprisingly difficult to get the nuances right.

5) I’ve known Jenny for awhile, and like most writers, her first finished manuscript was not her first published book. (I don’t think she’ll mind me telling you that. If she does… well, I guess Wednesday nights at IHOP will be awkward anyway.) Jenny’s baseline is “smart and talented,” but she’s upgraded by writing and writing and reading and studying her craft and trying different things. She’s also really worked hard and been persistent through situations that would make a lot of people throw their hands up and say forget it.

Talent doesn’t always guarantee publication (or the other way around), so it’s thrilling when you see someone you respect and admire (and love) finally hold her published book in her hands.

Congratulations, Jenny.

Go buy this book, everyone else. 

Penguin Random House

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Indiebound

On corporately controlled Castra, rally racing is a high-stakes game that seventeen-year-old Phoebe Van Zant knows all too well. Phee’s legendary racer father disappeared mysteriously, but that hasn’t stopped her from speeding headlong into trouble. When she and her best friend, Bear, attract the attention of Charles Benroyal, they are blackmailed into racing for Benroyal Corp, a company that represents everything Phee detests. Worse, Phee risks losing Bear as she falls for Cash, her charming new teammate. But when she discovers that Benroyal is controlling more than a corporation, Phee realizes she has a much bigger role in Castra’s future than she could ever have imagined. It’s up to Phee to take Benroyal down. But even with the help of her team, can a street-rat destroy an empire?

What A Post

corpus-christi-marina

Corpus Christi Marina on a beautiful clear day

Every time I go to a book event, I take (too few) pictures and plan to post them on the blog. But if I don’t do it right when I get home, and then I try to think of something clever to say about it, and a week goes by and I think, this isn’t really current. Now I have to think of a new subject to blog about.

This pretty much applies to all current events—the Rosemary Centered ones and, you know, actual current events, like snow in March and stuff. Snow DayOh, hey, I can take pictures of the snow!  Oh, hey, it’s now 80 degrees. I guess that ship has sailed.

But what the heck.

The Teen Bookfest by the Bay in Corpus Christi was loads of fun. Get this–it was even held in the high school where I had my first job. I was filled with nostalgia, especially when I had the pleasure of introducing Jackson Pearce to Whataburger.

There are a few Whataburgers scattered through the south, but really it’s a Texas thing. Whataburger achieves a sort of mythical level of nostalgia once you cross the Red River. As a South Texan, I would even say that it’s just not the same outside a certain radius from their home base in Corpus Christi.

First, there’s the possibility that this could happen:

Horse at Whataburger

But that could theoretically happen at any drive though. (Maybe not Starbucks. Though if this happened at the shop I frequent, I would buy the rider all the White Chocolate Mochas. All of them.)

At Whataburger, you can get things like a patty melt or a chophouse burger or a chicken strip monterey melt. Plus there’s the roulette wheel suspense in the fact that these may leave the menu at any time, without warning.

You can buy Whatafries and Spicy Ketchup at HEB supermarkets (also based in Corpus). There’s also the mystique of something you can pretty much only get in Texas. (Like California’s In-and-Out burger. When they first came to Fort Worth, they had to have police officers to direct traffic. When I finally tried one, I was like, this is good, but it’s no Green Chili Double.)

Green Chili Double

But the real reason that anyone who grew up in Texas has a special place in their heart for Whataburger is because that’s where you went to get food in the middle of the night when you were done partying.

Whataburger

ANYway. That’s my report on the Teen Bookfest by the Bay. Thank you to the librarians and teachers in the many, many school districts that participated for putting on a fantastic event!  Here’s to many more.

Other recent events: The North Texas Teen Book Fest, which was freaking amazing. There were about 3000 readers there. THREE THOUSAND. And 50 authors, so many that I didn’t even get to talk to them all. I just had to wave from across the room. The hard working organizers have made it very easy to share the event with you, because the NTTBF Facebook Page is full of FANTASTIC photos of the event.*

(Yes, I know this is cheating as far as event recapping goes, but otherwise I’ll never catch up and never go on to talking about whatever is new. Besides… photos!)

This past Sunday I spoke at the North Texas chapter of Sisters in Crime, which was terrific fun. I taught the “cram as much information in as possible” version of my “How to make your book sound exciting,” aka “Pitching” class. I’m going to teach a new online version of this soon—a week long, email based, work at your own pace—and if you’re interested, drop me a line at rosemary (at) readrosemary (dot) com.

(And when you hit “update” instead of “preview” you look like an idiot with a placeholder title and un-fact-checked spellings of author’s names.)

Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da

There are two ways to go with this post:
1) OMG, this has been the craziest summer EVER.
2) Oh. My. Gawd. This has been the most tedious summer ever.

By ‘craziness’ of course I mean ‘chaos’ and, seriously, I’d gotten to the point about mid-July where crises became so routine that it reached the point of tedium.

“Oh, there’s water pouring out of the ceiling? I guess that’s this week’s thing.”

“Did you just use the word ‘cracked’ and ‘engine’ in the same sentence. Just making sure. How many zeros in that estimate again? That many? Okee doke, let me get back to you on that.”

So yes. A lot of personal and family stuff going on the last few months. It’s like kayaking through the rapids (or so I imagine), where it’s challenging but not impossible, but it’s hard to spare the concentration for things like, oh, say blog posts. Or remembering to… Well, thinking about anything other than avoiding smashing on rocks or tipping over or whatever.

What if someone came up with an app that bent time just enough so that you could send yourself a text or an email from the future?

“Hey, you know that thing you’re thinking about right now? Go ahead and do it. Trust me on this. Sincerely, A Friend.”

I suppose life wouldn’t be the same if we knew the future. At least our personal future. I’ve been exploring this concept with an author friend of mine, who’s (incredibly entertaining) time travel book comes out next year. It’s easy to say “Oh, I wish I’d done/not done X or Y.” Hindsight, blah blah blah. I’m not talking about obvious mistakes. If you have sound decision A and sound decision B, each may lead to the same place via different paths, or to really different places. So say you’re in place A and you don’t like it. If you sent a message to past you saying “Take path B,” who’s to day that place B wouldn’t be worse/harder/sadder than place A?

No one can, unless you can see down the road in two alternate universes.

Maybe I’ve been watching too much Fringe on Netflix.

Netflix on the Apple TV now goes straight into the next episode of a series. So you’re like, “I’m going to turn this off after this episode, but then the teaser for the next episode starts before you can find the remote that slid between the sofa cussions, and then you’re hooked for another 43 minutes.*

Coming back from the theoretical and back to my own life (because this is my blog, and it’s all about me), I’m still kayaking, still avoiding rocks, still keeping my head above water (mostly).

Hey, sort of like most of the other people on the planet!

Life goes on, bra. La-la-la how life goes on.


*It’s not all Netflix and cupcakes around here. I’ve been working on a new paranormal romance that y’all are going to love! I’m having to do a lot or research about yacht racing, though. If anyone yacht races, email me, will you?)