Boxed In?

For many years I’ve tried to define my writing niche – my little genre box. The truth is that I don’t have one. For some reason, I cannot box myself in a particular genre. I cannot define myself as a (fill the blank) writer. When asked the question, I cannot say that I am a romance writer, a mystery writer … so I usually answer with “I am a fiction writer” or “I write fiction.” It is not that I won’t commit to a genre or that there is a lack of clarity. It is not that I cannot decide on one particular genre and stick with it, as many experts suggest. I have pondered my reasons for not going inside the box many times. The only answer I can come up with is that I want to be open to write the book that wants to be written.

I labeled my first published novel a paranormal romance for lack of a better genre definition, but truthfully, I don’t feel that I am a paranormal romance writer. The novels are more inspirational in nature than romantic, and they have a supernatural vibe. The current story I am working on – The Five-dollar Miracle – is an inspirational story and very different from my other books. One theme that seems to filter into my writing is that of the divine and the supernatural working together. It is the only thread that seems to give my writing a cohesive element. Other than that, I am open to any story that wants to be written.

So what am I? I guess that when forced to stick on a label, I will call myself an inspirational fiction writer but that feels a bit too boxy for me. Instead, I will let inspiration mold my pen and trace a path. Of course, this is irreverent to traditional publishing/writing and to the mighty pen gods, the omniscient powers that be. I am at peace with that.

Acceptance is Transformation

Following my earlier post about core topics on my novels, I decided to write today about the core theme in Ramblings of the Spirit. Although there are many themes throughout the novel, these are driven by one core theme – acceptance. I mentioned before that change is transformation, but before transformation takes place, acceptance must be present.

Acceptance just as change, is never easy. This is because when we come to the point (at a place in heart and mind) to accept, we have fought a battle (physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually). If we are to receive growth and transformation, we must let acceptance in. Acceptance is very personal and different for individuals . Why? Because it draws from all the above mentioned (four) areas and prepares the person (the whole) to undergo transformation.

In Ramblings of the Spirit the theme of Acceptance is shown through different characters, but mostly through Dinorah Sandbeck, the main character. At one point or another in our lives, we will undergo change and transformation, and in between, lies acceptance. The battles that we fight in the four areas of our whole persona are fought at once, whether we realize it or not. Acceptance becomes the vehicle, the bridge towards transformation. When we learn to accept, we open these four areas to receive, and to receive what fits us at the moment of transformation. Acceptance does not equal resignation or giving up, on the contrary, it keeps us going so we can be transformed. When we accept, we view our situation with the eyes of understanding, knowledge, physical strength, and spiritual discernment – all leading to transformation.

I leave you with an excerpt from Ramblings of the Spirit (Book 1 of The Dinorah Chronicles). It is a good example of the senses and four areas engaged during transformation.

“The run there cleared my thoughts. I was ready to handle the consequences, for better or worse. The water was cold so I sat by the dock. The water had a purifying effect on my soul, always did. Every time I visited the lake, I felt renewed. The sound of the water hitting the canoes was relaxing, and the scent of dead leaves was intoxicating. I abandoned myself to the kiss of the sun and the coldness of the dying grass. The sky was crisp blue and a few clouds seemed to dance on it. All this magnificence surrounded me, and yet I felt so tiny inside. My heart was shriveled with pain, the pain and fear of …” – Dinorah Sandbeck.

 

Cover for Ramblings of the Spirit

Cover for Ramblings of the Spirit

 

 

Writing Your Book’s Elevator Pitch

It is never too late to write your book’s elevator pitch. Most likely, you won’t think about it until you face the question “what’s your book about?” How would you answer this question if you only had a minute or less? How would you craft the answer in one quick but meaningful sentence? It may seem daunting to think about summarizing your book in one sentence, but it is not that difficult. Here is how.

Think of the title followed by the genre, then about your main character(s), then think about your character’s dilemma – and leave it at that. Let me give you an example using my novels.

Moonlit Valley is an inspirational paranormal romance about a young couple fighting to hold on to their love and trust while overcoming a series of unfortunate events and surreal destiny.

MOONLIT VALLEY

MOONLIT VALLEY

 

Ramblings of the Spirit is an inspirational paranormal romance about a young librarian who resents her origins but must find a way to fulfill her birthright in a struggle with love, self, and duty.

Cover for Ramblings of the Spirit (The Dinorah Chronicles) - Girl Image by Lunagirl Images. Design by Maria Antonia Diaz

Ramblings of the Spirit

 

There you have it, Title + genre + main character(s) + dilemma = elevator pitch.

You might feel tempted to add more to it, but then, you will succumb to explaining your novel. You can always add a bit of more interest by mentioning secondary topics of conflict without giving the story away, if you have more time to converse. I have read about many approaches to this, but this works for me.

This works for fiction but you can easily modify it for non-fiction by replacing the main character with your topic and the dilemma with what you are trying to do for the reader (goal).

Hope this post was useful.

A Writer’s Path – Twists and Turns Along the Way

Photo by M.A.D.

Photo by M.A.D.

A writer’s path is a long and quiet (I don’t like the word lonely or solitary) journey. There are long hours of creativity, learning, research, and more learning (especially new technology and tricks of the trade for indie authors). As if all of this is not challenging enough, there is the other part – the part when you are figuring out your writing-self, style, and if you are really cut out for all this. Passion is great, as is love for the craft; however, in these fast times, it might not come as a surprise that you will question your path, from time to time. You may have answered the why, the what, are figuring the how, and might have no clue about the when or where, depending on your goals and planning. Sometimes, the path less traveled seems to be the one that has all the thorns, the most challenging, and the less fast-rewarding. It may take you through twist and turns, up, down, and around, and leave you breathless. However breathless, more knowledgeable for walking the path, stronger for stepping on thorns, and satisfied, bled out but satisfied, even when there are no miraculous clues or tangible gratification for your efforts. What you do next, makes all the difference, and I will leave the next sentence to you -____________________________________fill the blank. It is your journey, and you decide.

I leave you with a small excerpt from Moonlit Valley.

“Loss changes your perception of things. It sweeps the hallways of your mind and dusts off your most precious memories. It forces you to open the doors of rooms closed for a long time and peer into your soul, looking for the last ray of hope, of faith. The hope you desperately need now, knowing that at one point, you had put it somewhere and forgotten about it. When you find it, you grab a hold of it, tight, fearing that when you wake up tomorrow, it could be gone. Tomorrow arrives and you realize that although in a faint state, it is still there, and you hold on to it again.” 

And the Winners Are …

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Congratulations to the three winners of a paperback copy of The Dinorah Chronicles – Ramblings of the Spirit! The winners are Marisol Lopez, Maria A Calixto, and Grace Rhema.  Please let me know your address, so I can mail your copy 🙂  I hope that you like it.  Thank you to all of you who liked my author page.

Here is a couple of videos that I found interesting to share.

 

 

Amazing, right?

 

Ramblings of the Spirit is available through Amazon.

Ramblings of the Spirit Giveaway

I will be giving away three copies of Ramblings of the Spirit, the first book of the trilogy The Dinorah Chronicles.  To enter for a chance to win one of the three copies, just like my Facebook page (link at the right of the screen on this blog) and that is all you have to do.  I will announce the three winners on May 20, which is the birth date of the person to whom I have dedicated this book – my maternal grandmother.

Ramblings of the Spirit is a story about the conflict between Duty, Friendship, and Love. In this paranormal romance, Dinorah Sandbeck, an introverted young librarian, resents her Human-Anarth origins and must find a way to fulfill her birthright duty while keeping the secret. As she learns the Anarth ways, she must follow the teachings of an ancient tome, but she falls in love with James Casey, a journalist, and she struggles to keep her secret safe. She must learn to fight her archenemy Hael and The Other Side, but most of all, she must fight herself. In this battle of Self, Love, and Duty, winning is the least of her concerns.

Excerpt – “I picked up the book again and slowly placed it on my bed. I was not sure if opening it or let it be. I laughed at myself. The impression of the dream was so real in my mind that I thought I felt the book’s heartbeat. I turned to go to the kitchen when I heard a thump. I looked back; the book had opened. This time, I mustered the courage to look at the page. It was the page of the boy and the serpent; however, the image had changed. Now, I was looking at my dream. Spilled all over the ground were human hearts; next to the boy, I saw a key, and next to it a heart with wings that seemed to bleed. I grabbed the loupe from the nightstand to inspect the picture. There were initials printed on the heart – DS. What could it mean? Only one thing came to mind – Dinorah Sandbeck”Chapter 21 – The Thump of the Bleeding Hearts.

 

Book trailer

 

 

 

That was just a bit about the book, and here is a picture of what the lucky winners will be getting – a copy of the book and bookmarks.  If you want the chance to win a copy, please follow the link on this blog to like my Facebook page and enter the giveaway.  Ramblings of the Spirit is available in ebook or paperback through Amazon.

 

THE DINORAH CHRONICLES - RAMBLINGS OF THE SPIRIT - Book 1

THE DINORAH CHRONICLES – RAMBLINGS OF THE SPIRIT – Book 1

 

🙂 Cheers and Good Luck!

 

 

 

The Dinorah Chronicles – Ramblings of the Spirit

I am very happy to tell you that The Dinorah Chronicles – Ramblings of the Spirit (Book 1 of the trilogy) is available.  Here is a bit about it.

Dinorah, an introverted young librarian, resents her Human-Anarth origins and
must find a way to fulfill her birthright duty, while keeping the secret. As she
learns the Anarth ways and follows the riddled teachings of an ancient tome, she
falls in love and struggles to keep her secret. She must fight her archenemy
Hael, and The Other Side, but most of all, she must fight herself. In this
battle of Self, Love, and Duty, winning is the least of her concerns.

You can find The Dinorah Chronicles – Ramblings of the Spirit in paperback edition here or through Amazon here.  At this moment I am not offering it via Smashwords. Remember that you can always download a free kindle app from Amazon to your computer, if you don’t have a kindle. In addition, you can download the novel on PDF format as well.  For more information, you can always visit the novels tab on this blog.

Here are pictures of the front and back covers.  I hope you like them.

Cover for Ramblings of the Spirit (The Dinorah Chronicles) - Girl Image by Lunagirl Images. Design by Maria Antonia Diaz

Cover for Ramblings of the Spirit (The Dinorah Chronicles) – Girl Image by Lunagirl Images. Design by Maria Antonia Diaz

backcover design by MAD

back cover design by MAD

 

I am working on book 2 of The Dinorah Chronicles trilogy – The Book of Sharon, and hoping to publish it before the end of this year.

 

 

Moonlit Valley Book Trailer

Ok, so here it is, my first book trailer, which I had to learn to do, and spent all day making.  One very important issue when making a movie or video is to make sure that the source for images and music are ok to be used by you, whether you have obtained permission, or they are royalty free or approved for commercial use, or public domain.  Very important also to give credit according to the type of licensing the images or music have.  So here it is, the official book trailer for Moonlit Valley.  I hope that you enjoy it 🙂 as I did making it for you 🙂

 

Peekaboo – Ramblings of the Spirit Front Cover

So here it is – the front cover for my second novel Ramblings of the Spirit, Book 1 of The Dinorah Chronicles.  I hope you like it.  I went through two designs and finally, decided on this one.  Ramblings of the Spirit will be available by the end of this month (I hope) via Amazon and Smashwords, and via expanded distribution.  I will keep you posted.  Here is a blurb.

Dinorah Sandbeck, an introverted young librarian, resents her Human-Anarth origins and must find a way to fulfill her birthright duty, while keeping the secret.  As she learns the Anarth ways and follows the riddled teachings of an ancient tome, she falls in love and struggles to keep her secret. She must fight her archenemy Hael and The Other Side, but most of all, she must fight herself.  In this battle of Self, Love, and Duty, winning is the least of her concerns.

And here is a peek of the cover,

 

Cover for Ramblings of the Spirit (The Dinorah Chronicles) - Girl Image by Lunagirl Images. Design by Maria Antonia Diaz

Cover for Ramblings of the Spirit (The Dinorah Chronicles) – Girl Image by Lunagirl Images. Design by Maria Antonia Diaz

 

REMINDER – Don’t forget that tomorrow is the last day to enter for a chance to receive a free copy of Moonlit Valley.  Just like my Facebook page at the right side of this screen.  I will announce three winners on Monday. Cheers!

Seagull Latest Gossip

Ok, I could not resist doing this to these adorable seagulls.  I took the picture at the Keyport, NJ waterfront.  It looks like the are gossiping about something quite juicy, so of course I had to imagine it.  Click on the picture to make it larger 🙂

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz