Tran’zr series…coming soon

I’m currently working on the first book in a paranormal romance series. I’m finding it fun, and definitely different from any of the other books I’ve written.

Here’s a draft of the blurb that will go on the back of the book:

Changing dance partners can be dangerous. When a young lawyer waltzes into Terra’s life, she decides to give him a whirl. But when she tangoes with Death, someone she never expected dips into her life and steals her heart.

I’ve already gotten some book cover ideas from my pal at DL Design and Digital Art, which I’ve posted here. (If you like any of the designs, let me know. I always enjoy learning what appeals to folks.)

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The short synopsis is:

I’m Terra McGinley…Tran’zr and technical writer, and I’m dating-impaired. I’m okay at getting first dates (though my mom would say otherwise—she’s always trying to fix me up; if it’s male, single, and over the age of consent, she’ll drag it home for me to meet.) However, when it comes to follow-up dates…well, let’s just say that my mother shouldn’t expect to hear wedding bells any time soon.

Being a tran’zr is a part-time gig—which is a good thing, because the pay is non-existent and the hours are horrible; otherwise, it’s a great job. Tran’zrs help transition people from the physical world to the spiritual and vice versa. Some people call us Grim Reapers, while others refer to us as Death Escorts, but we prefer Transitioner, or Tran’zr for short.

You Need to Read to Write Well

booksMany well-known authors will admonish new authors and wannabe-authors to read, read, read. Yet, what many of them fail to make clear is why reading is so important. You’re not reading simply for the fun of it (although, that certainly helps); you’re actually reading to learn.

You need to select books that may not normally appeal to you; you need to look outside your genre and your preferences, but most off all, you need to read with awareness. You need to do more than just enjoy the story, you need to be aware of what you are reading. You need to notice the broad strokes and the details; understand and note the word choices; listen to the cadence of the author’s speech patterns; notice how the author sets the pace and note the story’s structure; pay attention to the characters and their actions and reactions; and hear the overall voice of the story. If you don’t read with awareness, you may fail to learn anything about why the book appeals or fails to appeal to you.

Enjoying books is great—I’ve enjoyed reading and books since I was about 2 or 3; however, like any artist, you need to study others in your field so that you can understand what and how they do what they do.  Writing, to me, can be every bit as complex and mystifying as a magic trick. While you’re busy watching the characters over here, the author is quickly rearranging the sets and hiding clues over there.  Therefore, to see the tricks as the magician (or author) is performing them, you need to keep your eyes and your mind open.

Some readers claim there is a formula or a predetermined framework to how stories are created, and, in some cases, that may be so. I think all good mysteries, romances, and thrillers follow a certain pattern or flow. However, I think a great story takes those same frameworks or formulas and stands them on their heads, but an author can’t do that until he or she fully understands what all the nuances and tricks are to writing a good story, first. Once you’ve discovered the secrets to building a good story, you can easily create a great one by tweaking the rules to suit yourself.

But how do you learn that formula or where can you get a copy of that structure? By reading and writing. Reading helps you identify the building blocks of a story. It shows you what is good (and bad) about plot and character development, about pace and flow, and about how much truth is required to make that fictional piece feel so real. Reading with awareness helps you see those ‘magic tricks’ so you can understand what to emulate and what to avoid when you build your own books. As you read through a story you can note the pace, the sentence and paragraph structure, and the different facets of the overall tone and voice of the piece. You need to make notes, highlight passages, and, much like you did in those long-ago, dreaded English and Literature courses in high school and college, explain why you like those passages or what is wrong with them. Explain (to yourself) what the theme of the piece was, the character’s motivations, and (yes) even the author’s motivation for writing the piece (and don’t use the old “…because they needed the money…” cop out). Really delve into the story and understand it.

And, if doing this on your own is difficult, then join a book club or reading group. These types of groups can help you refine your reading techniques and your ability to be aware of every part of that book. Reading is fun, but it’s also an exercise in understanding how to build a great story. If you want to learn to be a great author; then take the time to read…everything.

The Magic of The Starstone

Starstone_Front_Cover_Only - 1There’s a certain amount of magic that goes into creating a story—whether that story remains short or turns into a full novel, the magic is still there. When you first start to write out your ideas, the story world and characters have little more substance than ghosts or shadows. The world itself is no more than a set propped up on the stage in your mind. But as you continue refining the story and reworking it, the characters become more real, and the world itself becomes something that you can actually visit. You can see the rocks, trees, and animals. They are so real that you can actually touch them, or so it seems.

In writing and developing The Starstone, I spent days on the lanai talking to people that no one else could hear, immersed in a world that no one else could see. It was surreal both for me and my spouse. There were times he would step outside to ask me something, and then struggle to figure out whether my response was to him or to something one of my characters had said. Even while walking the dog, the conversations continued. I can’t even begin to guess how many neighbors crossed the street to get away from the mad woman carrying on crazy conversations with herself, the dog, or no one. Yes, it’s magical, but it’s also intense and all-encompassing.

My life became so enmeshed with the world of Danaria that it sometimes became impossible to tell them apart. I was immersed not only in the world, but also in the lives of the characters—sometimes as an observer, and sometimes as a participant. But even as an observer, it wasn’t always safe. There were sword fights and arguments, kidnappings and escapes. The flight to Darkwind’s castle on the back of one of his wyverns left me nauseated and gasping for breath (I do have a distinct fear of heights), yet the trip was necessary if I was to write about it.

But worst of all, I think, was when the characters took umbrage at something I wanted them to do or say. They turned their backs to me and refused to respond to my queries, or else they simply walked off and disappeared from the world I had so painstakingly created. It hurt. They had become more than just characters, they were my friends. Yet, when I figured out that I was wrong, they would step back into the drama as if nothing had happened.

It was very difficult each time I had to put the story away, and it would take days, weeks, and sometimes months for the world I had created to fade away. There were times I would come around a corner of the house, and find myself not in the kitchen, but in a canyon. I would quickly look over my shoulder to see whether the ice beast was skulking behind me, before realizing that I had let the magic of the book out again. I would then bundle it back up and tuck it into a corner of my mind, until I had the time to let it out to play.

This time I not only let it out so I could play in Danaria, but I’ve let it out there so others can play, too. So, come immerse yourself in my magic land of Danaria. Feel the rush of the wind against your face as the wyvern you’re riding swoops down to within inches of the white caps, and laugh at the antics of the tree-runners as they scamper from branch to branch. It’s a wonderful world to get lost in.

Today is the day…

The paperback is ready and available. (Just follow the link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1481090569) The Kindle book will be available in a day or two (just waiting on Amazon to get it posted.)

So, hurra hurra hurra. Grab and copy and start reading. 😉

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By Any Other Name…

I got into a discussion the other day with someone who objected to the use of the words ‘guide’ and ‘guardian’ (as in guardian angels). When I asked why, they said that there were no guides or guardians only essence doing what essence does.

Several others in the group disagreed and the discussion flowed back and forth with some agreeing and others disagreeing. As for me, I can see his point, but I also think that he’s not seeing the fuller picture.

Are guides or guardians essence? Of course, we all are. But it doesn’t necessarily follow that the essence that comes to us as a guide is our own essence (our higher self). Other fragments of ourselves (fragments no longer incarnate) can be acting as guides, as can entity mates, or even cadre or cadence companions. All would be in essence (especially if discarnate and astral), but they would also be guides or guardians.

A programmer is a person (or at least most of the ones I know are;-), but we don’t identify them as ‘person’, we identify them as ‘programmer’. In other words, we’re identifying them with the role they fulfill. To me it’s the same with guides and guardians. They may be essence, but if they perform the ‘job’ or task of guide, then that’s what I call them.

A guide, while some part of essence (yours or someone else’s), is still performing a specific function—they’re guiding you, whether it is through a particular challenging passage of your life or through your transition between physical lives. After all, if some piece of essence is helping you, providing dreams or other feedback in an effort to “guide” you along your path, aren’t they acting as a guide?

Sure the piece of essence might be part of your essence, but then we usually refer to that as your “higher self”; or it might be a different fragment of you (a fragment no longer incarnate on Earth). However, it could just as easily be part of your non-reunited entity (an entity mate). They are all essence, just as you yourself are; but each piece of essence doesn’t function as a guide.

While certainly no expert—I’m not sure anyone who is incarnate—I have spent a considerable amount of time in the astral planes (and not just on the transitional planes where most people go when they astral travel). Therefore, I feel somewhat protective and defensive of the term “guide”. I’ve “seen” (or maybe experienced is a better word) some of the different “jobs” that those beings of essence perform while in their astral phase of life. 

Sure, some of the “lessons” or experiences of the astral are more internal—reviewing the lives and choices they had and made while incarnate, or reuniting with all the other fragments of themselves and working through any residual links or minor imbalances with those still in the physical (which is usually done in the astral while the incarnate person is sleeping). But part of the experiences of the astral include acting as a guide for those either still physical or those transitioning between life and death (physicality and non-physicality). There are also those who offer advice, and others who simply monitor things—people, plants, animals, etc. So, it isn’t all just playing harps and floating around on clouds. Nor can it be wrong to call some of those non-corporeal beings guides—after all, it is what they do.

It isn’t just those who are discarnate, either, who function as guides in essence. I have also taken on that task during some of my nightly sojourns, as have others I’ve spoken with in the here and now.

I know one young woman who works on the transitional planes assuring those who have recently died (physically) that they are alright and that what they are experiencing is physical death. I’ve known others who work with those heading back to a physical life, helping them sort out all the various choices available to them as they plan the tasks and imbalances they want to complete or rectify.

As for myself, I’m what I call an EOCG—Emergency On-Call Guide. I take those “calls” from folks who are incarnate and seeking support and guidance, as well as those who have, perhaps, traveled to the astral (whether during sleep or an unplanned OBE) and are now “lost”. (This in addition to my “duties” in helping people cross over.)

Most of those I take calls from are entity mates, but I have also responded to cadre and cadence companions. Why do I do this? Because I chose to. I’ve chosen to do this through the past 7 lives. It’s to help them as well as myself. I look at it as a type of “on-the-job-training”. After all, it gives me a chance to learn more about how everything and everyone fits together in the overall scheme of things, and it helps me decide what type(s) of “jobs” or “tasks” I will continue with once I transition off the physical plane for good.

So, even though some people may not like the term guide, or angels, or guardians, I find that the term is quite appropriate in describing what some parts of essence are doing.

All you need is love

I see the same message over and over–to love others, love yourself. I’ve seen it in the movie “What the Bleep”, and in countless books (such as “Same Soul, Many Bodies” by Dr. Weiss, “The Heart of the Soul” by Gary Zukav, or even “Messages from Michael” by Yarbro).

I’ve always agreed with it, yet still I have a problem with self-esteem (as do a great many of us, I think), which makes it a difficult message to follow sometimes. After all, how can you love yourself when you’re too busy berating yourself for being too thin/fat/short/tall/dumb/klutzy? Somehow, though, we all seem to fall into patterns like that, and sometimes they can be very difficult to break out of.

There have been countless meditations, mantras, and techniques developed and touted over the years that are devoted to helping people learn to love themselves; however, I think I just found the perfect one. It’s 3 simple words, which when expressed with true feeling behind them, let you believe, experience, and expand on the emotional well-being that they give the sender and the recipient.

The words have become so commonplace, unfortunately, that many people say them without actually meaning them, or with the wrong meaning imbued in them. It’s not enough to just speak the words, you have to feel the emotion behind them, you have to share the emotion behind them in order to get the full experience. These words aren’t meant to express a physical attraction to someone, or an expectation that the recipient of the words will fulfill some deep-seated need within the speaker of the words.

These words need to express the emotional equivalent of acceptance and understanding. The words and the emotions need to flow inside you, through you, and around you, and acknowledge you as a human being. If you watch the video, you can feel the emotion. You know that these people mean what they’re saying, and what they’re saying is that you matter; you are important; you are an important person just because you exist. And soon you will find yourself not only believing them, but you find that you are able to share those words with others and mean them, too. That you will find others to be important; to matter, simply because they exist.

The words are simple; the emotions are complex; the rewards are priceless.

(Thanks to Exquisite Transitions for pointing out this wonderful, and emotional link)

Infinity is now

Artwork by DL Sullivan

 

Infinity is now; every reality is right here, right now. Every life is right here, right now, but you only see one—this one. However, there is so much more to this life that you don’t see. There is an infinite number of yous living lives that are right now affecting the you reading this post.  

At this very moment, your past and future lives are both helping and hindering your current life, all because of the choices you made (will make? Are making?).  

All your lives feed together. All your choices feed together. And every life and every choice feeds back to the current now, the current life.  

Artwork by DL Sullivan

 

So how does that influence your life now? Well, perhaps several “past” lifetimes ended with you drowning (maybe as a sailor, flood victim, and child playing near a stream), so in the current life you are petrified of pools, lakes, boats, and beaches. This is because at a non-conscious level, you remember this, and the body reacts to this information by creating a fear of the situations that might lead to another occurrence. However, if the fear becomes too great, it could keep you from fully living your current life.    

Perhaps in several “future” lives you are a teacher of astro-engineering, so in this life you feel a need to study astrophysics. You may also find yourself drawn to reading engineering journals or books. This is your soul’s way of using all its lives to explore choices and to share the experiences that each life has had, is having, will have.  

It’s all one. Every life we live affects every other life. Every choice we make in this life not only creates alternate lives so that every permutation of that choice is experienced and explored, but it also feeds into all the other lives that we are living—past, future, current, and all their alternates.  

If in this life you choose to learn how to design and build bridges, then that knowledge spreads through all your lives. You may not need it in every life, such as the life in Sardinia where you are a goat herder; however, in those lives where the information is needed, it will be there.  

Ever wonder why someone can learn four or five different languages so easily? It could be because their other selves in their other lives are already speaking those languages. If you have a life in Italy, Japan, Korea, and Finland, whether past or future, then you are going to have those languages available to you now. That means that the you that is now, the you currently reading this post, could, with a little study, start speaking any one or all of those languages, because you already are.  

We are the sum of our parts, but it’s not just the parts of this current life that are a part of us. It is also all of the parts of all of the other lives that we are currently living, have lived, and will live right now. So, just imagine the possibilities. Just imagine what you can do with your life, knowing all the other lives you have to draw on. You can do or be anything you could ever dream of, because somewhere, somewhen you probably are, have been, or will be.