A 9mm Stored In My Underwear Drawer

FOR THE LOVE OF RESEARCH…

OK, to better learn about my characters for my novel- being that my main character is a former Marine & now Police Officer, I’ve done the following:

Interviewed (2) Marine and know another

Visited a recruitment office

Read a crap load of materials on them

Studied countless Marine videos ( Discovery Channel stuff, personal blogs & journals)

Watched Marine themed movies including ‘Full Metal Jacket’ and I HATE war movies !!!

Facebooked I “Liked” the United States Marine Corp on Facebook including their Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego (Where my fictional character will be trained at)

Shooting I’m even going to go rifle and pistol shooting in the upcoming months

Spoken with Family Even though he isn’t a Marine I sat down with my father and spoke to him about his experience in the Army and why he joined. When I asked him why the Army and not the Marines he said “I didn’t  join the military to go fight and kill someone!” CRACKED ME UP!! But it says a lot about the roll and perception of the Marines in our armed forces.

I’m about as liberal as they come. I used to be afraid of guns and I didn’t know or think about the difference between each of the armed forces. Outside of knowing why my own family, friends and community members join the military (ie. A way out of bad neighborhoods, career/school opportunities or a need for strong support and guidance) I never really understood why anyone would put themselves in harms way for our own government that has demonstrated time and time again how they ALWAYS need to be reminded to give back when our soldiers return from war and are in need.

With that in mind, my ongoing process of learning and listening to the experiences of others I’ve come to respect and admire the strength, courage and stamina found in each of these Marine men and women, truly amazing. For that I am grateful to everyone I have spoken to and what I have learned.

However, in the process of researching I think I’ve come to learn way too much about hair cut regulations, rankings, The Crucible, and even BCGs…… that would be ‘Birth Control Glasses’ (military issued glasses).  And now my friend (The Marine I interviewed) was so excited that I was writing a story about a Marine he went out and bought me a T-shirt, coffee mug and my favorite, a Marine fatigued mouse pad!

Now if I can only get all my NYC Police family members and friends to get me stuff. I will be well on my way to become a card carrying NRA member with a 9mm stored in my underwear drawer and shotgun in my imaginary pick-up!! 😛

‘The ringing bells of the piragua cart…

‘The ringing bells of the piragua cart clicked clacked down the cobbled stone streets of Casica Blvd. They chimed the ugly truth that began to penetrate his mind.

It seeped through his skin like the cherry stained lips of school children licking the shaved mountains of ice. Each sparkling flake of snow flying out into the same sun that pressed upon his exposed face- blinding him from focusing on anything other than the past.’
-Sitting in a restaurant on Ashford Avenue, Condado Puerto Rico. I took this picture while writing this passage from my novel. It felt good.

Grants & Money for Writers/Artists

As much as I would like to say that I am full-time published writer, traveling from one city to the next on book tours, negotiating with producers for movie right deals….Alas no,  this is not the case.

I actually work full-time at a university as a grants (federal and private  foundation) administrator.  I’ve spent the last 8 years of my life cultivating private donors, researching and writing many grant proposals; each in an effort to obtain funds for many great non-profit programs I believe in, many of which work with the communities  that mean the most to me… Youth & Teens, HIV/AIDS programs and of course for Artists.

YES, I’ve been able to secure large amounts of funds (yup, a lot of $$) for non-profit organizations and groups over the years.. However, now that I am finally doing what I want to do most I’ve been trying to translate this skill  to help myself as a new writer.

Well, it’ has not been easy to say the least. Competition is high and resources are always limited. So in my research and learning this ‘new’ craft of trying to find funding I thought I share some of the things I have found…maybe something that may not work for me may work for you…..

QUESTIONS & COMMENTS: Leave a comment or send email,  I will try my best to help. OR if you have info to share GREAT!!!!

WHAT WILL BE LISTED HERE? 

  • Info on Fellowships
  • Info on Grants
  • Helpful Links
  • Info on Proposal Writing Tips
  • Info on Free Writing or Artist Contests

STAY TUNED AN UPDATE WILL BE POSTED SOON on the top Home Page!!

My story takes place in the state of Washington

My story takes place in the state of Washington.  More specifically Bremerton and Bainbridge Island.  I wanted and needed a place that could be detached from the world, both with its physical isolation but also carry a sense of beauty.

Each of these things needed to be overshadowed by a big city in its direct view (Seattle).

Having never visited Washington I needed to familiarize myself with the area. I Googled and printed information on the local high school, where the police station was located and visited numerous realtor web sites and identified my main character’s apartment and layout.

After downloading numerous maps of streets and neighborhoods I said to myself….

1) I need to get my butt over there soon and

2) I need more information.

With that, I made up in my mind that this coming year I will fly out to WA for a few days and two, I decided to pick up the phone and call the Bremerton Chamber of Commerce.

I explained who I was and what I was doing (writing a novel that takes place in your neighborhood) and how I needed some information. The friendly voice on the other line replied “Sure! That sounds exciting, I think I can help”.  With that she sent mountains of maps, demographic information, newsletters and special events calendars.  I was so excited to open my mail each day until it arrived.  A little shy and nervous to call…but I’m very glad I did.

Thank you Bremerton Chambers of Commerce!!

Mapping out the Road they meet on…

Writing By Hand

I didn’t have my computer at the cafe last night, so I wrote…..by hand, with my best pen in my worn spiral notebook….

It felt good.

FYI excluding a few cross-outs its a really good way to not self edit (which I suffer from…badly) You can’t really go back and erase…you’ve got to keep moving.

Hardcore baby…. Laundromat and STILL typing! Ha!

‘The warmth of the water….

‘The warmth of the water caused the wet cedar planks to slowly perfume the air with the sweetness of flowing sap. Looking above the clearing of the cabin, the tangled branches seemed to reach up to the distant stars creating a jagged picture- framing both the night sky and crescent moon.

The late hour was made darker by the dense canopy of trees and brush painted deep shades of blue and gray.

Despite the soft illumination of her silhouette he was still able to take in the strength of her quite presence.

Through her shadowed face he knew she was looking at him, just as she always did. What was she thinking? She seemed to gaze at him with both sadness and clear desire.  How can both feelings and thoughts inhabit the same space and time yet separately carry through the minds of both Juan and Adriana.’

………AND SO THE EDITING AND WRITING CONTINUES.

Marine Rites

I’m supposed to be doing freelance now so I can go out to the movies later….So of course what am I doing???? Looking up Marine rite of passages and hair cut regulations for my main character.

How I’m spending my Saturday night …and LOVING IT!!!

Some Of The Tools I Use

Tools of the trade.. Books I’m reading to inspire and help structure my story (Oh yeah-that’s my bike helmet and doggie biscuits in the background..the essentials)

BOOKS TO INSPIRE

  • ‘Tinkers’ –  Fiction Novel By Paul Harding
  • ‘Brokeback Mountain’ Short Story By Annie Proulx. My absolute favorite short story.  But I mostly have it near me to remind me that I need to make every word count- short or long story writing.

BOOKS TO HELP WITH MY WRITING & STORY STRUCTURE

  • ‘Stephen King on Writing’ – By Mr. King himself. Not only helping with my writing but a small look at the man behind his most famous novels. Surprising and VERY interesting.
  • ‘The Writers Journey 3rd Edition’– By Christopher Vogler. The last thing I want is for my story to be too formulaic but since I’m new at this I need help with structure and for me this book has been AWESOME to read.  I’m also a big movie/ film buff. This book uses both mediums to help you identify story structure and character rolls. Thank you Mr. Vogler and of course Joseph Campbell!!!
  • ‘The First Five Pages’– By Noah Lukeman  Although this is more for once I finish or as I edit my novel, its still a great read as you prepare.

RESEARCH… Visiting the Bronx VA Hospital

Marines…….

Marines…….

OK, for research I’ve been interviewing a Marine (friend of a co-worker) and he’s been great, and very patient with all my dumb questions. Outside of his Boot Camp experience and our conversations about living life as a Marine one of the many things that stood to me during our talks was what or how to call a Marine.

He said NEVER identify a man or woman as an Ex-Marine and DON’T EVER ever call a Marine a Solider….why?

  • The Army has soldiers,
  • The Navy has sailors,
  • The Air Force has airmen.
  • BUT Marines are Marines!

ITS WILD…It actually brings me back to a time when I was in college and was visiting friends at Albany State. While hanging out at the dorms I met an Alpha  (Alpha Phi Alpha)  from the African American Greek Fraternity. We were talking about Greek life….etc…. so I asked him how was pledging for him?

” I DIDN’T PLEDGE!!! ALPHA’S GO THROUGH A PROCESS!”
Wow!!  Boy, I enjoy researching

Story boarding isn’t just for the movies….

 

Now the question is can I read my handwriting…hummm?

SEX LOVE AND WRITING

…..OK, so I want to incorporate a love scene into my story….Not wanting to use the language of smutty romantic novels and sugar sweetness of Twilight’s pillow biting scene, I’m doing a bit of research. Just how did the great novelists of our world go about adding sex and love into a story? Well here is an example how Gustave Flaubert who wrote Madame Bovary created a huge scandal in his scene. In the scene the clerk has convinced Madame Bovary to join him in a horse-driven cab with the blinds down. Now the moment of truth has arrived and she goes along with it because she doesn’t know what else to do. The cab driver is instructed to drive anywhere he chooses………………………………….(He was arrested shortly after writing this) I don’t think I want to be this subtle.

Here is a great site that provides you with tips in this area  http://rebeccalacko.wordpress.com/2011/05/27/feel-the-heat-sex-and-fiction-8-tips-for-building-tension/

Madame Bovary

Butler Library

The Grand Central of study halls.. Butler Library… 24hours of straight writing!!! 

‘Trying to focus on the sleepy warmth of his son’s body…..


‘Trying to focus on the sleepy warmth of his son’s body and the steady pace of his breathing, Juan wished for more time and more moments such as this.  Instead, his thoughts drifted to the beginning when the decision was first made, when the decision to be alone would affect both his and his son’s life…..’

1,154 words down 48,846 left!!!! Hoorah to NANO!” – (First try at last year’s National Novel Writing Month)