Mobsters and Dancers and Dukes – Oh My!

Rosalind AllenWow, what a week, had a fabulous time writing for a submission call with the picture prompt of a beautiful lady.  The brief was to create a story based on the picture – has to be Scandalous because that is the style that Entangled want to publish and based in the early 20th Century.

When I first saw the picture three things popped into my head.  Mob, Chicago, 1920’s.  Man, have I had fun researching this lot out! Prohibition, Speak-Easy’s, North Side Gang, Albert “Gorilla” Weinshanke, O’Banion, Capone – Burlesque dancers – which in the 1920’s were extremely risque!

There were some interesting terminologies too – like Jerk was an audience member, Quiver was shaking the chest area, shimmy was shaking your posterior, bump is swinging the hips forward, blisters were a strippers breasts, cheeks was her backside, and Gadget for G- String (maybe that is where the G and G String originates from???)

Dean O'BanionThe North side Gang were in direct opposition to Al Capone and run by an Irishman named O’Banion (Dean I think was his first name).  They were ambition and nearly drove Al Capone and his gang out of town, and would have, had the Valentine Day Massacre not occurred!

Albert Weinshenker I was going to have Dean as a main character, but he was more into running the liquor side of things.  When I investigated further, a seedy character by the name of Albert “Gorilla” Weinshanke presented himself.  He was the one that ran the Speak Easy’s or the places where people could visit and buy illegal alcohol.  They often had dancing girls or Burlesque dancers there for entertainment, along with a band to provide music.

To add more scandal to my story, I have included an English Duke, who is investigating the murder of his brother.  And of course, I couldn’t resist throwing in a gratuitous photo of my favourite Englishman, Tom Hardy, upon whom I am basing my English Duke (of course!).

The story is a romance, and it is a little bit dark, but I am loving coming up with the scenes and so far I haven’t been disappointed.  I hope I can keep to the 35k limit though!

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Musings About Cursed Love

Tom Hardy

(Yeah, gratuitous picture of Tom Hardy!)

I have only just realised something – sad and scary as it is.  I don’t want to finish my Cursed Love story.

Why?  Because I have enjoyed it so much, and I don’t want it to end.

I have the same problem with some books I read too.  I have two which remain unfinished, and probably always will be, because I don’t want the story to end.  It is truly a sign of a good book as far as I am concerned – not that I am saying my book is good or anything – but in both cases, I know what happens – they are both historically based books – but I just don’t want to know how the author has chosen to end it.  I want to keep the story alive in my head.  Both stories (Michael Korda’s Immortals and Sharon Penmans The Sunne in Splendour) are beautifully written, they tell the story from a different perspective than what you would expect.

Those aren’t the reasons I don’t want my story to end though.  I have really enjoyed writing it, and the journey that the story took me on.  And the journey that my characters went on too.  I learnt a lot about my characters on the way, and some things that I initially had in my characters backgrounds have changed because of the way the story has unfolded.

The story is rough, lots of was etc in it, but that is OK, a couple of times I have edited through it, I have tightened it up, and currently it stands at 40k – not the 60k I imagined, but I really don’t want to pad it out, I love where the story is at, the flow, pace and the storyline, and padding would only drain the readability of it.

I want to finish my story, and I am pleased that I have had a week off it, because I can write it now with an open mind and finish it richly and the way the story deserves.

During July, I intend to try and finish off Cursed Love and the Silkie story too, because August is The End is Nigh over at KiwiWriters.  I want to get these two stories edited so I can get them out to my critiquers.

A little explanation on Depression…

Light at the End of the Tunnel, Kawatiri Tunnel, Feb 2011

Light at the End of the Tunnel, Kawatiri Tunnel, Feb 2011

Circumstances in the last two or three days (eventuating from a couple of weeks ago) have built up to the point where I am feeling VERY down.  And I hate it!

A friend betrayed me, by acting out and another person very close to me has withdrawn and then wonders why I can’t support him. Hmmm – I wonder.

I have wonderful people around me who are supportive and encouraging, but it can be hard when you are in a dark place to “focus on the positive”, “spend time with people who shares your interests” or “enjoy your day” especially when all you can see is the dark cloud over your head.

I do try and be positive, and spend my days doing things I enjoy, but the moment I stop, the clouds roll in and I have to wonder just how much the good times do mean to me.  It is hard to concentrate on the good feelings when the bad feelings blanket you and smother you.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not dissing these people who support me, its just that sometimes it is extremely HARD to focus on positive and enjoy things when you have this overwhelming feeling of being unloved.

At the moment, all I want to do is have a good cry and cuddle with someone I love – but to do that would mean opening myself up, and that is something I really can’t afford to do right now.  Instead I have to push through, and know that this is only a little bump on the road – it just seems that the bumps are getting bigger, not smaller.

I am hoping to get some writing done today, because this is something that I know makes me feel happy at the moment – but I also don’t want to push it and take the fun out of it.  See what kind of conundrum a person suffering from depression ends up in!  Its honestly bloody hell!

Even the thought of stalking Tom Hardy on the internet no longer interests me… yes things are dire!

So anyway, I hope this gives you a little insight into how a depressed person thinks.  I had better get on with my day, paint a smile on my face and pretend that all is well.

And Yet Again, Another Change…

Funny how things happen.  Last night, half asleep, listening to my husband and a friend playing their

guitars (at 2:30am) I came up with a plot point that would shore up my worrying plot line.  A surprising twist, but one I really like.

And it happens, just like that.  Even though I plot my story out, I keep it flexible as possible, and often, my flexibility allows other things to happen that I didn’t know would, but it adds to the drama and suspense of the story, as well as adds credence to a weakness that I was worried about.

While our friends were here, we were discussing dreams and about what they were used for.  The Native American Indians believed that they could specifically dream certain dreams by starving themselves for 8 days and then going into an induced sleep.  This is probably true.  When I go to sleep, I bring to mind the dreams I had from a previous night, or if I don’t want to focus on that, I think about where I am at in the story I am writing and how I can move forward in the story.  Sometimes I will think of a new idea or some way in which to move the story on, or I will dream something else.

I love that I dream, and I dream pretty much every night, and I can remember my dreams.  But then I have always focused on my dreams (they are where story ideas come from) from a very young age, so I have a good recall of them.  Something that the Native American Indians had to learn.  Little did I know that I am actually quite clever at being able to recall dreams, because many people can’t.

I have a notebook beside my bed for writing down my dreams, and sometimes I will even interpret them, and it can be fascinating what they are trying to tell me.  Like dreaming of moving water can be our life, and if it is swift moving, our lives are going fast, if they are slow and wandering, we are moving at a nice easy pace.

I kind of feel like I am rambling tonight… I probably am.  Not much sleep in the last week, and a 12 hour sleep in the middle, makes for a very muddled girl!

I got to talk to Year 5 / 6 kids at the school I work at about revising and editing stories.  I spoke to them about my own writing and showed them examples of my corrected work.  Then they asked heaps of questions about my writing.  I have since been asked by the Year 2/3 teacher to talk to her class about creating characters and planning a story!  Very exciting times.

Tom HardyWriting is proceeding well, I am wrapped with where the story is going, and I am about 1/3 of the way through it.  20k through, with over 5k yesterday before visitors arrived.  I don’t know what I will do after I have finished writing this story, because at least for now, I have a valid excuse for watching Tom Hardy movies and youtube clips!

Anyway, plan for the week, write, write, write.  SoCNoC is only a third of the way through.  🙂

When the Muse Strikes

It has been an exciting week for me, I have been writing, attended a Romance Writers meeting and brainstormed with Melissa Pearl.  It is nice to have so much creativity around me at the moment because life seems hectic.

Tom HardyI discovered Tom Hardy quite by accident, having watched This Means War.  I know, I am a bit behind the 8 ball, but no more.  I looked at him, and I saw the hero in my Cursed Love story.  I can imagine him in a business suit, no nonsense business man, in jeans and t-shirt as a charming and flirty man.  Yip, I have a new muse.

LaVerne Clark really is at fault for prompting this more by showing me her Pinterest page, full of hunks, including Tom Hardy.   Hmmm, definitely need to raid her Pinterest page!

On Saturday, a quiet day at home on my own, I was chatting with Melissa about issues I was having with Cursed Love and trying to make some aspects come to life.  Within 10 minutes we had enough ideas for me to really get excited.

And while driving yesterday, I came up with some conflicts that would really make the story move, and a possible “black moment”.  Fingers crossed I can work it into my plot.

What was really inspiring, is getting together with the Nelson group of Romance Writing New Zealand Group.  It is fantastic to be able to share your experiences with writing and know that someone else in the group knows what you are going through.  We all of the common interest on writing and romance, so we are able to really help each other with our writing experiences.

So this week, once I have completed two articles for a new website, I intend to get some character goals set up for Cursed Love, and work towards getting a plot together, and also continue working on the Erotica, which is fast becoming a fast paced romance!  I don’t mind, it is fun writing it and I am enjoying the feistiness of the characters.

What plans do you have for the week?