Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Character Displacement Disorder**

I've been so enmeshed in the novel that I'm writing that last Friday, every time I came up from my office, I had to keep asking what day it was, I thought it was Monday. And why I fully expected it to be raining (because it was in my book).

I've never done a poll for it, but someone probably should, and ask the question--

Have you ever been so immersed in what you were writing you lost all track of place and time?

I find this phenomenon truly bizarre and exciting at the same time. I mean, the human brain is a complex machine of infinite possibility, and to take what we think is right, Friday and sunny, and make us believe it's Monday and raining. Well, shakes the soul a little bit.

I suppose it's the trick to how hypnotists ply their craft. Trick the brain into thinking one thing when it's really another. I know because I was hypnotized once in a comedy act in Vegas. It was a funny skit--the hypnotist wanted me to think I was drunk, my shoe was a phone, I had to get ready for a date, but the shoe phone kept ringing. I remember everything I did on stage, but don't have an accounting for WHY I did it.

The power of persuasion. That is what all great writing really is. The power to persuade another human they have escaped their current time and space and have been transported to another.

However, that is the reader's experience. What I'm talking about specifically here is the writer's experience.

If we, as writers, are sitting in the BICHOK position, writing, and are fully conscious of the fact that this indeed is what we are doing (in Provo UT, Denver CO, Bethania NC at 6, 9, 11 am on any given day) then how can we be somewhere else at the same time that doesn't even exist except in our minds?

Dr. Who Anyone?

In my previous post, I talked about Fate, Karma, Kismet, and Serendipity (and a bunch of other nonlinear things). I guess I forgot to add time travel. And virtual reality. Because isn't that what we do as writers? We live and breathe in an existence that does not belong to us, per se, but our characters, but we are the creators of those characters and does not each of those characters have a bit of us in them, therefore we are the characters who are living in that virtual reality.

I think that's a bit too deep for me, even though I wrote it. But does it make sense?

How did I get sick?

Two weeks ago, I wrote a scene where my main character begins to come down with a sinus infection. As I was writing, my throat began to itch. My eyes started to water, I developed a headache, and then sneezed so many times, my daughter called down to my office, "Are you all right?"

I felt fine as soon as I stepped away from the computer screen. As soon as my concentration was broken. However, the second I got back into the scene, I started to feel lousy again.

Had I hypnotized myself? I didn't think you could do that.

Character Displacement Disorder**

to lose all cognizance of reality and become immersed in the virtual reality of the world you are creating; to feel the emotional and physical effects of the make-believe character

**This is not a true medical disorder. I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on television.

I wonder if gamers experience this phenomenon as well. I would presume they do. They have all the right tools, headphones, goggles, they're surrounded by their world.

If I am just sitting in front of a computer screen, then how can I lose myself if all I have to do is look up to break the trance? And if I don't look up, does that mean I don't want to break the trance? Does that subconsciously mean because I don't look up that I would rather stay in that world, the one I have created, than in the real one?

Or does it mean, that I am an awesome writer who has so engaged her audience (ME!) that getting to the next page is more important than a little snotty nose?

(I have just sneezed six times in a row. Is just thinking about being sick made me sick? Have I just incurred a residual hypnosis? Can you even do that? *sneeze*)


The mind is an awesome creation. Somedays I just wish it came with a set of directions.


Robynne Rand (c) 2017

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Back to Basics -- The Purpose of This Blog

Originally, this blog was supposed to be a place to house this pen name. A place where readers could find me on which I sporadically blog. It's gone dark for years, and then I'll resurrect it for two weeks or months, and then it goes black again. I couldn't get my act together. I have two other blogs to deal with. For months I have been trying to decide what to do with it. I either needed to cut the cord or figure out how to incorporate Robynne Rand into the larger website I'm trying to design.

The Moon is in The Seventh House

Faithfully, every month I read my horoscope with hope and trepidation. I don't ever admit I buy into the hocus pocus in polite company, but I do. Horoscopes, astrology, healing crystals, tarot cards, Native American spirituality, mediums, ghosts, angels, destiny, karma, serendipity, all of it. I also believe in alien life, shape-shifters, Sasquatch, fairies, and the Loch Ness Monster.

On August 1, I read my horoscope. Four different ones. (If they generally all say the same thing, I'm good. It's when they spout different interpretations of the planets that anything can happen.) This month we have two major events in the skies.  A lunar eclipse and a solar eclipse. A bunch of other shit is going on up there as well, but it's too complicated for me to understand. I just know my life is supposed to change in a big way.

Anyway, part of one horoscope said to look back at where I was 19 years ago, and four months ago as this theme will be where the new shift in my life will occur. It also said my home and its people and contents will be my major focus this month. Buying and selling home and property. That also includes my parents (my father, coincidentally, shares my birthday). It also mentioned someone from the past will appear out of the blue. ( I get this every so often and nothing ever happens.)

Romance is not the predominant driving force for this cycle.
Publishing, Writing, School, Internet, Recognition are. (I get this all the time. Nothing ever happens.)

Last week, I picked up a copy of Christiane Northup's Women and Menopause. I'm nearly finished going through the "change", but better read late than never. Besides, I already had the copy of Women's Bodies, Women's Medicine. It would complete the set. Monster had volleyball practice Monday night, so I took the book with me and sat in the car for two hours reading. (When she got in the car she said, "Wow, you're already up to page 69! (She hates to read. Thinks it's boring.)

In the book, Northup quoted a Native American Tarot card. I used to read Native American Tarot cards. Nineteen years ago. Along with the other insights I received from the author's words, I took it as a sign. The Universe was telling me something and I needed to pay attention.

Jupiter Aligns with Mars

Last week, my father received a letter from my Cousin Kathy, Uncle Jake's daughter. Jake is my father's brother (fought in WWII, received the Medal of Honor from Sen. Jack Reed, and was buried with full military honors). He died in October last year. Anyway, Kathy's letter contained her account of the last days she spent with Jake. It was very moving, detailed, and sad. My father told me to send Kathy a response. He couldn't do it.

Because I'm a volunteer at Monster's school and have a semi-important job, I have been there on and off all summer. On Wednesday, the teachers had their annual get-back-together lunch and workshop. I went to my office and did my thing all the while knowing that I was going to see the man who left me a year ago to marry another woman. (Read on to find out what happened.)

And Peace Will Guide the Planet

My mother has Alzheimer's. Enough said. However, I have been trying for years to convince my father to get help in a few days a week. I can only do so much. When I was at school Wednesday, I ran into a lady I knew from the church. Virginia is her name. She's Latina, and just so sweet. I talked to her last year about helping my mother. She had two other jobs and couldn't get away. Then I found out she began working for one of the teachers whose dad suffered from Alzheimer's. I was angry that Jean would undercut me like that. Good help is hard to find and I needed help.

At school yesterday, I also saw Jean, who buried her father in June. I also ran into Virgina (something completely out of the blue whom I hadn't seen since March 2016) I begged her  to come and work for me. (As of this writing, I still haven't told my father she's coming.)  Virginia said to me, "I know you think I abandoned you last year, but Jean's father needed me more at that time. You have always been a strong woman and I knew you could do what you needed to do for your mother for a little while longer. But now I am here for you with no encumbrances and everything will be fine."

I am a strong woman and did perfectly fine on my own. But now the moon was in the seventh house and Virginia has come to save me. Didn't I mention that my horoscope said part of my theme would be my parents? and the past?

And Love Is In the Stars

To get back to the man. The basics--He is 42. I am 55. He is gorgeous. I am not. He has 2 Master's Degrees. I have a single B.A. When I met him he had been engaged to her for 3 years. My ex and I have been living separate and apart for the last 10 of our 13-year relationship, even though we live together. (Another long story. Someday I'll tell you.) The man met My Daughter's Father (#MDF) last summer and understands my living arrangement.

During our brief, year long "friendship" the man and I discussed books and art and politics and life and philosophy and music and he read all my books and I helped him with his curriculum and we were nearly inseparable when we could be together. We talked about everything. He was intellectually superior to me, but I was thirteen years older than he was. I could boss him around and he didn't care. I loved him. L.O.V.E.D. him and was devastated when he left. Don't get me wrong, deep down inside, I wasn't fooling myself. I knew it could never work out between us, but the fantasy I had read about in books was actually my reality and the reality was pretty amazing.  While it lasted.

He had taken another job two Septembers ago and would be going west over that summer to marry his fiancee.  I would never see him again. Ask my best friend Debbie how I cried. But life moves on and in the end, I got over it.

Anyway, as fate would have it, in May I found out he would be returning to the school this August. All summer long, I concocted various scenarios in my head of how I would greet this man when I first saw him. How I needed to show him that what we had was all in the past. How I'm just fine and not weeping anymore. (told you I loved him) I was all right that he married his girlfriend. As I said, I am always at school, so I had to put aside my feelings and behave in a rational manner. I was an adult. I could do this.

To make a long story short. I finally saw him. In the office. He said hello. I said hello. I left the office. Pretty good. I wasn't hysterical. I pretty much ignored him. Yay me. Walking back to my office, I stopped in to see Jean and Julie, talked for a few minutes and then stepped back into the hall to proceed on my merry way. The man was waiting for me by the water cooler.

It was as if we had never been apart. The words just came tumbling from our lips, babbling coherently/incoherently to keep up with the other's questions. I couldn't contain my curiosity and asked him, "How was the wedding?" And he said, "She dumped me."

That's all I'll say about that. However, he also asked if I had finished my detective stories. No, but am working on them. I mentioned the book on menopause I was reading and he asked, "You're reading again?" (Another insight I found along the way.) The entire experience was like we were never parted. If he were any other man, I would say he likes me in that way. I'll let you know what happens.

The Past is the Present is the Future

Nineteen years ago, I was working as a bartender in small mining town in Nevada. Men, booze, and trouble were abundant. About a year-and-a-half, after I got there, things weren't working out for me so much and all I could think about was what a mistake I had made leaving the best job I ever had and wanting to get back home. There was a solar eclipse that also fell under a lunar eclipse in August.

Four months ago, in April, I was trying to find us a beach house to rent back home for the summer. I was thwarted at every turn. I also began writing the book I am currently trying to finish. A woman's journey to help her aunt battle Alzheimer's demons and what happens when the family skeletons fall out of the closet. Every conversation in one form or other between Rose and Abby is true. I've also tied in other main characters from previously published books, which was fun for me to revisit and see where they are now. I am writing what I know, setting it in the place that I know best. Home.

Nineteen years ago, my aunt was diagnosed with severe to moderate Alzheimer's.

When I write, I always find pictures of my characters to help in the process. When I found the love interest, (I write romantic women's fiction) I nearly lost my mind when I also found out the actor I had chosen also shared my birthday (albeit different years) and had once played a character by the name of Billy Gallagher. (My true life grandfather's name.) (Gallagher. The other pen name that I write under.)

I always kept a journal. Always. Since I was fourteen. After I read, ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT'S ME, MARGARET. I stopped keeping one when I moved to Nevada nineteen years ago. *cue Twilight Zone music*

I hide the last journal I wrote in at the bottom of my underwear drawer.
Some people keep their jewels there.
Originally, I didn't know what this blog was supposed to be for.

Now, I think I do.





Robynne Rand (c) 2017



Coming Soon

Ignore The Bullshit. Just Write #ignorebswrite


Monday, July 24, 2017

Scarborough Beach, Rhode Island


So, we were supposed to vacation in Rhode Island this summer, but due to my mother's illness, (and several other mitigating factors) we are not. To say I'm disappointed is an understatement. To say I'm relieved is something else. However, this has left me time to work on my latest book .

Postcard from 1942 (front parking lot)

As a writer who once lived in Rhode Island, (and is yearning to go back) I try to include as many points of interest in my novels as I can. It helps prevent homesickness (which I've been dealing with for 10 years) and keeps me focused on my writing. I have visual aids stacked up on an old computer screen so I can look at them when I'm "in the zone." (Problem is, sometimes when I'm in the zone I truly have no idea where I am when I here "Mom" from upstairs.)


Anyway, at one point in the story, Abby, the main character, and her Aunt Rose, take a ride to Scarborough Beach. I haven't been to Scarborough since I was in my early 20's (30 years ago). Don't get me wrong, I drive by it all the time (or used to when I visited Narragansett), but it's changed so much it doesn't resonate with me as a writer. When I'm writing I'm thinking about how it USED to be.

This isn't there any more. So sad.
When Scarborough was Scarborough and right next door was Olivo's Beach and then Lido's Beach. Remember that? Remember the Boardwalk? No matter how hard you tried, you always got a splinter, even wearing flip-flops. Remember the seaweed? The long seaweed that would wrap around your legs and scare the living daylights out of you because you thought it was a sea monster coming to get you. The rip currents? The surfers? Salty Brine on 630 WPRO AM radio telling us every half hour, "Time to turn before you burn." (And the famous "No school Foster-Glocester, but that's a story for another day.)



And then, at the end of a long day, Aunt Carries for chowder and clamcakes. Remember when that wasn't famous, it was just the place to go after a long hard day at the beach?


There used to be huge, untamed, rose hips along the sides and back of the restaurant when I was a kid. And Aunt Carrie (yes, a real person) kept chickens in the back that my brother and I would try to feed clamcakes to. Now, it's so commercialized, it's not the same. We went there to eat the last time we were at the beach and yes, the food is still exactly the same (EXACTLY - recipes don't change) but the atmosphere and ambiance was gone. No longer was it the place I remembered from childhood, but a sad reminder that everything changes, nothing stays the same.

Maybe next summer we'll get back to Narragansett for the summer, but for right now, I think I'll keep the Scarborough I remember from my childhood in my head, and in my books.

Robynne Rand (c) 2017

Monday, July 10, 2017

Where I've Been -- What I'm Doing Now

Well, it's certainly been a long time since I've been here. A lot has happened. I didn't forget I had this blog, I've just been dealing with a lot of crap.

*My ex fell off my roof in March of 2016 and broke both of his feet. I had to nurse him back to walking. That took six months. Did I mention he slept in my kitchen because he couldn't walk up and down the stairs. That experience was so much fun.

*My mother got into a car accident in July of 2016, which was the impetus for my father finally realizing she might have Alzheimers. We finally got the proper diagnosis in December. Did I mention that even with her father and sister having it, she refused to believe the diagnosis and is still fighting it. I have to drive her now.

*Monster (my daughter) decided that she wanted to play four (count them 4) sports at school last year--volleyball, basketball, softball, track--so I had to play chauffeur. I'm still trying to figure out if the trophy was worth it.

*We got another cat. Monster found an abandoned kitten at school behind the soccer field and begged me to take her home. I have to say, she's a great cat. Crazy, but great. She likes to hang out in my bathroom. Don't know why.

Once June hit and Monster got out of school, I collapsed. Literally. I spent most of the month in my chair in front of the television. I'd been under a lot of stress. I tried to fight it, tried to keep up a normal routine, but that only made things worse. A couple of days I didn't even get out of bed. But now I'm more or less back to normal. At least the laundry is caught up and the house is vacuumed, no dirty dishes in the sink. Housekeeping is the measuring stick of any of my illnesses. So here I am.

Over this past winter, I concentrated on getting my second Regency romance series completed. I wrote and published three books at the beginning of this year, so I haven't been completely slacking. Still, there's 4 books to go to complete the series and I am just so over writing historical fiction. What was I thinking? Obviously, I wasn't.

Over spring break I found a contemporary story idea and slapped a couple of thousand words on it. I managed 35k before I stopped writing. I know how it's supposed to end, it's just a matter of getting it finished. It's kind of sad though and I really don't feel like crying every day as I write.

I'm still plugging along on the murder/mystery/detective series. I'm up to my eyeballs in revisions on books 1, 2, and 3, and working on book 4. I've also decided to write a secondary series of short stories from another characters' POV to go along with the first. Am I nuts? yes. It's all about the marketing for this series. I'm sure you've heard the phrase "writing to market." Well, that's what I'm doing. Which I'm not supposed to do. I'm supposed to write the books I want to read. This, I think, is a little of both. That being said, I don't suppose these books will see the light of day until 2019 if I'm lucky.

I also found several (5) contemporary romance novels I started way back when in one of my old computers. I took a look at them and decided they were worth working on. I'm calling them my backlist. Not wanting to stress myself out again, I picked the easiest one to finish and have been working on that. I'm easing myself into the groove.

I also put my romance novels back on sale. I had taken them off thinking I could publish them under my other pen name Anne Gallagher. Just keep everything together. But for a myriad of reasons I decided against it. Funnily enough, as soon as I put them back on sale, I sold 9 copies of REMEMBERING YOU and five of WOMEN...in one day. So, thanks to all of you who bought it.


So, that's what I've been doing. As I said, I'm working on a new/old story, hoping to publish by the end of the summer. We're not going on vacation again this year. We were supposed to go back to Rhode Island but got screwed out of 3 different houses. When did beach house people turn so rude? I had spoken to 2 women (in May) and thought we had contracts, but they never got back to me, and when they finally did (July 1), they wanted cash. How the hell am I supposed to send cash in the mail? So, we're going to the coast down here. We've never been (it's been a long 10 years) so I booked a hotel for 3 days next week. Hopefully, it won't be too hot, we won't get a hurricane, and it won't rain.

So, that's about all the news I have. I'll try and keep up here. I can't promise, because I hate to break them, but I will try.

Robynne Rand (c) 2017

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Writing #Detective Stories

Not knowing anything about murder mysteries, I decided to write a couple. The first one was great. I wrote it in seventeen days. The second one took five. Yeah. Five days. The third one took a lot of revising. You know why.

I didn't know who the killer was.

As I said, I know nothing about writing detective murder mysteries. I'm sure the above is Rule #1.

The first two books were easy because I knew who the killer was. I just had to get there. I also wrote the third book fairly quickly until Chapter Sixteen. That's when it went off the rails. I had all these great suspects with great motives and great alibis. So good in fact, I still have no idea who killed Bunny Harrowdale.

It's either about love or money. I just have to choose.

What would you choose? Love or money?



Robynne Rand (c) 2016

Thursday, January 21, 2016

#amediting

After I wrote the last blogpost, I went to work on rewriting the ending to the second novella. I didn't realize that task would take up my entire weekend. I pulled out nearly four thousand words. And have since added another two thousand to the original story. This leaves me with 41K for a total. Not bad.

/www.morguefile.org/pippalou
I didn't think it was going to be so hard to write the end, but in order for me to have it all tied up, I needed something really wild. And I decided I was going to have the detective question a suspect who had Alzheimers'. That will be the last scene I write for the story. Then it's just cleaning up, line edit, and one last read through.

I'm pleased with the story and should have listened to my gut in the first place. Then I wouldn't be revising. I had a lot of tricky intersecting clues that had to be found and time frames that needed to happen. That was a lot of back and forth. I think instead of twenty, I have eighteen chapters now. Paring all the unnecessary words.

I find I need to take breaks when I edit, a lot more so than when I write. I make myself take breaks. Otherwise, I'd look like Rocky. How many times did I say to myself, I wish I had thought to make an outline, synopsis, anything to help me remember at one point in the story does this take place. It's frustrating to not remember. But once I find it, I change it and move on. It's the finding.

I'm hoping to finish it today. Then I can get back to the the chick who fell out of the sky. I totally wish I could use that for a title. But it sounds so dragon tattoo. Best leave it alone.

Back to editing.

Robynne Rand (c) 2016

Thursday, January 14, 2016

#amwriting

The Towers, Narragansett, Rhode Island
I've been writing like a maniac on the murder mystery detective series. So far I have three novellas and two separate halves of novellas written. I find I'm enjoying learning how to kill people. Although, I have a funny feeling, my research is going to get me a visit from the men in black.

It's nice having an in-person editor. We met for chai lattes on Monday and completely rewrote the ending to the second story. Back to the way I was originally going to write it. I should have listened to my gut, but the shiny new ending had me in its claws. I couldn't turn away. So, today/tonight I am going to fix it.

Each novella is a vignette of the detective's life. Basically, every time he finds a dead body. As they say in the writing world, depending on who you talk to, there are really only 12 great plots. And as I'm finding, there are really only 10 ways to kill people and almost get away with it. I keep seeing the end not too far in sight. Seriously, I'm hoping by the end of June. I'd like to have them all finished. Not necessarily published, but at least first draft finished.

I've also been working on finding pictures for my  characters and I think they're dynamite. I found certain pics for certain scenes. Places in Narragansett I can ascribe to Nannaquonsett and Rhode Island. It's fun going home even if I'm 900 miles away.

I've also seriously thought a lot a lot a lot about a newsletter. I really like the idea of short fiction and I had an idea of working the pot-smoking psychic's POV into 3,000 words and send it out to newsletter subscribers. I've pretty much got the whole thing in my head. Now I have to get that down on paper too. Well, the screen.

I'm excited about using Pinterest as a storyboard. I have one set up for my romantic women's fiction. And another for my Regency romances. I'll let you know when I start to post. I'm also rethinking if I need to have a separate blog, maybe a landing page for the new material. Create a whole new persona. Again rethinking. Blogs are a lot of work to maintain. I don't think I would maintain it though.

I gave two friends at school the paperback copies of WOMEN OF A CERTAIN DEMOGRAPHIC.
Both said they loved it. Melodi said, "I hate the mother. She's just like mine." And Debbie said, "I love Steve. He's such a perfect man. I knew a guy like him once." It made me feel good that I can write books my friends like. And can identify with. Lara said the same thing. She likes my characters and invests her time reading about them because she knows she won't be disappointed. What she also said was that she was so invested in the reading that she forgot she was editing. So there's a huge compliment. Go me!

In the Regency series however, I'm afraid that's still under development. I had a brainstorm the other night and decided to rework the main character. I have to give him a purpose, and he didn't have one until I had this crazy idea. A little more thinking, a little more writing, a little more writing.

It seems I set myself up pretty well for this winter. I'm doing what I love to do. It beats housework, that's for sure.

Robynne Rand (c) 2016