Friday, January 28, 2011

Interview with Marta Moran-Bishop

I recently was asked by my friend, Marta Moran-Bishop, author of "Wee Three", to talk about myself on her blog. I was very pleased to have her do that for me. I decided to return the favor. Marta is a marvelously talented woman and I'm proud to call her my friend.

Dellani Oakes: When did you start writing?

Marta Moran-Bishop: I began writing when I was six. I wrote, what was probably the worst stage play ever written. It was so bad that about 10 minutes into it my mother called a halt to the performance.

D: What gave you the idea for your first book?

M: Well my first book is still sitting waiting to finish the rewrite it is called “Keeping the Upper Paw: A Cat’s Guide to Training Your Human.”

Wee Three; began after my mother had passed. I felt compelled to put everything else down, take out the verses that my grandmother had written for her children. A few of these are in Wee Three without change. I took these verses, the stories my mother had shared with me of her childhood, added my own memories and Wee Three was born.

D: What do you do to keep yourself focused?

M: When I am writing it is difficult to stop, my husband says I am like a dog with a bone. I go somewhere inside the book/story and totally lose myself till what I need to put on paper is down. Later I can go back and edit it. Usually my problem isn’t staying focused it is letting it go.

D: Do you stay with one project until it's finished? Or do you work on multiple projects?

M: This depends on whether I have a deadline or not. If I do not have a deadline then I am usually working on multiple projects. One of them will be my main focus and the other’s are more of when the words need to come out I write those for a while.

D: What is your writing process?

M: My brain is always writing. I have been known to pull over when driving to jot down an idea or a stanza for a poem. However mainly I sit with my feet up computer on my lap and just go into the zone.

D: Do you hear from your readers and what do they say?

M: I have had a lot of feedback from both Wee Three and the two current tales I am working on. Usually when someone reads Wee Three, it sparks a story they remember from their own childhood. I am lucky so far I haven’t had anyone tell me that they didn’t love Wee Three.

D: How does the internet boost your career and writing?

M: The internet and Facebook have given me a sense of community in the world of the Arts that has been lacking in my life since childhood. It also helps give feedback on story lines and on sales/marketing tactics.

D: Do you have a mentor or mentoring group or community of writers or authors to support you and your writing?

M: Facebook has given me a sense of community and support that I never knew before. Most of my FB friends especially those I communicate with on a regular basis are full of support and have brought so much enrichment to my life that I feel truly blessed knowing them. Whether it be on personal, spiritual, political, or in the Arts I find that I grow continually from contact with them. I could list so many people that I have met that have been supportive of me and my writing that I could fill a page. I consider myself extremely lucky to know them.

D: Has your upbringing or environment influence your writing? How?

M: Absolutely growing up in a small mining town with nature, books, music and your imagination being the key to your entertainment it would have been extremely difficult not to have it influence one. My upbringing was one of music of all generations from the big bands and classical to the Backstreet Boys because of growing up in a family of nine.

The local Drama Teacher was an ex-Broadway director and would show up at 2 in the morning after having seen the latest play on his trip to NY. Nothing for it but we would all get up to listen to each and every scene he would describe and if a musical, sing. Our house was full of books on every subject known to man probably at any point at least 2000 books. We read to each other and by ourselves.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

An Interview with Me!

Every month, I interview other authors. I decided to start a short series where I interview myself. Why, you may ask. Why not? I spoke recently to a writer's group in Holly Hill. To get the ball rolling, I typed out some interview questions that they could ask me, hoping to spark other questions. It was a lot of fun. Here are the first three questions & answers....

1. When did you start writing?

I started writing when I was very young with song lyrics and poems, moved on to short stories and eventually to plays. I continued writing plays and short stories through college. It wasn't until after I was married that I attempted my first novel. I got the idea from a game my husband & I developed for my gifted class. That was in 1988. It's still unfinished....

I didn't really have a chance to take up writing again until my youngest son started school in 2002. Since then, I've finished 6 books in the Lone Wolf series, 18 mystery/ romance, 10 romance and about a dozen short stories. I've started 9 romances, 27 mystery/ romances, 1 steam punk, 2 sci-fi and 6 short stories. And yes, I can keep them all straight.

2. What gave you the idea for your first book?

My very first published novel, "Indian Summer", was inspired by a trip to St. Augustine, FL when my eldest son was in 4th grade. Walking around the historic city for the first time, I kept feeling that there were hundreds of stories to tell. This one solidified when I went to the sugar mill ruins in NSB. It was originally going to be set in NSB during the second Seminole wars, but the Native tribe I wanted to incorporate, died out or became part of the Seminoles & Choctaw in 1777. That necessitated a major time shift. I finally chose 1739 because it was a year prior to a major siege of St. Augustine by he British.

3. What do you do to keep yourself focused?

Focus is sometimes hard for me. My husband works nights, so he's up during the day when I'm trying to work. I have a teenage son, so fixing meals and taking care of him also interrupts my train of thought. However, when I'm writing or editing, I keep music playing constantly. It provides a barrier between me and the outside world, dulls the ringing in my ears and helps me concentrate. I also play music to help me pace different scenes.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Links to My Shows

I recently was asked for links to some of my past shows on Blog Talk Radio. I was able to track down links to a lot of them, though there are more I know I'm missing. I used to not keep as good records as I do now, so the earliest ones are missing. I may be able to track them down by checking my old scripts. I'll see what I can find. Anyway, here are the ones I was able to track down. I've listed the names of the guests beside them. Dellani

Dellani's Tea Time Links: Tracy Searight-Dibert, Penny Ehrenkranz & R Jeffreys Jon Magee, Barbara Becker-Holstein & Jay Fitter Lisa Cottrell-Bentley, Marsha Diane Arnold, Crystalee Calderwood, Deb Lund, Virginia S. Grenier, Michelle Buchman. Devyn Burnton, Ellen Hopkins, Lisa Mantchev, Michelle Zink & Tonya Hurley MJ Gillot assisting. Guest, Janet Ann Collins Barry Eva, Connie Arnold, Scotti Cohn & Jennifer Walker Lila Castle, TL Wood, Concetta Payne Vonda Skinner Skelton & Nancy Sanders Jennifer Cervantes Jo Linsdell & Rober O'Mara Wayne Street, Jr & Tommy Batchelor R Jeffreys, Mara Moran-Bishop, Hazel Mitchell & Phillip Dana Yeh Mark David Gerson, Donny Bailey Seagraves, Barry Eva, Vonda Skinner Skelton, L. Diane Wolfe

What's Write for Me Links: Seth Anderson Bailey & Nicholas Grabowski Getting Organized with Lucy Balch, R Jeffreys and Dorothy Stacy Seth Anderson Bailey, Michael Pennington & James Edwin Branch Laura Elvebak & Mitch Haynes Linore Burkhart & Rowena Cherry Mark Engebretson, Mickey Hoffman and Kenneth Weene Sherrie Hansen, Christine Husom and Kris Radish Linda Morrison Spear, William Beck & Anne K. Edwards Rico Austin, Franny Armstrong & Tom Barnes Lawrence D. Elliot, Jennifer Arzt & Tavia Stewart Jill Bratcher, Sue O'Shields, Barbara Ehrentreau & Rachel Brady Rhys Bowen, Juliet Waldron, Jennie Helderman Stephanie Osborn

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Something to Laugh About

Laughter truly is the best medicine. We all need something to laugh about because life is always throwing things our way. Sometimes, finding the laughter is hard, but it's so necessary. When I was going through cancer treatments last year, I made it a point to find something to laugh about every day. Even if I was only laughing at myself, I did it. It's a small goal, but not always easy to attain when you don't feel well or you're stressed. Below, I've listed a few things that make me laugh. Feel free to add your own, write a short essay, copy an excerpt from something you've written or tell about your day - finding the humor, of course.

I have several comedians that make me laugh very hard. They aren't to everyone's taste. Some are down right raunchy. Their language may not be the nicest, but they are wonderful at finding the humor in everything. Ron White, Lewis Black, Dennis Leary, George Carlin, Russell Brand, Kevin Hart. There are others, these are the ones I think of right off the top of my head.

Movies or TV shows that make me laugh: "The IT Crowd", "Coupling", "Psych", "Pineapple Express", "Grandma's Boy", "Paul Blart, Mall Cop", "Up".... The list is endless, these are some of the top ranked ones.

Sometimes, the outtakes are funnier than the movie itself. I always watch the outtakes on any DVD that has them. "Star Trek" has great outtakes. So does "Serenity". "Hot Fuzz" is a great movie & also has a very funny blooper reel. There are times when I won't watch the movie, I just watch the bloopers. It gives me a much needed giggle and I'm not sitting there watching a 90 minute movie. Not that I don't love movies, but once in awhile I want a quick chuckle.

So, what makes you laugh? Please share, because we all need to find the laughter.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Chance Encounter

I may have posted this short once before, I honestly can't remember. This story was inspired by my days playing Ultima Online. Wow, seems like forever ago. My youngest child was a toddler at the time.

A chance meeting, that’s all it was. A glance in passing, a look - that’s all it had taken. One penetrating flicker of her astonishingly green eyes in his direction - and he’d fallen into her. The auburn hair fell around her shoulders like flames, cascading down the back of her sapphire dress. It was fire burning in his head. Electra, his best friend’s younger sister.

He’d known her for years and watched her grow from a child to a young woman. She was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen, and he was irrevocably smitten. He was a fool, he chided himself. Nearly ten years younger, why he had shoes older than she was! But he was hopelessly, helplessly hooked.

"You’re done for, Shadow, old man." He muttered to himself. "If Augustine doesn’t kill you, Electra will do it herself. She absolutely loathes you!"

Distracted by his thoughts, he nearly ran headlong into the moat around the lord's castle. Stopping abruptly, he regrouped his thoughts and made his way inside to speak to the tailors about some fabric he wanted. A short conference later, he headed back through the moongate to Skara Brae, his new fabrics in his backpack.

He stepped onto the ferry and crossed the channel between Skara Brae island and the mainland. He could have recalled home, but he’d left his reagents behind and his runebook was out of charges. It was only a short run to the forge, his sister’s home, where he had a tailor shop set up to work. In his distraction, he barely noticed when the ferry touched the bank. He disembarked and shifted his pack to the other shoulder. It was heavy and slowed his steps. He should have been more alert to his surroundings, but his mind fluctuated between thoughts of Electra and the new cloth in his pack.

The first brigand attacked him with a dagger. The blade itself would hardly scathe him, but the poison on it glittered with an evil, green ichor. He’d have to be wary of that, for he’d no cure potions with him. He dodged the next attack easily, shifting his pack of fabrics so they shielded his exposed side. Drawing his own blade, he parried the clumsy thrusts of his opponent. Annoyed with himself for forgetting his spell reagents, he relied on his fencing skill protect him. Fortunately, he was dexterous and practiced often with his blade, making him a tougher target than his attacker had anticipated. Still, the pack was heavy on his back and he was beginning to tire.

An energy bolt crackled past his left ear, singeing his goatee and setting his long hair tingling to the roots. It took a moment to realize the spell had not been directed at him - right about the time it slammed into his opponent, throwing him to the ground. A second bolt followed the first. The man’s tunic caught fire, but he was already dead.

Shadow spun in a low crouch, searching for other attackers. He saw no one except a lithe figure dressed in light blue leather armor. Her hair was pulled back in a tight braid beneath a scarf, but he caught a hint of fiery red where it spilled out the back. Wispy curls framed her heart shaped face like tongues of crimson flame. Her emerald eyes danced with amusement as she dusted her gloved hands against one another.

It was then that Shadowdancer noticed three other men lying around her, tunics smoldering gently in the late afternoon breeze. He was good, but four on one were odds he wasn’t sure he’d have beaten without his spells. He certainly had been distracted or he’d have noticed them himself. A flush rose in his swarthy cheeks as the subject of his distracted state strutted over to the nearest body, picked it clean, and moved to the next.

"Electra," he said huskily. "I owe you thanks." He bowed deeply, his pack of cloth tilting dangerously over his shoulder.

"You owe me more than that, Shadowdancer," she laughed. Her voice was like chimes in the wind. "You owe me your life, more like. What had you in such a state? Why you walked right past the lot of them the moment you got off the boat. I was a score of yards away and could see the look on your face. You must have seemed an easy mark to such as them."

Shadow’s blush deepened. He couldn’t tell her it was her fault. She’d laugh at him. He dug his toe into the dirt, ears and cheeks burning with embarrassment.

"I know that look," Electra said suddenly. "I’ve seen it on Augustine’s face more than once. There’s a girl, isn’t there? You had your mind on a lass!" She sounded both amused and disgusted.

He could not bring himself to look at her. She’d hit it right the first try but how close to the mark she’d come, he could not show her. Not since his heart had been broken, so long ago, had a woman affected him the way Electra did. The other had been a redhead too, only it was a rusty red like fallen leaves. How appropriate, for her name had been Autumn. She’d broken his heart, driven him to drink, and made him the man he was - for good or ill.

"I’m right, aren’t I?" Electra spoke with confidence.

"Aye, that you are," he admitted grudgingly. "She’s beautiful, intelligent, witty and strong. In short, Electra," he chanced a look at her. "She’s magnificent in every way and more woman than would ever be interested in a bleary eyed sot like me."

Nothing moved but her hair. Caught by the breeze, it whipped around her head, escaping her scarf like snakes of flame. The setting sun made it a golden red halo around her head. Tears formed in her emerald eyes, tinged with gold from the afternoon sun.

"How do you know she’s not interested?"

Shadow’s voice caught in his throat. Could he speak? Dared he say what was in his heart? For once he had to speak up for himself. He’d spent so many years hating himself, what he’d become after Autumn had left him, he could hardly bring himself to look in her eyes. Taking a deep, shuddering breath, he squared his narrow shoulders, stood up straight and looked at her - his dark gray eyes locked onto her vivid green ones.

"Why would you want a man like me, Electra? I’m old and weak. I can’t even give you a roof over your head, for I’ve none as belongs to me. I’ve nothing to offer you but the love in my heart, the skill of my hands and the clothes on my back, but those I give you freely."

His nerve left him and his head dropped again as he stared at his feet. Suddenly tired, he sighed heavily and let his pack fall to the ground. The golden fabric spilled out, catching the light of the fading sun. Electra’s breath caught sharply and she stooped to grab it before it fell into the dirt. Shadow reached for it at the same time and their hands brushed as they caught at the fabric, fingers meeting in the folds of cool cloth. Shadow felt a spark jump from the tips of his fingers to hers, and back again.

The cloth forgotten, he leaned forward, his lips meeting hers. Their kiss was electrifying, lingering, warm and tender. He’d never kissed anyone the way he kissed her and he could tell she’d never had a kiss like his. His lips brushed hers, sending a tingle down his spine.

"Oh, Elli, I’ve loved you since we met. Each time I see you, it sets my soul on fire."

"Why have you never told me before?"

"Your brother...."

"Oh, bother Augustine anyway! What’s he to do with us?"

"He’d kill me if I ever made a move toward you. You are his little sister, sheltered and nurtured by him. God help me, Elli, I love you more than my own life, but I say again, what have I to offer you?"

She took his hands gently in hers, pulling him toward her. "You said it already, the
love in your heart. That’s all I ask, Shadow, that’s all I’ve ever wanted. As for my brother, I know we’d have his blessing, for there is no man he regards as highly as you. Now shut up, you fool, and kiss me."

Old Time Religion ~ A Love in the City Romance by Dellani Oakes – Part 5

"This is Ms. Whitley. Her mother's a parishioner at St. Blase. I'm filling in for Father Charlie today." "Yeah, I h...