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A ‘Wrich” Experience

June 15, 2022 by in category The Write Life by Rebecca Forster tagged as , , ,

STATION WAGONS & STORYTELLING:

The first time my parents piled all of my siblings and me into an old station wagon without air conditioning and drove us to the desert for and August ‘vacation’, I was hooked on travel. It didn’t matter that it was 120 degrees in the shade, that the hotel was cheap, and that only one coffee shop remained open in the days before universal air conditioning. At nine years old, that humble vacation embedded itself in my brain and made me a traveler and a storyteller. I remember the heat from my burned skin (before sunscreen). I remember having ‘peeling’ contests with my brothers. My yellow swimsuit had white flowers on it. The sun went through the white leaving my torso stamped with brown patches. I was sure I was dying. It took my mother an hour to convince me I was simply tanned.

On the way home, we saw three giant, realistic dinosaur structures looming in the middle of the desert, each many stories high. Intrigued, we convinced my father to stop.  There was a small door in the leg of the Tyrannosaurs Rex that opened onto a dark, narrow stairway leading to the belly of the beast. An old man lived inside the dinosaur. He waited patiently for people to stop. When they did he sold them shark’s teeth and turquoise. I loved the idea of a man living in a dinosaur.

I came home from that trip with the sights and sounds, the tastes and smells, the memories of the people I met embedded in my bones. Every travel experience is like that for me, and all these things eventually show up in a book.

MEETING OF THE MINDS

That brings me to the here and now. A month ago, I went to Sedona, Arizona, a place of stunning views, breathtaking nature hikes, and magical Vortices. It is also where a frustrated psychic healer once told me that he couldn’t tell my future because I had a bad aura. He gave me my money back. I was bummed.

However, my future turned out okay. I returned home with some lovely memories and a new friend. Her name is Renae Wrich. I was walking around the pool —heaven forbid I actually swim and exercise—wearing my favorite baseball cap. I forget that it is emblazoned with the word ‘WRITER’. Renae waded through the water to ask if I wrote. Once we determined we were both writers, the conversation marathon began. We talked about writing and publishing, managing a family and juggling work while we pursue our passion.

PASSING THE BATON

When I knew that I would be stepping down from my monthly Slice of Orange post (yes, I’ll be on an extended trip), I asked if I could replace myself. Renae was my first choice. She had just published Mac and Cheese Please, Please,Please, a children’s book and is setting her sights on romance. I envy her the journey in this brave new world of words and technology. I can’t wait to read her thoughts on writing as she builds her career works and raises her children. 

So, I have had the honor of enjoying my Renae Wrich experience standing in a pool in Sedona, Arizona. I know you’ll love getting to know her too. Welcome Renae! Thank you for accepting the baton. Until our paths cross again, I’ll be following along with all your new Slice of Orange fans.

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Defining Default: it’s your choice

March 15, 2022 by in category The Write Life by Rebecca Forster, Writing tagged as , , ,

I love the word default. It is so definitive. It is authoritative when you’re on the right side of it; terrifying if you’re on the wrong side. Default on your loan. Default the game. You have failed to live up to your promise. Over! Done! Fini— unless you do something to change the situation PDQ and get back on track.

Then came computers and the word default got a makeover. It’s softer. Helpful. Kind. The word became synonymous with a do-over. Default is now your safety net. Screwed up your settings? Default.  Go back to the beginning. Get a do-over. It’s okay. We got your back.

Ah…

Well, don’t get too comfy with that default button, especially when you’re writing. I have a new book that I let lie fallow for two Covid-years because I took a creative hike, turning to manual hobbies like sewing and quilting, crafting and cooking. Now I’m back and making a sprint to complete the last 25%. I’m jazzed because it’s almost done. I proudly sent the first three quarters of the manuscript to my editor fully expecting the green light to cross the literary finish-line.

Sadly — and thankfully —her input was the exact opposite. I had dialed in my characters. I had been lazy with my red herrings. I had defaulted in the bad way, and not lived up to my promise to deliver my best work to my readers. On the other hand, she was offering me the chance to default in the kind way: reset, rethink, and rework. It was up to me to decide if I wanted to skate, shrug my shoulders, and publish a book that was ‘just okay’, or go back and make this the best book it can be.

I decided to go with option two. Reset. Rethink. Rework. That’s what author’s do. Thankfully, I have a great editor who is clear that how I define the word default — and how I respond to that definition— is up to me.

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A LOVE STORY

February 15, 2022 by in category The Write Life by Rebecca Forster, Writing tagged as , , , ,

45 Years and CountingWe are fresh off Valentines Day, so I thought I’d share a little love story.

In November ,2021 we traveled to Albania – a country we fell in love with ten years ago and where our youngest son now lives – and to celebrate our 45th wedding anniversary. Our son arranged the party and the details were kept secret. On the day of the party we were picked up by a driver who didn’t speak English, could barely understand my few words of Albanian, and seemed confused as to his destination. Finally, the car turned up a dark and winding road and delivered us to our party destination—an ancient castle.

People we didn’t know greeted us like old friends; those who didn’t speak English blessed us in their language. We danced for five hours to Turkish and Albanian music with a little Roy Orbison and The Doors thrown in for good measure.

That night was  joyous, exciting, and exactly the kind of adventure my husband and I love. But it wasn’t until I was back home and writing again, that I understood what made the trip so magical. It was like a good book long in the making. My husband and I had 45 years of a backstory, so our sons had a lot of information to draw on. They intimately understood our individual characters and loved us quirks and all. They also had an appreciation for drama, and pitch perfect pacing. Together they crafted the perfect narrative with a very happy ending.

I’m going to remember that night forever. I will also remember the lessons I learned because of it.  If I love my characters, so will my readers; if I’m excited by the adventure, the reader will be too. I’m not sure if my books are as perfect as our anniversary adventure, but the fun is in trying to make them so.

Stay tuned for the sequel, watch out for the next book. Meanwhile, happy belated Valentines Day. Here’s to the next chapters of all of our love (and life)stories.

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Cover Make-over: DIY or Not?

January 15, 2022 by in category The Write Life by Rebecca Forster, Writing tagged as , , , ,

Like so many people, I told myself ‘when Covid ends I’ll finish (fill in your WIP)’. As Covid dragged on, I became sluggish and uninspired when it came to writing, so I decided to give my most popular series, The Josie Bates Thrillers, a cover make-over.

I was going to have my wonderful graphic designer tackle the project, but found myself indecisive regarding the direction I wanted take. Without constructive input, her job would be impossible, so I decided to do a few rough drafts to clarify my thinking. Instead, I became obsessed with the process of redefining my work. This is what I learned when I went all in on DIY cover design.

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‘TIS THE SEASON: Gifts for Readers and Writers

December 15, 2021 by in category The Write Life by Rebecca Forster, Writing tagged as , , , ,

I adore the holidays. Trees. Decorations. Carols. Searching for the perfect gifts. Okay, maybe I’m not so crazy about the last one. Finding the perfect gift can be crazy-making—until now. Here are a few of my favorite out-of-the-ordinary ideas that will please  the readers and writers in your life.

THE ASPIRING WRITER

What better way to say “I believe in your dream” than a gift certificate for a writing class or conference, or a no-cost-to-you offer to read their manuscript for typos?

THE SUPER FAN

Scan the cover of their favorite book, photoshop them into it, print, and frame. (Make sure this is personal use only because covers are copyrighted). How about genre bling? I give thriller-loving fans and friends a Morse Code bead bracelet that spells out Partners in Crime.

THE TRAVEL-READING-WRITING FANATIC

If money’s no object, send your reader/writer to a favorite literary destination. Include a map with places mentioned in the book and marked them with a big heart. You will be the best Santa ever.

THE BEST GIFT OF ALL

Contact your reader/writer’s favorite author for a signed copy of a book, request a personalized Christmas card, or invite the author to have a cup of coffee with their fan if the author is local. (If you’re asking for a book or coffee make sure you offer to pay). They can only say no, and if they say yes you will have hit the gift ball out of the park.

So ’tis the season to think outside the box because there’s nothing a reader/writer loves more than a happy ending.

A Finn O'Brien Thriller

SEVERED RELATIONS

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SEVERED RELATIONS

FOREIGN RELATIONS

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FOREIGN RELATIONS

SECRET RELATIONS

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SECRET RELATIONS
INTIMATE RELATIONS
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