You’re Invited Aboard My New Venture!

I’ve been writing juvenile novels for more than 15 years, while making occasional forays into non-fiction, literary works (short stories, postcard stories, and poetry), and magazine articles. Now I want to turn my hand to writing humorous adventure novels for adults and family friendly and comedy/adventure screenplays.

To do that, I need time – and you can give me that time. How, you wonder? By commiting $1 or more a month on my Patreon page.

In return, I hope to entertain you, to give you freebies, to send you autographed copies of my books, or if you have stories in you that are yearning to get out, I want to help you make them real!

If you’re hesitating because you don’t know the quality of my work, check out my two free e-books online: Winter of the Crystal Dances and Dark Fire. They’re both juvenile fiction, but they’ll give you an idea of why I’ve been called “one of the best writers of modern pony books around.” I strongly believe I can do the same in my two new genres.

I hope you believe the same and will join me on this journey!

Many thanks to those who have already come aboard! You’re my heroes!

Two Celebrations

First, tell husband that any day now, I may hear from one of the two screenwriting contests that I entered in 2016. I’m kind of nervous, you see. After all, the story or the concept or the writing or the characters might be crap, right?

He assures me that HOLY COYOTE will do great, and wanders off.

Second, check email. There’s an email from the Screencraft Family-Friendly Screenplay Contest!

OH MY! The Quarter Finalists have been announced! With trepidation, I click the link.

My name isn’t included on the list … except that I forgot I used my pen name (AY Dorsey). I am there! And so is a screenwriting buddy, a super talented writer! Double Whoo Hoo!

Third, rush to tell hubby, and receive:

a) “I told you so.”

b) Congratulatory hug.

c) “Remember, I’m always right.”

Fourth, come back to my computer, and open my inbox to read the rest of the email. Except that there’s a NEW email there – and it’s from the Circus Road Screenplay Competition!

OH MY! OH MY!

“Circus Road is pleased to let you know that your Screenplay Holy Coyote is a Semi-Finalist in…”

Semi-Finalist!

What happened after that is a blur – or should I say, blurt, because I told EVERYONE on social media!

Two screenplay entries. Two short lists. Yup, I’m celebrating!

Is a Patron like a Patronus?

In a way, yes. Both a patron and a patronus help the one they’re connected to.

I love being a patron. I give a small amount monthly to two worthy entities on Patreon: Pulp Literature Magazine and Inspire Nation Show.

I feel good doing it. Not just receiving the rewards, but knowing I’m helping someone accomplish something that inspires them and others. I can’t afford to give much, but that’s the beauty of being a patron. You don’t have to give a lot to make a difference to the creators, because each creator (hopefully) has more than one patron.

And now I’ve decided to take the plunge and open a Patreon page myself. As some of you know, I’m moving from writing juvenile fiction to writing novels and screenplays. Unfortunately, I’m in the VOID – that dreaded, poverty-stricken land between once being established in a genre (the juvenile fiction) and working to become established in a different genre (novels and screenplays).

So far, my Patreon page is still in development, and today, I developed the rewards: those things I give in return for support. So fun to gather up the things I can give! Cards, ebooks, paperbacks, sneak peeks, your name in a video, you naming a character in a novel, editing services, and biggest of all (to me anyway), my eternal gratitude!

Just so you know, you don’t have to be a patron to receive gifts from me. I have two free ebooks out there that are just waiting for you to read them, and soon will have more! Look for Winter of the Crystal Dances and Dark Fire on your regular ebook site. If you can’t find them there, let me know your ereader, and I’ll direct you to the right place.

If you are interested in becoming a “Patronus” of my work, watch this blog for the announcement that my Patreon page is LIVE! And please feel free to ask me any questions you want.

Happy Reading and “Patronizing” to All!

Crowd of Awesomeness

crowdI’m not complaining. Keep that in mind as you read this. It’s just I have too many ideas for books, movies, articles, and more, and choosing which to work on seems almost impossible some days.

Though it doesn’t seem like a curse, this is the bane of many writers: too many beautiful, compelling stories shouting out how engaging they are, how clever, how they’re the most fun, most striking, most worthy to be put into physical form. At this very moment, I have eight solid ideas in my head – five screenplays, a novella that may turn into a series, and two non-fiction books – and that doesn’t include the blog posts, short stories, poems, or memoir pieces that are malingering in my head or on my computer in various states of completion.

Out of sheer necessity, I’ve developed different ways to chose one story from my crowd of awesomeness to work on.

To begin with, I follow my passion and work on the project that calls the loudest. The problem with this can be that one project may be deafening on Day One, another on Day Two, another on Day Three – which means I have to practice crowd control. These are my crowd control tools:

Ask myself: which project is my top priority in relation to my long, or sometimes short, term goals? Short term trumps long term only if it’s a firm commitment, like a deadline. Why does long term usually have priority over short term? If a short term goal doesn’t support the long term goal, it shouldn’t be there to begin with.

Ask my writer support group what they think. The right writer support group is a profound resource. Hint for Success: If you don’t have one, get one. Then ask them.

Ask a writing mentor friend, someone who has been there and done that. If I don’t have a writing mentor friend in the discipline I need, I hire one, and talk to them about what project might have the most potential. And I really listen, even if it hurts. Note: it usually hurts.

Work on more than one project at a time. I can do two in a day, and sometimes three, with a couple hours on each project. Sometimes, to keep my brain from completely frying, I diversify the form of writing. For example, today I am writing a blog post, editing my current script, outlining my novella, and thinking about a non-fiction book. And though I’m not complaining about the writing related activities, I will complain about the bookkeeping I have to do. Ugh.

There is one more thing that I do, and not just as a last resort, simply because I like it so much. This activity solves all problems, not just this one: walking and talking… but that is an entirely new blog post, one I definitely want to write.

Someday.

When it starts shouting at me.

Being an Inspiration

So, I did my part in Colombia to inspire people. I had a panic attack.

We’d been working a tough schedule. Mornings at PARE (a home devoted to helping people get off the streets) doing English lessons and teaching the residents skills that they could use to make money. It was loud, high energy, and fun – and for a major introvert like me, incredibly bombarding. Add to that, the facts that I’m deaf in one ear and can’t hear anything said on my right side, and that I knew so little Spanish that I was afraid to say the little I knew, because the response would then be in Spanish and I wouldn’t understand a word said – if I even heard it… and well, I was stressed. During the afternoons, we either planned or put on events at El Redil del Sur, a Christian church in Sabaneta, and I had to hear and talk to even more people. All day. Every day.

To add to the upheaval, I kept expecting those closest to me (the team I was working with) to be mad at me! I know it sound crazy, but really it’s not so crazy as it sounds, because in my day-to-day life, my special-needs daughter has rage issues and is almost constantly angry, usually at me. Her anger has dominated my daily life for years now. What I didn’t realize until I went to Colombia was how much it has affected me.

Brad and me, later that day in Botero Square, Medellin.

Brad and me, later that day in Botero Square, Medellin.

Still, no matter how much I expected it, no one got mad at me there. I don’t even think they felt frustrated with me, though they certainly had a right to be. Every time I noticed myself closing down emotionally, I’d remind myself that no one was mad, that they actually even seemed to like me. I’d be fine for an hour or a day or whatever, and then it would sneak it again, and I’d start feeling like a miserable burden to the people I worked with, like any moment they were going to snap and say something mean… Surely they’re mad at me now. Nope. Okay, but what about now? Sorry, no evidence of that. But what about now? And on and on it went.

And then Sunday came. The first church service that day was very spiritual and I felt so open… and then when the service was over, it’s like all my doubts and fears of the proceeding week zoomed into that open space, and wouldn’t leave. I held myself together only a few minutes into the second service, and then for the first time ever, I had a panic attack. To make things worse, I had to leave the service during a relatively quiet time and I was sitting at the front, so of course a lot of people noticed. Though the panic attack was as scary as I’ve heard they can be, it couldn’t stop my feelings of embarrassment or humiliation. If I could’ve chosen anywhere else to have my episode, I would’ve done it. But, well… it was simply not to be.

Brad stayed with me the whole time of the attack, and eventually, I could breathe normally again. Ages later, the tears stopped. I tried to slink out of church unnoticed, and mostly succeeded. Either that or most people were giving me the gift of averting their eyes (I suspect that’s the case, actually). The rest of the day was awesome and rejuvenating, and I was able to start up again on Monday morning with no outward residual effect. But underneath, I still felt ashamed of my meltdown. I blamed myself for being both weak and an idiot. That is, until the day we left Sabaneta.

We had a last lunch together, and were sharing our thoughts on the trip, on what was a success and what might be better next time, and right at the end, Jairo, the pastor at El Redil, said something that completely changed my outlook. He said that one of the things that really impacted the people in his church during our visit was how supportive and gentle Brad was with me when I was upset. Many people saw it, he said (and I thought, “oh great!”), and they were deeply moved by Brad’s kind and loving response.

And all of a sudden, I didn’t feel so bad about my meltdown. I had made a difference. I’d helped to inspire. I might have done it by crying and hyperventilating, but if I hadn’t done that, Brad wouldn’t have had a reason to show me such kindness in front of so many people. Yes, at the time it was terribly embarrassing and frightening, but to have that painful experience inspire others on the value of kindness and gentleness? I’m glad it happened. What more can I say?

Posting Blues

No posts yet this year doesn’t mean I haven’t been doing anything. In fact, I’ve been super busy! Only six weeks into the year and I have a few things going on.

2014First, I’ve completed the screenplay Undertow which I’ve been working on for a year now. I’m sending it around and am looking forward to hearing some responses. No one’s gotten back yet, but it’s with an agent in Vancouver, a pro reader from the Blacklist, and I just entered it into the Page Awards. Fingers crossed!

Second, the Freedom screenplay is currently being considered by a production company. More on that when things are more solid.

 

Third, Marina and I finished our first Talismans of Thunder novel, Sola Eclipsed, and it was accepted by Stabenfeldt, with NO changes! We’re already writing the second book, Rover Moon.

Fourth, my short story Falling is coming out in the spring issue of Pulp Literature.

Fifth, my short story The Seventh Procrastination will be in the annual Sooke Writers Collective anthology, available in May.

And last but not least, I figured out the rest of the story for Holy Coyote, and am working on that script now too.

The only thing I haven’t been doing is posting on my blog!  Or working on Rain, Day of the Sky Monkeys, or Angel’s Flight, or any of the myriad editing projects I have.

Still, I’m liking 2014!

Where UNDERTOW is Now

So I’ve been busy, as you might have guessed since I’ve been gone a while. I’ve been working on editing some of my past juvenile works, scaring up some more work – and rewriting Undertow.

Finally, after what seems countless rewrites and myriad critiques (another big THANK YOU to my readers), Undertow has made its debut into the world. Not to a production company or agent, but to a script consultant, No BullScript Consulting. Because I still have so much to learn, I know there are things I can do to make it a better script. I just don’t know what those things are. This seemed a good way to find out.

And then? Well, let’s just wait to hear what Danny Manus of No Bullscript has to say. Fingers crossed it’s not too bad!

Narrowing Focus

A while ago, I thought it might be time to try novels for “big people”. Juvenile novels didn’t seem as challenging to write anymore, and I like to feel I’m constantly learning something.

I started a novel, titled Angel’s Flight, and enjoyed getting to know some adult characters. It was a wonderful experience.

Then a week ago, something changed.

I realized that I needed to choose between novels and screenplays. My time and energy is limited, and if I want to succeed in one of these two genres – which I do! – it’s now time to choose between them. For a variety of reasons, one being ”gut feeling”, I believe screenplays are the best fit for me, despite the fact that it’s a much more competitive world.

That’s not to say that working on Angel’s Flight has been a waste in any way, shape, or form. I loved my time with Vashti and her friends. Angel’s Flight might even make a good movie (with a lot of changes, as screenplays and movies are very different). And even if it never makes it to the screen, I may get back to it someday in its novelistic form.

However, until then, the name of my game is now screenplays – and I cannot deny that it’s a wonderful feeling to realize this! I love the immediacy, the power, the visceral, almost raw, nature of a story in script form.

I hope to start my next script in June, at the latest. I have four ideas on the go, so it’s going to be hard to choose between them!

And I’m still able to get my novel fix, or at least I hope so. I have a proposal out for another twelve book juvenile series. Fingers crossed that it gets picked up!

First Draft Rush, and then…

Last week, I completed the first draft of UNDERTOW, my first solo screenplay! I love the feeling of accomplishment that comes when a major project is finished, and I hope, finished well. Of course, there are still the rewrites, but that’s another major project.

However, I’ve found something strange when the draft was completed – an emptiness that is not entirely pleasant. UNDERTOW has been living inside me for 7 or 8 years, and now it’s become more than the ephemeral flow of creativity. It is solid. It is striving and horror and sadness and faith – on paper. And though the protagonist, Megan, still lives in my thoughts, it’s not the same as when she whisped around my head, tugging at me to tell her story.

Thank goodness, the emptiness is abating. I am getting into my next project: ANGEL’S FLIGHT, a novel I set aside last September to complete a juvenile novel. I’m catching the spirit of that new old story again. I’m seeing from behind Vashti’s eyes instead of Megan’s.

But I miss Megan. I know it’s pathetic, but I miss her.

CONCEPT with Scott Myers

I’m thrilled. I just got a spot in Scott Myers class on CONCEPT, starting on Monday. Here’s what his website says about the course:

In this 1-week online screenwriting class, you will delve into the mindset of Hollywood studio executives, producers, agents, and managers, and learn time-tested ways to generate and develop story concepts, as well as the means to evaluate them to help you know when you find a winning script idea.

  • Hone your ability to think like a script buyer and see what they look for in a story concept.
  • Workshop your own story concepts through writing assignments targeted toward improving your brainstorming and critical analysis skills.

Scott comes highly recommended as a teacher, so I’m thrilled about being accepted into this class. And I certainly need the help when it comes to understanding concept!