Sunday, November 10, 2013


Have you ever seen a squirrel jump a six foot gap? I just did. Crazy. Have you ever seen a peacock stalk a person to get their food? It happened to me. Scary. And um... Why are wild rats so big? Gross.

I am back from being gone once again. As it so happens I am still editing. It is a tedious and long process. I take a break from editing to write. I need an editor. But since I can't afford one I find articles that are helpful and I will share them here.

Sandra Peoples editing site

The Writers Life

"I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I'm afraid of." - Joss Whedon

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Book Review #1: Tattoos on the Heart

I finished Tattoos on the Heart, The Power of Boundless Compassion over a week ago. The reason it took so long to review it is because I was trying to let it all sink in. It is an emotional rollercoaster to say the least. I was reaching for a kleenex ten pages into the introduction and laughing outloud the next page.

First a little background information on the author. Who by the way is an inspiration and a hero not only to many but after reading his book and a little internet research, to myself.
Father Gregory Boyle has spent most of his life working with gangs in Los Angeles. Here is a quick link to what he help create: G as the homies have come to call him not only becomes a Priest but a friend, a boss, a teacher and in some cases a family member to the ones that he helps.

In Tattoos, Father Boyle shares some stories of his life, the time he spent in Bolivia but central is his work in Los Angeles with gangs and God. It is not an autobiography but more like stories that show compassion, forgiveness, fighting trough despair, kinship, love and faith. Not all of the stories have happy endings. Not at all. Since he started Homeboy Industries, Father Boyle has buried 168 of his homies. 

It is not a big book but it has a big impact. My recommendation: Read it.

“Close both eyes see with the other one. Then we are no longer saddled by the burden of our persistent judgments our ceaseless withholding our constant exclusion. Our sphere has widened and we find ourselves quite unexpectedly in a new expansive location in a place of endless acceptance and infinite love.”
― Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion

Monday, July 22, 2013

Let's try this again

I have been busy writing everywhere and anywhere but here. Let's start this all over again shall we.

I did sent out my work (unfinished, big NO, NO!) I got a response. It wasn't a yes, but it was still positive. I am still editing, but the problem with editing is that when you think you are done and re-read it you edit again and the cycle continues.
When is the right time to stop? If anyone knows the answer let me know.

I've been following various blogs about writing that I will write about at a later day. One thing that they all said was to Write. It is major that one writes. It could read as gibberish or nonsense but putting words down will not only get you started but it will also improve your writing skills. Do it.

As  a parting note, I am about to start reading Tattoos on the Heart, The Power of Boundless Compassion by Gregory Boyle. There will be an update about it later. I hear it's a tearjerker. I'll keep it in mind to have a tissue handy.

Whoop... I have at least two more postings coming up so for now I'm off to start the book.
Starting today I will end every post with quotes that I find inspiring or informative. Here is the first one.

"If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write one hundred, you have the odds in your favor." Edgar Rice Burroughs

Monday, April 8, 2013

Introverts and writing

I thought that being unemployed would give me a chance to write more. While it is true that I have started to write a third novel, I have almost finished editing the first novel and I have started to transfer to my laptop and started editing my second novel, I have completely and utterly neglected my blog.

Tsk. Tsk. Tsk.

I apologize.

To my friends that might just click on my Facebook link (by accident or on purpose) that leads you to my blog you'll understand that my lack of post is not only limited to blogging. To the random stranger that has somehow found Aspiring Toward Austen and was hoping for useful information or if you were just hoping for a bit of entertainment, I am sorry I have let you down.

I am not one to openly discuss or bring up my writing as I found out not so long ago. Not only am I afraid of the critique be it good or bad, I am embarrassed and quite bashful when it comes to discussing it and that might just be the root of my lack of blogging. The following quote best describes me.

"Writing is something you do alone. Its a profession for introverts who want to tell you a story, but don't want to make eye contact while doing it." -John Green.

Bear with me or better yet join me as I try to find my voice outside of writing novels, as I stumble on this path that i have chosen, while I master the art of making eye contact while telling a story, as I gain trust in myself as a writer and as I strive to achieve the ultimate validation of a published work.

Query like summary? Maybe.

Kareline Cardenas is part of families of curanderos, modern day witches. Kareline uses her unique abilities and knowledge to fight the dark forces that most people can't even fathom that exist. Yet in the country of her ancestors, El Salvador her abilities are rendered useless as she encounters an evil force possessing a young woman that barely leaves Kareline alive after their first battle.

Kareline knows that she was too confident in her abilities and too reckless in her haste to confront the demon that she decides to slowly study and comprehend what she is facing. Kareline is aware that there is a limited amount of time to separate the young woman from the demon. Unfortunately Kareline is called time and time again to use her abilities to help strangers and even her own family member. Each time Kareline uses her abilities she is left exhausted and stretched too thin. It is physically draining and emotionally hurtful.

Why is the evil that runs amok on earth feels a lot more stronger and dangerous in the tiny country of El Salvador? Why is Kareline the strongest and most unique member of her families? Why is falling in love with a dark eyed stranger during Kareline's weakest, difficult, strongest and triumphant time of her life feel so right and wrong at the same time? And just how many lives will be at stake when the final battle battle between the demon and Kareline occurs?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Detaching Myself as a Writer and Editing

I am doing some cleaning around the house; deciding what to throw away and what to keep. I picked up an old toy from when I was seven. I debated tossing it but put it back in its spot. Mind you I am 32 years old and there are no children who would be able to play with it. I kept the toy purely for sentimental/emotional reasons. Cleaning my house reminded me of editing my novels.

Do I delete that sentence or do I keep it? Then I ask myself, am I keeping it because the novel really needs it, or am I keeping because I'm emotionally attached to it? Some of you will be asking yourself, emotionally attached to the sentence? Yes! I am emotionally attached to every word, every punctuation mark, exclamation mark, hell even the spaces in between the words. Actually I'm even attached to the doodles on the margins of the paper. Which is why it is so hard to do thorough cleaning in the house and that much harder to edit my own novels.

I have edited other peoples work and believe me, I have no problem crossing out a word or even axing an entire sentence. Giving it further thought I've deleted whole paragraphs. I've spent countless, definitely hundreds but most likely thousands of hours on one single novel. I've poured blood, sweat and tears into it. When I'm editing, I have to emotionally detach myself as the writer. (I do all of my editing on paper first and then I change it on the computer.)

That is so easier said than done! The first time I edit my novel, I am still in writers mode. That is understandable because let's face it, the first time you write your novel it still needs a lot of help. Its almost as you're writing it all over again.
The second time editing, I start detaching myself a little. I read it through taking my time removing some words, changing the words, adding the extra punctuation mark or removing it. But I am still too attached and don't do much more than that. I have a dictionary and thesaurus at hand.
The third time, I would say that I am 75 percent in editors mode. I do one chapter at a time. I take fifteen minute breaks to clear my mind and then I'll do another chapter. I will remove paragraphs! I look at the little details carefully and meticulously.
By the fourth edit, I am just making sure that I've got all of the periods in place.
I try not do do another edit because I start reverting back to 100 percent writers mode and I would probably want to change everything. I would never write a second novel.

It is a difficult task to ask a writer to think as an editor when you've spent sleepless nights, countless of paper cuts, when you've cried, laughed and grown with your characters and your novel. It is a work in progress and I'm learning new things on the way. I read articles and books on how to edit constantly. I haven't mastered how to be an editor, I don't know if I ever will.

In the meantime I'm going to go and rethink that toy.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Finish what you start

A little late but Happy New Years everyone!

A few days ago I had the opportunity to meet an amazing person who is a mother, a wife, a business woman, an actress and a published author. She asked me what I did. I said I'm trying to be a writer. She then proceeded to ask me what I meant by trying. I answer that I've written two novels and I am working on my third. She said then you aren't trying, you are a writer. She knows so many people that say they are writers but never finish what they started. She said that I was a writer not just pretending to be one. She's right, I am a writer.

I could be the worlds worst writer but I am putting in my hours. When I was employed I would get home from work and sit in front of my laptop and a stack of papers and write, sometimes until 3 or 4 in the morning. Now that I am unemployed my laptop is always on and in between filling out job application, I am writing sometimes still until 3 or in the morning. It might not be perfect but I am putting in the hours and accomplishing what I want to do.  +Kristen Lamb has a blog. I've mentioned her once before for those of you who are writers, she has a lot of great information about writing and using social media for your benefit. But anyway she had this to say, "The world doesn't reward perfectionist; it rewards finishers."

Which brings me to this blog; it will not be perfect, feel free to leave a comment about it, but I will be posting. I stress the punctuations, the words I'm using and it leads me to scratch the post. It is weird because it is so different to how I write my novels. Then again I can go back and add the coma, take out the period, and change the words. But on the blog once I press publish it is available for people to see. So this goes out into the world of blogging imperfect but finished.