Monday, July 25, 2011

Guest - Laura Bickle/Alayna Williams

Good morning all! Today's guest is Laura Bickle, who also writes under the pseudonym Alayna Williams...which reminds me of the Shakespearean line...'a rose by any other name' because it doesn't matter what pen name she uses, her writing and her books are just outstandingly terrific! 


I've got a review of her latest Rogue Oracle posted here. Check it out. 


And I have one copy that I can give to a lucky Star-Crossed Romance reader. Check below to see how you can be that winner.

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The Long Walk
by Laura Bickle

"The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
-Lao Tzu

Nothing intimidates me more than a blank page. A blank page suggests a point a thousand miles away from where I want to be. It's formless and paralyzing. There's a lot of room to screw up, in that expanse as pale and broad as autumn sky. Under the weight of it, the process of writing a book just seems...too big.

And I stuff that page away in a notebook. I click over to the internet to "research." It's so much easier to sift through e-mail, putter through instant messaging, shop...do anything to avoid that threat of the empty page.

I don't often experience what psychologists describe as creative flow. I know that it's a state that overcomes dancers and painters and artists of all stripes. It's a fever that overtakes one, when one loses track of time and one's identity in the creative act. It's merging with the work. A momentary nirvana, when thoughts are emptied out and every breath is drawn in service to the journey.

It's rare when the words flow effortlessly, when my fingers fly across the keyboard. I often have fantasies that I'll have a fabulously productive night. I hope that the muse will strike me with her magic wand, and  I'll be up until three in the morning, writing ten thousand words of deathless prose.  I'll be puffed up with pride in the morning, assured of a breakthrough. The miles will fly by, as if the muse has strapped Hermes' winged sandals upon my feet.

That's not me.

Instead, I'm a plodder. When I'm against a deadline, I stare at my outline-map and figure out approximately how many words I need to finish. I build in some time for revisions and travel delays, divide by the number of days, and gnaw away at the project, bit by bit. It's like expecting to be in a new town every day at nightfall. Without a deadline, I set one. I use a technique I discovered in National Novel Wrting Month - a specific number of words a day. A thousand usually works for me. That allows me to keep the project fresh, the momentum going. I can do more if the situation warrants it, less if Real Life intrudes. But that number allows me to feel as if I'm making some progress without feeling out of breath or panicked.

It doesn't sound glamorous, does it? I guess I have a hard time with my Inner Perfectionist. You know the creature I'm talking about - she goes by many guises. Inner Editor. Inner Critic. The little voice that says "not good enough" whenever  I'm between scenes. The one that wants to count my name and address in the word count because, at least, they are formatted correctly. Her voice is loudest when I'm on the road alone, between plot points on the map, wandering in uncharted territory.

I've talked to a lot of writers who tend to abandon projects around the ten thousand word mark. I think there's something magic about this number. At this point on the creative walk, I tend to realize that I've put on some very uncomfortable shoes for this journey. Sure, they looked pretty at the beginning. But can I finish the journey in them?

I take these imaginary shoes off, let them dangle from my fingers, and continue walking barefoot. There are blisters and thorns. But also the blessed feeling of cool grass between my toes and cool water against my soles.

What little I've experienced of creative flow usually happens in the last chapters of the book, when I can see the intentions and plot threads and images coming together. Then, self-awareness slips a bit. I'm no longer walking; I'm running.

I think those last pages, that exhilaration is what makes it finally worth it. Knowing all that dark ink is behind me, pushing me forward. It's like moving with the wind at my back, when the work has taken on a life of its own.

--

Laura Bickle (a.k.a. Alayna Williams) has worked in the unholy trinity of politics, criminology, and technology for several years. She lives in the Midwestern U.S. with her chief muse, owned by four mostly-reformed feral cats. Writing as Laura Bickle, she's the author of EMBERS and SPARKS for Pocket - Juno Books. Writing as Alayna Williams, she's the author of DARK ORACLE and ROGUE ORACLE. More info on her urban fantasy and general nerdiness is here: www.salamanderstales.com



--

ROGUE ORACLE

The more you know about the future, the more there may be to fear.

Tara Sheridan is the best criminal profiler around - and the most unconventional. Trained as a forensic psychologist, Tara also specializes in Tarot card reading. But she doesn't need her divination skills to realize that the new assignment from her friend and sometime lover, Agent Harry Li, is a dangerous proposition in every way.

Former Cold War operatives, all linked to a top-secret operation tracking the disposal of nuclear weapons in Russia, are disappearing. There are no bodies, and no clues to their whereabouts. Harry suspects a conspiracy to sell arms to the highest bidder. The cards - and Tara's increasingly ominous dreams - suggest something darker. Even as Tara sorts through her feelings for Harry and her fractured relationships with the mysterious order known as Delphi's Daughters, a killer is growing more ruthless by the day. And a nightmare that began decades ago in Chernobyl will reach a terrifying endgame that not even Tara could have foreseen…



and Barnes & Noble - http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Rogue-Oracle/Alayna-Williams/e/9781439182819/?itm=1&USRI=rogue+oracle

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-- Lynda Again


I have one copy of Rogue Oracle to give away (sorry, this is for US addresses only). If you'd like to be in the drawing, here's what you need to do:

Leave a comment with

1) Answer this question: How many words does Laura/Alayna typically write in a day?

and

2) Your email addy (Make sure you do this so I can contact you)

Do this by Friday, July 29. I'll put your e-addy's in a box and have my alien kitten, Wookie, draw the winner.

Have a Blessed Day and Good luck!

7 comments:

Victoria said...

Very interesting post. I always wonder about stuff like this but never ask.
1,000 words/day works for Laura/Alayna :).
Tweeted: http://twitter.com/#!/Jovial_1/status/95494034767884288

vsloboda(at)gmail(dot)com

Pauline B Jones said...

Boy, true words about the process! Thanks to you both for a great blog post. :-)

Alayna Williams said...

Thanks for the tweet, Victoria! I appreciate it!

Thanks, Pauline. The process can sometimes be tough, but is totally worth it.

Thank you to Lynda for hosting me today!

SiNn said...

honestly I love your work firts off secondly its fun to know lil tid bits about an authors process so ty for that


1000 words a dayworks fr her unless lif e interviens

mortalsinn(AT)yahoo(DOT)com

Alayna Williams said...

Thanks so much, SiNn!

And real life does tend to intervene more often than I'd like. ;-)

Sookie Bear said...

Laura does 1000 words a day.

All these books sound terrific.

Thanks for the contest, Lynda!

Sue T.
sookiebear@gmail.com

Lynda K. Scott said...

Thanks everyone for stopping by!

Wookie picked Sue T. for the copy of Rogue Oracle! Sue, I've sent you an email requesting your snail mail addy. I'll get the book out to you in a few days.

Thanks again!