Where I live in the mountains of Panama, the only change of season we see is from rainy to dry. This begins to take place in November. There’s a shift in the wind and the town braces itself for the Fiestas Patrias (Panama’s Independence Days). Strings of small plastic flags crisscross the streets and flap with a smacking sound as if applauding you whenever you drive beneath them. Grey clouds hover above the town as barjareque, (not quite rain, but heavier than mist) falls on the tourists and marching bands, covering them with a sparkling layer of microscopic droplets.
November also signals National Novel Writing Month, which I first participated in 2012. I had been wanting to write a novel my whole life, and the only thing that forced me to get a book started and finished was NaNoWriMo.
I completed my first ever book, surprising myself and triggering an addiction to finishing books ever since. Now when the winds of November change and I hear the echoes of the marching bands practicing for the Independence Day parades, I feel like a horse at the starting gate ready to race to my word count with all the other bucking writers.
I think anyone who’s participated in National Novel Writing Month start to look forward to it as a yearly tradition. It’s something to get excited about, and you are not alone in your enthusiasm and anxiety. You can connect with other writers who are on the same crazy train. NaNoWriMo helps to stop the usual procrastinating and put writing first for a whole month.
Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to participate in the last few years. My job consists of mostly writing now and my creative juices and tolerance for sitting at the computer are wiped out by the time I finish my work for the day. I’m often traveling during this time for the holidays, which makes it difficult to scurry off to some quiet place to write.
I also don’t allow myself to participate because have to stop piling up manuscripts. It’s becoming a problem. I wrote three novels in a mad dash and they are still left rumpled up and tossed aside like piles of dirty laundry on the floor. I have no business writing more Nano novels until I clean these up, right?
But I wonder… just because I wrote them, does that mean they should be published? Is it worth salvaging them? These were my first practice novels, before The Sick Series, when I had no idea what I was doing. Hell, I don’t even know if I should’ve released Sick on the world. I can just leave these drafts in some dark corner of my Dropbox and begin something with my new writing experience. Jack Kerouac’s debut novel was lost until 2011, and thank god it was because it was deemed sophomoric and might have barred him from the literary world.
I’ve been obsessed with tragic love stories since I first read Romeo and Juliet. I guess all of us are afraid of happiness because we know it will never last forever, so we don’t want our characters living happily ever after either.
Here is a contest from Shonda Brock for all those who love to write about doomed lovers. Submit your best 690 words on CURSED LOVE for a chance to win $100 and publicity on Shonda’s blog and social media profiles.
Be sure to check the rules before writing and entering your submission … and good luck!
- Contest is open to all amateur and professional writers.
- Piece can me now more than a year old.
- Piece can not have won any other contests.
- Entrants must be 18 years or older.
- All genres are welcome excluding erotica and those with extremely graphic scenes, fetish themes, and/or overly-explicit language. Such entries will be disqualified at the discretion of the judges.
- Contest begins 10/30/2017. Entries will close on 2/14/2018.
- Winner will be announced 3/14/2018.
- Top five entries will be published on Shonda Brock’s websites and social media profiles.
- Winner will receive a VISA gift card in the amount of $100. If winner is outside North America, they will be given the equivalent in an Amazon eGift card.
Green creates an uglier, more frightening antagonist than any monster or ghost.
I discovered Carrie Green while on the hunt for fellow female horror authors. What I love about her work is that her characters are the real people among us everyday who’ve been deformed inwardly by dark motivations. There is no exception for her novella, Violets Are Blue. What’s the most most frightening monster of all? A hateful mother-in-law.
Violets Are Blue – Blurb
Newly-wed Sarah is delighted to move in with her mother-in-law, Martha, a widower who had raised her son, by herself, on an isolated Midwest farm.
A kid from a broken home who had been raised in a group house in Chicago, Sarah had struggled to put herself through college on scholarships.
She considered herself self-reliant and willing to work hard for her dreams. She wants only one thing in life—a real family.
Todd was the love of her life, so that she was sure that she’d love Martha, too.
It never occurred to Sarah that Martha would see her as competition, to be eliminated.
Violets Are Blue – Review
***** 5 Stars – Every woman’s worst nightmare.
Imagine finding the perfect man. He looks like a Greek god, he’s hardworking, and has a charming personality. Your dreams come true when you get married and move from the city to the vast farm he grew up on. You look to the future with hope.
This is the dream of Sarah. She is unsure about moving to the country, but full of curiosity and willingness to adapt to her new life. She arrives with her new husband, Todd, at the farm and christens their love in the cornfield.
Everything is fine except the fact that her Todd’s mother, Martha, still lives in the house and is not going anywhere. She is a widow whose husband died in a freak farm accident, and her son has taken place as the man in her life.
Sarah tries her best to win the hulking, bitter old woman’s approval, but to no avail. In fact, Martha begins to actively antagonize Sarah, but Todd is unwilling to accept that his mother could do anything wrong.
Sarah knows it’s a no-win situation. She resigns to avoiding Martha and doing the best she can to focus on loving her husband instead of the worrying about what the old woman thinks. But Martha is not going to stand by quietly and watch the couple live happily ever after.
This is one of those stories that is infuriating and suffocating. Once Sarah marries Todd, she marries his family, and it’s too late to escape. Also, the reader knows Martha is evil and her well-meaning son cannot see it. The protagonist is without one ally.
I deeply sympathized with Sarah and how she tried to make the best of a nightmare – being trapped alone in a house day after day with someone who maliciously hates her. Green creates an uglier, more frightening antagonist than any monster or ghost.
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Self-mutilation. Think about that word. What first comes to mind?
In The Sick Series, most readers will find John Branch’s self-mutilation horrific and incomprehensible. He is deceitful, manipulative, and selfish, but his compulsions and desires are the spawn of self-hatred, neglect, and lack of love. What do you think we should do with a man like John Branch? Most people would probably say he should be locked up, put on meds, and forced into therapy.
But what is the difference between what John Branch does to his body and what happens under the plastic surgeon’s knife? Women and men who want attention from the opposite (or same) sex, are willing to get sliced and chopped and patched back together. They risk infection and death and deformity. They will stick foreign objects inside their bodies. Think about that. Slicing open your skin, sticking a foreign object inside, and sewing it up.
Swaths of flesh are removed to tuck the tummy. Nipples are cut out and placed elsewhere. Fat is violently vacuumed from asses. We aspire to self-love and self-acceptance and but our behavior show just how fragile our sanity is.
This book is dedicated to the freaks and misfits, the broken and the scarred,
the ones who live in hiding and the ones who live out loud,
those who are frightened and those who are brave.
Love yourself. Grow freely.
You are beautiful and you are not alone.
Pain. Most of us go through great lengths to avoid it, numb it, or bury it. While writing The Sick Series, I spent hours researching one of the most gruesome and disturbing compulsions known to humankind – to mutilate oneself.
This review originally posted on BookViral.com
A powerful and gritty novella that plumbs the highs of hope and the depths of despair, Sick proves a genuine page-turner with Wojciechowski delivering an extraordinary read. With relentless momentum we are drawn to her narrative as intrigue mounts, feeling sure there is a twist coming but deftly misdirected as events spin further out of control. Mining the darkness of the hidden psyche to show us a glimpse of a reality few will ever experience to leave us deep in thought, it’s an ambitious theme to tackle in a novella but here it works in Wojciechowski’s favour. Her prose are tightly spun and characters are superbly nuanced with dialogue which brings an unrelenting sense of immediacy, telling her story in short staccato bursts that are just enough to bait us and keep us off balance as Susan grapples with the uncertainty of Johns downward spiralling health. Like most issue novels, this is not an easy read, but it becomes increasingly poignant and transcendent as Susan begins to see through the veil of deceit the real John has hidden behind.
Wojciechowski has clearly set out to write a highly compelling story that brings the trauma of Factitious disorder (formerly known as Munchausen Syndrome) into focus and her ability to tell a story that is so dark and full of pain speaks volumes to her talent as a writer. Highly original, it is recommended without reservation.
Thanks to Book Viral for their review of Sick Part I.
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