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If you missed part one, click here. Also, don’t forget that tomorrow is the Interview with the Character blog fest, so sign up today while you can and check out previous posts for more details.

The Painter – Part 2

What did he have back there?
That question stayed with me throughout the night and into the long, school day.  Whenever I went to school, I always felt like I was invisible. I just went through the motions until that fateful bell rang, signaling my freedom.  When I walked to my car, I could see a bunch of popular kids hanging out by the car next to it. I tried my best to quickly walk by before any of them stopped me.
I wasn’t fast enough.
“Well, if it isn’t the newbie,” a tall, blond named Casey said. “Where’d you come from again?”
Everyone’s eyes were on me, looking me up and down.  “California,” I said, quickly. I just wanted to get out of there and away from all the stares.
“How come you never talk to anyone? Cat got your tongue?” Casey asked, causing everyone to laugh.
From the corner of my eye, I saw Jeremy walk out of the building with his basketball friends. This caught the popular girls’ attention and they forgot all about me.  They shouted Jeremy’s name and he looked over.  His bright blue eyes caught onto mine and I looked away. The girls of the group rushed over to talk to him which gave me the space to slip into my car. I drove away with those piercing blue eyes of his in my head.
“You should have just smiled at him,” I said. “Nothing wrong with being friendly.”
Great. I was still talking to myself.
As soon as I walked into my house, I could tell that something was going on.  The house was quiet and I couldn’t smell dinner coming from the kitchen.  My mom came rushing down the stairs, wearing a knee length black dress and her hair in a tight updo. I looked at her strangely and she waved me away.
“Your father has an important dinner party to go to tonight, so you’re on your own. There’s dinner in the fridge to heat up. Don’t burn the house down.”
I didn’t even get a chance to respond before she went out the door and got into her car. I shrugged and went up to my room to start homework.  The thought of being alone in a quiet house for the night excited me. I didn’t have to deal with fighting parents and I could finally have space to do what I wanted.
I heated up some left over lasagna and talked to my best friend, Tiffany, while I ate. I missed all of my California friends so much, but hearing her voice was enough to make my bad days better.
“Have you met any interesting people up there?” she asked after an hour of talking about her new boyfriend.
Immediately, I thought of my neighbor. I got up out of bed and went to my spot near the window. The adjoining backyards appeared to be empty except for my German Shepherd,  Gina, chasing a bird around.
As Tiffany changed the subject to her boyfriend again, I looked up at the sun starting to set in the sky.  My eyes went to his back door and stayed there. I knew he was leaving soon and I wanted to know where he went.
At that very moment, the door opened and he started his slow walk into the forest.  I knew this was my chance to answer all of my questions.
Hurriedly, I got off the phone with Tiffany and rushed down the stairs, shoving my feet into sneakers on my way out the back door.
The chill of the evening hit me and I buried my hands deep into the pockets of my sweatshirt as I jogged into the dark woods.  A part of me should have been scared, but my curiosity was taking over.
I crept my way through the darkened woods, following the old man’s footsteps that led deeper into the forest. I didn’t know where I was going, but the excitement of that mystery was bubbling over.
Before I knew it, his slow footsteps stopped ahead of me and I ducked behind a large tree as I peeked to see where we were. My mouth dropped open as I saw the huge lake ahead. The water glittering under the sunset. It was a magical sight surrounded by dark trees. The old man walked over to where a blue tarp hid something from underneath. With a flip of his hand, he revealed a tall, wooden easel. As he began to set up his equipment, I saw that my mother was right. He was a painter.  I stood there with baited breath, watching his hand fly across the blank canvas. He began to create a colorful work of art that I had never seen before.  I was almost mesmerized by how his hand controlled the paintbrush.
“You can get a better look if you stood closer,” he said in a surprisingly strong voice.
My heart leapt into my throat as I realized I had been caught. Was he angry? Would he kill me and throw me in the lake? My legs took control of my body and I crept towards him like a dog waiting to be punished after a bad deed.
“And who would you be?” he asked, his voice thick with a Spanish accent.
My eyes remained glued to his hands as he continued to paint. “Ella McCormack,” I said in a small voice. “Please don’t kill me.”
The sounds of  his laugh caused me to jump. It echoed deep into the forest. “Rest easy. My name is Salvador Rios. You can call me Sal.”
Finally, I looked up at his face and saw the deep wrinkles set beside his dark brown eyes. My worries went away and I smiled. There seemed to be a kindness that surrounded him. This man had many stories to tell. My heart was racing as I tried to find my voice stuck inside of me.
“Why do you paint out here? What is this place?”

Read part 3 next Thursday!

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Some more updates before my regular posting later (tomorrow is Writing Prompt Wednesday after all..), but I just wanted to get this out there before then.

Part one of my new serial story, Hello From Mexico, is now posted on Serial  Central. It’s a little different from The Painter,  but it still has that Young Adult genre feel to it.  A basic synopsis of the story is: A girl fresh out of college goes to Mexico to search for  her long-lost father who abandoned her and her mom when she was a young girl. The only clue she has to his whereabouts is a postcard sent to her mother long ago. Susanna leaves behind her family, boyfriend and life in Arizona to find out about another part of her heritage that she never knew.

This story is posted in parts every Tuesday on Serial Central. Please feel free to leave me a comment there and let me know what you think! Click here to get to part one and start reading!

Other than writing my serial story and my novel, I’m working on another blog fest that should be coming up in a month or two.  I will let everyone know what the details will be in tomorrow’s post!  Spread the word so we can have a great number of participants joining in!

I’ve also been thinking about doing some guest blogging, so if you are interested in doing a guest post here on this blog and/or if you would like me to do a post on yours, please contact me and we’ll set something up!  I always enjoy guest blogging and having another opinion here on this blog. :)

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Whenever I talk to someone new and they find out I’m a writer, they always ask the same thing:

“Oh? What are you working on right now?”

You wouldn’t think it’d be such a hard question to answer, but it kind of is for me.  I tend to really think about how I want to describe what I’m working on. I don’t want to make it sound simple and general, but I also don’t want to go on and on about it either.  It’s nice when people become interested in my writing and want to know more about it.  That’s great.  Of course my writing  isn’t for everyone, just like not everyone likes Stephen King, Anne Rice, or JK Rowling. They have their own fan base, but not everyone belongs to it.

I do my best to give each person a brief synopsis of my writing without giving it all away. My stories do mainly deal with the inner struggles of different types of people and how that either helps define them or causes them to fall.  When people hear that, I usually get one response: “That sounds pretty deep. Just make sure it’s entertaining.”  It’s almost like I would intentionally write a boring deep book just so I could annoy the people who hate to read that stuff.   I would never publish a book that I wouldn’t want to read myself.

I suppose it is a bit difficult to explain myself as a writer. It’s sort of a “Take it or leave it” thing.  My stories tend to take a life of their own and turn into something that I didn’t even expect. That’s why it’s difficult to explain them to someone I don’t know all that well.  I let the story take flight and guide itself to the ending. What I envision at the beginning of the process may not exactly be what it ends up to be at the end. That’s the beauty of writing. It contains its own power and meaning. I don’t want to tell people what these stories are supposed to mean. I want them to read these stories and gather their own conclusion. Read them and tell me what you feel it means to you. That is why I want to be a writer. Literature can mean so many different things.

That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy talking about my stories. I do. I can talk about them all day. The plot, the characters, the setting. But, it’s what it means to me and you should draw your own conclusion. I look forward to the day when my first novel gets published and I can hear what you all think about it. I want to hear what it means to you. Not to me. :)

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Hey everyone. I hope you all are having a good week so far. I apologize again for my absence on this blog. I’ve been quite distracted but I should be back to writing a complete blog post tomorrow. :)  For today, I want to direct you to Part 9 of my serial story, The Painter. Feel free to let me know what you think. I welcome the comments and suggestions!

I would really love to hear what your favorite thing about The Painter is so far.  What do you really enjoy reading? Can you connect with the characters? I love to hear feedback from people about my writing, so don’t hesitate to let me know.

Click here to get to Serial Central and read part 9!

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I’m happy to announce that I have made it to the halfway point in my w.i.p.  It’s smooth sailing from here, right? Haha.  Yeah, probably not…

I always look forward to the end. It’s so anticipated that I want to get to it. I guess my impatience to complete the story and see the finished product in its entirety gets to me.  Of course, I’m not looking forward to saying goodbye to these characters. I really enjoy writing their stories.

I’ve always had trouble starting stories. It’s the beginning that I’m always uncomfortable with.  The beginning and the end are critical when it comes to books. They’re what people remember the most. The pressure is on when you’re writing these parts of the story. I’m a perfectionist which probably doesn’t help.

With this book, the ending is the clearest part of the  story. Yes, it has changed some since I originally thought of this story, but that’s what I love about writing. Sometimes the story changes and you just have to go with the flow.  It’s like that with life really. Things change and you have to adapt with them. Nothing ever really stays the same.

This ending will be one of the most emotional endings I have ever written.  It has to be to fit the theme of the story.  I want people to remember the ending and walk away with a connection to these characters. That’s very important to me.  With some books that I read, I feel like the ending was hastily written without much thought.  The author rushed through it to either get it over with or they didn’t know how to deal with the end.

This is not something I want for my book.  Now that I’m halfway through, I can start to plan out the ending in more detail.I don’t want to say goodbye to these characters because I really have gotten to know them like they are real people.  But, it’s not really goodbye, right? :)

It is now Tuesday so you know what that means! It’s time for another installment of The Painter over at Serial Central! Click here to check it out and let me know what you think as always.

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So Emotional

Have you ever read a book that was just so boring and bland that you wanted to throw it out the window?  Who hasn’t, right? Do you know one of the potential problems of that book?

It lacked emotion.

I think emotion is very important for a novel. A writer should try to find the right balance so the readers are engrossed in what they are reading.  Emotion helps get the readers invested in the story and into your characters. They have to feel sadness when they fall and celebrate their successes when they accomplish something.

My book is full of emotion and sometimes it does leave me feeling emotionally drained. These characters are put through hell and it does affect me in a weird way. I feel for them and I want them to succeed. I want them to realize their own worth and get better. But, in order to tell the story, I have to make them suffer, too.

Once you begin to really feel for these characters like you’re friends with them, that’s when you know you’re on the right track with emotion.  I want the readers to cry, laugh, scream, etc. I want them to really learn what it’s like to live like these characters. I want them to walk away with a sense of understanding. To do that, I need some emotion to show through.

Nobody wants to read a boring book anyways, right? :)

What do you think about bringing emotion in novels? How do you make it really show?

In other news, part four of “The Painter” is up now at Serial Central! Click here to go straight to the post! I’ve been having a lot of fun writing this story for everyone and I hope you all are enjoying it. Let me know what you think so far!

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I’ve always found the meanings of names interesting. For instance, my name, Melissa, means “honeybee” in Greek. Does that name really suit my personality? Not really, but of course, my parents didn’t really pay attention to the meanings of names anyways. It took them long enough to finally settle on the name I have (Seriously, I was told it was a serious debate..).

Anyways, back to the point here. As a writer, I feel I have a sort of responsibility towards my characters, which I have pointed out in an earlier post. That also goes for the name I give each one. I always think each one through, researching origins and meanings so they fit my character. Sometimes, it’s an easy task. Other times, I have to just throw up my hands and give them a name.

There have been incidences where I’ve changed names halfway through, finding something else that is more suitable. This can happen when my characters become more real and their personalities stand out. While I was writing a novel in high school, my main character’s name didn’t seem like it truly fit her. So, I changed it to one that helped her personality shine.

Name meanings are important. As authors, we have the ability to get to know our characters and give them a name that we see suits them.

Remember, it’s all in a name. :)

So, tell me, is there a character in any work of fiction that you think has a great name? Does their name suit their personalities?

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