The September, 2012, edition of At the Jugular, the official newsletter of WriteHook, is out. Check out the online version by clicking here.
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I can't show you the photograph because it isn't one of me. And the person who's in it doesn't want the photo shown.
But the moment it captures, sepia-toned and slightly blurred, is one of pure contentment. This image, when I see it, brings me an uncommon sense of joy. It sums up an entire period of my life in one fleeting moment. When I look back on this particular time, this moment is what I remember first and best.
What I fear is that this moment will become the drug. That one moment of profound happiness and contentment that immediately intoxicates us and then doles out heartbreakingly beautiful doses of halcyon at random intervals over time. That high we chase for the rest of our lives because the feeling that moment gave us is addictive.
I suspect that this dreaminess is what I love and hate so much about being creative ‒‒ our very human need to attach emotions to objects, images, words, aromas, and sounds. We spend so much of ourselves chasing down that feeling again. Those five seconds when we were on top of the world and we became convinced that heaven exists, because we were living in it.
I like to believe that's a good thing. Some days, I'm not so sure.
There is a very old saying: You can catch the devil, but you can't keep him long. I wonder why no one ever made a similar pithy statement about bliss?
If you haven't made the acquaintance of my favorite Spaniard, Cinta Garcia, you're missing out. Cinta is legitimately one of the nicest people I know. And if I ever make it to Spain, we have a standing lunch date.
That aside, la hermosa dama and tireless writer has put together a get-to-know-indie-authors page on her website, Cinta's Corner, where I am her latest subjsect for a Q&A. Click here to check out my version of these answers. The cool thing is, Cinta's never had to answer her own questions until now, so mad props to the elves here at WriteHook who squeezed the answers out of her.
Seriously, get to know her, she's awesome. Start here with her self-interview and move on to her online presence at the bottom of her column.
31 Questions for (and by) Cinta Garcia
“MEET THE AUTHOR”
1. Describe yourself.
I am a crazy Spanish teacher who writes in English and is obsessed about reading.
2. What is your favourite fruit flavour?
3. What is your favourite day of the week?
Friday, because it is when I meet my best friends for having dinner together.
4. Which is your favourite time of the day?
Late evening, when I have peace and quiet for writing.
5. Are you a morning person or a night person?
6. What is your favourite breakfast meal?
Toasts, tea, orange juice, and soy yoghurts.
7. What is your favourite colour and why?
Purple, because I think it is quite a magical colour.
8. Which is your most favourite book ever?
Any book by Jane Austen.
9. What kind of music do you like?
Any kind of music, but my favourite genres are rock and punk.
10. Which is your favourite genre of films?
11. Which is your most favourite place in this Earth?
Hyde Park, in London. I love writing sitting under Peter Pan’s statue, next to the Italian Gardens.
12. Which animal would you want to be and why?
A butterfly, because they are beautiful, colourful, and can fly freely everywhere.
13. If you could have a luncheon with any 3 people (real or fictitious), who would you choose and why?
Jane Austen (her conversation would be really amazing), Tim Burton (I just love his films and it would be interesting to talk to him about his ideas), and Colin Firth (he is an amazing actor and I think his conversation must be quite interesting).
14. If you were granted 3 wishes, what would you ask for?
Health for my loved ones, peace in the world, and food for every single child in the world.
15. If you were stranded on a lonely beach, what are the 5 things that you would want to survive?
Books, a notebook, a never-ending pen, tons of food, and tons of drinks.
16. If you could be anyone, who would you be?
Me; imperfect as I am, I wouldn’t like to be someone else.
17. What is the one thing you wish you could change in yourself?
I would like to be more patient.
18. What is the one thing you wish you could do if given the chance?
The ability to stop the time, so I can write as much as I can and read my huge TBR list.
19. What would you do if you won the lottery?
Help some charities and devote myself to write full-time.
20. If you knew that this was your last day on Earth, how would you spend it?
With my family and best friends, having fun and hugging them as much as I can.
21. Were you a naughty kid or a nice kid?
I was really naughty *flashing a very innocent smile*
22. What was the happiest moment in your life?
When I got the official documents for my adoption.
23. Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
Maybe here, but with several more books published.
24. What is the weirdest/craziest thing you have ever done?
Blind dating a guy when I was living in London. Luckily, he was a nice guy.
25. What is your definition of an incredible weekend?
One in which I can forget about everything and devote myself just to reading and writing.
26. Which is the best holidays you have ever had?
Last month. I went to Oxford to attend to a Creative Writing course. I met incredible people, I managed to meet some of my favourite Twitter friends, and I went to explore Oxford Castle with my favourite twins in the whole world.
27. Have you got a phobia you want to share?
Spiders! I don’t really like clowns either.
28. What makes you angry?
Intolerant people, egotistical people, cruelty to children or animals, people who abuse of others, and many other things.
29. What do you do when you feel sad?
I listen to music or watch a film. Some other times I go to my best friend’s house and just hug her while I cry; she never asks, she just holds me.
30. Who or what inspires you?
My friends, my students, the good and funny things in life.
31. Congratulations! Now you can freely rant about your book(s) and/or projects.
I am mainly a writer of short stories, and I have written many of them which I will publish very soon as a collection of my short stories. Some months ago an idea started forming in my head: a crazy little girl who wanted to be a witch. That’s how Little Nani was born. That’s how I am about to publish my first book, “The Funny Adventures of Little Nani,” a collection of short stories for children, all of them featuring the same main character, Little Nani. I am publishing it in paperback form, since it is an illustrated book and I have included some interaction with the children: they can draw their own illustrations and characters! Right now, I am also working on Book 2 of the Little Nani series, on my collection of short stories, and I have started to do some research for a Regency novella that I will write for NaNoWriMo. You can know more about my book and projects in the following links:
My website: http://cintascorner.weebly.com
Ten or fifteen thousand years ago, i.e. the Nineties, someone made money trading stock online because he knew how to monitor the minute-by-minute health of his investment portfolio. And like any good Gold Rush, people with the age-old dream of cashing out and retiring to an island where they didn't have to pretend to like people quit their jobs to become day traders.
If you don't know what that means, a day trader essentially is someone, generally untrained and undisciplined in the world of finance, who obsesses over every tenth of a point his stock rises or falls, all day, every day. And this practice once was an actual fad.
Surprising as it might come to you, the practice of day trading turned out not to be a good career plan. By the time the phenomenon subsided, the benumbed and bewildered realized that they had either broken even, lost a bunch, or ended up spending their profits on the Xanax it took to carry them through the agony of watching their fortunes increase and deflate in an ocean-like rhythm for months on end.
The funniest part of this to me is that this tendency to watch obsessively over our fortunes has not died, it has merely transmogrified. Which is awesome, because it gives me a rare chance to use the word "transmogrified." Moreover, it sums up what is happening with the indie author's favorite and most hated stock ticker, the Amazon ranking.
I don't know about you (though I have a pretty good guess), but I spend way too many online minutes dropping in "just to quick see" where my numbers are. And to tell you the truth, I don't know which is worse ‒‒ when one of my books is ranked as a Top 100 bestseller, or when the same book a week later is number 622,067 in overall sales.
Rather than money, my portfolio of popularity offers me a many-times-daily chance to think "Yay, they love me!" mixed with "What the hell is wrong with these people?!" Those numbers, those fluctuations, those bestseller lists … oh my.
Though it will do no good, I would like to suggest to my fellow OCD writers that perhaps we should stop checking our Amazon rankings every five minutes. Would it not be better to concern ourselves with actual sales figures than rankings? It would certainly take less time out of our day. And fewer Xanax pills.
Although, now I wonder … are the owners of Amazon and the makers of Xanax one in the same? I doubt it. But damn, that would be an awesome business model, wouldn't it? Supply the stress and provide the treatment for it …
Sounds like a good plot for an e-book. I'll have to write it. I just hope it stays on the bestseller rankings…
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Write for the Jugular, folks.
Yeah. Writing is hard. Writing is an unforgiving, unapologetic, megaton bomb backpack of false leads, dead ends, and bad ideas. Writing is a time-consuming, soul-draining, tiring trek across harsh terrain in bad weather. Writing exposes you to the elements and all manner of wild animals that haven't eaten in days.
No, I'm asking. So what? You think it's a easy to be anything that matters in this life? You think rock stars and astronauts spend a hundred percent of their time getting laid by supermodels made of chocolate cake? You think lawyers and accountants and pastry chefs don't put in long days or get their feelings hurt or devote themselves completely and totally to their jobs at the expense of their health and families sometimes?
Anything that's great in life is hard. Didn't you ever see A League of Their Own? Tom Hanks said it best: "It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, anybody could do it. The hard is what makes it great."
Your work, your stories, your mind and imagination ‒‒ those are yours. They belong to you. But that doesn't mean it's easy to know what to do with them. Getting your thoughts, your ideas, your vision down takes effort, time, and patience. Of course that's going to be hard. That's why it's so important.