My Mother’s Song

When one decides to write you may want to include quotes from you favorite books, lyrics from songs or pictures and artwork. What is quite necessary is to get permission to use such portions of work even if it is only one line or lyric. Towards the end of my book, an important character to my heroine is lost, and I found myself writing about not only her loss but the loss of my mother as well. Specifically about one of the last things I did while she was in hospice. I remember her singing “You are my Sunshine” by Jimmie Davis to me. As I held her hand lying on one side of her, and my older sister on the other, I sang a few lyrics of the song to her.

“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are grey.

You never know dear how much I love you. Please don’t take my sunshine away.”

Four short lyrics, something I could have removed from the book and avoided tracking down the copyright holder, contacting the recording company, asking for the use, explaining why, purchasing the freedom to use it…all of that I could have avoided if only I took those lines out- and I did consider doing just that. In fact it was down to the wire, the book was in formatting and my formatter on hold for me to add or keep the lyrics out. One night my youngest daughter, who was born after my mother’s passing didn’t speak very clearly yet, sang those lines to me as clear and beautiful as day. Her smile so bright and her soul singing along with her. At that moment I knew my mom was a part of her, in her smile, her beautiful voice and her strength and stubbornness. I couldn’t help the tears that came, and the decision solidified at that moment- words now forever within my passages and my words of love, loss and hope…My Mother’s Song, My Daughter’s Song and Alex’s Song.

Parker Sinclair

http://www.ParkerSinclair.net

https://www.facebook.com/ParkerSinclairbooks?ref=bookmarks

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23697958-trust

Telling My Story About The Story

I was in the guest room, holed-up while my daughters alternated their little fist banging’s on the door, crying for me between my husband’s urges for them to leave mommy alone. I could still hear the drama on the other side of the door even though I was engaged and focused, and soon I was also drenched in sweat. Snow and ice trapped the winter ground in perpetual cold outside the window yet I was comfortably warm and cozy when the interview started. However, this being my first interview I was admittedly nervous and soon a sweaty mess. I did prepare, for days in fact after the notification. It’s the norm when you are asked for an interview to be ready for a quick turn around so even though she hadn’t set the date when she first contacted me I started immediately.

When I first heard my alma-mater wanted to interview me for the school newspaper I was super excited. I had sent them an email months ago about my story of being a self-published author after originally attending The University of Northern Colorado and earning a Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences with a Psychology minor. When the email came to me last Saturday asking for an interview, it was on the tail feathers of getting another email from a book reviewer in San Diego. That email did not promise anything yet, but hey I got an email back so I must be doing something right!

After receiving the email request, I reached out to my marketing consultant Cheryl Tan after getting the interview request. I wasn’t sure what would be asked of me, how to prepare correctly and what method should I choose? The interviewer, a student journalist in her final year at the University, offered an email, phone, Skype or in-person interview. Being that I lived across the country, I was considering the phone option more heavily. Ya, I chickened out on Skype, but I know next time I will happily do a Skype interview now that I have my feet wet (Oh and after some serious scolding from my friends). Cheryl gave me some great insights that helped me prep accordingly.

For days, I wrote about the book, about my inspiration, about my life growing up with a book loving, wildly creative, nomadic, hippy-like family. I delved back into what it was like for me at the university both in and out of the classroom. The three-hour chemistry labs, searching the shelves of the library, attending Sigma Pi parties with some awesome guys who are lifelong friends, great study partners and friends from all walks of life, the process of self-publishing and the future for the Alex Conner Chronicles.

Five pages later I started to whittle it down and mark main points for the interview. When I sat back and looked over everything, I knew this process was something I had truly needed to do. Even though things have been slow going on getting the word out about Trust, I needed to be prepared for the possibility, and dream, that things will pick up for the book and Alex’s upcoming Chronicles. By the way I hope they do, in case you didn’t already know I love to write and doing for a living what I love would be the best job in the world!!).

When the call came in on Friday and nerves kicked in a little as I worked around her questions, flipping pages to get out what I wanted the readers of the article to know. She liked my story; a first time independently published author who was originally slated to be a veterinarian from a long line of accomplished doctors and educators. I knew some of the readers were also young men and women concerned about where their lives were going after college. Will they find a job, do they even like the career path they have chosen? Are the stuck? Will they ever be able to have a stable job, but follow their dreams as well? As a high school counselor, my students worry about all of the same things at such an early age. I want them all to know things can adapt and change; yes have a goal, have a path but know that it is ok if it changes. After college, I did the lab, and field biology work and then I moved on to party planning before getting into education and counseling. All of these careers weren’t instantaneous either. There were moments of “what in the hell am I doing” speckled with odd jobs as a teacher’s assistant, runway model, VIP relations, after school theatrical teacher, and lots of others.

I was on a path. Maybe not what I thought it would be but it led me to where I was supposed to be and to what I had dreamed of doing in grade school. Of being an author with a book that others will enjoy, that will inspire and invoke emotion in the reader. All I have done in my years since my first journal and poem have made me a better writer; I have more to offer to Alex as a character and the story line. She is now a strong female for people to root for; she has a troubled past and to have peace from the terrible acts she endured is what the reader hopes for. I feel that everyone who flips through the pages can relate to Alex in some way or at the least empathize with her. Should the reader strongly relate, I hope the book empowers them and helps them find some peace. I have heard many stories from the many people who’s paths I have crossed, as well as counseled youth and families who have suffered abuse at the hands of someone. All I wanted to do was alleviate their pain and suffering, I feel that through Alex I am doing just that.

In one of the final questions the reporter asked me how I related to the character, well besides the mind-in-the gutter humor Alex and I share I hope we are also both strong role models. I want to empower the roles of women, which they can and should be allowed to be strong, sexual, funny, leaders, heads of business and to change the idea that standing up for oneself and what they believe in doesn’t make them bitchy, but instead is the power they should have over their lives to be assertive and to defend and take care of themselves. Both men and women have loved this book, and I’m hopeful for its impact as the chronicles continue for Alex.

Having this interview made me realize that not only do I have a great start to the story of Alex’s Chronicles but I also have a real story about what led to the completion of Book One- the story of my life. I have included the link to the article below. Thank you as always for following my journey and I hope you are enjoying Trust and know that Truth is continuing to make progress!

Parker

http://www.uncmirror.com/news/view.php/861325/Former-Northern-Colorado-student-now-a-p

http://www.ParkerSinclair.net

The Making of a Muse

Music has always been a source of inspiration for me. Those of you who have read my first book, Trust, and those of you who know me are well aware of my affinity for dancing and addiction to music. My range is expansive as my father was a DJ at one time in his life. Numerous albums lined the walls in my parents bedroom as the loud thumps and tones could be heard across the house even thru the closed door of my room. Whether it was reggae, primarily by the transcendent Bob Marley, but also from the talented Jimmy Cliff, Peter Tosh, and Gregory Isaacs, to the hard-hitting punk rock of the Dead Kennedy’s and new wave Roxy Music; I’ve been raised on it all. My family and friends continue to share music every day, Facebook, Pandora and YouTube being favorite ways to find and watch new videos and listen to songs.

For me, it isn’t always all about that bass though I do love the deep, pulsing tone of it, but the treble is just as important. However, the lyrics truly have the ability to transport you into a song, bringing your existence into being that person with the sizzling, desirable vocal cords, or who is being sung about.

Last week I needed an inspiration, as I do off and on with the business of life. I hadn’t hit my goal for Book Two and was floundering in Chapter 3 even though I have it fully outlined. Knowing where the book is going to go may be easy but filling that pathway with feelings, emotions, humor, intensity and passion is another story. Anyhow, Ed Sheeran has had great success with his latest album X, and after my friend from Colorado posted the video for “Don’t”, I knew I needed to check out his album. I downloaded it for my daughter, and in one of those rare times when I was able to head out solo to do a little shopping and visit a friend,I was allotted time to really listen to the entire album. The 30 minute drive allowed me ample time to listen to most of it and I knew I was instantly inspired and the chapter started to lay itself out in my mind.

While listening to “Afire Love”, “Photograph”, “Nina”, “Bloodstream”, “Don’t”, and “The Man” from Ed’s album are all amazing songs that had my mind drifting into scenes of my characters. They had me reliving moments in my life as his words played a movie in my head. Such a great album and as I listened to Ed wondering if so many people use music as a muse. Artists of all types of media from theatre to ceramics, from writers to graphic designers, we all use music to help us shape our visions, to create our masterpieces. So what are the muses for musicians? Other musicians are a must as they shape and influence each band, solo artist, songwriter and producer, but their own lives may be the biggest muse of all. Their relationships, the love, pain, happiness, sadness and moments of darkness and weakness in themselves and those around them make intense lyrics, realism to their performances and in many cases freedom of the experiences. Art truly is life, pieces of it, things we’ve heard, experiences, watched from a foot away to afar, it’s all about how we react, perceive and move thru it all.

From Rihanna’s “Diamond”, Bob Marley’s “Waiting in Vain”, Pearl Jam’s “Just Breathe” and “Sweet Nothing” by Calvin Harris and Florence Welch, all incredible songs that move me into the musician’s life, allowing me to dance, cry, hope, and persevere. Music moves all of us.

What are some of your favorite songs and artists? I’d love to hear from all of you and maybe we can find a way to insert some of your favorite songs and lyrics into Alex’s second book, Truth.

Enjoy the music of life and thank you for joining me on the adventure!

Parker

Check out my website for information on my first book, a three chapter sample and where to buy: http://www.ParkerSinclair.net

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How Many Editors Does it Take…

A friend of mine and I were talking about the small rut I find myself crammed into as I begin writing Book Two of the Alex Conner Chronicles-Truth. It is that infamous rut, where you want to make sure you recap just enough from Book One to move new readers along or help previous readers, remember what happened. You must do this without boring them to tears or have them yelling at my pages, “so get on with it already!!”

This is an entirely new frontier for me having written my first book last year and working on the second, which I am trying to have out this summer. For those who have been with me on this journey all along, and those who are done reading Trust, the anticipation for Truth is palatable. Those readers probably don’t need much of a refresher, but there are those who may just pick up book two in the summer having never read book one and I don’t want to lose them. There are others who won’t get to book two for a while after reading book one and will need to recall the characters and events.

So here I am teetering on too much and too little right at the end of chapter two, and it’s been two weeks since I have moved forward. My shadow reader has read it, and my editor has it in her hands as I wait for the go ahead to move on. I have already done some back and forth with both which consists of tediously combing through comments and edits, with agreements, disagreements, cursing-all healthy parts of the process. They should lead to moving on, but I’m not and I shouldn’t have to wait for their go ahead really, I didn’t before so why am I? I can always backtrack but for some reason I’m not. I’m not because this is a new frontier. This is making book two as good or better than book one, this is what it takes to become a writer and it’s hard, especially when you also have a full-time job, two little ones, and of course time with friends and family. It’s hard to find the time to allow your brain to open up to the creativity when its exhausted, but I did it before, my chapters are mapped out for me…I just need to move forward.

So back to my wise friend; she asked how the blog was going, I know she follows it so I said I have the three up, and I haven’t written in a couple of weeks on that either. She suggested I write about the editing and this part of the process, something that other writers may relate to and potential writers need to think about. It took me eight hours to figure out how clever she was in the suggestion. Writing about it was just what I needed to do, but not only for others but for myself. I’ve been stuck and exhausted for over a week now in the doldrums of winter and the best way for me to get out of it was to write about my frustration, lack of momentum and ok a little bit of annoyance at myself. This process and the amount of editing it is taking to get the start of book two “just right”. I’m my own stinking version of Goldilocks not finding that perfect bed or bowl of porridge and I needed just to get it out of my head, onto the pages of this computer and out into the universe. Journaling has always been therapeutic for me, and many counselors see it is a significant step in the therapeutic process to lead to positive change. Alex is also quite a journalist herself in The Alex Conner Chronicles and boy does she need it!

So this is the weekend I forge ahead, so get ready my shadow reading buddy and my fabulous editor…I’m ready to kiss this rut good-bye, to Trust my instincts and push on…more chapters are coming your way!

Visit my Facebook page, my website and my Goodreads site for news, a three chapter sample and where to buy!

https://www.facebook.com/ParkerSinclairbooks

http://parkersinclair.net

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Creativity Can’t Survive with Doubt

There have been many days when I can sit at this computer and blast off thousands of words, flying through chapters and piecing together a story. Honestly getting positive feedback and useful criticism catapults me into creative mode. The best thing I ever did when I opened Trust after five years void of key clicks and chicken scratch journaling was to have others read my work. I knew these ladies loved the fantasy, science fiction, paranormal genres. Oh, and who didn’t mind the adult language and situations my characters thrived in, so I sent the first three chapters to them under the guise that a “friend” in San Diego had written it and asked me to get some feedback. I know that they are voracious readers who would tear thru her pages quickly and provide me with some honest feedback. This idea was a leap of faith; one that I felt would either lend to me finally finishing the book or that if could mean the end for Trust, for Alex Conner.

What I didn’t expect was their reaction. Each of them came to me asking about the characters by name, wanting to read more, and showing me that they have made some real connections with my writing. I let them off the hook at once letting them know it was me, tears threatened my eyes with joy after hearing the feedback, especially since I hadn’t even worked through the major edits whatsoever- let’s just call it a rough, rough draft.

I chose one person to read my book as I wrote it. As soon as I would write a few chapters I’d email them to her, and she gave me near immediate feedback being a super fast reader. She’s been a best friend since our daughters were one, and I trust her fully and completely. She taught me how to take criticism, how to get past doubt when to rearrange, pull back and add more. I admit I hated parts of it. I would get angry, annoyed, filled with self-doubt when she pointed out errors. I was incapable of not opening her feedback and read it during dinner, time with my family, inappropriate times of course. So I had to learn to wait to open the emails and to breathe thru the desire to want to, and before I dove into it. I worked hard to not let book stuff take away from family time or stay up too late fixing everything quickly. It was hard for me, letting things go, getting back to them later. It’s a process that has been hard for me, something that was even more difficult as the editing process went full throttle once I found an editor.

It comes down to trying to not be an immediate fixer all of the time, which even though one may think fixing it now and fast is the most efficient, it was getting in the way of my life, my children and causing me added stress. Trust worked those kinks out of me, thru relentless repetition, well somewhat, it’s hard to change. It isn’t impossible, but hard. Shaking off doubt may be the most difficult part of it all. I had to realize that even though I was making errors, and causing both my friend and my editor to question the flow or suggest a change. Both of which led to either quick fixes or hours of rewrites, my biggest obstacle was myself. I’d take their feedback hard sometimes, thinking I couldn’t do what they asked. This is part of the whole writing process as well, there were many times I doubted my ability to get to where I wanted to go in the book, not knowing how to state something or whether or not anyone would be able to visualize my scenes, be surprised, laugh, cry, really feel anything at all. I can say that I did laugh, cry, and sometimes shake as I typed, washed away by waves of emotion while the characters reminded me of pieces of people I have met and knew. The were also manifestations and of my ability to empathize with everyone, even fictional characters who I was tormenting and ripping away parts of their made-up souls and hearts. Yes you actually become invested in the world you create as a writer. So criticism, even the best and most needed will force you to doubt, to worry, to slam shut the laptop, or push away from your desk in disgust.

As I said it is part of the process, but if you give in to it, if you let yourself live in the doubt, make it seep into your being, your creativity will sputter out. It will be bound, gagged and smothered by doubt. My mother and I talked a lot about the feeling of guilt; I have coined it the evil twin of doubt. She said guilt was a useless emotion, paralyzing and parasitic. Hanging on to guilt in your life will keep you from forgiving yourself, letting anyone love the real you. Indeed, it can stop you from living. Not clinging to guilt isn’t the same as not caring about making mistakes or hurting someone, but without forgiveness or oneself and others, how do you continue? The same goes for the doubt that ate away at me. There were many times I couldn’t see the end in site, didn’t think I would ever get there, that I would never make my story work, let alone be read and enjoyed. But I got out of those sink holes of doubt over and over again. Yes, they still creep in, ask my friends as I let myself fester over a 1-star rating with no comments as to why. Yes, I have fives and great comments, but that one sad star tried to gnaw at me, poisoning me with doubt.

The best thing I can suggest is to not take it all on alone, find who you can talk to, rely on to hear you, not to fix it, but to listen. Holding on to the doubt alone is setting you up for succumbing to its siren like ways. It can shut down your creativity, starve it, and block the channels from letting the words, pictures, and music in. So whatever you are striving for in your life, don’t let doubt block your way. Put yourself out there, or your made up friend from San Diego, and take the feedback and suggestions. They will make you even better than you already are, use it to fuel your creative mind rather than use it to build a wall of doubt.

Thank you as always for walking through my mind with me and please check out my first book Trust today. Visit http://www.ParkerSinclair.net for a sample and where to buy as well as liking Parker Sinclair Books on Facebook.

Live, laugh, create and reach for the stars!

Parker

Dancing In the Rain

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I am asked to explain what Trust is about multiple times a week. I change up my description from time to time since the book dives into the multiple genre’s so it is hard to pigeon-hole it into one. Some of my favorite authors and biggest sources of inspiration, such as Kim Harrison, are adult, urban, fantasy writers so I gave my book that tag, but it is also considered a paranormal fantasy, a psychological thriller, a comedy, a spiritual journey, scientific, and, of course, a romance. But not only in terms of the main character and her love interest, interests? No this book was also started when I lived in San Diego and is a love story to that city, to the west coast as a whole. When Alex digs her toes into the sand refusing to leave, I felt that same pain and loss as I headed back East. I was leaving behind over five years of my life, my best friends, and what soon became the only coast my family belonged to.

I didn’t feel like an active part of my new life in Virginia. Days, weeks, years went by, and I didn’t let go of San Diego, of my friends, my years growing up there after college. I couldn’t make friends, meet people like me, I didn’t make people laugh like I could make my friends laugh back west, there weren’t the same types of places to go to…the same feeling of a big town. The coasts were different, the sun rose instead of set and I blamed the east coast as a whole and I blamed being not from here. Culture shock was my excuse, and I pined for a place that was on the other side of the continent that I chose to leave.

All this moaning, groaning and bitching gave way over the last few years. Bad things happened to my family; we lost 3 of our close nit clan, and I grew more cynical. I felt like I wasn’t raising my children with the best parts of me, and I had to change something about all of it. I am not ashamed to say that I went to counseling, I needed help after my mother, grandfather and grandmother passed, I needed a guide and I did find someone who was just that. She told me yes I need to give a bit more to create my life here; I needed to let go of my firm hold on a place I can only now visit but always love. So I tried harder, I reached out and attempted to meet new people, put myself out there to make friends at work, through my daughter and her friends, I didn’t let life pass me by and only latch on to my friends and family back West who were moving on with their lives, making new friends, being happy; oh they will always be my best friends, the ones I call with the craziest of stories that only they would appreciate as they have a permanent place in my heart. My daughters needed other good, loving, funny and smart people in their lives; they needed good influences since we don’t have any family here, so I did.

I am now part of a crazy, quirky movie/book group with some awesome ladies, I have 2 real, solid best friends here that I can call and laugh, joke with, make plans and bitch to, and we have play dates, dinners out and parties. I live in a great neighborhood where I continue to meet amazing people from all over and make new friends. Life has opened up to me finally because I broke down some walls and realized I can love San Diego and still be happy making a life for myself here in Virginia.

The other night after a couple of cocktails, some good food and conversation with one of my best friends and her friend since high school, we cranked up the music in the car as we waited for their ride. It was a balmy 45 with drizzling rain and the three of us jumped out of the car and danced, laughed and took turns playing DJ. I felt the freedom of being myself and allowing myself to be happy. I had finally found a way to give and receive love, friendship and acceptance of this beautiful place I now call home and it all clicked as I felt my life come full circle, smiling and dancing in the rain.

Because memories are our adjectives and adverbs…

My father helped me name this blog.  We have a love of books in common; it was his library after all that I longed after.  The book bindings and covers called to me with their fantastical pictures of dwarfs, glowing blue swords and strong (even though scantily clad) women.  They spoke to me with words I couldn’t yet read as a young child but would eventually pour thru at neck breaking speeds. Now many of the authors that donned his shelves occupy mine, with additions from the paranormal and adult urban fantasy genres where strong female heroines reign supreme and female writers outnumber the men.

So my dad left a voicemail with this title.  “Writing consists of nouns, verbs and memories,” he said.  “Our memories are shared using adverbs and adjectives.” I liked the idea, even more so that it came from him, the source of my love for books, which, in essence, led to my love for writing and the driving force behind my life-long dream, made reality of being a published author.

Trust:  The Alex Conner Chronicles Book One was released on December 4th, hitting the hands of friends and family at my release party at Flip Flops in Virginia Beach.  It was a fantastic night; I have such great friends, neighbors, and a supportive family.  I always knew my first book would be part of a series.  Earlier this year my book cover artist asked me if I had book two done?

“No”

“Started?”

“Nope.”

“Ballsy” he quipped.   Yes, yes it was, as well as confident, driven and a dash of crazy.  So here I go, on a new journey as a writer, author, and blogger.  Hell, I had a pen name in 3rd grade and now the book, that’s been 15 years in the making, is being enjoyed and receiving positive praise.   My beliefs are now solidified that this road has always been in the cards for me.

I look forward to your comments and thank you for taking this journey with me!

Parker

Visit http://www.ParkerSinclair.net for information on a 3 chapter sample and where to buy Trust.