Merry Christmas to all those who celebrate it! Happy Holidays to everyone! I hope you’ve enjoyed whatever kind of time renews you for the coming year—time with family or time alone, good food, good friends, good drink or a quiet cabin in the woods. Snow or sun, puzzles or palazzos, skiing or scrapbooking. Personally, it all sounds good to me.
This is what I want to talk about today, actually…renewing yourself. Many writers have families and day jobs, which means that they’re filling in what little time they might have for themselves with plotting, writing, revising, promoting and all the other good stuff that goes along with publication. The day job alone can lead to burn out, so you can imagine when it’s coupled with a lack of down time. This is why it’s incredibly important for authors (or anyone) to be good to themselves. I was raised on Catholic guilt. Not with it, on it. So trust me, I know how difficult it can be to take time or spend money on yourself. However, just like a ship can’t travel at hyperspeed forever without running down, neither can a person. You have to take time to refuel, etc. Whether this means massages, yoga or painting pottery, do it. Yes, this is an order. I’m an agent, I’m bossy like that. If anyone gives you a hard time, tell them to take it up with me.
If the guilt stops you, how about this: it’s all story fodder. You never know what you’re going to see, hear or encounter that’s going to inspire a scene or character in your next book. My first published novel was inspired by listening to two Starbucks baristas banter behind the counter. My point is that if you don’t take time out to smell the flowers, it’ll be very difficult to describe their scent when it comes time to write about them. Likewise, whether your character loves or hates them, you can’t describe a spa unless you’ve been or a ride through the Grand Canyon or…you get the point. The more varied your experiences, the broader the base for your writing and the more depth and realism will be to it. It would be lovely if that meant we could write off each and every experience, but alas, I don’t think the Federal government would approve.
In honor of Fangtabulous, the new book I have coming out January 8th (a great use, by the way, for those B&N, Books-a-Million, Amazon, etc. gift cards you’ve received for the holidays, by the way!), I thought I’d have a few of my characters offer up suggestions for holiday peace or partying, based on their inclinations.
Gina Covello (fashionista of the fanged): Shopping! Like there was really any other option. I prefer Macy’s. Their after-Christmas sales are to die for…and you don’t have to take that anywhere near as literally as I did!
Bobby Delvecchio (class chess champ turned vampire hottie): ComicCon. Or DragonCon. Or…well, I’m not picky, so long as there are comics, gaming, crazy discussions on cutting edge tech and the aerodynamics of dragons, I’m there. Those guys from Big Bang Theory…we could hang.
Marcy (Gina’s BFF, also vamped): Spa day. Like, seriously! Okay, sure, we have the eternal youth thing cooking, and the perfect skin and…well, you get the point. But nothing substitutes for a good day of thermal jets, seaweed wraps, claws and paws.
Ulric (unvamped, but not for lack of trying): Goth club. Expand on this? What else is there to say? You belong or you don’t. If the former, you don’t need me to tell you. If the latter, give it a try. We can always use some fresh blood. In some of the clubs that are actually vampire run, this isn’t just a cliché.
Tori Karacis (P.I.): Kickboxing. Adrenaline, exercise, aggression, endorphins. Plus, when you come face to face with the Creature from the Black Lagoon, you’ll know what to do. Even the mythics have sensitive spots.
Detective Nicholas Armani: Switch Tori over to decaf and watch the resultant twitching.Apollo Demas (yes, that Apollo): Running down my To Do list: Archery practice Inspire the Muses Inspire lustful thoughts in the mind of one pain-in-the-privates P.I. Dry clean the jacket that got (pick one) tarred, smoked, ripped to shreds in our last encounter Attend movie premiere
So, there you have it, some suggestions for getting out your aggressions, finding your focus or feeding your inner shopaholic. As you can see, some of these characters are a little…intense. If you have any other suggestions for finding equilibrium, I hope you’ll share.
Also I hope you’ll all have a fabulous and fanciful new year!