Category Archives: LZMarieAuthor

Doin’ Double Time

urban fantasy author, paranormal romance author

Doin’ double duty as teacher and student.

Pulling double duty! Whoot !Whoot!

Double the fun! On the advice of my agent I created another pen name for my historical fiction genre. Which also means having another website, instagram, and twitter account! Which I did, although I haven’t made a Facebook or Pinterest page yet for the new-genre me. Yet.

Double Down! A lot of work? Yes. Can I do it? Sure, with a bit of savvy time management. But that’s not what’s causing me angst. What is?

Double Trouble! I’ll be both teacher and student for the next 2 years! Ack!

As a high school language arts teacher, I’m used to assigning books, lecturing, grading papers, and getting sucked up to. But as soon as my MFA classes begin the table will be turned, and I’ll be the one having to read books, write papers, and suck up to professors.

I begin my MFA ( Masters of Fine Arts) in creative writing this year. Yup, that means I’ll be teaching full-time, revising an MS, and doing homework for the MFA program. ( Oh, and this is also the year when I will be answering multiple phone calls and dress shopping for my daughter’s wedding. ) Don’t know how I’m going to pull all this off, but hey, a writer’s gotta do what a writer’s gotta do. And I gotta do!!!

Lots of folks and family ask me why I want to get my MFA. You don’t need one, they insist. You can already write. True. But I want to write better! And how amazing will it be to have a cadre of writing professionals offer advice and criticism! Not to mention, having a writing community to share all the successes, failures, woes, joys, and WTF’s with. I’m looking forward to learning and writing with the best.

I was lucky to have found a low residency* MFA program with a marvelous staff that fits my teaching schedule. Can’t wait to begin. Can’t wait to figure out just how organized I’ll need to be to do it all without losing my mind. ( Now, that I think of it, my mind has been lost to writing for a few years now. )

I’m thinking’ somebody—not me—needs to do the grocery shopping, cooking, and laundry. I’ll let you know how that goes!

**For the Hey, I’d Like To Get My MFA questioners, here’s a quick how-to.

Low-residency means you, the student, take on-line classes throughout the year and also meet with writers, big-time famous authors, industry professionals, and classmates for week-long stretches a few times a year. Great for us folks who have to work to pay the mortgage.

My MFA program required a statement of purpose, letter of intent, 3 letters of recommendation, a writing sample, and transcripts.

While I was pulling all that together, I applied for a FAFSA loan, because, really, who can pay for college these days?

Oh, and my historical fiction name is Azlyn Richards. WEBSITE.   INSTAGRAM.  TWITTER.

So, here’s to not seeing double for the next few years! Cheers!

Giving Writerly Thanks

feed museJPGWriters love complaining and moaning, and I’ve done my share of that. But not today. Today I give thanks for the writing process.

  1. Waking up is fun. My mind is churning  with words-words-words  and plots-plots-plots.
  2. Coffee tastes good when I’m writing and even better when I’m editing.
  3. I’m never bored. There’s always a book to read and writing to be done.
  4. The internet is awesome. From finding the perfect mood music to taking a virtual tour to discovering a PDF file of a no-longer-in-existence text.
  5. My Smart Phone is a timesaver: I can surf the internet for research sites while standing in line at the grocery store.
  6. Facebook and Twitter make me laugh. Mostly.
  7. Straws. Yes, straws. When I’m writing I drink out of a straw. Less mishaps that way. I have reusable glass ones, so I even feel trendy while slurping.
  8. Microsoft Word. My college essays were written on a typewriter. I don’t know how writers managed to rewrite and edit back in the ‘old days.’
  9. My commute to work. It provides plenty of ( depending on traffic ) time to think, so when I arrive home I’m ready to hit the keyboard.
  10. Most of all, I’m thankful to have found an endeavor I’m passionate about .

What are YOU thankful  for?

Related posts: Readin’ & Writin’

Writing Reign Deer

reindeer 4pgWell dearie,                                                                                Does inspiration rain down on you?                                          OR                                                                                      Perhaps a stern Muse reigns over you until inspiration transforms into words?                                                                  OR                                                                                    Maybe you take the reins of inspiration and forge into the inspiration storm on your own?

 

Which writing reign deer drives you?

 
Dasher
Fast first drafts. Swift second drafts. 2,000 words a day? No problem. They hoof it through edits and never sit on their writing rump. Just watch them fly toward publication!

 

Dancer
Good at jingling with reasons why they haven’t written anything. They have writer’s block-kids-day job issues—did I mention writer’s block ?? Dancers love to tell people they are writers, BUT they actually do very little writing. ( I know, it’s a technicality.)

 

Prancer
reindeer1jpgLoves posting their 1st drafts, 2nd drafts, 3rd drafts, etc for everyone to see ( they are very brave). They crave feedback—especially if it feeds their ego. Prancers have the unique ability to work on a manuscript while simultaneously posting updates about their work in progress.

 

Vixen
Identified by their libidinous desire to finish their WIP, they use every naughty trick they can to canoodle with their MS. Their naked need to finish the damn paragraph/scene/chapter/book makes them swift evaders of those hunting them down—like children, coworkers, friends, or family.  Do not  tail them when they’re in the mood, they’ll just flee into a bush to keep writing.

 

Comet
Blazing brightly, they are a sight to behold—for an instant. Then they vanish into their wiring den only emerging occasionally to flash a funny post or Tweet.  This here-and-gone style behooves them, allowing their heads to remain in the writing sky. Don’t buck with them when they’re writing or they’ll just hightail it out of there!

 

Cupid
Writers to their very core. They need it—want it— they are driven to caress the words into submission! Writing is their passion and their love. Ain’t NOTHIN’ standing between their body and the laptop. Cupids are a bit obsessive, and once they’ve shot the plotting arrow into the white underbelly of their manuscript the words must-must-must be released.

 

Donner
Known for their serious personality, they fall prey to an avalanche of adventurous ideas but  are unable to emerge from the rocky Novel Pass, helpless to complete a scene or chapter. Regrettably, this forces them to turn on themselves, cannibalizing risky plots and/or characters until there is nothing left.

 

Blitzen
Alcohol or caffeine is the writing drug of choice. Alcohol IN the caffeine drink is even better!reindeer 3)  They can’t work without the buzz. Coffee to wake up words all day followed by wine to subdue the antlers of anxiety and pelt of pessimism.

 

Rudolph
Has the shiny glow of author success. Fame & fortune & earning some doe came only after: 1) the trials of once feeling like a misfit; 2) befriending the abominable [ insert publishing snafu here ], and 3) growing an impressive rack. They excel at guiding others through the writing fog and author storms.

 

Related links: Readin’ & Writin’, Rock Your Writing

 

12 days of ( Writing ) Christmas

Christmas songs—Christmas songs—Christmas songs!
Here are a few lesser-known favorites of writers everywhere. 

( sing to The Twelve day of Christmas)

12 days of xmas

( sing to Jingle Bells )

social media

( sing to Frosty the Snowman )

scribbly the writer

 

( sing to Santa Claus is Coming to Town )

edit clause JPG

 

Merry Writing!

Related Posts: Readin’ & Writin’ and Rock Your Writing

ABC’s of Writing

blocksAim high. Ambition + Ability = Accomplishment

Block out time for writing. Make it a habit.

Characterization. Names, dialog, physical descriptions, and actions all contribute to revealing character. For an in-depth look click CHARACTERIZATION.

Despair not! No matter the path you choose ( self-publishing or traditional ) there’s lots of roadblocks, detours, potholes, and flat tires along the way.

Edit-edit-edit! Then edit again! See Manuscript Clean-up and Most Commonly Confused Words.

Foreshadowing is achieved many different ways. Weather changes, location, illness, names, description of a seemingly innocuous person/event/object, a character’s word choice, change in syntax, and a character’s subtle reactions are just a few.

Grammar rules must be understood before breaking them.

Handle criticisms, suggestions, and rejections with grace.

Ignore the haters, naysayers, cynics, and anyone not on Team You.

Just get rid of just, that, really, very, who ( Sally, who sits under the tree vs Sally, sitting under the tree), am/was/were, being, seem, suddenly, then, finally, even, was, & it. Here’s a few abstract nouns to replace that pesky IT .

Kvetching. Keep your complaining under control—at least on social media. Rant all you like in private.

Learn the craft of writing. There’s lots of seminars, classes, and books on the subject.

Make the most of your writing time. Here’s how I make time to write while working a day job.

Never give up!

Organize your files, folders, research, drafts, queries, ideas, etc. See Idea Vault.

Plot. Have one. Plots need:
  • Protagonists with a weakness & a need that triggers a crisis.
  • Opponents/Antagonists ( more powerful in some way ) preventing a protagonist from the desired goal. Antagonists thwart the protagonist in a profound moral/intellectual way.
  • Plan/Quest/strategy to beat opponent. This is the rising action and contains a reversal/failure, surprise, and/or critical choice.
  • Battle/Climax is the final conflict with opponent.
  • Self-revelation/epiphany is the fundamental change. The protag, seeing his true self, moves to either a higher or lower level or morality.
  • Resolution/New Equilibrium is the new normal for the protag.

Quit bitchin’ about writers’ block. See Rx for Writers Block.

Read works in your genre and in other genres.

Syntax can develop ideas, simplify, obscure, imply relationships, connect abstract ideas, manipulate tone or mood, suggest irony, reveal character, create suspense/surprise, break flow, provide rhythm, add variety, and organize ideas. It’s powerful. Learn from the masters.

Thesaurus misuse. Synonyms may be close, but not close enough. Words have a denotation ( the dictionary definition ) and a connotation ( the emotion the word evokes ). Select with care!

Utilize the web for research. PDF’s of old texts, virtual tours, Google satellite, YouTube clips, Harvard lectures–the web is a powerful research and/or fact-checking tool. Pay attention to the URL: .org’s, .edu’s, and .gov’s contain more scholarly information.

Verb it up! Active verbs energize a manuscript.

Word order. Every sentence should not have the same part-of-speech pattern. The last read-my-first-page link I clicked began either with a gerund (verb +ing) or noun ( I ). I stopped reading after the second paragraph.

X-rated language can turn readers on, turn readers off, become repetitive, convey mood, reveal character, or be merely a writer’s word crutch. Use judiciously.

Yakking on Facebook & Twitter is great—but don’t let it be an excuse for not working on your manuscript.

Zealous dedication is required for success. In Malcolm Gladwell’s The Outliers, he says mastering a skill takes 10,000 hours.

Paranormal Palooza

Transcript  of guest post on WriteAwayBliss

THE MERKABAH RECRUIT

Question I’m most often asked: “What facts are real in the novel and which are products of your imagination?”

An ancient geometry. Three gruesome murders. One reluctant heroine.

Legends, lies, and mystical mayhem thwart an empathic professor’s attempt to solve paranormal crimes.

Available at Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/L.-Z.-Marie/e/B008ZLJ4LW/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1 

Mystical—Paranormal—Historical—New Age—SciFi—Romance—Mystery

Truth be told—it just doesn’t fit into a single genre! It’s genre-busting! 

THE MERKABAH RECRUIT is the 1st in a 5-part series about an empathic professor who discovers the shadowy line between myth and cosmic reality when she is hired to work for an age-old occult organization. Embracing New Age, ancient history, myths, and science, the novel explores a world of infinite wonder and possibility.

Because the novel mixes many historical, religious, mystical, and scientific elements together, I’m often asked, “What’s real and which are products of your imagination?”

 Here’s a few teasing tidbits about what is REAL: 

Empaths:
These individuals actually feel the emotions of others. They are emotional sponges and can be highly sensitive to sound, smell, color, and cosmic energy. They instinctively know when someone is lying, may be clairvoyant, and experience the physical pain of others.Most of us are empathic to some extent.

 

 Merkabah :
It’s an ancient geometry and spiritual tool found in many religions.

The word comes from Egyptian texts and each syllable has a specific meaning.

  • Mer—inner  light
  • Ka–spirit or character
  • Bah—physical body
Definitions vary:
  • Chariot of Ascension
  • Angel of the Chariot—the cheribum
  • Cart to ride in
  • Throne of God or chariot—Hebrew)
  • Ship—Arabic
  • Trans dimensional vehicle—a few African religions
 

Chakras:

 A chakra is the wheel of light spinning around you. Created by the vortex of magnetic earth energies and electric cosmos energies, the convergences of these energies form your personal chakra or personal energy.

 

 Dark Matter/Quantum Physics:

 84% of the matter in the world is comprised of dark matter! It’s an energy force that explains phenomena like the migratory behavior in the animal kingdom, cosmic events (black holes), and unexplained anomalies in the world—perhaps, ghosts, spirits, angels, myths, and other dimensions.

MerkabahSeries2

 

Tax Relief Promo

book_background_1

 

The Merkabah Recruit. Available on Amazon.

Click HERE to buy!

Need a visual? Click HERE for Pinterest pics.

A fresh kill. An ancient evil. And the only person capable of preventing the next murder is an unwitting and anxiety-prone recruit.

Divorced, depressed, and dissertation-less, Daphne Sites is stunned to learn that a unique empathic ability allows her to identify otherworldly life. So when a mystical  organization asks for her help, it’s difficult to refuse.
Serik Jalani is the man who must convince the reluctant recruit to assume an awesome mantle of responsibility. There’s only one way to do this. Reel her in slowly.
Except Daphne suspects Serik is not being entirely truthful. About the organization. About the mission. About his identity.
As Daphne attempts to keep her new life secret from two sassy sisters, one jealous ex-husband, and her Bimbo-Barbie neighbor, she struggles to embrace the mysteries of a cosmic technology and realize her own self-worth.

If Daphne hopes to stop the murderer she must first confront her biggest problem. Herself.

At a time when recent theories like Quantum physics confirms the existence of the fantastical, The Merkabah Recruit flirts with the links between treasured legend and scientific possibility. A story that blurs the shadowy line between myth and fact.

The 1st in a 5-part in series.

Click HERE for the first 8 chapters!

Chocolate Birds Nests

Lauren ShaferGuest blogger and chocolate lover Lauren Shafer hijacked my blog today  to share her favorite Easter treat!
Lauren says:
Chocolate bird nests are super easy to make, not a lot of ingredients, and they taste amazing. I can’t take all credit for this recipe though. Technically, it’s my moms recipe, but I think mine are just as yummy!
My mom made these every Easter when I was a kid. She made several batches–one for each side of the family.
.
The big problem: Mom had a tough time saving them until AFTER the meal, because I would sneak in the kitchen and eat them. I had to! Once mom served them- they were gone in five minutes!
Making these always brings back memories of me and sis licking the bowl afterward. Good times!
After a few failed attempts and melt downs (I became upset because they didn’t look exactly like mom’s) I finally mastered the recipe. I’ve been making them ever since.
These are perfect for Easter or whenever you have a chocolate craving. Mom adds
peanuts, but in my opinion it’s a waste of space!  The more chocolate the better!
chocolate bird nests
Click Recipes on the navigation bar for more recipes!

Coconut Cream Eggs

Coconut Cream doesn’t get any better than this. Far better than ANY you’ll find in the store. This recipe is my grandmother’s–she’s 97 years old! She made them every year for Easter. When I first asked her for the recipe she wrote “no calories” at the bottom!  My grandmother would never lie!

The most challenging part of this recipe is hiding the eggs in the fridge from the kiddos or spouse until Easter!

coconut creameggs

Coconut cream eggs   PDF