Been Thinking Again…

Amazing huh? Actually, I’ve been thinking about my writing in relation to the niche or genre in which I’d like to eventually market it. I pretty much think I write for a women’s oriented audience, it may be chick lit but I think it’s more like contemporary lit. I’m not sure I’m bold enough to call it literary fiction, for me that genre seems a whole lot more pretentious than I write, but reading the NANO lit-fic forums, I feel like my stories fit into that genre.  I am not writing romance, though I include that in my stories. It’s part of life, right?  My fiction always contains elements of angst, tension, and struggle. There is always something big that happens. It’s drama and my characters must work their way through it all.  The drama/struggle/challenge, not sure what to call it,  is immediate from the moment Lena’s story begins. In Isabel’s story, it takes awhile to appear, but there is quite a bit to shake up her life, even with her ambivalence about her brother’s ordination to the priesthood, it’s there.

Now… I’ve mused about if I’m writing Catholic Fiction or if I’m just a Catholic Writer writing about Catholic characters. I certainly don’t think any of my stories would fit in the Catholic/Christian fiction genre. Actually, I know they wouldn’t. The nature of my stories don’t fit into that niche at all.  Quite honestly, it’s not a genre of fiction that I have any interest in reading anyway. I have a not so objective opinion about how I feel about that genre. I have a stereotype in my head about the genre. I suspect the plots are solidly written, religious in nature, but don’t have much by way of tension or drama. I’ve been told publishers don’t like to see any cursing, swearing or sex of any kind in the stories.  Surely, it would just be wrong for the characters to have pre-martial sex– maybe they kiss sweetly, but not deeply, passionately on the mouth.  It’s electrifying just to hold hands. They can’t go further than that.  They always  go to Church on Sundays, perhaps there is a preachy message about salvation and redemption. Perhaps in some ways, these books serve to evangelize the unsaved, maybe they serve to entertain the already believing flock or perhaps they exist to counter balance all the other work that is out there, that doesn’t necessarily fit this mold.  The stories that are daring, that don’t mince words, that may be dark yet still teach the same lessons in redemption and salvation, but aren’t white washed.

Honestly, I’m not trying to be snarky but I do worry that my fiction might be way too Catholic. That I might be preaching the faith too much in my work and am by some unintended way, making my fiction inaccessible to a mainstream audience.

I believe that my stories have lessons in salvation and redemption as well. It may not necessarily be in a religious sense, but in a personal sense anyway.

However, discussions I’ve witnessed on forums and communities have also led me to the notion that my work would not fit in either. I’m not writing to shock or create scandal. My characters are just who they are, some created from facets of my own personality, some are people I’d never want to be and others are idealized versions of who I might like to be. We, writers, all do that. In original fic, the dreaded Mary Sue, isn’t as dreadful or the kiss of death as it is in fandom writing. I willingly admit that my characters are part of me and come from my own experiences. I cannot say that I am writing wish-fulfillment stories through my main characters. Quite frankly, I don’t think I’d really want to have their lives entirely.

My characters, I hope are fallible and human. They don’t strive to be perfect, in fact, their flaws make them human. I try to capture a moment as I see it happen in their lives.

So while I worry about the Catholicism creeping in and turning off main stream readers, I wonder what Catholic readers would think?

Oddly enough, I suspect that my characters would be judged harshly in the Internet Catholic Realm. I still find my mouth agape when I read stuff posted by other Catholics on the Internet regarding real people, so as my characters reflect reality, I suspect that the term “Cafeteria Catholic,” or the accusation of being “not a real and true Catholic” would be tossed at out many of them.  My characters are sinners, just like everyone. And they seem to catch flack in my fictional universe. There’s Lena’s brother who abandons the church to go to a gay friendly Episcopal church in DC.  The aunt who apostates, the priest who truly believes in his vocation, is strong in his faith and wishes his twin sister understood him. The younger brother who is lost, the cousin who had an abortion, the grandmother who lost her faith completely, the seeking boyfriend who finds his faith.

It seems like in my universe my characters are either looking for faith or something, or are abandoning it one way or another. I hadn’t thought much of faith in my fiction until one day I sat down and reread and revised some of Lena’s story. When I started writing it, I was lapsed from mine, but elements of Catholicism crept into the story through Lena’s culture and upbringing.  It amazed me just how much it all influenced her and though she doesn’t want to believe (I don’t think she disbelieves, but she doesn’t need or want God in her life) she can’t deny how it has shaped her life. We Catholics joke about Catholic guilt all the time, but it’s very real. We just all deal with it differently. Some obsess, some blow it of and some confess it all the time to a priest. I’m sure there are other ways too.

Anyway, I’m starting to ramble and am not sure if any of this makes any sense. I’ll come back later and see.

Posted in Catholic Fiction, Ideas, objectives, writing | Tagged , | Leave a comment

A scene inspired by real events.

Just a little scene that I wrote the other day after a story I was told. It’s been brewing in my head for weeks and it’s just a little something I put together one day to get it out of my head.

Continue reading

Posted in andrew, Catholic Fiction, Isabel, Under the Milky Way | Tagged , | Leave a comment


I’m managing to write. Well, fill in the details but it’s something. Wish I wasn’t so sleepy though.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

When the Muses Are Quiet, I’m Quiet.

Of course, I want to finish my novels, I don’t really know what’s stopping me from writing the endings.  I need to jump back into my universes and be done with it. So… I’ll start in order.

Lena’s Story:

She moves back to New Mexico with hear daughter. After Jesse comes back into their lives, I pretty much decide he is going to stay in their lives. He doesn’t like the idea that she moves back to New Mexico. Lena was living happily in Brooklyn with her best friend, her friend’s little boy and suddenly decides that she wants to come home. She’s tired of the big city, she doesn’t have the energy or the desire to work as hard as she does, her best friend died from AIDS which left her emotionally wrecked and she’s afraid that her family is right, that she’ll only come home if and when she gets sick. She’s also afraid she’s getting too close to Jesse.

So the summer after Jonathan dies, she packs up her life and her daughter’s life, then she buys a car and decides to travel cross county on the move home. They’ll live in the little house her great-aunt left her when she died. That’s a relationship that I now want to explore. Lena was scared of the aunt but the aunt adored Lena.  This great aunt character might make for an interesting short story.

Anyway, I read the last part of this story recently and while there are things about it I really like, I just don’t feel like any of it works. Yes. Lena comes home. She struggles to find a job. Jesse shows up at Christmas, unplanned. Her daughter is unhappy. She’s miserable– but she’s strong and healthy– yet the fact that she might get sick looms over her. Now that I’ve also been spending time with children Mila’s age, I think I know what she can comprehend at her age. She will be a wise kid, with a pretty old soul. I think it still makes sense that she’d be upset and angry when she finds out her mom might get sick one day. I also think she fantasizes about her mom and papi getting together, but doesn’t quite grasp why they are not together. That Christmas, like the first Christmas in the story is very heavy, emotional and dramatic. Maybe the ending is actually at this Christmas, leaving the reader to wonder if Lena and Jesse get back together.

I’m not sure– I thought it might end in NYC, with it being obvious that Lena and Jesse get back together.  I was going to send her to Europe with Nick and Mila where they’d spend a school year living in Barcelona making it able for them to travel. In Spain, Nick was going to meet a fabulous tennis player, fall in love, stay there and teach at a university there on exchange. In my head, he and the tennis player will marry (as gay marriage is legal in Spain). He’d eventually tell her to move into his apartment in the West Viliage. It never felt like home to him without Jonathan.

When they get back to the states, Mila is going to spend the summer with Jesse in NYC and Lena is supposed to get on a plane to come back home to NM. She doesn’t. Originally, I have her showing up on Jesse’s doorstep not sure what she wants to do. After a night’s sleep, she is still unsure. I then have her, Jesse and Mila go to Jonathan and Nick’s apartment, where she asks him if he wants to be with her, which he does.

I’m actually ok with them getting together in the end and maybeIs in the end it makes sense they get back together but, maybe I’m just copping out. She’s been totally ok on her own for 8 years, she’s strong and healthy despite having an compromised immune system and a probably AIDS diagnosis in her future one day, but as a writer I won’t ever go there in her story.

In my head, they get back together and have a good life. I just don’t know how to make it all work.

Isabel’s story: isn’t nearly as complicated. I just am having trouble trying to pare down some of the stuff that happens. She moves to Prague with Tomas. I’ve pretty much decided to get rid of one of his siblings, the oldest sister, who just never fleshed out for me anyway.  The other brother doesn’t really have to make an appearance in the story– we just know he works in Slovakia. Has had three relationships and has children from all three– two are being raised by his parents and he’s involved with the mother of his youngest child, a daughter. I think also, maybe having just one sister will work better.  And the sister-in-law can be her sympathic friend. I think it’s important to flesh out Tomas and his family but the story is really Isabel’s story and the stuff that will happen in Europe is important to her story.

However, if I drop the older sister who lives in America, then the idea of Tomas’ parents coming to the states every summer to spend time with her and her family, won’t work. I don’t see his parents as having the means to travel to the states every year. While, I think his father is an engineer, (Tomas has to get the idea about building things from somewhere) he’s not wealthy. I figure he worked for the Communist government most of his life– well they all did back then. I can’t decide what his mother did for a living under the Communist regime and what she does now.  It was so much easier before the damn plot twist.  I still think I need to make him have a realistic family, even though I won’t write too much with them. Again, it’s her family that I need to focus on and how it all works out.

Still, I think I’ll keep the ending from Andrew’s point of view, which will be the wedding back at the Cathedral, only because it’s sort of his take on her big day. The story starts with her take on his big day. But by writing the stuff that happens between leaving for Prague and returning to Santa Fe for the wedding is important and necessary.

Posted in characters, Ideas, Isabel, lena, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Enjoy The Silence

So, lately, (again) I’ve been revising my novel, my second one. To say it’s Catholic is an understatement. Of course my main character spends the first half of it declaring how much of a heathen she is, she constantly gives her twin brother grief for being a priest and while she knows she knows she’s not really a heathen and while her brother’s vocation brings her pride, she won’t admit it. It’s not till she moves to Europe with her fiance and ends up in a country with an atheist majority that she rediscovers her faith, though I don’t think she ever really lost it.

I just wonder if my journey back to the church mirrors some of what my character is experiencing?

I don’t profess to be the next great Catholic writer, but I am writing about Catholic characters and Catholic culture. I hope in a realistic way. I’d like to think they’re human. They definitely sin, they fight, they love, they make mistakes. They’re flawed. None of them are perfect.

Just because it is a “Catholic” story, my story is not G-rated by any means. It’s not squeaky clean, nor is it scandalous. I think it’s just based in reality. It’s just every time I sit down to revise or reread particular scenes, it amazes me just how much Catholicism has influenced the story.

I don’t think that this is unique to my writing though. It’s obvious that even in my first novel, my Catholic upbringing has influenced my writing, which makes me think about how Catholicism influences other writers, artists, musicians. I am working my way to that post I’ve wanted to make…but not tonight.

Posted in Catholic Fiction, writing | Leave a comment

Or Wonder Where You Are

Just popping over here to say a quick… HELLLLOOOO BLOG! It’s been a while. The year is almost over and I think tomorrow I will do a year-end wrap up.

Am not really writing much. I pretty much felt like I failed at Nano this year. I have great characters and a story but it’s not ready to be born yet. I have too many other stories that I really want to finish before I attempt another new story.

Needless to say, characters in my head right now are Andrew, Christopher and oddly enough Daniela. A character I haven’t talked about because it would spoil my story!

I will be back tomorrow. I will update my fiction archive and maybe, just maybe meet my goal of finishing my novels in the coming year.

Posted in Stories in My Head, writing | Tagged | Leave a comment

Working Through the Details

While doing some minor story research for my failing attempt to do this year’s NaNoWriMo story, I stumbled upon this article from a Cuban American writer who was a Shabbos Goy back in his youth for the Jewish families in his Brooklyn neighborhood. It was a really sweet article and definitely worth a read. I don’t know where I first heart about “The Shabbos Goy” if it was something I read or someone mentioned, but it was nice to read someone’s personal account.

I know a lot about Judaism, but like a lot of things, I know enough to get me into trouble. For this story I’m working on my characters are half-Jewish, raised by mostly secular Jewish father and a Jewish mother by conversion who was raised Catholic and converted before she met the father. The characters are actually part of my fictional universe and are cousins to my other characters in my other stories. They’re the children of the second oldest daughter on my story-family tree. I really think will turn out to be a really interesting character in the end. I’m really just fleshing them out, trying to figure out who they are and I have a loose plot brewing in my head, which will incorporate a lot of the family history that I know, but haven’t written or compiled for this particular story. While I don’t think religion is going to play into the story much, I do need to look up spellings and definitions of terms and words for the story. I need to make the characters as real as possible and I need to explore what life would be like growing up in their family.

Being curious by nature, I follow links everywhere around the Internet. Maybe one day I will actually stay on a website long enough to learn something. Or better yet, get off the Internet and read something!

Posted in Ideas, links of interest, nano, Reference | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Pushing 10 K.

So… this story is about my two siblings, Rachel and Josh. They’re different. I think they’re going to go on an advenure together and learn to love each other for who they are. I will probably make the 50k mark by the end of the month, but I may not have a plot developed yet. I’m just figuring things out as a write. It’s interesting because while I know these characters exist (they’re on my family tree) I don’t really know them. It’s kinda fun to flesh out these characters. They are so different from anyone I’ve created but yet, I think I know them pretty well.

Ok… I’m really going to go to the grocery store now. I don’t want to go, particularly becuase I don’t want to go with my mom. There are things I like doing by myself. Going to movies, going to Starbucks or Java Joe’s to sit and write, going to Mass and going to the grocery store. I’m weird I know. 😉

Posted in characters, nano | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Tender is the Night

So… while I have a sort of Nano started, I’m sitting here after One AM reading part of a story told from Andrew’s point of view. I’ve totally fallen in love with his character. i find it really interesting because I’ve never felt like I can write strong male characters. Trouble is I am spending time into the wee hours of the morn reading old scenes, bits of stories and other ideas from my other works-in-progress. Surely other writers read and reread their stuff all the time?  It’s not really productive as far as the other writing is concerned but it is enjoyable.

In my Nano for this  year, I started writing it just from Rachel’s point of view, then a scene featuring her brother popped into my head. So, I think I’ll try to alternate the story from their different points of view. Only thing is I don’t really know what their story is.

Rachel is the younger sister and she doesn’t get along with her brother– her perfect brother. She’s a daddy’s girl. I think maybe they end up being forced (or strongly encouraged to spend some time together.)

I’ll write more later. I may crawl into bed, as soon as I refresh my LJ friend’s page, check email and maybe peek at the Nano forums one more time. Ugh, I spent way too much time there today.

Posted in nano, Stories in My Head, writing | Leave a comment

Today’s Update

Day 8 but really only my second day of writing. Wordcount at the moment is 5,365. I’d like to make it 10k by weekend’s end. If I can actually come up with a working plot, I might be able to, but until then I’ll just write and see where the words take me.

So, my main character is probably the most different from anyone I’ve ever written before.  Career path– she’s going to go to medical school– I know nothing about that. *sighs* she’s way too smart. I mean really smart.  She is ambitious, independent and opinionated. Classic over achiever, yet, she’s socially awkward. She’s had only one boyfriend.

When the story starts she’s seeing an older man, a doctor who works at the practice with her father. She’s a receptionist. She took a few years off after graduating from Columbia (or some other school in NYC) till she decided and was ready for med school. Of course, the doctor was married and she didn’t know. The only bit of angst in the story I plan to have. It will however, piss her off, and she’ll end up deciding on going to med school in NM. UNM is known for its family medicine program and the med school is pretty good as a whole. Also, her mother’s family is from NM and I have to write a bit about what I know, right?  I don’t know what will happen… or much else. Hell, I said I don’t really have a plot for this story.

She has an older brother and they fight like crazy, but they’d go to the ends of the earth for each other. In my head he looks like Adrien Brody. She looks a bit like Jamie Lynn Sigler actually.

So… now I need a plot. Something to happen. A direction. I’m just fleshing out background and a few scenes in my head. Man… what am I thinking?

Posted in Fiction Post, nano, Stories in My Head, writing | 2 Comments

The First Wordcount

Ok… so I don’t have anything really organized. The scenes are a bit disjointed but I have 4904 words, give or take. I’m not sure I’m goin to work in the comical vampires, but you never know as I have no plot at the moment.

So… that is it at the moment.

Posted in nano | Tagged | Leave a comment


I must admit that I pretty much am dry when it comes to writing these days. I am working through some ideas for my novel. I’m going to write about my character, Rachel. She’s not overly fleshed out, though I know who she is. She’s on my family tree and could be a very interesting character. I have ideas for scenes but nothing resembling a plot of any kind. I do know that she decides to come to med school at UNM, instead of staying close to home at John’s Hopkins, which causes some of her peers to think she’s nuts.

It’s a coming of age story. Hers. She’ll learn a lot about herself, where she comes from. While she grew up in Baltimore, her mother is from New Mexico and she knows nothing about her New Mexican roots.  So, that’s kind of what I have so far.

Her father dotes on her. They’re especially close.  She fights constantly with her brother, but they will defend each other against anyone who tries to hurt the other. She loves her mom but she drives her crazy. She also ends up dumping the guy she thought would be the one. Of course, once she realizes he’s a sleaze, she humiliates him before he humiliates her. At least I hope so.

If any of my stories are comedy filled and light, I hope this is the one. I don’t see any angst, horrible family secrets coming to light and the only skeletons I see creeping out of the closet are the ones at school. But who knows what my head comes up with as I try to write this story.  So, stay tuned.

Posted in characters, nano, Rachel | Leave a comment

Sad Day in the Literary World

Tony Hillerman died. Now, I will admit I haven’t many of his books, but he was a beloved writer, a wonderful teller of tales and could weave a story like no other writer writing about the Southwest and Native Americans.  I admire him becuase he was a journalist who became a novelist, a feat I’d like to do yet. He was a professor at UNM but not in the days while I was there as a student. I can only imagine what it would have been like to have been one of his students.

May he rest in peace.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Awake and Not Dreaming, but Writing

Sometimes, when I can’t sleep I write in my head or at least think about my stories. I’m not always stressing out about life, which is a good thing. I can, however, stay up late writing in my head too. I’ve always been a creative person. For me, fiction and writing is a natural part of my life. I’ve been making up stories since I was a little girl. I do believe creativity runs in my family. We have artists, seamstresses, carpenters, and a couple of writers (journalist types)  in the family. It makes sense I express myself through words.

I’ve lazed in bed on a weekend morning or a day when I don’t have to be up early and think about my stories. Sometimes, scenes or actual bits of plot come to being from these moments. Often, I just try to work out a scene that is troubling me. Unfortunately, I’m still troubled with two of my stories. I still don’t know how to end my first novel. I need my main character to go off to Europe with her daughter and her best friend. She is supposed to spend the inheritance his partner left for her and her daughter when he died. Meanwhile, the best friend will meet a nice guy in Spain and stay, giving her the keys to the NYC apartment and tell her to move back to NYC, which I can see happening. However, I don’t want to write about her adventures in Europe and I need to make her reunion with her daughter’s father seem realistic. Oy.That’s where I’ve been stuck for a long, long time now.

Then with my second story, which is the one I’ve been writing for a couple of years now, is at another turning point and I can’t decide how it all ends. This is a story that I don’t want to see end. I love my characters. Fir better or worse, they truly live in my head . A a few nights ago, I was thinking about, Isabel and Andrew, (the twins of this story) and a scene that emerged as a result of my thoughts on the election.

They were sitting around the county fair building here in town waiting to vote. Of course, there was the usual conversational banter between them. He was reading and studying all the voter guides, which I’m sure he’d read and studied before. He had the bishops’ guide for Faithful Citizenship, the archbishop’s pastoral letter, and whatever else he found helpful to help guide him in his decision. He was smart, well-educated and didn’t like that he had to make this choice, either way he felt it was a bad one. Meanwhile, Isabel knew how she was going to vote, no second guessing, no reservations, but her brother, the priest, was struggling as many people I know are struggling.

Perhaps I was working through my election conflict through Andrew, the priest character.

Maybe I was thinking or speculating what the priests at my parish were struggling with this year. I really don’t know. This isn’t a scene I’ll finish or include in the story but I had to write it. I tend to find stories in just about all things, some are good ones to tell, others just little pieces to the whole.  Often, I write about things I’ve been observing in others and not necessarily happening to me. You never know what just might inspire me to write something.

Posted in andrew, characters, Isabel | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Today… I will write

I should, however, unplug the Internet. I also wanted to take some fall pictures and should do it today while everything is still pretty. I hear that snow may be in the forecast for the weekend, which means, there might be a freeze and my pretty plants will get zapped by frost. i’m not ready to bring them in, but for this cold snap I probably will. I spent a lot of money this year on plants.

Wow. I’m already distracted from writing.  Mom and Dad’s dog is here again today.  It will be ok. I will still write.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

As the Muse Turns

Thinking about particpiating in NANO this year. Not seriously enough yet to actually sit down and try to come up with a story. I have a start from last year’s attempt, about three pages or so, but I don’t really have a story. I have a character, but nothing more.

The humorous Vampire spoof story. Comedy might be kind of fun at this point. Everything I write about is so angsty and serious. As much as I love my characters from my story universe I don’t know what to write about or whose story to tell. I could jump ahead in my universe. I could go back in the past.

There is the unfleshed out Sephardic story and I’ve got a wealth of information I can use in the story, but there again, I’m not quite sure what I’ve got. It might be an interesting story to write because I’ve been caught up in my heavily Catholic story at the moment. I also think that the main character discovering her family’s Sephardic roots in her family of marginal Catholics might be actually really interesting to write about.

But…  I’m not sure.

I have another idea, but I think it’s a bit too personal right now to write about.

Posted in writing | Tagged , | 2 Comments

A Mission Statement… Perhaps?

I’m going to see if I can get a bit of action going on in here.  I have all these thoughts and ideas about my novel(s) and I never seem to jot them down.  Quite honestly, this is a place for me to write about my writing. I am not trying to write for an audience, though if someone happens to pop on by and reads what I write in this journal, that’s fine with me.

The thoughts I put in here at this point might only make sense to me, unless you’ve heard me ramble on and on about my stories, my characters, my plots or lack of plots.  If I’m ever going to figure out where these stories are going, who these characters are, it might help to work it out in here.  Story spoilers will probably be given.

The glimpse into who I am personally will probably not be found on this site. Though, I’m generally pretty transparent in my writing. I don’t think my female characters are Mary Sues, but I have put a lot of my personality and soul into my characters. One reader has seen me in Isabel. I think she’s more of an idealized me, so maybe she’s a Mary Sue of sorts. Lena is really more me, except I’m much more fearful than she is. But we look alike– ok she has a better body and she does go to the gym faithfully– but height, eye-color, she’s a real red head– skin color and body type we’re alike. We have the same bad personality flaws when it comes to picking out men and she’s creative like me. We let our thoughts get carried away.

Isabel is very different physically than me.  Like me she’s fearful and she quits things before they get hard. Uh, hello… I’ve done that. She’s blond, tall and strong. She’s built like a shorter Maria Sharapova.

Now, if only Andrew would shut up, perhaps I just might finish his sister’s and his cousin’s stories. Still, figuring out who Andrew is has me intrigued, so much to the point that I may just have to write my next story about him. Still, it would be challenging to test my mettle as a writer writing something though the persepective of a youngish, incredibly smart, celibate Catholic priest.  I almost feel like I have to write his story to prove to the world that there are men who wear a Roman Collar who are just like him. That there is no scandal, no controversy and no angst. Though, there is definite angst in Andrew’s life, but it’s not over his vocation. He will never abandon the priesthood, he won’t have a crisis of faith nor ever feel like he made a mistake. Of course, he’ll wonder what life might have been like had he done things differently. He’ll feel jealous of Isabel’s life every now and then, he’ll wonder what it is like to be a father sometimes. He’s human and still  has emotions, feelings and desires,  but no matter what he’ll love his life. That’s what I want to show with him.  Not very exciting I know.

In fact, on one of my writer’s list, there is a great discussion going on about the state of Catholic fiction and Catholic Writers. I never saw myself as a Catholic Writer or my fiction to be particularly Catholic. I just thought I happened to be a writer who was Catholic and had characters who were Catholic of some degree or another…but as I reflected in an earlier post, I think that’s changed. Anyway the gist of the discussion on the list is the market for Catholic fiction. Is there one in the mainstream market? I haven’t been reading a lot of fiction lately, and what I buy varies, so I really don’t know. Yet, no matter what happens when I finish my stories, they might be so severely limited in access that they may not be publishable anyway. Or maybe there is a whole genre of Hispanic/Catholic fiction out there and is looking for work just like mine, 😉

Who knows.

Posted in characters, objectives, writing | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

40 Years Ago Tomorrow

Saving this for story reference. The Soviet’s invaded Czechoslovakia August 21, 1968.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fiction Plots… Original? Think Again

Recently, on the Catholic Writer’s Online yahoo group I read, this list was posted by one of its members. I am reposting it from the email sent to the group and definitely not taking credit for it’s compilation or any of the plots. Maybe I’ll do a clever retelling, 😉

I had always heard there were only seven basic plots in fiction, but according to this, there are 37 and are as follows:

What’s your story about? A scholar in the early 1800’s (Georges Polti apparently)
identified 36 basic plots, to which later scholars added one. The 37 are:

1. Pleading/prayer story

2. Deliverance

3. Crime pursued by vengeance

4. Vengeance

5. Pursuit story

6. Revolt (as in a tyrant versus good guys)

7. Disaster story

8. Falling prey to cruelty/misfortune

9. Daring enterprise

10. Abduction story

11. A puzzle story

12. A story about getting something

13. A story about hating someone you should like

14. Rivalry between friends or family

15. Murderous lovers/friends

16. Betrayal of love or friendship

17. Story about madness

18. Dangerous carelessness

19. Involuntary crimes of love or friendship

20. Stories about hurting someone who turned out to be important to you

21. Self sacrifice for an ideal

22. Self sacrifice for a person

23. Self sacrifice for a stranger

24. Self sacrifice for a loved object

25. Rivalry with a superior person

26. Crimes of love or friendship

27. Discovery of a crime done by a friend/lover

28. Obstacles of love or friendship

29. Sharing love/friendship with an enemy

30. Stories about ambition

31. Conflict with a God or mythical creature

32. A story about jealousy

33. A wrong decision

34. Regret or guilt

35. Recovery of a lost one

36. Loss of a person

37. Argument

Interesting huh? Now… what are my plots? I’ll write more about that later.

Posted in Plots, writing | Leave a comment

Interesting News about HIV

The BBC reports that a new study shows that with treatment, people with HIV receiving treatment since the late 90s are living on aveage about 13 years longer. I know that it’s becoming something that is manageable like diabetes– in places and nations where people have access to treatment, proper nutrition and healthy lifestyles– but certainly people are still going to die from AIDS.

Of course, why I save this link, is just because I like keeping up with this subject. In Unmarked Paths, Lena gets her HIV diagnosis in 1997– just at the time when the HIV/AIDS cocktails were coming in on the scene– and she waits a little while before she starts the meds. I am going to really need to make sure that all the medical stuff I’ve written is correct. I will get a “medical” adviser when I finish my final draft of the story. I want it to all make sense.

So based on this article, she would fit into this group of people. However, since she’s not going to die in my story, it doesn’t really impact the story, yet the news is interesting enough to note. I have an idea how her particular universe ends and I expect her to have a long, reasonably healthy life.
Sure she’ll have ups and downs, good days and bad days, she’ll get sick every now and then. A little cold to someone with a healthy immune system is nothing, but to her, it will be a big deal. She has all sorts of worries, frustrations and will somehow manage to accept her life with HIV.

She’s a character, that I hope grows and changes throughout the course of the story. Anyway, I do need to get off my ass and end my stories.

Posted in characters, lena, links of interest | Leave a comment

Been Thinking Too Much…

Snagging a post I made in another blog. I was reading through my tags and I don’t know why I felt compelled to post this in this blog. I don’t really talk too much about writing in it as it’s all about loneliness. I’m just feeling stupid, desperate and uncreative tonight.

In the last year as I’ve been returning fully and wholly to the church, I’ve done a lot of reading, mostly of blogs, lots of articles, a few books and I’ve done a lot of writing. A lot of my thoughts about my faith or return to it I’ve worked out in my fiction through my main character. While I don’t think my character is a true stand-in for me, she has a lot of me in her and so I’ve probably worked out a lot of my thoughts in my story. Now I fear I’ll find a market for my story, with its strong Hispanic, Catholic characters, who learn a big family secret that takes them on an adventure they didn’t expect.  Sounds pretty good, huh?

Anyway, my point. I was thinking about my main characters (twin brother and sister) and how different their lives become. I was thinking more about the brother, a priest, and some of his thoughts. He’s the character I have the most trouble with, as he’s a man and a priest and I don’t know what it’s like to be either. While I know the priests at my parish, I don’t know them well, but they’re good, compassionate men. They’re smart, caring and very devout to their vocations. I think they all share qualities my character might have, but I also try to not model my characters on anyone I know, which makes it hard sometimes, which really brings me to the whole point of this post. Really.

In my moments of procrastination, uh, I mean free time, I was reading through some of the blogs I read and Father Z (from What Does the Prayer Really Say?) linked to this post by (I’m guessing a youngish) Irish Priest who expressed so poignantly and honestly about the loneliness he was feeling at the moment. It touched me tremendously and it made me realize that these men and other religious have given up a lot for their vocations and we may never think twice about their lives outside of the church or where we see them publicly. I think sometimes we view them from the pews as men above us and not like us. We are the people under their watchful eyes and in their spiritual care. We may have casual conversations with them after Mass, maybe nothing beyond that, unless we’re fortunate to have them as friends or family in real life, and even then, we may not always see them for being our brother, father, son, cousin, friend, etc. They are men of God and we always put that first, which I think we should, but they are also human and want to be treated as such and we don’t. Sometimes, they aren’t near their families and don’t always have others to turn to for support because so many of them live alone or are the only priest in a church.

And the other thing that occurred to me is that their loneliness isn’t that much different from ours, those of us not living in vows or consecrated life. Every one suffers from periods of feeling lonely. ( I do believe alone and lonely are two different things.) I’m an only child and have been alone for so much of my life, but I haven’t always been lonely. Most of the time, I’m not, but every now and then it hits me. Even married people feel that loneliness. My parents live totally separate lives now that they’re older and I know they both feel lonely from time to time.

As a single woman, I feel it a lot and have begun to even question if I will ever find someone to share my life with. I want to have a family and share that with someone, but as I’ve lived most of my life single, I think I can continue to do so if that’s meant to be. I just don’t know about not having the children part. That I just can’t imagine not having.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Zuni Fetish Meanings…

Found this website. Want to keep this handy. I’m still looking for the perfect fetish that best works for Isabel. I think the eagle works well for Andrew, but Hawk works too. I’ve seen many websites with the meanings. I’ll probably compile all the links for future reference.

Posted in andrew, characters, Isabel, Reference | Leave a comment

Words of Wisdom

I had a bunch of quotes that I used for email signatures and quotes about writing up on my fanfiction website which has been taken down for many, many years. I had fun playing in fandom. I had fun writing fanfiction and I miss being so involved but it’s not something I’ll go back to doing. Anyway, I found the quotes and wanted to put them somewhere I can find them easily.

You can discover more about a person in an hour of play

than in a year of conversation.”  —Plato

Frame your mind to mirth and merriment,

Which bars a thousand harms and lengthens life.

— William Shakespeare.

The only thing I was fit for was to be a writer, and this notion rested solely on my suspicion that I would never be fit for real work, and that writing didn’t require any.

–Russell Baker

If you are lucky enough to have been born as a character, you have nothing to fear from death, you don’t die— your creator dies, the writer — the instrument of your being dies, but you, the creature, can’t die.
From Six Characters in Search of An Author
A play by Luigi Pirandello.

To the man with an ear for verbal delicacies— the man who searches painfully for the perfect  word, and puts the way of saying a thing above  the thing being said— there is in writing the constant joy of discovery, of  happy accident.  — H.L. Mencken

I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.
—Flannery O’Connor.

You don’t write because you want to say something
you write because you’ve got something to say.   — F. Scott Fitzgerald

It is through writing, that I give myself to a much larger familia than my own blood.

—Julia Alvarez

Posted in inspiration, quotes | Leave a comment

Starbucks Closing 600 Stores…

so explain to me why they opened a new one, a drive through, less than 1/4 mile from one, near the grocery store with a Starbucks counter??? And thanks to the drive-thru Starbucks I am wide awake because I got a chai at 6 pm and then made my own about 8 pm.

Another thing, I think I need to stop reading so much Thomas Merton… now I think I want to send Andrew (my fictional character in my novel) off to a Trappist Monastery at some point in the story. I work through a lot of my story ideas and plots through in my head over and over before I try to get them down on “paper”. I started writing the scene and it was so sad to me. I wrote it from Isabel’s (The twin sister) POV and I couldn’t do it. So… he’ll just go on retreat, rather than change his whole life.

I was also talking to a good friend of mine about my writing and some of my family history. I really think I could write a fictionalized account of my mother’s life. It might make for a good story. At the very least, I suppose I could use some of the details from her life and put them into my current stories. I’ve been spending time with my older cousins and it’s been really cool and it’s given me a glimpse on my mother’s life and has also pretty much confirmed some of the things I’ve suspected about her childhood. It could be interesting. Anyway, my cousin, her daughter, Mom and I are going to try to get together to talk about family history. My younger cousin (the daughter) and I are very much interested in working on the family tree. I think it would be something worthwhile. I used to baby sit her when I was a teenager. She’s a writer for Sports Illustrated. I have a certain amount of envy because of that.

Yawning now, going to try the sleep thing again. Also, cross posted in my LJ.

Posted in andrew, Catholic Fiction, characters, Ideas, Plots, Stories in My Head, Thomas Merton, writing | Leave a comment

Ponderings … Catholic Fiction

I saw this first at Amy Welborn’s blog, which directed me here to the Inside Catholic book circle. It sounds like something worth checking out and following along.

So I ask myself the question: What is Catholic Fiction?

Is it fiction about Catholics, Catholic themes, characters, etc.  I think that’s someone else’s answer, but I will ponder it and come up with my own answer.

And do I write it?

I must admit that is one of my worries.  I don’t know why I worry if my stories are “too Catholic”.  Should it matter? Does it exclude readers by the nature of my themes, characters and plots? Am I limiting myself to a certain niche or genre?  I admit that all my stories have Catholic characters and themes, but until I started writing my second novel, I never thought I was writing Catholic Fiction. I barely just learned there was a whole genre of Christian Fiction, Catholic Fiction must be a niche within that genre.

Anyway, readers who read my first novel will see that my main character is a product of her Catholic background, but it’s not a major theme of the story. She’s not practicing, to the dismay of her parents. She baptizes and educates her child in the faith, but it’s not strong within her. I don’t quite no why. I also don’t think she will ever have an epiphany and return to the church (in the story) maybe in later life. My stories never really end, they keep playing on in my head.  She truly is the definition of a Cultural Catholic and a product of where she was raised. She’s a Hispanic New Mexican– where Catholicism and Catholic culture are intricately tied together.

In my second story, the circumstances are different. It is Catholic. It is about Catholics. It’s actually been the story that has helped me journey back to the faith and has helped me figure out exactly what it means to me.

In looking at my novels so far, perhaps they are Catholic. I hope more so in an universal way, touching upon themes that are common to everyone, that the stories are realistic and my characters are truly fleshed out and human. I want to touch someone with my writing, be it Catholics and non-Catholics alike. I want to show people a world that rings true and opens their eyes to a world they might never see otherwise.

And maybe I’m not a writer who happens to be Catholic, but a Catholic writer. Of course, then the next question I might need to  ask, do I write Hispanic fiction. Oy.

Posted in Catholic Fiction, characters, writing | Leave a comment


I just opened up my first novel. I do like it. I think I’ll print it up and give it to someone to read. The main character is Lena, short for Magdalena. She’s a bit cocky, independent, somewhat insecure and not afraid of anything, but afraid of everything at the same time. Nonetheless, I really, really like her. I think in some ways she’s more like me than Isabel is.

Anyway… more about Lena later.

Posted in characters, lena, writing | Tagged , | Leave a comment


So, I’m working on the ending of my second novel. I’m writing it from Andrew’s point of view. I figured out that I can end the story where it transitions to part two and start a new story where I leave off there. I’m struggling with part two, only because it’s set in a place where I’ve never been and I just don’t want to write something that isn’t going to ring true. I can get the characterizations and the plot together just write but I won’t have a true feeling of what it’s like to be where they are. A big urban city in the US, easy peasy, but an old, European city, not so much.

Anyway, so the ending is from Andrew’s point of view. I’ve also just finished a novena here and since my story has so much Catholic stuff in it, it’s making it into the ending. I’m sure the ending will be revised over and over until I get it write. And the setting of the ending, is going to be in part two, told differently from Isabel’s point of view of course. But the opening scene and the ending scenes will tie into each other.

Posted in andrew, characters, the ending, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Yes, it’s the End…

Yay… I almost have an ending. It’s probably cheesy… but I think it ties in with the prologue quite nicely.
I really think I wrote the ending. I still have some details to fill in, but I think I did it.  I’m almost happy about it. It may be cheesy but it’s almost done. I still have lots of loose ends to tie up, but I have a story. Now… with the ending there will be tons of questions that will need answering, and that’s where the European part of the story becomes a whole separate story within itself, but I think it will work that way best.

I’ll seriously have a rough draft ready for a reading soon.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

So, now that I’m set on how this story is going to end, I’m really muddling through it. I have no problem writing from Andrew’s POV. I really like him as a character. I don’t think he’s the exact opposite of Isabel. Yes, he’s often reactionary, but they do play off each other really well. I think he’s turned into an interesting, real character on his own. He talks to me a lot. So, i think the way I’m ending this story, could be natural and work, if I can just figure it out.

I need to wrap up two years of BIG events in narrative or dialog in a few paragraphs. I need to answer some questions but not spoil everything.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I know the end… I do…

Now, I just need to write it.  The story has two distinct parts and so I’ll end it at part one. I can write part two as a separate story. I think it will work that way just fine.

I’ll write more later.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment