Linda G. Hill

Life in progress


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Zone – #AtoZChallenge & Song-Lyric Sunday

When you see me staring blankly into space and it takes several seconds for me to answer a simple question, I’m in the zone.

For the final post of this year’s A to Z Challenge, I chose from my thesaurus the word “zone.” The first thing the word always brings to my mind is the zone I need to be in, in order to create. Free from most outside distractions, particularly ones that require concentration on things I’m worried about.  I’m able to do mindless things and stay in the zone: I can get up and make a grilled-cheese sandwich for my son, but not answer any questions; I can let the dog out, but God forbid the phone rings. Having said that, sometimes I burn the sandwich and the dog will scratch at the door to come back in for half an hour.

Getting into my little bubble of creativeness is often difficult. I can’t do it when I know I’ll be distracted in the near future–I’m okay if Alex is due home from school in an hour, but not if I expect him in forty-five minutes. But there is one thing that always helps: my inspiration, my muse. Buck-Tick.

This week’s prompt for the lovely Helen Espinosa’s Song-Lyric Sunday is “consequences, good or bad.” (Click here.) Claiming that my favourite Japanese band’s music is the consequence of being able to write is a bit of a stretch, but I’m going with it because it fits.

This song inspired my upcoming novel, The Great Dagmaru. The lyrics tell the basis of the story. I can’t not disappear into the world of my creation when I listen to this song and watch this video. The English captions are available when you watch it (please do–it’s a fantastic performance), but I’ve copied them out below.

Enjoy.

 
Megami (Goddess)
Lyrics: Sakurai Atsushi (vocals)
Music: Hoshino Hidehiko (acoustic guitar)

Within the heat wave,
a goddess alights
Now no longer lonely,
grant my wish

I’m going mad in this overwhelming emotion
consoled many times
I sin and wait anxiously for punishment
just getting corrupted

I’m in an agony of immorality,
shivering with a premonition
She smiles at me
and grants my wish

Screaming out, I explode
It’s maddening, precious
Even that profile distorted by fear
is beautiful, precious
Turn into chaos before my eyes
Hold me… I can’t see anything

It’s a quiet night, isn’t it?
Such a beautiful night
She smiles at me
–my wish did not come true.

Screaming out, I explode
It’s maddening, precious
Even that profile distorted by fear
is beautiful, precious
Turn into chaos before my eyes
Hold me… I can’t see anything

Only you are kind to me
Only you


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Qualification – #AtoZChallenge

Qualification, schmolification. I can drive that rocket! Jus’ let me behind the wheel.

When I finished writing my first novel in 2004, I was hesitant to call myself a novelist. The way I saw it, the only thing that qualified me was the fact that I’d written 50,000 on the same subject. That something had a beginning, a middle, and an end; it had characters and settings and a climax. But it wasn’t ready to be published, and that’s what I thought qualified a person to be a novelist.

Then I wrote another book in 2006, and I started warming up to the idea that maybe I was a novelist, even though nothing had seen print. But still, I hadn’t taken any writing courses. I didn’t know if what I’d written was any good.

It would take almost a decade before I took a writing course, just to find out that I actually already knew what I was doing, for the most part. By then I’d started yet another novel and I was well on my way to calling myself a novelist.

And now… I’m still on the fence. None of my novels have seen print yet. Not one of the five I’ve finished, nor the three I’ve begun writing. But that tells me something. I see a pattern here. Do you?

I can’t stop writing novels. It’s how I pass my time. It’s part of who I am. I’m miserable when I’m not writing something. It’s not an urge, it’s a compulsion.  And the more I think about it, the more I believe that that is what qualifies me to be a novelist. I’m a novelist because writing them is in my blood.

So the next time someone asks me if I’m a writer, I’ll say yes, in fact, I’m a novelist. I write novels. They may be good, they may be bad, they may be unpublishable, but that’s okay. Because I do it for me. I do it because I don’t have a choice.

***
Whether or not I’m a qualified novelist, I’m definitely a qualified novelettist!  I have an A to Z Challenge-inspired novelette called “All Good Stories,” available for only 99¢ on Kindle and Kobo. It’s a romantic comedy about two best friends who belong together – Xavier knows it, but Jupiter has her eye on another guy: a shady character named Bob.

“A delightful read!!” ~ Cheryl Lynn Roberts, 4 stars, Amazon Canada review

“A short funny tale of two friends” ~ Ritu, 4 stars, Amazon UK review

“Quirky and charming.” ~ Bobby Underwood, #11 top reviewers on Goodreads – 5 stars

Click the picture to find it on Kindle, or get it on Kobo here: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/all-good-stories

 

 

 


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Purloin – #AtoZChallenge

Confession time: the word “purloin” has always reminded me of a nice, juicy piece of medium-rare beef .

I have to say thank you to my poor thesaurus today. For all the complaints I’ve bestowed upon it this month for some of the crappy words I’ve ended up with, this one makes up for them. I love the word “purloin” not because it’s a great word in and of itself, nor because it makes my mouth water, but for its synonyms. Reading through them in my thesaurus is like taking a page out of a noir detective movie starring Humphrey Bogart.

Bugsy made off with the goods, see? He musta pinched them when no one was looking, that dirty, no good thief. We’ve been snaffled.

“Filch, finger, lift, pocket, snitch, and swipe” are a few more.

With that, I think I’ll go to the store and appropriate a steak tomorrow. With my debit card, see?

***
Wanna read my A to Z Challenge-inspired novelette, “All Good Stories”? You don’t have to pilfer it–it’s only 99¢ on Kindle and Kobo. It’s a romantic comedy about two best friends who belong together – Xavier knows it, but Jupiter has her eye on another guy: a shady character named Bob.

“A delightful read!!” ~ Cheryl Lynn Roberts, 4 stars, Amazon Canada review

“A short funny tale of two friends” ~ Ritu, 4 stars, Amazon UK review

“Quirky and charming.” ~ Bobby Underwood, #11 top reviewers on Goodreads – 5 stars

Click the picture to find it on Kindle, or get it on Kobo here: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/all-good-stories


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Idiotic – #AtoZChallenge

I’m beginning to think my cretinous thesaurus is out to get me – I really don’t want to talk about politics, but where else are there idiots? 😉

Whether or not my thesaurus hates me this year, it sure is challenging me. So what can I say that’s idiotic? I’m sure I can come up with something. We all do idiotic things once in a while. I locked myself in my car the other day. Not that it was difficult to get out, but I set the alarm off, causing everyone in the parking lot to turn around to see who was breaking into a car. No one, as it turned out. I was breaking out. It was the second time it’s happened to me. I may have already blogged about the first… That would be a birdbrained thing to do, wouldn’t it?

I’m more likely to do stupid things when I’m tired. Trying to take shortcuts in the kitchen is a classic example of when I’m prone to breaking or spilling things. Walking into rooms and having no idea why – that’s pretty daft.

But being an idiot isn’t all bad. I often act like an idiot with my kids, dancing with them in public and just being generally loony. That they’re embarrassed to be seen with me is their problem…

***

It’s nutty, a bit sappy, it’s definitely funny, and it’s only 99¢! Check out my A to Z Challenge-inspired novelette “All Good Stories.” It’s a romantic comedy about two best friends who belong together – Xavier knows it, but Jupiter has her eye on another guy: a shady character named Bob.

“A short funny tale of two friends” ~ Ritu, 4 stars, Amazon UK review

“Quirky and charming.” ~ Bobby Underwood, #11 top reviewers on Goodreads – 5 stars

Click the picture to find it on Kindle, or get it on Kobo here: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/all-good-stories


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Horny – #AtoZChallenge

The difference between erotica and pornography is not love. It is word choice.

Yes, my thesaurus stuck me with the word “horny” for the letter H. I cheated on the letter G – I couldn’t cheat twice in a row.

Yet I’ve found something to talk about on the subject, and it’s something I’ve been thinking about writing on for a week or so anyway. I’ve come across the question a few times in the last few months: “What is the difference between erotica and porn?” The answers given on the various platforms have ranged from porn is dirty and erotica isn’t, to erotica is when you have a real relationship and porn is just for one night stands. Neither of these is correct, nor is it true that erotica only includes clean words, though word choice has a lot to do with it.

The short scene I’ve included below is one I wrote about three years ago. It is erotica, it is a bit messy, there are no swear words, and there is no sex. I think I may have linked to it a couple of years ago (it was on another site), so you might be familiar with it if you’ve been following me for a long time.

Enjoy.

“If you want to be a healthy young woman, you need to eat more fruit,” he said as he placed on the kitchen table before me a peach and a bowl of blueberries.

When our relationship was new, he explained that he wanted to wait until at least the third month before we slept together. He enjoyed the anticipation, he told me on our first date. The concept was new to me, but so far I had to agree. Now, as the second month was becoming the third, we both felt the tension of our abstinence.

He told me also that he wished to take care of me. Feeding me seemed a little extreme, but I decided to go along with it for the time being. To see where he was going with it. He hadn’t lead me astray yet, after all.

He turned his chair around and straddled it, sitting at the end of the table, to my right.

“Are you hungry?” He raised an eyebrow and I took in his smile, the roughness of his five o’clock shadow, his lean body all the way down to his belt, below which I could only imagine.

“Famished.” I clasped my hands together in my lap, not wanting to look down but hoping my shirt was unbuttoned enough at the collar to tempt him with a little cleavage.

He picked up a single small blueberry from the bowl and held it to my lips. I opened my mouth but he didn’t let go of the fruit. Instead he twirled it between his thumb and forefinger.

“I want to put it on your tongue,” he said. “Don’t bite it.”

I allowed him to place it in my mouth.

“Press it against your palate with your tongue … move it around … resist the temptation to eat it.”

I moved the little nub of fruit around inside my mouth as I was instructed. It was firm and round and I couldn’t … I shifted it with my tongue to my molars and gently closed them until the blueberry exploded in a tiny burst of bitterness.

I blushed. “Sorry,” I said.

“We’ll try again,” he said, patiently. The one he brought to my lips next was larger. Softer. I knew it would be sweeter and more difficult to resist. The skin of it was wrinkled and on my tongue it felt malleable. This time when I pressed it against the roof of my mouth it gushed, yielding easily to the pressure.

“You really are hungry, aren’t you?” He smiled at me and shifted in his chair to ease his discomfort. “Let’s try the peach then, shall we?”

He held it out to me and I took it. It smelled as ripe and luscious as it looked.

“Bite it,” he commanded, his eyes half-lidded. “Open wide and …”

My teeth penetrated the delicate skin of the fruit, and the juice cascaded past my lips in a great wash of fluid. I tilted my head back to guzzle as much of it as I could, but some of it dribbled down my chin as the flesh of the peach made contact with my tongue. I took as much down my throat as I could handle; the excess dripped from the edge of my lower lip. I felt it drop and then trickle down between my breasts and I moaned.

Licking his own lips in sympathy, or perhaps it was lust, he stared at me, hard.

“Do you want some?” I asked him.

“Yes,” he whispered hoarsely.

***

If you’d like to read some more of my fiction, please check out my A to Z Challenge-inspired novelette “All Good Stories.” It’s a romantic comedy about two best friends who belong together – Xavier knows it, but Jupiter has her eye on another guy: a shady character named Bob. There’s even a touch of erotica in it.

“A short funny tale of two friends” ~ Ritu, 4 stars, Amazon UK review

“Quirky and charming.” ~ Bobby Underwood, #11 top reviewers on Goodreads – 5 stars

Click the picture to find it on Kindle, or get it on Kobo here: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/all-good-stories

 


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Self-published Books – You Get What You Pay For?

Warning: rant ahead.

There’s a discussion going on in one of my Facebook groups and I’m having a very hard time staying out of it. So lucky you, you get to hear the side that’s going on in my head.

The complaint was a misused word. The sentence they are “Ugh!”ing over included the phrase, “something worst.” The original complainer called it a grammatical error. I pointed out it could have been a typo, and asked if it was one of many. She said it was the only one she’d found, so I said it was understandable: even a spellchecker wouldn’t have picked it up, to which she replied, “True probably self published.” Note the total lack of grammatical issues with her reply. (Sorry, I get sarcastic when I’m pissed off.) What I wanted to say was that even had it been edited and proofread professionally by a traditional publisher’s editing department, they hire humans. And humans are fallible.

Oh, but this isn’t the worst of it all. Someone in the group actually had the gall to say that with cheap, self-published books, you get what you pay for. First let me say that we self-published authors, no matter how much effort we put into a book, have to stay competitive. That means charging less than the big publishers do, because we don’t have the fan base who will buy anything as long as it has our name on it. That means, yes, undervaluing our work much of the time. But even so.

Name one profession other than writing where you can pay the person producing the work under five dollars for five thousand hours of work. Think about it. How long does it take you to read a three hundred page book? Do you think the writer wrote and edited it faster than you read it? Did you pay minimum wage for the number of hours it took you to read it? I don’t care who you’re reading, you’re getting much more than you paid for, and chances are if it’s a self-published author, you’re getting a lot more of their blood, sweat, and tears than you are of an author with a team of editors and marketers behind them.

End rant.


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Emissary – #AtoZChallenge

My mission today is to stay away from politics.

My thesaurus was bound to give me at least one difficult word to deal with. The definition of “emissary,” according to Google, is “a person sent on a special mission, usually as a diplomatic representative.” This screams of politics of course, and I really don’t want to talk about politics.

Let’s see what I can pull out of the synonyms to talk about instead: “agent,” “messenger,” oooh “spy,” and  what’s this? “Plenipotentiary” – what’s one of those? Damn. “A person, especially a diplomat, invested with the full power of independent action on behalf of their government, typically in a foreign country.” Okay, so all those are out.

You know what I want an emissary to be? Me. I want to go on a mission to guide you, as a narrator, through my stories. I want to be the messenger for my characters. I want to be their representative. And in a way, that’s what an author is. The agent who relates the tale. The spy who knows all the players’ deepest, darkest secrets.

So there you have it. I hereby rename authors as emissaries. This is my plenipotentiary decree!

Yeah, I’m full of shit.

***

Allow me to take you on a guided tour through the lives of my characters. It doesn’t cost much – only 99¢! Check out my A to Z Challenge-inspired novelette “All Good Stories.” It’s a romantic comedy about two best friends who belong together – Xavier knows it, but Jupiter has her eye on another guy: a shady character named Bob.

“A short funny tale of two friends” ~ Ritu, 4 stars, Amazon UK review

“Quirky and charming.” ~ Bobby Underwood, #11 top reviewers on Goodreads – 5 stars

Click the picture to find it on Kindle, or get it on Kobo here: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/all-good-stories