Linda G. Hill

Life in progress


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#SoCS – Giving birth to characters

Being a writer, I’ve read thousands of articles and opinions on how we typically come up with the characters who appear in our fiction. Is there a typical way? Probably not, but being as this is stream of consciousness and I stuck that damned rule in there to say we can’t edit, … that’s all she wrote.

Anyhoo, back to the topic of characters. One of the phrases I read a lot is “giving birth to characters.” I can’t say that I do that. “Giving birth,” to me, implies that they’re brand new shells of people who rely on me to fill them up with experiences, emotions, ways of speaking, and things they’re likely to do and ways they’re likely to react at any given moment. For me, characters appear as already-formed beings. I don’t give birth to them as much as I discover them.

One of the ways I know this–one of the main ways I know this–is when they show me their accents. In this alone I can tell where they come from, whether or not they have a lot of money, their age, their demeanor. I suppose it’s not necessarily as much “accent” as way of talking. Inflection, grammar, whether or not they use a lot of cliches. That sort of stuff.

It’s not as though I have them hanging around in my head all the time. If they did, I wouldn’t get a thought to myself. Nah, they come and go. You’ll see them in my “Second Seat” series. Come to think of it, it’s almost as though I have a bus inside my head …

Hmmm… Now there’s a thought.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday is a weekly prompt that anyone can participate in. Click the following link to find out how, and see all the other posts in the comment section. 🙂 Give it a try! https://lindaghill.com/2017/09/01/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-sept-217/


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#SoCS – I’m actually nervous

When I started writing books, I thought, Bah! This is easy! And it kind of was for me. It was like writing a short story but not stopping at the short part. It was like writing a really, really long short story. Not really rocket science.

Little did I know the rocket science part was coming.

It started with the editing. First I had to figure out how to do that, so I read a gazillion articles, blog posts, advice columns, took courses … you name it, I did it. I still often consult the wise advice of others. That kind of learning never stops if you know what’s good for your novels. Then, finally, I decided after much intense deliberation to self-publish. I was told I’d have to market myself even if I went with a traditional publisher, so why not do it and keep the royalties to myself? So off I went on a new learning curve.

Articles, blog posts, advice columns … I haven’t taken the courses yet, but I’d be tempted if I wasn’t still learning the editing stuff. Yet what I read in these marketing columns, over and over, is that the most important part of marketing is a newsletter. Which brings me to today.

And why I’m nervous.

I have a newsletter. So far I’m the only one who’s signed up, but I have a “welcome” letter all ready to go for the next person who does. The next bunch of people, in fact. This is brand new territory for me and I’m kind of beside myself, because if you sign up and you read it–or worse, if you don’t read it–we can’t talk about it because it’s a one-way street.

I’m actually more nervous than I was when I released my first novel. Crazy, isn’t it? Ah well, here we go. Worst case scenario, I’ll close up shop and go back to the easy stuff: writing novels.

Click here – the signup form will open in a new tab. Thank you!

This post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Click the link to read all the other entries (you’ll find them in the comment section) and join in yourself! https://lindaghill.com/2017/08/25/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-aug-2617/


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A Haunted Visitation

July 19th, 2013: My trip to Kingston was interesting indeed. With so many strange goings-on, I can’t help but wonder if I somehow ended up in my own novel. Without giving too much away, this is how it went:

The Hochelaga Inn was much as I expected. Built in 1879, it has been well-preserved not only in its physical appearance, but for its ambiance as well.

A Welcoming Prayer

A Welcoming Prayer

Peace and rest, however, although perhaps wished upon me by the Management and Staff, were not what the Inn itself had in store.

Having not a great deal of money, but wishing to take an extended weekend away, I booked the cheapest room in the Inn for the first two nights, (Saturday and Sunday) and the Tower room–the most expensive–for one night (Monday).

My first night didn’t include much sleep. Three times during the course of my slumber, I was awoken by the fire alarm, which was situated on the ceiling beside a spinning fan, for no apparent reason. When I asked about it at reception the next morning, because I thought there might have been a problem in another room, they said they had no idea what had happened. Unfortunately, I was told, the Tower room was booked for that night, otherwise they’d have moved me in there early. So I gave back my room key with an assurance that I would be moved to another room for my second night at no extra cost.

The conversation between the two ladies I had spoken to at the desk, overheard after I walked away, went something like this:

“Her fire alarm went off three times last night.”

“Wooooo …” in a ghostly voice.

Okey dokey then.

Later, when I arrived back at the Inn after spending a lovely day wandering around Kingston and getting burned to a potato chip by the sun, I was handed the key for the Tower room.

“We were able to move you up there a day early,” the lady said without further explanation.

The house wants me in the Tower, I thought.

I happily I went up to my room to take a few pictures before dark.

The lower part of the tower.

 

The view from the top

It was a long day and I didn’t feel like doing much, so I sat on the bed with my feet up and watched a movie on my laptop. I didn’t bother to turn on the lights, and by half-way through the movie (The Brave, with and by Johnny Depp if you’re wondering) it was dark. That was when my friend decided to come along. I didn’t take a picture of my friend, and in fact I’m quite proud of myself for not throwing my laptop across the room. Let’s just say he had eight legs and appeared to be the size of Jaws as he scurried across my screen.

My second night didn’t include much sleep either. I think my camera catches quite well the state my eyes were in by Monday morning:

blur

A lovely blurred view from the lower tower window

I spent most of Monday driving around town. I went to the VIA Rail station, where my two main characters disembark after having met on the train, and I was able to record many small details such as the waiting room seat colours and the fact that there are sliding glass doors on both the back and front. I drove from there to where my story is set–where I imagine the house to be–to see how long the journey would take, as well as noting different things they might see on the way.

When I got back ‘home,’ the first thing I did was look for the spider. There was no sign of him whatsoever.

Yay! I thought. I’m going to get a good night’s sleep!

HA!

So I was downstairs talking to the lady at reception again after having spent a few minutes poring over a framed blueprint of the Inn, from 1920 when they were hooking up the electricity. The house had changed quite a bit, and we were having a lovely discussion about where the rooms were and the staircase that wasn’t there any more etc.. when she mentioned the ghost.

“There’s a ghost here?” I asked, my eyes like saucers, I’m sure.

“Yeah,” she said. “We’re part of The Haunted Walk of Kingston. You should go on it.”

All righty then.

From there I went to a bar. Okay, I went to a restaurant. But must say I indulged just a little. As it turned out, I was sitting on the patio waiting for my bill when a strange looking man wearing a black cape and holding a lantern (click on the Haunted Walk link above for a visual) exited the building that housed the restaurant. He stopped and stood not six feet away, waiting. It took me a few seconds to realize he was the tour guide for The Haunted Walk. (Like I said, I’d had a few.) So I thought it might be fun to talk to him.

“Excuse me, are you guiding the Haunted Walk tonight?” (All right, all right. Maybe I was sloshed.)

“Yes,” he replied.

“I’m staying at one of the places on your tour: The Hochelaga.”

“Yes, that is one of the places we visit,” he said politely.

“Would you like me to put a sheet over my head and stand at the window in the Tower?”

I thought he was going to blow a gasket.

“YES!” he exclaimed, all but jumping up and down in excitement. “The people would love that!”

So guess what I did?

 

DSC00436

At dusk. I turned on the lights in the Tower so they would glow.

After the people left (they actually pointed at me, standing at the very top window at the front, looking down) I turned on the lights and went outside to take a picture of the most incredible Hochelaga Inn.

And that night? I slept like a baby knowing the ghost was safely tucked in bed.

Spooky, no?

Spooky, no?

To this day the spirit of the place haunts me. My characters, whose footsteps I was privileged enough to walk in, are with me in a way they weren’t before. The sights I saw are imprinted on my vision, deep and immovable. I’m lucky to have been able to visit the wondrous settings from which I was able to tell my story.

If you’d like to visit The Hochelaga Inn, click here for their website. I highly recommend it for its ambiance, its breakfast, and for the experience of sleeping in such a beautiful old Victorian mansion.

My Gothic paranormal romance, The Magician’s Curse, which is set in Kingston and features a house that is inspired by The Hochelaga Inn, is available on Kindle, Kobo, and in paperback on Amazon, as well as on the shelf in the Novel Idea Bookstore at 156 Princess Street in Kingston.

Here are some more photos of The Hochelaga.

 


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#SoCS – Having to Guess

I’ve come to the conclusion that writing a series of books rather than a standalone is harder when you’re a pantser. A pantser, if you’re not familiar with the term, is a writer who writes by the seat of his or her pants, as opposed to a plotter, who plots the entire story out ahead of time. If I could just plot out where my characters are going to go after book three, I would know if their life beyond it was worth writing about. Because let’s face it, no one wants to read a book about people getting up and going to work every day, coming home, cooking dinner, watching TV and going to bed, ad nauseam. It’s bad enough that most of us do just that in real life.

Therefore, I can only guess whether my series will be a trilogy or if it will go on.

Don’t get me wrong – I love pantsing. Sometimes I’ll be happily typing along, minding my own business (because I don’t make up my stories. I just pluck them out of mid-air and transcribe them) and suddenly one of my characters will say something that completely blows me out of the water. Like, I had no idea it was coming. It’s by far the best part of writing. When you’re reading a book and you get hit by a sudden revelation, you can bet that there’s a good possibility the author was struck at the same point in the story with that same gong. What’s not to love about being hit by a gong? (I do enjoy stream of consciousness writing.)

If I was to guess right now, I’d say it’s going to be a trilogy. Yet I know I’m going to miss my characters so much that I’m not going to want to stop writing. Will they get up to more adventures? I guess they could. We all do, once in a while, right? If we didn’t, our boring day-in-day-out existences would drive us to eventually seek something more anyway.

Speaking of adventures, I’ve updated and edited an old post. It has more pictures now, as well as a few more links. I can only guess whether or not it will show up in your email if you follow me that way. I’m guessing it will, if you weren’t following me in July of 2013 when it was first posted. I urge you to read it if you haven’t already: it’s one of my best. Even if you have already read it, check out the new pictures. I’ll repost it in an hour or so. It’s entitled “A Haunted Visitation.”

John Holton 2016-2017

This post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday. You can find the link to join in and read all the other posts here: https://lindaghill.com/2017/08/11/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-aug-1217/

While you’re here, take a good look at the badge, for it may be the last week in which it’s featured! The contest is on right now for a new SoCS badge design. We have five entries already, which means there are only five slots left open. Click the following link to read more about it, see the entries so far, and enter the contest yourself: https://lindaghill.com/2017/08/08/the-4th-annual-socs-badge-design-contest/


38 Comments

#SoCS – Bizarre Bazaar

One of the books I’m reading right now is The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King. I remember the first time I looked at the title, I wondered if he was talking about bizarre bad dreams because these two words cause a glitch somewhere in my noggin’ that makes me not know which is which. Or which has which meaning. If I think about it for a few seconds, I remember which is witch; I’m sure people all over have those words.

Did you see what I did back there? It was deliberate. Honest.

I wonder if it was some kind of witchery that made whoever came up with the English language (or any language?) invent words that sound the same that are spelled differently. You know, just to confuse us. Someone who, one day, was at a bazaar maybe and picked up a clementine and a tangerine and thought, “Well that’s bizarre. Two fruits that look the same and taste almost the same but have different names. I can come up with a language that’s that confounding!” And so English was born. From a little orange. Which is something else altogether.

And that’s the sort of post you get from Linda when she’s tired. 😛 Because really, she loves making up stories. They just sort of … fall out. Or leak out through her fingertips. Why the hell am I referring to myself in third person all of a sudden? It’s like I’m not me. Sometimes when I write fiction, I’m not me. I disappear and stuff comes out of me. Bizarre, isn’t it? Stuff of words and language and characters and sometimes it’s like I’m being taken over by something outside of me, something that guides me. Sounds scary, but it’s not. It’s freeing.

I wonder if this is how horror writers write. To think up something that we’d never do takes a certain je ne sais quoi. I know this because I write horror, but when I started this paragraph, I was thinking about Stephen King, who started this whole idea for a post in the first place. Damn it, Stephen! Yeah, I know it’s not his fault, but what to do?

But back to the whole “how am I able to come up with horror ideas that I’d never do in real life” question. I think it comes from fear. Fear of having things done to us by others who are capable of them. And with a vivid imagination comes a lot of fears, I’m afraid. Ha! I’m afraid. Get it?

Probably time for bed.

This post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Click the following link and join in! And while you’re there, check out some of the other posts in the comments. https://lindaghill.com/2017/07/14/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-july-1517/

 


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It’s Alive!

My book–the one I’ve been saying I was going to publish for four years now (didn’t believe me, did you?)–is finally here!

It’s a story I spent months obsessing over, traveled for, went to outrageous lengths for–I sat in the Kingston Via Rail station, taking notes for the description of it; drove around the city looking for the perfect setting for the house in which the story takes place and then I parked my car there and walked halfway back to town to see what it would be like. I stayed in different lodgings – the university where my characters went to school, the house that inspired the one in the book, and a small motel near the train station. I even had a chance to interview a magician. I’ll be posting that interview soon.

But most of all I had a lot of fun writing The Magician’s Curse and its sequel. And I’m almost finished writing the third book. Not sure if there will be more: I’ve toyed with the idea of a prequel.

For now though, I can finally share part of this world I’ve lived in by myself for almost six years. I hope you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it. Magic and romance await.

On Kindle:
Amazon US
Amazon Canada
Amazon UK
Amazon Australia
and Amazon where ever else you are in the world, as well as
Kobo worldwide.
The paperback is now available here on Amazon.com.

And I promise to stop the constant spamming now. 🙂


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Tinge – #AtoZChallenge

My dog adds a smattering of love to my life, and a sprinkling of privy to my back yard.

It’s no surprise that I love words. They are why writing, to me, is such a glorious challenge. Finding just the right one is like discovering a hidden treasure. It’s like fitting in that piece of a thousand-piece puzzle that I’ve been looking for for hours. And what makes it such a challenge? It’s the tinge a word can put on a feeling. The morsel that’s as small as a speck. The discomfort that’s really a vexation. The gladness that turns to euphoria. And the exhaustion that leads to zonking out.

Zzzzz…

No, seriously. I’m going to bed. Winston’s making me jealous.

***
Would you like a dash of amusement in your day? A pinch of jollification, perhaps? Then buy 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 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