Friday, July 27, 2012

Lindley, Nevada?

  One of my readers asked me a few days ago where exactly Lindley, Nevada is. Just to fill people in Lindley, Nevada is the ranch community where the setting for 'Killing Casanova' (the book I wrote)takes place.
Truthfully there is no such place. I don't even know if there are towns located in the area where I placed the story. I read some of the descriptions that Jedediah Smith wrote about his explorations around Utah in the late 1800's. In a trip he took from The Great Salt Lake, he traveld south, through the mojave desert, until he was south of the Sierra nevadas, and went into California. He and his party of mountain men, Native Americans, trappers, ex-slaves, and a bad tempered cook were eventually chased out of California by the Spanish government. Spain held California at that time and Jedediah's party did not have papers allowing them entrance into California. They left, traveling North and then crossed through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Needing to get back to The Great Salt Lake in time for rendeveaux, They crossed the Northern tip of Nevada before heading into Utah.
  The account I read was so descriptive. The trees, the water, the dry parched desert once you went more than a few miles away from the mountains. The sceen came alive for me, and I imagined a group of ranchers, long ago, setting up a community there. The high meadows for summer grazing, the spring run off for crops and the beauty of living where two such different eco-systems touch and embrace. The research I did helped me with the Federal Land Grant, The horses and a feasable way for people to make a living in a place like that. One of the great benefits of seeing things through descriptions is that I can create worlds, well small towns at least, that live and breathe even if they don't exist anywhere except in my mind.
  I hope that answers your question, its probably more information than you were hoping for, but at least you'll know the area I am talking about, if not Lindley itself.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I'm A Lover Not A Fighter

One of the best tools I have found for my writing is a critique group. This is a conglomeration of writers that read your work and then give helpful suggestions of what the story needs. If you are in a good critique group; they are not singing your praises or telling you what a fabulous author you are. They are picking apart your grammar, descriptions, and story line. Sounds painful...right? It can be. Comfort retards growth though, and I want to be a better writer. My problem is; I have a tendency to fall in love with my own words and often I need the critical eyes and ears of readers and writers to tell the truth about what they liked or didn't like. A really good story has great characters and settings and they live and breathe inside my mind. I want to describe everything and lead you step-by-step through the story.I long to paint clear and accurate pictures for you,but often I forget that reader's are really good at painting those pictures themselves. When I drag you kicking and screaming through heavy scenery, massive internal thought processes, and self-absorbed mental musings; its not fun anymore. The battle is to give enough information to keep you engrossed in the story without boring you to tears while I'm  selling my leading man or woman. This is where the use of the five senses comes in handy. Once again; not all five at the same time. One of my favorite examples is from Harry Potter. Close your eyes and imagine the way Harry Potter looks. You are probably seeing Daniel Radcliff, but J.K. Rollings only described Harry as having 'eyes like his mother's'. She never tells you what those eyes look like. I'll bet you still managed to form a distinct image in your mind without the movies.
 A good story catches you, holds your imagination firmly in its grasp, and then lets your heart and mind fall in love with it. Without my fellow writers and readers for this important job, i could not bring my characters to life without drowning them in too much information.
for all the helpful encouragement and criticism I am eternally grateful. If you bought Killing Casanova and can help me don't be afraid to contact me. tracimcdonaldauthor@gmail.,com \, or tracimcauthor on twitter. I want people to love my stories; not fight their way through them. I'm an author. That means I have to have a thick skin; I can take it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

This is a little about how I do what I do.

     Close your eyes and imagine a scene from your favorite book. Picture the look on your leading man’s face, the way he stands, and the color of his hair. What is happening all around him? What sounds? What smells? What colors and textures? Is it hot or cold?
     If the author did his/her job you can see, sense, and feel every detail. Now imagine if you only had those pictures in your mind to use to write a description that would paint the same scene for someone else. What if you had never seen with your eyes what you had to describe?
     Seventeen years ago, I began losing my eyesight. It gradually diminished over time, but up until5 or six years ago; I could still see light and color. I have not seen my children’s faces since they were very small and I have a number of friends and family members that I have never seen and never will.
     Before we break out the violins, and crocodile tears; relax, it doesn’t matter. The most powerful sense in any person's arsenal is their imagination. I am fortunate enough to possess visual memories of colors, shapes, and dimensions. I am blessed enough to have a thirst for knowledge and a sharp mind. Most importantly, I am stubborn enough to dream vibrantly.
     As a writer I see a story before it has words. I talk to my characters and they tell me what they see. I listen to the color of water. I smell the fragrance of green. I feel the touch of the sun and the wind and I see it all more clearly than I ever did with my eyes.
     In my upcoming novel ‘Killing Casanova’, you can experience the world through the eyes of a blind writer. If I did my job you will hear the pound of hooves from the horses. You will feel the heat of the desert sun, and you will see what falling in love looks like.
     When I began writing blind, my biggest struggle was that I could not see what I had written. I hired one of my kids to read the words to me and then correct and edit where I asked. As you can imagine this was torturously tedious and lasted a very short while. Thanks to groups like; The National Federation of The Blind, The Utah State Division of Services for The Blind and Visually impaired and Freedom Scientific, I got the training, skills and equipment I needed to have the computer talk to me. I am still learning how to maneuver the internet, facebook, and twitter, but there isn’t much I can’t figure out how to do. Like most people I just need a little patience and some problem solving skills.
      Everyone has a dream and a challenge to making it come true. Anything can be accomplished if you just find a different way to look at it, and never give up. A sense of humor and a good memory are helpful tools as well, but mostly just DO whatever you dream of. If you aren’t willing to give up, you will watch as your dreams come true.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Utah Romance Writer Traci McDonald brings you a unique love story with her first Romance book "Killing Casanova" As you crawl between the pages, the first
person you meet is Jake. He is easy on the eyes, popular and self absorbed. At a local Bar he meets Cassie, She does not fawn over him or even try to get
to know him. In fact to his astonishment, she is frostily polite. Jake's second encounter with Cassie leaves Him even more puzzled. He is intrigued by her
and cannot figure out why his boyish charm does not captivate her, like it does other women. When he finds out the truth about Cassie , Jake is embarrassed
and mortified.  AS Jake gets to know  Cassie he learns quickly that she is  independent and focused on helping others. Several dramatic incidents  throw 
Jake and Cassie together. Each afraid to take a chance on Love for different reasons. A barn fire,a former friend out for revenge and a deadly snake rock
jake and Cassie's romantic feelings.In the end will Jake lose his Casanova complex?  will Cassie let go of her past and reach for the future?  "killing
Casanova"  has humor, Drama and a heart warming conclusion.    It breaks down the barriers of human feelings and kindness and asks you can true Love be
found? The kind that comes from your heart. It is a delightful read review by Maine romance writer Bobbi laChance, Author of "wishes" and newly released "Cobwebs"

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Traveling through Sound and Smell

This last week my family (all the Hinton's) spent time on the Oregon Coast. Erik and I have traveled a little, but it has been a few years and this was the first time I have gone somewhere and I couldn't see even colors. I was diagnosed with cataracts and glaucoma over a year ago, but we haven't gone anywhere new since then, this was the first time I had to form mental images without even a hint of light or color to help. Oregon was overcast much of the time and light is my best friend when I try to picture colors. I had the distinct impression of grey. the weight of the air against my skin, the angry roar of the waves beyond the shore and the icy fingers of shadows lurking everywhere. The longer we stayed the more I could imagine green. Green smells like fresh cut grass, the rustle of pine needles in the wind, and the smell of earth and life. I found a stretch of beach that wasn't wet and I buried my feet in the soft, warm sand. It felt like the inside of a fresh baked loaf of bread, and I saw golden brown. We hiked to the top of a 687 foot waterfall and I tasted blue. It was peppermint, jasmine and ice.
I don't know if my mental pictures are accurate, or even if it matters. I had the privilege of feeling, tasting, smelling, and hearing a rainbow.