Tangled up in You is Free!

tangledfreeTitle: Tangled Up In You

Author: A.L. Vincent

Release Date: October 27, 2015

Publisher: Limitless Publishing

Purchase links: Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US (eBook) – http://amzn.to/1Lw9AmN

PAPERBACK – http://amzn.to/1M0rxdz

Synopsis: Emily Breaux’s abusive, alcoholic husband keeps drinking away her dreams…

When he cleans out their bank account once too often, Emily packs her meager belongings and returns to her hometown of Bon Chance, Louisiana. Surrounded by the love and support of a group of old friends—collectively known as The Boonies—she’s determined to change her life and open her own catering company.

Contractor Noah Devereaux wants to help Emily rebuild more than just her family home…

Noah is an Iraq war veteran and fighting his own battle with PTSD, and he feels he has little to offer anyone. His nightmares and panic attacks leave him exhausted and on edge, yet he can’t help but find solace in Emily’s quiet presence.

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Mjusi, the Flying Lizard

(Third part in the Character Problems series)

My second novel, Desert Jewel, was about Milenda, an African princess and her love, Jaali, a man from the Northern lands. I wanted to include Africa as a setting because—well, because I lived there for many years and I loved it. A children’s author I love, Nancy Farmer, set a lot of her middle grade stories in Africa and I always wanted to do the same. My Africa is half-real, half made-up.

But back to the characters. Even though Milenda and Jaali are from different ethnic groups, that is not what the story is about. The story is about two strong young people who against all odds meet and fall in love. Two people who want to change the world but don’t know how. Two young lovers who find themselves the center of something dangerous and much bigger than themselves.

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Both Milenda and Jaali were carved out of the idea that nothing is ever the way it seems and that everybody, no matter who they are, carry pain of one kind or another inside their hearts.

Milenda is privileged and sheltered and yet, she is not spoiled or blind to the injustices around her. She wants to change her society, she wants to make it better to all who suffer due to her world’s ways and beliefs.

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Jaali is poor and has suffered unimaginable pain as a slave. However, he is not bitter or angry at the world. He is forgiving and kind.  He loves with all his heart and soul. In the words of Sid, the sloth from “Ice Age”, Milenda and Jaali complete each other. (Sorry. Couldn’t resist!)

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But the one character who started it all is Milenda’s sidekick, Mjusi. Mjusi is not a human. He is a flying lizard, or a mini-dragon if you prefer. He doesn’t speak, but he plays an important part in the story. He is not just lonely Milenda’s only friend but also the one character that helps the story move forward, the comic relief when we need to laugh, the available shoulder when we need to cry.

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Which comes to show that often the sidekicks are as important as the main characters. Mjusi, like Marcy, will have his story—or at least more of his story—told in the near future. There may be a few surprises about his origins and I’m certain he will surprise me yet again!

Photo credits: Look by Schmiegel

The Heart of Christmas

It’s Christmas again. At one point—for most of my life really—Christmas was my favorite holiday. My father was a true Santa Claus who just adored the holiday and was able to turn it into pure magic to us kids. I wanted to do the same for my boys but I think I have failed miserably. But that’s a story for another day.

This year Christmas sneaked up on me and found me totally and utterly unprepared. Never in my long-ish life have I ever got to December 21 without a single gift bought or a grocery run done. No cookies baked, no treats arranged artistically in bags for my students and colleagues, no Christmas music playing continually on the radio. If it wasn’t for my oldest son, his girlfriend and my husband we probably wouldn’t even have a tree up this year.

Depression brought on by total exhaustion of mind and body has left me without any energy or motivation to do any of the things I so loved to do. I did “adopt” a couple kids for Christmas, I donated some of my books for a good cause, and I was the secret Santa for someone at work. But other than that I have been a total humbug.

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So when my new team surprised me with a truly Christmas-y breakfast this morning I was floored and grateful. For the first time this season I felt the spirit take me to that place where magic and wonder still live. It was heartwarming and uplifting.

This is my feeble way of thanking them and gift them with the one thing I do best. You did my soul good this morning. Thank you.

 

Gotta Love Marcy

Marcy, the witch, was a character that just demanded to be written. When I first started planning—the tiny bit of planning I, the giant pantser, actually do—she didn’t even exist. The little red-haired witch came into existence when I realized I needed something that could justify or even cause a certain amount of hilarity—to use the term the late Rennison used—in my plot. She was supposed to be a very minor character who showed up in the story when needed and vanished into the background afterward. Well, Marcy wouldn’t have any of that. In a strange twist of fate—maybe she is indeed a witch—Marcy ended up being the one character everybody who has read the story loves.

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Did I know she was going to be seriously quirky and surprisingly insightful in her own eccentric way? I had no inkling until she was! I had just finished writing Lavender Fields, my NaNoWriMo project, when I started thinking about what my next novel was going to be. I had several stories in mind but Marcy’s won in the end. I have to admit that I am quite a bit intimidated about writing the little witch’s love story. Not because I don’t want to but because she is by far the most popular character I have written so far. She actually has groupies! What if I write a truly boring story that clashes with her colorful, interesting personality? What if can’t recreate that spunk, that spark she showed as a sidekick in Loved You Always?

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I have started writing her story and I am still pretty nervous about it. I keep reading and rereading what I wrote. I have already rewritten the first scene three times. I want her love interest to be worthy of her and I want to give her the happy ending she deserves. A few days ago, after agonizing over the story for days, Marcy finally broke through the mire of my anxieties. Her quick wit and slight lack of filter shone through. I am now excited about her story and where it’s going. But don’t ask me where exactly. Remember? Pantser Queen is doing the writing.

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Read Loved You Always

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Character Problems

Writers of fiction! Yes, you. Have you ever had a character that just demands to be written a certain way? One who basically takes over whatever you had planned for him/her and won’t listen to reason?

Authors are known for saying that this character or that in their own story surprised them with something they did or maybe something they did not do. For those who do not write fiction this must come out as ridiculous, an affectation of sorts. After all, characters are figments of an author’s imagination, the creative product of a writer’s mind.

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A characters is an amalgam of real and fantasy, a bit of someone the writer may have met at a party long ago or sat next to on a transcontinental flight. It can hold a little or a lot of the author’s own personality quirks and embody many of her dreams and/or expectations. Conversely it may impersonate the author’s fears and distastes.

Characters, albeit fictional, can be as complex as their human counterparts, so it is not altogether surprising if in the process of writing them the author is suddenly hit with something they didn’t expect or plan. If engaged in the act of creating a story, the writer ends up  falling in love with her own characters or feel as if they are old friends, it does not come as a shock to anyone who has “birthed” a few.

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In my next few blogs I will be exploring my own process of creating characters for my books. How they develop and become often so real to me, I find myself missing them after I finish writing the story. Come back and enjoy the ride.

The Big Blue

I’ve always loved blue. Even as a child and, while most girls professed their undying love for everything pink, I was crushing heavily on blue. All you have to do is walk inside my house to know it. No matter how much I try to break from it, my décor always end up focusing on all shades of blue. Even when I decided to buy charcoal sofas, the prints and accessories all heralded the most peaceful color of all. I seem to surround myself with the color blue even when I am not aware of it. Until recently I couldn’t explain why that was, but a few weeks ago while I was meditating in my yoga class I had an epiphany of sorts.

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I know now why blue is so important to me. When my yoga teacher told us to go to our “happy place” I immediately went to the beach of my childhood. Grant it, the beach of Paço de Arcos is not the most beautiful beach in the world or even the country. But it’s the beach where I spent an enormous amount of my time growing up. And that’s when it hit me. Every time I think of the beach I see it; the blue of the ocean and the blue of the sky. From the windows of my childhood apartment the blue of the ocean greeted me every morning and lulled me to sleep every night. The gulls and the swallows soared in the blue skies of my hometown and filled me with a sense of peace I crave for but find so hard to find as an adult.

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So when I wear a blue sweater or write with a blue pen in a bluish notebook I am simply… going home.

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