Our Books as Children

get-attachment.aspxIn looking over my last bunch of blog entries, I realized all I’ve done lately  is share recipes, complain about the post office, or add happy romance reflections.  I suppose that’s because my fiction uses up my “writing” time, and so when it’s time to blog, I’m typed out. When I’m not writing fiction, I bake or do life stuff I can’t write about because it’s private. Too bad because those would make for GREAT posts.

But in 2013 I’m going to focus on blogging about fiction, writing, promotions, cons…all things related to creating characters and their lives.

Just like every child or pet is different, so is every work of fiction. Some stories are prompted by a call for submissions. Some are born of anguish or celebration.

Restitution_Cover_for_Kindle NEWMy last novel, Restitution, published by Shadowridge Press was a blast to write. It was fun and intense and a true pleasure beginning to end. My fingers could barely keep up with my thoughts. It was like a first child whose every smile lights up the room, whose each new step a miracle. And you fill a whole baby book with images of its progression.

The new one, My Name is Marnie, has been difficult to write. Sometimes it flows, other times not. Though the rough draft is done, I’m not looking forward to going back and rereading it. It still needs work. This is a second child in a way. It’s dark and brooding, and sad. And I try to make it like the last one but can’t because it is what it is. It was born that way. I know when I go back and look with a mother’s/writer’s love  that I’ll see it has worth. And I can transform it until the world agrees. But right now, I don’t have the patience for it.

That’s not to say I’ve just got those two books. There’s The Soul Collector-my foster kid who has been bounced from coverpublishing house to house and hopes to find a permanent home with Shadowridge. Right now we’re finalizing the “adoption” papers. This was written a long time ago, when I was in a different place and this book is always an afterthought.

get-attachment.aspxHope House is my favorite (next to Restitution which is a different literary animal: short, intense, fun). Hose House is novel length, about 90,000 words. It’s a solid story with several sub stories within. Characters with entire lives behind them fighting to the death for the futures they want. It’s about genetics and child loss and adoption and the mafia and a backdrop in the jungles of Haiti. It’s  a well researched thriller that took as long to research as it did to write. This one will be out in June 2013 from Shadowridge Press and I’m really looking forward to promoting it. Hope House is my adult child in medical school who is impressive and worldly and surprises me everyday when I remember that  I created it.

My short stories are close to my heart. They’re my nieces and nephews. Wonderful flashes brilliance or darkness, or both, who come into my life for a short time then leave me, with only their recorded memory as proof they were ever there at all.

My short story collection aptly named The Collection and Other Tales of Horror will be out late February 2013, or earlier if I can finish a couple more before then. There are some old tales and some brand-new.  This will be a fun collection and I’m thrilled to have them all in one place like a family reunion photo.

As the months pass, I’ll share some of my writing life and processes, successes, and failures with you.

Happy writing and Happy New Year!


Please visit Tracy’s AMAZON Page to see all her works for sale.

On Getting Story Ideas

by Tracy L. Carbone

One of the most common questions I am asked as a writer is where I get my ideas from. The honest answer to that would be something like, “How do I stop the ideas from coming?” The thing about being a writer is that each thing you encounter, even the most mundane, can spark an idea to file and use later. Above, I found a smiley face in a bread stick. Writing prompts are all around.

To make sure I don’t miss any opportunities, I follow the advice of Ray Bradbury in his book, Zen in the Art of Writing.

At the end of each day I try to write down anything even remotely interesting that I’ve seen. It’s not a diary per se, but a list of images. For example, I might jot down,  “lady yelling at kid in store, street musician in Fanueil Hall, melted chocolate on seat, almost getting in a car accident.” Sometimes it’s months or years before I flip through the ideas in the book and use them but they’re always there, waiting their turn.

Street names are another great trigger for creativity.  When I’m driving, if I’ve got a passenger who can type for me, I use the note function on my phone to write down streets names or important things to burn into memory.  My  daughter and  I recently completed a very long drive through Canada and northern Maine. That area is rife with images. Here are “phone notes” from the drive to give you an example. “Crawford Bible Fellowship, Lord’s Point, Hardscrabble Farm, Big red building with small brown barn, buildings boarded up, devil faces on telephone poles, Harm’s Way.”

Add to that some pictures I took along the way and the story can almost write itself. I look at the pictures below, recall the memories, and it’s a walk in the park if you toss in a little creativity.

But what about when it doesn’t seem there are any interesting things to write about? Well, I highly recommend this little gem of a book. It’s called Creative Block by Lou Harry. It’s got short phrases and photos to jolt you into making a mental image and hopefully a story. It’s surprisingly helpful for such a small book.

Once you’ve got burning ideas, just start typing, or hand writing if that’s your preference. Before you know it, you’ll have a nice little draft of a story, or a great scene in a book.

Happy writing!

Tracy L. Carbone ,  is the author of The Man of Mystery Hill, a middle grade paranormal mystery, published by Echelon Press. Buy now on BarnesandNoble.com or Amazon or in many fine bookstores.

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