Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Perks of "Reading" a Wallflower...

Hello, all. Pardon me as I vacuum up this pile of sand in front of the dryer, but I’m just back from a much-needed getaway at the shore, and I’m fairly certain that I brought back half the beach with me. Yes, visiting the ocean is one of my favorite things to do (minus the laundry afterwards, of course). I find its salty breezes and thunderous waves to be incredibly grounding. It’s as if I lay eyes on the ocean and in that moment realize just how truly insignificant we are in the greater scheme of things—at least that’s what I used to think. This year, I’ve had a shift in mindset. The cause of my “ah-ha” moment? My newest friend, Charlie.

My lifestyle is such that I have very little time left to read for enjoyment. Between working a full-time job, taking graduate classes, being a mother, wife, and sidelining as an author…well, you get the idea. So when I do get away, I always cart along a pile of books to read because, and this is a big one, when I go on vacation I actually make an effort to relax. Reading for enjoyment is a big part of that process.

This summer, my dear friend Holly suggested: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. I know, I’m a little late on this one, but better late than never…right?! Anyway, Holly’s usually right on the mark with her book suggestions (she’s an even bigger book nerd than I am). So when I asked her for suggestions, she asked me whether I wanted fluff or something heavy. “Heavy!” I replied. If I'm going to read a book, I want to feel "changed" in some way after I read it. Boy oh boy was Holly right on the mark with this one. In four words: “It rocked my world”.

Yes, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is intended for a teenage audience, but as a once awkward 15 year old, I found it very easy to relate to Charlie’s struggles. Heck, as a parent and as someone who works with children, I could also relate to Charlie. Believe me. You need not be a teenager to enjoy this novel. Here's the skinny.

Through a series of letters he writes to his “Dear friend,” Charlie gives us a glimpse into his world and in doing so, into his many struggles…and yes, Charlie has many struggles. Once I picked up this novel, I simply could not put it down. It actually got to the point where I waited for my husband and children to fall asleep in the hotel room just so I could sneak off and read some more of Charlie’s letters by the nightlight. My heart literally ached for this kid.

Without giving too much away, Charlie, a high school freshman, is a deep thinker (translation: a writer in the making) who constantly struggles to make sense of an often times senseless world, an M.O. that I totally understand. When I was his age, I constantly worried about issues and people. It drove me to the point of near madness. Everyone else around me seemed to just ‘go with the flow’ whereas I wanted to understand where the “flow” was coming from and how it got there. Most nights, I cried myself to sleep consumed by the “what ifs” and “but whys”. It was a frightening time to be me mainly because I didn’t have those life experiences that tell you that no matter how bad today gets, tomorrow will come and things will get better.

Thirty years later, I developed an acceptable release for all of that pent up anxiety; it’s called writing. Unlike me, however, Charlie’s baggage ends up being far worse than just a bad case of anxiety. It breaks my heart to say that the root his “issues” are very unsettling, but sadly, not unique. What I found to be more moving than his issues, however, was how he chose to deal with them. As I’ve already said: the novel Rocked. My. World. And it was in that moment, in that space of time where you’re reading the last of what the author has chosen to share with you, that my great epiphany occurred.

There, sitting on the beach surrounded by all of this greatness I realized that although the ocean is awe inspiring and spiritually grounding, that there are actually people out there who can compete with its greatness. People who enter your life like a salty ocean breeze but carry a message that hits you like a thunderous ocean wave. Charlie was that gentle breeze…that crashing wave, and who better to thank than the man who introduced him to the world, Stephen Chbosky.

Through his diligent nurturing and his gift of word, Stephen Chbosky created a character that has not only become an inspiration to me, but to oodles of other readers across the world. So thank you, Stephen Chbosky, for leaving the world a little better than how you found it. I am forever grateful to you. Forever.

In closing, I’d like to leave you with one of Charlie’s many quotable lines, this one speaking to the optimism he continues to nurture throughout the novel despite his constant struggles with depression.

“This one moment when you know you're not a sad story. You are alive, and you stand up and see the lights on the buildings and everything that makes you wonder. And you're listening to that song and that drive with the people you love most in this world. And in this moment I swear, we are infinite.” 


As always…
Until we meet again, make it a great week!



Sunday, June 16, 2013

Forever the Optimist...

Back again with the latest segment of...
Random Facts and Tidbits.

Random Courting the Flame 
Fact

The first draft of Courting the Flame was over 150,000 words long and it wasn’t half the story that the final draft of 67,000 words turned out to be. It just goes to show you, I guess. Sometimes less is more. Of course, it took three years and 100 plus revisions to finally figure that out. Thank you for your patience and guidance along the way, Claudia. Couldn’t have done it without you, m’dear.

And now, onto another Diana DeCameron…Pellet?!:

Let me start by saying that I am, by no means, an expert on the topic I am about to discuss. Actually, I didn’t even know that it was a topic worthy of discussion until the very moment it happened and I decided to discuss it. But those are always some of the best blog post topics, don’t you think? An entire discussion wrapped around a particular moment in your day that makes you go…hmmmm—my life seems to be filled with them. Sooooo…where do I begin?

Well, I suppose my garden is the best place to start, considering that I was in my garden when I found the “item” in question. It was Memorial Day weekend and I decided to work on my flowerbeds. I’d purchased some beautiful annuals that I was eager to sink into the ground, which is exactly what I did…right after I raked up the mulch and did some much needed weeding.

And there it was…this thing that “demanded” my attention. It literally popped out of the mulch and placed itself on the ground directly in front of me. Ewwwwww! I shivered as I poked a hesitant finger at it. Instantly, I called in the “ewwwww-gross” experts—my boys. My oldest son was the second to poke at the mysterious "thing."

“Do you think it’s a cocoon?” I asked.

He wrinkled up his nose. “That’s no cocoon, Mom! That’s a fur ball!”

I tilted my head sideways in a “Don’t-be-silly-we-don’t-own-a-cat” sort of way. Clearly, he was onto something, though. Upon closer inspection, this was fur that we were examining. I used two sticks and quickly pulled apart the gray-colored strands. It took a couple of tries, but eventually I discovered something more than just fur; I came across a tiny claw, the size of which might belong to, say…a mouse. And then, BOOM! It hit me. I finally realized what we had. This was no fur ball. It was an owl pellet!

Now, coming across the regurgitated indigestible remains of an owl’s diet may not seem like it, but if you’re the outdoorsy-type, (which I am) it’s a pretty awesome find. In my almost 44 years of existence, this is the first owl pellet that I’ve ever found. But it wasn’t the owl pellet, itself, that left me speechless as much as it was the location of the owl pellet. As I held it in my hands (yes, it was in my hands), I dropped my head back to discover that the owl pellet had been hiding in the mulch directly beneath the window of my office…the one where I do all of my writing.

To properly put things into perspective, there are no trees anywhere near my house. There is a heavily wooded area nearby my house, but nowhere near close enough for an owl to sit in a tree, hack up a pellet, and then toss it into my garden. It’s simply not physically possible. And so this is where the real questioning began. How did an owl pellet come to rest in the mulch just below my writing window?

And more importantly…why?

Intrigued, I did some research on owl pellets, but never once did I come across any information stating that owls cough up pellets while in flight. The only assumption I could make, therefore, was that the owl must have been resting when it worked up the undigested bones and fur. But where, where was it resting? My theory? It was on the edge of the roof…above my writing window. And for an avid owl enthusiast like myself, this most definitely constituted one of those “particular moments in your day that make you go hmmmm.” 

Truly.

But wait…it gets better.

Remember when I told you that I found “an” owl pellet buried in the mulch beneath my window? Well, I lied. A week later, I found a second owl pellet. That’s right, two owl pellets, both in the same location. Fully confident with my hypothesis for “how” it got there, the bigger, more meaningful question now became…“why?” Always a firm believer in the notion that all things happen for a reason, I approached my new question in this manner;

Diana’s Owl List:
  1. I love them.
  2. I’ve always been fascinated by them.
  3. I’ve had several one-on-one encounters with them, each encounter forever etched in my memory with a very discernible “hmmmm…” written in the margins.
  4. Owls are known symbols of the moon and nighttime, which as an interesting aside, so, too, is the roman goddess “Diana.” I’m just sayin’…
  5. Owls have long been associated with magic, darkness, prophecy, and wisdom.
  6. And finally, an owl totem is known to give you the power to extract secrets.

Yeah. It’s quite the list, I know...but what am I to make of it? What answer can I possibly come up with as to why my owl friend is choosing to perch high up on the roof above my office window (which is where I do all of my writing and creating in the wee hours of the morning)? Well, one thing’s for certain; this is no coincidence. He’s most definitely there for a reason, but what exactly he is trying to tell me, I may never know. I am certain there’s something more to his pellets than just undigested fur and bones, however. Am I, therefore, to extract some secret meaning, some hidden omen from their strategic placement in my garden?

Although I may never get my answer, there is one thing that I do know. Since I’ve started my journey as a writer, I’ve learned to put faith in my instincts—to finally listen to that little voice inside of me that had gone unheard for so many years. So maybe that’s it. Perhaps the answer is to keep digging deeper and deeper until I uncover all of my truths. Perhaps his visits are just a reminder. All I know is that since I’ve found the owl pellets, I have chosen to write with my window open. I have also chosen to whisper a friendly “Goodnight, my friend,” through the screen each night just before I go to bed.

Hey, (shoulder shrug) not everybody has an owl friend who chooses to hack up undigested fur and bones in their garden in the wee hours of the morning. Forever the optimist, I’m going to bank on it being something positive.

As always…
Until we meet again, make it a great week!
Oh, and more Facts and Tidbits to come.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Whoot! Whoot!!

Fantastic news!!

COURTING THE FLAME
is being featured as a TGIF SPECIAL
now through Sunday evening 5/26/13
directly from my publisher...

Don't own an e-reader? Don't worry!
MuseItUp offers a PDF version that's perfect for your desktop or laptop. They also offer Nook, Kindle, Sony, and HTML versions, as well.

All for just $2.50 now through Sunday evening at

Shop now using Paypal. Oh, and happy reading!


Monday, May 13, 2013

A Day on the River...


Back again with the latest segment of...
Random Facts and Tidbits.

Random Courting the Flame Fact…Line?!


First, let me start by saying, “Thank you, thank you…THANK YOU!” to the lovely ladies at the Plymouth Public Library. Seeing as though it was my first “official” author appearance, I had no idea what to expect on 4-27-13! I can tell you, however, that the afternoon far surpassed my dreams! I had an absolute blast chatting about love, life, and the making of Courting the Flame! The only downer was how quickly the time flew by. A huge thank you to Judy R. for pulling it all together, by the way. You’re a doll, Jude!

And now onto our “Random Courting the Flame…Line?!

Okay. So here’s how it works. Below, please find a random quote from my debut paranormal romance, Courting the Flame. Be the first person to guess who said it and win a Courting the Flame mug. It’s that simple! And now, for the quote:

“Anyway, once I made it past ‘the clothing,’ I found her work extremely insightful. She sees beyond the static to the truth in her subjects. It’s a fascinating approach, possibly even unique. Three or four shades at least on the other side of Picasso or Dali.”

So, which Courting the Flame character said it? Feel free to post your guesses in the comments section. Just click on the tiny red “post a comment” button at the very bottom of today’s post. I know. Could the button be any smaller, right?! Anyway, all I need is your guess for now. We’ll work out the details later. The first person with the right character, wins!

Good luck!   

And now, onto another Diana DeCameron Tidbit:

So, we all know I’ve been busy. I’d like to say it’s because I’ve been working on Book II, but in reality, my “business” has been attached to some required graduate course work I’ve been trying to complete. This past Sunday I was determined to put the finishing touches on a Shakespeare course I’d been immersed in for far too long. I’m happy to announce that as of 5-12-13, I finally finished it! Yes, that was me “Whoot! Whooting” at around 11 AM Eastern-Standard time. I’m sure you heard me. Lord knows my family did!

So, there I was feeling completely triumphant thinking…You know what? You should totally reward yourself with a little family time! Later that day, I followed up on my advise and did just that. My husband, boys, and I took our fishing boat down to the Susquehanna River for a late afternoon boat ride!

For those who aren’t familiar, the Susquehanna River is a well-know piece of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s landscape. Flowing through New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, at 464 miles, it’s the longest river on the American east coast that drains into the Atlantic Ocean. As is true of any river the Susquehanna’s size, it’s been a source of both beauty and devastation throughout the years, but one thing’s for certain. As a Northeastern Pennsylvanian “lifer”, the Susquehanna River has been a part of my
life for almost 44 years now—which is precisely why we decided to visit it this past Sunday. Drifting along the Susquehanna is something we like to do together as a family.



With temperatures ranging in the mid to upper seventies, it turned out to be the perfect day to meet up with our old friend. I held tightly onto my hat as we took off downstream, the sun filtering through the trees. Beams of sunlight cast dancing shadows upon the Susquehanna’s dark waters (a residual effect of local coal mining that continues to plague my stretch of the river) as I squinted into the oncoming air. When we finally reached our destination (the boys’ favorite fishing spot) I reached for my notebook and pen. I enjoy jotting down my thoughts in a free-form brainstorming sort of way while the boys cast their lines. It’s a very relaxing and oftentimes productive activity. Many blog post topics have introduced themselves to me in just this fashion.


Whether it was the sound of the red-winged blackbirds or something more spiritual
gliding along the late afternoon breeze, something on the Susquehanna eventually lead my thoughts to the Susquehannock Indians. A branch of the Andastes, a subdivision of the Algonquin Tribe, the Susquehannocks were the earliest humans to inhabit the Susquehanna River Valley. Farmers, fishermen, and hunters, the Susquehannocks or “the people of the muddy river” were also known to be quite aggressive and warlike, always fighting with their northern neighbors the Iroquois.

As we continued to slowly drift downstream, I couldn’t help but wonder if the thought came to me because of the particular location our boat had drifted to. Did this stretch of the river have some sort of spiritual significance to the Susquehannocks? Perhaps it had been the location of one of their many battles? Not much historical information remains on the Susquehannock Indians. I do know, however, that in 1675 their people were decimated by an epidemic and by continued fighting with the Iroquois. I also know that in 1763, the surviving 20 Susquehannocks (who had converted to Christianity by this time) were slaughtered by an angry mob known as the Paxton Boys, a group of Scottish-Irish frontiersmen who had wanted to enact revenge on a group of warring Indians some 200 miles away, but settled for the remaining 20 “now peaceful” Susquehannocks.

I scanned the river with a new lens. How different things must have been back then, I thought. How much more vocal the red-winged blackbirds must have sounded when they didn’t have to compete with the never-ending hum of traffic or the occasional rumble of a train. How much more beautiful the rolling hills that line the Susquehanna River Valley must have appeared devoid of power lines and structures. Perhaps, I continued to ponder, that was my answer. Perhaps, I surmised, the Susquehannocks simply wanted me to remember the way things might have appeared, sounded, or smelled…when once they walked this land.

“Perhaps,” I glanced down at the river’s rippling waters, reflections of a once proud people glancing back. “Perhaps…” I sighed, lifting my face to the sun.

The same sun that once shone upon the Susquehannock Indians.

As always…
Until we meet again, make it a great week!
Oh, and more Facts and Tidbits to come.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Perhaps Lucy was Onto Something...


Back again with the latest segment of...
Random Facts and Tidbits.

Random Courting the Flame Fact…Reminder?!

Tick, tick, tock. This is it! The countdown’s on! This Saturday afternoon (4-27-13) beginning at 2:30PM, I’ll be appearing at the Plymouth Public Library, part of Luzerne County Pennsylvania's Library System, to host a very special Courting the Flame—Meet the Author/Book Club Event! If you’ve already read Courting the Flame and would like to “fire” some plot questions and/or comments my way, here’s your chance!

Plus, stop by and visit and you could win a cool Courting the Flame Gift Basket loaded with items that have “ties” to my debut paranormal romance novel. If you've already read Courting the Flame, you'll understand this eclectic collection of goodies. If you haven't, think of how much fun it will be to spot the items as they appear in the story.



So, mark your calendars for this Saturday (4-27-13) starting at 2:30 PM. I can’t wait to dive headlong into a lively discussion about love, life, and the pursuit of all things paranormal at the Plymouth Public Library, 107 W. Main Street, Plymouth, PA 18651. See you there.

For directions or to contact the Plymouth Public Library directly, call (570) 779-4775.   

And now, onto another Diana DeCameron “Tidbit”…

Diana DeCameron Tidbit:

Blog topics don’t always come easily to me. If the act of writing feels at all forced, I simply won’t do it. I’m one of those “odd” writers who won't put pen to paper (so to speak) unless I’m truly inspired to do so. I write simply for the joy of doing it, not because I have to. I have a day job. Lately, however, there has been one topic that’s been weighing heavy on my heart. Tonight, I’m putting voice to it and giving it the room it needs to breathe.

Tonight I'm talking about..."fear".

It’s a topic that’s surfaced and resurfaced again and again in my life. Normally, I try to lock it away, camouflage it, or call it by a different name—all in the hopes that it will magically disappear, vanish, or evaporate from my life. None of those strategies have ever worked, though. So tonight I’m going to try a radically different approach. Tonight, I’m bringing “fear” out of the shadows and into the light. The way I look at it is, if you’re that desperate for attention, I’ll give it to you.

Sooooo…(Lays head back on the couch to stare up at the ceiling) Where does this “fear” thing all begin? It's a valid question. My answer? Well, it depends on your perspective. For those of you who don’t believe in reincarnation…”fear” undoubtedly introduced itself to me at birth. For those of you who do…we’ve more than likely already had this conversation so I apologize in advance for repeating myself, but most of the time it feels like “fear” has been chasing me through lifetime after lifetime after lifetime. Stick with me and you’ll see where I’m going with this. I hope.

As a small child, I remember being afraid of just about everything. I’ll spare you the itemized list. Believe me, it’s extensive and…you’re welcome. Anyway, I specifically remember a time when I was about 6 and my mother read Little Red Riding Hood to me. Looking back, I’m not sure if it was the actual story as much as it was the time of day (early evening) and the weather conditions (rainy and dreary), but the story just about scared the bejeebers out of me! I’m talking a blood-draining-from-your-limbs, heart-racing kind of scared.

The full thrust of my fear didn’t really strike until after the story was read, however...when I was reminded by my mother that I needed to take care of my chores. It was my job to take the dirty clothes down into the (cue echo) dark, dank basement. I’m sure you see where this is going. Beads of perspiration formed on my forehead. My heart thudded wildly in my chest. Even my lungs struggled to pull in enough air to support my breathing. Why? Well, obviously I was convinced that the Big Bad Wolf was going to burst through one of the basement windows and eat me. Don’t laugh. (shivers) Of course, Mom helped me to move past my “fear” of the basement by forcing me to meet my fears head on. Translation? She stood at the top of the stairs and told me I had 2 minutes to get my butt downstairs and put the dirty clothes in the hamper…”or else”!

Now, keep in mind that I had absolutely no idea what “or else” meant, but as a child who was already afraid of the Big Bad Wolf, I was determined not to find out! Which I didn’t. I was a good kid (relatively speaking). I did what I was told. So what did I do? What any 6 year old would do. I held my breath and raced at break-necking speeds down the stairway tossing my armful of dirty clothes into the formidable darkness that was…(cue echo again) "the basement".

ObviouslyI’m making light of the situation. But honestly, at 6 this was some pretty serious stuff. Little did I know then, however, that the Big Bad Wolf would pale in comparison to the other “monsters” I would learn to fear once I got older.

Let’s face it, as a child it makes sense to fear the Big Bad Wolf. Good Lord, he has sharp teeth and clearly appears to be hungry like…I don’t know…all of the time?! But no one bothered to warn me about this “new” breed of monsters that were headed my way. No one said, “Fear the monsters lurking in the deepest, darkest corners…of your mind.”

I like to refer to them as the Subconscious-Mongers. Oh, they’re horrid creatures, these “Subconscious-Mongers”. They make you doubt yourself, your abilities…your self-worth. (Shivers) Does this new breed of monsters have sharp teeth, you ask? Honestly, I’ve never really made eye contact with them, so I really don’t know. All I do know is that they usually visit me when I’m sleeping. When I am vulnerable. They creep into my subconscious and whisper, “Doubt yourself. Worry about things that are completely out of your control. Obsess over everything and anything.” For many years, I allowed these monsters to consume my life. There have been many a night where I've jolted up from my bed consumed with fear and trembling in the darkness.

And then I found writing—my outlet, my therapy, my saving grace.

I won’t say that I still don’t have occasional panic attacks. Of course, I do. But now, however, I have somewhere to direct all of that otherwise wasted energy. And the greatest thing is that as a writer I call the shots. I create the conflicts, but I also resolve them. It definitely leaves one with a sense of accomplishment and control.

Take that “fear”!!!!     

Oh, and for those of your still wondering, I'm happy to say that I eventually moved past my fear of carnivorous fairy tale characters. Ole Big Bad and I turned out to be great friends, as did long-time friends Frankenstein, Dracula, and the Blob. As a matter of fact, (waggles eyebrows) I’ve grown up to be quite the lover of ghost stories, vampires, and all things that go bump in the night. Who would have thought it possible, right?! So for those of you who, much like myself, still occasionally struggle with unseen monsters, know that there’s someone out there who understands exactly where you’re coming from. But more importantly...(takes on a classic Ninja stance) know that I got your back ;)

“What is needed, rather than running away or controlling or suppressing or any other resistance, is understanding fear; that means, watch it, learn about it, come directly into contact with it. We are to learn about fear, not how to escape from it.”

I don't say this very often, but perhaps Lucy was onto something...


As always…
Until we meet again, make it a great week!
Oh, and more Facts and Tidbits to come.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Courting the Flame...APPEARANCE?!


Back again with the latest segment of...
Random Facts and Tidbits.

Random Courting the Flame Fact…Appearance?!

Exciting news NEPA Paranormal Romance fans! Saturday, April 27, 2013 starting at 2:30 PM, the Plymouth Public Library, part of the Luzerne County Library System, will be hosting a very special Courting the FlameMeet the Author/Book Club Event! If you’ve already read Courting the Flame and would like to “fire” some plot or character questions or comments my way, now’s your chance—live and in person! Haven’t downloaded your copy yet? Don’t sweat it! There’s still plenty of time. You can purchase Courting the Flame directly from my publisher at MuseItUpPublishing.com or download it wherever eBooks are sold. Oh, and did I mention that I’ll be giving away some cool Courting the Flame swag while I'm there?? (waggles eyebrows)

So, mark your calendars for Saturday, April 27, 2013 starting at 2:30 PM.
I can’t wait to dive headlong into a lively discussion about love, life, and
the pursuit of all things paranormal at...
The Plymouth Public Library, 107 W. Main Street, Plymouth, PA 18651.
See you there.

For directions or to contact the Plymouth Public Library directly, call (570) 779-4775.   

Diana DeCameron Tidbit:

So, where have I been for the past few months? A fair question, considering the fact that my last post was back in January. Bad girl! Bad girl! (Slaps hands) Well, here’s the skinny. I’ve been hanging out with a dear friend. Actually, he’s a rather troubled old chap—goes by the name of Edgar. Some of you may know him as Mr. Poe. Regardless of what you call him, one thing’s for certain—the man’s a master storyteller and one I can’t quite seem to get enough of.

For reasons which I cannot explain, I find myself deeply attracted to Mr. Poe’s dark and depressing landscapes, his morose prose, and his almost comical tendency to entomb anything and everything—which is rather ironic coming from someone most people refer to as Miss Polly Positive. Hey, everyone’s got a dark side, right?? (Shrugs) Loving Edgar Allan Poe just so happens to be mine.

Yes, Edgar and I have become quite the item these past few months. I agreed to read his mysteries and novella for the first time with the promise that I’d be given the opportunity to reread some of my all time favorites including The Pit and the Pendulum, The Black Cat, The Fall of the House of Usher, and The Cask of Amontillado. Just for the record—entombed, entombed, entombed, and….more entombing. Read them. I’m not making this stuff up, folks.

Looking back, I believe my fascination with Edgar is actually Vincent Price’s fault. Bad Vincent. Bad Vincent. Then again, (drums fingers on computer desk) Academy Award winning film producer Roger William Corman is actually the man responsible for bringing the entire cycle of Edgar Allan Poe adaptations to the big screen and eventually my living room. So, perhaps I should be blaming him. My sincerest apologies, Mr. Price. Of course, you did make one helluva creepy Roderick Usher, Vincent (shivers). 

Okay…they’re both to blame, and so…I thank them both. Why?

As I set out to reread Poe’s works over the past few months, I came to the distinct conclusion that the master of the macabre inspired me in more ways than I ever could have imagined he would have some thirty years earlier. Yes…as is the case with most relationships, at some point Edgar and I fell out of touch. Life got busy and things happened, but the most wonderful thing occurred to me as I reread those amazing short stories. As subtle as the nuances may be, Edgar Allan Poe most definitely influenced my style as a writer. I would even go as far as to say that without Edgar, Diana DeCameron wouldn’t exist as we know her today. Relax. I haven’t entombed anyone...at least not yet (waggles eyebrows), but talk about a wonderful epiphany as a writer.

So there you have it. This post is my shout out to Edgar Allan Poe. Thank you, Mr. Poe for sharing your wonderful gifts, not only with the rest of the world but with me—the little girl who would someday grow up to be an author. I may not have loved everything you wrote (I’m still trying to erase The Narrative of A. Gordon Pym from my memory banks. Sorry. Not a fan of the high seas adventure). But the ones I did connect with will forever be a part of who I am as a writer.

And in my book...that totally rocks!      



 As always…
Until we meet again, make it a great week!
Oh, and more Facts and Tidbits to come.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

She's at it...AGAIN!!!

Back again with the latest segment of...
Random Facts and Tidbits.


Random Courting the Flame Fact…Excerpt?!

This time around, rather than just give you a random Courting the Flame fact I’ve decided to give you an excerpt. Here’s a tiny sampling of one of my favorite scenes. Who knew that finding a brooch could be so…well...you decide.

“Michael?”
He lifted his head, and I gasped. His eye sockets were ablaze, flames shooting across his face. I stumbled backward, but he reached out and caught me, his eyes deep chocolate again, his visage full of concern.
“Hey, take it easy!” he said. “Are you okay?”
I nodded, stomping my irrational outburst of panic beneath its steel-reinforced trapdoor. “I’m fine,” I lied too loudly. “I just wanted to know what you thought of the brooch.”
He cocked his head. “I love it. It’s beautiful. An exquisite piece. Nothing to get upset about.” He held out his hand; it was empty. The brooch had fallen to the floor.
I stooped and swept it into my palm, eying it carefully. It looked perfectly normal. Gracie, you’re losing it. You’re absolutely losing it. This is a pin, for heaven’s sake. Just a pin. “I wish I knew its story,” I said, to have something to say. “I mean, if it even has a story.”
“Of course it has a story!” Michael caught himself, and then smiled. “It’s far too striking to not have some sort of tale attached to it,” he added in a milder tone. He knitted his brows and looked at me hard. “What’s your guess?”

Diana DeCameron Tidbit:

Wow! (chuckles to herself) I just scanned back through some of my old blog posts and was amazed to discover just how many of them discuss my “inspirations" for writing, LOL. In my defense, sharing things that inspire me creatively feels completely natural…easy. They’re the posts that I never feel forced to write because the topics are genuinely the ones I enjoy talking about. In case you haven’t guessed by now, I’m about to do it again. And the recipients of this week’s “You’ve Inspired Me Creatively” blog post goes to the band:


Those who know we well may be surprised by this choice, mainly because I tend to be more of a rocker chick (yes, yes…leading lady Gracie Clarke gets that from me). So by all accounts, The Civil Wars is a band that shouldn’t inspire me. A mingling of Americana, indie folk, and folk rock, their sound is far more “country” than I normally prefer.

No offense to all those die hard country fans out there. My husband is a huge country fan, and as a singer myself, I can appreciate the musicianship involved in composing country music. Truly, I can. But normally the themes of most country songs don’t speak to me the same way that say a…Linkin Park song would. That said, imagine my surprise when my friend suggested this slightly obscure alternative country duo out of Nashville called The Civil Wars. One listen to their single Poison and Wine and I quickly searched out The Civil Wars on iTunes. Half an hour later,  I downloaded their 2011 release, Barton Hollow.

So what is it about this country-ish sounding band that hooked me? That’s a great question, actually. There’s definitely a haunting undertone to most of their songs and, hey—I’m all about haunting undertones. But the cool part is you can’t quite place your finger on exactly what it is that makes their music so haunting. Sometimes it might be a subtle effect on one of their voice tracks. Sometimes it might be a dissonant tone craftily placed in the bridge. Often times, though, the “haunting” aspect to their sound comes from how their voices work together.

Shivers.

Speaking as a vocalist now, it’s very rare to find someone whose tone completely and unequivocally matches your own. It would be the equivalent of say…finding your “musical” twin flame. When I listen to Joy Williams and John Paul White perform together, that’s the level of connection that I not only hear but feel. It’s almost as if their voices dance together on some strange unseen level. Sometimes their voices travel together side by side, paralleling each other musically, but sometimes…ohhhhhhh, sometimes their voices join together in this amazing display of harmonies that leaves me awestruck and almost weepy (but in a good way). I’m talking hairs-up-on-the-back-of-my-neck awestruck.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention their talents as lyricists. The Civil Wars is one of the few country-ish sounding bands that manage to speak to me lyrically. Why? I think it’s mainly because the theme to most of their songs revolves around relationships. The good ones. The bad ones. And the…well, the ones you’d like to forget, LOL.

Heart-stopping harmonies and heartbreaking lyrics—it’s the perfect combination, really. Of course, I wouldn’t dare end this post without paying homage to The Civil Wars with a video showcase. After all, they’ve held my hands through many late-night writing sessions. So it seems only right. That and…well…all this talk about The Civil Wars has made me want to listen to them again. So, without further ado, please allow me to introduce—



As always…
Until we meet again, make it a great week!
Oh, and more Facts and Tidbits to come.