5 Senses

Touch – got it; hear – yep; see – absolutely…. but taste and smell?  I am working on my latest contest this week and one of the judging criteria is How does the author use all five senses to describe a scene?  Three of the senses are fairly easy since they are used quite regularly in explaining the setting in which the characters are in.  But unless the person is eating – they truly can’t taste anything right?  And in real life, when is the last time you took in what you were smelling in the middle of a crisis situation?  Sure, maybe later if you smelled something similar to that time the olfactory sense might kick in, but in the heat of the moment?? 

This contest is entitled the Break up or Blackest Moment contest.  I wrote specifically to the contest coordinator to see if I could use a death as the blackest moment and she wrote back to me with a resound Yes.  I chose to go with Beneath the Wall with this contest and without giving too much away (because the scene I chose is at the end of the book) – my characters are in a battle and a man is dying.  I sat with my mother yesterday to tighten up some sentences and try to fulfill the judges’ criteria as much as possible.  Overall the hardest part was trying to use taste and smell in scene.  Especially when it comes right down to the dying man.  My mother even went so far as pricking her finger and tasting her own blood (gross!).  And even still, without ever being a battle and seeing or smelling as much blood as a hail of machine gun bullets would create is pretty hard to imagine.  

Needless to say, my goal today is to find out what that smell and maybe taste is.  If any of my readers can help out with those senses, please email me !  I would greatly appreciate it.

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From Prohibition to Free Love

In college my least favorite era was the 1960s.  Hippies, free love, war, protests, drugs and strange music – I did not relate to it at all.  It wasn’t until I watched Miss Saigon on Broadway did I really start an interest into the time period I had avoided.  One day I was sitting in the parking lot of my law firm job in Danbury listening to the music from the amazing musical and I started wondering what the story would be after Tam goes to live with Chris and Ellen.  From there, just like The Blue Lute, an idea crept into my brain and Beneath the Wall was born.

It was the first full story I created that didn’t involve the New Kids on the Block or Superman fanfiction.  I had written a lovely short historical fiction only once before about the Titanic, but this was the first one I was going to write with the intent of maybe it could be published.  That whole summer I studied the 1960s and the Vietnam War.  I learned so much and kept folders full of notes and time lines of the whole skirmish. 

Soon the story I came up with didn’t resemble Miss Saigon at all.  It was its own piece and it was beautiful.  I fell in love with my characters and felt what they did more than any other story I had ever written.  It was then that I knew that I wanted writing to be dream career. 

I haven’t written a formal synopsis for Beneath the Wall yet but I can give the gist of the plot: 

The book opens at the funeral of Juliane Parker.  She is being mourned by her husband and three grown sons: Cal, Nick and Jesse.  After escorting their distraught father away, a man approaches Jesse about his mother, but his description of her life was not of the mother Jesse knew.  The information plagues him and soon Jesse and his wife are searching Juliane’s house for more evidence to support the old man’s characterization.  With the years before 1970 absent from all of Juliane’s meticulous notes, Jesse finds one paper – a probate court document stating that his older brothers were adopted by Juliane not born to her like they were sought to believe.  Renewed to find more information Jesse goes into a closet and steps through a broken floorboard.  Inside is a journal with the dates 1966-1968 written on the first page.

As Jesse and his wife read the journal, the reader is transported to 1966 through Juliane’s vivid account of her time spent as a combat photojournalist in Da Nang, Vietnam living in a Marine camp.

Juliane Parker is an outsider working at Camp Dakota with the U.S. Marine Corp.  She is ridiculed, teased, and left out of the life of the solider merely because she is female.  After one night that ended in embarrassment at her expense, Juliane fights back and gives becoming a Marine her all.  She is mildly accepted but only by a few.  One in particular is Mack Roberts, a sergeant who’s lineage includes a Naval Captain father and a Japanese mother.  He too, is not accepted by his peers because he is fighting in a country where the Asian man is the enemy and the others see him only for what he looks like not for the American that he is. 

Juliane and Mack form a bond that last their time in the war.  They see battles and controversy together enough to bring their friendship to the point of love.  From there on our there are a few twists and turns that lead to the final revolution of the elusive biology of the three Parker sons.    

(I really need to work on a better synopsis :)… but you get the point.)  Thanks for reading!

Down for the count

So I apologize, I was a sick little author last week.  Aside from writing, I babysit a couple of little children.  They come very randomly but do you think the parents would have any common sense not to bring them over when they are sick?  I can answer that question with NO, they don’t.  Cameron and I had bronchitis and I had a massive ear infection as a result.  It was no picnic.  I was weak and listless and didn’t even want to sit up let alone write anything. 

Well with that said and done, please stick by me and tune in for blogs this week :).  I want to catch up today on working on the books, so first thing tomorrow I promise I will find something interesting to write about.  Have a great day and come back tomorrow 🙂

Hmm

Sometimes I find it strange that I love the 1920s.  It was a time of blatant disregard for the law with all the alcohol making, speakeasies, organized crime, debauchery, and vulgarity (in their eyes, though today it’s nothing to see short skirts).  Yet I am a rather moral and reserved person, who doesn’t normally drink.  But I LOVE the twenties.  I love the gangsters, love the raucous night life.  Heck I even love the hidden tunnels and distilleries throughout America’s cities. 

I think I like it because it shows growth and break through.  Coming off of the Gilded and Industrial ages, America was still very formal and proper.  Then the skirts got shorter and the nights got longer and thus the rebellious twenties were born.  Plus the music was amazing and vibrant.  And how handsome do the men look in those pin stripe suits and fedoras …ahhh 🙂

Yes I realize that this is a crappy blog today – but I promise I will do better tomorrow.

Flying High

Ahhhh!!!!  I’m so excited today.  First of all let me say sorry for not writing yesterday, it was a very busy day.  I needed to select a scene from my book to bring to my first ever Romance Writers of America meeting.  Once that was finished, I ran over to Office Depot to copy it and then drop my son off with my parents who were watching him for the night.  In the car up to Bloomington, IL for the meeting, I reread the pages over and over again, making my own critical thoughts and doubting whether it would be up to standard.  My mind fluttered between, will I be in the company of people less talented to me (which has happened before and been upsetting) or will I be completely intimidated? 

The moment I arrived I immediately felt the later.  Each woman was poised and just from their speaking and word choices even in reticiting text messages I could tell that they were well established authors that knew a lot about their craft.  Soon the nervousness faded as I realized they were still people and I could truly be myself around them, because I too tend to use big and descriptive words when I speak.  I find that I when I do speak like that in the general public I get raised eyebrows and then I clarify what I am saying with a titter and a, “Sorry that’s just the writer in me. ”

It was  a great meeting and since I was the first leave I handed out my pages for everyone to read and discuss. I told the ladies what I felt was the weakness of the scene and asked for their critique.  One woman volunteered to do the reading and all was quiet as she began.  I could hear the sound of my own heartbeat thumping in my ears.  I could hear everything wrong with the sentence as if she were speaking through a megaphone and immediately my body temperature rose about five degrees.  But then when the dialogue began she read it just as I heard it in my head all the million of times I read the book.  I thrilled with delight as well as still shook with anxiety of what everyone was thinking about my work.

Unfortunately, I had to leave so I stopped her at a break in the paragraph and the critique started.  The women had some very smart and helpful hints for me to fix the dragging-on quality of the scene.  I intend to use those ideas to correct the work today. 

I picked up Jon at the volleyball center and on the way home I read the comments left behind on the pages.  I never felt so happy and emotional about all the notes saying that they liked my character.  YAY!!! I was so glad that all that worrying was really for nothing.  I knew I had more editing work to do on the book so the critiques didn’t bother me but the fact that in just a few pages they could relate to my character that I created from nothing and like her.  Once again I say, YAY!!!!!!!!!

In the beginning

Today I thought I would start with a fun story.  I always love to hear how other people come up with their book or movie ideas or how they created a character.  For example, Stephenie Meyer, the writer of the Twilight series has mentioned many times in interviews that she had a dream about a boy whose skin glowed like diamonds and thus became Edward Cullen.

My idea for The Blue Lute actually came from several  places.  First of all two of my favorite Jude Deveraux books are A Knight In Shining Armor, about a medieval knight that is summoned forth to the 1980s (that’s when it was written) and helps a woman in crisis.  In turn the woman goes back in time to help him from being condemned to die.  My second favorite is Sweet Liar where a woman is forced to search her missing grandmother to fulfill her father’s will after he died.  The story she finds is that her grandmother was a gangster’s moll in the 1920s and escaped from a Al Capone type of guy only to be found again in the 1960s when she tried to save her family by abandoning them.

I often wondered what it would be like if those two books were combined for many years but never thought anything of it.  Well that is until I moved to San Diego and into my first apartment.  I lived in the El Roberto which used to be an old hotel back in the 1920s.  It was a swanky little place that movie stars back in the day would stop in on their way to Mexico (at least that was the story I was told.)  The old place had one absolutely amazing feature in the basement:  two distillery boilers, preserved like they were back in the Prohibition days.  How do I know, you ask?  The first clue was that they were stand alone boilers that weren’t connected to any piping in the walls.  So I asked the landlord (a creepy dude for another story) what they were for then and he simply said, “For gin”.  He proceeded to tell me that beneath them were trap doors that still had glass bottles inside.  They were truly there for the purpose of making homemade alcohol underneath the radar of the police.  I was intrigued and a story started creeping up inside of me little by little.

It was later when I was supposed to be unpacking, I sat in this vast closet, which also held a drop down Murphy bed, and wondered how cool it would be if I found a photograph or letter of someone who once stayed at the hotel in my very room.  I put all of those thoughts together and stopped packing  to start my new story!  The Blue Lute was born.

That was back in 2000 and I wrote out a lot of thoughts and ideas for chapters, but never truly got back into it until 2008.  It was then that I went all out to put this book together.  And what fun it has been!  I have loved researching and writing about these characters and the strange events they went through.  I can’t wait for everyone to share my story with me.

Tryin it on for size

So hello, my name is Eryn LaPlant.  Last year I had the privilege of pursuing my dream of being a full-time author and mother.  Currently, I have three completed stories.  Two are still being edited and one is finished and ready to go.  That book is entitled, The Blue Lute.  In the last year I have been actively trying to catch the attention of literary agents around the country to read my book.  I have had some good leads but nothing that I can formally say have wanted to give it a go.  But I am determined that this WILL happen.  I can feel it in my bones that this is what I was meant to do.

Maybe it’s my family given talent of artistry and writing that has been passed down through many generation: my grandfather, my mother, my sisters – they are all writers.  Or maybe it’s the Irish storytelling in my blood, but I love creating and writing stories.  When I was at meaningless jobs all I could think of was that I’m wasting my time!  There I was just sitting at a desk working for some dumb company where I made absolutely no difference and could never be appreciated for the talents that had.  I hating working those places, but I didn’t hate working.  I wanted to be home so I could do the things I loved for a job and not for a hobby. 

Anyhow, back to the books.  The Blue Lute is probably my favorite story that has come to me.  I love it not only because it’s a fun story, but it combines all or the things that I love:  history, music, time travel, romance, and most importantly the 1920s.   Here’s my little blurb of its plot:   Think you have life figured out?  Brandon Crowley did until the night of August 31, 1928.  Fleeing into a dark alley, after being chased by Nick Abruzzio’s thugs, the man holding his fiancée, Christine Hutton, captive; Brandon emerges 70 years later in modern-day New York City.  With his friends long gone, and nowhere to turn, Brandon is stranded in an unfamiliar time. 

He is at a dead-end until he meets Lilly, a soulful graduate student at New York University, majoring in history, two years later.  She sees Brandon as a mysterious stranger obsessed with the past.  Only to Brandon, it’s his present and Lilly is soon caught up in a decades-old mystery they must solve.  Through twists and turns they find out that the truth was a far cry from what Brandon thought his life was like in 1928, instead it was  a vicious lie created by the one he loved the most.

Through this blog I would love to tell you about me and about the stories I’ve come up with as well as the origins of the ones I’ve already written.  I might even throw a few fascinating history lessons in there too! 🙂 Stay tuned tomorrow for more!!  Thanks for reading.