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Write from Here

I write from here in southern New Mexico (neither new nor Mexico, as they say around here) about characters in a made up town on the west coast of the United States. I’m calling the location southern Oregon.

 

write from here

Oregon Coast by Jane L Ray

How do I write from here about the goings-on in a lighthouse and its estate while hunkered down in a creosote forest and hammered by a desert wind storm?

  • Imagination.
  • Memory.
  • Photos of lighthouses, especially those from friends. Thank you, Jane, Randy, Dalene and Susan.
  • Research – like visiting lighthouses whenever possible, in person and online.

 

What else can I do to ignite those little brain cells?

  • Read. Thanks to:
    write from here

    Lighthouse Spiral Staircase by Randy Jiner

    • Cozy authors Agatha Frost, Lynn Florkiewicz, Frances Evesham, J. A. Whiting.
    • Literary fiction author L. J. Ross and her DCI Ryan books.
    • Local library (Thomas Branigan Memorial Library).
  • Listen/view waves roll, crash, and spray in ocean-themed nature videos. Special thanks to YouTubers and video sharers:
  • Webcams! I’ve been to these places and more from the comfort of my office: Ireland, Thailand, the Hamptons, Hawaii, Virginia Beach, Shelter Cove, Italy, Miami Beach, New Zealand, and my most frequented, Florence, Oregon. I recommend EarthCam, a great online tool and app, and publicly accessible internet webcams. The best ones include sound. (Warning: you may be tempted to travel to places completely unrelated to your research. Still, the Paris webcam at the Eiffel Tower is amaze-balls as my niece, Cassie, likes to say.)
  • Meditate.

You can use these ideas to write from here (wherever your here is). If you have tips of your own you’d like to share, please add them to the comments. Thank you!


Fiction writer and author, Tanya D. Dawson, has written a story for the young adult in all of us. Her pending novel, Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel [working title], is an atypical tale set in our everyday reality alongside an unknown world of extraordinary others. This becoming-who-you-are adventure breathes fresh air and light into the often dark and apocalyptic world of YA fiction, without giving up the angst or the weird. While Andersen Light is primarily set the fictional town of Mystic Creek, Oregon, Tanya lives and works in the American Southwest.

Close Connections

What close connections pull fictional characters Georgie Jones and Luther Andersen together, aside from the little matter of a prophecy?

Grandma and Grandpa Jones

Luther is a lighthouse keeper, professor, and Georgie’s eventual mentor. He’s also a long-time family friend. A man of indeterminate age, Luther knew Grandma Jones’s aunt Betty before Grandma was even born. Back then Betty dated Thomas Nelson, best friend of Luther’s brother, Charles.

[Nelson Close Connections Trivia: Thomas and Betty married after the war. Thomas taught Georgie’s dad to play guitar, which launched Will Jones’s musical career. Thomas and Betty had Carl, who works alongside Luther and Maria Elena (Josefina’s mom) at the Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel estate. CJ, a.k.a. Carl Junior, plays rhythm guitar in Will Jones’s band.]

Close Connections

Georgie and Luther – The Connections

Josefina Garcia

Josefina is the first kid to befriend Georgie in Mystic Creek. Now she’s Georgie’s BFF. How’s that for close connections? But wait for it. Josefina’s mom, Maria Elena, works with Luther at Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel, as did generations of her family.

[Luther and Maria Elena History: Luther and Maria Elena are friends from way back. Luther had already been back to the lighthouse for some time after college when Maria Elena returned to Mystic Creek. She’d been to college, married, had two children, and was a newly grieving widow. Luther’s mother, ever insightful, employed Maria Elena at Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel. Luther and Maria Elena have worked together since. Is there more to their relationship?]

Josefina introduced Georgie to Shawn Green the very first day on the bus. Shawn has been Josefina’s best friend since grade school. Now the three are BFFs.

[The Green Connection:  You’ll find even interesting connections between the Greens, Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel and the Joneses in the book.]

I look forward to hearing how you connect with the characters in my upcoming novel. Until then, please subscribe for more on my characters and “lessons learning,” and check in on social media!


Fiction writer and author, Tanya D. Dawson, has written a story for the young adult in all of us. Her pending novel, Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel [working title], is an atypical coming of age tale set in our everyday reality alongside an unknown world of extraordinary others. This becoming-who-you-are adventure breathes fresh air and light into the often dark and apocalyptic world of YA fiction, without giving up the angst or the weird. While Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel is primarily set on the North’ish West Coast, Tanya lives and works in the American Southwest.

Relax and Do Nothing Frog

Relax and Do Nothing

Recently I was hit with the need to relax and do nothing in an effort to relieve stress and make way for healing (shingles, for crying out loud). I don’t know about you, but being told to do nothing seemed like a dream. But it turns out that to do nothing is harder than you might think—or better put, and speaking only for myself, to relax and do nothing without guilt can be dauntingly difficult. Nagging thoughts of things wanting done crowd the mind like uninvited guests.

 

Relax and Do Nothing Copper Wire  Key Tying

Relax and Do Nothing Copper Wire Key Tying

Though not exactly doing nothing, I’ve found binge-watching can be quite relaxing. Bonus: a writer-mentor friend  assures me it is excellent self-care.

Relax and Do Nothing Frog

Relax and Do Nothing Frog

I particularly liked BBC’s The Great Interior Design Challenge. Unfortunately, Netflix currently has only one season. Fortunately there were 16 episodes! I started assessing my own home for interior design possibilities, which was not part of the intended relax and do nothing protocol. Of course, this morphed into things I could do while watching TV from the couch, like tying keys together with copper wire and painting a yard art frog in glow-in-the-dark greens—which were both relaxing. (The doctor said specifically to relax without guilt.) Naturally, I have also gone for yoga, meditation, reading, and naps. Social media and news fasts have made way for recommended holistic, dietary and supplement data gathering jags. Meet my new friend, lemon balm tea.

I am now sneaking up on getting back to work, hence this post. So here’s me working part time between my relaxation breaks. Until next time, or as they say around these here parts, hasta entonces.

Tanya


New fiction author, Tanya D. Dawson, has written a story for the young adult in all of us. Her pending novel, Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel [working title], brightens the sometimes dark world of YA and delivers the angst and the weird in this inspiring becoming-who-you-are adventure of mystery, intrigue, and mysticism grounded in today’s world. While Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel is primarily set on the North’ish West Coast, Tanya lives and works in the American Southwest.

Face to Face

ComFace to Faceing Face to Face with Your(My)self

You may not expect to come face to face with yourself when writing fiction. After all, it is fiction. Though some writers may not come face to face with themselves, I’ve come to learn many do, and I’m one.

What do I mean by coming face to face with yourself? It starts out with random distraction, thoughts, emotions, and more distraction. Then, if you’re willing to see, clarity dawns. Clarity—what’s bad about that, you might ask? Oh, nothing. It’s all good. Clarity brought me face to face with the nebulous but just as real things like:

  • How easily distracted I can be, especially, but not exclusively, with the eyes of a house dobby. (Look, therHouse Dobby Edited from Public Domain Photoe’s dust! What’s dust doing in wind-blown New Mexico? I just dusted yesterday. Look, a shiny thing! Must investigate. Should I do the laundry?)
  • (Let’s call it) the flexibility continuum of my self-confidence. (What made me think I could switch from writing network security plans in governmentese to novels in real English? Who are Shrunk and White, again? )
  • The naked truth of being worthy, or not to (do this writing thing, have the freedom to explore writing, or leave the security (pun intended) of my previous career?).
  • Resistance. Yep, it’s a thing, even if you want to write and you like it. Seriously, there are books about it, like The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.

And the inevitable reactions of the above when coming face to face with reality:

  • What do they mean, writing is only 10% of getting a book published!?! What’s a platform?
  • Editing is intense. Then there’s more editing. And more, more, more. (Must be time to put the medium colors in the washer. Where’s my sock? Maybe Super Spouse will pick something up for dinner.)

The Really Good News

The good news is that there are others—writers, artists, and compassionate other humans with clear intuition, empathy and intellect. I may not remember this during week three or so of not having left the office/house. Then, as if my good fairy has waved her magic wand, a text, email, call, or my spousal unit will remind me. Then, I again come face to face with who I am, why I am doing this, and that I love it.


New fiction author, Tanya D. Dawson, has written a story for the young adult in all of us. Her pending novel, Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel [working title], brightens the sometimes dark world of YA and delivers the angst and the weird in this inspiring becoming-who-you-are adventure of mystery, intrigue, and mysticism grounded in today’s world. While Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel is primarily set on the West Coast, Tanya lives and works in the American Southwest.

Search Is On

Search Is On!

The Search Is On!

The search is on for the right agent and publisher to bring young Georgie Jones, her mentor Luther Andersen, and their friends and family to the world!

Search Is On!

On behalf of Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel (as in lighthouse), I am shining my light through query letters and submissions to connect with that person and team whose own search is on for us.

I’ve learned that authors are encouraged to find the “right fit” in a prospective agent and publisher. The “right fit” applies primarily to the type of book.

Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel is a YA contemporary fiction novel. The characters live in our everyday world where weird family stuff happens, people brush their teeth anyway, and kids go to school the next morning. Georgie’s confidence is eroded by the weird family stuff, but works to regain her mojo and comes into her own power as the story unfolds.

Yet, Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel is also a YA fantasy in which another reality within this one is revealed to a shocked Georgie. It is secret world where people do things, well, let’s just say, more and differently.

If your search is on for a self-help book, keep looking. Even so, Luther’s wisdom kindly guides Georgie and the others through life’s travails, and may very well apply to yours too. Metaphysicians will identify with natural laws, training sessions, and analyze Georgie’s dreams. You’ll look forward to every insight shared by Luther, particularly his private reflections.

Romance readers, cool your hot tub jets. Any romance you find will be of the budding variety. (Stay tuned for Book 2. 😉 )

Readers whose own search is on for stories beyond the dark, apocalyptic worlds they’ve grown weary of will breathe fresh air in the pages of Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel. Don’t get me wrong, Georgie’s no powder puff. You’ll roll with unique action and adventure, and find yourselves rooting for Georgie and her friends in Mystic Creek—especially during a daring rescue mission!

How exciting it will be to find the agent, a real human, a person who will shepherd Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel, Luther, Georgie and all the rest into published being. Here’s to a fruitful search. The search is on!


New fiction author, Tanya D. Dawson, has written a story for the young adult in all of us. Her pending novel, Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel [working title], brightens the sometimes dark world of YA and delivers the angst and the weird in this inspiring becoming-who-you-are adventure of mystery, intrigue, and mysticism grounded in today’s world. While Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel is primarily set on the West Coast, Tanya lives and works in the American Southwest.

Character origins

Character Origins – More Revealed

Greenhouse Memory

I’ve learned more origin info about my characters since my last post. My mom and paternal aunt independently corroborated history of the greenhouse I remember as a child. It actually belonged to my grandmother’s sister-in-law, Georgie, and her husband, Al. Yes, Georgie—the very same Great-aunt Georgie whose name I gave my character!

Luther, whose name I gave my other primary character, was in fact a help-mate and friend of my grandparents. He and his wife lived next door to my newly married parents. She was especially kind to my young mother.

Great-aunt Georgie

Aunt Georgie was an earth angel to me, and others. As nurse and relative, she was there when I was born. (She was also my aunt’s role model. See her post comment.) Georgie wiped my tears after teen breakups and taught me my first yoga moves. We talked about astrology and horoscopes when the coast was clear (and no one else could hear). Aunt Georgie may have given me my character’s name, but she gave me so much more. I have felt her presence steadily throughout my adult life.

Now you know.

The names Luther and Georgie came from real people. Maria Elena’s name came from the beautiful song by that name, a favorite of my mother’s.

Here’s to unearthing your own fond memories!

—–

New fiction author, Tanya D. Dawson, has written a story for the young adult in all of us. Her pending novel, Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel [working title], brightens the sometimes dark world of YA and delivers the angst and the weird in this inspiring becoming-who-you-are adventure of mystery, intrigue, and mysticism grounded in today’s world. While Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel is primarily set on the West Coast, Tanya lives and works in the American Southwest.

 

Real Life Luthers

Real Life Luthers

The Missouri Luther

A man called Luther was a friend and helpmate of my grandparents in a little town in southwest Missouri. I met him while visiting them as a very young child. I’m not sure how I actually remember Luther, but he made a big impression on me. He was kind and talked to me like a friend. Luther took time out of his adult day to show me around the greenhouse he kept for my grandmother.

Later, when I was older, but still a child, he was gone. I was living on the property then but my siblings were elsewhere. I spent a lot of time alone. I was convinced then and now I saw and felt Luther there.

This gentle man whose full name I never knew made such an impression that I have never forgotten him. I believe he has heard and felt my gratitude over the years.

Rev. Carl E. Andersen, Burro Guru

The Real Luthers

Luther Andersen, a primary character in my novel, is an amalgamation of every good mentor I’ve ever had, both women and men. Some have passed while most are still alive. Luther’s looks and last name come from the late Reverend Carl E. Andersen, who also went briefly as The Burro Guru. Carl was a WW II veteran Army officer and a real mystic. Like so very many others, I loved him dearly. I didn’t know him when he was young, though I did see a few photos. He was a tall, slender, gentle Dane with beautiful blue eyes, a thick head of hair, and amazing insight he’d honed over his long, adventurous life.

I have been graced to cross paths with many wise souls―family members, teachers, ministers, friends. These Luthers shared their wisdom with me in ways that stuck. Their gentle kindness and intelligent humor opened my mind, heart, ears, and eyes. Some literally saved my you-know-what (butt)! I am so crazy grateful that I’d love to post the long list of their names here, but I choose to respect their privacy. Still, thank you.  (You know who you are.)

_____

New fiction author, Tanya D. Dawson, has written a story for the young adult in all of us. Her pending novel, Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel [working title], brightens the sometimes dark world of YA and delivers the angst and the weird in this inspiring becoming-who-you-are adventure of mystery, intrigue, and mysticism grounded in today’s world. While Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel is primarily set on the West Coast, Tanya lives and works in the American Southwest.

Pizza Power

Pizza Power

Have you contemplated the power of pizza?

I’m not talking about the robust declarations of definitive bests:

  • Crust―thick, thin, deep dish, white, sourdough, whole grain….
  • Shape―round, square, avant garde….
  • Sauces―tomato sauce, pesto, oil….
  • Cheeses and toppings―don’t get me started!
  • Who’s got the best―Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Naples, Sidney, Mumbai….?
  • Fingers or fork?
  • Folded or flat?

I am referring to underlying dimensions of pizza’s power.

Pizza draws people together.

Announcing, “Pizza’s here!” is like ringing a really loud bell. Folks from everywhere come running.

Have your ever noticed how company meetings are well attended when there’s pizza? Back in the day in the U.S. Air Force, I learned help with moving was guaranteed with a pizza party. Even for the picky eaters, there’s always a chance there’ll be a slice.

Pizza doesn’t discriminate.

As a people, we pizza eaters happily and hungrily cross every divide in society to get that slice. We share our favorites with others. We brag which is truly the best and where to get it. Some may share my spousal-unit’s favorite of traditional pepperoni and cheese pizza, go for the veggies, or stand among the adventurous. There are gluten-free’ers and ones who have to watch our cheeses. One thing’s for sure, we all love our pizza.

Pizza encourages individual choice.

In my novel, pizza makes many appearances. When it comes to pizza night at Anderson Lighthouse, pizza is all about choice. Maria Elena transforms the kitchen worktable and teaches the art of pizza building. She first provides a foundation of crust. Characters move around the worktable choosing sauces, the pre- and post-bake toppings, and condiments. (Red pepper flakes, anyone?)

Maria Elena’s pizza-building station comes from a personal life lesson. Many years ago, my friend Sarah taught me that choice matters. “Choose your slice,” she said. Sarah expected me to look at the whole pizza and pick the one I wanted. Up until then I was a default slice eater. She taught me I had choice in life in that one single exercise. Now that’s pizza power!

There’s healing power in pizza.

In later chapters, a daring mission is happily and successfully completed. Pizza creates a spontaneous celebration. Rescuers elicit shy smiles from the rescued as they come together over pizza pie.

In real life, pizza was delivered as I wrote last week’s blog post. The arrival of pizza boxes signified the near end to several difficult days. Their slices represented normalcy. Real or imagined (is there a difference?), they provided emotional solace. The pizzas were lukewarm and Super Spouse’s choice of red sauce tasted better than my pesto. It didn’t matter. Pizza has that kind of power.

Taking a cue from my character Georgie, I wish you pizza.

_____

New fiction author, Tanya D. Dawson, has written a story for the young adult in all of us. Her pending novel, Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel [working title], brightens the sometimes dark world of YA and delivers the angst and the weird in this inspiring becoming-who-you-are adventure of mystery, intrigue, and mysticism grounded in today’s world. While Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel is primarily set on the West Coast, Tanya lives and works in the American Southwest.

Getting Personal

Getting Personal

Trip to Tucson

The instructors, Reid Tracy and Cheryl Richardson, told us in the Hay House workshop (ref my December 5, 2017 post) we need to get personal, to let people get to know us. I am convinced I heard the collective, internal groans from the writers in the room at this remark. We can be a private lot.

I get the idea of learning about people. I like to read about my favorite writers. Does knowing a little bit about them or the region they live in help inform her or his writing? [Shrug] Beats me.

Here’s me being personal. This weekend I am in Tucson, Arizona with hubby to hang out with my sister following her surgery. It’s been an emotionally rough last few days because it was a scary surgery. She’s a trooper and we got her home this afternoon.

Last night, Super Spouse took me to a two-story Barnes & Noble for a night cap in the cafe (him, hot chocolate and me, iced Tazo Passion tea) because he figured it would help me feel better. He was right. I love being surrounded by books. And I like that Passion tea. ?

Future Location of My Novel

Right now I’m in my pj’s in the hotel waiting for delivery of hubby’s favorite meal, pizza, and watching the SAG awards. He loves all the awards shows and I kind of like them too. We’ll be back home by tomorrow. I’m going to take a long nap.

Enough about me. (Pizza’s here.) Like we say around these parts, hasta entonces (until then).

Carriage House – Both Workshop and Garage

Back in the day, people rode in carriages instead of automobiles and parked them in carriage houses. The original carriage house on the novel’s fictional Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel estate was quite large. Luther Andersen eventually converted it into both a garage and a workshop.

The Carriage House at Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel

The characters Luther Andersen and his coworker, Carl Nelson, use the carriage house workshop for estate maintenance as well as for their engineering projects. Luther and Carl are keen on environmental solutions and the workshop doubles as their research lab. Solar and wind projects can be seen all around Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel. Hybrid carts used to get around the estate are one example of solar technology. Luther’s 1941 Packard station wagon, “Woody”, parked in the garage portion of the carriage house, is another.

Georgie, Josefina or both, park their bicycles in the carriage house when they arrive at Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel after classes at the Mystic Creek High School.

The Green Carriage House

You’ll find another carriage house workshop mentioned in the novel, the one at Shawn Green’s house. Shawn’s dad and brother, Derrick and Earl, developed the first portion of their “black box” design for the government in this workshop.

 

Thank you for joining me into another peek into the world of my upcoming novel. Stay tuned for more!

 

 

New fiction author, Tanya D. Dawson, has written a story for the young adult in all of us. Her pending novel, Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel [working title], brightens the sometimes dark world of YA and delivers the angst and the weird in this inspiring becoming-who-you-are adventure of mystery, intrigue, and mysticism grounded in today’s world. While Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel is primarily set on the West Coast, Tanya lives and works in the American Southwest.