January 2014 Archive

Writing for the Ear

Today, Randy Brandt is guest-posting on Writing for the Ear and the magic of stories read aloud. You might have noticed that we have a similar last name, and…that would be because he’s my dad, and a pretty cool one at that. Currently, he’s a preacher, though he’s worked as a 3rd grade teacher and, in his own words, is a picture-book-wanna-be-author.

I hope you enjoy this post! I wish you could have heard him read it aloud.

Randy Brandt:

It was in high school drama and musical productions that I first tasted the opiate of audience reaction to the live performance of spoken word where as an actor I grew accustomed to inflection, rhythm, pacing, gesture, and pause. I felt a similar reward when reading to my toddling children at bedtime, or to 30 third grade students gathered in our story-telling corner, or with a church of congregants waiting for the impacting end of an illustrative tale.

There is a unique power in how stories are experienced when the narrator speaks aloud, employing control over the timing of pauses or a patient lingering through a string of descriptive adjectives. The bard can sing the description of gentle wind over a field, hurry with fevered pitch and breathless excitement through a tome’s climatic fight scene, add sassy character to biting dialogue, or whisper slowly the description of the antagonist’s last breath.

When I spent time over the minimalist use of words demanded in picture book authoring, I found myself obsessed with reading aloud, time and again, the prose that I imagined someday being illustrated, hoping against hope that my words would be read, not just silently by young readers to themselves, but out loud by teachers, parents, and children. Thus, I wrote in a way that my voice would be the reader’s voice, that my style in writing would reflect how the reader actually read and how the hearer would listen with heart, emotion, and imagination.

I’m convinced that most readers not only see the images and feel the emotions described in the novels they read, but they hear it all happening with inspired imaginations fueled by the writer’s honed skills.

The question I pose for you authors who have no voice, but only the printed word: How is it that through writing style and technique an author can bring the power of spoken voice to prose? Do you image your dialogue being spoken aloud someday, perhaps during a group discussion of your published work or better yet, on the screen?

Do you write for the reader’s ear?  Do you think of yourself as a story-teller who has no lips but her pen, no arms for gesticulating nor ability to slow the pace of speech except in how carefully crafted words appear on a page?

Or better yet…what techniques are in a writer’s arsenal to equip the author with comparable powers of story-telling control to which the ancient bard has always been privy?

An Unstill Life

Good morning, everyone! Today, Kate Larkindale is dropping by to post about her recently released book, An Unstill Life!

 

Available NOW!

Amazon

Musa Publishing

Smashwords

 

An Unstill Life

Things at home are rough for fifteen-year-old Livvie Quinn. Jules, her beloved older sister is sick again after being cancer free for almost ten years.  Her mom becomes more frantic and unapproachable every day. School isn’t much better.  Just when she needs them most, her closest friends get boyfriends and have little time for Livvie – except to set her up on a series of disastrous blind dates.

Livvie seeks refuge in the art room and finds Bianca, the school ‘freak’.  Free-spirited and confident, Bianca is everything Livvie isn’t. Shaken by her mom’s desperation, her sister’s deteriorating condition, and abandoned by her friends, Livvie finds comfort and an attraction she never felt before with Bianca.

When their relationship is discovered, Livvie and Bianca become victims of persecution and bullying. School authorities won’t help and even forbid the pair to attend the Winter Formal as a couple. If Livvie defies them and goes, she risks expulsion and further ridicule from her classmates. At home, her mother’s behavior escalates to new levels of crazy and Jules is begging for help to end the pain once and for all.

While searching for the strength to make her life her own, Livvie must decide how far she’s willing to go for the people she loves.

GLTB YA

Publisher: Musa Publishing

Excerpt:

I lolled against Bianca, aware of her distinctive raspberry scent enveloping me. My laughter caught in my throat, and I had trouble breathing through it. I looked up at her, watching the way the streetlights played across her features. With her head thrown back, her throat was long and white, and I was overcome with a sudden desire to touch it.

I didn’t say a word, but she seemed to hear my thoughts. Her laughter quieted, and she turned to look at me, her eyes glittering in the sodium glow. For a long time we stood there, eyes locked, the warm breeze wafting across our skin.

Bianca bent her head, and her lips settled upon mine. They were warm and soft, slippery with lipstick. I shivered and pressed my own lips hungrily against hers. Her mouth opened a little, and I followed, admitting her inquisitive tongue. It tickled mine, darting in and out, waltzing across my taste buds. The flavor of wine, exotic and sour at the same time, flooded my mouth.

My heart beat a rapid tattoo through my chest. This was wrong. I should not be doing this. But I remained mesmerized, nerves I’d never noticed before singing songs of ecstasy along my spine. Kissing Jesse had been nothing like this.

She pulled away, slowly, as if surfacing from a dive. She licked her lips, smiling in satisfaction. Her lipstick, smeared now, blurred her mouth into something unrecognizable. I ran my tongue across my lips and tasted her there, spikes of electricity igniting in my belly. This was better than I could have imagined.

“Wow…” she breathed. “You’re good.”

“Am I?” I reached for her again, wanting nothing but her mouth on mine once more.

“Yeah, you are.” She pushed me against the wall, and I lost myself in her kisses.

Time held no meaning. It could have been seconds or forever before I drew back. Nothing so good could be wrong, yet my stomach writhed with guilt. “I…I should get home.” My voice was unsteady.

Bianca glanced up at the star-speckled sky and nodded. “Yeah. Me too.”

It felt completely natural when, as we walked toward the bus stop two blocks away, she slipped her hand into mine.

About The Author

Having spent a lifetime travelling the globe, Kate Larkindale is currently residing inWellington,New Zealand.  A cinema manager, film reviewer and mother, she’s surprised she finds any time to write, but doesn’t sleep much.  As a result, she can usually be found hanging out near the espresso machine.

Her short stories have appeared in Halfway Down The Stairs, A Fly in Amber, Daily Flash Anthology, The Barrier Islands Review, Everyday Fiction, Death Rattle, Drastic Measures, Cutlass & Musket and Residential Aliens, among others.

She has written eight contemporary YA novels, five of which other people are allowed to see.  She has also written one very bad historical romance.  She is currently working on a new YA novel that is still looking for a title other than its Twitter hashtag, #juvvielesbian.

 

Author Links

Website: http://katelarkindale.blogspot.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Vampyr14

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4086706.Kate_Larkindale

(links to the sales sites, should they not work)

http://www.amazon.com/An-Unstill-Life-Kate-Larkindale-ebook/dp/B00HNCAPFI/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1388696099&sr=8-3&keywords=An+Unstill+Life

http://musapublishing.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=24&products_id=728

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/393862