It's week Three of this incredibly fun blog hop! This week I have the wonderful Sharon Poppen stopping by to share some tidbits into her own personal life. Be sure to answer the question at the end in my comments to be put in the draw for this week's prize!
Corinne, thanks so much for offering me this opportunity to be featured on your exciting and teasingly erotic blog. The covers to your books are fabulous and must draw quite a bit of attention and I hope sales. (you can see Corinne’s blog for this week of our Best Summer Reading Tour by going to Regan Taylor’s blog www.regantaylorsworld.blogspot.com .)
When shown the proposed cover for my book Hannah, I didn’t care for it. My publisher was much more in tune with what attracts a reader so I went with her suggestion. She was right. When I did a book signing with several other writers at our local Hastings Book Store, we attempted to get the attention of the bookstore customers. All they had to do was talk with each of us for a minute or two to be entered into a drawing for a $20 Hastings gift certificate. I still smile when I think about a couple of young men who politely listened to the other authors spiels about their books, but when they got to me, one picked up a copy of Hannah and turned to his buddy and said, “Dude, this is the one. And they bought it. Sure glad I listened to my publisher that time. Now, on to some questions I’m asked about this delightful fun thing that absorbs my life – writing.
How do I do research?
I must admit, I’m not heavy into research, but there are things that must be validated to make your novel believable to your reader. My first novel was about the aftermath of the U.S. Civil war. Because the characters had been so clearly developed in my imagination before I ever sat down to write, I was able to ‘feel’ their emotional states and I was able to write from the heart. But, items such as historical places, situations, foreign language usage and the names of prominent people of the era had to be verified. I use history books from that era, I surf the Internet and occasionally I find an expert on the subject for some question and answer time. The early part of the 20th century was dynamic with change. Simple things like mailing something, modes of transportation and acceptable fashions of the era create a challenge to a writer who strives to remain true to the era of their story.
What is my least favorite word?
Can’t. When we utter that word, we sell ourselves short on achieving our potential, no matter the challenge. Occasionally, we all have to face that ‘thing’ that gets the best of us. But, it’s been my experience that I learn so much about myself when I take on something mentally or physically challenging and give it a darn good try. I may find that it is beyond my capability. In those rare cases, I believe I come out all the stronger for giving it a try and then say; “I tried,” rather than just selling myself short with, “I can’t.”
What am I reading this summer?
I started reading 50 Shades of Gray by E. L. James. I’m more than halfway through the book and I’m actually pretty bored with it. The main characters are far too stereotyped as they engage in over described sex. As a writer, we’re told to treat our readers to ‘show’, not ‘tell’. Ms. James is telling me how to do these things, but other than the predictable reactions of the two main characters, I’m left feeling like an observer. My next read will be The Six Wives of Henry the VIII by Gladys Malvern. Her novel Dear Wife was a favorite of mine when I was in my teens and it is still one of my favorite books today.
Hope you enjoyed my take on things and now I’d like to treat you to an excerpt from my novel Regardless due out this fall by Regal Crest Entp. LLC.
After reading the excerpt, you can qualify to win a free book this week and get entered to win a $50 Amazon gift certificate on July 29th just by leaving a comment here on Corinne’s blog with the answer to the following question. What is Michael Parker’s occupation?
Regardless – Sharon Poppen (Due to be released Fall 2012)
(- The era is 2371 A.D. In this scene Tom, the main character who is a Star Command Captain based in San Francisco, has arrived at his parent’s ranch in Wyoming and is having supper with them, his sister Barbara and her husband Tim.)
Tom took a deep breath and began. “I’ve found someone else.” Aside from a gasp from his mother, the words cast the room into an uncomfortable silence. Tom turned to his father. “I met a man that, despite my efforts to deny it, I have fallen in love with and I want to share my life with him.”
“Did I hear you right? A man?” Barbara’s voice was incredulous.
“Yes. A man. His name is Michael Parker. He’s a photographer that I met when Joanna and I went skiing last fall.” Tom turned back to his father. “Dad?”
His father looked at him as if he were meeting a stranger for the first time. “I don’t really believe what I just heard.”
Tom nodded. “I understand. I felt the same for a long time.” He eyes darted from person to person. “I fought it. I really did, only to find that it was making me miserable. Every aspect of my life was failing. I was making Joanna unhappy to the point where she accused me of having an affair. When that happened, I knew I had to face things and make a decision. I did that on Wednesday. From that moment on, I can’t remember ever being happier or more at peace. Being with Michael satisfies my soul. I feel as if I’ve know him for an eternity.”
He paused for comments. When none came, he continued on to tell them about how his wife had taken his admission and that he had called and asked his brother and sister-in-law, Eric and Victa, to go over and be there for Joanna.
“Yes, Mom. He knows.”
Picking up on Tom’s disappointment, his father asked, “He did not take it well?”
“No. He didn’t. He came to see me Thursday morning. I attempted to explain my feelings, but in the end he disowned me.”
“Oh, Tom.” His mother’s eyes filled with tears.
“Tommy. I’m sure he didn’t mean it.” Barbara offered.
“He sounded like he meant it.” Then to soften the blow, “But I keep hoping he’ll come around. He’s not a bigot or homophobic. It just shocked him. Just like you are now.”
Tom had been honest with them and could only hope they would react with love. Coffee was sipped, napkins were toyed with, but most noticeable was that eyes were downcast. Sadness settled in, draping him in a feeling of rejection. He loved these people; how could they turn their back on him? They hadn’t even met Michael; it was unfair. Thoughts of Michael supplanted his feelings of rejection with resentment. He stood up and spoke quietly.
“I’m sorry you feel this –
“Sit down.” His father commanded.
“I don’t want to –
“I said sit down.”
“Yes, please sit down,” urged his mother.
Her concern ate at his heart and he complied. He looked over at his father. Tom was relieved to see only question, not revulsion or rejection in his father’s eyes. Eventually the older man spoke.
“You’re right. This is a big shock to us. We’ve just been told a beloved daughter-in-law may be lost to us. A granddaughter could be hurt and scarred. Our son, a normal HT, is having an affair with a man. You’re damn right we’re shocked.”
Tom opened his mouth to speak, but his father continued.
“But first and foremost, you’re our son.” The words washed over Tom like a balm and gave him a glimmer of hope. “We love you. We have always been proud of you. We want you to be happy. So while we have concerns about the things I’ve mentioned,” he reached over to lay his hand over his wife’s, “you are our son and nothing, I repeat nothing, will ever change that. We’ll work through this.”
“Dad, I can’t …” Tom’s voice caught.
His father continued. “We all just need some time.”
Tom nodded to his father, then looked to find his mother nodding though tears threatened.
“Tom.” Tim’s voice surprised everyone. “I don’t get out of this little valley much. I guess you’d call me a country boy, so I’m not sure about a lot of the things that go on in the big cities. But I know this. I’ve watched you grow from a little boy, like one of mine, into the fine man sitting across the table from me. I know you don’t rush into things willy-nilly. What you do with your life and who you do it with, is your business. If this makes you happy, then who’s to say it’s wrong. I just want you to know that Barbara and I will help you in any way with Kelly. We’ll stay in touch with Joanna, but,” he paused and turned to see Barbara smiling in agreement, “we’ll be happy to meet your new friend.”
It was a long speech for Tim. Tom could only nod his thanks.
Barbara slipped her arm through her husband’s and clutched his hand as she confirmed his words. “Tommy, I couldn’t have said it any better. God knows human emotions can be a mystery, so who can fault our choices when it comes to love.”
Tom looked at his mother.
Her smile was melancholy, but it was a smile. “When do we get to meet this young man?”
“He’ll be here tomorrow.”
(to be continued)
Sharon Poppen ( www.sharonpoppen.com ) has won awards from Arizona Authors Assoc. and National League of American Pen Women. Her western novels After the War, Before the Peace, Hannah and Abby-Finding More Than Gold are available at Amazon Books, most web based book sellers and from her website. Her work has appeared in such publications as A Flasher’s Dozen, Desert Treasures, Skive, Offerings from the Oasis, A Long Story Short, Apollo Lyre and Laughter Loaf. Her workshops on Journaling, Short Story Writing and Blogging bring rave reviews. Sharon is a member of Lake Havasu City Writer’s Group. Her gay/sci-fi novel Regardless will be available in print and ebook the fall of 2012.
List of Published Novels
After the War, Before the Peace
Abby-Finding More Than Gold
Regardless (due out fall 2012)