Guest Blog Post by Author Mica Rossi
Author, Mica Rossi, has some great advice for new and not so new authors. Her interesting bio showcases her five published works. Thank you, Mica, for being May's guest blogger.
Down in the Valley
noun NORTH AMERICAN
1. a narrow canyon with a flat bottom and vertical walls.
Spanish cajon meaning a large box
We’ve all written ourselves into one. You know what I mean – that hopeless place where our heroes or heroines are stuck with no way out. With unscalable walls, a rock slide blocking the exit, and not a clue as to how you got here. The spot where your imagination feels like it's caught in the La Brea Tar Pits and is sinking fast.
This wasn't supposed to happen. You had a plan. You had direction. Heaven forbid, you might have even had an outline!! Yet somehow, you're still off track. So what went wrong? As Bugs Bunny used to say, "I knew I should've made a left at Albuquerque."
Here are three of my favorite strategies for fixing a runaway plot. The first one is simple – read your story. From the beginning. Out loud. Pace the floor. Act out the parts. Chances are, you’ll catch where you made the wrong turn that plunged you into the valley.
If that doesn’t work, the second thing to try is to read your outline (if you’ve made one) or your notes on various napkins or paper scraps and compare those to your story. Did the heroine zig instead of zag? Should she have been at work but instead played hooky? Did the hero go out with the guys instead of spending the evening washing his car so the heroine could chance across him as she walked her little brother to the playground? Sometimes the smallest thing will send your story in a new direction that seems exciting but ends up with your character all boxed in.
By now you’ve probably discovered where you took the wrong fork, but just in case you haven’t, the third fix is to have someone else read your outline and story. Another writer is best, but make sure it’s someone who will be objective and tell you where you need to untwist the pretzel. No, your mother is not the person to call on here, unless she can be ruthlessly critical. By having another person read, you’re getting a fresh viewpoint and someone who isn’t involved so deeply in your story that he or she gets bogged down.
Most of the time, one of these three actions will help you dig your way out of any box canyon you encounter. If not, I know someone who has a steam shovel…
I was born in New York state and my very first book was made of stapled-together penmanship paper and entitled “The Big Snow.” My 2nd grade teacher 'published’ it, and I did the illustrations entirely in blue crayon. Since that time, I've written three novels and countless short stories. Most have not been published. Yet.
It’s good practice, what I've written so far. These stories and novels may never be seen by the public, but each one taught me a little more about my craft.
I'm such an avid reader that I can’t remember a time when there weren’t books around the house. Even when I was broke, I still had a library card. I read every book our small library had to offer, and we took out stacks of children’s books for my kids.
I used to read teen romance comic books but never tried a romance novel until I worked the graveyard shift in the maternity ward. At three in the morning, you either have to read or fall asleep, so I picked up a copy of “Sweet, Savage Love” by Rosemary Rogers and was instantly hooked. I devoured all the historical romance novels I could find. Later, I discovered more urban love stories, and eventually, paranormal love stories. In the paranormal world, I found my home.
I love the juxtaposition of an urban setting against elements of magick or faerie, demons, ghosts or mythical creatures. There’s something that draws me to those pockets of our universe where the laws of physics can be ignored, or at least trifled with.
Now working as a paralegal to pay the bills, I hope someday to make writing my full-time career. I'm a member of several different writing groups, online as well as in the real world, and a member of Romance Writers of America. “The Sweet Life,” a novella included in Sex, Lies and Scandal (originally by TRRA in 2013, now 2015 by Iowa Writers' Corner), was my first published work. Although not a paranormal romance, it is definitely romantic. It involves a hunky man, a spunky woman, and French pastry. What's not romantic about that?
"The Wish Your Heart Makes" is a Christmas short story in Eight 'Til Christmas (December 2013), a compilation of Christmas-themed stories put together by an exceptional group of authors as a charity project to benefit Feed the Children. It's a little high tech, a bit fairytale magic, and love against all logic.
The third short story published in an anthology setting is “Pictures,” a slice-of-life in Awakened: Tales of Erotic Discovery (February 2015). “Pictures” holds place of honor as the first offering in the book.
Once in a Blue Moon (May 2014 by Satin Romance, an imprint of Melange Books) is my first stand-alone novel. This is a full out paranormal romance with a dash of Irish thrown in for good measure. Just think about a gorgeous member of the Aos Sidhe running into the one woman in Boston who has a vendetta against all things magical, and you'll understand why sparks fly against the backdrop of hot summer days and starry nights in the city.
Heart Songs (April 2016 by Camelot Publishing Company) is my second book and is a collection of short stories and poetry. The book encompasses emotions of all sorts, love, longing, regret, fear, passion, pain, and the finality of a relationship’s ending, the full circle of emotional responses to life. I am extremely proud of this book and a little fearful too, as so much of myself is trapped between its two covers.
I am now hard at work on my next two novels, one a time-travel entitled "To Save a King," set in all the splendor and romance of Camelot, and the other called The Christmas Hat, set to be published in November of this year. I'm kind of liking these worlds I create, and hopefully, you'll hang around to share them with me. I'll make an occasional side trip to the real world, just so my family knows I'm still alive, but I think I'm probably going to stay here for a while...
You can find Mica and her books at the following links.
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/mica.rossi.author/
Facebook personal page: https://www.facebook.com/mica.rossi.963
LinkedIn: Mica Rossi