Friday, May 27, 2016

Flamingos, Fireflies, and GREAT NEWS!

My new novel, For the Fireflies, is being released via my NEWSLETTER! We're eleven chapters in, but it's not too late to catch up!

Also, there's a MAJOR announcement in this weeks newsletter. 
The subscription form is right here, in the right-hand column of the blog! 

Welcome to Key West!
At last, the family is reunited.
While Josh can’t believe his parents bought an RV and drove all the way from Brooklyn, Allie can’t wait to be on the beach and feel the surf on her feet. Standing there, she wonders about Earth, Saturn, and the universe in general…
Meanwhile, Claude is surprised to learn who Joshua’s father is. Will it change their friendship, and how will Annabelle react when she hears the news?
Enjoy the sunset,

~ Mariam

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Memories of 9/11, Flamingos, and New Hope.

Most people in and around Manhattan couldn’t walk away from the city after 9/11, they had to stay and deal with what happened on that day. 
For those who remained, the sorrow may never pass, the memories may never dim, yet life goes on the same way Spring follows Winter. Everywhere, tiny buds of new life blossom into renewed hope for the future. Buildings are rebuilt, babies are born, and the music of the city flows through the canyons between the skyscrapers.

In the same way, Jon and Naomi get to see New York through their daughter’s young eyes, and they finally find the courage to return to the house and the city where they were so happy.
What does all this have to do with flamingos? You'll have to read Chapter 10 of For the Fireflies to find out!

Here's a short excerpt:

Raising his head, he seemed to shake off a heavy cloak. “Then something happened, and I never wanted to come back here, ever again. Your mom and I had to, though, because of the musical. But we never stayed any longer than we had to. Now, though…” 
Smiling at her, he let his hand glide over her braids. “With you here, it’s like I can look at it with fresh eyes, with your eyes.” 
Allie tried to imagine it: Was he somehow sitting inside her head, a mini version of Dad crouching somewhere behind her eyes, and using them like glasses? 
“A bad thing happened in this city not long after you were born, Allie.” He put down his coffee cup on the table by his elbow. “It drove out the memories of the good times, and left only black and dreary days in their place.” 

(psst… the signup form for the newsletter is right here, at the top of the right-hand column! Sign up, read the novel!)

Monday, May 9, 2016

Flowers and Blue Skies

Let me share this lovely day with you.

My walk today took me past the magnolia tree again. Sadly, all its wonderful blooms have gone, and it looks tired and limp like it was to a wild party and now is suffering from a murderous hangover.

There are other blooms out now though, like this beautiful azaleas (maybe they're rhododendrons, don't ask me!):

And this dandelion, totally ignoring the park fence and growing where it wants:

A bit farther down the road, and there are more azaleas (or rhododendrons):

And lilac. Have I mentioned how I love lilac? I could smell the sweet scent of this tree from far away.

There were some violets, too, but they were too deep in shadow to get a good photo of them.
Did you notice the blue sky? The beautiful sunshine?
It's definitely spring here!

Friday, May 6, 2016

A Starry Night

Last night I was trying to explain description to a friend. You know what I’m talking about, right? Description is when your characters see something and describe it to the reader. Or when you, the author, want to describe something to the reader. It’s what you do to get whatever you want to describe getting across? Is it enough to say the ocean was blue and rough or the trees were tall, and the mountains were high? The reader will know what you mean, but will they enjoy reading it? Will it transport them to that place you’re trying to create in their minds?

   Ah, give me a second. I think what we have here is the difference between showing and telling! I know that this has been discussed in many, many, many blog posts before but perhaps I should add my own version. 

   Don’t tell me what you saw. Show me what you felt seeing it. Do you know Monet? Or any other impressionist painter? Gauguin, van Gogh, Turner.  
   When you think of their paintings, do you see a thing first, or the mood the artist was in?
Think of van Gogh’s Starry Night. Stars don’t really look like that.They’re not visible to us as great wheels of light in the night sky; and we rarely get to see the Milky Way. What van Gogh shows us is his impression of stars in the sky, reality filtered through his mind. He shows us the light of the stars that he imagines

   What those impressionist artists did with their paintings, we authors strive to do with our writing. We want to take our readers with us on a journey through our fantasies, we want to show you the world as we see it. That ocean? It’s not just blue and rough. It breathes, and throws tantrums, it talks back to the sky, it dances with the beach. I throws its salty spray onto our faces to lure us into its waves, it tells stories from other continents, from its long trek around the globe. Writers must look beyond the obvious. We reach for the soul of things, and try to bring it out into the light.

   A forest is a forest, and its trees are tall, but it’s also a living thing. It has its own scent, its own air, its sounds and mysteries.

We writers look through the veil of reality, we seek the deeper meaning, we prod and wheedle and tap until it’s revealed to us. We peel away layers of fabric, of the mind, of feelings, until we get to the root of things, and then, when we’ve looked at it for long enough, we bring it forth and present it to the world. 

The trees stretched all the way into the sky, their highest branches reaching for the passing clouds. Rain dripped through the foliage, moving from leaf to leaf ever downward until it came to rest on the mossy ground. The air was rich with scent, a heavy perfume of earth, dampness, cedar resin.

   Or you could say, of course, the trees were tall.