Harry, the Grim Reaper, & Creme de la Creme

So life is back to normal. The landscape has changed with all the downed trees but acorns that sprouted beneath the old girls’ shade can fill the space in time…lots of time. Boy I sure do miss those oaks.

I went to see JK Rowling’s last Harry Potter movie this past weekend. What a fantastic world she built. I’m sorry to see the story and the movies end but I heard rumors of sequels and prequels. As a devoted fan, I’ll happily take more. I walked out of the theater absolutely loving this series of books and loving the fact I got to see these kids grow up in the stories and movies. Brilliant work Jo Rowling. Absolutely brilliant.

It got me thinking…my unnamed 5-book as-yet-unfinished Magnum Opus (from here on out referred to as the MO) has such a world. No, not as fanciful as JK Rowling’s world of witches and wizards that captures the imagination of adults as well as children, but very intricate and exciting nonetheless. My bad guy could be Voldemort’s younger brother.  The story in this mind-bending, cerebral, piece of work is winding down to the end. Like sand funneling down the narrow center in an hourglass, all details and story threads are starting to converge. I found myself uncharacteristically jumping ahead (I’m a linear writer) and wrote scenes to be spliced in later. I wonder if other authors see the end and struggle to keep the story from accelerating before its time. I’ve seen movies like that. They start as visually imaginative works of art, then come the end, the budget is blown and the movie ends abruptly. I don’t want to blow my creative budget.

I know I’m not the only author out there who dreams of a fraction of JK Rowling’s success. My personal wish is not for fame but if fame comes with that much desired success I’ll gladly take it on. It’ll be uncomfortable, but yeah, I’ll deal with it. I’m sure I’m not the only author out there who envisions a movie or mini-series for their work either. Now if I could only find the time to work on the MO. But dreams of movie deals are small thoughts compared to the larger things I’m thinking on.

I saw the point of sacrifice in JK Rowling’s books. I didn’t like Hedwig the owl getting blasted. I certainly didn’t like Sirius Black and Dumbledore both getting killed. Fred Weasley was sacrificed in the last book as were many other lesser characters and I didn’t enjoy that sacrifice either. But I see why she did it. Sacrifice of beloved characters ups the ante. It makes the fight more dire. My son, a reader and writer of books with knife-edged balances good and evil, says I need to kill off a beloved character in my MO. My daughter and husband concur. The point would be the same as in Harry Potter. True evil steals from us. Such sacrifice states in no uncertain terms that the stakes are high, there are loved ones and good (with a capital G) to protect. *sigh* I made my characters fit their lives, each other, and their world so precisely, even thinking about killing one off makes me feel like the Grim Reaper or worse. I have much to think about regarding the MO.

In the meantime, I’m working on my paranormal romance this week. I vow to complete many chapters. Having been away from actual story crafting in preparation for (and the day of)  the Summer Love-In, my interview at Michele Zurlo’s The Steam Room, some non-writer obligations, and assorted stuff I needed to focus on, I need to knuckle down and make some ground on this story. This is a point where I wish I had a cabin in the woods (lol if you saw where I lived you’d say huh??). I mean a secluded cabin – just me and the laptop. I’d have ready to eat meals slid through a slot in the door and I’d stay for one full month. With forced isolation I think three of the many books in progress would get done in a snap. I might even get some work done on the MO too. Well that ain’t gonna happen. There are dishes and laundry to see to, dogs to walk, dinner to make…I’ll squeeze in as much as I can today and tomorrow I’ll be on a lock down! No calls, no cleaning, no office work, nothing but pure creativity. Hear that Calliope? I’m open to receive, aMuse me please.

🙂 As I said in the preceding paragraph, I had an interview over at Michele Zurlo’s Steam Room. http://www.michelezurlo.com/apps/blog/show/7667201-tsr-welcomes-rose-anderson

She interviews fabulous authors all the time. I count myself lucky she had room for me. I set this up months ago and fortunately it coincides with Dreamscape’s release this Tuesday (19th) I’m blogging the interview because it’s part of the journey I’ve dedicated to the Muse. But I recommend going there as well. Like I said, she interviews fabulous authors and is one herself. Lots of information on her site. If you’re looking for the next terrific read, when you’re finished reading my interview, check out the rest of the books listed, especially Michele’s Daughter’s of Circe series. Some great paranormal writing there. I love stories with lots of detail.

Here’s my spot:

The Steam Room is proud to present Rose Anderson.

TSR: Tell us about Dreamscape.

Rose: Dreamscape is being released on Tuesday July 19th, my second novel through Siren-Bookstrand. Years ago, my children and I read a book entitled The Eleventh Hour by Graeme Base. This fascinating storyteller/artist described a feast that was stolen before the party goers had the chance to eat it. In page after page he hid all manner of clues pointing to the culprit. It took us three full months of sophisticated puzzling to crack the case! Though not as intense as that children’s book, Dreamscape is a story within a story and is filled with clues that any avid reader or movie goer would notice. I think more than one reader will go hey wait a minute…

In this tale, I introduce readers to Doctor Lanie O’Keefe: a confident, independent woman who’s just bought herself a Mid-Victorian mansion that the locals say is haunted. It certainly looks the part with its overgrown weeds and decades of vandalism.  As the inside needs only minor repairs and major cleaning, Lanie moves in with grand plans to refit the mansion’s old coach house into a free clinic. She’s ecstatic. This is a dream house in the truest sense, for Lanie has been dreaming of the Bowen mansion since she was a child. Little does she realize the local legend is true.

 For nearly one hundred and twenty years, the ghost of Doctor Jason Bowen roams his house contemplating the treachery that took his life. Then one day, his brooding thoughts are interrupted by a woman with valise in tow. Not only is she moving into his house, but she’s sleeping in the master bedroom as well – his bedroom. As a gentleman coming from a time of social propriety and impeccable manners, Jason tries to give Lanie space. But it doesn’t take long before he becomes infatuated with his house guest. Once he discovers the electric signature of his ghostly essence can ride her dreams, he follows where her dreams take him and finds himself in his time period as the date of his murder draws near.

TSR: How do you develop your characters?

Rose: It’s funny to describe it like this but I’m one of those fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants writers. I can only say a character starts as a dot. Imagine the dot in the center of a canvas and the entire painting is done one brush stroke at a time from that center point out. In Hermes Online, I met my heroine Vivienne through a rather painful day in my professional life. I faced something completely out of my control similar to what my character experienced early on in that story. Because it weighed heavily on my soul, I began writing to emotionally purge. That was my dot. Suddenly Vivienne’s name appeared and I learned she felt just like I did but for some reason she was also lonely.  Why was she lonely? I found she had caring friends but looking deeper I discovered her self esteem had been shattered by a cheating boyfriend. She needed to meet a nice guy, someone to cherish her.  Before I knew what was happening S sent her an email and started a connection.

Now S was different. Like Athena being born out of her father’s skull, he sprang fully formed from my head. The male characters are easier I think. I know what I like and I know what I like to hear a sensually compelling man say.

I was in a conversation recently where it was stated that men written like S aren’t appealing to women, real men are. I disagree. He appealed to me and I’m persnickety at best. I want my heroes to enter a room with such presence that heads turn. I want them to be extraordinary because when I read romance I want to be swept away. Sure they can be human with human frailties and foibles. They can doubt, they can fear, they can get angry or frustrated, they can cry. And when they’re done, I want them to sweep me off my feet and take the stairs two at a time like Rhett Butler did with Scarlet O’Hara. Their humanity makes me love them more. Make them intelligent, witty, compassionate, sweet, sexy and well-spoken, and I don’t just love them. I want them. That’s why I write my men like I do. They’re the romantic notion of men. I don’t want real when I read, I want fantasy. Don’t get me wrong, I love men. Some of my closest, dearest friends are male. But to me real evokes images of beer, belching, and crotch scratching. My heroes may do those things on their own time but in the pages of my books, they have class and a finely honed ability to mentally seduce the discriminating women my readers are. They’re able to because desire begins in the mind. But then that’s just me. I love old Fred Astaire movies.

TSR: Where do you find inspiration for your stories?

Rose: Believe it or not my outlook on inspiration comes from Robert Frost. He wrote a poem about taking a different path, the path less traveled. I like the path less traveled. I really like offbeat turn-things-on-their-ear scenarios. In Hermes Online there is the unlikely.  In Dreamscape, there is the impossible.

Once you have that initial fact in your head, you find the insurmountable prospect becomes a locked door. The next so many weeks or months trying to make the unlikely likely and the impossible possible is akin to finding the fat ring of keys to try the lock with. I discovered the last key on the ring fits the lock in the last chapter. Funny how that turns out. When all the pieces fall into place, the story works.

When Dan Brown wrote the DaVinci Code, what made the story compelling and got people talking was he had to make it believable by splicing real facts in with his fiction. I found that far more interesting than the story itself. That being said, my story concepts come from life and are built around those kind of facts. I’ve already mentioned the personal impetus behind Hermes Online. Dreamscape came from a conversation with a pen pal. He’s a poet but also a romantic. We were discussing writing technique when I thought of an impossible scenario – Could a ghost find love among the living? I wrote a three paragraph pitch around that thought and suddenly realized I could make it work. Voila Jason Bowen and Lanie O’Keefe were born. My current work in progress sprang fully formed from a writing exercise. I think when it’s done, it’ll be my best path less traveled piece yet because it’s both unlikely and impossible.

May you find this poem by Robert Frost inspiring.

The Road Not Yet Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

TSR: What’s the oddest thing that’s ever happened to you?

Rose:  I’ve had odd things happen that I hesitate to mention for surely someone will walk away thinking I’m a nut. But I’ll share one experience. Some time ago I achieved the Master level of Reiki training. For anyone who hasn’t heard of this Japanese healing art, it’s akin to the laying on of hands. Several years ago, I was invited to participate in a group healing for a stage 3 cancer patient. We knew going in that the best we could possibly offer was a little extra strength for the patient.  As we’re talking stage 3 cancer, the chemo was long past and death was waiting just outside the door. There was a good deal of focused intent that night. There was no real change the first month, the patient slept a little better but was still wasted to skin and bone. Deciding it was time to go home to die, the patient returned to family.  Approximately six months later, we learned a doctor’s visit found no cancer whatsoever. He was flabbergasted. Was it chemo or Reiki? I don’t know, maybe both. We’ve since done three successful group healings along those lines, this one being the most dramatic of the lot, but all of them good so far.  I can only say life energy is an amazing thing.

TSR: How did you get into writing erotica?

Rose:  Friends and family would tell you I am shy to the Nth degree. When one thinks of the definition of wallflower they’d think of me. Years ago we got online through AOL, the only game in town back in the day.  AOL was populated with chat rooms and once I figured out how to use them I would play in the role play rooms where wizards and elves hung out playing Dungeons and Dragons. I never quite got the hang of throwing dice no one across the expanse of the internet could see, but I did like crafting a scene. Through that I found the mIRC. The beauty of it was I could converse with people all around the world and my shyness wasn’t an issue. I was creating a scene for a 1700’s tavern scenario one evening when my husband said I should enter a writing competition. I said, “OK find one and I will.”  He did. It was through Penthouse Magazine and the competition was the Baudelaire Prize. (You should have seen the look I gave him!) I wrote a sensual story, he did the paperwork, and both of us promptly forgot about it. Time passed then one day a sizable check came in the mail telling me I won. Wow, what a head trip. Of course being shy, I kept it to myself.

Fast forward fifteen years and I’m working on my as yet unnamed magnum opus (affectionately referred to here as my MO), what a mind-bending cerebral piece of work that is. Anyway…I was suffering from the worst case of writer’s block. Out of the blue my husband suggested I write a short erotic story. (Hmm, I’m seeing a pattern here) I did and unbelievably the writer’s block ended and it wasn’t a fluke. Every time I’d find myself up against a creative wall, I’d ask for a topic and write something erotic. And it worked every time. I think it has to do with writing the body in motion because I’ve also blasted through an attack of writer’s block by writing a fight scene. I prefer love scenes though. My husband found a place online to post my sizzlers to get feedback. Hermes Online actually came from one of those short stories. It was only four pages long initially, but readers were writing me from the UK of all places and telling me I should expand it and publish. The Muses conspired to throw all manner of hints at me that this was a great way to break into the publishing world. Exactly one year ago this week, I rewrote Hermes Online, wrote a business plan, and researched Siren-Bookstrand. I submitted it last fall and voila. Here I am. Now I guess I’ll have to work on my MO to end the writer’s block for my erotic romances!

TSR: Who is your favorite fictional character (either yours or someone else’s)?

Rose:  My MO has the most incredible family.  By far they are my favorite beings in print. But if there was ever a man to walk off the page and into my life it would have to be Diana Gabaldon’s Jamie – one James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser. Mmm mmm mmm. I read the entire Outlander series once a year and then every man for miles around inevitably comes up short for the next two weeks. That’s character building at its best.

TSR: Recipe Time!

Food is such a sensual thing. It nourishes the body and mind in so many ways. I worked at a school years ago where this heavenly dish was offered at a staff party. OMG. The chef made these delightful little creamy hearts swimming in a sea of raspberries. Begging the recipe, I immediately rushed home to make it myself. Believe it or not I’ve only made this twice in 19 years because it’s highly addictive, calorically and added fat dangerous, but oh so good. I hope you try it at least once. I know you’ll lick the beaters. I think I had my face in the bowl!

To Die For Crème de la Crème **

1/2 c. farmer’s cheese
1/2 c. creme fraiche or sour cream
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
2/3 c. heavy cream, very cold

Combine farmer’s cheese, creme fraiche (or sour cream), sugar and lemon juice until well blended. Whisk in heavy cream and whip until your mixture has the texture of whipped cream. This will happen pretty quick. As soon as it looks like thick whipped cream stop or you’ll get lumpy butter chunks in sweet whey.  Refrigerate. If you’d like a prettier presentation, this mixture molds really well but be sure to line molds with cheesecloth. If you chill this a little first, you can blop it onto waxed paper and roll it into a log. Then chill and slice when firm. While that’s firming up, prepare the topping.

4 pints raspberries, rinsed and drained (I suppose any fruit would be good, berries, peaches etc.)

1 c. sugar
1 tsp fresh lemon juice

Mash and mix. Unmold, spoon or slice your crème mixture into serving dishes. Top with raspberries.

** Disclaimer: This is so good you’ll have a hard time deciding if you should eat it or rub it all over your body. I take no responsibility for stains the latter incurs.

TSR: What’s next for you?

Rose:  I have several stories lined up. As I mentioned above, my work in progress involves the wilds of the North woods and a broken promise. Another involves ancient magic on the craggy shores of the Isle of Skye. Both of these are half written but I’m chugging away on the first. I tend to write linearly so I’ll typically walk right into a story. Unfortunately, life can be distracting and I’ll occasionally lose my creative thread. Yes, I’ll find it again. I may have to start at the beginning and reread every word, but chances are I’ll see a more interesting route to take.

I’m considering expanding the pagan ritual that won the Baudelaire Prize contest all those years ago into a full-fledged novel. Beyond that I’ll have to see what my idea books have to say. I keep little notebooks in my purse and when inspiration speaks I write it down. Between the three crammed full notebooks I have at least six more romance stories to consider. All the while my soon to be five-book magnum opus simmers away. I’ve learned so much about editing and tightening my writing now that I’ve experienced the editing process, that I’m sure I’ll be reworking my MO too.

On top of all that, I’m still working on my blog and soon to be launched website. I’ve been journaling every inch of this exciting trip I’m on. I’d like to think readers would find something useful there. That’s about it. Is there such a thing as mental writer’s cramp?

LOL Yeah there is! I’m off to write before I totally cramp up.

About ~RoseAnderson

Rose Anderson is an award-winning author and dilettante who loves great conversation and delights in discovering interesting things to weave into stories. Rose also writes under the pen name Madeline Archer.
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