Tag Archives: Sleight of Hand
I’ve discovered something rather important about magic since I’ve been writing the Sleight of Hand series. It’s harder to believe in magic when you know how it’s done. And to write about magic in the way I do, I had to do a lot of research and some of that included learning how basic tricks are done. I make up most of the magic tricks in my novels, but I have to be able to imagine ways that these tricks could be accomplished if they actually existed, right?
So yeah, I have studied a little magic and watched a lot more. And yet, somehow I haven’t lost my enthusiasm for stage magic, despite the fact that I am now able to at least begin to imagine ways that most tricks could be performed. In fact, if anything, I love the challenge, especially when it’s sleight of hand. I like to try to figure out how I’m being misdirected, and I love when I can’t spot the trick. I love to be left wondering if magic really could exist.
But what does this have to do with love and writing romances?
This is where I wax philosophical. We all know how romantic love works, right?
- Attraction: you spot that special person and eventually find they’ve spotted you as well.
- Adoration: you can’t get enough of each other, physically, emotionally, spiritually.
- Contentment: you’re used to each other, enjoy doing stuff together or just being together.
- Commitment: whether it’s marriage or living together or just saying you’ll always come back to each other.
And this is where magic and romantic love are very similar: We all know these stages (just as I now know how many magic tricks are performed), but somehow some people are able to make them work and others…aren’t. Boredom sets in instead of contentment or commitment frightens instead of inspiring happiness. Where’s the magic that made everything glow in the first place? What trick enables some to stay together for the long haul while others search endlessly?
The couple married fifty years went through the same initial stages as every other couple, but somehow they made it last. They sit together holding hands while their family celebrates and admires them, leaving us all to wonder: What’s the trick? Where’s the misdirection?
Is it magic?
Every now and then I come across something in my writing that strikes a chord. It’s a true sentence. Something I know comes from my own heart and experience. I came across one of those today while doing my “itty bitty” editing on Movie Magic. (That’s the editing that looks at all the “itty bitty” things and tries to find anything at all—a word or letter or typo or whatever—that will jolt the reader out of the story. I never catch them all, but I do catch most of them!)
Anyway, at the risk of giving you all a peek into my own heart, here’s the sentence, spoken by my hero, Walt, to the heroine, Sabrina:
“You know, you leave home thinking you’re leaving everything behind, but what you don’t realize is ‘everything’ includes some pretty good stuff too. The stuff you think will always be there. Like your dad taking you fishing or your mom frying potatoes in the fall. Or laying on your back looking up through the branches of the Christmas tree and feeling like every dream you’ve ever had will eventually come true. Because you’re a kid. Just a kid who doesn’t understand that dreams aren’t reality. And if you want to make magic exist for everyone else, you’ve got to give it up for yourself.”
And there it is. I don’t actually remember the moment I wrote that sentence. I probably wrote it two years ago. I do, however, recognize the homesickness that probably went into that paragraph. The very best writing comes from your own heart, but it’s surprisingly difficult to do. I’m glad I managed it here. And I can’t wait to share the rest of Movie Magic with you!
Since I have just returned to dry land after seven days on an Alaskan Cruise, I am now an expert on all the magical (and non-magical) aspects of cruises.
We’ll start with the non-magical. There are three. The coffee, to me, was the most important. The coffee on a cruise is just…coffee. It is what it is and you either make do or you actively dislike it and make yourself miserable.
But then you see something like this and suddenly coffee is no longer important because the world is magical. It just is.
The second non-magic thing about cruises is the toilets. As we found out the morning after we set sail when an entire section of toilets on our side of the boat stopped flushing because somebody threw a tissue in one. It didn’t take long to resolve, but until then, you had to go potty elsewhere. But then you look out the window at 10 p.m. and see something like this:
Side Note: That’s a container ship on the right. One of those enormous things that dwarfs everything—or at least I used to think so.
The only other thing that I didn’t find magical on the cruise was the size of the shower. Tiny. Closet-sized. Impossible to shave your legs while showering. But then you approach British Columbia after a cool, gray day at sea and this sight greets you:
Of course with all this magic around me, I was amazingly productive. Seriously. I finished another pass through Movie Magic (coming October 31), and then I got an idea for a magical romance set on a cruise ship and started outlining and making notes…and writing. I say this a little sheepishly because I know it’ll be a couple years before I get this one out. My next magic book, which I plan to write during National Novel Writing Month this year, will tie in to Movie Magic and is tentatively titled Hollywood Magic. (You’ll meet Carole, the heroine, in Movie Magic.) So what the heck am I doing writing Magic at Sea now? Talk about getting the cart before the horse.
In case you’re curious, Magic at Sea will tie in with the adventures of Lady Lydia and Tony Hawke from Escape Magic. I had a lot of complaints about that book. It was my only attempt at a novella in this series, and evidently it didn’t work for a lot of people who wanted more about this particularly passionate couple. So, even though I feel I told their story pretty well (especially for a 99 cent novella), I’m going to pick it up a little more in this one.
But you’ll have to wait. Because before that can happen, I have Timeless, the last book of my Synchronicity series to get through (January 2018?), then Hollywood Magic (October 31, 2018). And then I’ll get to Magic at Sea. And you’ll meet Frankie, Lady Lydia’s protege, and her as-yet unnamed hero.
And just in case you think I’ve forgotten that magic can be found on land as well as at sea, here’s a little bit of heavenly magic perfection I found in Seattle:
Anyone want to see a magic trick? Ta-daa!
Okay, not so much a magic trick, but I sort of feel like this entire book is magic. It started out as something totally different. It was a book called Pirate Magic. Yeah, I know. Goofy. Although maybe not! I might actually write that one someday! Anyway, I digress. That was back in 2014. I had an idea set in Beaufort, N.C., and it was all about pirate cosplayers and it was a lot of fun. But it had too many problems, so then I started writing Movie Magic in 2015 and I set part of it in Beaufort and put some of my pirate cosplayers into this book…and it was a mess.
So obviously I abandoned the whole concept. Went off and wrote and published the first two books of Synchronicity and never looked back…
…Until this summer. I published Time Being in June and turned to the third book of Synchronicity. But, although Timeless is written and waiting for editing, I couldn’t get into it. And I can’t stand to NOT have some sort of writing project going on, so I picked up Movie Magic, and I fell in love with the characters all over again and I edited and rewrote like a madman for a couple of weeks and bam! It was done, the story was told.
I then formatted and edited again and then I called on the fabulous Farah Evers for a cover. For this one, I had such a definite idea of what I wanted, it took no time at all for her to come up with the beautiful cover you see above.
So now what? I have the book. I have the cover. But I always try to release my magic books on October 31, the anniversary of Harry Houdini’s death. So I guess I’m just going to have to start pulling out some magic tricks to entertain you guys for three months!
So what next? I took a day off. I baked a cake. I shopped for towels. I watched three episodes of The Gilmore Girls (my current guilty pleasure). And then I sat down to think about the crazy, hazy (caffeine-fogged) days of November.
I noticed some things about my writing during NaNo that are different from the way I normally write. For instance:
1. Writing was THE most important thing in my life this month (except–in most cases–for my family). Everything else, including daily exercise and even food, was a luxury.
2. With a daily word count in mind, I could make myself sit at the computer until it was done. I let Facebook and Twitter go. I totally neglected this blog. I haven’t done nearly enough to promote my newest book, Island Magic.
3. I only took one day (Thanksgiving) off writing the entire month of November, and even on that day I wrote a couple hundred words.
4. I wrote straight through the storyline. Well, almost. Normally, I am wont to skip around and write whatever scene most appeals to me at the time. This usually results in a lot of discarded writing. For my NaNo this year, I wrote straight through, beginning to end. I skipped a couple of scenes in the middle, but I made a note about what they would be.
5. I didn’t stop, even when I knew I’d screwed something up in the beginning. I didn’t go back and fix it either, which is what I normally would have done. Instead, I went back and made a note about what needed to be done to fix it and kept writing from where I was as if it had been that way all along.
So what’s next NOW? Well, that particular novel is going to sit on the shelf for a while. At least until January. I’ve got a couple of other ideas percolating that I will eventually begin on, though I may take another day or two off. I know there are a LOT of things to fix in my story. I know, for instance, that I accidentally named one of my minor characters after a country music star. Oops. That will have to change. I also know there are scenes to add and references to fix and I think I left at least one blank instead of trying to come up with a place name. It was just easier.
I also know that this book, Movie Magic, will eventually join my Sleight of Hand series. It will be book 4 and it will be done by October 31 of next year. That’s pretty good for one month’s work.