I’m a Goodreads Author now!

I’d had a Goodreads account for a while, but I hadn’t really used it. It felt like yet another social media commitment for which I have increasingly shrinking time. But a fellow writer and friend of mine – Christopher Mari (check out his books via the link) – recommended that I grab my own Author page at Goodreads. Apparently, it’s a good source for connecting with readers? And since I’ve got a published book under my belt, now, I figured it couldn’t hurt.

Here’s a screenshot of my Goodreads Author Pagemy Goodreads Author Page:

The long-form URL is https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18760553.Mayumi_Hirtzel?from_search=true

As you can see from the screenshot, my Goodreads “blog” is simply an RSS/Atom feed from my blog here. So you don’t have to follow anything different to keep up with me and my writing adventures. But maybe someone will find their way from there over to here, and I’ll be able to welcome some new friends!

Are you an active Goodreads participant reader or writer? Let me know in the comments, and we can connect!

 

Saturday Sentence Challenge: “The Mechanic By Firelight”

Saturday Sentence Challenge Image teaser

Original image by Raheel Shakeel

 

I’ve talked about writing coach/author/editor Kate Johnston‘s Team Writer Saturday Sentence Challenge before. Briefly, each week, Kate offers members of the group a boring or grammatically-troubled sentence which we are tasked with sprucing up. The challenge is that we can only push this to two sentences, and we’ve got to make the reader feel something. This particular week, Kate provided a familiar cliche:

The thought passed through his mind.

Now, I’ve got a lot of characters who have a lot of thoughts crossing their minds. Some thoughts are crazy, others romantic, still others devious. For this particular prompt, my brain originally went a different way, with a different character, but the details in that first attempt went way off into deep raunch, I didn’t think it appropriate to share with mixed company. Still, I’ve always liked the idea of forbidden attraction. I just took it in a slightly different direction. Here’s what I wrote, as begun in the image above:

Firelight danced over the mechanic’s face, adding a glow to her smooth brown cheeks and full, glossy lips, and in that moment the hunter wondered how soft that cheek would feel if he stroked it, and how silky those lips if he kissed them. But then her husband sat down between them and, well, that was the end of that.

Of course, that’s not quite the end of that particular story. But sharing the ensuing details to that scene will have to wait for another day.

Did this Saturday Sentence Challenge answer from me make you feel anything? Have you partaken of any writing challenges, lately? Share your thoughts in the comments!

The Girl Who Could

The quote above was originally submitted for a #1LineWed offering on June 13, 2018.  It comes from my original character Darya in “Number Seven and the Life Left Behind” and it gave me trouble in every single edit of the story. Every character needs their own conflict, and I wanted to give her one that was separate – and more personal – from what we witness through Number Seven’s eyes.

The backstory tidbit quoted here popped into my head in the first draft and went through surprisingly few changes before the final version. What bothers me to this day isn’t that I wrote it or that I kept it in the published novella, but whether readers understand what I was going for.

Darya’s Backstory

Darya Vikhrova is the only daughter of Ana Vikhrova, a cosmetics industry star and nouveau riche socialite. Darya’s father is unknown to her. Darya grew up amid material wealth but emotional poverty; Ana consistently told her she wasn’t worth a damn and no one would ever want her outside of her inheritance. As a little girl, Darya was withdrawn, fearful, and prone to private outbursts of anger. During a trip to Italy when she was 9 years old, Darya performed a near-perfect dive from a cliff. It changed her life. Ana’s boyfriend at the time, recognizing the feat, suggested Ana send her daughter to a professional coach. Ana and Darya were both only too happy to agree. Soon after, Darya earned a place on the national junior division team and started winning. Most importantly, she left her mother behind. Eventually, Darya would meet Kirill Morozov and his bodyguard Number Seven, and her life would change again.

In the Novella

I still don’t know if Darya’s story progression comes completely clear in the final version of “Number Seven and the Life Left Behind.” I left out a lot of the details listed above, leaving only a few lines devoted to her history, with most of them expressed by other characters, but I just didn’t want to delve too far into her backstory. She’s a secondary character at best and describing her motivations would have slowed down the main story. Still, I liked what she brought to the final product, and she was certainly fun to write! If I ever return to the world of Number Seven and his friends, I know exactly where Darya’s life will take her next.

Anan by Techycutie

Art commission of my original character Anan by Techycutie. This version is not as dark as Anan is described in the story, but that’s more my fault than the artist’s, since I was probably not specific enough about that.

What’s fun about seeing an artist’s take on an original character is that they can interpret a basic description in a new way. Sometimes, it makes the character even more fun for me to write! For instance, I hadn’t originally envisioned Anan with such impressive endowments, but that has become a part of her characterization in later write-ups. Better still, it fits with who she is!

Have you ever had an artist take a try at one of your original characters? Were you surprised at what they came up with? Let me know!

“Last Night at the Golconda”

The Eve and Alan characters are new to me. I’m still feeling my way around them and their post-WWII world. I already like them, though, and they’re already forming a story for themselves. Love (and sex) play a part because that’s how they first came to my mind. A few kind readers took a chance on my initial foray into their world, in the vignette “Apples and Eve”, available by request if you so comment.

I’ve never written this genre before. These characters are speaking to me, though. Who knows? Maybe, if the feedback is good, I’ll try my hand at more of this particular story. At any rate, if you decide to read this little scene, I’d be grateful if you share your thoughts. Click the link below to read the PDF; it runs ~1700 words, or 6 pages double-spaced.

Warning: This story contains description of mature interactions between adults.

Last Night at the Golconda - cover mockup

Last-Night-at-the-Golconda