Top Ten Facts Behind the Fiction–CORRODED

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1. The acknowledgement section for Corroded is full of people, but the one that stands out the most is Laurie Halse Anderson. Yes, THE Laurie Halse Anderson. I was blessed to win a full manuscript critique during a fundraiser for the Joplin, Missouri tornado victims in 2011, one of the last full critiques she was able to do. I’ve been in contact with Laurie both before and after the critique and she’s been nothing but supportive. An ultimate mentor—my thanks, again!

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2. Mary Weber is the character that changed the most from how she was portrayed in the original drafts. She’s stronger and more relatable than she was to begin with, thanks in part to honest critique partners and beta readers who shared their displeasure of her with me.

3. In both of my books, my secondary characters vie to over-run the main one, and Corroded is the ultimate example. Ben Thomas was so well-loved by beta readers and my critique group, the story finally morphed to include his own point-of-view chapters.

4. Ben’s sensory issues are influenced by the sensitivities of several people on the autism spectrum including my son and the autobiographical tales by John Elder Robison, Temple Grandin, Donna Williams, and Erin Clemens (who the book is dedicated in part to.) But Ben’s story isn’t a one-size-fits-all autism story. Autism is a spectrum disorder. Each person on the spectrum is unique and lives with a different set of skills and sensitivities, just like anyone else.

5. Weighted blankets can help calm people on the spectrum and other individuals with sensory-related issues. Does it work for everyone? No, but it’s worth trying because it’s a safe, drug-free option to ease anxiety and quiet meltdowns.

6. Ben originally had one obsession—The Avengers, with a focus on Thor because I’m a Marvel girl. As his role expanded, he became more complex with his interests and the history geek emerged.

7. The town in Corroded, Santo Cordero, is based on the Rio Del Mar/Aptos area in Santa Cruz County where I lived during high school. The school I attended had a Mariner mascot—that’s where the idea for Sailor Suzy came from.

8. There was a place on campus called “the pit.” Photographic evidence: that’s me in the middle, rocking my flannel shirt and white moccasins in 1993.

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9. I found the Steinbeck Wax Museum on Cannery Row in Monterey totally creepy when I went there, but what else could you expect from a wax museum in a basement? It did not disappoint, in that regard.

10. I have two older sisters who are much cooler and more interesting than me. While growing up, I almost always shared a room with one of my siblings, but I did have my own room for about two years before my sister closest in age moved back in and I was forced to share my space. I played up those two experiences for Mary and Barbara’s relationship trouble.

Fueled by Live Music

Last week I sent out my newsletter, so for those who get that you’ll already know I completed the first few drafts of my Gothic Horror work-in-progress. It’s currently out with some beta readers and I’m trying to patiently await feedback. Trying.

First draft

First draft

 

The other highlight this month—besides finishing that behemoth draft of 882 pages—was attending a Boston concert with the whole family. It was my oldest and youngest kids’ first rock concert and I’m happy to say all enjoyed it and there were no sensory meltdowns.

Boston concert, August 4, 2016

Boston concert, August 4, 2016

 

I played it safe and did back row, but with Boston their sound guys are constantly checking things and the audio is excellent, as is their visual. Awesome show, every time! (It was my fifth Boston concert in twenty-one years.)

Me, rocking my word count.

Me, rocking my word count.

 

Now, I’m balancing to keep my work-in-progress fresh in my mind and playing with the possibility of returning to a different project I wrote two years ago (middle grade contemporary) and tinkering with a few new ideas. In other words, I’m on the verge of creative insanity. What are you up to?

Home, Again

The past two months have been filled with family, adventure, and writing. Lots and lots of writing! In June alone, I wrote fifty thousand words on my project, which is just over Corroded’s final published word count.

The first two weeks of July provided a road trip to the Poconos, where I was able to write almost daily for ten days (to the sound of water instead of music–a first), and brought home twenty-five thousand more words.

PA porch

And thanks to my big sister, the neighbors, and the location, the kids were entertained, watched over, and all of us well feed.

PA creek

Now I’m back and settled into the typical routines of life. Comfortable, with just the right amount of unexpected happenings to keep things from going stale. More soon, most likely via my newsletter, complete with tidbits on my writing project and what I’m reading. Sign-up now if you haven’t already.

 

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Corroded in the Wild

Corroded, April 12, 2016.

Corroded, April 12, 2016.

Today’s the day! You can get your copy of Corroded, a young adult contemporary novel, on all e-reader platforms or in paperback. Last week’s Kindle pre-orders pushed it to the top spot for “Hot New Releases in Teen & Young Adult Christian Social Issue Fiction” category. WooHoo! Ordering links can by found on my BOOKS page. In case you’ve missed the news, here’s what it’s about:

 

Fifteen-year-old Mary Lou Weber is suffocating in her sister’s shadow. Though she struggles to break into the light and claim her own identity—and the attention of the cutest guy in school—something always seems to pull her right back down into the role of Barbara’s little sister.

Down the street lives seventeen-year-old Ben Thomas, a lonely introvert who is captive to a sensory condition that makes it nearly impossible for him to stand in sunlight, much less talk to people whom he thinks could never understand his difficulties.

A new year kindles the friendship between a guy who pushes away a world and the girl who’s striving to find her place in it. Can the relationship help Mary and Ben find balance in a world that frequently seems too much to handle?

 

Like my other stories, I incorporated my love of music into the writing process for Corroded. The following is the complete soundtrack, with songs from both Mary’s and Ben’s perspectives. You’ll see some of my favorite musicians, but also a few surprises. I’m just highlighting a few of them with links, but search the others out yourself—they’re well worth it.

 

Hello, Mary Lou” Ricky Nelson

“The Very Thought of You” Ricky Nelson

“You Are a Tourist” Death Cab for Cutie

“Burning Down Inside” Tyketto

“Dying to Be Alive” Hanson

“I’m the One” Mitch Malloy

“Somewhere I Belong” Linkin Park

“Start From the Dark” Europe

Keep One Heart” Nelson

“Brave and Beautiful Soul” Europe

Life” Rick Nelson

 

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post or any of my books. Comments, questions, and reviews are welcome. Happy reading!

Weathered

Years can be kind, weeks can be rough. Days may vary from hour to hour, minute to minute. The one constant is that time marches on. Sometimes it feels like we’re under its boots and other moments like we’re riding a wave.

Yesterday I was sorting through coins and noticed two 2015 pennies that looked like they came out of different decades: one is bright and the other has long since lost his sparkle.

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What did that dull one ever do to deserve the disgrace of non-shininess? Did one of these pennies get put through the wash or dropped on the ground more than normal? Or maybe the luster was rubbed off because it was someone’s lucky penny—constantly handled and cherished. There’s no way to tell one story from the other just by looking at them and they are both worth the same, no matter what.

P.S. This is my 200th post. Many thanks for following my journey.
A contest is coming soon, so be on the lookout.

The Music of Fortitude

I’ve posted about writing mood music and soundtracks for my stories before, but I thought it’d be fun to bring the official, post-published soundtrack for Fortitude to the forefront of my site for a little while.

Fast fact: I can’t listen to music with lyrics while editing—only when writing fresh scenes. “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World” and “Pride & Prejudice” (2005) soundtrack albums were the most listened to during edits on Fortitude.

 

While the “Fortitude Groove” playlist has over fourteen hours of tunes (including the above albums), I narrowed down songs for specific scenes in the book. A few of the songs transcend their listed chapters like “No Stone Unturned” and “Carry On.” Those two embody the whole theme of the book while the others merely highlight certain sections. I’m including Youtube links for those two songs for three reasons: their importance, their awesomeness, and the fact that some of the other songs are so obscure they aren’t on the web/there isn’t a decent video for them. It’s important to note that the songs aren’t always from Claire’s perspective even though she’s the main character. Sometimes the music is from the point of view of one of the secondary characters or even shared by more than one person.

Obvious Fact: I’m sure you’ll notice a certain fondness of a few musicians on here. Without further ado, here’s Fortitude’s soundtrack:

 


FORTITUDE soundtrack

Chapter One: “Another Road” Mitch Malloy

 

Chapter Four: “When the Smoke Clears” Mitch Malloy

 

Chapter Six: “Right to Respect” Joey Tempest

 

Chapter Eleven: “Kick a Little” Little Texas

 

Chapter Fourteen: “If” The Cult

 

Chapter Seventeen: “For Your Love” Hanson

 

Chapter Twenty: “No Stone Unturned” Europe

 

Chapter Twenty-five: “Angels (With Broken Hearts)” Europe

 

Chapter Twenty-seven: “Reason” Europe

 

Chapter Twenty-nine: “Carry On” Mitch Malloy

 

Chapter Thirty-eight: “Roll With You” Europe

 

Chapter Forty: “Let ‘em Whirl” Blackhawk

 

Curious? Go look up the songs, listen for yourself (if you can find them), and then come back and share your thoughts.
P.S. I like to hide song titles in all my manuscripts, but unless you’re familiar with the selections in my iTunes account you’ll never catch them.

Next Month

2015 has been an exciting year for me and it’s becoming more so by the week. First, after waiting over two decades, I experienced my favorite band in concert (front row, center!) in the spring.
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Then I visited the largest home in America late summer. https://carriedalby.com/2015/09/01/adventure-ahead/

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But the year isn’t done with me yet. 2015 will afford the experience of my third bucket list item: the publishing of my first book.

Yes, the release date for Fortitude (Surge imprint, Anaiah Press) has been moved from January 2016 to December 8, 2015. Thirty-four days to go! I’ll be posting more about this historical novel in the days ahead.

Also, last month Europe (favorite band, as linked above) announced the second half of their U.S.A. tour to promote their newest album “War of Kings” and they are coming to one of my favorite venues on the Gulf Coast. I bought my tickets and will be seeing them for the second time in less than a year in 93 days!

One of the best years ever! How are things looking from your perspective?