Sunday, January 25, 2015

Fireside Thoughts


Where do you do most of your writing?

Over the years, I've written scenes, chapters, even whole drafts at all of these places:
  • A favorite coffee shop
  • Outside under a tree
  • A friend's garage
  • A busy dive bar, near the dart boards
  • In bed, laptop propped on knees
  • My car, scratching on any paper I can find in the faint dome light
  • The breakfast table
  • My office
  • Someone else's office
  • The rocking chair next to my fireplace

That's where I am now - the rocking chair pulled close to the fire, the better to chase away the chill of a damp, gray late January day. And I started wondering - where does the real writing happen?

After all, those are only locations. Writing - creating stories in words - happens somewhere else. Somewhere between imagination and dreams, between fingers and brain, in the open spaces between our ideas, our knowledge, our fantasies, and our profound wish to communicate.

So perhaps we could worry less about having a place to write, and focus more on making room to create. I've a hunch that's what Virginia Woolf meant by "a room of one's own:" that sacred place where stories are born, with our help.



Elizabeth Fountain wrote key scenes in her first novel, An Alien's Guide to World Domination, in bed; and much of her second novel, You, Jane, in a dive bar. You can find her books and read more of her work at her blog, Point No Point.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Story behind the story






Michael W. Davis






 
The origin of a novel and the history behind how it came to life can often be of interest to a reader. This is especially true when a story is seeded by some event in real life. Such is the case with the new release, NEVER FORGOTTEN, part II of the Cherokee Valley series. The novel is a romantic suspense that examines the premise, “Can tragedy have purpose? In workshops and signings I’m often asked, “Where do your ideas come from.” The truth behind how this novel came about is unlike any of the other twenty stories I’ve created before.

How did the project come about? Well, I love to sample the serene peace offered by the woodlands surrounding my farm. On one such outing, I ventured into a new segment of the forest and came across a birch tree memorialized with a symbol of young romance (see the image at left). That emblem celebrated the very moment when a boy first announced, He loves She and my mind flickered back to a similar vignette in my youth and the possible events that transpired beneath that very tree. You see, once I too possessed the energy that drives libidos to do crazy, yet wondrous things. Events that engender haunting visions of past lovers, those we swore to link with forever. I recalled my own experience of carving such a beacon of affection, in the wild, and all the intimacy that led to the exchange of raw energy under the watchful eye of He that governs young love.

 I began to ponder, did this statement etched before me represent eternal emotions, or like so often happens, did the relationship fade with the passing of time. What of the exchange, the ultimate contact only a man and woman can share? Did it evolve into that unique bond or die like the embers of a fire, and NEVER FORGOTTEN was born. Only, as with all my novels, the story had to be laced with suspense, twists, and uncertainty across every page, yet lead to happiness in the final moments. After all, the reader must be content that hope reigns true at the end, right? Even if initially fired by tragedy, there must be hope, resolution. All scenes, all confusion, all mystery linked to that simple yet profound image left years ago by the blade of boy, until the truth behind what happened at Painter’s Ridge revealed itself to one woman, a survivor tying to unravel a knotted web to set events straight for two young lovers.

I’ve worked on projects that took years to complete, but not this one. Once the spark ignited my muse, the writing took over my life for four months at the expense of everything else. Never had the keyboard clicked away so fast, as if a movie flashed at hyper speed across my skull.  Not sure why. Perhaps it was the nature of the spur that ignited the idea, or the characters themselves, but of all the novels I’ve written, Never Forgotten drained me the most when I was done. If you’d like to read excerpts, check out my website. Will there be a part III in the series? Not sure, need to first recover from this endeavor (g).



Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Beating the Block


You’ve got it all planned out.  You’re going to be the next Fitzgerald, Twain, Hemingway, or even Rowling.  But you’ve also got a problem: you’ve got the block.


The block?  Trust me, I know all about the block.  It may go by different names, but it’s the universal blight of writers. It’s this towering wall that you can’t quite climb, a blank page you can’t manage to fill.  After this last semester at college, I had a severe case of the block—a severe case of the block.  I’d been doing science-related homework all day every day for so long that I felt as though I had forgotten how to write.  And that scared me.  A lot.


However, the block is no more. It took me a while to recover, but now I’m back to writing just as before, if not better.  How?  Here are some tips, a list of tools that helped me beat the block. 




·      Read. A lot.

Some of the best advice that has ever been given to me?  This: “Hannah, just go read.”  Why? Because it exposes you to entirely new worlds, time periods, people, styles, words, and thoughts.  Not sure what to read?  I finished The Book Thief not long ago, and it was brilliant.  In the mood for something a little lighter?  The Princess Bride (that’s right, it was a book before it was a movie) is one of the most hilarious books I have ever read.



·      Try something new.

Seriously, try this one out.  When you are in a rut, sometimes you just need a tug to get moving again.  Go see the world or at least switch things up. Eat at a new restaurant.  Meet new people.  I’ll say it again: meet new people. You’ll be amazed at how refreshing this can be.  Take a walk at a park you’ve never visited (side note: walking in general is fantastic). Learn how to ballroom dance. Click on the “Discover” tab on Spotify and find new music. Take a pottery class.  Travel.



·      Cry.  

This one might sound a little odd, but bear with me. You can’t capture the depth of the human plight if you aren’t familiar with it.  So push yourself.  Get out of your comfort zone are go do something hard.  You can’t grow as a writer unless you first grow as a person. You want to write something that moves people?  Go do something that moves you.  Find a cause and invest your time and resources.  Be all in—you’re not going to feel anything if you don’t have some skin in the game. Reach out to a friend that’s struggling, even cry with them.  Go volunteer at a homeless shelter; care for the people, sit with them, and listen to their stories.  You will undoubtedly be amazed by what you hear.  Love, and love hard, even if you’re the one who ends up hurt.  And take all of it and store it away, deep in the resources of your being, and once it has stewed sufficiently, pull a Hemingway. Sit down at your computer and bleed.



·      Journal.

Reflect on your own life and the people that fill it.  What thrills you?  What grieves you? What makes you laugh?  What events and experiences helped to form you into who you are today?  Who inspires you? Early on in my writing endeavors, I was advised to write about what I knew.  This was, incidentally, fantastic advice.  You can write about Greek mythology and still be writing about what you know. You can still fill it with life because you have one.



·      Watch good television and do it thoughtfully.

Analyze your favorite movies and TV shows.  What draws you to those particular films? The plots? The characters?  Why?  Write it down. Mull it over.



·      View art or make some.

Deepen your thoughts.  Enrich your mind.  Get your creative juices flowing.



·      Set a goal.

And write it down!  For me, having something tangible to hold and look at is hugely motivational.  There is sky diving. There is cliff jumping.  And then there is that glorious rush of energy produced by checking off a box on a to-do list.  If you write out a reasonable set of goals and stick to it, you will be astonished at how much you truly can accomplish.



·      Start small.

Writing a novel is like climbing a mountain. It can be downright exhausting and even discouraging at times—a lot of the time, honestly.  Even the most experienced climbers have to pace themselves. It’s perfectly acceptable to take it a small stretch at a time, take a break, and then repeat.  Come up with a routine that works for you, but don’t be so married to it that you become crippled when your ideal writing conditions are not met. Be flexible and hang in there. When it comes to both climbing and writing, it is often endurance that is most prized.



·      Push. Harder.

Keep going.  Been doing two pages a day? Try three.  Aim for excellence; be the very best that you can be.



·      Be forgiving.

Know in advance that you won’t always meet your ideal writing quota.  Know that you will get frustrated, that some days you will likely fall short of your goal. And that’s ok.  Life happens.  So don’t beat yourself up.  Give yourself some grace and take wise breaks. What matters is that you keep moving forward, no matter how small your steps may be.



·      Don’t give up.

The most important of all!



Cheers!

***

Hannah Lokos writes books and studies pre-medicine/biology.  You can find out more about her book here, or you can visit Hannah's website, or follow her on GooglePlus

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Writers are Dreamers


If one advances in the direction of his

dreams, he will meet with success

unsuspected in waking hours.

~ Henry Thoreau

Dreams are a writer’s best friend for more reasons than one. Like our hearts that never stop pumping, our brains never stop working. Synaptic connections throughout our bodies are constantly in play keeping the electrical charge of life shooting like lightning bolts. Those connections also fire through our brains in an automated creative storm. Dreams are our productions centers, telling us stories for our own good.  They are a rich part of everyone’s life, waiting to be discovered.

For centuries, dreams have played a factor in every culture. From the ancients who thought them messages from gods and demons to Carl Jung who considered them tools for learning about ourselves and reaching our potentials. We have learned that dreams play a varied and active role in our lives. The mere fact that we dream is good for us. They help keep our lives in balance and support mental health.

In the studies by Nathaniel Kleitman and Eugene Asserinsky at the University of Chicago in the last century, we first learned of the physiology of dreams. They introduced us to REM sleep. Rapid eye movement that occurs when people–and most other animals–dream. REM studies reveal that we watch our dream visions in much the same way we watch a running movie while we are awake.

Your dreams can tell you how you really feel about your mate, how to solve your problems, and in some cases, they reveal the future. For writers, they can actually plot out entire book scenarios if we learn to harness their power. The best person to figure out the meaning behind your dreams is you. To do that, you must train yourself to remember your dreams and interpret them. There are tons of dream dictionaries on the market. Find one you like to help you understand the symbols and meaning. But before you can do this, you have to remember your dreams. There is no big trick to this.

Writers Write

For some, it doesn’t need to be said; but for others, it does. Keep a Dream Journal. The first step to harnessing the power of your dreams is to write them down. By doing so on a regular basis, you will begin to recall more and more details. The best was to do this is to follow a routine.

1.      Keep your dream journal at your bedside for easy access. Knowing it is there will help your remember dreams. You may even want to use it in the middle of the night, so don’t forget the pen/pencil.

2.      Tell yourself several times a day that you intend to remember your dream.

3.      Just before you go to sleep, after you are relaxed, tell yourself, “When I awaken, I will remember and write down my dream.

4.      Place a bag of aromatic herbs near your pillow as a reminder that your will remember your dream. The scent will soon be associated with both dreams and recalling them. (On a side note, we know that scents, temperatures, etc. can enter our dreams from the real world. They can also affect the mood and response we have to them physically).

5.      Drink a glass of water before you go to sleep. Avoid Alcohol and other drugs that suppress REM.

6.      If you are trying to solve a problem, write it down before you go to sleep. This may inspire your dream world to solve your problem.

7.      Don’t jump right out of bed in the morning. Don’t open your eyes. Lie still and focus on remembering your dream. How did it make you feel? Did it leave you with a certain mood? Who was in your dream? Did the people have faces? Did they remind you of anyone? (Keep in mind that dreams have their own symbols and language. A person in your dream may not necessarily be that person in reality. You may dream about Henry VIII and in reality your mind is addressing issues you have about someone you feel has undue and unjust power over you in your waking world.) Where did your dream take place? Have you ever been there? Did it remind you of a place familiar to you? Did anything in your dream remind you of something from real life?

8.      As soon as you sit up, grab that journal. Even if you remember only a small part of the dream that makes no sense, write it down anyway. The more you do this, the more you will remember and the better you will become at recording your dreams.

9.      Start with the date you had the dream.

10.  Give the dream a title to make it easy to retrieve.

11.  Write in the present tense and not the past tense to keep the story flowing. Punctuation and grammar do not matter here. This is not for an editor or agent or even a critique partner. It is for you alone.

Your conscious mind may not know a good idea if it bites you on the nose. Your subconscious mind can take an idea and create a literary masterpiece.

Desperate for money and not knowing where his next meal would come from, Robert Louis Stevenson fell into a fitful sleep. He awoke relaxed and refreshed and immediately set about writing one of his classics, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. You can do the same thing. You can pull from your subconscious while sleeping and find the missing elements in your characters and plots.

Remember when I spoke of capturing skills in relation to creativity? Dream capture is one of the most important things you can do for your writing life. Studying the things you jot down might do more than give you story ideas, it may solve real life problems.

You can also influence your dreams. With a little guidance they will give you the answers you want. Think of your brain as a computer–data in, data out. The data out depends on the data programmed into it. By instructing your mind to solve a problem just before you go to sleep, your dreams will soon start doing this for you.

Suppose you are working on a plot. Everything is falling into place and wham, you somehow got from point C to point F, but no matter how hard you try, your waking mind won’t let you figure out how it happened–point D and point E are mysteries.

When you go to bed, let yourself drift off to sleep thinking about the plot, keeping in mind you’re looking for missing information.

You may dream your entire plot as a movie in your mind. In some cases, you may not only pick up the missing plot points, but you might actually find other elements that enhance your story. Sometimes the only way to find the next right answer is through our dreams.
Dreams are an important and big topic within the creative mind. For that reason, I’ve decided to split it up. I’ll address lucid dreams, and daydreams. Those are areas where your creative muses will love to play. Until then, happy writing!

Oh, and one small plug. February 2, 2015 is the release date for my next book, The Strangclyf Secret.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Just the Facts

“Hurry, man, we got to get there before they kill her!”

I hit the siren and lights and headed north on Broadway while Rick called it in. We headed north on Broadway, turned left onto Park and then right onto Thirty-Seventh. I slowed when I saw the bodies on the pavement in the glare of flashing blue lights in front of the white Cape Cod with its doors blown wide open.

Exciting stuff, except totally inaccurate.

This past year I had the privilege of judging manuscripts for three different literary competitions. I looked for all the usual items: well developed, engaging characters, well defined settings, strong conflict, plot, a character arc for our lead character, error free mechanics, and last, but not least, no anachronisms or factual mistakes. Nothing stops me short more than seeing people spending pesos in Morocco, or dinars in Mexico; or like, the example above, mixed up geography. There is a difference in the Civil War and the Revolutionary War. If you drive a pick-up, you don't have a trunk in which to hide the body. 

You might write a great story, but if you make me stop and think about a fact to the point I have to go look it up on Google or in my home dictionary/encyclopedia, then you are not going to win that round in my book.

When I am editing, if I have an inkling that a fact may be inaccurate, I will look it up and let the author know he/she’s made a mistake and needs to check the facts. When I’m judging, I don’t have that ability; I can only go by what I’m reading. Your great story will miss the boat if you haven’t taken the time to get the facts straight.

And believe me, I’m checking. Always checking.

In my own books, especially the period pieces, I spend more time researching the eras than I do writing the stories. I can’t have characters staying at a hotel that did not exist when my characters lived; nor can they use transportation in advance of their time. On the same note, they would not use a horse and buggy in the 21st century unless they are Amish or reenacting.

So, if you’re planning to submit your work, please, check your facts.


Veronica Helen Hart is the author of three historical novels and two cozies. Two more books are scheduled for release this spring. You can see more about her writing at www.veronicahhart.com

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Calling All Authors: Can You Relate?

Calling All Authors: Can You Relate?

...What's your favorite subgenre and why(favorite to 'read' or 'write'? Go to my website and answer that for my next blog with your name attached if you'd like for me to put you on my blog.
…Time is fleeting, so use it wisely. Of course, I don’t know about you, but I’m not always sure how to use my time the most wisely. Do we write about life? Or do we get out of our chairs and live it? Do we work and make more money, or do we go out enjoy ourselves, and spend what we’ve made? Do we go for the big six publishers, or do we grow impatient and self-publish? Not that that plan is all bad.
…Enjoy the journey, since you might not reach the destination. I hear of tragedies every day that show just how short life is. We write stories or read them and see the ordeals our characters go through, and we draw from real life for those ideas. I’m a high school teacher, and this past summer one of the most popular students in school got into a car accident at 115 MPH and died, badly, after just graduating a month before. Life is so short, and it is even shorter when one goes out in this way. My daughter has leukemia, and she has been fighting it off and on for two years, and she just got a bone marrow transplant. We’re hoping for the best. A woman I know is 34, and she just go diagnosed with a heart disease and has two weeks to live without a transplant, which means she is feeling guilty because she knows she is sitting around waiting for someone else to die, so she can live. Wow. How would that make you feel? Our characters go through the same thought processes, and we have to show their fear and stress and happiness in the face of danger and uncertainty. Drawing on real life can help us do that.
…So here we are with a new year, and we must make choices. To do or not to do. Write more or less, live more or less, work out more or less…ugh, I’ve gotten lazy in that area lately. I’d lost 65 pounds, but I’m up 10 after surgery and sitting around and growing attached to my couch relaxation time. Gotta find a way to break out of that comfort zone again and get back to the gym more often. And eat less bad-for-me food.
…And age is always something to think about. Some of us are younger than others. Some of us think about retirement and the possibilities of writing more and working day jobs less. Woo hoo. J If you are earlier in your writing careers, take every opportunity to use your youth and health and the years ahead to strive for excellence in your craft and meet and greet and interact with other authors and agents and editors, and go to all the conferences you can. Networking is a wonderful thing. Just make sure to do it in a good way. No Snarkiness. It’s bad. Bad. Bad. Not sure if I can say how damaging Snarkiness can be. And not just to you, the snarkies, but to your victim. Bad. Bad. Bad.
…Happy New Year! Best wishes. Good publishing. Good reading. And good living it up.
rebeccadraco.com

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

This Is Your Brain... On Story



Brains… brains… brains… The fondest desire of zombies everywhere.

It should also be the desire of writers looking to connect with their readers.

What am I talking about? The ‘neuroscience of story’, as presented in Lisa Cron’s book on writing, “Wired for Story” (10 Speed Press, 2012). Essentially, it's 'this is your brain, on story'. This book was a major game-changer for my writing, and I recommend it as part of every writer’s tool box.

The book discusses why people crave story (it’s ‘how we make sense of the otherwise overwhelming world around us’). Cron bases her work on current research in cognitive science (complete with exhaustive footnotes and references). Story, she says, is ‘the language of experience, whether it’s ours, someone else’s, or that of fictional characters’. We look to story to guide us in how we deal with the world and the social interactions required of us in it.

Just as our brain tells us a story which allows us, the protagonist, to avoid the impending car crash or the lurking sabre-tooth tiger rustling in the bushes, so we look to the written story to help us navigate the potential pitfalls inherent in our existence. In other words, what might I expect if I were pursued by those brain-craving zombies. Or if I cheerfully embezzled a small fortune from the mob and made a run for a friendly South American nation with a sultry brunette, one jump ahead of both the FBI and some determined hit-men.

But even though we know why we read stories, what is it about a story that will keep us reading beyond the first few lines? For this to happen, the reader has to be invested—to have that overwhelming desire to know what happens.

Cron posits that story trumps beautiful writing. Just because you’ve written well (i.e. the use of ‘beautiful language, vibrant imagry, authentic-sounding dialogue, insightful metaphors, interesting characters’, etc.) doesn’t mean that people will want to read your book. You’ve got to get beyond the ‘who cares’ factor. If the story doesn’t force the reader to want to find out what happens next, you’re stuck in ‘so what’ land.

And to get beyond that ‘who cares’ trap, you need to hook the reader from the very first page. This is why so many agents and editors only want (or need) to read the first few pages of your book. They already know this. They realize that if they aren’t hooked in that first little bit, to the point where they have to get more pages to find out what happens next, the reading public won’t be either. Which means no sales. No sales means no percentage. No point.

Story, Cron says, does not equal plot. Plot is stuff that happens. Story is designed to answer the question the reader wants to know—how the plot affects the protagonist. Plot is what ‘facilitates story by forcing the protagonist to confront and deal with the issue which is keeping him from achieving his goal’.

One of the key points of “Wired for Story” is that everything that happens in a story needs to happen for a reason. And that reason is that it somehow leads the protagonist on his journey, or prevents him from progressing on his journey. But whichever way it may be, everything in the story needs to be relevant. Look at a scene that you’ve struggled with and sweated over and cursed at until it was finally brilliant and beautiful. If you still can’t answer the question ‘what’s the point?’ then chances are your reader won’t be able to answer it either. And will fast lose interest.

And that’s the fatal error. If the reader loses interest—decides he doesn’t care what happens next—you’ve lost. You’ve lost a reader. Lost a sale. Lost a potential return customer who otherwise might have come back to buy your next book and see what's next.

I’ll be the first to admit that I probably have not done justice to a marvelously insightful book. I read it last year when I was (re)writing my debut novel. And every time I studied a chapter of Cron’s book, I’d go back and look at my own work and find umpteen examples of the things she was warning against. Make changes, read another chapter, and find myself back at the drawing board again. Maddening, granted—but ultimately, it made me write a much better book. One that, I hope, will hook the reader from the very first line and keep them invested all the way to ‘The End’.

If you’ve never dipped into “Wired For Story”, give it a try. I think you’ll be fascinated, and enlightened. And invested. 

Keith W. Willis is a Champagne Books author whose debut fantasy novel, TRAITOR KNIGHT,  will be published in Summer 2015. Find Keith at:
Website--Writing@Knight

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

10 Best Things about being a Writer


Since it’s the beginning of a New Year and my first post for Writers Vineyard in 2015, I thought I’d list some of the best things about being a writer. This was an enjoyable list to create and I hope you get a smile out of it too! J

 

(10) Working in your pajamas with coffee smilingly delivered by your significant other. J

(9) A very, very short commute.

(8) It’s legal to ask so many questions of fellow human beings all in the interests of research, of course!

(7) Getting those annoying characters out of my head that insists on being there 24/7.

(6) Time spent in another world where you have some semblance of control.

(5) The virtual company of other writers. This one is HUGE for me.

(4) Fan mail: It’s lovely to hear when the words you have slaved over and bleed for have touched another human being.

(3) Research: we live in great times to be a writer. An infinite library at our virtual finger tips, what more could one ask for except maybe unlimited time on this Earth to read and write.

(2) The lovely, lovely writing. From the initial gem of an idea to the final editing, all of it is wonderful because it proves that you are alive and part of the larger universe, and that you care about having something worthwhile to share with others.

(1) And did I mention working in my pajamas!

 

Fellow authors, please share your favorite things about being a writer.

 

Best, January

Forever Series

Champagne Publishing

Monday, January 12, 2015

MAKING & KEEPING THOSE NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS FOR AUTHORS


Many people make resolutions for the new year with the intention of keeping them. The most common resolutions in the US include:

  • Spending More Time with Family & Friends
  • Fitting in Fitness
  • Taming the Bulge
  • Quitting Smoking
  • Enjoying Life More
  • Quitting Drinking
  • Getting Out of Debt
  • Learning Something New
  • Helping Others
  • Getting Organized

I’m in for managing my writing time, fitting in fitness, and taming my bulges. While these were made with the best of intentions like most resolutions, the probability of keeping them without some additional steps is low – let’s say in the gutter low. Specifically, define the “real” problem, break it down into do-able and measurable steps toward meeting that resolution, then monitor progress toward achievement. Like most strategies, the initial investment in resources can be significant, but – in the long run – result in a big payoff.

Since this is a writing blog let’s look at managing writing time. First, define the elements of “writing time.” It would be nice to spend hours every day writing stories with no thought of all the tasks that support writing, but it’s just not practical. Besides actual writing time, authors spend time researching content for stories, submitting and editing, maintaining the “desk” (operations & supplies), operating the business of writing/publishing (income/expenditures), marketing the author and books/publishers (webpage, guest blogs, guest spots et al),  improving/supporting craft (personal improvement and supporting other authors as in blogging/interviewing and/or critiquing).

 The first step in managing writing time is to keep track of the total amount of time dedicated to writing activities each day AND what activities were pursued during the “writing time”. This includes amounts of actual writing time, researching time, submitting/editing time, marketing (include time on your blog and reading or participating blogs/groups), and craft activities (self-improvement and supporting other authors). Include your other activities in addition to your writing activities. After establishing a baseline, determine the changes needed in specific areas. (The February Topic)

A personal note: This series (Managing Writing Time) won’t be ME telling others how to improve THEIR time management. With a master’s degree in counseling and a doctorate in education, I should have realized the need for this “resolution” much sooner. I started the process a couple of months ago when I realized I was using my writing time VERY ineffectively, but I don’t have all the answers. The journey is mine also, as I examine my author’s life and future. I would love some company over the next few months or so.

SO, start your calendar this month (a full 2015 calendar with a few American dates is available by clicking HERE or visiting the Freebie Page on my webpage at ritabay.com). Next month, we’ll examine the results and consider SPECIFIC changes in each area.  In later posts, we can share time-savers that help maximize our writing time. ‘Til next month,





Rita Bay – WEBPAGE & BLOG / FACEBOOK / PINTEREST / AMAZON



 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Stupid Worker's Compensation Claims


Recently in a discussion about a friend's worker's compensation claim, I began to wonder how many employees attempt to take advantage of missing work and getting paid. I researched, Stupid Worker's Compensation Claims and found a few interesting reports written by the injured parties.

Employees Reported:

**I dropped my head on my foot when someone pushed their guts across the table without calling out.

Wow! Was this on the set of Walking Dead? Or perhaps the movie set of a bad slasher script? Actually this claim was reported at an animal slaughterhouse.

**The fumes were so bad I was taken by them and went to bed with the doctor.

Too much information! I encourage my fellow workers not share details of their relationships.

**My head injuries have created a permanent increase in libido which has led to two affairs and has ruined my marriage.

I bet there are a lot of men that wished they'd thought of this excuse when they got caught cheating.

**I was working on my job and got a pain at the end of the week.

I usually run into the pain first thing Monday morning.

Take a look at a few bizarre worker compensation claims that were paid to claimants.

*Compensation was rewarded to a JC Penny employee that tripped over her own dog and broke her wrist in her home. She was retrieving fabric samples stored in her garage, making her home a work environment.

*While on a business trip, a woman in Australia was hit in the face by a lamp she ripped off the wall during violent sex in a hotel room. Worker's comp paid the claim because her employer booked and paid for the room.

Personally, I'd suck it up and pay expenses. I wouldn't want to listen to the gossip for the rest of my life. As a writer, to bring character's to life I invent their past and the life they are living. That includes their choice of career. So far, I haven't had a character on worker's compensation but it sounds like a good idea. If you check out my detective murder mystery Bolt Action, one of the minor characters owns a nudist ranch, I can see a lot of potential embarrassing injuries for the employees. In my ghost story, Haunting of Ingersull Penitentiary, the main character is transforming a haunted, abandoned prison, into a bed and breakfast. That work environment screams, CLAIM, waiting to happen.

Please visit my website. I write something for everyone, murder mystery Bolt Action and Ghost Story Haunting of Ingersull Penitentiary, and for children picture book What If A Zebra Had Triangles, chapter book Sled Dog Tales and a puzzle book for teens and adults. Thanks, Victoria Roder