my resolution: finish that darn Christmas novel!
R. A. Lee
my resolution: finish that darn Christmas novel!
R. A. Lee
Free download of my short story on KDP select Saturday, Oct. 12!
It’s the end of August and I had a plan to write three more novels or novellas by the end of the year. I wanted one of them to be a Christmas themed story. I haven’t had Writer’s Block since I sat down to my computer and wrote my first three novels in 2011. Ideas have never been my problem.
Every writer approaches the blank page differently. I dream in prose, but in the light of day the words evaporate and I must scramble to put them on the page before the insight vanishes.
The problem is I have at least three stories playing in my head right now.
I have put the outlines on paper for two of them, but I can’t focus. I have written eight stories up to this point and I know I can do many more, but …
There’s a story about a couple who get twisted in a UFO conspiracy competing for space in my brain with a woman who finds herself spending Christmas with the boss’s family in Vegas while another couple embarks on a mission across the solar system. In the background of all this commotion, a young woman is taking shape and her story will be my masterwork.
My masterwork. I can only compare myself to me and not to any other writer. I set goals but my characters aren’t going to come into focus because I want to meet my self-imposed quotas. This year I completed one work. Maybe next year I will complete three. Maybe next year I only complete my masterwork. Maybe …
It is late August. The air is thick with the threat of thunderstorms, the distant bum-bum-bum of the rumbling drums. I had hoped to complete at least one more work this year, but I know it will not happen. I only hope that you the reader understand, that you find my stories compelling enough to come back … when the avalanche clears.
R. A. Lee
It’s been a while since I posted. I saw this article about Area 51 and laughed. I am in the Southwest United States right now and it’s funny to hear that Area 51 exists since tourists flock to the “non-existent site” all the time. Alien Jerky anyone? Tons of it in Nevada.
As the skies over Nevada turn gray and the air thick with the threat of thunderstorms, I am inspired to write once again.
Hopefully I will have something out by Christmas.
R. A. Lee
You may have noticed that some of the novels by R. A. Lee have a whole new look. The website will be under construction as well (at some point)!
When I started publishing novels in 2011, I set out to write something between a romance novel and the Great American Novel.
Although I loved my one-of-a-kind artwork, I realized that I have now defined the genre in which I am writing.
I am writing love stories. Sure, my characters are a bit dark and pessimistic, but there are so many misconceptions about what it is like to be in love that it takes some people longer than others to realize they have found The One.
So, I had my team come up with a new look.
(P.S. I had my team take another look at the content as well. As a perfectionist, the mistakes jab me like a knife because you can read something over and over and still not see the mistake because you’re looking for other mistakes. But, that’s my problem to sort out.)
I hope you are enjoying my stories. If you haven’t had a chance to read one of my novels, I suggest starting with “Love Again, Love for Them.”
If you have any opinions on the new look, I would love to hear what you think. Do these covers fit the genre?
I won’t be updating for a while because I have three works in my head I am trying to complete by the end of the year! I still look forward to what you, the reader, have to say about what you have read so don’t hesitate to leave a review or email me with comments!
I am still striving for the writer’s ultimate goal. To write that classic that defines a generation.
Until then, I will write from my heart.
R. A. Lee
As I have said, one of the ways I get inspiration for story ideas is through reading news articles in the paper, online or in magazines. Although I may not actually visit a place, I can imagine what it’s like through articles.
I read A LOT. I used to be a voracious fiction reader, but when I started writing, I didn’t want to be inadvertently be influenced or compromise my own creativity, but that’s for another blog entirely.
Nipton is this tiny spot on the bottom of the barren desert landscape desert as you travel to and from Vegas and California on the 15.
It was another one of those turnoffs I had always wanted to explore, but never had the time and in the desert, if you turn off without knowing what to expect, you might find yourself in a very precarious situation without cell service. I don’t advise adventuring in the desert areas unless you are fully aware of the dangers and prepared for emergencies.
Quick side story, coming back from Laughlin one time, the LOML and I were in an older car and the radiator overheated IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE. We actually happened to stop under an overpass, the only one for as far as the eye could see. We were alone on the road and we filled the radiator with water and hobbled to the rest area. When an older man saw us and we told him our story, he said we were lucky we didn’t crack the radiator because we hadn’t waited for the radiator to cool before putting water in it. LESSON LEARNED. Be prepared when traveling in the desert.
Back to Nipton. Right after I published “Desert Town Angels” the LOML and I decided to take a side trip from Searchlight to the 15. Searchlight is a desert town similar to all the desert towns that inspired the fictional setting of “Golden Peaks.” Most people just drive right through the main road without even noticing the town. Of course Searchlight, the hometown for Sen. Harry Reid, has this really great place to use the restroom and buy snacks when going to and from Laughlin.
So we veer off at Searchlight and after passing a few residences, we head into the lonely desert under gray skies. Soon we pass a Joshua Tree forest. The first time I ever saw a Joshua Tree, which looks like a cactus mated with a palm tree, I thought I was looking at the Martian landscape, before we actually had photos of the Martian landscape.
Then up and over a hill where we passed snow-covered hills. We were excited to see the snow that came right up to the road (we’re from the West, we don’t get snow, we have to go to snow). At the bottom of this pass, there was a gathering of trees on the barren landscape that I thought was maybe a ranch. Silver train tracks cut across the desert and two trains were approaching from opposite directions (that’s when I kicked myself for not putting a train somewhere in my story).
Reaching the trees, we saw buildings and didn’t know we were in Nipton until we reached the train tracks and slowed down as we realized two things: 1. There was nothing beyond the tracks and we were about to leave Nipton and 2. If we crossed the tracks we would be stuck on the other side for a while.
With quick thinking, we turned left into a parking lot and there was a sign that read Nipton. Jumping out of the car with our cameras, we caught the two trains just as they passed looking as if they were going to crash into one another. It was interesting how one train had seemed closer and we didn’t expect them to reach the intersection at Nipton at the same time.
Turning, we walked to a rock garden in front of the B&B. Readers, if you love trains and barren desert landscapes and outdoor activities, this B&B is for YOU. There is one room in the cabin that faced the trains. Don’t worry, they provide earplugs as we were told by one of the friendly guests who gave us a tour of the cute little B&B.
Then we saw a restaurant, and a General Store, which was stocked pretty well. Not so long ago I had read about some problem on the 15 that diverted traffic through Nipton and the General Store was sold out and had to turn customers away. It was a very cute store.
Standing in Nipton, I smiled.
This was what I had envisioned, this desert town.
A collection of wood buildings with limited amenities on either side of a road leading to a state road on one end and on the other, an Interstate anchored by a larger desert town.
It wasn’t until after the trip that I realized my imagination had been influenced by these articles. I had been in Nipton and other desert towns before I ever visited them. I can already imagine what it will be like when I visit Goodsprings.
Imagination based on things you read in articles is another example of creative inspiration. I knew what a place like Nipton was like without ever going there because I had been to similar towns and I had lived in the desert area for so long.
If you enjoyed “Desert Town Angels,” I hope you got a sense of what it’s like to visit a desert town. I hope that if you have been to one yourself that I have captured the essence of the desert town atmosphere. If you have not, I hope that when you do have the opportunity to visit a desert town you will feel as if you’ve already been there, if only in your imagination.
R. A. Lee
A short by R. A. Lee on Kindle KDP Select
Looking for something romantic to read?
I love romance novels and sappy love stories. Before I met the LOML, I was always wondering if the next person I saw was going to be The One.
What are some of my characters up to on Valentine’s Day?
From time to time I re-read my novels and (except for the missed editing errors which I correct and upload) I fall in love with the story all over again. (Yes, I love my own stories. If they weren’t interesting to me, I would never have written them!)
I remember the moment Evan and Ashley finally made a decision about their relationship one Valentine’s Day in “The Beauty at the Bus Stop.”
I relive the moment Faith stumbles into love on one whirlwind trip to Sin City in “My Vegas Valentine.”
This Valentine’s Day, always remember that romantic stories aren’t just fantasy, but tales of people who finally found one another. Sometimes we look too hard or expect the heavens to announce we have found The One.
The One is that person who is special to you. There is no definition, but in your heart, you know when that love has been defined.
Happy Valentine’s Day
R. A. Lee
I have been writing about inspiration for ideas.
I first came up with the idea for “Desert Town Angels” when I read a story about a town for sale in the desert. Then I read another article about the tamarisk, a plant that drains the desert’s natural resources and is impossible to destroy.
This story about Searchlight for sale, a desert town in Nevada, reminds me that articles provide great inspiration for stories.
Although I don’t write about anything in particular, I come up with a theme.
What would it be like to own a town?
In “Desert Town Angels,” the patriarch passes away and ownership is passed onto a stranger, which enrages the patriarch’s daughter, leading to a feud.
I can’t afford a town of my own, but it is fun thinking about what it would be like.
I have linked to the Las Vegas Review-Journal article about Searchlight being for sale. The town’s claim to fame is that it is the home of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.
If you happen to be in the area, stop by the Nugget for a 10-cent cup of coffee, while it’s still being offered.
R. A. Lee
Traveling is another way to get inspiration.
For years I had been reading articles about desert towns and entire towns for sale. I have also visited old Western towns and mining towns like Calico (California) and Oatman (Arizona). I plan to visit Goodsprings (Nevada).
A recent trip through the desert and mining towns of Nevada solidified my resolve to finally write what would become “Desert Town Angels.”
As the LOML and I drove through the Nevada desert and passed signs near Area 51 for Alien jerky, I was thinking about all the stories that could come from this mythic military compound.
The LOML turned to me and asked if I was getting any story ideas.
Traveling does amazing things for your imagination. How does the sky look? How does the air feel? What does the landscape look like? You can close your eyes and feel the atmosphere. Traveling and visiting new places is how you derive inspiration to make a fictional town come to life.
Many mining and desert towns have one similarity and that is the reality that the main road is just a pass through for major traffic going anywhere else but the desert town through which they are driving. You will pass through a town and never know its significance.
We passed so many towns that had gone through bust and boom mining gold and silver, but we would never have known that without learning a little about their history as we traveled.
Virginia City is an exception. This mining town near Reno and Lake Tahoe is historic. One narrow road leads through a town of wood buildings all connected along storefronts leading out to a wooden walkway. There is a train and a mine tour, but be prepared to walk up and down hills as Virginia City is in a very hilly part of Nevada. There is even a gravesite on another hill outside of town. Looks like something right out of a Western.
You don’t just aimlessly drive through Virginia City. It’s like Oatman and Calico, they’re all tourist destinations.
This was the atmosphere that finally solidified my resolve to start writing “Desert Town Angels.”
In addition to having an inspiration from articles, I now had the atmosphere I needed to fuel my imagination.
The experiences you gain from traveling, they inspire the real world feeling necessary to give life to the world about which you are writing.
If I don’t blog for a while, that means I am writing furiously or editing.
Whenever I am writing and I am stuck on a plot point, I feel the need to continue writing so that’s when I get ideas for a blog. I get ideas for ANYTHING from blogs to baking!
I usually blog when my brain is working through character direction and plot. Then I dream a scene and stop blogging a while.
(I just finished my seventh, a Novella, “My Vegas Valentine,” and I am working on my 8th, a short story, “The Unbreakable Heart of a Princess.”)
When I am done with the short story, I will write about my final inspiration, which is creating atmosphere based on a place you have never been, but heard about in a news story.
I believe you can write about anything without ever being there, as I write about Nipton in Part Three of this series. There would be no fantasy stories or stories set in outer space or on other worlds if we didn’t have the imagination to wonder what’s possible if we could visit these places.
R. A. Lee