Wednesday, December 4, 2013
One of the hardest things for any writer to do is hand their precious manuscript over to an editor. Why? Because that's our blood, sweat and tears. Those 100,000 or less words aren't just a piece of paper with words. That's our baby. We have a story to tell the world.
But what happens when an editor or beta reader returns your manuscript with a notes that you don't agree with? What if they come back to tell you it needs more work and until you fix those problems it isn't ready to be published? Your bound to feel upset. Don't they understand that this manuscript is the next bestseller?
Before you get so upset that you decide to ignore the editor and self publish your work take a break. Put the notes and the manuscript aside for a few days then come back to it. The editor is not your enemy. They know what works and doesn't work. Their job is to accurately prepare your manuscript for the market. A good editor is an author's best friend. They want you to succeed. I know it can be hard to accept criticism but if your going to be an author you have to accept it.
So calm down and then go back to their notes. Read them carefully and if you still have concerns about what they are telling you approach your editor with them. A good editor will listen to the author. They will walk you through their thought process but they are not a writing coach. If you need a writing coach then hire one. There are plenty of people in the industry who want to help you succeed. Before you hire any of these people, though, be sure to check them out with other authors you trust. There are people out there who want to help you but there are still others who want to make a buck off of people. You have to be careful when choosing a writing coach, editor or publisher. But we'll talk about that another time.
The editor and author need to be friends. They need to know your writing style, your target market and your genre. The more they understand you the more they can help you. My editor, Lee Porche, has been my editor for three years and I wouldn't trade her for anyone else. In fact, she is the editing director of our publishing house and continues to work on all my books. Your editor needs to be your writing best friend. So instead of jumping to hostilities when he or she gives you criticism you need to foster the relationship. Understand their point of view. Sometimes another pair of eyes on your manuscript is a great thing. Authors are their own worst editors.
There are a lot of myths about people who have Aspergers Syndrome that harm the reputation of the person who has this disorder. Let's face it, people don't like what they don't understand. And being a woman with Aspergers is very different from a man with Aspergers because women with Aspergers can express emotion. We just don't know how to express our own. We are the great con artists. We tent to mimic what other people are feeling in order to survive. The problem is most people, unless they know the women well, never know how that person truly feels.
Another problem is our expression of thoughts and feelings. We have feelings but we just don't know how to express them properly. Females with Aspergers tend to bottle their feelings inward while men can express their anger through violence. A woman's anger is focused inward. I can be very hard on myself. So hard that it is unwarranted. I have problems with negative thoughts, negative self esteem and negative self talk. I drive my emotions inward until I have a meltdown. I don't meltdown very often but when I do I tend to shock people because they never expect if from me.
Life can be truly overwhelming at times for me, like yesterday. I can get overstimulated very easily and that's what happened to me yesterday. Writing is a great emotional release for me. All of the frustrations I wrote about in Elsa from Franklin's point of view are the same frustrations I have had in my own life.
My life has been a struggle and there are people who truly know me that say I am a strong woman. Sometimes though, I don't want to be that strong woman anymore. I just want to crawl up, forget the world and dive inward. I need those moments where I can escape. The problem with that is I can very easily get stuck in that state. You see, the world is a very scary place for a person with Aspergers. We don't understand this world and it scares us. We operate with different values and we don't understand social cues. We are blunt, too honest and can easily insult a person without understanding that we have insulted that person. There have been plenty of social situations where I have just been dumbfounded when someone has been insulted or when something goes wrong. Thankfully, there are people in my life who help me through those situations.
Like Franklin, I have a spouse who loves me so much he takes care of me. Long term relationships,
Life can be difficult for the people who support the person with Aspergers as well. Let's face it, we are not easy to live with. When I wrote Elsa I took that into consideration. You see I'm not only a person with Aspergers but I'm also someone who has been a caregiver. People with Aspergers make very good caregivers because we have a very tender heart and are overly sensitive. We are not self-centered but are selfless. My husband would tell you that I would give everything we own just to help someone. The problem with that is there have been plenty of times when people have used that against me. I am a doormat because I can't tell when people are being genuine with me or just trying to use me. My friends and family tell me that I am just too nice. But I can't change that. It's just who I am.
I'm not a threat to society. I'm not someone to be feared. I'm someone to be loved, encouraged and cherished. I am a woman with Aspergers.
Friday, November 29, 2013
Traditional Irish Naming Patterns
Sherlock turned in her direction, picking up his coat from the floor. “He is my friend.”
“Liar, he’s Bailey’s best friend which makes him a threat to you and your family.”
“I am trying the best that I can to protect you!”
“Liar! You’re trying the best you can not to stir the pot because your so scared of Bailey you won’t do anything to turn against him. Sherlock, you’re the elder brother! That’s why you carry your grandfather’s name not Bailey. You have always acted like the youngest. When are you going to stop being so scared of Bailey and act like the man you really are, the heir of Kilmore!”“I’m the heir of nothing. Haven’t you heard, Mary, it’s illegal to be Irish in Ireland?”
From Bailey's Revenge by Allison Bruning
|The RJ Mecredy Family Xmas 1901|
Welcome back to my blog. The last time we spoke about Ireland I had introduced you to the white slave trade that occurred from the 15th through the 18th centuries. You can read more about that here: http://allisonbruning.blogspot.com/2013/11/irish-slavery-white-slavery-in-colonies.html
Have you ever wondered why a certain name drops down from generation to generation while other names seem to disappear? Naming patterns have a lot to do with that. A naming pattern is the traditional way a culture names their children. While a naming pattern is the norm for any given culture some parents do not always follow the naming patterns. For example, Countess Kathleen Turner and Countess Calico Collins in Bailey's Revenge were not named using the traditional naming pattern but their older brothers, Sherlock and Bailey, were. Every culture has their own naming patterns and this blog would be too long if we discussed them all.
The traditional Irish family followed this naming pattern:
- First born son named after his father's father
- Second born son named after his mother's father
- Third born son named after his father
- Fourth born son named after his father's oldest brother
- Fifth born son named after his father's 2nd oldest brother or his mother's oldest brother
- First born daughter named after her mother's mother
- Second born daughter named after her father's mother
- Third born daughter named after her mother
- Fourth born daughter named after her mother's oldest sister
- Fifth born daughter named after her mother's 2nd oldest sister or her father's oldest sister
So if you look at this pattern and the passage I gave you from my new book you will see that Sherlock's grandfather was named Sherlock. Bailey was named after his mother's father. When Countess Kathleen Turner and Countess Calico Collins were born their parents did not follow this pattern. I will not tell you why they carry the names they do. You will have to read the book.
How is that Calico from the series Children of the Shawnee carries the same name as Kathleen's sister? Because when Kathleen's daughter, Anne, gave birth to her twins she did followed the traditional Irish naming pattern for Calico but not with Rose. Although Kathleen was alive throughout her daughter's childhood, Anne had a horrible relationship with her mother. She had more of a mother-daughter bond with Kathleen's sister. In honor of that relationship she named her first born daughter after the woman she considered her mother, the Countess Calico Collins.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
Americans often imagine the Pilgrims as stoic, overly religious, and pacifists. Most of the stories we tell of about them are myths and if the woman in the picture was alive today she wouldn't recognize the image we often like to portray as her people. Notice the colors she is wearing? The pilgrims did not dress in only black and white. This is a very accurate picture of a pilgrim. Remember the buckles on their shoes? Well they didn't wear those, either.
WHO WERE THE PILGRIMS?
In order to answer that question we must travel further back in time to when King Henry VIII (reigned 1509-1547) ruled England. The national religion of England had been Catholic until 1534, when the king replaced his newly created, Church of England, as the new national religion. Under his decree, every English citizen had to abandon their Catholic faith and become Anglicans. King Henry VIII's daughter, Queen Elizabeth I, finished what her father had begun. The king and his daughter had transformed the faith but there were many skeptics of the new found religion. Many of the skeptics felt the new religion kept the same rigid practices of the Roman Catholic faith. They wanted to return to the way the early Christians had worshipped. This group became the Puritans. The Puritans would establish their own colonies in the New World during the 17th century in what is now known as New England.
Another group of religious reformers were the Separatists. They were considered very radical for their time. The Separatists didn't want to reform the church. They only sought for worship to be conducted in smaller congregational groupings. The Pilgrims were one of many separatists. It was very dangerous for anyone to join these groups because it was illegal to leave the Church of England. England was a very dangerous place for the Pilgrims. They were arrested, fined or imprisoned. When life became too difficult they decided to move their entire congregation to Holland.
The Pilgrims had been able to freely practice their religion in Holland for twelve years. The long stay in the Netherlands had taken its toll on them. Their children had abandoned their English culture for a Dutch identity. The Pilgrims felt if they remained in Holland they would lose their English identity and they did not agree with the Dutch's loose morals. You can read more about their journey to the New World at http://www.plimoth.org/learn/just-kids/homework-help/who-were-pilgrims
THE FIRST THANKSGIVING FEAST
The first thanksgiving feast was actually a harvest celebration in the Fall of 1621. The pilgrims had http://www.biography.com/people/squanto-9491327 .Native Americans had been hosting thanksgiving feasts long before the English had ever landed on their shores and many of the English explorers had taken note of their celebrations. While the Wampanoag had viewed the feast as a time to give thanksgiving to the creator for the bountiful harvest. The Pilgrims ,on the other hand, believed giving thanks to God was a solemn act that could only be devoted in a time of worship. Thus, they did not view the feast as a Thanksgiving like their Native American counterparts did.
invited Squanto and the Pokanoket Wampanoag leader, Massasoit. Massasoit brought 90 of his men to the celebration. Squanto acted as their interpreter. You can learn more about his life at
We rarely hear the side of the story from the Native Americans. Here is an account of the First Thanksgiving by the Wampanoag people. http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2012/11/23/what-really-happened-first-thanksgiving-wampanoag-side-tale-and-whats-done-today-145807
The Native Americans were very familiar with the English before the Pilgrims had landed. The English had been raiding, kidnapping and raping Native Americans up and down the American East Coast long before the Pilgrims had landed. Infectious diseases such as Measles and Chicken Pox often destroyed villages soon after the English had left. The Native Americans had quickly learned not to trust the English, although some groups still wanted a peaceful relationship with the English. The pilgrims enjoyed a close relationship with the Wampanoag Nation until Massasoit died forty years later. Massasoit was a good leader who had forged many influential treaties with the English that had protected his people.
Want to learn more interesting facts about Thanksgiving? Check out this link. http://hnn.us/article/406
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
It was a lot of hard work and ignoring people but I finally did it. I finished Bailey's Revenge. I am very excited about my next book. It takes place in 1738 Ireland and is the beginning of my Turner Family Saga. Some of my readers have already read Calico and have requested that I tell the back story of her parents. Well Bailey's Revenge is the story of Kathleen McGillpatrick and Isaac Turner. They are the parents of Alexander and Anna Turner. Anna Turner is Calico's mother.
Kathleen McGillpatrick is an Irish Catholic noble who is thrust into a marriage with English Anglican Earl Isaac Turner. Both have fallen madly in love with each other. There is only one problem. Their people hate each other and both their leaders expect them to be loyal to their own cause. Family drama, romance, politics, it's all there with plenty of plot twists and surprises.
Bailey's Revenge is scheduled to be released the first week of January by Mountain Springs House.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
REST IN PEACE: SYD FIELD
Syd Field was born on December 19, 1935 in Hollywood, California. The California native wrote several screenplays and television shows. He was a very talented writer who decided to teach the next generation of writers the secrets to his success. His methods revolutionized the screenwriting community. In fact, his books are taught in several film schools throughout the world. Why? Because his methods work.
Syd Field taught screenplays should be written utilizing a three act structure. Within these three acts are pivotal plot points that keep your audience interested in your story. These plot points raise the stakes every time your character comes across them. Syd Field created a paradigm where the writer can lay their story down and then work from that structure as they write. I have not only used this method in my screenplays but also with my novels.
Here's a music video I wrote for Highland Reign that I used Syd Field's Paradigm on.
Syd Field's books include:
- Screenplay (1979)
- The Screenwriter's Workbook (1984)
- Selling a Screenplay: The Screenwriter's Guide to Hollywood (1989)
- Four Screenplays: Studies in the American Screenplay (1994)
- The Screenwriter's Problem Solver: How To Recognize, Identify, and Define Screenwriting Problems (1998)
- Going to the Movies: A Personal Journey Through Four Decades of Modern Film (2001)
- The Definitive Guide to Screenwriting (2003)
If you haven't read any of his books I would suggest you start with The Screenwriter's Workbook. All of his books have been updated.
You can learn more about Syd Field on his website at http://sydfield.com/
Monday, November 18, 2013
"He (Isaac Turner) was going to take care of the rebel leaders once and for all. Irish law required political prisoners to be sold English families in the American colonies and in West Indies as slaves. He had the perfect buyer for Alexander McGillpatrick and his sons." - Bailey's Revenge by Allison Bruning
Irish Slave Trade
It's something we don't learn about in our history books. We have grand visions of colonists who came to American with visions of starting over. Yet little do you hear about the colonists who had been forcibly removed from their homes and shipped to the colonies as indentured servants. Indentured servitude is just a nice way of saying white slavery. But to understand how and why the Irish were forced into slavery you must understand the back story of it all.
Ireland during the 17th and 18th centuries was a very dangerous place to live if you had been born Irish. The conflict between the English and Irish began when King John became the first Lord of Ireland. He visited the island twice (1185 and 1210) and convinced many of the Irish kings to swear their allegiance to his reign. Ireland had a long history of defending their lands against outsiders who wanted to control their island. Some of the Irish nobles had deemed King John an outsider and wanted nothing to do with him while others believed it was best to swear their fidelity to the English intruder in an effort to maintain peace.
Conflict on between the Irish and English nobles continued for over 100 years. In 1348, the Black Death came to the island killing more English and Normans than Irish. At the end of the plague, the Irish culture and language once again dominated the island. By the end of the 15th century, England had almost forgotten about the island as their attention was now focused on the War of the Roses.
In 1536, King Henry VIII decided to turn English eyes back on Ireland. He spent years trying to place control of the island under the English crown yet he would not live to see the fruit of his labor. The reconquest of Ireland eventually happened during the reigns of Queen Elizabeth the I and King James.
The English greatly dehumanized the Irish claiming the Irish were savages. The practice of dehumanizing the Irish continued overseas in the colonies well into the 20th century. The Irish Slave Trade began under the rule of King James II with his Proclamation of 1625. He declared all Irish political prisoners be sent overseas and sold to English settlers in the West Indies. 30,000 Irish were forcibly removed from their homes and sold as slaves in Barbados. The English crown gave Oliver Cromwell free reign to gather undesirable Irish and sell them overseas. Ireland soon became the place for merchants to obtain white slaves. He rounded up the Catholics and shipped them as slaves to the Caribbean, mainly Barbados. In 1656, Cromwell gathered 2,000 Irish children and sold them to merchants and English settlers in Jamaica. From 1641 to 1652, over 300,000 Irish were sold as slaves. In one single decade, Ireland’s population fell from about 1,500,000 to 600,000.
The Caribbean wasn't the only place the Irish were forced into servitude. Irish slaves were also found in the American colonies. Ireland soon became the place for merchants to obtain slaves because Irish slaves were less expensive to obtain than African slaves.
The Irish Slave Trade lasted from the 15th through the 18th century. You can learn more about the Irish Slave Trade from this site http://humboldtsentinel.com/tag/proclamation-of-1625/