Monday, February 27, 2012

How an Author Sees the World

Since publishing my first book and writing a second book, Shackled, that will be published in a few months, I have noticed a strange transformation in my view of the world.  Let me give you a few examples.

I am introduced to someone I have never met before.  The conversation might go like this.  “Hi, my name is Kayla” and my prospective new friend smiles as she speaks, then she waits patiently for me to respond.

In my head, several things are going on.  One, I notice her hair color right off.  It’s blond, but with subtle highlights.  I think, Her color is beautiful, how would I describe it..Strawberry blond, no that’s too bland. It has more depth than that.  MMM, I just can’t find the words.  Maybe I’ll look up some ideas on the internet when I get home.

While she waits, I notice the restaurant behind her. It is quaint, with bright red booths and retro posters on the wall.  I’ve been trying to figure out where the sorcerer should reveal himself to his daughter in the book I’m currently writing.  I begin imagining the father getting angry when it doesn’t go well, breaking all the windows, people ducking beneath their flimsy metal and laminate table for some semblance of protection.  That could be good, I think to myself and I file away the idea to be used later when I can round up both my computer and a few uninterrupted minutes at the same time..  I suddenly remember I am talking to someone and bring my mind back to the conversation.

“I’m Angela,” I say quickly to fill in what I’m sure was a longer than a normal pause.  Kayla smiles and in my mind, I take off my writer’s hat and continue trying to have a normal conversation, at least until a gorgeous guy walks through the front door and I think…mmm, he’d be a great love interest.  

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Rocks in my Pocket

Today for my blog I want to share a short heartwarming story that I wrote quite a few years ago. I someday plan to make it into a children's book, but for now, I hope you enjoy it.

Rocks in My Pocket

By Angela Carling

One day Malcolm was very angry with his neighbor Mr. Gump.  Mr. Gump had yelled at him in front of the whole neighborhood.  He was afraid that the next day he might forget to be angry with Mr. Gump so he put a rock in his pocket to remind him. 

As Malcolm grew, other people made him angry.  Every time he got angry, he put another rock in his pocket to help him remember to stay angry.

After awhile the pockets in his pants became heavy, he had to start wearing a long overcoat with extra pockets sewn into it.  His clothes became so full of dusty rocks that he left a little cloud of dust wherever he went.  When he couldn’t carry around any more rocks he started keeping them at home.

As Malcolm grew so did his rock collection.  When he was all grown up he bought a large house to keep his rocks in.

 Rocks of all colors sat on shelves that lined the walls of his garage.  Groups of rocks large and small were organized into piles in the front of his house.

Some rocks sat on top of his kitchen cupboards staring down at him with their angry eyes.  He even had small, sharp rocks in his bedroom right next to his bed. 

Finally, his rock collection got so big that it became famous in his community. Some people even knew why he collected the rocks.

 One day a teacher from a local elementary school called Malcolm.  He’d heard about Malcolm’s rock collection and wanted to bring his class to see it.  Malcolm was excited!  Finally, someone would understand why he had collected rocks all those years.                                                                                                                                                                                                      

When the students arrived, Malcolm expected them to ooh and ahh at his collection.  Instead, there was an uncomfortable silence as the class looked around.  The teacher broke the silence by picking up a small piece of granite that sat on Malcolm’s front porch.

“Why did you pick up this one?”  He asked. 
Malcolm thought about it. “Was that rock from the cab driver who passed him by or maybe the Mail Carrier  that delivered the wrong mail to his house.  So many people made him mad.  He couldn’t remember why he had picked up that particular rock.

 Because Malcolm didn’t answer right away one little boy raised his hand to ask him a another question.

 Malcolm looked wearily at the little boy and said “what”.

 “Where is your other collection?” The boy asked innocently.

“What other collection?” Malcolm responded. 

 “The one where you picked up a rock every time someone did something nice for you.”  The child replied.

Malcolm looked at the ground. Suddenly he felt ashamed.  He realized he was a very unhappy person with nothing but a rock collection for company.

The very next week Malcolm rented a huge moving truck to come and take away all of his rocks.   A little at a time he began replacing them with beautiful plants and flowers.

 The neighbors couldn’t explain his new gardening habit, but one neighbor remembered him planting some daisies after she brought him a plate of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Visiting San Tan Jr. High

Yesterday, I had the privilege of visiting San Tan Jr. High School and speaking to several different classes, both seventh and eighth graders.  The first thing I want to say is Teachers-you rock, especially those of you who teach with passion and conviction.  Last night, I was so dog-tired and all I could think about is, how do they do it?
Now that I got that tidbit out of the way. 
So, there I was with 35 or so students listening to my writing as I read aloud and you could’ve heard a pin drop they were so quiet and still.  Remember they are in Jr. High, still is not usually their thing. Anyway, when I finished, I looked up and I could see the wheels turning. I could see their bright minds working through my story, through the emotion it evoked and whatever thoughts were connected to that emotion.  There were some that wanted to become an author and some that enjoyed learning about the photography and graphic art that comes into play when making a cover.  Those were the ones that raised their hands again and again firing questions that ignited conversation.  Those were the ones I hoped I could reach.  Then there were those students who were quiet, but watching, taking it all in. Those students were the ones that made me reflect on my own work.  As I struggled to reach out them with my words and my writing, I found myself scrutinizing the quality of my writing and what I had to offer these students.  It was good; it was like looking in a reflecting pool and seeing what I could improve.  All in all, it was an amazing experience. I met very cool kids and left expecting more of myself.  Later that night, I received three emails from students that I’d spoken to earlier that day.  I couldn’t help but feel this corny swelling of gratitude as these amazing girls who will probably grow to be successful writers , told me that I had inspired them.  Me, little ordinary, just trying to survive and establish myself as a writer, me.  It was at that moment, I realized that my dream of writing as well as teaching had come to fruition and I was absolutely amazed. To my new friends at San Tan Jr. High School, thanks for hanging out with me.  It was fun!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A First Glimpse at the Characters of Shackled

Last week I handed over my final manuscript to my publisher.  That means that I can finally start talking about my second book Shackled.  I am so excited about this book.  The storyline is intense and the subject matter is crazy important. Okay, I’m going to stop before I give away too much.  Instead, I’m going to talk a little about the main characters. Drum roll Please.....

Meet Lucy.  Lucy is a sweetheart, an adorable, wide-eyed sweetheart. She’s been sheltered, growing up all of her life in a small town in Minnesota, so she is quick to trust people and slow to be unkind.  Her big blue eyes and naturally platinum blond hair typify her innocence and give her a classic beauty that is easy for everyone else to see but her.  She’s the girl that helps you pick up your books when you accidentally drop them.  She sees wonder in simple, every day things like the sunset or the waves rolling onto the beach.  Lucy is the kind of girlfriend a guy would be lucky to have, devoted, accommodating, and did I mention, na├»ve.

Then there’s Ryan.  Ryan is tall, brunette(the color of light brown sugar) and impeccably put together. If you looked up the word confidence in the dictionary, there would be a picture of Ryan next to the definition. This guy is so sharp that he probably irons his pajamas before he goes to bed, just in case anyone drops by in the night.  He is the student body president and the girls go weak in the knees every time he walks by….oh and did I mention; his family is loaded.  Yup, that’s right.  He drives a cherry red Mercedes to school every day.  However, behind the mansion doors Ryan has a unique family situation, which brings us to Ryan’s Father.

 Mark, Ryan’s dad is a head honcho in FBI, a real power player, with an emphasis on the word power.  Oops, spoiler danger! He is a mountain of a man, strong and broad, with striking silvery gray eyes that seem to look down your spine as you talk with him.  Everything about Mark is commanding, and he always seems to get what he wants, well almost always.

May- Ryan’s mother is a quiet, but critical character.  She is grace embodied. Her soft spoken demeaner and well bred charm comes through whether she making coffee in the kitchen or mingling with politicians and FBI agents at a formal affair. She grew up wealthy, although she has been separated from her family for years.  She has stunning auburn hair and the same captivating blue eyes that she passed onto her only son.  When you meet May for the first time, you can’t help but notice that behind those beautiful blue eyes, is pain brought on by a burdensome secret she is forced to carry alone.

And finally, we come to the last main character, Mason.  He is my favorite. Mason, is Ryan’s best friend, although the two are nothing alike.  He’s tall with warm brown eyes and rich dark brown hair that is always in need of a haircut.  Mason is a lot things, athletic, good at photography and unfortunately, also just like his best friend, in love with Lucy.  Throughout the book, it is easy to fall in love with Mason’s loyalty to his friends and his kind nature, not to mention his compelling eyes and Cheshire grin.

These are just the main characters.  At some point I have to control my compulsion to write large volumes of text, so I'm making myself stop here.  Next time, I’ll talk plot.  To read the first chapter of Shackled go to and click on Angela's writing.  The first chapter will be under Shackled.  See ya!