Author Archives: Tracy Beltran

About Tracy Beltran

I am a published author. Currently, Images of Betrayal, and Fate and Destiny, are both available on Amazon and at www.secondwindpublishing.com.

Time Warp

I’ve wrestled with what I should write about today.

The words don’t always immediately fly from my fingers, although when they do, it’s a fantastic feeling.  I’m not a big fan of writing about writing so if you’re really interested in how I write and what makes my fingers itch, you may have to go to the archives.

Instead, today, I’d like to give you a glimpse into my world by sending you on a little trip over to my regular blog. Don’t worry, you don’t have to pack a bag or arrange for a pet sitter and the transportation from here to there won’t be painful. If you don’t like the ride, you can easily return back here.

Ready?

Claire’s WordPress 

Claire Collins is the author of Fate and Destiny and Images of Betrayal.

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Hot Fun in the Summertime

Summer has arrived.

It’s 106 degrees as I write.

Tommorrow, its supposed to be 109, and the forecast predicts 110 by Friday.

It’s barely summer.

On the plus side, the kids will live in the pool for the next four months.

I may get some writing done

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Addictive

On April Fool’s day of this year, I quit smoking. I found the date to be very fitting since I was a smoking fool for over 21 years. Yes, I was barely out of the womb when I started. I was young and stupid. Those were the good ol’ days.

So I traded my nicotine addiction for a new vice.

I’m now addicted to Cheerios.

I’ve tried to quit smoking four times in the last two years. I gained forty pounds trying to quit. This time, I grab cheerios when I get a craving.

I love Cheerios. Do you realize how many kinds of Cheerios there are? Apple cinnamon, strawberry yogurt burst, multi-grain, honey nut… the list goes on and on. http://www.cheerios.com/ourcereals/ourcereals_home.aspx

The worst part of my new addiction is holding the cheerio while I light it on fire and inhale.

 

Claire Collins is the author of Images of Betrayal and Fate and Destiny.

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To Be Tattooed

I woke up this morning with a tattoo. It’s a fluid , graceful horse head sitting delicately on my right ankle. It’s lovely.

It wasn’t there when I went to bed and I don’t remember going out and getting drunk. If I did go out and get drunk, I would  remember some of it – wouldn’t I?

I stumbled out of my room blurry-eyed and headed for the coffee pot. At least my new body art didn’t hurt. Or maybe I was really really drunk. As caffeine coursed through my blood, I became aware of giggling coming from the living room.

There sat my eight year old son and seven year old daughter.

Or at least I think it was them.

It was hard to tell through the tattoos covering them from head to foot, but the giggles sounded familiar. My husband reclined on the couch, his right arm tattooed clear down to the hand holding the remote. I guess I should consider myself lucky that only my foot and ankle were accessible to the tatoo bandits giggling on the living room floor.

When they saw me watching, the little tribal covered beings chased after me , each with a sponge in one hand and slips of plastic coated paper gripped in the other. I barely escaped into my bathroom with my coffee before the sponge slapped wetly against the door and the giggling fiends went in search of another victim.

I think I heard a cat yowl.

Should I tell them I don’t have any rubbing alcohol to remove their decorations?
No more sleeping in for me if it means my husband has to take the kids to the store with him. Who knows what they will come home with next.

Knowing my luck, my husband will decide to let them play doctor and I will wake up strapped to the bed by bandages. And with my luck, the tattooed cat will be in there with me.

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Revivin’ the Drive-In

The drive-in – not just for making out!

 If you’ve never been to a drive-in movie, you are missing a part of Americana that is surely going to be extinct soon.

I don’t care if you call me a hick or archaic or an archaic hick. There’s nothing like loading my truck up with lawn chairs, the cushions off my couch, a full cooler, all  of the kids, and parking in front of a huge screen in the dark. We lounge around in the bed of the truck, seated comfortably on the couch cushions while the big kids hang out on the tailgate or in the lounge chairs and the little kids curl up on a stack of pillows and blankets. We take fast food or pizzas in with us and the cooler is full of snacks and sodas.

The local drive-in is cheap, only about $6 for an adult and about $4.50 for kids 11 and younger and we can stay and watch two movies in a row for the price of one. Last weekend, we saw “UP”. The second feature was the Hannah Montana movie and my daughter and I wanted to stay, but the four males in our family outvoted us, two of them threatening a murder – suicide if we didn’t leave after “UP” was over. I almost stayed just to prove they wouldn’t go through with it, but part of me was worried they would.

The drive-in is much better than a jammed movie theater. I hate those places. I haven’t been inside of a movie theater since 1994. Honestly. The movie I saw was “Sixth Sense”.

I remember sitting in the crowded theater thinking, “No one in here will shut up, I’m sick of hearing cell phones, the guy behind me is drunk and about to upchuck on my neck, and if there’s a fire, I’m going to die.”

I don’t have those thoughts at a drive-in.

Besides, if it’s a crappy movie, I didn’t waste a ton of money and I can look up and watch the stars instead.

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Why are we here?

For my blog post today, I’m going to cheat.

That means I’m being lazy.

I recently wrote a post on my personal blog page and I ask the question, “Why do you blog?”

The responses are eye-opening, humorous, and entertaining so that’s what I’m doing for our blog here as well. Read the post, then come back here or hang out over there, and let us know why you blog or why you read the blogs.

As a side note, Second Wind Publishing and many of the authors including myself have our own Pat Bertram to thank for getting us started on blogging. I pick on her in my post, but I really am grateful, and it’s okay because she paid me back.

 

Claire Collins is the author of Fate and Destiny as well as Images of Betrayal.

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TIME TO WAKE UP!

My oldest child is technically an adult. He isn’t the kind of adult who is legally old enough to drink or gamble, but he is old enough to vote.

This adult lives in my house because technically, he’s still a kid too. MY kid. This man-child doesn’t have a job, but he does go to mechanics school at night. He also doesn’t drive because neither my husband nor I will let him near our vehicles. This “adult” has issues with responsibility.  Come to think of it, I know a lot of thirty-something adults who have problems with responsibility.

Anyway, back to what I was saying. My son, my child, my spoiled rotten brat. He isn’t allowed to drive our cars. There’s actually a car sitting in the driveway and we told him if he got a job and paid for the gas and the insurance, the 95 T-bird would be at his disposal. He’s never driven it. Not once. The tags on it expired last year. I didn’t bother renewing them.

Where was I? Oh that’s right. I remember. So, four days a week, as soon as I walk in the door from work, my husband leaves to drive our young adult son to school. Every night at 11:00, I am in the parking lot waiting to pick my son up and bring him home. Sometimes I don’t fall asleep until after one in the morning.

There are two alarm clocks in my bedroom. The first one goes off at an ungodly 4:30 am to wake up my husband who has to be at work at 6 am and the second alarm goes off at 6 am so I can get my tired ass to work by 8 am.  Both alarm clocks wake me up. We both push the snooze button as long as we can. I’ve learned to sleep in 9-minute increments.

Back to my son. Before summer vacation started, I would wake up the three younger children and get them all ready for school before I went off to work and the oldest child (adult) stayed in bed until after we’d all left.

Now the younger kids are out of school and summer vacation has begun! The older two are responsible for watching the younger two. Let the good times roll!

Except, I called home at eleven in the morning a couple of days ago and discovered that the older two children were sleeping. I gave the younger children permission to beat the hell out of the doors until their brothers woke up.

I have no idea why the adult in my house was irritated when I spoke to him on his cell phone that I pay for. Employer’s are supposed to be calling that phone, not girls. No potential employer has called that phone. Ever.

I was on the phone at work, speaking with my grouchy, irritable, spoiled rotten son of a… um me. Uh. yeah.

Anyway, While talking to my son, he complained to me that he was tired.

HE was tired.

Poor baby.

I had a moment of inspiration while I was sitting there with a pile of work threatening to collapse and bury me. The light bulb over my head zapped then lit up with a blinding realization as I spoke to my adult child on the cell phone I pay for. And  I KNOW he was lying on my living room couch, staring at my big screen tv, eating the last brownie that I was saving and complaining about how tired he was.  

I get him from school. We ride home together. We enter the house at the same time of night. I drag my tired ass to bed and he stays awake. I drag my tired ass out of the bed and he stays asleep.

So I’m a little slow sometimes. It’s because I’m SO DAMN TIRED.

But.. I got it now. Guess what, kid. Son of mine. You’re about to be tired too, because your ass is getting up every morning when your dad’s alarm goes off.

Okay, maybe not when the alarm goes off, but once dad stops pushing the snooze button and actually gets out of the bed, you’re getting up, too. You better be awake when I stumble out of the bedroom on my way to the coffee pot. If you aren’t, you can kiss that cell phone goodbye.

Tell me how tired you are then. Welcome to adulthood, Son! 

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Funny and Sweet – Time’s running out!

My friend Bearman is doing a great thing http://beartoons.com/2009/06/01/beartoonscharitydrive/

Not only is he a very entertaining cartoonist, but he’s also going to donate to the FreeStore FoodBank.

Bearman makes a good point, not just with his generosity but that a lot of people have lost their jobs and a lot of people are grateful they are still employed.

Thanks for everything, Bearman. I needed a good blog! Bearman is only doing the promotion for another week so jump over and help out.

Also, there’s only a week left for submissions to the Murder On the Wind contest.  This is your chance to enter to have a short story posted in a mystery anthology. Read the instructions and email your 5000 or less short mystery story to Tracy@secondwindpublishing.com

Thank you!

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WhoHub Interview with Claire Collins

Interview with:

Claire Collins [clairecollins]


WRITING

What did you first read? How did you begin to write? Who were the first to read what you wrote?
My love of reading and writing began before I started elementary school. It’s always been a part of me. As an adult, I put that love aside for several years while I started my family. When the children got old enough, I once again turned some of my attention to writing.
What is your favorite genre? Can you provide a link to a site where we can read some of your work or learn something about it?
I don’t have a favorite genre to read or write. I read anything and everything. So far, I have written mostly romantic suspense novels because that’s been the mood I’ve been in lately. I also have ideas for straight suspense and a twist on the romance.
What is your creative process like? What happens before sitting down to write?
I don’t have much of a process. Whenever I can find some quiet free time, I tend to sit down, open a manuscript and start typing. The story evolves as I write. When I’m unable to sit and write, the details of the story are working their way through my mind while I’m driving, cleaning, shopping, or working.
What type of reading inspires you to write?
I don’t think reading inspires me to write. My brain is overactive and doesn’t seem to need a lot of stimulus to come up with an idea.
What do you think are the basic ingredients of a story?
Beginning, middle, and end. Strong plot and subplots. Likeable characters and realistic situations. The reader has to be involved in the story and they need to care about what happens and they should feel fulfilled at the conclusion.
What voice do you find most to your liking: first person or third person?
I’ve written in both. I don’t have a preference. It depends on what the story calls for.
What well known writers do you admire most?
Do they have to be well known? I admire anyone who has had the will and determination to create a quality novel-length manuscript whether they are famous or not.
What is required for a character to be believable? How do you create yours?
Characters come in all shapes and sizes. They have every personality trait imaginable. Wow, so do real people. Just like real people, my characters have an entire life even though I may only tell the reader about a small piece of that life. They are born, have siblings and parents. They are creatures of their environment. They aren’t perfect and they don’t pretend to be. They are the same as normal people the reader knows. Mine start as a glimmer of a person and then they tell me their life story.
Are you equally good at telling stories orally?
Actually, I am horrible at telling stories in person. I talk too fast and blurt out too many clues or I skip too much. Writing it all out is so much better because I can edit myself before anyone else knows the story!
Deep down inside, who do you write for?
I write for myself. It feels good. It’s also a nice boost when readers come back and tell me they loved my books. There’s no other feeling in the world like that.
Is writing a form of personal therapy? Are internal conflicts a creative force?
Writing is absolutely a form of personal therapy. Parts of my personal life are dispersed throughout the pages of my novels.
Does reader feed-back help you?
Of course! When someone reads the book and tells me they enjoyed it or if they ask what I have coming out next, I get a thrill.
Do you participate in competitions? Have you received any awards?
I have participated in the past and my first novel “Fate and Destiny” was chosen as an editor’s pick and made it to the top 25 semi-finals. I have also received excellent feedback from other contests.
Do you share rough drafts of your writings with someone whose opinion you trust?
I have at least 4 people who always read my drafts as I write. They tell me what works, what doesn’t and always help me over the humps when I get stuck. These people are as valuable as the final readers.
Do you believe you have already found “your voice” or is that something one is always searching for?
I think my voice changes with every book. Each book is unique and my voice changes with the characters and plot.
What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.?
My life is too hectic and busy to impose schedules on myself. I fit writing in whenever I can.
What do you surround yourself with in your work area in order to help your concentrate?
My work area changes with my mood. Sometimes I’m sitting at my desktop pc and other times I’m roaming around with my laptop.
Do you write on a computer? Do you print frequently? Do you correct on paper? What is your process?
It’s all on the computer. I have a reader who prints everything off. With my first book, I printed it and marked it up with a red pen. With the second book, it was easier to edit on the computer.
What sites do you frequent on-line to share experiences or information?
I blog at http://clairecollins.wordpress.com/ and the authors from our publisher blog at https://secondwindpub.wordpress.com/. We are also on Facebook, myspace, Gather. etc.
What has been your experience with publishers?
I submitted a ton of queries and hunted for publishers before I was picked up by a small publisher called Second Wind Publishing. www.secondwindpublishing.com

My experience with my publisher has been fantastic. The people are great and I’ve watched the company grow. It’s an incredible journey.

What are you working on now?
My next novel is called “Seeds of September”

In 1956, Tommy Benson left the plains of Kansas for a new start in California. Little did he know when he started driving down Route 66 that his childhood friend Lainey had stowed away in his truck. Seeds of September relates the story of Tommy and Lainey’s life together through fifty years of joys and sorrows and an everlasting love.

What do you recommend I do with all those things I wrote years ago but have never been able to bring myself to show anyone?
Take them out, dust them off, and read them. If you still love them, find someone else to read it. Submit it to contests and see what kind of feedback you get from an impartial audience.
If you don’t love them, either rewrite them or use them to inspire you to work on something new. Just don’t give up.

[clairecollins] Claire Collins

 

 
 
 
 

 

© Claire Collins
Web address for this interview: http://www.whohub.com/clairecollins

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To the women…by Claire Collins

Happy Mother's Day

To the women who have come before us, and to the ones who will come after.

To the women who shared their laughter, their love, and their tears with their children, even when those same children were ungrateful for the sacrifices.

To the women who influenced someone else’s life by being the kind of woman who takes care of others.

To the women who gave up sleep to rock a colicky baby, who gave up time to drive everyone home after the party, who gave up an early retirement to fund a wedding.

JanmotPoemSoulAngelMother

To the women who love us.

To the women who take care of us.

To the women we adore who have always been there when we needed them.

To the women who are the Mothers in our lives, whether by birth, choice, or circumstance.

Thank you.

4yyurgl

From all of the children,

From all over the world,

From the infants through the elderly.

From those you’ve influenced and from those who have yet to arrive but will feel your love for generations to come.

Angel_Mother 2

Happy Mother’s Day.

angel_mother

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