October 30, 2012

Survived Hurricane Sandy (with electricity)

First of all, my heart goes out to anyone who lost a loved one during this storm or who is facing any sort of devastating property loss or other hardship.

We came through it just fine in our area of NYC, although the damage all around us is great. The transportation chairman said Sandy is the "worst disaster in the 108-year history of the subway system in NYC." That about says it all, right?

I'm spending the day writing since my 9-to-5 workplace is still closed. It's definitely not safe to walk around outside, so I won't be doing that. Where I live -- as with much of NYC -- there are lots of big trees, and I fear falling tree limbs. So I'll just stay indoors and type, type, type.

October 29, 2012

Storming and writing

Today I'm riding out Frankenstorm and working on story 4 ... I think Hurricane Sandy is really going to hit us hard here in NYC in about 6 hours (it's 1 pm as I post this).

I do apologize for the delay in publishing the next story in the Pandora Chronicles series. October was a tough month for me in a lot of ways -- I won't bore you with the details -- so I've only had snippets of time to work on story 4.

But now I'm back on track and should have it up on Amazon before you know it.

In the meantime, re-read stories 1-3 so you can be on the edge of your seat when story 4 begins.

Thanks for all the support!

October 26, 2012

Frankenstorm is coming ...

Looks like we're in for a whopper storm coming through NYC soon. Which means tomorrow morning I'm going to the store to stock up on a few things -- like cat food and litter -- and make sure we have enough water and canned food, just in case.

Last year's Hurricane Irene didn't do a whole lot of damage to NYC, except for the lower sections of the city. But this storm, nicknamed Frankenstorm, is supposedly going to be far worse than Irene.

I'll be battening down the hatches and writing ... and hopefully not eating canned food. (I hate when the power goes out!)

October 23, 2012

How much gore is too much gore?

Maggie Waters' "Pandora" is available on Amazon Kindle
No offense to the presidential candidates, but I'm debating right now ... about how much horror to include in story no. 4.

These aren't horror stories, per se, but they do contain a bit of gore ("bit of gore" sounds weird, doesn't it?). And certainly the circumstances under which these people are living are horrific, with the annual plague killing thousands of people and leaving those behind with emotional scars.

Decisions, decisions.

What did you all think of the level of gore in The Hunger Games, for example? I really liked the books, especially the first one. But I was kind of shocked at the violence in it, especially since it was child-on-child violence.

So how gore much is too much gore?

October 21, 2012

I'm no Barton Fink

For fans of my series The Pandora Chronicles, I'm telling you ... story 4 breaks things wide open.

I decided not to write this particular story in public, although I definitely want to do so for one of the stories in this series -- maybe story 5. (At this point, I'm thinking that there will be 8 stories, total.)

A lot of people talk about writer's block. Stories have been written about it (irony much?) and movies have been made about it ("The Shining," anyone?)

But one of my favorite movies about writer's block is "Barton Fink."

If you're not familiar with the movie, I highly recommend watching it. Fink is a NY playwright who goes to Hollywood to try his hand at screenwriting. But the thing is, as hard as he tries, he just can't do it. As the guy at the studio says, "It's just a wrestling picture." And maybe that's the problem. He's not able to write a simple wrestling picture when he's used to grappling with much grander ideas.

I enjoy grappling with grander ideas, and I'm working to incorporate some into The Pandora Chronicles. (See my final paragraph, below.)

But I'm no Barton Fink. I like to bury myself in action and romance and suspense and thrills and chills and all that good stuff.

My cure for writer's block is ...  to write. Sound too simple? Maybe it is, but here's what I do: I give myself permission to say anything on paper, and my characters have had a lot of adventures outside what you've already read on your Kindle. Thousands of words' worth. I also use self-hypnosis for those rare times when I feel stuck. Maybe Barton Fink should have tried that ...

Story 4 will be published very soon, and if I may make a promise, it's this: it will definitely get your heart going and your mind racing.

And I also will try to write faster!

What broader topics in The Pandora Chronicles have resonated with you so far? I'd love to hear from you.

October 18, 2012

Writing story 4: I need chocolate

One of my favorite things about writing fiction is that I'm in charge of everything that happens.

As I've been writing the stories in The Pandora Chronicles, I've started with the end: Where do I want Hope and Jake to be at the end of each episode?

I make a decision. Then I write a bullet list of scenes that will get them there. And then, I fill in the blanks. That's the really fun part.

You may have noticed that so far, each story takes place in Hope's life in real time. There may be sections in the stories when Hope is remembering past events, but the action itself takes place often in just one day.

This situation presents a writing challenge that I find endlessly fun to tackle, because everything is immediate.

And we all want instant gratification, right?

Like chocolate ... crap, I don't have any in the house right now! Time to end this post so I can walk to the deli and get some. :-) Then it's back to writing Hope and Jake's next episode ...

October 16, 2012

Should I go public?

Not like Facebook, no.

I mean, should I invite you -- and everyone else in the known world -- to watch me write, LIVE?

That's what Silvia Hartmann, of DragonRising Publishing, is doing as the "Naked Writer."

Don't believe me? Click this link.

Some of my writer friends think this idea is positively insane.

What do you think? Should I "write naked" for story number 4 of The Pandora Chronicles?

October 14, 2012

Writers, start your engines

Well, at least THIS writer is starting her engine.

I'm back from vacation and ready to rumble with story no. 4 of The Pandora Chronicles.

I can't wait to start the ignition on this installment of the series, which I guarantee will also ignite some excitement in the reader's imagination.

Sign up for my mailing list, and you'll be the first to know when it's online at Amazon.

October 11, 2012

Pandora Chronicles brainstorm

I'm in California until Saturday morning, when I head back home to NYC. (It still feels weird to call NYC "home," since I'm a true Californian.)

This week, I was hanging out with my family and suddenly had a major brainstorm for story 4 in The Pandora Chronicles. I'll say this: The times they are a-changin' in Arcadia and Cerulean. Yowza, folks. I'm super excited to get back to work once I get home -- been a little tough to write on this trip, because I've spent a lot of time driving.

Me, post-test drive. (I took the helmet off for the photo!)
 Check it out online:
Wednesday, I drove to San Francisco, parked the car in Union Square and wandered the streets for a few hours, mostly people watching and remembering all the great times I've spent in the city. I really do love it. The food is incredible, and the vistas are pretty dang spectacular.

I also had a chance to "test drive" a bike I've been eyeing for at least a year. SUPER fun. I may have to get one.

But all things being equal, I must admit that I do <3 NYC now. (Shhh -- don't tell all my California friends and family!)

October 10, 2012

Write faster!

I received a very nice email from a fan who kindly told me to Write Faster! :-) She said that she doesn't want to wait so long in between episodes. I thought that was really nice of her to say, although I do wish I could accommodate by publishing one story per week instead of one or two stories per month. Alas, not possible right now because I still have a "real" job (but I could dump that 9-to-5 if I get a bigger fan base, folks!).

This month, I'll only be publishing one story because as you know, I've been driving the length of the state of California these first two weeks of October.

But never fear: The moment I get back to NYC, I'll work on story no. 4 -- as yet to be named -- and will publish it before the end of the month (hopefully WAY before the end of the month).

Keep those cards and letters coming: maggiewatersbooks@gmail.com. And feel free to join my mailing list (fill out the form on the right side of the page), so you'll hear before anyone else when the stories go "live" on Amazon.

October 9, 2012

Where's James Bond when I need him?

I've lost track of how many miles I've driven on this two-week trip in Calif., starting in LA and ending in SF. At each location where I've stayed for a few days -- LA, San Luis Obispo, and the Bay area -- I've put many miles on the rental car.

Or should I say cars, plural, which is why I lost track of the mileage. The first rental car was being way too weird, with the RPM jumping all over the place if I lifted my foot off the gas even just 1 mile an hour. Lame.

So I'm now on the second rental car and just decided not to look at the mileage, because frankly, it's a little depressing. Since moving to NYC five years ago -- after living nearly my entire life in Calif. -- I have come to loathe cars. I mean, I really can't stand them. I don't like riding in them, and I don't like driving them.

I couldn't even be persuaded to like riding in a sports car -- unless Daniel Craig as 007 was driving it. Bring it on, Bond.

And can we talk gas prices for a second? Gas jumped up 60 cents in TWO DAYS! I mean, are you kidding me?

Oh yes, I do get annoyed with the MTA and the NYC subway drives me crazy sometimes. But right now, I'd take my seat on the subway where I can read my Kindle or write my stories or knit or just people watch: always an entertaining show in the Big Apple.

October 6, 2012

Forget TV. Make your own movie.

What I love about reading is the way my mind creates the scenes as they unfold in the story. It's such a creative and stimulating process; reading activates the brain in such a way that as I read, I become even more creative. Cool, right?

I'm not knocking TV -- I've watched my fair share, although I don't watch TV at all anymore. (A digression here: Life is so much better for me without TV. Give it a try. Turn it off for 2 days and let me know via a comment if you think your stress level has gone down without the TV on.)

Reading, for me, is where it's at. I love that we all have the ability to create mini movies for the mind every time we read a book. Or Kindle book, as the case may be.

Make your own mini movie in your mind today. Read story 1 of The Pandora Chronicles, Pandora, on Amazon Kindle (or any of their bazillion apps!). Dive into the world of Hope and Jake and create the near-future city in your own mind's eye. What does it look like to you? What does it smell like? Sound like? Share your thoughts via a review, too. I'd appreciate the feedback.

OK, back to plotting story number 4 ...

October 3, 2012

Plotting while driving

I'm in California for two weeks on vacation -- I lived here for almost my entire life before moving to NYC a few years ago, so I'm seeing lots of friends and family, which is wonderful.

In NYC, I don't have a car (why would I?), so it's been a weird experience to drive everywhere again. I don't know how I lived like this for so many years, honestly. I never liked driving.

Except for one thing: I'd forgotten how creative I feel behind the wheel of a car. I get flashes of insight similar to what I've described here about riding on the subway. When I lived in Calif., I often had a tape recorder in the car so I could record my thoughts instead of trying to write them down while driving (although  I admit to doing that sometimes).

Oh, and one other thing: I love singing along to the car radio or CD's. In NYC, I have no chance to do that except when I'm the only one on the train car and I'm listening to music on my iPod. A rare occurrence, indeed. But I have been known to belt out a very good rendition of "Satisfaction."

So while I'm driving north through California, from LA to San Francisco, these two weeks, I'll be plotting the 4th story of The Pandora Chronicles and be ready to write when I return to NYC.

Let the mayhem begin ...

October 1, 2012

My books are featured on Wisprings

A big "thank you" to Wisprings and Kirsten Erlich Davies for featuring my Pandora Chronicles books on the Wisprings website!

I meant what I said in the note about aspiring writers: Just go for it. Do your best work and don't wait for it to be "perfect" (whatever that means). Then put it out there for the world to read. And keep writing. Don't give up. How many great writers' work has never been seen for fear of "failure"? Don't be one of those people. There is an audience for what you write. You just need to find them.

You'll like The Pandora Chronicles if ...

  • you liked "The Hunger Games" & "1984"
  • you like a little Stephen King-ish-ness
  • you like stories set in the near future
  • you like movies like "Gattaca"
  • you don't mind a bit of gore (just a little, though)
  • you like mysteries and thrillers
  • you like to feel your heart pound
  • you like to root for the good guys & gals
  • you like to be the first to discover a good story series and tell people about it, so you can say, "I knew about it waaaaay before it got so popular"