Monday, September 1, 2014

Lost and Found: My Golden Dream


 With mixed emotions, I have published a new (well, not so new) book. You see, I wrote Golden Dreams ten years ago.  Back then, I had a laptop that I could take anywhere to write.  I could even write while on vacations with our three sons.  At the time, our oldest had moved back to Texas and our middle son stayed home to attend community college, while our youngest was just graduating from high school.  By the time Brian went off to college, I had finished the book.  

One day, I opened the book’s file on my laptop to check something, and then closed it again.  The word processing program asked if I wanted to save the changes.  Since I hadn’t changed anything, I clicked ‘no.’   So, the computer completely wiped the file away!  

I was devastated.  I went to my old desk top and saved it on several floppy disks because its CD drive had cratered, but this was the original file without any updates. I put the files onto our new desk top and started all over.  When it was finished, I saved it on a CD.  Then I started sending it electrically to agents and publishers.   

By then, Brian was in college.  He would come home and ask if I had heard anything about the book being published.  You see, he was my biggest fan, and he encouraged me every time I got a rejection letter.
In 2005, after his first semester in college, he came home for the Christmas holidays.  I told him the good news that I had found an agent who would represent Golden Dreams.  He was so proud of me.  He said, 
 “See Mom, I knew it would happen!”

He spent the night at a friend’s house that weekend.  But there was a tragic fire and he was killed along with two other sweet young men.  My whole world shattered that day.  I couldn’t write anymore, I couldn’t walk by his room and see his things still where he’d left them.  So, we sold the house and moved away.  We put most of our things in storage, including the desk top computer and all of the CDs that went with it, along with the Golden Dreams file.

Five years later, the agent suggested that I try to self-publish the book because none of the publishers had wanted it.  By then, we’d gotten a new laptop.  Although I was still grieving, I thought that I should try to publish the book, for Brian’s sake.  I searched boxes and boxes of things in storage but could not find the file.  I brought the desk top home and it crashed on me.  

So, Golden Dreams was lost again.  I could not even find the email where I had sent it to my agent.  I considered this a sign that it just wasn’t meant to be published.  I had been writing other novels and short stories in the meantime, so, I self-published them.  I have several titles available.  You can find them by clicking the tabs above or the book covers to the left.

When Hurricane Sandy hit, our storage unit was flooded and we lost most everything.  When we were going through it, I found the box of CDs, which had not been ruined.  Inside was the Golden Dreams CD.  But, I was still in agony over losing Brian and I just couldn’t open the file.  So, I tucked it into a drawer and forgot about it.

In May of this year, I was cleaning out the closet and I found the CD again.  Brian’s voice echoed in my heart and I knew that it was time to open the file and read the book.  After editing it, I finally got it to where I wanted it.

Now, I’m finding the courage to share it with my friends.  I hope that you enjoy the book, for my heart and soul went into it.  I can still hear Brian saying, “See, Mom. I knew it would happen!”


Read my tribute to Brian HERE 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Whisper So Loud

In honor of Earth Day, I wrote this poem. With the photographs and nature sounds, the impact is much more poignant. I delayed launching the video because EVERY day should be Earth Day.





Sounds provided by http://naturesoundsfor.me
THE best place to find nature sounds to soothe the soul. There is an equalizer where you can switch sounds and music around to customize it so that you can listen to it while getting your Zen on. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Rendezvous



© Brianna Lee McKenzie 2014


She held me today. She caressed my back as she opened me up and unveiled my innermost thoughts. Her eyes filled with passion as they danced adoringly over me, drinking in the very essence of my soul.

She gave me her full attention. Not like normal, when she concentrates on her husband, or her kids or that dog.  

No, today was different with her. She laid on the sofa with me, a crackling fire kept time with the soft music while a soothing glass of wine relaxed her tense muscles.  As the gentle melody surrounded us, we journeyed to where she had never been before. Exhilaration was the catalyst for an inspiring experience that she would never forget.

It had been a long time since we’d been together and it was just like the first time. As the evening progressed, we explored emotions and sensations that we had never felt before. To my utter satisfaction, she was mesmerized by the intensity of our encounter.  The excitement of our journey was like an ascent into the rapture of ardent pleasure, which propelled us higher and higher until our ultimate reward was realized.

Suddenly, a tear made a shallow river down her flushed cheek and she pulled away, but only for a moment.  Then, a languid sigh escaped her pouting lips and she stared at me with more love than I had ever known.  Finally, a satisfied smile crept across her face and she held me lovingly to her breast.  She murmured the words that I had wanted to hear with every fiber of my soul.

“That was the best,” she whispered through tears of elation. “That was the best book I’ve read in years!”  




Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Do Not Feed the Trolls!



Pardon me while a wee bit of me Irish comes out.  I found this petition through Ann Rice’s Facebook Fan Page and will definitely sign it. I encourage you to do the same, in support of authors who have been bullied by trolls who have nothing better to do than to downgrade the work of an author who had spent countless hours writing, re-writing,  and editing a book that they had the insurmountable courage to upload to Amazon. 

To be an author, one places a part of his/her soul onto a virtual carousel for all to enjoy.  But, for some, it becomes a chopping block where pieces of their book are ripped and torn, nit-picked and spewed upon by the vicious opinions of those who dare not reveal their true identities.  Although I have received such one-star blotches, I have not been stalked (yet) by these despicable monsters as some in this article have.

This hatred has to stop!  Click HERE to join the thousands of others who have signed the petition to end this type of cyber bullying.  

As my Irish ire grew while penning this post, I found myself writing a poem that sums up my perception of why these people are compelled to review with anonymous animosity.  While the poem is somewhat funny, it in no way diminishes the severity of the anguish that trolls inflict on others. If anything, it brings those evildoers down to size.

To truly feel the essence of the limerick, you must recite it in your best Irish accent.


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Pinch Me! Please!



Someone pinch me, I think I’m dreaming. If I’m not, then I have wonderful news!  My short screenplay has been optioned by a production company. If all goes well, filming will begin soon and “Emoticon” will be presented in several film festivals.

I can’t tell you how excited I am about this new development in my career as a writer.  I have come so far from author wannabe to screenwriter.  After so many rejection letters, agent turn-downs and broken promises, my work will now be visualized by the masses.

I suppose that I should retrace my steps for readers who don’t know about the path that brought me to this point and fill in some blanks for those of you who have followed my journey. In 2011, I announced that my novel “Enchanted Heart” had been picked up by a small publisher.  That was a very exciting moment for me. I even wrote about it here. Unfortunately, the publisher had some technical difficulties, which I will not go into because I refuse to create negativity for anyone. Karma, I hear, is like a fire-breathing dragon and I won’t burn bridges or my backside by recanting a story that is better left untold.  All I will say is that the company has gone out of business and the print version of the book is no longer available except as print-on-demand and left-over stock. Sad, I know. I get teary-eyed whenever I think of it.

But, I've moved on. And so has my career.  I would never have imagined that I would write a screenplay until I wrote “L’Inked”, an adaptation of my thriller/romance novel.  My friends who had read the novel commented that it would make a great movie. But I chuckled and said that I had no clue how to present the idea to a screenwriter.  Then one day I was perusing Facebook for interesting subjects and I came across a conversation between two fiction authors who had stepped over the line from novelist to screenwriter. I was intrigued. I asked questions. I got answers, answers that led me to obsessively research the process.  I spent days searching the Internet for insight, guidance and reassurance. I went to the library and checked out books on the subject, made notes, made promises to myself…and then I made excuses as to why I was not qualified to write screenplays.

But Pamala Hall, one of my friends on Facebook who is not only a screenwriter and producer who owns LionHawk Productions, but is also, a very prolific woman whose inspiring words motivated me to take that first step.  Seeing her posts every day gave me the courage to not only dream but to, in her most encouraging words, “Soar!”

So, I downloaded a free screenwriting program and off I went, climbing higher and higher on that caffeine-induced endeavor that we authors call writing. The first draft was finished after three days and, I have to tell you that mixed with the excitement of the accomplishment was a myriad of emotions.  Relief, exhaustion and utter disbelief that I had actually written a script were among them.  But most of all, I felt lost.  I was overwhelmed by the need to continue that addictive activity. I was having withdrawals!  It was as if my mind was craving that creativity, that focus, that feeling of flying high above a world that I alone could construct!

The urge to practice this newfound art spurred me to write my short screenplay “Emoticon”.  This five-page family drama took only a few hours to write and I immediately sent it to another producer friend of mine who said she liked it, which gave me the courage to list it on InkTip.com where screenwriters pitch their wares.  I couldn’t afford to list my feature screenplay “L’Inked” but it was free to list short scripts, so I entered the pitch into their database in September.  In December, I got the email that a producer was interested in filming it!  On Christmas Day, I signed the release for Trifecta Motion Pictures to option the script for six months.

Now, let me explain.  An option means that the film company has exclusive rights to film the screenplay. It doesn’t mean that the film is guaranteed to actually be produced.  I know, I know.  I tell myself every day not to get excited until the big screen blares my name in the credits.  But, I am proud of myself for getting this far this fast!  Let me bask in the fantasy for a while (or at least for six months). Update: I got an email from Dwayne and shooting will begin in a few weeks!

Meanwhile, I also wrote a feature film screenplay that I titled “Last Chance”.  This one took a little longer because of research and character development.  But I finished it and then put it aside while I dabbled in another thriller, which is still in the outline stage.  Then, I revised, rewrote and edited until I thought that “Last Chance” had a chance in a contest.  So, with high hopes, I entered it.  But it did not make the semi-finals. So, it is back up for grabs! Read the log line here

The good news is, eyes will be seeing my work and my talent will be noticed by producers and management agencies.  Hopefully, some day, mine will be a household name.  If not, at least I can say that I took that step into a new realm of creativity.  For now, I’m just going to SOAR!        

Thursday, November 7, 2013

With Love to Our Veterans and Loved Ones Lost




On this Veteran's Day, I would like to say a huge "Thank You" to those who sacrificed unconditionally so that I can write from my heart freely, I mean, literally...FREELY. Without you and other precious lives like you, I would not be able to express myself in words that flow like a river of emotions from deep within my soul.  With the gift of "Freedom of Speech", I scribe these words:

Because of you, I can dance until morning, wear a miniskirt or lipstick, look beautiful and feel beautiful, without fear of reprisal. I can dream of being famous and make that dream come true or I can languish in the comfort of anonymity because your name will be forever etched in History. I can educate myself until I can't contain any more knowledge, useful or otherwise, because you defended my right to do so. I can choose a church or I can choose no church at all, because of your service to a country that was formed with God as her guardian, yet one that offers freedom of religion. I can praise my government or complain about it without fear of retribution because of amendments to the Constitution, written laws that confirm that America is continually evolving, and does so in order to serve each and every one of its citizens. And to those citizens who leave their beloved country to fight for freedom of all who deserve it, I honor you, today and for the rest of my life!

In 1998, I wrote a poem and put it on the Internet without my name attached because I feared that I didn't have the talent to write anything worth reading. But it seems that several websites have included it in their tribute to our veterans and to those who made the ultimate sacrifice. I am honored and flattered, but now, I am claiming my poem, with flaws and all, so that those who served my country, OUR country, will know how much I appreciate every step that you took on foreign soil and every moment that you spend on American soil poised to protect that which I have sometimes taken for granted but will forever be grateful.

In Your Honor
By Brianna Lee McKenzie © 1998

Unselfishly, you left your fathers and your mothers, 
You left behind your sisters and your brothers. 
Leaving your beloved children and wives, 
You put on hold, your dreams your lives.

On foreign soil, you found yourself planted 
To fight for those whose freedom you granted. 
Without your sacrifice, their cause would be lost 
But you carried onward, no matter the cost.

Many horrors you had endured and seen. 
Many faces had haunted your dreams. 
You cheered as your enemies littered the ground; 
You cried as your brothers fell all around.

When it was over, you all came back home, 
Some were left with memories to face all alone; 
Some found themselves in the company of friends 
As their crosses cast shadows across the land.

Those who survived were forever scarred 
Emotionally, physically, permanently marred.
Those who did not now sleep eternally 
Neath the ground they had given their lives to keep free.

With a hand upon my heart, I feel 
The pride and respect; my reverence is revealed 
In the tears that now stream down my upturned face 
As our flag waves above you, in her glory and grace.

Freedom was the gift that you unselfishly gave 
Pain and death was the price that you ultimately paid. 
Every day, I give my utmost admiration 
To those who had fought to defend our nation.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Cliffhanger



Before I wrote L’Inked, I had always composed sweet romantic stories where I would take the reader up to the point of virtual bliss and then I transitioned to the next scene with prolific prose. To me, it was not unlike a portrait of a beautiful woman who was dressed in clothes that hid the most intimate parts and it was up to the readers, or the admirers of the portrait, to peel back the layers in their imaginative minds. And that was risqué enough for me.

But after seeing the attention that Fifty Shades of Grey received, my son asked me why I didn’t write a book like that. I told him that I would never write about BDSM but I that could attempt to write an erotic novel. I toyed with the idea, hovering for some time on that diving-board of doubt, before I finally made myself vault right into the deep end.

All I had to do was to take that proverbial step over the precipice of rising literary ecstasy and describe the scenes in full, provocative detail in which the characters triumphed in a wide range of exotic, erotic experiences. For me, it was simply one more summit to surpass.  But, it wasn’t as difficult as I’d thought it would be.

I wrote the book, complementing  it with as many carnal components as I could without compromising the plot, and I dedicated it to my son. If he had not encouraged me to write such an exhilarating example of the sensual relationship between a man and a woman, I may never have stepped over that cliff.

And after I finished the novel, I began to receive compliments about it. My readers said that they were “sucked into the story” and that the sex scenes only brought the characters closer together, binding them both physically and emotionally. You, too, will be ecstatically amazed that Marc and Cassie balance their challenging struggle to remove the curse that the Voodoo Queen placed on them with exciting love-making that will “blow your mind”.

Many of its readers also commented that the book would make a great movie. So, after lots of research (and plenty of procrastination), I adapted it into a screenplay. This was another new adventure that I postponed because of my lack of confidence in my ability. But this time, after revving myself up with reassurances, I hit the air running and had the first draft finished in a mere three days. Again, it was not as hard as I had thought it would be.

My next giant jump will be to pitch the screenplay to potential producers, directors and investors. Hopefully, I’ll have an agent to assist me. But first, I’ll have to pitch it to an agent. (Oh my!) I’ve put this off for months, still held back by both the fear of failure and the anxiety of success. I have stretched my leg out a few times, but have quickly retracted it. Now, I must take a deep breath and soar off that cliff, knowing that, whether it’s a crash dive or a smooth touchdown, landing is inevitable. And, I know that bolting forward is imperative because the bluff of uncertainty is even more terrifying than the leap of faith.

Read an exhilarating expert from L’Inked here 

Buy L’Inked here