May I Misquote You?

This was originally written June 2, 2010, for my Fun in Writing group. The topic for the week was a special adage. Since I couldn’t really get my head around that, I wrote this instead. ~ Dellani

I couldn’t think of anything to fit this subject, so I changed it up a little to quotes that are frequently misquoted. Shakespeare suffers a lot from this, but so do movies, plays, books and even songs.

One that springs to mind, since I just saw it on DVD, is from Hamlet. When he’s in the graveyard and picks up the skull, he’s often misquoted as saying, “Alas, poor Yorick. I knew him well.” Not so! He says, “Alas, poor Yorick. I knew him, Horatio.”

A second one, also from Hamlet, when the queen is asked her opinion of the play: “Methinks the lady doth protest too much.” Instead, it’s: “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

Another one, this time from MacBeth: “Bubble, bubble toil and trouble.” When if fact, it’s “Double, double toil and trouble.”

Leaving Shakespeare for the moment, let’s reflect on a couple of Bogart movies. The main one misquoted is from Casablanca. It is, of course, in reference to their famous song. So often, this line is not only misquoted, it’s attributed to the wrong character. How often have we seen Bogart impersonators take on the famous overbite and say, “Play it again, Sam.”

He doesn’t even say the line! Ingrid Bergman spoke to Sam and said, “Play it, Sam.”

From another Bogart movie, the famous whistle quote. I’ve always heard, “You know how to whistle, just pucker up and blow.” Lauren Bacall didn’t say that at all. “You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow.” (Though I like pucker up and blow better.)

Moving on to another movie icon, Mae West. We’ve all heard “Come up and see me sometime.” She actually said, “Why don’t you come up some time and see me?”

One of my favorite misquotes of all time was said by Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry. Everyone always says, “Do you feel lucky, punk?” Poor Harry didn’t say that at all. He said, Ah-ah. I know what you’re thinking: ‘Did he fire six shots, or only five?’ Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But, being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya, PUNK?”

So, in conclusion, I leave you with a great quote, (which is correct) and sums up my point perfectly: “What we’ve got here… is a failure to communicate!”

TO BUY DELLANI’S BOOKS

Dellani’s Alphabet Challenge Letter J – Just When You Thought It Was Safe

ABC ChallengeJust When You Thought It Was Safe to Go Back in the Water. . . .

This article doesn’t really have anything to do with that at all. I needed a title with a J and ended up with the tag line for Jaws II. Mostly, I want to talk about books in a series.

Some authors like to write books in a series, others abhor the idea of sequels. I stand on the side of those who like books in a series. Not all my books are in series. Most notably, my sci-fi books – The Lone Wolf Series. The first three are out: Lone Wolf, Shakazhan and The Maker.lone wolf series banner 3

The Ninja Tattoo by Dellani Oakes - 200I do have books that are loosely grouped and are series-ish. Of these books, I have The Ninja Tattoo, Conduct Unbecoming, Call Me and Mirrored. These are all set in Florida and have a lot of the same people in them. Another book, associated with Conduct Unbecoming, is my romantic suspense novel, Bad Fall. Though it’s set in Ohio, it is a spin off of Conduct Unbecoming. Couldn’t really call it a series, more a continuation of the story begun therein.conduct unbecoming front cover

I like writing books in a series, or those that are associated with one another, because I like exploring the characters more in depth. A stand alone book is great, I have quite a few of these, but I don’t feel as if I can fully dive into the background of a character in a stand alone.

The character of Wil VanLipsig, in my sci-fi series, is so complex, I even wrote several short stories in order to look into his history more deeply. Things that are mentioned in passing in the series, are explored in more detail in the short stories. I am currently sharing one white lie coverof these, A Little White Lie, on my website every Thursday.

© Dellani Oakes 2015

To Buy Dellani’s Books

Dellani’s Alphabet Challenge Letter I – Indian Summer – Excerpt

ABC ChallengeIndian Summer is my historical novel. I mention the writing of it on my April 6 post. It is written in the voice of Gabriella Deza, the daughter of the Spanish Territorial Governor and is set in 1739, a year before a major siege by the British. Gabriella is 15, but has a lot of intelligence and pluck for a girl her age. By chance, she overhears something that starts a chain of events she has no control over.

I was rounding the corner on my way to the privy when I heard hushed and hurried voices ahead of me. They seemed to be moving in my direction rapidly. It was the sound of men who didn’t want to be overheard. Urgency marked their voices.

I ducked into an alcove, pressing myself against the wall. Secluded and shadowed, I was nearly invisible unless one looked directly at me. Grateful that I wore dark clothing and didn’t carry a candle, I virtually held my breath, seeking to make no noise.

The two men stopped just a few steps past my hiding place. I knew by his voice that one of them was James. The other man I didn’t recognize. James talked earnestly, looking furtively all around him. Not, thankfully, into my hiding place.

“I’m telling yew it mus’ be tonigh’!” The other man was speaking with roughly accented English in harsh undertones.

“Absolutely not! I forbid it!” James’ cultured voice held an authoritative edge. “It’s too soon. If we move now, all will be lost! We must plan this carefully. Tell General Oglethorpe that if this operation is to be a success, he must follow my lead. Tell him I’ll signal when the time is ripe.”

“Jes ‘ow do you pr’pose ta do tha’?” His companion growled. “Ligh’ a bloody sign’l fire?”

James barely held his temper. “In point of fact, I shall. Tell them to look to the south end of the fort and I’ll signal from there, but in my time! Tell him it could be months! Be gone now before we’re seen!”

With that, he rushed off in one direction. The other man, a sailor by his rolling gait, ran in the opposite. When I was sure they were gone, I eased out of the alcove and made my way to the privy.

I puzzled over the conversation I had overheard, not knowing quite what to make of it. The fort was in danger. I had heard something very secret indeed. Admittedly, I had difficulty putting James in the role of spy. Hadn’t he been a guest in our home? Surely James was beyond suspicion?

I didn’t know which way to turn or what to do. Who would ever believe me? They would call it childish, female fantasy and ignore me. I couldn’t tell Papa, he was too ill. I didn’t think the commandant would heed me. I had to say something! But to whom?

I heard a quiet voice call my name from across the hospital room. On his cot, Manuel had woken up and was calling me. Still weak, he managed to partially sit up, but couldn’t rise from his bed. As if a bolt of lightning hit me from above, I realized the obvious one to tell was Manuel. The commandant would believe him, but would Manuel believe me?

I was a child in his eyes, a little girl with big blue eyes and a wild imagination. I had been through much today, surely he would think that this was side effect of that over excitement. I owed him my brother’s life, but he in turn owed his to James. I hadn’t made up my mind when I reached his bed.

He smiled a weak version of his familiar, winsome smile. The twinkle in his eyes he always held for mindian summere was dim, but there. He was rapidly coming back to himself. I felt a flutter in my chest that was as pleasing as it was unfamiliar. He was so handsome it fairly took my breath.

His shirt was off and he was left only in his breeches. Having dried on him, they were tight across his powerful thighs. The sun bronzed muscles rippled in his back. I couldn’t help but admire his physique. His form was classic, like a statue of Adonis. Despite his injuries, he appeared virile, powerful, brave. I felt a warm thrill when he said my name yet again.

“Gabriella?”

I walked over to him quickly and quietly, not wishing to rouse anyone in the hospital. Manuel had many cuts and bruises on his arms, neck and back, as well as bruising and rope burns across his abdomen. His head was bound in a neat bandage, his right arm in a sling. A few of his ribs were wrapped. He tried to rise as I approached.

I smiled down at him. “No, Señor Enriques, please you must not try to stand. I’ll sit and then all will be well.” I pulled a stool near him.

He smiled at me again and his twinkle was stronger. “You’ve seen me near death, stripped almost to the bone and yet you call me Señor Enriques. It makes me sound like such an old man.” He sighed, shaking his head sagely. “I hear I owe my life in part to you. I insist you call me Manuel, and I shall call you – Señorita Deza.”

He winked wickedly and I blushed deeply, dropping my head in an effort to break eye contact with him. He was so close I could feel the warmth of his attentions and smell his manly scent. It was musky like sandalwood.

He lifted my chin gently with his uninjured hand. “You helped to pull me out of the sea. For that I thank you.”

I ducked my head again and this time he leaned his head sideways to gaze up into my face.

“So, she has no kind words for Manuel, eh? Well, perhaps one day she will. Perhaps too, she’ll save a dance for him at the next ball?”

I giggled almost hysterically at that. “Señor Enri-Manuel, I fear I can’t save a dance, for I’m not yet allowed to attend the parties.”

I blushed again feeling like a child, but this time I kept my head up and looked him in the eye. A slight frown played across his face.

“Well then, we’ll do this. When you have your fifteenth birthday party, will you allow Manuel to be your escort?”

© Dellani Oakes 2015

 

To Buy Dellani’s Books

Dellani’s Alphabet Challenge Letter H – He Thought He Saw

ABC ChallengeA couple years ago, for the NaNoWriMo Challenge, I decided to branch out and try something new. Not only did I decide to do a contemporary fantasy novel, I decided to write it for young adults. For me, this was a double challenge. I’d never written this genre or for this age group before. I found that I liked it, so much so, I wrote a sequel in 2014. This is the opening of the book and, I hope, it appropriately sets the scene.

The full moon seemed to follow him as he walked down the road alone. Wind whispered in the trees and dried leaves clattered in its wake. An owl hooted. The hairs on the back of his neck stood at attention.

The wind became voices. The leaves, the dry rattle of old bones. The sighing grew louder and Brian was able to pick out words. At least, he thought they were words, but in a language he couldn’t understand.

Picking up his pace, he glanced over his shoulder. Wispy figures gathered in the tree line around the swamp, moving slowly and steadily toward him. Brian tried to convince himself it was only his imagination, but it felt far too real.

One of the figures approached at a slow, loping run. Brian could hear the heavy, measured footfalls as it lumbered toward him. He completely lost his cool. Roaring loudly, he ran at the figure, dodging away when it grabbed at him. Chilling wind passed as the figure drifted away, dissipating as it headed to the woods on the other side of the road.

Brian ran along the center of the road, frightened by his encounter with the wraith. More of them gathered in the swampy woodland, but no others were bold enough to approach him. Hearing a twig snap to his left, Brian put on a burst of speed. With a cry of fear, he felt a shove at his back and tripped over his own feet. As he fell, he saw the wraiths grow bolder. They moved in unison, swooping toward him. Terrified, Brian lay on his belly, unsure how to combat them.

A solid form burst out of the bushes. A large dog stood over Brian, growling and barking. It took a moment for him to realize that the wraiths halted. Some tried to go a step or two further, but the dog renewed its attack. One by one the ghosts dispersed, melting into the fog once more.he thought he saw cover resized 2

Brian let his breath out slowly. The animal stood over him, but moved aside as he sat up. It was the biggest dog Brian had ever seen, broad through the chest with powerful legs and a ridge of hair down his spine. It looked silver in the moonlight.

Curious, Brian reached slowly toward it, hand out, palm up. The beast’s tongue flicked out, licking his cheek. Her warm breath convinced the boy that the dog was alive and real. She slurped him again, butting his hand so he’d pet her. Laughing, he complied.

“Where did you come from, girl?” Predictably, he got no reply. “Never mind, I’m just glad you’re here.”

He got up, dusting himself off. Leaves stuck to his body, mud caked every inch of him. Twigs and more leaves adorned his closely cropped hair. Getting his bearings, he headed toward home once more. The dog walked with him, her head under his hand. Her tongue lolled and she looked as if she were laughing at his appearance.

“You take a header into a mud puddle and see how good you look.”

The dog barked gleefully. She dashed ahead, sniffed and snorted, before trotting back to his side. She stayed with him until they reached his home. With a yip, she left him, drifting into the woods. The front door banged shut with a comforting thump behind him. Heaving a sigh of relief, Brian locked and bolted the door. He leaned against it, panting. His hands shook and he felt light headed. His heart thumped so hard in his chest, he could hear it in his ears.

© Dellani Oakes 2015

 

To Buy Dellani’s Books

Dellani’s Alphabet Challenge Letter G – Goin’ Down

ABC ChallengeA few years ago, I participated in the Iron Writer’s Challenge. For those of you not familiar with it, five authors have five days to write a short piece using four random elements. The elements for our challenge were Atlantis, Flying Electric Bike, Dopplegangers and a random black and white TV show. This is what I wrote.

Wil sat on his flying electric bike, staring at the sapphire depths of the ocean. Somewhere, beneath the surface, lay their objective. Revving his engine, he prepared for the drop into the icy waters of the abyssal plain.

The rest of the platoon hovered around him, dressed in deep sea gear, multiple dopplegangers, waiting for the signal to jettison into oblivion.

It was strange to be on Old Earth. Stranger still was the Galactic Marine Corps’ interest in the place. Virtually abandoned 200 years ago, Earth had been reclaimed by nature. The few humans who remained were savages, wielders of crude weapons, hardly worthy adversaries. But something else lurked in the ocean—beings of half forgotten legends.

How they had come to the attention of the Marines, Wil didn’t know. He and his platoon were here to contain any possible threat before it could advance.

A voice crackled in his ear. “Ready, Sergeant?”

“Aye, Captain.”

“Commence drop in five – four – three. . . .”

The door opened at their feet and 32 cycles zipped down the ramp, making the 2,000 foot drop to the surface. Hovering over the waves, they were surrounded by force shields to keep the cold and pressure at bay. Still experimental, the shields were supposed to be impenetrable. Wil had his doubts.

Wil accessed the battle plans, projecting them to his platoon. The dive initiated on his command. Thirty-two cycles sliced into the water. Down they dropped, rapidly nearing their goal. Less than a hundred meters from their objective, Wil’s electrical system glitched. Instead of the detailed battle plans, he saw flickering images of an old black and white TV show. His visor was filled with a banner proclaiming “The Adventures of Superpup”. It was gone just as suddenly.

“You see that, Sarge?”

“Sure did.” Wil tapped his helmet and the battle plans filled his visor once more.

Something else caught his attention, far below and to his left. Raising a hand, he called a halt. Black as night, the water undulated around them. Wil’s raised fist was invisible, but the HALT message flashing inside their helmets, was not.

“What is that?” The same voice filled his ears.

“I’d say, that’s our goal, Corporal.”

With rapid movements, Wil and his corporal deployed the team. On his mark, they descended, surrounding an opalescent dome. As the bikes approached, a panel slid back and they were sucked in, unable to stop. They bounced around a huge tube, the suction drawing them inexorably forward.

A few minutes later, they were set down on a platform. The water drained away, leaving scattered puddles. They faced a 20 foot door, which opened slowly. A giant of a man dressed in scintillating blue robes walked out, smiling. His skin was indigo, his hair white. He held a metallic staff in one hand. The top was decorated with a single, multi-faceted diamond. He advanced to stand before Wil, bowing.

“Welcome, my friends. Welcome to Atlantis.”

© Dellani Oakes 2015

 

To Buy Dellani’s Books

Dellani’s Alphabet Challenge Letter F – Finally Finished That Novel!

ABC ChallengeSo, you’ve finished that four hundred and sixty page novel. You sit proudly and pat the cover page tenderly, smoothing the white surface when much to your horror, you see a mistake! Cold sweat breaks out on your brow, fingers tremble, mouth suddenly goes dry. As your eye wanders down the page, more and more errors jump out at you! Fear grips your heart as you stumble from the desk, desperate for a calming cool drink. It’s a nightmare, but you can’t wake up. It’s real. Your brainchild, the fruit of your creative efforts, is flawed and it’s up to you to fix it.

This is a scenario each of us faces. Sometimes it’s as minor as a misplaced comma or a dangling modifier. Other times an entire scene, or even half the novel is so bad it has to be scraped and retooled. I started an historical novel about ten years ago, set it aside since it wasn’t going anywhere, picked it up a few years later and realized the reason it hadn’t gone anywhere was that it was garbage! No other word for it. After careful review, I threw away all but ten handwritten pages. Of those ten pages, perhaps parts of seven survive in the retooled version.

Several things were problematic that I didn’t realize until much later. First, and most important, the point of view and style were all wrong. Set in St. Augustine in the Florida territory in the late 1700s, it was told in first person by a young Spanish woman. I had chosen to do it like a diary (not really sure why) and it was far too limiting to my story.

Second, after doing some more research, I found that the time period would have to be moved from the 1780s to 1739 or I could not incorporate certain facets of the novel. It would have been grossly inaccurate.

Third, and most difficult, the man I had intended to be the bad guy simply wasn’t working. No matter what I did, even in the retooled version, he wouldn’t be villainous. The heroine refused to fall in love with anyone else. Even the good guy couldn’t be relied upon to behave. He became the villain, the villain became the hero, the heroine didn’t succumb to another man’s charms, and they all lived happily ever after. (Except for the villain, because he, of course, was dead.)

It got terribly out of hand. After lots of time and effort reading and re-reading, honing, changing, and fine tuning, it is a really solid piece of literature that I am proud to put my name on. When I started re-writing it, I wouldn’t have given ten cents for it. It was the catalyst that started me writing in earnest and made me realize I had stories inside me to tell. Very few of the others are historical in nature, the rest are sci-fi or contemporary romantic suspense. With that novel I learned something else important. You can’t do too much research if you want to be historically accurate. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’d rather spend my time bleeding profusely from multiple wounds that tracking down that evasive, all important fact. It took years to finish Indian Summer because it was so hard to find the information I needed.

Sci-fi is far simpler for me to write. Once I have a believable setting, the rest is easy. Don’t ignore the laws of science, throw in some really good fight scenes, add a few interesting aliens and voila! Creating my own world is far more fun than working within the confines of someone else’s.

Writing is the ultimate escapism. For that short span of time, things work out; the hero and heroine fall in love and live happily ever after. The bad guy gets his just desserts, the good guy wins, and there is always a happy ending.

Despite the thrill of putting words on paper, the hard part is making sure that everything is right. We can live with the small stuff like ending a sentence with a preposition. Frankly, it sounds odd if it’s correct. However, misplaced modifiers, sentence fragments and subject – verb agreement are very important.

One solution is to read and re-read your own work, honing and perfecting it. It’s easy to miss simple errors that way. Sometimes running off a hard copy helps, but it’s still hard to catch it all. Better yet, get people who are gifted in grammar to help you. They might not be able to name the error, but they can spot one and may be able to offer suggestions on how to correct it. If you can afford it, have an editor review it. Few of us can, so it’s up to us to read and re-read our own work until it is smooth and as error free as it can possibly be.

For goodness sake, don’t rely on the grammar check in Word! It’s garbage and will cause far more problems than it solves. I don’t care if it’s the primary word processing program used world wide, the grammar check is terrible. Spell check, on the other hand, is a Godsend, but won’t help you if you simply type in the wrong word. I once finished typing out a test for my 11th grade class only to find that I had one very important little word wrong and the spell check hadn’t caught it. Instead of saying, “What is the theme of this story?” I had, “Shat is the theme of this story?” (For those of you who don’t know, that’s the past tense of the verb ‘to shit’. — 11th graders knew that!)

There is no easy way to get through the editing process. It is tedious and time consuming, but if it makes the difference between selling a book and having it gather dust, it’s well worth it.

© Dellani Oakes 2015

 

To Buy Dellani’s Books

Dellani’s Alphabet Challenge Letter E – Emma Dangerous

Today, I want to share a story that’s more serious than some of my others. This story is about a young woman named Emma who has been sexually abused by her father since she was ten years old. As a result, she has some serious emotional and drug related problems. If such issues bother you, please wait until next week. I promise to keep it light. This is the first scene from the book.

ABC ChallengeThe Rob Zombie song slammed into his brain as his eyes tried to discern shapes through the drug induced haze. His head felt like it was full of molten lava threatening to erupt through his mouth any second. He was looking for something—no someone. That’s why he came, stayed, overdid it—again.

Sammy stopped the slow, shuffling walk, leaning against the wall. Stumbling forward, he fell over downed bodies. He pawed at them before painfully levering himself upward. With a flash of recognition, he realized he had inadvertently found the person he sought.

“Emma.” He nudged her, but she didn’t respond. “Em?”

Fear gripped him as he searched for her pulse. It was slow but steady. She was only half dressed, the clothing on her lower body gone. The smell of sex lingered around her and he groaned.

“Not again, Emma. We can’t go through this again, babe. When are you gonna admit, you’ve got a problem?” I’ve got a problem too, he thought. Maybe he said it out loud. He didn’t know anymore.

Sam stood, his legs shaking, then bent over to pick her up. How many times had he done this? How many more times would he have to before she learned her lesson? Would one of them have to die for the other to get the idea that what they did was self-destructive and stupid?

“Come on, baby.”

He lifted again, his feet slipping in something. He didn’t have to look to know that it was vomit. Emma’s breath smelled vile and he knew it was hers.

“Come on,” he said again as he more or less got her to her feet.

Her top was long enough to cover the fact that her lower half was bare. Making her as presentable as he could, not that anyone would notice or care, he half carried her to the door. When they hit the outside, it was raining. It was the cold, bone chilling rain of mid-winter. He used to love the rain, but too many mornings waking in the front yard in a thunderstorm had cured him. Or maybe it was the many nights leaving parties in weather like this, he reminded himself.

“Why do we do this, Emma? We swore we’d give it up.” I did, you didn’t. Like all her promises—broken.

Had she ever kept a single promise to him? That thought kept him going as he struggled down the steep incline of the driveway. His car was parked hurriedly, nose first in the ditch. He hadn’t realized what a sharp angle he was at. The door wouldn’t stay open. Getting her in the car was going to be difficult.

Sammy set Emma down on the wet ground. She was soaked already, a couple more minutes wouldn’t make any difference. She giggled as the cold, wet ground embraced her. He backed his car into the road, leaving it running as he put her in the back seat. Driving carefully, he headed to the hospital. How often had he made this trip with her? So often that he didn’t have to explain to the ER personnel anymore. They knew the drill.

He sat in the uncomfortable waiting room chair as the orderly wheeled Emma to the back on a gurney. Head on hands, propped on knees, he hunched over. Tears warmed his cheeks as he waited for the news. It was never quite as bad as he anticipated—he could hope the same held this time. Prayer didn’t come easily to a boy like Sammy, but he tried for Emma’s sake.

© Dellani Oakes 2015

 

To Buy Dellani’s Books

Discover Undiscovered! A New Romantic Suspense by Dellani Oakes

To Purchase Undiscovered

To Purchase Undiscovered

Undiscovered has some mature content and is not appropriate for readers under 17.

Kent Griswald is a high powered movie executive known for his micro-managing and aggressive supervision of a movie from beginning to end. He’s not well liked professionally or personally, so when someone puts a knife in his chest, no one is terribly surprised. However, someone also took pot shots at his younger brother, Connor, who has no enemies. Detectives Walter Scott and Vanessa Weinstein are called in on the case, ready for action.

Detective Scott hadn’t counted on the eyewitness, Cadence Stuart. Pretty and personable, she’s also terrified that the killer may come after her next. It’s up to Scott to protect her from the tall, dark killer. Unfortunately, so far, the killer’s identity and whereabouts are Undiscovered.

Cadence sank into a soft chair in his outer office as he shut the door on the sales room. Closing her eyes, she let the murmur of voices wash over her. The loud report of a heavy caliber rifle shocked the air. Another followed.

Cadence ran down the hall. That sounded like it came from the room she’d been showing. What the hell? Frozen with indecision, she stood in the hallway. Pounding footsteps sounded from down the corridor to her left.

Turning, she saw a man in a black ski mask and anonymous clothing barreling down the hall toward the elevator ahead of her. Although he was running away from her, she noticed he was tall, broad shouldered and moved like an athlete. He hit the stairway, running full tilt. It wouldn’t take him long to clear four stories to the ground floor.

Bob and the Andersons ran to the hallway behind her, crowding to get past.

“What was that?” Bob demanded.

“Sounded like a gunshot,” Ted replied, wide eyed.

Susan clung to him, weeping hysterically. Cadence whipped out her phone and called 911.

“What’s the nature of your emergency?”

“I’m at the Ocean Sun condo,” Cadence replied. “I want to report a 10-10.”

There was a pause. “Possible shots fired? You a cop, sugar?”

Cadence didn’t like the dispatcher’s tone.

“My dad is. Listen, there’s really a problem here.”

“Already got a call, got two officers rolling. You say you’re in the condo?”

“Yes, ma’am. Fourth floor.”

“Not on the beach?”

Cadence paused. “No. Inside, on the fourth floor.”

“I’ll send someone else. The other officers are responding to a call on the beach at that same address.”

“Thank you. My name is Cadence Stuart. I’ll meet the officers down at the front desk.”

“Thank you, Miss Stuart. I’ll tell them.”

“Bob, call the front desk. Tell them the cops are coming. I’ll be down in a minute.”

“Will do, sugar.”

Cadence ran to the living room of the open unit. Pandemonium on the beach greeted her. A cluster of people stood around something, many of them crying, some talking on phones. Utter chaos ensued.

To Purchase Dellani’s Books

Dellani Oakes has been telling stories her entire life. She started with tales of Rainbow School when she was three and her sister started kindergarten. Soon, Dellani progressed to poems and song parodies. Eventually, she tried her hand at short stories and humorous essays.

In college, Dellani began to write plays and that love of dialogue has stayed with her. She enjoys building characters by what they say as much as what they do.

Dellani doesn’t know whether to include writing amongst her hobbies, because it’s really more of an obsession. Perhaps she should, otherwise she hasn’t anything to list. For fun, she hosts two Blog Talk Radio shows a month, Dellani’s Tea Time and What’s Write for Me. She also heads two, small, local writing groups a week.

Dellani makes her home on the east coast of Florida near Daytona Beach, where she lives with her husband and three of her four children. Undiscovered is her eighth book.

Others include:

Indian Summer – historical romance

Lone Wolf, Shakazhan, The Maker – sci-fi series

The Ninja Tattoo

Conduct Unbecoming

Under the Western Sky

To Find Dellani:

Facebook 

Amazon profile

WordPress

Twitter

LinkedIn

Google+

Goodreads

 

I’m a Bit of a Perfectionist

Undiscovered by Dellani Oakes - 200I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I qualify that because looking around my house, you wouldn’t know it. Perfectionist isn’t to be confused with OCD, though I fall prey to that on occasion. I am, however, a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to my writing.

Finding the right word delights me. I can spend hours poring over my work, reading and perfecting. Sometimes, I find things that shock me – as I did with something I read over a couple days ago. There were bits and pieces in there that sounded as if they’d been written by someone else. I was appalled. Needless to say, I fixed it immediately.

As compulsive as I am with being precise in written form, I am equally precise when I speak. I found out long ago that being precise leaves the speaker in a stronger position. This has come in handy as a teacher and parent. Try as they might, they will try to get around it, but if I’ve said exactly what I mean, it’s much harder to creatively interpret it. Giving them very little wiggle room has saved me a lot of grief.

Treat your readers the same way. Be exact and say what you mean. Do not be vague. Try not to leave your readers guessing. Why? Because otherwise your message is lost and the audience is confused. Choose words carefully. Keep your voice strong and don’t be repetitive. Keep it simple, avoiding long, flowery passages. These may amuse the author, but a reader loses interest. Describe things fully, but don’t over describe. Many readers are put off by long, descriptive passages. Find a balance between dialogue and narrative.

In fact – be a perfectionist.

To Buy Dellani’s Books

The Writing Addiction

I have an addiction for which there is no cure. There’s no Twelve Step Program to lead me home, no anonymous meetings I can attend to rid me of this curse. This addiction won’t kill me, but it can make me extremely hard to live with.

Dellani Oakes with glasses smallerWhat am I addicted to? The same thing we all are, writing. Regardless of genre, style, or approach, we’ve all broken out in a cold sweat when the urge to write hits us. Ever been standing in line at the grocery store, and the perfect opening sentence hits you like a sack of potatoes? How about driving to work, or taking the kids to school, and a sweet bit of dialogue between the hero and the villain pops into your mind?

Like Tantalus, we wait to commit this to paper, digging desperately in the glove compartment for a piece of paper and a pen. If none comes immediately to hand, we try to memorize it, repeating it over and over in our minds until we get home. Then there had better not be anyone in the way, or they get mown down in an attempt to purge!

Although symptoms may vary, some things hold constant. An abrupt end to a conversation, followed by a mad flurry for a pen and paper, or a suicidal dash to the computer, are early warning signs.

Glazed eyes, inappropriate answers to simple questions, distraction, peevishness, herald stage two.

Stage three may have a sudden onset. No one has been able to pinpoint the exact time that writing addiction becomes serious. However, the symptoms remain constant. The addict breaks into a sweat, the body tenses preparatory to a leap toward the computer. The heart races, nerves jangle, feet tap, tempers flare! Being caught in a writer’s frenzy can get ugly very quickly! Extreme caution is advised.

The delusional among us will way, “It’s not that serious, I can give it up any time.” I want to yell at them, “Wake up and smell the ink!” Denial of an addiction does not make it go away.

Are you at risk? Ask yourself the following:

1. Do you often skip meals or lose sleep because you are writing?

2. Do you let the phone ring, entrusting your calls to the voice mail?

3. Do you lose track of time easily?

4. Do you say to your wife, husband, child, significant other, “I’m coming in a minute! I just need to finish this thought!”

5. Is your desk covered with stacks of random papers and suffocating in sticky notes, all of which have writing ideas, corrections or additions scribbled on them?

If you answered yes to only one of these questions: There is still hope for you. You do not suffer from a serious addiction (Unless it was number 5, in which case you’re out of luck!)

If you answered yes to two: You are in the early stages of an addiction. Intervention might still be effective at this point.

If you answered yes to three: You are too deeply enured to escape! You are an addict! Intervention is no longer effective.

If you answered yes to four: There is no hope, you are hopelessly addicted. However, your need for a fix is not quite urgent, though it is compelling.

If you answered yes to five: Hang it up, it’s all over. You are a full blown addict. Only regular fixes will help you lead a semi-normal life. Writing is no longer just a cathartic high, it is life itself!

I sit here, knowing myself to be in the fifth, irrefutable stage, and sigh. I ask myself, would I have it any other way?

© 2014 Dellani Oakes

indian summerlone wolf coverPageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00022]Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00020]

ninjatattoo-175x260Under the Western Sky by Dellani Oakes - 200conduct unbecoming FINAL FRONT COVER largeUndiscovered by Dellani Oakes - 200

To Buy Dellani’s Books