ON WRITING

“It’s very easy to quit during the first ten years of writing. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” Andre Dubus

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Misha Gericke reveals her writing insecurities for #IWSG. Endless blog tour post. And a China sneak-peek--the Great Wall of China.

Welcome to the May #IWSG posts. Many of you will be battle fatigued after participating in the A - Z Challenge. I was busy touring China, so I'm not sure which was the most exhausting. I'll give you a pic or two of China at the end of the post for those who have been begging to see some, but today my blog belongs to Misha Gericke who is sharing her insecurities on writing then introducing us to her new book.

Thank you to Alex J Cavanaugh and the team of co-hosts for May!
 We have: Stephen Tremp, Fundy Blue, MJ Fifield, Loni Townsend, Bish Denham, Susan Gourley, and Stephanie Faris! If you have time, visit each one and say hi!

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Now, take it away, Misha!

About Insecurities

The first time I managed to finish a book, it was a huge, almost terrifying tome that took me six months only to figure out the concept.

So when the time came for me to write Endless, my second story, I was terrified of starting it.

All because it felt like I didn’t have enough understanding of the story to write it. Endless started as a concept; more than two years before that I only thought of tangentially while drafting The Vanished Knight and The Heir’s Choice. Sort of: “I wish I could write a story about an amnesiac immortal.”

Then I had a sudden blast of inspiration right before NaNoWriMo. I didn’t have anything else to write, so obviously Endless was the best option. But I didn’t think about the world. Didn’t even know any of the characters. (Which was a new experience for me.)

I freaked out for the whole week before NaNoWriMo started, which of course meant that I couldn’t figure anything out either.

This sounds like the recipe for a disaster, doesn’t it?

Well… actually...

I started on November 1 with no clue other than the main character having amnesia.

I finished the rough draft in fifteen days. (Which was my personal record from November 2011 to September 2015.)

The rewrite took me three weeks. (I rough draft in pen.)

The book basically wrote itself. Twice.

Which does go to show you.

Sometimes, we really freak out about the stupidest things.

What has caused you to be insecure about your writing, only to turn out not to be worth worrying about?

About the Book

“First, do no harm.” Blake Ryan swore that oath to become a doctor. Ironic, given that he spent most of his thousand year life sucking souls out of other immortals.

Things are different now. Using regular shots of morphine to keep his inner monster at bay,

Ryan has led a quiet life since the Second World War. His thrills now come from saving lives, not taking them.

Until a plane crash brings Aleria into his hospital. Her life is vibrant. Crack to predators like him. She’s the exact sort of person they would hunt, and thanks to a severe case of amnesia, she’s all but defenseless.

Leaving Aleria vulnerable isn’t an option, but protecting her means unleashing his own inner monster. Which is a problem, because his inner monster wants her dead most of all.

AmazonUS | Amazon Universal | Apple | Barnes& Noble | Kobo |Goodreads

About the Author

Misha Gerrick lives near Cape Town, South Africa, and can usually be found staring at her surroundings while figuring out her next book.

If you’d like to see what Misha’s up to at the moment, you can find her on these social networks:




Excerpt

This had to be what dying felt like. Floating outside my body, waiting for that final link to my life to be severed, only vaguely aware of indescribable pain. More screams than I could count rose up around me. Hundreds of footsteps beat against tiles. I couldn’t open my eyes if I wanted to. Not when it was easier to listen and wait. People shouted for a doctor or an IV, or a thousand other things that made no sense. I listened to all the chaos, trying to untangle it in my thoughts.

Soon, I could go. The peace around me was so relaxing, completely out of place in the clamor I heard. I wanted it. To rest forever in that peace. Why not? There was a very good reason, but I couldn’t call it to mind.

A numb buzz shot through my body and shattered my serenity.

It happened again. Only this time was more of a sharp pulse. The third time jolted like lightning. The fourth…Hell. Suddenly, the screams were coming from me. My heart’s relentless thundering added to my torment.

Pain.

Everywhere.

My chest burned like fire. It hurt to breathe. Cold air drove down my throat and into my lungs, amplifying the inferno in my chest. My skin felt scorched. It couldn’t be. It wasn’t right.

I had to see. I had to understand why pain dominated my existence like this. My eyes were fused shut. My breaths grew shallow, trying to draw air when there was none. I tried to clench my teeth. I bit hard plastic. A pipe. Cold air suddenly forced back into my lungs, out of time with my own breathing. This was wrong. It wasn’t safe. I had to see. The best I got was a little fluttering of my lashes.

A high-pitched beep shot through my head. It repeated again and again. I wanted to reach over and slam my fist into its source. My arm wouldn’t lift. Something kept it trapped. A scream rose up from the depths of my soul, but the pipe jammed inside my throat stifled the sound. I only managed a whimper, trying my best not to gag. More air blasted into my lungs against my will. What was going on? I was trapped in my own body, but why?

I needed to move. I had to move. Now. Before… Even… Even though… Panic gripped me. The beeps increased at a frenetic pace. I needed to move. To be gone. Didn’t matter where. Just not here. Not defenseless. Not trapped.

The air sucked out of my lungs. I gasped, choking on nothing, strangled by invisible fingers. I tried to convulse my body. To twist myself free of what’s holding me.

Nothing.

The air rushed back in a cold flood. Seconds later it left, only to return in the same amount of time.

There was a rhythm to the air. In… out... in… out… The breaths were slow—sleep-like. I concentrated on this rhythm, striving to clear my head. If I wanted out, I needed to think. Calmly. Clearly. Eventually, those irritating beeps slowed. I tried to focus past the sound.

Voices buzzed about me, adding to my need to see, to do something to protect myself. No one seemed to pay attention to me. Good. I could use that to my advantage.

I centered my every thought on moving my little finger. It finally jerked, but collided against something solid. So the thing trapping my arm was physical and too heavy for me to lift. It was better to be trapped than paralyzed. With luck I could escape my restraints. I tried my other hand, but it was cemented stuck as well. Right leg. Left leg. Damn it! Both trapped. I had to move!

No.

No, I needed to stay calm. I tried to make larger movements, biting the pipe in my mouth against the urge to scream in pain. There was no wiggle room.

Fearing that I might be blindfolded, I focused on blinking. It worked. My eyes opened and the blur faded, revealing ceiling tiles. Why would there be tiles? Where was the canvas of hospital tents? The distant sounds of bombs dropping? The power of their explosions rushing through my blood?

No. That wasn’t right. I wasn’t there.

Where was I, then?

I hope you enjoyed visiting with Misha today and that her new book has captured your imagination. Please leave an encouraging reply for Misha. You know how insecure we writers can get.

And here are a few China pics of the Great Wall of China--that climb is a truly exhilarating, yet at times terrifying experience. Coming down is just as dangerous as going up! But I'm glad I've had the experience. For those of you who've asked for more pics/stories, they will be forthcoming in my next post!


Where I climbed the wall.
Base camp at the Juyongguan section of the Great Wall of China
in
the Guangou Valley. Upgraded during the Ming Dynasty.
Here Genghis Khan passed through on his thunderous journey to Beijing.
 

From my vantage point on the Wall--looking down on the village below. I climbed the largest ancient structure on the planet!! Go me!



61 comments:

  1. Hi Misha and Denise - commented over at Romance Writer ... cheers to you both .. Hilary

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    1. Thanks Hilary! I replied on my WP blog. :-)

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  2. Sometimes we just have to start writing and see what happens!
    Cool shots, Denise. I bet you are beat after your trip.

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    1. I am thoroughly beat Alex. Takes awhile to get that pollution out of the lungs lol!

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    2. I believe that was the EXACT piece of advice you gave me when I blogged about it back then. ;-)

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  3. Congratulations, Misha, you've done an amazing job and overcoming that fear to write a great book! Stupid is a good word sometimes, especially when you end up with ENDLESS!
    Welcome back Denise! Love the photos and I can't wait to learn about the dangerous climb, although from your pictures I can imagine why. You're refreshed and returning and I'm exhausted and leaving. We make a great team. :)

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    1. Yeah I'm so proud of Endless and I did feel like a sheep by the time the rough draft was done. ;-)

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    2. Heh, Yolanda. Don't know about refreshed, but I'm drinking gallons of green tea in hopes that I'll feel healthier! Maybe next post I'll devote to the Great Wall. :-)

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  4. Denise, definitely go you for that climb!! Great photos. Glad you made it home safe.

    Denise, congrats to you on your book. Sounds quite intriguing. Wishing you much success.

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    1. Thank you Mason. I feel quite chuffed that I made it.

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  5. Misha basically wrote the book in 5 weeks? Holy cow!! Mine take months or a whole year! Congrats on the release of Endless! So exciting!

    The pics are awesome, Denise! I can't wait to see more. Have a great week! :)

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    1. To be fair, it took me months of editing before I was happy enough with it to let it out into the world.

      And by months I mean almost two years of editing. ;-)

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  6. My brother-in-law just moved back to the States from China but we never got a chance to visit him there.

    I write everything long hand, too. I think better with a pen.

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    1. Me to. It feels like the words just don't flow unless I rough draft long hand.

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  7. Congrats to Misha on her book and figuring out how to deal with her insecurity in such a great and (brave) way.

    That is an accomplishment to climb the Great Wall. We were there in the winter. The steep steps, the cold air, and my short legs made it too difficult for me to climb all the way up. I'm in good shape and it was terrible exertion. Good for you for climbing it!

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  8. It boggles my mind what people managed to do back in the day w/out all the tools we have now. And yay for Misha & Endless!

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  9. Misha--I'm so impressed such an interesting story could be written so quickly. I enjoyed the excerpt.

    Denise--I'm so jealous. What an adventure you're having. I would love to climb the Great Wall someday.

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    1. Thanks Tamara.

      The odd thing is I never know how fast I can write a book. I thought I'd struggle with this one and it just rushed out. Right now, I'm working on a "quick" book that took me three years just to start. Go figure.

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  10. Visiting China was more exciting! (No offense to A-Z--but come on, right?)

    Congrats Misha. It all worked out in the End (get it). :)

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  11. Hi Misha and Denise
    From the blurb I read, Misha, your book is well written. I just got it and will read as time allows. I wish all the best for you.

    The Great Wall is amazing. I love the cherry tree in the pic, Denise.
    Nancy

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  12. Thank you, Denise for presenting Misha. I have read some blurbs on her book Endless elsewhere and I have to say that it has caught my attention and is on my TBR list in Goodreads as of today.

    Also nice to hear you had a nice trip to China. You hit a milestone in your life climbing that structure. Go Girl!

    Shalom,
    Patricia

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  13. Yay Misha! It's a great book.

    Denise! China sounds amazing, but I don't think I could go there. Where would I get my cheese?!?

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  14. Wow, 15 DAYS?? That's so impressive!

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    1. Hehehe yeah. It was a NaNo project. ^_^

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  15. Thanks for letting me visit your blogs, Denise. Loved the pictures. The Base Camp photo especially captivates me.

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  16. Congrats to Misha!

    Wow! Denise! Awesome for you!

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  17. Good luck with Endless! I'm sending positive thoughts of a smashing success your way right now!

    May 2016 IWSG Co-Host
    May the 4th Be With You
    Stephen Tremp’s Breakthrough Blogs

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  18. Holy cow, that's a quick first draft. Especially hand written! I wrote a 25,000 word novella in 3 days, so I guess I shouldn't be too astounded. It's because it was meant to be a short story. Now I'm thinking of turning it into a novel, with a second POV. Funny how these things work themselves out. Good luck with Endless!

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    1. Yeah these things can be super surprising. I never know how fast I'll be able to to finish a story once I start it.

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  19. Congrats, Misha. Isn't it wonderful when a book writes itself? Rare, but wonderful.

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    1. I love it when it happens! In fact, it's almost tempting to go chasing that zone all the time, but I know that's a really bad idea.

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  20. A rough draft in just 15 days? Holy cow! I wish I could write my rough drafts that fast. Congratulations on your release, Misha! :D

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    1. Mine usually aren't that fast. Although it's happened every now and then. :-)

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  21. Enjoyed reading the excerpt. Impressed with a book that sounds so layered and complex being written in such a short time. Wow!

    Denise, such cool photos! Loved the tree as well. Go, you!!!

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    1. Thanks Nilanjana. To be fair, I have to say that it took me a lot of edits to perfect the story. :-)

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  22. Congratulations on your release, Misha!

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  23. Hi, Misha. Guess I should have commented here since this is where most of the action is. I did say congratulations to you on Denise's wordpress blog. Very proud of your accomplishment.

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    1. No worries! I saw your comment there as well. :-)

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  24. Hi Misha: Getting started is always the hardest part. Now for me its continuing to sit and write the rest of the story. You did great for that NaNo; just what its intended to do. Well done.

    Hey Denise *waves vigorously* Wow, the China wall. Awesome. Got plenty of scenery for the next great novel? Hopefully home doesn't seem drab to you after all that climbing.

    Have a good weekend to both of you :)

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    1. Thanks Donna. A great weekend to you. Home is not near as exhausting as China lol! Never drab.

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    2. Yeah, getting past the first-page jitters is one thing. But often, writing the rest of the book is much harder. Endless wasn't like that, but The Vanished Knight was so hard that I almost stopped writing because I didn't know writing could be almost impossible.

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  25. Denise,
    I've been away for far too long! I've missed your cheerful place :) Lovely photos of the Great Wall! What an amazing adventure! Misha, congratulations on the novel! And I love that the story practically wrote itself. That's the best kind! I find that when I let go and just write, things usually work out, story wise!

    Happy weekend,
    Jen

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    1. Lovely to see you here again Jen! Yes, a great adventure!

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  26. Hello, Misha! Best of luck with your new book.

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  27. Love the pics!!!! One day :)
    I love drafting - and the thrill of that first draft when anything can happen is incredible!

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    1. That thrill is definitely one of the best parts to rough drafting. :-)

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  28. Wow! Aren't you the lucky one. The novel practically wrote itself--twice! I wish that would happen to me. Intriguing premise and I love the excerpt, Misha. All the luck with this new novel. Thanks for sharing this with your readers, Denise.

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  29. Congrats again to Misha on her book. I can relate to how you felt at each stage along the way.

    Loved seeing the pictures of China. Glad you had such a great time, Denise.

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  30. Hi, Denise and Misha,
    Congrats to Misha on her new book. She creates some vivid pictures with this snippet, plus a mystery.

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