Friday, December 23, 2011

Romancing the Pomegranate: An Ode to My Favorite Holiday Fruit

Pomegranate photo snagged from the Internet by Denny S. Bryce.

Did I mention I'm hanging out in Maui for the holidays? Okay, maybe I have a few thousand times on Twitter, but not so much here. In addition to the whales, the sun and the beach, what else am I doing here? Well, I'm taking a writer's workshop called The Art of Writing, Selling and Marketing Memoirs with Rebecca Walker (it's fabulous!).

And no, I don't write memoirs, but the course explores the process for creating memorable, marketable memoirs, and the keys to getting the words and the story on the page are for the most part the same as writing fiction and include voice, situation and story, structure and perspective.

I wrote the piece below in 15 minutes for a prompt—describe your favorite fruit, using all of the senses. It was a fun exercise, and I wanted to share. I hope you like!

Happy Holidays!!!
_______________________________________

Ode to the Pomegranate: The Holiday Fruit

I can't remember the first time I had one. Probably didn't know what the hell it was—but a pomegranate is the most red, most delicious, most weird exotic fruit going.

There's the color and what could be more sexy than a round, red, smooth object that fits in the palm of your hand. With its thick skin and furry end or root cap, it just doesn't look like any other fruit.

I like to slice them in half with a knife, and then stare at the juice flowing from the seeds for a moment. The richer the red the sweeter the taste. But is a pomegranate ever really sweet? Or is it the promise of sweet that makes the process of eating the fruit so amazing?

Inside are all of these cocoons of goodness, and I can't get the color out of my mind, and the contrast between the pale little coves where each seed is buried. I bet there's a whole section in the Bible about pomegranates. Back in olden times there had to be some mystery, some mythology, and some message that the fruit had to share. You can't just show up with something like a pomegranate and not want to ask questions about history, the Bible and how old a thing has to be to get its own mythology.

I don't care what you say you can't make a banana sexy (okay, I hate bananas), and apples are so first sin that I bet it was actually a pomegranate in the Garden of Eden.

How dull to pull an apple from a tree when there were certainly pomegranates in the Garden. Besides, if you're going to sin, why not have a thousand seeds to drop in Adam's mouth. Give the man more than a bite or two of the bad fruit—make him work for it.

And imagine the mess. All over his face and hands and shirt. Oh, that's right, everyone was naked in the Garden of Eden. So you bet the pomegranates would have made for a much more fun evil mess than an apple.

I have no idea why I am associating the pomegranate with the Garden of Eden (someone mentioned a commercial?). Perhaps it's because you can only get the fruit in November in the city. And I would only buy it at Whole Foods, or as we call it Whole Paycheck—but again, not the real point here.

We're talking about a piece of fruit. Something that's sweet and good for you. Something that you should have every day. An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Yeah, sure, but what can you do with a pomegranate that's only around for one month out of the year?

And how much do you hate it when you can go into the store and get all of the seeds in a plastic pint-sized container. All of the fun of ripping the thing apart and tearing the flesh away and dropping the juicy seeds down your throat—gone. Wiped out. Just because of convenience and whatever else people at grocery stores do when they think about pomegranates.

You know this is now going to be a quest. Find out everything there is to know about my favorite fruit because it is a mystery. It's origins wrapped in secrecy. Because I bet, the pomegranate has been around for centuries and it's in the Bible (everything juicy and decadent is mentioned at least once in the Bible—and likely in the Old Testament). I just want the apple to move over. Get out of the pomegranate's way so that the real red round fruit can rule.

You feel me?

by Denny S. Bryce for The Art of Writing, Selling and Marketing Memoirs Workshop 2011

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday and Denny's Eye Candy: Week 20

Snagged from Tumblr, my OTP from Leverage (TNT). Hardison and Parker--they make me smile.

Six Sentence Sunday!!! This is taken from a scene in a YA paranormal I will write as soon as I polish the current WIP...it's dark, though. My sixteen year-old heroine is a survivor of a family tragedy...

Mom was way prettier than I’d ever be, and she had to be close to thirty-five then. Me, I was fifteen and a sophomore at Our Lady of Stick Up Your Ass. 

Damn. I thought I’d be able to get through this part without getting pissed about school. I mean, you’d think that since it was the day my mom died I’d remember her more than anything else, but nope, I remember everything about that morning. Every second, every word, sound, smell, all of it, except for the most important part—the moment she and my kid brother were killed. 
Well, leaving you on that cherry note:)...go check out some of the other Six Sentence Sunday entries - always good reading.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday and Denny's Eye Candy Week 19

Six Sentence Sunday - here you go! This is from my contemporary multicultural romance called The Fixer. The heroine is having a problem making up her mind.
She leaned forward, afraid that her demeanor had something to do with his behavior. She didn’t want to mess this up. She didn’t want to jump into bed with him, although that was a lie, she did, but she knew better. There was nothing good that could come from having sex with him, except maybe the best time she’d had in months. She put the snifter on the coffee table. “Maybe I should go.”

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

An Author's Journal: Why I HATE Marketing - Entry 1

Image snagged from the Internet by Denny S. Bryce

My hatred of marketing has nothing to do with the fact that I've been in the business of marketing for the past 20 plus (cough, cough) years. Nope. Not it. And honestly, you know I don't really hate it, but it does seem to be the popular reaction of many authors I've talked to when it comes to all the work they need to do to sell their books, or create a dynamic web presence these days.

Yes, the marketing of authors and their books has changed dramatically over the past decade (or less) for a number of reasons I will mention in more detail in future  journal entries, but today we are just getting our feet wet.

The first steps in developing a marketing strategy are easier than you may think, and whether you're published or not (I'm not - yet:), you must be willing to put your hatred (fear, excuses, whatever) aside and step into the fray. You want to compete? You want to sell books? You've got to have a plan.

BRANDING - Who am I and why do you want to be my friend? 

Author marketing includes branding, and building awareness of your brand through traditional and non-traditional communication vehicles. Anytime I walk into a meeting and hear this gobblely-goop, I cringe - but it ain't wrong.

It means getting to know the strengths of your brand and promoting those strengths. For authors, I think this part is fun, and here's a way to get started with branding--conduct an interview with the author-you. There are a bunch of these character questionnaires on the web or in craft books, but go here for one I've used.  If you've already got a strong brand identity - this is way to dig deeper and maybe unearth some additional ideas for blogging, twitter posts, new features on your website, etc.

Part of the reason I wanted to start this journal and make it a regular feature on my blog is that I'm working on a new website. Why? Because I want to develop my brand, although as of yet, I'm not published (I know I keep mentioning that), but I don't see being unpublished as a reason not to establish an Internet presence. I don't however recommend starting a website if you haven't finished writing one book (or written at least a few hundred thousand words of several books:). You need a frame of reference, an understanding of who the author-you is before you start developing your initial brand identity.

Next jot down some keywords. Think about what you write (the genre, sub-genres, or whatever) and the themes you like to play with in your stories. Those keywords are important bits of information you will find useful when you start laying out your website (and yes, we will be talking websites very soon). Here are a few of my keywords and phrases:

  • Urban Fantasy
  • YA Paranormal
  • Multicultural Contemporary Romance
  • The Science of Romance
  • Mine, Yours and Ours
  • Edgy, Sexy, Laughter, Revenge
  • Light and Dark, Death and Life

You can also find a bit more about websites in my blog post today at Waterworld Mermaids. Check it out!

In the meantime, if you have questions about marketing, or want to discuss anything I've written here, please comment below.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday & Denny's Eye Candy - Week 18

Yes, my OTP is BACK! Leverage on TNT winter season returned with "The Experimental Job" last weekend. Yes, there were many Hardison/Parker moments, but also Eliot (Christian Kane) rocked it. Snagged from Tumblr by Denny S. Bryce.

Six Sentence Sunday - here goes...this is from a story I may re-edit one day:)...it's a space opera, I think, but the characters are loads of fun (at least to me:). This is a scene early in the novella when the hero and heroine are faced with something new.

“Hey, guess what?” Brian was suddenly next to her naked and tugging the rubber band from his ponytail as he ducked his head under a rush of falling water. “I’ve been reassigned.”
The bar of soap slipped from Newton’s hands and slid across the wet tile floor. “Where to?” The hitch in her voice surprised her.

Hope you enjoy, and don't forget to go and read more Six Sentence Sunday contributions. Have a great day!

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