Thursday, June 27, 2013


A good friend of mine finished my book, Boyfriend, a few weeks ago.  She offered to read it alooonngg time ago but it took me some time to build up the courage to send it.  She is an avid reader (which means she can sniff out crap), and although we have developed a great friendship through our almost four years of knowing each other, we met in my other life.  You know, the one were I am stuffy suit who doesn't waste words? But after my final edit, my confidence grew, and I decided to stop being a punk and take her up on her offer.  I was still really, really nervous.   Even though my book isn't about me, it is a pretty raw reveal into my imagination.  My take on pain... heartache... drugs... abuse... and sex.

And sex.

The book is about a college guy struggling to be a good guy in a relationship when everything around him is tempting him to stray... including his girlfriend's best friend.   He is layered.  He has a complex, abusive past and unresolved issues with his family.  However, the book takes the raw, honest journey with him through it all, and that journey naturally involves... sex.

My friend read the book in less than a week (and cried at the end... she is amazing) and not only did she read it, she provided me with instant text commentary.  One night, I was drinking a glass of wine (and chewing my fingernails) when I got a text from her that said (direct quote):  This is some seriously hot shit, dude! It makes me feel awkward knowing that you wrote it... It's seriously good! So good I have to try to forget it came from your brain because it kind of dampers the hotness.  

Translation: You are a mental whore. 


It's true.
Don't get me wrong, it's no Fifty Shades of Grey (or what I imagine Fifty Shades to be, I still haven't read it).  It is far from erotica.   The book has sex but the sex isn't the book.  However, to tell Nate's story, I had to dive head first (and swim all up in) the mind of a twenty-something college guy.  And not the kind of guy you marry- the kind of guy who broke your heart.  I wrote and said some things in the book I can barely read out loud.   One night, at about 2am, I was huddled over my laptop writing one particularly intense scene when my two year old woke up and came charging into the room.  I shut my laptop like I had been caught doing something wrong.  Nate can be a pretty dirty boy...  the muse was writing shamelessly, probably laughing while she did it.  Me? I was huddled in the corner reeking in my Catholic guilt.

I can't be the only one that blames my muse for naughty things...

Needless to say, the book was an out of box, exhilarating, challenging, fun, emotional and sexy experience.  And I will be probably be hiding under my kitchen table when its released (but don't worry, the muse will be at the book signings :-)). 


Love and Light,
Faye

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Inspired by my buddy, Robyn over at Lello!, I decided to post my submission for last month's Three Minute Fiction contest on NPR.  The task was to write an original short story that can be read in about three minutes, so no more than 600 words, in which a character finds something that he or she has no intention of returning.  No use in letting decent fiction just rot on my hard drive!

A Brief Madness

Photo by Rebecca Barray


Miri slipped through the front door like a slug, ugly and unwanted.  Slithering against our green walls in her short skirt and clunky heels like the stain she had always been.  She raked her long fingernails through her auburn hair and smiled at Ben like she still had something sweet to offer.  He wrapped his arm around my waist, and I held their baby a little tighter.  

     She smacked her lips together before she spoke.  “I need you to keep her another few days.”

    “We’re going to see Collette’s parents this weekend.”

    “So take her with you.”

    “It’s not that simple.”

    “Make it that simple.”

     Diem began to squirm.  I pulled her to my chest.  Bring her with us? Why not throw a parade?  They could both ride a float as we welcomed Ben’s careless mistakes back to our hometown.

    “We had an agreement…”

    I tuned them out.  I bounced Diem in my arms, and she grabbed a handful of my hair.  I pulled my hair from her tiny fingers and handed her to Ben.  “I’ll get her paci.”

    He nodded and turned back to Miri.

    When I entered the nursery, I closed the door and inhaled for ten.   I could hear their muffled voices escalate as I blew it out for another ten, like my therapist had instructed.   Forgiving Ben meant letting go of my anger.  I repeated it as I searched for Diem’s pacifier.  I got down and reached under the rocker, patting around without looking.  Forgiving Ben meant letting go…

     “Ouch.”  I drew my hand back and watched as a bubble of blood formed in the center of my palm.  I sucked it off and looked under the chair. 

     Beside the lost pacifier was a diamond tennis bracelet pressed into the carpet.  The corner of one of the rose-cut diamonds sullied by my blood.  I picked it up and sat back on my knees.   

     It was Miri’s.

     It was the first thing I noticed when I caught them outside of the hotel.  They rushed to his car laughing, hiding under his suit jacket from the light rain. 

     “Ben,” I had shouted.  They stopped.  For a moment, I thought I may die.  I thought we all might die.  The bracelet screamed from her wrist louder than her belly poking through her faded trench.  Cutting me deeper than his hand lingering on the small of her back.  It was far too delicate for a woman like her. 

     I knew it was a gift from Ben.

     “It’s nice,” I had said once shortly after Diem was born.  She smiled, stroking it as if he were still hers.

     “It’s my favorite,” she said looking at Ben.  I felt gutted by the smile in his eyes.

     Standing, I pulled the bracelet in half.  I yanked apart each link of the chain until the diamonds were scattered at my feet.  When I was done, I placed the pieces into my palm and squeezed, watching the blood from my wound travel in two thin lines to my wrist.   I opened my hand and looked at the jewels, murky and stained in my blood.  My own laughter startled me.  Ben had been my favorite, too. 

     I pressed a baby wipe into my wounded palm and picked up the pacifier prepared to chuck the pieces into the diaper trash.  Thinking again, I placed the bloody diamonds in my pocket.  A rush of energy added rhythm to my step as I bounced out of the room and back to my place beside Ben.


© 2013 Faye McCray


Love and Light,
Faye

Saturday, June 22, 2013

I forgot to mention, I was a Second Place Winner in the NA Alley Entangled Publishing Pitch Contest.



Thanks to the folks over at NA Alley for putting on the contest and Entangled Publishing for the awesome opportunity :-).


Love and Light,
Faye

At the beginning of college, I partied from Thursday to Sunday.  I had fun.  Dressing up. Getting hot.  And dancing with my girlfriends from our noses to our toes-es.  You know how it is... fresh from your parent's house, unleashed onto the world with no real responsibilities, and suddenly complete FREEDOM.  I went to an all-girls Catholic high school so I was really... repressed...  I was a good kid but I was in dire need of self-discovery.  I took full advantage of the opportunity.

By the end of college, the parties were all the same.  I was in a relationship, randomly obsessed with naps, and focused on getting into law school.  Suddenly frat boys looked stinky and sweaty, late-night cabs all smelled like vomit, and drunk people were really, really annoying.  By the time I graduated, I was beyond done.  If I forced myself to go to a party, I wore flats, would dance on autopilot, and glare at any guy that danced my way. 



In short, I had outgrown it.  I had partied it all out of my system and was discovering new things that I liked and new ways to make me happy (like naps and wine #thisis30).

Things have been going really well for me in a certain part of my non-writing life recently.  I mean... oddly well.  For some people, it may even be a dream come true.  The only problem is - it's not my dream.  On the outside, I'm kind of like...


But on the inside, I'm more like...

Don't get me wrong.  I'm grateful.  I don't like sardines but if I was starving on a desert island, and all that was left was sardines, I would eat it and thank God I found it.  But if I was forced to eat sardines every night for three and a half years and all I dreamt about was brownies, I'd probably really, really want brownies. 

There is nothing like getting a whole bunch of what you don't want to show you what it is you want. 

Love and Light,
Faye

Sunday, June 16, 2013

I'm all out of words this week...

...but I have a video (yay!). There are so many quotable moments in this interview but the title of this post has to be my favorite.  Thanks, Aisha Tyler!



And Happy Father's Day to all the Daddies especially the Daddy living in my house! Love you, spouse.

Love and Light,
Faye

Thursday, June 6, 2013


Warning: Contains Spoilers

Well, like many Game of Thrones fans, I have spent most of this week recovering from probably the most traumatizing thing I have ever seen on television.  Sunday's episode of the HBO show featured the infamous "Red Wedding" where a series of mistakes and bad decisions led to the slaughter of three [and a half... ugh :-(] series regulars and favorites at a wedding.  The dearly departed were probably the closest thing to "protagonists" that the series - which features multiple kingdoms vying for the throne (hence the title) - had.  Though in retrospect, there were countless clues, on Sunday night, at approximately 9:49pm, I stood up and screamed like my house was under attack.  I then proceeded to curl in a ball on my couch for at least a good thirty minutes.... only managing to text, tweet and status update my feelings over a big mug of Chamomile Tea.  You would have thought I had been the victim of a crime.  The gut-wrenching, blood curdling scream of one of the characters is still ringing in my ears. 


Since the airing, a number of videos have been released depicting the reactions of fans, including this awesome one of George R.R. Martin (who wrote the novels) watching some.  Those who have read the books (which the series has stayed remarkably true to) filmed their friends watching what they knew was coming.  The videos feature people jumping out of their seats, breaking into tears, and hiding under blankets.  Reactions may seem bizarre to the uninitiated but trust me, if you had been watching (which I suggest you do), you would have been doing the same damn thing. 


As a reader/viewer, I kind of hate George R.R. Martin for taking me on this journey.  Then again, I kind of love him.  Like a bad marriage.  The rollercoaster of emotions I have felt in the year that I have been watching this show (I was a late bloomer and caught up a few months prior to Season 3), has been unparalleled by any art I have ever consumed (though The Walking Dead is a close second).  As a writer, I am in awe.  George R.R. Martin has taken his time in creating a universe that is rich in detail and complexity.  We have gotten to know the characters: their motives, their history, their families, and the things they love.  He has truly blurred the lines between good and evil as their are no clear villains...  just people who make choices.  Some good.  Some bad.  It's a genre-bending, fantasy universe that is remarkably accurate in its depiction of humanity.  Once my initial shock wore off on Sunday, I had a moment where I thought... man... that was really, really good.
 

As I mentioned before, in April, I attended the Writer's Digest Conference East.  On the last day, I attended a session with Paula Munier from Talcott Notch on writing the first ten pages of a novel.  It was awesome.  One of the (many) gems she gave us as take-homes was to make sure your reader "feels something" in those first ten pages.  Some kind of emotion.  Something that keeps your reader reading and gets them to care about the story and your characters.  She gave us a number of examples of powerful openers including my favorite from The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold: My name is Salmon, like the fish; first name Susie.  I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973.  That gives me goose bumps every time I read it.

Watching Game of Thrones, I realize there is a difference between genuine emotion and a manipulative kind of emotion (i.e., Color Purple v. For Colored Girls (movie not book)).   You know horrific things that you can make sense of (Sophia getting beat down in Color Purple) versus horrific things done purely for shock value (Michael Ealy throwing the kids out the window in For Colored Girls).  The reason I hate George... but really love him... is because I can understand why he wrote it.  Everything (and I mean from Season 1, Episode 1) of  Game of Thrones led to those ten minutes.  And as much as you disliked that it had to go down, when the dust settled, you understood it.  Because George was able to full develop characters and situations that understandably led to that that kind of tragedy. 

That kind of storytelling... that kind of art... it's the reason I write... it's the reason I read.

Brava, Mr. Martin (and all the folks over at HBO) for really getting it right.



Love and Light,
Faye
 
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