Monday, December 27, 2010

Full of Life's Detours

I've been running about lately, doing the Christmas thing. But I've posted a new chapter to a group for a fun piece of writing... and I will meet with my 'seniors' group on Wednesday. Looking forward to that. I've not been able to meet with them at all in December due to babysitting issues. I wonder how many will be there?

I've written another two chapters of 'Blue' and have spent a lot of time trying to figure out the Muse. She is driving me near insane!

Bless her heart.... She wants the heroine to 'physically' change into a boy. I had thought some 'cosmetic' changes would suffice. She will have none of it. Strong magic from the dragon will change Kathleen to Kaspar. Well, we'll see what my editor thinks when we get to that chapter. *chortles* *snorts* I can just hear her now. What are you doing????

Ah well - laughter is good too.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Life is Good

MERRY CHRISTMAS etc. etc. etc.

Can't believe I was able to buy a car this morning with the available funds... nice car too.

Once I signed the papers and stuff, I ran to drop off my manuscript with my editor. I don't expect her to get back to me soon - what with the holidays and all. But I feel good that it is in her hands!

Sent off three chapters of 'Blue Skies' to my writers' class. We will meet on January 4th and it will be fun to see what they say about it. VERY different from the 'My Sword' series!

Again - Happy holidays. LIFE IS GOOD

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Yes! I really am. I've got the last 'read' of the manuscript half done. I contacted my editor and she has agreed to give it one more look. I will meet her on Christmas Eve and hand it over.....

My gosh! I could almost cry at the thought that we are at that phase of this process....

Though I had thought I was done a year ago with this book, I was not as confident in it as I am now. With the last year's constant editing, filling needed gaps, deleting unnecessary words, phrases, scenes, characters - on and on and on....

I can now just laugh and rejoice - and what a great time of year to be doing that - rejoicing. 

Life is good!

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Muse

I'm wondering if listening to the Muse is a good idea. She seems to find ways to make life very difficult for her musee... Is that what we're called?

She attacked me, towards the end of my first book, and insisted that the main character die... the main character! After screaming and ranting and raving, I acquiesced and did her bidding. Doing that for the first book made it impossible NOT to change the whole second book, but I thought it was only right and proper to listen to her.

My editor screamed and ranted and raved and said I could not kill the main character off... So - she speaks louder than the Muse and I acquiesced again. I think I'm turning wishy-washy!

Book One seems to work either way. And the changes to the second one won't be difficult either. I'm glad the main character lives - I like him a lot!

I hope the Muse does not retaliate. 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Is There A Sanctuary?

Wondering if there might be a sanctuary, a haven for lost words.

The accident has definitely been forefront in my mind these past few days. Had to go to the doc myself and then had to take the little one. Nothing serious, thank goodness, but enough of a distraction to pull me away from even thinking of Blue...

Yet, in the middle of the night, the thoughts come. Had to get up and write a phrase that kept niggling at me last night. Great phrase, IMHO. And it seems, if I don't get up, and I know this happens to other writers too, the thought, word, phrase is gone by morning. A hideous loss. So I wonder if phrases and words and whole scenes that are not written down float about in some celestial home, lost and abandoned.... What a pity.

Hope everyone is enjoying preparations for the holidays!

Monday, December 13, 2010


I didn't get to post yesterday, or think of much else besides life. Driving along, minding my own business, but keeping my eye on the road, I was attacked by another car. The driver decided to turn even though I was coming towards him. Sometimes, I wonder what people are thinking while they drive. The police cited him for 'failure to yield' - seems more like reckless driving, not watching the road, thinking the road is yours.... Hmmm - whatever. As the victim, I wasn't particularly happy about it.

I know, whilst driving, I compose songs in my head, and think about what the next scene is in my 'Blue Skies,' wonder if my editor will cream my latest submissions, things like that. I do not dial the cell, nor eat, nor polish my nails whilst driving.... I do try to drive defensively. 

However, even a good defense can succumb to an aggressive offense. The car is very badly damaged, but I am well. Knees hurt a bit, so do the wrists, but all, in all, I can still enjoy life. 

Now - what use do I have for this experience? All my stories are set in times when planes, trains, and automobiles do not exist. Perhaps it is the suddenness of the experience. The speed with which calamity can overtake one. Ah. Perhaps it's how a knight feels when he is hit with a spear and falls off his horse. 

So there is value to everything.... Life is still good! 

Saturday, December 11, 2010


I binged today on writing - meetings really..

I attended my regular Skyline meeting and learned a lot, as always. One of the things that I know, but needed reminding, was about characters. Making sure the verb you use to describe their actions is appropriate to the character. If you're writing about someone who's in their 70's - it's a little difficult to accept that person scampering. *smiles*  I knew that, I said to myself, but I definitely needed reminding.

Also, one of my other groups met today due to the holidays. I didn't think I could make it, but on the way home from the first meeting, I thought, 'why not?' - ended up going and learning more. As always. Sharing with others, listening to their writings, other people's critiques, and other people's struggles are such great tools. 

I'm so glad I went to both. Now, looking for a conference. One I can afford.

The book is done. Final edit complete. I want to give my editor the holidays for herself, so I'm sitting on my hands and NOT sending her the ms. Will wait till January comes around, but oh my goodness, it is difficult. 

However, Life Is Good. 

Friday, December 10, 2010

Happy But Exhausted

Voila! Complete. Fin. Fait accompli. Finito.  законченный   Beendet   ختم

Yes, finished it. Added another chapter, too. Told you I would. And the ending works out quite nicely, thank you very much!

Now to print it and re-read it for the seven thousandth nine hundred and ninety-ninth time! But well worth it.  I've got all my fingers and toes crossed that I don't find I sent someone off and forgot to bring them back! Or some such ridiculous mistake.

Life is good!!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Exhausted But Happy

Oh by the gods, I can hardly believe it. Only 1/2 of a chapter left. But I am so exhausted that I must pull myself away or find I have killed off half my characters and destroyed their world. Mistakes happen with exhaustion.

But I can taste the goal. And it is a sweet taste. Perhaps tomorrow I will be able to write and say....

Voila! Complete. Fin. Fait accompli. Finito.  законченный   Beendet    ختم

Could life be any better!!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Write Drunk. Edit Sober. (Hemingway)

Honestly, I think it should be the other way around. 

Courage is needed to edit. Great hunks of courage. You've flown through writing the 'Great American Novel' - or something at least a lot of fun - and then you have to put away all sense of the joy that was writing... and hunker down with a red pen and decimate what you've just done. It seems insane, to me. Worthy of a bottle of something!

But of course, the editing I'm doing now is on my first book ever. I've learned a lot since I wrote this book. Since I began editing it. The second book is not going to need near the editing this one does. I've got a 'handle' (sure) on POV, I've honed my characterization skills, and I'm definitely getting the hang of landscapes and such. So - hopefully, when I take the second book to my editor (this January), I will be pleasantly - NO - deliriously surprised when she says, 'Wow - great work. We've got hardly a thing to change.' 

I hope I'm not smoking something!

Trying to Find Time

One of the things I really hate is trying to find the time to write. Watching my little one takes the entire day... and so it's at night that I finally grab the opportunity to edit or write. Usually can't do both! 

I know I've sworn I will set a time each day, but my life is not my own. When the little one goes to school next year, things should be better. But, dear God I do so hope I've got a contract by that time!

However, I keep plugging. I've got 122 pages left. I'm on Chapter 47 of the 61 left. I have to laugh. The chapter numbers keep changing. So the end count will definitely be different, but such is life. 

The word count continues to grow, which is another odd thing. I've been cutting mercilessly, but the editing has brought to light places that need further explaining, etc. The characters love to chat with each other and that adds more too - though I tell them daily the book is not about EVERYONE! 

Life is good. Hope you are all smiling. It's the only thing that will save us!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Chacters (Bless their little hearts)

My editor suggested I change the name of one of my main characters. Two of the characters were too close sounding, in her humble opinion. I figured she was right. So I set off on a quest to find a name. Of course, these kinds of quests are not simple. Finally, after about four hours, I decided I would make a different change.

The lead character's name begins with a B - the secondary character's name began with a B also. So - I changed the secondary's name to begin with a K - BUT, as life would have it, the first character we meet (who gets himself killed immediately) - well, his name begins with a K. So I found a good name for him that begins with a G and then changed the secondary's character to begin with a K and life is good... I was thus able to leave the main character's name the same. I had really gotten used to it, over the past four years!

FYI - Brynna changed to Kendra. Kendrick changed to Garvin. Life is good - if you don't mind delving deep into names.... I like to make sure the names all work... that they're from the same background or etymology for each kingdom. It takes a lot of work, I probably spent weeks on the originals, but it is well worth it. 

Now - these friends are easily distinguishable. I hope. *giggles*

Saturday, December 4, 2010

I digress

A quick note - on the teeth front - went to two dentists (one a real dentist and the other a surgeon) and both don't think the teeth need extraction OR root canals.

Found a book about psychology and health and aches and pains. It's called 'You Can Heal Your Life' by Louise Hay. The book's pretty good - but the real treasure is towards the back. There's an 'excel-like' section of bodily woes, the psychological causes, and then the 'good thoughts' to get you back to health. A real treasure.

Now - One of my favorite books is 'The Four Agreements' by Martinez - I even bought ten copies and gave it out to friends and family. The 'You Can Heal' book is a long-winded copy of the 'Four Agreements.' If you've going to get a book that will change your life - it's the 'Four Agreements.' But again, the little appendage in the back of 'You Can Heal' is excellent too. 

Forgive me for digressing from 'writing' - but the editing and trying to get published phase of writing can drive one to drink or to have a physical meltdown. One of my favorite blogs likens the process to Chutes and Ladders. A great analogy.

Life is good


That character I was going to 'flesh out' - seems I already did it. Checked out the chapter and there he was... down to his hair color. What a relief. I fixed the ending so the main character does not die... but I've got to go back and change the funeral scene to the father's instead. it will work. Both things were giving me gray hairs. So I can, indeed say, life is good.

Haven't had a chance to look at my stuff since yesterday - today was filled with a tree-lighting ceremony, a choir, and a visit to Santa - such fun!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ever onward

I'm going to begin Chapter Forty-three tomorrow. I've got a character, a lesser one, that needs some fleshing out. It will take some time. Though I have a picture of him in my mind's eye... 

I found I had edited a couple chapters that I didn't remember... so the editing is going better and faster than I thought. Life is good.

Otherwise, I am having two molars pulled tomorrow... not looking forward to it. I'll never forget an episode of the Sharpe series where they pull Patrick's aching tooth in the field. Oh God... the noises...

If you enjoy sword-fighting battles - the Sharpe series by Bernard Cornwell are quite fun! I think there's around twenty-two books. I discovered them whilst recovering from a broken back. Down and out for three months.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Pressing onward

Thirty-one out of sixty-three chapters edited.... Now, if I can just persuade my editor to give them a look... hard with the holidays coming up.

Just got my fingers crossed. I am setting January 1st for completion. Good grief, this is about the third 'deadline' I've given myself... but deadlines are important. And the reasons for missing them are valid - it is not due to lack of desire, nor of work, but of strenuous and time-consuming edits....

*holds head in frustration*

But I'm almost half-way to my goal. Hooray!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The mind never stops

Honestly, before I started writing, I wonder what other thoughts my mind ruminated upon! Bills probably and the kids and the weather....

So there I am, innocently lying in bed this morning, and for the umpteenth time, the mind is racing like a runaway train. A scenario flashes across my brain - the hero is being interrogated by what appear to be humans, but what are, in reality, aliens. He is being asked about the minerals in the Black Hills of South Dakota. And about the Ute Indians.

Now come on, mind - the Utes are in Utah. 

Do you have any idea how much research I'd have to do to get this story up and flying? It's bad enough for the little worlds I'm creating... but creating a new world seems infinitely easier than researching the Utes, the Black Hills, alien need for minerals... 

My conscious mind hurts at the thought. 

Researching dragons and heraldry and distances are bad enough. It's taken the last nine years to get a good database of traveling times for boats, dragons, dragonlings, armies, little boys..... 

So - dear mind - be still and let me finish the three books I'm writing right now. Please.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Title not changing today!

Was not babysitting today, so I spent many hours editing 'My Sword.' It really is a lesson in patience and courage. Not touting my own horn, really, just stating the obvious. One that I think most writers will recognize and understand.

When first I read the next section to be edited, I usually get a little queezy in the stomach. The changes seem to be monumental. But I'm learning to step back and say, 'Nah! I can do this.' And then it works. At least, it did today. God only knows what will happen tomorrow, but I'm not going there!

As it is, I've now final edited (I refuse to go back) ten chapters out of sixty. *hits head on desk* I'll finish this some day, I know I will. 

Ever onward!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Editing - again!

It's hard to sleep when you've been editing or writing with abandon. I've spent the last few hours writing a new chapter for 'Blue Skies' and another few for editing a couple chapters of 'My Sword.' 

I find I am on an adrenalin high. Both endeavors were successful.

I think it had to do with comments from my editor today. She loved the last chapter and made only a 'new paragraph' change in one place. Whoo hoo! I think that spurred me on, gave me the confidence to have a go at the editing, especially. 

Life is good!

Saturday, November 20, 2010


A long time ago, a man I deemed quite wise, told a group of women that they should retreat at least once a year. Retreat - as in taking the day away from 'life' and concentrating on the inner person.

Today - by happenstance - our little class of writers, invited to our teacher's home, received a gift of 'retreat.' 

Our 'regular' class turned into a day of beauty, rest, and sharing (food and laughter). Her home is open, uncluttered, and welcoming. We chatted for a couple hours and ate good food. Afterward, we sat together in front of the fireplace and critiqued each others' pieces. With a healthy dose of 'gentle guidance' from our teacher. 

I know I was not the only one who left that house with an inner glow. My deepest thanks to our teacher for a day of refreshment. 

May you all have such moments!

Friday, November 19, 2010


To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering. Nietzsch

I do think it is carrying the quest for meaning a bit too far when I suffer for my writing, but - I had some bad news the other day and was trying not to cry. I'd forgotten how your nose burns when the tears lay on your lashes and you keep them from falling. Another useful piece of life to inflict on my poor characters.

*giggles* - they must hate me. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Blue Skies

Went to one of my writer's groups today. It's a great one - gentle people with a love and a lust for writing. 

I've been presenting 'Nothing But Blue Skies' on a weekly basis - it's great cause it forces me to keep writing this story. However, I really, really, really was taken aback at the members' adulation of the book. They seem to love it and are quite vocal in their approval.

The problem (who would think such a thing would be a problem) - they seem to like it so much more than my own heart's favorite - 'My Sword Sings.' Granted, 'My Sword' is really a complicated piece of fantasy with lots of characters, locations, and such. But it seems much grander to me than 'Blue Skies' with much more depth and scope. I adore the characters. 

Now - I've been writing 'My Sword' for the last four or five years. I've 'lived' with the characters, laughed with them, cried with them. I've only been writing 'Blue Skies' for about a month. I suppose that explains my own reaction to the critiques/comments/praise. I still don't really know 'Kathleen' - nor her world. It's coming along. I suppose, in another few months that she and I will be BFF's - but for now.....

Well - I'm going off to have a go at her world. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I've never really had it. My husband used to say I never finished anything. After he was gone, I made it a point to finish anything I started. I can be stubborn. I suppose that is my own brand of discipline.

But with writing, you have to be. There's no teacher standing over you, making sure you do your assignment. There's no homework that HAS to be handed in. There's only the computer or the yellow legal pad staring at you - not saying a word, not judging, but staring. *shivers*

Lack of discipline is the excuse my daughter uses to deny me home schooling my granddaughter. She's probably right. But my goodness, the little one and I could have SUCH adventures!

So I am busy writing 'Nothing But Blue Skies' and having a ball - like eating chocolates. And shying away from editing 'My Sword Sings' - even though I now have a general idea of how it will work while keeping it 'good.'

Why is it that some things feel like the purest torture? And some seem like the purest joy? I loved writing 'My Sword' - but editing it is work. Ah - 'therein lies the rub.' Writing is joy; editing is work. 

Have fun yourselves!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Book Two is helping with book one

Who would have ever thunk?!? 

I was in the midst of writing 'Nothing But Blue Skies' when I realized I could change something in the first book of the 'My Sword' series. 

I've been having trouble with POV and the new book is strictly from the hero's POV. Adhering to that has made me understand POV better. 

'My Sword' is from three characters POVs... after writing two chapters of 'Blue Skies,' I went back to Sword and changed one of the chapters back to the hero's POV. Works well. Now, I'll go through the editing portion of this book's journey and see where else I can have my main character be the POV. I still want the others. The main character is a great kid and my readers like him. This broadening of his parts in the book should help cement him with his readers. 

Having a ball. I love writing and now I see that editing can be a bit of fun too. I REALLY needed to see that.


Whoo hooo - I love my blog

I've been a member of LiveJournal for years and just haven't been able to use it the way I'd like... and Facebook is a joke.

But here - wow - I get to really write and follow my journey!

The trees beckon

They are absolutely gorgeous. I have this wondrous red maple that tickles my window when the wind grows fierce. I can hear it now. I must be outside and drink in the final beauty of this fall. It will change and snow will come all too soon. Though I do love snow, right now I'd give the world for a month more of sun and sixty degree weather.

I've spent a good two hours writing this morning and that feels great. My arms tingle with the excitement of it. I love it when a story flows. I've got two others I'm supposed to be working on, but this little one, 'Nothing But Blue Skies,' is one of those fun stories. 

I do love writing dragons too and the one in Blue Skies - I'm particularly fond of him.


Rest In Peace

Ah December! I loved your little 'rest in peace' comment. Thinking and NOT typing can really get a writer into trouble, can't it?

Though I can see a painter sitting looking at her brush and muttering, "All right, what's next?"

Or how about a potter... "Dratted lump of clay! Why don't you tell me what you want to be?"


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Day three - been shredding

One of the problems with writing is - there is a continuous flow of paper. Drafts fill my computer room, collecting dust bunnies, and making it difficult to find the floor. I know some folks keep their drafts, but I've got a truckload. I'm keeping them on my computer (MUST backup soon). 

I've got my Skyline meeting tomorrow. It's a good group, but has grown so large, it's difficult to get a piece critiqued in a timely manner. I've got my query letter ready and would most appreciate being able to have the latest chapter critiqued and done with. But that won't happen this month. 

I was fortunate to be introduced to a book buyer in a darling store in SLC. She took my ms and we'll see what she thinks. I'm still having trouble deciding if it should be lumped as an adult genre, or as a crossover, or as a YA. 

So many kids that I know have a great vocabulary and seem able to accept and enjoy a complicated story. We'll see what happens. 

As for now, I'll enjoy tomorrow's meeting and then come home and do a full-force push on the next chapter for my new book. Sunday I plan on spending time editing my heart's work.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Day Two - I think I live at the zoo

Life can seem so complicated.

It is, until my four-year old gd starts chatting. We watched FotR (part two) tonight. She is firmly convinced that if we do the 'Blue Skiddoo, you can too' in the part where Boromir is tempted by the ring, we can save him.

That life could be that simple.

Perhaps it is. Perhaps I look too deeply. Considering all the ramifications of trying to make the 'perfect' book, I discover I have lost sight of the joy of writing.

I started a new book, to help me through the self-doubt that comes with crossing out scads of material, trying to accept my editor's red-marked changes (too much red), and retain some semblance of sanity. Writing always does that. I think that's what I like best about it. Never a dull moment, never sure of what's going to happen next, falling in love with my characters.

Writing gives me stability in an ever-changing world. Gives me joy when world news leaves me shell-shocked. Gives me faith that there will be a tomorrow.

Life can be wondrous.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

SCBWI - Utah

Went to hear a SCBWI speaker at the SLC Main Library. Jennifer Nielsen. She has one book published and has a contract for another.

Character development. I thought I pretty much got into the head of my characters, but the 'tools' Jen gave us to delve even deeper, opened my eyes to what great things my characters are capable. Of particular interest was a YA/Child Character Chart (  
Great resource. I plan to share it with my writing BFs.

I haven't written since I've been back from my little vacation, but I've been thinking a lot. You know, when my WBFs say that, I just about cringe. And here I am doing the same. It can be such a good excuse for not writing. Yeah! I'm thinking. Well, thinking is like wishing. Ya gotta do something or nothing will happen.

I'm going to put my writing time on my cell phone's calendar and have the bloody thing beep at me. Then, I will sit and write. This past year has been challenging for I'm in the midst of editing my first book. The editing process is pure torture. If I'd known..... No, I'd still write, but better at the beginning and throughout - instead of at the end when corrections can cause tsunamis throughout - devastating plot, characters, themes, arcs, and even places and times,

Well, my little tsunami is calling - she's done with her blocks and wants to play puppets.

Day One seems so trite... but here it is

My eleven year old granddaughter helped me set up this site. Bless her. She has her own, reads tons, and writes a lot. I will use her as my mentor. I don't think age matters when it comes to mentors, or wisdom, or character. Sometimes it can be a hindrance.

Right now, the little one (4-yrs old) is playing blocks at the local library. It's time I started playing blocks with this blog. I think I can build something that will help me grow.