Sunday, February 27, 2011

Killed Another One!

I've done it again. I didn't mean to, but it's happened again. I must be cursed.

I find these wonderful little restaurants and spend a few hours on a certain day writing. They aren't busy enough to make me leave my table after my meal, but they also are not 'hurting' for business. At least, I never think so. I eat my meal, have my coffee, write, and leave a generous tip.

But time and time again, the restaurants close.

Today, I am again without a favorite restaurant. This is at least the fourth time this has happened.

Now, I don't suppose I can take all the blame. The recession has done wonders for the family restaurant. Sadly. People can't afford to eat out as often, so they go to the chains that might have lower prices. Yet, the family restaurant serves a good meal for a decent price and usually welcomes with open arms, their customers.

I sigh as I write this. I've got to find another restaurant soon. I write at home - who doesn't - but taking my story out to a different location gives it an added depth, a refreshing momentary glimpse into something else. I consider my workroom as quiet and good for writing, but after awhile, the trees look at me and refuse to move me. Perhaps it's the snow. I need some green. I get that at restaurants. A different view of life.

Life is good, if interesting.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Nine Inches!!!!

Another storm on Thursday night had me spending another night away from home and my trusty-rusty computer.

Nine inches of snow here in one 12-hour period! I thought that was wild, until my son sent me video from Utah - they had 37 up in the mountains. 37 inches. Can you even believe it?

Planning on spending most of the day writing. I've felt its loss this last week. Though I have been thinking about it. I've got another story I'm writing and I haven't done anything with that for a week or two. I'd like to post the next chapter today or tomorrow. It's a short piece.

But 'Blue' is still in the midst of testing and I've got to get Kaspar cracking!

Life is interesting - have a good one!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


We had a hellacious ice storm here on Sunday night. From about 4am on Monday morning, I sat on my couch or walked from the bedroom to the living room, wondering when the trees around my house were going to fall.

I've got three huge oaks nearby - within spitting distance - and they creaked and groaned all night. Limbs were falling (not big ones, thankfully) and they littered the roof. The wild winds kicked them about and all you could hear was their skittering (like a thousand raccoons).

My border's dogs were nigh beside themselves. She even medicated them, trying to help their anxiety. It was useless. If I could have medicated myself, I would have!!!

Finally, the electricity went out at 5:30am. Never came back till this afternoon (Tuesday) around 3ish.

Thankfully - my daughter and her husband put me up at their house for the night and the border stayed with a friend. We are both gtrateful that the power is back.

Of course, I went to the grocery store on Sunday (it's Murphy's Law) and so I'm going to be pitching some stuff. Hopefully not all of it.

Don't mean to spend time here in the writing area to speak about such things, but, needless to say, I didn't think of the book once. Just prayed the trees didn't fall on the house. The ice is still out there. Tomorrow, it's supposed to start melting before the next freeze comes on Thursday night.

I will be very grateful to have this winter over with - I think. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Exploding Scenes

The speaker yesterday said that we should read our writing at least 100 times or more. I was glad to hear that. I write ... hm... I suppose oddly.  I write a chapter or so, then I read it and edit almost right away. The next day or so, I read it again and do some more editing. Then I leave it go again.... Everytime I write anything on it, I read the whole thing and then concentrate on the current chapter. Must read chapter one a hundred times or more! LOL

As for scenes - she suggested we 'explode' them... look at them and make sure we answer all the questions our readers might have.

I tend to implode. I'm trying to get out of that habit. I went back to a scene I wrote the other day. I'd been thinking about it in my sleep. I thought I'd add at least a hundred words or so to it. But when push came to shove, I only added about fifty. I just couldn't quite bring myself to add more. The scene seemed perfect. We'll see what my editor thinks. She was at the conference, too.

Also - there' s that bit about making sure a scene is succinct. You know - cutting out things that don't 'further' the story or our understanding of the characters.

There's seems to be contradictions here. I'm sure I'll figure them out and learn. The process is never easy, is it?

Life is interesting.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Great Day In The Morning

Judith Irvin-Kuns was the speaker for the SCBWI event today. She spoke for about three hours and I honestly sat there, mesmerized. Great speaker.

I wonder how folks who have been to conferences before viewed her. For me, she's been one of the best I've heard. But she spoke to my heart. Spoke of Courage and Trust. Determination and Patience. Along with Persistance.

Remember that Carly Simon song, You're So Vain... I honestly felt she was talking right to me. I mean that humbly. She echoed so many of the thoughts I've had about fear issues, trust issues, and being persistant. I loved it. Gave me new hope - that I wasn't alone in this struggle that is writing.

She's going to be at another event in Ohio in March. The program seems to be the same as today's, but only an hour. Very glad I got to this one!

Life is good!

PS - It was odd. First time I've heard an MC ask us NOT to share parts of the speaker's talk on blogs and such. Must be a similar problem to pirating books.

Writr's workshop

I know, I know. I've gone to them before and been disappointed - but.....

It doesn't matter. I've told myself to glean what I can from them and have no expectations. That should help.

Also - have I told you lately, I LOVE MY BLOG....

It keeps me writing - if I have to tell someone my progress - it seems to help. I don't know if I would have finished Chapters 10, 11, and 12 so quickly without it. I know I would have finished them - but it's been a pretty record-setting pace I've been setting as of late.

Well - off to the workshop - I'll report back later!

Friday, February 18, 2011


I am continually amazed - and once in awhile terrified - when the Muse steps in and solves puzzles that I didn't even know I'd created.

Case in point. My hero/heroine must take a swimming test. He/she doesn't swim; has never been near open water, nor much more than a gentle creek near his/her home. I was wondering what I was going to do - just have her/him tell the judges she/he couldn't swim and go from there? But no - this kid steps in and teaches her/him. Just like that. I never saw it coming. It worked perfectly and will be another building block towards a wild friendship.

There have been two other instances in this current chapter that have just bowled me over. I love writing. I love finding out what's going to happen. I love life.

PS - Chapter Twelve is done!
Have I said it before? Life is good.


Honestly, I am so *^%*^% naive I could spit sometimes.

However I would think I could be my own best friend with regards to publishing - I don't know.

I used to think I wanted an agent because I hoped to spend that marketing time writing instead.

Now - I know it's because I would probably sell my books for a quarter.

Enough self-flogging. I'll be better tomorrow!

Because - life is incredible!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Reading through the critiques from my writers' group. Critiques are hard to accept sometimes. Sometimes? Hah! Many times.

When I write, I know what's going on - I can see it in my mind's eye. Everything. I try to convey all that in the writing. Most of the times, it works. Sometimes, it doesn't.

Since my stuff has a lot of medieval 'stuff' in it, I've got to do quite a bit of research. I try, since this is going to be young YA book, to keep the references pretty easy. But I also don't want to 'dumb down' the stuff. If a kid picks up a medieveal-type book, they've got an idea already of the concepts of archery, swordplay, and such. A wee bit of knowledge of dragons is part of a kid's life, IMHO. Of course, every writer / reader has a different idea of what a dragon is like. (reminds me of the vampires in the Twilight saga).

It's the 'That character is too harsh." or, "I wouldn't have written it like that."

Those are the things that I have to tell myself: That's their opinion, their tastes. Take it, chew on it, and use it or spit it out. Most times *giggle* I spit it out. I know what the characters are like. They talk to me. But I'd be a fool to not at least listen. What's the sense of being critiqued if you don't listen?

Of course, you've got to make sure you're in a group who really wants you to succeed.

Life is - of course - incredible.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


I am so grateful for my inner circle who support me unequivocally. I wonder if I would still be writing if not for the pats on the back and the you write really well comments. I might still write - but I have a sneaky suspicion I'd be hiding in a cave doing it.

I also have to profusely thank those who read my stuff in the beginning - when I knew I wasn't good. But they didn't care - they said it had potential - to keep writing. And I did and I've won awards for some of my stories. Not in the mainstream publishing area, but in little Soho-type venues. I can't thank those 'beginner' friends enough!

We can be such fools at times. We can hurt each other so easily. I've ever been naive. I wonder how many people get off by being nasty, hurtful, and mean.

I found out a friend had stopped going to a writers group because she felt she was being laughed at by some of the newer members. Now, this woman has got such a sharp wit and such an easy going style - that I sit and listen and laugh and think wow. And then she always twists her endings. I love it. She inspires me. I haven't told her that. I will tonight.

Pat a writer on the back this week. Pat yourself on the back. Life is incredible.

Genuine Care And Affection

I started writing 'Nothing But Blue Skies' because someone thought a character in my first book needed to be a girl. Hmm, I thought, that might work. So I started 'Blue' with a heroine.

'Blue' was going to be a little thing. Just a story to transition from my first heavy book to the next.

Instead, I began to have genuine care and affection for this fourteen year old.  She gave up everything to become what she needed to be to save her world. I like her more everyday. I hope that I can be worthy of her tale.

Life is very good.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Little Bear and Bernard Cornwell

I know - they seem to be as far from each other as east is from west... but let me explain.

I've got the cutest, bestest grand daughter in the world. Right at nap time, I've got to ratchet her down a few levels and Little Bear works beautifully - for her and for me.

I've written about the little things in writing. Well, the scene with Emily hanging upside down in a tree with her hair falling down - which it should - due to gravity.... That scene would have been ruined if the folks writing/drawing/editing it hadn't remembered that hair falls down when you're upside down.

The same with Bernard Cornwell's battle scenes. Honestly,  the details are so great, that you can see everything. There's no questioning. I just love his battle scenes. Sights, smells, sounds, touch....

Again, it's these little things, the things I call them tiquesmiques, that are so mind-blowing in writing. Love them!  

PS - I know I've spelt tiquesmiques wrong, but I googled and couldn't find it.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Not Your Typical SNL

Had my Skyline Writers' Group yesterday and I got Chapters 5-7 critiqued. It was pretty good.

It's not your typical story and I know some folk were a little 'offput' by the nature of the beast, so to speak. I was raised liberal and the story, though based upon medieval times, carries a message, I hope, for today's young people. About accepting themselves as they are, or stepping out and changing what they think should be changed. Not what their family thinks or their peers. But delving deep and figuring out if a change is necessary, and if it is, having the courage to do something about it.

Change is difficult for a lot of people. We'll see what happens when the book is complete.

Friday, February 11, 2011

When To End A Chapter

Good grief, I know this seems basic. I've got a great Chapter Twelve -- but the darn thing is only about 600 words. Now, I know some folk like to vary the length of their chapters, but I like to keep mine kind of neat and consistent.

So the quandary becomes - do I add filler - If done well, another side scene can add a lot to a chapter. But the testing has gone on since Chapter Nine and I've got the whole rest of the afternoon to write about yet. I don't want to drag out the testing too long. Though I don't find it boring, I think some might.

Well - I think I'll not stop where it's dramatically wonderful to stop - but continue on until I've gotten closer to the 1200 to 1300 word chapter that I'm comfortable with. I'm sure my Muse will find another 'dramatic' moment for the ending of the chapter.

Life is interesting, isn't it!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Day's Rest

There are definite days when I just don't trust myself and what I've written. Sometimes, even after the third or fourth reading, I think... Why did I write that? Where was I going with it? What on earth will save the chapter now?

And yet, given a day away from it, the writing seems profound. ROTFL

Chapter Eleven is complete, edited, and ready for the editor. If you're wondering how -- the chapters are short, usually only about 1,300 words. I will confess, I really like long chapters. But this story has insisted the chapters be smallish, for me, and so, as ever, I am obedient to the Muse.

I had to fight writing too much of the mechanics. It's a sort of tournament and it feels so easy to just slip into long descriptions of the events -- It won't work that way. More important is the fact that our hero/heroine misses his dragon.

Life is good!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Who Is That Anyhow?

Honestly, I really get chills sometimes, when the characters do things I'm not expecting. Or things work out beautifully, when I've been sure the entire thing is a waste.

As I'd said before, Sunday's writing was incredibly difficult. I reread it today, doing the usual editing, and was stunned with a twist that I wrote but never noticed. It made Chapter Ten perfect for the rest of the book, giving me more to work with than I had thought possible.

Chapter Ten is now done and ready for the editor and Chapter Eleven is going to be exciting to write. Intrigue unearthed. Whoo hoo!

Life is good. And THIS, my dear friends, is why I write. This high from the Muse. I cannot imagine what being published will feel like. Someone will have to tie me to the ground!

Caught Up In the Little Things

The writing I did today was complex.

The character was in a 'learning' situation. I fought to stay true to the message though and not go off on a tangent - telling about the mechanics of the situation instead of dwelling on the heart of what was being learned.

Specificaly, the hero/heroine is in 'squire school' and the 1st few days of testing. I got caught up in what each test was, how he did, and his interactions with his peers.

I finally had to pull back and say, 'Listen. This is not about what an heraldric banner looks like, what each symbol and charge means, but the stress the character undergoes trying to remember the dozen or so banners of the knights of the realm, and the relief/disappointment at the end of the tests. I'm not writing a 'Tolhoffer Medieval Combat' manual.

I know I'm not the only author that this happens, too. I'm glad I recognized it. I hope I continue to recognize it.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Tough Writing

Today - writing was tiring. I don't know why. I wasn't comfortable, sitting at my computer. So I took my little note pad and went off to one of my fav restaurants. Didn't write there, but did edit some.

Hm - not good enough.

Went to one of the nicer libraries around here, found a great table near a glass-enclosed garden, and wrote for an hour solid. Now - that doesn't seem like a lot, but the writing was hard. My back hurt though the chair was comfortable.

Sometimes, I think the emotionality of writing can affect my physicality - if that makes any sense.

But I've got almost a thousand words in the next chapter done. AND, I know where the next part is going. If I can face all the little things that distract, I should have Chapter Ten done by the week-end. Seriously, I'd love to see it done tomorrow, but that won't happen.

PS - Glad GB won!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The 'Too Much' Workshop - Beware

I think I should have realized, when I saw the program, that there was a lot of stuff the speaker planned on covering. That should have been a clue. I signed up anyhow. It tempted me with its title, 'Be A Pro.' OK, I'm putting myself out there. Keeping up Facebook, my blog, my writing, my contacts, going to classes. So I must be on my way to becoming a pro???

Well, there was too much on the agenda and the program was almost useless. But as I said in a post the other day, if I learn one thing, I'm going to say I've had a 'moment of success.' 

A woman next to me hadn't a clue about blogging. So I gave her some advise. She was delighted. So that was one good thing.

Another - but I don't think it's for me - there are lots of people out there who can't write a resume, a personal statement, a cover letter... If I wanted to make money, I know I could help them. But then, I'd have no time to write. And I can't breathe without writing. Most days!

Friday, February 4, 2011

All right, I'm easily astounded...

I am - it seems learning never stops and tiny little things you've heard or learned long ago take on new meanings.

Now that I'm honing POV skills, I'm learning that other senses need to be addressed. I've always been able to go to the 'heart' of my characters, and been fairly good at scene and character descriptions. However, I rarely remember that smell and hearing can play huge parts. It's fun to see this.

In one scene, I had put the scent of deer and then the scent of water and my editor, in gentle terms, suggested I use the sound of water instead. One little change made the scene better. As I said, such fun.

There are so many things associated with writing that a neophyte like me doesn't know. Or perhaps doesn't understand the significance. I'm so glad I've discovered this. I'd been planning on attending more workshops and conventions, but now I see that it's incredibly important. Even one tiny lesson can make a scene, chapter, book incredible.

Life is good. Enjoy!

PS - I did look at chapters 8 and 9 and they are ready for my editor. Now onto 10.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Neck is sore - but for a good cause

Due to the weather, I had the day off. Spent at least five hours writing. What a blessing!

Spent the first part of the early afternoon writing the little 'fun' piece. It's full of angst and I love the characters - so it's fun. Got a full new chapter done. Around 600 words. The chapters for this one are small. Well, smaller than my normal, but I wanted it that way. Each chapter is one man's POV. The first is for the elder brother and the next is his younger brother's POV.

Writing this one is really helping me to hone my POV skills. Jumping from POV's can be an easy thing to do and really make the reading difficult. Focusing like this, really helps me.

Now - 'Blue' - spent the rest of the day honing the suggestions my editor made. She thought the change the hero/heroine goes through wasn't quite enough. She's almost always right. So I moved some stuff and added more. It was a challenge, but fun nonetheless. Really makes me think.

Then - and I have to laugh - I had Kaspar change into an otter. Well, in the midst of that, I had him thinking like a beaver. Honestly - an otter and a beaver think very differently! That, of course, meant more research. But I got it done and Kaspar holds up his webbed feet instead of his hands. Works much better.

I really have to laugh when these things happen. Murphy's Law. I'm glad I usually catch them. Well, usually it's in the middle of the night and I wake up and hit my palm to my head and giggle.

So - I'm finished with chapters 5-7 and they really feel tight and good. Chapters 8 and 9 are finished but need that final editing before sending it off to my editor. Though magic and Sir Giddly will spring forth, the main story for these next chapters will be our hero/heroine going through the paces of 'squire school.' It feels good so far - and interesting. I already have a sense of the characters that will be drawn to Kaspar, and also know who will be friend and who will be foe. These are important. LOL

So - tomorrow - or perhaps tonight - I'll check out 8 and 9, then forge forward.

Hope everyone is safe and warm during this long-lasting storm!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Dancing In The Street

I know, I know. You're probably getting tired of the ups and downs of my moods. But with writing, good grief, things can change in an instant.

Horrid weather here - so the teacher cancelled our class. However *drum roll* she called to critique the chapters I'd sent her.

She was effusive in her praise. In an excited tone, she said she thought the book could sell now.

Which, of course, means I've really got to finish it! LOL

I've got so many ideas, but trying to put them all together... they're not on notes or cards or anything, but floating around in my head like flotsam and jetsam after a huge flood. *shakes head*

Thankfully, I haven't 'lost' any of the ideas... but with so much floating around, hitting against the inside of my head, I am overwhelmed. Perhaps if I wrote the stuff down, I'd be able to sleep *giggles*

Blessings to all - especially those of us in the midst of the 'storm of the century.'