Saturday, December 29, 2012

# 30 Numbers And Words

I've a dear writer friend who makes vows every now and then in regards to the number of words she will write per day/week/month/year. She tries, but she doesn't make it most times. During those times, she changes the numbers she's going to shoot for. And then has trouble reaching that amount.

I know some folks just finished the world-wide November writing challenge. I tried it once and gave up. Mostly because I was writing drivel. At the time, I could sit and write oodles and make the 40,000 (I think that's the number of words for the month) with ease. I decided the idea was a good one, just not for me. I had to get back to the novel I was writing at the time (which I did finish with over 500,000 words!)

Now about this last year, what with the illness draining all creativity from me on too many days, I couldn't make 40,000 in a month if I'd tried. Just wasn't possible, physically, spiritually, etc. etc. etc etc.

I haven't been posting here for a few days because the new story, 'The Other Side,' hasn't been letting me sleep much. I am up a couple times a night writing, thinking, and researching. Driving me crazy, is what it's doing.

The last two days I've written over two thousand words. Now, two thousand doesn't seem like much in the scope of things -- but -- in the midst of it all, I researched Naval officers rankings, hurricane paths, and names. 

The challenge to sit and write with this page staring back at me, sticking its tongue out at me, laughing at me, has been difficult. As I said when I first started writing this adult book, I have no idea exactly where it's leading. It's one of those stepping out in faith things. I find that frightening.

One thing I'd like to remember about this process of the last few days, though some folk would kill to write over two thousand words in two days, it's not as much as I used to write. However, given the fact that I don't know where 'Other' is going, I'm pretty happy about the results so far. Honestly, I'm still not sure if it's going to be a novel or a novella. The Muse knows but is laughing behind my back. I can feel her.

So what I'm trying to say in way too many words -- I won't worry about the number of words added to the story today. I'll plug along and let the story come to me and write whatever words the Muse gives me. (She doesn't count research, silly Muse!)

Life is wordy.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

# 29 Don't Worry: Be Happy

Listening to the Nutcracker on PBS yesterday. It was one of those educational programs that talked about what was happening during the creation of the piece by Tchaikovsky. Seems the first performance, it was panned by critics. Oh my goodness! I can't even imagine Tchaikovsky being critiqued. Can you??? The critiques were not good. In fact, Tchaikovsky seemed to be used to having his works torn apart. Some of the words used in the critiques were: insipid, ponderous, confusing. Here's a link to an actual performance.

Now that I've got that out there, do you see where I'm heading with this? 

My editor stopped over the other day and we discussed 'Blue.' Nothing detailed. However, my editor bemoaned the fact that she has two books with her publisher that are languishing. She is frustrated. She was also critiqued at a recent SCBW conference and that, according to her, did not go well.

*deep breath*

Once again, I am learning to tell myself that I must be true to me. Don't worry about the book or what people say, but be happy with the creative process. If it's good, like the Nutcracker, it will burst forth and bear much fruit. I believe it is good.

Now onto another related moment -- James Patterson, author of the Alex Cross series among others, submitted his first book, The Thomas Berryman Number, to thirty-one publishers before it was accepted. He's sold over 260 MILLION copies of his books worldwide.

This link is for the downtrodden. It's a hoot. Please go to it to make your day, so to speak. 50 Iconic Writers Who Were Repeatedly Rejected.

Don't get discouraged. William Saroyan had his first short story rejected SEVEN THOUSAND TIMES before it was published and Louisa May Alcott was told to stick to teaching. And Madeline L'Engle, one of my favorite authors, had her classic, A Wrinkle In Time, rejected TWENTY-SIX times! 'Gone With The Wind' -- was rejected THIRTY-EIGHT times!

Honestly, dear friends and fellow writers.... let us make a pact today NOT TO BE DISCOURAGED. I will forge ahead. I will keep putting my manuscripts out there. I will be published. 

Say it after me: I will be published.

Life is awesome. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, God bless!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

All kinds of blessing during this holiday season. I might not know all the names of the holidays celebrated by you, my dear readers, but know I wish you only the best and brightest time, filled with peace and joy.

And a New Year filled with published works!

I got a pen. A real pen with ink and directions :) And Hobbit stuff.

Life is good.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

# 28 Creative Incense

When I was in New Zealand and around a truckload of creative people, my mind kept screaming at me to write, to create, to live. It was an awesome experience. 

A friend of mine often goes to the Museum of Art, plunks herself down in one of the exhibit rooms, and sucks in all the creativity that went into the paintings in the room.

When I go to a service and there is incense, I breathe it in DEEPLY and put some in my pockets and rejoice in the blessings that flow from it.

Well, I don't remember these things. I don't pay attention to what life is telling me. I want to shake myself (is that even possible?)

It dawned upon me tonight, as I was busy preparing to work on Ch. 3 of 'The Other Side,' that listening to music is the same thing. I'm listening to the creative juices of the author of the piece, the band, the singers, the technicians who make the musicians' music come across the net to me, and the radio station that puts it out. 

Creative juices, incense, music, life -- I vow I will remember. When I listen to others' work, when I see others' art, when I share my story or hear anothers' story, I'm sucking in their creative juices. The Muse loves creative juices. They are like blood to her. It flows through her and out into me.

Listening to Pandora, my Randy Newman channel, and finishing Chapter Three of 'Other.' I don't have a clue as to where this is going but the story is so strong in me that I know it must be written. I think I might work on (don't gasp) an outline for this one. A minimal outline, at least.

Once again, the Muse comes through. I now know where my character is. And that's a very good thing. Chapter Three's been hard to write. I've spent the night listening to music, writing, watching some tv, writing, playing solitaire, and writing. At least I'm tenacious. And that led to the chapter being finally finished. A good feeling. 

Tomorrow's going to be full of Christmas dinner-y stuffy. Kids coming over. Another really good feeling. I'm ready. The house is ready. The food is ready for the next step. 

Life is creativity squared.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Battling Bugs

I've been assailed by bugs for the last couple weeks. First it was a nose bug. I think it was the real flu. Achy and such and nose running and coughing. :(

Then I got a GI bug. Shees! I'm tired of this. The whole family got it. Not nice to share bugs.

Today - the end of the world is happening. Well, it sounds like it. The Mayans were off a day. The wind is phenomenal. I swear my front window is going to shatter. It's being buffeted at a horrid rate.

I'm in the midst of planning for Sunday dinner at my house. I wanted to have an awesome lamb or venison meal. Reality hit. I don't have the strength YET for this, but I will - next year - you wait and see!!!

This time, I made a meal plan. I've never done that before. It really is an awesome concept. Cheezy creamy broccoli soup. Ham. Mashed Potatoes. Apple glazed carrots. My daughter's bringing dessert. Oh. And Barefoot makes an awesome new wine. Bubbly. It's called Refresh. I love the crisp white. We'll have mimosas maybe. I know they're for breakfast, but what the heck.

Christmas morning will be brunch here. I've got a neat breakfast casserole that I'll be making. Along with cinnamon rolls. And more mimosas.

I've spent a little time writing, but not as much as I'd wanted to. I'm working on 'The Other Side.' I'm going to present chapters one and three (also a bit of chapter two) to the Skyline group in January. I'm happy with it. Chapter Two is controversial. I'll only present the 'safe' stuff and ask the group if they are ok with reading something outside their comfort zone.

I wasn't sure where this story was going, but tonight, I sat down and forced myself to write. Well, that always works. The thoughts come and surprise me. I do so love that. Great Christmas present.

Well, I'm off to bed. The winds seem to have slowed so I might be able to sleep.

Life is buggy. :-)

Monday, December 17, 2012

#27 Briars of Fear

I had a comment from another author, Joseph Saccany, about finishing my book. He was impressed, bless him, and bemoaned the fact that he was yet to complete his own book. I gave him what encouragement I could. BUT - he used this awesome phrase that blew me away. It described, for me, the mindset that has afflicted me during these past two years of trying to finish my novel.

"... wallowing in the briars of laziness, fear, doubt, and perfectionism..."

I don't think I've quite ever heard such an appropriate phrase describing the life of a writer. YET ---

I picture Brer Rabbit in the briar patch. He was happy. He'd tricked Brer Bear. He said he'd been born and raised in a briar patch.

So what looked like a horrible ending to the poor rabbit turned out to be a blessing.

Hmmm - so my briars might be a blessing. Perhaps they help me step back (gingerly *g*) and look at what's happening in my story; perhaps they make me move with more care as I write; perhaps they hide the outside world so I can spend time in 'my' world, creating.

Whatever - briars might not be a bad thing. Especially if I have a pair of clippers! LOL

Life is thorny.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

# 26 Passion (probably should be #1)

Quick note about Friday's events and then I'll go on.

I've found it difficult not to cry at every little thing. Yesterday's massacre in Connecticut affected me terribly. I was with my daughter this afternoon and discovered I was not the only one. We sat with my six-year old granddaughter between us and watched Christmas specials. Old cartoon ones. Frosty the Snowman and such. We both wept at all the heart-wrenching places. I still weep as I sit here typing. Truth be told, no child should die. To die this way -- I push down the thoughts of how they died and pray St. Nicholas was by their side, giving them comfort. May the One who made us all forgive us and bring us to understand -- we are all one, connected. Each tragedy that befalls one, befalls all. 

Thankfully, I've been writing other stuff in the lulls connected with 'Blue,' yet the passion that I began 'Blue' with dwindled, now and again. It's the passion, folks, that drives me. To lose it, is to lose what makes me a writer. I claw at it, trying to retrieve it, and when I do -- there is such joy!

Before the massacre, I found two tv programs that had some awesome, passion-filled, relevant stuff on them. The links are below. 

I found, at my little writers' group, that I wasn't the only one who was impressed by the CBS Sunday Morning News program. There was a wild tale about self-publishing. Really good. Now, I'm not saying that self-publishing always works, but this story was inspiring. Authors like Stepahnie Bond says she gets royalties of 70%. She made 1/2 million dollars in the last year. "the idea of being a novelist is really romantic, but it's kind of the same as being President of the United States - it's not gonna happen." he (Richard Paul Evans) said. BUT -- his book, 'The Christmas Box,' was self-published and then, after awesome sales, picked up by a publisher for $4 million!

There was also an interview with Bruno Mars (I love his Just The Way You Are). This man was signed AND DUMPED by a big record label. He was tempted to give it all up and go home, but he didn't. He kept his passion and went on to huge successes. "All those hard times, it feels like it goes to show that if you put in the work and you don't stop believing, then it can happen." her-wanted-to-do/

Rock Center, Thursday night on NBC, was inspirational, too. I had never heard of the author, Mary Pope Osborne, and was blown away by the response to her stories. Now, I've got my fingers crossed that 'Blue' will touch children in the same way. She decided not to go the route of tv shows, or movies, or product development. She gives away a lot of her profits to disadvantaged children. She is awesome. I want to meet her.

There was another interview on Rock Center that touched me deeply. It was with the creator of Chobani. Now, I love this yogurt. There's six of them in my frig at the moment. Sadly, I can't remember who suggested I try it, because I'd love to say thank you. When the day is ragged and rushed, I pick one up and know I'm eating ok for my body. BUT -- the great thing about the interview was the tenacity, courage, and PASSION of Hamdi Ulukaya, founder. His friends all thought he'd lost it; sure he was going to lose his shirt with the endeavor. And now - well, I'm sure everyone has heard of his lovely Greek yogurt. The thing that made me most impressed was that he gives, and always has, 10% of his profits to charity. He quoted a Persian poet (Rumi): 'With passion pray. With passion work. With passion make love. With passion eat and drink and dance and play. Why look like a dead fish in this ocean of God?' I love it. I'm posting it on my bathroom mirror.

I hope these stories give you a sense of the beauty of mankind and the gift of hope that we can give each other, not only during this season, but throughout our lives. Oh! And to pass it on.

Life is a blessing.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


There is a fluidity to doing things. I have discovered this truth. Once you break the fluidity, once you change the  flow, say of a river, it changes everything. The river takes off on a different route, the landscape below it changes. Even the landscape above changes.

The fluidity of my life has been broken this past year and a half by a serious illness. Trying to find a doctor who can help has been a monumental task. On top of that, what with the recession (read depression), finances have been a challenge.

I will tell you this -- I have been more than blessed, too. 

Come 2013 -- I have resolutions to make and to keep. Some I've already started to plan for, some have already been scrapped due to differing circumstances. That doesn't matter. I'll work on the other pieces/parts to the puzzle that will be my life going forward.

I have some huge projects that I intend to concentrate on. My fluidity has been compromised for too long, though, I think you can attest to this, I have still forged onward. I can't forget that I have some tremendous accomplishments from this last year.

So here goes... you, my dear reader, are stuck with having to read this or quickly (run, she's planning) click on another blog.

1) Hug my granddaughter even more. Rejoice in who she is. Try to find someway to connect with the two granddaughters in Utah. Distances today shouldn't make this much of a difference. Invite children over for dinner more often. (Whoa! That means I'll have to cook more.) Love my friends, accept them (and myself) as we are, gift them with the laughter I've been given, and love myself fiercely.

2) Send giraffes out to the guy in NZ. This is a true opportunity and I must be an idiot not to have done it already. *shudders*

3) Find five agents and send out 'Blue.'  (Make changes as soon as my editor gets it back to me so that I'll be ready to send..)

4) Go to fitness center and find a personal trainer to help me get over the initial pain of trying to get my body back into shape. (this year and a half of resting, as prescribed by the docs, has taken every ounce of strength from me.)

5) Find more students, to supplement my income, but also to fire up the creative juices. I find nothing more stimulating than helping others.

6) Edit the biography for the man in NZ. 

7) Have fun and find joy in this life.

Life is joy-filled.

PS - check Progress bar for 'The Other Side.' Whoo hoo! Another chapter finished and another begun. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

# 25 Beautiful Dreamer

Subtitled:  Don't Get Discouraged.

Went to my Skyline writers group today. Eleven of us. That's a good number. We critiqued four manuscripts. Two were from brand new members to the group. They'd done their mandatory critique for a couple months before they could offer their own. Both had strong stories. Both had stories I'd want to continue reading. But they were new to writing. 

Now - let me tell you that this critique group is a really good one. Solid critiquing with positivity. But we've been together for a long time now. When I first joined the group, one of the members had just sold her first book and she no longer comes to the meetings. Author duties are difficult.

The group has grown in skill. Two current members have been published this last year. One of these is going to have her sequel party on March 16th. Another member is in negotiations with a publisher. As you have noted from my squeals, my book is with the editor and I have high hopes that it will be published within the next year or two.

As I said, we've been together for a long time and this kind of dogged determination and learning from each other has made each one of us a better author.

Along come these two, with their first attempts ever, and I could sense, even though the critiques were lovingly given, that the writers hopes were not as strong, once the critique was done. 

I counsel you - it takes time to become a good writer. I don't think their are many out there who are instant successes. It takes a lot of reading and writing and experimenting to finally be able to come up with a manuscript that is truly publishable. 

I know - been there. I thought my first book was the best ever. I still do, but I now know its weaknesses. I plan on going back to it, one day soon, and rewrite it, cause I love the story and the characters. 

Dreaming is incredibly good for me. I'm dreaming this book will be published. More importantly, I'm sure it will be published. But it's the culmination of a lot of work and a lot of help learning.

Life is a school. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Done! Fini! Sent! Whoo hoo!

Well, I couldn't stop. I couldn't sleep. I finally got up at 4am and started editing the last twelvish chapters. 

And I'm done and fairly satisfied with it. Not 100% satisfied, but I have this feeling most authors think they can do more, add more, terrify more. 

I sent it off to my editor. Now I wait with bated breath. She's edited each chapter as I've written them, but, of course, I made changes and additions and subtractions. Now, she'll get to read the whole thing at one fell swoop (she didn't have the last couple chapters so I'm excited to find out what she thinks of the ending.)

Being as this is Book One, it didn't end completely. But I think enough to satisfy a publisher. I hope enough to satisfy a publisher. 

While I'm waiting for the editing feed-back, I'm going to start looking for agents. Wish me luck! And -- if you have any suggestions or names, I'm not too proud to ask. We are all in this together.

Speaking of which, I am part of the SCBWI group at LinkedIn and one of the folk there said her editor had told her something pretty neat about editing. She said, if you are only changing words and not the story, you are done. Send it out.

Life is awesome. Friends are important.

PS - It's my mom's birthday. What a great day to end one chapter of my writing life and begin another. Mom, give yourself a hug from me and tell God thank you!

Thursday, December 6, 2012


Sorry. I don't know how consistent I'm going to be with posting for the next couple weeks. I've vowed to have 'Blue' edited and out the door by Christmas, at the latest.

CCR (Creedence Clearwater Revival) and the Stones are still just about the best music to edit by. The passion and raw power are great for pushing through fear and doubt. 

I had another little mess to figure out (a euphemism for research). The moon phases. Shees! Whod' have thunk it? I have the moon in one phase at a particular part of the story and it is imperative that it be in another phase the next time we see it. I'd thought it would be fourteen days between phases, but I was wrong. Thankfully, I was watching the weather and they mentioned the exact time frame and I knew I had been wrong with mine. So I had to find a moon phase calendar and find out what phases the moon would be in within fourteen days during a particular season. Cause the moon phases change between months even. Got it! Now I can go on.

Honestly - I might sound insane - but I love making sure I'm right. Dead right. 

Life is honest.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

# 24 Be True To Yourself

While in New Zealand, I was invited to a workshop of a local artist. I stood in amaze as I looked at the things he and his crew have created. The attention to detail astounded me. Mushrooms with little lines under them the way real mushrooms look. Horses with tails that look like real tales, not plasticine. Incredible works of art.

I went to an artisans market in the same area the next couple of days and watched sword makers, and dress makers, and all sorts of artists at work. Again, loving details embellished most works. The imagination of these people wiped me out.

I was invited to two artists' gallery openings. Again, the shear imagination of the people involved took my breath away. I went to bed the first night thinking of the dragon in 'Blue' and realizing I have to go out and buy some plasticine and make him for myself. So I really know him.

The urge to change my way of writing, to make it more graphic, more descriptive, rolled through me. I took out 'Blue' and started reading it again and thinking about adding this, that and the other thing. I stopped.

"Wait a minute," I said to myself. "this is not me. For me as a reader, I skip over long descriptive phrases. I want to see the action. I want to know what happens next. I don't want to see the dog pissing on the side of the road."

Some folks want it all. I don't. I know there must be others like me out there. I've sometimes gone back and re-read a book cause I had to finish it fast and then wanted to savor it, once I knew how it ended. (I'm not the kind who goes and reads the last page first. *shudders*)

So - Be True To Myself. Write it the way I'd want to read it. The way I like to read a story. I'm happy I've done that with 'Blue.' Granted, I've got some stuff I've got to add. Like there are two kinds of dragons in the story and I want to show that each type has its own way of flying and sound and smell. That excites me. 

At the moment, I'm typing up the new story, tentatively titled, "The Other Side." I really like it. I also am doing it in first person present tense, which I have NEVER ever tried before. But it's a dark and nasty little tale of loss and this makes it more real, more alive, more tense. I think.

Life is always thoughtful.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Time Change

I'm awfully glad that I don't have time changes in my made-up world. They are a true nuisance. 

Good grief - now I'm thinking about it, I probably should have some - the blasted world is large and there would have to be different time zones. Drat! Another thing to add to the tale.

Time changes. I know we haven't had one in December, but coming from New Zealand is just as interesting. Along with jet lag. It is early summer there. And it was cold. Colder than when I got back home. Go figure!

Last night I woke up at 4am, wide awake. I watched things I'd taped while I was in NZ. This morning, I woke at 3:30am. Just shoot me now! *g*

I was going to start doing the corrections I made in NZ, but decided to work on my synopsis. A synopsis is supposed to be a listing of what happens in the order in which they happen. Sounds simple? NOT!

As always, I trust They suggest writing two: one long and one short. 

Here's another.

Best bet is to spend a good deal of research on this. Writing a synopsis is not fun. And everyone seems to have different ideas as to what the format should be. When I'm ready, I'll go to agents' websites and see what each one wants. Then I'll go with that.

Right at the moment, my synopsis is single-spaced and five pages long. I want to pare that down, but I'll worry about that once I've got the whole thing written. It's pretty 'rough' at the moment. *g*

Well - I'm off to bed. It's 5am. Maybe I'll be able to sleep.

Life is time-consuming.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


Had a relapse in health and had to leave New Zealand early. On top of that, caught really nasty cold. Trip back was incredibly hard but I met some new friends at LAX and spent a good part of the NINE hour layover laughing and sleeping.

I can't wait to make the changes that I did to 'Blue' while in NZ. And then send the entire book along to my editor. Hoping to get that done once I can breathe again!

And to continue with the new story.

Life is interesting. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

New Book

I started editing 'Blue' but the place we're staying at is not very comfortable for writing. I hope to find a suitable quiet space at our next destination.

In the meantime, I started a new book. Had a weird dream the other night, very detailed, and knew it was the next project. Don't have a name yet, but it's dark. It'll be an adult fantasy with some wild creatures in it.

I went to an exhibition by a sculptor on Saturday night. His creativity put me to shame. I have to go back to 'Blue' and give a bit more to the creatures who inhabit Kathleen's world. It's exciting.

This community in Wellington, NZ is utterly art-driven. Whether it's creatures or sculptures, or monuments or textile weaving or a countless thousand other things, it's just pure creativity. I feel like I've new blood running through me.

Hope to find another Internet cafe when I move on. We happen to be at the airport right now and I was so looking forward to a nice quiet place to chat with you... Maybe next time.

Life is quixotic.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Dreams - Be Prepared

Dearest readers, life can be so unexpectedly bizarre.

I am here in New Zealand, expecting to have fun with my Hobbit-minded friends, when, out of the blue, I am told of a person I must see to present my children's picture book to when we arrive in Wellington tomorrow. I am exceedingly excited. I hadn't expected to be doing any networking here.

Another oddity for this trip. Our host is in the midst of writing an autobiography. He asked me to read it, and I did. It was quite good. He's got to spend some time editing it, or getting an editor, but the story itself was riveting. One man's realisation that he must leave his birth home to flourish. When he took the step, with his beloved wife, his entire life changed for the good. He reached for stars and touched them. Very inspiring story.

In the midst of his sharing of what's he's written so far, he told me that his wife, when she was dying, decided to write her own story. He commissioned me to edit it for him. Paid. I was humbled and am honoured. He gave me the story on a 'stick.' I'll take it home and edit via email. The internet is such a boon.

Another gift from the internet. I have a part-time marketing job that provides my condo payment. I'm able to get onto the website, here in NZ, and do my work. Awesome!

One of my traveling companions is a science fiction writer. She asked if she could read a chapter of 'Blue.' I was excited. Even shook a little at the thought, for I respect her writing. She loved it! I wanted to do cartwheels. I'm hoping to send this book to the NZ guy noted above when I'm finished editing. Perhaps he'll be a network for 'Blue' also. Though I think the company he is with is more 'young' readers. We'll see.

So - I am reminding myself that I must dream and be prepared for stars to reach for. 

Life is awesome.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Alive and Well

Haven't touched the book since I got here - oh - I must go soon. They are breaking out another bottle of wine here.

Plan on writing tomorrow - but New Zealand is heaven. Glorious people - glorious country.

Showing my book to someone this week-end past.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

# 23 Twists And Turns

I was watching one of my favorite shows the other night on the Science Channel. It was a series called Firefly. The twist that the show had was that the prevailing language for the 'verse was Chinese. And most times, when the crew of the spaceship swore, it was in Chinese. The computer's voice in this series gave instructions in both English and Chinese. I loved that twist. The whole series is a tongue-in-cheek, cowboys-in-space thing, but it's fun. 

When I had 'Blue' critiqued by someone, they said it had the elements of a Cinderella story. I personally did not see this. The important thing, though, was that the critiquer thought it neat that the 'wicked witch' turned out to be an acerbic ally. He very much liked the twist.

I was explaining some of book two of 'Blue' to my editor. There was what she considered a twist in it, too. I didn't see it, but again, I was delighted that the Muse was keeping me 'honest' and twisting me around. 

Now that I'm in the midst of what I hope is my final edit, I will look for twists. If I don't find enough, I'll have to make some up. *g*

The latest edition of the SCBWI newsletter is awesome. There's a couple great articles. If you are anywhere near being a childrens' book writer (or YA or MG), join this group. The magazine is worth the fee.

On another note, my little one was telling me that I have to write so kids can understand. A friend had visited and shared her story with her. My little one didn't understand my friend's story at all. So she told me I've got to make what I write clear enough that its age appropriate and understandable. She said kids her age might not understand. Five and six year-old's or three and four year-old's might not understand. She said this was important. I do not doubt, though she says she is an artist first, that she will be writing her own books soon. She's already telling stories. I love her creativity and enthusiasm. 

FYI - I haven't been able to blog lately because I'm preparing for an adventure. I'm going to be gone for about a month, traveling. I hope to find a computer now and again. If I do, I'll post. If I don't, I'm not going to worry about it. Adventures are worth a lot. I'm off to New Zealand for the premiere of The Hobbit. Going with friends and meeting internet friends that I've corresponded with these past ten + years. 

Life is an adventure.

"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door," he used to say. "You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to." JRR Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring. Chapter Three.. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

# 22 Hanging Apostrophes

I'm back to the old Purdue Owl page. I'm beginning to really like this page. It's not a rote answer with no explanation or examples; it's a good page.

Once again, I also went to my old fav, grammargirl. She's a lot more complicated than the Owl, but she's good.

In fact, grammargirl thought the apostrophe was sooooo important, that she cut it into TWO parts.

The reason for this little lesson is that I needed a refresher. I thought I'd been taught wrong all those long years ago. I mean about the apostrophe used for possession, not contractions.

I happen to love contractions. I'm told that very young children's book authors are told not to use contractions. That kids at that age can't understand contractions. Personally, I don't see that, but I'm not going to discuss that now. My little one has been hearing everyone and their brother using contractions since she popped out of the womb. (psst - children's is correct according to some and childrens' is correct according to others. It's an odd bird.) It's those possessive ones that cause all the problems. 

It is those blasted possessives. And the most important note on this little hanging devil is listed on the Owl as a wee little note. When it is, to me, the most abused use of the hanging apostrophe around.

(Note: Its and it's are not the same thing. It's is a contraction for "it is" and its is a possessive pronoun meaning "belonging to it." It's raining out= it is raining out. A simple way to remember this rule is the fact that you don't use an apostrophe for the possessive his or hers, so don't do it with its!)

Those are the facts, my friends. That's all you need to know. Oh -- except for this.... And this is the simple, but correct way to determine whether or not a word needs a hanging chad... sorry, apostrophe.

To see if you need to make a possessive, turn the phrase around and make it an "of the..." phrase. For example:

the boy's hat = the hat of the boy
three days' journey = journey of three days

If the noun after "of" is a building, an object, or a piece of furniture, then no apostrophe is needed!

room of the hotel = hotel room
door of the car = car door
leg of the table = table leg

Both of these sections are from the Purdue Owl's link. See above.
Hope this helps. It did me. I was running amok with 'its.' (psst - the period after its is within the quotation mark. See the blog # 20.)
Life is never-ending.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

# 21 Discouragement

I was going to think about Hanging Apostrophes today, but I was listening to CBS's Sunday Morning News (as I always do) and happened upon this quote.

"I never was discouraged from my goal." Zac Brown, Zac Brown Band.

Yesterday's Skyline meeting took an odd turn. The mother of one of our members (the mom doesn't usually stay for the meetings - she drops her daughter off and goes into the library) brought a concern before us. She was quite worried, to the point of tears, over her daughter's writing discouragement.

I don't think one soul in that room hadn't felt exactly as this young girl had. The comments and support and enthusiasm for the girl's writing was instant and gratifying. She is one of my idols. She writes incredibly well. Sometimes, her phrases just take away my breath. Every story she shares with us is fresh, new, different, not to be sneezed at. I believe in her, unequivocally. 

This link has a great little hint on writing. I like it.

This next link is an interview of a writer of over fifty books. I especially liked the little snippet about rejections.

And this is a great five-point how not to plan from one of my favorite blogs.

I'll write about the Hanging Apostrophes tomorrow.

BTW - Some awesome news, on my front. I finished 'Nothing But Blue Skies' yesterday. *shivers* I sent the last ten chapters off to my editor. I spell checked it today. I printed off these chapters and I plan to go over them this afternoon. Going to find a bench somewhere as the weather has turned magnificent. It is supposed to be 70 (in November in the north) with massive doses of sunshine. Whoo hoo!

Life is incredible.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

# 20 Punctuation In Quotes

I was critiquing an MS for tomorrow's Skyline writers group. The author had some real difficulties with quotation marks. I was intrigued, wondering how someone could mess them up. 

Turns out - being American vs. the rest of the world - we've got different ways of doing things. So for myself - as a refresher - I looked into the bloody things. *g*

I don't have too much trouble with where to put the period or exclamation point or whatever when using quotation marks. But once in awhile, a situation arises and I question myself.

Best place to look is a DOT edu site.The nice thing about this website is - its got a quiz at the end. I do so love quizzes.  

I don't know why, but I love 'grammar girl.' See that tricky little quote mark!

And anything that has 'Purdue' in the title must be a good website. Musn't it?

Oh! Oh! Question marks and exclamation points have different rules! Can you believe it? I'm going to find it difficult to sleep tonight! 

AND semicolons and colons are horses of a different color.

The English language (American style) will drive you to drink. Or at least giggle 'til you're sick!

Life is a giggle.

Psst - finished Chapter Forty-six and Forty-seven. Only one chapter left. I'm going to faint.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

# 19 Sharing

From Leigh's blog who got it from VikLit...

Sharing can be awesome. 

And I am most thankful for my readers... those who have read before, those who are reading now, and those who are to come!

Some people are afraid to share. I can understand that. I have, however, found that sharing, for me, is most constructive. I learn all kinds of wonderful things, and some not so wonderful.

I happened to go to the restaurant where an old writers' group meets. They were all sitting at a table, laughing and chatting. Kindly, they invited me over. We had a ball talking about the 'old' days. I can't attend anymore because the little one gets out an hour after the group begins. I miss them. We all shared what we were up to and some writing tips. 

Spell check was one. I know a lot of people rely on spell check (it won't help much with #18's homonyms). I love spell check, but learned early on that I have to spell check spell check. It doesn't understand things like homonyms or proper names or other languages. Here's a link to the technical aspect. Really easy.

This is a little more complicated, but it really tells it all - TEN really good tips.

Here's one for writers:

I think the most important thing about spell check is not relying upon it. It should be the first step for me when I'm ready, but it is definitely not the last. Once I've spell checked, I go back and re-read my work. Then, I read it out loud. Then, I send it out. To a friend. Or I take it to my writing group. 

I think one of the most frustrating things for a publisher, editor, and/or agent is to get an MS that is unreadable because it wasn't spell checked X10.

And my name is then sullied. I'm pretty sure that anything I send after that disaster will end up being pitched. Without thought. *shudders* A worst fate I cannot imagine.

Life is spelled with an 'f.' *g*

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

# 18 - A Dragon's Tale ? Tail ?

Oh my goodness. I'm about ready to shoot my computer. I've got a new provider and it seems I must pull the plug on the router every other day. This hasn't been working the last few days. I'm about ready to throw router, computer, and provider out the door. But I'm back. For the nonce. *g*

I was proofing part of Ch. 46 last night. I am a good editor, proofreader, whatever. But homonyms drive me nuts. I read out loud, and that might be part of the problem. Here's a link and a thought about these little buggers that like to go bump in the night.

Hope it helps. Though, knowing and discerning these while proofing are like wet rats. Hard to tell what they are from a distance. *g*

Homonyms -- words that sound alike but have different meanings. (heir - air)
Homophones -- type of homonym that sound alike, have different meanings, but have different spellings (bear - bare; tale - tail)
Homographs -- words that are spelled the same but have different meanings (bass as in the fish - bass as in a guitar)
Heteronyms -- type of homograph that are also spelled the same and have different meanings, but sound different. (wound as in wrap something - wound as in injury)

Life is a bore / boar.

PS - two-thirds of the way done with Ch. 46. It's a little difficult being as the Muse threw in a large monkey wrench. I'm flying in the dark, so to speak, and not sure where this is going. But still having fun!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

# 17 Take A Moment

I've learned to never say something is complete. The Muse giggles in the background and I find that very irritating.

I thought I was done with Ch. 45 and started to work on Ch. 46. Yes, it is work. A good work. The best kind of work I've every done. 

I digress, I know it, but I think to myself of all the jobs that I've worked at for my whole long life. I've always wanted something fulfilling. Something I could be proud of. Something that I looked forward to doing. Just now, as I wrote the second paragraph, I realize I have found that work. Ah, life is good.

Well, Ch. 46 just fell into place. As I said, I'm getting near the very end. Yet, I find I am not as distracted or as hell-bent on finishing as I had feared. I'm still taking my time with it. Spending moments reading it. With that in mind, I realized that the stuff I wrote for Ch. 46 belongs more nicely with Ch. 45. Thankfully, Ch. 45 was not of an inordinate length and so it works.

It almost feels like the chapter never wants to end. It knows we are drawing to a close and it wants to finish. Or better still, the Muse wants to finish. What a delightful feeling. After almost two years of writing, I am coming to the end of this chapter of my life. I've got Book Two already begun. And I know what Book Three will be about. 

I plan to focus more, this upcoming year, on 'promoting' the book. I also plan on spending time getting the giraffe tale out there. They are both very good books and deserve to have their day in the sun.

Life is sunshine.

PS - I forgot. The reason why I started to write this post is because the Muse, once again, astounded me. I thought I knew where this chapter was headed, but she completely changed it. Now onto a new path for Ch. 46. *g*

Friday, November 2, 2012

#16 Don't Compare

It goes without saying, I'd think, but I find I do it, now and again. Compare my writing to other authors. Compare my stories to other authors. Characters. Plots. Toenails. Whatever.

It's got to stop. I write as me. Pure and simple. I'll never write as Tolstoy. I don't want to, though I love his stuff. I'll never be able to draw. That's why God made illustrators. I don't want to take away their livelihoods. *g*

But I've discovered, much against my mother and my husband's wisdom, that I have a truly wondrous imagination. I can create characters that are memorable, in their own right. I can keep a battle bloody. Tension exudes from the pages of my books and short stories. I create some awesome cliffhanging chapters.

I will keep these thoughts, these positive vibes, uppermost in my mind. I will be me. I will enjoy me. And my writing. 

There is a place in the universe for what I write. There is an audience out there somewhere, waiting with bated breath for 'Blue.' The wonderfulness of my own creation - not someone else's. 

On that note, I finished Ch. 45. Started Ch. 46. I think there will only be a couple more chapters and then, 'Blue' will be complete. Well, as complete as can be at this moment. I've got a truckload of editing to do, but I'm really excited about it. I know what needs to be added. That's half the battle.

I gave myself 'til November 17th to finish 'Blue.' I think I will make that easily. If another 'Sandy' doesn't happen and I lose power again.

Life is fulfilling.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Spent the day at the hospital, but thankfully, when I returned home, the power was on.

Hope everyone is well and that those harmed by Sandy are on their way to recovery.

Halloween was postponed here. Sad.

Life is ups and downs.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

# 15 Sandy's Lessons

One thing I've learned is that I should use all the things that happen to me on a daily basis as building blocks for my writing.

We're in the midst of the outer rim of Sandy. Way off west of New York. The storm hit us last night with horrid winds and constant rain. The wind knocked out the power to everyone that lives anywhere near me. So last night was spent with candlelight and blankets. It's cold. The water heater is empty and I need a shower.

I'm filing all the inconveniences in the back of my mind. Remembering how it feels to not have enough light to read. Or sitting as close to the candles as I can without catching my hair on fire.

Going to a public place to take a shower. Slightly degrading feeling. But very glad the local rec center has showers.

Watching the wind whip the trees and scatter the leaves about. Seeing the waves crashing. Lake Erie is known for its towering waves. Being as shallow as it is, the waves build quickly into dangerous, life-threatening beings. They closed some lanes of the highway that runs next to it, near our downtown. Before my electricity went out, I was glued to the tv, watching the waves break over the breakwall.

New experiences. I know I'll be able to use them. Very glad that life nor limb has been threatened by this mess.

Life is messy.

Monday, October 29, 2012

# 14 Trust

I found this tremendous book review at Wordswimmer's blog. The author reviewed a medical book and looked at it for tips on how to be a better writer. This is a novel idea, in my mind's eye. I would never have thought to look at a book on medicine for writing tips. Yet, it works. Beautifully.

"...writing, unlike medicine, isn't a life or death struggle (for most of us, anyway). If you misplace a comma, or describe a character differently in two different scenes, no one is physically hurt or injured... Yet, I think something is broken, even if it's simply the reader's trust in the writer to get things rights."

Since the day I picked up pen with the idea that I might write something, I have always had the urge to keep it right. To make sure that whatever I wrote was truthful, or based on truth, and researched. You've heard me say it over and over again. I believe research is of such paramount worth when writing. 

That little phrase above says it all, for me; finally, in one succinct statement. I have had this sixth sense that I have a duty to my readers to get it right. This sentence confirms it for me. 

I'm sure you've probably had some of the same experiences I've had when reading a book. The story is going along at a great clip, I'm enjoying the characters and the plot, and, without warning, the author writes that it takes the ship an hour to cross a sea that I KNOW takes at least twelve hours to cross. 

When this happens, I sometimes close the book. Put it away. Give it to the local library. The author has lost my trust. How can I believe the rest of the book? I'm speaking of a fiction book. If I ever saw something like this in a non-fiction book, I'd be tempted to write a letter of protest to the publisher.

This goes forward, too. I've said it before, but I think it bears reiteration. Trust must be across the board. Trust must grow as soon as I open my word processor, put pen to my yellow legal pad, or even as I lie in bed thinking about how to start the story that is rushing through my brain. In order to build trust, I must...

1. Trust myself.
2. Trust my Muse.
3. Trust my characters, plot, and venue.
4. Trust my editor.
5. Trust my agent. 
6. Trust my publisher.
7. Trust my readers.

That trust must begin from day one. With the story, with the cover letter, with the contract. I can't begin to stress the importance of trust. I build it. I build it daily. I am covered with it. I breathe it.

Life is trust.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Consistency (smiles)

My dear friends,

I know the last # I shared with you was consistency, but I've had a major problem. Too much writing.

*does happy dance around computer*

I've written five chapters in ten days!!! Good grief, I've been so excited, that I finally crashed on Saturday. I could hardly think never mind write. I finally pulled myself from the fog surrounding my brain and updated the timeline/synopsis for 'Blue.' Keeping track of this has been dizzying.

I find this fact interesting, for my very first book ever was a half a million word epic tale with about twenty characters who had major dealings with the main character. The venues were all over the place, and the plot twists kept me awake at night.

Yet, I didn't have as much trouble keeping track of that one, I think, as with 'Blue.' 

These last chapters are all part of the climax and the winding down of the tale, the bringing together of all the myriad pieces/parts that comprise the story, all the while keeping the ending from being a let down - both for me and my readers.

I'm exhausted. I'm praying tomorrow I'll be able to write Ch. 45. I think I only have about five chapters left, but I've got company coming for a Halloween party and I haven't done much in the way of cleaning yet. Though I will use moving living room furniture all over the place on Friday as an excuse for having no energy whatsoever for Saturday.

Life is exhausting.

Q. What kind of mail does a superstar vampire get? 
A. Fang mail.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

#13 Consistency

Consistency - agreement or harmony of all parts of a complex thing among themselves, or of the same thing with itself at different times. Wow! Doesn't this definition say it all for writing?

Today, as often happens, I discovered a small inconsistency in 'Blue.' I think I spend a good deal of my time laughing at myself. If I didn't laugh, I think I'd be hitting myself over the head with a hammer. 

I finished a bunch of chapters, just as I had thought, but when I put them down in the 'Progress' column, I noted that I hadn't finished as many as I had thought. Well - I really had. I just put the numbers of the chapters incorrectly. I had two Ch. 42's and two Ch. 43's as their titles. Needless to say, I've corrected that in the MS and in the Progress column.

And - I am about jumping for joy, for it means I'm further along than I thought. I wrote a little more than half of Ch. 44 today. It looks pretty good, but I'm starting to get a bit shell-shocked at the pace.

I think I'll have to put up a post-it note (yup, I've started doing that) with exactly what chapter I'm on. As well as all the other things. Because this is a magic-induced universe, I find I have to constantly go to my notes pages to find out exactly what color pine trees are. Orange, BTW. So a post-it note is on my right with the colors of the things that are not 'our' colors.' It is saving so much time.

I finished a spreadsheet with the numerology characteristics of my friends in 'Blue.' It's complicated because there are four numbers (and this is only a short look into numerology) for each of the characters. But it has been worth it. 

You might think I would know my characters. And I really do. But this 'naming' has opened up my eyes to deeper characteristics, both positive and negative, and should truly make the characters even more alive. 

Life is joy.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Brief Interlude

Spent the evening with my writing buddy laughing over numerology. She was most impressed that I took a real world concept and used it to flesh out my characters. She read aloud the description for Kathleen (my main character) and commented on the depth the numerologic study gives to her. (see post #12 - Names.)

I'm excited about it, too. Besides the strong points of the character, it also portends of her weaknesses, and that is a very good thing. I'll write about weakness in another post, but a character cannot be St. George the Dragonslayer and be a good read. There must be a weakness, a frailty, for people to relate.

I'm feeling bereft at the moment - I'm not sure when I'll get another chance to write 'Blue.' Chapter 43 has nothing on the page. Shees! I know what the chapters about. Just have to sit down and write it. I have set a goal of ending the book by November 15h. God willing and the creek don't rise. So I've got to crack the whip on this tale and not let anything (fear, writer's block, the real world) keep me from it.

Once again, I can't tell you how wonderful having a writing buddy can be. Though she spent most of last evening telling me how grateful she was that I was teaching her so much about writing, I could only respond with my gratitude for helping me return to the fervor of the faith of my youth. A truly symbiotic relationship.

Life is laughter. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

#12 Names

Figuring out names for characters can be such a drag or a lot of fun, depending upon what tools you use. . I've changed the names twice in 'Blue.' All the names. *g* I've also changed the names of the lands these characters live in. I'm very comfortable with them now. 

I like to use baby name sites to help me pick names for my characters. These sites are usually set up as male/female, origin, meaning, and timeliness. I had to giggle at this site:  They posted a tips page for authors. Somebody's been telling my secrets. Here's the home page:

This site drives me mad because of the loud commercials, but I found I can pause the nasty little suckers. I like the site because it's easy to use. Six drop-down fields at the top and color-coded, too. Since I write fantasy, I like to find names that are unusual and this site helps a lot. 

One of the problems with names is making sure it is appropriate for the time I am writing for. If the book is in the future, I've not got too much of a problem, but if it's set in the past, then I've got to make sure the name is not a 'modern' name. This can be tricky. But the baby name sites can really help.

Another site I found recently helps with character development, once I've decided upon a name, or if I'm brilliant (which I am not), before I decide upon a name. I can use numerology to discover the traits for that name. This is a fun and easy site.

I discovered, when I used this website's tool, that three characters' names in 'Blue,' all had, according to numerology, similar characteristics, destinies, soul urges, and dream numbers. Not exactly what I had wanted. I am not going to change the names again, heaven forbid, but I am going to make the characters who are opposite of these three more dynamic and a bit more substantial. I'm looking forward, once I get into the 'real' editing phase, to focusing on the dynamics more for each character. Should be fun to see Kathleen and Kaspar and Flynn grow even more.

I got this idea when I was watching an episode of Dr. Oz. He had a numerologist on. When I used a tool numerologists use, I found my number pretty much described me. So - needless to say - I used Kathleen's name. That was exciting. Then I used Kaspar's and Flynn's. Great stuff.

Life is name changing. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

# 11 Cut And Paste

Watched CBS Sunday Morning. Insane story about plagiarism. In this day and age, with whistle-blowing software available, I was stunned to see blatant stealing of whole passages, not just sentences, stolen and used in a book which subsequently was published. These fake authors are now scarred for life. Who will believe that anything they write is their's? 

The ONLY thing I should cut and paste is my own writing. Everything else is stealing. These things come back and bite you. Truly. I've seen it over and over again. The one adage in my life is 'Do not lie.' Stealing is a rotten, smelly offshoot of lying. 

Be ethical. The same is true for sending out manuscripts to agents and publishers. I will not fudge my credentials. I will not lie on my cover letter. I will not even hint at anything that is a shaded lie, a half-truth.

On a lighter note, and filled with such joy I can hardly type, I finished Chapter Forty-two. Holy crumbs! So close to being done. And this chapter took a great turn, which I didn't expect, AND used something I had written of in a chapter many chapters before. *contented sigh* Goose bumps on my arms, dear friends!

Life is awesome.

PS - I seem to be getting better, too. Got on some more natural stuff and dropped one of my meds. Hoping to drop another one soon. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

# 10 Balance

I'm going to try to explain this, but I'm feeling inadequate. 

When I searched balance and writing, I discovered the topic mostly goes towards how to balance life so that I can write. I'm going to put only three links here, because I want to keep this a balanced post. *g* If I paste more links, then my balance is out the door. And so is yours, dear reader. So here they are. I'll continue what I am finding for myself below the links.  (I opened this one cause I once wrote a short story about an eagle and its eyre - how could I pass this up?)  (I opened this because a lot of what is on WritersDigest is pretty good)
With National Novel Writing Month coming up, I think a lot of writers are trying to figure out how to balance their lives to accommodate this dedicated event.

Enough of the links and such. Let me begin with something that happened awhile back. I had friends who were totally religious. Good women. Dedicated to their families and their community. When they could. That was and is the crux of the matter. They prayed all the time. I came to realize they were obsessed (and fearful) and so they prayed to get through life. It worked for them.

The same is true with ice cream. I used to eat a lot of it. I became obsessed and fearful that if I didn't eat it, I wouldn't be happy, successful, whatever excuse I needed to keep eating ice cream.

I have since found that I pray when the spirit moves me. I feel the presence of the One or the Higher Power and I respond. Then - I do what the day calls for. I used to feel guilty that I wasn't praying more, or working more, or writing more, or whatever.

I've come to this conclusion. For me. If my spirit calls me to do something, I'll do it. Without regrets. Without becoming totally obsessed by the task. 

I've discovered that balance doesn't mean that 1/4 of my day is spent doing this, and another 1/4 is spent doing that, and another quarter - you get the drift. Balance means whatever is needed for today. If it's 100% writing, then that's the balance that day calls for. If it's playing with the little one, then that's what that moment calls for. 

It is so freeing. To not worry about whether my day is balanced according to the gurus. To be free to listen to my inner self and do what that self needs to do. 

Life is balance.

PS - Ch. 42 (Blue) is almost complete. Will work on it tomorrow, if the spirit so moves. Oh, I do so hope the spirit moves because these last few days have been so invigorating. And yet, I'll listen to that inner spirit, that Higher Power, and be balanced in the way I need to be for the moment, the hour, the day. Not the balance that this world would demand of me. Laden with guilt and exhaustion, but the balance that brings joy.

PSS - I realize after writing this that it corresponds with Ruiz's The Four Agreemeents #4 - Always Do Your Best. Incredible chapter. Sorry - I had to put the link!!!

Friday, October 19, 2012


I'm sorry - there will be no # 10 today. I'm engrossed in 'Blue.' Incredibly (I can hardly believe it myself), I have finished Ch. 41. I've been working on it all morning and the ideas kept coming. I think the Muse must like October. 

I'm going to spend the afternoon baking (school event tomorrow requires dessert - pumpkin brownies).I hate to stop writing, but the little one has to come first.

I am sooo excited. Forgive me. 

God willing and the creek don't rise - I'll finish off Ch. 42 and 43 this week-end. Then onto the very last chapters and I'm done. Good grief. Should I say such a thing? Is that asking for lightening to strike? Hope not.

I'm also looking at signs. I've been getting a lot of blog updates from folks who are talking about the publishing process. Whoo hoo! I'll link them here in the next few weeks.

Life is incredible

Thursday, October 18, 2012

# 9 Imitation

So --- I get this critique of 'Blue.' The person writes that it is a good example of the Cinderella fairy tale. I'm stumped. It's not that at all. But as I read his comments, I realize what he's saying - that it imitates some of the 'pieces' of the fairy tale. 

One of the things I've made a point not to do is read tales that are anything at all like what I'm writing at the moment. This goes against the advise of 'those' experts we're always told about. In looking at things like this, I fear that I will take some part of another's story and use it, subconsciously. I don't want that to happen. What's the fun of writing something if you're mirroring someone else's story? Where is the joy of sub-creation? 

Sometimes I wonder if this fear is because I lack confidence in my own writing. It could be. I've started to read other peoples' works and have discovered that reading their stuff does help me. First, not very humbly, I see my story with renewed joy. I find that my story seems better to me. (I told you - not very humble at the moment). And yet, I wonder if this is a necessary part of being a writer. To be secure in my own writing ability. To see what I wrote as good. To feel confident in my writing style, my characters, and my plot. I like to think so.

Now - to get back to imitation. I discovered that some teachers promote the theory that having children read and then imitate the masters makes them better writers. Gives them a basis, a foundation, to build upon. It sounds like a pretty valid theory to me. Here's some websites of proponents of this teaching method.

To get back to 'Blue' - for all things must return to the reason for researching such things - I was watching a Doctor Who Christmas special tonight. I know, it's October, but that's when the station showed this repeat of the Charles Dickens' 'Christmas Carol.' I suppose if it's good enough for Doctor Who, it should be good enough for me. 

I will accept the critiquer's thoughts that 'Blue' is a remake of Cinderella. But I will accept it with pride, adhering to the adage: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I am now flattered by such an insinuation. However... I'll be VERY careful to keep 'Blue' my own; I'll make sure it doesn't not copy Cinderella (or any other fairy tale for that matter); and I'll be pleased as punch that 'Blue' reminds someone of a great and enduring fairy tale. May 'Blue' turn out to be the same - great and enduring.

Life is pleasant.