Thursday, December 26, 2013


Why is it I always get sick right around the holidays!!!

No, it's been awhile since I've been this sick, but this has been a horrid Christmas. I spent the day in my bed with the dog and cold meds. I did get to see my little one in her Christmas pageant. She was an angel.....

Mind you, they'd been practicing for forever and the big night comes and the pastor says stand and so we all stand and guess what --- you can't see the little darlings! Come on, now!!!

Going to bed now with meds that I hope will knock me out. I need sleep.

The Muse has been ever so quiet. I think she doesn't want to catch whatever this is.

Come *()) * and high water, I will kick her if she's not available come the first of the year.

I found a new doc and I have high hopes - though the illness struck after I'd seen her. Murphy's Law. She was a mistake. I went in to see one doctor (whom I had done extensive research on) and the receptionist gave me the wrong doctor. NOPE - not wrong. She wasn't with me for two minutes when she asked if I'd been diagnosed with _____ and that is exactly what I thought I had. So I'm keeping her. I've got all my fingers and toes crossed.

BTW - I do so hope you had a glorious Christmas and I'm wishing us all the most awesome profound prosperous New Year filled with many adventures.

Life is mistakes.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Writing That Threatens Tears

I spent the last two days reading a book that I've read at least six times. One of those books that haunt you. I shouldn't have, I know better. It's a great read but I end up weeping through many of its passages. It speaks to me. The characters are vivid and their relationships stirring and heart-warming and terrifyingly vulnerable. I haven't cried in quite a number of years. Not since the last reading *giggles* I forgot how eyes swell and burn after a bout of crying. My poor puppy, burdened with my pain, kept licking the tears from my face. Blessed puppy. (that only made the tears flow harder)

I look at 'Blue' - not that I want to make my readers weep - but I want them to feel. I am beset with angst as I try to tell Kathleen's story. I am burdened with it. I don't quite know how to make it work. I find that so very horribly terribly frustrating (did you like all the adverbs *giggles*)

I'm considering options. Do I send it to a service and pay them to critique it? The whole thing instead of these namby-pamby first ten pages that you 'get' to send for a conference. Should I send it to friends who might understand what I'm trying to do and see if they 'get it'? Should I throw it out the window, leave it hidden in my computer files, or burn it? 

If I'm suffering so with the story, with self-confidence in what I've written, does that mean it sucks? I don't know. I'm all about 'I don't know' at the moment. 

I love reading and I've read some glorious stuff over the years and I've read some trash. I know 'Blue' isn't trash, it just doesn't feel right. It doesn't feel like I'm saying what I want to say.

Oh drat it all. This is not the way to go into the Christmas holidays. 

'The Other Side' is coming along really well, but I felt that way about 'Blue' before I started smelting it. Smelting is done with fire and I certainly feel like I've been burned.

Remembering Darcy's thoughts, I am trying to look at editing 'Blue' as playing with 'Blue' and playing with the characters and scenes within 'Blue'. I'll keep at 'her' for she is dear to me. Perhaps there is a light at the end of this particular tunnel. 

Whatever happens, I'm still here and still plugging away and still writing.

Life is still. 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Almost Like Christmas

D came over tonight radiating enthusiasm. She's back to enjoying her writing. She thanked me profusely for last week's encouragement. I exuded enthusiasm, too. I've been writing, too (though lots of time has been spent on research - I still consider that part of writing.)

I had a visit from someone last week. We discussed some things heavy on my heart. She showed me there is a light at the end of every tunnel. That talk left me feeling lightened. That's when I went back to my writing in earnest. I needed to hear that. What this person said to me passed on to D. I talked with this person today and profusely thanked her for the words of encouragement. Hopefully, she'll pass that thanks on to others and her words of encouragement.

D and I talked about our books. I put D through a 'visual' look at a scene in her book so that she could 'see' exactly what the place looked like. She shared how much that process (close your eyes and see the place) helped. Places that she went to during the week opened her eyes to other things that might be in the place she was working on. She was so excited. 

I shared a bit with her about 'The Other Side.' The chapter I was working on was short. I wanted it longer but I didn't want to 'stuff' it just to make it longer. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what to do, when I realized I hadn't shown an event that was happening. It happened in my own mind and I hadn't put it down on paper. Well, the event needed a lot of research. Thank goodness for Google and Youtube. I had a sandstorm in the chapter and I found lots of sandstorms on the net. I learned a lot, but the best part, I learned about how one would sound. It was exciting.

So the both of us sat here in my living room and giggled about how much fun our writing was this week and how we are still inspired to continue.

I told her, when the Muse is creative, it almost feels like Christmas. My goodness, that's an awesome feeling.

Life is Christmas.

PS - Saw a wild stat from the linked blog below. It was a listing by the federal government of the most competitive jobs in the US. Guess what? Writers were # 2 below choreographers. No wonder I'm always exhausted. *giggles*

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

I'm G&T

Yup. Gifted and talented. It's like that other quote about finishing a book. I finished and it's a better feat than sailing solo around the world.

Darcy says I'm G&T and I believe her. The link's at the bottom. This woman is a wealth of information. Got to find out when she's giving another retreat and get to it.

"Anger, frustration, fear, impatience - do you experience some of these emotions when you face a revision that just doesn't seem to be working?"  

That's about it in a nutshell.

I sat down today steeped in a conscious effort to work on my writing. I pulled out 'Blue' and made some changes and corrections. I hadn't planned on spending a lot of time with 'Blue,' just enough to be ready for the next chapter's revisions. 

I pulled out my notes for 'The Other Side.' The phone bill called to me. 'Pay me.' Receipts chanted, 'Enter me.' Addresses chanted, 'File me.'

I didn't write. I paid and entered and filed. Made a few phone calls. Visited with my daughter. My dog, he doesn't like when I'm sitting at the computer, pawed me numerous times to play with him. I did. 

Nevertheless, I did some more research on something for 'Blue'. It took a lot longer than expected. I was looking up a phrase that wouldn't turn into a cliche. Finally found something, but it took way too long to find. The phrase works though and makes the dialogue better in the one part.

I also researched USMC markers. What I found didn't quite match what I wanted, but I think it will work. 

I've got a program taped that I will watch tonight. It's about mermaid myths and those always help my story. 

For now, though, I've got 'Other' pulled up and I'm going to write. If the dog doesn't paw me too badly, or the bills stay away for awhile... or......

Life is interruptions.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Not Alone

I got some nice feedback about Friday's blog. Mostly, I found out - I am not alone in this struggle called writing. It's heartening. I hope you have found this blog heartening at times. 

With the opening of The Hobbit (the 2nd movie), images of Tolkien float through my mind. It took him forever and a day to write The Hobbit. The world was conceived in the early 1900's, if I remember correctly. Can you even imagine writing something for over fifty years? It makes me shudder. And a wee bit ashamed when I whimper and whine about my own struggles. Be that as it may, I'm still reeling from the link yesterday and the loyalty issue.

I started working afresh, and with a new sense of purpose, on both 'The Other Side' and 'Nothing But Blue Skies'. Though they are both very different genres, the worlds are embedded in my mind. I've got maps. Maps are good. I've got character bios. I've got synopses. Good and good.

The research I did for 'Other' worked well. I've fixed the three chapters that were impacted by the packs my characters had to carry. I also released the Kraken *giggle* the aliens. I'll be starting on the next chapter tomorrow.

I found two critiques of 'Blue' that I forgot to go over. I'm reading them now and making changes as appropriate. Coming along nicely.

There is a sense of excitement in my little office-bedroom. I can't tell you how good it feels to 'be back' - to be writing again. Even though it's editing. Loyalty to my characters. That's what's driving me forward. I can't be afraid of the process. I can't be afraid of what's happening to them or the world they live in. I have to help them. That's my goal now. Help them get to the end - with enthusiasm.

In the midst of Christmas shopping and remodeling my kitchen and trying to find a new doctor.

Life is enthusiasm.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Optimistic Editing

I have been reading and re-reading a blog posting for days now. I've wanted to share it with you. Finally, today works. 

I'm putting the link both here at the top and one at the bottom. 
The advice is THAT GOOD.

Darcy has a link to a book about the subject, but in few words, Darcy herself describes an awesome way to look at editing. I feel it has changed my life. Let me share it with you - but PLEASE click on her blog and read the entire posting. Also, maybe friend her and follow her. 

"While revising, my loyalty is to the story, the characters, the language - what does this story need to come alive? How can I tell this now familiar story in the strongest way possible?"

It's a mindset - one that I've been missing. My loyalty, in the past, has been to the thought of publishing. I told you I've stopped that. But now, Darcy gives me a place to put those thoughts. Loyalty. The heck with the rest. That will come, in due time. Right now, Kathleen and Kaspar are waiting to play with me. They like where they're at and the friends they've made. But they want more. And so do I. I think that's been some of the problem with the editing. I feel inadequate. With Kathleen and Kaspar at my side, I can do it. They know who they are and what they want. Their hearts are mine. I'm going to pull up that file now and have a chat with them in the next couple of chapters. Whoo hoo! Thank you, Darcy!

Earlier in her blog, Darcy talks about taking a solid draft and 'messing' with it. I never thought of editing that way. When I finished writing 'Nothing But Blue Skies', I felt good. I knew there were things lacking, but I felt the story itself was good. When I started 'messing' with it, I got cold feet.

I'm ready now. I know I can do it. Look out Kathleen and Kaspar. Here I come!

Life is Hope.

PS - my dearest editor called today asking for the next chapter of 'The Other side'. She's hooked on it and needs to find out what happens next. *Happy sigh* Life is good.

PSS - I wrote a new picture book, 'Puppy Dust'. It's almost done. Only another stanza to go. That was fun!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Don't Stop

I can't believe it's been a full week since the last time I blogged. Forgive me. I forgive myself. :)

Health insurance ate up most of my time. It's that time of year and I had to figure out what I was going to do. The process is so incredibly complicated that it took days of research (and I do know how to research) and a few sessions with my daughter. We finally figured it out and I signed up before the deadline.

I found a handyman. This past week, he's been over a number of times. My closet doors now close without copious swearing. My front closet has a door. There is no longer a gaping hole staring daggers at me whilst I sat on my couch. The wind cannot tear my front screen door off. It is hooked up with numerous nails. The air conditioner has been covered and the gales cannot get through. 

School functions are insane. Festivities are daily and homework is nuts. The little one and I try to watch My Little Pony at least once a day, but the teacher keeps sending home more homework. Teach is probably getting a little scared at the thought of all the 'lost learning' coming up during the holidays.

I'm also trying to figure out some fun stuff for the little one and I to do while she's on vacation. I'll have her most days. That will be fun, but also taxing. She's as smart as a whip and needs to keep active, both mind and body. I found a great site for her, filled with 'educational' games so she won't lose what she's learned. She's going to be an angel in the Christmas pageant. I hope she gets to sing Handel's Hallelujah. It's her favorite.

I've been attending computer classes at the local library. They're each about two hours long and informative, but that takes a lot of energy and I usually have to nap when I get back from the library. I found a new doc that is in my 'network' and I'm going to make an appt to see her asap in the new year. God willing, I'll get some help and some energy and breath back and be able to function in a semi-normal state. Whoo hoo!

I spent days researching for 'Other.' The USMC gear (Marine Corps) takes a bit of finding. There's all sorts of things on wiki and ebay and such, but I needed to make sure I was looking at 'authentic' gear. I found the name of the pack and the supplies that would be in it. This will help much. 

D's coming over tonight. I've got another two chapters of 'Blue' to share with her. She's been doing a lot on her Cornelius book. I hope she's got another chapter close to ready. Exciting times. A buddy from the past wrote today and I'm so hoping we'll get together again. Authors have such an aura of exuberance and creativity that flows about them. I need to siphon off some. *giggles*

Another author/friend told me she hasn't written for forever. I was so sad for her and for me and for all writers who have a 'blank' spot in their lives. Writing is a gift. I know, as I've always known, that once you stop, it's next to impossible to pick it up again.

Don't stop. Don't ever stop. 

Blessings during this holiday season.

Life is a holiday.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Little Things

So here I am - finally super excited about getting into Ch. 12 of 'Other' and writing away. Only to realize I made two major mistakes - well, major in my mind. During the (yesterday's blog) mention of the rope, I realized that I had to have them carrying rucksacks or something with supplies. They knew they were going on a hike and all I had given them was an assault weapon (you'll know why when you read the book) and four water bottles. *blushes*

I went back to that scene and had them create supply packs out of the supply box. While they were there, I discovered I'd left four of the creatures tied up. I couldn't leave them tied up. I don't care how much my character doesn't like them, he'd not treat a dog like that and he's not about to treat the aliens like that. Phew! Glad I spotted it.

Onward, ever onward. I hope you can tell I'm excited about the writing. I'll get back to 'Blue' because my buddy is coming over tomorrow night and she'll expect me to present another chapter of that fantasy novel. For the nonce, I am having a ball with 'Other.' I know what happens in the rest of this chapter and I'm looking forward to getting it down on paper.

As always with writing, I discovered I had some more research today (yes, Margaret!). I do like research but I wasn't expecting to have to do any for a few more chapters. The supplies. How do they carry them? What's the 'bag' like? What's it made of? What do Marines usually carry in a 'survival-type' situation? Back to do some major googling.

In the meantime, I am getting soooooo excited about the Hobbit movie. D-day is Dec. 13th. Whoo hoo! I am an extreme Tolkien fan and so looking forward to this next piece in his delightful world.

Life is Hobbit-filled.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Coming Clean

Who said this writing thing was going to be easy? Honestly. You just imagine a story, plunk it out on the trusty-rusty keyboard, send it to an editor and Voila - fini - terminar - published.

*hunkers down, glowering at keyboard*

Alright. I thought it would be easy. Stories come to me. They rumble in my brain and make me put them on paper. They fill me with excitement until I have to edit. 

I think I might need a new mindset. Excitement. Enthusiasm. Effervescence. Editing. See - they all start with the same letter and the first three sound totally wondrous. Must think fun, joy, fulfillment, pleasure, editing. Hm - doesn't seem to be working. Let's try something different.

Excrement. Evict. Evil. Oh dear. That doesn't make me inspired. Does it make you inspired! And then there's Elsewhere. Which is where I wish I was tonight. 

I pulled out some critiqued pages of 'The Other Side.' I've got two characters who have brought along a large supply box on their adventure. They need rope. They open the box and there it is. In my mind's eye, I believe rope is an essential for an adventure. My critiquer thought it 'too convenient' for them to find the rope. I want to pull out my hair. I want to scream. It's little things like that that drive me mad. 

And yet, I was near to tears watching the movie 'Master and Commander' tonight. You know what got me? What touched my soul profoundly? It was the fact that the sailors slept in their hammocks and, when they died (either in battle or from disease), they were trussed into the hammock and sent overboard. So basically - they know they are sleeping in their burial cloth. *shudders*

It's a little detail like that that wins readers over, I think. So perhaps the position of the rope should be mused over. 

I went to bed last night trying to figure out where I was going next with 'Other.' Thankfully, I remembered some thoughts from months ago. They work. I know exactly what I'm going to write. It will only take a wee change in Ch. 12 to make it happen. Then I can go on with the story and not be flummoxed. 

Life is flummoxing. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Second Look

As I said last night, I am taking a second look at 'The Other Side,' my sci-fi adult novel. I'd had some hard critiques that stymied me, so I put it aside. The character needed an overhaul, according to my critiquer. I couldn't face that challenge. Sometimes, I find I'm a bit weak and sometimes, I'm stronger. I guess this is a 'stronger' time. 

I'm so glad I pulled it out. It's good. I know I said that last night, but it's really good. Ch. 11 is where the **** hits the fan. Upon a second look, it wasn't so bad. I was able to change a couple things that made the scene more plausible and the character more real. I'm very happy with where it's at.

So Ch. 11 is done and I'm onto Ch. 12, but as in all things, I've left it at a cliffhanger and I'm wondering where on earth it's going to go now. I have the ending, of course, I make it a point never to start a novel until I figure out the ending - less scary. And I know what's supposed to happen in this chapter, but I'm feeling kind of shivery. I hate shivery. It's what usually stops me from writing. Might be why other writers have taken to drinking. *heavy sigh* 

The novel's worth it, though, worth being a little scared. I love the characters. I'm excited by the plot. I can't wait to see what will  happen next - but it's like watching a horror movie and the kids see a door and they know they shouldn't open it and I'm in the theater, thinking 'Don't open it,' but they do and there's always a monster or an axe-wielding murderer behind it.

Phew! Ok. I'm going to jump in. That's the only way to do it. Wish me luck!

In the meantime, I signed up for a slew of computer classes at our local library. I do so love the library and all I can learn. They're nothing like when I was a kid. I suppose they had to change to get people to come in and use them. I've signed up for four classes and for a 'coffee' clatch, too. Then I'm signing up for a writers' class starting in January. I don't know the instructor and I might not stay with it, but I thought it best if I broaden my horizons. 

Life is horror. *giggle*

Monday, December 2, 2013


I am feeling pretty drained right about now. I spent the day with my daughter and her little one. The dogs (three) bark and fight and play and generally destroy the house with their goings-on. Pippin loves these playdates, but I find them grueling. At last, the dogs settle down and we three girls giggle about all sorts of things.

I tell them the tale of the turkey. My daughter is aghast, as well she should be, but we end up howling about it and remembering other 'turkey' events from the past.

Here's the tale: I called a dear friend and we got Chinese and returned to my house. She brought along her turkey carcass so I could make soup. The dog was pulling his leash, I was carrying the turkey on a platter, and holding on to a bag of groceries and, of course, the dog pulled on the leash, my arm went flying, the turkey slid off the platter and onto the sidewalk. I stood still, stunned, until I began to laugh. Life is too short to not laugh at such a wondrous 'Laurel and Hardy' moment. My friend gasped and recovered. Thankfully, she didn't drop our Chinese take-out.

We took the turkey inside, keeping the dog away from it, and washed it. I put it in a big kettle on the stove, hoping to boil away any germs or whatever. I can't believe I did that, but a good turkey carcass should not be wasted. I'll let you know if I die when I eat it.

The evening, filled with laughter and camaraderie, ended with watching the movie, Howl's Moving Castle. It's one of my most favoritest. Sometimes I'm afraid to share something as personal as 'Howl' is to me. My friend loved it. It is a gorgeous movie, full of wisdom and joy, and a good ending.

After another giggle, I came home and entered the last of the paperwork data on a spreadsheet. The papers are now in the 'file' folder. I don't know if I'll even bother filing them. They are out of the way and they are easily accessible.

I didn't know what to work on tonight. I was going to pull out 'Blue' and edit the next couple of chapters, but I felt the Muse calling me towards 'The Other Side.' Besides, my editor had called a week or so ago and begged me to continue writing it. My goodness! I am so grateful I listened.

Do you ever have those moments where you read something you've written and are stunned by its beauty or whatever? Well, that's what I had. 'The Other Side' is really scary. I had goosebumps as I read it. I was so overtaken by its passion and intensity that I can't begin to write the next part. I stopped reading at the end of Chapter Ten. Too intense. I'll read the rest of it (only a couple chapters left) and then start writing the next chapter, Chapter Twelve. I am beyond enthused. I am stunned and astounded at how good it is. I know I quit because there were a couple problems with the main character, but those, I think, can be easily solved. I'm so glad I started work on this one.

Tonight, I think, I will find it hard to sleep for 'Other' will definitely haunt me. But that's fun, too. I'm sure the Muse will speak to me as I lie in bed.

Life is haunting.  (Howl's)

PS - the turkey story is as good as the one from 'A Christmas Story' and only appropriate to use as this is the 30th anniversary and I live in the place where it was filmed.

Sunday, December 1, 2013


I am not the type of person who needs people to call before they come to visit. If they are polite. I am a good housekeeper, but not a great one. I don't like dust, but sometimes it accumulates. My condo is small and if their are dishes in the sink, it makes the kitchenette look very cluttered. I try to keep the dishes in the dishwasher or in the cupboards, depending upon their condition. 

D came over the other night, after a quick call, and we had a blast talking about office politics. We learned quite a bit from each other. In the midst of it, I prepared a surprise tea party. D was delighted with the scones. I told you they taste better after a day or two. No idea why. I'm sure there is some logical, scientific explanation. I don't care. They taste better on day two than day one.

During the tea party, D had a great idea for a scene in 'Cornelius.' She explained it and I howled along with her. She has a great sense of humor and the macabre, which suits her story perfectly. 

Even though we weren't there to discuss writing, we always do. It's like breathing. Our books and characters and plots and all the paraphernalia that come with them leak into whatever activity we are about. That's the great thing about running around with authors. We leak and we don't mind. *giggle giggle snort snort*

My dining room table is clean. There is not one piece of paper on it. My last three months of diligence have paid off. We could have a tea party without having to clear the blasted thing off first. I have succeeded. I feel free. I am ready to get back into 'Blue' and give my characters h e double hockey sticks. Ah - memories of childhood.

Now - all I have to do is figure out where I put the blasted MS. Just kidding. It's sitting next to me, but it's a wee bit late to be plunging in now. AND - I refuse to even think about it (get back you thoughts) because I couldn't sleep if I started working on it now.

I'll surprise 'Blue' tomorrow and pull her from her black binder and work on the next chapter. I'm doing pretty well with this. If you remember, I went back to the drawing board, so to speak, and am putting 'my' voice back into it. It feels better. More comfortable with a heavy dose of action and adventure. 

Life is good.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Success Palate-wise

We made the pumpkin pie and it was great. Now I'm not just saying that. My daughter's mother-in-law, not knowing the little one made it, welled with enthusiasm over the pie. 'Not dry. So many pies are dry, but this one is great. And the taste is wonderful.' Whoo hoo!

I got to my daughter's at 8am and started making the scones. They had to be in before 10am so they'd been done in time to start the turkey. Interesting. I make scones from scratch, but not today. Too many things going on. I had a 'bag' recipe that only needed butter, milk, and fruit added. Again, had to go with the gut. The resulting dough felt too try, but I have added milk to this kind of recipe with disastrous results. I kept cool and kept breaking the butter into the dough. It finally 'congealed' and I kneaded it and flattened it with my hand into a pie shape and cut it into six wedges. They turned out great. Said mother-in-law said they were the best scones she'd ever eaten!

Trust. My friend D and I were talking tonight about trust. We got together for after-turkey scones (they taste better the older they get.) Trusting ourselves to get it right, to get the story we want down on paper. That's the crux of the matter. Trusting our friends to find mistakes or offer ideas to better our tales. Trusting that we will succeed. One way or the other.

It feels good to be cooking again, but even better to be on the path to writing again. It's been so dry. Like scones with too little liquid. It's been so like floating down a river. Like scones with too much liquid.

Just right. That's what I'm working towards. Making it just right. And it will be. Once I trust myself. And the Muse. 

Life is trust.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Don't Stop

I haven't been cooking lately. It's hard to cook when you're only one and you've been used to cooking for five. Or even two. I'm not sure why, but I've started back at it. I made some fried chicken. It didn't turn out at all like my 'old' friend chicken. I used the wrong herbs. I made egg salad the other day. It was soupy. Soupy is not good for egg salad. Especially if you put it on toast. Soggy toast is not fun toast. I almost gave up. 

My little one is here for the night. School is out for the US Thanksgiving break. I made fried chicken tonight. She loved it. I also made a cauliflower casserole. She hates cauliflower so I hid it with a nice dose of butter and a couple handfuls of grated cheddar cheese. I didn't expect her to eat it. She loved it! Success! She like the fried chicken, too. Cooked in just a dollop of olive oil with a sprinkling of seasoning - the right stuff this time. She cleaned her plate. 

Then, we ate cookies that we bought at the hospital. My little one's cast came off today. (She also lost her top front tooth!). A day of firsts. The cookies were made by the staff - donations were for the cancer center. They made a very nice ending to an odd (and slightly fear-filled) day. She's now asleep with her cast-free arm. Very happy to be able to sleep the 'old' way without pillows and such propping up her arm. Life is good.

I vow to continue to cook. Tomorrow the little one and I are going to try our hand at pumpkin pie (saints preserve us!). I know I can do it. I just have to trust myself. The problem with the eggs were that I knew the sauce was too thin but didn't trust myself. I should have stopped with the 2nd dollop of mayonnaise. The same with the chicken. I shouldn't have used the herbs I did. I stopped and questioned myself, but I went on and made the mistake.

Same for writing. I vow to write everyday. I used to. I didn't need a vow to write. But I know I'm fighting things and must take a different path to my writing if I'm to continue and grow and love it again. 

Success with the casserole and the chicken have raised my self-esteem again. The same is true with my writing. I will succeed one of these days. I've put the thought of publishing far into the back of my mind, for the nonce, so that I can renew the love. 

Life is renewal.

Friday, November 22, 2013


I am not a devotee of the late Tom Clancy. Yet, when a new book of his came out, I'd be one of the first to buy it. For my son. He's an aficionado. In the latest WD mag, Clancy is quoted. I have to share this with you. It should be shared with all writers.

"Success is a finished book, a stack of pages each of which is filled with words.

If you reach that point, you have won a victory over yourself no less impressive than sailing single-handed around the world."

I once got the autograph of Sir Francis Chichester. He was the first person to sail solo around the world with only one stop. I was very young and very impressionable. I worked at the local library and he came in. I had just read his book and was fascinated with the tale. He was incredibly kind to a tongue-tied young clerk. Borrow or buy a copy and read it.

So I know a bit about what it's like to sail single-handed, around the world. And I am impressed with myself. And very glad that Tom Clancy shared this thought. I needed it. I need to remember that lots of people start a book and never finish it. I've got four novels written and one children's picture book. Nothing has been published - yet. But - I have the victory.

D and I met tonight to go over a part of her book. It was good, as always. I made a few suggestions which she was very happy with. We then did a couple chapters of my 'Blue.' Worked out well.

But we are both just coming out of writers' slump or whatever you want to call it. I can't wait to share Tom's quote with her. It is a victory to keep writing, even in the midst of waves of wretchedness, attacks by sharks of self-doubt, and swamped by whitecaps of weariness. (I do so love words!)

I've got to post this on my bathroom mirror. I have won a victory! I have won FIVE victories! I have sailed single-handed around the world FIVE times.

Life is an adventure.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Little Things

Honestly, it's the little things that will kill a book. Or a movie. The new one, 'Gravity,' has been berated for Sandra Bullock's hair. It doesn't float about. Astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson caught the blooper. You've all seen the movie vids that show the number of bloopers in some movies. Most of these are one little thing that tips us off that someone wasn't paying attention. And - unfortunately - it takes us out of the moment.

I was going over Ch. 4 of 'Blue' tonight and realized I had one such blooper. Kathleen is on the back of a dragon, sitting behind a necromancer, and having a lively conversation with said necromancer. How could Kathleen hear the witch's chatter? Air flying by (you know how hard it is to hear in a car with its windows open) and great wings beating the air. Couldn't hear if she tried. So I had to move her to the front of the bus, so to speak, and let the necromancer talk into her ear with Kathleen shouting her replies. It worked, thankfully.

If you have a good editor, or a good critique group, they should be helping you with things like this. I know I have to rely on myself, but I also rely on others. 

When I began in the work force, I was a legal admin. I was part of a huge national law firm. We were taught by the HR person how to proofread. We did it once ourselves, then we were instructed to use another admin in the 'pool' and read it aloud. These were important contracts and they had to be right. Really right. 

We don't do that anymore, I've noticed. People rely upon themselves and that's a good thing, and a dollar-saver. But it is also a wee bit dangerous.

The same is true for our writing. We really can't trust ourselves, even after the fortieth edit. We will invariably miss something. I think it's human nature. We know what we meant and we wrote it. But did we? Or did we forget that it's really noisy on a flying dragon?

Just a thought for my friends.

Life is full of little things.

Saturday, November 16, 2013


Please do not think this is a morose posting. Nor is it a hopeless one. It is reality. I read an Ernest Hemingway quote: 'There is nothing to writing. All you have to do is sit down at a typewriter (keyboard - my word) and bleed.'

I definitely am of the camp that suffering helps writing. Yet, I know lots of writers, good writers, who haven't suffered (in the eyes of the world) and yet write a wicked tale. I think it's like everything in this crazy world. 50/50. What works for some won't work for the masses. And vice versa.

A dear friend of mine, a great writer, loves when life throws something at her (well, probably not loves it). Five times out of ten, she's thinking about how she can use a twisted ankle to bulk up a character, how shoveling snow and sweating in the midst of twenty degree wind chills gives her perspective for her mountain-climbing hero, or the love she has for her husband that she uses for her tragic heroine. 

I bring this up because I've been doing a wee bit of suffering these last three years. At first, I thought of my writing and how to use emotions and hurts and such to make my stories even better, delving into these things in order to flesh out the characters and situations and the old arc!

At the moment, I'm in the midst of saying good-bye to the lifestyle I had before my medical conditions affected me to the point that I had to make major changes. I don't like this at all. I've lost the joy of 'suffering' for my stories. I suppose that sounds unhealthy, but I know you writers understand what I'm saying. It's the little things that chipped away at my joie de vivre. Now the big things are impacting me. I keep telling myself I will get well one day and resume my life, but I know it's probably not going to happen.

I find this frustrating besides. I want to write, but my energy is going to survival, at the moment. I know I'll write again. Heck, I'm putting on make-up again, and that is a very good thing! I am also almost finished with my paperwork. I've got two huge 'events' coming up, not fun ones, that insist on lots of paperwork. I feel good that I'm finally getting it all together. I can send it off to my attorney sometime next week. 

A friend says she thinks she knows what the 'nasty' critiquer meant by 'voice' and she wants to meet to discuss it. I'm looking forward to that. Thankfully, I have learned, over the years, to accept creative and concrete criticism. I'm learning all the time. 

The wounds of life need to be cauterized, but I will survive. I will write. I will continue to cajole my writing friends into greater deeds, and I will comfort those who are fighting the good fight.

Life is wonderful. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

I Am Happy

I hope you are, too. I hope the universe spreads out my happy dust to all. 

A dear friend called me on Skype tonight. I've been missing her like crazy. She moved to New Zealand eons ago. We kept in close touch, but this last year, what with the illnesses and such that have assailed me, we lost touch. Finally, the other night, I emailed her and said, 'Wha's up?' She emailed back that she's been struggling, health-wise, too. So we talked a bit and I told her, 'Please keep in touch.' 

Well, as I said, she Skyped me tonight. AND she fixed my camera. Well, the connection at least. I can't believe it - zillions of miles apart and she fixes my camera. Life is good.

I spent the last two days working on paperwork. Honest to goodness, how I will ever survive being a published author, I'll never know. If I can't keep the little old paperwork that assails me now, how will I ever keep the paperwork of school visits and author signings and such? *giddy smile* I'll have to suffer, won't I?

I found a good couple of writing books that had been lost amidst the paperwork on the dining room table. I've put them on the couch where I can reach them with only a modicum of effort. *g* 

I don't understand how paperwork proliferates. The dining room table is just that. It holds no magic, that I know of. Put a piece of paper down, a bill, a receipt, and it's like bunny rabbits. It mates with the table or something. I'm not sure how it works. *shudder* I don't want to know how it works. Perhaps there's some industrial strength anti-mating spray that I can use on the table. If I ever get it cleaned off. Sadly, some of the paperwork migrated to my office space, but thankfully, it doesn't seem to get impregnated from my desk like the poor paperwork on the dining room table. 

I must keep my eyes open and see if there other fertilizing places in my home. I hope not.

Tomorrow, I will continue my quest to free myself of paperwork. Then, I will write. I have to. D will be over on Thursday and I dare not not have something ready for the woman! I love having deadlines.

Life is remarkable.

PS - I hate MS spellcheck. 


My family throve on secrets. There was a divorce in the family in the early 1920's. Nobody divorced then. I have cousins that I don't know. I might even have aunts and uncles that I don't know. My mother's half-sister was an opera singer, but we don't have any record of her. 

Folks talk about having character bios. To me, they're very important. But a little mystery might help, too. I can have a bio and family tree up to a point and then, my character can start looking. I can explain away behavior that might not be consistent with the family she grew up with, not knowing she carries baggage and DNA from a totally separate group. Life can be fun!

Secrets about health drive me mad. Some of these secrets can kill a family member if they don't know that something like diabetes runs in the family. There they are with the symptoms and thinking, it can't be _____ or ____. There's no family history. 

Miss Marple would have a field day with secrets. I'm not a mystery writer myself, but I do enjoy them. And I can add a little mystery to my own stories to keep them fresh and alive. Nothing like a good dose of incest in a family, hidden for decades. *shivers*

I went to my Skyline meeting on Saturday and we talked about characters and how to keep them from being two-dimensional. We talked about bios and characters studies and using all kinds of 'tools' from other writers/presenters. 

Found an absolutely awesome one here. I'm printing them all out and will share them with my writing buddies. Hope you enjoy them, too. (This is an educational/teachers site, but I find it helpful.)

This one is totally focused towards character development. These are some of the basic questions we have to ask our Muse, but some of the questions towards the bottom delve deeper.

I like this one more. Definitely more introspective questions. Anything I can do to learn more about my character is great. However, I like her to surprise me, now and again.

As for the meeting: we had a great time. My MS was critiqued and I felt good about it. There were suggestions, but overall, I was told to keep writing. I take that as a compliment (if I don't delve too far. giggle giggle)

I had critiqued an MS and the member was there so I shared my thoughts with her. That's when we got into the discussion about character development.

All in all, a good two hours spent in total writing mode. Picked my enthusiasm up by the bootstraps. I left the meeting feeling exhilarated. I still do. 

Life is exhilarating.

Friday, November 8, 2013


Last night, I shared the first three chapters - the 'new' chapters of 'Blue' - with a writer friend. She applauded the changes. I had decided to go back and, not start over, but look at it with my own gut and my Muse's input and get rid of some of the 'stuff' that I put in as suggested by others. I, too, feel it's clearer.

I know we're supposed to have an editor and/or a critiquer going over our writing, to help find errors in content and fluidity, and also to make sure the characters are consistent and the arc flows. But putting my work into someone else's hands has not resulted in work that is true to me. Somewhere along the way, we have to take in and asses what others offer, but then be sure it is still our own work.

With these thoughts in mind, I have offered up the first three chapters of 'Blue' to my critique group (if anyone shows up). I told them the comments by the last 'professional' critiquer and asked them if they felt the same. It will be interesting - getting their input. I trust them.

As for being critiqued by professionals, I think I have paid my last dollar and given my last MS to a 'professional' critiquer. I'm not sure I am receiving good advise.

Life is convoluted.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Saving Myself

It's hard to do, but I am not about to throw in the towel. Too painful. And then what do I do? Stay in bed, hiding under the covers? No. I don't want that. Other alternatives do not present themselves well.

Sometimes, being a writer, feels like I am some Dickensonian character, holed up in a cobweb infested dining room waiting for my true love to return. (Snicker - I'm sure the Muse would like that image.) I can't fester under the covers; I can't hide in my office; I can't not write. 

Thankfully, I have support. Friends who cherish me, don't push me too hard, cajole now and again, and basically are there in case I need to scream. I treasure them. I try to keep them near. When they haven't heard from me in awhile, they know I'm in the doldrums and they contact me and I get better.

In the little writers' group that I belong to, we lost a charter member. His job took him elsewhere. We applauded his success and began, in hiding, to gnaw at our fingernails. This man was the back bone of the group. He was committed to his writing and to each one of the other members. There wasn't a jealous bone in his body. He gave comments with kindness. But he read every presented MS twice or more, he made gentle, but succinct comments, he had a quick mind and used it to evaluate what we presented. 

With this man gone, we knew we had to step up. The group committed to be better critiquers. But with all groups, attendance fluctuated, and feelings of new members were hurt. I had blasted medical issues and stayed away while healing. At times, there were only two members at the meetings compared to almost twenty in the spring. Rumblings began. Discontent grew. Talk of disbandment flew.

I wrote to the group, from my new-found resilience, and reminded them of other groups in the area - stifling, jealous people with no imagination and no ilk for a genre other than their own. People who love to hear themselves talk at the expense of the MS presenter. People who know only how to cut and not applaud, remonstrate and not cajole, criticize with no help offered. Oh, it was horrid being part of these groups. 

Thankfully, I found my new little group in 2009. A hodgepodge of writer styles and genres, one even a playwright. It was difficult, at first, to critique other genres that I wasn't familiar nor comfortable with, but I persevered. The members were kind during my fledgling days. They are still kind. 

But - they have lost their focus. I reminded them of their prior accomplishments, bringing up tidbits from the stories they presented in the past and reminding them how much they opened my eyes to worlds I'd not known before. I reminded them of how they helped me and how I have grown from their critiques. 

Thankfully, for once I inspired and the group is meeting again this Saturday. I don't know how many will be there or for how long, but I'm grateful the group is giving themselves another chance.

Writing is difficult and lonely work. If I can find others who share my joy and my sorrows, I am better for it and my writing is, too.

Life is saving me (and you.)

Monday, November 4, 2013


My kitchen was not stocked with enough tools. I made-do. If I needed one thing, I'd try to figure out how to use another in its place. We were on a very tight budget. I did well enough in the kitchen, but I began to think that if I had the right tools I could really do some fun food stuff. 

The same is true with writing. I've got to have the basics (cup, tsp, and tbs measurers, colanders, pots and pans with well fitting tops. A grater.) A thesaurus, a dictionary, a grammar book, good writing magazines. 

Once I've got those, and mastered them, then it's time for the extras. The conferences, the critique groups, the editor, the writing friends.

A friend shared a book with me recently. It's pretty darn good. Jennifer has input from about thirty different contributors. This is totally the business side of writing, much like the oven side of cooking. 
The Business of Writing by Jennifer Lyons.

There is so much information to be had/found, but it must be used like salt. With care. Otherwise, the food will be unpalatable. My query letter will be garbage. My story arc will be flat.

Ah! This writing thing is no easy task. Sometimes, it doesn't even feel worth the struggle. And yet, when a phrase like 'his nose was like a red pincushion' comes to me, I get giddy with delight. Words are awesome, entrancing, uplifting, freeing.

Back to Ch. 3 of 'Blue' now. Keep writing and reading and learning and growing and having fun!

Life is hysterical.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Change of Time

I'm waiting for the time when I can get my job done. The site I use has strict time censors and I have to wait until it's 'my' time to post. Just another five or so minutes. I'm exhausted, but not as bad as I usually am. Thank the powers above. Still, I want to get the job done and sneak into bed. :)

I met with friends this afternoon, writer friends, and we spent a good two plus hours chatting. it was nice. At the end of the session, I showed them the critique from the last conference. 

Sometimes, I get too close to things and I don't notice the obvious. My friend read the first line and said, 'This woman can't write. Where are her grammar skills?'

And she was right. The first sentence said, 'love the conceit.' Well, I knew she meant concept, but it doesn't matter. She didn't write concept, she wrote conceit. The grammar and sentence structure went down from there. As my friend pointed out mistake after mistake in the critiquer's writing, I realized that what my editor had said was true. This woman, two years ago, was a midwife. Now she's in publishing and supposed to be taken seriously? 

My self-esteem grew in leaps. Except for the fact that I am still amazed at the brains of the women I associate with. They see things that escape me. Their eyes are open. Now I'm not saying I'm a dimwit. I have my strengths, too. But when I see such intelligence around me, I sway to it. I feel like I'm in a dance of sorts, the force of the universe swirling me about. I drink in their intelligence and rejoice that I am party to such friends.

I try, on a daily basis, to keep my eyes open to the nuances of people's speech patterns and body language. I try to be open to nature, to see the beauty and the absurdity in it. The spectacular along with the mundane. I fail constantly, but I keep trying.

I want to talk my daughter into coming with me to a breakfast with the birds event tomorrow morning. She's not really into that, but I want my granddaughter to be part of it. The child is amazing and I want to keep her vistas open wide so that her part of the essence of the universe shines. Ah, what am I saying. She already shines. She wrote a book, I don't remember if I said anything here, about how she broke her arm. The title is: 'The real story of how I broke my arm.' Bless her heart, she wants to get it published and she wants to give it to all her friends. I'm going to take it to the local Office Max and see what can be done with it. 

Life is stunningly absurd. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013


I'm getting ready to go man the fire. I sit in the driveway and pass out candy while my daughter takes the little one trick-or-treating. It's fun. There's a fire pit and a wee bit of the hard stuff and lots of candy to 'snitch.' 

In the midst of it all are the kids with their costumes. It's a little difficult trying to discern who is what. I'm not up on the latest - though I do know all the Pony's names and the Monster High kids, even a Captain America or two. 

I love watching the kids interplay. They have a language all their own (one reason I will not write contemporary children's books). They have cliques. They do not hide their feelings. What you see is what you get. It's very interesting, for an author.

I spent some time today editing Ch. 2 of 'Blue.' My characters are a bit like that. Though court-raised, they have been sheltered and are not as mature as they should be. This will cause all kinds of problems for my hero/heroine, but it's fun writing.

I am trying to use 'like' more often. Not the like of a Valley Girl, but like, her red shoes, like pincushions, .... see what I mean. Likes are good for a story. They conjure images. Who doesn't know what a witch looks like when we hear the word. Especially at this time of year. It's hard to imagine likes for all the different situations we put our characters through, but my friend D insists that I have a great imagination and should put more in my writing. She's correct, of course. She pushes me and makes me better. A good friend.

Must get ready now. Still not sure of my costume and I'll be leaving in about an hour. Nothing like waiting til the last minute.

Happy Halloween.

Life is scary.   (Tolkien's Smaug)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Up And Running

I think I might be up and running. These past couple of weeks have been as strange as the last few years of my life. I just have to cry 'uncle.' 

After a bit of feeling sorry for myself and such, I started back on editing 'Blue' - from the very beginning. It's not a word for word thing, but a making it more like my blog-writing. I've been told my blog writing is pretty good and that I should strive for the same kind of ambiance in 'Blue.'

Truth be told, 'Blue' has been a small disaster from near day one. I took it to an editor who asked for massive changes and what I came up with was never near to the ease of reading of the first draft. I continued on a down-hill spiral listening to every Tom, Dick, and Harry. Disastrous.

I'm happy to be writing again. It seems like forever. I used to breathe writing. I used to have such joy at turning on the computer and wondering what would happen next. 

The last conference took all my joy away. It's been an uphill battle ever since, but I finally see the top of the mountain and I vow I'll get there.

I love 'Blue' and I refuse to chuck it like my last book. The reason I've hesitated for so long in starting up again is that I wasn't sure what to do. Now, I'm just writing it. Not thinking, just letting the Muse go. I've deleted quite a bit. There are now questions that my reader will be asking - but isn't that what I want? It's not fun if my reader isn't wondering. Keeps 'em reading, I hope.

Well, in the interim, I've been cleaning pieces of my life. Downsizing two years ago left me with a bunch of stuff cluttering the new one-bedroom condo. I haven't been happy with it at all. I don't like clutter. 

A friend has been de-cluttering, too, and we've made a pact that we'll do something every day to make our lives easier and better.

I'm glad I sat down and forced myself to look at Chapter One. I like what it does. I also changed my pitch. The main story is really about alchemy - how a world is changed and a child is changed - but the pitch didn't say any of that. 

Here's the new one: Alchemy, the ancient art of transformation, turns a world topsy-turvy. The sky is green, the grass is purple, and streams are pink. To save her world, a princess, through the magic of a dragon’s tear, transforms from a common girl into a special boy. But she’s not happy with it and neither is the boy who shares her body.

Life is interesting.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Big Bad Wolf

I've had a kind of epiphany. A lightening bolt thought. A shocker. One of those moments when you've delved a wee bit too deep and discovered something about yourself. Sometimes, these moments are good; sometimes they're bad.

I hate the job search process. Thankfully, I usually stay in one place for a long time, so the search isn't an ongoing thing. Nevertheless, I hate it. I stare at the computer, I rattle the Sunday paper, I jump into my bed and cover my head with the sheets. This is such a disheartening process. Because I'm not really sure of myself. I love what I do and I'm good at it, but to get that across to a potential employer, I find, is most frustrating, hurtful, and wicked.

After I get the job interview, then it's bite the nails time. Sitting and waiting in some cold foyer with elevator music playing. Going over my resume and cover letter and wondering why on earth I wrote THAT. And for my clothes, why did I ever pick the pink shirt to go with the blue suit. Honestly, it seemed logical this morning (well, last night when I picked it out.)

Finally, the interview and my passion overtakes me and I laugh at the repartee. I thrive at their trickses to see if I'll give away secrets. I puff myself up, with good intentions and knowing I'm good at what I do.

The call that I've been accepted for a second interview, or for the job, and I can breathe again.

Sorry for the long piece above, but I discovered that I look at the cover / query letter in the same way. And I'll be darned if I'll let that happen. It's an incredible thing to discover, that my insecurity at the job search process and my insecurity at the query letter process are one and the same. It's also mind-blowing. And freeing.

I've been spending the day looking at giraffes. I've got two publishers that I want to send it to, but my cover /query letters have felt lackluster. Of course they have! I've been caught up in the web of yuck. But I know it now. And I know what I must do.

The little one came home from school early. The arm's pain grew during the afternoon. Thankfully, today was my volunteer day at school so I took her home with me. I'm sure she is healing and this is part of the daily 'I'm getting better' thing, but the little one doesn't know that. She's not sure she's getting better; she's not sure she's healing. But she is. I'm hoping she doesn't call  to come home tomorrow. Thankfully, Friday is a no-school day and I've got plans for crafts and such for the both of us.

Life is eye-opening wonderful.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Staying Alive

I've spent the last two days with the little one. The docs said she could go back to school today, but when you see tears in her eyes and her holding her little splinted arm -- Her mom's cold, caught at the hospital, is in full gear and I find myself taking care of both of them and the three dogs. Though I believe the three dogs think they are on some mind-blowing vacation. Such fun, yipping and snapping at each other, eating each others' food, and knocking over every open container in the house.

I am exhausted and my bed is calling, but I thought I'd spend one moment chatting with you.

Tomorrow - I plan on taking Ch. 26 and 27 to a new restaurant. I hope they're open for breakfast. I should take the synopsis, too, but after the 'corner' sermon, I realize it's best not to take on too much at one fell swoop.

I wish I could say I'm learning some great and wondrous lesson through this all, but I've been through it way too many times with my own children, that I can't quite grasp what it is I'm supposed to be learning now that I didn't learn in years before.

One thing is - we all have history. Many moments in our lives that impact the way we handle a particular event or emergency. Kind of like Pavlov's dogs. I find I am quite cool and calm on the surface, but my Irish ancestry draws forth images of death and mangled limbs and 'troubles.'

I fight the good fight and don't let the thoughts into my mind for more than a second or two. However, that second or two impacts what the next thought is going to be and whether I have the wit and sense to remember to bring my keys and my purse and get someone to care for the dog while we're in the emergency room.

Those bits of history that cause us to react are important for our characters, too. I know that, no matter how much time I spend on Kathleen's biography, I'm missing stuff. I suppose I could write ad infinitum about what makes Kathleen tick, but I have to draw a line somewhere or the other. I hope I've got the incidents down that cause her knee-jerk reactions. We'll see.

Life is staying alive. 

Monday, October 21, 2013


PS - I know this is supposed to go at the bottom, but such is life.

Very glad I wrote this blog earlier today. The rest of the day was spent at the emergency ward of Rainbow Babies and Childrens Hospital. My little one fell off the monkey bars and broke both bones in her left forearm. We were at the hospital from 2:30pm to midnight. A long haul, but the little one held herself well. So - to post what I'd meant to post much earlier. Blessings!


Don't tell anyone. I'm not supposed to use multiple ? marks. Nor capital letters. Nor lots of oooo's at the end of a word. Some kind of unspoken literary rule. So don't tell anyone I used three ? marks in the title of this blog.

I am not ashamed of today's progress. Some would call it lack of progress, but it is one  H E double hockey sticks better than I've been doing.

I took Ch. 26 and Ch. 27 to my local eatery, ordered my steak and eggs, and decided I'd wait 'til after I ate before perusing the chapter notes from my friends/critique partners. Before the food came, I pulled out the latest edition of Writer's Digest. Another good one. I'll share later, but for now. the food came, I put down the magazine, ate, gathered my stuff and left. Not one word written or looked at.

BUT - (oh dear - capital letters!) - I did bring them. I put them into my little portfolio thingee and brought them with me. That is a start. That is better than yesterday. Way better than the day before, and ten thousand times better than a week ago when the Muse threw her hands up and left in a huff.

I am happy. To a degree. (oh dear - incomplete sentences!). I hate the new rule. Forgive me, whoever made it up. But putting ending marks outside the parenthesis looks absolutely stupid to me. When I learned grammar (oh dear - now I'm giving my age away!) - the exclamation mark stood next to its sentence and inside the parenthesis. Nowadays, I'm told the sentence ending mark should be outside the parenthesis.

(oh dear - incomplete sentences)! 

Does it not look weird to you? Don't tell it, but it is definitely out-of-place. Poor thing. 

I will go out again tomorrow with my portfolio (the papers are still in it) and try again. Perhaps tomorrow I will do a sentence or two. I'm not going to guess nor force myself into something I'm not yet ready for. The Muse can go stuff herself. 

Do you have any idea how many times she has made ME stand around waiting for her. Payback. Bwwaaahhaaahaaaa! 

Oh! I do so love this time of year with goblins and ghosties and Muse's stewing!

Life is never dull.

PS - Thanks D for all your prayers. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

One Corner, One Scene, One Moment

In preparation for taking my office from my cramped bedroom into the dining room, I spent the day cleaning out the area where I'm going to relocate it. It astounds me how quickly spiders sneak in when the weather turns chilly. I'm sure they're the ones who brought in the dust. It wasn't me. 

Moving things, when one has a little one about, turns into a challenge. Pick up a little box and there are sequins, their shiny face upturned and giggling at me as I try to sweep them up in the vacuum. They taunt it. It spits them out, sometimes right at me. I put sticky tape on a broom handle and shove it into corners, but the sneaky little sprites turn over and run away. I prevailed. Mostly. I know there are a few of the crafty little things hiding, but I can't spend the entire day making them feel important.

After the cleaned and moved back box incident, I turned to the dog's cage. Lo and behold. Pippin had hidden great quantities of stuffing beneath the covers. I now know why the stuffed dog is so flat, why the stuffed bone lies limp at my feet, and why the couch's cushion is frazzled. The dog is mad about stuffing. So am I, if I consider Thanksgiving stuffing, both the bread kind and the stomach kind. But I don't hide it under my covers!

I moved a few more things, found dollies and dresses and stickers sticking out from impossible-to-reach cubbies. Ah well. The one corner of the room is now done. I only have three more to go. *sighs*

I didn't get to my writing today, but I am not sad. I am grateful that this one corner is done. I must remember that, as I tackle Ch. 26. I will do that tomorrow, but with the clear thought that if I can accomplish what I did in my 'office' with one corner, I can do the same with the one scene or the one moment that the Muse, I am sure, will hold before my face and scream, in mock fury, 'Do this now!'  (oh, there's that dratted ! mark on the inside of the quote mark.)

Life is one moment.

Friday, October 18, 2013

D and I met tonight (Thursday). We always find so much to talk about with rapid speech that rivals superheroes. 

After saving the world, we turned to 'Blue' and reviewed Ch. 27. Things worked out well, IMHO. Last week, she and I and a new friend went over Ch. 26. Major changes. 

Chapter 26 is probably the crux of the tale. It's where my heroine has to come to terms with who she is and what she is. The dialogue wasn't sharp enough. I had enough 14 year old angst, but not deep enough. The feelings just didn't go deep enough. 

I put it to the side. I have noted a pattern. When something is difficult I tend to put it aside. I avert my eyes. Oh! Don't you just love that phrase. During one of those classic West Wing moments,Allison Janney's character says it after she falls into a pool.  I miss that show.

I have put aside my synopsis and my 'pitch' for 'Blue' as they ask too much. I have to delve deeper to get these VIP (very important papers) off my desk and into the hands of an agent/publisher.

So - tomorrow I clean out my closet. ROTFL

After that, I'll spend the afternoon/evening looking at innocuous Ch. 27. 

One day - I'll go back to the synopsis and the pitch and Ch. 26.

Life is putting things off. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Top Priority?

There are definite days when writing is not a top priority. In fact (and I shudder to think about it), I don't even think about writing. This has not happened to me in a very long time. Usually, my characters are whispering details about a scene or how they're feeling or what the weather is like and if their allergies are driving them nuts. 

But the last few weeks have been dry. I don't feel like I'm up a creek without a paddle. I feel like I'm in the Mojave Desert without a camel. Or water. Or friends. 

In truth, I'm blessed with good friends. I've been 'growing' my retinue of writer-friends. They understand me so well that sometimes I only have to start a sentence and they nod and laugh and I know they've been there, done that. 

Saturday I met with such a friend. We both have lost our camels. I've seen this happen with other writers. One of the horrors of NOT writing is that it becomes a habit. And starting up again seems more a duty than a pleasure.

At times like these, I find arranging writing times with friends (at the local library or coffee shop) helps this nasty syndrome. I'm going to arrange such a writing session for this upcoming week-end. I refuse to fall into the cracks of not-writing. Horrid place.

Otherwise, I'm hanging in there. Another friend wrote that she had terrible times trying to get up the courage (or whatever on earth it takes) to send out querry letters. She received a response to one she'd forgotten she'd sent. Much rejoicing.

I found it interesting and heartening to know that others struggle with the same struggles I have. My editor told me that of all the attendees at writing conferences, less than 1/2 actually try to send out their MSs. And even less than that actually send them out. I am not alone.

Life is courage.