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.