Friday, January 31, 2014

Alternate Title - Never Say Die

I was going to title this post, Descriptions, but a friend came over tonight. I bit the pride bullet and asked for help. She did. To a degree. She's a nasty woman, in fact, because she makes me do things. She says she'll help and then she says - What do you think? - That's not you. - Write it in your style. - Don't follow the rules. 

I wrote my first from-the-heart cover letter, with her unhelp. *g* She sat on my bed and played with my dog as I read draft after draft to her. She didn't like them. I kept writing and swearing and she kept playing with Pippin. 

Sometime well into the night, she liked part of what I'd written. Well, I liked part but she liked the whole thing. So I stopped editing and I stopped cut and pasting and I reread it and decided she might be right.

I sent it out. *almost happy sigh*

It's a happy sigh because I am happy with the letter. It's real. It's me. No bull. It was truthful and uncomplicated and the best 'pitch' that I've been able to write. I am very happy with the pitch. Short, sweet, and introduced my giraffes in a way they'd like.

We prayed together afterwards, drank a glass of wine, and parted.

Pride can keep a person (me) from asking for help when all seems lost or fruitless or stupid. 

Friends can help us (me) overcome that pride and get on with what we're (I'm) supposed to do. 

I pray  you have friends like mine. I pray they make YOU do the work all the while supporting you. I pray life is good to you. Even with all the illnesses these past two months, I hope and smile.

Life is a smile. 

PS - Do you have a clue as to what it feels like to send out a query letter you're (I'm) proud of? AWESOME, DUDE!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


My 'new' (translate - hand-me-down) printer is defunct. Had a computer guy in and he says it's the new cartridges, take them back, get new ones and see if that works. Oh dear! Confrontation. I hates confrontation, precious!

In lieu of a viable printer, I ran over to my community center to print out the next chapter of 'Blue' for my buddy D who was coming over tonight. The center had been flooded and everything was closed. Everything that is but the computer area. Thank goodness. I printed out the chapter to the front desk and then commiserated with the volunteers at the desk and left. You guessed it - I left the printed pages there. Never did discover them till late this evening. Didn't matter though - D and I had quite a few things to discuss and never got to our writing.

I am sick again - a cold given to my by the little one - and have spent the day hacking. I think I'm going to have to start the breathing treatments again. The cough is nasty. However, I did get over to the school to help put in new data for the calendar and printed it out. It's always fun to visit the school. My little one gets to come and give me a hug and that is delicious.

My daughter stopped by and climbed under the computer table, trying to find my wayward camera. It was hiding behind the screens. Oops. She still loves me. I'm hoping to chat with my 'international' buddies sometime tomorrow, but there's a tablet class at the local library and I want to find out why my tablet can't access a certain app. 

Signed up for a half-day retreat for this Saturday. I need some time away from my house and me. *g* I trust the instructor. She usually comes up with some pretty powerful thought stuff.

I've got to enter data for my job now so I'll be off. Just know I'm thinking about you all and hoping you are writing. 

Life is insane. (and fun)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Pretend They're Real

I was watching youtube vids tonight - on writing. There were a bunch of helpful hints; however, I didn't have time to research who was who. Don't trust the internet, my friends, there are scoundrels and fools out there. (Oh, of course if you're reading this, you can trust me. Bwaahaahaa.)

One of the vids talked about character development. The author pointed out lots of things that anyone who's written more than a year has probably figured out.

The thing that surprised and made me pause was the statement, "Pretend your characters are real".

In all my long years of writing, I have kept such a thought at bay. I have been fearful. Truly. What if the character becomes 'too' real and I can't discern what is real and what is not? What if I begin to believe it, in my heart and soul, and fall into the novel and never come out? *shivers* What if I fall in love with one of my characters?

Of course, I've done all of these things to a degree over the years. I remember when I cried for three straight days as I killed off a favorite character. I recovered, but I never forgot that.

These are valid fears, I think, in this age of 'Her'. 

I think it's also important to trust myself that, when the novel is finished, I can resume my own life. I must get into my characters, even the 'little' ones, and figure out who they are. I've got to know everything about them. I've got to create that back story so that I know why she is afraid of spiders or whatever. I've got to pretend I'm with them over a cup of coffee at the local book store or sipping wine on the back porch, or drinking tequila at a bar downtown. 

I wrote character descriptions for each of the folk in 'Blue' and I'm in the midst of doing it for 'The Other Side', but I still don't know them well enough. I'm going to pull out a bottle of wine (perhaps figuratively) and chat with Katherine. I know her, but I want to be her sister, to delve into her utmost secret thoughts and share them. I know it will make 'Blue' better.

Life is secrets.

Link to 'Her' --

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Benefit Of The Doubt

There are so many times this axiom is needed in this world. Give yourself, those you love, and those you interact with - the benefit of the doubt. 

I went to a writers' class today. It was okay. The best part of it was the writing prompt. We had fifteen minutes to write 'Why do you love me?' I don't write romance stories, but 'The Other Side' has decided to take a romantic twist. Many chapters ahead of where I'm at, there will be a love story. When I heard the prompt, I thought, I can't (don't want to) write this. However, my character whispered, "You need this" and he was right. I wrote the entire fifteen minutes and now I have the heart of the 'romance chapter' done. Isn't that exciting?

The instructor is published online. She shared her book with us via the internet as part of our homework for this morning's class. It was decent. Another best part? She shared her struggle and her doubts and fears and I really needed to hear that. 

So - as I've always told myself - there is something to be learned at every opportunity and I must keep my eyes and ears open for what the Muse pushed me into. *g*

I wasn't able to write yesterday because the little one had the day off. Today, with the class and other things, I wasn't able to write anything for either novel. I will tomorrow, God willing and the creek don't rise. I'm not too concerned at this point. Last Thursday's momentum is still with me and I will sit down and write. I might go back to pen and my handy-dandy yellow notepad. That seems to be working for me at this time of my life.

I am so grateful to be blogging again. Fear seems to have left me. Perhaps it's the antibiotics. *g* I am grateful that my 'old' friends are still reading this. Your loyalty and enthusiasm lift me up.

Be still my soul. And listen to the Muse. Know she knows what she wants and will get it. (What a witch!) Know that I am a writer of excellence. And know that I am loved.

Life is love.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Eighty Percent

I've always been aware that statistics are not to be trusted; they can be read in so many different ways; interpreted to 'fit' the situation.

My daughter told me she'd seen a stat that said that 80% of people have bad thoughts. Hmmm, I thought to myself, that is strange. (not sure if that can be considered a bad thought *g*)

So I googled it and found two threads by two different people saying the same thing. Now, I'm not going to get into whether or not I agree or disagree - what I'd like to offer is my horror at the fact that these two people (I could have looked further but I didn't) offered the same opinion and never qualified where they got that 80% stat. Also, neither identified the other as commissioning the study; they both owned it. 

Plagiarism or some such, I'm telling you. How could someone write that stat and claim it as their own when it is obviously not there own. I remember some wild plagiarisms by well-known authors a few years ago and am concerned that plagiarism might be rearing its ugly head again.

It gives me pause to remember to put notes at the end of my book with where I found some of the information I use in 'The Other Side'. (I still don't like that poor period sitting outside the quote mark. Doesn't it look sad?)

Now that we've looked at that dismal 80% stat - there's another one: 80% of people are optimistic, whether they believe they are or not. I like that stat! I'm always working on optimism myself, though I find it difficult to maintain when the Muse hides under the kitchen sink. Dratted Muse.

I like Oscar Wilde's quote: "The basis of optimism is sheer terror." I certainly feel that when the Muse won't cooperate. And Voltaire's quote: "Optimism is the madness of insisting that all is well when we are miserable". I SO relate to that. It's my mantra and I didn't even know it! 

One thing I found interesting and disconcerting at the same time. Many of the quotes at the above website intimate that optimism is for the young. I truly don't agree (except when it comes to health). My friends are optimists and we are not of the current generation. Perhaps I, without conscious thought, surround myself with optimists?'

Besides all that, I think writers have to be the most optimistic of all people. We start to write and believe that we will finish. Is anything more insane!?! Love writers to pieces!

Whatever. Give yourself a pat on the back today and remind yourself that life is good, that you are loved by somebody somewhere (how about that Higher Power!), and that being optimistic is not only fun, but fulfilling.

Life is optimism. 

PS - And take care of yourself. It's cold and flu season and being sick sucks.

I'm Back

I think I'm healthy and I'm chafing at the bit. I'll write a longer post tomorrow, I promise you AND myself, but for now, I've finished Chapter 12 and a good bit of Chapter 13 of 'The Other Side." I'd hoped to get out today and visit the library, but thankfully, Google answered a lot of research questions.

One thing I want to tell you - I got Chromecast for Christmas and I am in heaven. I can watch anything on my TV that's on YouTube. I've found some neat exercise classes and nutrition posts that I know will help with my rehab.

I've got things to do. I can't sit here forever. I am starting to see a light at the end of this hideous 'illness' tunnel. Hooray.

I hope you're writing is coming along. I hope the holidays didn't put a crimp in your schedule so that you've got to uncrimp it and get going. I'm uncrimping lots but have high hopes.

Oh my - I love that old song 'High Hopes.' Here it is for your enjoyment. And I can watch it on my flatscreen, too.

I do so love Frank Sinatra.

I'm also committing myself - not to a funny farm - to optimism and joy and fun.

Life is awesome!

Friday, January 3, 2014


Good grief. I can't get away from them. I've got TWO going on in 'The Other Side' and one going on in this crazy place I call home. 

Three foot snow drifts in front of my front door. My poor little doggie, Pippin, got lost in the snow. He went under to try to do his business and I lost sight of him. Thankfully, he was leashed and I pulled and Voila! out of the snow he came. Now my dearest Pip is mostly pepper black but his muzzle, his little feet, and his back were all white. I spent much of the day giggling.

Well, much of the day once I returned home. I had a follow-up doc's visit today that taxed my very endurance. The wind chills here are around 3F. Tonight it's supposed to get down to -10F. Not a fun time. As I turned the corner to get to the doctor's office, the wind took me and my breath. Thankfully, my daughter had my arm and we made it into the office, but the pneumonia drains all strength and breath from me. It took many minutes of gasping to get enough air to finally sit down. Insane! The visit went well and solidified my confidence in my new doctor. Most of the blood work was back and we will meet again next week, once the antibiotics kick in, to discuss my treatment plan. I'm still on the nebulizer and meds along with the antibiotic. I can't understand why it takes three visits to get an antibiotic. Such is life. Better to have a cautious doc than one that dispenses will he nil he (old English fro willly nilly).

I'm still working on the storms with 'Other.' Both storms hit at the same time, but one is a sandstorm and one is a tornado-like storm. Researched both and kept copious notes. Now it's time to pull everything together and see if it works. What am I saying? I know it will work. I'm excited about these storms. They have a pivotal place in the story. Fun.

As soon as these storms are over, and the temps climb out of the cellar, and my health improves, I'm going to the library. I've decided it's time to spend some quality time reading more on my craft. There are lots of magazines out there, expensive ones, but I can get the same free from the library. Along with the little herb stuff that I talked about yesterday.

Saturday is Writer's Ink. I do so hope I have the strength (and the weather cooperates) to go. I am signed up for a writer's workshop Saturday morning, but there's no way I'll have the stamina to do that one. I hope they'll let me do the rest of the series.

Life is storms.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

An Auspicious Start - Not

I had a wonderful quote that I wanted to share with you this first day of 2014. I lost it. Yup. In the midst of picking of the detritus of my pneumonia, I threw out the quote. It was a lovely quote about being courageous enough to delve deep. Not Saruman's deep-delving!

Bother. I had hoped to start off this new year freely running. Not happening. I'm still on breathing treatments and bed rest. Don't tell the doc. The bed is very close to the computer. 

I watched the Kennedy Center award program the other night. It was incredibly uplifting. I love the diversity of talent. I made my little one sit and watch with me for she is a bit of a music 'snob'. Got to nip that in the bud. I loved every moment of the show.

It was there that I heard the quote. It was a recurring theme throughout the evening. Courage. Perseverance. Faith in yourself. Faith in the future. Any artist has got to have these qualities. I'm a writer. AND I'm an artist. 

Perhaps I'll plant a little garden this winter on the kitchen table. Plant some herbs and learn from them. I found this awesome little book on the internet but it doesn't seem to be available. I'll try my local library and see what they can find for me.  "According to ancient wisdom, herbs were essential to magic potions and love charms, for calling up faeries and elves, for cooling down and keeping warm, for ensuring immortality, for soothing a baby, and making wine. In addition, each herb told a story or held a meaning...." Doesn't that sound perfect!
The Meaning of Herbs, Myth, Language and Lore...

I will use them in my daily cooking and in my daily writing.

Happy New Year!

Life is good.