Sunday, March 16, 2014


I can't stand it when I've written notes in the margins of my story and can't remember why on earth or what on earth they mean. I've got one note now at the top of the page that says, 'Snowflakes'. I have not a clue as to why I wrote this. If anyone has a vision, let me know.

I am back with 'Blue' if you wondered. I thought I'd given up entirely on Kathleen and her cohorts but the tale keeps bringing me back. I don't feel quite as disillusioned about it after reading another few chapters aloud.

Truth be told, my friend D was beside herself with praise over Ch. 8. She said Kathleen's voice came through loud and clear. Of course, I consider, it's well into the story and is this too late to hear her voice? I think so. I'll go back to the previous chapters and see if there's something I can do about this. I think it's a valid concern on my part.

BTW - I've got a friend who's written a non-fiction book. I keep calling him and asking him to send it to me. He's quite intelligent and I know the book is well-written and timely. But, that's the problem, it is so timely that some of the stuff he's written about has changed. Social mores have changed and some chapters will either have to be reworked or deleted. Not a fun prospect. I do not envy the man the challenge.

This is one problem that I find with writing for teens in fiction. That's one of the reasons I prefer fantasy to 'real time' fiction as I don't have to worry about jargon or cliches or whatever. I can write in a form that is acceptable to all - as long as I keep the voices true to their times. 

Never a dull moment with writing. Unless we forget the beauty of words and the joy of putting them down in some semblance of beauty. Don't you love the turn of a phrase? The fun of finding the 'right' word? There are so many gazillion words out there and trying to find the right one is complex but wondrous. 

CBS Sunday Morning had a 'Travolta' piece about forgetting. They said the longer you live the more you cram into your brain and the harder it is to filter through to find what you want or need to say or remember. My brain is crammed full. I need a supercomputer to filter things out. And that means I'm pretty smart. *g*

Life is such fun.

Saturday, March 15, 2014


Going from highs to lows, from mountains to valleys, from ups to downs is tiring, to say the least, frustrating to be more precise.

I am coming to the conclusion that writing takes support. I know writers are often depicted as solitary figures, but I'm not so sure. Yes, we usually write in the void, unless we join the NaNoWrMo movement every November, but we most often can be found sitting alone before a blank screen, or a blank piece of paper, or a blank stare (as we share our stories to some non-comprehending friend). 

Given that premise, that I need support, I'm looking for other writers in my area and for other conferences/workshops to grow that support. I told you the other day about a blogger who said something like this. Why get to the mountaintop alone? Why not have someone(s) to share it with? What is the sense of reaching the pinnacle if I am alone and cannot share it? Is it something like the tree falling in the forest and no one hearing? Shees!

Also, I'm reading books and articles about writing (their is a plethora of material out there - either in bookstores, libraries, or cyberspace.) I'm watching YouTube videos of famous authors and getting their input. Why should I try to grow alone? Why not listen to those who have come before me?

In that vein, I was watching Stephen King who said, "I have a routine because I think writing is self-hypnosis. You fall into a kind of a trance if you do the same passes over and over... I'll make my pot of tea and then sit down and write for three and a half hours."

I've heard this advice before, I think we all have, but it does make sense. I'm going over in my mind what I used to do, before this horrible slump. Besides finding a nice quiet restaurant where I could sit for a couple hours and write in peace (I've closed most because if their a quiet restaurant they soon go out of business *g*), I wrote late at night. I was a night-owl. My modus operandi was this: I'd putz around the house until about midnight and then, like some black swan turning into a white one, I'd sit down at my computer and spend the next gazillion hours writing. 

Since I've had major health issues and am just recovering, I've taken my doc's advice and am going to bed earlier. This change of life pattern seems to have affected my writing. I am convinced I must write during the day if I am ever going to write again. Must get into that routine that Stephen speaks of and make it a part of my daily life. Along with exercising and good food choices. 

Life is routine

PS - hello to my new Chinese friends and to those in Ireland who continue to support and read. Bless you and thank you!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Writers' Groups

A moment's time - I love my writers' group, Skyline. It's not fun being critiqued, but being critiqued by people you trust and respect makes it easier. 

I submitted a draft of Ch. 11 of 'The Other Side' and got some nice feedback. Not nice in the sense that all is well with the world - but constructive criticism given with a sense of being in a safe place with people who support me. 

Descriptions - one Skyline member insists that I give more. I can't, I scream (in my head), but she's right as she always is. This is a new world, this sci-fi world I'm creating, and it must be painted with acuity. Otherwise, it might as well happen on Earth. Telling me the premise is good is not what I need. I'm grateful that the premise works - what I need to know is what doesn't work. This member helps me with that. Another bone of contention - the timeline. Confusion reigned. I'm glad I know. I will fix it. 

Thankfully, most of the critiques I get are fixable with not too much blood, sweat, and tears. Pat myself on the back and praise the Lord.

Walked into the meeting room and delighted in the fact that we had new folk attending. They joined in the critiques, which was great, and they look like they might stay. All three are well on their way to being accomplished writers. One new attendee is published. That's always great to have - published authors bring a sense of hope to a group. *g*

Once again I must remind myself that this upcoming mountaintop experience (being published) is not somewhere I want to be alone. I want friends and compatriots to share it with. I'm very glad I have Skyline and my other writing buddies. I'll bring marshmallows and chocolate and graham crackers and we'll celebrate with SomeMores.

Life is sharing. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Arrggh - Rules

It's great having a little one if you're a childrens' book writer. I get to go to the library all the time because she has book reports to do. And what a fun thing that is. 

We found a book that is pure delight. "Patti Cake and Her New Doll" by Giff, illustrated by Bryant. The story is simple yet beautiful and lots of fun. 

As always, I can't read a book without doing a bit of editing, perusing, checking out stuff. The author uses adverbs. Now, you know I used to use adverbs. I loved adverbs till I went to school and discovered that publishers don't like adverbs. At least, publishers in the USA. (I've got a writer friend in Russia who says they LOVE adverbs. Oh well.)

The adverbs in this sweet children's book are perfect. They serve a purpose. I'm sure the publisher saw the import of the adverbs. My favorite is - greatly dark. The child's new room is described as greatly dark. It just works perfectly. The doll the child finds lives in a greatly dark box. 

I suppose it's the voice. Greatly dark is something I can see this child using. There are other adverbs in the book, like frizzly hair and sparkly dress. They all are something I could see my little one saying and using. 

I suppose there are always exceptions to the rules. I let an adverb slide by now and again. If it works.

I got a nice rejection back today for 'Sorrysorrysorry' - I'm still learning to process rejections and not get disheartened. I called my editor and told her. She told me, in a sweet voice, to suck it up and keep writing and keep sending. So much for a pity party. I was ready. Really I was.

Life is courage.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Ranting With The Stars

Watching the thank-you's from the Oscar winners proved quite an education. I've seen them before, but this year's thanks seemed so much pithier, more sincere, more heartfelt. They thanked everyone.

I've been focused on support the last few blogs. I write alone, sitting at a corner desk in my bedroom, facing a wall. The cold air (tonight it's going to be -1 F) seeps through the window right next to me and turns my fingers a nice shade of blue. (of course, I really like 'Blue' - *g*)

I think most writers write alone but I'm discovering a fair number of writers are congregating for support. Reminds me of a beehive. Not that there's one queen in the middle, but the close proximity of every member of the community. 

I found this particularly delightful blog today and I want to share it with you. The author is now published. Her first book, 'Gilded', released. She held a virtual launch and the site and the things I learned were amazing. 

Her friends and family rallied around her. The launch lasted all day and one after another of her supporters stepped forward and offered a bit of themselves and sometimes a giveaway. It was mind-boggling.

On the site is a video - filled with encouragement. Watch it if you get the chance. It's uplifting.

For now, I'm readying myself for the Skyline meeting on Saturday. I'm hoping to show the video and challenge my fellow writers to supporting each other, not just by attending the meetings, but by spending time reading the submissions, saying hooray if the MS deserves it, and helping to make each other's stories just awesome. 

My writing buddy and I are growing in support of each other. I plan to be a wee bit more assertive and urge my friends to allow me to ask for their help and support.

Life is support.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Hardwiring Happiness

You know, if you've been reading my blog, that I love to watch CBS' Sunday Mornings. Most times, there are segments that are beneficial to writers or anyone in the arts. This morning's was no exception. (see link below)

They had a segment regarding bad reviews. It fascinated me. They interviewed two movie critics and some people they had vilified. One actress, upon seeing the critic after a nasty review, dumped her plate of food all over his head. She vindicated herself.

The segment dealt with negativity and how one bad word or statement or critique could wipe away a thousand good ones in our minds. We are programmed to remember the bad, Dr. Hanson, neuropsychologist and author of 'Hardwiring Happiness', said, because our brains are still stone-age brains. We have to remember when bad things happen to us so we don't get eaten by carnivores. (see link below)

This gave me pause to laugh due to an incident I had while traveling with the dearest sister-friends imaginable in New Zealand. They constantly shouted warnings to me as I drove along the highways, side roads, and cliff-hanging dirt roads.They were afraid I was going to hit the inevitable bird sitting on the asphalt or dirt or whatever. I would giggle, for a time, until I got a touch testy. Why would they ever think I would hit a bird? Or for that matter, anything that was on the roadways? Turns out, they were right. The birds in New Zealand are not used to traffic. Some roads might get one or two cars on it in a week. Their home of Ireland is about the same.

The birds don't know better. They don't have the memory of sitting on the road being a bad thing.

In the United States, ALL the birds have great primeval memory. They know they'll get squashed flatter than a pancake if they sit on a road with a car/truck/bus coming. And they fly away long before the vehicle gets close. Our birds (USA birds) know traffic. They can't rest for a moment on a roadside.

To get back to negativity. The program brought to mind the times I've had critiques. I cannot tell you one good word that I heard during those critiques. I can tell you every bad word, phrase, sentence, nuance, feeling...... Arrrgggghhhh... Stupid primeval memory!

TV can mirror life. Just yesterday, at our Writers' Ink meeting, we talked about negativity and how terrible it can be and how impactful and life-altering.

Just another reason we have to fight to remain positive. Fight to hold onto the good things. Fight to support each other.

Life is primeval. *g*

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Power Of Words

A dear friend, Neal Novak, put this link on Facebook. It blew me away. It confirmed me as a writer. Please take a moment, if you are the least bit creative, and watch this video. Then - read on. I pray it uplifts you as it did me. (You'll have to cut and paste it.)

The video said to me, 'You are gifted with sight. Your creative force is bestowed upon you. To be used. Don't get caught in the mundane when the words you have been given can change the world. Or one person's world.'

The video made me glad and humbled to be a writer. I know I now see things differently. As if I have rose-colored glasses at times and, at other times, magnifying glasses. 

Oh sisters - be glad, very glad, that you have been blessed with this benefaction. It can cause pain and angst and world-weariness, but if portioned out to the world, it can be such a blessing. And you, because you are the benefactress and the donor of this gift, you will thrive and grow. And you can become the fairy godmother. Wouldn't that be fun? Wouldn't that be precious? Wouldn't that bring you to tears?

Come along with me and be a fairy godmother. Give the gift you were given, write it out, and sprinkle it upon your world. It will be a better world for it. And you will be a happier person for it.

Life is short. Gifts can be taken back. Use yours. I'm trying to use mine.

You are precious to me. You who read these words. Know I struggle and continue because you are here and listening and supporting me. I am grateful.

Life is Abundant.