Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I just found a treasure. A beautiful little box of Van Houten cocoa powder! It was hiding in my cupboard, biding it's time. But Autumn is on my doorstep and I will be drinking amazing, delicious hot chocolate tomorrow morning. Hooray!

Saturday, August 28, 2010


I stayed up until 3 AM finishing Mockingjay, so I'm going to make this brief today.

I'm stuck. I've been in the same scene of my Work in Progress (WIP) for two weeks.

The dilemma? A supporting character needs to make a statement in an interview that starts a chain of events which mean trouble my main character. I know the nature of what his comment needs to be, but can't find words I am happy with.

Up to this point, I've been determined to not move on with the story until I get this line down. Now, I'm reconsidering and will likely put a note that says "Guy accidentally slips and says something horribly sexist" and carry on. My hesitation in doing this is, what if I never do find just the right thing for him to say? Eventually I need to get it in order for everything that follows in that subplot to make sense.

However, my bigger fear is that as I stew over this, other details I've had in mind for the rest of the story are beginning to fade. I really feel like I need to move forward. Especially since I have committed to having the entire WIP finished for the other Inkers to review in November.

So, that is my plan. As of today, I'm moving on. I'm willing to entertain arguments against it if anyone has any. And, sorry, I guess it wasn't that brief.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Good, the Bad and the Balance

If you figure out how to balance it all, let me know.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

School and Libraries and Creating

Today I sent my oldest 2 off to school, and even though it is blazing hot outside, I am thinking of all things fall.  And being in that train of thought makes me want to write picture books.  80% of the time I love writing middle grade fiction and fantasy, but come fall, I always want to tell a story meant for pictures.

Fall just seems the perfect medium for illustrations.

Maybe it is because I have such fond memories of storytime.  Now my mother read out loud to me, but there is something magical about your teacher reading to you.  I can still remember my first elementary library.

 It was dark with tall shelves and the books were all magical.  That memory is still the ideal for a reading spot.  I've always wanted to go back to that school and see what the library really looks like.  It was 27 years ago that I went to kindergarten, has that memory been glorified?  I am sure it has.

This is the entry of my school.  I went there from K through 3rd.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


At the risk of putting some of you off, I'm going to talk today about not being published. Here's a link to a whole article from Query Tracker discussing the topic. I have to say that I agree with a lot of the points. I'm just going to add my take on it, which is to say that I love writing because of the outlet it provides me. Who knows? Maybe I won't love it so much when I have a bound book on my shelf filled with words that I've put there. Of course, I won't know until I have that bound book, but the point is to continue to pursue my dreams as long as I'm pursuing them. Not the other way around.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Psychoanalysis via Facebook

We've had a few posts since the beginning of Inking Cap about Facebook. Some of the Inkers have sworn off of it, due to its tendency to eat time or because of boredom with the updates.

I am a Facebooker. I have always been interested in psychology, and FB to me is like being part of a daily therapy session with my friends list. With one glance I know who is having a good or bad day, who might need help with something, get a good laugh, reconnect with someone from my childhood, etc. To me, it was a brilliant idea.

Last night, as I was perusing the FB updates, I began to reflect upon my FB behavior to do a little self-analysis. I rarely post. Mostly, I comment on other people's updates. Also, I don't like to write on people's walls, but prefer to send messages. When I request someone to be a friend, I usually don't include a message, although I probably should when it is someone I haven't talked to in years. I tend to comment more on updates that are asking questions or for opinions about something.

So here is what I've learned from this. I'm more of an observer than a do-er. I probably need to be more proactive with some things (ahem, writing). I'm nervous about sharing too much of myself with others, for whatever reason. I like keeping in touch with friends, even if I don't have a lot of free time to chat or get together with them. I have strong opinions - surprise, surprise ;).

While looking up some info about FB, I found the 12 Most Annoying Facebook Habits according to CNN. It is funny, and I think anyone who uses FB has done at least one thing on this list, so don't take it personally.

Finally, I saw a trailer for a movie coming out this fall called The Social Network, about the guys who started FB while they were students at Harvard. It doesn't seem like a subject that would make a great movie, but it looked pretty good. I plan to see it when it comes out. Then, maybe I'll post an update about it.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Find out who your friends are...

Better late than never.

Tonight I'm thinking a lot about friendship. So here is a little friendship test that I created based on recent events (the bodies in the final example are metaphorical):

The dog test:
An acquaintance might pet your dog and call it cute.
A friend will watch your dog while you are away.
A Great Friend will drive 18 hours to pick up your dog and keep it for 2 and a half weeks and not think twice about the inconvenience.

The exercise test:
An acquaintance will give encouragement when you announce you are planning to train for a 1/2 marathon.
A friend might agree to run it with you for fun.
A Great Friend stays by you step for step for 13.1 miles and never lets you quit.

The test of time:
Acquaintances will give you time to say hello or chat about life for a few minutes.
A friend will spend time with you, hanging out, talking, or sharing treats.
A Great Friend will spend hours brainstorming a novel that may never see the light of day just because you're excited by the idea.

The secret test:
An acquaintance doesn't know or care about your secrets.
A friend will understand and love you in spite of your secrets.
A Great Friend helps you bury the bodies.

So thanks to all my Great Friends and all the times you've laughed at and with me, cried for and because of me, been silly and serious with me and for inspiring me to be a better person.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Summer's End

Summer is ending and I am feeling a bit nostalgic.  A 20-something friend posted on facebook all the things he's trying to juggle and that made me feel nostalgic too.

Trying to figure out all those life-changing things and the end of summer are similiar to me.  Both have the sense of the carefree coming to an end. The good old days are closing, dusk is coming on those freedom days, but night offers some great adventures.

Maybe its becuase I fell in love with my husband over the summer.  We were engaged by Labor Day and married before New Year's Eve.  Summer is amazing; adventure, feet in the sand, new things to try, or old things to revisit.  But Fall comes with some of its own nostalgia.  Think of pumpkins, apple crisp, comfort, new pencils, blank notebooks, cozy blankets, roaring fires.

When I was a 20-Something and making all those decisions, I didn't realize how great my "autumn" would be.  Everything is better with my best friend at my side.  All the adventure's we've had, good and bad, are better because he was there.  One of my favorite things is to look at him in the driver's seat as we head off on some grand adventure.  His profile makes me smile.

So, as I rush to get everything ready for my kids' back-to-school day, waiting for pay-day, planning, hoping what I need is still available, etc, I am also remembering the great adventures we've had this summer; three crazy kids, camping trips, backyard marshmallow roasts, water parks, baseball games, bocce games, video games, and in my life in general; long road trips, moving, jobs, babies, tweens, building houses, yard work, beaches, forrests, mountains, valleys.

What's on your mind today?
PS Sorry for the sap.  It's just what is on my mind . . .

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

Can anyone answer this dilemma for me? I want to know why shows get canceled before being allowed to tell their story. I mean, I get started watching the Sarah Connor Chronicles and then I realized just this morning that it was cancelled after the second season. WHY?! I just don't get it. It's just like Firefly all over again. Can't studios just let the fans have some closure, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD?! I think, from now on, no show should be allowed to go to production unless there is a beginning, middle and end and a contract is signed saying that all of the episodes will air.

I've said my peace. Thank you for listening.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Cover Up

I ran across a great online article about the 25 world's worst book covers. I was so amused by the article that I thought I'd share a couple of my favorites.

First, a book cover that asks, "Is that your hand in my pocket, or are you just happy to...wait, that IS your hand in my pocket."
And then my next favorite. By the picture, I'm stuck wondering if this book is a science fiction adventure, or a book about good bra support. I'm still not sure...
Now I know authors have no control over the covers, but didn't anyone notice the obvious issues on these?

When I publish (not if, when. That's positive thinking folks) I hope my cover is at least tolerable. If it comes out with two poorly positioned globes, or an overly happy woman, I might need a night of all you can eat sushi to ease my pain.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

New Moon a la MST3K

One of my favorite TV shows of all time was Mystery Science Theater 3000. A guy and two robots riffing on old sci-fi movies. Go figure, but to me, it was hilarious.

Recently my husband showed me a review of the New Moon DVD in Home Theater Magazine (yes, hubby is a subscriber) written by the head writer and star of MST3K, Michael J. Nelson (the human star, not one of the robots).

I thought it was funny and well-written, and so I want to share. Please keep in mind, I am not a Twilight basher. I was entertained by the books until book 4, but the movies in my opinion have been awful. I was hoping to link to the review, but it was not available on the mag's site, so here is the majority of it:

If you like your vampires thin, sparkly, wan, and suicidally depressed and your werewolves hunky, shirtless, and body-waxed to within an inch of their lives, then you'll love New Moon. However, chance are good that you do not. In that case, New Moon will be an excruciating experience. The charisma-free leads stammer, pause, sulk, brood, and mumble in a spectacularly listless fashion. They make Morrissey seem like a caffeinated Mary Lou Retton. If the tortured pauses were removed, the running time would be reduced by a good hour. But as it is, the mopiness stretches on endlessly to two hours and ten minutes!

The plot takes up where Twilight left off. Quasi-goth heroine Bella gets dumped by her bloodsucking boyfriend Edward and spirals into depression. (Her depressed is virtually undistinguishable from her perky, but never mind.) She can only cure her blues by restoring dirt bikes with her childhood friend and part-time werewolf, the toothy Jacob. He and his lupine friends protect Bella, who is being stalked by a gymnastic, ginger-headed, homicidal vampire with the less-than-terrifying name of Victoria. However, Bella can't free herself from her obsession with the shimmering Edward. So she flies to Italy, along with her telepathic vampire friend, Alice, where Edward is going to make a spectacle of himself in order to break the laws of the Volturi, the ancient and outrageously foppish vampire council in the hopes they will kill him. Make sense? No, no it does not, not even a little. The purpose of the whole enterprise is to allow teen girls to wallow in its soupy blend of doomed romance, self-pity, and solipsism, while ogling the "dangerous" boys (the danger is mitigated somewhat by the fact that the boys in the series tend to look like girls) to a soundtrack of twee shoe-gazing music. It is dreadful stuff, and the fact that our nation's youth is lapping it up and surrounding themselves with it alarms me. I was also a tad discouraged that our heroine stands idly by, not uttering a peep of disapproval, when a group of innocent men, women, and children are torn apart by the Volturi. What the hell?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Character Descriptions

Just an observation.

A few days ago I finished a reading a book.  (I haven't finished a book all summer.)  It was ok, nothing ground-breaking.  But I have one complaint.

There was a relationship that developed later in the story.  When we frist met the male interest I didn't catch that he was attractive.  In fact I thought he was dumpy and yucky.  Then later when the relationship develops there is a comment that a random woman is checking out his hottness.  Really?  He's hot?  I had no idea.  It was hard to transition that thought. 

So, make sure that your characters are clear. Happy writing.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

San Francisco

I went to San Francisco last week with my family and I have to say that I love that city. So much to do! So much to love! The highlight for my kids is always the Exploratorium. For me, its always what food we choose to partake in. Therefore, I was very sad when I was sick the first two days we were there. I ended up spending some time in the van sleeping while everyone else waited for the cable cars. The good part, though, was being able to thoroughly people watch. But, not just watch. The best part was being able to hear what they were saying. It was kind of funny listening to what they had to say because they clearly didn't know I could hear them. Some people were mean. Some oblivious. Others were focused while running errands. I saw plenty of people holding bakery boxes which especially piqued my interest. :) Others spoke in languages other than English. I'm sure I heard at least four different families speaking in French. All of this is to say that my head was spinning with story ideas and ways to tell the story I'm currently working on. I'm thrilled because I have new found motivation to write!

And my kids are back in school!


Monday, August 9, 2010


Over the weekend I saw the movie Inception. Twice. Coming from a person who doesn't often see a movie twice, especially while still in the theater, that is high praise. So without a lot of spoilers, let me break down what I loved about this film.

The way Christopher Nolan constructed the story is amazing. It's complex without being impossible to understand. The revelations are so well-timed that you get just enough and never too much, which is a difficult art. He manages to separate the literal layers of the story quite masterfully and the viewer is led on an incredible journey.

The special effects are awesome, the acting is great, but really, it's the way the story is told that makes the movie brilliant.

And when you have a moment in your movie, that a collective theater of people says, "OH!" then you have done something extraordinary.

There are many other elements that I'd love to talk about, but I don't want to reveal too much. So just see it. Twice, if you want to.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


My hubby and I are celebrating our 11th anniversary today. It has me pondering what makes a great couple.

Thinking about great couples of fiction (any medium), I've come up with a starter list:

Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy (Pride and Prejudice) - my personal fave

Rhett Butler and Scarlett O'Hara (Gone With the Wind) - not a happy ending, but hot stuff

Romeo and Juliet - duh

Indiana Jones and Marion Ravenwood - I don't even remember the names of the other two gals. Too bad Kingdom of the Crystal Skull wasn't great.

Lloyd Dobler and Diane Court (Say Anything) - such a real depiction of first love

Han Solo and Princess Leah (Star Wars) - ok, so I have a Harrison Ford thing

and so on...

Feel free to add on if you are inspired.

Finally, I'd like to share one of my favorite quotes about love - from the movie Moonstruck:

Loretta, I love you. Not like they told you love is, and I didn't know this either, but love don't make things nice - it ruins everything. It breaks your heart. It makes things a mess. We aren't here to make things perfect. The snowflakes are perfect. The stars are perfect. Not us. Not us! We are here to ruin ourselves and to break our hearts and love the wrong people and *die*. The storybooks are (BS). Now I want you to come upstairs with me and *get* in my bed!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Love, power, and the podcast

This week I have an eclectic collection of topics to touch on.

First, the topic of loving your work. It has to be said, "Love the one you're with." It works for people and it works for manuscripts. Whichever person or project you are currently with love them and treat them to all of your attention.

Power, words have power. You know it and I know it and we see it all the time. Sometimes I just need to remember that power in itself is neither good or bad it's what we do with it that makes it either light up a room or burn down the house. Wo rds are much the same way they can light up our minds or burn down our egos. I'm working on choosing my words wisely and using my power for good.

And finally,
Brandon Sanderson, Howard Tayler and Dan Wells appeared at Dragon's and Fairytale Books and Games in Eagle Mountain on Saturday after our awesome marathon. Those of us still in the mood to talk writing (Debbie and I) went to hear them record three "Writing Excuses" podcasts. They were amazing as always, even though Dan, who wrote I'm Not A Serial Killer, looked scarily close to being a serial killer when he forgot to smile. Hope he's feeling better. Anyway with a large crowd of eclectic fans to make a range of strange noises in the background the recordings were a success.
Here is the quote that hit me the hardest during the discussions, from "I'm Not A Serial Killer" I promise, Dan Wells.
Answering a question about keeping invincible characters interesting he said, "You can make your characters as powerful as you want as long as their obstacles are not in the same area as their power."

Listen to writing excuses, Love your current project, and Say nice words to yourself and others, that is my three cents worth.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Writing Marathon

Well, last Saturday we had our first Writing Marathon.  Our amazing spouses gave us a WHOLE Saturday to write.  Deb's husband even took the kids OUT of the house so we could gather there.

We started slow--hey, we are all friends and it takes us some time to stop talking.  Then Kirk threw down the gauntlet and posed the first challenge.  Who could get the most words in the next hour.  I won the first challenge (hee hee).  We broke for lunch.  If Kirk ever offers to make you a sub, say YES.  Trust him to make it his way and you will be so happy.

After lunch we had another challenge.  I struggled getting started (there was turkey in that sub).  And I lost to Kirk by 30 something words!!!  If only I hadn't eaten that amazing food.

We had a final challenge at the end of the day.  Both Kirk and I were done.  We got something like 30 words for the whole hour.  (Does that mean I wouldn't be able to finish a real marathon?  I hit the wall and didn't break through it.)

Kirk won for the day.  I only lost to him by 200-ish words.  (Again, if only . . . )

We gathered later with our spouses and enjoyed a great dinner and conversation. 

All in all it was a great time.  We decided we need to do a marathon quarterly.  Someone else will post the grand total of words written during the 8 hours of the marathon.