Thursday, December 30, 2010

Calling all Inkerites: Please take the floor.

So we inkers have been blogging for a while and we've been writing for years. As I look forward to a new year, I started to wonder about those who follow our blog. What do you like? What could be better? How can we improve in 2011? Something introduced you to this blog and something makes you stop by once in a while to see us, so what is it?

There are a lot of exciting things happening this year for our writer's group with conferences and opportunities. I'd love to hear what is new in your lives.

So please take the floor. Consider it open mic night at Inking Cap for New Year's Eve 2011.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Writing YA

I know a lot of aspiring authors. Of those aspiring, I think about 50% are writing for the YA market. I am one of those aspiring YA writers. The other day I was reading this blog from Kristin Nelson that I thought was worth posting.

I've been reading the Gallagher Girl spy series by Ally Cross. The thing about her series that really stands out to me is that her characters are unquestionably teenage girls. Not grownups stuck in a teenage body, or kids forced to grow up too fast because of circumstances. Just teenage girls.

How do we, as adults, capture a younger voice, thus capturing a younger audience? Who are some of your favorite YA characters?

Saturday, December 25, 2010


My favorite story, non-fiction:

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Cæsar Augustus, that all athe world should be btaxed.

(And this ataxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judæa, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

And she brought forth her afirstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the binn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you agood tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the cLord.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

St. Luke 2:1-20

Thursday, December 23, 2010

As for me, I am a believer!

Snowfall and winter dreaming, capturing Christmas Magic. Modern thinking pulls me from the fond fantasies of my youth and whispers, "It can't be true."
"Bah and humbug," I say to the wicked whispers of the technology age.
Twinkling lights and unexplainable phenomenons of kindness guide me to the other truths of a short man in a warm red coat who represents the desire to bring joy and unselfish gifts of love to all the world.
I am a believer in the magic of Christmas. Are you?

PS my 5 year old son says Rudolph had a green nose. Maybe he's right.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Going Home

 I've come home for Christmas.

My sweet husband has hidden for the last 11.5 years how much he misses his home state of Washington.

Now we are here and the weather is being very unfair.  She is showing her best side.  This morning we could see the ocean and the blue sky.  How am I going to convince my dear husband that the weather here is terrible when she plays me like the fool I am?  Look at this family walking through the forest in the middle of December.  You can't walk like that in our mountain home.

How am I going to convince him to face this?

This is what we faced getting "home".  Let's hope we have better weather getting to our real home at the end of the week. :)

Setting (as previously mentioned) makes a huge difference on a person.  I am who I am because of all the different places I've lived, esp. rainy, dark, dreary Seattle.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


I always swore I'd never live in Utah, and here I am. My life today is much different than when I lived in L.A. In many ways, I am a different person. I'd like to think, a better person.

My current work-in-progress is set in L.A. It takes me back to my former world. It's also made me think about how much setting impacts character development. Take the same character and put them in New York, the French Riviera, a small village in Africa, or another planet and their fate may be quite different.

I often wonder how intrinsically different I would be as a person if I had been born in a different state or country. How much of who I am today would exist, regardless of my environment?

Thursday, December 16, 2010


How do we measure success? What does it say about us?

After spending more than half the night waiting for things to come together so that I can meet with one of my favorite agents of all time, success this morning is just getting my computer to work and getting everything arranged.

My oldest son is in a production of "A Christmas Carol" directed by our very own Rose (DJ) and I'm helping back stage. Yesterday was opening night. Success was getting all the way through the play without any major hiccups. The K-6 graders sang beautifully, the lead actor slowed down so you could actually understand his lines, and of course my son was fabulous as he belted his 3 lines as well. SUCCESS!
These are little successes but if I don't count them then I feel like I might always be waiting for success and never achieving it.

What successes have you had recently? Found that perfect gift? Overcome a challenge? Managed to fit in that work out? Tell us about it.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Today I am sending out a big wish of luck to fellow Inkers.  Some of us have big things happening in the next few days so I thought I would collectively tell you all:

Good Luck!

Happy thoughts and warm wishes to all.


Nobody have an aneurysm or anything, but at the end of this Tuesday I am FINALLY posting. All I really have to say is that it finally snowed here in Reno and I am delighted. I can only take so many gloomy days with nothing in return. At least, when it snows, I have an excuse to get warm and cozy with a book and some hot chocolate. When it's just gloomy, I feel obligated to still be productive, you know? Do some dishes, make my kids do homework, run errands, yada yada yada. Now I can sit back and watch those beautiful flakes fall and sip my hot chocolate with a complete and utter lack of caring about what I'm not getting done. :)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas Quotables

I started today with a healthy dose of Christmas spirit. After spending 7 hours in the car en famille running errands and shopping, I'm afraid it has been gradually beaten out of me.

In an effort to get some spirit back, I turned to thinking about some of my favorite scenes from Christmas-themed movies. Here is a selection:

A Christmas Story
[Ralphie is visiting Santa at the department store, only he can't remember what he wanted]

Santa Claus: How about a nice football?
Ralphie as Adult: [narrating] Football? Football? What's a football? With unconscious will my voice squeaked out 'football'.
Santa Claus: Okay, get him out of here.
Ralphie as Adult: [narrating] A football? Oh no, what was I doing? Wake up, Stupid! Wake up!
Ralphie: [Ralphie is shoved down the slide, but he stops himself and climbs back up] No! No! I want an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle!
Santa Claus: You'll shoot your eye out, kid.

Christmas Vacation
[Clark's meltdown after a series of VERY unfortunate events at the family Chirstmas Eve - language cleaned up]

Clark: Where do you think you're going? Nobody's leaving. Nobody's walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We're all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here. We're gonna press on, and we're gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny f***ing Kaye. And when Santa squeezes his fat white a** down that chimney tonight, he's gonna find the jolliest bunch of a**holes this side of the nuthouse.

It's a Wonderful Life

Zuzu Bailey: Look, Daddy. Teacher says, every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings.
George Bailey: That's right, that's right.
George Bailey: Attaboy, Clarence.

Miracle on 34th Street

Doris: Faith is believing when common sense tells you not to. Don't you see? It's not just Kris that's on trial, it's everything he stands for. It's kindness and joy and love and all the other intangibles.

Die Hard
[It was set at a Christmas party]

[Reading what McClane wrote on the dead terrorist's shirt]
Hans Gruber: "Now I have a machine gun. Ho ho ho."

Ahhhh. I'm feeling better already. Feel free to add any of your favorites.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Fortune Cookie Wisdom

Last night's fortune cookie said, "You will bring sunshine into someone's life."

So here is your sunshine in December.

Anyone else have sunshiny type news to send out to the blog o' sphere?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


How do you deal with Holiday Stress?

Do you remind yourself that, Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Clause?

Do you sit down and drink egg nog or hot cocoa?

Maybe a nice bubble bath with Vanilla bubbles?

Sit by the tree and relax?

Read a good book?

Walk through the snow?

What is your de-stresser? 

(I'm in need of tips.  I was up all night stressing and now I feel like I've got an ulcer.)

Saturday, December 4, 2010


I'm basically stealing this news from our friend Graham Chops, but in case you hadn't heard, James Dashner's Maze Runner is being made into a film:

Kudos to Dashner, especially for negotiating the right to adapt the screenplay himself. A wise move, I would say.

This book has been on my "to read" list forever. I think it will be next.

Friday, December 3, 2010

ANWA 2011 Writing Conference

I'll be participating in the 2011 ANWA (American Night Writers Association) Conference coming up in February and wanted to share the details for anyone who's interested. There are some great people presenting this year, including one of my favorites--Janette Rallison. The conference is based in Phoenix, perfect for those who are looking for warmer weather in February.

"Writing at the Speed of Life" 19th Annual ANWA Writers Conference February 25 & 26, 2011.

ANWA - American Night Writers Association was established 1986.

Join us in beautiful Crowne Plaza Hotel near the airport in Phoenix, Arizona for two days packed full of workshops, classes and pitch sessions. For sure a writers dream. Rub shoulders with authors, agents, editors and publishers. See website for full schedule.

Program Focus: Autobiography/Memoir, Children's, Middle Grade, YA, Fiction, Non-fiction, Journalism, Marketing, Mystery, Playwriting, Publishing, Romance, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Screenwriting, Humor, Query Letters, Dialog,

Faculty: Kelly Sonnack-agent, Kelly Gottuso Mortimer-agent, Kirk Shaw-editor, Cecily Markland-small publishing company owner, author and newspaper editor, Pinna Joseph-book store manager, Authors: Chris Stewart, Janette Rallison, Laurie Schnebly Campbell, Elana Johnson, Angela Morrison, Conrad J. Storad, Chava Cannon-Music Writer

ANWA Members: Full Two-Day Conference $100, One-Day Friday Workshops $30, One-Day Saturday Workshops-$80

General Public: Full Two-Day Conference $115, One-Day Friday Workshops $40, One-Day Saturday Workshop $90

*See Website for details

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Acting Out of Character

There is an episode in the original animated series of Avatar: The Last Airbender (which those of you who have followed our conversations on the blog know that we ninja Inkers LOVE)in which Katara, the rock and nurturing influence in the group, does something seemingly out of character. She hunts down and attacks an old man unprovoked. If there were no reasons given it would have been the worse episode ever. But...because we were with her on the journey to the attack, it made her seem more real, not less. She attacked him because she believed him to be her mother's murderer. Then she hunts and attacks the actual murderer and discovers something essential about herself. Making all of us feel like we know Katara better.

I think sometimes that I get so scared about my characters acting "out of character" that I forget that we all do it. Have you ever seen a normally quiet and happy mom in the store, after a sleepless night, with screaming sick children when the clerk says that they have sold out of the medicine she needed? Can you believe she would rant so badly that security escorted her out of the building?

Or let's take Scrooge as a great example of someone acting completely out of character. If you knew the first 1/4 of the story and then flipped to the end you might throw the book against the wall saying, "Stupid author set up a terrifically wicked old man and then made him all mushy in the end." Or you could take the terrifying journey with Scrooge through the ghostly night to face his own mortality and see that he has always been motivated by fear and that when his fear changed from being of the world and became about leaving the world behind his behavior changed dramatically.

I recently had an episode of acting completely out of character and against my own better judgement. I pouted. Yep and though I disdain pouting in others and especially my children and have been known to laugh out loud at it, circumstances arose in which I found myself consciously pouting. Luckily a good friend came to my rescue and laughed at my self induced misery until I laughed at it too.

Human flaws and uncharacteristic behavior can make our characters REAL. The trick is defining the situations that would cause them to behave out of character.

When have you acted out of character? What drove you to it?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

7:57 am

It is 7:57 on a Wednesday morning.  What are you doing?  What would your characters be doing?

Me, I'm cruising the Internet.

My characters?  Well, one of them has been up for hours getting breakfast ready for the Alfheimers she works for.  Another is still asleep in her aunt's house, sharing a room with a baby and a snotty tween, dreaming about baseball.  And another is locked up in a guest bedroom with a husband she hates waiting to be set free.

And you?