Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

As a reminder (mostly for myself) to remember to keep Christmas simple. Here is a passage from Laura Ingalls Wilder:

But Ma asked if they were sure the stockings were empty. Then they put their hands down inside them, to make sure. And in the very toe of each stocking was a shining bright, new penny!
They had never even thought of such a thing as having a penny. Think of having a whole penny for your very own. Think of having a cup and a cake and a stick of candy and a penny.
There never had been such a Christmas.

—Little House on the Prairie, by Laura Ingalls Wilder (1935)

Hope you all have a shining bright penny-esque Christmas!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thursday Mash Up

Since my fellow Inkers are slacking, I'm posting again!!

Here is the mash up for this week:
Dan Wells VS Rob Wells (literary mash up, I'm sure they fought enough as kids to make a cage fight almost too predictable.)

So who will kill more people in their next novel? Rob or Dan?

Cartoon Mash up
Who does Christmas specials better?
Phineas and Ferb or Charlie Brown

Monday, December 12, 2011

Post Highjacking in progress!! Sorry, Debbie.

Hey there Inkers and followers,

I highjacked today's post because I finished, "Clockwork Prince" by Cassandra Clare last night and the ending left me needing to vent.

So here I am venting: I hate that book 3 is not out and I want to slap at least three of her main characters!!!
[SPOILER ALERT-although I will not be specific you will glean spoilers from this rant. Especially if you are unfamiliar with Cassandra Clare and her tactics when it comes to romance and therefore unprepared for the tempest.]

I know that the romantic tension of the story needs to carry through 3 maybe even 4 books, but really does the heroine have to make the stupid, sappy choice with the secondary sypathetic guy while the REAL HERO is on his way to profess his love for her? It's annoyingly short sighted of her and after a book and a half I am mad at all of them. The sappy guy for being so nice and vulnerable and likeable, the Hero for taking so long to overcome his issues, and especially the heroine for choosing the lesser of man at precisely the wrong moment. (Granted, there is hope that she can change that decision with only minor bloodshed and mayhem.)

I know that it isn't a new tale of wo for a romance to take this turn. I can see that there is hope for book 3 (if I can just wait to see what happens, which at this point is unlikely.) BUT really, I feel like I've been toyed with by Ms. Clare's machinations. I know who the real hero is and I know that he is more noble, strong, true, sexy, and awesome than the other guy. WHY oh WHY must the girl in the story be such a dunce? I wanted to throw the book. I hoped that somehow it would not go exactly the direction I saw it going--like watching a train on a collision course with a truck and hoping that it will somehow magically stop in time, only to witness the horrifying train wreck you knew was coming. (Don't get me wrong I have faith that she will pull this twisted mess apart in book three and I'll leave the story relieved and happy. I liked the City of Bones series.)

So here is what went right: The author managed to evoke high emotion in me as a reader. She left a window of hope and a lead into book 3. She made her characters so real that I wanted to slap them sometimes and kiss them other times, and she gave the reader a nominal happy ending with some secondary characters as a breadcrumb.

However, even though I usually enjoy a good romance, even if its formulaic, the forces behind Clare's romances are frustrating to me. The worst part is that I can't put my finger on the exact reason it annoys me so much.
End of rant.

What books drive you crazy, the good and the bad?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Bringing the Funny

I am in love with a TV show. It's okay, my hubby loves it too. It is New Girl. Watching this week's episode I literally almost died laughing. Tears ran down my face and I could not catch my breath. It is a perfect mix of great writing and great comedic acting. Definitely still holds the number one spot as my fave new show of the season.

Whether you've watched it before or not, I think you will enjoy some of these quotes from the episodes that have aired so far. Although I will say the selection from "Bad in Bed" do not do it justice...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Billy Wisdom

One of the best screenwriters of all time is Billy Wilder. My personal favorite of his is Some Like it Hot.

I saw this list of Billy Wilder's ten screenwriting tips and wanted to share some of his sage advice:

1. The audience is fickle.

2. Grab ‘em by the throat and never let ‘em go.

3. Develop a clean line of action for your leading character.

4. Know where you’re going.

5. The more subtle and elegant you are in hiding your plot points, the better you are as a writer.

6. If you have a problem with the third act, the real problem is in the first act.

7. A tip from Lubitsch: Let the audience add up two plus two. They’ll love you forever.

8. In doing voice-overs, be careful not to describe what the audience already sees. Add to what they’re seeing.

9. The event that occurs at the second act curtain triggers the end of the movie.

10. The third act must build, build, build in tempo and action until the last event, and then—that’s it. Don’t hang around.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Happy Thanksgiving!!
The turkey is in the oven, the pies are lined up in the fridge and Arlene is diligently prepping the green bean casserole, and the sweet potatoe souffle! I am taking a minute to say Happy Thanksgiving to everyone here on the blog.

Here are a few things that I am grateful for this year:
Three wonderful children
Fabulous friends who understand me (especially the awesome Inkers!)
Loving family, even though they are far away.
A loyal dog (I'm missing right now as we are out of town.)
My husband was going to be at the top of this list, but he just mocked me so he's fallen off the list momentarily. (Seriouly, he mocked me on Thanksgiving while Arlene and I are preparing a feast. He'll be lucky if he get a giblet much less a turkey leg.)
Back to the list:
A warm home and enough of everything I need, but not all that I want so that I still have things to reach for.

What are you grateful for?

Monday, November 21, 2011


Best news story ever! Please click here.

Warning: If you are a fan of Breaking Dawn, this story might not be for you.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


I'm feeling incredibly unmotivated to do anything productive today. I could blame my very long work week, the icy cold weather and ensuing first real snow of fall, or the fact that hubby is down with a quite violent stomach virus. The result is, I don't think I am going anywhere today, and the only things on my to-do list are some Christmas shopping (online, of course), a serious game of Seinfeld Monopoly with my oldest, and a snuggly movie evening with the whole fam, with sick daddy at a safe distance.

That being said, I'm going to continue my slacker trend with my post today and invite you to visit the blog of a literary agent, Rachelle Gardner. I have found her blog to be very interesting and informative, and I hope you will too. Please enjoy while I switch over to Barnes and Noble to order some presents!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Hijackers beware! Oh yeah and buy "Variant" by Rob Wells Today!

I see that my Thursday spot was hijacked today, but I do have a message I want you all to see.

Larry Correia posted about some struggles our friend Robison Wells is having and how we as a writing and reading community can make a difference.
Check it out!!


I Missed My Wednesday

I missed it.  Not really.  I was delightfully busy with my family.  But I completely forgot all of you.  My apologies.

My daughter (12) has loved writing for several years now.  She's pretty accomplished.

But my son (10) has never loved it.  In fact his teachers and I have struggled to find ways for him to write anything.  When the rest of the class was writing on a preassigned topic he was free to write about anything he wanted.  Just so that he would actually write.

Yesterday as I was driving him and two other Inkers' children home he announced that he loves writing now.  I almost wrecked the car for shock (not really).  I haven't read his work but I am just so happy that he loves to write.

Then the other Inker children talked about how much they love to write as well. 

As mothers, we will influence our kids for good or bad.  But I think its pretty cool that our kids are following in our footsteps and expressing themselves on paper.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


I just finished reading Matched by Ally Condie, a Utah based author. Matched is the first of a trilogy, YA, dystopian. The second book, Crossed, was just released last week, and the third is due next November.

Here is a plot summary courtesy of Amazon:

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

I really enjoyed this book, which is inspired by 1984 but is less gritty, with elements of Farenheit 451 and the Stepford Wives. I liked the characters and especially the relationships, with love being an overarching theme. Whether the bond is family, friends, or passion/true love, they are all well represented here. I recommend it as a good read and hope the story stays strong through the next two books.

As a side note for those of us who aspire to be published authors, Condie blogged about her journey to publication here if you are interested (there are two parts).

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Have you heard? There's a new way to track your Internet browsing.  Its called Pinterest.  Now I will admit that I use it more for keeping track of sewing projects or cool decorating ideas or yummy food I want to try.  But I also use it to keep track of Writing Tips

Check it out and see how it expands your world! Or at least your World Wide Web.
(If you want an invite, leave a comment with your email and I'll send you one.)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

Saw this clip and thought it was pretty funny. So I'm sharing. Don't watch if you can't take a woman calling Halloween the pedophile's Christmas.

Happy Halloween everyone :)

Saturday, October 29, 2011


With some trepidation after my bad experience with American Horror Story, I watched the pilot episode of the new NBC series Grimm.

The premise is, while investigating the grisly murder of a college student (who was killed as she ran in a wooded area while wearing a red hoodie), a detective discovers he is a descendant of the Grimm family, of fairy tale fame, and that he has the ability to see the true identities of the monsters and villains of the Grimm tales (e.g. the Big Bad Wolf), lurking beneath normal human exteriors in his midst. It seems they are not just fairy tales after all.

Although I found a couple of the key actors to be on the weak side, this episode totally hooked me with great pacing, genuine suspense, and the intriguing premise. I literally jumped in my seat several times, yet it was not too gory or scary, just creepy good. My favorite is a supporting character named Eddie Monroe, who puts a new twist on the Big Bad Wolf. He provided an unexpected dose of humor.

I don't know exactly where they are going ultimately with this, but I will be back for episode 2.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Ultimate Showdowns

Had an interesting conversation about cage fighting tonight. As I thought about posting, I wanted to have a match up of great white shark vs gorilla or something. I am not going to the animal kingdom for this showdown though. So here are your match ups, cage fight style:

1) Cruella DeVille vs Professor Umbridge in a cage who walks out?

2) Angry Birds vs Pikachu in a cage who bleeds first?

And finally:
3) Thor vs Wolverine in a cage? (I'll admit to alterior motives on this match up;)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Once I Get To Know You Better

Have you ever read a book?
Really, you have?

I am so proud.

Have you ever read a book and once you finish it, you want to read it again?  Now that you know the characters better, do you want to go back and see all those character traits again?

Kind of like when you finished watching Sixth Sense and (spoiler alert) you find out he's been dead the whole time.  You want to go back and see how you missed that through the whole movie.

I just finished a book with four young men as the main characters (with a two girls as well).  They are all immature and wealthy.  (I am sure you can imagine where that leads to.)  Their interactions were so fun.  Towards the end  of the book I was laughing hysterically.  I had to stop reading because I was blinded by tears of joy.

Now I want to go back and re-read it.  Now that I see how they are, I want to see their interactions in the beginning, when I hadn't fully appreciated them.

When I write, sometimes I want to spill the beans completely.  "This man is bad!" "This girl is a heartless flirt!"  But sometimes the joy is in savoring the reveal.  Taking time to let us know the characters.

So may we write so that our readers want to reread our books.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Time Management

Like many of you, I often feel that I don't have enough time for the things I want to do. My responsibilities wreak havoc on my time and the things I really want to do get pushed to the bottom of the to-do list. My children are getting older and need me more for homework, chores, a shoulder to cry on and a ride to where ever it is they need to go, but the side effect is that I have to use a schedule and calendar more to manage what precious time I have. Happily, I think I'm making some headway in this arena.

In previous posts on this subject, you probably heard me whine and complain about how I can't manage my life and find time to write, too. Not the case today! I had about a dozen things needing my attention before noon today, writing included, and they all got done. Why? Because I was willing to schedule my time. I'm talking writing it on the calendar, setting alarms on my phone and making my family the number one priority.

None of us likes feeling like we're letting our loved ones down, me least of all. So the needs of my kids came first today. Preschool snacks were prepared, field trip lunches were made and rides to school were in order to allow my oldest a wee bit more time to work on that paper. My family taken care of, I turned my attention on what I needed. Today, I needed to go to the temple. For those of you who may not know what that is, think of it as focused meditation time combined with spiritual nourishment and an opportunity to make commitments with God. I hadn't been in a long time, so today I needed to carve out that time for my own health. My iPod blinked at me and I knew it was time to get there, no excuses. It was open when I got there, but only for cleaning. So what did I do? I helped cleaned the temple. :)

That done, I headed back to pick up my daughter from preschool with some time to spare. Enough time, in fact, to stop at Starbuck's for hot chocolate and a bagel and work on an article I'm writing for a magazine. I looked over my notes, settled in for a solid 25 minutes of writing and still got to the preschool on time. And then, to wrap it all up, we spent the next 45 minutes at the dentist.

Home at last, eating lunch with my preschooler, I'm happy to say that it's been a beautiful morning. Busy, but beautiful!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Family Time

Spending this weekend visiting my mom and one of my sisters, both of whom I haven't seen in over two years. Also get to see my brother, who I saw briefly this summer, and two of his kids. Always great to catch up with everyone.

Our families are like characters in a long-running book series. You're introduced to these folks and witness all their experiences over the course of life - the highs, the lows, the weird, the amusing. Some change dramatically over time, some are consistent, reliable.

I will admit that some of my characters have been inspired by family members (some heavily). Who can pass up such an intriguing cast that you know so well?

I'm curious to know what fictional families you think have been written well, either in literature, movies, or TV.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Psych Out

I love the TV show, Psych. In my opinion, hands down the best comedy currently on television. So, in honor of the new season that just started, I thought I'd blog my favorite Psych-isms.

5. You know that's right.

4. Wait for it...

3. Gus, don't be a... (fill in the blank. Could include "myopic chihuahua", "crazy hooligan", "rabid porcupine", or "incorrigible Eskimo pie with a caramel ribbon".

2. I'm a sympathetic crier.

1. I've heard it both ways.

If you read this list and it makes no sense, check out Psych when you get the chance.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Regency Life

I'm reading Sylvester by Georgette Hyer, on loan from Inker Donna after a soujourn at Inker DJ's house. It has been refreshing after reading a very good, but emotionally heavy story followed by three other books that I started but did not care to finish.

What is it about the Regency period that makes these stories so good and enduring? Is it the lifestyles of the rich and famous aspect where we get to live vicariously as the wealthy of the period did, with nothing to occupy our days except riding in a phaeton or curricle or taking a leisurely stroll through beautiful countryside, attending parties and balls in London, studying music, art, and languages, and calling on friends. Certainly we sympathize with those characters who are not of the acceptable birth or wealth in society and are made to feel not worthy. However, for most there is almost always a happy ending.

Shannon Hale's Austenland revolves around a woman takes a Jane Austen themed vacation and gets to live the Regency life. I think Hale should take things a step further and create a Jane Austen theme park inspired by the book (a la the Harry Potter park). I could see it doing well because for whatever the reason, this era and the stories set in them speak to people (ok, mostly women). I haven't heard of plans for a real Austenland, but there is an Austenland movie coming soon...

BTW, I know the photo is not of Sylvester, but of Mr. Darcy. I can't help it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I've Been Appendixed

I just showed up on a podcast called The Appendix. Check it out if you dare:

We talk about my trip to Worldcon and about speculative fantasy. Plus, we recorded this on Rob Wells's book launch party day, so go check out his national debut: Variant. He couldn't be there for the podcast, because he is now famous and happy.

The Appendix crew includes Sarah Eden and Marion Jensen--two of my favorite people--and so it was a blast. Sarah Eden writes excellent Regency romance novels and Marion writes superhero, go-West dystopia, and comedic books (thus far, but nothing is stopping him from writing swashbuckling pirate adventures . . . wink, wink).

Never Give Up

This school year found me working.  It was kind of a crazy road to get there, but I am enjoying it.  I work in a Special Ed class with 5th and 6th graders.  There are 9 kids and 4 adults.

These kids are so fun (and so hard all in the same breathe).  But they never give up.

Two of the boys in there are determined to make friends with another boy.  Let's make up names for them all.  "David" is the short 6th grade boy.  "Aaron" is the tall 6th grade boy.  And "Henry" is a 5th grade boy who doesn't interact with the other kids.

David and Aaron both try to make Henry their friend.  They will come by and hold his hand.  Henry doesn't even notice.  Aaron brought Henry a bag of cookies with Henry's name written on it (mom must have done that).  Henry didn't want any of the cookie.  David tries to talk with Henry (David is only partially verbal) and Henry doesn't look up.  David will shake Henry's shoulders in a friendly way trying to get Henry to look at him.  And Henry doesn't.

Henry can be disruptive.  He can scream with high pitched screams.  He takes the full time attention of one of the adults (me) in the class.  He gets food when the other kids don't. 

David and Aaron could look at him with a jealous eye.  They could easily resent him for not being friendly.  But they don't.  Each day they try again to get Henry's love.

They NEVER give up.

Sometimes, as "functioning" adults, we give up too easy.  We stop trying to be nice to someone (I'm guilty there).  We stop trying to figure out a difficult puzzle.  And we stop seeing the beauty in everything around us.

I challenge you to find something you've given up on and try again.  Is it running?  Writing?  What? 

For me its writing.  I must keep plugging away at it.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Time To Suffer

On Saturday I heard someone speaking about trials in life. She said that trials make our lives interesting, and when the time comes to share our life stories, we don't want our tales to be boring.

What a great point.

The same goes for the stories we write. When our characters suffer, struggle, and fight, it makes the story much more interesting. No one wants to read about someone who goes through life without a problem in the world. That's the person we all hate.

So as you're going through those hard times, feel relief that you aren't the person that everyone hates. Then channel it into your story because it'll make a great read!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Horrified - Part 2

I owe you an apology. Last week I blogged about the new TV series American Horror Story. After watching part of the pilot episode I realize I should not have given any space or time to this vile, depraved mess.

What I did see of the episode literally made me sick to my stomach, and it wasn't even because of the horror elements. I cannot believe this show is on a non-premium cable channel, and in our time zone it airs at 8 p.m.! In the theaters this show could warrant an NC-17 and yet it is on at a time where kids could easily happen upon it while channel surfing.

I wish there was a way to purge my mind entirely of what I did see of this disaster, but it is too late for me. I am sorry if my bringing this show to your attention here caused you to watch it. If when the credits rolled there had been an Executive Producer credit for Satan, I would not have been surprised.

Can you tell I didn't like it?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Stick With It

This year I've spent a ton of time in my car.  My kids' activity level jumped from near lazy to almost over-booked.  Plus my eldest is in Middle School and my middle has several activities at the Middle School as well.  (Said Middle School is 13.5 minutes away.)

So what does this have to do with writing?  I drive the same stretch at approximately the same time many days of the week.  As I pass on neighborhood I see the same woman out walking.  Again, so what?

She's impressive because to leave her neighborhood she has to climb an impressive hill (that'd be enough to keep me walking in circles and not leave my streets).  She also has a significant limp.  Yet she's out walking every day with a huge smile on her face.

Often, when it comes to my writing, any sort of obstacle is enough to stop me dead in my tracks.  Any minor hill, or hiccup in my skills and I am ready to take a break.  I've decided that every time I see this inspiring woman I am going to remind myself to write.  I am going to ignore my limps and weak writing.  I am going to ignore the giant hills that occur in character or plot and I am going to trudge on through.  Because I'll get better if I keep writing.  My limp may never go away, but I will become stronger.

So to you, dear faithful reader, take on something and conquer it.  Ignore the obstacles and power through!!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Avenge Me

It might be a little early to start talking about the forthcoming movie The Avengers but I must admit, I'm excited for it.

First, it's written and directed by Joss Whedon, who is a genius. Anyone who hasn't seen Firefly needs to. Like immediately. There's also this episode of Angel that is so heart-wrenching that I'll never forget it. Joss definitely knows how to build a character. I'll be interested to see his twist on a character that didn't come from his mind, and I'm sure he'll do great.

Second, the return of Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man. Of all the superhero movies, it ranks high on my list of favorites. He's funny, smart, and completely believable in the role.

Third, and most importantly, the return of Thor's abs, hopefully in a longer moment than the few short seconds we got last time.

Here's a reminder:


Sunday, October 2, 2011


There seems to be a horror trend in TV right now, what with True Blood, Walking Dead, Dexter, etc. being hits. I have not seen any of those programs since I am a bona fide scaredy pants. However, there is a new show starting this week I plan to check out, to see if I can take it.

American Horror Story airs Wednesday on FX, starring Dylan McDermott and Connie Britton (pictured above with, um, that girl, as their daughter). Premise is a couple in a shaky marriage move to LA for a fresh start, right into a haunted Victorian surrounded by strange neighbors.

It's from the creators of Glee, another show I've never watched, but is supposed to be authentic horror/suspense. The part that interests me? In spite of being part of a horror trend, it's supposed to be very different from the usual TV offerings, and after seeing its very intriguing preview, I'm willing to give it an episode.

I may not last five minutes, but I'm hoping its hyped blend of horror and humor will be heavy enough on the humor to keep me from peeing my pants a little.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Orbital Drop

So one of the highlights at the Worldcon in Reno last month was meeting the Orbit Publishing team. While listening to their presentation, I could tell that they're delving into ebooks and ebook marketing in a new and refreshing way. One of the features I especially liked is the program they have called the Orbital Drop, in which each month they give away certain ebooks for $3.00 a pop in any format you want. It's one of my new favorite places to get ebooks. Check it out:

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Accidents happen

When you get a fortune cookie that says "something unexpected will happen at work or school next week," what do you think of? Me, I think of fun and surprises like a big bonus check or my daughter winning the spelling bee even though she is an average speller. I have been focusing on the power of positive thinking and energy.

The most unexpected thing to happen at work or school this week, however, was my 10 year old son breaking his collar bone while playing flag football. The timing was not bad because I could take a few days off work to help him. So was I being too optimistic with my outlook on my fortune? I'm not sure. There have been plenty of good unexpected things as well, like that same son starting band the day before he broke his collar bone so he has something to do while he can't play soccer.

When we have prophecies or fortune's or predictions in our writing there are good and bad things that can come from the same events. It just depends on how they come about. I'm trying to remember that in my new project. Would my characters see an unexpected turn of events as good fortune or bad and how would they react to it?

In my life I hope for the good and handle whatever comes in the best way I can. I'm pretty sure that I'm not unique in this outlook to life.

What was your best fortune cookie lately?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Like or Dislike?

I am currently reading One True Thing by Anna Quindlen. I'm about half way through. The basic premise of the story is a young woman who has a successful career and a boyfriend who she's been with since she was a teenager puts her whole life on hold to return home to care for her mother, who is dying from cancer.

The main character, Ellen Gulden, is not immediately a sympathetic character. In fact, at the mid-point I am just beginning to see some redeeming qualities in her. Yet, I have been hooked from the beginning in spite of not necessarily liking Ellen, which made me wonder if the main character can be an unlikable person and the reader still enjoy the story.

I compared my experience reading One True Thing with another book I started reading recently - Freedom by Jonathan Franzen. I only made it a quarter through that one. All of the characters were so much without any redeeming qualities I couldn't stomach it. At one point I asked myself (aloud, yes, sometimes I talk to myself), "Why am I wasting my time reading this crap about these worthless people?" And there it ended, though I did read a summary of the book and concluded I had made the right decision to stop where I did.

Both books are critically acclaimed. But I've had very different experiences with each. Although One True Thing is more heavy subject matter than I typically like to immerse myself in, it is very real and well-written, whereas Freedom to me was very snarky and false, even misogynistic.

I'm curious to see as I finish One True Thing how I will ultimately feel about Ellen Gulden. But, one way or the other, I care enough that I will finish.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Tis the Season

We turn to Fall this week, and thus a slew of new TV offerings. I've tried in recent years to not take on too much new programming. Hubby and I really only have 1-2 hours of free time in the evening once the kids are in bed, and I do have a novel I'm trying to finish.

But, I can't give up couch cuddle time in front of the tele with Hubby, so if we're going to watch, I want it to be downright entertaining.

After reviewing the Fall TV preview issue of EW, I have a few new shows I want to check out. I'm willing to give them 2-3 episodes to hook me in, or they will be cast off.

Here is my short list of those that perked my interest:

Once Upon a Time: A drama series mixed with fantasy featuring some of the best known fairy tale characters trapped in the modern world, unbeknownst to them

Grimm: Another fairy tale angle, but intriguing - a cop show that uses parallels from favorite fairy tales in its cases, with writers from Buffy the Vampire Slayer

New Girl: A sitcom starring Zooey Deschanel about a girl who moves in with three random guys as they all try to figure out what direction to take in their life. Could end up being a "Four's Company", but I like Zooey and think she wouldn't attach to something really bad.

Terra Nova: The Spielberg produced futuristic family among dinosaurs drama makes me nervous, but I have to watch at least the pilot. The preview did not impress me, but I'm still hopeful.

What will YOU be watching this Fall?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Jim Hughes

Lost a dear friend yesterday after his struggle with cancer. Jim Hughes always knew how to laugh and more importantly how to make others laugh. There were times where he'd have us practically busting a gut from his jokes and his impersonations. He would do this impersonation of a backwoods Virginian (including eating possum and such) that would have be crying with laughter. He had impeccable taste in music, and he and I could talk Beatles/Clapton/etc. like very few I've known. Aside from his fun quirkiness, he is one of the kindest people I've known, and the service he performed for my family and countless others can never be repaid or forgotten.

I'll miss you, my friend. Until we meet again . . .


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Are You Ready for Some Football?

If you haven't noticed, football season is underway. Whether you're into college, pro, high school, little league or all of the above, it is all around us.

Watching hubby shout at the TV tonight as the team of his alma mater gave up a lead and ended up losing by one point made me pause to think about the emotional connection we have with sports and on a broader scale, the different ways that people react to winning and losing.

Strangely enough, I can't recall reading any books where the plot centered around sports, but I have seen plenty of sports themed movies. In both the real sports I follow and in fiction, I tend to prefer the underdog. It's much more fun to me to root for the one who is not expected to win. Even better if they're not considered to have a snowball's chance in Hades.

Here is a list of some of my fave sports themed movies (the first that come to mind):
  • Rudy
  • Jerry Maguire
  • Rocky
  • Remember the Titans
  • Caddyshack (tee hee)
  • The Bad News Bears
  • Space Jam
  • Brian's Song
  • Karate Kid
  • Seabiscuit

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Recycling the Hunks

New teen staralicious Thomas McDonell brother to author Nick Mcdonell just debuted in "Prom" by Disney. Does he remind you of anyone?

Like this fellow Mr. Johnny Depp in Don Juan DeMarco. Maybe its just me =)

There is a point to this little display. I'm struggling to pinpoint my hero! I've started a new project and I have a dastardly villain, a spunky heroine with red low lights in her hair that match her fiery personality, a pseudo hero (beautiful and flawed), but the elusive Pimpernel of the plot it still hiding. I can't seem to find him. So I'm going to spend some more time reading about my favorite heroes and see if I can channel a younger sexier version of an old favorite.
Hey, if Disney can do it, why can't I?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sneak Peakin

I am all atingle with anticipation for the first sneak peak of the Hunger Games movie this Sunday during the MTV Video Music Awards.

Here is the teaser they are running for it. It doesn't give away much:


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Writerly Etiquette

I love making up new words.  Sorry if it bugs you.

I was going to protest again this week, but I read this and totally needed to share.

I've met authors like this and it turns me off of them.  Off their books, their classes, etc.  Since we try to take authors out for dinner, it even turns me away from a dinner date (with 6 other people).

What are your thoughts?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Humor Me

I like to laugh. It is one of my favorite things.

I also understand life can't be all laughs. Reality sometimes sucks, frankly. But to me, the best stories strike a balance. Even the most dramatic tale, if it desires to be true to life, must have some lighter moments, right? There are arguments for and against this.

One story that comes to mind on the against side is The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I wasn't able to read to the end. It was too emotional for me. But I read the summary to know how the story ended and can imagine there really weren't any light moments in that tale, yet it was excellently written, powerful. So, there are exceptions.

On the for side is The Glass Castle, a memoir by Jeannette Walls that I thought was beautifully written. Ms. Walls grew up with quite eccentric parents in some of the most dysfunctional circumstances one could imagine, and yet there are humorous moments where it shows that she appreciates the absurdity of her situation and is able to treasure some good times in the midst of the overall insanity.

How does humor come into play in your stories. Do you prefer your drama straight or mixed?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Legitimate Forgetfulness

I know I've protested in the past my day to blog.  But yesterday I actually forgot.  I wasn't home except for dinner and sleep yesterday. We took our kiddos for a last hurrah at a local water park.  It was great and fun and my last chance at a tan. 

I am so ready for my kiddos to head to school.  We need the schedule and routine enforced by the eight hours of school.

Hope your Wednesday wasn't destroyed by my lack of writing. :) hee hee

Saturday, August 13, 2011


I know I've been sharing a lot from others lately, but I find the querying process very interesting and really liked this Successful Queries feature from Writer's Digest.

I hope it's helpful!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Olympic Dreaming

What do writers and Olympic gymnasts have in common? The impossible dream? The hours of dedication and sacrifice? Or maybe just the twisting and bending. Gymnasts bend, flip, and twist their bodies, while writers bend, flip and twist their minds.
Recently, while slowed down by illness I got sucked into a TV Series about elite gymnasts preparing for the Olympics in 2012. The fictional account of the struggles of 4 teenage girls to reach the goal of being on the medal stand at the Olympics struck a cord in my mind that was buried deep. I dreamt about the Olympics and couldn't get the stories out of my mind. And then during one episode where all looked lost for one of the girls her mother said something that put it all into perspective. While talking about the sacrifices everyone had made to support the gymnast in her dream, Mom said (something to the effect of), "You can't ask if its all worth it, because you're here and for better or worse you have to go for it. It's who you are."

Writing a novel, editing, honing, selling, and publishing can feel like an Olymic dream sometimes. Few succeed, but the pay off in the end is worth it and the journey is worth it.
Gymnastics is an individual sport in the end, but almost anyone who has walked the beam will tell you that it takes a team to win. Writing is also an individual art that requires a team of spotters, supporters, believers and dreamers to win.
No one could ask for a better or more inspiring team of all-stars than the Inkers. We dream big, and train hard and work late and never, ever give up.

So what's your dream? Are we dreaming big enough for the talent we have? Are your dreams Olympic size? If we're going to put in the blood, sweat, and tears, we might as well reach for the Gold.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Survey: National Parks

What is your favorite National Park?  Why?

Mine changes.  In the spring its Arches.  We go every April and my kids love it there.  I dream of taking pics there on a full moon.

In summer its Olympic National Park.  Rain forests, rugged beaches, lofty peaks.  Its so diverse.

At other times I long to be on the National Mall soaking up all the history.  Or wondering around the magic Redwoods.  In the throws of winter I long to be at the Grand Canyon, enjoying the sun.

So, where do you love?  Do you have favorite childhood memories from trips to the National Parks?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

How to Be a Writer

I thought this was so beautifully said, I had to share:

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Duct Tape and other Alien technology!

My dear son came to me the other day and said, "Mom, did you know that you can lift 5,000 pounds with 100 strands of Duct tape?"
I wasn't even surprised. Because Duct tape can fix, make, and stick anything, it is my theory that it is an Alien technology brought to Earth with the ships that crashed outside Roswell, NM in the 50's.

Other Alien Technologies include:
and powdered non-dairy creamer (which by the way is incredibly flammable and makes an awesome explosion.)

What alien technology do you use in your everyday life?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I'm Protesting

This is not an actual post.

I am protesting.  My fellow Inkers are not posting.

And therefore, neither am I.

(But happy Hump day to all you who actually read our blog)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Launches and Landings!

Hubble image

These images were captured by the Hubble Telescope. A project made possible through the NASA Space Shuttle Program that came to an end last week. The next horizon in space travel and particularly manned space travel is iffy at best. Since the program scheduled to take over for the Shuttle project has been redirected by the current administration. But this isn't really about the fact that the final Space Shuttle retired last week, it's about how dreams are formed, pursued and evolved.

When I was a very little girl, I saw the first Space Shuttle launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida, just one more advantage of being a Florida girl. After the amazing history making launch of the Colombia Shuttle, many more followed. For years we would get out of class during elementary school to line up on the playground and watch the Shuttles launch from 50 miles away. They were amazing. But the most amazing thing about it was imagining what the astronauts would discover in their experiments. I dreamed of seeing the world through the shuttle window. I dreamed of a space station that orbited the Earth and gave us all a chance to experience life in space in some small way.
I never really imagined seeing actual pictures of deep space as beautiful as these.
Hubble image

At the time I couldn't imagine that the US and other countries, such as Russia, would work together to build an international space station. Yet in the decades since I first dreamed of going to space, many things have changed. I recently learned that every 48 hours humans create and share as much information as was recorded from the beginning of the world up to 2003. Billions of bits of information, writing, thoughts, discoveries and news are shared every day.

What is left to dream about? What do young people today dream of accomplishing? Where does Science Fiction go when reality is catching up at such an alarming pace? I can't wait to find out.
I'm sad to see the Space Shuttle program retire, but I'm excited to see what the next big adventure will be.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Building A Web Presence

At a recent conference several Inkers heard that you need to build a large web presence before you get published.  What are your thoughts on this?

Is a blog good?

How about a Facebook page for your blog?

What else can you do to get your name out there?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Potter Magic

I'm heading out on a date with hubby today to see Harry Potter 7.2. I know we are late to the party, but that is how things work in our world.

Thinking about the phenomenon that is Potter, the series that made Jo Rowling richer than the queen of England and became the most successful movie franchise in history, I'd like to ask -- Inkers and dear blog followers, if you are a Potter fan, what is it about the series that makes it dear to your heart? Rowling's work certainly reflects the influence of other successful authors, including C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, and Dickens, authors who have been imitated ad nauseam. So, what about Potter made so many people connect to it?

For me, it is the boy who lived, Harry Potter himself. From the first chapter of book one, I cared about this person, an orphaned boy living with awful relatives in a cupboard under the stairs. I felt his excitement, fear, and disillusionment as he discovered his true heritage and started on his journey to make things right. To me, if Harry Potter wasn't such a well-drawn character, the world of the series still would have made it successful, but not to the degree it is.

BTW, I hate goodbyes. I'm taking Kleenex with me to the movie.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Mind the Gap

At a recent meeting for my job, I found myself in conversation with a British man, a New Zealander, and a graphic artist with no distinguishing accent what so ever. (I suppose we'll just say he's American.) I know this sounds like the beginnings of a bad joke, but really its about how our word choices give us away.

Even without the accents and with my eyes close I could have told you who said the following sentences:

"Is there a problem with one color being dominant?"

"I think its brilliant really."

"Let's try this design and see how we get on, yeah?"

I'm not going to tell you here which chap said which thing. What I will say is that in a recent Regency Romance I read written by a contemporary author the dialogue had flashes of fabulous period phrases, but fell sadly flat as all the characters spoke with the same accent using the same words, except for one bloke who blustered his way through a conversation using "Capital" repeatedly as an exclamation.

So tell me if I can sit in a cafe in Utah and have a conversation with three people with distinctly different backgrounds and individual voices, then certainly a character in Regency England with the many sundry social statuses will find themselves with lots of interesting accents, voices and phrases surrounding them. Dialogue done well can paint a vivid scene in a minuscule amount of words, but dialogue done poorly is the kiss of death to an otherwise sympathetic character and/or dashing hero.

Have you heard, read, seen on TV or encountered any great dialogue lately?

PS we are still trying to fit the words "Mind the gap" into the business brochure we were discussing at the meeting. It is so quintessentially British.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Don't Tell

I'm gleefully counting down to six chapters left (if my outline holds true) to finish my WIP. Thus, I am already getting excited about the editing process.

This article has some great examples of how to eliminate the telling, not showing bits in your writing, so I thought I'd share.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Rabid Watermelon story prompt

True life tale: I walked into my kitchen on Sunday to find the watermelon that my friend had purchased on Friday looking almost exactly like this one. Rabid and foaming. I then of course did what any good mother with small children would do. I took it outside to cut it and find out why it was foaming. Bugs? Chemicals? Paranormal activity? What could it be? Well when I barely sliced the thin outer layer of the melon it exploded into two equal halves of sizzling mess, spraying myself and my daughter with rancid juices.

Only three images of foaming watermelons appeared on the Internet and this one is from 2006. Freaky huh?

Story prompt: Foaming watermelon...why? How? So what?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Promise Is A Promise

So last night we all met over sushi. (I literally ate myself sick--terrible thing to do with good sushi.)

We all promised that we would be better about posting on this here bloggy. 

So, here I am posting.

Promise kept.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Posting time!

Last week I shared the sad news that I had to give up one of my dogs. This week I'm going to tell you why I'm glad I did. AND I'll tell you why it has been good for my writing.

I've had the chance to work exclusively with my dog, Scout, and see him go from pulling me around on his leash to healing next to me without using a leash at all. Amazing! In just a few days! And the best part is that he's happy to comply. I don't have to bribe him with treats. He's happy if I give him big hugs and tell him what a good boy he is mysense of satisfaction working with him has increased exponentially.

The last part is what I want to focus on in regard to writing. This strictly my opinion, but I think sometimes we get stuck on an idea or character or scene that we like, or even LOVE, but it's not working. We put a lot of effort into these ideas to the point that we feel like we're beating our heads against a wall, but the thing we haven't realized is that it's time to cut ties. No matter how much we love it, if we're wasting precious time and energy on it and it's not going anywhere then it's time to let it go, cut it, put it to the side or whatever it is we need to do and work on something that IS going somewhere. Not unlike Scout and Rusty. Scout's potential was overshadowed by Rusty's constant time-sucking-going-nowhere needs. I love Rusty and I miss him, but my relationship with Scout is so much more fulfilling now. It's going somewhere useful.

Our stories should have a similar progression from point to point. If there's no progression it's time to figure out why and make the tough edits.


Saturday, July 9, 2011


I'm really enjoying having a personal Twitter, getting lots of good info from the writing and publishing world.

One of the folks I'm following is former lit agent Nathan Bransford. I saw a Tweet from him re: Page Critique Thursday and went to his blog to read about it.

I found his redline treatment very interesting. Thoughts?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

What's A Writers Group For, Anyway?

Sometimes I think, why am I here?  Why do I keep pretending that I am a writer?  Then my awesome writers group comes through.

This is excerpts from an email chain earlier this week:

me: Can I just say that I am totally bored.  No its not cause I don't have a million things to do, its just that I have no group/project/organization that is in need of my mad dog brain skills.  Why can't I apply my genius to my home?  Not sure.  But I am going totally agro on scout committee just cause its the only thing I am involved in.  ;(  I am having a boring summer.  Kinda. :)

Linda: Apply your genius to the haunted house story cause I want to read it.  :)

Kirk: Yes, or write one of those nature children's stories that you seem to have a knack for! You could whip one out in a couple hours, and we could review it next writers group. . . So get busy writing, DJ! Put those mad brain skills to work!

a few hours later:
me: THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!  I just outlined a ... book with ...  Thanks for the challenge and getting my brain working!

So, in a few hours I had outlines, written the rough draft, and discovered a whole niche of writing that suits my skills perfectly.  All because I am in a writers group.

So, go to and find yourself a writers group!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

My Ode to Rusty. A.K.A. You didn't know a good thing when you had it.

I am in deep mourning right now.

Some of you may know that I am the owner of two lab mixes. They run with me. They're great companions. They have little quirks that make them lovable and funny. However, one of them loves to run away. A lot. Animal Control brought him back to me three times in a 2 week period recently. He almost got hit by a car and we were lucky not to get fined that last time.

He also jumped off my roof. I'm not making this up. I left the windows in my bedroom open one day while we were at church and he pushed the screen out, got out onto the overhang above the garage and jumped off. I found him roaming the neighborhood, not a thing wrong with him other than the fact that he JUMPED OFF MY ROOF!!!


I gave him five years of my life trying to train him and teach him, but it just got to be too much. I gave him to the Humane Society today.

And, now I have a hole in my heart. :(

Saturday, July 2, 2011

It's Just Business, Baby

At LDS Storymakers this year, agent Sara Megibow made a couple of points that stuck with me about the business of writing. First, she reminded us that publishing is a business, contrasting it with the warm, fuzzy, creative world of the art of writing. If you're serious about getting published you need to remember it is a business.

She also said she expects anyone she signs on as an author to be tech/marketing savvy, including having a website, blog, and Twitter and Facebook pages. It makes sense. If you have a product to sell, you need to do all you can to help sell it.

In hopes that I will someday have said product to sell, I've been trying to increase my internet presence and came across this book marketing site and their tips on setting up a Facebook page. Although I've worked with all these forms of media in my day job, it's been interesting to approach it as author-in-waiting.

I haven't created a Facebook page yet, but you can follow me on Twitter @lindawpeterson.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

From Dress to Fin and Back Again

I've been watching H2O Just Add Water on netflix with my kids. In the show three Australian teen girls get transformed into mermaids. Its cute and the mythology is fun. They have super powers all related to water and life is hard on the Gold Coast of Australia if you instantly grow a tale when water touches you.

Here is what the transformation looks like:

So the thing is that their clothes morph with them and when they dry their clothes, including whatever shoes they are wearing, morph back to normal. Is clothing optional when it comes to transformation magic? I have a shapeshifter in my latest story (not a mermaid) and I'm trying to figure out the clothing issue.

Should clothes morph with the magic, such as in the mermaid story or should it rip up and fall off like the shapeshifters in Stephenie Meyers' stories?

What do you all think? Dress to fin or fin to skin? Both scenarios present obstacles and advantages.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Inkers Met Last Night

I hosted Writers' Group last night.  I had forgotten that I was hosting until about 5.  Unfortunately I had to take my boy to football at 6 till 8 (when everyone was slated to show up).  Good thing I had the house in decent state but there was no time for the traditional goodies . . .

I digress.  We met and tried to write.  Linda, Arlene, and Donna all did great.  Debbie was sitting next to me and she wasn't in the mood to write.  Add to that the fact that I haven't written anything for months and I was less than prolific.  The biggest struggle I had was because its been so long for me.  I opened several WIP's and tried to get back into them.  They are good and I need to finish.

The other Inkers are all plugging away nicely.  Sir Kirk-A-Lot is working on lots of freelance projects.  So, do find people that make work difficult (in a totally fun way)?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


These are my old boots, newly conditioned. Exciting! Right? Picture to come later. :) Scott and I are going on a backpacking trip soon and I've spent countless hours researching what I'll need to be prepared and comfortable whilst hiking 9-14 mi per day with 30 pounds on my back. Boots, apparently, are top priority. (They get you in and they get you out). As well as a bear canister which keeps your food supply out of the paws of bears and other critters. And a water purification system. Other things, like shelter, something to sit on and cooking gear with come waaaaaaay down the list!

However, when looking at gear lists, I've noticed that everything on them is essential including a journal with a pencil and a book. While I'm looking forward to time well-spent with my spouse, I'm also looking forward the peace and serenity found only in the wilderness. Time with some paper and pencil outlining characters, plots and grand endings is something I am eagerly awaiting. :)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Attitude Problem

I have an attitude problem this week. People are bugging me, and since I don't happen to own a private island, I need to deal with it.

I consider myself a fairly easy-going person but lately my fuse has been short. The following behaviors have set me off:
  • People who don't say thank you
  • Two-facedness
  • Bullying
  • Lying
  • Businesses whose employees/owners act like they're doing you a favor by taking your money
  • ...among others
Fearful that I am headed on the road to becoming a grumpy old woman, I've tried to turn my frustration into a positive by thinking about the sources of irritation for the main characters in my WIP. What is the frustration breaking point for each one? How is this reflected in the story, if at all? If it's not in the story, should it be? Here's what I came up with:

Elizabeth - her anxiety
Jimmy - his inability to get Elizabeth to admit she loves him
Niles - having an underling take his position
Nan - loss of the upper hand
Angela - people not agreeing with her point of view
Nick - Elizabeth rejecting him
Guy - political correctness

So, if anyone has any other suggestions of positive ways to blow off steam, you know so I don't get myself fired, arrested, or similar, feel free to share. So far getting back to writing and exercising is helping. See, I've got a smile on my face. :)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Our Secret Lives

In a lesson on character development once I heard that the instructor always gave their characters a secret. Not that the readers would necessarily ever know it, but just something deep inside the character couldn't tell anyone. So I added a line to my character sheets right after the name of the character that is their deep dark secret. Things about them that even their best friend doesn't know.

We all have secrets that we rarely share. Are you afraid of spiders? Do you fantasize about being a figure skater? Do you have six toes, a receding hair line, or a relative you are ashamed to claim as family?

Sometimes our secrets are harmless and sometimes I give my characters harmless secrets as well. But other times the secrets that we keep can haunt and hound us until they seem impossible to face. Our characters should have these secrets too. Not every character needs a drastic, life threatening, ax murderer type secret, but everyone of your characters will be more realistic with a secret and a dream. It makes them easier to write and almost automatically more interesting as you write them.
So now your either thinking about your secret or wondering what mine is. Which ever it is you can channel it into your character development.

I had a character whose secret was that she was a fairy godmother, posing as an attorney and old maid. She couldn't tell because then she would lose her powers. Obviously this one the readers were in on.
Another one hated her mom's famous meatloaf, but ate it everytime mom made it because she couldn't bare to hurt her mom's feelings.

What secrets do your characters have? Why can't they share them?

Saturday, June 18, 2011


As I work to finish the last quarter of my novel, I've been concerned about hitting all the marks of a "good" story. My experience and education is in journalism, not creative writing (although some may argue journalism is the same as creative writing these days). Sure, I could take a class on story structure, the art of writing a novel, or similar, but who has the time? So, I am forging ahead, using the knowledge I do have from reading and attending conferences, just wanting to finish and "fix it in post" as they say about mistakes in the film world.

I know my super awesome writing group, the Inkers, will call me out on anything that doesn't ring true. But as I was fishing around on the internet for some sort of checklist to help me judge if I'm on track with all the essentials of storytelling, I found a blog featuring a scorecard of sorts that I thought I would share in case it is helpful to others. It made me feel a bit better about my direction, although there are areas that definitely need to be strengthened.

Now I must go and actually write something so I can get that last quarter done.

Friday, June 17, 2011

I'm totally late, But This Is Good!!

Its not my day to post.  I missed my day.

Its me by the way (DJ Rose), in case you were totally confused.

But I read this post (and even though I follow his blog I usually don't read it.  I must have been inspired to read it.) and thought I totally needed to share it with all of you.

One Good Piece of Advice

Summed up, it says you need to give yourself permission to suck.  And I so needed to hear that today.  I am way too hard on myself and my writing.  So, starting today, I am going to keep writing and not worry about the massive amounts of suckage that is pouring off of my keyboard.

Happy Writing.

And go read the article for crying out loud.  Its a good one!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Two Things

First- Writing short stories is a lot of fun. I keep telling Donna that I'll eventually work on a short story that I love enough to develop into a full-length novel, but it hasn't happened yet. So, I keep writing short stories. Two things I've realized while writing are: a.) short stories don't write themselves. I still have to put some time and effort into them and it has taken me much longer to write one than I thought it would. And b.) writing short stories is a great way for me to practice important aspects of my writing such as meaningful character and plot development as well as good pacing and development of scenes.

Second- Dessert for breakfast = a happy morning. My sister shared a recipe with me recently that almost made me swoon. It's an Italian dessert called Pasticciotto. Essentially, it's a pastry cream pie. If you love pastry cream, then this is the dessert for you!

Happy Tuesday!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Get Your Head in the Game

After three weeks of a fairly stressful work schedule that included 40 hours of overtime in 10 days, I began to pull up my WIP last night and was horrified to realize I had no memory of precisely where I left off in the story. If it had been printed on paper I would have had to blow the dust off the top sheet.

I reread the two chapters leading up to where I stopped, to reacquaint myself with my train of thought, and slowly started to feel some of my mojo coming back to me.

It reminded me of something the author Gennifer Choldenko said at a conference I attended. When asked about her writing routine, she said she writes during the week and takes the weekend off, but she never lets more than two days pass without writing because the story gets too cold. I really want to adopt this habit, although I will likely use the weekend as two of my writing days and skip two during the week.

I always like to hear about other people's writing routines, so please share yours if you care to. Are you a night owl, early morning, on-the-go writer or something else?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Antagonists- a love/hate relationship!

Antagonists are my writing nemesis. I love a great antagonist like Snape from Harry Potter. He is complex and duplicitous but consistent in his actions once you understand his motivations.

However, when it comes to building an antagonist from scratch for my novels I find that I don't channel evil well. They usually are shallow and show up many just to torture my protagonist. Which is the antagonists job of course but a job doesn't make a character well-rounded. Their hopes, dreams, goals, and heartbreak make them who they are.

Take Dr. Doofenschmirtz from Phineas and Ferb. He has ambition, drive and a dream of ruling the "Tri-State area." All that he does is to meet that one goal. Obsessive yes. But also funny and quirky and fun. Not very complicated.

I've spent about a week trying to capture the essence of my antagonist and build an evil soul-stealing witch into something real and scary rather than just a cookie-cutter bad girl. Wish me luck. I'm trying to channel the dark side and my own fear of the dark makes exploring these traits a true exercise in creativity.

What antagonists do you love to hate and why?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Editing and Old Projects

How long do you wait after finishing a WIP till you go back and edit?

Do you ever revisit old projects and tweak them to make them better?  Or are they just rejection bin fodder?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Joining The Rejects

Two blogs that I follow posted on rejection today. It must be in the air. Like a heavy rain or a swarm of mosquitos.

The heavy cloud of the rejection bug is a'bitin'.

I've had a few myself recently. But that's okay. I've just put on my waders and slogged through more queries.


Nigel Lythgoe, a judge on the TV show So You Think You Can Dance talked about rejection last Wednesday (coincidentally while they were auditioning in Salt Lake City, UT, my home town). He said, "You go to many auditions and you will be rejected. That is part of our lives as a dancer. Why anyone would want to do it, I have no idea."

And from the audience someone shouted, "Because we love to dance."

Well friends, I love to write. And I'll take those rejections, and keep moving forward.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Summer Reading

Are you a big summer reader?  Does your summer reading habits tend to follow Summer blockbuster trends?  Do you change your reading material for summer-time?

How about the kids in your life? Do you keep them reading?  Do they change their reading habits?

I love reading outside in the summer time.  Summer I usually read middle grade books, especially award winners.  I set a goal years ago to read all of the Newberry Medal books.  I'm still not there (cause some of them are downright depressing and I just don't go there.  There is a reason my nickname is DJ Rose.)  But for whatever reason I love reading about kid books during the summer.

Some of my favorite medal and honor books are:
Princess Academy
A View to a Saturday
Whipping Boy
Westing Game
Out of the Dust
The Graveyard Book
Al Capone Does My Shirts

        My list could go on and on, but its my boys birthday and I am needed in the kitchen!

You can see a complete list of winners here.

Happy Summer Reading!!

Saturday, May 28, 2011


I collapsed into bed last night after a 16 hour work day on four hours sleep and felt like I was having an out-of-body experience.

Here's an exercise for those who aren't too tired to work their writing muscles:

In one sentence, describe the most tired you have ever been.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Beware: A Tip Is Imminent

So my Friday tip for this week is about three very similar-looking words:

imminent, eminent, and immanent

Here's the low-down and how to remember which is which.

"Imminent" is something that's impending (use that for those mnemonic lovers out there). "The imminent storm will knock out the talk radio station tower." (Depending on which talk radio station, such storm destruction would be eminent as well.)

"Eminent" is something or someone prominent, well-known, famous, conspicuous. "John Williams is eminent among twentieth-century composers and musicians." (Can you tell I'm a fan of his eminence?)

"Immanent" is the rarest of the three and so is not used in everyday speech or writing (unless someone is getting creative in trying to spell one of the other two). It is akin to the word "inherent," as something indwelling or innate, and it also connotes a sense of being limited to one's experience in a Transcendentalist sort of way. "Her immanent beauty had not an ounce of artifice or addendum. It came from the original source of light."

So there it is. The imminent tip of the day, in all its eminence and immanent Merriam-Websterness.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Hero Worship wisely

I'm not an expert on hero worship (unless the hero is Thor, as established recently here on Debbie's blog) so it should be a short post. I want to talk about some authors I admire (NOT a comprehensive or complete list by any means) and also ways that our group has learned to network without getting any restraining orders against us. I've chosen these authors because I really admire their professionalism and their writing.

First the Authors and why I like them:

Brandon Sanderson (author of Mistborn and many other NYT Bestsellers)because he is friendly and loyal and is willing to travel far distances to hang out with his friends or save a small town indy book store. Plus he's pretty good at writing too. (understatement of the year)

Dan Wells...oops! Wrong Dan Wells.

I'm talking about this Dan Wells today.
(author of I Am Not A Serial Killer)
Putting aside the brilliant trilogy he has written (which is the only thing from the horror section of B&N that I've read since I was 14 and forced to read Stephen King with friends while camping), he is very professional and has a charming wife, who believes in his writing. Dan is friendly and genuine. Mainly though he really knows his stuff when it comes to both writing and publishing.

Bree Despain (author of The Dark Divine series)

Bree is an inspiration to me. She is patient and interested in people and she writes intriguing stories with heart and meaning. She has not had an easy road to publishing, but her road and her story inspire many. Bree has some of the most loyal fans ever and mostly because she cares about people.

Second the tips:
1) Respect personal space.
2) Be friendly, like "visiting with a new neighbor" friendly, not crazed stalker "I know what you did last summer" friendly.
3) Listen-Everyone likes to talk about themselves.
4) Food is a good bribe and an ice breaker.