Friday, April 30, 2010


Just a reminder that you only have until 6 PM tonight to enter my 150 followers giveaway. Click on the link in my sidebar if you haven’t already signed up for your chance to win a gift card. I’ll announce the winners of my giveaway on Monday.

On the award front, Kelly over at Just Write gifted me with this very cool award sometime forever ago, and now I’d like to pass it on to people who lift me up with their comments.

Jen over at unedited
Theresa at Substitute Teacher’s Saga
Wendy at W.M. Morrell’s Musings From Down Under
Shannon over at Book Dreaming
Tara at Feel of Something New

All of these blogs are great and if you haven’t been over to check them out, you should go over and say hi. Enjoy the weekend and don’t forget to check out the Last Line Blogfest posts going up tomorrow.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A very fine line

I’ve been thinking about how much of myself as a writer finds its way into my words. We’re told write with courage, write with respect for our readers, ourselves, our words, and our story. We’re told to write what we know and to write with and from our passions. We’re told to write (and do) from our lived biographical experiences.

Larry Brooks at storyfix has a great cautionary post here about the awareness that writer’s must have regarding the unavoidable bleed-through between who and what they are and what their MC/hero/protagonist is on the page. Check it out.

How much of you is in your stories? How/where do you draw the line? Are you worried about possible consequences and/or repercussions?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

How do you do it?

I’ll admit it. I can be a little slow. Even so, it took me a while to realize just what an act of courage writing is. Good writers/writing evokes feeling on a visceral level from readers. We craft and shape our words to draw our readers in and make them part of the story being told.

But in so doing we have to open ourselves up, reach deep inside ourselves, and spill our deepest innermost fears and sorrows and joys onto the page with our words. And the risk of failure is great, the learning curve steep as we hone our craft and open ourselves up to others’ judgment. Writing is at once an act of affirmation and of courage as well as an act of defiance. Failure will not prevent us from trying as long as we feel we have something to say

Alan Rinzler over at The Book Deal had an interesting post on how writers build courage.

So how do you do it?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


If I haven’t been commenting much or eloquently lately, my apologies. I haven’t been around much. And while I don’t normally talk much about personal things, I’m going to take this post to do just that.

You might remember my taking off for a weekend wedding in Chicago a couple of weeks ago. That trip was also a journey home to see my father-in-law. Not very long ago, he was diagnosed with cancer. He underwent chemo and radiation and when all was said and done, the doctors said he was cancer free.

That didn’t last long. When he got sick again, he was told that the cancer had spread and he was Stage 4. His timeline was 6-9 months. As it turns out, that was optimistic. About a month ago, my husband went with his mother and father to Mexico, where they had retired ten years ago, to sell their home and set their affairs in order.

My father-in-law got so sick down there my husband had to stay three extra days just to get him well enough to fly home. They took him to the hospital and were told his kidneys were failing. The weekend I went back for the wedding, I took my kids back to say good-bye to their grandfather.

I went from sitting in the oppressive grief of a house waiting for death to a wedding in Holy Name Cathedral, a majestic building, to an elegant restaurant overlooking the lake and sailboats back to sitting in a room listening to my father-in-law laboring to breathe.

We came back late on Sunday. Early on Tuesday, he died, and last weekend we went back for the funeral.

In the 27 years since my in-laws embraced me as part of their family, they’ve treated me as one of their own. They love my children and have been generous, warm, and kind. I couldn’t have asked for better in-laws.

At the reception I met a friend’s brand new, month old baby. I remember the experience as surreal, the juxtaposition of life and death and the full circle of it all. And I thought about writing and how the experience of the last couple of weeks would shape me and my words.

We take what we know and through the alchemy of writing we create stories. Experience shapes us as people and writers. I am not the same in either capacity as I was last week. And while I grieve with my mother-in-law, I miss my father-in-law.

Rest in peace, David.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Celebrate Monday

Here we are again at Monday and it’s time to celebrate ourselves. Tell us something good that happened to you. Something that made you happy. Something that you did that made you feel good.

It doesn’t have to be big news or anything earth shattering. Small is good, too.

I’m thrilled that I got up this morning at home in my own bed today. It was another quick trip to Chicago this weekend, and while I love the city and the chance to bond with family, the trip does mean hours in travel time and a change in time zones.

More about my weekend tomorrow, but for now I’m happy to be home and am celebrating the fact that I have the day off from work.

What about you? Share something happy and/or good in your life with us and celebrate yourselves.

Friday, April 23, 2010

TGIF! and a Contest

Being the slacker you all know I am, I completely missed celebrating my 100 followers when I hit that milestone. And I promised myself that I would not miss celebrating at 150 followers because I never cease to be amazed at your kind, generous, warm response to me and my words.

Anyway, I was gifted with that monumental milestone of 150 on 4/19 and now it’s time to celebrate. I wish I could offer critiques or a fiction contest, but real life is not being kind and my brain is dead.

So to celebrate, we’ll have nice old-fashioned giveaway. Up for grabs are three gift cards. One for $20 and two for $15 from either Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Borders, winners choice.

So how does this work?

The rules are simple. You get one entry for each of the things listed below that you do. Since I’m a low-tech kinda girl, I’m keeping this simple. Each entry you get goes into a hat. At the end of the contest, I’ll pull out a winner.

What do you have to do?

1. Comment here to enter. Your comment gets you (+1) entry. Include any of the following information you have to get more entries.
2. You must be a follower of my blog. New followers get (+1) entry, current followers get (+2) entries.
3. Blog about this contest. That will get you (+2) entries. Leave the link here in your comment.
4. Put this contest in your sidebar. That will get you (+2) entries. Leave the link here in your comment.
5. Send followers my way. Each follower you send me that mention you by name gets you (+1) entry.

That’s it. Easy peasy. Make sure you leave your comments. This contest ends next Friday, 4/30 at 6:00 PM EST, and I’ll announce the winners by the following Monday.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

In the end

All around the blogosphere the talk has been about balance and burnout, slowing down, pushing through, stepping up, stepping back, going dark and unplugging, and all the various points of passage on our journey through real life as well as writers. Not spoken of as much as these points of place, is that almost mythological point in the journey known affectionately as the end. So in the spirit of Lilah’s Last Lines Blogfest coming up, I thought I’d share a post by Joe Moore over at The Kill Zone about endings. Check it out and let me know how you feel about endings.

What are your favorite kind? What do you hate? As a reader? As a writer? How do you feel when you get to the end of the piece you’re writing? Elated? Sad? Scared? Thinking of revision or the next project?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The long and winding road

We’ve been talking about burnout; blogging, writing, and otherwise lately. And sometimes about how non-writers don’t quite get what could possibly be so hard or draining about sitting down and writing. Plot Whisperer has a great post here about the stamina a writer needs for their journey. Check it out and tell me: What part of the process is most draining for you? What is the most difficult part, mentally or physically, of your writer’s journey? Is there a point where you know that if you’ve gotten that far, you’re going to make it to the end?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Feeling groovy

Anybody remember that song? The one that went Slow down, you move too fast? Ah, well, I'm old and that's not the point of this post. The point is that there’s no end of demand on our time. Jobs that pay the bills, loved ones who well, love us, school, writing, blogging all demand time and attention. And it’s all a balancing act. A lot of us were conditioned to believe that if we just ran faster, worked harder, smarter, better, we could have it all. Do it all. Be it all.

And when we’ve run flat out for far too long, the inevitable happens. We crash and burn. We see plenty of evidence of that around, too. Plot This had a really interesting post here that I thought was really good advice. Check it out and tell me what you think.

Do you rush? Do you freak out and compare yourself to others? Do you think you can slow down? Do you think slowing down will help your writing?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Celebrate Monday

Here we are again at Monday and it’s time to celebrate ourselves. Tell us something good that happened to you. Something that made you happy. Something that you did that made you feel good.

It doesn’t have to be big news or anything earth shattering. Small is good, too.

I’ll start. Shelley over at Stories in the Ordinary gave me this Sweet Blog Award. I’m not normally a big fan of cute, but when I saw this, I fell in love with it. It’s just so cute. And Shelley gave it to me. That makes me happy. And it also makes me happy to pass this award on to some really deserving bloggers:

Anne at Piedmont Writer
Jen at unedited
Laurel at Laurel’s Leaves
Crystal at write because you must
and Lilah Pierce

And the contest for today is Steena and Stina's celebration of followers. Click here to check it out. The blogfest is KM's Man I Love College Blogfest. It's a blogfest and contest in one. So go on over and check it out.

Also, Kristi Cook is celebrating The Big 50 for followers. Go on over and celebrate with her.

Now that that’s taken care of, come on folks. Share with us and celebrate yourselves.

Friday, April 16, 2010

TGIF, Contests, and an Award

Happy Friday. It’s been a long stretch with posting both days last weekend with blogfest entries. It’s good to be looking at the weekend. Before we get there though, here’s the last post for this week.

We all know what a slacker I am about awards, so here we are again. It’s time for me to pass on another award that was given to me forever ago by the lovely Christine D and more recently by Tara at Feel of Something New. I don’t think I have to do anything here except pass it on to some of my favorite blogging buddies:

Elizabeth Mueller
Justine Dell
Lola at Sharp Pen/Dull Sword
Talli Roland
Niki at Wool ’n Nuts
and Lilah Pierce

There's contests, too. Rebecca over at Sonshine Thoughts is giving away the cutest owls to celebrate her followers. And Julie Dao over at Silver Lining is celebrating 200 followers. Go over and check them both out.

And that's it for this week. I'm off to Chicago after school today for a wedding this weekend. Have a great Friday folks, and enjoy your own weekend.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

You Want it When?

A huge part of burnout is deadlines. It seems we live our lives by them. Self-imposed or sent down by an arbitrary external force, we hit them, we miss them, we obsess about them. Procrastinating Writers has a great post about deadlines that I thought was interesting.

So I ask you this: How do you feel about deadlines? When you miss them? Do you prefer self-imposed ones or external ones? Concrete or flexible ones?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Happy Hump Day

Whether it’s Wednesday or the muddle in the middle that we’re slogging through as writers, we all know that feeling of burnout. We see it all around us here in the blogosphere, feel it in the crush of real life. Copyblogger has a great post here you should check out and then tell me:

Do you take time for yourself? Book time for yourself? How?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

My Blog is Carbon Neutral

Before we get to the post part of this post, let me tell you about Sarah Wylie's fab contest she's having over at Sarah with a Chance to celebrate her soon to be published status. Go on over and check it out.

And now on with the post. Summer at …and this time, concentrate recently posted about Green for her A-Z blogging challenge and Michele at Southern City Mysteries had a great post about what Green means for blogs. Bottom line is that blogging creates carbon dioxide.

Check out Michele’s post for the lovely picture explaining just how much. But there is something we can do about that. Plant a tree. Simple really. Click here to find out more about the program “My blog is carbon neutral” and grab a button like the one in my sidebar. If you don’t feel like clicking through, here’s the deal from their website on how you can participate in this great program:

Just write a short blog post about our programme “My blog is carbon neutral” and include one of the buttons below on your site (ideally in the sidebar). Send the link to your blog to and we plant a tree for you, neutralising the carbon dioxide emissions of your blog. The trees will be planted in the spring of 2010 by the Arbor Day Foundation.

Just a few easy steps to make it green:
Write a blog post about the initiative + insert your favourite button
E-mail the link to your post to
We plant a tree for your blog in Plumas’!

And that’s it. Like I said, it’s simple really. And a really small thing to do to make this place a little greener. We can all handle a little more green, right?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Celebrate Monday

It was a busy blogfest weekend around here. I hope you all had a great one.

Here we are again at Monday and it’s time to celebrate ourselves. Tell us something good that happened to you. Something that makes you happy. Something that you did that made you feel good.

It doesn’t have to be big news or anything earth shattering. Small is good, too.

I’ll start. This weekend I finally screwed up my courage and submitted a short story. Even if nothing comes of it, even it’s not accepted, I’m thrilled I got over my nerves and hit send. And that makes me happy.

So come on, folks. Celebrate yourselves.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Blogfest Weekend (Part Two)

Happy Sunday and welcome to Blogfest Weekend (Part Two). Today's entry is for the Bar Scene Blogfest hosted by the lovely Tara over at Secret Stories. Go on over after this and check out all the other awesome entries.

I have to admit that choosing an entry for this was harder than I imagined it would be. I have a ton of things set in a bar. I love bars for storytelling. I've got girls' night out and boys' night out scenes. I've got lonely guy in a bar scenes. I've got pick up scenes in bars. And I have this. It's not the obvious choice for a Bar Scene Blogfest, but what the heck. I went with the non-obvious 1520 words here. We'll see how that goes.

Clouds of dark smoke and ash float on the horizon, and the acrid burn of the air from wildfires scorches his nostrils as he moves past the squat, sprawling mills and their bellowing stacks into the central city.

Haze hangs heavy here, thick and pressing in all around him in the meager spill of light that’s lost to the shadows and the corners in the dark, narrow streets and darker, narrower alleys.

His eyes scan the crowd as he bobs and weaves. Sharp elbows and shoulders cleave the roiling sea of bodies, withered, skeletal creatures wrapped in dull shades of grey and dirty brown scurrying under a dark, angry sky.

He finds what he’s looking for; pulls open the almost invisible grey door, steps over the body sprawled in his way, and into a deeper darkness.

The door snicks closed behind him and he stops, long fingers tapping a staccato beat against the pistol on his thigh as his eyes adjust to the thin trail of light lining the length of the corridor.

Five seconds later he’s moving again, long, silent steps sliding down the close confines of the hallway.

He slips through the door into the main room. Sharp eyes run a quick recon.

Off to his left, at the far end of the bar, the serving girl sits, running a drying cloth around a glass. When she finishes, she flips it upside down and stacks it in line along the neat little row she’s started in front of her. The old drunk at the end of the bar sits hunched on his stool, head hung low over his bottle.

The man rinsing glasses behind the bar flicks a sideways glance in his direction as he slides onto a stool. “What’ll it be?”

“Whiskey. Neat.”

The barkeeper barks a laugh and reaches under the counter, plunks a bottle of some local brew in front of him. “Where the hell do you think you are?”

He doesn’t have an answer for that. Just leans forward and watches the girl out of the corner of his eye.

She swivels her head slowly. The tangled spill of hair cascading down her back doesn’t move, but he catches the dark, jagged slash just under her jaw line.

Her lips pull tight in a thin, flat line and hard, hollow-black eyes that are far too old stare out from a face that is far too thin, all angles and sharp planes.

Something he thinks might be shame flutters in his gut as the weight of her gaze forces him to snap his eyes back to his bottle.

“Go on with you, now.” The barkeeper jerks his head toward the back door, holds out his hand. “I need you to finish taking inventory.”

She slides off her stool, ghosts along the length of the bar, stretches out a skeletal arm. A small hand opens and thin, gnarled fingers close on the clipboard he’s holding out as she passes.

He shifts slightly in his seat. His hand wraps his neck and he tilts his head, slides a sidelong glance at the girl disappearing down the back stairs.

The old drunk doubles over and begins trying to hack up a lung.

“One for my friend.” He slides the bartender a ten, chugs half the bottle as he waits for the hacking to end. “Was it something I said?”

The old drunk twists his head a quarter turn, bleary eyes narrowed and trying to focus. “It’s the time of the year.”

The bartender slides a bottle to him, voice sharp in the mid-day silence of the bar. “You talk too much, old man.”

The old man waves a dismissive hand. “You’re not here for the celebration.”

He hands the bartender his empty and reaches up, rubs cool, damp fingers against the beginning of a headache behind his eyes. “What celebration?”

The old man’s head drops and his shoulders curl forward as another fit of coughing takes him.

He reaches over, thumps him hard on the back.

The old man waves him off. “The Great Day of Liberation.”

The bartender ducks beneath the counter; brings up a bottle of JD and three glasses. “Not a lot of reason to celebrate.”

“The Death of Azar.” The old man shrugs a bony shoulder. “The end of the Great War.”

“The end of the last war.” The bartender sets a clean glass in front of him, splashes it half full of whiskey as his eyes slide to the old man. “We just quit numbering them.”

The old man leans forward, hungry eyes on the bottle. “You don’t think that’s reason enough to celebrate?”

The bartender splashes another puddle, slides the glass down the bar. “You talk too much, old man.”

The old man raises his glass. “Azar’s gone.”

The bartender snorts; a harsh explosion of breath, raises his own. “For all the good it’s done.”

He almost laughs, clinks glasses all around. “They say change is good. Peace is new.”

The bartender splashes another round, his voice rough and low. “It’s a long story.”

“Not such a long story.” The old man shrugs again. “Clan warfare. Azar was the most powerful of the warlords. Ruled with an iron fist.”

Eyes closed, he raises the glass to his lips. “Decided who would live and die.”

The bartender’s voice is as dull and flat as his eyes. “Trafficked in slaves and weapons to support his private armies…his personal ambitions.”

The words hang heavy in the stillness. “His personal compound is not too far outside the city. You can tour the barracks and the warehouse and cages as part of the celebration if you’d like.”

He leans forward, hands the bartender his empty. “Cages?”

He shrugs and pours, hands it back.

The old man’s voice, savage and sharp as a blade floats between them. “For holding the merchandise.”

He slides his eyes sideways, sets his glass back down on the bar. “You’ve been there.”

“I was there.” The old man taps a long, bony forefinger against the jagged black symbols scrawled in a line on his neck. “Lot number. I worked in the mine.”

“They would come in the dark; take males, females, children.” The bartender’s lips curve gently up at corners in an angry smile. “We called them The Vanished.”

“A number of Azar’s clients had a predilection for children.” The old man curls forward again; coughs into his chest, waves off a helping hand. “The younger the better.”

“The girl…”

“And her brother.” Hazy eyes stare into the past; focus on a memory, on some point beyond his left shoulder. “The boy was young, small…sickly.”

He tilts his head, chews on a thumb pad. “What happened?

“We were in the middle of a war.” The old man shrugs, wraps his fingers around his glass. “Azar challenged the wrong people. He’d always armed both sides, but when he began trafficking in biological weapons…”

“You talk too much, old man.” Her voice is a quiet, vicious thing slicing the words like a razor. “It’s not your story to tell.”

She slides behind the bar, sharp eyes catching his.

He flicks his eyes away, forces himself to look back. “What’s the rest of the story?”

Her face twists with anger, grief. “Azar’s enemies sent a team of assassins.”

A long forefinger taps against his glass. “They killed him…and liberated you.”

The dead pools of her eyes pin him in place. “They weren’t there to…liberate us.”

His teeth grind loud in his ear. “They left you there?”

“There were too many of us.” Her lips flatline. “And the fighting was close. We could hear…see the city being shelled. The explosions. The fires.”

“Azar’s guards were coming…”

“One of the team, a female…forced them to take…some of us. Only the ones who could move on their own.”

The old man spit his words. “A twelve day forced march to the border.”

“And the others?”

“My brother was sick…weak…he hadn’t been able to eat…”

“You couldn’t take him?”

“She gave me a choice.” Her hands curl into tight fists at her side. “Said it was already too late for him; we couldn’t save him.” Old grief and guilt flavor her words. “There was nothing I could do. There were too many others to take.”

A small shiver ripples through her body. “I said I couldn’t leave him.”


She lifts a skeletal shoulder. “She said if I wanted to live I had to go with them.”

“You left him?”

She goes suddenly rigid, eyes sighting over his shoulder and burning in a face frozen in a rictus of rage.

“Are you ready to go?” Cacia’s voice shatters the sudden silence.

He swivels his head in slow motion, sees her standing there, staring past him; eyes tired, face drawn, arms wrapped around her middle like she’s trying to keep herself from spilling out.

The girl’s voice floats soft and low behind him. “She was right.”

Cacia wrenches her gaze from the girl, locks him in her line of sight. “The others are waiting for us.”

She spins on her heel and leaves without looking back to see if he’s following.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Blogfest Weekend (Part One)

Happy Saturday and welcome to the first day of Blogfest Weekend. That's right. Two days of blogfest awesomeness. Here's my humble 700 word entry for the Murder Scene Blogfest hosted by the lovely Anne Riley. Don't forget to head over and check out the rest of these killer entries when you're finished.

Outside, the heavy press of humidity, darkening skies, and a shift in the whisper of wind announced the coming storm.

Inside, the clock in the corner of the screen counted down the time left in the quarter.

Jake dropped boneless onto the couch, tossed a beer without looking across the room. "I call this one right and it's a hundred bucks in the pool."

Eyes on the big screen, Sam shifted in the recliner, snagged the can mid-air.

The ref’s whistle stopped the clock, and a quiet voice floated behind them.

"Who's playing?"

Two heads snapped in unison.

Jake came off the couch. "What the fuck..."

The snarl died before he pulled up short at the sight of the man standing statue-still ten feet away.

"Stop right there.” A huge, steady hand leveled the Berretta; ice blue eyes pinned its target in place. “Sit down."

The matte black silencer twitched toward the big screen. "Thought you wanted to watch the game."

Hands up, palms out, Jake folded himself back into his seat, eyes never leaving the barrel of the gun pointed at him. "Who the hell are you?"

"Nobody you know." A spasm rippled across a tight jaw line and bloodless lips pulled back in a feral smile. "Just some guy in from out of town for a little while.” He jerked his head toward the TV. “Who's playing?"


Predatory eyes narrowed, targeted the man on the couch. "What's your name?"


The Berretta shifted to target the man in the chair. "You?"

"Sam." He blew out the word on an explosive exhale.

Jake shifted on the couch. "What the hell..."

The Berretta twitched again. Jake's eyes snapped wide open as it pointed right at him.

"Who's playing?" The voice went low and dangerous.

"Who are you?" Sam croaked.

"Green Bay and...Minnesota." Jake brought his hands up, forefingers pointed at the pistol. "You might wanna take it easy with that thing."

"Don't worry, I got it under control." He snorted a laugh. "We're just gonna have a little talk."

Beads of sweat gathered along Sam’s hairline, his upper lip. "Put that thing down and we'll talk."

"I don't think so.” The voice was soft, almost lilting. “Not yet. We have some unfinished business."

Jake inhaled a careful breath, ran a dry tongue around parched lips. "We don't know you."

"No, you don't." Mirror-flat eyes locked Jake in their line of sight. "But you've met a friend of mine."

Sam breathed deep; the smell of his own fear sharp in his nostrils, in his throat, choked him. "Who?"

"Pretty girl, about this tall." The gunman’s free hand up came up close to his left eye. "Thin, beautiful face, beautiful black hair..."

"Last night." Shaking now, Sam closed his eyes, mumbled something that might have been a prayer.

"Yeah, last night." Cold, dead eyes examined their target. "You like to hurt them? Mess them up? That the only way you can get any?"

"Man, I don't know what you're talking about." Jake took one rasping breath and the words came faster, running off his tongue. "Just take it easy. Don't do anything stupid. Put the gun down. We didn't do anything..."

A flatline smile bled across tight lips. "You drugged her and then you raped her."

"No, man, I swear. It wasn't like that." Jake’s hands came up in supplication and his eyes widened, flicked between the pistol and the cold, calm face of the man holding it.

Breathing hard, Sam felt wet warmth pool beneath him. "Don't do this, please."

"And then you left her...lying in a back alley to die." The words hummed with focused fury.

"We didn't know she was so messed up..." Jake tasted copper in his mouth.

Sam strained for air. "Please don't do this."

"Shut the fuck up."

The finger on the trigger tightened. There was a snick almost like an electrical spark.

The body on the couch jerked back and then crumbled as the Berretta slid a quarter turn to the side and fired again. The body on the recliner twitched and then stilled, arms and legs splayed.

He reached for the remote and turned off the game on his way out the back door.

Friday, April 9, 2010


One of the reasons I love Anne, aka Piedmont Writer, is because she is so incredibly generous and gives the best awards. This time it’s the lovely Awesome Sauce Award that really looks good enough to eat or drink.

It’s my pleasure and privilege to pass this great award on to some really awesome folks. So here they are:

Charity Bradford at My Writing Journey
Amber at musings of amber murphy
Mia at My Literary Toast and Jam
Bossy Betty
Donna Hole

And over on the contest front, Lola at Sharp Pen/Dull Sword is hosting a contest you should check out.

And Shannon is giving away six books to celebrate her signing with her dream agent. Go over and take a look at the fab prizes.

That’s it for this Friday’s post because it’s going to be a busy weekend. Yes, there will be blogfest entries on Saturday and Sunday this week. Saturday, 4/10 sees my entry for Anne Riley’s Murder Scene Blogfest. And Sunday, 4/11 sees my entry for the Bar Scene Blogfest that Tara over at Secret Story is hosting. Lots of good stuff to read this weekend, so make sure you check it out.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Layer up!

Behler Blog has a great post on layers in story telling and where/what/when plot begins. While I’m a fan of a spare story telling style, I really believe that whether a writer tells their story with an economy of words or creates a lush verbal landscape, I’ve always been a big fan of layers in what I read and write and in storytelling in general.

So as I struggle with outlining my plot I wondered about some things. Are your layers like your characters? I mean, characters sometimes jump up and demand that you do something totally different than what you had planned. Do you have all the layers in your story in hand or in your mind when you start writing, or do your layers develop as you go deeper into your character’s heads and your plot-lines?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

You Want Me to Do What?

I will gleefully admit that for most of my writing life I have been a pantser. I’ve only recently given serious thought and any effort to exploring the joys of outlining. I blame all the pretty pictures of grids floating around my little corner of the universe.

And it’s not a pretty, easy fit for me. I think that’s because I’m a character driven writer and storyteller and plot is not my first and foremost love. So I’m finding it a little difficult to quantify my major plot threads at the beginning of the process. Plot Whisperer has a great post on plot-lines, plot writing, plot planners, and one writer’s pre-work and success story.

Has anyone converted recently to outlining from pantsing? Is that working for you? Thinking of going back? If you outline, do you know the entire plot and all the plot-lines before going into your actual writing?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

What's going on?

Yesterday, Theresa Milstein had a brave and honest post about writing and blogging, real life and choices, and the very real economic and opportunity costs and consequences of each. If you didn’t get a chance to read it, you should.

Because I think a lot of us face those questions to some degree or other, as it seems a whole host of people have been/currently are/will soon be unplugged.

There are blogs out there telling you how to write a blog, blogs devoted to writing better blogs, blogs telling you how to make money writing blogs. None of which is wrong or bad. But blogging is time consuming.

And on top of everything else, it seems everywhere we look lately, blogs and platforms and branding are touted as not only necessary but de rigueur for writers seeking publication. Behler Blog weighed in here with a slightly different take on the subject that I thought was an interesting read.

All that being said, I'd like to ask: Why do you blog? What do you want it to be? Hobby? Job? Hybrid? Do you get what you want from it? How much time do you spend? Would you stop? Why?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Celebrate Monday

Ok, so how many of you looked at the post topic today and thought to yourselves (or out loud) is she high? I mean, why would you celebrate Monday? Well, no, I’m not. But I was thinking that lately a lot of us have been dragged down and slogging through the muck and the mire of real life or the writing/revising process or anything else that makes us forget the good things that happen or that we do.

So I thought that maybe we should take time out to recognize and/or remember the good things. And since I don’t have a theme day yet for my blog, I thought Mondays might be a good time to do that. So here on Mondays we are going to celebrate ourselves and the good things/people that make us happy. It doesn't have to be big. Sometimes little things are the best.

I’ll start. See that lovely award up there that I got from Karen? I’m thrilled that I have found this lovely community that is so supportive and sharing. A community that has been generous beyond belief in welcoming me to it. Being part of this group of creative people makes me happy and moves me. And I know that the award has been around for a while and that a lot of people have received it, but it makes me happy to pass this award on to anyone who would like it.

Another thing that makes me happy is contests. Susan is running one to celebrate her 100 followers. Go here and check it out.

And speaking of contests celebrating followers, Wagging Tales is having a book giveaway celebrating that, too. Make sure you check it out.

Anyway, how about you? What makes you happy? What would you like to celebrate?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Friday and a Blogfest

It’s finally here. Not just Friday, but Kelly’s First Page Blogfest. Make sure you head over and check out the awesome list of writers signed up to share their first pages with you. Here’s mine.

The sky is a blanket, grey and wet, no comfort at all against the wind that blows just enough to send the unseasonable chill bone deep.

December in Florida isn’t supposed to be like this. Nothing is supposed to be like this.

He shivers and shrugs himself deeper into his jacket in the face of the wind, picks up his pace as he turns the corner.

The street is empty and so is the sidewalk as he catches his reflection in a storefront window.

It’s been a while since he’s been here. He’s not even sure it’s still open. But he’d left the base early without much thought to where he was going, just running on empty.

Not because it was Friday, but because his apartment windows had been dark when he'd pulled up to the curb in front of his building and sat watching the first tendrils of fog roll in.

He’s pretty sure it’s better to be empty and cold outside than empty and cold in the front room, the kitchen, the bedroom.

He finds what he’s looking for and pushes through the door.

The bar is empty except for a couple of guys shooting a half-assed game of pool under a big screen. The bartender looks up from washing glasses and gives him a half-nod as he makes his way to a back booth.

“Hi, I’m Theresa.” The waitress materializes at the table, paints on a cut-glass smile. “Can I get you something to drink?”

He settles deeper in his seat, tilts his head. “You got Sam Adams?”

She flicks bored eyes toward the screen at the roar of the crowd. “Bottle or draft?”


She spins on her heel and bounces off toward the bar.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The space between

With all the talk here this week about cutting words and laser focused editing and concise writing, it’s easy to get lost in the minutiae of writing and its process, and to lose sight of the bigger picture.

And it’s easy to lose your balance and your way in the process.

Elizabeth Spann Craig has a great post over at Mystery Writing is Murder about the big picture. Check it out. Then tell me: How do you maintain your balance as you negotiate the space between the overall big picture and the myriad small ones that create the big one?