Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Zone and Zen

Zone:  Becoming lost in the art of creating. 
I love the moment when I realize that I've been writing effortlessly for hours.  It is such a great feeling. 
To help put me in the zone I have a few tricks. 
1)  I use a soundtrack from a movie.  Currently I'm using the soundtrack from Robin Hood. When my brain hears the music it knows it is time to write. 
2) Before I quit writing I ponder what the next scene should be and maybe even write a first sentence.  I may or may not keep it, but I don't start the day with a blank page.
3)  I show up at the same time every morning.  Okay, most every morning.  My body knows that at 5:00 I'm going to write.
Do you have any special tricks up your sleeve that helps you to get in the zone?


My Co-worker found this little shop when she was visiting Dallas and thought of me.  I have a little sand garden on my desk.  If I find myself starting to say something critical about someone else I stop myself by saying "ZEN" and walking away.

The subject line said:  I found your bliss.

The fact that it is a dessert bar makes it even better.

It has been fun getting to read all the blogs and seeing how creative people are with coming up with things from A-Z.  I know some of mine have been a bit lame - but lame is better than nothing and next year I will "fail better".

Monday, April 29, 2013

You can do it.

Writing is a solitary pursuit.  My family is wonderful and supportive but there are times when I need to commiserate with others who have struggled my struggle.  I have met so many wonderful people who have offered advice, encouragement or just a shoulder.

At the end of the day we all have to be our own cheerleader and never forget:

YOU can do it!!

(Why yes, I am still struggling. Why do you inquire? ;)

Sunday, April 28, 2013


I tried to hit a few blogs late last night.  I will do more today.  Please forgive the tardiness.

My son was in charge of Comcast Cares here in SLC, Utah.

I of  course jumped in to help him.  He said I'd be putting kits together for the homeless.
I can do that.

I ended up doing registration.
Really?  People stuff?

Then I became a door greeter.
Oh dear gods... I have to be out going?
I'm fine.  I will be okay..

It was good until they took my daughter from me.

She was the bubble of enthusiasm.  I could do this people thing with her by my side. Then they moved her.  Joseph! Now I have to be bright and cheery.  I can do it?!

For me, it started at 6:00am with the sorting of shirts and other grunt work needed.

I was amazed at the number of people who showed up.  I greeted them all, including those who did not wish the greet.  Long story:  He was bringing donations and when he came back in he said., " You asked me this before!"  I said, "And when you come back, I will ask you again." 

(You are vexing me sir.  I belong not here. I long for coffee and quiet. You are vexing me.)

I am sorry, I cannot remember what I ate for breakfast.  It is so early there was no time for coffee and YOU expect me to remember YOU.  Awesome ego.  Totally awesome ego.  Where can I find one.

Long story short I was busy yesterday and didn't hit any blogs until late last night.

Good lord willing and the internet connects...I will do a few more today.


Saturday, April 27, 2013


 I've blogged before about how I love the 13th Floor series by Christine Rains.
For X I'm going to use Xan.
What you want more than eye candy??
Fine let me tell you about Xan.

Xan is short for Xanthus and he's a dragon slayer.  A dragon slayer in a time where they are no longer celebrated as heroes but are outlaws.  Xan knows that dragons never went extinct.  They evolved with human society and took on mortal form.  When Xan does his job properly he is seen as an assasin.

Trouble is he missed his mark. Now the dragon knows he's gunning for him and Xan must make a plan to slay the dragon or risk its retribution.

This is an awesome series.  I love the inhabitants of the 13th Floor.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Wandering Ladybugs


I found these little gems when my dad was in the hospital several years ago.  They are supposed to bring good luck. I gave away a bunch and I kept a few.   Everyone needs good luck, right? What I didn't anticipate was the wandering.  They move about, decide who they'll associate with and in general fascinate me.

See them in clusters of 3, 2, 1?  They started out as 2, 2, 2.

Why do they wander?
Is it the need to be with each other?
Above you can see the crates in front of my desk that house odds and ends that I fancy.  They move from crate to crate.  They cluster in two's or three's or fours.  It changes frequently. I find it amazing.

The big one doesn't wander... at least not that I've ever seen. Perhaps it wanders and then heads home before I notice.

Thursday, April 25, 2013


Annoyed, frustrated, or worried
The same grandmother that bequeathed unto me her ancient words gave me something else.  Doubt.  She was a very critical person.  She didn't like me much and took every opportunity she could to put me in my place. 
I remember making Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls when I was a teen.  The little outfits were so cute and I was quite proud of how they turned out.  I displayed them for her appraisal as she had a way with a needle.  Her response, "I will wait for the finished product."  Really?  She never saw the final product as I no longer cared for her opinion.  I brushed her dirt from my shoes and walked away.
Years later I realized that I hadn't truly walked away.  I doubted myself. I knew I wasn't good enough.  I would never be good enough.  I wrote but didn't share. I was frustrated because I wanted to grow as a writer and to do that you have to share. I couldn't.  I was frozen.
Last year I threw caution to the wind.  I took classes and started to feel less anxiety about sharing.  It was during one of these classes that I realized I had a 'Honey jar stuck on my nose'.  
It was from a song by Kenny Loggins.  Return to Pooh Corner.
One of the lyrics goes like this: 
Whinnie the Pooh doesn't know what to do.
Got a honey jar stuck on his nose.
The light went on for me.  For years I had been carrying around my grandmother Honey's gift of self doubt. 
When I found a little figurine of an 'unstuck' Pooh I put it on my desk to help remind me: "It is okay to doubt, that's normal. But if you are feeling stuck get the freaking pot of your nose and move forward. 


Wednesday, April 24, 2013


For M I did minion because Bob the cat was being an evil minion. Ever since he discovered that Nadja got to be Frank the Fire Drake he's been impossible to live with.  I promised him a part in my next book but that was not enough for him.

"HA-ROW?" Bob hollered.  What am I chopped liver? He'd think to himself before screeching another, "HA-ROW?"  Keep in mind this has happened every morning at 3:00.

So without further ado I bring you Bob.

Evil minion by night.
Fluffy Unicorn by day.
NOW can I get some sleep?
shhh I don't want to curse anything. Ever since I gave Bob the unicorn horn, he's stopped with the 3:00 am HELLO'S.  Such a fluffly unicorn...beautiful Bob.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tarot Cards

I always thought it would be fun to learn to read tarot cards but I have not taken the time to pursue that interest further than using the cards to spark my imagination from time to time.

I have several decks.  This is the one that called to me for my current project.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Self Fulfilling Prophecy

A self-fulfilling prophecy is a prediction that directly or indirectly causes itself to become true, by the very terms of the prophecy itself, due to positive feedback between belief and behavior.
It all started when my kids went of a trip to Oregon and brought me back a small souvenir turtle.  Ever since then when I get a present it will probably include a turtle.  I have a herd of turtle.  I didn't think much about it until the day my daughter told me about the turtle cup.
They were at Beans and Brew and saw a coffee cup with a turtle on it.  As they were leaving they talked about it and decided to get me the cup as a Christmas present.  They went back in to buy it and the cashier pointed at the now exiting customer.  
Eventually she decided there would never be turtle cup and told me how they had called every store in the valley. There were no turtle cups to be found.  Hearing the tale my son went on a quest. Last week he surprised me with the cup.  I laughed and we talked about how I don't really collect turtles.  Then this morning I saw a giant sea turtle on TV.  "Awe, what a cute turtle," I said.
My herd
And you can't forget this cute little fella.

A turtle I made at girl scout camp 100 years ago.
I think this was the first turtle.  When dad died I found him and brought him home.
Wow,I really do collect turtles.
Who'da guessed.

Saturday, April 20, 2013


Resources are a great source of inspiration and fun. 
These are just a few that I use.

The Blogress  This blog isn't so much for writing tips, but she makes me laugh.  Sometimes that's what I need to get through a rough patch.

The Bookshelf Muse
Dedicated to helping writers via descriptive tools, knowledge sharing, and support.  Amen to that.  I enjoy the blog very much and I think the Emotion Thesaurus is a must have.  It helps me to show not tell. 
Seventh Sanctum a site of random tools for creativity and more!
They have  a collection of 'generators' that make random characters, plots, ideas to use in your writing.  Plus it can just be fun. 

Writing Excuses it is a short podcast chock full of writing advice.

Query Shark  shows you how to revise and strengthen query letters.

Behind the Name  is a random name generator.

The Muse Online Writers Conference it is a week long conference.  There are so many classes available and the opportunity to pitch your book.  It is free, but donations are accepted.

NaNoWriMo it is not just for November.  There is always something happening on the forums.

Savvy Authors there is a $30.00 fee to join.  Non-Members are welcome too.  Classes cost just a bit more if you are not a member.  If you plan on taking a few courses it more than makes up the cost. 

750 Words encourages you to write 750 words a day.  Every day.

Fake Word Generator - Something every fantasy writer should have in their bag of tricks.

TV Tropes  is a catalog of the tricks of the trade for writing fiction.  Warning: It can be a real time waster but it is a fun site.

Heroine Maker This is an awesome time waster.  I don't want to spoil your fun.  Go forth and create.

Write or Die this is a fun little program that forces you to write rapidly.  You can determine the severity of the consequences.  If you stop typing it can start eating your words.  Freak!! Or the worst thing that ever happened to me.  Bananna Phone.  That song has stuck in my head for years.  I warn you DO NOT click that link.

Friday, April 19, 2013


I like uplifting quotes. I saw this on a blog a year or so ago.
Failing sucks. No two ways about it.
The bright side to failing?
It means you showed up.

So let's all get out there and 'Fail Better.'

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Poets Notebook

I am not a poet but when I saw this notebook a few years back I had to have it. It is the place where I can collect quotes or passages that I find inspiring.  I then decorate it with pictures that resonate with me.  It is one of the places I turn to when I need inspiration.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Odd Words

My grandmother used odd words.  Of course at the time I didn't realize they were odd until I started school and I got the huh? look.   I'm not speaking a foreign language here people. Oh wait, maybe I was.  Thanks Honey.
( I tried to take a picture of her picture... was not happening.)

For example:

Bumbershoot = umbrella
Chifforobe = dresser drawers
Divan = couch
Ottoman = footstool

These are just a few I can think of off the top of my head.

What odd words has your family handed down to you?

Ahahaha  on Day  I of the A-Z after purchasing another e-book
I responded to a blog saying:
The A-Z sure has been hard on my pocketbook
Who says pocketbook?  It was too late to take it back, but not too late to use it as another example of some of the odd words I use.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


National Novel Writing Month happens in November.  People sign up to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

In case you're curious these are the rules:

The rules state that, to be an official NaNoWriMo winner, you must…
  • Write a 50,000-word (or longer!) novel, between November 1 and November 30.
  • Start from scratch. None of your own previously written prose can be included in your NaNoWriMo draft (though outlines, character sketches, and research are all fine, as are citations from other people’s works).
  • Write a novel. We define a novel as a lengthy work of fiction. If you consider the book you’re writing a novel, we consider it a novel too!
  • Be the sole author of your novel. Apart from those citations mentioned two bullet-points up.
  • Write more than one word repeated 50,000 times.
  • Upload your novel for word-count validation to our site between November 25 and November 30.

But wait there's more  Camp NaNoWriMo for those crazy enough to want to do it SEVERAL times a year.  Camp NaNoWriMo is held in April and July.  This year at camp they are letting you choose your word count goal.

Monday, April 15, 2013


Every bad guy needs evil minion, right?

This is Bob, no really his name is Bob.  He hasn't found a way into a story yet. Ever since he found out that Nadja was Frank the fire drake things have been a bit dicey. 

Next story Bob.  I promise.  Now can I sleep at night?  Pretty please?

Sunday, April 14, 2013


Time to catch up on Camp Nano... may or may not happen today but I am closing in on the "Red Bar of Doom".   What is the Red Bar of Doom?  It is 50,000 words divided by 30 days.  The goal is to stay at of above that line. Generally I'm looking back praying the Red Bar of Doom doesn't catch up to me.  This year I got off to a slow start and am trying to catch up to it. Guess I should find another LOL Cat to represent running towards the Red Bar, but I am optimistic that it will be behind me soon.
Red Bar of Doom Kitty

(I don't know where this picture came from.It has been with me for years.  If you want me to take it down please let me know.)

Time to catch up on A-Z.  My computer was not playing well with the interwebs yesterday.  I need to take it in after Camp and see what its psychosis is.  Some days it will play and other days it snickers at me and sticks out its tongue.

Time to catch up on some sleep.  Which, yawns, sounds really good right now.  Even after 32oz of ice coffee.  Yep, I needs me some rest.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Longwell, Jaron

Is he a Giant or a Mountain Troll?
Initially I intended him to be a giant... but in the discovery process what comes out?
He hates being called a giant. He was mocked as a kid for being tall. His father believed ill of his mother when Jaren began to tower over all of the other children. The village sided with the father and Jaren and his mother were cast out.

Wanna know a secret? His father's line carries the blood of the Giant Mountain Troll. Stupid man kicked his wife and kid out for nothing.  After his mother dies there is nothing for Jaren in Fairey. He crosses over to the mortal realm where he learns to fit in as best he can.  


Friday, April 12, 2013


I believe in Karma.  You get what you give.

It sort of sucks when it becomes manifest.
Let me explain.

When the kids were young I always had them shovel the walks for an older lady that lived a few doors down.   When we got that huge snow storm in late March the kid from across the street shoveled my walks.

While I felt grateful that someone would do that for me. It was the realization that I'm the old lady of the neighborhood now that sort of stung.

 This is what it looked like a few hours before it stopped snowing.  I was very thankful I didn't have to shovel, but still...

Thursday, April 11, 2013


I don't use journaling in the traditional sense.  The author of the cards Inner Outings  intended them for a personal journey. 
I use them for my characters. Sometimes I'm stuck and need a little push.  I'll think about the character and where she/he is at, draw a card and respond to it for my character.  Sometimes it is the little nudge that I need.
What do you do when you need a little nudge?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Things are only impossible until they're not.
~Jean-Luc Picard, Star Trek: The Next Generation
Imagination is such a wonderful thing.  When children are in the early grades they are encouraged to explore all things creative.  At some point there is a switch in how we expect our children to process the world around them.  To me that is sad.  To my husband that would be logical.  

My children were raised telling stories, creating films or other works of art.  His children were raised doing calculus, physics and other things I don't comprehend.  

Neither is right or wrong.  Though I'll admit that his children never got in trouble for getting their calculus problems correct. While my daughter got in trouble for the giant butterfly.  

She saw a giant butterfly and mentioned it to the class.  The teacher didn't find it humorous.  Judd insisted that she saw a giant butterfly.  Some of the other children agreed that there was a giant butterfly.  That's when it escalated and my daughter found herself in the Principal's office awaiting my arrival.    

I listened to both sides of the tale.  The teacher was disgusted by my daughter's disruptive behavior.  My daughter assured me there was a giant butterfly.  Had the teacher taken two minutes to look, perhaps she too would have seen what my daughter saw.  In the dirt on the glass was what looked like a giant butterfly.
I would like to say that the teacher saw the error of her ways, but alas this was not to be.  My daughter was unfazed by her unimaginative teacher and we managed to get through the last few weeks of fifth grade with her imagination still intact.

Okay these are really dragonflies. 
But I don't have a picture of a butterfly.
Use your imagination ;)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Do you currently have a writing routine?  I use to have a great avoidance routine and my house was never cleaner.  That changed for me during Nano.  I knew that I would get up in the morning and write.  I knew that when I got home from work I would write.  No questions, no excuses, I just wrote. 

Now I get up every morning and write for at least an hour.  I leave my evenings for reading and other things I enjoy doing.  I found that by making an appointment with myself every morning I was more productive.  Since Nano I don't worry about word count just the act of writing every day.

I know lots of writers who have remarkable spread sheets and other ways of keeping track of how many words they wrote, how many they edited etc.  Perhaps when I have passed this fledgling stage something more complex will be needed.  For now I have a method I call "Shooting for the Star". 

I use a wall calender that I see every time I leave my bedroom.

Left to right diagonal marks days I've exercised.  Right to left days I've stuck to my diet.  The straight line are days I've written.  As you can see I do better at some things than others. ;)

Do you use a spread sheet or some other method to keep track of your writing days?

Monday, April 8, 2013


When I started the year my goal was to learn how to plot.  I felt I needed structure in my writing.  What I got was overwhelmed. A fact I bemoaned to the IWSG in March.  Everyone was so wonderful and the comments helped me get my head back in the game.

In March I had a chat with my Muse I promised I would stop tormenting her. That I would go back to my pantser ways if she'd promise not to leave me if I used just a wee bit of structure.  We have an accord.  It seems to be working out for both of us.

My writing goal for the year is to have my WIP completed and revised prior to The Muse Online Writers Conference.  I am also taking that week off work to attend. (shh I haven't told DH yet ;) 

I noticed last year that a lot of the attendees were not frantically writing trying to stay up with all the course work.  They were using the conference to strengthen their work.  Sounded like a plan to me.

How 'bout you?  What are your goals for the year?

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Frank - The Fire Drake

This is Frank the fire drake.

 You see a cat? 
Silly me, of course you do.
If you weren't mortal you'd see Frank for what he is.
Let me see if I can tweak the computer.
How 'bout now?
Still a cat?  Dang.
Frank pulls the illusion off very well.
 Except on occasion when a small puff of smoke escapes his mouth. 
I have an idea.
Here's Frank as a hatchling before he had control of his powers.
Frank is a character that found his way into my last Nano novel. 
Frank is actually Nadja.
I asked if she minded that I was using her for a male character.
 You can tell from the picture that she is not amused.

Why Frank?  It was Nano and I used the first name that came to mind. 
One time I had a character named Findlistpickname.  I never did find the list.

The picture of the bearded dragon is my grandcritter Fred.


Friday, April 5, 2013


extraordinary; uncomon; remarkable
There are people that I think of as extraordinaire.  You know the ones.  They set goals and achieve them.  Not just any goals but out of this world goals.  They aim for the moon and hit it every time.  The ones with word counts that make the Bible look like a short story.  The ones who not only write their story. They do what it takes to finish it.  The ones who get their stories out there and they are good.  These people amaze me.  I long to be one of these people.
"What nobody tells people who are beginners… is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not… your taste is why your work disappoints you… We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this… It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions.”
- Ira Glass
The above quote gives me hope.  My writing isn't crap.  I'm just filling the gap. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013


I like the discovery process.  For me it is a magical time of getting to know my characters. I go to Michael's or The Dollar Store and just wander around to see if anything calls to me.  
I start with a blank board and shelf.
Then I put a collage together of my characters and things that they might like.  The bulletin board sits just over my desk. 

For one story I put together a scrap book. Since it was in the summer I wanted to have something portable so I could write at the park or in the backyard and have all the info at my finger tips.  

The beauty of the discovery process is that you never know what might jump out at you. When I was wandering through Michael's one day I realized that my story would have a cat in it. 

This is Spot the stripped cat. 

What's the strangest thing discovery offered to you?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


I like reading Stephen King and when he came out with a book on the craft of writing I bought it right away. 

I think it is a great book and I loved revisiting it. Here are a few of my take aways:

"If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot."

Alrighty then. 
"Honey, I'm not ignoring you I'm just following orders."  Oh yeah.  I like it.

"By the time I was fourteen … the nail in my wall would no longer support the weight of the rejection slips impaled upon it. I replaced the nail with a spike and kept on writing."

I've always loved this about Stephen King.  It wasn't "What if I get rejected?" It was acceptance that it would happen and when the nail wasn't sufficient enough he got a spike. 

How 'bout you?  Do you have a favorite writing book you fall back on when you need encouragement?

Today is the first Wednesday of the month so it is time again for IWSG
The Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG).
They meet the first Wednesday of every month to encourage each other, share doubts and insecurities.
You can go here to encourage other participants
Thanks to everyone who commented last month.  Your thoughts, suggestions and encouragement helped to get me through a rough patch.
This month I'm happy to report that I'm back on track and the words a flowing.
I'll keep it short as the A-Z Challenge is also underway.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Be kind to yourself

Okay - so this is a bit of a stretch but, eh.

I know that I can be too hard on myself at time.  It is in those moments that I get the blinkety blanks.  That blank page with the cursor matching you blink for blink.  I think as writers we have to give ourselves the licence to write crap knowing that we'll get it cleaned up in the next run through.

“I can fix a bad page. I can't fix a blank page.”
Nora Roberts

And besides if I were perfect think of the laughter that would be lost. I tend to  snort soda through my nose when I stumble upon something really stupid.  I am always grateful it isn't hot coffee.

So be kind to yourself and put that judgmental editor to bed. Give your muse the freedom to do the happy dance from time to time.  

Monday, April 1, 2013

Authors and Thank You Arlee Bird

Arlee Bird - Thank you so much for this wonderful blog hop and the opportunity to make new friends.
My step-daughter at a book signing with Brandon Sanderson.
We are either authors, up and coming authors or people who love to read authors.
I'm in the wanna be category at this time in my life.  I have several short stories that I've written.  I have ventured into Nano land several times and while I have plenty of words written I've never finished a novel. Yet.
I love reading.  I enjoy Robert Jordan, Juliet Marlier, Stephen King and Terry Goodkind to name a few. 
I mostly read fantasy, but will read other genres when a bloggy friend has a book.  
How about you? 
Where are you at in you author status? 
Who do you like to read?