Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Is Grammar Really All It’s Cracked Up To Be?

I appreciate grammar. I do. But my brain usually short-circuits if I have to filter through a bunch of colons, commas, and semi-colons to get to the true grit of the story.

My 81 year old grandmother is writing a story. She pitched it to me. I wish I could become an agent, because I’d buy it without even reading it, just by what she described to me. It’s like Nicholas Sparks vs. Catherine Anderson (and I wish I could explain my own book in such a way). Plus, imagine an 81 year old romance author! She’s got the mind, she’s got the experience, she’s got the charm! I believe in her! And I think an 81 year old romance author could charm the socks off most unbelievers.

I hope she finishes it. She’s one of my inspirations because she’s always WANTED to write, but never sat down and finished (along with my mom, who died before she had the chance). So I decided to actually finish one or two or three while I had the chance. And I hope she will, too.
Back to my point. She read this “how-to” book (not sure the title), that explained the importance of grammar and all the things you MUST do (i.e. don’t rewrite your story too much! (What? That requires another post)) It explained the importance of grammar. So her first sentence, which was actually really interesting but had three descriptive actions, were each separated by a proper semi-colon. Which was very intrusive to me, as a reader.

So my point of this blog post is...don’t apply every “how-to” to your own writing. Because maybe we’re all guilty of disrespecting grammar, but let’s face it: The world is changing, our attention spans are suffering a shortage in this action-infused world, and writing with too many proper punctuations is intrusive.

And you don’t have to be right all the time.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Why I Don't Like Horror...

It's Halloween month. I call it the Halloween month because it seems like Halloween lasts throughout the whole month of October. Every time you turn on the TV, a scary movie is playing. Now, when I was young I liked horror as much as the next person. I loved to wrap myself in my boyfriend's arms and let him protect me from all the pets who were buried and came back to life. (Pet Semetary, couldn't watch that again now!)

I'm sitting here at the computer and all I can hear is the show my husband is watching. Just the music and the words that I try to tune out. I don't ask what it is. I don't want to know. But it bothers me, and I hate that it bothers me but I can't help that it bothers me. I tried to remember growing up watching NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET and I suddenly remembered that's the last horror movie I ever watched!

So why do I hate horror? Well, it's because my mom died on October 26. Imagine seeing skeletons and ghosts everywhere you look (I was 15 years old, so no longer into trick or' treating, but still...) It was bothersome. We had her funeral a few days before Halloween. It was just eerie. It's been awhile now, so it's hard to explain, but it's also hard to block out those memories when you're walking down the street and see everyone celebrating death. That's how I saw it at the time. I remember many times walking down the street with my mom, and some of the people here went all out with their decorations. She loved it! Thought it was so cooll! I can't reemember trick or' treating without my mom because she's the one who always took my sister and me.

Even now, years later, I hate even hearing a horror movie noise.

So, that's why I yell at hubby to turn down the television when a horror movie is on. Just brings back too many memories...

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

a Bookmarked Blog

It's not every day I see a Blog I want to add to my favorites so I'll remember it. I'm busy, and I don't have a lot of time to read blogs (it'd be easier if I didn't have to sit down at my desk and read, but I could read it while I was waiting in line, at the red light, at the Dr.'s office, etc.etc).

However, I just came across this Blog by accident:

and I've got to say, this Blog interested me. First of all, he works in the sales department of a trade publisher (so he must know what he's talking about ) and next of all, he's interesting!

He suggests that all authors blog. I'm trying. I'm really trying...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I've been working on a schedule that was supposed to have me blogging this morning. Though I've been doing great with my writing schedule, I wanted to also start blogging again once a week.

But this morning I got up and worked on my story. And I won't let anything (blogging, emails, myspace, or computer games) get in the way of my writing. The only thing that has to get in the way of my writing is my real job. I like to eat!

Now I'm out of time because I have to get ready for work. I'd much rather stay home and work on my story. One day, I will. :)))) For now, here's a hope that I will continue with my schedule. Here's a start.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Going to Nationals!

The RWA National Conference, July 15-18, in Washington DC! It’s a huge deal for me and I can’t tell you how excited I am.

I submitted an application for a scholarship, and my story won! This is the first time I've been to Nationals!

Did I mention how excited I am?

So, because I’m a little crazy (or OCD?) about certain things, I’ve ordered 2 trip books about DC. Just reading about it is fun, though I’ll enjoy experiencing everything there is to experience. It’s not that I have to have everything planned, but I like to have an idea of what to expect.

D.C. ... it’s not a top State of states I had on my list to visit, but I’m ultra excited now. I hear there are so many things to do, and seeing our nation’s capital will be something I will never forget.

Did I mention I hate flying?

I'd definitely rather drive, but since we own a business, we hate to close it up for a week, and the trip would take longer. We have to budget, too, and turns out it is cheaper to fly, at least for now. I have the vacation time at work, but when you own your own business...well, it makes things difficult. But I'm leaving it up to hubby, who is going with me.

Turns out he already knows his way around DC. At least, that's what he told me. (He likes to play his video game, Fallout 3, LOL, based in DC)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Would You Say I'm a Fan?

Hubby and I were cleaning out a kitchen cabinet and came across a bunch of coffee canisters we had saved. We saved them because they make great canisters for grease, his screws, nails, etc, but we didn't realize we had so many!

We have storage room again...

No...I'm in no way advertising Folgers (actually I prefer the Organic Coffee Company, but they are hard to find and ultra expensive for a couple who drinks coffee like hubby and I do). However, Folgers should give me a discount for advertising, don't you think? :)))
We attemped half decaf once, as you can see, but that didn't make the cut for me. I like my coffee STRONG.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


I love them! I can’t get enough of them! Every time I tell myself I’ll stop buying them, I’ll do okay for awhile, then go crazy and buy a bunch at once. I have storage boxes full of them and if I had the space, I would set them on shelves and have a library room I could walk into and have them surround me.

Maybe I should have been a librarian? Unfortunately in my small town, the library isn’t that great and doesn’t carry as many books as I would like. The librarian has been there going on thirty years or so and will retire in probably in another thirty or more.

That’s okay. I can still browse the bookstore, the online stores, the library, and when all else fails I can come home and enjoy the ones I have shelved. It’s always fun to go through boxes of books. Some of them I browse through but never read and some of them I read more than once.

Should I feel guilty that I am not contributing to a greener earth by having all these books?

I love all genres, just like I love all genres of music. Sometimes I love to curl up with a good romance, mystery or thriller and other times I need an inspiration self-help to see me through a daunting week. I don’t know what it is about the written word, but I’ll read cereal boxes if that’s all there is. And trying to catch the meaning of lyrics excite me.

Books. Words. Language. Poems. Lyrics. Novels. It all excites me. I like to stay open to and read others’ ideas, though I will always keep my own.

Art...such as books, music, dance, paintings, movies (etc etc) a universal language. Maybe that's why it's so intriquing?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Goal, Motivation and Conflict

GMC. You know the term. Every main character (hero/heroine) must have one in your story to make their actions ring true. Even if your character doesn't understand why she wants what she wants, your reader will want to know, so YOU must know. Ah, so what does a character do when conflict gets in her way? Push through that conflict so that the character can have a happy ending. (Of course, you don't want it to be too easy, and boring, so the reader stops reading).

As I contemplate my character's GMC, I'm also contemplating mine:

GOAL: finish ms

MOTIVATION: to be published (and because I love to write!)

CONFLICT: life, full time job, business partnership with husband (I do the financials and tax season is upon us)

HOW TO OVERCOME: make a schedule and stick to it


GOAL: to attend the DARA conference

MOTIVATION: to meet other authors and have a chance to pitch my novel

CONFLICT: money (I have a tooth problem that is going to cost $1000!)

HOW TO OVERCOME: save, make extra money, get loan or don't go


GOAL: to get my website back up and running

MOTIVATION: because all authors should have one

CONFLICT: lack of knowledge

HOW TO OVERCOME: learn all I can and get help where needed


I've had my head down in editing my current WIP and in plotting my new novel. You probably won't hear from me except sporadically for now, but I am going to try to get back into a routine. Still, my writing is most important and so things like blogging are put on the back burner. :)

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Writer's Symbol

A few years ago, with the advent of new ebook and print on demand publishers, I published 2 novels within months of each other, fulfilling my dream of publication. But fame didn’t prevail, and the stress of publicity along with self-promotion got the better of me. I overextended myself mentally, physically and financially as I continued to work full time, start a new business with my husband, and try to pursue my dream of writing. An emotionally draining job left (and still leaves) little energy to continue writing when it seemed my writing career wasn’t going to take off. Plus, I felt I had to keep my writing a secret from my boss and thus separate from my life. This made it hard to keep it a part of my life at all. I was discouraged with my publisher and the publishing world in general and thought about giving up many times. I prayed and ranted to God, wondering why He would put this dream in my heart if I was never going to be successful. Mere publication wasn’t, IMO, success. I wanted more.

I finished my third novel, yet couldn’t seem to get it published. I once envisioned this wonderful booksigning event where I would feature a moose, which was a huge symbol in my book, and I told myself if I ever published this story, I would have to find me a stuffed moose to put with my book. I already had the image of this moose pictured in my head and how I would take him along with me on my booksignings. This stuffed moose was almost like a character in my book.

After a year of having my third story written and about 40 rejections later (I wasn’t ready to submit to my current publisher yet), and many months of on again, off again writing, I was ready to give up, or at least “give myself a break without beating myself up”. I cancelled my website (I was having problems with the webhost anyway) and I thought about doing away with everything related to my writing.

One day during my lunch break, I went to a gift shop with a (non-writing) friend of mine and there, sitting on the shelf, was the moose—almost exactly as I had pictured him in my story and in my dreams. Just one moose, for sale, amongst many other items. I didn’t buy him, but kept looking and thinking about him. I told my husband about him because it was so close to Christmas I thought if my husband bought him, fine, but if not, then it wasn’t meant to be.

The next morning, I was reading my “writer’s devotional” (Julia Cameron’s FINDING WATER). It was the very last chapter and, I thought, my last hurrah with writing for awhile. If I decided to take it up again, fine, but it wouldn’t be that important to me. I had way too many other things to worry about and I was just one person. Whether or not I published another book was obviously not going to make an impact on anyone else, so why should I let it impact me?

In this “devotional”, Julia spoke of a writer’s symbol. She explained why it was so important to have something that means something to you and your writing (whether it’s a bracelet, necklace, etc). I knew then that I had to go back and get that moose. It was like a symbol to me, calling out to me. I knew it when I saw it, yet I kept trying to ignore it and push it out of my mind. When I went back to the store, the owner’s little girl said, ‘finally someone is buying that moose. He has been staring at me all this time.” This was affirmation that this moose was my sign.

If I hadn’t read that little chapter the very next day, I may have ignored that moose (though I hadn’t been able to get it out of my mind since I saw it the day before). Reading that chapter was like I had been sucker-punched. If I ignored that message, then I had no one to blame but myself.

With renewed vigor and zest (and thanks to Margie Lawson’s DEFEATING SELF DEFEATING BEHAVIORS), I am revamping my third novel and waiting for the right time. Now all I hear about is how bad the economy is and how hard it is for unknown writers. Yet, I still write, but I write with a lot more energy and enthusiasm now. My moose sits along beside me as I work on my story (now a series), watching over me even as I sleep. He is my writer’s symbol, a reminder that I am heading down the right path no matter how difficult the journey.