Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Conference was Phenomenal

I had very little idea of what to expect from the conference. I was pleasantly surprised when so many participated in the challenges and introduced themselves. Thank you. It was a joy to meet everyone who stopped by my board and all those who joined me at chat. It got a little sticky at times with my daughters not realizing mom was actually busy when chat time came around - alright, truth be told, that night cemented my determination to have an office and has me thinking a deadbolt, chains, and a locking doorknob will be necessary also.

I'll be back next year for the 2008 Muse Writers Conference, that's for sure. And hopefully I'll have an office I can close off to the rest of my hectic household :) If you are wondering what the heck I'm talking about, do visit my site and check out the Author Appearances page where the link is listed so you can read all about it for yourself :)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Just for fun...

Monday mornings are never the fastest moving days around my house. This morning, being so chilly when we've been used to some heat, well, it isn't helping. I'm here, all wrapped up in blankets and flannel, and found an occupier for a few minutes. http://LinkTiles.com/concentration.php For this day, September 17th, my tile is included in the puzzle, but so are many others. Just in case you're between books, taking a break, or just browsing, take a gander at it.

And now that I've let you in on it and the clock hands have swept past 9 a.m. I'm going to get to my official work and see if I can't get Rise of the Arcadians out before Halloween.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The conference is nearing!

The 2007 online writer's conference is nearing. This will be the first year I'm participating, but many of my fellow writers have presented before and are back this year. I'm really looking forward to joining them to meet new people and share what I know about the art of novel writing.

The Muse Online Writers Conference is exciting for its convenience and availability. Participants won't need to travel anywhere or shell out hundreds of dollars. I know I've gotten things in the mail about conferences I would have loved to attend, but with three kids and a skinny checkbook, it was never possible. What the Muse has done to make this available to anyone is phenomenal.

I invite you to check it out if you've ever had any interest in writing. You never know where the road may lead you.


Thursday, September 06, 2007

A new perspective

Accidents happen every day. Cars are smashed, sometimes people hurt. Yesterday, on a road not far from here, one I drive at least once a week, three cousins were on their way to the county fair. They never got there. Two were killed. A 13 year old boy and a 10 year old girl. My daughter was classmates with the boy. The whole of our small community is shaken.

As hard as it is to lose someone, it's harder when it's someone young. I can't help but worry and pray for the one survivor, the driver of the car yesterday. We've all done tremendously stupid things in our lives. Most of us live on to laugh about them without being haunted by them. Just this summer at a family get together, my aunts, uncles and cousins all stood around talking about some of the truly brainless things we did. One involved fire and gasoline, another an old gun found in a barn, another the pool out by the springhouse. Truly, a few of us shouldn't have survived. We did lose a teen in our family to a car accident many years ago. My uncle was the youngest brother. He wasn't one of the lucky ones to live through something stupid. Neither was the driver yesterday. I only hope she is able to get through so the family doesn't lose all three from that car crash yesterday.

Is it good luck for some of us, bad for others, or something else? I've seen very interesting and mind teasing things in my life, put with the skills of a writer, and it seems so designed, like a plot of a book. Seemingly stupid things, totally unrelated can create a reaction or action that causes something else, something that in hindsight just had to happen, even if it was horrible. So I'm reminded of a little card I found in a book given to me by my dad. Simply: There is a reason. Some people refuse to believe it, some hang onto it for all their sanity. Myself, I'm just here for the experiences, for whatever reason.

So today my girls got extra big hugs, and I truly hope my middle daughter meant it when she said "you just have to get a perspective on death" - I always thought she was an old-soul, wise beyond her years. Or maybe my trilogy really made an impression on her because, as she says, they were needed somewhere else, they learned and did what they needed to do here. It was time to go.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A day in the life...

Rise of the Arcadians is back from edit. Now I just need to find the time to apply the edits and get all the artword ready for the cover. This year yet? Being that July 25th just hit (and that just hit me today) I really do not know. I want for it to happen this year. It just depends how much time I can scrape together for myself.

Add that into the super-productive garden this year and freezing all the veggies coming off of it despite lack of rainfall. Add to that three kids, two dogs, and one bunny coming for the daughter who felt left out with the dogs and one nagging need to write the next book and I'm spinning in my chair here. 173 single spaced pages are typed to (tentative title) Daughter Of Gods and last night it hit me, it won't be all one book. So help me, it won't be like my trilogy either, but more like a series. Yes, the very thing I swore I would never do a few years ago, somewhere around where I swore I would never write more than one book for a set of characters (hmmm, what was the three book trilogy?).

I really do need to stop saying "never."

And now I'm going to get back to work.... Until next time :)

Monday, July 09, 2007

Off to edit

I've finally called one of the three latest projects I've been working on finished and wrote "the end" on Rise of the Arcadians.

I actually finished it a month or two ago, but at the time, it just felt a bit fizzled to me, like it needed more. The ending, that is. It wasn't until I opened the file and read the last chapter again while out camping that I thought it wasn't so fizzled at all. So today I transferred the file into my desktop, skimmed through to adjust some formatting, and clicked to print. Amazingly my printer gave no protest. And now off to editing it goes just to see if I'm the only one who thought at first it didn't work. I'm also including a preview of my next book. Hopefully by the time Rise of the Arcadians goes to print I'll have a title for the next :)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

It's been a while...

This way, that way, so many things to do, not enough hours in a day or days in a week. It struck me the other day as I crashed into my living room recliner just how little time there is for simple enjoyments, get togethers with friends and escapes from responsibilities. A recipe for stress? Do we all suffer from it?

I'm a writer, an author by trade and here I am, hardly able to squeeze out some creative moments at the end of the day. I used to believe it was due to my household of five, but I'm not so sure anymore. We are a busy lot, three kids going in all directions, but they seem to go with the flow more than the "typical" teens. In fact, they've been more of a help than a hinder.

This isn't to say I haven't gotten any writing done. In fact I have one, Rise of the Arcadians, finished and ready for edit and another as of yet untitled well on its way with another Among the Ancients sitting well begun on a back burner while I research more for its plot base. It's fine without that research I'm told, but I really need to do it, to set the base of the book solidly into knowing what I don't yet know. Sure, I could shoot it off to editing and start focusing on marketing, but it's not in me to do that until I'm satisfied with it. I need more time to devote to it.

There's been a discussion around my home about what we have coined "fluff." We use it both for books and for movies. I have nothing against "fluff" and even enjoy it at times. But I need more, stories that are layered with questions and puzzles to uncover. And I need much more than fluff when I'm writing. When my characters are "fluff" or existing in a plot of "fluff" I'm bored.

So what is fluff? For us, it's basically simple storylines that have one shallow purpose and no reverberating mood left when they finish. My middle daughter recently called Devil Wears Prada "fluff" but my oldest loved it. I haven't seen the movie, not one I would choose to watch really. My husband comes home every night and watches some show full of pranksters. Yes, it can be entertaining. It's also fluff.

I remember a question someone asked me when I first started with my writing. Why didn't I write children's books or some sweet romance? It's what was expected of me from acquaintances. I've always been known as sweet and quiet little me. Only a few of my closest friends expected what I do write. I have a new answer for this now. Mysteries/thrillers/horror/sci-fi/fantasy let you examine very deep life changing things from angles a character can reach and then play out for readers without seeming forced or feeling preachy. Two things I don't care to be towards others, especially readers. I have too much respect for them for that. I want it there for them to ponder if they wish or leave behind if they so choose.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Scams and Spams

I'm naturally a bit skeptic of all things. Commercials rarely sway me. Emails never do. That doesn't mean I don't take notice of them. Some very official looking emails fall into my inbox, more and more lately. They often have links in their text, promising a quick fix to some ligitimate sounding account or order problem. I sometimes find it funny when I notice those links, when scrolled over, are not the same link that will appear in the address bar. If you click on a link from an email please – PLEASE – be sure the promised location is legit. Make sure the address is as you were told it would be to start. If at any time you feel a bit uncomfortable, there’s no shame in closing that window without giving a lick of information.

It's very important to be vigilant about checking the legitimacy of things these days. You never know when someone will think it all right to trick you into giving away a password or account information. A small shop in a near-by small town (actually if Hazelton Pennsylvania is considered small, this small town would be downright tiny) recently stopped accepting personal checks. Now where I’m from, we still use paper and pen, not plastic cards for the most part even if they do hand us that piece of paper back with words printed on it. I’ve been in that little shop enough to hold full conversations with the owner who also runs the place where I discovered just how many bad checks and false bills have been passed around lately. Not the large bills mind you, but small ones and for a small business even a small loss can be devastating.

I just have to wonder why people would do it.

Does anyone know the meaning of empathy anymore? You know, feeling of concern and understanding for another's situation or feelings.

When my first daughter was born and then diagnosed with ADHD, one of the main things I did – even without knowing – was teach her to think about how her actions made others feel. Like when she took her sister’s toy or shoved her down a hill. Even a three year old can comprehend how what they do has an effect on others. Funny, 14 years later and she’s a fine and compassionate, if a bit impulsive, teen. Empathy was the most important thing I taught her.

My best friend since the first grade (no kidding) always said I should be a counselor or psychologist because no matter how a person treated me or someone else, I could see their side, how they might interpret their right to treat someone that way. Instead I became a writer though maybe my knack for seeing both sides is the reason readers love my “bad guys” as much as my “good.” It doesn't mean I agree with both sides or even one side at all. It just means I understand why they would make the decisions they do. Then react not with emotions but coolheaded decisiveness.

I just wish the rest of the world would slow down enough to learn the same – both to not rush to judgment and to treat everyone as they would want to be treated.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Not Perfect

I have a confession to make. I know I don't post often to this blog but there is a reason for that. I'm not perfect but I have a very bad perfectionism streak. Usually when I have the time to post here it's after I've done hours of writing, editing, formatting or illustrating and my brain function isn't top quality. That and I have a tendency to spell words according to how I say them (affectionately called mountain hick talk) rather than to how they are meant to be spelled when I'm tired or rushed. My fingers also like to hit keys I don't know they are hitting at times, making words which really don't fit in a particular sentence. So -- I hesitate to post until I have the time to spend 15 minutes to a half hour cleaning up my post. Is it the curse of being a published author -- everyone expects perfection with everything? Or is it my own curse?

My books are as clean as humanly possible, but they also go before at least two other sets of eyes besides mine and sit for months so I see them fresh again. Yes I do edit for others and I'm good at it, but my mind with my own work often sees "its bowl" when in actuality I've typed "it's bowl" -- yes, I know that's wrong -- its without the apostrophe is the possesive form of this pesky little word. Maybe because I KNOW that I don't actually SEE my goof?

I've also had my characters riding their creature and pulling on the "bridal" -- and flashlights throwing wicked "steaks" all over cavern walls. The first error my editor caught, the second, well, let's just say I promise to remove the "steaks" on reprint.

No matter how professional a writer, or editor -- of books, newspapers, magazines, whatever -- we aren't perfect yet I see so often someone being berated because of a mispelled word or missing or wrong punctuation. On one occasion an editor was told she should be ashamed of herself because of her mistake.

Then I came across another writer's blog with a disclaimer at the end of each post. I thought it a very clever idea.