Monday, August 31, 2009

Right-Left Challenged, But What Does This Mean?

I admit I am "right-left" challenged. If someone tells me to turn left or look left, I will turn right or look right...and vice versa. I don't know why. I DO know which is my left side and which is my right side. There's just a disconnect in my brain when it hears these words.

I've taken various tests and I have what they call a balanced brain, meaning I'm not left brained, or right brained, but smack dab in the middle. Could this have something to do with my problem? Maybe, maybe not. I prefer to think that when this happens, I'm usually driving and busy having a conversation with whomever is in the passenger seat...thus I'm distracted.

BUT, what does this mean?

My friend bought these fabulous footies. They are lace with pretty elastic and come in nude, black, and various colors. I loved them when I saw them and just had to buy a pair, because she said they stay on your feet without sliding down! The first day I wore mine, the heels slipped into my shoes. Annoying. No matter how high I stretched them above the heel of my shoes, they kept riding down until I was walking on them. Ugh!

I tried a different pair the next day. One stayed on my right foot, the other slipped down. Hmmm. So I switched the footies on my feet. Guess what? Now the one on my left foot slipped down. What??

I looked them over very carefully. Hmm. Seems I had put the one footie on backwards...or what I thought was backwards. See, one side seemed to allow more room for the toes. Wrong. That end was for the heels. Now I wear my footies with great joy. No longer do they slip down.

So, what is this disconnect in my brain?

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Painting Rocks

Several years ago, I had a fun hobby painting rocks. I really enjoyed looking at the hand sized rocks and visualizing an animal within. Then with a few brush strokes, I brought the rocks to life. When I retire, I'm going to take up this hobby again.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

When Your Story Starts In the Wrong Moment....

When I started writing seriously, I took a myriad of online classes to learn "the right way" to write. I soon learned that every teacher had a different idea of do's and don'ts. Confusing? Very.

My head got wrapped around all the things I should and should not do, and I allowed my creativity to be stifled. So, I backed away from classes after a year or so and just wrote. I learned to use what worked for me and forgot the rest. Eventually, I became aware of certain no-no's as I wrote--like action before reaction, floating body parts (which I still think work in certain situations), starting and ending chapters and scenes with a hook, and beginning your story in the middle of action.

I started many stories right smack dab in the middle of some suspenseful scene, but the manuscripts didn't come to fruition. Hmmm. So, maybe I had misunderstood the "start in the middle of action." The all important first sentence and first chapter needs to grab your reader and make them care and want to learn more. Does that mean your character has to be immediately entrenched in angst? Well, sure, but maybe the serial killer isn't attacking her in the first paragraph. Instead, it might be better to start with foreshadowing. Show little things that pull your readers in with anticipation of "something is about to happen."

My latest manuscript has been in the works for way too long and I just couldn't seem to fix it. Then I realized I had started in the wrong moment of time. I needed to show my characters in their normal world first. A long time ago, a very dear writer friend told me this. I had forgotten that piece of wise advice. Remember the old fairy tales? "Once upon a time...."

If you are having a struggle with your manuscript, maybe you have started in the wrong moment of time. Have you shown your characters in their normal world before you plunged them into the problem?

I'm now writing chapters to precede what I've already got established. Works for me!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Brainstorming Fun

After attending a fun session at Central Ohio Fiction Writer's meeting two weeks ago, I decided to purchase a deck of Tarot cards to use for brainstorming plot points. I chose a deck by Paulina Cassidy titled Paulina Tarot. The cards are feminine in appearance and full of visionary details. I'm not a believer in fortune telling, so that's not why I purchased them.

This morning I decided to pull three cards which would show what each of three characters would be doing next. I don't read the book that tells what the cards are really supposed to mean. Nope. I just look at the pictures and come up with ideas that might work. So...

The first card was for my hero and it was the Eight of Wands. This picture shows a lady holding eight spears as she seems to be floating toward something with a smile on her face. Two butterflies are following her. I determined that my hero would have to go after my heroine who is getting herself into trouble.

The second card is strength. This card was for my heroine. She is placing her hands inside the mouth of a lion with wings and they are joined by a necklace of flowers. So, I know my heroine is going to have to be strong as she tempts the villain with friendship to learn more about him.

It was fun, and I'm sure it'll be even more fun and create lots of ideas as I start to let my mind go into full creative mode.

Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Pronoun Confusion with Unnamed Characters

I write a lot of books where the "villain" is unnamed. The threat is shown by allowing glimpses of this character's thoughts or interactions with other people. Since the villain isn't named, I must be very careful with pronouns.

Currently I'm reading a book where two unnamed characters are interacting. One paragraph at the beginning has left me stumped. I've read it three times and still I'm unclear which character is which. So, this has totally pulled me out of the story.

How does a writer deal with this situation? If you have two unknown characters of the same gender, give each of them a distinct name or voice. And keep the scene in one pov. Clearly start out with the pov character's thoughts or words. Here's an example from my wip:

When his cell phone rang, the man grabbed it from his pocket. Leaves rustled and he jerked his head sideways. A squirrel ran halfway up the tree trunk several feet away. Heart pounding, he answered. “Hello?”

“You got the kid?” The smoke damaged voice left no question as to the caller’s identity.

“Yeah, but I can’t keep her for long. It’s too dangerous.” He heard a deprecating laugh.

“For you, maybe. But, not as dangerous as if you’re lying. We need that baby.”

“I have her. Where do you want to meet?” This would be the last time. Never again would money drive the need to get involved with this scumbag. Taking a baby so close to home had been a big mistake, but he couldn’t undo it now.

“Soon. I’ll be in touch. In the meantime, make sure nothing happens to the little princess.”

His hands shook as he shoved his cell phone back into his pocket. He dabbed his forehead with his handkerchief.


Remember, although you know who each character is, your reader doesn't.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


This morning I'm sitting in my chair and gazing out the window. Days are getting shorter. The morning sun is eluding the sky. No birds on the wires. A slight wind blowing, moving the leaves of the rose bushes, the leaves in the tree. Everything is in deep shadow with only a hint of gray light.

Whoosh. Whoosh! I stare at the fast flying objects. Not birds. Bats. It's the first time I've seen bats in my neighborhood. Only two. They have disappeared into a tree, perhaps across the street, perhaps in the top of my tree. Back to their roost to pass the day. No more movements. All is still. The morning awaits awakening.

I hope to see them again tomorrow. My morning view is amazing. I await tomorrow.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, August 17, 2009

What Does A Writer's Desk Look Like?

My writer's desk is a piled up stash of magazines, printouts of important emails, camera, flash drives, pens, stapler, receipts, three-hole punch, tissues, calendar, plastic bag of crocheted crosses, nail polish, 2 calculators, cd's, tube of arthritis cream, speakers, small cat figurine, the last teddy bear my dad gave me, pics of the family, a jar of hard candy, my telephone, an empty glass...and probably a lot more buried and unseen. How does my desk get this cluttered?

Tonight I must clean it off. I can't write with all the clutter surrounding me. Time for an overhaul. Once I had a tiny desk. I thought the reason it got cluttered was due to the size. So, I bought a bigger desk. And now it looks just as cluttered as the small one. I might be tempted to get another bigger than the bigger desk, but I know it wouldn't fit.

This morning, my mind feels just as cluttered as my desk. Way too many scenes fluttering around. If only I could stay home and clear my desk and write these scenes...but, my day job is calling.


Time to announce the winner of the $25 Amazon Gift Certificate.

And the winner is--Carol Thompson.

Carol watch your email for a certificate coming your way later today. Congratulations!

Check my website in September for a new and fun contest!

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Foot, Electronic Device...Spider

Okay, so I bought one of those electronic spider repellent thingies. Supposedly you plug it into the wall and spiders be-gone. Since I do not like spiders...make that I am terrified of spiders...I bought one. It's plugged into the wall in the hallway of the lower level of my bi-level home (right outside the bathroom that I use). It's been in the wall now for a couple of months.

So far, I've had hundreds of tiny newly hatched spiders invade my bathroom sink. Now, these were so small that without my glasses they looked like specks of pepper. Those I managed to kill by washing them all down the drain...over a period of several days.

I also killed one of those spindly spider, kind of like a granddaddy long legs, that made a web in the corner of the bathroom. No, make that two.

I also killed a small spider lurking in the corner behind my toilet bowl cleaner thingie.

Hmm, so does it work or not? At least no huge big black hairy spiders have appeared.

However, this morning I walked downstairs to find a rather large brownish weird spider waiting for me...right in front of the electronic spider device. I stopped and stared, daring it to charge me. It stood ground on the battlefield.

I stared, it stared. No one moved. Not wanting it to hear, I formed a silent battle plan. I am sooooo much bigger than you, ugly guy. My foot is so huge it can squash you into nothingness. Yeah, I know you can move fast, maybe even run up my leg before I can squash you. But, I'm mightier! I can do this. Ready? One, two, three! I move one inch closer. Spider doesn't. I move another inch closer. Spider holds his ground. I lift my foot and produce a huge intimidating shadow over the beast. Spider is not intimidated.

Wham! My foot meets the target. I press, I wiggle, I prevail! Spider is dead. Spider didn't even try to get away. Why? Did that electronic thingie render it paralyzed or something?

Sigh. I will never know. But if I remove the thingie, bigger beasts may come forth.

By the way, I woke hubby to clean off the battlefield. I don't do dead bodies.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

This summer has been filled with some memorable moments.

The first really memorable moment happened on May 23, when my grandon married his lovely bride in Blacklick Park. The day was bittersweet in many ways. This would be a "good" memory.

The morning after the wedding, my hubby, my daughter and son-in-law and I traveled to southern Illinois to move my mother. She's now living with us and what a blessing to be able to take some burdens from her shoulders. Seeing her house the way it had deteriorated was one of the "ugly" memories, and saying goodbye to all the years there was a "bad" memory.

Attending my first RWA conference was definitely a "good" memory. The landscaping around the D.C. hotel was breathtaking.

Attending the literacy booksigning at the conference was beyond description. I've never seen such a vast array of authors!

Visiting with the grandchildren was another really "good" memory. Gosh, they grow so fast, but they bring so many smiles with their antics.

A day spent at Deer Creek with hubby was another "good" memory. I had a great time writing on my book while hubby fished.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, August 10, 2009

A Writing Career, by Diane Craver

Today, I'm delighted to turn my blog over to one of my favorite authors, Diane Craver. Diane has a new book coming out titled, "Whitney in Charge." I'm excited to hear more about the book and about Diane. So, please help me make Diane welcome. Feel free to leave a comment, ask a question, or just say hi and let her know you stopped by.

A Writing Career

Juggling a writing career with my family is definitely full of highs and lows. When I'm absorbed in writing a new story, or spending hours promoting my published books, I feel guilt in not spending time with my family. I feel like I'm spreading myself too thin with trying to cope with many different things at the same time.

I'm not alone. I've heard many authors complain how they don't have time to write because of all the marketing that's necessary. When a new writer receives the first contract, he or she is elated, but soon marketing the book becomes a reality. Spending time doing yahoo chats, author interviews, book signings, contests, mailing promo items, writing blog posts, and advertising takes time away from writing. Many times I have to confess that I feel like quitting, but then I'll get a positive book review or a reader contacts me and says how much they loved one of my books. Fortunately, this always seems to happen on one of my down days, and it boosts my spirit to knowing I must continue writing.

My husband is retired now so that makes it harder at times to write. He thinks I'm on the computer too much, and doesn't understand how much time I need to devote to actual writing, editing and promoting. He doesn't like to read and never reads books! Except mine, of course. I was impressed that he took time to read them and shared what he liked about each one. It was interesting to get his perspective as a nonreader. When I worked recently at a temporary job in Cincinnati, it was completely different. He was glad to see me receiving a regular paycheck for the hours I worked. As a writer, the financial gain isn't equal to the time I put in, so I can fully understand his feelings. The truth is I'm not a best-selling author. My royalty checks are not in the big digits but I appreciate receiving them. After all, my books are marketed by reputable, small publishers. And it does take time to build a huge readership.

We were blessed with six children. Although four are adults with their own lives, two of our daughters with special needs are living at home. I spend a lot of time taking care of them, meeting the demands of frequent doctor appointments and many other issues. But they are worth every minute of it.

It's funny when someone says something like this to me, "I wish I could sit around and write instead of doing my job." Of course, I don't mention the lows of a writing career because I want to continue their myth of the carefree life of a published author. LOL Let's face it, writers want to appear glamorous. And staying in my pajamas in the morning to write at my laptop might not be the image the speaker has in mind, but it's one of the benefits in writing for a career.

Another definite high in writing is escaping to a wonderful fictional world with characters becoming real to me. While I wrote Whitney in Charge, I enjoyed being part of the three sisters' lives as they had fun exploring their business options. But most of all, I liked writing about Whitney falling in love again.

I must continue to manage a writing career with my home life because I can't seem to shut my mind off to possible future story lines. Character dialogue keeps popping in my mind. Any kind of occurrence seems to stimulate my writing processes in anticipating the outcome if I put a different spin it. And I realize my what if would make a fantastic story.

Yes, I'm cursed and blessed at the same time to be a writer. And now you know, the real life behind Author Diane Craver!

Blurb: TV producer Whitney Benson is tired of her older sisters’ attempts to fix her up with every single male they meet. Shannon and Regan cross the line when they arrange for her to go skydiving with the simple excuse that more guys like to float in the air than women.

Whitney meets two eligible bachelors, Jack and Ben, who constantly battle for her affection. Which one will she choose? Both men make Whitney realize, even a heart shattered by her husband’s death, can once again be made whole.

But did she have to fall off a cliff to learn that?

Friday, August 07, 2009

Cats and Flower Gardens...Oh, My!!

My office is on the lower floor of our bi-level, which puts it half way underground. Thus, my windows are at ground level. Outside my windows is a beautiful flower garden. I love the colors and all the lovely bees and butterflies.

So do our outdoor cats. Even though hubby put some large chunk mulch around the plants, the cats continue to use this garden as...gasp...a litter box. As you can guess, my view is ruined when the windows are open. We've tried multiple things to discourage them, but none have worked.

I suppose, I'll have to take my laptop out to the deck to work today.

If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

Be sure to stop by my blog on Monday. I'll have a guest blogger, Diane Craver! She's one of my favorite authors, and people. Talk about a woman of strength and values! I'm thrilled to host her and learn more about her newest release. I hope you'll visit and leave her a comment, so she'll know you stopped by.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

What? A Plot Whisperer?

You've heard of The Horse Whisperer, and if you watch television, you've probably heard of The Dog Whisperer as well. Today, I'd like to introduce you to
The Plot Whisperer. This blog is maintained by Martha Alderson, plot consultant and author. The posts are full of inspiration, and helpful plotting tips and strategies.

I subscribe to this blog and read it faithfully. It is one of 2009 Writer's Digest 101 best websites. Check it out. I know you won't be disappointed.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Eeew...That Was Scary!

Sometimes I frighten myself when my mind starts picturing deep, dark, villains. I wonder why it's so easy to identify with characters who are twisted. Once I made myself cry in writing the background for the villain in Hit and Run. His childhood was so horrid, so terrifying, that it really upset me. I could identify with him and I knew why he did what he did.

Villains come easy to me, but the hero and heroine aren't as easy to dream up. Their motivation needs to be strong. Their goals drive the story. So, why can't I identify with them as easily as the villain?

I'm a writer. I live in my imagination a lot of the time. But when I'm there, sometimes I frighten myself.

The book I'm working on now has a villain I can identify with. I wake up sometimes knowing he's breathing somewhere inside my brain. Eeew, that's scary!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Is it...Real????

I had a wonderful time in Port Clinton at The Book Exchange this Saturday. Annette Fitzgerald, owner of the bookstore, is so gracious to the authors who come in to do signings. The store is uniquely set up with lots of nooks and crannies crammed with books of every genre, both new and used. Her entire family is part of the venture. Her children made sure I had everything I needed, always checking to see if I needed something to drink or eat.

Whenever I do a signing, I always take my breathing cat (purchased from Hallmark). She is a tabby cat, curled up sleeping. Batteries make her breathe. So, people will walk by, look, decide it isn't real...and then see it breathe! Funny the different reactions. But, Annette's youngest daughter fell in love with my cat. She would stand and talk to me all the time petting the cat as if it was real. What a soft heart this young lady has.

If you ever get to Port Clinton, don't miss a chance to stop by The Book Exchange!

Thanks for stopping by!