Monday, August 30, 2010

It's Monday

It's Monday. Seems like yesterday was Friday. The weeks are flying by. Summer is drawing to an end and Autumn is playing peek-a-boo. I had envisioned myself sitting on my deck writing away beautiful summer days. But, in central Ohio, most days were too wickedly hot and humid to be outdoors for any length of time. I've mostly enjoyed the sunshine from my lower level office, gazing out the window at the beautiful yellow and black finches feeding on the cone flower seeds. Beautiful, graceful monarch butterflies landed softly on the flowers, and busied themselves in the butterfly bush. Occasionally, one of the feral cats passed by and peeked in to see what I was doing. I have enjoyed the summer, albeit not from my first place of choice.

It's Monday. I'm thinking about how quickly winter will be here. Last year, I spent so much time shoveling snow my muscles ached constantly. Not looking forward to that, but I'm anticipating the arrival of cold, winter days with a bit of nostalgia. There's just something about the very first snowfall that inspires and energizes me.

It's Monday. I'm wondering how my friends who head to Florida can possibly be happy when they don't experience the beauty of winter landscapes.

It's Monday. If you didn't guess, I'm using my blog time today to ease into a creative state of mind. I must find an occupation for my heroine. She stopped me dead in my tracks yesterday and in no uncertain words told me I'd gotten her all wrong.

It's Monday. Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Jesus Was and Still Is "A Thief"

I've never given much thought about Jesus being a thief until hearing a sermon by our Pastor this Sunday. Jesus was crucified on a cross between two thieves. One of the thieves said if Jesus was the Messiah, He should prove it by saving Himself and them. But the other thief, faced with death, asked why the first thief didn't fear God. Then He asked Jesus to remember him when He got to Heaven.

At that moment, Jesus stole the man's soul from Satan. And Jesus is still saving souls each and every day.

What a glorious thought! Amen.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Promise of Autumn

One of my favorite times of the year is fast approaching. I love the Fall season. There's something wonderful about the crisp change in the air, the crunch of leaves underfoot, and the beautiful color collage adorning the trees. It's the time of year I enjoy walking outdoors. I usually carry my camera, hoping to capture the beautiful bounty of iridescent colors, but no photograph can compare to what my eyes behold.

Fall is a time to contemplate the coming winter, when plants and trees go dormant, resting until Spring sunshine calls them to awaken.

Fall is also a time for people like me to suffer headaches, sneezing, itchy eyes...all the symptoms of allergies. However, my medicine cabinet is stocked with decongestants and allergy tablets. Nothing will stop me from experiencing the joy of autumn.

Fall is also the perfect time for beginning a new blogging schedule. September 1st, begins my Wednesday guest bloggers. The first guest to appear will be LoRee Peery. Check the schedule on the sidebar for a complete listing of guest bloggers. Also, the first Monday of each month, The Blog Studio, a "live" television show format, will begin. I'll be interviewing authors, asking some different types of questions to throw them off and allow you to get to know them a whole lot better. We'll be giving away books and more, so be sure to stop by and comment to get your name in the drawings.

September 1st, my newsletter will be available on my website for anyone who wants to find out what's happening in my busy writing life, and I'll be sharing information on new books for readers, writing tips for authors, and lots more! The newsletter will be updated quarterly with each season...Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer.

Thanks for stopping by to visit!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Desks and Writing Space...It's All About Separation

I have a rather large desk. This is the desk where I surf the internet, write blogs, tweets, compose and answer emails, pay bills, address snail mail, and do research. It's also cluttered most of the time. I put things back in their place at least once a week, but I just can't seem to keep it uncluttered.

My laptop sits on the opposite side of the room on another smaller desk. That's where I write. I used to try and write on the desktop computer, but I just couldn't do it. When I'm here, I'm tempted to surf the internet, check emails...and more. Why? Because that's what I do when I sit at this desk.

When I physically change locations to the smaller desk with the laptop, my brain switches to another mode and I can write without feeling the need to check emails, etc. My laptop is wireless, so I can go to the internet for a quick research, if needed, but I don't have email set up on the laptop.

My laptop isn't one of the expensive models with lots of bells and whistles. It's a cheap wireless model with a battery life of an hour. I keep it plugged in when I use it. All I use it for is writing. If I need to print something out, I use a flash drive to move it to my desktop and print.

I hear writers complain all the time about the distraction of wanting to check emails, etc.while they are trying to finish a book or meet a deadline. Having two separate spaces works for me. If you can do this, it just might work for you, too.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Do You Have a Story Box?

In the days of internet and multiple software programs, a lot of authors are keeping everything stored in their computers. I still have a story box.

My story box is a plastic index card holder, filled with multi-colored 5"x8" index cards. I have different color cards for each tab divider. I have a divider for characters, settings, and story ideas.

I use these to write down things that pop into my head. Also, I cut out interesting pictures and place them on the cards. I have quite a few male and female pictures. I place them to the upper left side of the card and when I'm writing a story, I choose appropriate pictures for the characters. I pull them out of the story box, write their names and descriptions and any other little tidbits about them on the card. I keep these displayed where I can easily see my characters while I'm writing.

Sometimes a setting comes to mind, or I see a picture that intrigues me. These go on a settings card. Unique plots pop into my mind, and no matter how silly they sound, I put them on a plot card.

There are many different ways to use story boxes. Mine works wonders for helping me with brand new stories.

Anyone else out there use a story box? I'd love to hear how yours is set up.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Sunday Stroll Through our Back Yard

Our grapevines didn't yield much this year. Since this is year three, we're hoping next year we'll have more. The major problem has been keeping the birds from eating them.

We have a lovely display of marigolds. We planted these in honor of my mother, who passed away last December. Last year she received a packet of seeds in the mail, and hubby planted them. When they bloomed, she was so happy! We continued the tradition this year as well.
I'm so grateful that we planted knockout roses. Even when the weather is not ideal, the bushes continue to bloom as long as you prune.
One of our stand alone rose bushes, continues to give us beautiful pink blooms.
Occasionally, we find a snake in the shrubbery around our pond. This one was pretty big!
The water lillies are gorgeous in bloom.
We didn't think them out this year, and they are really thick.

Thanks for joining me in a Sunday stroll through our back yard. I hope your Sunday is filled with God's blessings.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Storms are Coming...

The weather man is predicting heavy storms this afternoon. I'm planning on cleaning house this morning and then heading out to do a little shopping. But my real goal for the day is to really experience the ferocity of the storms. When writing, we get cliche about thunder crashing, lightning flashing and torrents of rain. I wish to write the real experience of the storm. What it feels like. What I feel like. What I see. How my body and mind reacts.

If you want to write a believable scene in which your reader truly experiences what is happening, then you need to bring that to the page. Guess you've figured out that a storm is brewing in my work in progress!

Hope you have an enjoyable weekend. Thanks for visiting.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Free Ebooks for a Year!!!!

My publisher is offering a very sweet deal for our anniversary Bash! Check these out. All it will cost you is a few minutes of your time!

Truth is Stranger than Fiction - Creepy!!

One more reason for me to be afraid of spiders. My daughter's air conditioning has been out for the past two days. When the repairman came last evening, he searched and searched, recharged it, and then...found the reason. Are you ready?

A spider had gotten inside and made a web. The web was so big and heavy that it pulled one of the wires loose!!! No sign of the spider...


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Camping - A Tool for Writers

You're probably wrinkling your nose wondering what I mean by the title of this blog. If you've never camped, or think camping should be in a hotel with room service, then you haven't experienced the benefits of true camping.

Yesterday, while listening to one of my favorite Christian radio stations, my ears tuned into the benefits of getting away from telephones and other electronic devices. This is exactly why I loved camping with my hubby. We had the cell phone for emergencies only. We kept it turned off. Many places we camped were so far out we didn't have any reception unless we drove into town to purchase supplies. No internet services. I didn't take my laptop. Instead, I took my AlphaSmart. No chance of surfing the internet or reading emails. Believe me, it's relaxing to be cut off like this.

Sitting under a tree, with no interruptions, I could close my eyes and let my mind play out the scenes I planned to write. I would sit and write pages on the AlphaSmart without an inner editor reading back over what I'd written. If you've used an AlphaSmart, you understand why it's the perfect tool for writing a first draft. With only a three line display, you aren't tempted to go back and read what you've written. You just write, write, write.

I miss camping. With hubby's illness, we can't get away any longer. The closest I come is taking my laptop or AlphaSmart to our screened in deck on days when the weather is permitting.

Every writer needs a change of atmosphere from time to time to expand the brain cells. Any other campers out there? Care to share your experiences?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Oh, Those Query Letters...

Are you ready to submit, but don't have a clue what to put in a query letter? Don't freak out. It happens to all of us.

One thing is critical. Research your market. Make sure you target the right editor/agent and always, always address the query letter to a person.

That being said, you'll probably learn more by visiting this blog than from anything I can say:
Query Shark

Good luck with your submissions. Thanks for stopping by.

Below are the new book covers for my releases on Smashwords.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Movies, Books, and Coming Soon

The Wild Rose Press announces they were asked to supply paperback books for props in an upcoming movie, RED. The movie stars Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, Karl Urban, Richard Dreyfuss, Brian Cox, James Remar, Julian McMahon, Ernest Borgnine, Michelle Nolden, Amber Gaiennie and Audrey Wasilewski.

Read more and watch the video trailer here.

The movie opens in the USA on October 15th. We rarely go to the movie theater, but I plan to be at this one when it appears in my neck of the woods.

September 1 is fast approaching. For me the date symbolizes the final days of summer and the soon to come cooler, crisper weather of fall--my favorite time of the year. Celebrate with me on September 1st for a guest blog  by LoRee Peery, and the launching of my newsletter, which will be available to anyone who visits my website. No need to sign up for anything.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Ten Reasons I'm Smiling Today

Ten reasons for me to smile today.
  • I'm attending a meeting with Central Ohio Fiction Writers.
  • The sun is shining.
  • God is good.
  • I walked for an hour on my treadmill last night.
  • I chatted with my sis-in-law on FB last night.
  • It's a new day with opportunities awaiting.
  • My bills are paid.
  • I lost another pound.
  • My daughter shared news that allows me to mark another answered prayer.
  • The view out my window is gorgeous.
Share a smile today with a stranger. You will feel so good when they smile in return.
Have a blessed weekend! Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Prayer Request

I'm requesting prayers for a dear friend and fellow author, Sharon Ann Donovan.

Sharon has suffered a major heart attack and has undergone open heart surgery. Please pray for healing and mercy for her and her family.

Sharon is an inspiration to all who know her. Prior to losing her sight, she painted on canvas, after, she paints pictures with words. Learn more about Sharon by visiting her website:

Killer Mutant Weeds and the Lost Doggy

Yesterday I decided to tackle the killer mutant weeds behind our privacy wall. The wall is to hide the electric boxes and cable boxes which are in an easement in our yard.
This is the wall. We have vines climbing on the wall and a garden of day lillies in front of that. Poor day lillies have not had a good year with no rain. Um, and I see a few weeds I need to tackle in there as well.

This is the area behind the wall after the weeds were removed. Prior to that you couldn't see from where I stood to take the picture to the other side where the cable boxes are. The large green box is the electric box. All were buried in a jungle of mutant weeds. They were as tall as the privacy wall. I was able to cut the top halves off and but then I couldn't pull them out. They were too huge. So I asked my son-in-law to help. Bless him!!

This shows how thick the stalks were.

This is the root system!

I am now thankfully rid of those monsters. I will have to spray roundup faithfully over the next few weeks to make sure they don't grow back again. Don't understand how weeds can grow so quickly and my grass isn't thriving at all.

While here, my little granddaughter lost her stuffed dog which she'd gotten from a fast food kid meal. Though we searched and searched we couldn't find it. She went home in tears. But later, grandpa found it in the basement of all places. So, I called and made her happy by telling her that Dog was found. Dog rested happily on my desk...until this morning. When I came down here, the Dog was gone. I now know the culprits are the cats. None of them are talking. I've scoured the house this morning...and still can't find it. Somehow I must produce Dog since I promised to return Dog to my granddaughter this morning. Hmmm, maybe I should be superstitious about Friday the 13th.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Beep, Beeeeeeep, Beeeeeeeeeeeeeep!!!!

Yesterday we purchased an intercom system for our home. This way my husband can talk to me without yelling down from the upper level of our home to get my attention when I'm in my office working. What did I do????

This morning I heard the "call" tone and waited for him to say something, but instead he pressed the call tone a little longer.

"What do you need? You are supposed to talk not just press the button," I said.

"Good morning. I'm finished with everything up here if you want to take your shower."

"Thank you."

I return to my desk. Two minutes later, I hear the call button again. And immediately again, a long screeching tone, relentlessly summoning me.

"Why are you pressing the button? Talk to me!"

Nothing. No words. Nothing.

So, did the cat summon me this time? Guess I'll have to go upstairs and find out what's going on.

Oh, well, what did I expect from a man who will let my teakettle whistle, even though he's in the kitchen, until I make it upstairs to turn it off. And, then he laughs and says, "What good is a whistling teakettle, if you can't listen to it whistle? I like it."


Have a great day, and thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Stretching the Brain Muscle

I spent the afternoon yesterday formatting one of my out of publication books, FOXFIRE, to publish at Smashwords. Amazing how many things wind up incorrectly formatted in Word when you look at the coding. Honestly, I thought the file would be clean because it looked fine in print. Hah!

I spent at least four hours going line by line through the pages and removing tabs, and spaces before paragraph returns. Overall, the experience wasn't difficult. The hardest part was thinking in terms of one continuous flow instead of pages. Since Ebook readers are all different, you can't use page breaks. Also, it was different to look at single spacing. I have to look on it as a brain exercise. We all need to do that from time to time...stretch our brain muscles just like our body muscles.

Now all I need to do is create a book cover. Since, I love working with graphics that should be fun.

The experience taught me to be more cautious with future manuscripts. From now on, before I even send my work to an editor, I'll comb through for any unusual coding.

Any readers out there who have published on Smashwords yet? Care to share your experiences, insight?

Enjoy the day, and thanks for stopping by!

Monday, August 09, 2010

Horoscopes, Birds, and Authors Galore

My horoscope for the day: You've got to watch yourself a little more closely today, though that may not be easy. In fact, you may get too lost in your own internal shenanigans to notice when someone steps up to confront you.

Say, what?????

I suppose that means when I'm sitting and plotting with my eyes closed, my hubby will enter my office unheard and scare me. Okay, so I'm forewarned.

In the meantime, I'm watching two beautiful finches eating the seeds from the purple coneflowers. They are such beautiful and determined birds.

Not much to share today, it is Monday, after all! Be sure to check the listing of Author Interviews and Guest Bloggers I have lined up beginning in September.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, August 07, 2010

The Writer and The Bird

I've written before about the visitors to my garden outside my office window. Since the cone flowers are producing such lovely seeds this year, the birds are visiting more frequently. One little chicadee kept flitting past my window and finally decided to light and take a closer peek at me. Isn't he cute?

A little later I noticed a yellow and black finch enjoying a little snack. It was a little harder to snap his picture, but I finally managed. I think these are absolutely gorgeous birds.

Funny, how these distractions don't upset me nearly as much as human ones!

Friday, August 06, 2010

One, Two, Three...Whoa!!!

What happens when you have three separate stories running around in your head, screaming for you to write, write, write?

If you've never had this happen, you are probably more sane than me. I have three very different and very compelling to write stories all in various stages of completion. One has a plot issue...or at least I think that's the problem. It may be that I'm just not happy with where the characters took me and I have to learn to work with them instead of what I had planned. Another has great characters that I absolutely love. However, I need to make the plot a little more believable and a little scarier. The third has a frightening plot, so much so that I can only write for short bursts of time and then have to back off.

I thought I'd have trouble writing this way, but I've found that when I get back to each manuscript the story speaks to me and I have no problem working on the next scene.

Does anyone else write multiple pieces at one time? Am I the only crazy writer?

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Overthinking When Writing a Scene

Occasionally when I want to jump start my creativity with developing a character, I pull out my deck of tarot cards. I have the Paulina Tarot deck, designed by Paulina Cassidy.

I'm currently trying to get a hand on my female protagonist. She keeps trying to change who I want her to be. So, I drew a card from the deck. It was the Eight of Pentacles. I see a lady dancer, with a smile on her face and a catlike creature sitting at her feet smiling and observing. It's a great visual and it fits with the current situation. So, my character is trying to tell me that she wants to project a facade to hide her true goal, while the hero is watching her carefully, not at all fooled by her. Ah, so now I understand what she was trying to tell me. This is just enough of a creative jump to move ahead with the next scene. Sometimes I overthink what is happening, and then I find myself questioning my subplot.

Do you ever do that? How do you move ahead?

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Twin Cousins

My granddaughters, Ciara (left) and Sarah (right)

What a wonderful weekend! There's nothing like being around young, energetic young ladies to lift your spirits. The girls (twin cousins, they call themselves because they have so much in common) came on Saturday and we started our fun day with taking several bags of change to the local grocery store and dumping them in the machine to count and receive dollars in exchange. Our total? A grand-whopping $41.38!! Nothing like a little mad money to have a great time.

After lunch, we headed to Bath and Body Works. Once the girls reached the lip gloss section, they were hooked. I believe they tried every sheer color available. Since they were on sale for buy 3 get 2 free, we each picked one and then I let them pick their freebie.

While they pursed their lips in front of the mirrors, I wandered to the "soon to be released" specials. Surprisingly, even makeup is getting into the vampire craze. I found body lotion for a buck. The "fragrance?" Dark Kiss. The picture on their advertisement says it all. It has a black raspberry scent, so I bought for each of us. We found a display with lotions 3 for $10, so we each picked out one of those.

The girls had a ball!

Next we headed to Michaels (a craft store). There the girls picked out a tote bag, stencils and fabric pens. They wanted to create their own bags to carry when we went out for dinner with Paa-Paa. What did we eat? Deep dish pizza, what else?

They were really cute! Inside? All the treasures from Bath and Body Works, of course.

Sunday morning church and brunch. Then they were supposed to go home. But, they were having so much fun, just like "twin" cousins do, and asked their parents if they could stay one more night. Plans for next sleepover include adding more time to the agenda.

Ah, I don't know who had the most fun...the girls or the grandparents.