Thursday, April 28, 2011

Facing Down Fear

Those who know me, know I'm terrified of spiders. Especially huge spiders. This spring I've been seeing invaders in my house. How they get inside baffles me! The one I ran across last night in my lower bathroom was easily 2 inches with his legs not fully extended. *big shudder*

In the past, I would have screamed until my hubby could get downstairs and "save me." But, I've had to give up that luxury. The only way to get rid of the spiders now is to kill them myself. I CANNOT bear the thought of feeling something smoosh beneath my feet. I can tell you that bug killer sprays might slow down these huge arachnids, but they do keep on moving.

I knew if I walked away, he might disappear, but he would also still be in the house. I would be fearful of seeing him again...maybe crawling up my pants leg. This is the WORST fear I have about spiders.

I had to face down my fear. I did it wearing my clunky, heavy waterproof snow boots. I tromped that big guy, actually picked up the carcass with a wad of toilet paper and flushed him away.

Facing our fears helps reduce that fear exponentially each time we do it. However, my fear of heights is another matter. I don't imagine I'll be doing any bungee jumping in the future.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Motivation for Success

Motivation is required for all successes in life. That includes writing. Today I'm working hard on getting in touch with my villain. I need to understand his motivation in order to write the best book I can.

I also need motivation to keep on my weight loss journey. How easy to fall off the good practices and forget about the good lifestyle changes required. I need motivation to get on the treadmill or do do other aerobic exercise.

So, not only do I need to focus on what makes my villain such a villain, but also on what can motivate me to reach my weight loss goals. It takes more than just a will. It takes perseverance and drive.

What about you? Are you motivated to achieve your goals? Have you reached deep inside to get in touch with that motivation?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Breaking Through Zombi-itis!

More rain forecast through Thursday. Storms and flooding.

While I love rainy days for writing, I'm already getting a bit of cabin fever. These days zap my energy. Another thing that zaps my energy is not having my house in order. When things are dusty and cluttered, I begin to feel depressed and lethargic.

Does that ever happen to you?

So, today is my "cleaning" day. I'm sure once I have a clean and uncluttered house, I'll find lots of energy and also give myself permission to take an afternoon off to read. Easter will be a day of rest and then Monday I'll be back in the office writing.

Wishing each of you a blessed Easter weekend!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Contrasts - A Good Writing Tool

Contrasts. What are they? How do they impact our writing?

I look out my window at the rain, the beautiful green grass, the leaves on the trees, plants rising from the red mulch in the garden outside my window...and listen to the sound of my furnace running. A contrast.

When writing, it is good to look for "contrasts" that can be used for foreshadowing. It's a subtle way of instilling a subconscious mood for the reader. Igniting a spark of what's to come. Building anticipation. Building tension.

While writing a scene, think of ways to use the setting as a way to add a contrast. Use your built-in senses to envision the scene. Embrace the sights, sounds, smells, touch, tastes that surround you. Focus on your goal...what you are trying to convey with the scene. Now, using that tap into something you can use to build a contrast.

This is not a tool that you would overuse, but one that can be very effective when used correctly in a manuscript.

Good Friday is here. Words cannot express my emotions. No other gift can compare to the one given on the cross. Yet, this was the darkest day in history, to be followed by the most glorious day of hope and promise--The Resurrection on Easter Sunday morning. What a contrast! What a blessing!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

New Look for Website Coming Soon...

Working on launching a new look for my website and will install a blog directly on the site.Not sure how I will handle that blog yet. It may just be for writing information, while this one will take the more personal slant, much as it does today.

Decisions, decisions! Today,I'm looking forward to getting my front flower gardens mulched. And, to finishing the new first chapter. Progress, progress!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Just a Morning Brain Dump

Woke up at 2:45am with thunder rolling, flashing lightning, wind, and tornado sirens. The storm was intense, but moving very rapidly. No damage in our area, but I hear many areas around us did not fare as well.

Today was weigh-in day for Weight Watchers. While I didn't lose anything this week, I did drop more inches. I'm so thrilled that since I began 3 months ago, I've lost 4.75" in my waist, 5.5" in my hips, 4" in my bust, 1.5" in my arms, and 4" in my thighs. Woo hoo!!

On the agenda for today is typing the new first chapter of my WIP. Yesterday I sketched out the scene. Now I'm really excited to begin typing and fleshing it out.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Dreaded Perpetual Wheel of Editing

So, I'm adding a new beginning chapter to my WIP. But, while in the "thinking" mode, I come up with a way to make the story even more suspenseful...I think.

Writers have so many choices. We are in control of the worlds and characters we create. In a few clicks of the keyboard, we can change fate. What a powerful tool!

The problem is to make sure the changes made are beneficial, not just useless rewriting and editing.

What I'm going to do is use the old pen and paper method to write down all the different scenarios before I begin making major revisions. I'll sleep on it a few days, and the "right" scenario will surface.

My suggestion to new writers, don't get caught up in revising with all the ideas that pop into your head. If you do, you'll spend all your time working on the same book for years and years and years. Yes, I do know writers who are caught in this "perpetual wheel of editing."

Monday, April 18, 2011

Writing as a Visual Process

April showers bring May flowers. And weeds. I thought I had all of them dug up, but this morning when I opened my curtains...

But, I'm happy to see the overcast skies and rain today. I will be writing a dark scene today, so the weather will help to set the mood. Writing for me is a solitary, meditating, and visual process. If the scene I'm writing is different from the view from my window, then I close my eyes to visualize. I believe that's why I can't write with music or other noises distracting me. I need absolute quiet. Scenes for me play out like a movie in my head.

On Saturday, I attended a meeting with my writing group and the speaker presentation, by Sandy James, was entitled "Are You Insane?" She explained the various nuances of mental illnesses like schizophrenia, personality disorders, and anxiety illnesses. One thing she made very clear was not to trust what you see in the movies or on television. While sometimes they get it right, more often they don't. The villain I'm writing now, I wanted to make sure to "get right" and her talk gave me some great insight to forge ahead.

So, now it's time to close down the internet and get busy writing!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Gardening, Sunburn, and Weeds...Oh, My!

Yesterday, I mowed the lawn, put down Scott's turf builder plus weed killer, trimmed back the ornamental grass around the pond, and sprayed home guard to let the spiders know they are not wanted in the house!

Today, I spent the afternoon picking up the spiny balls the sweet gum tree continues to drop. Clearing these from the flower gardens among the bark mulch was a killer! I looked very strange with my hubby's knee pads over my jeans, my "Welcome to My World" Elvis t-shirt, tan and black leather gloves, my once white-now green tennis shoes, and a black baseball cap. I crawled around in flower beds like I was looking for a lost contact. I did fill one of the large lawn and leaf bags with those sticky, spiny balls. I must say the garden area looks good. When I finished, I sprinkled Preem to detract any weeds from growing.

I've never been a gardner. I do NOT like crawly things which always seem to be on the attack when I'm outdoors. But with my full armor and leather gardening gloves, I'm getting braver. Just hope this early start on the gardens will help me keep them in good shape this year.

So, I have gotten my exercise big time the past two days...and I also received a nice sunburn on my arms! Not bad for mid April.

Now, I need to get caught up on my writing! We're looking at three days (at least) of rainy weather, so I can get back to work on my manuscript.
We've had two beautiful days in my area of the world. Sunshine, 70 degree temps. I just couldn't resist spending as much time outdoors as possible. I needed to get exercise, too, so I decided to begin weeding and preparing our flower beds for spring. Some of the hostas are already growing nicely. Also, when cleaning the front beds, I could see shoots for the cone flowers coming up as well. We have a number of knock-out rose bushes, and they are already growing and looking fantastic!

Monday, April 04, 2011

Author Interview with Pamela S. Thibodeaux

The Blog Studio is alive with music, and hand clapping as the band plays "He's Alive!" The curtain opens showing a screen with Dolly Parton singing this uplifting gospel song. The audience is on their feet singing along. Finally, the band notes fade away and the curtain closes. The audience quiets and sits. All is quiet for several seconds, and then the Blog Studio theme song begins and Carol Ann walks on stage.

"Good morning!"

The audience answers with a resounding, "Good morning!"

"I loved the Dolly Parton and band rendition of 'He's Alive', didn't you?"

Loud applause follows.

"Well, since you loved that, I just know you are going to love my guest author for today. Pamela S. Thibodeaux is multi-published in fiction and non-fiction. Her writing has been tagged as “Inspirational with an Edge!” and reviewed as “Steamier and grittier than the typical Christian without decreasing the message.”

She is the Co-founder and a member of the Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. As a former member of American Christian Fiction Writers (formerly ACRW), Golden Triangle Writers Guild, Coeur de Louisiane and RWA, Pam won Coeur’s 1999 “Diamond In The Rough” as well as their 2000 “Ruby” Award and received her RWA Pro Pin in 2001.

A committed Christian, she firmly believes in God and His promises. God is very real to her and she feels that people today need and want to hear more of His truths wherever they can glean them. Although her writing is Inspirational, she does her best to encourage readers to develop a personal relationship with God.

The deepest desire of her heart is to glorify God and to get His message of faith, trust and forgiveness to a hurting world. Her hope is that all of her stories will touch the lives of everyone who reads them and – in some way – bring them a truer knowledge of God and urge them into a closer walk with Him.

Please join your hands together to welcome Pamela to the stage!

The audience applauds as Pamela walks onstage and joins Carol Ann in one of the two wicker cushioned chairs.

CAE: Pam, I'm so delighted that you have agreed to come to the Blog Studio for an interview.

PST: Thanks for having me.

CAE: Let's get started by my asking you to share a bit about what you’ve written in the past and what is available now.

PST: My past is checkered with fiction and non-fiction. To date I have 5 full-length novels (4 part Tempered series and The Inheritance published. My debut women's fiction novel, The Visionary is due out Nov 2011. I also have 6 short stories available through White Rose Publishing as well as countless articles and essays to my list of publishing credits.

CAE: With all your releases, you've certainly got a bright future ahead. Have you ever experienced writer’s block? If so, what did you do to overcome?

PST: Is there a writer alive that doesn't? LOL! Usually when I experience that dreaded malady, it is because I'm either working too hard or I'm trying to write the story my way instead of the way God wants it written. To overcome I take a break and of course pray and often repent :-)

CAE: I really don't like the phrase "writer's block," becaue you are right. It isn't a block, but actually God whispering in your ear that you've gotten it wrong somehow. Let's suppose we are sitting in a restaurant enjoying a nice conversation and lunch and a reporter appears and shoves a microphone in your hand and says you have one minute to tell the world something important. What would you say?

PST: Life is meaningless without Jesus and He loves you more than anything or anyone else in the whole world - may I introduce you to Him?

CAE: I love that! As authors, we spend a lot of time alone with our craft. Sometimes we get to feeling lonely or a little down. When that happens, who can make you laugh?

PST: We've all heard the old adage "out of the mouths of babes" well that is so true when it comes to the young ones in my life...grandchildren and great nieces & nephews who have the corner on making me laugh.

CAE: I can relate to that! My grandchildren have given me so much joy and so many funny stories. I'm really good with family gatherings, but I shy away from other ventures where I might be in a crowd of people I don't know. I consider myself an introvert because of that. Are you an introvert or an extravert? How does that play into your writing life?

PST: Extravert - I love people! Being around & observing folks helps tremendously in writing as I never know what snippet of conversation I'll over hear or behavior I'll notice that will round out a character in any given moment or scene.

CAE: Oh, I wish I could be like that! I know I miss many opportunities to get tidbits to help my writing by observing others. If you are like me, you have a large collection of books. Besides books, do you have any collections?
PST: Not really. I love horses and have quite a few on my shelves. I also love angels but to pinpoint one thing I honestly would collect had I the time, money and space, I'd have to say anything that has to do with Jesus, especially depictions of the Nativity, the Last Supper and crosses--I could go BROKE collecting crosses!

CAE: We’ve all had one of those “embarrassing moments.” Would you share one of yours with us?

PST: No LOL! Honestly life is full of little moments we wish we could go back and redo but I can't think of one that would be interesting or funny enough to share.

CAE: Do you have any phobias? Afraid of heights, spiders?

PST: Snakes....I despise them - in fact every one is a Cobra LOL!

CAE: Have your phobias, collections, or embarrassing moments come to play in any of your books?

PST: Yes, in 2 of my Tempered books, the heroine is confronted by a rattle snake.

CAE: I know you suffered the tragic loss of your beloved husband. Have you been able to release some of your emotions in your writing?

PST: Yes. I wrote an essay titled "Pillow Talk" in which I described my need to have his picture on his pillow/case - something tangible I could hold on to during those long, dark nights of the soul. This has been submitted to a couple of places but not accepted as of yet. I've also started working on a story/novel titled "My Heart Weeps" which will depict one woman's journey from wife to widow to individual and through grief into new life and possibly new love. I also often write my thoughts, feelings, fears, hopes and emotions in my prayer journal.

CAE: Can you share with the readers what we can expect in your next book?

PST: I'd love to! A Visionary is someone who sees into the future; Taylor Forrestier sees into the past but only as it pertains to her work. Hailed by her peers as “a visionary with an instinct for beauty and an eye for the unique” Taylor is undoubtedly a brilliant architect and gifted designer. But she and twin brother Trevor, share more than a successful business. The two share a childhood wrought with lies and deceit and the kind of abuse that’s disgustingly prevalent in today’s society. Can the love of God and the awesome healing power of His grace and mercy free the twins from their past and open their hearts to the good plan and the future He has for their lives? Find out in The Visionary coming November 2011 from Five Star Expressions

CAE: Pamela, that you so much for allowing me to interview you. It has been my great pleasure. Audience, be sure to check out Pamela's website at to learn more about her and her books. And don't forget to watch for the release of THE VISIONARY in November of this year.