Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Won’t you be my neighbor—Emily R. King

Do you have on your comfy sweater? Did you change into your sneakers? Because I did, and now I’m ready to start. (I almost sang you all a song, but it didn’t really translate to the blog :)

Angie: So, lets get started. Welcome Emily R. King to the first post of "Won't you be my neighbor." I got a whole slew of questions that may or may not be writing related. And isn't she cute! I never have a collar bone when I'm pregnant!

I love Emily! She just the nicest sweetest person, and such a talented writer. I know because she has let me read her wonderful manuscript. 

Emily: Let you? I thought I bribed you by reading yours. : ) Thanks for having me, Angie!

Angie: So let’s start with the question everyone is dying to know. What are you wearing right now? LOL. That sounds pervy. I don't mean it to be.

Emily: Bawhahaha! It's 10:17 am, I've been blogging for two hours, and I'm still wearing my bathrobe. I have bedhead and all. Yeah, I'm one hip lady.

Angie: Ha ha! Me too! Jammies and all. But if you were wearing say...your junior prom dress at 10:17 am then that would really say something. But a bathrobe just tells us you are laid back and casual!

Emily: Or just lazy. :D

Angie: No, never lazy. Okay, question number two... If you were a candy bar, what candy bar would you be?

Emily: A Reese's Peanut Butter cup, because I'm sweet AND salty.

Angie: Nice. I love those. Now I'm hungry. Ooo, here's a goodie... What is your best physical feature? And don't say eyes. Eyes are a cop out.

Emily: The truth? My butt—or so I've been told. It's the one part of my body that gets oogled the most. Unfortunately, it's not as nice as it used to be. Sitting and writing all day has seriously depleted its niceness.

Angie: Writer butt! Ya, I know what you're talking about. I can totally relate. Here is something I've always wanted to know... How do you get around to so many blogs every day? Every time I go to comment you've already been there. What is your secret?

Emily: No sleep? No, really, I'm a fast reader and Google Reader helps me scroll through new blog postings quickly. If you don't use it, get on it! It'll save you a ton of time.

Angie: I'm must be slow because I can't figure Google Reader out. I may need a tutorial. What about this question... Tell us something about your MS or WIP that is unique.

Emily: The demon hunters in my MS arm themselves with Taser guns and pepper spray. They don't want to kill hosts (the mortals possessed by demons), so they use non-invasive ways to disarm them and then dispel the demons with the help of their mightiest weapon, a Sun Stone ring.

Angie: Your demon hunters kick butt. I'd want them with me in a dark alleyway. What is your biggest strength as a writer and your biggest weakness?

Emily: My biggest strength is my determination. I will NOT give up.
My biggest weakness is my pride. I wait too long before asking for critiques, and have shot myself in the foot many times because of this. If I had reached out to other writers for help, I would be much further in my writing career than I am now.

Angie: Those are great! Determination is a must. But I also have to say that you rock at writing action. Action is hard to write well. Any tips?

Emily: Don't add too many details and descriptions. Make it move along quickly, just like in an action film. Movement is key! Oh, and keep your reader guessing. If they know your MC is going to win, it lowers the suspense.

Angie: That is great! I love to learn from other writers and books, so...What was the last book you read and what did you learn from it?

Emily: I just finished reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, again. What I learned is paragraphing. J.K. Rowling opens her dialogue by pushing it to the next paragraph. For instance:

Finally, his large purple face crumpled with concentration. Uncle Vernon stopped in front of Harry and spoke.

"I've changed my mind," he said.

Some writers wouldn't start another paragraph, but I prefer J.K. Rowling's style and have adopted it as my own.

Angie: I do that too. White space. White space. White space. Right?

Emily: Yep!

Angie: So a few times a year I get to be a judge for local and state scholarship pageants, and I can't let you go without a pageant question. How would you broker peace in the Middle East? I'm just curious whether you have a plan or not. 

Emily: Ha! No, I can't say I have a plan. The hatred is so inbred, the children are taught it from birth. Even if I dethroned every leader and installed better leadership, the lessons the children have been taught by their fathers would still reign.
I don't mean to be a pessimist, but I doubt the Middle East will have peace until the Millennium. No one, save God Himself, can stop the hatred there.

And on that happy note, thanks Angie! This was a ton of fun. Now I'm going to get dressed for the day and find myself a peanut butter cup, then get back to revising. Love you, girl!

Angie: Thanks Em. You were awesome. If I was scoring your last question I would give you a 9. Well thought out and articulate! You rock!

Seriously, thanks. That was ton of fun :)

Emily: Thank YOU!

So there you have it the soon to be wildly famous Emily King. Go check out her awesome blog and give her a high five :) Now I’m changing out of my sneakers…but I will keep the sweater.


Daily reminder of the I'm Hearing Voices Blogfest starting next Monday :) You can always write your posts ahead of time and be all prepared and stuff.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Lessons in Storytelling: Hold the filler please!

Do you ever watch those disturbing documentaries where they tell you all the crazy stuff put into hamburger meat? Ammonia. Bones. All the stuff that fell on the slaughter house floor (in the meat industry they call it “pink slime”—I’m not joking).  Sorry, I just ruined your trip to McDonalds today :)

All this filler is added to bulk up ground beef so they don’t need to have as much real meat. Crazy, right? Now follow my train of thought, because I do have a literary point.

I’ve had a new book on my shelf since November. It’s the end in a very popular series. I enjoyed the first few books, and I’ve been waiting a long time for the last one to come out. But now that I’m reading it I realize—IT’S MOSTLY FILLER!

I’m 230 pages in and nothing substantial has happened—NOTHING! Oh, there’s been a little conflict and a few of cool things, but that stuff could’ve been done in 50 pages, MAX! (Can you tell by the all caps I’m disgusted? I AM!)

Here are a few thoughts about filler. Keep them in mind when you are editing.
  • If you think it might be filler—IT IS.
  • If it doesn’t raise the stakes, move the story forward, or up the tension—IT’S FILLER
  • If you cut it and it doesn’t really change your story—“PINK SLIME”
  • Cut it and see how it reads. You can always put it back—CUT, CUT, CUT!
  • Just because you think it is cool, doesn’t mean it is—Words to live by Yanni :) 

Because I’m determined to learn something, I will finish this stinking book. Wish me luck. I’ve 630 pages of “pink slime” to go!


DO NOT Google “hamburger pink slime.” It’s disturbing. Oh, and just as a reminder next week is the I'm Hearing Voices Blogfest. If you haven't done it yet there's still time to sign up :)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Funnies: Texting for Dummies

I’m a bit of a texting novice. My husband finally insisted I get (and use) an iphone. I’ve have it for a few months now and I’m getting pretty good at it (he might disagree). But because I’m still new I make all kinds of mistakes.

But instead of making fun of me, let’s make fun of other people :) Here are a few texting mishaps I’ve seen online. They are too funny!

Remember—Don’t text and drive! I’m serious! Have a great weekend :)


Parents Shouldn't Text - Funny, Crazy, WTF Text Messages From Mom And...

Parents Shouldn't Text - Funny, Crazy, WTF Text Messages From Mom And... (clipped to

Thursday, January 26, 2012

In Desperate Need of a Schedule

If you saw Sara's post on Tuesday, now you know I’m flying solo. I know most of you in the blog-a-sphere do this all the time, but it's a little new for me. I thought it might be good to give my blog a little structure. This is what I came up with.

MondayLessons in Storytelling: Ground breaking ideas I’ve learned about storytelling from literature, movies, or television. (I use the term ground breaking VERY liberally :)

TuesdayWon’t You Be My Neighbor?: I’ve resisted doing interviews because so many people do them so much better than me. But finding more friends we can connect with is SO important. And maybe I can ask some probing and fun questions.

WednesdayCrafting  Corner: If you think I’m going to tell you how to make cool things with pipe cleaners this day will be a let down. You will have to settle for posts on the craft of writing. I have a goal to read one book on craft each month, so maybe I can pass on some tips.

ThursdayRandom Ramblings: I need a day for all the other brain vomit that won’t fit into a neat little category. Yay for Thursdays!

FridayFriday Funnies: This might be a stretch, but I will try and find something funny to share with you every Friday. Hey, by the end of the week I need a good laugh.

So give me your feedback. Yes. No. Maybe so?


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Dreams. Love em or Hate em?

I recently received a full critique from someone I just love (*wink* by this end of this post you will know who you are), and one note I got was— “Watch out how many dream sequences you use.”

Now, I was floored. I LOVE DREAM SEQUENCES! (If I could have made that sentence written in glitter for emphasis, I would have!) Dreams are some of my favorite things to write and read. It never once occurred to me they could be overdone (I know that sounds dumb as I write it. Anything can be overdone).

In my lovely critiquers defense, I think she’s right about two of them (I have 5 total. Each around 200 words). I’m so glad she pointed it out to me because now she has me thinking.

There is one main reason why I LOVE dreams. I feel like I’m pulling back a curtain and giving my reader a raw peak at my characters psyche. I really believe that deep down most of us know what’s right and wrong and how to solve our own problems. Sometimes a dream can give us a deep insight in to ourselves. Sometimes they are nonsense :)

But now I am freaking out! Is this wrong? Are dreams annoying? Will it keep me from getting an agent? Help! Weigh in! Give me your feedback!


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Fare thee well

What was the first book you read after you completed your novel? Do you remember? Was it a different reading experience for you?

I guess every reading experience is different, but the Hunger Games was my first read after I finished my own manuscript.

I was amazed at the new details that stood out to me. The POV. The present tense. The clever way Suzanne Collins weaves through passages of time - but always keeps us ever present. The unique, simple descriptions. The dialog staying true to every character. The internal dialog. Powerful action sequences and the nail biting moments of suspense (I guess that's pretty much the whole novel!).

It was amazing! A completely different experience than it would have been had I read it a year ago before I started this writing adventure.

I've learned so much about writing by -- well, writing. :) And of course blogging is a huge part of that. I've learned a lot from your posts and from my own posts and getting feedback from you. But unfortunately, I'm going to take a break for a while. There are a few demands outside the blogosphere that deserve more attention. And if I ever do get a moment to myself, I know I'll be working on my WIP.

The more involved I become in Blogging, the more time I want to dedicate to it. And I just can't squeeze more hours from the day.

I feel like my 'season' for blogging will circle back around and I'll definitely be riding that train! But for now, I'll wave goodbye to you all from the station and wish you the very best on your blogging adventures. Thank you for the help you've given me and I look forward to checking out your blogs from time to time!

It's been a Pleasure!


Monday, January 23, 2012

Beginning with the End

Do you watch Once Upon a Time on ABC? If you don’t you should. It—is—AWESOME!

 As I watched it last night with my hubby, I started to wonder…Do you like stories where you know the ending from the very beginning?

The pilot episode of Once Upon a Time starts with Snow White and Prince Charming getting married and the Evil Witch cursing everyone. It’s dramatic and exciting. So far so good—right? But then every other episode is a flashback showing some snippet of the story before the curse.

I love the show (I really do), but I will say that some of the mystery is lessened. I don’t worry that they might not get together because I know they will. The mystery then takes on a new dynamic. How do we get from point A to point B?

This is nothing new. Most romances are structured this way. We know they will get together. The drama is in HOW?

I’m so curious and I want your feedback. Do you like this kind of storytelling? Or do you prefer to be completely in the dark?


Friday, January 20, 2012

Really? But you’re a writer…

Writers are a talented bunch of people, there is no denying this. I’m a writer and I’m surprised at all the things I should be good at—but I’m so NOT.

When people hear about my weaknesses I swear they are thinking—Really? But you’re a writer. So here is a brief list of a few of my shortcomings.

Spelling—I suck at spelling. I try and try, but the spelling part of my brain must be filled with something else (probably the plots from Law and Order). I’m seriously thinking of getting NECESSARY tattooed on my arm. That bugger kills me every time.

 Words with Friends—I should be good at that stinking game! But I’m not. My husband slaughters me. I think it's because I would rather play a cool word like zygote for 19 points instead of a boring word like qi for a billion. Sometimes I resort to cheating (don’t tell my husband), but I don’t feel too bad because he still beats me.

Education—I think people assume that writers will have a English or Creative Writing degrees. I have neither. In fact I don’t have a degree at all (shh, don’t tell the agents). I’m planning on going back to school. Maybe I will go when my oldest goes. He would love that :)

Eye sight—Okay this one is a stretch, but you have to see to be a writer. Hours spent in front of the computer and with my nose in a book have messed up my eyesight. I just got glasses. My 6 year old thinks I look like a geek.

So what about you? What skill do you lack? Tell me so I won’t feel so lame.


Hey I'm over at the lovely Tara Tyler's blog today doing an interview and guest post about How To Be A Good Critique Partner. So if you have time come check it out.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Kidney stone free!

Hey everybody J I’m back and recovering nicely! Thank you for the wishes for a fast recovery. I think it worked.

There is nothing quite as demoralizing as writhing in pain for a two weeks, needing a surgery, waking up begging for morphine—only to have the doctor hand you a vile of what looks like sand (they had to blast my kidney stone) and thinking—ALL THAT TROUBLE FOR THIS!!!

My kids wanted to see my kidney stone, and I will just say that my 6 year old was less than impressed with my vile. The look on her face was priceless. She said, “That’s it?” But her face said, “My mom is crazy! I walk over stones like that to school.” I think she was expecting something grander :)

Aside from the pain I think the worst part of the ordeal was being so tired. Pain killers are the worst. I could barely focus. I tried writing and everything was garbled. I tried reading and fell asleep every time. Yuck!

I’m so happy to be coherent! Thanks for all the nice thoughts and wishes, I really appreciated it :)


Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Yet another happy surprise in the world of blogging. Jaye Robin Brown, of Hanging on to Wonder, (which is such a lovely name BTW!) has nominated Live to Write for the Versatile Blogger Award. :) It technically goes to both Angie and I, but I'll do the honors since Angie is out of commission at the moment. Thank you Jaye for taking the time to check out our blog and be such an awesome participant. Thank you so much!

So, here's the skinny:

1. In a post on your blog, nominate 15 fellow bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award.(or 5 like me - you will not be smited.)
2. In the same post, add the Versatile Blogger Award.
3. In the same post, thank the blogger who nominated you in a post with a link back to their blog.
4. In the same post, share 7 completely random pieces of information about yourself.
5. In the same post, include this set of rules.
6. Inform each nominated blogger of their nomination by posting a comment on each of their blogs.

And that's about it! So, here we go. Seven lesser known facts about me:

1. I was once offered 100 camels for my hand in marriage. The man was Arabic, twice my age, and had lost most of his teeth, but I'll be honest - I was a little flattered. But mostly freaked out! ;)

2. When I write I don't listen to music. At first it was because I always had a sleeping child in the next room, but now, I just enjoy the silence. Instead of music, I read my manuscript out loud to myself. It's so great, because I catch a lot of errors and my dialogue feels more authentic.

3. If I do listen to music, I'm an ABBA fan and I listen to vintage Michael Jackson when I need to feel amazing and 'out of this world-cool'!

4. I'm one half Icelandic and I feel like Iceland is one of the best kept secrets of the world (at least before I blew the whistle on it!). I've been there during the Winter and the Summer and I have never seen a place more beautiful in all my life. You should go ... seriously, it's amazing!

5. When I was 19 years old, I took a train across the country to live in North Carolina without having ever visited there, without family or friends and with no expectations of what I would find. It was an adventure and may be the best decision I ever made. I thank my parents every day for going along with it! :)

6. I had four children in four years. Two sets of Irish Twins and I LOVE them beyond words. :)

7. In my high school, a play I wrote called, "Irish Eyes" was chosen, with a few others, to be produced. It was student directed and student acted. It was an amazing experience and gave me the confidence I needed to begin to wonder if I could really write. :)

Okay, that's it for me ... And now for my nominations ... I know many of you have received this award, but I'm going to acknowledge your versatility and coolness anyway!

1. Brooke from The Blank Page . I was an instant fan when she talked about her LOVE of the VHS and 80's movies. She's down to earth, a busy mom and from what I can tell, a great person. She's new to the blog-o-sphere and so far, I've thoroughly enjoyed her posts!

2. Kim Karras, of Confessions of a Bibliophile. Kim is so kind, and has intelligent comments as well as posts. She's a great writer. She balances a busy life with blogging and I will always admire that. Her posts cover a variety of topics and reach a lot of different readers. Thanks Kim.

3. Shelley and Chad of Writing with Shelley and Chad. I became a fan when Shelley flew solo as Small Town Shelley Brown. I was so new to all this blogging stuff, and she was so encouraging. Their blog is hilarious and fun and full of heart. The most memorable post for me was about why Shelley shaved her head. Everyone should read it because she's a great example of living and living well! Thanks Shelley and you too Chad. :)

4. Donna Weaver, Weaving a Tale or Two. I have recently stumbled onto Donna's blog and I love it. I have never met her, but here's the thing: I feel like I could sit at her feet and just listen to her stories! She's awesome. Do any of you know how many places she's lived? Or visited? She's got a great perspective on life and living and I enjoy all of the insights that she brings to the table. And yes, Donna, you are a superstar blogger!

5. Peggy Eddleman, Will Write for Cookies. It's not all about the cookies, but c'mon - how cool is that? She unites all of us cookie lovers! Not only does she post some incredibly delicious pictures and recipes, she is an author that I think we'll see a lot of. She's full of gratitude for her latest book that will be published this September the thirteenth and continues to share all kinds of good thoughts, quotes and advice on her blog. She takes the time to make amazing comments too, and I honestly don't know how she has the time. Thank you Peggy!

6. E.R. King, Get Busy Writing. Emily not only has a stupendous pen name, but she is a team player. She offers honest, real comments that have, btw, helped me so much. Plus she does all kinds of stuff on her blog - interviews, giveaways, Mentor Mondays, blog hops, etc. She's versatile, serious about her writing and always extends a helping hand. Thanks Emily.

7. Leigh Covington . Another amazing pen name! Leigh is always supporting Angie and I on the blog and throws out all kinds of good contests and hops as well. She also is a great participant, putting herself and her writing out there. She's good and she's motivated, and that's a contagious cocktail! I appreciate it, and glean a lot from her enthusiasm.

8. J.A. Bennett. I didn't know Jennifer or her blog prior to The Wrap it Up Blog Hop. She co-hosted it with David Powers King and Leigh Covington. I participated and began following Jennifer's blog. Jennifer writes beautifully. Her website is so calming too ... that probably sounds strange, but I enjoy the simplicity that she brings to the table as well as her great knowledge base of writing and craft.

9. David Powers King. I heard of David through the same blog hop as I mentioned above. But I've continued following him because he knows so much! He's down to earth and puts stuff out there (especially in regards to Sci Fi and Fantasy) in such a way that I feel encouraged, not in over my head. He really knows his stuff, but he also really wants to see people succeed and that is apparent in all of his posts.

10. Mel Fowler, Adventure Writes. First of all, Mel has one of my favorite blog titles. Mel is a bit of a mentor to me, without knowing it. She's exudes enthusiasm and seems to just jump in with both feet. I participated in one of her give-aways - my first ever - and had a great experience.

10. Kelly Lynn, Between the Bookends. Here's another blogger that jumps off the page! She's got great comments and fun posts. She's so committed and willing to put herself out there and risk. I admire that, and am still working on that!

11. Angela Brown. Her post today, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. is indicative of all her posts. She's thoughtful, humble, determined and grateful to be able to pursue her own dream. I admire her and have benefited from her comments. Thanks Angela!

12. Nick Wilford, Scattergun Scribblings. I'm new to Nick's blog, but he's commented on our blog a few times and really offered some great thoughts. He's down to earth and isn't afraid to disagree and discuss it. He offers a very fresh perspective, and I appreciate his posts. He's genuine and is giving his writing every opportunity out there.

Okay, I'm going to wrap it up at 12 awards - it's my lucky number. There are so many others who have greatly influenced me, so thanks to all of you who pop onto our blog and whose blogs inspire me to keep going! Thanks everyone and thank you again Jaye for noticing our efforts on Live to Write!


Monday, January 16, 2012

A Tribute

What is blogging? I'm still figuring that out, but I can tell you what it's not. It's not just cranking out a daily or weekly post about random thoughts, as I once believed. Turns out, it's a whole lot more!

This is my acknowledgement or tribute to you rock solid bloggers out there who help those of us who are new to the game. You teach us how to get involved, connect with one another and have fun through interviews, blogfests, contests, giveaways, etc. etc. etc.

In my short blogging life, I've had incredible fortune. A couple of months ago, I won, Become by Ali Cross and some deluxe swag on Mel Fowler's awesome blog, Adventure Writes. Become is my first e-book experience and so far, so good. I won't spill the beans yet, but hope to give a full report on the book and my e-book reading experience soon. Thanks Mel for helping me take my first plunge into e-books and for sharing your awesome blog with all of us!

Another blogging first for me was the Wrap It Up blog hop hosted by David Powers King, Leigh Covington and J.A. Bennet. I had a great family story to tell, and took at stab at this fun holiday hop. It was awesome! I read some great flash fiction by a bunch of you and I ended up winning! It was like Christmas a week early! I loved it! Thank you David, Leigh and Jennifer for hosting this - I learned so much.

Most recently I participated in E.R.King's blogging survey. I actually learned a ton about blogging from this. You should check out the results here. I was really surprised by some of the outcomes. And as luck would have it, Emily was kind enough to have a survey give away and I was the name drawn out of the hat. :) Crazy, right? I'm so excited.

Now if you really want to get serious, you'll check out Chad Morris's latest survey, "Tackling the Hard Issues". Not to mention Shelly's Therapy Hour. Get to know these guys on their blog: Writing with Shelly and Chad.

This is a small handful of people who rock the house when it comes to blogging. How do you guys do it??

This isn't a rhetorical question - I'm serious! How do you all do it? :)

Though I only had room to mention a few, I salute all of you who do survey's, giveaways, fests, blog hops, interviews, and in the meantime, sneak in all sorts of good info, humor and education. On behalf of all of us little people, Thanks! :)

p.s. Angie is home, heavily sedated and hopefully on the road to recovery! ;)


Friday, January 13, 2012

I'm too sexy for myself???

The post I wrote for today has been bumped to Monday because I happened upon this video and enjoyed it too much! I hope you do too!

I love that in writing--adding flaws, or at least being honest about character flaws: physical, emotional or whatever, adds to and shapes our characters. We're not going for perfection, we want authentic.

But for the media, flawlessness is the name of the game and now there's the prefect product available to anyone! Check it out:

As promised, here's the update on Angie: She's in surgery today, but will be back on the blog radar Wednesday of next week, so stay tuned! I've passed along all of your well wishes on her behalf - Thank you. I think she's itching to be back in the saddle and I, too, hope she has a speedy recovery.

Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Happy Mid-Week!

I have a friend who randomly puts $20 bills into books when she's finished with them. Her reasoning is that, the next time she cracks that book open, "Hey! $20!" It's just like when I find my favorite lip gloss in the pocket of my winter coat or a handful of change between the couch cushions. I love random surprises! :)

Well, as I was scavenging through some of my old folders and files yesterday, I stumbled onto a packet of letters from an old friend. I felt like I'd just found a buried treasure. It was so fun. On the back of one of the letters was printed the following quote. I liked it and I hope you do too. I don't know who wrote it, but it's good! Happy Wednesday!

p.s. Angie is scheduled for surgery on Friday. Send love, prayers, Angels, good vibes, etc. etc. etc! We'll hopefully have her back in action next week. :) I'll post again on Friday with any updates that I have. Until then ... have a great couple of days!

Promise Yourself

Promise yourself to be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind. To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet. To make all your friends feel that there is something in them. To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true. To think only of the best, to work only for the best and expect only the best. To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own. To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future. To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile. To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others. To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tight-Wad Tuesdays

I've always been fond of Tuesdays. Where I grew up there was a cheap theater where movies cost $2.00. But on Tight-Wad Tuesday, as they called it, movies only cost one. :)

Well, today being Tuesday, I thought I'd visit the idea of economy of words, rather than money. During my high school years, my primary literary focus was on poetry. I loved it. It taught me to whittle down my thoughts and words to the bare bones. And I can still remember my teacher saying, "Show, don't tell!" and cluttering my papers with red penned circles and the words, "omit" written off to the side.

Here's a sampling of two of my poems, which I wrote at the tender age of fifteen, both assigned to 'show' silence.


I sit in the cool
dark of our old barn,
and watch the dust
move like glitter
through the sun--
shining between
torn shingles Dad
always meant to fix.

Red Rooster

I rushed in late --
my hands aching from
the sudden warmth.
"I put all the hay in that
far corner, Sir -- just the
way you wanted."

My breath echoed.

I sat next to my
mother at the
other end of our table
and stared at the
red rooster on the
kitchen wallpaper.

I remember draft after draft of these poems, all with the same critique to the side. "Show don't tell!" "Omit!" "Bad Word Choice!" These poems are fragments compared to the first drafts--but even now, after all these years, I see where I can trim even more. Or perhaps insert a more powerful word choice.

Although I haven't written much poetry lately, the same rules apply to our WIP's as we embark on edits, and re-edits and more edits. Word economy, and making sure each word counts is a valuable and vital skill. Writer Janice Hardy, showcased this principle by trimming down a page of her published book (which had already undergone several edits) and omitting needless words. It's awesome, check it out!

I'll leave you now with a word from Shakespeare:

"Therefore, if brevity is the soul of wit, and tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes, I will be brief"

Happy Tight-Wad Tuesday Everyone and if you're in the throws of editing - Good Luck!!


Monday, January 9, 2012

Kidney Stones, a Witch and Hauntings

When Angie told me about her Kidney Stones, I immediately thought of my sister, the Good Witch of the North. She has helped dozens of my family members with kidney stones and other health issues, so I thought, why not? Her real name is Colleen, but about 15 years ago, she decided to become a homeopathic doctor and ever since, we’ve lovingly called her the Good Witch of the North. I offered my sister’s prescription to Angie: A six-pack of Coca-Cola, Prickley Ash, Pineapple Juice and a pound of asparagus. Angie has opted for traditional medicine. Go figure! So while my sister’s knowledge is not of much help, I have agreed to take on Angie’s posts this week while she goes through this ordeal. My wishes to Angie for a speedy recovery!

For those of you who don’t know me, I am Angie’s critique partner, Sara Bulla. I usually post on Tuesdays, though I’ve never formally introduced myself to the blog. I thought I’d do so now.

You already know my sister, the Good Witch of the North, and there are ten other siblings besides me. I am the youngest of this groovy crew pictured above. My mom is still living, but my sweet Dad passed away just over a year ago. My Dad always believed I could be a writer. From reading my stories and plays in high school, to sliding clippings about a poetry or short story contest under my nose every once in a while, he was always my number one supporter.

My brother joked at his funeral that he fully expected my dad to ‘haunt us’ from the other side if we weren’t recycling, weeding our gardens, voting responsibly or building up our food storage (all important issues for him!). Well, I believe my dad has haunted me in a way. Last spring, I felt for the first time in a long time, that I needed to pick up my pen and start writing again. Being a mom has been my ‘career’ and still is, but in the months after my Dad’s passing, I just felt this added urgency and excitement to jump back in and try out my talents and love of Writing.

I promise that I won’t dedicate this entire week to my personal drivel, but I did want to salute my Dad and thank him for being the angel on my shoulder while I give this endeavor a go. J

I am the mother of four amazing kids, three girls and one boy. I’m so blessed. As for my writing background, other than a few scattered honors and awards in high school, most of my writing has been off the radar and done for the sheer pleasure of it. I now hope to expand any literary talent that I naturally possess and try to transition from writer to published author. I appreciate the help I’ve received from Angie and other supporters of the blog. I love reading through many of your posts and learning about what rock-star writers you all are. It’s a pleasure to rub shoulders with you in the blog-o-sphere!


Friday, January 6, 2012

Sign of the times

I spent Tuesday at the hospital--my doctor thought I had appendicitis, but lucky me I just have a 6mm kidney stone. That is crazy huge. I'm so drugged up on pain killers I can't stay awake to read, write, or focus, so if I have left you a garbled comment in last few days--sorry. 

Because I can't write a lick today. I'm doing a lazy post and letting someone else write for me. That is it. Now I need to lie down :)


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I’m Hearing Voices—Character Blogfest

I’ve been blogging for seven months. I haven’t decided yet whether that feels long or short :) I’ve met so many great people and made unexpected friendships (Wow, this sounds like a eulogy—it’s not).

I thought it was about time I hosted a blogfest. Now, technically this was Cassie’s (Reading, Writing, and Lovin' It!) idea, so we are going to co-host.

Every great story has great characters! So this blogfest is designed to help us flex our character writing muscles through three separate blog posts.

The Posts:

February 6th - MondayCharacters on the couch: Have one of your characters answer the following questions (to make this work to your benefit, choose a character who is the hardest for you to write :) Max 250 words (Not including the questions—only the answers). 
  1. What is your biggest vulnerability? Do others know this or is it a secret?
  2. What do people believe about you that is false?
  3. What would your best friend say is your fatal flaw? Why?
  4. What would the same friend say is your one redeeming quality? Why?
  5. What do you want most? What will you do to get it? 
February 8th - Wednesday - Dialogue Introduction: Have two characters introduce each other using only dialogue—no backstory, no internalization, just dialogue between the two. Max 250 words.

February 10th - Friday - Emotion Flash Fiction: Emotion is the engine of a story. Pick an emotion and in a flash fiction piece of 250 words MAKE us feel it! We want to connect with your character. This will be a challenge in 250 words.

The Prizes: 
Cassie and I decided to pick two winners for each day:

Monday’s Prize’s
  • From me: The Color Code by Taylor Hartman—this book is a fantastic study of personality. It’s simple, easy to follow, and will give you tons of insight into how different personalities interact. I use it all the time. I don't normally like non-fiction, but this is one of my favorites. See description here.
  • From Cassie:  Nightshade by Andrea Cremer.  You can check out the description from Goodreads here.  This book so far has been the only book to make me fall for both male leads.  The characters' flaws and their strengths kept pulling me in two different directions the entire way through.  

Wednesday’s Prize
  • From me: A query critique and first 20 page critique.
  • From Cassie: A query critique and first 20 page critique. 
Friday’s Prize
  • From me: A full manuscript critique.
  • From Cassie: A full manuscript critique.
How to enter:
  1. Add your name to the link below
  2. Follow Cassie
  3. Follow Me—If we don’t already, we will follow you back J
  4. Post about the blogfest sometime by January 30th
  5. You don’t have to, but we would love you to grab our button and add it to your side bar. 

There you go. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Come join the fun. It will be awesome!


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

I love January. I love fresh starts. I love clean slates. It's the resolutions that I tend to flake out on. The idea behind new year's resolutions is inspiring and every year, I set goals for myself. I admit that sometimes I fall short, but I'm always glad I tried.

This year, I gave myself a present knowing full well that it would push me to achieve many of my new year's resolutions. I signed up for a writer's conference. Not only will this help me in many of my current projects and pursuits, but there's nothing like a money investment to increase your commitment level. :)

I'm beyond excited. Last year I attended this same conference, the LDStorymakers and loved it. I met Angie there, which was, in and of itself -- awesome! We became critique partners, started this blog, and formed a friendship. I'm so grateful for that blessing. She's amazing, but of course you all know that!

However, I was unprepared for the conference. I signed up on a whim. I had always written and only dreamed of being published. Then I found myself asking, 'What if ...?" What if I could write and actually publish? What if I could become an author? What if I could become better at something I really love?

So, I jumped in with both feet, and signed up for the conference at the last minute. I loved it. I enjoyed every class and filled my mind until it was ready to burst. This year, I signed up earlier in the hopes that I might prepare myself more and get the most I can out of it.

For those of you who have been to this, or other writing conferences, what proved to be the most beneficial? Boot Camp? First Chapter contest? Classes? Pitch session? Or d-all of the above? I am just curious to hear what worked for you and what you would recommend.

Thanks everyone and Happy New Year! By the way, another gift I gave to myself this year was The Hunger Games. I haven't read it yet, (I know - Crazy) but will be cracking that book open the moment I publish this post!! Yes, I'm freaking out a little bit!


Monday, January 2, 2012

A Desperate Plea

Hey I'm back! I missed you all too!!! Now on to the post...

Trict…shipwa…seesswre…jezoof.  I know they aren't real words but type them as fast as you can. NOW. FASTER. YOU’RE TOO SLOW! BOO!!!

Am I alone in this or does everyone hate those horrid blog verification words? Yes, you do—I know you do.

Well good news. YOU CAN TURN THEM OFF.

So this is my plea today. Everyone go into the settings on your blog and turn it OFF. I know they are there to help people from getting comment spam, but has anyone ever REALLY gotten comment spam? I never have. And even after I turned mine off, I haven’t gotten comment spam.

Need help? Have no fear. This is easy peasy. Well kind of...

If you are using the new blogger interface you will have to switch back to the old one. There was a problem and they forgot to add this link to the new interface.

Switching to old interface.
  • Click Design on the top of your blog page
  • See that little gear close to your picture? Click it.
  • Click Old Blogger interface. Now we are cruising :)

 Turning off Verifier
  • Click Settings
  • Click Comments
  • Scroll to the almost bottom and Click NO for Show word verification for comments
  • That is it! Now you can switch back to the new interface if you were using it. The link is at the top of the page. 

Please take 2 minutes and switch it off…I’m begging you. Angela Ackerman (TheBookshelf Muse) did a post of this very thing back in March—Is Your Blog Easy To Love? She totally backs me up.

You have no idea how happy it makes me to see—Your comment has been published—and I didn’t even have to type in that nonsense word!

Please will you do it? I’m BEGGING you. It can be your New Years present to me :)

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