Guidelines


First, your return to shore was not part of our negotiations nor our agreement so I must do nothing. And secondly, you must be a pirate for the pirate’s code to apply and you’re not. And thirdly, the code is more what you’d call “guidelines” than actual rules. Welcome aboard the Black Pearl, Miss Turner.

Captain Barbossa, Pirates of the Caribbean

Remember back in grade school when your teachers told you to color inside the lines?  We had seasonal cute pictures, often coinciding with  the upcoming holiday.  (I’ve always been looking forward to the next holiday!) One specific example comes to mind.  My followers that aren’t in the US will have to put on your imagination caps here, but I think you’ll get the gist.  The teacher passed out pages of turkey feathers to color just before Thanksgiving.  The pieces were numbered, and each little space was numbered, corresponding to a color.

The exercise was about following instructions.  The turkey feathers were supposed to be brown, yellow, orange, and red in a graduated scale.  I wasn’t a good rule follower even back then.  No, in 2nd grade my turkey was black.  Everything was black.  I even stole my friend’s black crayon because I ran out of my black.  What can I say?  It was an angry time of my life. They didn’t send us to the counselor to see why we didn’t follow the rules. They didn’t ask what was going on at home, or why I was rebellious.  We were expected to be good little boys and girls regardless of how dysfunctional our family was, and abuse was something that was swept under the rug not talked about with your teachers.  I lost my recess and had to stay in to redo my peacock.  Oh yeah, it was supposed to be a turkey.  Therefore, I had to miss more recesses.

The teacher never cared to find out why I didn’t want my turkey to look like everyone elses.  My 2nd edition was more or less a peacock with brilliant blues, greens, and pinks.  I even cut its wattle off to make it look more ‘peacocky’.  By the third time I had decided the teacher was just mean, and I was tired of missing recess.  I scribbled as fast as I could and colored each segment its appropriate color, cut them out and glued them together in record speed.  I still got an F.  I believe the note to my parents was something to the effect that I refuse to follow directions.  Whatever!

Fast forward a couple of years, we had our turkey pictures with more details.  This time we were expected to follow the general guidelines, and color our turkey in a realistic fashion. Apparently grade school teachers are not fans of surrealism, or even abstract art.  Such narrow views in life encourage rebellion in the hearts of troubled kids.  Trust me, I know!

I personally thought my turkey rocked, but the teacher was of a different opinion.  “Why can’t you simply follow the rules like everyone else?”  The exaggerated sighs of her frustration did little to soothe my rebellious nature.  Of course my smart mouth got me in even more trouble, when I stated that my turkey was unique.

It wasn’t like I was really a trouble kid.  I got straight A’s.  I just didn’t conform to the general consensus.  One of the times I had to miss recess, my 4th grade teacher actually asked me why I was angry. I didn’t answer, and when she came over to my desk and saw that I was crying she backed down her tone.  Mrs. Williamson was the first teacher to ever look past bad behavior to see a hurting child inside.  There are often reasons behind the behavior.

Fast fast forward to the present and there are still guidelines.  As adults we aren’t graded on what color our turkey is, or if our turkey is cut exactly on the lines or not.  As a cartographer I had to have precise lines, and follow SOPs (standard operating procedures) that were in a document nearly the size of the federal budget.  When you’re charting the geo-coordinates for missiles, you must have pinpoint accuracy.  As you can imagine, it was restrictive to my creative nature.

As a writer I can flex my creativity and dash the rules as I see fit. Grammar rules always seem to have exceptions.  I will admit, that as I’ve gotten older my rebellious nature has been channelled into specific areas.  In real life I’m a rather conservative law-abiding citizen.  I believe in playing by the rules of life, with the exception of speed limits.

In my fiction however, there is only one rule that is hard and fast, and that is with suspension of disbelief!  I can believe there are ancient mages that can weave powerful magic.  I can believe that there are shape-shifting dragons.  I can even believe that a magical mirror exists that can transport someone back in time.  What I can’t believe is an independent strong female character that puts up with a cheater repeatedly, allows herself to remain in an abusive situation, or one that surrenders herself to a complete jerk.

I just read a paranormal romance, set in modern times and the female lead was supposedly a strong-willed independent woman.  By the tenth chapter, she caught her man with two other women in the act.  Really?  I know people in real life are cads, but in a romance we read to escape.  Lose his sorry butt and move on lady, there are better men out there.  This was one of the few books I did not finish.

I’ve already stretched my reader’s imagination by creating a world of dragons and magic.  But even non human characters tend to display human characteristics.  Believable characters have good points as well as bad points.  For instance most strong-willed people are natural leaders, but they aren’t good listeners.  They see their own goals but often don’t weigh the consequences of their decisions. A strong-willed independent woman is not going to put up with a cheating liar!

She also wouldn’t be content to just let him walk away without extracting the pound of flesh due to her.  The manner in which she would extract her revenge can be quite interesting.  He’ll pay, you can be certain of that.

In real life we have to choose our battles.  I choose to follow the laws and stay out of jail.  I choose to cut myself some slack for not being supermodel thin.  I choose who I give my affections to.  In a fictional world, we can break the rules and never get caught.  We can extract our pound of flesh from the liars and cheaters, and the ones who have crossed our characters.

In real life we have to deal with nosy neighbors, judgmental peers, and backstabbing coworkers and wait on karma to pay them back.

There are certain aspects of life that have to be flexible, more like guidelines.  I plan my grocery shopping from a list which is made from a planned menu.  Just because it says we are having fajitas on Thursday doesn’t mean we are actually having fajitas on Thursday.  One day between Sunday and Saturday, fajitas will be served because I bought stuff to make fajitas.  It’s a guideline.  This logic is fuzzy for my logical thinking husband.  It creates chaos in his supposed well-ordered life.

HA!  Which proves my theory: boxes are bad.  Even rule followers yearn to get outside the lines and experience freedom.

Are you a rebel or a rule follower?  Are you selective in which rules are guidelines?  Let me know what you think.

Write on my friends, write on!

 

Advertisements

A Well-Paid Writing Career


A well paid writing career CAN happen when you combine four elements.

  1. Good writing
  2. Knowledge of writing market
  3. Professionalism
  4. persistence

Good Writing

This is the part we really don’t like. We have to practice and perfect our craft.  Some of my first attempts will never be read by anyone but me, as it was practice.  Over the years, I’ve improved and learned to make my writing better.  There is always room for improvement. Over the years, I’ve looked at my submissions that sold, and the ones that never sold.  I can see a difference in the quality of writing.  I’m not so naive that I think everything I write is gold.  There comes a point in a successful author’s life though, that they can write less than great prose and it sells because of their name.

I have mixed feelings about that, as I think the quality should always improve.  A certain author that I’ve read a lot of her work has made her books formulaic.  Change the names of the characters, the town, and perhaps a few circumstances and they are all the same story.  I hate that.  I expect each book to be uniquely different, even if it’s in a series.  In a series it’s the continuation of the first story.  Perhaps new adventures, or the next phase in the adventure but it adds to the first in a unique way.

When I took piano lessons as a child, I didn’t take one or two lessons  then give a recital.  It was years of practice, years of lessons, multiple recitals.  I have taught piano lessons to others, and play at virtuoso level. That still doesn’t mean that hundreds of people would pay to hear me play.  I never wanted the lessons, it was  something my mother insisted upon.  That’s not my gifting, or my desires.  I wanted to play guitar, and some day I will learn. but that’s another story.

Knowledge of writing market

For nonfiction articles, you choose the category that interests you or that you have some experience in.  Study the markets for your category.  Know the magazines you are submitting to.  A story on gardening is not going to sell to Bassmaster’s. Look at their submission guidelines.  Follow their guidelines, and the categories they are accepting.

Take rejections with a grain of salt.  It’s not a personal attack against you.  It may simply be it’s not an appropriate market, or wrong season, or perhaps someone else sold them something a little too similar.  Keep submitting!

Make sure your Query and cover letters are top quality.

For fiction, the same rules apply.  Check your publisher and make sure you are submitting to the right genre.  It would do me little good to submit my work to a publisher that publishes crime stories, when my book is a paranormal romance.

Make certain your formatting is correct!  Not every place requires MLA guidelines.

Professionalism

How you conduct yourself does matter.  Just as in the “regular” job world, you want to make the best impression you can.  If you don’t know how to write a query, learn.  If you don’t know how to write a synopsis, learn.  there is a wealth of information on the internet, and many writers that are aiming for the same goals.  for the most part, writers are helpful to other writers.

Join a critique group. Join an online writer’s community.  there are many available, and one is bound to be a good fit.  I met some great people during NaNoWriMo that I stay in contact with.  I’m in several groups, as each is focused on different things.

You set the tone of what people think of you on public forums.  Develop a stable platform that you can market yourself and your work from.  You want to get noticed, but not for bad reasons.  YOur platform is your ability to market yourself, and get your message out to the world.

Persistence

OK, I was wrong before. THIS, is the part I like the least.  Keep trying, keep working at it, continually perfecting while battling the inner critic who is telling me:  It’s no use.  I’ll never achieve my dreams.  I’m being unrealistic, yada yada yada.

Daily practice, and perseverance over time will produce results as long as we don’t give up.

“Never, never, never give up.”  Winston Churchill

Now don’t you feel better?  This is not out of reach.  Stephen King had to go through the process before he hit it big.  This is doable!

Good talk Russ!

Today Chapter 2 of Love Notes is appearing on Storytime Trysts .  I’ve been getting some great feedback on this.

I was guest blogger on Doug Simpson’s blog. http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fdoug-simpson-author.blogspot.com%2F2012%2F05%2Ftodays-guest-blogger-ellie-mack.html&h=PAQHXz8_8AQFHIqQDudRhtTqHowl7AVYIlx5p3IU_CPaoPg

This week kicks off the TTC Virtual blog tour.  Each week I will be hosting a different author or writer.  I will be highlighting some women authors over the summer as well.  In addition, I am tackling my 90 day challenge for fitness.

It’s going to be busy, but exciting.  Never a dull moment at the Mack house!

Write on my friends, write on!

Virtual Blog Tour – Joe McCoubrey


Today kicks off my first guest blogger as part of the summer virtual blog tour.  Please welcome Mr. Joe McCoubrey! 

 

What got me started on writing? By Joe McCoubrey

I have completed two full-length action novels (each about 100,000 words), a short story of 5,000 words and am now working on my third full-lengther. So how did I get to this point?

For a long time, much too long as it turned out, I thought I would probably never complete the first book, let alone any follow-ups. I started the first one during my time as a working journalist in the midst of the worst of the so-called ‘Troubles’ of Northern Ireland in the 1970s and 1980s.

Here we are, thirty-odd years later and the project has finally come to fruition! The fact that ‘Someone Has To Pay’ is about to climb into the light of day, to be followed by a second – ‘Absence of Rules’ – makes me wonder what could have been accomplished, literary-wise, during all those lost years of excuse-making and procrastination. Would more titles bearing my name now be gracing the electronic and physical bookshelves?

I would have to think so, not least because the very act of completing the process first time around taught me not only that can it be done but also how it was done. I started book number two a mere few days after the final proofing and editing of book number one. It has also been completed to the first full draft stage and I’ve started work on the third offering, the plot for which is beginning unfortunately to blur into the final chapters of my current venture!

In between I penned a short story of 5,000 words which was included in an Action anthology ebook with the works of 35 other authors. It was published last month.

Writing has been a huge part of my life. I could never, for example, understand why classmates struggled to fill a prerequisite A4 essay page while I handed in anything up to ten pages on the same subject, albeit with flowery add-ons that probably bore absolutely no resemblance to what was asked for, and usually got me into trouble with a teacher unwilling to see beyond the parameters of the particular assignment.

After schooldays I found a great outlet for writing through my local newspaper where I was later to become Editor. Those first days, when I reported on my own football team’s activities before progressing to a general sports role, and eventually into college to learn the art of journalism, were the best I can remember. What strikes me most about those days is that this mad urge to write needed to be tempered by my need to learn how to do it in a way that would touch a chord with readers. Thanks to the skill and patience of tutors, sub-editors, editors and colleagues, the raw edges were knocked into a shape that I could feel more comfortable with. Not unnaturally therefore my horizons began to broaden beyond the limited scope of newspapers.

It was around 1978 or 1979 when I began thinking about the plotline for ‘Someone Has To Pay’. I can’t tie it down any better than that, if only because there wasn’t some momentous event or epiphany to convince me of the need to write a novel. I remember thinking that the almost daily diet of bombings and shootings – tragic and senseless though they were – offered fertile ground for the imagination of the thriller author, something I was now convinced I would become. Using my old portable typewriter I began to churn out pages until the milestone of the first one hundred was reached. I paused to read over what had been achieved, realising, perhaps for the first time, the enormity of what lay ahead. Rewrite followed rewrite as I tried to find a style to suit the story I wanted to tell. It just wouldn’t click into place, and I found the gaps between my ‘book’ days beginning to lengthen until finally, the sheets were consigned to a desk drawer where they gathered dust for quite a few years.

I recall later making a conscious decision to transfer the typed pages to the new-fangled word processors, if only to store them for posterity. As things turned out, it was that act of retyping which rekindled the fire and made me want to complete what I had started out to do. I guess the break also gave me time to sort through the original plotline, and agree the research needed to make the story informative and credible. I found I was throwing myself into the work with the same enthusiasm as a decade previously, though this time I found that being a little older – and a lot more patient – helped to get the book over the finishing line.

It’s now with Tri Destiny Publishing and is due to be published soon.

FOOTNOTE: Joe McCoubrey is an action thriller writer. You’ll find more info about him over at his site: http://joemccoubrey1.com/

Passion


Romance is the top-selling genre, netting 55% of all sales.  Of that percentage, the vast majority of readers are women.  Is it any surprise that we want romance?

I read other genres, but nothing beats a good romance.  For a  brief period of time I can escape the sink full of dishes, the carpet that needs vacuuming and all the other less than glamorous things that are every day life.  I can experience by proxy the roller coaster ride that falling in love can be.  Ain’t no mountain high enough, ain’t no valley low enough that can keep me from you love. 

It can’t just be a simple boy meets girl, they fall in love kumbaya, and they live happily ever after!  How boring would that  be? Flash fiction has more oomph than that!

No, we want a romance that takes us on the magical mystery tour of love.  Undying devotions, a love that never fails, a passion so great that life is meaningless without it; this is the stuff of dreams.

Truly Madly Deeply

Ah! My inspiration, my love; the man who inspires me to write passionate scenes of ardor, the one that quickens my pulse and sets me on fire  with a mere glance.  The one!  The one that takes me over the edge, that laughs and splashes in the deep pools of my soul, the one I let inside. I dare to bare my soul, my heart.  The promise behind the eyes, the words spoken or barely whispered in intimacy that make my heart zing like a rocket launched  into the universe.  It’s more than a physical attraction.  It’s more than being friends. There’s nothing casual about it at all. With the internal fears of trusting someone so deeply and intimately comes the intoxicating seduction of complete passion.

When you would do anything for the one you love, feel that you could survive the worst if they are there for you, and are willing to lay your soul bare for them – that is love.

It’s the brass ring we are after when we lose our less than perfect selves into a fictional tale.  The hope of it happening in our lives propels us forward, seeking it in our own lives.  Some have become disenchanted and given up on it ever being real for them.  A few lucky souls have found it.  Many more are still seeking.

Love and passion can be separate things but the love we hope for, long for and desire is the passionate love that nothing else in life can compare to.  I can’t imagine a 14-year-old writing effectively about being heartbroken, or experiencing true love.  There’s a depth that has to be experienced in order to convey.

Ah, and I’ve touched on the other element of passion, the painful side.  It’s a fine razor’s edge when the heart is laid open, vulnerable to another.  It’s the ones closest to us that can hurt us the most.  Betrayal, heartache, pain – any time we make ourselves vulnerable we risk those.

Is it better to keep your heart guarded and never let anyone in?  Or risk having it broken?

We put characters through impossible situations and unbearable circumstances to test them.  We find out just how much they can trust each other, how much they care, and sometimes what lengths they go to show that love.  We throw natural disasters, impossible obstacles, and even dangerous villains across their path and make them perform like mice in a maze.  Dance little mouse and go for the cheese at the end.  I guess now would be a good time to tell you I’m a firm believer in happily ever after in my books.  I don’t care for noir fiction, life is dark enough.

The mere nature of our fragile mortality is often a driving force of passion.  Our lives are but a flickering flame of a candle and can be gone like a vapor.  Life is too short to not take chances for happiness and love.

Have you ever fallen in love; truly, madly deeply?  Do you have someone in your life that you feel this way about?  Have you expressed it to them lately?  Passion without expression is lifeless.  If you don’t live passionately, you’re not really living.  Just going through the motions in a daily grind,  where’s the joy in that?

If there’s someone in your life that you feel desperate for, can’t imagine a life without them in it; tell them, show them.  Let them know there’s someone there for them and hopefully it won’t be a unrequitted love.

The most tragic love of all, unrequited love.  To give yourself completely, without reservation to someone else, and they don’t return that love – well, that’s often a heart ache that leaves a permanent scar.  The deepest wounds are inflicted upon our souls and sense of self worth.  It leaves us shattered to the core, giving up on ourselves and life itself.  A few eventually rise from the ashes bearing their battle scars, but most never trust again.

We are at our inner beings delicate flowers after all.  Fragile petals that are easily crushed or bruised.  In the hands of one who cares, the blossom opens and becomes something of beauty.  A passionate love beckons the beauty even from a damaged blossom.  Be careful who you let in your inner garden.

Write on my friends, write on!

Free Pass Thursday


I’ve been working since 6 am, and still have quite a work load.  Between two jobs, and this blog – which I don’t get paid for – this has to be sacrificed today.

Therefore y’all get a free pass Thursday.  What exactly is a free pass?  I”m so glad you asked!

Go read a new blog!  Something you’ve never read before, then leave me a comment and tell me which blog you visited, and if you’d go back.  Nothing else, I don’t want to know if you didn’t like it, thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread.  NO slams, NO praises.  Name the blog, yes or no. Easy shmeazy!  You can always share it on Facebook if you like it!

Simple, right?  I’d be willing to wager that the majority will not accept their free pass!

Tomorrow I delve into a very deep pool of my writing.  No windmills in there, I promise.   I will tell you now though, don’t open the thrid door on the left!

You won’t want to miss it.

Write on my friends, write on!

 

Selfish Summer


FAIL!  I was close, so very close.

Kids are home for the summer and I have not completed my self-imposed deadline.  Granted, this isn’t as bad as meeting my editor’s deadline or anything like that.  It just makes things more difficult.

Ever run a race? Or a marathon?  There are times when everything clicks and you run the best race you’ve ever ran in your life.  Then the next meet, something’s just off.  You give it your best, but you weren’t in the zone.  Sometimes, it’s just someone elses day to come in first place.

I am a little disappointed, but with other things that are going on right now, I’m not stressing over it.  PLEASE, someone remind me of this next time I turn into a complete spazz over minute details that really don’t matter.  Seriously, I mean it. Remind me of this.

Here’s the thing – you’ve got to set goals.  If you don’t know where the finish line is, how do you know when you’ve finished your race? You never grow if you don’t stretch yourself and try new things. LIfe in the box never changes.  I need change.

I failed in this deadline, but I haven’t given up and I’m not all that upset about it.  I’ve got some pretty cool things lined up for the summer.  I’ve got authors that I’m interviewing, going to guest post on other blogs, do a virtual blog tour, posting my story Love Notes on Storytime Trysts weekly, and a few other things as well.  I just finished an interview for a magazine – I’ll fill you in on that later. It’s going to be an amazing summer, an exhausting one maybe, but exciting.  On the fitness goals, our summer training camp begins on Monday.  I’ve got the girls onboard to improve their fitness as well as adapt healthy lifestyle changes.

Shooting for the stars and clearing the trees is still good. In a black and white world it’s a fail, but in a vivid Technicolor world it’s a win.  I’ve learned, I’ve accomplished work – productive work, and managed to clear out most of the distractions.  I pushed myself a little harder which tells me I’m capable of more.

I didn’t succumb to analysis paralysis, which has been a problem in the past.  I’ve stressed over it, pondered it, stepped back and looked at it ten different ways, but never actually tackled it.  Whatever the “it” may have been.  I tackled it full on this time!

thomas Edison stated that he didn’t fail 1999 times before discovering the lightbulb.  He figured out 1999 ways that it didn’t work. It’s all a matter of perspective. Mine has improved over the past few years.  Once I woke up, realizing that I’d given up on myself and my dreams I’ve determined to give it all I’ve got.  That doesn’t always translate to 100% effort in every minute.  In a matter of perceived exertion, you have to take into consideration many aspects.  In perceived exertion with all other factors of drag, resistance, momentum and whatever other factor you want to throw into the quantum equation, my perceived exertion was pegged at about 95%.  Hey what can I say?  Life happens and we have to deal with it.

I”m not going to break down because I failed at my goal.  It’s just training for my next race.  The only race I’m in is the one with myself, and I have to run the best race I can.  It’s only a true fail if I quit and walk away, and that’s not about to happen.  I hope that someone who reads this gets what I’m saying and looks at their own perspective.  I’m notoriously hard on myself, and I’m learning to cut myself a little slack and maybe accept a bit of praise now and then.  It’s much better than the negativity and condemnation I grew up with.

Yoda had great words of wisdom: “Do or do not.  There is no try.”

I did.  I gave it a good effort, and I’m happy with myself for that.

Dan Miller said this in a pod cast and it really hits home with me:

“If you do what everyone else expects, you’ll never be more than normal, mediocre and broke.”  

I’ve expressed many times how fed up I am with mediocrity.

Three months, nearly 90 days of summer, enough time to make a significant change.  What will you do with it?  Is there some area that you can challenge yourself in?  NaNoWriMo is having another even in June, you may want to check that out.  Is there a writing contest you can enter?  A query you can send?  A personal goal that you have for yourself in health, fitness, or wellness?  A new job you want to apply for? Are you brave enough to share publicly a goal you’ve set for yourself?

Why not do something for yourself this summer?  I’m calling it my Selfish Summer even though I’m inflicting it upon my kids.  Really they don’t have a choice, I’m drafting them. They’ll thank me for it later, maybe.

As Scarlett O’Hara once said “After all tomorrow is another day.”  I shall add “to write” to my version without the hoop skirt or tears.

Write on my friends, write on!

Meme Time: the Power of Four


I had a lot planned, really I did.  However, with my impending deadline hours away I decided to go with this.  Enjoy!

Slight deviation from original plans, but sometimes change is necessary and good. Here’s a lot of useless information about me that you didnt’ need to know.  that picture up there?  Yeah that’s my goal.  To blast through my obstacles achieving both my writing and my fitness goals.  (One day my legs will look that awesome!)

Meme Time: The Power of Four was created to start something fun in updating our blogs. It also gives our readers a chance to get to know us better. Here’s just a bit about me. I copy and pasted the list, put it my own answers, and now I shall tag four other people.

Four Places I have worked/Jobs I have had
U.S. Department of Defense; (Defense Mapping Agency: Aerospace Center); cartographer
Jefferson County Assessor’s Office; cartographer
Hillsboro R-3 School District; substitute teacher
Dino’s Pizza; waitress, cashier, delivery person ( I sucked as a waitress!)
Four Places I Have Lived:
Festus, MO
Cedar Hill, MO
Pevely, MO
Cape Girardeau, MO
Four Movies I Could Watch Again and Again:
Excalibur
The Quiet Man
Rob Roy
James Bond movies – Sean Connery or Daniel Craig especially
Four Television Shows I Watch
Castle
Burn Notice
Game of Thrones
Monk
Four Authors I Enjoy:
Karen Marie Moning
Katie McAlister
Clive Cussler
Louise Rennison
Four Places I Have Travelled To:
Myrtle Beach, SC
Orlando, FL
San Francisco, CA
Ft. Worth, TX
Four Websites I Visit Daily:
Facebook
    Don’t really visit any others daily; weekly maybe
Four of My Favorite Foods:
Seafood!
barbecued anything
chocolate ice cream
cherry anything
Four Places I’d Rather Be:
Scotland
Punta Cana
Nova Scotia
Cancun
Four People I Want to Tag:
Cathy Brockman
Penelope Price
Tasha Turner
Sian Young
If you’ve been tagged, make your own list and link back to this post.  Have fun with it and have a great day!
Regular blogging will return tomorrow.  I’m on a deadline here people!!!
Write on my friends, write on!

Madness I Tell You, It’s All Madness!


My usual Monday motivation is going to have to be put on hold.  I’ve spent the morning in the waiting room at the hospital for my sister’s surgery.  She has gone through with it, and when I left was doing well.

I took my computer with me, working on my projects while I waited.  That was my intention anyway. There are times when it’s necessary to socialize with those around you,  especially when you haven’t seen them in over a year.  Honestly I got little writing done, but it was good to catch up with family.

3 days left before school is out, my D-day is rapidly approaching.  I lost several hours into the time vortex of research, I lost several hours visiting at the hospital, and of course the hours in traffic.  Tomorrow, I’m making an extra pot of coffee, turning the answering machine on and not answering the door.  Possibly at this point, extending my deadline may be the best option, but I’m not ready to surrender yet.

There’s still some fight left in me.  I’ve got approximately 5 hours to dedicate to writing tomorrow and I made some headway over the weekend.  With that last bit of research, I don’t think there are any other “holes” in my story that need to be filled.  It’s just adding some details and tweaking a bit here and there.

So close I can almost taste it.  This will be my FIRST complete manuscript.  I think I’ve shared the unfinished project problem in the past, didn’t I?   Many are close, but not quite there.  It almost seems like fate is stacking against me here on the last stretch to the finish line.  Either that, or the finish line is just a mirage.

In addition to the time stealers, and distractions, the “life” distractions I came up with an entire new story on Sunday.  The hubs thought I was really into the sermon, taking pages and pages of notes.  I was inspired!  At some point near the beginning of the sermon, the pastor mentioned that it was Pentecost Sunday, or the Sunday of Ascension.  Ascension, hmmm.  Inspiration struck me!  I nearly jumped up and yelled hallelujah, but I didn’t want to waste any time.  Before he reached the end I had outlined and plotted through a series of bubble charts, and if- then-else flow charts my next story.  It’s going to be awesome.

But wait, I have to rein it in and finish Kiss Of The Dragon first.  GAH!  How can some writers say they have writer’s block?  Are you kidding me?  I have enough ideas now to write books until I’m 126.  Which means, I need more time to write, and less time for nonwriting activities such as house cleaning, and cooking.  I really need to sell some more articles, and a book or a dozen to be able to afford a new laptop that I can read outside, so I at least don’t look like a vampire.  Also to afford to quit at least  one of my other jobs.  Where are my rich relatives to leave me an inheritance anyway?  Some estranged uncle that liked me best, anyone? anyone?

If only money were as easy to come by as it is for some of my characters.  I think it would be so cool to have the dragon complex.  Not necessarily the hoarding gold part, but the attracting part would be totally awesome.  Life takes money, and since I can’t just print my own – well I could but I don’t want to go to prison – I am part of working class Americans that have to keep my day job.

The writing disease is apparently an inherited condition.  My Great Grandfather wrote a couple of books, they were  religious teachings as he was a minister.  My daughters are both infected, and pursuing their own writing dreams. My eldest daughter who is 17, has one story planned and is about half way through.  She has asked for my assistance over the summer to finish hers.  I’ve read it, and it’s really good, better than some published books that I’ve read.  She also has a ton of ideas for books, and came home today complaining that school was cutting into her creative time.  (insert eye roll here)

My other daughter, the quiet calmer one that is more like my husband is also writing a very creative story.  She is a stickler for details, (Hmm, I wonder where she could have gotten that from.)  and has voiced her plans to spend a good portion of the summer writing her book to be published before she turns 18.

I for one will never discourage them from pursuing their dreams.  I will advise them to have a backup plan to be able to provide for themselves while they are pursuing publication.

If all the stars were in alignment, and all the gods were in a favorable mood, we could all three get our works published before the end of this year. That would be amazingly awesome and I would do a celebratory dance on video and post it here.  Oh yes, I can dance – this white chick got some moves!  I’ve won the DDR and  Just dance challenges we have here many times. Not bad for a 48-year-old competing against teenagers.

Time Passages


Disruptions to the space-time continuum exist in our everyday lives.  It can happen anywhere, anytime and especially when electronic devices are nearby.

Whether it’s the Black Hole of research into a never-ending spiral of related links, or a specific search that runs off course.  It happens all too often.  It starts simple enough.

Moving along in the story, typing away, not looking at the screen because I’ll have to stop and fix every single typo and I can’t because I’m on a mission.  The dialog is playing out in my head, and I need to concentrate on  hearing the character’s voices over the clacking keys.  Then it happens – the moment when I realize I don’t know some obscure fact like the rotational speed of the earth, which plays a part in the alchemy of time travel.  Or rather the return to the starting place.

Maybe I should explain, or maybe I’ve made it too complicated.  Whichever, I’m too far into this now to change it so you’ll have to bear with me.  Isabelle is from the 21st century – sort of.  That’s the first point of beginning for her time traveling anyway.  How do you guarantee a safe return flight or fall back to the future from the past when the mage is a bit scatter-brained to begin with?

My finger hovers over the tab, do I research or do I not?  My throat goes dry, my pulse quickens.  I wet my lips, hesitating, weighing the possibilities.  Do I type blindly ahead knowing that some fact geek such as myself will find this flaw and discount all my writings for a hack, or do I find the facts I need and lose valuable writing time?

It’s like a drug.  The subtle seduction of truth just a click away, with the risk of potential danger.  My skin is flushed, my palms sweaty – it”s a heady mix.  In a single second – a hasty decision, I open google.

According to Einstein’s theory of general relativity, gravity is a curve in space-time and astronomers regularly observe this phenomenon when they study light moving near a sufficiently massive object. Particularly large suns, for instance, can cause an otherwise straight beam of light to curve in what we call the gravitational lensing effect.

 Any event that occurs in the universe has to involve both space and time. Gravity doesn’t just pull on space; it also pulls on time.  Speed also plays a role in the rate at which we experience time. Time passes more slowly the closer you approach the unbreakable cosmic speed limit we call the speed of light. For instance, the hands of a clock in a speeding train move slower than those of a stationary clock.

There’s nothing in Einstein’s theory that precludes time travel into the past, but the very premise of pushing a button and going back to yesterday violates the law of causality, or cause and effect. But what if time travel into the past and future depends less on speculative space propulsion technology and more on existing cosmic phenomena?

As made popular by everything from “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” to “Donnie Darko,” there’s also the equally theoretical Einstein-Rosen bridge to consider. But of course you know this better as a wormhole.

Einstein’s general theory of relativity allows for the existence of wormholes since it states that any mass curves space-time. According to astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, wormholes may exist in quantum foam, the smallest environment in the universe. Here, tiny tunnels constantly blink in and out of existence, momentarily linking separate places and time like an ever-changing game of “Chutes and Ladders.”

Yada Yada Yada, get to the good stuff here.  This is about the time that the related links catch the eye.  Ooh shiny!  Doctor Who! Doctor Who blooper outtakes. Red Dwarf smeg ups! Tongue Tied!

I glance at the little clock in the bottom corner of my screen.  12 pages later, three videos, and the phone call that snapped me from my glazed condition, I’ve lost nearly two hours.  Knowing that my deadline looms before my like a monstrous storm cloud on the horizon,  I really didn’t need this excursion into the black hole.  Head-desk!

You know what? I think magic combined with fate can manage to return Isabelle to her proper time. Prophecy is much more powerful than mere physics can explain.  No one’s going to be lost in the quantum foam during my time travel.  I am master of this universe, and in this world Love is the most powerful force there is.  With the help of a little magic of course.

Write on my friends, write on!

Reality Check


Summer is fast approaching.  I know that.  The end of school is rapidly approaching – I knew that too.

However, reality slapped me square in the face like a brick wall.  My kids only have 4 1/2 days of school left then they will be here full-time.  We’re still hoping for a summer job for the oldest, but so far no success. This is sooooo going to put a cramp in my writing schedule.

Yay for them, but this means that I will have to change my routine – yet again.  The oldest has no concept of time.  She plans to lounge in bed till ten or so, get up at her leisure, spend an hour writing her fan fiction, go with me to work out for an hour, eat lunch, then go to the pool in the afternoon.  I don’t know about you, but if you count from 10 am, to 5 pm which is when I start preparing dinner, there’s no way to get all of that in.  Reality is going to hit her hard in about 7 days.  First of all, our exercise blitz will start earlier in the day so that we’re not in the heat of the day.

Last night the family had some major issues with my writing.  I was working on my blog when the kids got home from school.  I didn’t give them my full undivided attention as I was trying to finish.  When I got the laptop out to write some after clearing the table from dinner, the hubs complained. You know it’s nice to be in demand, sometimes.  My kids are teenagers. Aren’t they suppose to want more independence?  Anyway, they were having issues over my writing.  Not the content as they never read anything I write.  I have a feeling that when my summer blog share for Storytime Trysts begins next Tuesday (May 22, 2012), it’s probably a good thing the hubs doesn’t read my stuff.  Talk about sizzle!  The introductory chapter is mild enough, but from Day 1 on her trip, Stephanie is on a no holds barred adventure.

She’s braver than me,  I was blushing while writing it!

I’m pretty stoked about this blog share project, as well as the one on RCGale’s blog.  In addition to that, I’m getting closer to the end of Kiss of the Dragon (copyright 2012 Ellie Mack).  The story is written more or less, but remember when I said I write myself big notes with capital letters about INSERT LOVE SCENE HERE?  There are several actually.  At the meeting of the dragon lords, I left a big WHAT DO MEN FIGHT ABOUT ANYWAY? that sparked conversations with the husband and a couple of online male friends.   The general consensus was: pride, ego and women.  In a section where Zane discovers the truth about dragon law and how his father handled it, I put a big note:  RESEARCH NOTES: CHRONICLES; KINGS; CONSEQUENCES.  That may not make sense to you, but it’s clear as Swarovski crystal to me.

I’m currently working on the final battle scene.  It’s all there except a few minor details, but as we know the devil is in the details.  My perfectly clear note to myself at this point to explain the past-present-future-present conundrum was: ???????????   I’m brilliant aren’t I?  I should have thought this out, but during NaNoWriMo I was writing as fast as I could get it down.  All of my other notes have research files, information, the direction I want to develop, or  perhaps just something to make the scene more believable.

For instance, in the dragon lord meeting; have you ever been in a board meeting with a bunch of men?  Oh my!  And they say women can’t stay on track.  In one particular meeting while working for the DOD, we were discussing targets for Desert Storm.  The media had published images of one of our targets being blown up – a 6 foot square power pylon.  Now think about the logistics of that and your faith in our military should be increased.  From a height of 35000 ft, we drop a bomb to take out the power pylon successfully that is only 6 ft square at the base.  You don’t need to know calculus here, just admit it’s amazing.   OK, well maybe not as amazing as dropping one down the elevator shaft of a ten story building.  That was just freaking awesome!

At this meeting they showed the footage from tv.  We were given “patent” responses to say to any media personnel regarding US targeting.  Five minutes later the guys were fervently debating which football team’s cheerleaders were hotter.  Yep; pride, ego and women.  Great strategists derailed by a shiny, especially if the shiny happens to be on a woman prancing around in a short sequined outfit.

Dragons are very carnal creatures that can become violent over their women folk.  Nations have gone to war over women throughout history.  Dragons are intense creatures with strong convictions.  Sometimes fate can override the strongest convictions in a split second, forever changing the course of time.  Knowing the consequences of jumping through time and how it affects the future, which was Isabelle’s present – well, it gets confusing if the details aren’t ironed out just exactly so.

I was hoping to have all of this completed, and begin editing for grammatical errors before school let out. As I’m untangling a knot that I’ve made, time is slipping away from me.  I don’t know if 4 1/2 days are enough to get it ironed out to my satisfaction.

I might mention here that I stopped by the store after leaving the Y from my aqua class, and stocked up on coffee.  I bought 6 cans of french roast, yeah the big cans.  that might last through the summer if the hubs wants any.  Now it’s down to crunch time, pushing myself for this self-imposed deadline.  (It’s usually self-imposed as a writer.)

I have plans for the summer with the writing, which I’ve shared. Fitness goals, household goals, and fun time goals. There are several movies coming out this summer that the girls and I would like to see.  I’ve set up some potential rewards for achieving certain goals, one of which will be going to the matinée.

It’s all about time management really.  It’s an area I struggle with.  I’ve added a few more irons to my fire, and time management is becoming an increasingly important aspect.  We don’t have a family vacation planned. but I have several day trips, and fun outings planned for me and  my girls.  My oldest daughter will be a senior in high school in the fall, then off to college.  I want it to be an enjoyable summer, but there’s work to be done as well.  I still have to do the day job, and plan to continue the writing as well.

As I tweak my schedule yet again, I am feeling very optimistic for this upcoming summer.  I’ll let you know next Thursday if I’ve met my goal or not.

Write ON!