Benefits of Writing


Look ahead they say.  Rejection is  a part of  the process they say.  Delayed gratification will come after a long road to  success.  All true but I need motivation right now!

Top ten benefits  that keep me going:

1.  I like having another identity besides the day job. It’s like I’m a super hero – changing from regular working grunt by day, Wonder Woman by night.  * Dons WonderWoman cape*

2. I have fun writing!  Well, most of the time.  It’s still a thrill to see my own name in print, whether it’s an article in a magazine, or in a column,  or  – brace yourself –   on the cover of a book!  SQUEEEEEEEE!

3. Writing keeps me out of trouble, mostly.   It’s  a relatively cheap pastime, it gives me great pleasure and a sense of accomplishment, and the fantasy world I create doesn’t hurt anyone,  Unless you count my characters. *Sigh*  Alright,  so maybe   in their  view it hurts.  The murder victims – yes,  they were necessary means to an end.  It wasn’t personal, really.  Rosanne Winters in ORal Dilemma, OK so maybe her tragic life seems harsh, but better way to “feel”  the emotions behind the songs?  LIke I said – mostly.  MOving on,  I don’t even want to get into the scenes with the dragons.

4. Writing adds excitement to my life! What other career can you fly with a dragon, murder a college bimbo,  meet an ancient Viking, kill the perfect boyfriend,  leave a man bound in leather and chains in the basement for –  going on 10 months now,  and  climb the mountain to a gorgeous waterfall all in the same day? Not only that,  but who knows what will happen when I send my babies out into the world. Will it be another rejection letter?  Will this be the one that says YES?  Will it be hated, loved, despised? It’s a mystery world don’t you know!!!

5. I’m pursuing my dream! What’s more satisfying than doing something you love, that you feel passionate about?

6.  I’m earning  money from my writing!  It’s not much,  just the occasional short story or article  now but soon my books will go out into the big, big world and multiply the few dollars into mucho dinero. Compared to the  tiny bit now,  trust me it will seem like mucho dinero. Don’t shout down my fantasy!

7.  Research!  I know you’re scratching your head and thinking I’ve gone off the deep end.  Hear me out –  I research things online,  in the library, to write a better story.  I research things that interest me.  Not to mention the fact that I get a strange pleasure from  gaining knowledge nad have this weird think for mostly useless trivia.  How many other people know the names of the Greek gods,  the Roman gods,  the Viking gods and the Egyptian gods?   I find mythology fascinating.

*Glares at readers.*  You watch Cat videos on YouTube.  Leave my gods alone!

8.  I learn more every day!  Learning about the craft,  perfecting my craft, perfecting my prose – it gives me  pleasure and a sense of accomplishment. Yes, I’m a dork and I like to learn!

Why do I suddenly feel like Evie? “You’re wondering, ‘What is a place like me doing in a girl like this?’  Look, I… I may not be an explorer, or an adventurer, or a treasure-seeker, or a gunfighter, Mr. O’Connell, but I am proud of what I am.”

Rick O’Connell: “What is that?”

I’m . . . a WRITER!”

9.Writing sharpens my mind. And my wit!  It’s an active thing –  the more I write the more I learn, then I write more and I learn more.  That’s deep, you should write that down!

10.  I take pride in contributing  something useful and being helpful.  Even if it’s ony a single sentence that someone gleans from my blog –   it  gives me a sense of accomplishment!  Every time someone likes my posts,  it’s a little zing of pleasure.  Every time I get a notice that someone follows my blog –  I’m annoyingly happy. (Just ask my husband about how I do a happy dance when I get notifications on my phone much to his dismay!)  The fact that  my followers have grown to the numbers I have –  I am amazed, humbled, and  completely blown away at times that anyone would bother to read a single word I say!  It makes me feel, even on the darkest days like maybe  I do matter.

There you have  it.  My top ten!  Now go write your own!

Write on my friends, write on!


Bad Behaviour

Prepare to be shocked!

I know I’ve gone on in length before about how I refuse to act my age.  It’s a numerical designator that lost it’s appeal to me somewhere around 35. Since then I’ve made the decision that I’m not going to be an old fuddy duddy.  However,  I must point out a certain aspect of maturity that apparently eludes apprrximately 70% of our society, and a good 50% of the authors and aspiring authors I’ve observed on facebook.

I love funny posts as much as the next gal.  I’ve posted a few myself.  But there are certain behaviours that are reminiscent to my high school days or even back in junior high.  People behaving badly on social media – it’s rampant!

Remeber the mean girls in school? The ones who had their little cliques, wore the latest designer clothes while your parents made you wear the same jeans they bought you last week?  The ones who felt compelled to tell you that “ew. That outfit is so last season.” Or something like “Well, girls with any sense of fashion would wear a pair of jeans that does NOT emphasize the muffin top.”  Meanwhile they’re sporting the whole muffin! Girls that go through a tube of mascara every month while ridiculing the girl with the extraordinary long lashes for wearing a ton of mascar when she in fact doesn’t wear any!

It’ s not just the girls either. Bad behaviour is not confined to gender, or nationality.  Bad behaviour is a universal truth in our world of social media.  Sad very sad truth that it is.

The overwhelming majority of us weren’t in the cliques. Think about it, five or six girls (I’m using girls becasue that’s my reference but remember not gender specific!) out of the entire high school.  I attended a small high school where the total enrollment was under 500.  I know many who had their senior class larger than 500.  So that leaves the greater majority of us non clique-ers that the “meangirls clique” lashed out at.

It must be difficult to be perfect; to know that nobody else is as good as you,  or can ever hope to achieve that level of perfection. What a sad, lonely, and pathetic existence. So here’s my top   offenses by the recent “meangirl” lashing.

  1. Bashing someone elses work that is different from yours.   I don’t read noire fiction but some do.  Don’t bash my stuff because I don’t write like you! Shakespeare isn’t for everyone either but he had his share of critics.  On one hand if you have critics I suppose you must be doing something right.  Score one for me!
  2. Snarky comments – really? Really??  Is that the best you can do?  If you’ve got a problem with me bring it sister or mister! Saying little comments to my other facebook friends in chat and telling them lies about me or telling me lies about my friends or posting lies in a group is really tasteless, juvenile behaviour. Do you honestly think the rest of us are so ignorant not to observe this continued behaviour?  Score another one for me.
  3. Subtle innuendos thrown my way.  Please, you might as well give it up becasue your efforts are lame at best, pathetic at their worst.  Until you’ve mastered the art of insult I suggest you refrain form them. And sublte?  You might want to look that one up in the dictionary sweetums. Score three for me!
  4. Name Calling.  That was what, preschool?  Doodoo head, booger eater, frog face, . . . Granted you have advanced to a few more intelligent names but really, they are just as lame.   Penalty on your for resorting to such juvenile behaviour that’s one point for me, and negative 1 for you.
  5.  Resorting to insults when I’m not immediate with a response.  Seriously?  Do you thnk I live my life by Facebook? Maybe that’s how you roll, but I have other things to do than hang on every word that you type into Facebook.  I know it’s difficult to believe, but some of us do have real life contacts in our lives, people that  we care about  and care about them.
  6. Blasting in generalities for all the millions of people that don’t recognize your brilliance.  Uh no.  Sorry to say that your bulb is not brilliant, and in fact is quite dim. Don’t you have anything better to do with your time?  OH, sadly apparently you don’t. Again score 1 point for me.
  7. Exagerrating an incident to appear greater in your friend’s eyes.  That didn’t work back in fourth grade, it isn’t going to fly here.

Seven to negative one, clear victory here!  Feel free to give a rebuttal. I will give fair warning however, I will counter your rebuttal with the remainder of my lists and then call you out by name.  My blog – my rules – deal with it!

What about you? Ever have to deal with those juvenile “meanies” on the cyber waves?  Have you ever been taken in by their lame attempts to slander others while raising themselves up?

I think my readers are smarter than than. Therefore, I do realize that most of this rant is indeed wasted as the guilty parties would only read this purely to criticize.  It has been one very bad day in Mack land.  Hope your day has been better. I shall return to the usually scheduled program tomorrow.  To counter this rant I shall give you my other links.  this was the highlight of an otherwise very bad day.  This is a blurb, an excerpt, and a review of Kiss of the Dragon. An interview with yours truly!

Double blessings!  Would it be really mean to give the  mean people a big rasperry?

Write On my Friends, Write on!

The True Work of Writing

I mentioned on Tuesday Tidbits that I intended to post about the edits.  I’ve been asked through emails,  pm, and a few unpublished comments on blog – wasn’t ignoring them, just didn’t seem to fit with threads so I’m addressing now – how I edit.  Most of the Facebook pm comments, and emails  came after Editing Isn’t For Wimps.

There are probably as many varied styles of editing as there are for writing. If you’ve followed for any time at all you probably realize that I rarely take a direct path to anything.  It seems to be totally random things that make you wonder what in the world am I thinking or how am I ever going to tie these things together, but in the end I usually do.

Rabbit trails.  Have you ever seen a rabbit hop in a straight line to anywhere?  The hub has often said he’s going rabbit hunting if I go off on yet another tangent.  It may be frustrating for some of you and for that I apologize.  Trust me, the lines can get tangled.  So how in the world can I edit such a jumble of trails?

I use a multipass system.

  • Step 1)  Set aside finished work for at least 3 days.  I usually let it sit for a week. This allows time to clear my mind and be able to take a fresh look.
  • Step 2) Read it through in its entirety, making marks as I go.  If it’s in digital format, I have pen and paper on the desk, and jot down page number and corrections needed, but don’t actually make any changes here.  These are things like questions that I don’t feel are explained very well, notes to expand this; cut that;  clarify; check spelling; research locations and names.  I must say here that 500 to 3000 word articles were much easier to tackle in this manner.
  • Step 3) Make corrections noted in full reading. Does the story make sense?  Are the denouements tied up?  Are there any openings left for a sequel or follow-up?  (I tend to work in trilogies.)  Are my characters consistent?  Does my plot and subplots work?  Are there any holes you could drive a semi through?
  • Step 4)  This is the tedious part;

pass 1: grammar check

pass 2: chapters, breaks, transitions.  do they flow together?  Do I need more transitions, are my breaks at kep points; cliff hangers or right after a climax;

pass 3: suspension of disbelief – is it believable?  Can I suspend my disbelief to think that in the scenario I’ve set up that what I’ve written is actually possible?

pass 4:  fresh eyes.  This is where I have prereaders.  I print 5 copies of edited manuscript, or load to flash drives.  I’ve also sent digital forms to friends as well.  I give the printed manuscript in a 3 ring binder; a red, blue, black and green pen and designate what each is for.  I give them a sheet of standard grammar markings to use; and 10 blank sheets of paper for them to make notes on, asking that they do not mark up the manuscript.  After they complete this part I give them a $25.00 gift card.  I’ve used restaurant cards; Wal-Mart; clothing stores, manicure, etc.  add a couple of pieces of chocolate and a thank you card in a small gift bag.  (I’ve only had one person ever say they didn’t want to do it again!)  When I get it back, I make note of their comments and recommendations.  Sometimes I can use their comments, sometimes it’s just a matter of opinion.

The very first time I did this, one reader had hundreds of questions.  As they read they marked out questions, and added different questions.  In the end she only had five questions for me.  It was interesting to see the way I had provoked her to think ahead.  A different time, a reader asked me questions that I knew, but never added into the story.  Valid point, which is why you need someone elses eyes on them.  Sometimes the back story needs to be included.  For taking the time to read my stuff, I gave them a thank you gift.  It’s not required, just something I do.

Which leads me to my current dilemma.  My friend across the pond, Tim Wigley has been editing some of my work.  He is also a writer, and makes some very good observations.  He calls me on poor grammar, on inconsistencies, and when my characters say or do things that are inconsistent.  He pointed out at one point in Kiss Of The Dragon where I had referred to my main character as Lexy instead of Izzy.  Lexy  is main character for another WIP, Faere Guardian.  One of the drawbacks to working on simultaneous projects.

I haven’t figured out exactly how to thank him.  I mean, I really don’t see a gift card for a mani-pedi being his cup of tea.  Likewise a gift card to Wal-Mart or Ruby Tuesday’s wouldn’t work.

What do I get for a man in the UK?   Can’t exactly send him a little gift bag filled with fru fru girly stuff and chocolate!  I must figure something out, as he’s been a tremendous help to me.  Plus, I like giving gifts.  It may be just a little thing, something quirky or even something from the dollar store that I put with a card.  I think it’s important to let people know they matter!

That’s  probably way more information than you wanted.  With some things I tend to be very systematic, following a precise order.  Editing is one of them.  There is a point though that the writer must cut the umbilical cord and send their baby out into the world.  Did I mention that I tend to be an overprotective mom?

Write on my friends, write on!

Interview With Lorraine Nelson

Today is the first in a series of author interviews for my Wonderful Women Wednesdays!  I will be interviewing published and aspiring authors, getting their take on the current market,  what they’ve done to achieve their success, and what advice they would give aspiring authors.

Lorraine Nelson has agreed to be my first guest!

1. Tell me a little about yourself.

I am mother to three wonderful sons, grandmother to four grandsons and two granddaughters. I enjoy reading, writing, baking, gardening, and spending time with my family.
2. What genre do you write?

I write mostly contemporary romantic suspense.
3. How did you get started?

I’ve always enjoyed writing and used to write mainly poetry and children’s stories. In 2008 I developed a bone infection in my thumb. It was amputated in October that year. In an effort to get the hand functioning again, I started typing. I soon got bored with typing tests and such. I’d always planned to write a romance one day, so when the germ of an idea invaded my mind, I started writing and have never looked back.
4. Describe your writing routine.

Routine? I’m supposed to have a routine? LOL

I write whenever I can. I have a home office with a desktop PC where I do most of my writing and Promo. If I’m out, I usually have pen and paper handy. I hate laptops, but I’m thinking I may have to get one.
5. How do you manage writing with the rest of your life as wife, mother, grandmother, employee and/or any other hats you wear?

Sometimes that can be really difficult. My son moved back home last year, complete with girlfriend, baby girl and German Shepherd. Quiet time now is usually after nine PM and I sometimes write into the wee hours of the morning. I’m on medical leave from my day job, so my time’s my own, but family takes priority.  I often play chauffeur for my 82 year old mother and her 84 year old sister. Life never gets dull.
6. How long did it take you to have your first book published?

I started writing for adults in February, 2009. My first book, Zakia and the Cowboy, was released in October, 2011. Although my English and comprehensive skills have always been excellent, I had a lot to learn. It’s been a busy few years, but I’m loving it.
7. What method did you choose and why?

Like every aspiring romance writer, I aimed for Harlequin. I entered pitches and contests, won a couple, but publication still evaded me. I had so many stories written by then, that I decided to shop them around elsewhere. In my opinion, print books will never die, but ebooks are selling strong right now. Evernight is a great publisher to work with. Very efficient. To expand my reader base, I now have contracts with Breathless Press and Ruby Lioness Press.
8. What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

I think Michelle Styles, who writes for Harlequin Historicals, says it best:

“It takes desire, determination, dedication, discipline and perseverance.”

Might I also add patience and a thick skin? You also need a good critique partner or partners, someone who will give you an honest critique of your writing, whether you’re ready to hear it or not.

And be ready to promote. Build you fan base now to help reduce stress later.

9. Who are your favorite authors?

I love Nora Roberts, Danielle Steel, Mary Higgins-Clark, John Grisham, and James Patterson, just to name a few.
10. Here’s a sampling of Lorraine’s work.

Available from Evernight Publishing:

Zakia and the Cowboy, Book 1 in my Thunder Creek Ranch series,

available in ebook form from online retailers, and now available in print.

Covert Mission: Undercover Cop, Book 2, Thunder Creek Ranch series

Trouble Brewing in Thunder Creek, Book 3, Thunder Creek Ranch series

A Cowgirl’s Pride, Book 4, Thunder Creek Ranch series

Hawk’s Woman, a western historical short, is my contribution to Evernight’s Virgins Behaving Badly anthology.

Book 5 in my series with Evernight, Cameron’s Quest, is in the works. Cameron Manning is part owner of the Thunder Creek Ranch and has returned from his travels abroad. His is a story that includes family secrets, lost love, and murder.

Books 6-10 are hazy, but a distinct possibility.

And then there’s the possibility of: Thunder Creek: The Next Generation.

As long as the characters keep talking and my readers keep wanting more, I’ll keep writing. There is definitely a world of possibilities in Thunder Creek.

I have two self-pubbed Christmas Titles on Amazon:

His Christmas Wish:

Mistletoe & Mr. Hoe:

Coming soon from Breathless Press:

Her Unlikely Bodyguard, releasing June 15th.

Blessed Homecoming, releasing July 13th.

Love on the Rocks, releasing August 10th.

Finding Baby J, September 7th.

Coming soon from Ruby Lioness Press:

 Bad Boy Blake, releasing November 2nd

Benjamin, The Hudson Brothers, Book 1, part of the Clearwater, WY, series

Gabriel, The Hudson Brothers, Book 2, part of the Clearwater, WY, series

Nathan, The Hudson Brothers, Book 3, part of the Clearwater, WY, series

No release date as yet for the Hudsons.

Blurbs and excerpts can be found on Lorraine’s website, listed below.

Lorraine loves to hear from readers. You can keep up with her releases by visiting the following locations:

Website –

Blog –

Facebook –

Twitter –!/lornelca


Or email your comments to:

Do you have any questions you’d like to ask Lorraine?

Thank you Lorraine for being my first guest in my women writer series!

NOW,  get out of the house and go have some fun people!  Write on my friends, write on!

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.


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.


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.

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!

Top Ten Reasons Writers Rock!

Welcome to my Monday pep talk. It seems the naysayers and critics are out in force. Why is it the common masses have devolved into grumbling malcontents?  It seems the greater percentage of the population spends more time complaining than anything else.  ARRRGGGHHHH!  Which is why I give myself these pep talks.  What if malcontentment was the first sign of zombification?  I’d have to learn to survive!  So in the preventative  effort of avoiding being turned into a zombie, here’s my top ten reasons why being a writer rocks.

  1. Imaginations:  Who else can come up with the stuff that makes excellent movies, excellent books?  Regardless of the genre, the worlds that writers create takes us to magical places. Whether it’s Neverland, Narnia, or Middle Earth,  the deep magic of the writer’s imagination fuels the reader to experience dangerous thrilling situations without ever being in physical danger.
  2. Deep Pools:  Writer’s tap those deep inner recesses that common folk lock away behind padlocked doors. Some suppress it with Xanax, some with Seagram’s.  You know all those times in movies when you are yelling at the actor on the screen “Don’t go in there!”?  Writers are the twisted individuals that put the “scare” behind the door.  A writer’s mind has more twists and turns  and underground tunnels than the world’s best rollercoaster.  Don’t go into the deep – it’s where the monsters reside.  Unless you’re the writer, then they are your pets.
  3. Power:  Depending on what we write, writers can rule the world.  Disagree? Consider the following: the Harry Potter phenomenon,  created by writer J.K. Rowling; True Blood – Charlaine Harris; Game of Thrones – George R. R. Martin;  The Twilight phenomenon – Stephanie Meyers.  This is the type of success the rest of us strive for.  The power to influence the minds of an entire generation; and crossover to some of the other generations as well.  We really can rule the world.  At least the world we create in our minds.
  4. Therapy:    Both sides of this coin:  those that employ therapists, therefore helping the economy by keeping at least one therapist employed. and those that avoid therapy by the cathartic by-product of their writing.  I’ve heard arguments for demonic exorcism, but I’m not convinced.
  5. Pride:  You know all those people who tell you “Get a real job” ? Think about the pride that we provide for them.  Without a creative, specifically a writer, those working stiffs might not feel so high and mighty about themselves that are so inclined to criticize our daily pursuit.  When the big day comes, and they are scratching their heads or their butts, wondering how it suddenly happened for us, we can take pride in every single hour that we have labored in our pursuits, knowing that we didn’t give up our dreams.  Yeah, like sweating blood is for wimps.
  6. Tensile:    (tnsl, -sl)

    1. Of or relating to tension.
    2. Capable of being stretched or extended; ductile.
    • 3. capable of being shaped or bent or drawn out; “ductile copper”; “malleable metals such as gold”; “they soaked the leather to made it pliable”; “pliant molten glass”; “made of highly tensile steel alloy”  There is no way on this green earth that a writer can endure the hardships, the financial strains, and emotional frustrations of the writer’s life without developing some brass. Yeah, notice those descriptives?  Bent, gold,  malleable – oh yeah, I could so go on a tangent there .  * OK secret huddle – yeah, I’m telling you that writers learn to grow a pair, whether they be cahoneys or casabas*  Don’t piss off your writer friends, they are made of tougher stuff than you think.
  7. Sense of Humor  If you don’t learn to laugh, you’ll end up back at number four paying for Dr. Flabio’s Ferrari.  We develop our sense of humor, laughing at ourselves and our failures.  You know that old thing of “this will be funny – someday.”  At the moment the situation may seem bleak, but it’s subject to change.  Circumstances always change.  Great writers learn to not take life so seriously.
  8. Observative Powers  We live in the same world as everyone else, well mostly. We observe the same daily routines as those around us, yet we can see inspiration all the time.  Example:  That little old man who lives down the street using a walker.  Most people see him as a harmless old man, maybe a cranky old man who doesn’t like the neighborhood boys in his yard.  A writer however can create an entire life for the man.  What if he was a former criminal?  Maybe he robbed banks. Maybe he was a murderer that served time, or never got caught.  What if he was the romantic sort in his youth? He romanced his wife, spent several happy years until cancer took her and now he fights putting a bullet in his brain every day. Raw material is all around us.  The non-writer walks by and never sees it, but a writer takes notice of details.
  9. Devious Minds  Refer back to Number 6 when I said don’t piss off your writer friend.  Yeah, we have devious minds.  We will kill you in our books.  It fuels our antagonists, and provides plot points to our work.  Devising torturous methods for the character you become to suffer.  It’s usually not a quick death either.  That would be too simple, too compassionate.  It’s best really that you don’t find out what lurks behind door number 3.
  10. We Are Writers!  Come on, did you really have to read all ten to realize that we as writers are more than the average bear.Most of us work other jobs. Sometimes multiple other jobs.  It’s not what gives us satisfaction.  For a writer, satisfaction will never come without engaging in the act of writing. It’s our life blood poured onto the pages, oozing out from our finger tips, casting a magical spell over the reader as well as a euphoria within ourselves.  It may sound weird for some – but the writers will get it.  Even if we do take a day job, we still write;  sometimes in secret, sometimes in public.  It’s our obsession.

Rowling, really?

Yesterday was a bust!  I was about halfway into writing my blog when the power went out.  It was off most of the day – oh joy.  They are building a new firehouse just up the road and for the past two weeks, you can count on the power going out for a while.  AFter the one yesterday however, there were many sirens.  Not sure what happened, but then family life and “mom” responsibilities, well it was time for my webinar, and then before you know it, it was ten p.m. and I was tired.

So this morning I’m playing catch up, in addition to the catching up from the weekend,  in addition to a half-dozen other things.

I finished three informative articles about the Civil War, the Underground Railroad, and the Emancipation Proclamation. Writing nonfiction is definitely a different animal than fiction writing.  One of my writing friend’s suggested a site called I Write Like. Ever the curious one, I had to submit my samples to see who I write like.

I don’t know about y’all but I think this is totally weird.  For my informative essays and articles – I ran three of them – it says I write like H.P. Lovecraft.  When I was in college, I read everything that Lovecraft ever wrote. I also read everything Poe wrote, and the same for Stephen King as a couple of classes were about Horror and Science fiction. Of course I read a lot about mythology as well.

For my humor pieces, it said I write like Cory Doctorow.  I had to look who that was up on Wikipedia.  Interesting, if not a bit quirky. Well, I suppose that does make sense now that I think about it.

Ah, but for my passion, my fiction writing it varied depending on the scene, and which WIP I submitted from.  The comparisons I got were Anne Rice; Isaac Asimov, and I find this one to be the most interesting J.K. Rowling.  Now, if you’ve paid any attention to the last few bogs, you’ll understand my observation.  I have never read anything by Rowling although I do respect her as a writer.  I won’t go into the whole Potter thing again, it’s just too tiring.  I will have to say, I am very intrigued by her new release.

I’ve read Anne Rice, and Asimov, but hadn’t read any of Rowling’s work.  I was intrigued as I don’t have a single vampire in my story, no one named Lestat, and no child vampires.  I didn’t see any similarities in fantastic worlds that I’d read by Asimov, or the deep mega-mind introspection I admired in his work.

To me, those three authors are distinctly different.  So of course being the “curious kitten” as my dad always called me, I made a trip to the library and checked me out some books.  There are surprising similarities, and yes, technically you can say I caved in and I am reading Harry Potter.  I’m only a short way into it, but since I started it I feel compelled to complete it.  I’m a little weird that way.

As interesting as this information gathering is however it does nothing to advance my writing.  I can’t blame it on writer’s block because honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced that – not that I want to!  I am contemplating a series of blogs about procrastination and avoidance techniques. 1001 ways to Avoid Writing!  Of course I could probably make it 10,000 ways.  Why is it that I do these things to avoid doing the very thing I want to do?

For further delay I ran across a couple of blog posts that addressed the same issue of distractions.

I’ll let Michael Mayerhofer in “Advice to Writers: Stay Home” conclude:

So, again, here’s my not-so-humble advice: stay home. Don’t call anyone. Don’t text. Don’t update your Facebook status to say what you’re reading, or how many thousands of words you’re going to write today. Just leave your ego in a shoe box, sit down, and read. And write. And if you look down at your first draft and think it’s golden—well, you’re wrong.

Can’t argue with that!  So, I close out my pages, and shut the computer off. this computer that is, the one that has internet access.  I open my laptop and bring up my WIP, Kiss of the Dragon.  It’s almost like a rendezvous in private as I slip away without the distractions of the internet, the phone is on silent, the answering machine is on, and I’m not answering the door.  I need a big sign to post somewhere “The writer is IN!”

It’s good when the muse shows up anxious to play with my pet dragons.  Write on!

Stirring the Pot(ter)

Apparently I struck a few nerves yesterday with my post mentioning Harry Potter.  I knew that Potter fans were fanatical, but I suppose I didn’t take into account the vehemence with which they defend their fervor.  (If Christians were as fervent, they could make a true difference.) I left some of the comments up if you care to read them, but had to delete many, the vulgarity of language did nothing to substantiate their claims of why Harry Potter rules the known world.

The suggestions of where I should put my crutches were, of course omitted. I won’t even begin to go into the ones that had sexual overtones; thanks for the invitation but no thanks!

As “powerful webmaster”, a term one of my commenters used to describe me (really? maybe I should break out my wizardly robes after all) I have the power to post or not post comments that I find offensive like the aforementioned offers, or post those that I feel contribute intelligent thought processes.  Yes, fear the all-powerful webmaster Ellie!  Hmm, somehow it just doesn’t have that sense of awe does it?

Anyway, moving on . . . Potter fans have expressed their outrage at my faux pas of not having read the books and daring to share my opinion of my favorite author.  Ever heard the garbage pail theory?  Opinions are like garbage pails and they all stink!  It’s my blog, my opinion and I don’t expect everyone to agree with me.  Even if we don’t agree, can’t we just be civil here?  “Can’t we all just get along?”

The point was brought up that Harry Potter does have dragons in it.  My interest has suddenly been piqued!  Dragons?  J.K. Rowling wrote dragons in it?  I may just have to read it then on the basis of dragons and all so that I can give a more objective view next time.  ROFL!  Seriously?  Do you come here to my blog for an objective view?  Do you think I’m going to remain serious at all times?  NOT BLOODY LIKELY! (And yes Raymond, I yelled that!)

Amidst the comments I have to give a rundown of an assessment I’ve made.  Twelve rather rude comments and um, invitations  came from the southern United States.  I’m glad you’re reading, but just because I don’t share your passion is no reason to be rude!  Three comments came from other locations in US, and were fine.

Two comments were made from Pakistan, and honestly you need a better translating tool!  My friends in the UK are the most objective and made intelligent comments, although most didn’t actually apply to the current post.  One was very eloquent in his defense of why Rowling should rule the free world and my American idiocy should be cut short through some reference to HP that quite frankly I didn’t get, because – pay close attention here – I haven’t read the books!  Therefore the very eloquent insult was completely wasted.  The art of insult is that the person whom you are insulting at least comprehends the insult even if the full impact of it hits them in a delayed reaction! (at 2 am: Tomato juice!)

If you’re going to hurl insults at me, do it right!  Which although the very eloquent dissertation was in fact well written prose and snappy dialogue, apparently insult is an American talent.  No, we’re not talking about my momma either!  As one commenter mentioned I miss out on some of the jokes because I don’t get the Potter references.  Hurling Potter insults at me is like bringing a knife to a gunfight!  Of course, that’s an American reference as well.

I don’t believe at any time I dissed Harry Potter or the subculture that it has become, I simply admitted that I missed it.  I chose other books, other avenues of entertainment during this wave of Potterism.  I did reference that many of the people I know haven’t read classic materials.  It was a blanket statement interpreted as every person that read Potter isn’t widely read.  That’s just crazy because we all know that absolutes are never absolute.

Just imagine the turmoil I will create when I start discussing the faults of plotline in Star Trek, and the lack of creativity in the alien races that appear throughout the Trek universe.

I guess I am regressing to my  opinion column days.  One of the reasons the editor liked me is that I managed to whack the hornet’s nest and stir the pot regardless of the topic, usually in 500 words or less.  Sarcasm, it’s a true talent for some of us, and unfortunately not something that can be taught.

To Potter or not to Potter that is the question.  I will take it into consideration if someone can prove that it does indeed have dragons in it. Or, are the Potterites actually Borg in disguise, sort of pod-potters and I will be assimilated?  Maybe it’s a bacterial infection on subcellular level of tiny nanoborgs that are implanted during nano month, screaming through the veins that resistance is futile!  Attack of the podBorg zombies, quick throw the Twinkies!!!  Run for the hills – no wait, those have eyes.  Kittencalendar, kittencalendar, kittencalendar, kittencalendar. Shh, shh, shh. . . ok, what were you saying?

Maybe I’ve had too much coffee and all my sci-fi storage units are cross-contaminated!  System overload reaching critical mass, self destruct will begin in thirty seconds!  (halon alarm sounding)

Um, I think I better get the Twinkies and maybe some sleep.  If the NanoBorg haven’t overtaken you by Monday, I’ll see you then!

Harry Potter VS Dragons

While much of the world was obsessed with Harry Potter, I didn’t read any of them.  Shocking I know and I may lose some of my followers with that admission.  I’m not opposed to reading them, it’s just that during the time that Harry Potter books were on the new release lists, I was thoroughly engrossed in a couple of other series.

Karen Marie Moning’s Fever Series was in full swing, and well what can I say.  Barrons is the bomb!  They should be read in order to make the most sense.  Here’s a quick blurb from the author’s page:

MacKayla  Lane’s life is good. She has great friends, a decent job, and a car  that breaks down only every other week or so. In other  words, she’s  your perfectly ordinary twenty-first-century woman.

Or so she   thinks… until something extraordinary happens.

When her  sister is murdered, leaving a single clue to her  death–a cryptic  message on Mac’s cell phone–Mac journeys to Ireland in  search of  answers. The quest to find her sister’s killer draws her into a  shadowy  realm where nothing is as it seems, where good and evil wear the same   treacherously seductive mask. She is soon faced with an even greater  challenge: staying alive long enough to learn how to handle a power she  had no idea she  possessed–a gift that allows her to see beyond the  world of man, into the dangerous  realm of the Fae…

This is a dark, edgy urban fantasy that has some elements of paranormal romance.  I’ve read Karen’s other series, the Highlander series and I strongly recommend them to any romance readers.  We all have our favorites and Karen is one of mine.

During this same time, Christopher Paolini’s books came out.  I bought one of the self published editions of Eragon, and pre-ordered the rest when they were released.  I don’t know how many of you have read these books but they are substantial books, close to 500 pages each.

So while I was living vicariously through Mackayla Lane in Dublin, Ireland and enjoying the fantasy realm of Alagaesia with Sapphira and Eragon, most of my friends were gaga over Harry Potter.  I couldn’t discuss things with them because I hadn’t read it.  They weren’t interested in reading my stuff either, except my one faithful writer buddy Bethany!!!  Love that girl!

Bethany and I share a passion for The Fever series.  I pre-ordered us both a copy of Shadowfever when it was first released, only to find out that her mom had already gotten her a copy.  We never gave the spoilers away, but when we finished a book we were in deep discussion about  anything and everything that happened in the book.

I have several online writing friends, and many were taken aback to find out that I had not read Harry Potter. I’ll get around to it eventually. I find it ironic though that the HP obsession is so pervasive.  How many have read any of the classics?  Shakespeare anyone?   Fyodor Dostoyevsky anyone?  Can you even name one of the books written by him?  What about some Jane Austen? How about reading some Hemingway?  No, these aren’t currently popular, but each has its merits.

Many times authors give the advice to read, and write a little every day.  I’m not downing anything that someone else is reading.  Not everyone is going to like the same things.  I don’t read westerns, but Louis L’Amour has written many great books.  My tastes in reading materials aren’t any better than Joe Schmoe’s, just different.

There are so many books to read and only a certain amount of time that I can allot for reading.  When it came to choosing between Sapphira and Harry Potter, sorry but a dragon trumps a wizard any day in my book!

Speaking of my book, I don’t have a wizard in my story.  I have a mage.  In my world, the blood line of the mages are revered on nearly a god-like level.  My mage is very old, nearly 2300 years old, but then again the dragons are several hundred years old as well.  He’s rather lackadaisical, yet brilliant.  He’s the most powerful mage since his father died at 5600, from a rock slide.   The story is about dragons, legends, and of course the mage is an intricate component on every level of the story.  I think some of his quirks are quite funny, but humor is hard to convey in written form.

I put myself into this story, literally.  One of the characters is me, not in name but it’s essentially me.  Alfred Hitchcock always did it and I thought it would be fun.  I’m having a blast with it, I just hope my readers will  find it as entertaining.

Oh, and did I mention that it is set in Scotland?  Where else would my story be?

What do you think would trump a dragon?  Maybe I’ll write that into the second book.  Write on my friends, write on!