Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Library-Loving Blog Challenge

I'm doing this again this year to raise money for the new Los Gatos Public Library equipment. For every post  up until April 2, I'll donate 50 cents for the first 200 followers I get. 

If you leave a comment I'll add another 50 cents for that new follower or for the person already following me. Let's support our libraries. Be sure to visit all of us who are taking part in this great challenge. Here's a list: 


Sarah Mullen Gilbert (The Writing Cave)
Janet Fox (Through the Wardrobe)
Margo Rowder (Margoblog)
Angela De Groot
Amy Brecount White
Kimberly Sabatini (Jess Free Falcon)
Jessica Leader
Colleen Rowan Kosinski
Jessica Shea Spotswood
Marine Corps Nomad
Kimberlee Conway Ireton

Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday Miscellany

It's spring and I don't care what anybody says, even the weatherman who's still predicting more storms this week. Forget it. I'm moving on to spring and that's that. 

This morning about five, the moon confirmed my belief that spring is truly here by giving me a forest brushed with its silver light and only a few whispers of clouds. If only I could paint, I thought, I'd try my hand at that moon and those trees and that perfect light.

But I'm not a painter. I'm a person who tries to infuse words with pictures, and so I went back to my art of choice and some ability and wrote some scenes for my WIP. 

Last Friday I was very pleased to visit Carlmont High in Belmont, CA. Keplers (that wonderful Indie that supports all writers, great and small) arranged to have several combined English classes come to hear me rattle on about me, about writing, specifically, about what it's like to take an idea and somehow wrestle it into a body of work that others will read. 

Yes, this is me, trying to look like I know what I'm talking about. The screen behind me is a bit intimidating, isn't it? I did a slide show with a couple of writerly images of me, and when I saw how big I came out, I about croaked. 

  • They asked lots of questions. Here are some: 
  • How much do you make?
  • How do you feel when your editor changes something in your story?
  • Where do you get your ideas?
  • Did you like Twilight?

That last question brought me up short. If I said no, were they going to hurl sharp pencils at me? My motto is tell the truth even if it's going to hurt, so I said, "No." 

They applauded! 

So I said, "Gee, now that I know you're not going to go hostile on me, I'd like to tell you why." And I did. What did I say? 

Something, like,  I can't imagine any of my female characters having to depend on a some guy--a dead one at that--to make her complete. And they applauded again. 

Still you can't argue with success, and I said you have to give anyone credit for being able to capture enough readers to sell that many books. 

So wrapping up my MM post of the week, here are a couple of sites writers might take a look at for some ideas to kick start your spring.

For some super help with characterization visit, Imagining Ourselves. Lots of great stories and personal essays from around the world.

Are you one of those eavesdropping writers who like to capture smatterings of dialogue to tuck away for that next novel? Well then Overheard in New York is a place to check out.

I'm checking out a few more to share next week. If you have some to share, share 'em here and thanks for doing that you wonderful writers, you!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Friday on Thursday

I know. I know. It's only Thursday, but I've got to get a jump on this week, just a bit. So I'm posting one day early.  Shoot me.

I loved this quote today: "Everyone is a millionaire when it comes to promises." Ovid said that waaay back before any of us started making and breaking promises. I wonder how that sounded in Latin?  Anybody?

Confession: Here are some promises I've broken.

  • I promised to accept everybody as they are and not make any judgements. (How hard is that to do?)
  • I promised to write on my new WIP everyday.  (Well, life happened a few times, several times, a lot of times.)
  • I promised to blog four days a week. (Nawt! Is nawt out of style yet?)
  • I promised to see all of my friends at least once a month. (Ha!)
  • I promised not to be jealous, no matter what, no matter why. (Unrealistic, really! In my favor: the jealous moment passes quickly. Against me: I'm jealous a lot of moments.) 
  • I promised to clean the refrigerator. (This promise doesn't count. I had a fever when I made it.)

So any promises you'd care to share along with the excuses for breaking them? Come on. I promise not to tell.

Oh, and here's one promise I will keep. Take a look at Sharp Pen Dull Sword for some good news and some "freaking great prizes." But promise me you won't enter and win because I want to, okay? Thanks. I know I can count on you.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Monday Miscellany

I'm heartbroken. Crow Toes Quarterly is shutting down and its wonderful editor, Christopher Millin, is returning to his other passion, writing. I loved his publication and I appreciated being pubbed by him two times. His splendid, "playfully dark" collection of poetry and stories will be missed.

For those of you caught up in the book promotion frenzy, here's a great post by Arthur Slade about ads that work and how. Take a look. 

In this month's Writer Magazine, Susan Shapiro offers up 20 tips for selling your first book. The article is on pp 30-32, but here's a list of some of those tips (condensed).

  • Ask why you want to write the story. Inspire others? Legacy to kids?
  • Don't expect to make the big bucks out of the gate. Be realistic.
  • Just write the thing, for heaven sakes. The more pages you get down the better your chances at selling it.
  • Read the exact kind of books you want to publish.
  • Write what you're passionate about.
  • Frame your book for the sale: a clever title, 2-5 lines that sum up your book. This is for when you trap an agent in an elevator.
  • Ask for blurbs BEFORE you sell.
  • My favorite: "Plumbers don't get plumber's block." In other words make writing your priority.
  • Get criticized and good.
  • Her stragegy: Switch to non-fiction if your fiction ain't cutting it.
  • Build your platform: blog, TV, radio. Get known.

Daylight Saving Time:

45% of American adults say daylight saving time is not worth the  hassle. 40% say it is. 27% say they've arrived somewhere early or late because of it. Rasmussen Reports. I love daylight saving time. Wish they never turned the clocks back.

Friday, March 11, 2011

It's Friday . . . or What Happened to the Week?

It's been one fast-paced week. I no sooner posted on my blog on Monday than Friday rolled right over my back. I've got the tracks to prove it.

What happens when you say yes too many times and suddenly you have to follow through with your promises or look like a flake?

Here's my latest strategy:

Get up at 4 AM; fall face down into bed at 11PM.  I look a lot like this guy when I do that.
Make a list with High to Low priorities--lose list.

Drink lots of caffeine . . . much more than my body is used to.

Buy food in the deli or "arrange" to be near a restaurant when my husband's hungry.

Only Tweet in the mornings.

Put flowers on my desk to make me think I'm outside.

Wear the same clothes three days in a row; no fumbling in closet time and nobody will see me if I stay at my desk.

Buy an automatic feeder for the cats and promise them I'll brush them next month.

Let my answering machine do what it was designed to do.

Avoid mirrors, so I won't know how terrible my hair looks.

Leave a note in the kitchen, "Fend for yourselves."
Promise myself not to say yes to any new projects.

What did I miss?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Monday Miscellany

 Quote for Monday: "Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." Oscar Wilde.

Has anyone read Neesha Meminger's latest book, Jazz in Love? I'm reading it now and loving it. Are you reading something that keeps you turning the pages? Please share. I'm getting a summer list started.

How good is your grammar on Monday?  How can you fix these?

1. While waiting at the airport, it began to rain.

2. Although he'd committed illegal crimes, the gang boss was acquitted.

 Does anyone have a suggestion for a resource on, How to Write a Short Story? It seems I have to come up something soon and my experience with writing this story form is close to nil.  

Hope your Monday was special!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Three Cat Day

Even with the daffodils in full bloom and the fruit trees in blossom, it's a cold March. I can always tell just how cold by how many cats I find in the bed. At two in the afternoon there were two.

By four, there were three--you have look into the back where my black and cuddly Champ has managed to squeeze behind Al and Fritz. Mind you, this is a one-cat bed, but try to tell it to these guys.
I think poetry is in order for this March day in California.

Daffodil sunlight
Just one glimpse and the day with all its chill grows warm. 
Three cats 
Once lonely, left to find their ways or not
Now a family, willing and sharing and dreaming of daffodil sunlight.
Maybe catnip.