Friday, August 30, 2013

Sometimes You Must Wait for Just The Right Small Thing to Celebrate


As some of you know I've not had the best year. It has to do with the fact that I'm a Tiger and this is the year of the Black Water Snake. Very bad for Tigers. Of course, I don't believe in such superstitious clap-trap, but here's a short list of my 2013.


Mom's caretaker has heart attack at age 40.
I move Mom to assisted living facility until I can find replacement caretaker.


Mom falls, fractures her neck.
Mom needs more care. Cost astronomical--much more in home than in assisted living facility.
Mom stays in assisted living, but not happily. (Read between the comma.)


Must sell house.
Can't sell house until renter leaves.


Renter makes all kinds of excuses about why he can't leave.
Me in April
Start eviction proceedings.
Me in May


Renter promises to leave.
Me in June


Renter promises to leave.
Me in July


Renter leaves. (Here's where the celebrating begins.)


Taking a break while I get the house on the market. I've scheduled my INSECURE WRITER POST, so that will be the only post I'll make in September.  I'll be back in October, but will try to pop into your blogs to say hi and keep up with what you're doing.  I'm addicted to all of you, you see.

Monday, August 26, 2013

A Writer's Legacy, L.K. Madigan Remembered

In my first critique group, I met a writer named L.K. (Lisa) Madigan. Right away I knew she had something special to offer and I looked forward to reading her submissions. When she started a separate group and invited me to join, I jumped at the chance. All the writers she asked to join were discerning readers and excellent writers.

Her first book, Flash Burnout, came out in 2009, the same year my first book was published, so we were doubly excited. We'd published, and our critique partner had published, too. For her debut novel Lisa won the William C. Morris YA Debut Award!

Then Lisa announced some terrible news. She had a terminal cancer. Over the following months she posted about her end of life journey and don't remember ever feeling a loss of friend as keenly as I did the loss of Lisa. In a short time and over some distance we'd become close, and I know it was because we shared so much by discussing our stories.  Her contributions to my first two books improved them a lot.

She left another book and that has recently been published as an ebook. I haven't read this one yet, but if it's half a good as her first two, it's worth the read. I look forward to spending more time inside on of her stories.

Friday, August 23, 2013

How to Celebrate Small Things in Your Next Book

My grandmother always said, "The Devil's in the details." Details = SMALL THINGS, like dates and times and names spelling correctly. The T's you must cross.

I didn't really understand what she meant until later when I had a job that was filled with nothing but those SMALL THINGS. If I messed up--didn't hit a deadline or didn't schedule something when I was supposed to--I met the Devil and he wasn't pretty.

Fortunately, that job is gone, but another one, one that has just as many SMALL THINGS is now mine.

I'm what people call a WRITER. 

One thing I've learned (the hard way, of course) is that details not only have the Devil in them, they have the spark that can give a story some zing. (Did you notice this clever segue?) See what you think of these passages and their details.

* Here are some excellent details about how one character views another.

 I like your looks. You’re tall, your face isn’t exactly handsome, but it’s better than that. It’s interesting. I like that small sexy scar on your chin. I like the way your lips move when you smile, the expressions in your eyes, as if you feel a lot of things you don’t talk about. [Rock 'n Roll Suicide, West]

* Sometimes it's only a single word that snaps the picture into focus. Here's an example of that from the obscure book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkabzn.

". . .and the floor was covered with hundreds of squashy purple sleeping bags." [Rowling]

*This one makes me hungry all the time I'm learning to care about the character and what her life will turn out to be.

From a street vendor, Rasheed bought her ice cream. It was the first time she'd eaten ice cream and Mariam had never imagined that such tricks could be played on the palate. She devoured the entire bowl, the crushed-pistachio topping, the tiny rice noodles at the bottom. She marveled at the bewitching texture, the lapping sweetness of it. [A Thousand Splendid Suns, Hosseini]

Do you have any favorite passages that sparkle because of some word or phrase, just the right detail to bring that character or that setting to life?


Monday, August 19, 2013

#Writers4Writers W4WS

WRITERS4WRITERS, the super brainchild of STEPHEN TREMP, is here again. I'm lucky enough to be a featured author for August.  Here's how you can participate:

1. Be sure to visit WRITERS4WRITERS Facebook page. Click the LIKE button if you haven't already. Leave a comment, and, if you want, share one of the posts below. 

Kirkus Reviews says Alligators Overhead is a "swampy middle-grade story full of humor, hauntings, quirky characters and a mystery that continues to develop to the very end."

Kirkus Reviews says, "The folksy diction and lyrical, verb-heavy storytelling will leave readers turning the pages all the way to the end, where big surprises await and the real villains are revealed."

Alligators, witches and a spooky mansion aren't your average neighbors. . . unless you live at the edge of the Ornofree swamp in the backwater town of Hadleyville.

2. Twitter away! Here are some Tweets to make that easy for you. Just copy and paste.

KirkusReviews says Alligators Overhead non-stop adventure. #BookWorm #MGLit #KidLitChat #yalitchat 

KirkusReviews: Alligators Overhead "swampy middle-grade story full of humor & quirky characters." #MGLit #KidLitChat 

KirkusReviews: AlligatorsOverhead "a mystery that continues to the end." #BookWorm #MGLit #KidLitChat 

ALLIGATORS OVERHEAD takes you on one great swampy adventure.  #MGLit #KidLitChat  #Kindle #library

Witches, alligators and spooky mansions: ALLIGATORS OVERHEAD. #BookWorm #MGLit #KidLitChat  #library

Please don't forget to add your own favorite hashtags to help spread the word. 

3. You can also go to #W4WS on your Tweetdeck and Retweet other Tweets. 

Thanks to all you wonderful blogger people. Sunflowers 4U! Don't miss Carrie Butlers page today either. She's gone Indie and is making a splash!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Small Things Celebration & Heads Up on W4WS


Small things I Live to Enjoy 

One really good walk with a friend.
One kiss from someone I love.
One fresh strawberry just picked.
One super scene I've written and know is exactly the way I want it.
Oh, and a toothpick. I love that, especially after a Mosquito Sandwich ( You had to read my last post to get this one.)


Hope you'll join in on Monday for the W4WS event. CARRIE BUTLER and I are up for the featured writers and would love your support. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Anti-Blog Hop, Hop & A Special Giveaway from S.R. Johannes


I've been known to HOP on any HOP that comes along. After all why not? I have nothing else to do. Just like other writers I spend a lot of time doing my nails, eating bonbons and napping in a hammock.  However, there are some HOPS that I would not be interested in. Here are three.

The Mosquito Sandwich Blog Hop. . .where everybody loses weight, but is itchy.

The Chat and Cat Blog Hop. . .in which the cat gets all the good lines and gloats.

The Close But Not Quite Blog Hop. . .in which an agent writes, "I loved your story, but. . ."

This totally insane, ANTI-ESTABLISHMENT HOP, HOP is brought to you by

Here's where you can find the LINKY with the other anti-HOPPERS. While they're lounging in those hammocks they would appreciate your stopping in to say hi!



Friday, August 9, 2013

How Small Things Add Up

It doesn't take much to make small things into something to celebrate. Here are some small things I'm celebrating today!

A few years ago I planted grapes, so they'd shade the pond in summer. Actually, the fish put in a request. So now I get fresh grape leaves for my dolmas and lots of grapes. After eating all we can, what then? Here's the story in pictures.



Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Insecure Writers: Try, Try, Try, Then Succeed!


This post comes with a warning. It has Lady GaGa being. . .well, being Lady GaGa. However, I love her song and it speaks to everyone.

When she says, "Thanks for believing in me." I think, "No. You should thank yourself for that."

And that's exactly what everyone should do--I'm working on it, okay?--We must believe in ourselves or others will not. We must always TRY. TRY. TRY.

Here's my Insecure Writers' contribution for August. I'm not here. I scheduled this last month. I'm off TRYING. I hope you enjoy and I'll be around to everyone once I return.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Monday Miscellany Featuring Nancy LaRonda Johnson & How to Make Your Social Media Work Harder for You

Salted With Fire: 

Nancy LaRonda Johnson says,

Black magic, murder, insanity, humor, honor and devotion. Salted With Fire is a journey of flash fiction and poetry that shows my writing transformation from worldly to wanting to please God.

Flash fiction is my passion; poetry is my release. I love creating a complete story, with a beginning, middle and end, with twists, humor, drama, compassion and horror, all under 1000 words. Salted With Fireisn’t just a book of stories and poetry, it is my journey as a writer, from writing only for the mere joy of it regardless of the message, to writing stories that highlight God’s will for people, even if the stories themselves are not religious in nature.

Inside are fifteen flash fiction pieces and twelve poems with full-color pictures, and short Biblical discussions after each story.

Enter to win your copy of SALTED WITH FIRE!


And here's Nancy's first book. And be sure to visit her at her WEBPAGE.

How to Make Twitter More Effective--If That's Possible

Promoting your books and having them noticed is a hard job when you're in a sea of writers doing it too. But there are some things you can do to make that job a bit easier and more effective. Let's tackle that wonderous 140 character beastie, Twitter.

1) Give your Twitter page some "bling." By that I mean put wallpaper up for your background. Use any image that expresses your brand.

2) Find some people to follow that are recognized in the business. If they use hashtags, you should use the ones they use.

3) I've posted this before, but maybe it's worth repeating. Clean up your Twitter Follower list once in a while. If people aren't following you, it's better to unfollow and find new people who are interested in what you have to say in those 140 characters. Here's the LINK to that clean-up site.

4) I'm scheduling my Tweets now, so I can plan a few days ahead for what I want to put out about my blog or my events. It's easy to schedule 2 in the morning and 2 in the late afternoon. The one problem: I have to reload the Tweedeck page a lot. For some reason the scheduling drop down freezes on me. If you know why that happens, let us know.

5) Keep your Tweets short so it's easy for others to RT and lose some of your message.

Here's someone who knows more about this than I do ( or care to).


Is Twitter worth the effort? Any data that says it helps you become more visible to the world of readers? Have you entered to win Nancy's book?

Friday, August 2, 2013

It's Friday. It's Time to Celebrate Again!

Celebrating Small Things

Thanks to VIKLIT
I'm celebrating my AWARD from BISH DENHAM and  SUZANNE FURNESS. Now I'm passing it on to others in the SISTERHOOD. Ready?

She's a Librarian and all Librarians deserve awards.

She's an all around good gal who makes me laugh a lot.

She always writes such thoughtful posts.

A great person to share the blogosphere with.

She's such a dedicated writer and blogger. 

She always makes smile when I see her picture. She's enjoying everything.

Well, really this goes to Gumdrop, too, but Old Kitty won't mind sharing. 

She amazes me with all her events!

She doesn't complain and she doesn't give up.

She's just snarky enough to be fun and generous enough to be a good blogging friend.

Don't forget to visit other bloggers who are CELEBRATING SMALL THINGS