"Keep scribbling! Something will happen." Frank McCourt

Monday, October 27, 2014


A student visiting my office one day disclosed that he/she liked reading series books and wouldn’t even consider a book unless there was a minimum of four books in the series, but preferably six. Now this had nothing to do with why he/she visited my office, but this type of disclosure was a welcomed phenomenon and an icebreaker of sorts. From a writer’s perspective, this was interesting. He/she went on to say that he/she would rather, now get this—read than play video games.

The student could have been pulling my leg, but I prefer to see youth through rose colored glasses. So, I checked the student’s temperature for a fever (not really) and sent the student back to class, requesting he/she walk among classmates to spread the reading fever. He/she snorted a fake laugh and went back to class.

As a child, I remember reading and escaping to worlds that I didn’t have access to and becoming lost in books. When it ended, I felt sad. Millie likes books, too, eating them. No relevance to my post? True.

I have three books in mind that could be potential series. All outlined. Some outlined better than the others. Some have waited patiently for my magic keyboarding skills. They are:
  1. One adult book that has the MC, Roni, solving a murder and/or disappearances for her family and could do so in other books. This has entered my mind.  A series. She's been a PI or a police officer (don't know yet which one), but has decided to quit all of that and go into teaching. (Partially outlined, first two chapters written.)
  2. In my YA book the MC, Mona, just wants to be a normal teenager, but there are so many secrets in her family of one parent and herself. She can’t stand not knowing and tries to figure out the secrets because they seem to complicate her life. Not to mention, there’s old bones showing up and new bones disappearing.  I can stretch this story for two books, but not sure about three. (Half written.)
  3. My MG book has the MC, a young girl, whose father was recently reported as MIA, dropped off by her stepmother, at her great aunts old Victorian house? Can you imagine all the weird things going on in an old, dilapidated mansion (with good bones)? Plus there’s a secret garden of sorts—overgrown, but that’s okay, our MC doesn’t go outside much since she has a bug phobia. Really? Let’s make her go outside. There's conflict between the great aunt and some town officials. (I have in mind a series of three, three titles, but only one plotted book.)
I could tell you more about the books, but then as they say, I'd have to hunt you down and well...you know.
I realize that I ramble a lot on my blog, but the reality is that I'm a woman of few words and enjoy writing the short story. I feel challenged when I think about writing 50000+ words, but I know I can do it because I have a plan! One wonderfully wise—um person (sorry I can’t remember who) told me once, on this very blog, pretend each chapter is a short story, write it, and soon you'll have a book.
Recently, Dr.Lovely Daughter told me to get Mona’s book finished so that she can read it.  She sometimes reads YA books, because--she's got the READING FEVER!
Peggy Lee sings about Fever best here! “Everybody's got the fever, That is somethin' you all know, Fever isn't such a new thing, Fever started long ago.”
I could write a song about Reading Fever, but I won't. I promise.
For more reading pleasure, hop over to The Ruralhood to read Friends and Séances, Love and Regret, another goofy story from my rural childhood. It's a wonder that I survived some of my stupidity. Remember the fast speeds in High Speed Reasoning and fighting a spider while driving in The Upset?
Here's a couple of links on writing a series:

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sunday Reflection: Seeing Through Walls

My son was nine or ten and he’d asked a friend over to play. At some point, the bed squeaked in a way that I knew “someone” was standing on the mattress.  As a preventative measure, I told them (from the living room) not to jump on the bed, then heard a thump on the floor--like shoes.

I heard my son’s friend say, “How did she know?”

“I think she can see through the walls,” my kid said. “She always knows when I’m doing something.”

Of course I can’t see through walls (or can I), but I take great comfort in knowing that God sees everything thing and knows everything about me, loves me no matter what I do and is in control.  

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand—when I awake, I am still with you…. Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:13-24 (NIV)


Scripture source: Holy Bible, biblegate.com


Monday, October 20, 2014

I Quit!

As if I could--quit writing that is. Lately I’ve seen, on the net, writers struggling, saying  they’re not sure if they want to continue writing, or wonder if there is another word in them to write.

They're discouraged. 
I’ve been writing since the sixth grade (I wrote plays). I didn’t know until I became an adult that I had to write or experience a brain explosion. If I didn’t write, the voices in my head would surely clog the output of my brain—like a type of constipation. So that makes writing a laxative. Right?
As a young adult, I spent years sending my work out to magazines with only a  few acceptances. However, I  did receive lots of encouraging handwritten notes on rejection slips. Writing for fame and/or money will more than likely never be a reality for me, but really who wants the fame of J.K. Rowling or Stephen King? Okay, I'd try it for a week and then give it back.

I've accepted that I may never see my writing traditionally published or have a reader following, but I will never stop writing. I can't because...what if?
For the moment my mission, should I decide to accept it, (AND I DO) is that I will:
  1. Self-pub a short story compilation. (Done) Another is in the works. Even though only a handful of people have bought it, I love my A-Z  story collection. 
  2. Start a blog and post on it. (Done and ongoing)
  3. Hook up with other writers and learn the biz  from them. (In progress through blogging)
  4. Establish a name, (may never happen, but I will try), by
    1. Entering contests.
    2. Self-publishing my work.
  5. Continue to submit to magazines. (Ongoing)
  6. Establish a backlog of fiction so that when I do become desirable, I will have other things for readers to read. (Ongoing)
If you're thinking of giving up anything that is your passion--don't. Giving up is surrendering and you shouldn’t do that until you’re dead. Even then, you’ll probably be discovered, and the world will wish you were still alive to create more good reading (or art, or whatever). They'll want to make a new movie, something fresh, and will find one of your manuscripts. Seriously, THIS IS my luck.

Authors discovered later in life.
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder - and we know how that ended. Right? It hasn’t she’s still popular today.
  • Bram Stoker – a blood sucker he was and probably more famous today than then. Nearly everyone has heard of the book Dracula.
  • William S. Burroughs
  • Frank McCourt – I like this quote by him, "Keep scribbling! Something will happen." He won a Pulitzer.
The list of writers that were published after the age of 40 is longer than this, but you get my point. If writing (or painting, sculpting, etc.) is important to you, then keep doing your craft until something happens.

Be encouraged by these links: .
Jody Hedlund wrote Encouragement for Writers Who don’t Know If you should Keep Going  

Stories of Writers who were Late Bloomers
When you want to quit Writing

Terribleminds.com writes 25 Reasons You Should Quit Writing Warning: They may be some language within, even the f-word, so be prepared, but some of it is actually funny and most of it spoke to me.
The song that is playing in my mind as I write this is Don't Stop Believing by Journey.

"Keep scribbling! Something will happen."

Monday, October 13, 2014


It rained buckets here last week. It's raining again, this morning. We need the rain, but not dispensed bucket style.  Now we flood. Flooding is not good.

My sister’s nightmare, week before last where lightening ran in on her house and fried nearly everything electric including wiring, continues as she discovers what appliances and electronics need replacing, picks out new things, waits on electricians and consoles pets that are now nervous of storms. Her search to replace the fried matter, in her house, has made me think about how fast technology changes and the trends. You know, what’s new out there in appliances, decorating, hair styles and even publishing. 
In fact, I just replaced my washer and dryer after twenty-three years. Guess what? Washers and dryers have come a long way, baby. They're all--sensitive like. Kind of touchy, feely.

This is what I read the other day about the newest kitchen trends, in case you were dying to know.

What’s out?
1.     They say that granite countertops are already looking dated.

2.      All wood-looking cabinets are out.
What’s in?
Countertops in marble is in. So is the old standby butcher block. OR you can mix the two. (What? Hey, I wouldn’t make that up.) And for you retro people, laminate countertops may just be returning with retro designs.

The cabinet trend is two-toned, as in tops and bottoms are different colors. (Not like when my gray hair makes an appearance next to my highly colored hair—not like that.) Also, open shelving is in, as well as, glass doors.
Tile anyone? Subway tile still holds out at #1. However, the new trend is dark grout (and no it doesn’t count if you spill coffee on the grout). If you still have square tiles, NO WORRIES, just re-grout with the dark or spill your coffee evenly.

Hardware and faucets? Brass is back. Think marble and brass, marble and brass, marble and brass.
Unless you’re psychic, and I’ve been accused of that, you can’t always predict trends. Except, and I almost promise this, what’s old will be new again with future generations. We can't ever leave out what's been tried and is true.

Trends are fun, but it’s more important to be true to yourself and not be a part of a trend unless you like it and it works for you.

And this brings me to writing.
I read an article, With Self-Publishing, We Control the Future of a Series, by Elizabeth Spann Craig. She seems to do both, tries new trends, but rarely dismisses the old way. One thing I admire is her dedication to her fans (readers). She had this book that was traditionally published, but it ended there, a series that the publisher wasn't going to publish.  Not so fast! Her readers wanted more—a series built around those characters, and that’s when she self-pubbed subsequent books as a series. Of course there was more to it, but she’d built a fan base, listened to her readers and hopped on the self-publishing train to give her readers a series.

EC said, “The future of my series depended on my readers and me.  It had nothing to do with what was hot, who wanted to contract books with elderly protagonists, or the rapidly changing editors at my publisher.  And that knowledge was empowering.”
Being flexible as a writer is a smart thing since the next best thing might be right around the corner and useful. However, staying true to your writing style and voice is important, even when you're writing a trendy plot  

This is my favorite line from E.C.'s article. “This is one reason why I feel strongly that this is the best time in history to be a writer.”
And that folks is why I’m hopeful as a writer. It is a great time in history to be a writer with all the different ways to get your writing out there.

Other links about writing trends:
Freelance Writing Trends in 2014: Looking to the future.
5 Industry Trends Requiring Every Writer’s Attention (from March 2013)

Is your kitchen outdated? J (Mine is) Is your hair styling? (Mine is) Do you think self publishing is just getting started or is there something new on the horizon? (Both) Did you miss that I didn't talk about life with Millie? (Not me. I'm trying to forget her. Not really.)

Source: The new Kitchen Top Trends by http://www.apartmenttherapy.com

Monday, October 06, 2014

What a day!

Have you ever had one of those days where your puppy is done/finished (rake paws together) with pottying outside because there’s too many different kinds of weather, and she hates it, not to mention the distracting noises, but is also done going on papers inside because it’s all or nothing for her, and now she’s chosen to hold it in until she pukes? And she does. Or a day where you sit at your desk for three hours, writing a report that helps fund your position (pretty darn important), waiting for a return call and an email reply, but your bladder grows--heavy (yes I drank two cups of coffee) and then you finally amble down the hallway (because running is not allowed in a school hallway) for a five minute bathroom break, JUST to see when you return that you have the email answer and a voice message waiting for you? Or how about a day, where you finally get an electrician to come check out a room of outlets that won’t work (because your handyman couldn’t find the problem even though he really really tried) and you have a new washer on its way and—it needs to be plugged in to work, but you find out all outlets are now magically working? Then the electrician says after you’ve waited weeks and weeks for him to get to you, “I can’t fix what isn’t broken.”
Then they (crew) try stressing out the plugs in the room and adjoining rooms (because my face is stressed and I’m not letting them leave) only to find out the problem is one single outlet in the kitchen on the same circuit (don’t ask me why because I don’t know) and when the electrician pulls out the old outlet to change it, you are told that it’s blackened and melted because it burned and was a fire hazard. No duh.
To finish off the day, you go to your new hairstylist, because your old one has left you, and it’s just not the same experience.

Have you ever had a day like that?

Then you find a message Saturday morning on your cell phone from your handyman, that after he measured for supplies to fix the rotting fascia boards on Friday morning and went to work on a garage door spring, elsewhere—to adjust it, the spring blew up  nearly killing him and mangled his hand.

The hand that fixes.

This was my day Friday.
Then I learned about my sister’s day. She came back from vacation at the lake to find that lightning had struck an electric pole outside her house, throwing parts of the pole down to the road in front of her house and frying nearly all her wiring and nearly all appliances and electronics. She’s grateful her pets were not killed or hurt.
This life tries our sanity and our faith (sometimes) with extreme measures.

Thanks for reading my run on sentences.