Tuesday, December 14, 2010

North Point iBand

I watched this video this morning and thought..."Hey, I have an iphone!" Now if only I had some musical talent...

Friday, December 10, 2010

I'm going to Write a Novel...

An author, Rebecca Zanetti, shared this on her blog and I couldn't stop laughing.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

On the Subject of Sisters and Pranks

I have an irrational fear of birds. Don't know when it started exactly or why, but it overrules sensibility when it comes to certain outdoor activities where the fowl animals like to hang out. Granted, I have many friends who acknowledge this fact about me, but none use it so well as my sister. Just this month, she sent me a lovely email with a horrifying photo of a crow or raven....just an evil, deadly, vicious, beady-eyed black bird.

You might ask, why would a sibling do this? It's what they do. I returned the favor by sending a lovely blog URL to her that was filled with mice (fabricated, artificial ones) in various poses emulating human activity. Mice reading, mice doing dishes, mice catching butterflies in nets. You guessed it. She has a mouse phobia. I was delighted and couldn't wait for her to open her email. Keep in mind that if I thought this would send her into a traumatic state, I would never do it in a million years. It was just enough to make her groan, shield her eyes, and wonder what she could find to send me in revenge.

Sisters. They know our fears, secrets, and joys. The bird email didn't say, "I want to cause you nightmares over this thing you fear so much." To me, it said, "Thought of you today and thought we could laugh together at your expense." (That is right, isn't is sis?) Pranks at a safe email distance, I can certainly handle. But don't you come near me with a real bird.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

NaNoWriMo Novel: Nine

Just thought I would give an update on my writing project for November. I logged in at 13,900 words a few moments ago, so I am behind. The friendly NaNo site gives me a status update chart that shows a bar graph depicting my failure to meet word count goals. Joy, joy. My excuse? A trip to Orlando for StemTech and another to the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute at Petit Jean Mountain took me a little off-track. Oh well, that's life---trying to stay on the right tracks. I will proudly say that I am writing at a much faster speed under the pressure of NaNoWriMo. Not only am I writing faster, but I'm discovering the joy of writing online with others. I've tried writing sprints this month and am so glad I did. It's a great way to stay focused.

Here are the details of my current work in progress:
Title of my NaNoWriMo challenge novel: Nine
Summary: You might call Abby a very lucky person. Even though her heart has stopped beating two times, she's been brought back to life. First, the man in the well-tailored grey suit rescued Abby from the rubble of 9/11 and left her with a gift- a nested box. Then, JT, Abby's mysterious guardian, gave her the key to decipher her destiny from the cryptic messages printed on each the nine boxes. She's escaped death twice. Why doesn't she feel so lucky?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Déjà vu

I'm ready to outline a story for my NaNoWriMo novel. New ideas are practically bursting forth by the minute. I had lunch with my son on Saturday and thought I'd throw some out there for an honest opinion. He is the brutal critic in my life.

I began...."What about a story where the heroine keeps dreaming and having this mystery unravel. In the dreams, she meets someone that she needs and wants more than anything else in life. AND then it begins to confuse her because some items are bleeding over into her waking hours. She can choose to live in the dream world or find a way to bring him to her world. AND...." I look into my son's face as he stays silent. The déjà vu hits me. It all sounds very familiar.

I had been thinking about this storyline for a couple of days. It all seemed very original at the time. Looking into my son's eyes told me why it suddenly sounded very much like another story. He and I had seen the movie Inception together. We had both loved it and talked about it at length. If I hadn't been looking into my son's eyes, I'm not sure I would have made the connection. As a matter of fact, I'm sure that I would have just had that freaky déjà vu feeling while telling anyone else.

"It's too much like Inception, isn't it?"

"Not exactly. Well, yes a little," he says.

I frown. He smiles broadly.

"Don't feel bad," he says. "Did you know that the guy who wrote Inception originally wrote ten years ago? Then he kept fine-tuning it. He had time to watch The Matrix and a lot of other movies that I'm sure influenced him..."

Anna Quindlen said, "Every story has already been told. Once you've read Anna Karenina, Bleak House, The Sound and the Fury, To Kill a Mockingbird and A Wrinkle in Time, you understand that there is really no reason to ever write another novel. Except that each writer brings to the table, if she will let herself, something that no one else in the history of time has ever had."

Maybe I'll hang onto that that plot.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Concert Adventures

Two years ago, I asked my husband to attend an event in New Orleans called Jazzfest. My favorite band was slated to play on a Saturday night. If you've ever been to or heard about Jazzfest, you know there are many bands playing for several days on end. I was only interested in one band, Kings of Leon (KOL). Before making the decision to drive for an entire day just to attend a concert, my husband made quite a few jokes about us being too old to attend concerts. Phooey, I said. I'm going...get your walker ready.

When we arrived at Jazzfest, we were expecting a younger crowd. To our surprise, there were quite a few attendees who may have actually needed a walker. At Jazzfest, there are stages set up around a huge fairground and you can enter with your ticket and then choose your stage. We arrived early to get a good spot in the stage area for KOL. In walking to the appropriate stage area, we noticed a HUGE crowd at the stage waiting for Bon Jovi's performance. The crowd consisted of a lot of women my age. I love Bon Jovi, but I was not to be sidetracked.

This was an outdoor concert with standing room on the grass. I was smashed between about 5,000 teenagers, but I had vowed to ignore them. I had a right to be there. And I wasn't about to give my husband the pleasure of an "I told you so". I held onto this thought while the young man next to me urinated into a soda bottle to avoid losing his spot in the crowd.

A couple of weeks ago, I discovered that KOL would be doing a concert in St. Louis. That's a 6 hour drive for us. AND there were seats available. So, I bought tickets for seats in Row N at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater. I didn't take my purse with a camera or my iphone with me to the concert. I figured I'd be lucky to see them, much less take pictures. We had seats at ROW N, lower center. The seats were great. I was kicking my camera-less self the entire time. AND people my age were there. The teenagers were also well represented.

Upon arriving home, I noticed that my back was hurting. Heck. My entire body hurt. The following day, I visited the chiropractor. And again on Wednesday. And another visit planned for Friday. The dentist visit this week revealed a need for a root canal (had that on Wed) and a new crown on that same tooth. My memories of the fun concert are a blur. I may need a walker for that next concert.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Glutton for Punishment

I wonder sometimes if I've gone mental. I just joined the NaNoWriMo challenge (National Novel Writing Month). I would hear writer friends talk about this activity, and I was curious enough to check out the website a few months ago. Basically, a person accepts the challenge to write a complete novel in one month. So, this November, I will be holed up in my dining room typing as fast as possible during the wee hours of the night. And weekends. And mornings.

The novel must be at least 50,000 words long to be considered, well, a novel. Let's do the math. That means it will be necessary to log 1,666 words a day. **whistle** I normally do most of my writing on the weekends, but I can see that two days a week won't cut it.

You might think, hmmm... what about the quality of this piece of work? Here's the amazing thing. Some writers have published some pretty good works from engaging in this challenge. Sara Gruen wrote Water for Elephants during NaNoWriMo. That alone is enough to inspire me since I loved that book.

The rules say that you cannot begin writing before November 1, but you can have your plot ideas ready. The website says that you get support from other participants in your area. For the piece de resistence, you get a web badge when you finish. We all love to get a memento that says, "Yes, I did it!" Let's also not forget that you end with A COMPLETED NOVEL. I'm ready.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Reuniting with My Husband

It's official. We're getting back together for the fall season of television. After a couple of months of HBO and reruns for me and golf and fishing for him, we will be reuniting for television. Well, we weren't really separated. It's just that the summer takes us in different directions. But this is a sport pasttime we can share. I'm happy to say that we'll be watching Survivor tonight. I may need to cheat and bring my laptop along. Are there any shows that you are excited about seeing when September rolls around?

(Writing update: still making edits to the manuscript and sent out three queries this month. Received two rejections so far... more queries planned.)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Trailer Time

Last month, I was able to take an online course on making book trailers. The course was great for the beginner. I'm not a newbie when it comes to Movie Maker, and I'm excited about working on a book trailer for The Waiting Booth. One class participant asked if an author should develop a trailer for an unpublished manuscript. The response was that it might be better to focus on other activities to get that book deal before spending time on a trailer. Oh well. I did get a swift rejection this week from the query I sent out. I guess I don't need to start a trailer yet. In the meantime, here is a trailer for one of my favorite reads from this summer. Beautiful Creatures is from the YA genre. I think they did a great job!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Manuscript Milestone

Today I completed the last chapter of The Waiting Booth. It was the moment that I've been waiting for in this process. I didn't actually type the words, THE END, but I did a little dance (Napoleon Dynamite style), took a deep breath, and let myself feel good for a minute. Now what? Well...it was only the first draft. I have gone through this process knowing that I will hate editing, rewrites, and more editing. Thus, I now begin the second draft of the book which will focus on edits. There are some holes in my story. Sometimes the details were in my head and didn't make it to the page. I've also taken two online classes during this process on POV and Show vs Tell. I'm thinking about adding in an entire POV. I'll take what I've learned and try to apply better writing techniques throughout the book. Wish me luck. THE END.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


People who have inspired me this month:
1. Son: My son finally left home to return to college. I made it into that bedroom for a monumental cleaning. Ahhh...
2. Teacher: I'm taking an online writing class called Show and Tell Workshop by Shannon Donnelly. At first I thought she was rather brutal. Now I think she's just GOOD. (sd-writer.com)
3. Fellow Writers: Members of the Arkansas Diamonds are getting their first works published. KUDOS.
4. Leonardo DiCaprio: Saw Inception and could see it again.
5. Niece: My niece took the ACT and SLAM DUNKED it.

In honor of all those who have done such great work this month, I vow to complete this first draft. I am on the final two chapters of The Waiting Booth. Bless my sister who reads every word with support and enthusiasm.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Fun Analyzer

I write like
Dan Brown

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

I inserted my last blog post into the analyzer, and this is what I got! I enjoy Dan Brown's books, so this was a nice result. If I had been awarded another author comparison that I'm not so crazy about, I might not be smiling right now. Great way to start a Saturday.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Writer's Lightbulb

The other day, my husband and I were talking when he called someone a 'hawkeye'.  I replied, "What is that?" since what I heard is 'hogeye'.  He responded that he was being facetious since the guy cannot see anything far away.  I still didn't understand why a nearsighted person would be a  'hogeye'.  I was still confused.  I repeated, "Still don't get it."  He patiently elaborates, " It's like calling a big guy 'Tiny' ."  I thought that was hilarious, but still no prize for getting me understand 'hogeye'.  Much later, after I  wrote it down, he got a chuckle.

In my current manuscript, I needed a secondary character to appear and I didn't have a name or persona.  I gleefully used the idea from this conversation to name him 'Tiny'.  No, I won't be using the names 'Hawkeye' or even 'Hogeye", but I love the thought of meeting a hulking character called Tiny.  This is really how I get a lot of ideas for major and minor plotlines and characters.  Something happens in daily life, and I think, "I could use that."

Actually, I wonder if most authors just pick up a daily newspaper to come up with some intriguing and unique plotlines.  Haven't you ever read a news article and thought, "You just can't make that stuff up!"  I believe that's why people are so drawn to reality televisiont.  You know what they say... Real life is stranger than fiction .

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Hot Book Trailer

Confession Time: I didn't know about book trailers. I saw my first one this morning. It's hilarious!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Another Road Trip

I've been on the road again.  St. Louis is a neat place to visit, but I can honestly say I've been "satisfied".  Twice in one month is enough for me.  Both were driving trips with an audio book to pass the time.  I can't even remember the title of the first book from two weeks ago, so that says something about my opinion on it.  It was an audio book rental from Cracker Barrel.  Just as a side note, when you rent from Cracker Barrel, they charge you for the book at rental.  Then you bring the book back to get a refund minus the rental fee.  I thought that probably folks get to the checkout stand and think, "Holy cow, I didn't expect to be charged $40 for a book rental."  The second trip to St. Louis was much better due to the great audiobook- The Lovely Bones.  I used an Audible download credit for this one and it was well worth it.  It was so good that I could hardly wait for the return trip where I could hear the rest of the story.  A young girl named Suzy has been murdered and tells the story of the drama playing out on earth before and after her death.  The author, Alice Sebold, gives a unique rendition of a different kind of heaven and the afterlife.  I would highly recommend The Lovely Bones in print or audio.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Where's My Happy Ending?

I listened to an Amy Tan audiobook this month, The Hundred Secret Senses.  I engaged in a rollercoaster ride of emotions with the main character, Olivia. The story is basically the releationship between Olivia and her half-sister.  Olivia is half Chinese, while her much older half-sister is full Chinese. The story is rich with Chinese culture.  I have always felt that I can identify with the  characters that Amy Tan writes.  Being the product of an American father and Korean mother, I understand the irritating, funny, mystifying, and sometimes maddening experience of a bi-cultural home.

I think the author did a great job of telling a story where you feel invested in the characters.  I wanted them all to be happy. I needed to be happy because I had become the main character watching my story unfold.  The ending was powerful in case you haven't guessed.   I wonder if writers struggle with telling a story ending that will not make everyone happy. Have you read anything lately where the ending surprised you?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

On the Road Again

Baltimore is an extraordinary city.  I traveled to a conference for work this week.  I think that they must have tailored the sessions with me in mind.  Technology is the overwhelming theme. I love it!  The conference is League for Innovation 2010 with lots of attendance from community college personnel around the world.  I must say that I am exhausted from the load of conference sessions PLUS sightseeing, shopping, and eating.  Yes, I have eaten the best crabcake ever.   No, crabcake isn't the only good thing I've dined on this week.

I am in an awesome room with a view of the Oriole Park and only a few blocks from Inner Harbor.  I've been to the World Trade Center in Baltimore and had a spectacular view of the entire city.  Have I complimented Baltimore enough?

Bad things about traveling: eating too much, spending money, and procrastinating about writing.  I did receive critiques from Chapter Three of my manuscript to review, and I have much work to do. I am currently writing on Chapter Eight.  I read through all my critiques and take their advice on edits to heart in my current chapter that I am writing. 

Baltimore is great, but I'm ready to return home tomorrow.  There's no place like home.~Dorothy

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Plotting Along

At lunch yesterday, my friend asked me about the progress of my book, The Waiting Booth.  I am fortunate to have people in my life who are truly interested.  I answered.Then, questions followed about how I knew I was at that point.  I have a plotline for each character pasted on bookshelf in my office at home.  I know what will happen in each chapter with each character. I have subplots galore. This guide consists of a dozen sheets of paper taped together to make one giant map.  I also try to stay cognizant of my page count total and per chapter.

Why I am doing this?  I took a plotting class in January, and this is the result.  I am now organized and on track.  No more chasing rabbits in the story, hoping I'll pop out on the other side of the bushes.  This really all makes sense for me.  I am the one who makes a detailed itinerary for each day of vacation.  I know where I will eat, what I'll do (or not do), how much I will spend- you get the picture.  Sometimes while I vacation, something unexpected does happen. And it's usually lots of fun.  I fully expect this to happen in my story as well.

I have twenty-five percent of my manuscript completed. Chapter seven, here I come!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Oscar for Books

I watched the Academy Awards the other night and was pleased that I had stayed up past my 8:30 pm bedtime.  No kidding-I do retire that early.  The glitz, stars, speeches, humor...it was all very satisfying.  I found myself proud to be in the Sandra Bullock and Demi Moore generation.  All I can say is, "Way to represent, ladies!" They looked fabulous.  I love movies, but I see most of my movies as they arrive on DVD.  So, I regret to say that I hadn't seen most of the movies up for awards.  I did see The Blind Side.  I took my husband to see it in the hours following his lasik surgery.  We needed a dark place where he could sleep before a followup appointment later in the day.  Since we couldn't go home that quickly, it was a toss up between the movies and a hotel room. And....welll....I picked the movies.  I shouldn't have picked that one.  The football engaged him from the beginning, and he kept his eyes open the entire time. I don't think he could see if very well.  As we were leaving, I said, "Tim McGraw did a pretty good job." My husband  replied, "Was he in the movie?"   Thank goodness no harm was done, and his vision is fine today.  Or he says. 

As I said, I don't see very many movies in the theater.  I tend to spend more money on books than movie tickets.  Why don't they have an Academy Awards type show for great new literature?  I guess we just don't love to see authors all dressed up and thanking their loved ones for supporting their art. Which book or author would you nominate for 2009?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Resolving to Celebrate Anything at All

I had made a resolution in starting this new blog that I would consider it an exercise in discipline to post regularly.  By regularly, I thought twice a week at minimum would be acceptable.  In addtition to that, I resolved to make it a habit to add to my current manuscript in some productive fashion.  So much for resolutions, whether they be a new diet, relationships, or any other facet of life.  The problem is life.  Life throws a monkey wrench in it every single time.  And, of course, we never anticipate these stumbling blocks that encourage us to say, "I just can't do it today.  I'll get back on track tomorrow."  So, I spent several hours (I counted at least 8) last week in doctor's offices with my son.  I got tempted into watching American Idol too much.  Excuses abound.

Instead of thinking about all the tasks I DIDN'T accomplish last week, I'm going to celebrate that I got anything done at all.  I did write two chapters in my book.  I did finally finish reading the book my sister lent me.  I did register for the Romance Writers of America conference in July. I did add a cool widget with my favorite books on the right panel of this blog.  I did finally get finished watching The Bachelor.  I did finish listening to Catching Fire.  I did back-up my husband's files from his work laptop.  I did file my son's taxes.  Heck....I have changed my mind.  I really did get some things accomplished.  Woo hoo!!

Monday, February 22, 2010


One of the reasons that I think I liked watching Seinfield shows is that I could imagine myself having the conversations from the diner and Jerry's apartment.  If the show were still running today, I can just hear the conversations that would be had about Facebook, Twitter, and now the new Buzz. 
Jerry: Do I REALLY need to know that she needs two cows and a pig for her Facebook farm?
Elaine: Would you rather hear a plea for a pig or  daily play-by-play of every activity from her day?
Jerry:  I'm goin for the pig.

Now that I have stepped on multiple toes from the social networking folks, let me admit that I am guilty of some oversharing also.  I have posted some updates and then deleted two seconds later.    And although I don't play along on the farming and mafia games on Facebook, I understand the posting of the activities is really part of the game.  As far as the updates go, I am sometimes amazed at what people will post.  Maybe I am just too shy for that.  Or maybe I think, do all of my 150+ friends on Facebook need  this information?  I do not log on to Facebook everyday.  I am sure that I miss out on a lot.  Do you think Facebook and Twitter posters overshare?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Audible Enthusiasm

     I have been commuting for some time now. It's two hours daily...if I'm lucky, and I don't hit traffic.  I have discovered a way to make the trip more than bearable.  I actually look forward to my time in the car alone with my newest book.  This week, I downloaded a book from the young adult genre, The Hunger Games.  I have a monthly subscription with Audible for one download credit a month, and I also frequent the library for books on DVD.  The Hunger Games started out with a riveting premise that reminds me somewhat of a Stephen King story, The Running Man.  I am only on chapter three and am excited about my drive tomorrow.  You might think, "Why not listen to more of it tonight if you are that excited about it?"  I try to limit myself to access to my audiobook.  I then will be in for a treat when I make the 50-mile trek to work.  
     The narrator of The Hunger Games is not one that I accepted with enthusiasm at the beginning of the book.  I am accustomed to her voice now, but I did have some reservations through the first chapter.  I have been an Audible customer for a couple of years now.  During this time, I have deserted one book due to the narrator.  The book was Beyond the Highland Mist, and if I ever pick it up again, it will be in print.  The best narrator of a book in my audio library is Neverwhere and is narrated by the author, Neil Gaiman. I've listened to it three times.  I tried to read another Gaiman book and didn't get hooked.  I missed his voice.
    Although I'm only on chapter three, I'm already attached to the main characters of The Hunger Games.  I'd love to give you a summary.  The only problem is that I can't spell the main character's name (since I don't have it in print).  Katness, Catness, or Catnis?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Weekly Wrap-up

This week I received my second rejection to an email query  for Reading Between the Lines. This is the completed manuscript I mentioned in my first blog post. This second rejection was on a friendlier and more personal note as I was invited to send another query with future material.  I am putting information about my current project in all my query letters.  My current project, The Waiting Booth, is a YA paranormal romance.  Or maybe it could be sci-fi romance.  I definitely plan to send another query  to the agent from this week's rejection.  This morning I was at my best as far as writing goes.  I sat down with my morning coffee at 6:00 am, and the words just flowed faster than I could type. It's not always like that, but I am a better writer in the mornings.  My preference would be to write from 6:00 am until noon everyday, but the need to work (and get paid) interferes with that plan.  My goal is to complete an additional ten pages tomorrow.  For next week, I will submit Chapter One of The Waiting Booth to the critique group that I have joined.  If I can submit a chapter a week....well, I can see this timeline isn't going to work.  With chapters at roughly twelve pages each, I'll be finished in six months. I heard a man on conference call this week say, "We need to figure out what is driving this mule."  I am not sure that I know what is driving this mule, but I need to be finished in less than six months. (Adding to my to-do list...timeline for The Waiting Booth manuscript.)

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Bachelor and Romance

Monday night is reserved for two activities.  I engage in volunteer work on a database for a national dog rescue organization,  and I watch The Bachelor on television.  I have been hooked on The Bachelor this season as I couldn't figure out why last season's bachelorette didn't choose Jake.  This season, Jake seems to be perfect husband material.  Maybe that's the problem.  He is just SO nice. Did last season's star need someone grittier, tougher....less sensitive?  This has brought me to ponder on what women really want.   What makes for a good hero in a romance?  I've read this genre for many years, but I can say that my definition has greatly expanded over the years.  One of the first single title romance books I remember reading was written by Rosemary Rogers. I don't recall the name of the book.  I do recall the plot.  Beautiful woman travels through a canyon where she is captured by a rogue leader of desperados.  She falls in love; he falls in love.  She tries to escape, and the rogue is forced to abide by his own law and whip her with a cat o'nine tails for punishment. I was so tormented. Really. Nowadays, I require some very different charactertistics.  My favorite heroes have a good sense of humor, tend to break the rules, and are at least a little sensitive.  So, I still like the hero to be less than strait-laced.  Maybe Jake needs be a little more of a scoundrel.  He's doing better this season since he gets to do the choosing.  AND he has one version of the scoundrel in his final four ladies. Go figure.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

My New Life

Don't be deceived by the title.  I'm not getting rid of the old life, but rather I'm adding a dimension to this one.  Of course, writing is not even "new" to me.  I've been in the closet about it and have decided to come out.  Earlier this year, I decided to learn about all facets of writing.  I have decided there is more to writing than putting the stories on paper.  I have always assumed that I could do that.  I have a fertile imagination.  I love books.  I've read some books and thought...I can do that.  I can do better than that.  Isn't that how it begins for a lot of authors?  Now is the time to prove it. So, back to the "new life" part.  In the past few months, I have joined the Romance Writers of America (RWA) and the Diamond State Romance Authors (DSRA).  I entered my first completed manuscript in a competition hosted by RWA.  I took an online class taught by two talented authors from DSRA.  I am determined to make this happen.  I think that is probably one of the most important decisions in this journey as an author.  Okay,  some hard work and talent will be needed, but I am liberated by this decision. I am choosing my new life.