mermaids

Conflict and the Ten Year Old

Conflict…an essential element of any story in the 21st Century. 

I know this because I’ve just come back from the Romance Writers of America’s National Conference in New York City where I attended several workshops attempting to really show us the core of what conflict means.   And not just that, but how it affects almost every aspect of your writing.  If you know what you’re doing with internal conflict, then you’ll have characters the readers care about.  If you can boil the main conflict of your story down to 25 words or less, you may just have a high concept which will help you have a dazzling pitch.  A tight, fast-paced novel with no sagging middle means you know what you’re doing with external conflict and your readers will appreciate that.   Every stage from the pitch, query, synopsis, the meat of the book…if you’ve got the conflict down, then you’re on the right path. 

Pages and pages of copious…
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Happy Fourth of July!!!

July 4th is my favorite holiday. I could watch fireworks on a nightly basis. Perhaps my love of glitter and sparkles has something to do with it.

Plus, the Fourth of July is fun. There is no present-buying-stress like Christmas. Sure, you may get some picnic or barbecue food together, but that doesn’t seem to be as stressful as a huge Thanksgiving dinner.

Instead, July 4th is easy. It’s summer, the weather is (hopefully) beautiful and you can just relax and celebrate with friends and family. Again, hopefully with fireworks.

But the real reason why this is my favorite holiday is the meaning. Let’s take a moment to remember the significance of this day; what it represents and why we celebrate it. The Fourth of July is about freedom.

I’ve been thinking about my love for this relaxing holiday and how it makes me feel. Interesting that that same easiness and carefree feeling used to be applied to my writing. Before I learned about publishing contracts, query letters, protecting your…
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The End

So I watched season premiere of True Blood the other night. Tradition holds that I enjoy an adult beverage or two while I’m watching my favorite vampire/warewolf/fairy/telepath/God-I-Love-Lafayette TV show. That first beer went quick (it was a hell of a week), so I hit pause to make a quick kitchen run. That’s when I saw the show was already half over.

“No!” I squealed. (Yes, I really did squeal, this is not a proud moment for me.)

Waiting a week for the next episode would be bad enough, but I’ll be twiddling my thumbs for two weeks because as you read this I’m on vacation. And while my parents have lots of fun stuff at their house, HBO is not one of them. I’d like to say that’s the only reason for my outburst, but the truth is that any time I’m sucked into another character’s world I hate having to step out of it.

You know the feeling. You’re…
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FIX THIS!

There are a lot of books out there.

In the days of Dickens and Hawthorne, writers were worth far more than a dime a dozen (a whole dollar, at least). It was a romantic profession, revered by many and envied by more, so much so that many an impoverished author had a benefactor or two to support them as they honed their craft.

Even taking into account the ones that have gone out of print, time alone has grown the number of books in existence exponentially. Digital publishing has doubled that exponent. Many well-to-do writers aren’t as well off as you’d think. We have to get things like day jobs to support ourselves. As for benefactors…well, there’s always Kickstarter.

What kills me is when an author–I won’t name names, but I will qualify that these authors I’m referring to make enough money to be only authors and nothing else–releases a new,…
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For Those Going to Nationals . . .

If you’ve seen this already, I hope you enjoy it again.

To all my writing sisters out there going to RWA Nationals—

• Be careful on your trip.

• Stay safe

• Have fun

• Learn lots

• Meet new friends (finally meet face to face with those you’ve only talked to via on-line loops, chats, etc.)

• Be inspired

• Be amazed

• Be safe (again)

• Be supportive

• Be loving

• Be kind to others

• Don’t sweat the small stuff

• Don’t forget 7 pairs of clean panties (read about forgetting underwear on trip—not good unless you are used to going without)

• Don’t walk out of the ladies room with t.p. stuck to the bottom of your shoe (or your dress caught in your pantyhose)

• When squeezing lemon into your water, cup both hands around your lemon wedge to keep the juice/ seeds from flying in…
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No Room for Doubt

Do you ever spend hours, days, weeks pouring your heart and soul into your writing only to go back, read it and think, “Oh my God, what was I thinking? This is crap. I have no talent. No one will ever want to read this.”

Well, guess what? You’re not the only one!

I love to write. I love the creative process and making the story come alive on the page. For me it is not just the destination (the finished story), but also the journey getting there (developing characters, and hammering all of those twists and turns into place). But I often find, especially during my editing process that doubt creeps in. I start wondering what the heck I’m doing. Wondering why I ever thought that I could write a book.

Recently, while going through one of these moments, a friend introduced me to a new type of encouragement…
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Presenting Barry Mouse and Mary Mouse

A few weeks ago, I visited my parents and stumbled across a short story I wrote in the seventh grade. Behold, “The Mice,” complete with illustration:

One day, two mice, Barry Mouse and Mary Mouse, looked out their home in the wall and saw a great, big piece of cheese. “That cheese is as good as mine!” Barry Mouse exclaimed. “I have wonderful reflexes, and I’m a natural athlete!” “Not so fast,” Mary Mouse interjected. “Maybe I could get the cheese before you.” “Yeah, right,” Barry Mouse said sarcastically. “You’re just a girl! How could you reach it before I? I, the magnificent; I, the strong; I, the superior athlete. That piece of cheese is going to taste so good! It’ll be simply delicious! And why should I share any with you? I’ll get it myself without any help from anybody…” Mary Mouse was sitting there, eating the…
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Writing Right Where We Are

With laptops at our hands, it’s easy to write almost anywhere. I’m writing this post on my living room couch.  It’s not my favorite spot, but it’s where I am this evening.

Do you have a favorite spot to write?  I’ve had several.  In my first house, I wrote in the back bedroom.  I had a view of the forsythia bush planted against the fence, and loved watching its changes through the year.  My second house had a view of a suburban street, beige walls and very ugly blinds left behind by the prior owner.

I’ve also written in a nice, private study with a view of the front yard and the court where we live now.  I earned my Master’s Degree in that downstairs study.  It was quiet and private, a professional space I shared with my husband without problems. Then my son entered a private high school and that was the end of the study! …
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Operation Real Life Romantic Men

We write and read about them.  They give us goose bumps, make us giggle, confound us and astound us.  Sometimes they take bullets for us and sometimes they just enjoy watching us sleep.  But these are, after all, fictional heroes I talk about.  And at the end of the day, a girl’s gotta know that there are real life great guys out there who are doing their best to live up to these extremely high standards we lady writers have set.  I am extremely pleased to share a few instances of “friends” who have recently had run-ins with some living and breathing romantic men. 

According to one friend, a sweet guy spied her at the local store and worked up the courage to ask what tanning lotion she used so he could get some too since she had such a lovely tan.  And then went on his way.

Another friend reported earlier this month that while standing on the…
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BFF = Brave Fiction Fan

Think it’s hard being a writer? Try being the best friend of a writer! My BFF, Danielle, reads everything I write before anyone else. She is joining the Waterworld Mermaids today to give us her side of the story.

Brief History: D and I have known each other since we were five years old, but we’ve been BFFs for the last 16 years. I live in Arlington, VA, while D is up in Pittsburgh. We have many differences, but we do share the same sensibilities regarding tanning (always wear SPF), Nora Roberts (we heart her), Pittsburgh sports teams (they’re awesome) and the movie Newsies (yay!).

Warning: D and I have a tendency to be silly and go off topic. Enjoy!

Kerri: Do you know we’ve been BFFs for 16 years? BFF: OMG, we are that old already? Those years have been filled with some crazy times, haven’t they? Kerri: IKR! When did…
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