Writing

Golden Heart and Rita nominees, oh my!

SusanMermaidFriends, this is the LAST DAY in 2014 when RWA members will be in the dark. Yes, tomorrow is The Day for the announcement of Golden Heart and Rita finalists!

Hi, Rita! <3

Since you all know I’m incredibly helpful in dealing with anxiety (first lie), I offer these ideas (gleaned from the incredible brains of the young men I teach).

– play video games – watch movies – go to the gym – play sports – listen to music – lock yourself in a dark room and avoid talking (really!) – get your guitar and rock out – there is no such thing as anxiety in my world (yes, he really said that)

This, as opposed to the usual stress ideas I see on other blog posts, which usually I include references to cookies, ice cream and alcohol consumption.

Also, I have two family members…
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Where Do You Write?

pintipThe place I write most often is my recliner.

My favorite place to write is probably in my bed, first thing in the morning, when I’m snuggled into my pillows, sleepy and uninhibited.

The strangest place I’ve ever written is flat on my back, under a glass coffee table, dictating to a laptop which is face-down on the glass.

I’ve written almost everywhere, in coffee shops and on airplanes, in friends’ houses and libraries, on the sidelines at gymnasiums and swimming pools, at the beach, a ski lodge, a bench at the Navy Pier in Chicago. Basically, anytime I have a free moment, I pull out my iPhone and write.

But where am I most productive? This answer might surprise you. I certainly never would’ve expected it.

In my car. Yep, that’s right. Behind the wheel, my seat slid all the way back, parked on some side street or lot. Sometimes, I’m between appointments, and it’s not worth my time to…
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Happy Belated St. Patrick’s Day!

No green beer for me this year due to another bout of snow and a yucky cold.

But, I have to admit that I love St. Paddy’s Day! When I was in junior high, I was sent to the office for a violation of the dress code. We weren’t allowed to wear buttons with sayings, and I had about seventy Irish buttons all over my clothes. It took me a good half hour to remove them all. They didn’t say anything about the pointed leprechaun shoes or the bright green wig though.

The fascination with all things green and Irish continued throughout the years. When I was in my early twenties, I went to Ireland and decided I wanted to move there. Clearly, that didn’t happen, so I settled on getting a leprechaun tattoo instead.

What is it about St. Patrick’s Day that makes everyone happy? I’ve never been to a pub when fights break out. People share their excitement and wear green sparkles and goofy hats and pointed shoes….
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Writers & Writing & Weekend Retreats: A Match Made in Happy Town

Denny (PortRoyale)This past weekend, I had a fabulous time in Boonsboro, MD, hanging with a bunch of writers I know from the Washington Romance Writers, a chapter of Romance Writers of America (RWA) serving the Washington, DC area.

First, you may not know about Boonsboro (Nora Roberts hangs out there a lot, but not this weekend:). Three years ago, I didn’t know it from any other small town in Maryland. But each year since first attending this gathering I’ve had a tremendous time, but this year, I don’t know, this year was a really, really, good time. Why? What made it different? Well, this year, here’s what happened:

I learned about writing romance and how characters can fall in love – thank you Kathleen Gilles Seidel. I also learned I will do almost anything to receive the ARC for Lavinia Kent’s next book. Actually, I’ll do anything. I learned that with a gentle nudge Read the Rest…

All I need to know about writing I learned from a cartoon cow!

Mermaid CarleneWell, maybe not everything, but what I did learn was HUGE!

It was Sunday morning and ahem, I was watching Nick Toons. :) Back at the Barnyard was on with an episode called “Cowdyshack”. For the record, I did not plan to come away with this writing nugget but I’m pretty much convinced that I was meant to receive it. And share with you.

So, Otis (the main character, a boy cow) is out with his posse of barnyard buddies and wrangles them a day on a golf course from his friend, a human named Crazy Louie, who sneaks them in. Once they’re all on the golf course, Crazy Louie bids them adieu. Otis and his buddies are practicing their swings when Pig takes a whack. He lets it rip and the golf club goes flying. It travels through the air and lands smack in Crazy Louie’s back, knocking him to the ground! Otis and friends…
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Writing through the Fog

Caution Heavy Fog pic

This past weekend I attended the SCBWI conference in NYC, and while we were waiting for the next great speaker, random quotes would appear on the mega screens to keep us patient.

One quote by E.L. Doctorow kept with me during the weekend, and I wrote it down in my handy-dandy composition notebook. It was this: “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”

Wow. That’s it exactly! Each scene, each chapter leads you to the end of the book. That made me think about WIPs and the obstacles that get in our way while we’re writing. I started to see all these similarities between driving in the fog and writing a book.

Then I did what some writers do best. I distracted myself and started Googling. I found a bunch of warnings for…
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Mary Hart Perry Swims with the Mermaids!

I want to introduce you to one of my favorite authors — Mary Hart Perry, who is also known as Kathryn Johnson.  She writes lovely fiction in all genres, but lately has been writing these wonderful historicals with just the right amount of mystery and romance woven in.

The thing about her work is that she does the research.  These are real people, with historically correct situtations — that she has embellished, or theorized upon.  They range from Shakespeare to the daughters of Queen Victoria — and a sterner mamma you will never encounter.

Here is an interview we did about the first book in her most recent series about Queen Victoria’s daughters.  The third book of which just released a few days ago.

(If you have trouble playing the video interview, you may want to update your Adobe.)

I love the bravery of her characters — especially her heroines.  They stretch the rules to utter breaking points, but always do so in a completely believable way.  If you’re like…
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Let’s eat Grandma!

Dana MermaidWriting is an intrinsic part of life, whether it’s a school note, a research paper or the next New York Times best seller. The way we weave words together or where we place a comma can completely change the meaning of a sentence. Here are a few of my favorite examples:

Getting My Butt Kicked

Susan-Mermaid-avatar As I’ve always said before, I generally avoid New Year’s resolutions.  This year, for a change, I made several:

–       I will join a critique group

–       I will allow myself to mentor someone, and ask for a mentor

–       I will submit material for publication

At the January meeting of CTRWA, I was right there with the club’s critique group.  We found much to say about each other’s work (both pro and con) and left feeling we’d encouraged each other in the best ways.  Resolution One:  check.

Also in January, responded to the semi-annual offer of matching Yodas and Grasshoppers.  Don’t laugh – our most accomplished writers are called Obi-Wans.  However, with the snag of a badly typed email address, I didn’t make the deadline for getting matched.  The coordinator felt badly for me and offered herself up, saying she didn’t feel she was Yoda status yet, but was willing to try.

Resolution Two: check.  Mentor achieved,…
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Snow Day!

Since Masha shared with us what she was not in yesterday’s post, I thought I’d tell you what I am. I am the type of person who watches a pot of water boil. No, seriously. (And it actually does boil, believe it or not.)

When we first got fish, I could sit and observe them frolic and swim around for hours. And don’t get me started on babies. Endless. Entertainment. Of course, this is from the mother who still loves to watch her son fall asleep. (Hey, he’s still in nursery school. That statement would be a lot more strange if he were, say, thirty.)

Where I draw the line, though, is watching grass grow. Too damn boring, too damn long. Yesterday, however, I found a similar, albeit more interesting and prettier, pastime: watching snow fall.

1-snow day 1

As the snow fell and fell and fell, I was thinking that the accumulation of these fluffy white flakes is a lot…
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