The Writer’s Epitaph? Suck it Up, Lest Ye Be Judged

I’ve been thinking about how we take criticism.  We all get treated to other people’s judgments, deserved or not.  Sometimes we ask for a critique.  Other times we don’t – and we get it anyway!

I’ve been seeing a lot of postings on the Net about critiques and what people consider harsh reviews.  There was the episode, earlier this year, of the writer who committed review-icide over what she thought was unusually harsh criticism in a blog.  Which touched off a firestorm of argument over three days and forced the entire discussion to be closed.

Mostly, writers post more gently, asking the usual why?  Why me?  Why this work?  What do they not get about my writing?  And, since I’ve recently enrolled myself in a website for receiving advance copies of books, and another website where I can post my thoughts on them, I have to consider how a book gets reviewed.  What’s fair?  What isn’t?

Even more important,…
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How My Obsession with the Not-so-Impecunious Robert Pattinson Has Made Me a Better Reader (and therefore a better writer!)

My age is swirling around in a little filter-like funnel cloud above me right now reminding me that at thirty-six, I am a grown woman and no longer a Bop reading young girl.  I should not be obsessed with teen idols. 

Okay, now that I’ve gotten that out, let me say it…who cares?  He’s cute and interesting.  No biggie.

But I do want to give credit where it is due and so here is why I feel compelled to admit to you all what my brain does when I find something or someone fascinating.  It goes into absolute devouring mode. 

I’ve been like this as long as I can remember.  At ten, I fell in love with Sal Mineo’s Plato and read Susan Braudy’s 320 page Who Killed Sal Mineo?

Can obsession really be that bad if it’s motivated me to become an avid reader? 

Here’s what I know.  Today I read a page in Guy de Maupassant’s novel,…
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Ain’t Nobody Gonna Mess With My Nora Roberts!

The Setting: A Barnes & Noble in Southwestern Pennsylvania The Characters (emphasis on characters): Me, My Mom & My Dad Driving the Getaway Car 

I attended my first RWA Nationals this past June in New York City. Many, many things stood out to me but one thing that really caught my attention was the use of Nora Roberts. Nora was mentioned in almost every workshop I attended. People brought her name up at lunches and dinners. She was quoted left and right.

Annoying? Hardly. I know you all say you’re Nora’s biggest fan. But you are not. I hold that title and here is why.

About seven years ago, I was visiting my Mom and Dad in Pennsylvania. As with most visits to my parents’, we ended the night at a Barnes & Noble. If we’re in a Barnes & Noble, my Mom and I are in the romance section. And if we’re in the romance section, you know…
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A Place To Write

You may remember that back on June 6  I posted about my task to get back on track with my writing and to start putting together a do-able schedule to ensure that I could have time to write and to balance my other duties as a wife, mother, attorney and friend.  So, I read this book:

It was enlightening and helped me focus on my writing style and a realistic set of goals for myself.  I’m an “after-hours/any time opportunity” writer – meaning that I write when everyone else is down for the night and also when I can snatch time during the day. So, I’ve a whole new set of goals and a schedule posted on the fridge and it appears to be working. I’ve met and exceeded my daily word count of 1000 words for the past two weeks and it feels great!

So, the next thing I need to tackle…
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Sex, Sex and More Sex

I love Tina Fey.

(I know, probably not the first words you expect when reading a blog titled Sex, Sex and More Sex, but I swear it fits in.)

In her movie Date Night there is a scene at the beginning when she comes to bed wearing a ratty old T-shirt and her retainer. Her husband (the adorable Steve Carell) looks at her and says, “I guess were not having sex tonight.” This leads to a discussion of whether they can rally, i.e. change their mindset and get up the energy for sex.

This scene made me laugh out loud. Not because it’s a situation my characters Claire Layton and Jake Warrick encounter in Up a Dry Creek. No way. Those two are so attracted to each other they have to practically sit on their hands not to touch each other. However, as the chronicler of their story, I had to rally a time or two to get in the mood to write hot sex scenes. Face it, even we writers get headaches.


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Opening Salvo

My boyfriend Joe (whom some of you may know as The Fairy GodBoyfriend) and I were talking in the car Saturday morning on the way home from the Adam Ezra concert in Lancaster, PA. Thanks to a considerable lack of both sleep and caffeine I can’t remember what got us onto the particular subject, but Joe made a comment about how he’s not a real talkative fellow. He’s just not the kind of guy who goes out of his way to introduce himself to everyone at the party. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Like everything men say, Joe’s statement is true…to a point. Joe has no problem talking to strangers. None at all. In fact, he enjoys it. If I ever leave him by himself at a party–or a line at Best Buy–he will inevitably be chatting with the person next to him upon my return. He’s not antisocial;…
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FIVE MONTHS UNTIL CHRISTMAS

Deadlines can be disastrous.  August 2 for Congress.  September 1 for School.  December 25 for Naughty or Nice!  No matter what project is at hand, any deadline can be gracefully accomplished, or utter disaster.

I wish this post could be about the Great Debt Ceiling Feud of 2011.  I have plenty to say about that little shootin’ match going on in Washington this week.  But that’s for other blogs.  No, my own personal deadline has been on my mind lately.  You see, I promised myself that I would finish my book this summer.  And I’ve cobbled together all the bits I’ve written on my current WIP into a “master file” document.  It currently stands at 42,000 really messy words.  Am I pleased?  No!

I’m terrified.  And my writing has slowed even more than usual (and I’m not a high-output writer in the first place).  My personal deadline when school let out was to have a 90,000 word rough draft by…
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Who Is Your Muse?

We as writers are constantly looking for the inspiration, drive and desire to sit down and pump out a story.  Sometimes it flows naturally, (like those 2 am instantly, awake ideas that just have to be jotted down) and other times we sit at our computers staring at the blank screen hoping something will jump out at us.  As a pre-published author I’m not under the gun to perform on deadlines–yet, but I do like to set goals for myself on a specific book.

So what do you do when there is no thoughts running through your head?  What inspires you to write that story? (For my last story, it was a hot picture of Hugh Jackman over my desk). 🙂 LOL.

Yes, I’m suffering lately, but thanks to a good friend of mine, she inspired me the other day to sit and write 1,000 words in one hour on my latest endeavor.  I did 1,069.  Sometimes for me, my Muse…
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Wizards, Witches and Muggles, Oh My!

I woke up at four-thirty in the morning the other day with an idea for a scene and instead of rolling over and going back to sleep like any sane person, I instead rushed out of bed and down to my computer to spend the next two hours writing. Why you ask? Because I’m a writer and that’s what writers do. We take our thoughts, ideas, dreams and musings and transfer them to the page, hopefully, creating dynamic characters, witty dialog and conflict along the way.

But why lose sleep? How important could one idea be anyway? I mean really, people have hundreds of ideas everyday. Is one idea really so important that you should stop every thing? Roll out of bed to get it down before it evaporates into the floating mists of dreamland? Can one idea for a book or a scene or a character really…
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Practice Makes Perfect, or How My Daughter Made a Swimmer out of Me

I’m the first to admit, I’m not good in the water. You know that little girl who sat on the sidelines clutching her stomach so she wouldn’t have to take the swim test? Yeah, that was me. Only I wasn’t faking. I was so nervous I literally was sick to my stomach. And then there was the time I went to beautiful Cozumel with my then-boyfriend, now-husband. We paid hundreds of dollars to go scuba-diving… except I never made it past the training exercises. Yep, me again, sitting on the sidelines, tears rolling down my face as I waited for my husband to come back from his underwater excursion. I had nightmares about drowning for six months afterward, no joke.

Fast forward a whole bunch of years, and imagine my dismay when I have a couple of children who love being in the water. This summer, in particular, my daughter begs me to take her to the swimming pool nearly every day. So what do I do when she looks…
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