Bump, Bump, Bump

My family is on vacation this week at Massanutten Ski Resort. This morning I took one for the team taking my children on a summer tubing ride. So I buy the tickets and up, up we go. We get to the top of the slope and I bravely climb into the giant inner tube. When I’m ready and give the nod the burly blonde college age guy slings me down the giant funnel…where I squeal like a little girl. Fortunately they were shrieks of delight, not horror. At least until I reached the first real bump. I think it should be mandatory for the ride attendant to mention using those glorious abdominal muscles to keep your behind off of the ground! Let’s just say I’m still recovering from my afternoon of fun. 🙂

But bumps are all part of the experience, even in writing.

You start a new story and everything is going…
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Just Free Your Hands, and the Rest Will Follow

How do you write?

Long-hand with a pen and paper? Typing on your laptop? Or via a voice-activation program?

As you may know, I should write exclusively via voice-activation, but I don’t. For me, there are varying levels of pain with the different modes of writing. Typing on the keyboard at my previous 80-words-a-minute is out of the question. I can usually handle pen and paper for maybe a page or two, “hunting and pecking” with a pen gripped in my fist for a little longer. I can generally scribble in the margins for big-picture edits without too much problem, and I can dictate by microphone for as long as my throat can handle. (And yes, there is such a thing as RSI of the throat muscles!)

Why do I switch between modes when it is healthiest for me to write by “voice”? Because being a writer involves wearing many hats, and…
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Somewhere in Time

I am blogging today about an author who died a few days ago. She was African American, and a writer whom I admired for her success as an author, her years in the business, many things, but mostly because she was also just too cool for words — but I’m going to give it a try by jotting down a few thoughts about her as they come to me.

Two years ago, Leslie E. Banks and I hung out over a weekend in October at an event called Phauxcon, a pop culture fan event created more than 10 years ago by my good friend Sierra Hurtt. Don’t ask me how Sierra manages to convince luminaries like LA Banks (Vampire Huntress series) and Jim Butcher (another dinner guest a year earlier) to join a group of no more than 20 folks to talk paranormal fiction, urban fantasy, gaming, role-playing, sci-fi television, Spike and Buffy, or you name…
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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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