It’s Here!



Well, it’s here. Written by my writers’ group, The Penheads, five completely different genres bound together by one theme is now available at Amazon:


Finishing My Novel—Really?


As I approached the final pages of my novel, I heard the Bugs Bunny chase music in my head. Speed up, speed up, speeeeed up! I wrote faster and more often until it was done. I felt exhausted and exhilarated.

Then came the crash.

All the advice I read was to step away and not look at it for a month before revising. I rebelled. A month?! No, I would forge through and revise it in that precious month and then publish.

If you’re a writer, chances are good you’re either laughing or cringing at this point.

Fortunately, sanity prevailed. I waited a month. I knew there was more work to be done on my novel but it would be minimal. A few tweaks here and there and I could start the next one. Those pages were polished—I had edited earlier sections while writing the later ones so I knew I was ahead in the game.

I read page one. I stopped. I wrote what? She said that?

My characters had changed during the course of the novel and I hadn’t noticed.

It took me days to stop sulking and realize that was a good thing. It wasn’t that they became other people—they just grew as their circumstances changed. But work was needed to make the transitions smooth.

I revised. It took months. (Hopefully, the process will become shorter with future books.)

But here’s some of what I learned:

There are wonderful books on editing out there that can walk you through the cutting-the-fat stage. Read them. Apply them. And remember:

(1) Spell check.

(2) Manual check. (More on this below.)

If you skip these two steps, be prepared for the criticism that will rain down on your baby. But more to the point, isn’t our goal to give readers something good to read? Why spoil it for them with bad grammar and misspellings? And why should they take a chance on you next time?

What do I mean by manual check? Reread your story. Does it flow? I watched an old movie where the heroine walked through a secret passageway holding a candle. She turned the corner and held a flashlight instead. Ouch.

Also, it’s possible to fall so in love with our work that we write in a haze. I once read a book where I skimmed almost a hundred pages and didn’t miss anything in terms of action or character.

Cut every word that doesn’t add to its beauty, its horror, its action.

So. My novel has been written. It isn’t finished. But I’m very close now.

Back to work.

Image courtesy of Just2shutter at

Sneak Preview

  • August 18, 2014
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At long last, my writers group has a name and a forthcoming book!

Here’s the cover for The Penhead’s first anthology of short stories, soon to be available at Amazon:


Five short stories—from slice of life to literary to urban fantasy to lesbian fiction to horror—bound together by a theme, there’s a taste for everyone. “The Price of a Meal” is my contribution.
More to come!

(Click on the picture to enlarge.)

Write Anyway




The Muse touched my shoulder lightly, a butterfly’s kiss. Words rose up and flowed through my fingertips to the keyboard. I could barely keep up with the thoughts that formed perfectly on the page.

Yeah, right.

In the meantime, there are dishes in the sink, laundry to be done, and let’s not forget the housework. Oh, and I’m out of milk. And that’s just the day-to-day house stuff.

And those lyrical sentences that weave themselves into a story? If it happens at all, it’s because I’m sitting and writing. Without inspiration. Without the Muse, who, I think, laughed at the going rate and hopped a plane to Aruba. (I think she wants to unionize.)

I write anyway. Because that’s the definition of a writer. And it’s work. I write through the chatter and clanking of machines at a Laundromat. Through the swaying and stops of a subway car. Through the absolute silence inside my own head as I sit in the living room in front of my computer and stare at a blank screen.

But even those blank pages will get words on them eventually. Because I’m there, putting in the time and effort. So here’s the most important tip I can think of: If you’re not in your seat ready to work, the odds are good nothing will get written. Show up. Write.

Write anyway.


* Image courtesy of federico stevanin /

No Time to Write? 5 Places That Will Give You Time



I’ve read of people who get up an hour early and write before officially starting their day. More power to them. My family and friends would laugh themselves silly at the idea of me doing that. I’ve been known to growl at people trying to wake me early. And mean it.

So I came up with alternative places that carved out hours of writing time and thought I’d share my list here:

1. Bus/Train

I tried this because I was desperate and bored. I whipped out a little notebook and wrote, and to my amazement I completed two pages by the time I reached my destination. (Be prepared for strange looks and even having people move away from you. I’m still not sure if that was because I was using paper and pen instead of tapping away on an electronic device or because they thought I was writing about them.)

2. Bathtub

If you’re facing a drought, this is still a viable choice. I never said you had to fill the tub, did I? Get comfortable, write, and when you’re done, take a quick shower. No one will know the truth and you’ve carved yourself up to an hour of writing time.

3. Waiting Rooms

The only down side of writing here is to make sure you’re not so engrossed that you miss your turn. (Yes, this has happened to me.)

4. Standing on Line

I’ve scribbled a few notes while on line at the supermarket, the post office, and the bank. Go on the weekend when the lines are really long. Remember to occasionally mutter, “I forgot to do that,” from time to time, and people will think you’re making a to-do list and ignore you.

5. Laundromat

You can get a lot done during the wash cycle. Once your laundry’s in the dryer, you need to pay attention to it unless you like ironing or giving up your favorite shirt to dress a teddy bear in. (Multiple washes during the week or both days on the weekend will double the time if you’re desperate.)

And there you have it. Five places that will give you time to write. They may not all be possible for you but I hope they will give you ideas for yourself.


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