Bookmarks and Magnets

  • February 26, 2018
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A couple of weeks ago I read Victoria Griffin’s blog “12 Bookmarks You Need In Your Life” and it made me think about the bookmarks I consider essential. (By the way, if you’re a writer and not reading her blog, check it out, it’s pretty cool.)

My number one bookmark is the one above. I can’t tell you how happy I was to find it because I’m not a coffee drinker and this one was meant for me.

This one is fairly new and speaks for itself. One morning I sat slumped in the kitchen chair and when my mom walked in, I said, “I don’t think I can go to school today.” She looked at me and asked, a little alarmed, “Are you sick?” Alarm turned to annoyance when I confessed I was reading all night and within the hour I was out the door and on the way to the bus stop.

I have a few others but these are the two bookmarks on my radar right now.

Then there are magnets. I don’t like magnets that look like cookies or pieces of chocolate because they just make me reach for the real thing. But I love quotes and art, so here are a few of mine:

What are your favorites? Bookmarks? Magnets? Want to share?



ASL, My Novel, and Being a Little Evil

  • February 19, 2018
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In a prior blog I wrote how hard it is to describe the genre urban fantasy. Now I need to explain it in a different language. (Talk about ambitious. Heh.)

Learning ASL (American Sign Language) is not the same as learning English. The grammar of each is completely different from the other’s.

But signs are only half the language. Imagine talking in a monotone and saying “I’m happy.” No one would know how you meant it.

In ASL, facial expressions are the equivalent to tone of voice in English. It makes a difference if your eyebrows are drawn together or your mouth is puckered. Each nuance changes the meaning.

When my ASL teacher told us to make a video on any topic we wanted for fun, I wasn’t thrilled. I’m not comfortable in front of the camera (although I’m getting better at it). My teacher’s idea of “fun” vastly differs from mine. Then an evil thought crossed my mind.

My teacher doesn’t like reading books in my genre.

So I’m going to make a video in ASL, talking about my book Magical Ties. (Cue cackling laughter in the background.)

Considering my sparse vocabulary, talking about a book that includes demons, murder, and relationships is going to be a challenge.

But it’s good practice, a unique way of thinking about my story and how to make it appeal to someone who might be open to trying something outside their usual preference. (For the record, I don’t expect to change my teacher’s mind. We like what we like and that’s it. But it’s the closest I can have to “fun” in this situation.)

One final note: I’m not going to post the video. It’s going to be an amateur effort in a beginner’s class and there’s a steep learning curve. Maybe another video some day!

Writing and Training

  • February 12, 2018
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olympics photo


It’s Olympics week. You’re watching from the couch and agreeing or disagreeing with the commentators before heading back to work.

You sit down at your desk. Pencil, pen, or laptop? It doesn’t matter. You flex your fingers and prose effortlessly flows onto the page. You knock out a few chapters in uninterrupted silence.

Okay, you can stop laughing. Obviously that’s a fantasy. But how many times do people see the final product and think how easy it is?

How easy is it to do a triple salchow on the ice with millions of eyes on you?

I admire the athletes for their determination and practice. It’s the practice and training that help them rise above the pack. I’m sure there are plenty of days when they’d like to stay home and watch TV with slices of cake. And if they wanted to, they could. But they don’t. They have their eye on a different goal and they work hard to make it happen.

Do you? Are you working on improving your writing every chance you get? It’s easy to get published these days as an indie author. More than once I’ve browsed through a story that had such potential but failed. Sometimes it failed for ridiculously simple reasons—bad spelling, punctuation, or grammar. Those were mechanical errors that should have been fixed, either by the author or by someone they paid. That’s nuts-and-bolts errors, the technical factors that the judges count when the ice skaters touch the ice with their hand when they lose their balance.

Then there’s the artistry of writing. The voice that calls out to readers and pulls them in. It’s a story that’s compelling, with strong characters who make you feel involved and invested in what happens.

I hate to tell you this but while there are many wonderful and glorious times when the words do flow and I’m lost in creation, there are many more times of slogging through the mud.

I’ve trained. I’ve sweated over wording and learned from teachers who kindly explained why using diamonds and stars in the same sentence to describe water wouldn’t work. And I’m still learning. Still training. If I want to be the best writer I can be, this is what it takes. Anything less is fooling myself, like thinking I can do a double axel on the ice while watching TV.

So let’s get to it. Practice starts tomorrow. Don’t be late.

Gone Writing

  • February 05, 2018
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Walking down the twisted paths inside my head. See ya next week.

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