The Joys of Cat Dental Work

  • December 07, 2020
  • writing
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Today, Frankie went to the vet for a long-overdue dental surgery. Explaining to him why he couldn’t have food or water this morning is its own special form of pet-hell.

The good news is that he didn’t need any teeth pulled (a surprise, to be honest). Now he’s home and hiding in the closet. I doubt I’ll see him before morning.

And The Words Spilled out

The short story I’m writing collided with real life on Friday. There I was, sitting in a subway car, looking over my pages. Nothing unusual about that, right? I was reading through the scene that takes place at a blues club, when a man stood up a few seats away and positioned himself in the center of the car. I knew I was going to get a musical performance whether I liked it or not.




What Do You Do When Your Character Changes?


“I’ve changed my mind—I don’t want to be the villain.”

“But I’m not in love with her.”

“I’d rather kill them than save them.”

To any nonwriters out there, understand this: my characters can (and do) change even in the midst of my writing them, even when I’ve already got the idea what they’ll be. I can’t explain it, that’s just the way it is.

To writers out there, I’m sorry to say that when it happens, when it alters your plot and the surrounding characters who are then required to react differently to this new facet of your character (let’s call him Smith), there’s no choice. If the change rings true, you’ll need to revise your story.

A Good Book Category Is Worth Its Weight in Gold



I like book categories. They save me time. I know exactly where to go to find the books I want to read. (And I’m very unhappy with my library’s decision to remove the mystery and science fiction categories and place everything under “fiction.” Come on, people! How much time do you think we have to go through the stacks?)

I was horrified to walk into a number of used bookstores and discover that the urban fantasy authors I liked to read were not in the fantasy/sci fi section. Instead, for some inexplicable reason, they were all in the paranormal romance section. And some of the stories didn’t even have a romance in it! (A nasty little voice in my head whispers it’s because they’re written by women but I hope I’m wrong.)

I use categories to help me find other books, other authors, who might not fall on my radar screen. Mislabeling means we, as writers, become more invisible.

Mislabeling drives me bats. What can we do about it? Any ideas?



*Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at


A Writer Battles the Paper Monster

I’ve been decluttering lately. The paper monster reared up and attacked. At first I defended, then I pressed the assault.





The first skirmish was a draw. I still felt tired and overloaded, unable to write a word.

The second, third and fourth skirmishes were better. Then I lost count as I continued paring down the piles of the past. It takes time and effort to think about each line written.

There’s a brief respite now as I pause to write this. Here’s what I’ve learned.

A New Year!


I’ve been spending the past week decluttering. And it’s been tough. But the paper monster rose up to the point where I couldn’t write. Couldn’t focus. So I’m heading back to an earlier post I wrote on this topic and I’ve got my paper shredder primed:

See you next week on the other side of the pile.




*Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at



The Cost of Publishing a Novel



Going Indie


Isn’t it free to post a book at, say, Amazon? Well, yes. But that’s the end of the process so let’s start at the beginning.

I’m not going to try and figure out how many reams of paper or toner ink I went through for my printer. Everyone expects that.

Let’s talk about the cost of professionally putting a book together for publication.

What is Urban Fantasy?



When I tell people that my forthcoming novel is urban fantasy, I often get blank looks and an honest “I don’t know what that is.” When I say, “It’s fantasy—you know, like science fiction/fantasy?” they nod, reassured that they now know what I’m writing. But when I try to explain further, it’s like wading through mud.

The Piano Lessons End…Or Do They?


I wrote about taking a piano class at a community college (see A Writer Learns Piano), and the class ended on Thursday. I learned how to move my fingers along the keyboard, something I couldn’t figure out before. A thrill crawled up my spine when I played a simplified (really simplified) version of Für Elise. Centuries of music stirred under my fingertips.

And the thing that really surprised me? That I enjoyed playing Für Elise. Aside from loving the Nutcracker Suite, I had no real desire to play classical music. My goal was to learn enough to play jazz/blues. I surprised myself.

What if I had hated it? Or been bored with it? Then that would have been another thing learned about myself. How would I know any of it if I hadn’t tried?

I’ve decided I’m not done. I’m looking into more lessons.

Find something that looks interesting. Go. Try.




* Image courtesy of amenic181 at





Do You Write in a Café?


If you do, how do you do it? Seriously, I want to know.

I think it looks so cool to see people typing away on their laptops (alas, I seem to be the only one who uses pen and pad), but how do writers do that?

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