Saturday, October 22, 2011

Altered State of Mind

How many times have you been browsing the net or chatting with a friend and saw/heard of something you never really knew anything about but immediately felt compelled to try?

Well, the other day, while trying to get some writing done in a mini creative pow-wow at Archivers while some friends were scrapbooking, I mentioned how I used to scrapbook but just grew bored with it after a year or so. One of my friends mentions that I should totally look into altered books, that she thinks I'd have so much fun making one and that the writer in me would probably fall in love with the creativity of blending words from a book into my own words and art. I'm not much of an artist. In fact, I find it hard to draw a straight line without a ruler, so I was skeptical to say the least. Besides, as a writer, I couldn't fathom tearing pages out of a book and drawing/painting/stickering/scribbling/collaging over them.

And then I Googled and saw images like this ...

And I thought how creative and beautiful.

Maybe I'm not as artistically creative as the picture below, but it might be fun to experiment with color and texture and throwing out all the structured rules of writing for a bit of whimsy.

And so, I decided to try my hand it. As a very studious type of student, I wanted a website to thoroughly detail each step. I didn't want to get it wrong, but there are no such websites. Oh, there are plenty of sites out there for techniques and tips, but none of the sites seem to list, in numerical order, the steps used to complete such works of art. Perhaps that is the beauty of such a project. There is no right way to begin it. There is no right way to finish it. The possibilities are endless.

I'm working on a project now and I'm totally obsessed. I feel like I've only just gotten into the good part. I've torn pages from my chosen book. I've glued pages together for stability. I've primed pages to easily paint/color/draw/write. I've painted and textured the cover. I'm trying to decide how I want my pages within to look.

The control freak inside of me wants to make a power point presentation to outline exactly what each page should look like, which is kind of defeating the purpose of the project to begin with, but at least I've begun a project. I have been taking pictures for before/after presentation so I can't wait to share with you when it's completely done!

Have you ever made an altered book? Are you interested in trying?

Monday, October 10, 2011

It's Our Time

Over the past few weeks, I seem to be so busy I rarely have a moment to sit down during the day and do anything. Between classes at the Y and school functions and doctor/dentist appointments, I feel like I've been running around for the past few weeks with little more than a checklist of places I need to be.

Over the weekend, I decided to slow it down and enjoy this unseasonably warm weather we've been having here in Indiana. It is beautiful out with temps in the lower 80s and the leaves changing colors fast. So Saturday afternoon, I took my little one to the park and we had a picnic. It was such a lovely day!

There are trails throughout the park that lead you through this twisty woods along a creek and after our picnic, Christian and I decided to take a little walk down one of the trails. As we headed into the canopy of trees, I realized that my camera batteries were low and I said aloud, not really expecting any kind of response, "If we weren't running so late today I would have remembered to check my camera batteries."

My son, who so often makes me wonder if he isn't far older than his nine years, says, "What are you talking about? We weren't running late. This is our time. We can do whatever we want."

Those words stopped me in my tracks. He was right. This was our time. We had no appointments. No must-do's. No people to meet. No anything. And yet I was stuck in that checklist mode. It made me wonder if I am all too often that way, running around like a chicken with its head cut off and for the first time, it made me curious how often my son notices these things. It definitely turned me philosophical for a moment and then I snapped this picture of him with the last of the dying battery and I laughed at how quickly he goes from the wisdom of an old man, back to a little kid.

Anyway, here are some more pictures from our afternoon at the park ...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Words of Art 9.27

Today's writing prompt asks you to come up with an original poem, short story, journal entry, etc., inspired by the picture posted below. Feel free to share your thoughts below. I'll be posting mine later because I have a crochet project calling my name.

Monday, September 26, 2011

NaNoWriMo Plans?

Well, it's that time of the year again where writers scramble for 50,000 words worth of plot, characters, setting and another pot of coffee. Fifty thousand words in thirty days. When you first start NaNoWriMo, how impossible does the task feel?

Last year, I didn't start until about the second week in November so this year I'm doing a little more planning and plotting than before. I know my characters inside and out because they're the same NaNoWriMo characters I've written for the past two years. I'm fairly certain my water dwelling creatures will sprout legs and live amongst us land-faring creatures this year.

I sat down and started brainstorming chapters and how long each chapter should be. I started some research, although I admit I don't put as much research into NaNo as I do my other work.

Anyway, the point of this post is to find out how you prepare for NaNo? Do you have everything planned out way in advance? Do you fly by the seat of your pants? Is your NaNo project something you'd be proud for people to read or is it something you file away and forget about until next NaNo? Is it a catalyst for a project you plan to work on even after NaNo ends?

Words of the Week

Here are today's Words of the Week and since I'm about to scoot off to take my son to school and then head to water aerobics, I'll have to post my short story later this afternoon.

Prompt: Use the following words in an original work: short story, poem, journal entry, etc.. Feel free to share your work in the comments section below.

Floe: A sheet of flowing ice
Gibber: Speak rapidly and unintelligibly
Kudos: Praise, honor
Parable: A story told to illustrate a moral
Contusion: Bruise, Injury

Early November on the coast was already freezing. Out in the distance, a gaggle of seagulls bobbed on the water like a floe of jagged ice. It wouldn't surprise me to see ice already; it was bitter cold or maybe that was just the constant black cloud over my head doing my thinking for me again.

I gripped the old beat up copy of Ella and Emma and their adventures in the attic; the beloved parable my mother was most proud of. As a little girl, I'd read the same story and wondered how two seemingly bright little girls could get into so much trouble in an attic and why they needed so much trouble to learn the simplest of lessons. Life shouldn't hurt this much.

I was a doctor, I helped people from simple contusions to delicate cardiac surgeries. Now here I was six months pregnant, listening to the gibber of the cold ocean tides as if they held some secret I needed to know. When had life gotten so messy?

"Momma," Max said, tugging on the sleeve of my sweater. He looked so much like his father in that instant I felt my heart slam into my chest.

"It's too cold out here for us." I took his hand and started back up the beach toward the road.

"Momma sad. Max loves Momma." He clapped his hands together and looked up at me with his father's big brown eyes.

For just a moment, that was all the kudos I needed to remember just how lucky I was despite what our family was going through.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

When Life Gets in the Way

You know that wonderful feeling of anytime you open your WIP you know you can write, add to it, edit it, or brainstorm for it? It feels lovely, like you're actually in control of this creativity monster. I don't know about you all, but I thrive for that moment when it feels like it doesn't matter what time of day it is, I can write and not be totally disappointed with the words.

Then life happens and writing gets a backseat. I hate that. This past week I've been painting the ceilings in our house. No big deal right? Should only take a few days, at most. But I had no idea just how vehemently opposed to ceiling painting my shoulder and neck would be. So, it's taken more than a few days and more than a day or two of resting my shoulder in between rooms.

Yesterday, I finished the kitchen and started the living room. I would have finished the living room but we ran out of paint so I have to make another trip to the hardware store or manage to live with a two-tone ceiling for a while. Speaking of two-tone, it amazes me the difference just having the ceiling painted has done for the brightness of the room. When we bought our place, it was a real fixer-upper that looked as if its previous occupants smoked three packs a day. Take a look for yourself.

Sadly, that isn't even the best example I have to offer but I didn't take before and after pictures of the bathroom.

Anyway, we've decided to do a few home improvement projects as our finances allow us the opportunity so I may or may not get the chance to write as frequently as I'd like. The urge and desire is there, so perhaps 3am writing sessions might very well call my name if I find no other outlet during the day.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday 45 (Femme Fatale)

Femme Fatale will deliberately use her charm to control men and get them to do things against their nature. She is the kind of woman capable of luring good men into crime and murder. She trusts no one, is jaded and disappointed with life. She feels power when others do her bidding and may only value herself for her body. She feels society owes her and she is just collecting her due.

She will never get her own hands dirty or implicate herself in any wrongdoing. Any man who strives for her will end up dead or absolutely ruined. Watch any film noir movie to see her in action. When she decides to turn on a lover, things get ugly and blackmail is the first thought in her mind if he's married. She would rather die than give up her looks or power and doesn't play the victim easily. Also will not sit in the shadows while a younger woman tries to take her place as center of attention.

Example: Cleopatra preferred to commit suicide rather than give up her power. This need for power is a defining characteristic of the Femme Fatale.

She is excessively emotional and attention seeking, but these rapidly changing emotions are well hidden behind a stoic, unreadable face. She has a low tolerance for problems of any kind and has no problem using her body as a weapon. She believes if men are stupid enough to fall for her wile then that's their problem and they must suffer the consequences. She is driven to prove she's not a piece of meat to be thrown around. Has a kill or be killed mentality. She is a great actress who can cry real tears on command. She will be concerned with money and power which equal survival to her.

She is unfaithful and can remain detached when sex is involved. No one knows when she speaks a lie. She can be all things to all people.

Sharon Stone as Catherine Tramell in Basic Instinct

Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra

So, do you have a Femme Fatale character you're working with right now?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Chain - Chain - Chain

(Did that title also make you think of Aretha Franklin?)

*From Room to Write by Bonni Goldberg*

PROMPT: Today, try a trick. Write one of the following words at the top of a page: fence, road, boil, or fall. Now without thinking or stopping, write whatever other words come to mind in a list down the middle of the page until you reach the bottom. Write a piece in which each line uses one of these words in the order in which they appear.

"I fool myself, in a good way, into dodging the pressure. I tell myself that I'm not trying to write a scene, I'm just making some notes for the day." ~~Marsha Norman


She liked to feel the grass underfoot, squishing her toes down against the vibrant green blades. It'd been a long time since she'd had this kind of privacy. In the suburbs, neighbors made it a priority to know your business and then make it gossip-worthy. Standing amid the garden, she couldn't see any other windows or houses. She was out of the city, out of the suburbs.

Whoever would have thought she'd crave living on a ranch where white picket fences weren't just some cliche accessory to make your neighbors think life was perfect? This was her new home and the thought made her heart race. Her children would like this place, she had no doubt. For the first time in her life, she wanted a dog, a companion to share the front seat of an old rusted truck.She would be happy here. This was the kind of place where a family could strive, could get back to what was really important without distractions like iPods and texting and television shows. This was the kind of place where families were secure.

The thought gave her pause as she ran her fingertips over the leaves of ivy that snaked up around the long post of a bird feeder. A halo of colorful flowers was tethered to the feeder, almost like a memorial for something lost and loved. Chewing on what was left of her fingernail, she forced herself to think about being outside, about becoming a lover of the outdoors. There was a stable on the other side of the garden, a building that looked more like a fortress than a home for horses. She took off down the path out of the garden and toward the stable, amazed at the sight of rolling hills in the distance. Great, looming pine trees dotted the perimeter to the west, separating her new property from her nearest neighbor; three miles down the road. At the door of the stable she kicked her toe into the dirt, just to watch the dusty aftermath settle on the cowboy boots she never thought she'd ever want.

The smell of roses was strong and distinct in the air, like a hundred blue ribbon stallions had graced the stalls. She swung the doors open and stepped inside, unsure if she'd find an empty space overrun by weeds or a hoarder's paradise. Jagged rays of sunlight hit the ground she walked on. As she looked around, amazed at the cleanliness before her, she took note of the one stall that seemed to be in total disrepair.

In the wood of stall beams was a sad little heart and initials carved into the deterioration. It was broken, like her heart, and suddenly all the memories of her losses came sweeping back in an uncontrollable deluge of tears and guilt.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Words of Art (The Reader)

This week's photo is one I took of a painting I bought a long time ago. I found it at a yard sale and I don't know who the artist is. There are no identifying signatures on the front or back of the painting. I don't know why I bought it. It went with nothing in our home, and still doesn't, but I had to have it and now that I have it, I can't let it go either.

The object of this prompt is to write an original piece (short story, poem, journal entry, etc.) inspired by the picture posted. I'd love to read anything that you all come up with and comments are always welcome.

Today, I'm just going to write my thoughts about this painting because everything I try to sit down and write seems too stiff and rehearsed. I bought this painting at a yard sale for three dollars. I wasn't in the market for a painting and I still don't know why it had to be this one. I imagine her name was Elizabeth and I get the sense she's not reading at all. I imagine that she is hiding her true feelings as best she can. Perhaps someone is watching her and she doesn't want that person to know the thoughts swirling around in her head. I imagine she's innocent, but strong and determined, although most everyone around her seems to think she's meek and fragile. When I look at this painting, it makes me thoughtful, curious about her, about what book she's holding. I think she looks very unhappy and it makes me sad for her.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Words of the Week (Mardi Gras)

Words of the Week is a writing prompt where you're given about five words to use in an original short story, poem, or journal entry. This weeks words are;

Cavalcade: A dramatic sequence or procession.
Lampoon: Publicly mock or ridicule
Noxious: Harmful, poisonous.
Jocular: Characterized by joking
Mutable: Prone to or capable of change


She watched the parade from the safety of her apartment balcony, relishing in the barely audible sound of classical piano playing from the speakers in her living room. It didn't match the tone of the cavalcade of performers or drunken onlookers below her. It was soothing, such a stark contrast to the noxious smell of sloshed beer that wafted below.

Anyone who knew her would suspect she loathed the annual parade through the streets below, but she rather enjoyed the sight of it. People hung out with their friends and family, laughing, drinking, joking. These people were free to let go and completely uninhibited. She longed to be that way, to feel the rush of blood from a spontaneous decision she knew was probably bad for her but refused to care.

She took a drink of wine right from the bottle. That was about as wild as she was capable of. Most people were mutable, able to adapt to change, but how long had she been living in the Big Easy? She'd yet to experience anything but gumbo and live blues music.

She watched a group of guys below her apartment yelling at a group of college girls who'd just won Mardi Gras beads. Purple and green strands hung from their necks as they took another swig of something in a brown paper bag. One of the guys dared to cross the street and ask for a phone number or a one night stand. She couldn't be sure which, but the girl's answer had been no either way. Red faced, the college guy went back to his friends and of course was lampooned with hearty laughter and jokes she wished she could hear from her perch above them.

Can you use all five words in a short original work?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Black Swan

I wanted to watch the movie ever since the previews when it first came out, but my husband and son had absolutely no desire to see it. So I kept waiting for a couple hours to myself where I could settle in and order it off of pay-per-view. Last night, my husband went out with friends to watch the Mayweather/Ortiz fight and our son was spending the night with his grandparents. So, I ordered the movie and snuggled up on the couch and tuned in.

I expected to like the movie. The reviews were favorable, right? I didn't like it. I'm not sure why, but I just didn't like it, which was even more disappointing because I had expected to like it so much. I guess I wanted more insight into why she lost her mind, what exactly was it she was suffering from, why was her mother so strange, why was she a 20-something woman living in a 12 year old's room?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

New Look

Back in February, I got my first pair of glasses. That was a long time ago, and I'm just now mentioning it because I wasn't very excited at the idea of wearing glasses for an eternity. Don't get me wrong, I like glasses on other people. I think they can be cute and stylish, but on me, I was prepared to look like a grandmother for the rest of my life.

When I first got my glasses, I was amazed at how well I could see. I mean, I expected them to work and improve my vision but I seriously had no idea just how bad my eyes had gotten until I could see with glasses. Street signs that used to be blurry until I was right in front of them? No longer. Squinting and really concentrating on reading the guide on the tv? No longer. Having to magnify my computer screen so I could read without straining my eyes? No longer!

When I first got my glasses, I would sit and play a little game called, 'Amaze Yourself with How Blind You Used to be'. If I was a passenger in a car, I'd try to read a street sign at a stop light without my glasses, then flip them down and be thoroughly amazed at the difference. Yeah, geeky stuff like that.

Well, it's been months and I can finally wear my glasses without getting massive headaches. It took a long while and it's taken even longer to get used to getting my picture taken with glasses on, but I think I've come around and am ready to share my updated look.

Wearing glasses also led me to see how crooked my nose is so in every picture it seems like my glasses are lopsided. I swear, my nose has never been broken. I'm going to label my crooked nose as a distinguishing characteristic and embrace the asymmetry of my facial features. For a girl who is a little obsessive compulsive about even numbers, straight lines, and symmetry in general, it's definitely a bit of a challenge. But if you can't love yourself, who can you love, right?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday 45 (The Seductive Muse)

The Seductive Muse

Is strong, creative, beautiful and driven to creative projects that show the world who she is. She is able to stay cool under pressure, usually seeing the simplest solution to the biggest problems. She often desires a deep connection of love with one man but cannot give up the thrill of the chase. Needs many relationships and experiences to feel alive. Her open sexual nature and the power it gives her generally gives this kind of character a bad rap in the real world. This open sexuality often causes her problems when she looks to get married or start a family. May often find herself in the role of mistress as it is difficult for men to see her as a wife and mother, despite her charm. Sex seems to be the answer and root of all her problems.

She cares about the intimate parts of a relationship and loves being in control. She doesn't openly dominate men, but will manipulate them with her charm. She can read body language well and often tries to awaken those hidden desires in her partners and friends. She will construct a wall if she has been hurt by a lover, convincing herself that someone better is just around the corner. Friendships with other women are important, but rarely does she have a true best friend. She wants other women to express their sexuality as openly as she does, but only other Seductive Muses can truly understand her intensity and appreciate it. This also makes it harder for her to understand the other archetypes.

She fears losing her sexuality, allure and creativity. Rejection of any kind would be a huge blow to her ego, especially if it comes from a lover. She always wants to be the one who ends the relationship because her charm over men is what gives her power. Aging is her enemy. It would feel like the end for her. She may not get married but fear of isolation definitely fuels her need for people and attention. She might be afraid that other women hate her for the attention she receives, but she hates more not being the center of it. She is best suited to befriend Amazons, who are just as extroverted but also protective of her, like a big sister, and with Maidens who look up to her. If she is around other Seductive Muses, their friendships become competitive very fast.

Motivation for her is an urge to create and it doesn't matter whether she is publicly recognized for that creation or not. The need to produce things and experience life to the fullest is deeply rooted within her. She wears alluring clothes and is mostly likely always ahead of the trends. Everything about her ensemble will appear to be perfect and always has an inner glow or star quality that cannot be denied.

Developing her character arc: She will want to be recognized for her brain instead of just her beauty. She might have to learn that physical looks are temporary and superficial. She will want a true soul mate who sees her for who she really is. She will also need to learn to plan for the future instead of always living for the moment. To grow, she is best paired with one of the following;

The Woman's Man: He is capable of teaching her to value herself for her mind and spirit as well as her body.

The Messiah: He can teach her how to channel her sexual energy to advance spiritually.

The Recluse and Mystic: He can teach her to know herself deep down inside or how to be alone without fear of abandonment.

The Amazon: he can teach her how to set limits and accept discipline as a positive in her life.

Assets: Loves to be the center of attention, has a need to express herself, smart, creative, emotional, loves herself and body in a healthy way, loves to dress up and wear alluring clothes, enjoys sex, enjoys female friendships, encourages other women to be creative and sexual, inspires men.

Flaws: Is unable to do things alone, lives for the moment, never thinking or planning for the future, falls in and out of love easily, is manipulative and flirtatious, is impulsive and promiscuous, is very self-focused.


Samantha Jones from Sex and the City (Kim Cattrall)

Vivian Ward from Pretty Woman (Julia Roberts)

Marilyn Monroe

Do you have a character who fits into the Seductive Muse role?

45 Master Characters (Mythic Models for Creating Original Characters)

45 Master Characters (Mythic Models for Creating Original Characters) is a book by Victoria Lynn Schmidt. I've been slowly reading it and making notes for a long time now. Basically, it divides characters into hero and villain categories and tells you what composes the character and gives you examples from movies and literature throughout the ages. It also has a great section on supporting characters and plotting tips for both male and female journeys.

I highly recommend this book for writers. I found it very informative and while I don't sit down with a copy of it every time I develop a new character, I thought the information inside was very helpful. I'll be posting some of the notes I've taken from the book to share with you soon.

Feta Cheese

So I am in the process of rewriting chapter twenty in Penalty Killer. I already had a long first paragraph rewritten and in place but I decided to start from the hospital scene and nix the ambulance scene. I erased the big long paragraph and started over.

With a new paragraph in place, I decided to go back and read it, just to be sure it flowed better than the last paragraph I had written. Imagine my surprise when the eighth sentence of my paragraph discussed the abject horror and stress of watching the feta monitor.

That's right. Feta. As in, the cheese.

You know the prickly hairs that stand up on the back of your neck when you've been away from your feta cheese too long? Apparently, so does Tallulah.

Obviously feta monitor was supposed to be fetal monitor. That's one of those mistakes that Spell Check just wouldn't pick up on. 8)

Thursday, September 15, 2011


How do you come up with titles for your work? Is it something you start off with or something you come up with toward the end? How do you know when a title fits the work you've written?

For me, I never felt like I put much thought into the title. With some of my work, I really thought about it and considered it. Those were the works which the title was an actual line used in the story. I love stuff like that. Others, were just temporary titles I never really worked on and I don't really like but nothing has seemed to stick.

So what's your protocol for thinking up a clever, catchy title?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Made two new buttons for my blog today, both for Zarya. You can check them out at the end of the blog. Zarya is the mermaid character that I've been working with for the past two (and soon to be three) NaNoWriMo years. I am quite sure there are more buttons to be made for characters I haven't introduced to the blog yet but just haven't had the chance to check through my work.

I am almost finished with the Penalty Killer chapter I am working on! Just another 500 or so words. I am just trying to figure out how I want it to end.

It is noon here already and all I've done is straighten the house a bit, eat breakfast and lunch, and write. So, I'm going to get the clothes out of the dryer, get ready to go to the gym, and hopefully get some more writing in before my evening yoga class.

Wish me luck! I've never attempted yoga before so this should be quite the experience.


A few days ago, I wrote a seven page journal entry (by hand) and today, another three pages! Then, I wrote about six pages for Penalty Killer! Makes me feel productive!

And for the record, I too, hate when people excessively use exclamation points, but I'll make an exception for the occasion.

Monday, September 12, 2011


*Do you know how difficult it was for me to leave the 'g' off the end of my post title? I don't like apostrophe'ed-losing-letters kind of stuff. I'm a lamespice, I know.*

Anyway, I'm just about to sit down and rewrite/edit a chapter in Penalty Killer. I feel like I haven't even looked at it in months, but it has probably been more like several weeks. Maybe that's what I needed. Maybe I needed to distance myself from the piece. There for a while it felt like I had rewritten/edited so much Tallulah and Gennadi that I'd somehow become disconnected from them as characters and just too entwined in the get-it-done aspect.

And of course I never make it easy on myself when I go to do a rewrite. No, no, can't have any of that line by line read with minor structure and punctuation correction. I have to rewrite it, word by word, chapter by chapter until I have a whole other document. So 350 pages of work generally becomes about 700+ in the long run. I have tried to refine my habits but I feel awkward and out of place any other way.

Also, this brings me to the point of the post I had intended to write in the first place, you know that moment when you put a finished work away and out of your mind for so long that you get kind of excited to read it again when you happen to think of it again? Well, the other day I was going through Once Upon an Ocean Lullaby and Once Upon an Ocean Nightmare to see exactly where the story ends. As NaNoWriMo manuscripts, once November is over, I tend to forget them, but with NaNoWriMo looming in the not-so-distant future, I thought I'd get a leg up on the brainstorming part of the challenge.

So I'm skimming through chapters and I get so engrossed in the story it's as if I'm reading it for the first time, which I guess, essentially, I am, but you know what I mean. Not that the story was incredible or the writing was phenomenal. I just got caught up and every now and then, it amazes me just how creative my mind can be. Not just any mind, my mind.

Even as a writer, I never consider myself very creative. Most of my stories are rooted in the real world and I embellish details to suit my mood and the characters in the story. NaNoWriMo is different. I used that challenge to step outside my normal comfort zone of mainstream romantic fiction and dove face first into the supernatural/fantasy world.

And when I think about my work in those terms, about how creative and whimsical I can be, it makes me appreciate this writer's block I've had. I know, "appreciate" isn't exactly something a writer should say about writer's block, but hear me out. I live and breathe my stories, as I'm sure lots of writers do. It has to take a toll. It has to happen for a reason, right? (At least that's what I'm telling myself!)So, instead of being ashamed of my writers block and frustrated with it, I'm going to embrace it, accept it, and (gently) push myself to at least journal and brainstorm in between bouts of writer's block.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Making Changes Everywhere

A couple weeks ago I joined my local YMCA. I'm trying to get into a shape other than round. It is slow going and takes a lot of will power, but I'm getting into a rhythm of some kind. Haven't done as much writing as I would have liked, but I'm getting back into the groove of things for sure.

A few weeks ago I was watching Craig Ferguson on the Late Late Show and he had his Paris episodes airing. On one of those episodes he was talking about Love Locks. I've heard of them before but was never really inspired by them until that show. Seeing those padlocks on the bridges inspired a new idea for a story. I've already started character mapping and have a first chapter written.

For those of you who aren't sure what Love Locks are, it's a tradition where a couple writes their name and the date on a padlock and then affixes that lock to (most notably) a bridge. They would then kiss and throw the key over the bridge, symbolizing their everlasting love.

I couldn't help but be inspired by the idea, so I suppose I should thank Craig Ferguson and the Late Late Show for the Paris shows.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Okay, so I know it has been ages since I've written on the blog and I feel more guilty about that than I should. There for a while I could pump out at least a chapter a day and I had more than my fair share of ideas. I have a folder full of finished manuscripts to prove it. Then one day I sat in front of the computer and nothing.

For days.

And days.

And days.

Until those days turned into weeks and those weeks turned into months.

If you've ever suffered from writer's block I'm sure you understand how debilitating that feels. It's not that I didn't have ideas. I had tons of them, but when I turned my computer on and focused on writing, it was like running head first into a brick wall. I was dazed and confused, staring at that oh-so-cliche blank computer screen for minutes looking for anything to distract me from not writing.

Ever hear of this thing called "the internet"? Well as a writer it can be your best friend or your worst enemy. In my case, this time around, it was my worst enemy. I let it distract me. And not just for a day or two or even a week. I let it become my writing. I couldn't find the words I wanted for my story? No problem! Let me check out Facebook. I knew what I wanted to say but every sentence felt like getting a tooth pulled without the luxury of Novocaine. Still no problem! The internet is full of nifty little websites to sidetrack and derail.

Well, the other night I had this awesome conversation with my friend Samantha. She and I are just now finding time to reconnect via the internet. Chats, texts, Facebook. We had one of those interwebz chats the other day and both came away with some pretty sweet ego stroking. Afterwards, when I should have been cuddling in bed with my husband, dreaming sweet dreams of vow renewals and vacations, I was stuck trying to get my writing mojo back. The words were there, the ideas were there and that confidence I'd been lacking, was finally back.

At 6am, I hammered out a complete chapter in less than 40 minutes. I don't know if it's gold. Right now, I really don't care. I haven't reread it because I know that I will be able to find fault somewhere and if I ever expect to move on and finish the story I can't sweat the details before the finish line. But it's done. One whole chapter closer to where I need to be.

Apparently all I needed was someone else to tell me I can do it and that it's worth it.

Now it's 4:34am and all I want to do is dive back into my writing. I feel like I have so much to catch up on, to make up for and I don't want to lose this steam so you'll catch me burning the midnight oil for another hour or so, hoping to plot out and begin Chapter Sixteen of Penalty Killer.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Kids Say

You all know how pathetic I've felt in regards to my writing the past couple months. Well, I'm on my way home from visiting my mom and Christian is almost asleep in the front seat. I ask him, what would be a good story for me to write. This perks him right up. He loves the thought of helping.

His first suggestion was to write a story about the future. What would it be like. Then he suggested I write a story about my life. I asked him what is so interesting about my life that people would want to read it and he said, "oh yeah, nevermind."

That makes me feel peachy! :)

So then I tell him that my stories are more about falling in love so what is an interesting way for two people to fall in love. The following is the general exchange that took place in our conversation.

Christian: "They could meet at a restaurant but not know that they are meeting there."

Me: "What does he say to her to make her fall in love with him?"

Christian: "He asks her how she is doing. But she doesn't like him at first so he has to take her on a second date."

Me: "Where do they go on their second date?"

Christian: "He takes her to meet his family," said as if it is the most obvious answer in the world.

Me: "He takes her to meet his family on a second date? You don't think that will be scary for her meeting all those new people?"

Christian: "No, she likes his family. His parents like her too. He has a brother and two sisters. The brother is jealous because he likes her a lot."

Me: "What is the inciting event? What breaks up the man and the woman or what problem do they have being together?"

Christian: "Hmm, I think that she goes back to the restaurant to for their next date but is mad because he's not there but his brother is there so he has dinner with her instead and she kinda falls in love with him because he's there."

Me: "So she leaves him and falls in love with his brother? That seems kinda mean. How does his brother and his parents feel knowing that he stole his brother's girlfriend?"

Christian: "His parents are mad but it's like she doesn't see them so she doesn't really know."

Me: "Does she get back together with the first brother in the end?"

Christian: "No, I don't think she loves either one of them."

Me: "Why?"

Christian: "Because she goes on a date with the second brother and he tries to order her something on the menu like fish but she doesn't want the fish and he is only ordering it because it's the cheapest thing. But then he orders the most expensive thing for himself and she doesn't like that he's so cheap so she leaves him at the restaurant and says she's going to the bathroom but really she just walks home."

Hmmmmmmm .... I don't know if I can come up with something out of all that, but it's nice to know I have a brainstorm buddy if I need one. :)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

It's Debilitating

Seriously, it is. I can't journal. I can't write a paragraph. I can't look at my blog because it makes me depressed that I can't share some kind of writing update. I have never gone this long without writing. It's been months. I have even tried going to my favorite place to write and I get distracted by everything, not because I'm distracted, but because I'm looking for distractions so I have a reason not to write.

I have sat down with my favorite book of writing prompts. I wish there was some magic wand someone could wave that would just send my writer-without-words ailment faraway. I don't know how many episodes of Sex and the City I've caught on E! the last few weeks and I am so jealous of "Carrie" because she'll hammer out a four sentence paragraph with the greatest of ease that is witty and funny and thought provoking and somehow always relevant to th plot of the episode.

I've hit rock bottom. I'm jealous of fictional characters.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Do You Ever Wonder?

Do you ever wonder how some authors come up with completely different worlds? My writing is always grounded in reality. There are of course a few liberties taken, but my characters are stuck in a real world very similar to the one you and I inhabit. The writers who create whole other worlds amaze me. Like C.S. Lewis and Narnia or J.K. Rowling and Hogwarts.

I always wonder if there is this massive planning that goes into, which I'm sure there is quite a bit, but do they sit and focus on the world their characters will live in? Is it all intricately drawn up in their minds and pounded out in notes and pictures? Or is it all some kind of happenstance that things seem to flow together. Like with the Harry Potter series; did Rowling have all the details of the magical world planned out or did a lot of it just fall into place with each progression of the series?

It fascinates me. I've been thinking about this a lot. Perhaps because of the new project I find myself attracted to. It is rooted in the real world, but has lots of magical elements to it. I just wish I could crawl around the mind of some authors and really experience their brainstorming/writing process.

20 Pages of Progress

Today, I went to my favorite bookstore in the world and sat there all day just writing. I wrote 20 pages. I am so excited! It's been forever since I actually sat down and felt productive! I'm a little sad because I heard talk that my favorite bookstore might be closing down and everyone seems to have a funny feeling that of the other stores being considered, the one closest to home for me is the one that will get closed.

I guess if it happens I have to take time to find a new favorite bookstore ... or at least a new favorite place to write.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Long Unexpected Vacation

I had to take an unplanned vacation from the blog and from writing. You wouldn't believe the trouble I had trying to order the power cord for this laptop. So, I think the count was 17 days without a computer. It was killer. The moment I could no longer write on my computer, I had a million and one different thoughts. The moment I get the cord back, one that fits and works, I am so excited to have the computer back that I can't stop browsing the net. I promise myself to get back to writing today.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Busy Month

Well, this month has definitely been turbulent and busy. I finally finished Chapter Twelve of Penalty Killer and have a good idea of where Chapter Thirteen goes.

Right now, Christian is spending the weekend at my mom's so once Joe goes back to work I have the whole house to myself for the rest of the day. I plan on disconnecting from the interwebs and pounding out a chapter. I also have a box of Earl Grey Tea to help with the ambiance of working from home.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I was wrestling around with Christian and we slipped on the kitchen floor. I put my arms around him to keep him from hitting the floor so hard but that didn't stop my knee from smashing into the metal vent. He's fine and of course he thought it was hilarious. I did too, but it was a painful hilarious; the kind of hilarious where if you don't laugh you'll cry and you don't want anyone to see you cry.

That was a week or two ago and has been swollen and sore-to-the-touch ever since, but only this morning did I notice that the slight-maybe-it-is-maybe-it-isn't bruise is a full blown, black and blue and green bruise. It looks worse than it feels, but it is so tender and painful to even graze.

It is snowy here today. We woke up to three inches of snow. Christian was hoping for a snow day but no such luck. Maybe he'll get to come home early though, because I think we're supposed to get another 2 inches. I like the snow. I don't even mind the cold. (I just don't like the wind)

I don't want to do anything but put some Icy Hot on my knee, curl up with a blanket on the couch, and fall asleep with the television on. Perhaps I'll get some writing done today. Perhaps not. Either way, I don't really mind. At least for today.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Here is a preview of the first two pages of Chapter Twelve, Penalty Killer. I finished those yesterday and have decided that for the next hour, Chapter Twelve has my attention.

Another doctor appointment down and over with. I slid into my pregnancy capris and slipped my feet into flip flops. As much as I hated coming in for these appointments I couldn’t deny that a part of me was ecstatic to even be in the vicinity of medical tools and gadgets. How long had it been since I’d handled an ultra sound machine myself? Or written a prescription? I longed to hold a scalpel, to stand on my feet for eight hours in surgery, to be busy with something that didn’t involve macaroni portraits of myself in which my head inevitably took the shape of a pumpkin. Macaroni art made me self conscious. Did Max really think his mommy’s head was a misshapen pumpkinoid?

As I shuffled out of the exam room, purse in hand, I tried to convince myself that macaroni art was just art and, like a camera, added an extra fifteen pounds. Even that did little to make me feel better so I went to my fallback excuse; pregnancy symptom. Either I was being too hard on myself as a result of pregnancy or I had gained fifteen pounds in my face as a result of pregnancy. I chose to believe the lesser of two evils.

The nurse behind the glass partition gave a sugary sweet smile when I stepped up with my insurance card already extended. She looked new to the office, carefully thinking out each step of the check out process before she proceeded.

“Doctor Cline wants to see you back here in three weeks for an ultra sound. Don’t forget to bring a blank DVD with you. We can transfer the images onto the DVD as a keepsake.” She clacked a few hundred keys on the keyboard of her computer then handed my card back to me, sugary sweet smile still in place. I mumbled a thank you and braced myself for the waiting room.

The moment I stepped through the door, Max spotted me. A smile puffed up his cheeks and he darted for me, attaching himself to my leg as if I’d gone to war and he never thought I’d come back home. Samantha smiled and grabbed an armful of bags to join us as we walked out and into the continually sweltering daylight.

“So how’d it go?” she asked, reaching down to take Max by the hand as we crossed the parking lot to her minivan.

“Uneventful, thank god. I’ve only put on ten pounds with this pregnancy. I feel like thirty. Look at me. I’m carrying a pumpkin under my tank top and I’ve only gained ten pounds.” I almost laughed at myself and my sudden case of pumpkin-on-the-brain.

“Ten pounds is a normal range. Besides, you look so cute pregnant.” She opened the side door and buckled Max into his car seat.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Penalty Killer ... Chapter Twelve


1.) Tallulah is 15 weeks pregnant and while she enjoys being home with her children, there is a part of her that misses the hospital and being a surgeon. Starts to wonder if she has done the right thing by walking away from her career. I think this is a perfect opportunity to show how she interacts with Marina and Max.

2.) Grace and Burt have come to some kind of understanding. It makes Tallulah wonder if Grace actually wants to go back to Burt or if she feels a little guilty abandoning an old man. Still no word from Audrey. I'm also realizing that Samantha and Tony have been mentioned very little in previous chapters. Perhaps it is time Tallulah sits down with one of them. That would be a perfect way for her to vent.

3.) We've already met Kip. He is back in Arizona with Audrey, or so everyone thinks. Perhaps while Kozlov is in training camp, preparing to go overseas for the season opener, one more California guy makes an appearance, scared to death that the copy of the disc left on his doorstep will be leaked to the police.

4.) Olga still wants to come to Rockport and Kozlov fumbles around excuses to keep her away, at least for a couple more months. Of course this should be mentioned before #3, or possibly it's an internal dialogue for Tallulah right after #3 happens.

Okay, there are four plot points for this chapter. I'm not sure if they will all make it in or that I won't go off on some tangent once I get writing, but that's the tentative plan.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Show Me Yours Blogfest

Just stumbled onto this blogfest. Check it out HERE. And stop by HERE to show fellow blogfester, Misha, some love.

So if I'm understanding this blogfest correctly, we simply post 500 words of our NaNoWriMo work. Simple enough.

Some background information:

Zarya is a mermaid and Queen of the Oceans
Arion is a merman and King of the Oceans
Ronan is a selkie (a seal with the power to shed his skin and become human and totally seductive)
Abellona is a rogue mermaid with a desire for revenge on Zarya and the gods

This is a fantasy genre short story ... or so I am guessing as it is far beyond my normal genre of writing.

Once Upon an Ocean Nightmare (Chapter 17)

“Kiss me,” I said breathlessly. I wanted so much more than just a mere kiss, but I would settle for just a kiss. His fingertips played against my back, traveling down my spine to the place where my hips were still sheathed in scales. His mouth covered mine, pressing against my lips, and I could taste the salt that barely flavored his skin. It was beautiful, and I felt my body draw into him, my hands against his chest as he pulled me tighter against him. He took a few half steps backwards and I felt my toes graze over that warm selkie skin.

“Aye, my queen, I should resist,” he murmured, but there was no hesitation in his touch. I ran my fingertips over his chest. I was hungry for him.

“Not this time. You should kiss me, touch me, need me,” I whispered back. I felt him stumble on the rocks and he slid down until he was seated on the floor. I crawled over him, kissing at his bare flesh, letting my tongue trail over the curve of his jaw.

“Are you sure you are not a selkie? You have fully and completely seduced me, my queen, my love,” he said. I could almost see his eyes and the selkie skin was still so close to my toes. It was so warm, so inviting.

I sat up, gently putting weight on the hand that hovered over his chest so he would not sit up.

“I love you so much. That’s why I must do this. I must protect you because you will risk too much to protect me,” I whispered, feeling the tears start to pour again. They lit my cheeks, probably enough for Ronan to see my eyes for an instant. I pulled back, grabbed his selkie skin, and pressed against the wall, focusing all my magic on melting outwards. I could hear him shouting, scrambling to grab me, but he was too late.

My heart was pounding, blood rushing through my body as my fin returned. The selkie skin was still so warm. I waited, hovering there in front of the rock as if I expected one of the other selkies to find me and attack, for fear I’d just done the same to Ronan, but Arion and the selkies were busy making sure the waters were safe for travel. I called for more magic, put my hands on the rock as the selkie skin slid over my shoulder, and watched as the cavern Ronan was locked in moved effortlessly, another league lower in the ocean. When it was still again, I marked it with an almost invisible magic. It would help me find him when this was over. When we reached Atlantis, I would tell the selkies how to find him, just in case I didn’t make it out of battle alive.

“I am sorry, my love. I must protect you,” I whispered, pressing the selkie skin against the rock. Magic flowed from my fingertips and watched as rock surrounded the selkie skin.

Penalty Killer ... Chapter Eleven

Okay, so I have not been into my writing since before NaNoWriMo and the rapid pace of NaNoWriMo made my stomach twist into tense knots. I completed it, but not with any real faith in what I've written. Anyway, I've been hiding behind the excuse of NaNo and the holidays and other family drama to excuse why I wasn't writing.

What did I do today? I told myself, something had to be done and that something was Chapter Eleven of Penalty Killer. Since Joe was off of work and had plans that would keep him away from the house, I decided it was a good time for me to get away too. So he took Christian with him and I went to Borders; to my favorite table, ordered my favorite drink, listened to my favorite THINKING playlist, and pushed through the chapter.

It turned out different than I thought it would. I went in yet another direction, but I think it was important, and it wasn't until I sat down to really look at my notes that I realized it was Doc and King Kozlov's anniversary. So of course the chapter had to solidify not only that they are still strong as a couple, but that they need to embrace and celebrate six happy and blessed years together.

I then brainstormed ideas and directions for chapter twelve. I think I've decided a way to go and thought I'd come home and get some writing done after dinner. Instead, I spent the entire evening (from 6:30pm to 10:00pm) playing various card and board games with my family. It was so nice. No television, no computer, no cell phones, no thinking about anything except laughing and having a good time.

Tomorrow is Christian's first day back to school since winter break. I have some plans but hope to get some writing in, even if it is only 250 words.

Right now I need to get offline and watch this movie with my husband before we go to bed.


1st Line: That all important milestone was just around the bend; twelve weeks pregnant and lingering in the last few days of the first trimester.

Last Line: I could have laughed at the irony of making love at the end of the ice, where I was certain the goal would usually have been, but the only thought in my brain was the hunger I had for my husband, even after six long years and all the recent hell.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2011 Crash and Burn

I started out so excited for 2011, or perhaps more precisely, January 1st of this year. After all, it is the annual date of the Winter Classic. What could be better than an outdoor hockey game? Well, the Penguins playing at Heinz Field for their 2nd Winter Classic was a pretty good start.

More icing on the cake? The rain of the afternoon delayed the game until 8pm. What could be better than an outdoor hockey game featuring the Penguins at Heinz Field under the stars?

Even more icing on the cake? Jordan Staal's return for his first game of the season after foot/hand injuries. I was a little concerned with his return for this game. After all, he hasn't played since the playoffs last season. I was concerned with how comfortable he would feel out on the ice again, especially on such a big stage with less than stellar playing conditions, but I had to admit it was a glorious feeling to know that Staal is up to par and healthy.

So, I'm all pumped for the game and at my mom's because watching hockey with her is one of my favorite things in the world. I told her on the phone, long before the game started, that if the Pens lost I wouldn't watch another game there this season. Why such a brutal threat? It's all my hockey superstitions. So far this season I've tried to watch three games at my mom's. The Pens have lost all three. Obviously my fanatic karma is meant to cheer from home this season.

Anyway, back to the game, it begins with an 0-0 first period and a slight rain. During the second period, Malkin (my favorite player in the world...after Lemieux anyway) scores the first goal of the game. Beautiful stuff. But then the game just kinda goes down hill after that. I won't blame the referees, although that would be easy considering some big non-calls (on both sides) during the game and a recalled goal by the Pens that would have tied the game. The Pens just looked defeated from the start, half asleep.

And even still, even knowing that the Pens lost, I still wish I could go find Doc Brown, jump in the Delorean and somehow teleport myself to 7:59 pm with a Winter Classic ticket in my hand. I still would have loved to have been there, surrounded by 70,000 hockey fans, cheering through the rain, screaming at the top of my lungs about every heated offensive zone battle and every near scuffle.

Even though my 2011 hockey year hasn't started off great, I still feel euphorically high with hockey dreams and literary hope.