Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What Are You Meant to Do?

What are you meant to do? If you could sum up your greatest yearning, in one word, what would that word be?

I have pondered and wondered and been completely stumped by this question for a long time.  But I have finally boiled it down all my ideas and urges into one word:


Now, that word has some negative connotations, at least for me, in the vein of: Don't be a storyteller! (you know, a liar! lol).

I'm trying to re-vamp that in my head.

I tell stories when writing, when drawing, when doing anything creative.  The story I'm telling when working on my home? Cozy.  My story when I'm at the computer in my office? That one's harder.  Vision, maybe. Or even cohesive.  The story changes frequently when I'm in my office because I wear a lot of hats in there!  (yep, it's just me and a big honkin' coat-rack in there, trying to get something done!)

My visual, in trying to change my internal connotation of the word "storyteller," is that of a fireside shaman, relating the stories of her tribe.  There might be feathers in my hair.  I like feathers.  But I am magical, creating stories from words and gestures; using pictures to record memories and lessons.

Here's how I think of it: waaaaaay back in the day (which, according to Dane Cook, was a Wednesday), everyone had a job.  Hunter.  Gatherer.  Medicine Man.  Chief. Council Member.  And later: Seamstress/Tailor.  Tanner.  Blacksmith.  But there's always someone to entertain as well.  To record group memories, to help shape the culture going forward based on the lessons and stories of the ancestors. 

Shaman.  Bard. Poet. Playwright.  Painter. Sculptor. Actor.  Designer.
Nowadays, "creative" will do.  I am constantly telling stories.  Daydreaming.  Writing.  Drawing.  Coloring.  Inking.  Teaching.  Relating an anecdote.  I cannot stop from doing it--it is as natural and second-nature as breathing!  I'm surprised I don't have stories oozing from my pores!

The word "storyteller" immediately put me at ease, made me nod.  Yes, that is my word. 

I am a storyteller.

So, what are YOU meant to do? What's your word?  Tell me!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Organized Writer

So I'm often referred to as anal retentive and no where is that more helpful than when I'm writing!  I'm just like anyone else though: if it's too complicated, I'm not going to keep up with it.  So here are the things I'm currently using and some tips to go along.

1. Spreadsheets.  I love excel and making spreadsheets.  So neat and organized and lined.  I use a spreadsheet with lots of tabs for tracking my writing ideas as well as my (meager) writing income from ads, Today's Mama (pay per click), Amazon Associates and Kindle subscriptions.  But the first tab is for post ideas.  This way, as soon as I have an idea, I add it to the list and I'm not wracking my brains later for a topic.  I have lately been sidetracked by graphic design but normally, I like to regularly post on each of my three blogs.  I label each idea with which blog it will go on, what type of post it will be (in order to keep my overall blog subjects focused, I have a list of post types for each of my blogs) and where else I can blurb or advertise that post.  I also note any contacts in relation to a post or article.  I ALSO color code my entries.  They are yellow until I write the post.  I change the color to green if I have written and posted it but still need to put that post somewhere else or need to notify someone that the post is up.  I remove all color so it's white when I am completely done with the post.  

2. Calendar....OK, which I made with excel.  This way if I have a strangely open hour or two and I write feverishly, I can spread out my posts.  I also mark the pub dates of all the books I get from so I know what order to read them in (oldest pub dates first).  Really, this can be so helpful to see at a glance which days you've schedule posts.  I highly recommend it.

3.  Daily schedule.  I have an atrocious habit of doing things as they strike me, so scared am I of forgetting to do something.  I try to work against it by giving myself certain days for writing to certain blogs.  I also designate certain days for cleaning, laundry and grocery shopping.  It helps me to focus on the task at hand---I can tell myself "Yes, there's laundry to do, but laundry day is Monday, today is Saturday, so let's finish up this post."  Sometimes, things get away from me and I find myself not writing in order to do dishes that have been sitting for a few hours, but really (truly!) I get MORE done by following a schedule.  Otherwise, I'm doing dishes, then wiping down counters, then stopping to run something to its rightful place upstairs, then pausing to wipe at that spot on the mirror, etc etc and basically doing everything but BICHOK (butt in chair, hands on keys).  In other words, for me, a general routine helps me to write instead of spin my wheels.  It also means I can work on posts in the morning and my novel in the afternoon. (which I haven't been doing lately!)  Also helpful: I've realized now what is reasonable and what is unreasonable in terms of expectations for my daily time with kids, their nap times and running errands.  For example, I will probably not be writing for Technorati anymore, nor will I be copying and pasting my blog posts into Bloggy Moms---there isn't enough time in my week!

 All in all, you need to do what works for you, what is easiest and what dovetails with your natural inclinations/habits/lifestyle.  But overall, I highly recommend some kind of organizational system, especially if you are a freelancer.


Please also see Kim Harrison's character grid (which is excellent!) and Fiction Writer's Character Chart.  
What do you do to keep organized?  

Thursday, April 28, 2011

More Links, Great Resources, Useful References

Hey all!                                                                                                                     

I have added to and rearranged and tweaked all my links lists, so please have a look!
There is a *NEW* list: Genre Writing, where I weeded out a few things from Resources and References, which is a pretty long list.  I did add a few things to the R&R list as well.  I've added an author or two, completely revamped the Creatives list and added to the Publishing list.  I am thinking about creating a links list for Tools & Software---would you find that helpful?  I would put the two forms I've recently found for characters on there, for example, as well links to writing software and software for artists. 

Also, anyone who has a blog or website themselves (or just one you want to recommend) please do send it along to me and I'll consider it for addition.  You can reply here or find me on Twitter.   Thanks so much!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Book Review: The Art and Craft of Fiction: A Practitioner's Manual

I have just finished The Art & Craft of Fiction: A Practitioner's Manual by Victoria Mixon. 
If you are a writer, this must be on your desk.  Must.  Go. Buy it.  Yes, I mean right now!  Hit that Amazon link and get to clickin'! 
The best way I can describe this is that it is like having a tutor right beside you.  Victoria's voice is clear, funny and informative yet personal at the same time;  it's like she's sitting right beside you, reading your mind, anticipating your questions, voicing things you knew you knew and encouraging you onward!  Every time I paused to read some of Victoria's book, I want to highlight, note and then drop it in favor of writing.  And you know, when I finished, I thought, WAIT how am I going to find that one note I made?  Will I have to go back and scan and scan to find it?  But no, because of course, Ms.Mixon thought of everything: there's an index.  Yay! :)
Topics covered: character, dialog, tension, plot, writing moods, and punctuation and grammar (an invaluable resource!)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Event: Flannery O'Connor

I received a newsletter from my alma mater, College of Notre Dame of Maryland (soon to be College of Notre Dame University!) and it had some interesting things on the calendar.  The one on Catholic writers that I was really interested in was only 4 days away from the day I received the newsletter, so I was a little annoyed at not having enough time to get things together to attend that!  However, they are also having an exhibit: 

 February 28 to April 23,
Loyola/Notre Dame Library

Here's what the newsletter had to say: 
"Writer Flannery O'Connor holds a special place in the hearts of the Notre Dame community, as the most important female Catholic writer of the 20th century, and as a treasured correspondent of poet and English professor, Maura Eichner, SSND '41." 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Should "Real Authors" Steer Clear of Self-Publishing?

 A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about self-publishing vs. traditional publishing. I’m not counting traditional publishing out by any means, but I dislike all the brouhaha that is going on which seems to express indignation on the part of the publishers in reference to self-publishers. In short, I thought publishers were coming across as desperate, whiny and immature.

But then I read a blog post by author Jody Hedlund on the subject and she made some valid points. She is definitely pro-traditional publishing, saying, “The truth is, self-publishing marketing is NOT equal to the marketing done by traditional publishers. For all the talk about how ALL authors everywhere have to bear ALL the burden of marketing, it’s just NOT true.” I was initially shocked by that definitive statement and immediately felt rebellious! Lol But I continued to read and I’m glad I did!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

As a Writer, What Fiction Should I Be Reading?

       You know, two of my high school classmates (that I know of…that I’m still friends with…) are writers. When I first started connecting with people online a few years ago, I was stunned and amazed at their pursuit of the writerly profession. A little intimidated. Ok, maybe a tad jealous.

One, I will call E, she writes historical fiction and writes a fabulous blog: professional, thoughtful, intellectual. I wanted to be her. I felt like I was in high school again, striving to be in with the cool kids. She read intellectual fare and I, at first, thought, “Is this what I should be reading? Is this what good writers read?” Shouldn’t I love Faulkner, quote from Yeats, memorize Whitman? (I’ve been reading the poetry issue of O, Magazine!) I’ve never read Austen (although I love “her” movies! Lol), never owned a Sylvia Plath or read Ayn Rand or Tolstoy.....

Monday, March 7, 2011

Post Showcase: Will OnSwipe be the Mobile Publishing Platform... ?

Copyblogger site

I am a gadget girl.  I love trying new things, hitting the buttons, muttering "now, what does this do??" 
So when my daily copy of copyblogger appeared in my email box, I was intrigued to see this headline:
Will OnSwipe be the Mobile Publishing Platform of Choice for the New Influencers?  Of course, anything that has the word "publsihing" in it catches my eye!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Blog Showcase: StoryADay

StoryADay is this wonderful little place that is crammed full of goodies!  Not unlike what I hope to do (although more focused and, if you can believe it, even more organized than I!) this site offers help, inspiration, spurring-on, groups, challenges and resources.  I believe I was sucked in accidentally on Twitter, when someone re-Tweeted something they had posted and I checked it out.  Their current post: How To Become An Insanely Productive Writer...I mean, who doesn't want to know that??  Good stuff here!

Also, a heads up and perfect timing: their Story a Day May is coming up!  You write a story a day, as many words (or as few) as you'd like!  This is like writing bootcamp, I believe the author refers to it as! lol Keeps your mind and your story muscles working!  I'm not sure if I have enough time (i.e. I'm brave enough!!) to try it but I encourage all you young single types to go right ahead! ;) 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Creative Theming: Birthdays

So how do you feel about birthdays?  Love 'em? Hate 'em? Ignore 'em?  What do you think about?  A particularly aweome one or a particularly hideous one?  Do you remember the gifts or the people?
What are your favorite things about birthdays? (ok, except for the gifts people!)
Take it and run peeps!! :) Have fun! Write, draw, photograph and meet me back here! Getting some sort of linking tool set up soon!

Image credit:  di_the_huntress
p.s. I totally have an ulterior motive: my bday is March 7th, so naturally, whenever I think of March, I think of birthdays!!  My niece's is St. Patty's day, so March is the month my friends! :)

Technical Difficulties---POOF!-- all gone!

Thanks for all the feedback and help guys! :)  Everything should be functioning properly now!  No more pop-up comment box either, it was taking forever to load!
More updates coming tomorrow!
Check out the new link to the uber-cool Art Project powered by Google down near my links---it is a picture link.  I have my own "collection" started and it should take you right to it! 

Friday, March 4, 2011

Please Excuse Me...

...but I seem to be experiencing some technical difficulties!  First it was just when you clicked on a post title, the comments were riding up and overlapping!  If that wasn't annoying enough, now my posts are overlapping each other!! GGGRRRRRRRRRR. 
Trust me, I am working on it, have been all week and hopefully will have some html help on Sunday.  Anyone that can help, let  me know please!! This just abruptly started happening this week, I cannot figure out what is happening!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Article Response: Do Authors Make Good Publishers?

I just finished reading "Do Authors Make Good Publishers?" on e-reads.  Although it is two months old, I was a little flabbergasted.  Richard Curtis seems to think the answer to that is "no."


Has anyone heard of Amanda Hocking? I started reading  her in December right before, literally about two weeks, before her books exploded in popularity and she sold over 100,000 books in one month!  I have managed to be able to touch base with her now and again on Twitter and on her blog.  She was rejected many times by literary agents and publishers and so frustrated was she, she published on her own with Amazon, Smashwords and B&N. She is now a self-made millionare in less than a year at the age of 26!
Most of Mr. Curtis's argument stems from the fact that he believes an editor, PR, cover art and formatting of the ebook material to just be too overwhelming and would prohibit the author from doing what they do best, which is writing.  It's far too complicated for just one person to handle and hey, you are the writer, you should be writing, right?  Don't let these other things take you away from that!

Whatever, dude. 

I have read a TON on publishing and its process.  I can tell you this:  it's time consuming whether you have help or not!  If you are the author, it doesn't matter whether you are scheduling and planning your own local bookstore tour or if the publisher gives you a book tour budget (highly unlikely as a first time writer and less likely as time goes on even for even established writers...) you as the author still have to do all the schmoozing, the standing, the signing, the picture posing and the traveling.  You, as the author, still have to participate in the interviews, fill out the email questionnaires, answer the phone calls and skype with the big contacts all while reading other authors so you can blurb for them as a courtesy for them blurbing for you.
When you are publishing a book, there is work involved.  Don't act like once we finish a book, our work is done, Mr. Curtis.

And don't act like you are invaluable.  It sounds like the publishing industry is desperately grabbing at straws as they see their meal tickets sliding away when once these same authors clamored for the publishing industry's attention.  We would agonize over who we were sending our precious manuscripts to and the literary agents had so much reading material, there are rumors of stacks two and three feet high of slush.
It sounds more like the publishing industry is miffed that there is a new kid and they are no longer the popular ones.

I understand Mr. Curtis does not speak for the whole of the publishing world; he is not their voted on spokesperson.  However, he is obviously a publishing insider and one wonders how many others share his view.  This is rapidly turning into an us vs. them issue, rather then a "there is no 'I' in 'team'" type mentality.  How dare we try to go off and do it on our own? The publishing process is sacrosanct and all the professionals involved are necessary players that absolutely must be involved in the process.

I've always been an independent spirit.  I'm not one for burning my bridges but I am in the process of completing my first manuscript and I will be thinking long and hard about the route I'd like to take!  

Publishing: Book Bloggers Can Help Sell Your Book...

I just came across this article on the "Alan Rinzler: Consulting Editor" blog, about the book blogger/author relationship.  It's a great article whether you are (or want to be) a book blogger or if you are (or want to be!) and author.  Just like Pump Up Your Book!, this is another way for authors to get the word out without a PR person.  You can certainly contact book bloggers on your own.  Thanks to Amanda Hocking  (twitter: @Amanda_Hocking), whose books I have read and cannot wait for more, for pointing this article out....of course, it mentions her, so that's why she knew about it! ;)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Publishing: Pump Up Your Book!

There has been great debate lately about the effectiveness of a traditional book tour.  Unless you're a NYT best seller, the publishers are generally not giving you a book tour budget!  You'll be lucky to get a press budget at all!  Most authors do it themselves nowadays and of course, hiring a PR person is expensive.  However, without one, how far can you realistically get?

I literally stumbled upon (no pun intended!) this site, Pump Up Your Book!,  that promotes your book with a variety of tools including an Online Book Tour! What a cool idea! They have a variety of packages.  I can't help but think that this group is right on the money!  I'm definitely bookmarking them for future use!  Their services include a book tour banner just for you, stops at 20 highly trafficked book blogs, many of which are syndicated.  Depending on your package choice, you could have a personalized tour page, book trailer created and more!  Prices range from $399-$799.  They also have a presence on Facebook, just click on their icon to get to that page. 

Monday, February 28, 2011

tea & ink: Now Available on Kindle!!

I am slowly but surely getting things together on tea & ink, but it's a lot of work, especially when I'm still trying to post regularly on both blogs, participate in a blog challenge and contribute to other blogs!! lol 

I have added the ability to add links and pics (I LOVE being able to showcase a picture of something so you know what I'm talking about!) via Amazon. 

I have added tea & ink to networked blogs, via Facebook, for another way to get your tea & ink fix!

And finally, I have added tea & ink to the Kindle, so you can get it and tote it around with you! :)  LaLa Land is also available on Kindle!  

If you would be so kind as to contribute a review of either or both of my blogs on amazon, I would be immensely grateful!  After all, good reviews beget more readers!  And nobody likes to feel like they're writing to nobody! lol  

Writing Prompt: One Pet Peeve That Shouldn't Drive You Crazy....

...but it does!!

My husband does not prepare for anything. Ever.

I should have realized this would be an issue when he arrived at the church and realized neither he nor his brother, the best man, had the rings. (Really, red light here! His BROTHER forgot too?? Obviously a genetic misfire!)

I am an anal retentive planner who always has what’s next swirling through my head. And honestly, if you follow my process, I try to make my life as easy and routine oriented as possible. (in other words, just do what I tell you and everything will go smoothly!).

I’m not a control freak, really I’m not (I see your skeptically raised eyebrows!).

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Interro--what?!

Ever heard of the interrobang?  Me neither!  A fellow blogger (which one now escapes me, I'm sorry!) mentioned in her post she wished she could "interrobang" and I thought, "she wha--?"  Luckily she provided a link! :) Smart woman. 

According to wiki (which we all know is NOT a reliable and true source when doing real research, right?....right??) an interrobang is "a nonstandard punctuation mark used in various written languages and intended to combine the functions of the question mark (also called the “interrogative point”) and the exclamation mark or exclamation point (known in printers’ jargon as the “bang”). The glyph is a superimposition of these two marks."  

It's a question mark superimposed over an exclamation point, people.

How cool is that?!!

Image credit:  

Busy Women and Writing

I belong to SheWrites (I know, I know, my arms ache from how stretched out I am!) and this very interesting article caught my eye, as I'm always interested in the whole mom/woman/writer connection!  Enjoy!

Pink and Blue Diaries:
Posted by The Pink and Blue Diaries on February 25, 2011 at 5:30am

Deborah Siegel mashes up YOUR wisdom.

One thing I've long loved about She Writes is the intergenerational breadth of its membership. My post last Friday on Book/Life fit elicited confident wisdom from women writers who have been there, done that; tentative nuggets, based on trial and error, from many of us on the road to figuring it out; and one wisely skeptical nugget from fellow She Writer and cultural commentator Katha Pollitt, who wrote:

“[M]ale writers don't write these articles about how busy they are. They don't feel guilty if they do their work. They simply claim the time and the family has to deal with it.”

Read the rest on SheWrites--->

I am a Technorati Writer!!

Article first published as Not Enough Women in UK Board Rooms on Technorati

*horns blaring*

My first article is UP on Technorati!! Go check me out, it looks all professional and such!!
It is about a report put out about UK boardrooms and their lack of female directors and what they recommend be done about it!

Look at me, all newsie and whatnot!
Now that my blogs are falling neatly into line and the design is coming together, more writing, less blogging lulls, ok? ok!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

February Creative Theming

In case you missed it, this month's theme is LOVE. 

That means, send me your photos, your haikus, your stream of consciousness, your whatever!  It has to be on love.  However, it can be on ANYthing about love.  Maybe it's more "love hurts" for you, rather than "sticky sweet love" or "humma humma love" or even "my adorable family love."  That's ok.  Whatever strikes you about the word love, give me some output!  It's like word association!  I say LOVE!  You say......

You have until midnight, February 28th before I close up shop on this theme and move on to the next one.

March is Birthday month.  Send me a creative item on birthdays.  Are they nostalgic?  Does one stand out?  Is there a particular item that screams "birthday" at you?   A funny rhyming poem on how age is just a number?  A photo of a brand new baby on their day of birth?  See? Lots of options! :) Can't wait to see 'em!

Creative Theming Details.....

Over under my Labels or Categories, you'll see the themes listed by month, directing you to the original post.
Send me your entry via email and I will add it to the body of the post for the month.
I will include your name and a link to your blog or website, where I encourage you to post it as well.

Please take a copy of the Creative Theming button {coming soon!!} on the home page of my site for your own site or blog or for each Creative Theming item and link it back to me.

Why am I not using Linky tools or some other such device?

Because I thought it would look cool to see all the creations one after another in one post. However, if I begin to get a ton of responses and it becomes too much for me, I'll add linky tools. If just kind of sucks to have to travel to a bunch of different sites to see the entries is all!

Here is a running list of the monthly themes:

February: Love

March: Birthdays

April: Cliff (as in a drop-off, an edge)









Please Ignore This Weird Post too!

You don't need this!  Technorati does! put it back! Thank you!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Creative Theming!!

I am hoping for a variety of artists and writers to tackle this!**  :) 

Over under my Labels or Categories, you'll see the themes listed by month, directing you to the original post.

Send me your entry via email and I will add it to the body of the post for the month.

I will include your name and a link to your blog or website, where I encourage you to post it as well.

Please take a copy of the Monthly Themes button {coming soon!!} on the home page of my site for your own site or blog and link it back to me.

*Why am I not using Linky tools or some other such device or software or tool
(or whatever you categorize that as??) ?*

Because I thought it would look cool to see all the creations one after another in one post. However, if I begin to get a ton of responses and it becomes too much for me, I'll add linky tools. If just kind of sucks to have to travel to a bunch of different sites to see the entries is all!

Here is a running list of the monthly themes:
February: Love
March: Birthdays
April: Cliff (as in a drop-off, an edge)

A static page with directions will be available here and at the top of my blog as a tab.

Any kind of (non-offensive) artwork will be taken.

**It is at my sole discretion to reject anything that I don't approve or that I feel doesn't well represent tea & ink. (sorry I have to say that, but I do!)
All copyright will be retained by the artist to use and re-use as often as s/he likes.
I just want permission to post it here! :)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Calling All Creatives!!

I wanted to do something on a regular basis here on tea & ink that would be fun and help build a community here.  And you know what I thought of? (of course you don't, cuz I'm the only one in my head....most days)

I remembered a story I read of a guy who attended comic con every year (Comic Book Convention for those who don't know!).  He always took a fresh sketch notebook, a smallish one, and asked the artists that he talked to to sketch him something.  He said he found that most were very obliging but complained about having to come up with something on their own, with a line of people waiting.  So he came up with themes!  Every year at comic con, he would go home with a sketchbook full of sketches by some of the best comic book artists in the industry, all on one theme.  I remember he said one year, he told them all, "cliff."  Some drew people jumping, falling, pulling people back up, shoving people over the edge, scaling with a rope, scanning the horizon--he had some examples there in the article.  So cool! :)

So I thought I'd do the same thing here, but not just a writing prompt:
what does my one-word prompt inspire in you?
A blog post?
A photo?
A sketch?
Maybe a poem?
Anything you'd like! :)

Now, Imma gonna make up a list of possible themes and we'll do one for each month. 
Then I'll get all set the way in which people will add them to my blog! :)
Get brainstormin' people--send me your theme suggestions! :)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop Prompt

Describe the last thing that made you laugh really hard.

I couldn’t pinpoint the last time I’d laughed really hard.  Probably with my mom and my sisters; we all have the same snarky sense of humor and usually laugh ourselves breathless. 

While I’m thinking on it, I’m perusing twitter and I checked what my “friend” ( I say “friend” because really, I follow her on twitter and tweet her sometimes and she answers me back but otherwise does not know I’m alive! Lol) Amanda Hocking is doing.  She’s an author and she’s retweeted something: a link to and I chuckle, because I know my younger sister is always cursing the autocorrect on her cell phone. 

So I click on it.

And proceed to guffaw, shriek, snort, scream with laughter, and pound the table until I snot-cried.  Seriously.  I laughed so hard, tears ran down my cheeks in abundance, taking all my make-up with it. 

I can’t even tell you what any of them were, they were all dirty! Yes, every one contained some word that I would hesitate to write here, but was a mistake for another word.  Ok, wait, I found ONE, both sides of the text:

“…..idk, I just got so fed up with her immaturity and flipped Pittsburgh on her.”

“flipped out* bhaaaa”

“hahah Pittsburgh is a lot of s#@t to flip on someone!”

I don’t know why, but I nearly peed reading that.  I was hysterical, I tell you!

But you know, especially when you spend a lot of time alone, it’s good to laugh.  Really good.   And to have something funny to share, instead of always contacting people because something bad is going on (i.e. I’ve seen a plethora of tweets on Egypt, for example) is refreshing.  When I worked with Mary Kay, they always used to say, "When a customer has a good experience,  they tend to keep it to themselves.  When they have a bad experience, they tell 10 people."  Same idea, so why not pass around some funny this time? 

So go check out and be prepared to laugh your butt off!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Blog Showcase: Copyblogger

copyblogger by Brian Clark

This site is awesome!! Already love it! :)  I was directed there originally because I clicked on a link about grammar mistakes that make you look stupid, and I found a WEALTH of information.  I cannot wait to start reading!! I may have to limit myself to one a day!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Blog Showcase: Pub Rants

Pub Rants by Agent Kristin

I decided to showcase this blog rather than just add it to my blog list because Agent Kristin has so much info on here!  
Agent Kristin has tons and tons of links---I could spend days going through her blog!  She has links for agents who blog, clients who blog, a whole list of real queries that some of her authors used, as well as a query pitch workshop on the blog.  Very interesting and cool stuff!  I'll be keeping her link under Literary Agents I think (I cannot decide!) so if you don't bookmark her yourself, you can find her there. 

Today's Mama: Why Celebrating Valentine's Day is a GOOD Idea!

I have a new post about the importance of Valentine's Day on Today's Mama.
Go.  Read.  Enjoy! :)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Prompt: If you could change anything about your pet....

 If you could change anything about your pet, what would it be?
I would make my cat a dog.  A dog that is housebroken, doesn’t shed and is barkless. 
My cat was adorable when we first got him.  He nibbled on my coat zipper as I gazed into his amber eyes and that was it. 
“We’re getting this one,” I told my husband. 
He slept with me every night until I booted him at the ripe old age of 7 in favor of our firstborn child.  I didn’t want cat hair on the sheets because of course, he used to paw at the blankets until I lifted them, half-asleep, for him to crawl under.  I didn’t want to be worried about kitty litter remnants or anything (which strangely, I hadn’t thought of prior to having a child….ew.) 
Then he began eating an enormous amount of food.  Maybe he was depressed because he wasn’t sleeping in our bed anymore or maybe he had post partum after I brought the baby home.  Who knows.  He became a giant cat.  Every single person that came into our home immediately said the exact same thing: Wow!  That is a huge/fat cat!  Due to his inordinate weight gain, he ceased to groom himself properly.  Why our second cat also ceased to groom him will forever remain a mystery….because I don’t speak cat.  But speaking from a common sense viewpoint, I’d say it was because he was gross. 
He was always a talkative cat, but now, he whines.  Incessantly.  At all hours of the day and night.  I started out startled and curious (around 1am) and annoyed (by 2am) followed by terribly cross and cursing (struggling at 4am).  Finally, I found myself wanting to do him harm in a really violent way (around about sunrise).  At first, I wanted to find out what the problem was; generally when he meowed, he wanted or needed something.  Maybe his food bowls were half empty or maybe the dog’s water bowl was empty (yea, he would cry if the DOG’s water bowl was empty, even when the cat’s water bowl in the next room was full!!).  Lately, he seems to be irritated that we turn off the gas fireplace at night!  Apparently, his fat came with a side of diva! 
At this point, my love has turned to….well, not hate exactly but more of a deep abiding disrespect. 
I will never again get a cat.   

Staying Inspired & Beating Writer's Block

I have never had writers block.

No, really.

I keep a notebook of running ideas.  If my flow dries up on one and I feel sick of it, I move on to another idea or blog for a bit! lol  (yes, that's what I'm doing right now!! lol)

The other thing I have found, for anything I want to do well (including being more at peace and a little less crazy as a working mom as well as parenting), I have to read something about it every day.  I know that's a lot, but it works!  It keeps ideas fresh in your mind.  If you read a little about parenting techniques every day, you'd have that fresh in your mind.  You'd be reminded to stay on track.  The same thing applies to writing and  growing as a person.

I read from a variety of sources for writing, but right now primarily from :

The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp
The Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass
The Newbie's Guide to Publishing by Joe Konrath

All of these are in my carousel on my main page too, so you can see the covers. (visuals are good!)
Every time I pause to read a chapter (while eating, waiting for my tea water to boil, in the bathroom....) I feel like running to my keyboard or grabbing up my notebook and jotting down ideas.  Works every time.  Even if you only have 3-5 minutes, it helps.  It reminds you that you are a writer and what you're supposed to love doing.  I also read these while on the stationary bike (can you tell I am not a time-waster?? lol I do double-duty and multi-task whenever I can as I'm sure all working moms do!!).

My personal read every morning is
Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach 

She always makes me feel better about myself! lol I have read this off and on for years but 2011 is my second consecutive year of reading it---there was no putting it aside at the end of 2010, I had too much going on and felt like I managed better when I had a bit of advice every day.  One thing that both Sarah Ban Breathnach and Julia Cameron of The Artist's Way fame have in common is that they both suggest writing as a brain drain every day (or as frequently as possible; Sarah is a little more sympathetic here!)

For 2011, I think I will re-institute this idea.  I have so much going on, it can only help!!

What's your inspiration?  How do you beat writer's block?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Writing Prompts

I signed up for The Writer's Workshop over at the blog Mama's Losin' It.  She has you write to a prompt, post it on your own blog and then link back to her site.  Click on either link (one goes right to the workshop page, the other to Mama Kat's home page) to get the info and directions.

I highly suggest signing up for the email reminders because I personally find that the prompts for the week, that you can link back to her site with, are NOT easy to locate.  She has general writing prompts up, but they are not the same ones I got in the official weekly email.  Just a thought! ;)

Please note that down on the right, there is a link for this workshop also, under Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop.

Copyright Info

I have altered what I "borrowed" from Jane Friedman's blog and researched and expanded on the copyright information in the page link above. 

I'm not in trouble, I'm just being cautious! ;)

A Writer's Digest Conference Re-Cap

My friend from high school, Erika Robuck, is now a published author, working on her second book.  She recently attended a conference put together by Writer's Digest, where she was able to pitch her book to agents.  She re-capped her visit for Jane Friedman (former editor for Writer's Digest and currently a contributing editor for WD and a visiting professor of e-media at the University of Cincinnati) over on her blog, which is part of the Writer's Digest website, called There Are No Rules.  Here is an excerpt and you can read the rest over on the original site, how's that? lol

From the blog There Are No Rules, guest blogger Erika Robuck about the Writer's Digest Conference:

[Jane's intro:]
"The following guest post is by writer Erika Robuck, who attended the Writer's Digest Conference on Saturday and generously offered to recap the sessions she attended.

'The business of writing is the business of reading.'
—Richard Nash

These words from Richard Nash’s keynote address have been sitting in a quiet space in my writer’s heart since I heard them.

They seem so simple, but the meaning is profound. If I think about what reading is—the intimacy of the act of bringing someone else’s words, thoughts, and imaginings into my brain, often while I’m in bed; if I reflect on the weight of that as a writer and apply it to all areas of the publication process (from words on the page, to editing, to marketing, etc.)—I can transform the entire experience into something I’m eager to do, every step of the way. "

Please head on over to There Are No Rules to read the complete story!
Thanks Erika! (you know, ahead of time!)

Story Start

Here is my new beginning to my novel:

Melkiand examined the new planet from the safety of the portal. It was hard to tell if it was suitable through the haze of blue light, so he stepped out.

“Hiunte,” he said. The blue square of light sizzled shut.

Melkiand surveyed the area through smoky gray lenses. He glanced down at his handheld. The UVA/UVB rays were low here; low enough for him to remove his goggles. He folded his handheld in half and slipped it into a pocket which sealed itself. He reached up for his goggles just as a large shadow sped out the trees to his right. His upright arms blocked a razor-sharp beak from having a clear shot at his face. As it was, the bird’s eight foot tall head was on par with his own, making it difficult to dodge its thrusting beak. Melkiand stumbled backwards with one arm up, the other trying to unseal individual pockets in search of his weapons.

The bird was shrieking in a high-pitched cry that echoed around the clearing, making Melkiand’s head reverberate. He was abruptly struck in the back by a tree. He stopped fumbling with his cloak long enough to crouch and rolled out between the bird’s long spindly legs.

Upon standing, he hit the release patch on his cloak’s left shoulder, opening all pockets. The bird had whipped around and there was hunger in its eyes. It shrieked again, flapping its absurdly small wings.

Melkiand located his two staffs, pulling them out and snapping his wrists so that they telescoped from six inches to eighteen. The bird shrieked, its “S” shaped neck undulating as its talons clawed the ground, raking up great tufts of earth. Melkiand pressed a release and cords shot out of the ends of the staffs, turning them into two long whips. He cracked the right one at the bird, catching it around the neck. With a grunt, he pulled the whip out to the right, sending the black bird flying across the clearing. It smashed head first into a tree with a crack. It crumpled to the ground in a heap of glossy black feathers.

Melkiand flicked his wrists backwards, causing the whips to retract. He flicked them once more to make them pocket-sized. This time, he kept one in his hand and the other in an interior pocket close to his chest. He approached the dead animal with caution, knowing from experience that creatures on different planets didn’t necessarily die as one might think.

Melkiand nudged it with the toe of his boot, but there was no response. He was pretty sure the sound he heard was the bird’s neck breaking. He crouched to examine it closer. Using his staff to lift the head he examined the beak and how its edges were like the blade of a knife. Perhaps that could be used as a tool, he mused.

Melkiand stood and pulled his handheld out again. He typed in some notes relating to the size, strength and speed of the bird, as well as possible uses of the animal’s various parts. The handheld disappeared back into his pocketed cloak before he headed off into the trees, a little more alert.


I am a little nervous, but I have 11 months to get used to the idea:  I have joined NaNoWriMo. 

Actually, once I joined and realized I should've done it sooner, I thought, "Well, that's ok, I am going to aim to finish my first book soon and use November 2011 for writing my SECOND book in this proposed series! Or heck, the first book in one of the other series I have in mind!"  :) 

So there, NaNoWriMo!

Heeeere we GO!

Alright, I'm getting ready to post this to Twitter! :) Hope this generates some interest!  I am so excited to be all organized and to show everyone some of the cool writing things I have found along the way. 

Suggestions are welcome, for improvements or site additions (links and the like!).

I will be adding on--I don't have all my authors' sites up yet, for example and I may add a list of artists' links too.

Thanks for you interest, check back often! :)

Monday, January 24, 2011


Hello all!
So I've splintered off here and created a blog just for all the writing and author and artist sites I have come across.  I am still not finished.  I like to keep things neat and organized, so I think I'm going to get rid of my blogroll over there and classify all websites and blogs according to the headings I've created (i.e. Author Sites, References and then one for Artists). 

I've just found that I have soooo many resources and so many cool authors and other people with lots of great advice, I wanted to share it.  But it didn't seem appropriate on LaLa Land, so here I am!

Feedback is greatly appreciated! Comment away! :)


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