Monday, April 30, 2007

What Can You Accomplish in Seven Minutes?

My To Do list seems to be growing instead of shrinking. I keep thinking of things I need to add to it. Out of twelve things to do, I can draw a line through three of them. I'd hoped to accomplish more.

Kathy Peel, from our women's conference, helps women reinvent their lives and schedules to bring order and peace to their families. She sounds like a magician, doesn't she? Kathy suggested we take advantage of seven minutes. Just seven. Okay, so I grab a broom and sweep for seven minutes. - Create custom images Who wants to time me? It could work. In fact, it might be a good way to deal with those things I despise: like cleaning, dusting, vacuuming, paying bills. Seven minutes here and seven minutes there will eventually lead to the end. I could try being the 7 minute homemaker. :) Certainly makes more sense than the one minute manager, doesn't it?
I wonder how much I could write in seven minutes.

Sunday, April 29, 2007


This weekend I attended the 2007 Ladies' conference at my church. The keynote speaker was the very precious Jennifer Rothschild. Marcy Pryor was the worship leader and our other two speakers were Kathy Peel and RoseAnne Coleman. The theme was Vessels of Honor and of course, instruction on how we can become vessels of honor. (Certainly easier said than done.) We had around 400 ladies in attendance.

It really bothers me that I can go to a writer's conference and remember almost every word said and who said it. My mind and heart are like a sponge when it comes to writing and everything about it. But when I attend a women's retreat, or even listen to our pastor's sermons, I take notes like crazy--otherwise, I don't remember a thing. Why is that? Don't tell me. I don't want to hear or even think that I'm putting my writing first and making it my idol. I fear that it might be true. If I know more about writing than I do my Lord and Savior, I'm in big trouble. No doubt about it. If I can quote editors and agents and authors more accurately than I can quote scripture, then something's wrong. I've been writing longer than I've been reading the Bible, but that doesn't seem like a very good excuse. I tend to throw myself into things I'm interested in. I haven't plunged into the Word--at least not consistently. Until this year. I'm reading a book a day, and sometimes more. Still, I'm not remembering. I don't understand. Why can't I remember? - Create custom images People always say if we take a look at our check book we'll see where our heart is but I've never really bought into that. I say we should pay attention to what we talk about and we'll know where our heart is. I think about Jesus constantly, but I talk about writing. My husband thinks and talks about God, missions, and winning souls to Christ--constantly. And his words have action.

How can I ever be a vessel of honor?

Saturday, April 28, 2007

And The Winner Is . . .ME!

Yesterday I was roaming around Books A Million with a list of titles I wanted to purchase. Unfortunately, they didn't have any of them and since I was in a hurry, I didn't take the time to order them. This evening, I learned that I've won the very book I was looking for. How neat is that? Can't wait to get my hands on Ransomed Dreams.

I've enjoyed author Amy Wallace's interviews on other blogs. I was particularly impressed when Amy stated that her husband nudged her from hobby writing into a career. She went on to tell us how her husband's belief in her and his continual encouragement fanned that little spark of a book idea. That book is Ransomed Dreams. Read the interview at and another informative interview with Amy at To learn more about Amy's books, check out

Friday, April 27, 2007

In Search of Stephen King

I picked up the latest Writer's Digest magazine and was thrilled to see an article on Tabitha King. I've always been curious about her. I read her first novel, Pearl, I think it was, but never read another one. If I remember correctly, Tabitha's writing style seemed over my head, if that makes sense. Call it literary, but I just knew the lady was smarter than me so I didn't feel comfortable with her. Still, I've remained faithful to her because she has something special. (No, not Stephen.) She has class. She has perseverance. She has guts. In our culture where husbands and wives compete with each other--win, lose or draw-take each other for all they've got, then leave, I'd say Tabitha and Stephen King are pretty blessed. She could have dumped him long ago, gone off and made it on her own. He could have gotten the big head and left her. If that had happened, I figure it would be like my favorite sitcom where all the characters make one good show but on their own, without each other, they're not worth spit.

You bet, I'm a Stephen Fan. I read every book up until Pet Sematary, and that one I couldn't finish. Once he had the little boy getting hit by the 18-wheeler, and showed the semi dragging him down the highway, that was it for me. Too real. Too horrible. No more. But then I did purchase, read and love The Green Mile series.

We took a vacation to Boston one year, rented a vehicle and drove all over the place. This was an extravagant, anything goes vacation, like none we've ever taken--or will ever take again. One morning we took off for Bangor, Maine, because I knew, deep down in my bones, better than I know my name, that I was going to get a glimpse of Stephen King--live and in person. We drove by the library where I'm sure he's been many times. We ate lunch at a strange place, a huge barn-like place; I wish I could remember the name of it. I searched every face wondering if he and Tabitha were eating there that very day. I was so sure . . . . We cruised around the area like star-struck groupies while I looked for a huge Victorian house behind a weird wrought iron gate, but of course, I saw nothing like that. We went to a local bookstore, a chain, not privately owned, and I've never seen so many Stephen King books in one place.

We spent the night in Bangor and the next morning, took the scenic route--the coastal highway--back to Boston. I remember feeling incredibly disappointed that I hadn't glimpsed my Stephen walking along the road, or up the steps of the Bangor library.

Now before you get the wrong idea, we're not groupies or stalkers. At the time, we were entering middle age and we had our two high school and college age kids with us. In search of Stephen King was just one more wild idea I had and my husband went along with it. Honestly, I don't know what I would have done if Stephen had been sitting in the restaurant right beside us. I'm not the bold, brazen type, so I'm almost certain I would have silently admired him from afar.

I have a friend who thought the moon and stars hung on Princess Di and her Prince. No thanks! Give me Stephen and Tabitha any old day of the week. They're a special two-some, a compatible two-some. According to the article in Writer's Digest, they still make each other giggle.

I like that. My husband and I giggle too every now and then. And we must be an okay pair to spontaneously take off to Bangor, Maine in search of Stephen King.

I think I'll celebrate compatibility and buy myself a Tabitha King novel--'cause I believe I'm smarter now.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

On High Alert

American Idol almost "did me in" tonight. Watching the video of Simon and Ryan in Africa, as well as Madonna and the other singers who hugged and loved on those precious children. . . well, let's just say I'm glad I was here by myself because I sobbed. Even now, hours later, thinking about some of the children, some of those we met then learned they died, well, I'm crying all over again.

One little girl told Paula how her mother held three jobs but they still had trouble paying the bills. . . then she put her head down on the table and wept.

Father God, be with that child. Be with her mother. Give them wisdom, strength, courage, and joy that they have each other. And Father, if they don't know you, please send the right person to tell them about you.

I get angry with Hollywood, the glitz and glamour, their lousy movies with sex and foul language, their politics, their materialism, their criticism of Christians, but I will forever remember and thank American Idol for this season of giving back, and getting others to give back. And I shouldn't have to tell you that I'm so proud Elvis was a part of it. :-D

Tonight American Idol broke my heart. . . and it had nothing to do with who was going home.

When he is a witness, whether he has seen or otherwise known, if he does not tell it, then he will bear his guilt. Leviticus 5:1

We saw horrendous heartache and poverty tonight. We have to do something. We have to.

Jesus stopped...and questioned him, "What do you want me to do for you? Luke 18:40-41

Whatever it takes - that's what we need to do. Whatever it takes. We often think that the little bit we do won't even make a dent, but think of the thousands and thousands and thousands of dents that will eventually crush the problem.

For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it shall be measured to you. Matthew 7:2

He who is gracious to a poor man lends to the Lord, and He will repay him for his good deed. Proverbs 19:17

Tonight I thank God for American Idol.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Wonder of it All

I'm looking at my calendar and feeling a little antsy. Okay, a lot antsy. Husband will be home from Scotland on May 18th and life as I know it will change. No more staying up until midnight blogging, surfing, or writing. I figure I have less than 20 days to finish my novel. That's subtracting busy days when I know I can't write.

Tomorrow, I'm driving a friend to Lafayette to get stitches removed from her foot. Friday evening and all day Saturday, I'll be at the Women's Conference at church. Jennifer Rothchild, Kathy Peel, Marcie Pryor and Roseanne Coleman are speaking. Can't miss that! I'm sure I'll come home inspired.

I've completed 145 pages. About 75 more to go. And then, the rewrites where I layer and flesh it out, and add more pages. :) To me that's the fun part--watching the story really become special because of all the fine-tuning.

I've made my list of problems the characters still need to address, and made notes of questions that have to be answered to tie up loose ends. I've listed things I need to insert in previous chapters. If I can just write The End, then it will only take me a few weeks to get the final product ready to send to the editor. I work better--so much faster--on a completed hard copy.

Thursday evening I meet with Critique Group #2. Since one lady is an attorney, I need to remember to take my tape recorder and pick her brain on some legal aspects of the plot. Mainly, how can a young man stay in jail for almost two years without going to trial? How does one fall through the cracks in the legal system? It happens, but I need to make it read real. Get the correct terminology down. I hope she's in a talkative mood.

I suppose I need to start sending chapters to the online crit group again, but maybe not. After reading the Q&A at I wonder why any of us participate in crit groups. They're great for the picky stuff, but unless they're reading one chapter right after another, or the entire ms. at once, how can they crit for content?

Two big writing engagements coming up: The ACFW Crit Girls want to get together in San Antonio for a couple of days starting June 7th. They did this last year but I missed it. With Jim coming home May 18th...well, I can just imagine how happy he'll be to lose me for a weekend? :-) Second big event (and an expensive one!) is in September--the ACFW conference. On a good day, I want to do both these fun things. On a bad day, I just want to stay home in my jammies.

Okay, I need to go write, the main thing that will change drastically when Jim comes home. I do most of my writing at night, unlike the first book I sold. I wrote that one at 5:00 am every morning after Jim left for work and before waking daughter for school. I might have to reinvent that schedule.

I get great comfort in knowing that God can bring good to anything we give to Him. And that He can bring good out of the dumb decisions I'm known for making.

Lord, guide me in every decision I make. Help me finish this book, fill me with motivation. Take this book and if I've put anything in it that shouldn't be there, bring it to my attention. I want this book (unlike my other one) to glorify you, Lord.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow - oh! the wonder of it all!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Let the Record Show . . . Paid!

According to our records, your ACFW Membership is coming up for renewal in May, 2007. Our memberships run for one year from the month in which you joined ACFW. It is our hope you wish to continue your association with us.

Effective January 1, 2007, Annual Renewal dues have increased to $40.00
Paid! I'm a member for another year.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

A Picture's Worth How Many Words?

Perusing photographs on can entertain me for hours. I've found a couple that might work if and when I decide to have this blog redesigned. I went through hundreds of them, trying to find me or what felt like me. I could change my mind tomorrow. The me tonight may not be the me tomorrow. Make sense? Of course that makes me wonder how long I can live with what I've chosen. I'm an ever-changing me: one day filled with spontaneous confidence and self-importance, and the next day feeling I don't know spit. You see why I need just the right picture? It has to show exactly that... and satisfy each mood.

All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth.
~Richard Avedon

Whether he is an artist or not, the photographer is a joyous sensualist, for the simple reason that the eye traffics in feelings, not in thoughts.
~Walker Evans

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Who Are Those People . . . and Why?

The most difficult thing for me in writing a novel is creating backgrounds for my characters. I believe our personalities stem from not only what frame of mind our moms were in while carrying us, but also our environment and how we're raised. So why are my characters the way they are? What motivates them? Are their actions and reactions logical, in sinc with their personalities?

In Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight V. Swain, we read:

"Your ideas about why a man takes a certain path can quite possibly prove as valid as another's. In characterization, as in anything else, you have to act on the courage of your convictions. If you intrigue your reader with your concepts, he'll go along."


"A 'living' character is not necessarily 'true to life,'" declares poet-dramatist T.S. Eliot. "It is a person whom we can see and hear, whether he be true or false to human nature as we know it. What the creator of character needs is not so much knowledge of motives as keen sensibility; the dramatist need not understand people; but he must be exceptionally aware of them."

So. . . I guess anything goes. . .as long as it works.

Friday, April 20, 2007

A Memory in Red

In the wonderful little compilation book, A Complete Guide to Writing for Publication, edited by Susan Titus Osborn, there's a sentence that hits me in the gut:

"Red ink. There's something repulsive about it--"

This is how Julie-Allyson Ieron opened her essay Edit Yourself Before Someone Else Does It For You. Grabs you doesn't it? And I'll bet it brings back memories of some horrible experience you've had with a teacher, critique partner, contest judge or maybe an editor or agent. It reminds me of a letter from a young woman to her boss. The woman decided she needed to pursue some dreams so she pulled up stakes in our East Texas town and moved to Denver, Colorado. After she was settled, she wrote, telling boss man about her life in the big city. The boss sat down with her long, informative letter, and he proceeded to correct it--in red.
I saw this with my own eyes; it's true.

By the time boss man finished, her letter bled, but that wasn't the worst thing boss man did.
He mailed it back to her.
I've always wondered if he jotted a note, a smiley face, or if he just crammed it in an envelope and sent it on its way. To my knowledge, he never heard from her again.

That was 37 years ago.

I'm still wondering what she must have felt when she opened that envelope? I'm sure she expected something wonderful. Encouragement from a boss for whom she'd worked for ten plus years, news of friends, praise for making the right decision. Love.

It's true. . . there's something repulsive about red ink.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

1 + 2 = ?

I have never been a mathematician. Even the simplest addition can throw me into a cold sweat. I won't agree to host a garage sale unless my husband promises he will handle the money-no bathroom breaks, no disappearing acts, he will not leave the premises for any reason. I refuse to count change to anyone who gives me a twenty dollar bill for a pair of dull scissors-25 cents, a bowl-75 cents, a paperback book-5 cents and an odd assortment of ties at 15 cents apiece. No way! Won't do it!

I know my fear of math goes back to a horrible experience I had in the third grade, Mrs. Early's class. We were having an arithmetic test and we were warned not to fail it. Everyone who made an E--back in those days we didn't have Fs--would head out to the hall for a good paddling. Three licks, no less. I got my three licks. That was the beginning of the end when it came to me and math. From that moment on just looking at numbers caused an invisible shield to go up inside my head and absolutely nothing could penetrate it. The more my parents threatened me, beat me, grounded me, the worse I became. I could not make higher than a D in math.

I hear kids today asking why they need math, they aren't going to use it and they sure aren't going into any field of work where they have to use it. My own daughter said the same thing. My response is, you'll be just like me. You won't be able to have a garage sale without someone to handle the money. You can't work in any fast food establishment where you might get stuck behind the cash register. And no, cash registers don't do the thinking for you. Hey, you can't even own your own business if you aren't comfortable with numbers. Goodness, it takes every ounce of smarts I've got to determine if I'm getting the right amount of change back when I pay for my Happy Meal.

Worst of all, at least for me, I struggle when trying to figure out how many pages I have left to write on my novel. (I deal in pages!) :-D

Go ahead, laugh, but us math-challenged people have a serious problem when it comes to numbers, and it's embarrassing so don't invite us over for a game of cards. Sure, it might be rebellion (as my parents thought) or it could be psychological, but whatever it is, I tell you it's real.

So help me out here. Check to see if I'm right:
I need 220 pages
I have 125 pages
I need 95 more pages
I should write at least 5 pages each day to complete my book by May 8th.

The good Christian should beware of mathematicians, and all those who make empty prophecies. The danger already exists that the mathematicians have made a covenant with the devil to darken the spirit and to confine man in the bonds of Hell.
~Saint Augustine

Think About It

However great a man's natural talent may be, the act of writing cannot be learned all at once. ~Jean Jacques Rousseau

The first thing you have to consider when writing a novel is your story, and then your story--and then your story!~Ford Madox Ford

To survive--yea, flourish--as a full-time freelance writer, you have to have a split personality. ~Dennis E. Hensley

Humor has the unshakable ability to break life up into little pieces and make it livable. ~Tim Hansel

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A Character Sketch

I'm a horrible library patron. Oh, I check out books all right, but I usually fall in love with them and want them for my very own. Several months ago I tried to order Practical Tips for Writing Popular Fiction by Robyn Carr. I was reading the library copy and just itched to start highlighting good stuff. Don't worry, I ordered my own copy from Amazon. Unfortunately, it never came but the West Coast book seller kindly returned my $$. I kept thinking of some of the tips Robyn offered so a couple of weeks ago, I placed another order--this time choosing a southern bookseller closer to home. Whoooppeeee, got my copy today.

Pooh! Someone had already highlighted. Now I'm really distracted. I'm reading all this highlighted stuff and wondering why, why, WHY would a reader highlight that?


"And take special note here, it is a loose justification, and that's the fun."

What can we learn from that sentence? In my mind--nothing. To me it's completely meaningless without the rest of the paragraph which is NOT highlighted.

And how about this?

"Perhaps the memory of the thrill of one flying lesson is enough to draw on to write a great adventure."

What does that tell us? Okay, it's an interesting observation as a stand-alone highlighted sentence, but why would anyone mark such a sentence and not the entire paragraph?

Oh well, I'll have fun perusing the highlights in this book, and trying to visualize the who, what, when, where and why of its previous owner. A wannabe? And did s/he sell her copy of Practical Tips for Writing Popular Fiction because s/he gave up her desire to be a novelist? Hey, maybe she's a well known author and outgrew this book. If not, I wonder what's s/he doing now?

I love used bookstores and junk stores. My favorite Goodwill store in another city seems to get a lot of Gideon Bibles. They sell them for a dollar each. I found one that was inscribed from a grandmother to her granddaughter. I wonder how that New Testament ended up in a junk store. Why? This seems incredibly sad to me. Did the granddaughter die? Did she turn her back on God? What happened to her? Does her grandmother know? Is she searching for her? Hearts were broken--I have no doubt.

This post should explain at least three things about me:

1) I'm a procrastinator--too many things interest me.
2) I'm a packrat--too many things interest me.
3) I'm a writer--too many things interest me.

The world will never starve for want of wonders, but only for want of wonder. ~G.K. Chesterton

Monday, April 16, 2007

Who's Managing Me?

I'm so easily distracted it's not even funny. For the past two days, I've been surfing the 'net like there's no tomorrow. That means I've accomplished nothing when it comes to my book. I got off track when I started reading it and finding all those boo boos. I had a sneaking suspicion I should add a scene but when I read the first five chapters, I really felt I needed to delete a couple. - Create custom images

After staying in my jammies all day and roaming around the house all disgruntled, I've decided not to cut any scenes. I'm going back to the original plan--finish the darn thing.

Time marches on; the book stands still. - Create custom images

Another interesting way I've killed time today is by hanging out at Bluebird Blogs ( looking over her great portfolio, and flipping through iStockphoto, admiring the billions of pictures I could use to redesign my blog. I found no less than 15 pics I like. Of course, I only need one. If I would be completely honest with myself, I really don't even need one.

So after mutilating this day, I have to wonder what's in store for me tomorrow. Chapter 10? I wish!

Found this great quote and who did I think of? Me, of course.

One reason why things aren't going according to plan is because there never was a plan. ~Ashleigh Brilliant

Well . . . duh.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Thought for the Day - and Forever

Use what talents you possess: The woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best. ~Henry Van Dyke

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Hard Headed Mama

I've never been a read-your-manuscript-out-loud advocate, but today, I've done just that. I decided to see if it really works. It does. I've spotted clumsy sentences, bad transitions, holes, and a lot of repetition. I mean, how many times can a hero run his fingers through his hair before he goes bald? How many times can a heroine laugh before she starts to come across just a little deranged? Reading aloud has been a tremendous help so I take back every negative snarl.

I've also learned a little about myself. Mainly that I don't know as much as I think I do or maybe I've forgotten much of what I've learned over the years. I know that dialogue can show the reader a lot about a character's personality. I know that dialogue shows action instead of telling about it. I wouldn't have a problem writing a novel using all dialogue since that's what I like to write and read. What I don't understand is just how much narrative is too much narrative? And who made up this rule of too much or too little? I've seen books that have barely any dialogue. Those are the ones I put back on the shelf.

I can't help but think that writing is somewhat instinctive. Yes, we have to know structure and yeah, gotta know the rules before we're allowed to break 'em, but we each have our own style of dress, our own quirky sense of humor (or not), our own likes and dislikes. We each have our very own rhythm in the way we talk and walk, and all of that bleeds into our writing, creates our voice, our style. We should listen to that rhythm in our soul. Our instinct. Our intuition. That gut feeling. We need to listen to that basic deep-down beat and we'll know if we have too much narrative.

Sure there are people who have absolutely no rhythm, no beat at all in their talk, walk or soul. When we read their writing--published or unpublished, we recognize their loss.

As much as I dislike the word organic -- really I guess that's what it comes down to. How much narrative? That's up to me. I plan to listen to that rhythm in my head, and in my heart. And I might even label it passion.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Learning from my Weather Man

The weather has me on edge. Actually, it's the weather girl who has me on edge. She looks about 10 years old and I'm wondering what she could possibly know about the weather. It doesn't calm my nerves to hear that she'll be around all night, keeping me updated. First, because the station usually goes off the air when weather is extremely bad, and secondly, she doesn't have a calming manner. I want Curtis back. Where is he? I trust him and his Alabama accent.

Funny how we get used to our favorite news and weather personalities and hate change. I became attached to a certain newscaster in Houston a few years ago and watched him around 5:00 every morning while getting my husband off to work. I liked the way he talked about being a dad and how expressive his face was. And I enjoyed his interaction with his female counterpart. Then one morning I turned on the TV and he was gone. I lost interest in the early morning news after that. I never developed a relationship with the new team.
I wonder if we can learn something about characterization from this. We have to make our characters likable from the get-go. Even the not-so-good guys. Sometimes that's a tough job. An interesting exercise is to list your characters down the left side of a sheet of paper or on an index card, then identify their bad traits. Next, give them a good trait or two or three. If you can't come up with any good traits for a character, then you need to go all the way back to his childhood to determine why he doesn't have any. He wasn't born bad to the bone; something or someone made him that way.

I know why I like Curtis. First, his southern accent makes him special. He's cute and has a genuine warmth about him. What clenched it for me was when I read his bio and learned that his mom gave him some orange cones when he went away to college just in case he had car trouble. Now that's a mom I can identify with. Does Curtis have flaws? I sure had to search for them but I've come up with two: he's on the verge of letting his weight get a little out of hand, and sometimes I can't stand the way he button's his jacket. Okay, so I had to stretch. :)

Creating a character readers like, can identify with and root for is pretty tricky. It takes practice and a lot of rewriting and layering. We want readers to know our characters so well that they think they recognize them walking down a street or sitting in a cafe. In fact, what it amounts to is this: our readers need to develop a relationship with each character in our story. Otherwise, they just might quit reading.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Just like a Duck ...

...calm and unruffled on the surface but paddling like the devil underneath.

I read an interview on a blog today and got a great idea for an article. I zipped out a query letter but decided to do a little research before sending it.

I subscribe to the magazine I'm targeting and though I've read the most recent issue, I realized I never glanced at the March issue. I scrounged around and found it, and to my disappointment, the March issue had an article very similar to the one I want to write. Except, for one thing. The author took a very negative approach to the subject matter whereas I want to take a positive approach. I wonder if it's worth my while to pitch it? Should I refer to the article, compare my approach to hers? Point out how mine would differ? I'll see what my subconscious comes up with in the morning. :)

This evening I wrote five pages on Miranda's Mistake. I want to finish Chapter 9 tomorrow. I'm getting closer to my goal. I love watching the pages stack up. I'm always amazed at how the words flow if I'll just sit butt in chair and write. I suppose that really is the hard part.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

My Trash/My Treasure

I should have started Chapter 9 today, but I got caught up in the hundreds, yes, literally hundreds of boxes piled around my office (and in closets) with papers, magazines, books--you name it-- stuff I've never been able to dispose of. So all day I've worked and I have one garbage bag filled. That tells me I'm keeping more than I'm chucking. This is the way I write too: in layers. Because I'm tossing in layers I'll have to go back through it again and again and again to ever get rid of it. The magazines are what really hurt me. I don't want to throw them away. I don't want to even GIVE them away. Look at what I've found so far:

Writer's Digest 2002-2007
The Writer 2002-2007
Writer's Journal
Christian Single
Family Circle
Home Life
Baptist Message
Writer's Yearbook Magazine 2003
Romance Writer's Report - a subscription since 1981
Woman's World
Stand Firm
Single Parent Family
PC How-tos
Writer's Yearbook '99 :))
Southern Living
Alfred Hitchcock Magazine
Country Life
Mature Living
Poets and Writers 1999
Today's Christian Woman - 2000
Poets and Writers 1997 --
Family Handiman - Sept. 1992 Yikes! Must be from my woodworking phase. Yep, and my husband humored me. :)

Okay, I'll end it here but believe me when I say there are many, many more magazine titles. I'm sick! I know I have some kind of compulsive disorder. Next thing I know, I'll be saving gum wrappers. Wait! I've already done that. I can remember keeping a scrapbook with all kinds of weird stuff in it: Napkins from restaurants and movie tickets. Gum wrappers because some cute guy shared. A red and white peppermint for the same reason. I'd tape it to the page and write a little explanation beside it.

"Larry gave me this peppermint on November 12, 1962 standing in front of the biology lab."

Years later, when I came across that old scrapbook, there was nothing left of the peppermint except the paper it had been wrapped in. Evidently the ants feasted on my treasure. I wish they'd feast on all the magazines.

Dinah Shore said: There are no hopeless situations--only people who are hopeless about them. - Create custom images

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Word is a Lamp Unto my Feet, and a light unto my path. ~Psalm 119:105

I feel illiterate when it comes to knowing and understanding the Bible. This year I made a commitment to read a chapter a night in the New Testament. I'm in 1 Corinthians. Take this test, then commit to reading with me--at least a chapter--of the Bible each day.

And because of his words many more became believers. ~John 4:41

You know the Bible 85%!

Wow! You are awesome! You are a true Biblical scholar, not just a hearer but a personal reader! The books, the characters, the events, the verses - you know it all! You are fantastic!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
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Monday, April 9, 2007

Monday, Monday... So Good to Meeeeeeee

I get excited about watching the pages of my WIP pile up. I say pile up because I print them out and put them in a 3-ring binder. I started doing that way back in 1995. I like editing a hard copy. I can write across the pages, attach post-it notes, and I can tuck pictures of my characters inside the clear vinyl or the side pockets. Keeping it all together makes me feel organized. Plus, it's fun seeing that notebook get thicker and thicker and thicker. I feel like I'm growing a novel. :)

I wrote 5 pages. :) Considering how many hours are in a day, I'd say writing only 5 pages should be embarrassing. Of course, there were other things that demanded my attention. I critiqued a chapter from Sandra and one from Janelle. I drove to the post office to get daughter's income tax stuff mailed. I talked to Scotland three times, my friend Barbara twice, my sister-in-law once, another sister-in-law twice, and some guy who turned out to be a wrong number. Hey, nice accent. :-D

Today, the telephone was my enemy.

And tonight, I had to watch The Bachelor. uh. . . let's just say, he seems to be more excited about his choices than I am. Poor guy.

Monday's gone. Tomorrow, Chapter 9!

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Have a blessed Easter.

Low in the grave He lay, Jesus my Savior,
Waiting the coming day, Jesus my Lord!


Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph o’er His foes,
He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever, with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose!
Hallelujah! Christ arose!

Vainly they watch His bed, Jesus my Savior;
Vainly they seal the dead, Jesus my Lord!


Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph o’er His foes,
He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever, with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose!
Hallelujah! Christ arose!

Death cannot keep its Prey, Jesus my Savior;
He tore the bars away, Jesus my Lord!


Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph o’er His foes,
He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever, with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose!
Hallelujah! Christ arose!

Words & Music: Robert Lowry, 1874; appeared in Brightest and Best, by Robert Lowry and W. Howard Doane (New York: Biglow & Main, 1875) (MIDI, score).

Friday, April 6, 2007

Mission Impossible -- Accomplished!

Yesterday I set three goals for myself. Did I accomplish them? You tell me. :)

1) Two loads of clothes washed and dried. Of course, the towels aren't folded and my second load is still in the dryer but. . . who cares, heh?

2) Three "treasure boxes" emptied: magazines, half-filled notebooks, old Christmas cards, newsletters, pictures. Yes, I did throw some of it away, but unfortunately, I tend to keep more than I discard. The garbage bag isn't near full, but my stack of To Keep magazines is toppling over. I saw that Cyndy Salzmann was giving a chat tonight and if I'd joined in I might have won a free personal clutter coaching session. That was enough to keep me away. I was actually scared I'd win. :( I can watch de-cluttering programs on TV and hyperventilate.

Cyndy has an entire list of things to chunk. Check it out at Just reading her list made me a little queasy.
Tomorrow I'll take another look at my floor. . . and the garbage bag. We'll see what happens.

3) I'm on Chapter 8 of Miranda's Mistake. I'm so excited. I gave Alex his head and it's working out fine. Of course, when I finally sit down and read what I've written and start fleshing out, I might be unpleasantly surprised. For now, just let me write to the end. - Create custom images

Thursday, April 5, 2007

A Picture's Worth How Many Words?

If I didn't have so much time on my hands, I'd be more productive. When I worked an eight to five job, I churned out more articles, short stories, poems and completed novels than I have during the past ten years. One of those novels was written with a toddler under foot and three relocations because of my husband's work. So what's wrong with this picture?

I'm getting ready to meet a friend for lunch. As I blow my hair dry, wonder what I'm going to wear, mentally peruse the menu at the cafe we frequent, an idea for an article pops into my head. It has to do with something I experienced a long time ago and I have to wonder--why now? Why is it coming to mind now when I can't sit down and do anything about it.

Answer: When I'm physically active, my mind is active. And that makes me wonder how reclusive authors create stories when they never leave the house? Interaction with life is so important to a writer. It sure affects my writing.

Now we know what's wrong with the picture; we've identified my problem (okay, at least one of them) so what am I going to do about it?

**** **** **** **** **** **** **** **** **** **** ****

I'm almost ready to move on to chapter 8 of my novel. Seems like I've made a lot of progress in the past few days, but keep in mind how I write: mostly dialogue. There's no emotion and very little description. I'm getting the story down and only adding body language or showing the setting when it spews naturally from fingertips pounding keys. This is how I wrote the book that sold - got it down, then went back and layered and layered and layered. I write faster this way, and the editing and fleshing out seems easier too. There's something to be said for spontaneity. Amazing that even fast, sparse writing contains an element of emotion. Odd thing, this pulling together a novel.

I still have some research to do regarding the court system. Thankfully, one of my crit partners is an attorney so she'll be helpful. I should make notes so I can pick her brain during our next meeting.

I have three goals to accomplish tomorrow:
1) Get into chapter 8
2) Empty and dispose of three boxes in my office.
3) Wash clothes
Three very simple goals. We'll see if I accomplish them.

Husband will be home from Scotland mid-May. Life will change.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

I'll Take a Small

Small, intimate writers' conferences are fun and comfortable. A new writer can often make friends for life, not to mention a few connections. Huge conferences--while wonderful in a number of ways--can overwhelm a newbie, have her holding up the wall at mixers or weeping in her hotel room. Why not practice for the big ones by attending a small one first? I promise, you won't regret it. :)

The ETBU Christian Writers Conference - A small conference in Marshall on the East Texas Baptist University Campus. Check it out. This looks like a good conference for beginners.

The Writers Guild of Acadiana in Lafayette, LA is always an excellent conference with much to offer in the way of professional editors, agents and authors. They sponsor a contest and encourage entries whether you attend the conference or not.

Inspirational Writers Alive! - Houston, TX
I've attended one of their conferences. They have a contest too. Their website seems to represent all their chapters so you have to fumble your way around. A sweet conference to attend.

Bayou Writers Group Third Annual Fall Conference-Lake Charles, LA
I attended the BWG conference last year and it was very good. 2007 promises to be even better.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Those Puppy Dog Tails

When I was young I had a dog named FiFi, and no she wasn't a poodle. She was a mutt that just showed up one day. I begged to keep her. In those days anything French was wonderfully exotic to me so she became my black and white, long-haired, scroungy looking FiFi. Today I reminded myself of FiFi. All I did was chase my tail.

And now, my novel as taken an unexpected turn. I'm following my outline (or trying to) but today my hero learned some information that the heroine was supposed to discover. I'm not sure what to do about it. Do I let him have his way for a few pages and see where it leads, or do I back up now and follow my plan? This could make things difficult for me. Hero is pretty excited about his discovery but why wouldn't he be? If he has his way, the novel could end a good 100 pages too soon, he'll be cleared of any wrong-doing and can go on his merry way. Still, I can't help but wonder if there are some interesting surprises ahead.

I think I'll follow his lead. He'd better not turn out to be a Fifi.

Monday, April 2, 2007

No Whining Allowed ... out loud.

I'm on a writing roll, churning out pages. Wish it would continue. I think I'm producing because I haven't worried about submitting to my critique partners. I'm just writing. At some point they'll be hollering for pages and scheduling meetings, and then I'll have to stop, clean up a chapter and get it to them.

A writer acquaintance sends all her rough pages to her crit group, they clean it up, red-pen where she should develop, flesh out, layer, cut ... she follows their advice then sends it on to her editor. Yes, she's published--over and over and over again. I guess I have too much pride to send my rough stuff to my crit partners. Unfortunately, when I get my chapter back--all marked up--I realize it was rough. Glad I didn't know that beforehand. :-D

Crit groups are scary. They have the power to build up or completely destroy.
I've been in several groups through the years, some better than others. But really, I have no idea if any of them are good.

I'm taking another month-long, online class. This one is called Empowering Characters' Emotions taught by Margie Lawson. The first lecture alone was worth my $25.00. However, one of Margie's examples, She arched a well-plucked brow is a sentence I actually used in my wip, and it was cut by one of my crit partners. I'm not sure why--something about POV and how does she know her brow is well-plucked?Realistically, we could say she knows because she paid for that well-plucked brow. :))

It's so important to go with our gut when it comes to our own writing. We know what we want to say; we know what picture we're trying to paint. We have to develop our own style and our own voice.

James N. Frey stated in his How To Write A Damn Good Novel II that "The drop-out rate in a hard-nosed creative writing workshop is often 70 or 80 percent." I'd be one of the drop-outs. Give me a small intimate critique group--not 30 people staring at me and ripping my story to shreds.

And yes, I do agree that critiques are probably the best way to learn and we're in crit groups because we choose to be there; we shouldn't complain.

One of my favorite writing books is Make Every Word Count by Gary Provost. He stated: "Writing works best when you hypnotize the reader quickly and hold him spellbound until you're through with him."

That's exactly what I'd like to do with my critique group.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

A Thinking Machine

My husband and I have lived in 13 different places during the past twenty-plus years. For the past year, he's been in Scotland, and when he comes home, more than likely we'll be facing relocation again. I left my 'nesting instinct' in one of those 13 places. Relocation always plays havoc with my creative side so I may have left that behind too. Moving is difficult.

Before packing one box, I do an Internet search for writing groups in the area. The sooner I connect with other writers the better off I am emotionally, mentally and yes, even physically. It's great to have writing friends lined up and waiting for me when I get to the next new town. Of course, that's only happened once. :(

I can hardly stand the thought of moving again. But, on the other hand, I can hardly stand the thought of going through another hurricane. In view of these two hardlies I'd say the best thing for me to do is to:

1) pray for God's hedge of protection around our home, family and friends.
2) turn it all over to God and let Him have our future since He's got it anyway whether I turn it over to Him or not. :)
3) pray for wisdom and
4) clean house.

I know from studying His Word that there's a reason for everything so Lord, heal my impatience and let me wake up every morning eagerly watching and listening for the surprises you have in store for me. Amen

I've been told I think and worry entirely too much. I'm always trying to figure things out. Here's a pic of my brain pattern. Works for me!

Your Brain's Pattern

Your mind is an incubator for good ideas, it just takes a while for them to develop.
But when you think of something, watch out!
Your thoughts tend to be huge, and they come on quickly - like an explosion.
You tend to be quiet around others, unless you're inspired by your next big idea.