When you send flowers, put a name on the card

Flowers & Trees
Fresh Pink Tulips, Colors, Flower, Flowers, Fresh, Natuer, Pink, Pink Fresh Petals, Rose

Lessons from the last two weeks:

1.  Editing happens.  You don’t have to like it, but you do have to respect it. If you write, you edit.  The first draft is basically vomit on paper.  The second draft removes obvious grammatical errors. The third draft will reveal crazy changes in tense, POV, or inconsistencies in the story. Then you get to the real work, telling the story the best you can. (see point 3)

2.  Filter words are real.  I didn’t even know this term until this week when I was told by a writer and friend that I really needed to research “filter words.”  A quick Google Search revealed exactly what they are, and an even quicker read of my story revealed exactly how prominent they are in my writing.  Lightbulb Time!

3.  Telling the story the best you can means that each and every sentence has to work. Each sentence has to make the reader want to read the next sentence.  I used to think of writing more holistically, but by the time you are on the fourth draft of something, you better be paying attention to sentences.  They are all part of your creation and each every one deserves attention. It could be a simple noun/verb but make sure it is the right noun and the right verb. He walks is a sentence. He sauntered is a lot more informative.  The fat man sauntered across the deserted street at midnight, is part of a story that I may want to read.

4. By draft four you get really excited when you write a good sentence. I wrote one today.  Here it is:  “A happy little whistle joins the humming in her head and the sound is a symphony that only she can hear.”  I know that you cannot tell that is a particularly good sentence without context, but I’m excited because my character has gone from mentally confused (and sympathetic) to completely batshit crazy by this time in the story and this sentence really ties that up in a bow.  She’s stealing babies, after all.

5.  If you need help, and are truly working on your craft, ask for help.  Don’t ask for help from random people, but from people who know you are putting in the effort and perhaps even like you.  You may hit pay dirt and learn something.  But you better as hell be putting in the effort. No one wants to help a lazy writer.  Writing is work.  It if was easy everyone would be doing it.

6.  When you send flowers to someone to say “thank you” for their help, make sure you put your name on the card with a short thank you message. Anonymous flowers to a single woman are creepy.

WIP: An uplifting story of a psychotic babysnatcher. Not so much on the uplifting.

At first light, Abby leans down to see Holly. Holly doesn’t look right. She picks Holly up and notices that Holly smells different. Maybe she has a stinky diaper? Abby checks the paper towels and finds no poop or wetness. Somewhere in the back of her head, a thought breaks through the static.   Maybe this baby isn’t Holly. Maybe this baby is dead, not sleeping. She needs Holly back. This dead baby isn’t Holly.

Abby takes the baby outside and places it in the lake. Once again, the lake accepts the gift.

Abby paces around her house. She walks the same circle repeatedly. From the kitchen to the living room, down the hall, around the bedroom, back down the hall, to the kitchen.

Something was wrong with Holly. Abby did something wrong, but she couldn’t figure out what it was. That baby wasn’t Holly. That must be the problem. Abby needed to find the real Holly and then everything would be okay.

When Abby was little, her goldfish died and her parents bought her another goldfish. You just have to keep trying. Time to find the right Holly.

Review: Straight to Hell by John Hartness

Review of John Hartness’ latest Quincy Harker novella.

Take a Straight to Helllittle John Constantine, a bit of Harry Dresden, some of Hartness’ own character, Bubba, add a dash of Vlad, and you get Quincy.  He’s an interesting and snarky combination of characters that runs around fighting evil with a self-deprecating wit and an uncertainty about what lays ahead for his soul whenever he (eventually) dies.

I like him. I like him a lot.  I must say though that I feel a little bit like I am two-timing Bubba, for whom I have a serious crush.  When I was in college, the only guys that hit on me were gigantic.  If a guy walked in looking like Paul Bunyon with a little extra weight, that is who would ask me to dance. It is ironic because I’m just a microscopic amount over five feet, and while not skinny, I’m not huge either.

It made an indelible impression on me and left me eternally grateful to the big guys. So, I hope Bubba will understand that he’s still number one in my heart, but Quincy has it goin’ on too.

In the latest novella, Quincy and his merry band of misfits and oddities have to battle none other than the Four Horsemen to save the world (again).  Quincy’s group is a little like the Island of Misfit Toys but somehow, in the way of things, they work together to defeat the big, big bad. The fight scene against War in the redneck bar is worth the read alone.

Some favorite lines–probably because I get the jokes.

“No, I don’t give a fuck what they do with the body. We did our job, we made it dead. They can make Soylent Green out of it for all I care.”

“What will you be doing while we’re playing Giles and Willow in the library?”

My only criticism is that is all happens so fast.  John, bubbe, make Quincy stories a whole NOVEL. Show us the third horseman.  Give us more about what happened the last time Bubba bonded with a woman.  Stretch it out a little more.  You have a loyal audience who will read it.

Get Quincy!  http://johnhartness.com/straight-to-hell/

Some Words from A WIP

Some words from a W.I.P.

“You killed my sister!”

“Your sister was losing control.”

“She was losing control because of you. We weren’t always killers. We could manage the Hunger. We only took what we needed. The men said it heightened the experience. We were worshipped as goddesses. She was a Queen and we lived in her lands safely. You took that from us!”

“You managed to control your Hunger for brief period. Then you returned to who you truly are.”

“She sought your wisdom! She wanted to stop the cycle. You know she came to you looking for help!”

“There was no help to be given. Death is the help.”

“Yes, and you gave it to her,” Ostra snapped.

“I handed her a basket with an asp. She chose.”

“She chose because of you. Because you rejected her. Because you destroyed her hope.”

TT leaned in and whispered. “Why did an asp kill her? I thought it took an awful lot to kill them.”

“The primordial snake. The Trickster in the Garden. The one animal whose bite is fatal.”

TT was gobsmacked. “Truly? The Garden. The ONE Garden.”

“Yes. The very One.”

“Who was this Queen? Where was she Queen?”


Why do I “want to be” a writer?

This is what greets me this morning.  Two writers that I admire (including one that I personally know) each write blog posts that essentially say, being a writer is really hard work that you have to actually WORK at to be better and you, you crazy wannabe, will never make it.

They both come to the same conclusion: you most likely will fail, but what you can do is Write. A thousand words a day come hell or high water, or more, if the spirit moves you.

see: www.terribleminds.com

and: www.johnhartness.com

Gotta be honest. I’m not writing a thousand words a day.  I’m not blogging every day. I’m most likely breaking every single rule ever invented about writing.  And I am doing it heartily.  (Ha! Look Stephen King, I used an adverb.)

Sometimes I write a lot more than a thousand words. Sometimes none.  Now, keep in mind I am talking about fiction words. I must write something in the area of a gazillion words if you count my paycheck work, which I don’t.  I just wrote a letter to a woman who wanted to know why preventive health screenings make sense and who stated, categorically, that all they do is create false-positives and unnecessary stress.  I disagree, so I told her why.  I had to be clear, reasonable, and fundamentally tell her my side of the story. But it doesn’t count because it isn’t fiction coming out of my head.

Why do I want to be a writer?  Because I am a writer.  Nothing I can do to change that. If I don’t write, the voices in my head become louder and my head gets crowded.  Now, being a fairly decent writer is up to me, and being a published writer is up to the Fates, who I definitely think are conspiring against me.  Nope, don’t think–KNOW they are. I can just imagine them with their one eye taking turns looking at me and cackling, “She wants to be published! Who the hell does she think she is? Let’s just let her dangle there, shall we?”

So, I’ll write.  I’ll work at it.  I’ll do all the things I can do that are in my control, and I still may never be published, continuously rejected. That is just the chance I am going to have to take because the writing isn’t negotiable.  I wrote my first story when I was seven, pecking it out on a typewriter. It was about Jack the Horse, whose one leg was shorter than another.  When you start writing at 7, I’m pretty sure the path is chosen for you, not the other way around.



If Angels Can Fall, Can Demons Rise?

Story Idea:  What do you think? Thoughts? Feedback?

A child is conceived through rape.  The mother’s Guardian Angel is so upset that she closes her eyes just for a moment.  A demon, named Sin, slides into the fetus as it is conceived.

Sin cannot leave the body and experiences birth and life as a human. Staying true to what it knows, and what its Master expects, the demon continues to poison the mother thoughts and feelings over the years as the child grows. Meanwhile, the soul of the baby, Hope, is engaged in an epic internal battle in order to save her own life and her mother’s soul.

We know Angels can Fall, but can Demons Rise? What happens when a demon experiences human beings’ gift of free will? Ultimately, can Demons have Hope?

New Book by Andrea Phillips Sounds Super Cool

Just saw an announcement of this new book and think it is a must-read.  The basic premise is that reality can be changed and nudged through changes to the Wikipedia-like description through the company Verity.  Yeesh. Weird. Can’t wait to read it.

Read the first three chapters for free, here.   Here’s a good quote:

“Hasn’t Ben told you what Verity really does? Verity isn’t in the business of reporting reality, they’re in the business of making it.” She clapped her fingertips to her mouth with faux horror, and her voice became syrup-thick from bitterness. “Silly me. Not for me to spill his secrets. Forget I said anything.”

What’s up with Thor’s vision quest in the pool of water? Baffled.

I just saw Age of Ultron.  If you have not seen it and don’t want any SPOILERS, do NOT read this post.

I have a major plot question.  What was up with Thor going off to find his scientist friend and then finding some mystic pool of water to understand his vision in?

I. Just. Don’t. Get. It.

One, he said it would be dangerous.  It was so brief that we saw no danger whatsoever.  Two, I thought the whole Asgardian thing wasn’t really magic but technology we couldn’t understand yet. The vision pool thing really has me confused.

It is obvious that there was more to this part of the plot that was filmed and then cut out.  But other than seeing Thor/Chris spring up out of a pool of water, and I’m not saying that isn’t nice, I don’t get this at all.

So, Marvel fans…explain it me.

(And really, he can’t see Jane even for a minute?  I guess Natalie Portman wasn’t available for the movie.  Loved seeing Peggy/Haley though!)

Break Every Rule

Just finished J.H. Moncrieff’s guest blog on terribleminds.com.  My favorite comment is to Keep Breaking the Rules. She writes,

Keep Breaking the Rules

When it comes to writing, I break every rule in the book. I don’t outline. I don’t write at the same time every day. I don’t know the end of my novels before I start—and yet, they always work out the way they should. Whenever someone tells me I should change my way of doing things, I smile sweetly and keep on writing. (If I’m in a good mood—if I’m not, my response is a little on the blunt side.)* 

This makes me giddy.  I have trouble with the traditional outline, although I do enjoy the process of just trying to define my character in a few sentences.  That is a very helpful technique. But the outline has always escaped me.  I was really bummed to hear Jim Butcher say that his first successful novel was the one in which he finally gave in and outlined.  (He said this during his appearance at last year’s DragonCon.)

I’m not sure if every writer outlines and J.H. and I are the real outliers, but I’d like to hear what others do…leave a reply.

visit her on: http://www.jhmoncrieff.com/ 


Because words are slippery little suckers