Thursday, December 10, 2009

Books make Excellent Gifts!

Just sayin’ – there’s some Great books out that would look Great in someone’s hands this season. And this winter season curled up and cozy-like. [and No worries about sizes!]

From cozy mysteries such as Emyl Jenkins latest “The Big Steal” - Where you can also impress your friends with your sudden knowledge of antiques.

To Maggie Stiefvater’s several books, her run-away hit “Shiver” with the different take on werewolves and love, to her latest book with her homicidal faeries, “Ballad” [companion to her debut book last year “Lament”] -

And look at fung shui and your love corner with Joni Davis’ fun book – “Feng Shui Love” [can check it out on Wednesday Dec. 16th at Fountain Books. ]

And if you love, or even like horses, or for those that do, be sure to pick up Gigi Amateau’s “Chancey of the Maury River” for them

These are all local – local-ish writers around Richmond, Virginia. To check out their signings and other great Richmond writers such as Dean King, David Robbins, and many Many others, check out James River Writers calendar.

And while you’re there join up and join us at one of the many events JRW has around. We’re a pretty friendly crew – even when our writing is going snarly as Christmas ribbon.

And DO Support your local independent bookstore this season. Richmond, Virginia has several still left in town, although this year has seen some give up and go out of business so do consider helping out your local indie. They have cool gifts and cool people – as witnessed by Fountain Bookstore owner Kelly Justice and her cool helpful staff.

Tis the season to buy Books!

Works as a great gift for all the writers and readers you know! Especially if you give them more than one. ;-D

Just sayin’

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


I mean Ho Ho Ho !

Yes, ‘tis the season. And the reason. Okay so not entirely. I mean I was behind the eight-ball in these posts and a Lot of things before the holiday season came barreling down on us so quickly. Just makes things much more frenzy-ribboned.

Not that I’ve wrapped any presents. Or checked the lists to see what we even have. Presents or ribbons. If you should be on my list you definitely should remind me. Before I get choked up in ribbon. And frenzy.

I’m in denial that it’s coming, I know. I was told tonight I wasn’t just cruising on ‘the nile’ [de-nial] that I probably could have a house-boat on it by this time. Course this was in response to asking about my writing and novel writing work. And had to reply that about the most writing I’ve been doing lately [other than for reports and all that] has been copious to-do notes.

Does that count?

Yeah, I don’t think they thought so either.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tomato Potato

It is interesting how individuality applies to writers and writing, as well as writers and how they write. Or view their writing. Whether with hubris, insecurity, or something in between.

It always surprises me when I hear writers talk about how they write, or why they write, and I realized they articulated much better than I how I work and think.

And the great thing about James River Writers is being able to hang out and hear authors talk about how and why and realize that you can do it too.

[besides making you realize you really aren’t so freaky at all. Well, Some of you writers out there are – you know who you are! ;-D

Like hearing Kyle Mills, great writer at Conference couple of years ago talking about why he writes – for those that missed that Conference – it isn’t because he loves writing. And I realized I wasn’t alone in how I felt about writing. He just said it better.

Hearing terrific writer Steve Berry recently helped my husband understand me better as a writer. How I work and think somewhat.

You also learn great tips and things to help you, like the Magnificent Maggie Stiefvater recently talked on her blog about how she goes about starting a novel, and her NaNo, and I was shocked at how similar I worked and thought as she did. I just hadn’t thought of it in the same structured way she had. It helped a lot!

And in case you want to see how similar, or dissimilar, you are -

It’s amazing what great things you can pick up from writers. And it’s great that James River Writers is around to help bring a bunch of writers together so you can learn. From writing skills and how to do things better, to just learn that you aren’t a freak. Well, unless you Really are. ;)

[and great to have such a great independent book store like Fountain Books with Kelly Justice and her Terrific staff, to give great book recommendations!]

Like Writers Wednesday, that James River Writers has the 2nd Wednesday of every month, which you missed tonight. If you weren’t one of the one’s there of course. Even with all the rain coming down there were people there ready to visit and talk about writing and have fun. And taking time from the word count demands of NaNoWriMo to talk and re-energize themselves. Of course that’s what they were doing there. What, you think they were ducking word count and procrastinating? Phffft. As writers we can do that any time now can’t we. Certainly don’t need NaNo for that. Really now.

I think it does help though. To have this kind of casual get-together-talk-with-writers time. Whether you learn how similar you are, or how different. You realize you all have a common goal – uh, to get published, is the answer most of us would give here, just fyi. It also gets you out of your isolation with characters and your keyboard and begins to train you to talk to people about your writing, your books, and how better to do it when you have to get out and do it for ‘real’ someday. And that’s worth a price of a drink now isn’t it? [I get iced tea in case you’re wondering.]

So make plans to join us in December. You might just learn something about yourself. Whether you’re a writer or not.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


The kind that keeps a novel going and keeps a reader reading, not what a writer does while fretting about how said novel is doing.

Is pacing in books becoming more frenetic? More like, well, as I’ve read discussions on it, more like sound-bites. But for Reading! Yeah, that’s just wrong, on so many levels. Isn’t it?

But the fact of book publishing seems to be for short quick snippets or whip-its of chapters [No, we are not reverting back to penguin porn! That was already covered in previous post quite sufficiently. ;-D ]

Most people seem to think that Hemmingway etc.. would never be published now. And even recently it was heard, at the JRW Conference I think, that even Michener didn’t think he would have been published in his ‘present’ day, and was glad his career had started in a much earlier time.

Do you think we’ll ever go back to that? To the leisurely pace that meanders or slowly leads you to the end?

Or are we destined for the quick breathless pace of a thriller, no matter what type of book we are writing?

I have mentioned the words/story/what-ever-it-was I threw together last year for an ‘unofficial’ nano. It taught me a Lot about pacing. And how to manipulate it. Which was Really terrific. But it seemed to come naturally with that particular story line. Not so easy to work it in ones I’m working on now.

What do you think? Are you good at pacing? What makes you good at it? And is it easy for you in Everything you write? Or is it easier in some than others?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Different views, different voices

It’s amazing how different we all are. As people. As writers.

How we all see things. How we hear things. And how very different that can be. Of the same thing.

For an example check out my post here on the recent James River Writing Show [October 31st I think it is] where I give a long but brief description of what I took away from it. [Yes I am learning editing skills. ;) ]

And then go check out what other people took away from it –


Will illustrate just how different we all are, even as writers. And how as writers we all really do have a unique voice to share.

How do you share your unique voice?

Do you sing your voice? Write your voice? Or draw your voice?

Friday, November 6, 2009

And then there was NaNo

Da-ta-ta-da [cue music]. For those wondering why your local neighborhood writer is either holed up acting more crazed than usual. Or worse, wandering about muttering with twitching fingers and acting more crazed than usual. It Might have something to do with the annual National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo for short. NaNo, for really short. [and not the really tiny, which is a different type of nano.]

And let’s face it, writers are strange lot anyway. I’m not saying All are by any means. I mean, I am not all that odd or peculiar or anything of course. I just hang around with a bunch of …er, creative…people. That happen to be writers. And happen to be, er, creative. A lot.

Whether published and working like crazy on the next deadline, or unpublished and working like crazy to be published [so presumably you can still work like crazy but with a deadline], writers tend to be an odd lot that people around them either grin at or edge away from. [Which are you by the way? ;) grinner or edger?]

Okay but back to NaNo, and safer explanations, November is NaNoWriMo month, where writers strive to get out a novel in a month. Okay so a short-ish novel, but still, a novel. And a feeling of accomplishment at having actually finished one. A short one. But still.

I personally have never officially done NaNo. I just didn’t feel I could take that kind of time to work on something completely new when I have stacks of stories waiting around here for my finishing touches. Okay, okay, so I admit I had a short fling with it unofficially once. It was self defense I swear! The members of my writing group have mostly done NaNo each year and have consistently come up with some interesting, uh, word ‘fodder’ to fill their NaNo word quota. And turned out some ‘interesting’ stories I must say. So as a trial fling to sort of try it out, I tried my hand at flinging words on paper, uh, on the screen actually. I just wrote down whatever came to mind at the time. I showed the few pages to my husband later and he thought it was the best writing I’d ever done. Okay so he hasn’t seen All my writing. It was a very surprising story. Seriously creepy, that I kept having to dilute to keep it from giving me creepy dreams. My writing group insisted it was fantasy and that I should finish it, [I’m sure the fact they All write fantasy didn’t enter into that at all], not being a fantasy writer I wasn’t convinced. And given the creepy factor of it all I didn’t really want to continue thinking about it, no matter which way it was going to go it seemed to have serious creep overtones. So I shelved it in the proverbial drawer, along with the more promising bunches of words that I have waiting to work on. And ventured on back to the rest of the writing stack and current works in progress.

And so NaNo has returned to haunt us all once more. Whether a crazed participant muttering and typing like mad or a crazed bystander trying to help them out with word count, it still crazes the world of writers. I still am not doing it officially. Even more strange this year is the seemingly lack of interest of all but one writing group member, who usually sits it out somewhere along the sidelines where I watch. But while I do not officially participate I am using the writing vibes everyone is putting out in the atmosphere to work diligently at my story that has been in the works for way too long. And seen way too many incarnations and rewrites. I think I have the story at last. Not what I expected at all. And changing as it is being written. Not gotten creepy yet which is good, otherwise I’d have to think it was something about November and not just NaNo.

Course the fact that all writers seem to be heavily working and not writing emails or anything has nothing to do with the rest of us writing more diligently also. Course not. We writers are just an eclectic but supportive group, that support each other however we can. No matter how odd some members seem to be. Or how many really want to be left alone up in that attic to write.

Write on!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Writing Show Thrills

Or as somebody said ‘penguin porn?’

For the last Writing Show this year, JRW pulled out an autumnal homage to the celebration of Poe. (No, I don’t think he had anything to do with penguins or penguin porn.) Okay, so not really about Poe, more of a sort-of-nod to the thought that some think Poe created the beginnings of modern mysteries. But it was about writing modern mysteries. So close enough. (yeah, you’re just waiting for that first part now aren’t you?)

JRWs own Board Member and Secretary Emyl Jenkins moderated. She of antique sleuthing mystery fame, with two great books under her belt now, had spent the early part of the day speaking in Williamsburg to an appreciative crowd and then another two hours signing her latest book, The Big Steal, for them! Luckily she has stamina and was able to hold the microphone and bring out a fun informative ending to this last Writing show of 2009. [Be sure to keep an eye on the JRW site, for the new Writing Shows in 2010.]

The night of mystery included some new faces to JRW, or at least to me and some. Meredith Cole and Andy Straka were both fun and funny. As well as Donna Andrews, not a new face to JRW, having just been at the recent JRW Conference, as well as the first one, but she’s certainly smart and willing to share her knowledge to other writers.

The discussion ranged from the different sub-genres that comprise the mystery writing field today to the latest fads and how to avoid following them. And to not consider self-publishing with a mystery genre book unless you are willing to spend quite the amount of money to make it a success. And even then to reconsider.

The ooh factor of the evening came from Andy bringing out his wonderful hawk. Yep, real live, and gorgeous. Nope I am not even going to tell you the hawk’s name. I will tell you it’s a Harrier Hawk. And let you conjecture from there. (and yes, I know you’re still waiting. No, I don’t think the hawk had anything to do with the penguins. Although Andy did joke that he and Donna had both taken P.I. courses and had discussed opening an agency called Flamingos and Hawk. Get their books and you'll get it.)

The gross of the evening was the question from audience member about said hawk’s diet when Andy couldn’t take it out hunting. Yes, he takes it out to do its own hunting for food. Normally. Luckily he’d already fed it. At least it didn’t seem to be all that interested in a room full of staring oohing writers. And we didn’t have to have the rest of the gory details. Blechhhh. I’ll just say Emyl mentioned to Andy she had an old microwave in her basement if he wanted to truck it back with him.

There was quite a bit of laughter during the evening, quite a funny panel for it to be so filled with the dastardly thoughts of mystery writing and doing away with people and the ways and means of making that all plausible. Does any other writing genre – other than horror maybe? – have people looking at them a bit strangely and then begin edging slowly away?

Although the most laughter came when Donna gave a requested reading – of a penguin sex scene. Donna Andrews is noted for her humorous mysteries. She has actually written two different mystery series but has the most books [10? 11, now?] in her very popular Meg Langslow mysteries. For those that haven’t read them, you should. They are funny. And when Emyl turned to Donna and asked her to read the penguin sex scene she had written (and said she’d actually witnessed!) in one of her books, well, let’s just say things must have gotten really quiet because Emyl turned back around and said, “you all’s eyes are just bugging” …and of course it was said as only Southern-lady Emyl would say it. [yeah, see what all you missed by not coming!]

You can read it yourself in Donna’s book, The Penguin Who Knew Too Much

And it is one of my favorite books of Donna’s. So far anyway. Certainly has one of my favorite first paragraphs! You’ll just have to go buy it and see for yourself.

Won’t be the same as having Donna read it, with Emyl prodding, but that’s what you get for not getting out and joining the rest of us for the great evening.

Makes you remember favorite writers like Emyl Jenkins and Donna Andrews, and meet new ones you want to read now like Meredith Cole and Andy Straka.

And maybe have your own harrier hawk someday or write a penguin sex scene of your own, and make it as funny as Donna’s. Oh, come on, I Know you want to! And NaNoWriMo is just around the corner you know! So you can!

But if you aren’t interested in writing one at least pick up the great books by the above mentioned authors from your local independent bookstore, in this case, from cool Kelly Justice of Fountain Bookstore fame. Then come and tell us all what you got from her.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Cool Weather Cometh

The cool has slipped its fingers between the rays of sun

While we were sleeping the buttons came undone

One day it was summer’s roasting hot

The next the cool came in and it’s not

How to weather this time of year

Between the heat of summer and winter coming near

It crept in on shadowed winds

Pushing aside the rays of warmth

Coming in amidst the night

Far from the eyes of human sight

But even in their night time sleep

They begin to feel its touch

With tossing and turnings awakened

They knew not why

Only that night’s routine had passed them by

(sgchris Sept. 2009)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Name, A Name

Well, several names. Those pesky characters. I Know! Do they Never rest? I’ve been out of their world looking for names for them. They supposedly can’t go around for the rest of the book being Character 14, Char. 15, etc…. Okay, so I wasn’t that bad. But some did have just ‘friends’ label attached. Or question mark. That doesn’t exactly keep readers going straight in a story, does it?

So where do you get your character’s names?

Seems from the digging around I’ve done people have their own little ways to name their characters. Interesting ways and places to get names.

So what are yours?

And if you are just a reader, what suggestions would you have? Uhm, other than your own name. Or someone you know. Or hate. Even if you do really want to see them dismembered in print. Remember I haven’t actually said I was doing that to a character. Exactly anyway. But you’ll have to stay tuned and read my books to find out now won’t you? Heh, heh, heh.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What’s in a Name?

Writer, character-maim-er….. could be worse, if the characters don’t start acting right and behaving themselves. All this running amok while I’m trying to take care of other things. Maybe amok looks different in your world but in character world….well, let me tell you, it’s not a pretty thing.

No sir-ree, makes you start thinking of changing your name from writer to character maim-er, or worse. I think I might have some characters scared. Maybe. A little. Okay, so they don’t seem too scared yet. But just wait……

Monday, October 19, 2009

Wanted: Missing In Action

This is an urgent bulletin sent out to find missing writer by her toe-tapping impatient characters, part of a long line of such characters not so patiently waiting for said writer to stop her other time stealing endeavors and come back to her chair to honor them with her devotion to them.

Uhm, yeah. That’s rather how I feel today. Trying to get things done with characters breathing down my neck. Like that’s going to help me get to their books quicker. Okay, so it might.

I better run, need to break up the fight ensuing on the waiting line here, messing up plot lines, mixing up book ideas. Bashing characters I haven’t even manage to name yet let alone really assign a face to, and it’s already getting bloodied. I mean, Really! Hey, you! Get back over there in that other story where you belong!

I’m not writing Missing writer, characters go wild. Hey……

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Berry Good

Okay so it should be Very good not Berry good but I just couldn't resist the title. ;)

Had a chance to hear Katherine Neville's interview of Steve Berry yesterday, and it was Terrific!
Thank you Library of Virginia!

Both authors are terrific in their own right - Katherine was at the recent James River Writers Conference and Steve Berry was at a James River Writers Writing Show several years ago.

Both writers are incredibly sharing of their writing experiences and advice, as well as being talented and successful writers.

This household has been big fans of Steve's from way back. We are working on a collection of all of his books. Somehow my husband manages to get them as I bring them home and sort of keeps them for himself. ;) So I think I've actually only managed to read a couple of them so far - I snatched them....uh, hid, I mean I just managed to somehow have time to read them first. ;)

But even though my husband has been a fan of Steve's books for quite some time, yesterday was the first time he's been able to meet him. And he was Impressed!
And my husband is not all that easily impressed. Believe me, I know. ;)

Steve also was able to articulate thoughts about writing that really applied to my writing style that I'd not thought of in quite the same words.
And really helped my husband to understand my writing life, and frustrations, better I think.

And Steve's wife Elizabeth is not only lovely to look at but she is also as helpful to newbie writers as Steve is.
She had some wonderful things to share as my husband and I talked with her.
Not to mention some recent pictures of Steve and his friend and best selling author James Rollins [another favorite author of my husband] in chainmail armor whacking each other. Thanks Elizabeth! ;)

So if you get a chance to hear Steve Berry talk do Not miss the opportunity! Nor pass up the opportunity to talk with his lovely wife.

Believe me, the time will pass Much too quickly!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Life Calls?

Life calls?

The wind is whispering today

Brushing my ear lightly while softly caressing my hair

With sweet endearing?

Soft entreats?

To come


To go

Where I do not know

And I don’t have time to listen

I am called to regular life

And duty

To things that fill our days

Instead of whispering touches upon the ear.

That tell us we are more than what fills our days.

(sgchris Oct. 2009)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Come hear my Ballad

Well, not mine actually, since I don’t sing or play music. I’m thinking of a couple of things about Ballads recently.

One of the things that seems to be cropping up is the use of music to inspire writers in their writing. Do you use music to help you work? And how do you choose it?

Maggie Stiefvater talks about her playlists quite a bit on her blog – and how she uses music as she works at her writing. She even picks out her music beforehand. And seems to spend a bit of time and quite a bit of thought doing so, to find just the right feeling of music.

Amazing. I’m not sure what kind of mish-mash of music I’d come up with if I did that. I’m sure that when I get back to the book I have partially written that’s set in Ireland that I’ll be listening to a lot of Celtic music. And will probably be combing Maggie’s playlists to find ones that seem to fit with the mood I want to create.

But normally I don’t listen to a lot of music. Probably because the story I’ve been working on for so long was such a jumbled mess for so long. The music I tried to listen to – hey seems to work for Maggie and can’t argue with her success now can we! ---but the music I tried to listen to that would, you would think anyway, move the story along just really got on my nerves. And let me tell you that didn’t help me with the story writing all that much!

Course Maggie does Everything well! Not that I begrudge her, Lord a-mercy, she sure seems to work hard enough for it! She is a Very accomplished artist, as well as musician, and now accomplished New York Times bestselling author! With books from Two separate publishing companies out at same time for criminy sakes!

Her first book with Scholastic just came out August 1st – Debuting at #9 on the NYTimes list!

Her second book with Flux Publishing – her third book published in less than a year!!! – called ‘Ballad’ has just been released October 1st. And the publisher is already having to call for another printing to stock all the bookstores!

Her book ‘Ballad’ is having its launch here in Richmond this Thursday, October 8th, at Fountain Books.

And if you pre-order/reserve a copy, Maggie’s sweetening the deal with some of her signed artwork – you can check it out here on her website –

And while you’re there on her site, check out her trailer she did for ‘Ballad’ – it’s right there, just hit play! Yep, showing all her talents - drawing, music, writing. And yep, if she wasn’t so darn nice and generous with her advice she gives on her blog and website for All aspiring writers, she’d be a lot easier to grumble about. But I can’t. Cause she gives Very helpful advice. Check out her blog and see for yourself. And come back here and mention it to me – in case I’ve gotten swamped again with all the things trying to take over my life, and I missed it!!

And come tell me about your Ballad. Maggie’s ‘Ballad’ is terrific! I will warn you, once you start you won’t want to put it down! It’s not ‘Shiver’ so doesn’t have wolves in it, but I did find myself growling at my husband when he was interrupting my reading of ‘Ballad!’ [and luckily I don’t play bagpipes or instruments like James or Dee, since I probably would have been way too tempted to bash him with them. Only Slightly! Only slightly! He is my husband after all. :::love you sweetheart ;) :::]

So when you get your Ballads, come back here and tell me about them. Whether music you’ve discovered, or writing. And especially come back and tell me of any writing helps and hints. I Really want to get this book I’m working on done so I can go on/back to the other stories I have languishing in wait.

Okay so Talk! To me! ;) Tell me all about your Ballads, sung and unsung.

Everybody has them. Don’t they?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Writing Group Views

It’s amazing how many writers there are in Virginia. Even just in Richmond and the surrounding areas. And we all have different voices and different views on how to write, and different writing styles. Yet we all are writers. Not all of us are published yet but that’s not what defines a writer. Or shouldn’t be.

Even on the JRW Writing Show, the one recently about Writing Groups. Is interesting seeing the different views on having or being in a writing group. Interesting just seeing the different things people took away from the evening. As shown by this sampling of different writings on and about the Writing Show

So, what are your views on a Writing Group?

Are you in one now? Looking for one?

Did you come to the Writing Show? What did you take away from it?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

JRW Writing Show

Speaking of James River Writing Show. As I just did in previous entry.

There's another Writing Show coming up.
Uh, tonight technically, since this is the 24th, September, Thursday. Already! Can you believe it?! Egad!!

Oh, but back to the James River Writers Writing Show. If you are in the Richmond, Virginia area come by and take it in.

You can find all the information here -

Come by and gather information about how some authors have writing groups and how they work it. And about NaNoWriMo coming up in November. Come on you don't really want to miss that do you?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic

Do you write for yourself or do you write to create some kind of message for others?

I remember at a JRW Writing Show one of the audience members seemed a bit upset that people didn’t seem to take away from the story what she intended them to.

It was along the lines of it was her story and they were supposed to get from it what she wrote.

But can we ever Really do that?

We are all individuals with individual experiences. Even those that grow up in the same household can have entirely different experiences. [Believe me I know!]

I think it’s because we all are such unique individuals. We are living a common thread here but each seeing it the way we are, where we come from, and way we choose. Which also influences us- the choices we make. And if you’ve read any of my blog at all – although may be in the blogspot one not the livejournal one since the blogspot is the one I started first and has more entries – one of my favorite movie phrases [uh, I have quite a few different ones, just so you know] is one from ‘Under The Tuscan Sun’ - the movie Not the book, don’t even get me sidetracked there! – the main character begins to take on her life, feel at home in it. She says something about ‘any little turning along the way and she’d be different, she’d be elsewhere.’ That’s true of us all isn’t it? And our perceptions of things we see, think, and, of course, read. So how can we see, think, and feel the same things? I’m not sure we even should. How can you help someone else if you are mired in the same feelings exactly the way they are? I think we can, and should have empathy. Empathy, not sympathy. Those are two different things.

As long as you buy and read my books I don’t know that I’ll really care what you take away from them.

Okay so really as long as you buy them. Let’s get real here. [uh, this is where the arithmetic part of the title comes in. Just so you know.]

Yeah, so every writer wants people to read and Really like their books. But, maybe because I’m still working on the writing parts, in my mind right now I think I’d be willing to settle for you just buying them. I think. Right now anyway.

And as long as you don’t do weird stuff like stalk me or anything. Ok? Promise?

So as a writer do you think of your reader at all?

As a reader do you think about how the writer intended their writing?

Magic anyone?

Thinking about magic. And weddings. And Love of course. The shining faces of people gloriously in love.

Who doesn’t sit at a wedding and look at that young couple, so happy and so in love, and wish for that feeling again. At least sometimes. Come on, don’t you?

But did make me think about love as being magic in a way. It sure has the power to transform.

And isn’t that what magic is, or does?

Made me realize we all have magic. Or the potential of magic. Since we all have the potential to love. And be loved.

Does the power of love transcend everything else?

Even throughout the whole story of wizard Harry, he said over and over he would have given it all up to have his parents and their love back.

We all have the potential to love. And be loved.

Maybe that’s the real magic.

And maybe that’s all the magic we need.

Or what we can actually touch?

What do you think?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Miss Me?

Have been hopping around with all kinds of doings. How about you all?

From quick travels out of town to a friend’s son’s wedding, to things JRW, meetings, and count-down to Conference.

You ARE going to be there right? The James River Writers Conference in October.

I get to do a panel with the graphic novelist Dash Shaw, the writer of humor filled mystery series Donna Andrews, and the super Uber-talented often mentioned here…ta ta ta daaaa…Maggie Stiefvater!!! Yay, Yay, YAY!

And since I’ve already warned you I am a Bemused Writer you might be getting an inkling of how my mind works.

My friends, or just those around me, are still a bit ‘bemused’ by how it works I think. :::grin:::

For some reason along with everything else I’ve been thinking about recently, I’ve been thinking about magic. Is this only a writer’s foible? Musing about different things like this.

As writers aren’t we all magicians of a sort? Or maybe better put, magician’s assistants, since we all are looking for the best words to blend together to create the best alchemy of a story, or to tell a story.

Or at least I am. I’m always casting about, looking for the best most expressive way to create the same, or close enough, scene in your head when you read, that’s in mine when I write, with the fewest, but best, words. Isn’t that magic? Or alchemy?

Not that I’m trying for the turning everyday objects into gold things that is the dictionary description of alchemy.

Although when you think about it, isn’t that what Every writer Really wants to do?

But as writer’s whether we admit to the first definition of turning things into gold there is the working of the second definition which is:

2 : a power or process of transforming something common into something special

Which we are definitely trying to do as writers. At least I am.

And which we hope to do the first definition with. Which is transform it into gold. Right? ;)

So here’s to writing magic. Or magical writing.

Hope to see some of yours soon. ;) As well as my own. :::grin:::

Friday, September 4, 2009

Summer's waning

The cool weather has crept in making us think of fall, hasn’t it? I know some out there, those worshipers of all things tan and sun, are bemoaning this. But there are plenty, especially around Richmond, Va., that are ready to bid farewell to the hot steamy mugginess that passes for summer in central Virginia. Are the ones that really enjoy the summer around here the ones that can escape all the time to the beach and/or lakes? That would say they don’t really enjoy summer around here either now doesn’t it.

I like the fall, where summer’s heat and mugginess ceases to drag at the senses until all of them have just melted into the pavement.

Fall is a pick-me-up time, where it’s such a relief to have the draggy days of summer gone and the crisp cool begins to rejuvenate all the tiredness away.

If you notice you can also tell the beginning of late summer by the sounds. The crickets and critters have a quieter voice than they do in the spring and beginning of summer where they are stridently clamoring for recognition and, well, all the rest of it.

By summer’s end even their noises have taken on a tired quality to it. The evenings become softer, both by sound and by feel.

You can actually begin to breathe again.

At least until the cold winds of winter’s bite begins. But while we are still somewhat in summer’s grip that’s easy enough to ignore for now.

So who are you – a summer fan all tan and sweaty? ;)

Or are you an autumn fan glowing with the mix of sun and cool?

I’ve already indicated mine. ;)

What about yours?

To summer’s ending, autumn’s beginning, glow. May it light all of us and shine the light on all of our hopes and dreams. And our attaining them.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

What's Laundry Got to do with Writing?

What’s Laundry Got to do with Writing

Or even blog postings.

Maybe not much you’d think. But that isn’t true if you like clean/clean-ish clothes and you find yourself standing by the washer in a puddle of water.

And then like the conscientious spender of money consumer you try to be, you go off to the internet to research …and get sucked up and spit out in a dozen different directions and ways to Sunday – as my dear southern mama used to say. Or variations of it.

Talk about headache inducing.

This one LUVS this machine, that one Hates it and thinks it’s a piece of crap.

Okay so You tell me. What’s a sane wise spender of money to do?

I need a washer.

At some point clean clothes become a necessity right? At least to all the people you have to be around at some point I would think?

We had to replace the dryer a few years back already so it’s okay. I guess. Now it’s easy to start to get paranoid about appliances, you know. Wasn’t there some old saying about that? Although how old a saying could that be come to think of it.

Okay, well this obviously isn’t getting a washer bought/replaced or even researched. And all the research is Seriously impacting my writing time with my obnoxious characters. [they’re teenagers – what can I say -- as Laurie Halse Anderson puts in her book ‘Catalyst’ --- main character running late trying to get around school security guard following the rules – the main char. /teenager has pulled out her license trying to use that instead of school id. Security guard looks at it – “She studies it and crosses her arms over her bosom. “There is nothing on that license that says you are a student here. You could be disgruntled. You could be hostile.” “Do I look hostile?” “You are a teenager.”

So please help with my washer research. I don’t want my teenagers getting more….teenager, while they are waiting.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Do you have magic?

Do you have magic?

Do you have magic in your life? Somewhere? Anywhere in your life?

Sure seems like there’s a proliferation of books that are about magical or fantastical things. So that would mean there’s a lot of people thinking about it. In some form or way.

Whoever would have thought wizards, vampires, and werewolves would be mainstream and you would have such talked about love stories forged about them. Well, from the vampire and werewolf stories anyway. We didn’t exactly get to see much of the wizard love story did we? Whether talking about Gandalf, which actually I wasn’t thinking of him but of a much younger wizard a lot of people grew up with called Harry.

But the Very popular themes that seem to be abounding now seem to be saying we are missing something in our everyday lives. That we long to escape those everyday lives, to find something somewhere. To find and fill what we feel we are missing in them. A magic something perhaps?

As a prolific reader I can recognize those themes, as a writer, as yet unpublished, I realize recognizing is not necessarily being able to write them. And while I don’t really see myself writing along the fantastical elements contained in such books as Maggie Stiefvater’s ‘Lament,’ ‘Shiver,’ and her coming book ‘Ballad,’ I do feel a magic of words sometimes. Where the words just seem to flow right across the page. And the Right words. The Perfect Words. But there are also the times where it’s just day-to-day slogging thro’ the pages stuff, where it’s merely a longing for and a memory of the magic while being down somewhere in the trenches looking up and wishing. And wishing is okay I think, as long as you back it up with action and work to show the universe that you are doing more than just sitting back wishing or ‘wanting’ with a little ‘w’ as Maggie talks about in one of her posts. Doesn’t wishing show us where we really want to be? Just as magic shows us who and what we can be. In our dreams for now, and for real later when we’ve made our dreams come true. Which is really what magic is all about anyway, right?

So what magic do you have in your life right now?

What are you wishing for?

And more importantly what are you working for and toward?

That really creates the magic in our lives. Doesn’t it?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Maggie Maggie Maggie

Maybe this is why the music and lyrics keep popping up in my head? No, surely can't be, because they aren't the same as these. At all.

But the prolific and super-multi-talented Maggie Stiefvater has done it again. Writing, music - writing, composing And playing of course - and various art forms. And she just keeps on displaying them - check this one out for her book out in October called 'Ballad'

And no this is Different than the music and art and film she did for her phenomenal book out Now called 'Shiver.' So you Should check that out too.
But here's the one for 'Ballad.' Enjoy.

and if that doesn't work the way it's supposed to - try this. cause it would be a shame for you to miss Maggie's really great creativeness, just because I'm trying to focus on all things writing instead of all things blogging and how to really do it.

And here is the plain old link:

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Does Anyone Else

Have music and lyrics popping up in your head? As a writer I mean, not a musician. And not like songs you’ve heard on the radio or anything.

I’m not a musician. Don’t even play the ‘radio’ all that much, so I don’t really listen to music much. I have been thinking maybe I should change that since Maggie Stiefvater uses music to help her write. And seeing her success maybe there’s something to be said for that right? I was wondering if maybe it would help my writing. If nothing else maybe help my characters stop running amok and doing their own thing. Sort of a musical chairs writing game or something. Maybe. Okay, so yeah, I’m getting a bit desperate to get these characters on their own and out of the house already so I can make room for all the others that have intentions on moving in. There’s only so much space in one’s brain to hold characters after all, and some are getting downright snitty at having to wait.

So thinking about writing to music isn’t exactly a new thing I’ve thought of, I’ve just not spent the time finding music I didn’t get annoyed with after awhile. Sometimes a really short while.

And it isn’t the first time I’ve had a tune and lyrics show up in my head and demand to be written down.

But it is rather annoying being treated by songs the same way as by characters.

I mean, why me? I could sort of understand the lyrics part since I have always jotted down poems and such, but the music part? I’ve not exactly ever been all that musical. So I’m not sure why they are showing up in my head more and more. Is it leakage from someone else’s brain? Like music/song waves in the atmosphere or something, and I just happen to be picking them up?

Darn if I know.

But hey. I can hear the music in my head, although that’s not going to help you very much, even if you do want it. But if you happen to be missing lyrics I might be able to help you. Call me.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Highs and Realities of Writing Life

For those that are keeping track of Maggie Stiefvater’s phenomenal success with her latest book ‘Shiver’ – which debuted at #9 on New York Times bestseller list last week!

It is now #5 !!!

Congratulations Maggie!!!

And don’t forget she’s going to be at the James River Writer’s Conference in October so you all can sign up and come talk to her – before the rates go up on the Conf.!

For those that follow Maggie’s blog, she generously shares writing advice, and other practical things, such as how she manages to fit in writing with everything else she does [don’t forget she’s also an artist And a musician. Which is what I meant in my previous post that she is a bit scary. She’s So darned talented! ‘Shiver’ her latest book is written So darn well!!! And she’s darn cute. And incredibly nice. What’s not to be scared of! ;) ]

And such wonderful ‘real life’ adventures of parenting while finding out from her super-duper editor that her book that Debuted at #9 on the NYT list, is Now at #5 !

It’s too funny not to read for yourself –

Funny how reality comes in to keep us all centered and grounded huh? ;-D

Maggie reports that Things have settled down now. And yeah, that is a fun play with Maggie’s words. You’ll have to go over and read her post to get it.

Oh, word of warning, do Not be drinking anything while reading her post. Several comments said beverages were spewed over keyboards over it. Yeah, it’s pretty funny!

Come back here and tell me what you thought. You can type while you’re laughing can’t you?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Advice on How to Write a Novel

Maggie’s advice on how to write a novel - it's not to be missed for any writer -

This is also Fabulous Great advice from Maggie, from when she had her art blog [it also has some of her lovely pictures]

It is certainly worth checking out for her pictures, but do Not miss the advice!

Yes she truly is wise beyond her years. [and a bit scary. ;) ]