Saturday, December 26, 2009

The best Christmases are the ones we least expect

Yesterday was the first Christmas in my entire life without extended family around. We were excited about spending the day with our son and his family at their house thirty miles away. There we would share opening presents and stuffing ourselves with turkey and trimmings.

We got white Christmas'd in. My husband, normally fearless where weather conditions are concerned, was out snow blowing our drive-way when our son called and said, while out attempting to run an errand, he couldn't get ten yards from his house. The drifts were so deep, it took the boy ten minutes just to turn around to go back home. So after my husband finished with our drive-way, and our elderly neighbor's drives, we settled in for a snug little Christmas, just the two of us.

I fixed omelettes with the cool little omelette maker we got last Christmas, and since we didn't buy a turkey or a ham, I thawed out some chicken breasts from Sam's Club and prepared a fabulous tasting baked chicken dish. Yum.

We opened our presents, four of which were new videos, and after dinner drank champagne and watched movies. An hour of telephone calls to distant family members, and we were pooped.

Though we missed out watching the glee of our grandchildren open their gifts, and the joy of family and friends, we toasted our wonderful day together, the best Christmas gift of all, a time to share our love for each other, and slept snug and warm in our bed.

I hope everyone had as wonderful a Christmas as we.

God Bless.
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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Yes Dorothy, there is a Christ

I know some of you don't believe in God, the Holy Ghost, and Jesus Christ. I'm not a Bible thumper by far, but people worry me.

On Fox this morning, they interviewed a woman, and atheist, who flat out said, "People need to know there is no God." I miss-quote, but it was that blunt. I had to shake my head. How is it that we didn't know this? I've gone through my entire life believing in a lie. But wait, so have others, so many others. We've all been wrong and it took one woman to bring the myth to light.

My first thought, was, "She must have been tramatized as a child when she found out there was no Santa Clause.

It seems to me, that since the world is in such a mess, people have been turning a little more to God. I don't begrudge this woman her views, in fact I hope she spreads the word high and low. It's not a new belief, or disbelief, but this kind of message is a two edged sword and I think it touches something so base,in me anyway, that triggers a defiance and brings me closer to God. If I'm doing it, so are others.

If I don't talk to you later, I wish you all a wonderful Christmas, and God Bless.
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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thanksgiving is almost here--I'm so close

It's going to be Thanksgiving soon and it's imperative everything is resolved by then. My story has a little over a week to complete. I'm very excited for this holiday even though it is completely fabricated. My goal all along has been a Thanksgiving scene at the end of my book, just like in the movies. Will it be a happy Thanksgiving or a sad one? I'm not saying.

My goal is 80,000 words. I'm going to exceed that, but not by more than a few thousand. For a while I was taking so much out of the rewrite, I feared I wouldn't make that much. Not that it would have been tragic. It would still be considered a novel, just a shorter version. But no fears.

My new goal for completely finished is April 2010, but I may be able to shorten that. Last year I said the same thing, but last year was the beginning a long, long slump--writer's block is you will. When all is said and done, this novel will have taken me nearly two years to complete.

I'm breaking my arm patting myself on the back, but the fact still remains, It is not complete until I write two words at the "The End."
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Friday, December 11, 2009

The final stretch

Well, here I am again, at the end of an unended story. I still must face the inevitable--completing the the thing. But where do I go from here?

I know how I want this story to end, I'm just not sure how to get there. I'll probably do what I always do and plunge ahead. Won't it be nice to finally write, "The End" at the the end. It is what keeps me going.

I'm excited. I can see the finish line, but at the moment it alludes me, kind of like a dream you are frantic to finish before you wake up. Then you wake up and try to go back to sleep to finish it. You can't, so you finish it in semi-conscience during the twilight before rational thought. But it never turns out as great as you know it would have in the dream.

Am I alone on this? I'd love to hear your thoughts about ending a story.
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Saturday, December 5, 2009

I got off the subject . . .

I apologize to my readers out there in blog land. I thought the global warming thing was good news, but so many people still prefer to believe that they have done Mother Earth a disservice, it's hard for them to believe. I let myself get off the subject of my blog.

So, I will stick to the subject of this blog--writing.

I'm on vacation and just wanted to check in. I'm in Oregon, my home state, visiting friends and family. There hasn't been much time for writing, but I just completed a difficult scene and wanted to brag a bit. So, as you can see, I'm a little further along and feeling satisfied.

It wasn't easy, in fact I had it down once, was satisfied with the writing. Then I hit an odd button on my computer and a box came up. I realized too late that it was asking me if I wanted to save. I had a brain fart and hit no. But you know what? I rewrote it and it came out so much better the second time. It's safely saved this time.

I'll be back in a few days. I hope everyone is keeping warm and getting lots of Christmas shopping down.
Talk to you all later.
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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Good News, Global Warming--a Hoax

Seems like the scientifics have been tampered with in order to continue to receive finance for research. Someone hacked into some emails that described how the numbers were being manipulated to indicate the earth was warming. Nice, huh?

Anyone with common sense could see, if anything, the earth is cooling. We've had the coolest summer in memory. Most of the summer, we slept with the air off and the windows open. Except for allergies, it was great.

So, have you noticed? My numbers are climbing. I'm at 80% done with my MS. Then I think one more quick walk-through, and I'll be ready for stamp it "The End." Yes.

That's all I had for you. I've been busy, so not much to report. I'll be on vacation next week, but I'll stay in touch when I can.
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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thankgiving everyone

My husband just brought me an eggnog latte and pretty soon we're going to fix omelets with our cool omelet maker we got for Christmas last year. The parade is on TV downstairs and I'm suppose to be working on my book. later we'll go to my son's house and sit down to a nice turkey dinner I didn't have to cook. Life is good on a cold, sunny autumn day, and God is in my heart. I have a lot to be thankful for.

God bless and have a great day.
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Monday, November 23, 2009

Days of the week and holidays

Photobucket Man, I'll tell you what, I got several chapters written when I lost track of the days, dates, and weeks. My story starts in November and it has to end before Thanksgiving. Then there's the problem of school weeks and work hours, weekends and Driver's Ed. It's enough to drive one to drink. Plus I have an added problem, one which I'm not about to address, but it's there if I did. My story takes place in November 2008. In my story, there is no Presidential election, why? because the whole dang world has gone to heck in a hand basket and when I started the book, things were normal. Oh well. I'm not sure I ever actually mention what year the story takes place.

This afternoon I realized, I needed to take a closer look at the dateline. As predicted, I goofed it up. I had one of my characters in school on Saturday. So now I'm in the process of combining scenes, oh joy. And now, instead of two days to prepare for a funeral, there's only one. these are little things, but annoying. I've also decided to remove a scene I no longer need. So I'm not making headway at the moment, but I am making progress.

Does anyone else have these pesky little problems?

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Very Expressive

During the course of a conversation, how many different expression can evolve over a face?

"I have a warrant for your arrest," the Barney Fife look-a-like cop said in a voice as flat as a Texas highway.

Paul couldn't figure out if this was a joke or a bad imitation of Sergeant Friday. There lacked a tell-tale twinkle in his eye, but his mouth twitched, though it might have been nothing more than a facial tick.

"Very funny," Paul said. "Who put you up to this?"

Barney's eyes widened and his head tilted slightly. Was that surprise or did Paul make the guy?"

"I can assure you, sir, this is no joke."

Paul began to feel uneasy as one by one his brain recounted possible offenses. Though still, a tenseness radiated from the cop's body. One wrong move, Paul thought, and he's all over me.

Barney's eyes hardened and his mouth set in a grim line as his hand began to move toward the handcuffs attached to his belt.

He's going to cuff me. Paul stepped back impulsively. The cop's hand froze over his gun. Sweat beaded on Paul's forehead. The cop's eyes narrowed.

In a flash, Barney grabbed the gun, pointed it at Paul's chest and pulled the trigger.

Paul's heart leaped into his throat as he watched Barney's finger squeeze the trigger, watched the barrel as in a horrifying second the bullet flew out of the gun. But it wasn't a bullet, it was a rod. Hanging from the rod a piece of paper uncoiled and for a second Paul stared in disbelief as he read the words, "Happy Birthday, Paul. Love Mom."

This is poor example of facial expressions with a little body language. I began to wonder how many facial expressions there were and how many we use in the course of a conversation.

Surprise and shock can be written in a number of ways. Wide eyes, pursed lips, open mouth, not to mention the sudden intake of air, hands over mouth. Even without the body language, a person's face can easily be read.

Anger, rage, disapproval are portrayed in the forehead as a frown, the mouth turned down, teeth clenched together, eyes narrowed or sharp. We as authors get to change a person's eye color and cause them to flash. How cool is that?

There are many facial expression. From a life time of experience we're able look into a person's face and perceive their feelings. As writers, it's our job to draw on the reader's experiences and engage their emotions in empathy with our characters. When I find myself in a rut, I sit back and live in the moment I'm trying to write. Sometimes it works.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Dash

I was at a wonderful funeral service, if that can be said about funerals. This poem was read and I loved it so much, I want to share it with you.

The Dash Poem - by Linda Ellis

I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning to the end
He noted that first came the date of her birth
And spoke the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years
For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not how much we own;
The cars, the house, the cash,
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.
So think about this long and hard.
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left,
That can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down enough
To consider what’s true and real
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger,
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we’ve never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect,
And more often wear a smile
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.
So, when your eulogy is being read
With your life’s actions to rehash
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?
©1996 Linda Ellis
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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Who Knew

I'd be 61% done with my book. That's just been in the last month. It came from under half done, to over half done. I have to admit, though, I'm actually rewriting already written chapters, but what the heck. It's all the same to me. The finish line is almost in sight.

You know when you think you've written a good scene? When it makes you feel good. When everything seems to be in place and when you think, come rewrite, there won't be a need to rewrite the good scenes. That's a sign that you're almost there. I'm feeling good about it and I thank you, my readers. It's all your fault, er, doing.
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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Over-ripe sense of fair play

I have exaggerated sense of fair play. When people are acting juvenile, and selfish, my system hurts. I think the only grown-ups in the world are those not crapping on society, you know, like the government. That said, I'm going to bury myself in fantasy.
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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What do I care?

I have stopped caring if my book gets published. What freedom. It's like a weight being lifted off my shoulders. All I want to do is write my stories. I was too busy worrying whether this sentence was interesting enough, or clever enough. Now I write for myself.

Let's face it, not everyone will get published. I don't think it is because of skill, or lack there of. If you practice anything long and often enough, you get better at it. But when you take your eyes off the lofty prize, you are free to explore and move beyond what might or might not be accepted. For me, at lease, this novel is moving again. I'm not letting things jam me up. Maybe after the third rewrite, but for now, I'M FREE.
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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Writers are the Best People

I'm ashamed of myself. I wrote the last post and didn't get back to it until now. I've read the comments and realized what a wonderful world we live in when people can give such sincere care to someone they don't know. I've been uplifted by your comments and nearly in tears. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. I think the best people in the world are writers. What an inspiration you have been to me.

The good news is, I'm writing again and loving it. I'm 52% done with my novel and it's falling into place nicely. I look outside and see the brilliant yellow leaves and think, by the time they grow green again, I hope to have it done.

Thank you all so much.
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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Stop Obsessing

I've been so caught up in what's going on in the world, I haven't had time to blog. With the state of the country, the Congress running amok on health care, our economy being flushed, and our troops being all but ignored, I haven't been able to concentrate on my writing. Every time I plan to sit down and work on my novel, I can't resist the impulse to go out and see what's going on in the world. I'm obsessed. It happens to me every now and again. No, that's not true, it's a state of mind for me.

But, I swear, tomorrow I'll work on my book for, at least, two hours first thing. The world can just fall apart, I'll be working on my writing. Really.
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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Different approach to speed reading

Boy, I'll tell you what, this is going to take some time to learn, but I'm a slow reader who has to read every single word on a page. I'm going to give this a try, but since my attention span is kind of short, I foresee a lot of work ahead for me. Hopefully, I'll remember to spend five or ten minutes a day using this method. My old brain doesn't want to learn new things.

More DIY videos at

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Sunday, August 30, 2009

How does it sound?

I've compiles a list of words describing the voice. I was looking for one that would fit one of my character and got carried away. Thought I'd share my findings with you.

Anger - loud, rough
Nice - smooth, sweet
Type – Rich, sophisticated, snobbish, nose in air
Uneducated – gruff, slang, improper use of language

Other -

adult with a childish voice
A voice that reminded me of my friend from the past
Rich southern drawl
Unearthly quality
Dreamlike, ghostly, grave, serious
Warm, soft
Grating, gravely,
Makes your teeth tingle, hurt, headsplitting
Mellow and light
Voice chimed
Voice pierced my eardrums and made my gums bleed
Deep, captivating
Edge to his voice
Smooth baritone
Resounding alto
Vibrating, gravely voice that vibrated deep in his throat
Sting to his voice that made me think I’d just bitten into a lemon
Voice folded in a rattle like eggs frying
Spongy voice, as if mucas were wrapped around her vocal cords
The pitch and energy of his voice
Rhythm and rate
Creaky, like two hard surfaces rubbing against one another, enough to make your teeth rattle.
Bleat like a lamb’s cry
Hoarse, harsh, grating
Honky, nasal
Resonant, sound carries well
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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My Progress

A short note to say, yay. I'm progressing well. Though my word count seems to be decreasing the story line is much improved. I've added what I hope will be a fun character. Jack now has, not only a domineering paternal grandmother, he also has an eccentric maternal aunt. Aunt Elvira travels the world chasing messages from her secret service husband who uses alias names. When she arrives as his prearranged rendezvous, there is always a mysterious messenger to deliver the message in a, ahem, meaningful way. She shows up at Jack's house after hearing about Jack being shot, and dismisses grandma who, of course skulks away, humiliated.

Hopefully, I'll be able to bring some humor into the story with a couple colorful characters that will bring out my main characters' personalities.

I believe the secret in lightening a heavy story is to add humor and the best way to do that is to include some quirky characters. It won't take away from the gravity of the situation, but will, hopefully, unwittingly or maybe even, oddly, knowingly, add an epiphany that will help unravel the mystery.

How's that for a paragraph?

Well, gotta go to work now. So to all my followers, God bless and keep you.

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Still here

I see no one has given up on me, yet. You'd all be proud to know, I've been writing and making wonderful progress. I decided to limit my distractions and blogging was becoming number one. I loved setting up the site and love tweaking it, so, clearly, I had no time to sit and write. But I've fixed some much needed plotting problems and want to stay with it. I'll be back to report on my progress and check ya'll out.

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