Friday, April 24, 2009

Pet Peeves

Pet Peeves. There are so many, I don’t have room for them in the house, and most of them aren’t potty trained. I probably should sweep them up and throw them away. Here are a few:

  • Solicitors, especially the ones who call on Sunday.

  • Stupid people. You know the ones. Sometimes I’m one.

  • Pop-ups that sing or talk like; “You have just been chosen to receive . . .” Scares me right out of my skin.

  • Rude people, I hate rude people.

  • Someone walks out in front of your car. You have to slam on the brakes and they give you the look. I’m like, “Gee, I’m sorry you’re so stupid.” Stupid people.

  • Late night telephone calls.

  • A women I work with sits at my desk talking to the boss while I’m away working with someone. Most people, in fact everyone I know, except for her, would politely stand to let me sit. She makes no move to relinquish my chair when I get back. When I say, “Excuse me.” She gets all huffy. Back to rude plus stupid people. I know I should get over this.

  • People who don’t wash

  • Smokers who stink and don’t know it. I used to be one.

  • People who insist there way is the only way – my husband, God bless him, I love him to death.

I know I’ve left billions of pet peeves off my list. If anyone wants to add to the list, give me a comment.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A 1999 song from Susan Boyle

This one is even more amazing. It sent chills down my spine. She's going to bring back all those old and wonderful songs and make them hers.

Here's the link. You have to listen.

Cry Me A River by Susan Boyle

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Never Been Romanced

I want to write a romance book. Nothing erotica, I mean, eww. Just a girl meets boy and falls in love. Someone tries to come between them and succeeds for awhile, which frustrates the reader. If Jane would only tell John the terrible secret that's keeping them apart, John would understand. The reader knows this, but Jane is witless.

I don’t know, maybe a jealous woman who wants John to herself threatens to tell John, Jane’s dirty little secret if she doesn’t leave town and never come back.

John tries to find her, of course, and he’s heartbroken, but after years with no Jane and the rantings from his wealthy family to marry, finally, send him up the wall, he marries the other woman. She, after long-suffering, gets the prize.

Then John and Jane have a chance meeting,(seriously, who would have guessed?) Jane didn’t marry because there could never be anyone for her except John. If she couldn’t have John, no way she was going to settle for less.

Wait a minute, I think I’ve just written the first draft of my blurb. Until this moment the story hadn’t even formulated in my mind. But that’s how it happens, isn’t it?

First there’s the idea, then the desire, and no matter how hard you try to reason it out in your mind, or write it out in an extensive outline, the first step is to start writing it. Get the direction it wants to go, then do the outline if you must. That's me. I have nothing against outliners.

Here's my problem. I’ve never read a romance novel. How am I going to write one? I guess I'd better read one, huh? I want one with a sexy cover that has two, physically, perfect lovers doing the wild thing.

I’m flying out of town for a week. I have my Ipod loaded with podcast books and audiobooks, but I need something to read during the worse part of the flight for me--the take off and the landing. Anyone have any ideas?

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Blowing Off Steam

I bought a little Samsung netbook to take on trips. Well, a netbook doesn't have a cd/dvd player so I was trying to network it with my notebook. I managed to screw up our wireless internet on all our computers. It took all morning to fix, though the solution was fairly easy. We just refreshed the router and recovered the netbook back to the previous checkpoint. My point is, nothing comes easy.

Nothing comes easy. Don't believe anything that says, "In just two or three clicks, you'll be able to . . ." Don't believe anything that says, "It's easy, all you have to do is . . ." Or, maybe it's just me.

Oh well, it's all good. I'm excited about the little netbook. It's got a 10.2 X 7 inch screen and it's as cute as can be. It's suppose to have a battery life of up to eight hours. I only got a couple of hours out of it this morning. So, again, it's going to be a process to figure out how to save the battery power. Fortunately, it came with a user's manual. Probably have to turn the screen down so low, I'll need nigh vision goggles to see it. But it weighs a little over two pounds and will fit in my next purse.

I wrote a couple of paragraphs of my book with the netbook just to see how it was. It was good. The keyboard is nice. I had to download a free copy of OpenOffice because I ran out of licenses for my Word program. Not sure what they'd do if I continued using it, if they'd even notice, but then there's the problem with uploading it onto Netbook. Since I couldn't get the two computer talking to each other, yet, I did the next best thing.

That's about all I have for now. Not much fun, but thanks for reading it anyway.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

For the Better Good

Sometimes it’s necessary to cut a scene from your manuscript. It’s like performing surgery, or like I’d imagine performing surgery if I did that sort of thing. It’s a shame to never share it with someone. So I’ll share a scene or two with you. Not that the work is brilliant writing, but someone has to see it. It's true, I could probably use them again sometime, somewhere. To be honest, I file these scenes away in a file called "Cut Scene" and never look at them again, or rarely look at them again.

I’m going to let the scenes speak for themselves.

Cole dug deep trying to remember. “I was out there around the time you say the intruder tried to get into the house. I didn’t see anyone.”
Had he missed someone? It was dark, yes, but the street lights were bright enough to read by. How could he have missed an intruder? After Ancel’s girlfriend left and the gate had been closed, he’d left in the knowledge that all were tucked in safe for the night. The gate . . . “But the gate was closed,” Cole said. “Did they reopen it for some reason?”

The detective's face remained impassive. “There would have been enough time, while the gate was closing, for someone to sneak through.”

“But I didn’t see anyone go in," Cole said, “I stayed until the gate closed, and besides, I saw the surveillance car parked down the block. I assumed it was there for their security. Ask the cop who was sitting in it. If neither of us saw someone come or go, then . . . What, why are you looking at me like that?”

“There was no patrol car guarding the Troy’s home.”

Here’s another one I had to cut because the scene after it made this one redundant. It was over two thousand words, but taking it out added some much needed mystery. I won't make you suffer with the whole scene.

Cole heard someone walking his way and turned. A man and woman entered the garage from the elevators. The woman had layers of clothing that reminded Cole of a hippopotamus dressed in a tent. The man wore trendy jeans and a jacket. Both of them carried green canvas backpacks.

Non-stop chatter from the woman's shrill voice echoed off the walls. It set Cole’s teeth on edge. The man watched the ground as they walked, apparently, uninspired to contribute to the tête-à-tête. A sudden shift in the breeze brought a thick, disgusting stench.

Two more of the many, crazy, homeless people that hung out on the streets like the rubbish they were. Cole hated them. If he had his way, he’d shoot them all with his Browning. He considered popping these two right here, right now and felt for the gun he carried in a holster under his coat—so tempting.

The old woman spotted him and stopped. Her companion gazed at him through stringy blond hair. Cole sensed their wariness and squinted to make out their features, but in the dimness of the garage, their faces were in shadow.

This one was so much fluff, but I enjoyed writing it. It used to be the first paragraph in my book.

The sun disappeared into the ocean as if a bright orange button had dropped into tar. The effervescence snuffed out in an inky blackness so complete as to remove from sight any sign that a vast body of water lay between him and a vanished horizon.

Will, these aren't my best work, but they seemed to roll off the tips of my fingers so easily, I hated to let them go. But for the better good, it was necessary.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Amazing Talent

I'm easily impressed, I have to say, but the video this link goes to is simply amazing. For some reason they aren't sharing this video, but here's the link.

47 Year old Susan Boyle wows the judges with her performance in the auditions for Britains Got Talent, singing I dreamed a dream from Les Miserables.

Demi Moore: 'Britain's Got Talent's Susan Boyle moved me to tears'

Sunday, April 12, 2009

"I guess he . . ."

I ran across some grammar, slash, spell checker software called Grammar Expert Plus last night. There’s a free thirty-day trial period and I thought, “Why not try.” What a hoot.

Here’s an example of the kind of the hints it gives. The program highlighted the words ‘I guess he.’ The message:

Check to see if you meant to use “he” here. A pronoun such as “he” which is the object of a verb such as “guess” is usually in objective-case form. Possible a relative pronoun such as “that” or “who” is missing.

Taking its advise and using "who" with those three words, doesn't fit. And using "that," well, I'm not an expert, but I read a lot. Something I read, recently, discouraged using the word "that." I wish I knew where I read it so I could share the article, I'm sorry about that. When I did a search in my WIP, most sentences read well without the word.

Nevertheless, the words were used in dialogue. People just don’t talk in ‘objective-case form.’

If I were to rate the Grammar Expert Plus, I'd give it a C-. I don't think it was designed to work with creative writing. Some of the suggestions made me take a second look at my sentence structure; however, and rewording a phrase or sentence made it much easier to read. Take the good with the bad, you have to use your own judgment in the end.”

There’s another, more expensive, program called “Perfect English,” by Whitesmoke. It has dedicated options for professional writing as well as for creative writing. The demo looks pretty cool.

Maybe I should contact Whitesmoke and get compensation for plugging their product. Truth is, I'm not plugging it because I've never used it and though it may help, there is no perfect word processor or grammar checker anywhere.

Microsoft Word is great. It corrects my spelling, it makes suggestions on sentence structure, and sometimes it corrects my grammar and punctuation. What it’s biggest sin is; however, it doesn’t distinguish between homonyms.

Well, that’s my wisdom for the day. I'm going to go drop this post into Grammar Expert Plus now. If you find mistakes, IT'S NOT MY FAULT.

Happy Easter and happy writing, everyone.


Friday, April 3, 2009


At night just before I turn out the light, I sometimes fill the page of a notebook I keep beside the bed, with . . . well, crap. The crap part usually happens if I also drink a glass of wine before lights out.

I’ve been interested in first paragraph hooks. If the whole rest of your book stinks, you at least have to wow them with a first paragraph masterpiece. After an agent gets through the first paragraph in total awe; of course, you don’t want the rest of the book to stink, but you get my point.

My strong strength, if I have one, is leaving the hook at the end of the chapter. Some agents must be immediately entertained before they reach the masterfully written end hook. Pity. Anyway, I digress.

Hooks. I’m going to share some of the hooks I’ve written in the late night hours. Some of them are cheesy, I admit. Maybe you’ll think they all are. But, here it goes.

  • Had I known I’d be wading through Poison Oak, I’d have worn jeans instead of my prom dress and three-inch Stilettos. Who knew that jerk would drop me in the middle of nowhere.

  • I fell asleep on the tanning bed. When I woke, the lights were off and my body could have melted the ice of an igloo. The act of getting dressed caused excruciating pain. I nearly tripped over the body when I stepped out of the tanning chamber.

  • It was all coming back to me now.

  • It started in the dead of night, but the sun had been up for hours.

  • Sometimes you have to let things go.

  • It was a stench I’d never forget. The stench of death warmed over by who knew how many days in the sun.

  • I reached for my cell phone where it lay ont the rock and heard a rattle.

  • Babies don’t belong in bars, especially if one hapless little tyke has me for a mother. The owner told me if I left the child in the bar again, he’d report me.

    I really have to quit drinking before I start sleeping. I'm no poet.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

by the seat of my pants

I want to outline in the worse way. I love to outline. Outlines look so cool, and with a word processors, it’s so easy. Best of all, it’s one of the best ways to procrastinate that I know, especially if you are me, because I know I’ll never finish one.

I’ve tried writing software. New Novelist, It’s a good program. I got it off EBay. I used it for about a week, then forgot about it.

The Cadillac of writing software; in my humble opinion, is
yWriter4. It’s got some neat bells and whistles. A story board, an outline feature, a rating chart, a daily word count target dowidget, individual chapter features, a word usage counter, a view point tracker, and more. Best of all, it is absolutely free. Check it out at the above link, the website is quite interesting as well.

Here’s what I always fall back on. It's rustic and home spun. Good old Microsoft Excel worksheet. I got the idea from Randy Ingermanson. If you haven’t read about his Snowflake Method, here’s the website, Snowflake Method. Even so, it’s still a post-outline, but with my lack of consistency, or until I get my undiagnosed ADD under control, that's long for early onset dementia, it’s the best I’m going to be able to do. It’s called seat of the pants writing.