Thursday, December 24, 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

If it's Sunday...

Well, normally that would be true but the Saints played last night and unfortunately, the winning streak is no longer alive.. We lost to the better team, well, last night at least. Whose name I will not mention because they are the number one foe of my hometown team, the Redskins. So sad but maybe they needed to lose to get their a$$e$ straightened out. Too many late starts.

If you're listening Saints, put a fleur de lis on your little pinkies to remind you that you are going for the first down EVERY Play and the length of a digit will get you there! Every play. Every down. Every opportunity to get in the end zone. Start each game like you're already losing because that's when you are the best. We'll do better next week.

Here's a little something for your viewing pleasure. If you've read or seen Twilight or New Moon, you'll get it. If not, well, where have you been living lately anyway?

So was this from the Breaking Dawn casting?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Hunks of the year

Okay, it's my turn to put a hunk on the blog. Leah posted last week when the new Toronto Firefighters Calendar became available. They've raised some serious cash for one of North America's largest cancer hospitals. This link will take you to full size pictures of each month's contribution.

January Jason is on the cover for a reason! If you need something to shoot for at the gym, this is the shot - or maybe July. Wherever you live, the firefighter calendars in your local communities make wonderful Christmas presents for the ladies in your life. But, er, do the lady a favor and glue October to the back of September. He needs another year of pumping up before being included in the calendar, IMHO...

What firefighter calendars are there in your area? country?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Blogging today at Delilah's

I'm guest blogging today on Delilah Devlin's blog while she's on vacation - an overview of the software I reviewed a few weeks ago with links to those posts. She's got two weeks of guest bloggers filling in. Check it out.

Last month, we blogged about music for the muse. So for you musical edification I've included a lovely favorite for evoking emotion (and one I love to perform) by the late Eva Cassidy. Songbird. Sit back and create.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Diamonds or Stone

I used to sing a song called, 'Some Days are Diamonds, Some Days are Stone.' Well, yesterday was a Boulder!

When a story is flowing, 900-1000 words per 45 minute sprint are pretty easy to get. So 1500 for eight hours of wandering around in a half dozen different directions had me just about ready to give up on this scene and these new characters.

Then inspiration struck and an idea I almost ditched before writing it, turned into a key scene. It ups the stakes, makes the community and characters more interesting, and pulled many critical threads together. I wound up with 2300 and I can't wait to return to these characters and the new direction they are taking.

Note to self: Remember! Even though it's really really really hard and doesn't seem like it's meant to be, keep diggin, keep clearing out the debris, keep mining. Because if you quit, you may miss a raw diamond.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Getting Out of the Way

Sitting here with my polar fleece gloves with the fingertips removed typing. It's 35 outside and feels like 45 inside though the temperature gauge, the lying (*&@$&! is saying 65! It's not.

Trying to get back into the wip. After several days of taking notes and analyzing it - I know I shouldn't have been analyzing when all I was supposed to be doing to reminding myself of what characters knew what, who told who what, and which paranornal being can do what. But we just can't help it, can we?

I asked Michael Malone what he did to keep track of the detail. He said written notes. CL Wilson said she keeps extensive notes. MY problem is I'll write it on this little piece of paper going down the road, record it into my recorder on the route, jot major notes onto my 'current writing spiral notebook' but it's all so disorganized.

So I'm trying to use Scrivener's keywords to track clues, threads, missing folks, crimes, appearances by characters. Now that I have it setup I can read through what I've written the morning after - writing that is - and easily apply the keywords AND refresh my memory. Hopefully, now I can move through to the end and allow the characters to do their thing cause I'M getting in their way!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Christmas Story

If you want to read a hilarious and heartwarming, well, hilarious anyway, story about two twins and a wee lad in search of a new Christmas tree, see Michael Malone's post at May Contain Nuts.

You might even want to read it at a Christmas party or reader's club. The Queen of Chaos rocks!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Rising Tempest Rising

Finally, I've settled on a temporary title for my paranormal. Tempest Rising or Rising Tempest. Tempest is the main character. Hmm, Rising Tempest fits better. The title may not stick but will help me focus on the protagonist's arc. Anything is better than RCP which stands for nothing so much as 'Tempe's story'.

Yesterday, I listened again to Screenplay expert Michael Hauge's workshop Identity to Essence. As a result, I've identified more clearly the main characters' motivations and resulting conflicts. Hauge calls it their Desire. The desire and longing that drives the story forward to the end. 'The character arc is the tug of war between their identity and their essence.'

It's interesting how we relate and apply teaching from some workshop presenters better than others. Hauge is obviously stating the same as other writers I've heard but each time I listen to his application of screenplay techniques to novel writing, I come away with new insights. I highly recommend his Hero's Journey2 (with Chris Vogler) and Identity to Essence workshops.

BIAW starts again tomorrow for a week so I must finish up my notes on clues and threads and move forward. If I'm not here for a couple days that's where I'll be - BICHOK. (Butt in chair, hands on keyboard)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Think Outside the Box

I know this a cheap ploy to be able to mention my favorite football team, our New Orleans Saints. Unfortunately, today they are playing my home team, the Washington Redskins. I grew up right where the Redkins' new stadium is in Landover, Maryland and normally, I end up forgetting who I'm rooting for but it's not difficult this year. The Saints are 11-0 and we want to go undefeated if possible or at the very least win the division and go to the SUPER BOWL.

Often as writers we try to come up with something that is so far out of the box that it stands out - an original twist that spins the story on its ear.

Well, the Saints' Meacham did exactly that in the second quarter. Just before half time the Saints had to make a loonnnng pass to have any chance of evening up the score. Brees dropped back under severe pressure and threw the long ball, only to be intercepted. BUT as the Redskins returned the ball, Meacham ran up to the player, took the ball from him and ran it in for a touchdown.

THAT's what I'm talking about! Go for the unexpected. I'll remember that play this week as I write forward on RCP.

Do you have any inspirational examples of outta the box thinking?

UPDATE: Talk about a nail biter. I couldn't bear to watch. It seemed unlikely that they could pull it out with a minute and thirty-seven left but they pulled it out decisively in OT. Now 12-0. And I'm glad it was the Redskins that gave them their first serious competition.

Friday, December 4, 2009

This Weekend on the Bayou

Well! It's the earliest we've ever seen snow in this part of the country. Last year was the earliest on December 11th. Quel surprise! But December 5th, man!

I remember one year the temperatures were in the low teens on December 7, catfish were freezing in the catfish ponds and no one knew what to do. The workers started seining them up and giving them away by the forty-eight quart chest. We got a lot of free catfish put up but then LSU called the owner of the catfish pond and said, ' they'll thaw out and live' so that came to a halt. Catfish are easily stressed though so many of them died anyway.

Who knows we may have a few snowmen on the mail route this weekend. I took a picture of one last year but I can't find it. Let's just say it didn't look like this one.

Most of the snow is supposed to happen late this evening and tonight so hopefully they'll get the Mississippi River bridge sanded so we can get across to deliver mail. I'd love it if there's snow - SNOW! - everywhere except on the street. Hey, we like our extraordinary weather gifts with a dose of convenience. Who doesn't?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

C.L. Wilson's Audiobook is OUT!!

Book Four of the Fading Lands is out as well.


Book One - Lord of Fading Lands

Not since Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series have I been as excited about a series. C.L. Wilson's Fading Lands series has it all - fantasy, a rich and intriguing world, an epic saga, and a love for all time. Even hardcore scifi and fantasy readers are enjoying htem. A friend of mine who read them exclaimed, "Who knew they had chick fantasy?" So I think C.L. has created a concrete bridge to the straight fantasy and scifi genres.

Last week C.L. Wilson's fourth book in the Fading Lands series came out, Queen of Song and Souls. It's available at any of the major bookstores and from her publisher, Dorchester.

Book Two - Lady of Light and Shadows
And this week, the audio version finally arrived.

You can order it from Amazon, Borders, and Barnes and Noble and Dorchester through AudioBookShop. There are CD versions and MP3 downloads. I don't care how you get one, just get one!

Isn't that a song???

Book Three - King of Sword and Sky

If you like fantasy, you must not miss this series!

Here's a blurb from Ms. Wilson's site:

Novels of the Fading Lands

The Tairen Soul Series

She is the salvation of a Fey king’s tormented soul, and the key to saving his immortal race. Only by unleashing her vast power can they hope to conquer the evil forces determined to destroy them.

Beginning with Lord of the Fading Lands, continuing with Lady of Light and Shadows, King of Sword and Sky, and Queen of Song and Souls, and concluding with Tairen Soul, the Tairen Soul series tells the story of Ellysetta Baristani and Rain Tairen Soul as they fight to save the tairen and the Fey, defeat the dangerous power of the Eld Mages, and complete their truemate bond.

Yey, I'm a winner!

I'm very pleased with my progress in Nano, considering I lost an entire week. So my 51,509 total was achieved in three weeks minus the Thanksgiving weekend. It's good to know what you're capable of doing if push comes to shove.

Word count was the goal but it wasn't the only benefit of Nanowrimo. Through the interactive website a writer can become acquainted with others across the globe as well as those in his/her local region. Writers were competitive but greatly supportive.

I was even more thrilled this year to be a part of Nano. The community feel is so successful in goal setting that our Goals loop is setting up our own challenge similar to Nano so our members can take advantage of this ritual. I'm excited about being able to participate in two or even three of these challenges a year to enhance my productivity.

So now we have Nano in November, perhaps two challenges with our loop, the BIAW loop run by Barbara one week of each month. Are you aware of other writing challenges, loops, contests? I'd love to know about them.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Long Day

It was a twenty-hour ten hour day. You've had them right? Mentally tough. But now I'm settling in for the biggest game of the year, so far, the New Orleans Saints vs the New England Patriots. I hope it's a slam dunk or it will be a long night as well.

Go Saints!

It's also the end of Nano. Congratulations Nano writers and winners! Until next year!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Crimescenewriters loop

If you write anything from Crime Fiction to Romantic Suspense, well, any wip for which you need technical detail or procedure to flesh out your story - legal, police, EMTs, forensics...honestly, I can't name the subjects available on this loop. Nuff to say, try it you'll like it. Answers from professionals and knowledgeable writers in a well-managed format at the Crimescenewriters yahoo group. To join go here.

I asked a question about search warrants and one of the responses included the link to this sample search warrant which was very helpful.

Thanksgiving 2009

I feel especially thankful this year! No, I didn't win the lottery, get a new car, a high paying job, or even my new toilet this year. But I am doing something I love - writing. And though the life is simple, it's easy to support. (So far.)

The other day I heard an astounding statistic. 1 out of every 6 families can't put food on the table - in the United States. Amazing in a country where we probably waste enough food and resources to feed half of the starving communities in the world.

This morning I saw a Thanksgiving segment on a school in Las Vegas started by a woman who grew up poor and remembered when she, as a little girl, and her mother were turned away from a food line.

This morning professional chefs converged on her school to feed hundreds of children, many of whom are homeless, living in their parents cars or on the streets. Through donations, she's set up a warehouse of food and clothing the children can use and facilities where they can bathe. She says the number has exploded recently with children of parents who've lost their jobs and their homes to foreclosure. But it's not a new phenomenon.

Certainly this woman took a bad experience and used it to inspire her to save other children from the same. What can I say I've done to make a difference for someone in need? Not enough. But hopefully her story will stir me to act the next time I get an opportunity. How about you?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Bubbl brainstormer

You are going to love this little program! I guarantee it.

is a free brainstorming tool I found through the Holly Lisle forums. Holly uses flowcharts and diagrams a lot in her lessons and I've always had a fondness for visual diagrams but haven't been able to find one that works like my mind does. (No smart remarks please.) Until now. And best of all - it's FREEEEEE.

Well, it's free, fluid, smart, colorful, easy to use, and can be exported or printed. If you sign up for a FREE account you can save your files on the site. I'm tellin' ya, this is a winner. I wish it was available in desktop version but who knows one of these days like Write or Die, it may be. There's a wonderful visual help file that illustrates the functions of the program.

And one other fabulous feature - you can collaborate, share it with friends online.

Here is an example of one I set up to think through the 'Who knows what?" business of my wip. Click it to open larger in a separate window.

The image below illustrates the program features as well as the ability to leave some ideas not connected. Note the little white boxes on one of the bubbles - the one to the right adds a sibling bubble and the bottom, a child. When you hover over a bubble a box appears for you to change color, font size, connect, delete or unpin the bubble.
If you want to get to a bubble that off screen just click on the workspace somewhere and drag the whole map a bit.

An especially handy tool is the 'fit' button which shrinks your bubble map to fit the screen. The images here are from the Beta version because that's the one I'm using. And except for one frozen map yesterday, it seems to be working okay. Just save frequently and if it locks up on you take a screenprint so you can reproduce it.

Heads up: your account works for the basic as well as beta, but you won't see the files you saved on Beta if you log into basic. Enjoy.

I. Love. It. Thanks to the Bubbl heads. If it's as handy as I think it will be, I'll donate via paypal.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Music for the Muse

Why are you drawn to certain music? Is it memories, beat, environment, or the words? Music for the Muse is different for each writer. If I'm writing a difficult scene any noise is a distraction but being a singer and guitarist I'm blissful when listening to my favorites. And the words provide wonderful inspiration for story development, brainstorming character motivations, and atmosphere for creating settings and plotlines before or in between writing sessions. For celebration - when you hit a goal or got THE CALL. (That hasn't happened yet but I'll have a song picked out for it.)

Then there’s what I call Travelin' music for when the story is flowing and you're at full speed.

Think Lawrence of Arabia (or Shania Twain) riding the vast expanse of the desert – the desert being your story and that sleek black thoroughbred is your keyboard.

Genre matters. I write Romantic suspense and Paranormal. The music I'm drawn to for each is different and you’ll notice there’s a lot of Celtic/ethereal/new age in my choices and mostly it’s acoustic.

My favorite all time for inspiration for a love story, emotional scenes, angst, tenderness is this video - the emotional performance by Eva Cassidy put to rhumba in the Superstars of Dance. More bittersweet, Eva, who was from my home area near D.C., lost her battle with cancer in her thirties. After hearing her rendition of Fields of Gold, Sting, who wrote it, said it moved him to tears.

It does the same to me everytime.

That's what I'm looking for – music that elicits the emotions of the scenes I’m writing. So Eva Cassidy's songs and other ballads are high on my list for romance, tenderness, that moody atmosphere, and especially story ideas.

For character development~~

Bonnie Raitt Longing In Her Heart Songs like You, Storm Warning, Circle Dance, Dimming of the Day
Shake a Little for travelin’ (literally, I love going down the road with the moonroof open and this song blaring.)
(The Road Tested collection is an excellent choice.)

Richard Marx Hazard, Now and Forever, The Way She Loves Me

Bryan Adams - the angst of Please Forgive Me, and for describing your hero’s love for the heroine - Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman. Remember the word, "And when you can see your unborn children in her eyes..." OMG, the sheer romance of that song.

Adams’ The Best of Me a greatest hits collection.

And the same goes for Bon Jovi's Bed of Roses - "I wanna be just as close as the Holy Ghost is, and lay you down....on a Bed of Roses." sigh.

Travelin’ and Mood music~~
Enya Caribbean Blue From Shepherd Moon CD and
Ebudae from the same CD
Paint the Sky with Stars
Memory of Trees great for emotional scenes.

The Twilight Soundtrack is good for background and atmosphere.
Five for Fighting Live
especially Superman and 100 Years.

Quest of the Dream Warriors

The Festival from the Celtic Book of Days

John Cougar Mellancamp - for travelin', celebrating or inspiration
Pink Houses
Wild Night
and everything else (grin).

Sexy Scenes and character ideas
Layla by Eric Clapton, the acoustic version from Unplugged
and others like Lonely Stranger from that same compilation.

Jesse Cook is a treasure trove for me. A talented acoustical guitarist, his music is great for travelin and oh, my, for those sensual scenes, no one is better. Listen to Breathin Below Surface from the Ultimate Jesse Cook Collection.

There are no words and yes, there are no words for what this song does to me. I loaded it five times on one playlist. It's the beat and I don't know what else. But your 'on' switch will be different I'm sure.

For angst~
No One is to Blame from Howard Jones
and from Emmy Lou Boulder to Birmingham

Loreena McKennitt Book of Secrets
Mummer's Dance for travelin'

Loreena's music for dark atmosphere inspiration, sensual scenes or writing in the flow. I can't see writing contemporary to Loreena.

Also for travelin’:
Signe from Clapton’s Unplugged
(Live albums are more difficult - you have to pull music for playlists to avoid all the cheering and clapping, unless you need noise.)

and Last of the Mohicans - especially the Promontory and the Main Theme

My favorites for celebration:
Black Horse in the Cherry Tree by KT Tunstall
John Mellancamp - You're Life is Now

Shania – If You’re Not In it For Love, I’m Outta Here Heroine puts her foot down!

Again the performance and free spiritness of this video makes my muse dance.

Speaking of playlists, I just reorganized my Itunes with playlists accordingly - Character Devel, Love, Emotion, Lovelost, Kickass, Travelin, and celebration. I labeled one Fiction Fodder. I get on the treadmill to that one and think about character and plot development.

Other notable mentions for me –
Shawn Colvin
David Cook er, David Cook
Smooth by Santana travelin'
Kris Allen, the new idol

Country music doesn’t do it for me but here’s a hilarious song on YouTube with a fantastic beat – the clever lyrics can give you great ideas for plot twists. This from Lonestar on No News. Words again.

‘She missed her bus, missed her plane, surely this can explained. Lost her car at the mall, got locked in a bathroom stall. Playing guitar with the band, on the road with Pearl Jam. FBI, CIA, If they seen her they ain’t sayin’ Buried with the Grateful Dead… offered as a sacrifice.’ Lots of wonderful excuses there!

Bottom line - choose your music zen - the music that gives your muse BLISS! Whether it's the words or the music. Or just tune out the distractions of tv, kids, dog with a set of headphones and the volume on low.

Do you have some favorite muse music? Share.

Thanks to Ronna
for suggesting this blog. It's been so inspiring during Nanowrimo. All of the participating writers (links below) have different takes on the music we use for different parts of the writing process, for prep, for inspiration and for celebration.

Check out the other Music for the Muse bloggers. I can't wait to find out what they're tuning into:

Stephenie Kuehnert
Jeri Smith Ready
Bryan Bliss
R R Smythe
Tara Kelly

Jennifer Linforth

Monday, November 23, 2009

GOooo Saints!

I forgot to blog yesterday about our Saints, now 10-0. They won decisively 38-7. The only teams to ever get to this point have all wound up in the SuperBowl!!!

I only saw the second half of the game. My friend, Cadence, was taking pictures for me to use on the web or for writerly stuff. Here's an example. She's a real pro.

That one was for fun...might be why I have a krick in my neck today!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Nano Saturday #3

Okay, I read the last couple chapters in Chris Baty's book, No Plot, No Problem, about the third and fourth weeks of Nano. I hadn't read the part about making your book finish by the end of Nano even if you have to sketch scenes. I think that's what I was doing in the initial prep and writing of the book.

Though I like the idea of having THE End on it at the end of Nano, I don't think it's practical. If I sketch a scene and move on, I won't see the magic happen as C.L. Wilson calls it and the way it worked out for me on Thursday when I just hung in there and worked my way through a scene and wound up with some wonderful new creatures I hadn't even conceived of in the development and advance worldbuilding process.

So I'll just wait and see where I end up at the end of the week. I WILL get 50K though, regardless of Thanksgiving, relatives coming in for the weekend, work Friday and Saturday, and the time-consuming but rewarding blog on music for writers on Tuesday. I Hope...

Whew, I guess I better stop listening to music and get busy.

It's raining here, the dog is doing the only other thing that rainy days are good for besides writing and that other thing.

Have a sweet Saturday.
Nano, Nano

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My Blog is Two!

Two years, I can't believe it.

For my blog's two year anniversary this month, I'm sharing some of my favorite videos, this one created by a fan in response to Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series.

Jamie was voted the best romantic hero ever. (Rourke, from Nora Roberts' In Death series was nearly tied with him, though.) Romantic, inspired dialogue is much of the reason you fall in love with Jamie Fraser. You know what I mean if you're a fan, and if not, watch this.

You may have to watch more than once to catch all the incredible dialog from this work of art. What a chore .

If you're a Gabaldon fan, what enthralled you with the characters, the setting, the plot? What 'did it' for you?

Next Tuesday several writers on our GIAM loop will be blogging on music for writers. Our own use of music to inspire or provide background to the writing process.

Do you have any favorites for the general inspiration of your story? Muse music? Do certain pieces or artists inspire specific aspects of the story - i.e., the sensual, the action, the black moment?

Between now and then if you have any favorites please send them to me so I can share them as well.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

He Said, She Said Chronicles 3

If it weren't for the pitchfork...

For this week's He Said, She Said Chronicles I borrow a quote from the blog, May Contain Nuts. What a fascinating, insightful and funny blog on Advice We'd Give Our Younger Selves.

He said: (and I quote)"Women say one thing and mean another. Then once you get used to that approach they go back to meaning exactly what they say. Then they switch back again in the time it takes you to say, ‘What the...?’ It will confuse you. Don’t fight it. That’s. Just. The. Way. It. Is."

She said: I don't understand why you seem confused; I always say exactly what I mean. Even when I change my mind. That's just being flexible. ;D

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Finish the game

'It ain't easy what we do. But gettin' to the end of the trail...'

Two more weeks of Nano and I almost took a break to reassess. Two things happened. A friend gave me the 'boot' saying 'isn't that what Nano is about? Finish it then worry about the rest.'

Good advice and watching Peyton Manning bring the Colts come from behind (AGAIN) on Sunday Night Football brought fresh confirmation.

Second and goal with a minute thirteen seconds on the clock and barely a foot to get into the end zone and win the game, one of the commentators said, "they better worry about having too much left on the clock when they make this touchdown." I screamed, 'Win the game.' You don't know what might happen if you fool around and run a time consuming play before you go in, you might lose the football worrying about what happens after.

Win the game. Finish Nano, otherwise - Life Interrrruptus - and there you are, you haven't won Nano, and you haven't got a completed manuscript to revise or pitch.

Nano, Nano

Saturday, November 14, 2009

It's all good.

I had a wonderful brief vacation early in the week to hurricane country - southern Mississippi. But a friend called from Florida saying we should check the weather. Ida, the wonder storm, was headed our direction and was coming on land earlier than expected. (Even in our brick cabin in the state park, it was a difficult night, 30-40 mph winds and hard rain.) We'd planned to drive south to the coast and do our part toward the recovery - lunch, shopping at the outlet mall. So instead, we went shopping and dining locally in Hattiesburg about an hour north of the coast. It was lovely.

I didn't plan to write but since the time change I haven't been able to sleep past 4am so I got up and trudged forward on RCP a couple thousand words. My total has been at 21,131 since Tuesday. Came back enthused but feeling like I need to look over what I've written so far before I get too scattered.

I also didn't anticipate being called into work the last three days which was a financial blessing and a Nano loss. All in all, a special week. I'll start on Nano again Monday.

Today is Football Sunday! Saints vs Rams! (In case you're interested Denzel Washington's son plays for the Rams.) Go Saints!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Nano update

New total - 20,038!

Got up at 4am this morning to get my 20k for the week! I'm going on a three day mini holiday so I had some extra motivation. I honestly didn't think I was going to have time but I couldn't sleep anyway so I popped open Scrivener and started on the scene I've been avoiding. Will I keep it? I'm not sure. I think I may be introducing these characters elsewhere in the book and this idea I loved when I was developing RCP may go into 'I really loved it but it's not working now, but I'll keep it just in case' file. It's hard to let your babies go.

Need some inspiration? InkyGirl is chock full of information, hints and links about Nano.

NaNo, NaNo

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Joie de Vive3

Two videos to share with you this week to make you smile. If you watch this one without feeling happy, make an appointment with a professional.

I am in awe of this guy - for his singing talent and his expertise with video. Un-frickin believable! I want to hear you singing along.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

He Said, She Said Chronicles 2

CNN asked for responses online after a Florida player tried to gouge out the eyes of an opposing player in a pile on top of the football.

He said: I don't know nothin about football but if someone did that to me I'd call the cops and press charges.

She said: Get real! It's football.

'Nuff said.

Yeah, Saints!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Love Knows No Boundaries!

A limitless sky filled with balloons reminds me that anything is possible.

My new website is up. Don't you just love it? If you saw my previous website with the Atlanta skyline and the flashing lightning, you know my webdesigner, Rae Monet has a healthy muse. I hated to see it go, even took a little video of it for posterity then said my goodbyes. It was designed around my first series of books set near Atlanta.

I asked Rae to design something to represent whatever I might write - paranormal romance, suspense, contemporary. Ironically, she'd designed this one a couple weeks before I contacted her. After I saw it I couldn't get it out of my mind. It didn't help that the Balloon races were in Natchez that weekend!

I'll be adding a 'For Writers' page and doing more software reviews after Nanowrimo.

Good luck, Nanoers.

UPDATE: Monday Night Football and our Saints are ahead 28-14. Go Saints!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Nano Begins

Just when I was gathering some momentum with my networking, writing, and blogging NANO arrives. My website redo is ongoing, the dude will be a year old next week (hey, Leah, he and GG may have the same birthday) and constantly needing attention and the holiday mail season is upon us.

For those of you who aren't familiar with it... Nanowrimo is an annual writing challenge - it's free by the way - and the goal is to get 50,000 words by November 30th (or just to boost your word count, get a good start on a new wip or finish one). I heard from one Nanoer that last year he did 82,000 and won a contest with it last month.

So forgive me if I'm inconsistent this month. RCPn is waiting for me. I created a poster this week with all my characters on it for inspiration. Shut up, Marley, and start writing.

PS If you didn't catch the interview I did with Susan at Twisted Sisters check out that one and the rest on Susan's Meet a Psychic.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Psychics and Twisted Sisters

Well, here's first for me. A fellow writer from our Futuristic, Fantasy and Paranormal chapter posted the need for psychics for her Halloween blog.

I replied, "How psychic?" and proceeded to explain the ability/disability that I've been cursed/blessed with for the last thirty years. See the interview wiht me and others 'psychics' at Twisted Sisters Blog on Halloween.

If you miss it I'll post it in its entirety here, Sunday.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Write... or Die, Sucker! Die!

"Putting the PROD in productivity." Youch!

See the fire on that keyboard? That's what this little program will do for you. Nail your butt to the chair, your hands to the keyboard.

You set the mode and goal. Choose Gentle or Kamikaze!!

Just in time for Nano Write or Die has put out a desktop version of it's popular online writing productivity software.

It's only $10 and works on Mac and PC. Simply pay, follow the link in your payment confirmation email and then click on INSTALL on the site. You'll be prompted to install AIR if it's not on your computer and you're set. (Don't worry about all those scary little error messages you get that make you think you're downloading the HBomb virus, just say yes and continue.)

Now, be brave. Go for it!

I want to hear about it. Did you try kamakaze? Elektric shock mode? (Double Youch!)

Don't be a wuss, set your grace period on Evil, ahhaahhahahhahhhhaaaa. Or you can choose your least favorite evil song to play if you don't make your goal. And new in this version is the ability to have a Word war with a friend, a fun way to kick up the numbers.

Oh, and the free version is still available use if you're online.

Hint: This little program would work well with Freemind if you have to brainstorm in between writing stints.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Happy Anniversary, Michael

Okay, so our bud, Michael Malone, who has an outlandishly clever blog across the pond called May Contain Nuts, hit a milestone Monday. 100 Blogs!

Let's hear it for Mick.

I figure now that he's over the hill - blogwise - he should do something for the ladies. Like a hunk at the head of the post.

Something like this guy...

Ironically, I was looking for a tattooed man’s picture – not what I had in mind for sure – to use for inspiration – I’m still laughing mind you – for my story poster for RCPn when I came across Geoff Ostling, an Australian who has put forth a massive canvas for the sake

You should be glad I didn't link to picture number 1. All I could think was OUCH! Ouch! Ouchie! But you really should see it.

I'm still looking for my hunky tattoo man...


Just a quickie. We're supposed to be getting 4-6 inches of rain in the next day or two so I'm sure I won't have internet so tomorrow's blog will be the hunk of the day in celebration of a fellow writer/poet's 100th blog, and Friday some details about the new desktop version of Write Or Die. Ya'll come back.

Free-Mind for writers

Mind-mapping with Free Mind. It's a brainstorming tool. It's an organizer. Create a mindmap to collect family information, organize your week, or brainstorm a plot thread. I've been using this little program for four or five years. With the latest upgrade it's significantly improved.

Here's an example of one I made in the early stages of RCP to brainstorm the crime, clues, suspects, and motives of characters. You can also store links and customize nodes.

A world of information will fit in a small space by collapsing the nodes and expanding as needed. It's so easy to use, so versatile and it's free!

I've see some intricately designed mindmaps and simple ones like the one at Moving to Freedom for a very simple and creative application of the program. (Preview below.)

For Mac or PC download it here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


BIAW started last Monday. I'm satisfied with 10k word count for five days, but especially gratifying was the way the plot started expanding and pieces began to fit together.

It reminds me of a football game. You start off with a game plan but you need to have plenty of extra plays and players on the sidelines so when the other team makes unexpected moves you can change up on the fly.

I'd spent several months revamping the setting and characters and developing the paranormal world fearing I hadn't done enough. I was pleased to find out that my fear was unfounded.

Do all writers go into each wip with a fear of the unknown? Or just pantsers.

It's scary but so rewarding when the magic happens.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Writer’s Café software for Mac and PC

If you’ve seen my previous blogs this week on Ywriter, Write It Now 4.0, and Scrivener, you’re familiar with common features to look for in writing software.

Operating system compatibility.
Ease of use
Specialty tools for character creation
Research organization
Drag and drop capability
Export to rtf functionality
Potential for customization
The writing space
Storyboard features
Frequent/customizable backups

I discovered Writer’s Café recently, a program developed by a husband and wife team of writers from Edinburgh, Scotland. The interface looks a lot like we’ve come to expect from Windows desktop with the added benefit of being able to use it on Mac or PC.

Notice the icons and tip screen on the main window aimed at helping the writer understand the program, get technical support, and write a better novel, report, or screenplay. There’s an explorer window on the left where your files appear and options for creating folders for your research phase – Scrap, Pinboard, notebook, or writing journal are there as well.

Collect all your research or build a flow chart in Scrap. Throw in links, text, pictures. It’s your story scrapbook.

Start a pinboard where you can place stickies of ideas on a whim. Use the notebook or keep a journal of your writing process or the convenient name generator for characters. Many features in Writer’s Café crossover, so you can decide which is best for your writing process.

One of the best brainstorming tools is the flexible storyline tool which allows you to create different lines to track a story thread, povs, etc. in cards which translate into an outline and your writing space.

Here's a different setup

The cards can be tagged and color coded. Here I created a tag for sensual scenes. The cards tagged will be hot pink.

If you’re a panster the storyboard tool as much for analysis as for plotting. In my current WIP I wanted to trace the hero’s paranormal arc. I tagged those card scenes with purple and when I looked at the storyline, I found that it was happening all at once.

It’s similar to storyboard features in the other programs but the storyline feature here is a little trickier. WC also uses some different terminology. For instance you wip/manuscript is called a report. And exporting isn’t quite as easy with WC.

But if you are adept with computer software, Writer’s Café could be the program for you. The good news is you can get a demo here to try before you buy and tech support from Julian Smart and the yahoo loop is excellent.

(Are you familiar with mind mapping? It's an excellent visual way to brainstorm relationships between characters or scenes. Wednesday I'll run through some of the features on a fabulous FREE program for both Mac and PC.)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Saints Sunday!! Are you ready?

I wasn't sure I was when it was 24-3 Miami! late in the first half but then the Saints proved why they are undefeated so far.

WOoooooHooo! as I write this there's only 2 minutes left and the score is 46-34 SAINTS.

They are the real deal! Gooo Saints!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Scrivener for Writers

I switched from WriteItNow3 to the ‘Mac only’ Scrivener program about two years ago. There are many features Scrivener offers that can enhance your writing experience.

From this sample taken from my first novel, you can see the scene files on the left in the 'binder'. I chose to title them with sequential days because the timeframe was important to the plot and it was easier to keep track but you can name them Scene 1, Scene 2, etc. Notice each scene gets a Synopsis/index card in the inspector on the top right. The top line is the name of the file. Under it are the key phrases for the scene.

Under the synopsis are the Labels and Status options. You decide what works for you. I used the colored labels for pov, turning points, etc. The Status is just as flexible and is shown in the tutorial tracking first draft, 1st revision, final draft.

Insert a note you need on hand for the project or the document in the notes and keywords section.

Daily project targets help you stay on track with your progress. Notice the coded chapter headings in the document and the continuity of the scene names at the top of the program, in the document and on the synopsis card.

I mentioned the ability to keep research within the project file. The Research section is below the draft on the tree in the Binder. You can drag html, links, images, maps, all into a file in the research section. Build characters there, track your settings, or create a whole separate Scrivener file to hold research for a bigger project like a series and drag and drop from one to the other.

When you get ready to take a broader look there are several ways to view you WIP.

As an outline where labels, synopsis card and scene names are viewable and draggable.

Select a group of files and view or format them as one with 'Edit Scrivenings'. Or view as a corkboard, which is like a storyboard where index cards can be dragged around. The labels you apply to your cards show up on your corkboard like this one and you can adjust how many cards per row.

Or select several scenes and view them, copy/paste them into Word processor.

A great way to get familiar with Scrivener is through the interactive Tutorial in the Help file of the program. Still have questions? Maybe you'd like to know how other writers use Scrivener. Visit the forum at Literature and Latte.

Though it’s not the most difficult program to use, a lot of the features are not for beginners either. Like exporting the file using the 'Compile draft' feature. It may take you several attempts to get your ‘compiled draft’ to work with the formatting of chapter headings, font, and layout. But if you're adept with Word you can probably fix it. Or you can simply choose the entire draft, copy it and paste to Word.

Again, this program is only available for Macs and you can try it before you buy it like all the programs I've mentioned this week.

If you need an easier to use program for Mac or PC with seemless Export to rtf feature, check out my previous blog on Write It Now 4.03.

Monday – Writer’s Café, for Macs and PCs.