Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Every once in a while I manage to get everything I planned to accomplish done in a day. Yesterday was one of those days. I started the short story, became totally caught up in it and forced myself to stop at 2K words. I then moved on to Maddy Blue and edited 30 pages. I managed to get the laundry caught up, folded and put away. I made dinner. I supervised the kids while they cleaned the house. I ran all my errands.

It is amazing when everything clicks. Rare. Exciting.

Today is a brand new day and I have high hopes for staying on this track.

Monday, July 30, 2007

light bulbs

Thanks to Oprah, when the light bulb goes off for you, we now call that instant an 'ah-ha' moment. Yesterday I spent a nice time visiting with my writing buddy Kaycee and we discussed how over the past week we both had ah-ha moments. Kaycee has a dear friend in the trauma unit of a local hospital due to a motorcycle accident and another friend just told her she suffered a heart attack last week. For me, I learned that my grandfather, after being dumped by my grandmother prior to their eventual marriage, once attempted suicide.

That knowledge about my grandfather, who I never knew that well, gave me great pause. If but for a few inches, I wouldn't be here. My kids wouldn't be here. Makes you wonder if there isn't a big plan that caused him to miss. A reason for him to survive and pass those genes on down through time.

I've got a lot to do this week due to the slacker attitude I've had towards my writing over the past month. Better get moving.

Friday, July 27, 2007

friday recap

When you return from vacation in the middle of the week, the remaining few days are totally whacked.

The daily highs for the past week: went to Magic Springs/Crystal Falls and rode way too many roller coasters but recovered in their incredible wave pool and lazy river. Drove home, but on the way stopped at Petit Jean state park, awesome place. Read Harry Potter #7. Hurriedly did laundry and stocked the pantry because my fave uncle arrived on his return trip to New Mexico. Visited with said uncle and treated him to a great Chinese dinner. Today my uncle starts for home and I'm heading out with the offspring for a round of back to school shopping.

Up for the weekend, meet with crit/writing buddy on Sunday.

Goal for next week, revise the next 150 on Maddy Blue, write first draft of one short story rattling in my wee head and start to work on the book store stuff I've put off for the past two weeks.

Ambition, thy name is Liz.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

thursday's tidbit

This tidbit has nothing at all to do with the craft of writing, but has everything to do with inspiration.

I've always had a fertile imagination and can daydream and imagine with the best of them. As I've gotten older, the time to sit and let my brain wander has dwindled. The vacation we just took afforded me the opportunity for some 'down' time as well as some great opportunities to people watch.

Life is so hectic and busy and for me so filled with the seemingly same sort of cookie cutter suburban people that I tend to forget how varied folks can be. Traipsing through Arkansas was a great reminder of the amazing quirks, stories and personalities out there to mine for my own fictional fun.

Not sure where I'm going with this, but I guess my point is, take a minute to step outside your 'zone' and look at what is around you with new eyes. You might find inspiration in an unexpected place or person. I did.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

i'm back

Got home from the quick but lovely vacation. A fun time was had by all as we did the following: visited the Clinton Library, played putt-putt, canoed/kayaked the Oachita River, spent a day at Magic Springs-Crystal Falls and then scouted out Petit Jean state park for a future vacation.

Of course as our little escape bridged the release of Harry Potter, I found the nearest B&N and swooped in Saturday morning to purchase it. Finished it last night....I need to reread the last 50 pages as I fear I might have missed what happened to a few characters.

Nothing new to report on my own writing, although I did have a few short story ideas while floating down the river.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

mad dash

The whole fam damily is headed out tomorrow for our mini vacation. Today begins the mad dash until we leave. Besides laundry, packing, shopping and cleaning I have a few things I'd like to do for myself. Like finish the "Killing Floor" and work on Maddy Blue and maybe find time to paint my toenails.

So, no crafty words of wisdom today. Buh-bye.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Yeah, I just finished a spastic round of editing. I managed to get a chapter done before the haul across town for the music lesson. Then after we got home, I finished another chapter. Keep going you say....well I would except for one very small problem. You see, while I was searching my nightstand, yes the one with the book pile, I found yet another paper back that I'd been meaning to read. Someone, I think it was my darling read-a-holic mother, gave me Lee Child's "Killing Floor."

I've never read Lee Child's stuff...but my gosh, what a nice author photo on the back cover:) Anyway, I'm hooked and am now headed downstairs to immerse myself in Jack Reacher's world. Can I just say, I now understand why Miss Snark waxed poetic about this writer and his character. Wowsa.

drats, foiled again

My big plans for yesterday were dashed on the rocks of a three hour trip to the doctor's office. Yes, as is usual, my day of staying home morphed into a morning spent obtaining a diagnosis for one kid. By noon we were back home, after getting one shot, filling a prescription and picking up a giant package of Bagel Bites. Because those mini pizzas will cure what the medicine won't. Or so I was told.

I didn't even open the Maddy file yesterday. Today doesn't look much better. I'm going to try and sneak up here after the French horn lesson and put on my mean mom face to any child who dares to occupy the same space. At the rate I'm going, this darn book will still be in stage one of revisions when my life becomes dominated by the book store. That is not good.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

what to read next

I can be a compulsive book buyer. I rarely buy hardbacks, but often succumb to the lure of paperbacks. Right now, on my nightstand, I have four books I purchased and haven't read. Two are mysteries, one is historical fiction and one is women's fiction. I bought two at B&N, one at Sam's Club and one at Target. I stacked them in the order I purchased them with the oldest on top. I'll probably take one or two with me on vacation, but unfortunately I can't read in the car. I get motion sick even trying to read a map. So, I'll have to try and carve out a bit of time to read either before the family gets up or if we hang out at the pool, maybe I can find some time then.

The main thing is, when I'm at the library this week, I must not check anything out. This is really hard for me to do. Then, of course, that book leaps to the front of the line because it has a timeline associated with it. Which would account for why I have four unread paperbacks still sitting by my bed.

On a totally different front, I did manage to revise 15 more pages in Maddy Blue yesterday. Today should be a good day to work as I've already told the kids we are not leaving the house until it is time to deliver the oldest two to the library for their summer reading volunteer jobs.

We only have three weeks of summer left. Soccer conditioning starts tonight and runs for the next two weeks then practice begins. Wow.

Monday, July 16, 2007


Before we headed out for the movies yesterday, I finished reading Michelle Moran's debut novel, "Nefertiti." Yes, I'm an extremely quick reader for those of you who read my earlier post and know I picked it up Friday. I also didn't do much this weekend:)
Okay, so we all know who Nefertiti is. I mean, who hasn't seen the incredible bust of this famous queen?? The magic in what Moran has done lies in how she not only brings Nefertiti to life, but in how she tells this story through the queen's half sister's POV. I LOVE historical fiction told in first person and Moran nails it. This book is loaded with accurate historical details, plenty of political intrigue and a spot on portrayal of how religion can be used by the powerful for so many earthly pursuits.
The stand-alone sequel comes out July 2008. Count me in! If you're looking to move beyond the Tudors of England, who seem to dominate historical fiction land right now, travel back to ancient Egypt and enjoy Moran's take on dynastic politics.

book snobs

I'm climbing on the old soap box this morning. Took the kids to see the new Harry Potter movie yesterday. Good movie, the kids all enjoyed it and the hubby and I had a nice time chatting about the movie's tone.

However, a bit of conversation floated over to me as we were filing out of the theater and heading for the bathrooms. I overheard someone complaining about the lack of literary value in the books. If I'd been able to determine who was spouting off that way, I would have been tempted to spout right back at them.

The value of a book doesn't reside in whether or not it is on a required reading list. The value of a book isn't determined by whether or not it has been reviewed by The New Yorker. The value of a book doesn't lie in how many literary symbols or devices the author used.

JK Rowling's Harry Potter stories have encouraged kids to read. And because kids have read her books, they've moved on to read other books. This is her enduring legacy. This is where the true value lies in her books.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


I love to chat, especially when it involves a wonderful coffee drink, and plenty of time to settle in and enjoy a visit. With the hubby and the three kiddoes, finding time to get out and hang with buddies can be difficult. Saturday, however, worked out for me and I was able to sneak off to B&N and visit my writing friend for a 3 hour visit!

First thing I checked for Michelle Moran's new book. It was waaaaay back among the fiction shelves and not up front like I'd hoped. I was assured by the kind gentleman working the help desk that it is tagged as a 'feature' and will be moved up front when they get the rest of their shipment. They only had three copies.

Next we headed back to the coffee area. This is where it pays to know the barista. We are there often enough that he recognizes us and is more than happy to concoct my lowfat requests and veer from the recipe. We scored some amazing raspberry mocha icy drinks and grabbed a big table and talked books.

K. and I have known each other for almost 4 years now. We can chat about books we are reading, vent about our writing and plot the next story. The words flow and before you know it it is time to head back to reality.

Writing is a solitary endeavor. Writers are so fortunate when they find another writer to share the journey. I'm so glad I know K.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

doorways, collection development and change

Walked into the library foyer yesterday and lo and behold, they'd cut the door for the bookstore. After a false alarm on Thursday, the workers showed up and removed three switch plates before leaving, the hole was made Friday morning at 7:30.

It seems the Friends of the Library will be operating a used book store by October. Of course, this means I need to get off my fanny and finish the operations manual among other things. Like, finalizing the marketing plan and learning how to work the cash register.

The best part of this is that we will be able to fund collection development in a more consistent and generous manner. Just had a discussion with the book store committee on Monday about the collection. One gentleman observed that the selection of books is somewhat limited in certain genres. He is so right. I brought this up Friday during my regular monthly lunch with the director. She agreed and let me know that they've added 150 new authors to their standing order lists. Yippee!!!!!

Sad but true, librarians have their 'favorites.' I know I did, but I also felt a keen responsibility to purchase a well rounded assortment of books for the YA collection.

We all need to be willing to cut those doorways and try something new. The monies the Friends earn will help the community try new authors. Change is so good.

Friday, July 13, 2007

history buff

Will be stopping in the library today to pick up Michelle Moran's new release, "Nefertiti." I'd instructed our adult librarian to order multiple copies and she called yesterday to let me know they came and and were ready to be checked out. Yeah!

I'm a sucker for a good historical and when I was ordering YA books for the library, I sometimes had a difficult time finding these books for the collection. Before I left my job, I'd placed a huge order. As a volunteer I processed the order once it came in, but I failed to jot down the titles I'd wanted to read. Now I'm stuck scanning the shelves and hoping a title jogs my addled brain.

I stumbled across "The Moon Riders" just this week. Needless to say, I devoured the book. The author had seen the same documentary I'd watched a while ago about women warriors of lower Asia and their grave mounds. She went on to do something I thought would be a great idea. That is, to write a fictional account of this culture. She intertwined their story with that of Cassandra and Helen and the epic battle of Troy. The result is a solidly entertaining historical confection.

Just wish the YA market had more historical fiction available.

weekly recap

Hey, a good week is ending today. But, I'm having a real hard time accepting that summer is winding down. The kids head back to school so darn early, I feel like we've just settled into the summer groove and it is time to think about back to school sales and purchases.

Hit page 100 on my first round of revisions. Deleted a character in these revisions. Like it better now, and in doing so I've added conflict :0

Took the oldest out to practice kicking, we both got a work out.

Read this week, I think three books, if my memory is working. The latest was a historical fiction YA novel called "Moon Riders." Combined the Amazon legends with the downfall of Troy. Good stuff.

Today I've got a lunch date with my old boss, a dinner date with the hubby and some shopping to do in between. Sunday will bring our trip to the theater for Harry Potter...yeah!

Have a super weekend.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

thursday's tidbit

Ah crap, how did it get to be Thursday already? Guess I'll put down a thought or two on POV as I've noodled over voice, POV and word choice this week.

Whichever POV you choose, stay consistent. Unless you're Nora R. don't head hop, she's a master at it, few others come close to how she can juggle multiple POVs. Make sure your characters 'think' in an authentic way. Have them use the right words. Don't stick SAT words in a character's mouth who has never cracked open a dictionary.

That's it for today.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


I haven't blogged about it, but I'm still working on revisions for Maddy. Up to chapter nine as of today. I also wrote a prologue for Lani. Plus, I've been reading quite a bit. Today I finished "Tantalize" by Cynthia Leitich Smith. Good read that rolls vampires, shifters and Italian food into one gooey action packed story. I enjoyed the Texas setting as well as a heroine plucky enough to kick butt in red boots.


Way back when, years ago, I attended a seminar on customer service. One of the key points the instructor made was that industry professionals have their own language. It doesn't matter what the industry is, certain terms are used in house that the average Joe won't understand.

I was a banker back then and to demonstrate the point the instructor rattled off a few sentences liberally sprinkled with abbreviations, industry buzz words and financial terms. She sounded very polished and knowledgeable. Then she did the same thing, but used terms common to the medical industry. You could see eyes glaze over. What did a bunch of bankers know about medicine? Not a hell of a lot.

My point is that writers have industry language. We use it to communicate with other writers and to share tips on craft. Novice writers need to learn this language. It adds a huge degree of professionalism to your interactions with people in the industry.

A corollary to this point is to watch that your creative writing sounds authentic. Make sure your characters talk the way they should and sound real. A banker should sound like a banker and a doctor like a doctor.

Keep it real.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Over and over writers hear agents and editors encouraging a strong voice or unique voice. My writing buddy K. just posted on one of her blogs how she wishes she had a more lyrical voice. She doesn't feel her writing has the right stuff when it comes to description.

After I read certain authors, I too wish my writing soared. I want my prose to be almost poem like in how it evokes emotion. This goes beyond vocabulary and diction. For me, this is how the words are strung together and it deals with timing.

It just isn't me. I'm as earthbound as they come. I think we all get the 'grass is greener' attitude at times. Part of being human I guess.

Speaking of voice, I read another YA book yesterday. Check out Martine Leavitt's "Keturah and Lord Death." Awesome book for readers of all ages. This is a classic fairytale told in a lyrical voice, but the author moves between the real and the supernatural with such ease. When I finished I knew why the piece was nominated for a national book award. Excellent writing and a captivating story.

Monday, July 9, 2007

good things

I didn't even open the WIP Saturday or Sunday. Instead I read two very different pieces of YA fiction. The first was "Wildwood Dancing" by Juliet Marillier. I've read her adult fiction before and have loved the way she expands an ancient fairy tale into a new creation. This latest book takes what seems to be several Romanian fairy tales and combines them into a decent book. It isn't my favorite of hers, but it was a satisfying read.
Then on Saturday the kid and I stopped in at B&N while we were out shopping. Because as she said, a trip to the mall with Mom isn't complete without a stop at the bookstore. Boy is she glad I'm such a creature of habit. We picked up the latest Georgia adventure by Louise Rennison. "Love is a many Trousered Thing" is a hoot and a half. I LOVE these books and so does the kid. In fact, Rennison is totally responsible for my kid becoming an avid reader. If I could buy the woman a cake, I would.
Today I have lots of ground to make up, but seeing my kid lay on the couch, read and finish a book in one day was worth not working on my writing.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

fibbity fabulosity, Georgia strikes again

Oh, so fibbity fab. I'm totally entranced, yet again, with Louise Rennison's latest Georgia adventure. The kid and I bought the book yesterday, gave up more shopping and rushed home to start reading. She finished in one day and I read it today.
Until I introduced these books, my oldest was a reluctant reader. Rennison's books changed all of that. She now loves to read and has become quite the anglophile. Even enjoying Monty Python, much to the admiration of the hubby.
Here's to disco dancing infernos, the ace gang and jammie dodgers.....

Friday, July 6, 2007

weekly recap

Odd week with the holiday stuck in the center of it, but here are the highlights of the last seven days.

Met with my writing buddy and had a fabulous time chatting, eating and talking about our WIPs.
Worked on edits and revisions of Maddy every day. Ready to start on Chapter 7.
Read a new author, Kat Richardson.
Had fun with the kids and hubby.

Doesn't seem like much, but the days were filled.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

thursday's editing tidbit

Here's a good tidbit to keep in mind. Ditch those unnecessary attributions. Try and use 'said' when possible, it disappears for most readers. Remember people can't snort, laugh or grimace words. Instead, use an action tag to indicate who is speaking.

I'm making progress with my revisions of Maddy Blue's WIP. I'm also toying with the idea of doing a few short stories involving that world. I have a couple of ideas, but need to spend some time noodling over them.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

more, please

While I was out Saturday I picked up "Greywalker" by Kat Richardson. I'd read about the book a while back on Charlaine Harris' Book and Blog page. Richardson and Harris along with Tanya Huff are represented by the Jabberwocky Agency.

The cover blurbs Huff and Harris provided hit the mark. This is a good read. I'd say it was a great read, but I felt at times if the author skimmed over a few opportunities to give us more information on her characters. I'm sure the following books will solve that issue.

The basic plot is Harper Blaine winds up dead for two minutes after a brutal attack. She is brought back to life and now has the ability to bridge the gap between our reality and the "Grey." The Grey is the in between place that spirits reside in, as well as vampires to some extent. The story has a few subplots that Richardson manages to tie together in quite a satisfying package.

I'm looking forward to the next book in this series and to learning more about the characters. I'd especially like to learn more about Quinton... I sense a werewolf, perhaps?

Monday, July 2, 2007

fun time

I had a great time Saturday meeting up with one of my writer buds. We ate, laughed, chatted, brainstormed and the three hours flew.

It never fails after we get together I am inspired to get back to work. Those afternoons fill the well for me.

Today starts the new effort to revise the WIP. I have a deadline looming as the used bookstore I'll be 'managing' is going to be coming online. The doors will be installed next week. Then the room gets a new coat of paint and the carpets will be cleaned. The shelves will be ordered and installed in the next 45 days.

I want to have Maddy is good shape before the store takes over my free time.