Tag Archives: writing

Exercise’s Unexpected Benefits

Today’s blog is going to be short.  I can’t waste a moment.  I’m on a roll, and I don’t want to interrupt it for too long.  That being said, here’s what’s happened,  and it’s still early!

It’s just possible that I should get up at 6-ish a.m. and exercise every day.  (Thank you, husband…)  Seems to stimulate the brain and the imagination.

After a brisk (by my definition) walk, I returned to fix coffee and an English muffin (with healthy sugar-free peanut butter).  I sat down to read my email, which is normally a tedious task comprised of culling the horrid from the merely bad.  Imagine my surprise when the first item I opened was a gem!

After five weeks of not-so-patient waiting, I received an answer from someone who had promised to help me with technical details I needed for the WIP. Now, I fully understand that one can find any answer on the all-knowing WWW; however, mine is a particularly esoteric question.  I needed to know, specifically, how Texas Hill Country animals react to and escape a wildfire.  So, this person’s knowledge was particularly valuable to my story.  (Just because my middle grade books are Texas animal tall tales does not mean they can’t be fact-based!)  Honestly, I was beginning to think I might have to find another expert.  Not an easy task when the nearest town’s population is just over 4,000!  Her email arrived just in time.  So glad it finally did. I wasn’t looking forward to hours of googling and binging.

Shortly thereafter, I discovered more answers to questions I had asked of another person…and there they were, just waiting for me in my virtual inbox. Wonders never cease!

While riding this informational ‘high,’ I started working on a chapter of the book that’s been troublesome. Not today! Breezed right through it! The plot came together. The words flowed. The characters knew exactly what to say. Astounding!

So, it just made sense that I take advantage and get the blog done, too.

News Flash!  I am so looking forward to my “blog swapping/tour” (well, that’s what we’re calling it!) with Kris Yankee, author of Saving Redwind: A Wallpaper Adventure. I’ll be interviewed on her blog on Monday, August 29th and Kris will be here on my blog Wednesday, August 31st. Kris is an interesting, talented, multi-dimensional person, and her book is awesome! (If you’d like a quick sneak peek: http://www.facebook.com/BooksbyKrisYankee)

One more recent good thing! Seems they just don’t stop today! Although I’ve known for months that I was going to be a grandma again, we just found out on Thursday that the expected baby is a boy! Hooray! Another grandson! Can’t wait!

Good things come to those who…exercise??


Leave a comment

Filed under Marginally Personal, The Business of Writing

A Line in the…Hand-scraped Oak Floor

I finally put my foot down and my sign up.  “Yes, I’m Working!”  The sign went on the door of the master bedroom suite, the alcove of which is my office.

I love my alcove office with its windows on three sides.  One overlooks a canyon, one the balcony where I keep my mint plants and fountain, one the wrap-around porch.  No curtains.   Surround-sound Bose speakers broadcast my immense music library.  I mean, I LOVE this office.  Now, go away and leave me alone!  I’m working.  I’m an author.

My husband and I and a very close friend retired to the Texas Hill Country four years ago.  We built our dream house on 44 acres of undeveloped land.  We have Brangus cattle for neighbors…and foxes, turkeys, deer, armadillos, jackrabbits, coyotes, feral hogs (curses on them), raccoons, skunks…all the usual Texas suspects.  We have a half-acre garden where we grow tomatoes, peppers, onions, herbs, etc.  It’s just what we always wanted.

And I’m doing just what I always wanted to do…devoting hours to writing my children’s books.  Unfortunately, they aren’t the uninterrupted hours for which I was hoping.

It’s one thing for me to leave my desk from time to time, to restore the circulation to my legs, or to get a cup of coffee.  It’s even acceptable for me to suspend my writing to put in a load of laundry, fix a meal, or watch a football game.  (Texas, remember?  Hook ‘em, ‘Horns!)

It is another thing, entirely, for my husband to say, “Come here and look at this.”  And “this” turns out to be an unusual capacitor or something else he discovered in his stash of valuable electronics he’s been collecting for decades.  Really.  I’m perfectly willing to share in his “finds.”  Sometimes they’re even interesting.  But not when I’m working.  Or our friend will say, “I’m going into town.  Do you want to go with me?  Maybe the antique store has new stuff.”  (Oxymoron?)  No. Thank you.  I’m working.

Is it such a difficult concept?  Writing is work.  It isn’t fun (most of the time), it isn’t a way to while away the hours, it isn’t a hobby.  Sometimes I even break a sweat!  It is work, dagnab it!

As I write this, I’m awaiting the repercussions.  “They” haven’t seen the sign yet.  “They” are off somewhere doing their respective important stuff.  But, I’m sure to hear about it when the sign is read.  At which time, I’ll have to explain it.  Or maybe I’ll just let them read this blog.  Something “they” have never done.  Hey!  That could be subject material for another blog!  Huzzah!


Filed under The Business of Writing

I Can’t Stand “ITS” Any More…

…so I’m speaking out.

If you mean “it is,” the contraction is it’s.
If you mean “something belongs to it,” the possessive is its.

If it’s plural, there is NO apostrophe before the “s.”  Example:  car (one) ;  cars (more than one);  car’s is an incorrect pluralization…that would be possessive, as in car’s engine.

IT’S not difficult, people.

IT’S wrong in newspapers, on billboards, in advertisements, on and on, ad nauseam.  It seems as if NO ONE knows which one to use, including (but not limited to) editors, publishers, book agents, authors, blog writers, teachers, and most of the English-writing human race.

To make matters worse, the mistakes cited above are not the only common mistakes that have sneaked (not snuck) into our collective writings. The list is abominably long. As a proofreader and former editor, as well as a currently-published author…

Today I will take red pencil in hand and correct our local newspaper. I will forward it to the editor, along with my business card and an offer to work with them as a consultant…a well-compensated consultant.  I fully expect profound silence in response. My efforts will, in all likelihood, be in vain. But, at least I will have taken a stand.

While writing this, a memory started nagging the back of my brain.  Once upon a time, there was an organization based in the UK called SPAM…Society for the Prevention of Apostrophe Misuse. I Googled it, and apparently it’s now defunct.  I saw many mentions of the group, but no discussions that were dated more currently than 2009.  What a shame.  Perhaps I’ll start my own group…as soon as I can find an acronym that hasn’t already been used.  Stay tuned for further announcements.

If you are (correct contraction here would be you’re…not your) an author, blogger, writer, editor, agent, publisher, printer, or other entity that works with words on a daily basis, and you’re not sure of your proofreading skills, contact me. I can help. I’ve been doing this professionally for years. (Please note that I did NOT write year’s!)

If you are as bothered as I by abuse of the English language, please feel free to provide examples in the “Comments” section of this blog.

If you should happen to think of a possible acronym for an apostrophe-misuse group, please comment below.  All submissions will be read.  And corrected.

No apostrophes were abused or misused in the writing of this blog.  I do, however, plead guilty to an overuse of ellipses.  In my defense, it’s only for emphasis.


Filed under The Business of Writing

Discipline and the Newly-Published Writer

In my former life (pre-retirement), when I found the time to work on my Moochie Mockingbird stories, I’d just get behind the keyboard and “write.” I didn’t care much about characters or conflict or continuity, but I was outstanding at description and dialogue! Somehow, I did manage to have events in the proper order, but that may have been pure dumb luck. The stories weren’t very impressive.

Now I’m disciplined, albeit far from perfectly. I worry about antagonist/protagonist/plot. I follow an outline. I…whatever. I don’t flesh out my characters until the plot is finalized. I save my “color commentary” until I feel good about the story. I don’t worry about spelling or punctuation or embellishment until the very last…this is the most difficult!

My brain hurts. It doesn’t want to think this way. But I’m learning.

In order to succeed as a writer (even if marginally), I’m learning I have to work at it. But I’ve also had to learn to “tweet,” to connect on social networks, to promote myself, to format correctly…the list goes on.

Usually around suppertime every day, I drag my tired backside into the kitchen…where, thankfully, my husband is cooking. I look at him and say, “I can’t stuff another thing into my brain,” or some such thing. Then I eat quickly and return to the keyboard.

We’re getting ready to take a short three-day trip to see our kids. I debated whether I should take my laptop. Duh. I can’t stay away. Four hours in the car with nothing to do? Here are the new things I can do! Twitter, blog, Facebook, LinkedIn…and not just contributing. Reading, following, #linking, exploring groups…learning…another list goes on…

One of my children has promised me a crash course in tweeting this weekend. Another is doing a professional photograph of me. The third is my support…my cheerleader. And our one-year-old grandson is just gonna love me.  Now I know why I had children!

At the end of the weekend, I’ll be back in my little office. Doing whatever it is I do that makes my brain hurt. But I’m disciplined. I’m determined. This time I will succeed.

Leave a comment

Filed under Marginally Personal, The Business of Writing

Personal News; Setting Goals

Writing very nearly got in the way of my personal life today. My husband and I are celebrating our 41st wedding anniversary. And, while I did think far enough ahead to get a gift and a card, I hadn’t wrapped them yet.

He walked into my office a few minutes ago with a beautifully wrapped present and a wonderful card. I, on the other hand, gave him his present in the bag it came in. I feel badly about it, but he assured me that it was alright.  It has been, after all, 41 years!   Several moments later  he said, “Don’t you need to get back to your book?”   Understanding man!  However, the clatter of the keyboard in my office forced him to the guest room to take a nap!

So, now it’s back to the grind. I’m trying to come up with a reasonable number of words as a goal-per-day. Haven’t quite figured out what that is yet, but I will make it an attainable goal. Stayed tuned for updates on that one!

One more word from this one-book author: I can’t say enough good things about Amazon/Kindle’s publishing help desk! They’ve answered every question I’ve had so far, and some of them were just ignorant! Kudos to helpful people who answer their email politely and in a timely fashion! I’m impressed.

Back to the keyboard! More tomorrow.

Leave a comment

Filed under Marginally Personal

Back to Writing

The last two days have been spent doing the “business” of writing. The release of “Palo Duro Panic” on Kindle was really exciting for me – until I found a serious error and had to re-upload it. Which put me back in the review/publishing loop…on which I’m still waiting!

Not to worry! The original release (including error) is online to purchase; the new-improved version will be available within about 36 hours. Same price, better read!

I’ve been on Facebook forever, I think, but now I’m on Twitter and I have this wonderful blog site on WordPress. By the way, kudos to WordPress for making this so easy.

So, the business of business aside, there are about fifteen new ideas rattling around my brain, and I need to get them into the computer’s memory quickly. Its memory is SO much more reliable than mine.

One of the new books is a “pre-quel”, in a way, to “Palo Duro Panic.” It’s the story of Moochie Mockingbird as a very young bird, and how he got his name.

So, it’s back to “work” for me! If there happen to be any children’s book authors out there who have word of wisdom for a new writer, please leave me a comment. I read them all and I’m willing to learn!

Leave a comment

Filed under The Business of Writing