Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Critique My Blog

It's a Blogfest!
Teralyn at A Writer's Journey is conducting a bloghop on February 1st, Critique My Blog BlogFest. Here is your chance to improve your site.

Crit Spirit Called in the comments starting Feb 1st.

To Get Critiqued:

1. Include your name in the linky list below.

2. On February 1, post your request for critiques. The critiques can come from anyone, even people not involved in the blogfest.

3. If you want, specify what kind of critique you’re looking for.

4. Specify where you want to receive the critiques: in the comments where everyone can see them, or in your email where it’s more private.

5. You can delete comments after you’ve read them, or keep them up.

To Critique Others:

1. Click on a blog from the linky list and read what the writer wants you to critique.

2. You can make comments on:

a. Appearance: Does it appeal to you? Is it too busy, or too plain?

b. Layout: Is it difficult to navigate? Is it cluttered, or sparse?

c. Frequency: Does the blogger post too often? Not often enough?

d. Content: Are the posts interesting? Unique? Are they focused, or all over the place?

e. Quality: Are the individual posts too long, too short, too sloppy, or too generic?

3. Be sure to check if the blogger wants you to post the critique in the comments or send an email.

This starts tomorrow so spiff up that blog, gird your loins, er, um...well you get the idea.


Friday, January 27, 2012


Blog Masters, Angela Goff, Angie Richmond, and Daniel Swensen, and Lillie McFerrin are celebrating their blog followers and writing cohorts with a great BlogHop.

Here's the deal:

Write a piece of flash fiction, poem, or song (300 words or less) using the photo above as your inspiration. Post it on your blog any time between now and when the linky closes. Every eligible entry will qualify for a chance to win one of the prizes listed below. The linky will be open from January 23 through January 30.

Angie, Angela, Daniel and Lillie will read, debate, and decide on five winners for the following:

  • 1st: Fifty page critique by Lillie McFerrin
  • 2nd: Twenty-Five page critique by Angie Richmond
  • 3rd: Fifteen page critique by Angela Goff
  • 4th: Ten page critique by Daniel Swensen
  • 5th: A copy of Steven King’s On Writing

Go Here to see the other contestants.
(I gave up on the linky thing)

My entry:

Guardian Angel

From the very Beginning, The Guardian Angel had adored her Charge. She had stood by her Lady through all life’s joys and hurts. Protecting her from danger.

For the Angel was with her.

But now life had become a slow painful dance. The unseen Guardian Angel stood by the white bed with the family.


She held out her hand once more to save her Charge.

A Presence stopped her. She looked up into His Face and the somber Eyes.

Wait, no. NO...NO!

Sorrow overtook her. She sunk to the ground, falling away from Him.

"Do not grieve,” a deep Voice said. “Your labor of love has not ended but has shifted to a new horizon."

As He spoke, His loving Touch eased the razor-sharp wound in her heart.

Then, a soft cry. The sound of her dear lady, confused and questing for something familiar.

"You must help her,” He said. “You must guide her. For she has a home prepared. As it is for all who come to Me."

The Charge’s gaze captured hers. Both sighed and relaxed, as if joined by an anchoring lifeline. The Guardian Angel stood and held out her hand. Her Charge paused then took the outstretched fingers and allowed the Guardian Angel to pull her away.

Away from the machines and monitors. Away from the hospital bed and earthly life.

Once, her Charge stopped, resisting her pull. Together they looked back at the family weeping in the antiseptic room. Her dear Lady’s loved ones each with their own unseen Angel that hovered and soothed away the bitter pain.

Her Charge hesitated, bit her lip, and then turned. Bittersweet pain caused their clasped hands to tighten. A sigh and then both passed into the Light.

To be with Him.     


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction

Lillie McFerrin has a new follower. Me.
She runs an informative blog with a fun contest consisting of writing flash fiction based on one word. Today that word is 'clandestine'.

Here is my FSF post:

It inched closer, unnoticed, belly to the ground. Then froze, trembling when Master lifted the searing hot metal poker. But the barbed tip went back into the fire. At a slow crawl, it neared the cylindrical morsels.  One Olympic leap nailed the hot dog and black Labrador fled grinning a doggy smile.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My Book Cover

I admit it. If name recognition isn’t a factor—Kevin Hearne, Patrick Rothfuss, Jim Butcher, Patricia Briggs—then a great book cover is what snags my interest.

The title clues me to its content. A solid color (no hairy chests and derring-do men please) with a simple image stops my eyes from roving.

Finding that image for my book was difficult. Like crazy, wild-woman-type nuts. I photo shopped. Took pics of my own. Even had my bemused daughter take a photo of my hand once. Didn’t work well. Not at all.

Then Heaven came down and Glory filled my soul.

I found the stop-me-in-my-tracks and slap-me-upside-the-head photo.

While cruising the blogosphere, I ran across The Book Cover on Jenn’s blog, Into the Wild Blue Yonder.

Her photos exude life and show a place from a dream world. She has the ability that I cannot imitate, that nebulous talent that *sees* what is unseen, an image that translates into a story.

Thank you, Jenn, for this photo and my book cover.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

No Longer Amorphous

8 lbs and 7 OMG oz is anything but amorphous.

Taking a break from writing while caring for my new grandson.

Monday, January 16, 2012

This Man, Today

Martin Luther King

He lived and died in a time of upheaval. The Vietnam War, Kent State, and baby boomers.

Mr. King stood tall in the face of real discrimination not the watered-down version we have today. And though like all mortals, he had human failings, Mr. King rose to become a hero. He walked a different path, a harder path than most of us would have the courage to tread.

Honor this man today and every day.

Martin Luther King

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Hammer Drill in a Writer’s Toolbox

I partner with Charity at our critique group, UnicornBell. The blog is for writers looking to improve their trade.

One post sticks in my mind, A Writer's Toolbox.

Conflict is my hammer drill in the world of prose. A hammer drill is like a piston that twists with every beat as it pounds into the wall.

Conflict is like that.

Every page of your MS requires tension whether subtle or the whiz-bang kind. All need that twist at the end of the stroke as well.

Look for examples of conflict around you. For me, it is analyzing TV shows.

I like enjoy worship Justified, about Kentucky US marshal Raylan Givens. The cinematic artistry is jaw dropping great. There are no blatant caricatures. I’ve worked with people like the ones portrayed on this program. Shoot, I’ve even guarded them.

The screenwriters sprinkle conflict throughout this hour-long show.

One episode begins with Raylan appearing at a murder site, the house where his surrogate mother has died. The scene when had learned of her death isn’t shown. The writers left that up to the viewer’s imagination.

He walks slowly up the sidewalk his mouth hard. But other than the set look of his face, doesn’t display much emotion. The first glimpse of his inner turmoil comes when Raylan confronts the law officer in charge who obviously thinks he will go off. Visibly, Raylan stops himself from making a scene with the officer and instead asks about his father. He learns that his dad is upstairs picking out a funeral dress.

At the end of this episode, Raylan is pointing a gun at the killer and for the first time displays grief at the loss of the one who raised him. His voice breaks. He swallows and turns away. Curses. Memories stop Raylan from killing the murderer.

Tension floods these scenes. Little twists hit this viewer like a hammer drill.

Okay. Long post. Let me summarize:

Is there a TV show, movie, or book that you can analyze? Examples please.

Btw, the third season of Justified begins this Tuesday, January 17th.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Psychology of a Writer

Once upon a time, I was normal. Life was routine, a line of dominoes falling one by one.

Then I chose writing as a career and my definition of normal changed.


In the process of cleaning our chimney, I was standing on the wood stove and had my arm up the vent. And I was stuck. I mean, my sleeve was caught on the bricks and I was dancing with the stove pipe.

First thought? Wow, this would be a great scene for a book.

Second Example:

The hubby smashed the ever loving sh** out of his finger using what we’ve nicknamed BFH--Big Fu**ing Hammer.

While driving to the ER, I ignored my beloved's moans and wondered how I could portray this in a WIP.

Question: How widespread is this malady? Are others ignoring peril (got my arm out with a few scratches and much cursing) and whimpering spouses (10K hospital bill) to formulate their next book?

I need examples please so I don't feel so alone.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Reviews, Authors, and Amazon

Natalie M. Lakosil at Bradford Literary agency posted about bad book reviews and thin-skinned authors. It is becoming common for self-published authors to react, um, poorly when faced with honest reviews. In this case, the author resorted to public name-calling. Postal anyone?

Another trend is developing on Amazon. People with an agenda use the book review section as a soapbox to push their agenda. Rather than an honest review from a person who has read the book, they spout hatred of the author, the theme of the novel, or life in general. This defeats the purpose.

Sadly, this trend is creeping into GoodReads as well.


Twilight by Stephenie Meyer: “The movie was a total waste. What a joke!”

Um, yeah. But how was the book?

Killing Lincoln by Bill O’Reilly: “O’Reilly is a jerk with a god-complex.”

Um, okay. But what about the book?

American Sniper by Chris Kyle. “This guy is a racist thug hunting poor people in other countries and is now training others to do the same in this country.”

Some of the comments on Mr. Kyle’s page are filthy beyond belief.

Rules for a book review:

  1. Read the book.
  2. Give an honest review.

How difficult is that? For the people who prefer slinging excrement, it seems there are no rules.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Because it's Friday


This is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you need to shut up.

Five Minutes
If she is getting dressed, this means half an hour. Five minutes is only five minutes if you are watching the game and been told to help around the house.

This is the calm before the storm. This means something. Not ‘nothing’ and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with nothing usually end in Fine.

Go Ahead
This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!

Loud Sigh
This is actually a word, a non-verbal statement often misunderstood by men. Loud Sigh means you are an idiot and she is wondering why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you about nothing. (Refer back to Nothing.) 

That's Okay
This is one of the most dangerous statements known to mankind. That's okay means the shovel is already in her hand. She is deciding where to hide the body.

If a woman thanks you, do not question, or faint. Just say, “You're welcome”.

Unless she adds, Thanks a lot - that is PURE sarcasm and she is not thanking you at all. Tread carefully and for heaven sake, do not say, “You're welcome”. That will bring on a Whatever.

Is a woman's way of saying F*** YOU.

Don't worry. I got it.
Another dangerous statement, meaning this is something that a woman has told a man to do several times, but is now doing it herself. This will later result in a man asking 'What's wrong?' For the woman's response, refer to Nothing.

Variations include Get Out of My Way and The Ketchup’s Right In Front of You.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Politics and Bread

I like to know what I am getting into when I buy a product.

Bread, for instance.

The wrapper says split top wheat. It is soft, tasty but what about its true nature, the ingredients that give it a pleasing appearance.

A closer look, an informed look tells me this, it is not ‘whole’ wheat but lists enriched bleached flour as its first ingredient. Other *stuff* include sodium stearoyl lactylate, calcium phosphate/sulfate, ammonium sulfate and/or calcium carbonate—

Well. You get the idea. My reaction is a subtle WTF.

So I make my own bread using simple ingredients like white whole wheat flour, salt, yeast, honey, and milk. It doesn’t keep forever but the smell and taste are like a warm blanket on my senses.

Politics hit me the same way.

First off, a writing blog is not the place to expound a political view. My opinion.

I hope that my followers have no idea where I stand. But let me say, my views would appall both Democrats and the GOP.

Independent? Eh, maybe.

In this year of major political upheaval, I hope all look past the pleasing appearance and dig into what makes each participant tick. Their ingredients. Make an informed decision.

Don’t be the clueless person who listens to others. Research these political animals as you would for your WIP. 

And do some careful listening.

Skip the sound bites and the Mussolini posturing.

Check out their ingredients.

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