The Peaks and Valleys of Writing

Every profession has its peaks and valleys – those crunch times when a person wonders just what the heck s/he was thinking when s/he started down that path. CPAs must shout “Free at last! I’m free!” as the office closes on Tax Day. Teachers certainly find their happiness once they turn in their keys for the short weeks of summer. Actors party wildly after the set is struck. And so on. Not all professions have such dramatic highs and lows, but they all have some sort combination of stressful time and not-so-stressful time.

Writing, of course, is not exempt of the stresses. Continue reading

Do You Feel Lucky?

Bonus post!!! ¬†Who doesn’t like an internet meme? In the land of blogs and Twitter, a meme taking the cyber-world by storm is a fun version of “Tag!” although I think it is better to shout “Winner! Winner! Chicken Dinner!” myself.

Anyhoo, my dear friend and the kick-ass writer, Bill Cameron,* tagged me in The Lucky 7 Game which is the writer’s version of playing tag. And just like the game of tag you played as a whipper-snapper where you ran all about getting breathless and having a grand old time, I giggled to see I’d been tagged. And then, my critique partner, Jen Stayrook, tagged me too! Holy schnickies, I had better go buy a lottery ticket because I am feeling lucky, very lucky indeed.

*I love Bill’s latest book in a major fan-girl way and not just because he uses my name in it. I cannot wait until it’s published. ūüôā

The rules are simple:

If you’re tagged, you have to do the following:

  1. Go to page 7 or 77 in your current manuscript
  2. Go to line 7
  3. Copy down the next seven lines/sentences as they are ‚Äď no cheating
  4. Tag 7 other authors

So, for the first ever time, I’m sharing with the whole freaking world (or at least the minuscule part of it reading this here blog) my WIP (work in progress). It is in its third draft which is to say it is much improved from its first draft and miles to go until it is ready for the whole freaking world to read the whole freaking thing. (I’m on my third cup of coffee, why do you ask?)

My novel,¬†Bent Not Broken, is a historical young adult novel with three protagonists. Since I was tagged twice, I’m doing both options in step one – here are excerpts from page 7 and page 77.

On page 7, Anna is talking.

“When she sits back down beside me, I notice how tired and old she looks. A daily cocktail of booze, cigarettes, and pills has a way of wearing a body down faster than out. It’s a long and slow way of killing one’s self.

Excusing myself, I head into the bathroom. The fluorescent bulbs flicker and dance in the mirror. I run my tongue over my teeth and squint at my reflection. Nothing’s broken, only a bit loose and swollen. I’ll live.”

And on page 77, Vera says,

“He puts down the pencil. His slim arms raise and he caresses the broken keyboard like a lover. The piano was surely beautiful once, but now its keys look like the mouth of an apple-faced woman begging from a doorway. It sits there, legless. Its wood is scarred and battered. A broken shadow of itself, the piano balances on wooden boxes that once crated machine parts and vegetables. It too begs for our attention.”

¬†Well, there ¬†ya go. Now to the less painful part of the process, sharing with you seven writers I think you should read more of…

Oh crumb-bum. How to choose, how to choose…. Oh I know, I’ll pick the last seven books/WIPs/short stories or blogs I’ve read.

Rae Carson

Damien Walters Grintalis

Ilsa Bick

Myra McEntire (Bill also tagged Myra – give us a second quote please Myra, please.)

Sarah Ockler

Jen Stayrook¬†(Also been tagged, give us page 77 of “Spring of Innocents” pretty please!)

Everett Maroon

Whew. How much fun is this? Well, for a writer who wants everybody to read, read, and read some more, LOTS.

Seriously, this is a fun way to get people reading more stuff that might not typically find it’s way on your proverbial book shelves. And also, a fun reason to get lucky. *wink*

Birds of a Feather…

Bill's newest book and his famous bacon jam!

Last night I made the trip to Portland’s own Murder By the Book to celebrate the release of Bill Cameron’s fourth book, County Line. ¬†It was a win-win kind of night…I supported a local indi book store, heard Bill read a bit of the new book and listened to him play his ukelele. ¬†Perhaps one of the best parts was reading how he signed my copy: ¬†“To Quickie! ¬†Such a delight to become friends with you!” And it is delightful. ¬†Delightful to have found another person in this world to add to my list of “people I know and care about”. ¬†How about you? ¬†How long is your list? ¬†Because most folks in this world have a list of those who matter, connected by blood or that even thicker connection I like to think of as the “feathers of my heart.”

Everybody I know has something that partially defines them and through which many of their friendships arise. ¬†Perhaps they play as sport or a musical instrument or board games. ¬†It doesn’t matter what the activity is, just that there are activities. ¬†I believe it is through the doing of life that we find the living of life. ¬†And those who live it amongst us are often the folks who become members of our “found” family. ¬†Birds of a feather and all that.

Continue reading

Curses, or Foiled Again

Turns out today is a good one to invoke curses of one form or another. ¬†This is due to many things, the least of which is sleep deprivation at the hands of the very talented¬†Bill Cameron. ¬†Or more correctly, his novel “Chasing¬†Smoke” which kept me awake until nearly 3 am. ¬†If you are a mystery buff, then hie your hiney down to your local indie bookstore and buy his books!

Considering the level of sleep deprivation and lack of coffee bean action happening in my morning, it is no wonder that waiting in the “drop-off” line at the elementary school was frustrating enough to lead me to curse a few folks. ¬†Namely the ones who leave their cars parked up and down the entire length of the no-parking zone, or the ones who check their email/voicemail/Facebook/Twitter/stocks/or Santa-tracker after dropping off their child. ¬†Is it really too much to ask those fine folks to mosey on out of my way? ¬†Ya, I didn’t think so.

So if you happened to be in my way this morning and find you now have a mean case of infected arm-pit hair follicles, you probably have a good idea who cursed you.

How about you? ¬†What’s your favorite curse? ¬†Feel free to share it in the comments, but don’t actually curse anybody with it, okay? ¬†And if you have more self-control than me and haven’t ever actually cursed someone, feel free to just say, “Oh curses, foiled again!” in your best villainy, Snidely Whiplash, ¬†voice.