Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Up and Away

To conference we go. Can't wait to see some of the friends I only get to see occasionally, meet new writers and immerse myself in writing/publishing stuff for a few days. Always jump starts the muse after I do this. If I get some pics, I'll share, but possibly not until I get back. The good thing about this is the conference a just 30 min. away and the hotel is nice. Get to hear Rebecca York on Urban Fantasy, CJ Lyons on suspense, a session on world building, not to mention my first autograph party with my own titles. Too fun.

Will be back Sunday, exhausted.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Why go to writer's conferences?

I've known many people who go to writer's conferences to be around writers. But why do writers spend good money and precious time to go to a conference and listen to other writers? Because writers want to know what others are doing. Writer's want to find the magic formula for writing that best seller. They want to be "discovered." Everyone wants to meet that agent that will think their work is wonderful and get them that six figure advance.

Are there reasons to spend money on a writing conference? Sure.

A completed manuscript to pitch to editors and agents
A completed proposal to pitch to editors and agents
The knowledge that you still have things to learn
A strong desire to foster relationships and networks with other writing professionals.
Full immersion in the writing scene with others who understand what you do.
Inspiration and renewal of enthusiasm.

If you live in Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Writer's Federation Inc. has a writer's conference May 2nd and 3rd at the Reed Conference Center in Midwest City. Rebecca York, JA Jance, Marcia Preston and CJ Lyons will all be there. Come on down, or up, as the case may be.
Register at

Monday, April 28, 2008


Sorry, can't help it. Have to follow like a Lemming and comment on the Vanity Fair pics of Miley Cyrus.
Show me any teenager who would not jump at the chance to be photographed, immortalized and made to look glamorous by Annie Liebowitcz. Show me any woman who wouldn't.
So, leave the kid alone about it. Disney, back off. No one has corrupted your little girl. Being a sexy teen certainly didn't hurt Brook Shields.
And it is show business. She has to do things to move the career forward.

You're right, this has nothing to do with writing other than you have to do those things that move your career forward. For a writer, instead of the right pics in the right place, it's the button principle, or putting your butt-on the right thing (chair) and writing. Producing words will push your career forward. If you don't write, you will not have a career as a writer. A writer writes. Fact of life.

Write on, guys, every day. Don't forget OWFI conference this weekend with JA Jance, Rebecca York, Marcia Preston, Meredith Bernstein, CJ Lyons etc. Reed Center, Midwest City, Friday and Saturday, May 2 & 3.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Coming Alive

How do some characters enter your writing life almost fully formed and ready to take over what you're writing? In the Party to Murder series, Mumsie and her spirit guides almost took over the first book, "Privy to Murder,"over-shadowing Tali, but it really was Tali's series. I even considered changing it to Mumsie's series, but it just didn't work. I have a feeling that Lyn Peacock is going to be difficult to hold back in "Bloody Murder." It helps that the story is in first person so Tali's voice comes through.

In "Fairy Dust," Ande will have to stay really strong not to let Sierya the elf take over. At the same time, it's so much fun when characters take on lives of their own because they can write the story for you, almost. Of course they can also lead you down the wrong path until you find yourself stuck under Mab's hill, a fairy prisoner, but enough of that nonsense. One of the most pleasurable things about writing is when your world becomes that real.

Many writer's create elaborate character sheets with everything about that person figured out. I do better when that character tells me what they want me to know, shares secrets, instead of my figuring it out ahead of time. What works for everyone else?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Randomness-is that a word?

I'm already tired of the election process and it hasn't even begun yet. Talk about over-exposure and pettiness.

Spring is here and I love it, but not the storms forecast for tonight, However, since it is Art Fest, it does mean rain.

As much as I love conference, I will be so glad when it's over. Lazy person that I am, I much prefer going with no responsibility for anything but myself.

I want to get back to writing so much and conference has totally interfered. Just not disciplined enough I guess. I blame it on conference, Lori being in hospital, full time job-never laziness.

And I can't wait to finish Bloody Murder and start to plot Fairy Dust the Novel. Maybe sneak in a nocturne bites in the mean time.

Monday, April 21, 2008


Spring has sprung in OKC, complete with Art Fest (no rain, can you believe it?) Saturday was actually beautiful and NO WIND. Unbelievable. I spent most the Saturday working outside on my laptop. Not on fiction but on conference stuff. But that will be over in a couple of weeks.

I put the lawn furniture outside and can't wait to spend some more time out there.

Birds ran around, mating ritual's all over the place, nesting, the mockingbird scolded the cat, the squirrel scolded the cat. I heard a wren but he hid from me. I saw a small monarch butterfly. Lovely day

Friday, April 18, 2008

Vent Warning

Doctors should warn patients who are bi-polar that steroids will make their bi-polar symptoms worse.

Doctors should never give patients with major psoriasis, systemic steroids, because it makes the psoriasis worse, turns dime size lesions into lesions the size of quarters and dollars that burn all the time. Plus, IT MAKES THE BIPOLAR SYMPTOMS WORSE.

Why wouldn't a consult be called if you are in the hospital for the exacerbation of bi-polar symptoms. You have psoriasis from hell all over your body and all they do is have a GP look at you who has no clue and orders steroids and won't DC them-golly, could a dermatologist not have looked just once.

Now the patient has to go on systemic medication for months to treat the flare-up. Yikes and yikes.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


How do you start a book. Like anything else. The five W's. Who, what, when, where and most important why? If it's a mystery, how can also be important.

Know who your main character is.

What she wants

Why she can't have it.

Who is getting in her way

How she can overcome that and get what she wants.

I'm using she because I am, works for either one.

Now, what's the tone. I like Urban Fantasy that doesn't take it's self so seriously. Dresden meets Sookie Stackhouse. I like ironic, humor, sarcasm along with my blood and gore, demonic bad guys. The bad guy doesn't have to have a sense of humor but it can add to the story.

Conflict: You know there will be a bad person in conflict with the main character, or nature will be against her, or society. For greater depth, you also want to see the main character at war with him or herself.

Tali Cates is up against a killer who wants to harm her and her family.

But, she is also at war with herself, trying not to use her paranormal gifts and knowing she must in order to save her family. Both conflict must be dealt with by the end.

As far as plotting, I'm not seat-of-the-pants. I need at least a chapter outline of one or two sentences per chapter. I kind of figure out how long the book will by and then, ballpark length I usually make chapters then I know how many chapters I might end up with. If you're a genre writer like me, the genre often dictates total work count. Look at guidelines for the kind of book you want to write, aim for that word count.

I use plot points with the initial incident, then a quarter of the way through, another incident that changes the direction of the story, a mid point incident that turns things on their ear, things continue to become darker and darker until it can't get worse, then it does and you have the darkest before the dawn climax and then resolution. (I use post-its on a board (one per chapter) to figure things out and then a spreadsheet.) Since I have a mystery involved, I have to know who the killer is, why and how they did what they did and how they get caught so I can distribute the appropriate clues and foreshadowing.

It's good to have an ending which satisfies the reader. Mostly, romances like happy endings. Horror let's you get away with killing the hero-"I am Legend" or main characters "The Mist." Other genres may not. Know your genre. Urban Fantasy-keep the main character alive but some of his friends can die.

If you write a series, devise a way that works for you to keep characters, names, eye color etc. the same throughout the books. Binders, notebooks, whatever. More on novel writing later.

Monday, April 14, 2008


Rinda's post got me thinking about cultures and how everything Celtic has been a part of my life since I was a kid. I think I lived other lives that took place in Ireland, Scotland, Wales. Celtic music, especially in Gaelic, speaks to me. It has since I was small. I was also brainwashed by movies like "How Green was my Valley," "Darby O'Gill and the Little People," "The Quiet Man.

I've written three different types of books and yet a main character in each has had red hair (shades of Maureen O'Hara.) The idea of fairies, magic, leprechauns, banshees fascinates me. I've always wanted them to be real enough for me to actually meet or see. Not just the legends, but the county itself, the landscape, people make you believe anything is possible there.

That's what I want to have in my books, the feeling that all things are possible, believable and could happen, good or bad. Even when bad things happen, it's not so much what happened as how you dealt with it. My characters won't always have only good things happen, but I hope they handle them with courage and grace.

Friday, April 11, 2008


I'm wanting to do a book length version of Fairy Dust. But, I'm pondering the markets. I'm not totally dedicated to writing Urban Fantasy with lots of sexy scenes. I love dark, humerous and dangerous. I don't have to have every relationship end happily. Death and change are a part of life. Expicit sex for the sake of, isn't always my first choice. The plus for fairy dust is the main character not being a vamp or were or witch.

I'm wondering about YA fantasy as a market. Have to do more research. Dark and angst works. Add in teen hormones, conflicts with Mom, feeling abandoned by fairy Dad and the effect on your social life that unplanned levitation could have, it could be fun. Not to mention conflicts with ghouls, trolls etc. Just a random thought since Bloody Murder isn't done and I have to do the nose to the grindstone kind of writing to get it finished before I can think too hard about Ande and her problems.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

News and news

My friend, Sara Saint John's newest book is out and it looks killer, literally. Think Bogart meets Jack the Ripper in Fantasy Land. Dark, romantic and dangerous. I love this kind of book.

Rinda Elliott has an agent and I know will be signing a multiple book contract soon because I've read it and it's great, another epic full of gods, goddesses, demons, a witch and other creatures. Edgy, creepy but with a sense of humor.

Rachel Vincent has signed with Mira for a YA fantasy series featuring a teen-aged banshee. How fun is that, with a bit of a bizarre edge.

Good things are happening all over the writing community in Oklahoma City. These are just a few. So, if you are just beginning your writing career, don't give up, these ladies didn't and look what happened to them. My sequel to Privy to Murder will be out in the fall. See you all at conference I hope.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Urban Fantasy-Paranormal.

OK. Today I'm asking questions. Why do we read paranormal fantasy, urban fantasy, vampire books, were wolves, magic, witches and etc? Why was Buffy so popular, Moonlight, Medium? Why Dexter?

Are we looking for humor, blood and gore, kick-ass heroines, strong heroes with an excuse for not being sensitive? Do we want the romance (Dresden has limited love scenes but lots of sexual tension?)Are we looking for vicarious ways to experience super powers like in Heroes or Smallville? Do we want to know you can have magic and still maintain a family life like in Medium.

For me, I think I have always wanted magic and fairies to be real and to be able to perform the magic myself. Plus, being the strong heroine, defeating the deamons, ghouls and trolls would be so cool.

Plus it's unpredictable. I think that's what I like with the added ability of the characters to have a sense of humor in dark moments. Do I want real encounters with monsters? Of course not, I'm not nuts. The first time I tried to go head to head with an evil fairy-I'd be dead. But as an escape it works. I've always been one to figure out plots, but with fantasy, the rules change and you can be surprised.

Now, if anyone is interested, post a comment and everyone who posts will be put into a drawing for a small fantasy collage. You have until April 15th. That way you have something to look forward to besides taxes this month.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Good Day

Well, the carpets are clean. Such a good feeling. Of course the cats, who under any other circumstances will fight to get into the garage, decided yesterday that the boogie man lived in the garage and wanted no part of it. The fact that the food and litter box were out there made it worse. It meant I actually wanted them out there and you know what that tells a cat. What ever we want, they don't. Had to chase them all over. Poppy only just now forgave me. She refused to come back in for a while.

Taxes are done, much less traumatic than I feared. I DON'T OWE ANYTHING. That's all I wanted. I don't ask for refunds, just for breaking even.

The handy-man rescheduled, so maybe I can get an estimate tomorrow.

I went to a Starbucks and sat outside to write. Lovely day, got words done. It's a Martha Stewart Good Thing. Now to visit Lori, finish laundry, make bed, all the usual day to day suspects. Now just when do I get that maid and mansion?

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Busy Day

Today the carpet cleaners are here, the handy man is supposed to come. Tomorrow, the tax man commeth, or rather, I go to see the tax man. As you can see I'm pro-active as usual, a full week before the deadline. What can I say. I hate paying taxes. I hope the handy guy can fix the garage door opener, sliding glass door, front door, bedroom light and living room wall and not charge the price of a new house.

Next, time to write and do certificates (around 200) and finish the winner's booklet and power point, meet all deadlines and start plotting Fairy Dust:the novel. Gosh my life is dull and boring with nothing to do.

Oh, and I started the new Dresden book, starts with a bang. I need to remember to make the fight scene with the ghoul the first scene in FD because I can introduce both Cal and Ande with a bang and bring in Sierye and the pixie later. I need to sit down and plot a little more for BM because I'm in danger of a sagging middle, not me, the story. Oh all right, I have a sagging middle but it's the story I need to work on. Keep the action up, expand the characters even more. Show some internal conflict.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

If you go out in the woods today . . .

My only exciting news is that I'm at the half-way mark with Bloody Murder and conference will be over in a month so everything will go faster(it says in fine print somewhere.)

Foggy weather with storms forcast but the weekend looks good. Not for writing but for conference stuff and will spend some time out of doors just to enjoy birds. Might even grill and bring out the patio table.

I woke up too early this morning so I'll be a bear by this afternoon. Honestly, if I don't get sleep I'm like a bear that woke up too early from hibernation, too gouchy to be safe around humans, which my very human co-workers appreciate so much(not.)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


It's spring? It's 32 degrees out. Spring in Oklahoma goes in and out, 70 one day and 50 the next. From coats to jackets to nothing. You never know from minute to minute. I want warm but not hot. Sunshine without rain. Flowers, I'm ready for flowers.

I'm not ready for taxes and I'd better be. I will probably owe. I have too much to do, too little time in which to do it. Would I like a little cheese with that whine? Yes please, along with some wine and R&R(not happening BTW.)

As far as writing, life is interfering so it's a little more sporadic than I'd like. I'm almost half-way done with Bloody Murder, so this is a good thing. My friend is waiting to see what happens with her book as her agent is busy sending it to several houses. I can't wait for the results. So, back to work, concentrate on business, Carol. Stop looking outside, it's cloudy anyway.

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