Saturday, September 27, 2008

Boxed In

When I moved into my new house, I put my silverware in the wrong drawer. I know it didn't really matter, but I kept reaching for a drawer on the other side when I wanted a spoon. I finally moved stuff. It's funny but I think when grow up, we continue to do things the way we did them as a child, the way our mothers did. We've always done it that way.

Then a second person comes into our lives and tries to show us the way they always did it, because that's how their mother or dad folded the towels, put the paper on the bathroom roll, mowed the lawn. Unless, of course, we hated the way our parent did things, then we totally rebel. Sometime, along the way we find a brand new way, it becomes ours and we pass it along.

Writing may be the same way. We stay in our comfort zone, writing what we always write. We're comfortable that way, but is our career going where we want? When we read, are we reading only the writers we always snap up, or do we try new authors, who may have new takes on a genre? Taking risks, submitting to print publishers and agents when epubs like the work you do, trying a new genre or stretching the one you write now. I think we need to write what we enjoy, but if we are no longer happy with what's happening then it's time to stretch, find the new way, step out of that comfortable box.

Have you stepped out of your box lately, stretched and reached for something new?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Counting Down

I'm counting down. The release date for "Bloody Murder" is only 12 days away. I'm excited and scared. What if it doesn't sell, nobody out there buys it? Sometimes writing a book is more fun than seeing it get out there and sit, waiting on the shelf to be asked to the dance.

Are my characters engaging enough, are the mystery elements compelling? Is the suspense suspenseful? Too late. It's done. Go on to the next, but enjoy it anyway. I have hopes for Bloody Murder, as every author does for their babies. And she's dressed just right, she should be noticed with that dress(book cover) on.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Is anyone truly fearless. You may be fearless when it comes to yourself but fear for your children, family, career or the serial killer down the street.

I've always loved scary books and movies, lots of suspense, scary situations, murderers, natural disasters, ghosts, goblins and witches. But, I want a plot with everything tied up at the end, including the bad guy. I do understand the need to keep the villain alive for the next book in the series, but make him suffer in the mean time. Multiple killings for the sake of killing and finding exotic ways to do it, not so much of a thrill. How many time can you watch the couple making love get skewered in the middle of the act? Can we say overdone?

I like writing scary, still working on building tension and suspense. Personally, my fear would be anything happening to my kids. Also, drowning is a big one, I get short of breath watching movies where the monster is chasing someone under the water and they can't get up to get air. That's hard to watch.

What scares you?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Let's Be Real

Gas, housing, gas, the stock market, loan entities, war, starvation! Plus security issues everywhere.

Why do you think I read and write fiction? I'd rather deal with the impossible like were wolves and vampires and murders that actually get solved. Good guys that win. Lovers that get back together. I want that perfect world with all the tied up ends. I don't want to know that good guys really aren't. I want happy endings, or at least hopeful ones.

Reality has always been the reason I read fiction. Not that my reality has ever been bad, I've been so blessed, no trauma, a happy childhood, no serious illnesses, injuries, disastrous love affairs. My marriage was good. Family not any more dysfunctional than most. Leaves me very little material for writing about so I had to resort to fantasy.

In my own created world, the worst I have to worry about are demons who get defeated, vampires and were wolves who are either good or dead, angsty(I know, not proper grammer) teen-age fairies, wizards who may or may not be evil. So, all in all, reality is highly over-rated because reality bites.

When I ponder the choices for writers, what genre is best, most publishable, should I be writing sweet romance (now there's a fantasy world), literary fiction, erotica, I know that what I write is what I'm happy writing, whatever the market pundits advise. Writing is one of my arts and I refuse to turn it into drudgery, even for money. That's why I stopped writing medical nonfiction for the moment. Burn-out. Had to write what I loved.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Storm

No, not the kind with thunder and lightening, at least, not that anyone else sees. I met with my CP and we brainstormed about plotting for FDChronicles-Wizard on Fairy Dust characters and world, but Ande is younger, I had to change settings some. Came up with some good ideas and then this morning the rest fell into place about structuring so it could work.

We'll see. Somehow I have to keep Buffy from sneaking on campus and messing things up. I'll be glad when I can get the plotting together and start writing.

Also, I FINISHED UNPACKING THE GARAGE, finally I'm here to stay. Feels very good to be finished with that part. Now, it's those pesky decorating ideas that keep sneaking in on me, pulling me to do things, buy them or make them. I want to write, work and do all the extra stuff too. What calls you away from writing, besides food and family, since they are always there?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sounding Off

First, I got some strange comments yesterday, must be spam and I must put up better security. Weird. The obvious advertisements won't be up for drawings.

Now to sound. I read an interesting blog and decided to bring the discussion here too. When you are writing, what do you listen to, I mean besides the washing machine, kids, pets etc? Do you listen to music? Is it heavy metal or rock or county or classical.

I have a problem with music unless it's really generic because I want to bounce around, sing-along, dance and generally do anything but write. Can't do it. I have friends with eclectic tastes who listen to everything from soothing to alternative.

So, what's your music story? Come on, we won't tell.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


My kids made it back to Houston. They will need a new roof but have electricity. Water is contaminated so must be boiled in order to use. Don't know how much damage there was to their belongings in the house yet but at least they're safe and the house is standing.

I'm trying to get galley proofs finished and off to the editor for Bloody Murder. Then I'll finish Museums are Murder and send it off. Hope to start a fast draft for FD-Wizard by October 1. Glad to see fall, one of my favorite seasons.

Miss living in the country, picking up pecans, smelling the burning leaves, watching the beginnings of football practice. The local school's football field was literally in my back yard and you could watch the Friday night games from our back deck, except the scoreboard had it's back to you. Didn't really matter, we frequently lost but we had fun.

What do you like about fall? Does it inspire you to write? Don't forget, people who comment go into the pool for a book to be drawn. And, since I never heard from Tigger9, I'll be drawing for two books at the end of September, Bloody Murder and one TBA.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Funnies

Every year, English teachers from across the USA can submit their collections of actual analogies and metaphors found in high school essays. These excerpts are published each year to the amusement of teachers across the country. Here are last year's winners:

Cracked me up, like an egg falling off a building and cracking up all over the sidewalk, if the building had a sidewalk.

1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.
2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.
3. He spoke with wisdom that only comes from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.
4. She grew on him like she was a colony of e. coli, and he was room temperature Canadian beef.
5. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.
6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.
7. He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.
8. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM machine.
9. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.
10. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.
11. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30
12. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.
13. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.
14. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.
15. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth.
16. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.
17. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant, and she was the East River.
18. Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.
19. Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.
20. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work. 21. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.
22. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.
23. The ballerina rose gracefully en Pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.
24. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.
25. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Evacution on a sunny day.

My daughter just called to let me know she's received evacuation orders, mandatory. So she and the kids will be on the road today, heading toward far north Texas. Her partner will leave by this evening. Right now it's calm, sunny, perfect beach day in Clear Lake, but they are a scant 10-15 minutes from the ship's channel and from Galveston. I can't imagine having to leave everything behind while you, two kids, three cats, get into cars and drive. Especially with the knowledge you could come back to a mess, or nothing or everything will be fine and you're pissed you had to leave as well as grateful for the safety.

Ike is certainly causing a lot of trouble. I think I'll stick to outrunning tornados here in OKC, thanks. I can deal.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fast Writing

My friend, Rinda, has a fast first draft going for September and she's whipping out 3000 words a day. I do some of my best stuff when I push and write a first draft that way. So, my goal now is to finish the galley proofs for Bloody Murder and then attack plotting on Fairy Dust:Wizard. That way I can do an Oct./Nov. fast draft. To watch Rinda's progress, go to

You saw it right. I'm giving myself two months instead of Rinda's one because I know, realistically, I have to push it to get in more than 1000 words a day. 1500 a day is really ambitious but achievable. Now, on to the plotting train. For a totally funny take on handy men and real life, go to

Don't forget, to win a book, make a comment some time this month. Tigger, I haven't heard from you. You have until noon on the 12th before I draw another name for the copy of "Bloody Murder."

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Which way to go.

My daughter and her partner live in Houston, rather south of Houston proper in Clear Lake, near NASA. If Ike makes the wrong turn, they could have to evacuate, especially if it builds to a Cat 3 over the gulf. I read a blog where someone from Texas liked the fact that you get so much warning with a hurricane, but to me, you have to worry for a week or two as the storm inches toward you. You have to decide how to get out, what route to take, then just as you think you're in the clear, it turns at the last minute and its too late to leave.

I don't want all the angst. Let the storm pop-up, hit and leave, don't make me watch the monster come and anticipate being eaten up for days before the attack. I prefer tornadoes. They come and go in minutes, hit a small area, as compared to Hurricanes and then you just clean up the mess they left behind.

When it's my time, I want to go quickly, without warning, so I don't have to worry about leaving things unfinished, or people bereft. Yes, I'm selfish and I want the easy way out.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


First-Tigger9, I need your email address so I can send you your book. If I don't hear from you by Sept 5th, I'll draw another winner. Remember, send it to cshenoldATcoxDOTnetl. Don't forget to comment this month to be entered into the next drawing.

Now. How do you re-charge when you've been working hard at your writing or working hard in general? Some people go out for a latte, or a walk in the park, commune with nature, meditate, read something to recharge the batteries, take a writing class, do something creative that isn't writing if you're a writer, like paint, sculpt, crafts. What's your favorite way to get the juices going so you can jump right back into your project?

One thing I enjoy is reading good quotes.

"Don't give up. Don't lose hope. Don't sell out." -Christopher Reeve-

"If you're going through hell, keep going." -Winston Churchill-

"When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on." -Thomas Jefferson-

"If you want rainbows, you have to put up with the rain." -Dolly Parton-

And remember that Louis L'Amour was rejected 349 times.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Winner and Birthday Bash

And the winner is:
Tigger9. Please send me your email address and October 7 I'll send you a copy of my new release, "Bloody Murder." Send the address to cshenoldATcoxDOTnet.

Remember, a new contest for a free book begins today. All you have to do is post a comment. This contest will end September 30. The book is TBA, but it will be good.

Now, Eternal Press is having a birthday bash this week with contests and prizes. So hurry up and get on over to, go to the blog and enter the Trivia contest. There will be more contests and prizes the entire week.

New Orleans is still there and not in terrible shape, prayers answered.

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