Thursday, December 30, 2010

Prevent Zombies, Cover Your Mouth.

The running joke amongst my family and friends is that (on most days) I pray for the zombie apocalypse. I sometimes categorize people by their usefulness after the said zombie-fication of society. A few weeks ago, a friend said that she had seen something and immediately thought of me-a semi-automatic shotgun. Naturally, I was flattered. :)

Why do I mention my preoccupation with the undead? Well, I've been thinking a lot over the last few days about the particulars of the spread of a zombie plague. Why the past few days? I've just had a lot of time on my hands due to the fact that someone gave me a nasty cold. Weird, huh?

The manner of transmission is what really irks me: uncovered coughing and sneezing. Seriously? If we can't be bothered to cover our mouths with the common cold, how bad is it going to be with something far more serious? Get into practice now, people. You'll be thankful when you're not coughing up a lung (or your brain isn't being eaten).

*Rant off*

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Story Killers.

I recently added the family room gaming console to my Netflix account. It's fun and I don't have to worry about taking DVDs orders when there are a ton of streaming titles available. Of course, it's wreaking havoc with my recommendations, but it's kind of fun in a weird way.

Anyhoo, one of my recommendations (before the havoc) was an indie art house-type film called Valhalla Rising. I had to watch it in two parts. The first reason was because of the sheer amount of very realistic violence and gore, the second was because of a fifteen second (at most) scene of sexual violence. Even now, a few days later, I'm still bothered by the movie. On its artistic merits, I cannot fault; the movie was, well, good. Sure it was artsy and kind of experimental, but it was, technically, good. But I still rated it a " did not like" because of the sexual violence scene. It ruined the whole thing for me. Even though all the disturbing aspects of the movie fit, I cannot and will not abide certain things in my entertainment choices.

Now, playing Devil's Advocate, sometimes a story requires ugliness in order to be told, especially in reference to ugly topics. Bringing things into the light in order to deal with and bring awareness of said ugly thing is good, but waylaying a reader (or movie-watcher) with a disturbing scene strikes me as unfair. Impact is one thing, an ambush is entirely different.

The range of issues people have when it comes to their entertainment is as varied the target demographic themselves. In my own house, one of my family members will not tolerate irreverent humor in any form (think Monty Python); another can't stand any denigration of marriage or monogamy; and still another can't stand anything that challenges masculine identity (again, think Monty Python).

Personal preferences in entertainment isn't a bad thing (unless it's against the fellas in my Monty Python). I think that it's an aspect that some writers aren't prepared for sometimes. Sometimes you will write about something that irks a person, group, hell, maybe even an entire country. Not everyone will love your work and that's okay.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Coming Up For Air...


It's been over a month since a posting. For that I am truly sorry. The craziness of my life has gotten the better of me for the better of that month.

On the plus, the time was fantastically inspiring on personal and creative levels. I got to meet amazing people, learn amazing stories, participate in amazing things (and I know I'm using 'amazing' a lot, but it really was). And while I've only written and plotted a little on the projects I'm currently on, I think I have a very good reserve of inspiration going. :)

So, again, huge apologies for the unintentional ignoring!

Take care and Happy Turkey Day!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I suppose I wouldn't be much of a writer if I didn't have an overactive imagination. A few weeks ago I went off on a tangent about a recent local business drama had the possibility of being international trade espionage. But my flair for the dramatic doesn't always serve me well. Yesterday I received a text from my Aunt concerning an visit to the ER by my Uncle. It was late when she sent the text saying everything was fine and that they'd call later. While I waited for that call, I received another text. This time from my baby brother saying that there had been an accident at his workplace. So while stressing out about the ER text, I'm stressing about the accident text, and my mind is going to dual worst-case scenarios. Ultimately I was proved to be stressed out for nothing; ER text ended up being hyper-extended tendons from coaching soccer, and accident text was a thankfully trauma-free operator error that didn't involve my baby brother (it did involve a 34 ton piece of machinery that somehow ended up on its roof, which confuses me still).

Looking back at some of the things that were running through my head made me wonder why the worst-possible scenario is where I immediately went.

I had a conversation awhile back that centered on readers and suspension-of-disbelief issues; some readers tended to lose interest in a story if a character was treated "too nice" by the author. Not that anyone can accuse me of being even nice to my characters (let alone too nice), but the idea fascinates me.

Personally, I don't mind if a character has a nearly insurmountable task ahead of them. If they didn't, there wouldn't be much of a reason to be interested in the story. Frodo having a Mt. Doom lava vent running under his cute lil hobbit house wouldn't have been all that dramatic. Oh, get rid of the ring? Sure. *Plunk* That was easy! Danger, conflict, and drama are vital. But when the author (or screenwriter) is needlessly stacking the odds against a single character, I find that just as distracting as the "too nice" angle. But, to be fair, deus ex machina-type stuff gives me hives.

I suppose, like with anything else, it comes down to personal preferences. One reader's view of kid gloves is another reader's view of chainmail sharksuit hand protectors. Or really itchy wool mittens, those are bad, too. :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Fun and Games

About a month ago my partner-in-crime and I were asked to come up with a storyline for a game. This is a rather interesting endeavor to undertake. I mean, I like games, I play games, and games definitely require stories. But there's something about writing for a different medium that scares and intrigues a gal.

There is so much possibility in the things one could do and see in the world that is created. Having the things that you see in your mind translated to a visual representation is a heady thought. Collaborating with a group of people, all with different skill sets, ideas, and tasks is something I haven't done. The mere thought of the result of the efforts gives me goosebumps.

The past few week I've been wracking my brain as to how to go about this thing. A few ideas have been kicked around and well-received, but the framework is sorely lacking. But how are the ideas that are being developed going to work? Will they work? Etc. Then I realized, I'm getting WAY too ahead of myself with the things I'm obsessing about. I don't have to worry about anything but the story; remove the end result from the equation and just write. After all, programming is not my forte and not something I have to worry about. :D

So my plan is to hammer out some intro-level storyline and cannon (crosses fingers) for everyone to work with. A story to serve as reference or just a jumping-off point for additional ideas.

And guess which month gets allotted for it? Ah, November, how I've missed thee. :)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Decisions, Decisions...

It's getting to be that time of year. Only about a month to go until NaNo. The jury is still out on what this year's project will be. I kind of want to continue the arc I'm on with the project from last year, but I think it might be fun to do something different. Stretch out and flex some different writing muscles. There are a bunch of different genre forums and it would be a lot of fun to eventually write one of each. Put scraps of paper in a basket and leave it to the luck of the draw.

Hmm, well, I have a bit of time to decide. :D

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fear and Fishing

I went and saw a movie last weekend. It was about evil of a residential nature. I think the genre and the format (adding an extra D to the equation) had a lot to do with the previews that they decided to show. There was either horror, 3-D, or horror shot in 3-D. I'm not a die-hard horror fan, but I'm finding the reasons that people are interesting.

My father-in-law is currently a regular viewer of a newer fishing show that profiles an "extreme" fisherman that goes after river fish of the "OHMYGODITSMOBYDICK" variety. The last episode was on location in/on the Amazon river attempting to track down a catfish that can theoretically grow to a big enough size to eat a man whole. During the set-up, there was a lot of narrative supposition on the existence of such a creature. The funny thing was that each time the possibility of the man-eating fish came up, my F-I-L scoffed at the idea and repeated to himself how ludicrous and impossible it was.

Now, I suppose that your curious as to why I jumped from the topic of horror to the topic of fish (but, to be fair, it was the topic of a man-eating fish). Now I've had (past-tense for good reason) friends that loved the horror genre for the vicarious kicks. I have friends that love the genre for the story, the special effects part and parcel to the experience. And I have friends that love the genre because of the social, political, and economic statements that are allegorically woven into the piece. But I think that the good portion of horror fans love the genre because maybe it give them a safe outlet to control fear.

Now, as your average modern citizen, despite what the news screams at us on a nightly basis, we live pretty safe lives. We don't have to worry about huge cats jumping out of tall grasses as we look for tubers. We don't have to worry about unseen terrors bursting from a calm river as we gather water. We don't have to keep a roaring fire burning at the entrances to our homes to keep the unknown killers in the night from dragging us from its safety. But the fears that kept our ancestors safe for so many millennium are still lurking around in our DNA, prompting random reactions of terror from sources that aren't all that scary.

Watching a terrifying movie or reading a chilling story lets us fire that fear up without ever having to really worry about consequences (big cats, sharp teeth, and such). So, next time you're enjoying a good and scary flick, thank those jumpy ancestors of yours, and rest assured that everything is alright. At least until the zombie uprising. :)

Thursday, September 9, 2010


I have the blahs today, so here's a picture of an adorable chick. :) Have a great day!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Put Down the Tambourine.

I'm the black sheep of my family. Well, in the context of this anecdote, the tone-deaf one. A bunch of my family and friends were hanging out the other day, and the good majority were in the mood to jam. My little brother was trying to get me to pick up one of the instruments in the house, assuring me that it was "in the blood." Besides, there were a few people there that were picking things up, despite being inexperienced at the instruments, and substantially kicking ass . Inexperienced did not mean talentless, and I know which acts not to follow. :D Besides, I'm more of a visual person. Once they get their thing going, I'm thinking more along the lines of stage design or management. It's been a while since I've busted out the ol' scarf and beret.

So I got bored and decided to make a genre band. To tell you the truth, I'm only about 65% satisfied with the line-up. What do you guys think? Who would you cut/change/add in your genre band?

Mainstream Fiction- Vocals.
Romance- Keyboard.
Horror- Runs the lighting.
Science Fiction- Synthesizer.
Fantasy- Lute.
Action/Adventure- Guitar.
Comedy- Kazoo.
Mystery- Horns.
Western- Harmonica.
War- Drums.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

What Was That Again?

I'm link-happy lately, mainly because I've been spending a lot of time online trying to keep my mind busy and typing as little as possible.

This article got the old cogs turning. The idea of losing a language that has been around for thousands of years to something that has been around for less than one hundred is mind-boggling.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

*Shuffle, Shuffle*

Okay, so I have a love/hate view of zombies. I'm a huge weirdo. I know I've mentioned that I really don't like scary things, and zombies are scary things. So I have no idea why I'm so into the idea of submitting to a Zombie Anthology.

There are tried and true components with your average zombie: the slow shuffle, the tattered clothes, and the unsightly complexion issues.

But I read a fun article the other day that made me rethink my thinking on zombies. The realistic approach is a little bit more horrifying than the traditional interpretation, don't you think?

Maybe my lil zombies need a teeny revamp. Hehe.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Change of Scenery.

I've spent the last two weeks in Texas Hill Country. There were things that required attending to for the past few years, during the height of summer, in 90+ temperatures and 70+ percent humidity...*sigh* I've never been tortured before (unless you count my friends love for the books that shall not be named), but I imagine that combination of heat and humidity is as close to water-boarding as I ever want to get.

But as much as I hate the weather, though, is how much I love being around the family and friends that call that area home. <3

It also tends to give me SO much material to work with and things to think about. From random thoughts inspired by random (really, really random) conversations to the situations I find myself observing, the trip is always interesting.

I sometimes forget how useful a change of scenery can be. Although, I think from now on I'll visit during the fall.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I used to draw. Years ago, for some unremembered reason, I stopped. Lately I've been trying to get back into the habit. When I have a pause in my writing, I'm filling up the margins with random doodles and whatnot. It's not much, but it's something. The act alone has me thinking of non-doodle projects. It also seems to help me get the brain jump-started when I sputter out. So it's win-win.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Location, Location, Location.

I always find myself torn about story locales. I've lived in a lot of places (like, a ridiculous amount). So when I find myself telling a story where the setting isn't central to the plot, things just are kind of "meh." Which is unfortunate because my home in central Washington state. Anyone that is lucky enough to live here knows how much awesomeness there is to work with, which makes it doubly sad on my part.

I'm conflicted on the whole idea of setting a story here. I mean, there's a difference between having something terrible happen in one of the little towns versus downtown Portland. Not that bad things don't happen in small towns. I think that it may be an easier to buy the idea that big city=big trouble.

That, and it's less likely to impact me personally. With my luck, the book that would get huge (and, yes, I am dreaming big) would be the one set in my town. I would hate to have my favorite coffee shop or restaurant inundated with tourists. The west-siders are bad enough. ;)

Who knows? Maybe one day I'll get over being selfish and share. Maybe.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

How You Write It.

I've been talking shop with a bunch of my friends, trying to get them to take that first leap into the literary waters. One of them said that she only wanted to write something where the bad guys wins. I thought it was a very good idea and proceeded to tell her of an author I heard had done a very interesting storyline where the protagonist and the antagonist were one in the same. I think I messed up, though, because it was similar to what she had been planning. I implored her to write it anyway. There's no way that the stories would be remotely similar. Look at the genre sections in book stores, how many boy-gets-the-girl stories are there? (Actually, I made a vampire-teen joke, but that seemed a little too easy a target.)

There are theories about the number of story types that can be told. Some say seven, some say more. I don't know. What I do know, though, is that no matter the story type, different people will tell it differently.

I really hope that my blunder doesn't keep her from writing her story. I think it's a fabulous idea.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Sleep-deprived brain no work so good. :)

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sharing Is Overrated.

I had a conversation with a friend that got me thinking. We were talking shop, and he mentioned that he'd always been interested in writing. My brain immediately did a little dance at the prospect of another writing compatriot. He said that he never made good on the endeavor because he had grammar and punctuation issues . Bah, mere mechanics, easily fixable. Just write the story and worry about that in editing. The mastery comes with practice. Then he got this sheepish look and admitted that another reason was that he was afraid that his friends wouldn't want to be his friends anymore upon reading anything he wrote. I smiled and welcomed him to the club; we meet every time we set pen to paper. :)

That feeling is no small obstacle to overcome. It's terrifying prospect, especially when you're first starting out and everyone's threshold is different. For years the only thing that I would let anyone read was the stuff I had to write for school. It was easier to let people read the compulsory created work rather than the labors of love. I'm a lot better about it now, but I think the anxiousness never truly goes away.

So what is it about the idea of having those in your inner circle read your work that bothers so many of us?

Maybe it's the stranger factor? It's very easy to not care all that much about a random person's opinion. Less so when you're related to them. The insight angle? Perhaps a project is working through some personal issues or problems skillfully disguised as a post-apocalyptic action story (hey, I'm not here to judge issues). The chance of it being recognized for what it is may cause more trouble than you're prepared to deal with. At the very least, you may have to sleep on the couch or the promise of helping them move for the rest of your life. Or maybe, just maybe, it's the image issue? Nothing shakes the foundation of the image of a self-described scary chick than accidentally writing a kinda romance. *cough, cough* Not that I'd know anything about that type of thing.

The most important thing, though, is realizing that you can work on those issues while you're busy writing away. And the great thing is that you don't have to do anything you don't want to do. Whether you want to write stories for you and keep them under lock and key, great;or keep them among family and friends, also great; or pursue publication, that, too, is great. You see the theme? :)

Like everything about writing, what you do with it depends on what you want out of it, and it's all great.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

*Blink, Blink*

Okay, I started today thinking about discussing editing. But then I checked in on my writing group's page and that just flew out the window. One of the ladies is on a lot of lists, most of the time, the lists are really cool and/or useful.

Today, however, someone sent her a very...okay, I'm just going to say "niche" market: Zombie Erotica.

Let that just sink in for a second.

Now, the particular link stated it began as a joke, and I can support that idea. But, alas, that is not the only call for this genre, and the only one begun in jest. I'm just at a loss for words.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


The past few weeks have been rather stressful and have taken a toll on productivity. A few sentences here and there is not acceptable output, especially when my brain feels like jello.

It's amazing how much a positive day can recharge you. A single upbeat day and, lo-and-behold, I have over three pages of plot points written and planned.

My husband and I took a drive in order to visit a mutual friend and her daughter. We delivered a quilt that was initially a recovery gift for the little one that is now a "YAY, no surgery quilt." Good stuff.

After that, we visited our second family, where I got back the rough draft of my current project. Positive feedback and a request for more is always a good thing. :)

So now I think that my mental fog is moving on and leaving me in the clear. And if it decides to reappear before the weekend, it's in trouble; we have weather in the 80s a fleet of watercraft. The fog doesn't stand a chance. :)

Friday, June 4, 2010


Okay, this really irritates me. We shouldn't be advocating the purposeful move to make our language nothing more than internet-speak.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Marginally Evil Update.

Ok, so maybe the sock monkey isn't all that evil, and the tattoo is just a way for him to stand out in his sock monkey family. But it did inspire an evil craft idea brainstorming session, and so I'm counting the whole endeavor as evil. :) I'm still trying to hammer out the pattern to that Lord of Darkness doll.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Perspective Issues.

One of my favorite books is Snowcrash by Neal Stephenson. It's a fabulous read. The main character is bi-racial (black and Korean by way of Japan(if I recall correctly)). A group of my friends and I were discussing the book when one of my friends said that they had issues with the main character because he was such a "weeabo." Now, to save you a trip to Urban Dictionary, a "weeabo" is someone that is unhealthily obsessed with and woefully misinformed about Japanese culture to the exclusion of their own. It's a term I don't like to use(hence the quotation marks).

But I digress. I thought the interpretation was very strange and it got me to thinking about why they would feel that way. I don't think that the confusion was with the character development; it's pretty straight forward and integral to the story.

Which left it as a reader interpretation issue. That's not a dig. It's just something to think about. Our programming automatically goes to what is familiar to us. Readers immerse themselves into the story, and thus, will take on what the reader knows. That includes race and ethnicity.

Not that that's a bad thing. Unless, of course, it's vitally important that certain characters identify as another box on the census. :)

But then you run the risk of of writing from a perspective about which you have no clue, or accidentally offending an entire segment of the world's population. It's enough to drive you mad.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Evil Arts and Crafts.

I don't know why I've never done it before, or even thought about translating my brand of insanity to the fertile ground of the handicraft community. It took a singularly twisted and awesome project called "Sunbonnet Cthulu" for the concept to take root. I think maybe a Lord of Darkness plush doll is calling to be created. :D Hehe.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


I've been stuck on the development for an important character. I wasn't missing very much, it was just very important; and I had no idea what it was.

You would think that figuring out the reason someone would keep on living would be easy, right? But all my usual survival standbys didn't work and felt flat. Love felt too cliched. Hate and revenge was against the personality type. Recovering something treasured didn't work. Nothing I could think of fit. Maddening.

I found the linchpin in the weirdest place-a funeral. The priest conducting the ceremony mentioned a specific viewpoint concerning life and death, and everything just clicked into place.

Finding the answer I needed where I found it was odd, to say the least.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


I caught the first few moments of Into the Universe before the remote was cruelly torn from my hand (dramatic license). But the intro resonated with me. Stephen Hawking spoke about his physical limitations, but finished with the phrase " my mind, I am free."

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I'm Happy. Honest.

So lately I've been writing myself into and odd niche. The past six months and the past few projects (that weren't the book) have been fairly dark. No matter the spirit I start in, it slowly bends and twists into some sort of macabre offering. If this keeps up, I'm going to cement my reputation as "the dark one" of my writing guild. Hmm. Actually, as far as titles go, that one is pretty badass.

Ahem. A friend says that it's a subconscious outlet, an untapped fount. I'm not sure how to feel about that idea.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Ooo, Shiny.

It's been a bit of a busy week, so I apologize for the tardiness of the post. Most of the week was spent feeling like I was stuck in a game of Oregon Trail. The town I live in had a water boil order in effect for about a week. Guess who found out too late? I do have a new-found appreciation (or a re-found appreciation?) for municipal water usage. The whole thing got my mind side-tracked from my current project. I almost jumped ship and started to work on another piece, something with a post-apocalyptic vibe.

Discipline has been my biggest issue to date. But it's slowly getting better. Editing and a second draft is required before I move on to another big project. I'm serious. No messing around. No flitting from project to project like some weird, adhd hummingbird. Back. To. Work.

.....*twitch, twitch*

Gah! I guess I'll have to work fast to keep the hives to a manageable minimum. *twitch*

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Author Interview With Jaleta Clegg.

I'm pleased to introduce you to Jaleta Clegg.

Jaleta Clegg was born some time ago. She’s filled the years since with many diverse activities, such as costuming, quilting, cooking, video games, reading, and writing. She’s been a fan of classic sci-fi books and campy movies since she can remember. Her collection of bad sci-fi movies is only rivaled by her collection of eclectic CD’s (polka, opera, or Irish folk songs, anyone?).

Her day job involves an inflatable planetarium, numerous school children, and starship simulators. Her summer job involves cooking alien food for space camp. She writes a regular column in Abandoned Towers Magazine–fancy dinner menus for themed parties.

Her first novel, Nexus Point (, is now in print from Cyberwizard Productions. The first three chapters are free at or you can download half the book at Smashwords You can buy the ebook there, too. She has stories published in Bewildering Tales, Abandoned Towers, and Darwin’s Evolutions. Links are available at

Jaleta lives in Utah with her husband, a horde of her own children, and one ancient, toothless cat. She wants to be either Han Solo or Ursula the Sea Witch when she grows up. If she ever does. She also detests referring to herself in the third person, but sometimes she bows to necessity.

What inspired you to write Nexus Point?

I wanted a fun book to read, one where you don't want to say goodbye to the characters. So I wrote one. So much science fiction is either military technicalities or depressing dystopia stories. I wanted something with hope, like the classic sci-fi from the '50s. So I wrote my own series.

The way that you handle technology in you book is fun, how would you classify Nexus Point, genre-wise?

Retro space opera with a touch of romance. It isn't meant to be deep, expository literature. I like to believe the science is believable, but it isn't the main point of the story. The characters and the action take center stage.

I understand this is book one in a series, what can we expect with future installments?

More mayhem, destruction, wild chase scenes, explosions, fight scenes - total chick flick territory at my house. I subtitled it "The Fall of the Altairan Empire" for a reason. Nexus Point is the beginning, ground zero if you will. Much of what happens on Dadilan sows the seeds for the rest of the series.

And romance will continue to happen. My husband, my first reader, told me I had to have a happy ending for the first book. I told him he would get one, eventually. He's a confirmed soppy romantic.

You have an interesting cast running around. How do you develop your characters?

They grew on me. I love to watch people. We dissect tv shows and movies, picking apart the characters and the plots to figure out what makes them work and what doesn't. I've also had fifteen years to play with these people. I did a complete rewrite of Nexus Point a few years ago. By then I had the whole series written in rough draft, so I knew the characters intimately. Regressing to their more innocent state proved tricky, but they are so much more satisfying in this version.

Is Nexus Point your first published work?

My first published book, yes. Last year was a banner year for me. I didn't really pursue publication until 2008. I had a book and four short stories published in 2009. 2010 is looking up with more short stories. Book 2 will be out early 2011. The whole series is under contract. I've got more novels in the works. We'll see where those go.

When did you begin writing?

As soon as I could hold a pencil. I wrote a comic book in ninth grade. I dabbled for years. It wasn't until I bought my first computer, a Commodore 128 from a garage sale, that I really took off. Something about the impermanence of my mistakes on the word processor freed me. I wrote seven novel drafts in the first year. The first few were absolutely dreadful, but I'd caught the disease. I can't stop myself from dreaming up stories and writing them down.

What is your preferred genre to write in? Why?

Definitely science fiction. I've always heard you should write what you know, so I do. I write aliens and weird planets and space battles. Wait, those aren't real?

Do you plan out your work or let inspiration drive you?

A bit of both. I'll get the seed of an idea and start writing without any idea where I'm going. Two or three chapters later, I stop writing and start dreaming. I write a general outline, usually about two pages or less, then start on the rest. Things happen. I've had to completely revise the whole last half of a book, before I wrote it fortunately, because of something my subconscious dreamed up.

Any surprises with being published?

I guess I was a bit naíve. I thought once I was done writing and editing the manuscript, I was done. I'd sit back and watch the sales happen. It doesn't work that way. I've had to learn marketing, website building, everything, just a flood of information and things I need to do to promote the book. Where is the time for new writing? I've had to learn a whole new way to balance life, work, and writing.

Do you have any writing rituals?

Typical writing session: 1. Announce I am going to write. Interruptions had better involve blood or flames. Nothing less will be tolerated. 2. Remove cat from bedroom. Close and lock door. 3. Settle on the bed with laptop. Realize battery is dead. Retrieve power cord from family room. 4. Repeat step 2. 5. Child pounds on door with an emergency. Unlock door to find emergency is the other bathroom is occupied and child needs to go. 6. Wait while child does his business in bathroom. 7. Repeat step 2. 8. Phone rings. Child insists person needs to urgently speak to mom. Growl at solicitor on phone. 9. Repeat step 2. 10. Type one sentence. Laptop unable to save or retrieve files. Panic. 11. Shut down laptop and run every piece of anti-virus software installed. File nails while waiting for process to complete. 12. Child knocks on door with emergency. Wants to know if they can eat chocolate cake for dinner or is mom going to cook something? Scream and tell them they can eat whatever they can find in the house. 13. Laptop now functioning. Settle on bed and open WIP. 14. Husband now home from work, wondering why bedroom door is locked from the inside. 15. Give up and go watch latest episode of NCIS while eating chocolate cake for dinner.

Obviously not every session is that way. I found time to write books and stories and interviews. Some days writing works and some days it doesn't. I push when it's working. I wrote 27 hours straight once. I have no idea what my family ate for meals.

Your blog says that you have multiple jobs and 8(!) kids. When do you find time to write?

See the answer above. I squeeze it when I can.

Authorly advice, or things I wished I'd known? :)

Writing is art. Publishing is business. If you're pursuing professional publication, know what you're in for. Authors are responsible for pretty much all of the marketing anymore, unless you're already established and on the NYT bestseller list. Even then, you are expected to have an online presence so your rabid stalkers, I mean fans, can find you.

My rabid stalkers can find me at with links to everywhere else you can find me listed on the site. I would love to have rabid stalkers, I mean fans.

Thanks again for visiting my blog.

Thanks so much for inviting me. It's been a pleasure.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Stranger, Indeed.

Sometimes I feel like the things I write are just too much to believe. Sure, everything that I committed to paper or computer screen is make-believe. That's the point of storytelling, but I don't want my readers to have their suspension of belief pushed to the breaking point.

I felt bad about the way I portrayed the teenage sister of one of my characters. She was whiny, obsessive, and a ginormous pain in the butt. "Surely," I thought, "this is has way too much snark-fu. This is unfair and I've stacked the deck. Bad Lynn, bad." A few days later (I'm not even close to exaggerating), my writer's groups was cornered and held hostage by a rabid teenager that made my fictional teen look like Nancy-freaking-Drew. Hand to God, I'm telling the truth. I have witnesses to back me up (scarred and horrified as they may be).

Everyone has their preferences, I guess. Which isn't bad, just immensely interesting. I recently read a review of a book that I loved that was written by an author that I admire (waves). The reviewer had a slight qualm with the extraordinary bad luck of the main character, coupled with the ability to for said main character to miraculously wriggle out of the trouble she got into. I think the reviewer thought the author may have been pushing believability (that's the impression I came away with, anyway). That aspect of the character happened to be completely believable to me, and I loved it. The bad luck didn't phase me one bit. I know people with the bad luck and the phenomenal ability to make it work in their favor, eventually.

No matter how off the wall I think I get, reality always has a way of showing me otherwise. Which is good. It helps to get rid of the self-censorship. So any time I get a little worried about some of the weird things I write, I go out for coffee or a bit of shopping and just listen. I soon feel better.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wait For It...

More often than not, I like Christmas. Rather, I like the family time, the food (duh!), and my baby brother's annual campaign to win Christmas (he's sweet and it cracks me up). Of course, there are tons of things that I hate about it: shopping centers are war zones after Thanksgiving, holiday ads that insinuate that people that love each other should by each other luxury cars donned with red bows that can be seen from space, and snow.

The one thing I'm conflicted about is the pre-gift day count down. Christmas is the one time I'll let my annoyance and distaste for waiting for payout slide.

Make me hurry up and wait in my entertainment, though, and it's over.

I'm going to go off on a video game rant for a minute. I consider video games (the example de jour) to be on par with what we have to do as authors. Stories are told, characters are created, plot is developed. I've noticed a trend with game publishers (that should know better): expansive epics and complicated story lines that are put on hold until the player has learned the rules and controls of the game.

Now the idea is nothing new, but that is what tutorial levels are for. To have hours of game play REQUIRED before you actually play the damn game should be a crime.

You see where I'm going with this, don't you?

If a writer tried to justify having a primer for their book, there would be no way any reader would tolerate "homework" in order to understand the story. Our job is to weave everything a readers needs to know into the story. The rules and workings need to be natural, seamless, believable or else it ruins the immersion. I've put down a few books and games (much to the pain of my checkbook) because that failure. Sure they got they got their book and game sale out of me, but I haven't bought any of the following releases (and there have been quite a few).

Now, not every reader is as hard-headed and spiteful as I am, but the possibility that your sales could be impacted shouldn't be ignored. So just be aware of forcing your readers through a tutorial level in you story. It may be easier for you, but at what eventual cost? :)

Hrm, I need to drop hints for next Christmas. With my luck, I'd probably end up with the games I'm talking about.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Author Interview With Frances Pauli.

We’re joined this morning by Frances Pauli to talk about her new book.

Science Fiction Romance, March 15th
Published by Devine Destinies and available at their website or through
Frances' website.

Story overview:
They have to be lying when they tell her she was dead. With no memory of her past, and no idea who she actually is, Nora has little options. Alone, and at the mercy of the Mercenary Defense Conglomerate, she searches for clues into her past, and the truth about her supposed demise.

If she is a prisoner, robbed of memory and held against her will, then she must trust no one. If she has, in fact, returned from the dead, then who could possibly help her? Armed with only her wits and her inexplicably sharpened senses, she is forced to play along, to search for the holes in their story, and to piece together the flashes of memory that serve only to taunt her.

But the visions seem to confirm the impossible. The man who is supposed to be her fiancé seems bent on confusing her, and the one person she is desperate to be near may very well be responsible for her death. If the silent Roarke is her enemy, why do her visions draw her closer to him? And why, when nothing else seems remotely familiar, does Nora find herself remembering, or wanting to remember only him?

What inspired the piece?
Like many of my stories, Roarke, actually came from a dream fragment.
The images came through really vividly and I took them and expanded
things, played with the possibilities and the characters until a solid
story emerged.

What do you want readers to take with them after they read your book?
Primarily I want them to just enjoy the story. After that, I suppose
if the tale brought up any thoughts about what it would be like to
have no idea who you have a completely clear slate, then I'd
consider it a success. That was how the dream felt-- like a question.
Would you make the same decisions? Want the same desires? Be the same
person? And how much of who and what you are is genuine versus just a
product of your "training." (read that, environment, and outside

How would you describe your writing style?
Can I say "all over the board" and get away with it? Seriously, I
write two ways. One line is serious, sometimes dark, and usually gets
around to a point. The other is random and humorous and just plain
fun. I don't think I'd ever want to give up either, but then, I'm not
so good at picking a horse. Just look at my genres.

Do you plan, or let the story flow?
I pretty much fly by the seat of my pants. I get an idea, usually know
the direction it's heading and have a rough idea of how it ends. The
rest is as much a surprise to me as anyone. It leads to a lot of
revision, but the method keeps me writing--and finishing--projects.

What made you decide to become a writer?
Finishing that first novel. Up until then the idea seemed like a
wonderful fantasy, but when I'd done it, I mean, managed to hammer out
an entire novel, then I got really serious really fast

What is the best/worst thing about authorship?
Best thing? The writing. I love finishing even more--it's like a drug
that rush. Better yet, having someone read it and really enjoy it. I
suppose it's a latent need for validation.

The worst thing would have to be writing synopsis...or trying to
write/talk about yourself. Both are no fun.

Authorly advice, or things I wished I'd known. :)
Google everyone and every company before you interact with them. I say
that a lot. I don't even really like Google. Okay, just search a lot.
But really, learn as much as you can about everything and do your best
to make a lot of friends who know what you might not.

Thanks so much for having me!!

Author Bio:
Though she always held aspirations to be a writer, Frances originally chose to pursue a career in visual arts. Her stories, however, had other plans for her. By the time she entered her thirties, they were no longer content existing solely in her head. Compelled to free them, she set aside her easel and began to write in earnest

She currently resides smack in the center of Washington State with her husband and two children. When not writing she dabbles in insane things like puppetry, belly dance and playing the ukulele. She collects rocks, and is a firm believer in good wine, fine chocolate and dangerous men.

Her short fiction has appeared in Alternative Coordinates magazine.
More information on Frances and her writing can be found at

She offers a free online serial at:

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

What Dreams May End Up Crashing On The Couch.

I don't know any writer (or artist, for that matter) that doesn't mine their dreams like a 49-er. I feel almost daft for even saying it. It's tantamount to proclaiming the sky is blue. Yes, duh, everybody knows that *rolls eyes.*

The tidbit of painfully obvious info still, nonetheless, never ceases to amaze me. I mean, how freaking awesome is it that we can just wake up and have something from the unconscious mind manifest itself into something usable?

That's not to say that's the end of the thing. More often than not, it's only the beginning. And to be honest, I've only gotten a very few ideas that actually inspired the creation of a piece, mostly sci-fi stuff and a few fantasy.

But I think my favorite thing that happens is when something from a current piece just barges in and flops down on the couch. It's something that you weren't looking for; something you weren't even expecting to happen. And then-bam!-it turns up and presents itself and demands to be dealt with. Funny how in real life, that annoys me so very much.

Anyhoo, I just had to pay homage to the Dream Muse today. She did me another solid with a character I've been unsure of for a long while.

Yay for sci-fi dreams!

**Remember, everyone. The interview with Frances Pauli is this Saturday. Fabulous-nes all around. :D

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Watched Keyboard.

Okay, haven't got the drama under control, but I wrangled back my productivity. Yay!

I'm pretty sure the spazzy monkey part of my brain went into overdrive and just threw my brain into the "all stop" position. Stupid primate. I need a stronger leash. Then there was the preoccupation with my lack of productivity. Staring at the computer just reminded me, over and over again, how little I was accomplishing. You'd think that with my affinity for tea, I'd know better than to "watch the pot."

I'm usually a believer in the idea of working through the block, but sometimes I just have walk away.

*On a way fun note, the weekend of March 27th I'll be interviewing author Frances Pauli. Stop by and learn about her new book and enter a contest for some great prizes.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Life Happens.

This past week was kind of lame and non-productive. The beginning of last week saw computer drama that left a hard drive in limbo. All of the info on it is fine, I'm just lazy and haven't made it a secondary drive yet. I got a tiny bit of work done Saturday morning, but other than that, not much else.

So I've been whining and moody over my lack of work ethic. Maybe I need more caffeine?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I've Got Issues.

I'm not talking about the whole fear of clowns or other things only to be addressed by licensed professionals. I'm talking about the views and causes that manage to creep into the things we write.

I'm not a fan bait and switch. If the dust jacket says I get to read about laser-blasting alien hordes, I don't want to be beaten over the head about anti-industrial policies. I just want to blast aliens! If I want serious, I'll read serious.

Most of the time, I make a conscious effort to leave the politics at the door of my theoretical office. I think I tend to do a good job. The main thing that ends up in the stories I write is the universal idea of being a decent human being for the sake of being decent. Mainly because I can't stand douchebags, and I need an outlet for the irritation that won't require a trip through the legal system. :)

The book that I'm editing and second-drafting, however, has taken my usual habit of "no politics" and run like it's being chased by a pack of wild dogs. I have weird religious themes (that may or may not inspire picketers). The government doesn't fare too well in the piece (which I hope doesn't get my taxes raised). And society goes to hell in a handbasket (oops).

It's probably the muse getting back at me for starting the project from a snarky place.

I think that my main concern is becoming heavy-handed with the opinions that do make it into my work. I want to tell a story, not condescend to my readers. I want to be fair, even with things I don't particularly hold in a favorable view.

Is that weird?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Serial Buzz.

So I can't get the whole self-promotion concept out of my head.

All the cool kids I know are doing serials. Really damn fantastic serials. It makes a girl jealous. ;) I really like the idea, too. What's not to like? You have to write regularly. You can keep the fun going as long as you like. It gets your style "out there." And it's something for the fans (crosses fingers, knocks on wood, etc). All around cool stuff.

I've been playing around with some concepts, and frankly, I think I may need to up the meds a bit. My two best are a zombie western and space pirate redux of a story I wrote when I was sixteen. Yeah, I know, I have issues.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Passive Aggressive.

I went over a short story that I'm prepping to submit again, and I think figured out my problem. And I didn't even need to call in Scoob and the gang for any help.

We did a worksheet in my writer's group last week. Lovely, lovely information about naughty little things called passive verbs. Things that end up telling your reader what is, was, or been instead of showing them the interesting actions. All around, good info to keep in mind. I was tired vs My extremities seemed to drag against me like weights. Better visualization and higher word count. Win, win. Yay!

Unfortunately, a dark reality lurks. All those short stories and novels sitting in the hard drive or piles of paper waiting for transcription, yeah, probably FULL of those little nasties. It makes a girl want to cry. Or curl into a fetal position. Or both.

I wound up getting an extra 250 words out of my short story once I cut all the passives out. I know that should make me happy, but the added word count makes me wonder how much more I'm going to get on my other pieces. *sigh* I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Setting Sites.

So I'm thinking about setting up a website. An additional platform to widen my online presence and give a place for future readers and employers to look to for what makes me tick (crosses fingers). Something that wows and draws people in would be awesome. At least, I think that's what the goal should be.

I've studied content and layouts, blurbs and bios, and I have a pretty good idea what I want. Then I realized something: when I set up my stuff, all that content has to be about me. ME! (Contemplates curling up in the fetal position).

But Lynn, you may ask, isn't that the whole point to your authorship endeavor?

Yes and no.

You see, I began my daydreaming about publishing before the mainstream media saturation of the current day. (Dons beret and scarf). I thought that I could "get people" for that while I concentrated on my art. Yeah, yeah, I know. But hey, in all fairness, it was a long time ago. The public relations stuff doesn't bother me, per se. Handling all the p.r. until you can get people strikes me as a little weird. The idea of marketing myself is a bit awkward. Too much and you look like you're trying too hard. Too little and you look uninteresting.

So I've decided to take the baby step approach. A blog here, a Twitter there, and so on and so on. :) I'm sure that I'm over analyzing again, and I'm going to feel like a dork when everything turns out easy peasy.

*Speaking of online presence, I'm going to be guest blogging on Frances Pauli's Speculative Friction on February 13th. Stop by, have fun. :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bootstrap up, Princess.

I sat at my computer for nearly half an hour, trying to get something written for the posting this week. The blank space and the blinking cursor just staring at me, mocking me with every second that ticked by. Each flash of the cursor reminded me you're stuck, you're stuck, you're stuck. Stupid insensitive cursor.

Excuses started running through my head: the insomnia has been hounding me again, the winter weather has me kind of blue, my beloved dog isn't doing so well. How can I create (cue dramatic flourish, add a beret or a white scarf) when all of this is going on around me, sapping my artistic spirit, silencing my muse? How can I be expected to work when I don't feel like working?

And then the ol' logic center kicked in: because if I expect to be treated like a professional one day, I have to start acting like one now. Editors aren't going to expect any less than any other employer just because my job entails writing a book. Deadlines aren't going to apply to everyone else but me. If I'm going to be taken seriously, I'm going to need to stop whining.

Sigh. It's too bad, though, because I look pretty snazzy in a beret. :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Of Method and Madness...and Bad Guys.

So I'm stuck.

I'm at a critical point in my plotting process, a must-happen series of events, otherwise the rest of the project won't have the necessary impact later on as events unfurl. And I'm stuck.

Not that I'm lost. I know what I need to have happen, it's all up there in my head, waiting. The thing is, the events are being carried out by my antagonist. And he's a very bad man. Evil, really. And it's some very bad stuff that he's doing. Irredeemable things. Things that make my skin crawl. I'm dragging my feet because I don't want to climb into his dark little skull.

The adage "write what you know" usually doesn't fail me. I mean, I may not know exactly what it's like to find myself on a international search for the one thing that is going to save all mankind, but looking for my wallet or keys can sometimes feel tantamount. :) Seriously, though, most things in the human emotion and experience gamut can be applied to most of the things I write. Most everyone can identify with love, loss, joy, sorrow, anger, etc. Even the little not-so-nice things people do (lie, steal, cheat) can be relate-able. But this is a point of view that is completely outside normal.

The one and only time I've had exposure to a person remotely close to what my antagonist is like was a very uncomfortable and frightening experience. The thought of purposely thinking in a similar manner leaves me a bit uneasy. Hmm, maybe I'll just bust out a copy of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and hope for the best.

Oh, well. I guess that's the price to pay for a good story. Now I just need to treat this like a band-aid: grip it and rip it. :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Write ME, dammit!

I've been draining myself the past couple of weeks. The novel I'm working on is a horror piece that started in NaNoland. I don't know why I started it. I'm not a fan of the genre anymore. My teenage angst has long since gone the way that teenage angst tends to go, so I no longer need the credit of Lovecraftian readership (although awesome at the genre, too much for me now). I don't enjoy the feeling of discomfort that the tension and the visualization elicits. But that's the story that wants to be told, and I'm going to do right by it and finish.

My unease with the genre got me thinking about stories that just won't be quiet. The type that pop up and try to hijack another story when you least expect or want it anywhere near you. The type that, despite your best effort, you find yourself thinking about when you should be concentrating on anything but. The type that seem to have a life and existence of their own, and won't quiet until they are committed to paper. I've heard various artisans talk about similar methods with their mediums, ranging from paint to stone. So I don't feel so odd when I view a story in that context.

That's not to say that all one has to do is sit at the computer or pen in hand and type or write away until all is completed. How sweet would that be? I've spent the most time and effort on this piece than any other one before it, even projects (labors of love and pets) that I've been writing on longer.

I think, though, that this one is different because of the amount of time and effort I've put into the crafting of it. I've felt the most professional with this one. And I think that it's given me good ideas and work ethic to go got back and blow the dust off of all the other stories that didn't have such a demanding nature.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Is there something wrong with my brain?

Okay, no one that knows me gets to answer that. But I have to admit, sometimes I wonder. There are many points in my daily life that give credence to my theory, but today had to be one of the most shining examples.

I had to get up at six this morning so that I could make the hour drive over to my neurologist to have a VER (visual evoked response) test. Basically, I sat in a dark little room with a bunch of electrodes glued to my head and watched a little dot in the middle of a black and white checkerboard patterned television screen. The electrodes recorded brainwaves as my eyes did or did not do whatever they did. And instead of thinking about the test, I'm sitting in that little room pondering all the things that could possibly be gleaned from those lovely little brainwaves (and yes, there was brain activity, for those who are feeling a wee bit snarky). If the tech were adept enough at interpreting them, could she have translated the data into what I thought, how I felt? The thing lasted for forty five minutes, and that's all that I could think about. And for some reason I found myself thinking about a scenario with similar equipment and all sorts of fun dystopic shenanigans.

As more time passes, I find my mind taking on these little excursions. Considering the goal I'm working to reach, I really don't think that the rampant and pinball-like imagination is a bad thing, just takes a little bit to get used to, I guess. Now if I can only harness it more reliably.