Pantsing While Plodding Toward Publication

writing journeyI started writing over four-and-a-half years ago. I had an idea for a non-fiction book, a snarky take on Boulder women. If you’re not familiar with how to assemble a book proposal, non-fiction is skiing down a gentle slope compared to fiction where the writer must plod along the desert and climb craggy mountains with blown out tennis shoes and holes in their socks. I’ll get to that later. At that time, I only needed a query letter, a table of contents, and a few sample chapters. Continue reading

Getting My Creepy On!

Desiccated leaves, dismembered from branches, rot in the dying light and crunch like brittle bones under my boots. The wind whispers ghostly verses of songs sung long ago. Halloween is approaching. It’s time to get your creepy on.

“How do I do that?” you may ask. Sometimes eating candy corn and slaying a few pumpkins isn’t enough. Summerlike weather may defy the season or you feel like you’re too old for the holiday.

Watch thriller movies.

Freaky movies like Single White Female starring Bridget Fonda, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Steven Weber will get you in the mood. I twitched for hours afterward while sending quick glances over my shoulder. I half expected my husband, Danny, to come home with my identical haircut and color. It’s one of those movies where you want to shout, “Get out of the house, NOW! NO! DON’T GO DOWN IN THE BASEMENT! NOOOO!”

BONUS – It’s a great cardio work out without breaking a sweat.

single white female

Decorate indoors. 

Before I became obsessed with writing, I collected antiques on the weekends. Found objects are perfect for creepy Halloween decor. Old framed photos, black containers, and silver candlesticks highlight the season. Don’t polish the silver! The tarnish adds to the effect. I know. You’re welcome.

creepy Halloween decor

Sticky spider webs are not for me. I don’t want to find them months later. Instead, I use cheesecloth, cut the edges and rip holes by shredding it with my fingers. Continue reading

With or Without a Lover, This Valentine’s Day Is Yours!

Those without a loved one to share Valentine’s Day have more in common with the tradition of sending Valentine’s Day cards than those with a lover.

victorian-valentine-cupid

I thought the Victorians began the tradition with their sentimental, flowery, lacy, and cupid adorned cards:

The couple meets at a soiree where the fine lady’s heart beats like a caged canary. The gentleman wears gloves and even with them worries he’ll leave a thumbprint on the greeting card. He escorts her to a small chamber not far from the ballroom. Her cheeks flush with the touch of his warm hand on her back. It sends a thrill of which she is not accustomed. He pulls the declaration of love from his breast pocket and presents it with a bow. She smiles, rips it open and gasps when she sees two naked cupids complete with jiggly bits dancing in the sky. Underneath are the words “Be My Lover.” She drops the card and trounces from the room.

And that is when the gentleman became acquainted with the florist’s establishment around the corner which he frequented in years to come.

Cupids and heart Valentine

Sending cards began more than 400 years earlier with a French romantic poet, of course! It did not begin with the uptight Victorians, but the English had their part in history.

The French nobleman, Charles I de Valois, Duke of Orleans fought against the English and became trapped in his own armor. (How does that happen? “Help me! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!) In 1415, he took up residence as a prisoner in the Tower of London. Continue reading

It’s All About Passion

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My first banner seemed wild enough until summer arrived and the snow melted.

This week marks my 2nd blogiversary. First of all, I think it’s funny that bloggers are primarily writers and they can’t decide how to spell it. Is it with an i or an a? Google corrected it for me, so blogiversary it is.

I never thought I would be a writer. I am an artist and was a medical illustrator before becoming a full-time mom, but have always loved telling stories. Maybe it’s the Irish in me. After spinning one of my yarns almost three years ago, a friend of mine said, “You should really write these stories down.” Her words shocked me and a light bulb turned on in my head.

This happened at a time when I was often introduced to random strangers who asked, “What do you do?”

I never had a proper answer. I had been out of a job since my kids went to college and had been searching for a way to express myself.

You see, I had never really found my passion. I enjoyed creating through different mediums like illustrating, painting, gardening, cooking, decorating, and even sewing, but when thinking about turning any of these into a career, I would moan and groan and grumble. I enjoyed seeing the fruits of my labor, but didn’t enjoy the labor part of the experience.

I took my friend up on her idea. While outlining a snarky and satirical non-fiction book about women and life in Boulder, I plodded along. I was such a slow typist and changing anything was excruciating. Navigating the minefield of not being offensive to anyone while trying to avoid blowing up my relationships, took forever. It was hard enough to find the letters on my keyboard.

Then, I was told that no one would publish my book unless I started blogging to build a writer’s platform. I only knew blogging as a diary form of word vomit. I wasn’t that thrilled about journaling, but I read a few posts and realized I could choose my own focus – hence the Wild Ride!

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I loved this second banner, but I got bored, opted for vibrant color and cut off my hair.

When I started blogging here at WordPress in May of 2011, I could not figure out how to get views. Just when I was about to give up, I discovered the home page and realized tags were crucial to being visited. Remember, this is two years ago, way before WP created the Reader.

After writing blog posts for a couple of months, I reviewed my book proposal with anxiety. I found my voice and writing style right away since I write the way I speak, but the genre was wrong. I could feel it in my gut. Non-fiction is tricky. It involves real people, places and events. I had to be careful not to alienate any of them.

I was falling in love with fiction through writing 100 word flash on Fridays. The freedom of writing whatever I wanted allowed my vivid imagination to explore all kinds of exotic places and different types of characters, some of whom I admired, a few who made me laugh and others who came from nightmares and dark places in my mind. I loved this new creative medium.

Once I started, I couldn’t stop. I found my obsession and my passion.

I shelved my non-fiction project with a huge sigh of relief and had to choose which fictional idea to expand. Looking back, I could not have picked a wilder or more challenging story for my first book. What was I thinking?

I had to stop writing flash fiction on Fridays since the characters in my book would start partying down with the new ones in my flash and they would wreak havoc in my pea brain. I needed a split personality to deal with all of them and keep them separated. It was hard to stop writing 100 word fiction for my blog, but once I did, my book flowed.

Now my paranormal thriller is done and I am very excited about it!

Third try's a charm

Looking back on the last two years, my blog has changed how I define myself, the stories I want to tell, and the focus of my life. I am in the throes of embarking on a writing career which is challenging, humbling and more exciting than anything I have ever experienced professionally.

I am looking forward to querying an agent and getting my story out there. Will I take a break? Hell no. I have eight more books I want to write. Two more in this series, three which took a back seat when I drew straws for which one to write first, a screenplay, a historical fiction, a compilation and that’s off the top of my head!

Now when someone asks me what I do, I have an answer.

Have you found your passion?

Leaping for Love, Lust and Lulu on Valentine’s Day

Along with bushy eyebrows, Lulu had been burdened with helicopter parents. She never had a moment alone with little Harold. They had dated for two years without a single kiss.

Towering over him had been a turnoff. Sitting down put him at ease.

Harold came a-calling on Valentine’s Day. Electricity shot between them the moment he entered the room. She had to have him.

the date 1 Continue reading

Gift or Curse? Flash Fiction

Cutting across the yard on the way to school had been a habit for Oscar. But today when he gazed at the caution tape across the old McAllister place, he shivered while memories niggled like dead flies waking up on a warm windowsill in winter. Continue reading

Bedtime Stories – 125 Word Flash

Kassandra slipped under the comforter. As she drifted off, a thought pulled her back. “Did I lock the back door? Oh, he’ll be home soon.” Continue reading