My Ghost Stories

Image courtesy of  Flickr/slworking2

Ghosties, and ghoulies and goblins galore,
Come All Hallows Eve to knock on your door.
Tricksters and treaters travel with care
For monsters abound so you better beware.

I love ghost stories. Let me rephrase that: I love “true” ghost stories. I love watching “Ghost Hunters,” “Ghost Adventures,” and “The Dead Files.”  In fact, I’m watching an episode of “Ghost Hunters” as I am writing this. I don’t know if I could go on a ghost hunt, but I have seen things that cannot be explained. Because of my interest in the paranormal, I am planning a series of books with a teenage heroine who investigates things that go bump in the night. I’m excited about that. So, I thought I would tell you my ghost stories on this Halloween. These stories are true.

 grew up in a  two story brick colonial house in a quiet neighborhood. It was a new subdivision, so our house was brand new. About two houses down on top of a hill was a family grave plot that dated back to the 1860’s-1870’s. The people who owned the property destroyed headstones and used the enclosed plot as a burn pit. We weren’t allowed to play with their kids.

When I was young, I woke up in the middle of the night. My bed was facing my closet and the door was open. I saw a pair of eyes staring at me. I was old enough to know what was real and what wasn’t. I closed my eyes, shook my head and opened my eyes again. They were still there. I closed my eyes again, shook my head and opened my eyes. The eyes were staring at me. I was terrified. I called out to my mom and dad. They came into my room and looked in the closet. Nothing was there – not even our cat. To this day, I will not sleep with my closet door open.

My sister has had a couple of experiences in that room as well. One of her stuffed animals rolled over by itself next to her. It creeped her out. Also, she had a dark figure bend over her. It was not a room we were comfortable staying in. Now, is this activity caused by the desecration of the grave plot by our neighbors? I don’t know.

Some people say animals don’t have souls, but I don’t believe that to be true. I believe animals have souls and can love just like people. We had an old tom cat. His name was Frisky. He looked just like the cat on the old Frisky’s commercial. He would go wandering for months at a time and my sisters and I would fantasize it was him on the commercials. We would wait for a while and we’d think Frisky wasn’t coming back and we’d get a new cat. Not long after we would get that new cat, Frisky would come home. When I was a teenager,  Frisky stayed gone for a long time. He came back beaten up. Scratches, patchy places where fur was torn out, and a torn ear. Not knowing any better at the time, my mom gave him some aspirin. We’re not sure whether or not it was his injuries or the aspirin, but Frisky died. He didn’t leave right away. I was in my room, (the room with the eyes) sitting on my bed, and I felt something  jump on my bed and walk around. I knew it was Frisky. This happened several times. My mom would hear a meow at the back door, and there would be nothing there. He stayed around for a couple of months, and then he crossed over the rainbow bridge. We never heard from him again.

Creepy house near my in-laws. I’m sure it’s probably haunted.
When my grandmother passed away, I was nervous about going to the funeral. My mother didn’t want my sisters and I to go to my grandfather’s funeral. We were young and my mother didn’t think we could handle it. My grandfather had lost his leg in World War II and had a prosthetic leg. He never wore it and after he died my grandmother never got rid of it. My grandmother had two twin beds in her room and one of my sisters or I had to sleep in that room with her. We hated it because that leg was in the closet. We were afraid it would come and chase us around the house. It never did, thank God. It didn’t stop us of from being afraid of it even as adults. 
When my grandmother died, I was getting ready for the funeral in that room. I was real nervous and sad. I had refused to go to the viewing.  I didn’t want to see my grandmother dead in her coffin. While I was getting dressed, I saw a figure out of the corner of my eye. It was a white mist and I felt a sense peace come over me. I finished getting dressed and was fine for the funeral. She had an open casket and that didn’t even bother me. Was that mist my grandmother coming to tell me everything was okay? Or maybe an angel watching over me. I don’t know.

Kennesaw Mountain shortly after Civil War
Before I got married, my friend Lori and I would go to a club in Kennesaw, GA to see one of our favorite bands. She knew the band members. Her husband used to play bass guitar with some of them before he passed away from cancer. To get home, we would take a road that cut through Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield Park. There was something in those woods. You could feel it. It was a weird, uncomfortable energy. It made you want to get out of that area as soon as possible. We felt as though we were being watched as we drove through the park. Lori swore she saw a soldier in the road. I didn’t see anything, for which I was grateful. because I probably would have wrecked my car. We didn’t drink, so our senses weren’t impaired.  Do the soldiers that fought that battle wander the woods at night? Are they reliving the battle? Who knows. All I know is I don’t like that road at night.

Finally, my most recent occurrence happened shortly after I got married. My husband’s uncle was very ill. We were basically waiting for his mom to call us and tell us he had passed away. One night, I woke up and looked out our window. Outside, near the cedar tree stood a figure in white. The next morning I got a call from his mother to say his uncle had passed away. To this day, I firmly believe that was an angel outside our house watching over us.

Those are my stories of the paranormal. They may not be very scary, but they are interesting occurrences in my life. They are inspiration for my stories. I am looking forward to getting to know G.W. Sanders, my new character, in my upcoming series.

I hope you enjoyed reading these tidbits and I hope you and your family have a safe and happy Halloween.

The Nomad Writer Finds a Home

(Kayelle, this is for you)
Yes, Loki, I should be writing. But where? Where is your writing space? I’m still working on mine. You would think I would have everything already setup, but nope. I’ve tried. I feel like a nomad in my own house. 
First, I decided to use the guest room for my “office.” There is not enough room for a desk, so I bought a tray table for my laptop and tried to write while sitting on the bed. That didn’t work. The summers are very uncomfortable on the second floor of my house. It can get to 80 degrees before the air turns on. We stay downstairs most of the time. Cooling a home in Georgia during the summer can be a pain. 
I couldn’t seem to find my “groove” while sitting on the bed trying to write. The cats would jump on me wanting attention. Closing the door didn’t help. They would scratch on it until I let them in. Then jump on the bed meowing at me, wanting more attention. Good grief! The funny thing is, when I told my children that I needed to work and don’t call me unless someone was hurt, bleeding, or dead, they listened. My husband on the other hand…..(I love you honey!) The guest room was out.
From Wikimedia Commons
I thought about the basement. It is cool in the summer. Koko, our Himalayan, loves the basement. I didn’t think he would bother me. O.C., short for Oatmeal Cookie, hates the basement and refuses to go there.  But I have two problems. Number one – it’s not a finished basement. Number two – spiders (This probably should be the one and only). Yes, I said spiders. I hate spiders. My mother would always feel the need to show me the big web with that big spider right smack-dab in the middle of it. I’d jump, she’d laugh. I’d roll my eyes and walk away. Looking up spider pictures for this post freaked me out. Once, I was working in my basement and a spider crawled out from underneath a box. It was big. It was black. It had red spots. Spider – 1 Lisa – 0. I was done for the day. What if a spider crawled on my laptop while I was working? EEEEEKKKK! Not no, but hell no!
So now, I’m set up in my den. It used to be the dining room, but whoever designed this house must not have had a dining room table. I have put a small desk against the wall between the windows. I can close the door to the kitchen. I’ve moved some stuff around to create a more open space. I have a white board on the wall to help work out my plot problems. It’s all good. I still need to do a little de-cluttering, but I can write here. I like it here. I can look out the window. Set up my speakers to listen to music if I choose. I don’t have to untangle myself to get to the bathroom, or deal with spiders. I’m good here.
This is my area. Nothing fancy. The cats have played with the blinds way too often and I have to stop Koko from walking on my laptop. Sixteen pounds of cat is not good for it. But it’s my space. And I like it a lot. 
So what does your space look like? What things do you have to have for a comfy cozy writing space? What makes it yours? 
Share your space and Happy Writing!

Drop And Give Me 20!

https://www.flickr.com/photos/soldiersmediacenter/

My daughter’s ELA class, formally known as English to us old folks, does an exercise on Thursdays called “Drop and give me 20.” The teacher puts a writing prompt on board and the kids write for twenty minutes. This is my daughter’s favorite part of class. She’s ten going on 40, so you never know what she will come up with.  She loves to write and draw. I can see great things in her future.

When I was in high school I took a creative writing class, and we did the same thing, We had writing prompts. I always came up with some totally off the wall stories for my assignments. We were assigned a picnic scene, I wrote about ants. We were to write about a dark room. I wrote a ghost story with a twist. I couldn’t write a normal story. My teacher loved them.

So, fast forward to my wonderful writing group. We had a writing prompt for an assignment. We were to post a picture and each member of the group was to choose one, write 500 words, and send it out for critique. We would meet Saturday and discuss our work. This was my picture.
Courtesy Flickr Adam Ross 
My five hundred words turned into three thousand. It would have been more, 

but it was getting longer that I had intended, and I needed to finish.  I apologized to my group for being so wordy, but I was told not to apologize. When the muse hits you gotta run with it. The story went over well. Everyone loved it, but the most important thing is that I loved writing it. It was so much fun.

Writing prompts are about stretching your imagination outside your comfort zone to see what you can do. Sometimes it’s a bunch of crap, but most of the time something wonderful will come come out. 
My group is encouraging me to publish the peep story. It’s a detective story, with the main character being named Phillipa Marlowmellow. I may just do that. We’ll see. 
I encourage everyone to do writing prompts. Stretch yourself. See what happens. You will have a lot of fun. Now, drop and give me 20!

Evolution Of A Writer Part 2.1 FEAR

I forgot a major item from my last evolutionary update. Fear. Yep, fear is a big item for me. Fear of success. Fear of failure. Fear of not having anymore stories in me. It’s all there ready to trip me up at a moments notice.

I remember the day I published Fat Farm. I had originally done the story as an e-book. I sat at the table with my laptop and stared at the screen wishing my hand would move on its own and push the “publish” button. I had butterflies in my stomach and I wasn’t sure what to do. I took a deep  breath and pushed that button. I think I had an anxiety attack that lasted a week.

Did the fear go away? Hello no. I decided to do the book as a print-on demand as well. I felt the fear, anxiety, butterflies, and a bit of nausea when I pushed that button. The same when I did my give-away in June. I sat and stared at that button before I moved my mouse over it and pressed “OK.”

I’m working on my new book, The Insignificant Amy Dodd, and every time I send pages to my critique group, I’m anxious. I know that when I send it to an editor I will feel physically ill. And I know when I press that “publish” button the next time, butterflies and nausea will right there.

Sometimes I think there is a fear of what we, or should I say I, write. We had an exercise in my writing group and the subject was betrayal. I didn’t want to write about being betrayed by lovers, friends and family. I wanted to write something different. An idea came to me and I wrote my piece. I was afraid to read it to the group. What would they think? Would it offend anyone? I like these people. I didn’t want to offend anyone. I didn’t need to worry. I don’t know if everyone liked it, but I got feedback on what to improve. No judgement on anything else.

I’ve wanted to post the piece on my blog for a while. I think it’s a good piece. I like it. I think it’s worth sharing, but as with the group, I am afraid. What if someone got mad. What if…What if… I’ve decided that I can’t worry about the “what if’s” anymore. There’s a reason a story needs to be told and I can’t worry about offending anyone. Not everyone is going to like it. Not everyone liked Fat Farm. Not everyone is going to like The Insignificant Amy Dodd and that’s okay. So, this is now my “No Fear Zone.” Am I still going to be afraid? Probably. Am I going to let it hold me back on what I write and publish? No it’s not. So the first step is to post my piece. If you would like to read Betrayal, then read on.

Devastation. Brokenness. Destruction. Pain. All this because of one. His heart ached. The pain was unbearable. It had to stop. He was waiting.
His body tensed as Michael brought the prisoner before the throne. “You betrayed me.” His eyes met those of the traitor. His voice cracked.  “Why?”
The prisoner struggled against Michael’s grip. “Why?” He stopped moving for a moment, his chin held high. “You have the gall to ask me that?”
“Let him go, Michael.” Michael released the betrayer and stepped back.  “I made you…”
“For what?” He crossed him arms and stood ramrod straight. “Your amusement? To be your little pet?” He gestured to Michael and the rest of the gathered crowd. “Yes, you created us. But we’re not like you. Why not? Are we not your favorite creations? Do you really love those creatures on earth more than us? Are you afraid?”
“Enough!” Elohim jumped up from his throne and walked down the six steps toward Lucifer. “You were my favorite. I gave you everything!” Elohim eyes were cold. He shoved Lucifer. His voice low and tense. “You betrayed me.” He pulled his arm back, his hand in a fist.  “I should kill you! Scatter your ashes to the firmament then raise you up and kill you again! The crowd gasped. “I should…” Elohim dropped his arm to his side, shoulders slumped. “But I can’t. You are my creation. I love you.”  Elohim put his hands on Lucifer’s shoulders. “You betrayed me, but I still love you.” Elohim let Lucifer go.  “Your hunger for power started a war. A war that has killed many. That is unforgivable.”
Lucifer sneered. “Not killing me will be your downfall.” He started toward Elohim. Michael stopped him. “Do you really think you can stop me? My army will rise once again and we will have the power you deny us. We will be gods!”
Elohim climbed the steps to his throne, sat down his heart breaking. “No you won’t. You and yours will be punished.” Tears filled Elohim’s eyes. “Your pride and lust for power has damned you and your army.” He turned away from Lucifer. “Michael, take Lucifer and his followers and throw them out of this place. They are banished, never to return.”  A single tear rolled down Elohim’s face.
“This is not finished!” Lucifer struggled as Michael dragged him away. “Paradise will be mine! Earth will be mine!” The doors slammed shut. All was silent.

Be fearless in your writing. I know I am.

Evolution Of A Writer – Part two

Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit  451 is one of my favorite books. It’s a dystopian tale where books are banned and firefighters burn books instead of put out fires. It is a complex, socially profound piece of work. It was written during the McCarthy Era when Americans were questioned and accused of being communists. It was a terrible time in our history. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. Where am I going with this? Be true to yourself in your creations.

Mr. Bradbury wrote a story that was harsh, sad, and really didn’t have a “happily ever after” ending and it’s okay. It was the right ending.  Fat Farm is another dystopian tale that doesn’t have a “happily ever after” ending, but it has the right ending for that story.  Am I comparing my work to Ray Bradbury’s? Certainly not.  So what does this have to do with my evolution? Write what is right.

I learned a very important lesson on my journey to become a good writer. Don’t be afraid of your story. My current project, The Insignificant Amy Dodd, is a hard story to write. I want it to be good. Actually, I want it to be extraordinary. I know what my expectations of the story are, but can I reach them? Did I set the bar to high? I belong to a wonderful critique/writing group. We get together every Saturday to hone our craft, and on Tuesdays to critique our projects. The critiques of my work have been extremely helpful and thought provoking, and will help this story be the best it can be. So, what have I learned from my wonderful group of friends?

https://www.flickr.com/photos/alancleaver/4460976042/
  1. Don’t protect your characters. Let them live in your story. My current project involves a character who is being bullied. My friends brought to my attention that I might be protecting her. I thought, really? But once I thought about it, I was. I don’t want her to get hurt, but this is a redemption story and she has to rise above the pain. I see some major rewrites in my future, but it will make the story so much better.
  2. Give yourself permission to write. I thought I was doing that, but I realized maybe not. I have two children and am a stay-at-home mom. I have a lot on my plate. I grab time to write instead of taking the time to write.I’m learning to tune out my children and just write. My children are 10 and 11, so they don’t have to be micromanaged at this point. And school starts in two weeks. Yay!
  3. It’s okay to write a crappy first draft. This is probably the most important lesson. I want my story to be perfect the first go-around. It’s not and I’m going to have to face that. I’m a perfectionists in many areas of my life. (I wish housekeeping was on of them.) I want to be perfect the first time I try anything, It has taken me a long time to realize it’s not going to happen, but it is something I struggle with every day. So, I will write my crappy first draft, have my friends critique it, and make it a great story.
Writing is hard. The work that goes into your creation, the time, the development of characters, the world building is nerve wracking and wonderful. We get to go on any adventure we want. We learn from our characters and maybe become someone better. Amy is teaching me a lot about myself that I’m not sure I want to know, but it is all good. And that is what matters.

I do have a mailing list. Please sign up. 🙂

The Insignificant Amy Dodd – Creation Mode

Have you ever wondered what would happen if the voices in your head became real? I’m not talking about schizophrenia. I’m talking about “self talk.” You know when  you do something stupid, and you say to yourself, “Oh, you idiot,” whether out loud or in your head. Have your ever had arguments with yourself? Amy does. And sometimes they argue back.

Amarie (Amy) Dodd is a seventeen year old high school senior. She is not happy with her life. She feels as though she has no control over her world. She tries her best, but it never seems good enough. She has issues with her mother, (what teenager doesn’t) but the issues are a bit more complicated. She lost her best friend, who now bullies her, but most of all she’s fighting herself.

Amy is an artist. She loves to paint. I found this painting on Deviant Art by an artist whose login  is Lady Echo. I really like this picture. This is the closest to Amy’s style that I could find. Ethereal, calming. A painting that takes you someplace else. 
My characters talk to me and Amy was shouting at me to write her story. It was consuming my thoughts, so I put my other project to the side to work on this one. My goal is to have this one out by the first of next year. I’m sure the writing will go faster once my kids are back at school.  Right now, they want to spend time with me – for some odd reason. Probably so I will take them to the pool. 🙂  I will update you soon. 
Take care and have a blessed day.

The Writer and the Musician

I love music. When I was young I read an article in Omni Magazine that stayed with me. The article said, if one puts their DNA to music, it makes perfect musical sense. I used to joke saying that’s why I had music in my head all the time.Well, someone did put DNA to music.

 I am a Lay Speaker at my church and during Laity Sunday I was doing my message on how God is hardwired into us. I did a little research and found this article: 


http://www.theguardian.com/music/2010/jun/24/dna-genome-music-michael-zev-gordon.

It was very interesting. These people were doing a study on singers and non-singers to see if anything in their DNA made a difference. It did. They hired a composer to take the singers’ DNA and put it to music. Then I heard the musical piece:

http://www.musicfromthegenome.org.uk/. 

Wow! These people were singing their own genetic code –  their DNA.  I was blown away.  I was fascinated. I shared this in my message and got a lot of weird looks. I don’t think it was one of my better messages. I’m such a geek.

So are we hardwired to be writers? I would like to think so. I believe we are made to be creative. When I think of all that God has created, and we are made in His image, then it stands to reason that we would be creative as well. It makes me happy to be creative. 

I like music. Most music. I can appreciate rap for the poetry, but don’t really like it musically.  I’m not much into country. I like some of it, but when it gets to twangy, my poor little head wants to explode. I listen to anything from Vivaldi to Linkin Park, Third Day to Squirrel Nut Zippers.I have to be careful with Berlioz. His music can give me nightmares.

I love the way music can tell a story. The rhythm and melodies take us on a journey. Some songs are happy, some sad, some angry, and some songs make you laugh.  “The Motorcycle Song” by Arlo Guthrie makes me smile. My kids and I sing at the top of our lungs when I play that one. “Home” by Mercy Me makes me cry almost every time I hear it. That song reminds me of my father, who passed away several years ago. 

Isn’t that what we writers do? Don’t we take our readers on a journey? Our words are the rhythms and melodies of a song. Our stories weave through our readers’ imagination like the crescendos and decrescendos of a musical piece. The percussion and crash of symbols during a tense scene that comes to an end. The soft, gentle lyrics encouraging our readers to continue with our hero or heroine, and cheer them on until the very end. To the fermata that holds out that final note as our story comes to a close. We hope our readers feel satisfied at the end of our piece; happy with their journey and want to go again. Isn’t that our goal as a writer? I know that is mine. 

When I joined the choir at church several years ago, I entertained the thought I could sing. Well I can sing, as long as I have someone next to me singing the correct note.I can read music, but I don’t know what the notes sound like off the top of my head. If I’m singing and the note goes up or down a step or half step, I may go to high or to low. I was disappointed in myself because I couldn’t do it.  One evening after practice I was feeling a bit sorry for myself and these words flowed into my head.

                A poet and a musician sat under a tree. The poet looked up and prayed, “God, please give me the gift of music so I can sing to your glory.”
Kitty Blue

                And God said, “You have it.”

                The musician looked up to Heaven and prayed, “Father, please give me the gift of Poetry, so I can write beautiful words praising you.”
                And God said, “You have it.”
                The poet and the musician were excited.  Each had to try their new gifts. The musician sat to write and the poet began to sing. Each was dismayed. They looked up to God and said, “Nothing’s changed.”
                God smiled. “Each of you has always had the gift.” He looked at the poet. “Your words bring music to the heart.” He looked at the musician. “Your songs are poetry to the soul. Share them.”
                The poet and the musician smiled and thanked God for their gifts. Together they sat and sang songs of the heart, and composed poetry for the soul.

Writing is coded in our DNA just like music. Our need to tell our stories in encoded deep our souls. Lets go write those stories and take our readers on a wonderful trip.


Insomnia and the Easter Bunny

I have trouble sleeping. Sometimes it’s God trying to get my attention, because that’s when everything is quiet in my house.  Sometimes it’s just the worries of the day. You know things like kids, money, husband, money, laundry, money…you get the idea. Other times it’s story ideas. Sometimes I have scenes from a story that I’m working on and need to fix. Sometimes I have conversations in my head with my characters. (Yes, I’m sane. I promise, although my mother never had me tested.) Sometimes it’s just scenes and snippets that I need to write down and save for later. Hence, the paper and pencil I always have beside my bed. I have to be very careful. If someone says something like, “You should so totally write about this…,” and it piques my interest, I’m in for one long night.

That’s kind of what happened Monday night. We were out of town for the weekend to spend Easter with my in-laws. The family has a mini-family reunion with an Easter egg hunt for the kids. After the eggs have been found, we sit around converse, eat boiled eggs and junk food. It’s loads of fun, except when your daughter gets car sick on the way home. You get the picture.

So this particular weekend I missed my writers group meeting. I knew the creative exercise was to write a conflict scene. That particular thought ran through my mind and subconscious all weekend. I had pen and paper with me, so if anything came to mind I could write it down. We came home Sunday evening. It was too busy to do anything but get unpacked, and the kids ready for school Monday morning. So Sunday night I slept, but Monday night is another story….here’s the result.


The Easter Bunny Conflict


                Lisa heard the door open, slam shut and the sound of footsteps in the hall. She looked up from her cross stitching expecting her husband to walk into the room. She was surprised to see her sister with her hands on her hips glowering at her like she had committed the most heinous crime. She got up off the couch to greet her.
                “How could you!” Her angry words slapped Lisa in the face.
                 She was confused. “Do what? I don’t what you are talking about.”
                Her sister, Lynn, shoved Lisa and she took a couple of steps back. “Oh you know what you did! Just admit it!”
                “I have no clue what the hell you are talking about.” Lynn was not the only one getting angry.
                Lynn shoved her again. “You killed the Easter Bunny!”
                Lisa was dumbfounded. “What?”
                “You know you did it! You killed the Easter Bunny!” Lynn started to shove her again, but Lisa grabbed her arm.
                “I did know such thing!” Appalled Lisa continued. “You know I would never ever do that. How could you think such a thing?
                Lynn wasn’t listening. She sniffed. “What’s that I smell?”
                “I made stew…”
                Lynn’s eyes widened and she looked at Lisa like she couldn’t believe this was her sister. “You made the Easter Bunny into a stew?” She stormed into the kitchen. Lisa followed. Lynn looked into the stew pot and turned a little green. “Seriously?”
                Lisa clenched her teeth. “I did not kill the Easter Bunny!”
                “I heard you say you did!” Lynn fired back.
                “When?”
                “When we were talking while I was driving on my way home.” Lynn paced back and forth.  “I heard killed, then I heard Bunny. I turned right around and came straight here.”
                “You thought I said Easter Bunny?” This time Lisa shoved Lynn. She lost her balance and fell into a chair. “Are you insane?” Lisa towered over her sister. “You know if I had to kill my own food I’d be a vegetarian!”
                “Then what’s cooking on the stove?”
                “Chicken stew! You idiot!”
                “Then what bunny did you kill?” Apparently Lynn was still not convinced. Lisa reached into the trash and pulled out a Blue Bunny ice cream container. Lynn blushed. “Oh.”
                “Yeah – oh.” Lisa threw the container back into the trash can. “I have more in the freezer. You want to help me kill it?”
                Lynn grinned and together they killed another bunny. The Blue Bunny chocolate chip cookie dough kind.
               

Evolution Of A Writer

I’ve been thinking about this topic for a while now. I’ve tried to write this entry for about two weeks. I just couldn’t seem to find the words for what I wanted to say. Kind of ironic don’t ya think. I still don’t have the words I want, but it’s time to write down my thoughts and feelings about this whole topic.

I’ve read other blogs and they are really, really, good. They are full of great information for writers and I have started following two of them. I’ve never followed a blogger before, but these two really spoke to me in their delivery of information. One is http://www.theloneliestplanet.com/.   Randy Ross and good information on marketing and is a fun read.  The other is http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/. I read Kristen Lamb’s post on editing and found it to be helpful and inspiring.  I would love to have a lovely blog like these, but I’m not there yet. I’m still learning.

Back in January I decided to be more intentional about my writing. I joined a writers group. They are a bunch of amazing people. I look forward to Saturday evenings when we meet, write, and converse. In the short time I’ve been with the group, I’ve learned so much. I look at the group as kind of like on-the-job training. I’m uncomfortable sharing my writing with the group, but how do you learn if you don’t share? The critiques and suggestions have been positive and helpful. The exercises we do are sometimes difficult because we write outside our genre and comfort zone. I feel like I grow into a better writer every time I participate.

I always thought I wanted to write my stories, put them out into the world and everything would be fine. I realized that I have to find people to read them, and that means I have to market them. I don’t know how to do that.  Kayelle Allen ((http://www.kayelleallen.com/) is an award winning romance writer. She is one of the founders of my group. Kayelle has helped me so much with the world of marketing. I’ve started wading into the this interesting and time consuming world. Sometimes I feel I work harder on the marketing than I do on my stories, but it has to be done. So now I have some of my marketing tools, a website, a twitter account, and a Facebook Author page. I’m trying to get on Goodreads. I did find my book in their database, so I decided to try their Author program. I hope to hear back from them soon.

Sometimes we think it’s glamorous and romantic being a “writer.” We watch “Castle” on television and rarely do we see him write, but he is having a lot of fun hanging out with the police department. He sometimes plays poker with his writer buddies. He is a wealthy. Has this great apartment, a house in the Hamptons and cool toys. He writes best sellers, has an agent and a publisher. Granted he is a fictional character, but isn’t that we aspire to be? A writer on the New York Times Best Seller list?
Don’t get me wrong, I love the show. I love it because of the characters and the stories. I love it because of the writing. The show normally tells a good story. And that’s what I want. To tell  good story.

I don’t need to be famous. I wouldn’t mind being wealthy. I wouldn’t even mind being on the Best Seller list, but what is most important is telling a good story. Being a writer is hard. It’s not glamorous. I sit at my computer and fill digital pages with words, hoping the words will spark the imagination of the reader and take them on a journey. It is lonely, frustrating, mind-boggling, hard work. But I love it. I love going on adventures with my characters. My characters get to do things I probably would never do, or get to do. Writing them takes me away to places I hope my readers get to experience. That in itself tends to blow my mind.

Evolution. As a writer I’m constantly learning and evolving. I learn from everyone and everything around me. I’m learning how I work best. Right now, I’m at my kitchen table writing this because I just can’t seem to get to my office. Life tends to get in the way.  “Improvise, adapt and overcome” should be a motto of a writer. We improvise when things get tough, we adapt to the situations we’re given, and we overcome any plot problems that may arise. I am evolving as a writer. I will continue to evolve as I learn and grow and maybe one day…one day I’ll be on that best seller list.

Finally…a Website and Other Stuff

Stuff. I like stuff. Stuff can be fun. Stuff can be cluttering. So what stuff am I talking about? Writing stuff. I now have my author Facebook page. I now have a Twitter account, and I now have a website. What other stuff do I need. I need a good story.

I’m not liking how Pete and Virgil is coming along. I’m now sure why. It doesn’t seem fun. Of course,  the adventure they are having is not really fun, but I thought there would be more comedy in the story. I want more comedy in the story. It’s just not there yet. I’m going to finish it, set it aside for a bit, and look at it again. I did that with Fat Farm. I started that story 20 different times in 20 different ways before I liked what I wrote. The whiney baby in me wants it to be right, right now. It’s going to take work and then I’ll like it.

I kind of want to work on Simon and the Sweet Pea Root now instead of Pete and Virgil. I have the original hard copy with all the edits and I’m transferring it onto my computer. I’m making even more changes as I go. I work on Pete and Virgil for a while, then I type some of Simon. Maybe they will both be ready at the same time. We’ll see.

See my head is cluttered with stuff! There are so many stories to tell that it is hard to focus on one. I can’t sleep at night because stories are floating around in my head. It’s great and awful at the same time. It seem that since I made the decision to be more focused on my writing and be more disciplined the stories are just pouring out. I just can’t type fast enough to get them all down. So for now, I’m telling my brain the stories will be told. All in good time.