Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Friendships important in my work

I'm revising my newest middle grade novel – “Will, Middle Name Trouble" – and as I was going through the edits from my bestie writing friend, Beth Vrabel, I came across this note.

 That is a perfect example of loyalty. Love it!

Beth’s note made me smile. It followed an exchange between boys that demonstrated the depth of their friendship. Beth has read every one of my novels and it seems that no matter who the target audience is (8- to 12-year-olds, teens or women) the novel contains strong friendships. It's something she always makes a note of. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Writers collect story material from real life

Sometimes, you hear something or see something and you just know that it will end up in one of your novels. Usually, I jot the tidbit down and stash the slip of paper inside a blue hanging folder labeled “story material.”

 A peek inside this file will reveal funny names I’ve come across for possible use in middle-grade stories (ie. Mr. Wormald, Mr. Weiner). Phrases that I’ve heard that might work in a young adult or adult novel (ie.whore heels) and so much more.

Here’s just some of what’s in the folder:

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Writers and journalists and the importance of details in our stories

I was working with one of my reporters yesterday on a story he’s writing about an 87-year-old farmer. Before starting his interviews, we talked about the various details to be aware of. We talked about all of the senses and how each one plays a role in bringing his story to life.

 We talked about physical details (i.e. Are his hands wrinkled? Freckled? Chapped? Calloused? Covered with sunspots the side of a pencil eraser? Is dirt embedded in his nails?) and details he might not think to collect. For example, I asked him the distance from the main road back the lane to the farmer’s house. I asked him what bordered all four sides of the farmer’s property. If you know me, then you know I love details and so you can imagine what our conversation was like.

So yesterday we met, trying to figure out the best lead to his story. He had a notebook full of wonderful details. And, yet, there were still some things I asked him that he hadn’t thought to collect. They weren’t the kind of details that make or break a story (or he would go back to get them) but they were details that elevate the story to the next level.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Excerpt from 'Will'

I promised to share excerpts from my newest middle grade novel; here is one. My heart breaks whenever I read parts like this. 


The only thing I remember about my dad is his tattoo. It was barbed wire and wrapped around his bicep. When I was little, I’d sit on his lap and trace the tattoo with my pudgy fingers. I remember the day as clear as ice he told me about the tattoo.  

“You like that, Will?” he said. He took another sip of beer. “Got that when I was in the Marines. Something to do. When you’re older, maybe you can get one just like it. Then we’ll match.”

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Meet Will Moran

When I started writing my newest middle grade, “Will, Middle Name Trouble,” I had already spent lots of time with my character. He had been in my head for awhile, keeping me awake at night or tagging along when I went for my daily run. 

I knew that Will was naughty but that he was also good. He acted out a lot in school because it made kids laugh and he got some attention, something he didn’t get at home. At home, he had to watch his 4-year-old twin sisters at night while his mom cleaned office buildings to pay the bills. His dad had fallen in love with the bottle and took off when Will was 6 and the twins were newborns. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Books I read while on vacation

Here are the books I read on vacation: 

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

White Cat (1st book in Curse Workers series) by Holly Black

Red Glove (2nd book in Curse Workers series) by Holly Black 

And I just bought the third book in the Curse Workers series, Black Heart 

So, what should I read next? Anyone have any suggestions? 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Vacation like reading a good book

The worse thing about vacation is the end. You wish it could go on forever.

It occurred to me how vacation is like reading a good book. You can’t wait to begin it and when you turn to the last page, you’re wishing for more.

So, I’m back from vacation (Drats!) but I’m looking forward to a great sequel, which is supposed to happen at the end of September when Hubs and I go on a cruise to Bermuda. So for now, it’s back to work – both as a journalist (by day) and as a writer (by night).

I’m heading down the homestretch of my newest middle grade, “Will, Middle Name Trouble.” I’m at that crucial moment when I’m weaving all of the threads together. I really like how this MG is turning out. I promise to share some snippets in the future.

I hope that you are well and that the ink is flowing effortlessly. 

QUOTABLE: Vacation is like a good book. You can’t wait to begin it and when it's over, you’re wishing for more.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Friday, August 3, 2012

Minute list: Olympics

We haven't done a minute list in forever. So, let's do one with an Olympics theme. You know the gig: I list 10 words and you choose a word (1 word) to describe it. Mine are in parentheses. Copy and paste list into comments and give it a shot.

Medal (shiny)
Race (tiring)
Team (jubliant)
Athlete (driven)
Torch (dancing)
Stadium (loud)
Flag (fluttering)
Coach (demanding)
Souvenir (glittery)
Bleacher (uncomfortable)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Write or Die app: Too weird even for a lazy ass like I can be

So sometimes I'm a lazy ass. There. I said it. Lazy, lazy, lazy ass.

I should write, but I'm lazy.

I should exercise, but I'm lazy.

I should make dinner so the kids eat something other than cereal, but I'm lazy.

Well, now there's help for the lazy writer ass in me. It's call the Write or Die app and it is designed to, well, make a lazy ass like me write -- or else!

Apparently this app is for writing first drafts. The idea is to get your words on paper, not edit as you go. If you stop writing, there are consequences. (Think horrible sound and vanishing words!) 

Sorry! Not gonna happen. I can't ignore my internal editor so I really don't think this app would work for me.

Have you tried this app? What are your thoughts?  Does it work?

And, most important of all, is it worth $9.99? 

Why do guys (sometimes) lie?

Why do guys always say what they think we want to hear and not what they really think?
For example, if I asked Hubs if I’m fat, he’ll say no. But I know that he really thinks: Well, you are getting a little porky around the middle but I’m not going to say anything or you’ll be mad and I won’t get any love forever and ever!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

I've been invited to numerous "Fifty Shades" sex toy parties

OK, so what’s with all the “Fifty Shades of Grey” sex toy parties? Seriously. I’ve received three invites to “Fifty Shades” themed parties in the last few weeks. Everyone seems to be getting into the act. No pun intended.

Now, I admit. I read the books. How could I not? I mean, I’m a writer and the trilogy has dominated the New York Times Bestseller list for more than 20 weeks. So, of course, I had to read them and see what all the excitement was about. To be honest, I wish I were making the kind of green the author is making off of “Grey.”

I imagine the business at sex toy shops (both online and brick and mortar stores) is booming. Not to mention the sales of rope, tape and ties at hardware stores. 

I was at the bookstore on Sunday and one clerk yelled to another, "Do we have 'Fifty Shades' in large print?" Of course, everyone standing in the vicinity turned to look at who was asking for the large print.

The whole time I was reading the book I kept thinking, God, I am so vanilla. I didn’t even know this stuff existed! Yeah, I know. I’m way naive. But geez, writers often write what they know and I couldn’t help wondering how much real-world experience the author had.

Anyway, what do you think of this phenom? Good? Bad? Indifferent? Have you gone to one of these parties?