Monthly Archives: April 2012

Good Effort, Misdirected

This morning I have egg on my face. It’s not like I can secretly wipe it off, slink away, and act like it never happened. Noooo. I actively solicited some of you to vote for a story segment I wrote.

After I started my writing campaign, I heard from JK Bradley. It seems I misunderstood his intention, though he admits that his description was subject to interpretation. He corrected the part that I misinterpreted. To make me feel better, I think, he gave me some positive feedback about the piece I wrote. (As did some of you — thanks from the bottom of my heart. x0x0)

It’s like I said in my bio: “Sometimes I’ll trip up. Other times I’ll make a big splash..” This time I tripped up, making a big splash — a whopping belly flop.

So, with that said, let me point you, especially if you have hit a dry spot in your writing, to The Bradley Chronicles, where JK Bradley is hosting a writing exercise to help stagnant writers to get back on track with writing. Check yesterday’s post for the link.

Thanks for loving me in spite of myself. The good news: my mistake yielded about 450 written words. Why is it, then,  I am having such trouble buckling down to real work on the novel?

Quotes from Reader 400Daystil40

All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible. ~ T.E. Lawrence

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us. ~ Albert Schweitzer

Great sentiments! I borrowed them from posts at


The Bradley Chronicles — I Need Your Help

Just what I need: another distraction. But this one didn’t take too long and I could whip it out in an hour or so. Besides, like the anthology, it’s a chance to get published. Sort of. Not the snobby-nose-in-the-air kind of publishing. Not the I-am-getting-paid kind either. But the vanity, self-publishing-for-free kind.

Here’s where I need you. I need you to vote for my submission in this little venture. I am submitting a segment to a longer story that is being written as we go. It’s like a progressive dinner, where the party-goers have cocktails at house #1, appetizers at house #2, salad at house #3, and so on.

The host blog for this never-ending story is The Bradley Chronicles. You can read about the details of the overall project here:

There has already been one segment selected and added to the original prompt. It is from this point that my submission, which you can read below, starts. I will be adding a comment at the end of the post at this link. If I understand how the contest is being conducted, it is on my comment where you will do the voting.  Please vote for me. This is for fun — not English composition class.

It was fun writing this. I had to go into my man brain. I ran the submission by my husband to see if what I wrote rang true (manspeak, shifting gears, and all things manly and unmanly that happen to the character). He gave it a pass. I hope you will, too, and vote for me. Please, please, please. (And if you submit a segment, let me know and I will vote for you.)

The voices in Jacob’s head chattered.

Jakey Boy, any plans you had to visit that cute redheaded bartender tonight are out the window if you do anything but get back in your car. Now.

You can’t do that! This guy is hurt. You’ve gotta help.

Are you kidding me? His face is all over the news. This smells like trouble. Move your ass now while you still have a chance.

Oh, god. Is that a gun in his hip pocket? No. Whoever beat him up wouldn’t leave him with a gun, would they? Why does he have a gun? If he has a gun, why is he beat up?

Are you fricking stupid? Run, you bastard. Run. Now.

Something in that last thought rang true to Jacob as the man’s eyes flew open, locking Jacob in his sights. Jacob felt ice form around his heart, threatening to shut off his blood flow. His face paled and his body drew into itself. Rather than follow his instinct to bolt, Jacob started backing slowly toward his car as he spoke. He watched for any movement from the man on the pavement.

“Hang in there, Buddy. I got a first aid kit in the back seat. Lemme get it.” He was walking faster now, backwards, as he continued. “You need to call somebody? Let me get my cell phone. You can call whoever you want to.”

The man was straightening out his legs and beginning to roll over to his stomach as Jacob turned and ran the last couple of feet to the car. He jumped behind the wheel, shoved the car in gear, and stomped the gas. He ducked his head, raking the gears, as he heard gunshots ring out behind him. The driver’s door swung loose. There was no time to pull it shut.

“Shit. Shit. Shit. Holy Jesus,” he muttered, concentrating on keeping his head low and putting as much distance as he could between the gunman and himself. He ran the Saab close to the red line before shifting. When he hit the first right hand curve, the driver’s door swung out, away from him.  Only then, did he dare to slide upward and check his rear view mirror. He saw nothing because the curve in the road obscured his would-be murderer from sight. As he grabbed the door handle and yanked the door shut, he felt his hand shaking. The shaking traveled up his arm to his shoulder, spreading on to his torso. His teeth started to ricochet off each other so violently, he thought the teeth would chip.

“Son of a bitch,” he shouted, glancing down. The front of his pants were wet, the warm dampness spreading across his lap and down between his legs.

I Turned Guilt into Cash

Maybe I have stumbled onto the best of both worlds.

If I am not writing (and I consider blogging to be writing, so yes this counts!), then I am likely to be on horseback or in the garden. This time of year, in the garden trumps horseback riding. April showers bring April, May, June weeds by the droves. It is a never-ending job to stay ahead of the growth spurt of greenery.

So what did I do to turn my guilt from time spent in the garden away from the keyboard into cash? I started a CSA —  a Community Supported Agriculture garden. I sold two shares in my garden for $1,000. Now I am getting paid to be distracted.

Yesterday I spoke to the cafe owner (where the local writer’s group meets) about buying fresh produce from me. She is amenable to the concept. Her assistant asked to be able to buy from me, too, for his own kitchen. Cool.

Writing Dialogue – Advice from a Pro

Give Brad Geagley his props: he has published multiple books and has professional Hollywood credits. So when someone who gets paid for doing what I dream about speaks, I listen.

Brad’s blog has a collection of several articles on writing how-to’s. I will be featuring a few over the coming weeks. The link today ties to his discussion on writing dialog. Below I’ve pasted a snippet of his opinion about the purpose dialog serves.


Dialog has three purposes in all the media I’ve mentioned –

  1. To reveal (or suggest) the nature of each character
  2. Provide the audience with essential information
  3. To advance the plot

And in a novel, there is a fourth task:

4.  Get into a character’s head and actually learn what he is thinking.

Read more here:

Getting Distracted – A Cure


Writer Brad Geagley discusses how he turns guilt into motivation when he has been playing hookey from writing.

Observation: The liquid libation distracting him (named in the post) would distract me, too. Especially on a day like today when I am home in bed feeling yucky.

Write Like Asparagus Grows

Tonight I am having asparagus for dinner, freshly picked from the garden. Asparagus is cultivated on purpose where I live. It is planted in prepared beds, where it sprouts year after year without any further ado. Even so, it is an expensive fresh vegetable in the grocery store.

In midwestern America, a friend tells me,  asparagus grows wild in ditches. Midwesterners go out with a pocket or paring knife and a large container, cutting the prolific shoots.  The bounty is hauled home, washed and steamed. There, no one pays for a vegetable that grows wild. No one plants it. There is no need.

Were this the midwest!

There isn’t much better — and better for you from a health point-of-view — than fresh asparagus. Recent studies show that asparagus has chemicals that inhibit cancer. It must be the same chemicals that make the eater’s urine smell funny after eating it.

Enough about health. It’s another attribute of asparagus I wish to chat about.

It grows with wild abandon. Once it is started, there is no holding it back. Each year, whether  Spring is early or late, asparagus sprouts and spreads. If you cut its shoots, it just sends up more. Profligacy is in its DNA.

As is asparagus, I want to be — wildly extravagant in my writing. I do not want to be a miser, hoarding words against some future day. Instead I want to cast my stories to the wind and see them take root. I want readers to take away what I have written to their homes, so that I am spurred to produce more.

This is my wish for myself.