An (early) quick six!

1. The blog appears to be back to normal, thank goodness, although I now have the urge to redecorate the whole thing.

2.  I will not be home all day on Saturday, which is why the blog is posting early.  And when I say not home, I mean I will leave the house at five in the morning and will not be back until two o'clock the next morning.

3.  What am I doing?  Work. Hanging out with a friend and helping her with her costume. Going to a local play about Dracula.  Attending the midnight write-in for National Novel Writing Month.  In short, many things, none of which take place at my house.

4. Also, hopefully, there will be a nap.

5. I'm going to try to got to bed early tonight (Fri) so that I will not be short of sleep tomorrow. I've been rather unsuccessful lately at early bedtimes, but I'm going to try VERY hard tonight.  With everything going on, I could be up almost twenty-four hours straight.

6.  Did I mention I'm really hoping for a nap tomorrow?

Have a great weekend!

Please bear with the mess.

It appears that the template I'm using for my blog is no longer acessing its background photos. 

*taps fingers on desk*

It could just be a temporary server issue, but if not, I'm going to have to do a little reconstrutive surgery over the next few days.


So please forgive the blinding white background and read the post below anyway.

I'll try to have this fixed by Saturday.  Thank you for your patience.

Please read this.

I did not write the following post, though I wish I had.  But since I read the original-- almost a year ago--I have never forgotten it.

Now, as some of us are counting down the days until November and some of us are in the middle of rewrites and deadlines, I'd like to take a moment.  A short space in time.  A deep breath.

And remind us all why we write.

Somewhere, there is a woman, sitting in a room, three days past a rape. Her bruises are turning purple and in a few more days, they're going to be that greenish hue of ghouls. She hasn't looked in a mirror, yet, but the swelling is starting to abate, and she can open her jaw without the execrable pain. The screaming is almost entirely in her head, now. The stitches hurting her remind her she's alive and she's not really sure why people keep telling her that, as if that's a good thing. She's not sure she wants to be. There's been just enough time to get past the initial shock, the stunned chaotic business of having lost any sense of strength in the face of the world. She has had just enough time to be processed, and there should be a stamp for her forehead: file # 56449A221.

Oh, people have been caring. They have been very professionally caring. All of the people, scads of them. They have been very careful not to touch her or move too fast. Everyone is diligent about addressing her respectfully, using her name, always making sure she feels like an individual. She can see it, see in their eyes how she is now different. The opposite of the person on the other side of the desk, where there are things like strength and weapons and confidence.

And right now, she is finally alone, though the moat around her has turned into an ocean, and the screaming, it just keeps on coming. For a few minutes, not having to deal with anyone else is good. A relief. But then there is the silence, and in the silence, it all happens again. She cannot close her eyes, because it's all happening. Again. She cannot talk to someone, because the screaming will break free. Or the tears. Either may kill her.

She needs. Needs. To be somewhere else, other than here. Other than this thing she's become. Needs to be able to step outside of her skin for a little while. Maybe a long long time.

She's going to go to her bookcase and pick up something. Maybe it's something where the woman kicks someone's ass. Maybe it's one where the good guy wins. Or the DA is brilliant. Or the girl comes of age and has confidence. Whatever it is, she gets to step outside of the bruises and the cuts and the broken bones for a little while. She gets to live a different ending. A different beginning. Have a safe place to be. And somehow, maybe, have a little hope that this thing, too, will pass.

Write a story for her.


Somewhere, there is a man, sitting in a hospital room. His wife has cancer, and he's been there, every day, before and after work. Except now, he can be there full-time, since he's lost his job. He's spent days seeking help, trying to find a way to keep her there, to make sure she has the care she needs, when all of his benefits are gone. He's filled out more paperwork in this one week than he's done in a lifetime, and only barely understands half of what they've told him, if that.

He'll try to get a second mortgage for the house. Sell off the second car, trade his in for something cheaper. The savings--such as it is, there's not much with two kids--is gone. The retirement will go next, and that might last a month, at this rate. They don't qualify yet for any sort of Medicare or help. His sister is at his house, boxing up stuff to sell. Doing it while the kids are at school, so they don't see.

The screaming is almost entirely in his head, now. The anger, the rage, the helplessness. His wife's asleep, and sleep is so rare with the pain she's in, he can't risk turning on the TV. She's been in too much pain for him to leave the room, though.

He's lost. He sees it in the eyes of the nurses, sees it in the eyes of the administrator. The woman running the accounts payable office.  He's become this other thing, this person he doesn't know, and right now, for a little while, he needs. Needs. To be somewhere else but here. Someone else but him.

He'll slump down in the God-awful chair they have in the room, punching a pillow that one of the orderlies found for him, and he'll crack open that favorite paperback he grabbed on his way out the house this morning. For a little while, he gets to be a hero. He gets to fight crime or solve problems, save the world or save the girl. For a little while, he gets to have hope.

Write a story for him.

A lot of people in the industry are scared right now--things look bleak. If you're pushing through NaNoWriMo or that draft on deadline or beginning a new project, you may be at that part of the process where you're feeling exhausted--or scared to begin. Writer fatigue and fear are hard to combat in the face of a lot of bad news, and especially hard to slug it out when it looks like the possibility of selling is dwindling to nothing.

And this, ironically, is when we need story the most.

Story-telling has been around for millennia for a reason--we need to connect. We need to both transport somewhere other than our own daily circumstances and to connect to others, to know that someone out there understands us. Understands our fears, our desires. We need to escape, without physically abandoning our family and friends. Stories do that. We need the hope, the connection, the dream.

Write a story for us.

Originally posted at the Murderati blog on Nov 23, 2008.

Monday Snippits: National Novel Writing Month.

All right my lovely commentators-and-lurkers, I have a question!

What is your opinion on National Novel Writing Month? (Otherwise known as Nanowrimo, or Nano)

Do you think it's a great idea?

Are you skeptical?  ( EDIT: Chuck has a good point in the comments: while Nanowrimo didn't work for him, he does think it can be good for some people. It's just valuable to understand the commitment.)

Or somewhere in between?

Also, if you're doing Nano, why?  What do you hope to get out of it?

(I'm doing it for the kickstart. After five months of revisions, I need a serious boot in my arse to get writing new stuff again.  Also, I'm excited to connect with other writers in the area.)

What about you?

Awards, recommendations and things you didn't know about me.

Three quick things...

1.  If you have written or are writing a novel, you need to go visit Alexandra Sokoloff at The Dark Salon.  She is a screenwriter-turned-novelist with some great insights on how to build a compelling story.

This was the post that hooked me.

2. This is my song for the week, in fact it might be my song for the last few months.  Sometimes we just need to slow down and say. "I'm alive, I've got shoes on my feet and and a roof over my head.  Life is okay."

I'm Alive: Kenny Chesney with Dave Matthews:  (The actual music video is okay, but I prefer this one by spadecaller.)

3.  I got a blog award!

I got this from Amy, over at The Invisible Sister, a wonderful fellow writer who is also waiting for her first book to come out. The directions to this award are as follows...

Recipients-You are charged with completing certain guidelines once receiving this award.

1) Copy the pretty picture and post it on your blog.
2) Thank the person that gave it to you and link to their blog. (Thank you Amy!!!)
3) Write 7 things about yourself we don't know.
4) Choose 7 other bloggers you would like to pass the award to.
5) Link to those 7 other bloggers.
6) Notify your 7 bloggers.

Now for the hard part.  Seven things you don't know about me...

1.  I like fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

2.  My nightmares are usually about very deep water and very big fish

3.  I have a secret love of old Tom Swift Jr. books by Victor Appleton II and wish I had MORE of them.

4.  I went through a potboiler romance period in middle school/junior high.

5.  The year before I got my driver's license, I ran my parent's van into the back of the garage.

6.  My first real job was as an light industrial temp, where I soldered circuit boards on the swing shift from 4pm to 2am.

7.  I like to imagine that I'm stronger, faster and more dangerous than I am.

The easy part is finding seven super-creative blogs.  And my 7 nominees are...  (in no particular order)

1.  Joanne at Whole Latte Life, for her wonderful pictures and insightful questions.

2. Renee, at Midnight Meditations for her awesome Photoshop Fridays.

3. Jodie, whose Madame Bluestocking blog is currently running a very funny series of ABC cartoons (which Jodie created) about a misfit Viking named Klaufi.

4. April at Cafe of Dreams, because she makes ME look like a slow reader and because she not only reviews books but also has author interviews.

5.  PJ Hoover at Roots in Myth who just launched her second book and shares her good news and fun generously with the rest of us.

6. Winnie at Opera Buffo, partly because she's funny and partly because she has a Jim Butcher quote on her blog.

7.Beth at Writing it Out, because I want to be her blog when I grow up. :

See you on Monday!

A very MST3K blog

Hey all!  Just wanted to let you know that the blog will be rather light this week. I'm unplugging a bit to do more relax-type stuff.  Like walk, read, watch Mystery Science Theater, etc.

However, I leave you with some profound thoughts on family dinners.

See you Saturday!

No one ever told me that this is how I read.

Last month, I shared that, despite my love of the fantastic in all forms, I'd read far more mysteries than fantasies.  Imagine my surprise then, when I checked my Goodreads this week and found that fantasy is catching up!

As I was trying to figure out the reason for the upswing, I realized something.

I am an author-driven reader.

If I find an author I love, I want to read everything they've ever written. And when those books are in a great series, I'm in heaven.

The reason my mystery count has been so high is because mystery writers tend to write in longer series.  No trilogies or four book arcs here.  Mystery writers write into the double digits.

So when I get into a particular author, like Elizabeth Peters or Donna Andrews, before you know it I've read twelve mysteries in two weeks.

But my fantasy count is catching up, because my newest book-crush is the Harry Dresden series by Jim Butcher.  And there are a lot of them.  I'm also starting to re-read some Mercedes Lackey, who's written more books than I can even think of right now.

I always defined myself as a genre person: mystery, fantasy, etc.  And I do love them on principle.  But the truth is, part of the reason I love them is the sheer number of books that these great authors produce.

If I find a prolific author that I love, I will willingly read outside my genres for as long as it takes to read everything they have to offer.

This made me realize something else too.  The best way to hook a readers--to really create a lifelong fan--is to write MORE BOOKS.

Sure you can have one book that's a random success, driving you to the top of the bestseller list.  But if you don't write more books after that, reader excitement will wane.

It doesn't have to be a series, as my periodic Dean Koontz marathons show.  But it is a cold, hard fact that one of the best ways to hook an addicted, passionate reader like me isn't promotion or reviews or book tours or even being a bestseller.

The way to hook a reader like me is to write another book.  And another one. And then another one.

So how about you?  Are you an author driven reader too?

What my readers are reading.

Thank you everyone for your awesome participation in my September-as-Book-Month project!  And as promised, here's a rundown of what YOU read this month.  (including books you were just starting, or were next on your list to read)


- 206 Bones by Kathy Reichs
- A Bone from a Dry Sea by Peter Dickinson.
- A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
- Biggie by Voletta Wallace
- Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
- Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith
- Chrestomanci series by Diana Wynne Jones,
- Don't Sabotage Your Submission by Chris Roerden.
- Eternal by Cynthia Leitich Smith
- Oh. My. Gods. by Tera Lynn Childs
- Paper Towns by John Green
- Peeps by Scott Westerfeld
- Lonestar Secrets by Colleen Coble
- Rampant by Diana Peterfreund
- Red by Jack Ketchum-
- The Adventures of Slim & Howdy by Kix Brooks & Ronnie Dunn
- The Anatomy of Story by John Truby.
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
- The Bonesetter's Daughter by Amy Tan,
- The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
- The Divine Commodity by Skye Jethani
- The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery.
- The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers, 
- The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
- The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith.
- The Righteous Men by Sam Bourne
- The Third Option by Vince Flynn.
- The Way He Lived by Emily Wing-Smith
- Solstice Wood by Patricia McKillip
- Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell
- What is the What by Dave Eggars
- White Night by Jim Butcher
- Why Not Women by Cunningham and Hamilton


- a plethora of psychology textbooks
- Windows Small Business Server 2008 Administrator's Companion by Russel & Crawford
- Facebook,
- Google Analytics reports
- "my dismal bank balance count"
- "your blog"
- Log in/log out reports.
- And a script for a play called Daddy's Dyin' Whose got the Will?

Well, that's it for September! We now return you to your regularly scheduled mismash of writing, random funny-ness and all the things no one ever told me.
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Fabric art in the header by Carol Riggs.