Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My Entry For the Kia Sorento Ultimate Road Trip Sweepstakes"

This is in response to momlogic's challenge "If I could take my family on a road trip, where would we go and why." To get the link back to the sweepstakes just click on the title above or click here, momlogic's Kia Sorento Ultimate Road Trip Sweepstakes.

My ultimate road trip would be to take my son to Key West for his birthday. He's turning 16. He already has it mapped out and has picked out our hotel for the first night on the road. We live in extreme Northwest Florida. That's in the panhandle, where the state curves to the left on the map. We are only an hour from the Alabama border to our West. So, as you can see, we would have to travel the entire length of Florida to reach Key West. It would take us a good two days to get there, but; this is his dream. He wants to see the coral and the fish. He wants to snorkel and swim off the Key. I'm doing my best to work out a way to give him this trip. He deserves it. He's never asked me for anything like this before. I think it's time to get the car tuned up and make some reservations.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I Did it! I "Won" NaNoWriMo.

I've crossed that 50,000 mark for the second year in a row. I can't tell you how good it feels. It's going to feel even better if I can make something marketable out of what I've written. lol.

Create your own banner at!

Friday, November 6, 2009

NaNoWriMo Update

Here's a little update for anyone who may be interested. This is my word count widget. It updates automatically when I update my word count.

This is my new banner.

Create your own banner at!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Stuck at the 11th Hour

I'm stuck. I can't seem to even think about my novel. I need to outline what happens next and I haven't a clue. I know what happens in the end, but there's a large chunk of space in between the middle and the end that isn't accounted for. And NaNo starts in 2 days! Help!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Perpetual Non-exclusive Publication Rights

And the answer is, perpetual, non-exclusive publication rights. It is supposed to be only the winner's who give up these rights, but that is not the way the provision is currently worded. And until they upgrade it, I'm afraid I won't be entering this contest. Such a pity as I had worked so hard and come up with a pretty darn good story too. Even so, I don't think I would be too keen on giving perpetual rights to anyone, even if they are non-exclusive. It just doesn't "feel" like a wise thing to do.

Anyone Planning Anything Unusual to Prepare for NaNoWriMo?

I know Jennifer N. over at Gather is planning her snacks. . I'm just wondering if anyone else is planning for NaNowriMo in a Unique or Unusual way. Me? I'm going to empty my piggy bank and go get my nails manicured. Yep, you heard right. I'm going to have the lady cut them very short, then paint them so they will be strong. (I might even get a pedicure while I'm at it -lol) That way, I can type faster and my nails won't keep getting caught between the keys. Don't you just hate that? :-) Naturally, having pretty nails to will be a warm fuzzy bonus. lol. What are you doing?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I Won't Give You That - Publication Rights

Well I discovered something interesting today and I hope I can get it cleared up before Nov. 2. That's the deadline for the Writer's Digest Popular Fiction Awards. According to the official rules, the winners give Writer's Digest one time publication rights to their stories. However, at the end of the sign up process online, before you can submit your entry, there is a box that says you give perpetual non-exclusive publication rights to your story when you sign up. Now that's a big difference. I deleted my entry when I got to that point. I'm not giving anyone perpetual rights to my story. Also, it wasn't limited to just the winners. I hate stuff like this; it's enough to make you pull your hair out. Now with only 5 days to go, and one of them a Sunday, I had to send an email to Writer's Digest to try to get this worked out. What do you suppose my chances are of getting a response in time. There is a phone number, and I will call tomorrow, but, I need something in writing clarifying the error. It also doesn't make sense for those who mail their entries in to get one set of rules, and those who enter online to get another.

We'll see what happens. Wish me luck.

Monday, October 26, 2009

NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month

NaNoWriMo is in five days and I have managed to waste the entire morning twittering and commenting on other sites around the net. I've done my shopping for the day, checked my mail and driven my son to swimming. Now it's time to get down to business. I've got to get my first novel firmly in my head - no more living dead villains, lol. I want the sequel to flow naturally from the first book. The only way that is going to happen is if I'm back into the first book as much as possible. Working on that now. Can't help editing while I'm there though, darn it. Enough talk, it's all work for me from here on in today. Well, except maybe for a nap that is. :-). NaNo on!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Attention Published Authors

You can help U.S. troops and promote your books at the same time. To learn more about this program see How it works is you send your books to a military serviceman or woman and they get to enjoy reading it. Then they give it to someone else to enjoy. Your book gets passed from person to person and brings happiness to those posted so far away from their homes. It’s a great program. Everybody wins. Apparently romances and the like are not allowed, but other genre are welcomed. See the website for more details. Note: The mailing deadline has been extended. I just got an email from ODS and they still need 11 more people. They mailing deadline is now Friday, October 30, 2009. I hope you will check it out and participate if you can in this worthy cause.

Fall Back and NaNoWriMo

I just realized that we turn the clocks back 2 hours into NaNoWriMo this year - 2am November1, 2009. Isn't that a hoot?! Personally, I won't be starting right at 12:01am like many of my comrades, but it will still be nice to have that extra hour in the morning to work.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

NaNoWriMo Cover Art

Well, I've finally hit upon something I like. My model has given me the go ahead, so I'm posting it. NaNo is only 7 days away, I'm still outlining and I just realized one of my bad guys is already dead! Ha. Ha. Time to raise up another boogey. It's all in good fun. I certainly intend to have some.

Friday, October 23, 2009


I've got to tell you, this home schooling is definitely a challenge. First of all, I'm sure I'm not doing it right. Although there really are so many great sites on the web to help you. Second of all, I have to relearn algebra as I go along so I can teach it to my son. What kind of way to do thing is that? We have less than two months until the end of the term to get through, but I'm still sweatin it.

I'm also covering his health class that requires physical education. I have a plan for him. Unfortunately, the weather isn't cooperating and we don't have adequate indoor facilities. Wait! I could dig out that old total gym I bought years ago. It's still got all of the pieces. He could do a light workout on rainy days. That would certainly comply. Now all I have to do is teach him all of the required health related subjests, like health safety, all about the heart, depression, that sort of thing.

Still, algebra is my big bugaboo. I have to work out all of the problems before I give them to him so that I know I can help him out. Naturally we're about to get into some complicated funcions with polynomials. I'll be studying math while trying to write my NaNo novel. Wonderful!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Swine Flu Vaccine Will Come Too Late

The delays in the production of the H1N1 vaccine have been caused in part by its slow growth in the whites of chicken eggs, a purportedly out of date method for creating such vaccines. According to a study done by Purdue University, the virus will peak in mid-October, with 63% of the U.S. population getting the virus by the end of December. This is alarming not only because of the number of the people expected to become infected, but also because the doses of vaccine promised for October have not been delivered. There will be a partial delivery by mid-November with the remainder in December. Obviously this will be too late. Has the epidemic hit your area yet?

Here's a map showing the latest tracking statistics on the flu as of yesterday, October 21, 2009. You can keep zooming the map in to show your state and more information will pop up.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Balloon Boy Drama

Okay, enough is enough. These people are getting just what they want. Free publicity. You couldn't buy exposure this complete. Sometime down the road, maybe not for a while, they are going to profit from this despite the Colorado Law to the contrary.

I just want to say that these people are pathetic. What they did was childish and beyond irresponsible. And look at the mom. During one of the TV interviews she conveniently has a Tupperware for the kid to throw up in. What's up with that? And the dad just goes on talking like nothing is going on.

Then there's the older boy, name unknown, who said his brother, Falcon, was in the balloon. Why doesn't anyone question him after Falcon is found hiding in the attic? He obviously didn't see what he said he saw.

I think they deserve all of the charges that are being requested against them: conspiracy, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, attempting to influence a public servant and making a false report. That may seem harsh, but what they did was stupid and put a lot of other people at risk. They took away public services that might have been sorely needed elsewhere. There is no telling the actual damage they caused.

I truly hope they do not profit in any way from this fiasco, but I fear that at some point in the future they will.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Scientists in Greenland Study Ice Bubbles

There is ice in Greenland that contains tiny bubbles from a period in Earth's history, the Eemian Period, when the climate was about 5-9 degrees warmer than it is now. This period occurred about 130, 000 years ago. Scientists hope that by studying these bubbles, which contain ancient atmosphere, they will gain some insight into our own global warming scenario.

Currently, Greenland is losing a record amount of ice. In 2007, it lost 340 billion tons.
They hope the bubbles will also show how much ice Greenland lost during the Eemian Period. Apparently the sea level was 13 to 20 feet higher during that Period than it is now. When talking about sea levels rising, the scientists here are making their projections for the next 100 to 200 years. Still, our children and grandchildren would be affected by whatever happens with global warming. I know if sea levels rose that much now, I would definitely be out of a home. I don't even live on the coast.

I am amazed by the dedication and ingenuity of the scientists who go to places like Greenland. The research base here is well above the arctic circle. They have to have a special plane to fly them and all of their equipment in. Then they take core samples of the ice and study them tirelessly. Now, they have this ice from the Eemian Period, which is much closer to home as these things go. They will study these bubbles for any and all information to tell us what happened during that time that might impact our time. I am in awe. Of course I have a thing for scientists in general. lol.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Irish Aid Worker Freed In the Sudan

An Irishe girl who had gone to the Darfur region of Sudan with a group called GOAL was abducted 100 days ago on July 3, 2009 at gunpoint with her companion, Hilda Kawuki. The Irish government sent its jet to retrieve Sharon Commins who was released Saturday.

I'm glad they're going home. I can't imagine the courage it must have taken to enter that region in the first place. I don't know what to say about Darfur. It has gone on for so long and as usual it is the women and children who suffer the most. I don't understand a government that can allow, much less participate in the abuse and torture of its own citizens, civilians! In the face of all of that horror, I am truly thankful for this one simple mercy. I shudder to think of those who may not have made it home. The article merely says that it was a gang that abducted them, not what its affiliation may have been. The girls thanked the Sudanese government among others for their release, but I suppose I would have too under the circumstances.

Darfur is a region comprised of three states/territories in Sudan, a country in Africa along the border with Chad, another country in Africa. The conflict in Darfur has been going on since 2003. The death toll cannot be accurately measured due to all of those displaced who have died of malnutrition and disease, but it is measured in the hundreds of thousands.[1] I saw in one report that over two million people had lost their homes. Many people fled to Chad and when trouble began to escalate there, they fled back to Darfur. The people suffer murder and rape at the hands of the government as well as a government backed militia calling itself Janjiweed. This group was instrumental in the origins of the Danfur conflict as were the rebel groups the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army and the Justice and Equality Movement.[2]

[1] Wikipedia, War in Darfur

[2] Wikipedia, War in Darfur

The International Criminal Court, ICC, has issued warrants for Ahmad Muhammad Harun ("Ahmad Harun"), Former Minister of State for the Interior of the Government of Sudan; Minister of State for Humanitarian Affairs of Sudan.

Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman ("Ali Kushayb"), alleged leader of the Militia/Janjaweed.

And, Omar Hassan Ahmad Al Bashir , President of the Republic of Sudan since 16 October 1993. Warrant of arrest issued by Pre-Trial Chamber I 4 March 2009. Which of course, he has ignored and even flaunted.



The warrant of arrest for Al Bashir lists seven counts on the basis of his
individual criminal responsibility under Article 25(3)(a) of the Rome
Statute as an indirect (co) perpetrator including:

• five counts of crimes against humanity: murder - Article 7(1)(a);
extermination - Article 7(1)(b); forcible transfer - Article 7(1)(d); torture -
Article 7(1)(f); and rape - Article 7(1)(g);

• two counts of war crimes: intentionally directing attacks against a
civilian population as such or against individual civilians not taking part in
hostilities -Article 8(2)(e)(i); and pillaging - Article 8(2)(e)(v).

All perpetrators are still presently at large.[1]

However, today Bahr Idriss Abu Garda, a rebel leader charged with three war crimes alleged to have been committed during the Haskanita attack in 2007 has appeared before the ICC in The Hague in Netherlands.[2] While The Hague is the governmental center, Amsterdam is the Capitol of the Netherlands.[3]

[1] International Criminal Court
[2] TIMELINE: The International Criminal Court and Sudan
[3] Wikipedia

Sunday, October 18, 2009

African Children Denounced as Witches

I could barely make it though this article. I can't believe so much evil exists in this world. You can dress it up and call it religion - it's certainly not Christianity - but it's still pure evil. Those pastor's know what they are doing is wrong. Many of the parents do too. These are just church sanctioned abusers, many of them extracting money and gifts for their crimes. I feel sick that the Church has become so twisted in a place that can least afford or guard against it. I just feel sick.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Working Manuscript

Finally, I have a working manuscript of my second book. I plugged so many holes and rewrote half of the last quarter of the book. I added 10 pages! I've got 180, 000 words now. Whew! Now it's just a matter of edit, edit, edit, until it's as perfect as it's going to get. I may go back to my first book for a while first. I need to have it in my head quite solidly since I'm going to be writing the sequel soon. Good plan.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Navajo Code Talker Dies

William Varnell Oliver, a Navajo Code Talker died yesterday at the age of 88. He was one of the elite who helped to confuse the Japanese in World War II. Joe Shirley Jr., the Navajo Nation President ordered their flags flown at half mast for the next week.

It doesn't seem right to me that someone so important to the war effort should be allowed to pass away so quietly. True, he is no longer here to care, but his family is. He has a son, Lawrence Oliver, who deserves to be shown the respect his father earned. It seems that all of our heroes are being allowed to pass away without a sound.

Well here's my sound William Varnell Oliver. THANK YOU! Rest in Peace.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Working Title for New Book

Okay, so I have a working title for my new book, soon to be written during NaNoWriMo in November. Soul Jumpers II Blood Heat. I wish I could come up with a good enough name for my Romance novel. It's driving me batty. Also on the no go list is cover art for Soul Jumpers II. I've tried two covers and they aren't working one bit. I've got one more idea, but I'll have to do some traveling. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Freelance Finale II

Finally, I am finito! And the client seems pleased. That makes me happy. I always worry about that so much.

Now I can spend a little extra time editing my romance novel and outlining for NaNoWriMo. It's just around the corner. Yikes.

I need to hurry up and enter my Writer's Digest story before I miss that deadline. I am actually pretty excited about that. Of course my chances are pretty slim, but you just never know.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Mayans Say The World Will Not End On 2012

Contrary to popular hype and a popular movie coming out soon, Mayans, including archaeologist Jose Huchim, say the artifacts and information left behind to not point to such a conclusion. Sadly, some people are taking this newest end of the world scenario to heart and have become fearful, even young children. One poor child emailed a website run by Cornell University's Ann Martin, saying he was too young to die. Apparently he was not the only one. Martin's website is Curious About Astronomy? Ask An Astronomer.

Apparently there may be some science behind this fear. On December 12, 2012 , the sun will line up with the center of our milky way galaxy on a winter solstice, the lowest point in the horizon. Then the sun will appear to rise in the same spot where the bight center of the milky way galaxy sets. Some believe this will cause pole shifts or other major phenomena, while others think nothing will happen.

What do you think?

Saturday, October 10, 2009


NASA's LCROSS Mission certain gives us something to think about. With our space program in trouble, finding water on the moon could be just what we need to jump start it. I don't know about anyone else, but I think dismantling the space program would be a huge mistake. Apparently there were a lot of disappointed observers, but NASA seems pleased with the data it collected. We can only wait and see.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Plot Breakthrough

I just finished the first draft of my second book. I had some major plot holes and discrepancies, but I just had an epiphany. I know just how I'm going to make it work. All of the problems have just fallen into place like dominoes. Okay, there are still a few kinks to work out, but I have faith now that the major issue is resolved that I can smooth those out. The really cool thing is I get to add a whole new major scene to the book. That means more original writing. Yay! Time to go back up what I've already done. An extrememly important practice. I don't do it often enough as it is. When I wrote my first book, I'm sure I backed it up every day.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Publishers and Agents

Wow, this can be so confusing. I've been reading about them for some time this morning and I still don't really know that much. It does appear that most if not all of the major publishing houses won't accept a submission unless it's through an agent. There are alot of other publishers who will, but it's hard to know much about them, even if they have great websites. They certainly paint a bleak picture for first time authors.

And then there's that pesky Platform business popping up again. How does a fiction writer really get the kind of followers you need to qualify as a "platform"? I admit that I'm a bit lost when it comes to that whole concept. I mean, between freelancing and writing, I don't have a lot of time for playing around on the social networks. But I guess I'd better find it if I want to sell my book. The problem is, you can't print excerpts because some publishers don't go for that, so how do you get people interested in your book?

I was amazed at how much the agents took. They really take a bite out of whatever royalties you get, unless that percentage is just for the advance, but I doubt it. Yeouch!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Lizards and Other Housemates

I had a large lizard living in my house with me for about six weeks, maybe less. I let him/her be because they eat bugs. And he/she was big enough to eat big bugs. Everyday this lizard would make his rounds starting beside the refrigerator, behind it, then under my feet at my kitchen desk - he would always stop to look up at me - then he would continue on around the tile covered areas of the kitchen and breakfast room in one large loop. Once, he ventured into the den and startled my son who was working on his homework. I don't know where my lizard had gone, but I miss his daily routine. I've also had to spray for bugs and put out traps. More's the pity. He certainly was a lot of fun to have around.

One day, I was wearing pants with red splashes all over them. When he got under my desk and looked up at me, he got really scared and backed up under some notebooks and wouldn't come out until I left. Most of the time, I think he was just checking to make sure I wasn't going to chase him.

Maybe it was mating season and he'll come back with a whole family - Yikes!

Family - Cherish Them Now

Well, I missed another day. Guess I'm not so good at this. I went to see my 80 year old mother yesterday. She lives less than an hour away and I don't visit her nearly enough. She wanted to share some things that she's gotten on sale with me. She's so sweet. I know where I get my sale - o - holic tendencies. Of course these days, with the economy the way it is, if I don't already use something I don't keep the coupon just because it "might be" a good deal. I only get what I'm used to. If I get a discount, more's the better. I also shop at places that give you cash back, like CVS. I get my Rx's filled there too. Every so often you get a cash voucher to use on anything in the store, except Rx even though they did count toward your voucher. It's a great deal. But I digress.

My mom is a treasure. She is 80 and going strong. She takes care of herself, is perfectly with it and gets around fine. I pray that I'm doing so well at 80. I need to get my time with her in now because I think she will be leaving for an extended visit with my brother soon.

So, I didn't post yesterday. I'll post twice today. lol.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Freelance Finale I

I finally finished the chapter I was working on! Now I've got to get to the other book pronto. That chapter is going to be even more challenging I think. But first, I do have some housekeeping matters on the first book to make it print - ready. Also, I've got another job I've been neglecting that I need to do today. Work, work, work. Happy problems.

I hope you liked my little tip. I will have some more as time goes by. One thing I am definitely learning is that you can and must get free publicity for your book and you can do it yourself, without the help of an agent or publisher. Think on that and I'll have more for you soon.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Little Monsters : German Schoolchildren Hand out Euros

Did you see that in the news? Apparently a group of four German school children aged 10 to 13 found a dirty brown envelope full of money - about 15, 000 Euros ($22, 000) and passed it out to all of their friends on the playground. The trick is, the envelope also contained the Visa of the man who purportedly owned the money. The little monsters knew someone was looking for that money and they took it anyway. One child told the teaching staff. At least one had some sense of right and wrong. The really sad thing is that neither the police nor the teacher's pleas could recover the entire amount from the children.

Now that's haunting.

What happened to honesty, integrity, basic tenants of right and wrong? You see things like this all the time in the news, but when our children are involved like this, it's a real shock. Are we failing to teach them properly, or is it something more insidious that is a product of society as a whole?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Romance Novel Progress; Writing Contests

Well, I finally finished it. Talk about something haunting you. I couldn't find an ending for the longest time, but I think that I'm satisfied with this one. Of course I could change it as I edit and rewrite certain portions. Right now I've got 371 pages , but I have scenes that need work and plot holes to plug. You could say I have a lot of work still ahead of me. But that's okay. I still love my book and my characters and I want to be with them every day. lol.

I also finished my entry for The Writer's Digest Popular Fiction Awards. I just hope it's good enough. I still need to tighten it up a bit. But the ending is killer. Literally.

Now I have to prepare for the Short, Shorts competition and outline (yuck) my story for NaNoWriMo which starts November 1st. Lots to do. More importantly though I have two chapters to finish for a freelance job I took a few weeks ago. I'm making great progress on the first one. Hope to finish up today. Then on to the next.

Friday, October 2, 2009


This month's topic for NaBloPoMo is "Haunted". Here's a great badge they came up with to commemorate the season.

I missed yesterday's posting, but I hope that won't matter. I originally posted something controversial, then I thought better of it. That's not what my blog is about. It's about writing and writer's. So here's a tip, if you want to market your book for free, go to Pitch Rate. They match authors with reporters looking for experts or specific stories. Check it out.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Romance Novel:Progress; Writing Contests

I'm making great progress on my new novel. I'm on page 221 with 103,000 words so far and I still have two major plot arcs to go. I've gotten to where I can hardly stand not to be writing. Even now I'm raring to go. Just had to take some time to go to the grocery store and have some breakfast. Now it''s writing time. I'm obsessed I know. I may have another job to do also, so I'm going to have to write on my "off" time. I also need to work on my first Novel some more still. I have plenty of writing to do and when I finish this, there's NaNoWriMo coming up in November and I have to choose a story. I think I want to do a sequel to my first NaNo Novel. But I also have another story. However, I think it will be a longer book than 50,000 words. We'll have to see. The Be Your Art writing contest is coming up soon - deadline September 20, 2009 and I want to enter that, but I don't see that happening with my other writing commitments. I don't know, I could always try. The First prize is to have your own logo designed by Phine Art Designs and publication in North Shorian Magazine. The Second and Third prize is publication in North Shorian Magazine. Give it a try. Publication is a valuable prize and having your own logo could be priceless.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Writer's Block - Literally

I didn't get to write a word on my book yesterday and it nearly killed me! My son's computer was on the fritz and because he takes virtual classes, he had to use mine. I was a mess! I had to take notes in a little notebook about upcoming scenes just to get through the day. Today, as soon as I've dealt with my emails - yuck, I'm going to write til I drop. :-D. I can't wait, so I'm going to get to work.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

My New Book: A Romance: NaNoWriMo Sequel

As you know, I've started a new book, a romance, quite the jump from horror/thriller. I've got about 42,000 words and 85 pages so far. I'm pretty obsessed with it and spend all my free time writing and when I drive, I talk over scenes that I want to write. I'm really pretty psyched. As I told you, it's been in my head for years, but now new things are happening too which is fun and a little frustrating if it complicates my story line too much. It's complicated enough.

So, for NaNoWriMo I've decided to write the sequel to my first NaNo Novel. Won't that be fun. I'm going to start outlining as soon as I finish editing the first one. lol That's the update for now, but I have a new website for you to check out with some good tips and information on it. The Write Place.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Freelance Folly, New Books and Point of View

Well as you all know, I've been working on these two ebook deals. Unfortunately, I think I may have queered them by bringing up the broker in the context of the second deal. See, I get my work through a broker, and that broker has a contract with everyone who uses them, employer or employee, that if you make your contact through the broker, you use the broker for further jobs as well. So anyway, I haven't heard from them since. I hate that, don't you? You try to do what's right and you get nailed for it. This isn't the first time either. So, now it's back to the drawing board, gotta get some jobs.

I'm writing a new book while I'm still editing my first one. Crazy huh? But it's been in my head for years and I just couldn't wait any more. I hope I get the draft done before NaNoWriMo(National Novel Writing Month) in November. I have to come up with another novel idea - in each sense of the word - to write my NaNo book. The challenge is to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. That's really more like a Novella, but still. I did it last year, that's how I got my first novel and why I'm working so hard to edit it. I'm trying to expand it as well as make corrections etc. I want to add new scenes. I just don't know where to put them, the novel is pretty tight right now. However, there is some room at the end to do some work, so I can get in there and play.

Today I have an article for you on point of view. I hope it is of benefit. Enjoy!

Spare the Garlic
Billie Williams

Excerpt from Spice Up Your Writing: Write to Entice


When you write, spare the garlic. You can separate the garlic bulb into cloves. Each clove has the potential to distance your reader as its strength does not diminish merely because its size does. Therefore keep in mind each word, sentence, paragraph, chapter needs to be written with the reader in mind. Your reader wants no garlic between him and the characters in your book. (Unless of course your main character is a vampire – but that’s another story.)

Writing from the heart allows you to put some of yourself into your writing. I’m not suggesting using yourself as a character, though every character you write probably does have some element of you in it. Think of your characters as your children, off spring, your cloves separated from the parent garlic to be planted alone to become more of what they once were. The seed of what you want them to be.

Most all writing courses and many books on writing cover point of view. In the analogy of garlic to reader, point of view is their reaction to the amount of garlic you use. Point of view according to James Frey just refers to where the narrator stands in relation to the other characters and to the events in the story, i.e., who is holding the camera and the microphone. Are you standing close enough so that your reader needs to focus where you want him/her to?

For instance first person, the “I” as in Susan Isaacs Shining Through viewpoint limits the author’s ability as to how he can impart story knowledge to the reader, but it pulls the reader in close to the character that is the “I”. The reader begins to feel a closeness, a friendship with the character whereas the first person objective narrator holds the reader at arms length. Elizabeth George in Write Away uses an example from Ernest Hemingway’s Indian Camp as a sample of this type of narrator. Or you may look at Stephen King’s The Dead Zone for how this is done.
Both authors know how to use the first person objective narrator creating an aura of intrigue about a character or situation. This view point offers the reader the least degree of intimacy.
The objective Viewpoint remains outside the character at all times. Writing journalistically, like a reporter, like a cop on the beat, “just the facts ma’am”—the writer/narrator gives only the facts in this view point. This viewpoint gives up a portion of control over the readers as well as all attempts to manipulate him. Objective viewpoint offers the reader the least degree of intimacy as we said before. Its purpose is to keep readers at a distance from the story, to make them critical observers of the events.

Omniscient View Point: narrator is the one who knows, sees, and hears all with rather god-like authority. This narrator knows the inner workings of all the characters. This viewpoint gives the writer the freedom to explore everything and anything that supports the novel’s theme, furthers the plot, or reveals characters. These are the decided advantages of this point of view.
The omniscient narrator sounds like a story teller. Able to impart a sense of history behind his/her characters and at the same time revealing something about them such as what’s in their hearts or minds and gives the narrator more control over the story. Alice Hoffman’s book Second Nature is but one example of this type of narrator/viewpoint.

Then we have multiple Character Viewpoints: That is deciding to tell the story through one or more characters who are taking an active part in the story. Evan Marshall’s The Marshall Plan For Novel Writing shows you how to use this method effectively. In this view point you limit yourself to revealing only what your chosen viewpoint character would see, know, think, or feel in each scene in which he/she is participating. You can change viewpoint character when you change a scene if you wish, or a paragraph, but use care here to avoid head hoping. This does however; give you freedom to know more, to impart more to your reader.

Compare the single or the multiple viewpoint first person. In the first person, the narrator stays with one narrator throughout the story which gives the reader the opportunity to identify strongly with the character. It creates a sense of intimacy and adds to the authenticity of the novel.

Using the third person single viewpoint character, the narrator sees through the eyes of one character as he/she and all events are filtered through this single character’s consciousness. You write about the character, other than capturing his/her tone you do not adopt his persona or walk in his skin. The advantage of this narrator is that it invites the reader to become intimate with one character whose motivation can be thoroughly explored. The challenge of this viewpoint is he/she needs to be present in every scene for you to present it to your reader. If this character isn’t in a scene, you can’t present it to your reader.

A third person narrator flits like an invisible bird says Orson Scott Card in Characters and Viewpoint. “This narrator is a story teller, plain and simple; we ignore her and listen to the tale.”
Closeness implies an examination of the workings of the character’s mind. Distance implies an observation of his actions.

Points to remember
First Person – must reveal the narrator’s character – it is distance in time—tells the story looking backward.

Third Person—is distance in space—never a person who is actually there—always an invisible observer.

The omniscient narrator can tell more story and reveal more character in less time that it takes the limited third person narrator. That’s the greatest advantage.

Limited third person can’t let readers see as many different things in a short period of time, but it gives readers more intimacy, more up close and personal time.

The overwhelming majority of fiction today uses the limited third person narrator. Most readers read for the sake of story. They want to immerse themselves in the lives of the character, and for that purpose, limited third person is best combining flexibility of omniscient with the intensity of the first person.

To read some more examples of these two narrative viewpoints see the following:

1st person – The Last Film of Emile Vico, by Thomas Gavin

Omniscient – Unicorn Mountain, by Michael Bishop

Which, according to Orson Scott Card in his book Character and Viewpoint are some of the very best examples around.

1. Write a paragraph using the first person – the “I” narrator.

2. Re-write that paragraph turning it into one done by the omniscient view point narrator.

3. Re-write a second time this time using the limited third person narrator.

Can you see and feel the difference? Which feels more natural to you? It is good to experiment with writing in various view points. If you are stuck and a scene or story isn’t working very often if you switch viewpoint characters you will be able to continue probably creating a better narrative at the same time.
Now you can get all three of Billie's books – “Writing Wide: Exercises in Creative Writing,” “Spice Up Your Writing: Write to Entice,” and “Characters in Search of an Author” – as an instant download for a special discount. All the details are here:

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Still Writing

I've been writing so much those little muscles under my shoulder blades are hurting. But I'm not complaining. That friend I was telling you about put in a good word for me with an independent publisher and now he's going to look at my book! I'm floored. I'm also working my fingers to the bone to complete the revisions.

Now I've got a new job writing an ebook. It should start about the time I'm ready to show my book to the publisher, so the timing couldn't be better. I can't believe I've been hired to write another book though. It's amazing really. I know I can do it, but it's still a bit daunting.

I've started a new blog - A Serial Story by ArtAmbrosia - where I write a story in chapters, one each week. I should finish it in ten. Come check it out. So far it's pretty good. :-)

I'm sorry I have to dispense with the teaser that I promised you, but I don't know how the editor would feel about that. Some don't like it, do I'm taking the high road.

©2009 T.S. Witt

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Writing Again!

I've had two freelance jobs in the last week that have kept me hoppin' and writing! It's been great. The best part is I finally opened up that dusty file with my book in it and started editing again. I got so into it I forgot to eat and had to have cereal at like 10 PM. lol. Then I kept at it until I couldn't see the page any more. If I didn't have other work to do today, I'd be at it right now. I'd forgotten how much I love my characters, my people. They're so real to me. I hope that means they will be real to my readers too. I'm thinking of posting some teasers to see if anyone has anything to say about that. My friend and author of seven, soon to be eight novels, Jason Gehlert, used that method and it worked well for him. In fact, he posted one whole novel once - a chapter at a time as he wrote it. Isn't that cool? You can keep up with Jason and all his work at He's got a new novel just coming out called Europa: Rise of the Carnelians. You can find chapters and character bios on his website Jason was also insrumental in getting me through my writer's block. I don't think I put it in my 7 ways to beat writer's block, but talking with other writer's can really help to get you motivated in your own writing. Gotta go, lots of writing to do. Look for those teasers soon.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Heroes: NaBloPoMo

I met a woman on a forum just now who has had a very difficult life. Her 15 year old son who had ADHD and was constantly bullied, committed suicide. She was thereafter diagnosed with carpel tunnel syndrome in both hands and had to have painful surgery. Her father and mother who she cared for in their last years, wrote her out of the will inexplicably. Now she struggles with depression. But she wins. Every day she gets up and takes everything one step at a time, looking at the positive side of whatever might be facing her. Her hands still hurt, perhaps arthritis is setting in. But she doesn't let that stop her. Her victories are small ones to be sure. Getting out of bed, getting dressed, doing housework, finding a good doctor. But in the scheme of things they are really huge. With the darkness she faces every day, to find the little lights that enable her to more than just function, but to actually live, is miraculous. And throughout it all she maintains a strong belief in a positive outcome. She believes when others would fold. This woman is a true hero. She perseveres against incredible odds and wins. Right now they may be small victories, but I believe she is going to continue to grow and to win until she's beaten back the worst of her demons. I never had a doubt when I read her post to me that she was a true hero.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Writer's Block: A Test of My Creative Abilities

I've just been hired to write product reviews for a comparison shopping website. I've been asked to write articles about various products by discussing some of the benefits and unique features of the product. The problem is the products. Some of them are like, for example "a box of 250 Acco paperclips". Okay, that's not one of them, it's just an example. How do I write, creatively, 250-300 words about a paperclip? I mean, I could do it, but it would be fiction. So, needless to say, I'm struggling. I took this gig on a flat fee - big mistake. I have 10 articles to write and they're going to take way longer than I thought because so many of them deal with tech and I'll have to do research. Of course that helps with my word count. Talk about writer's block. A paperclip? Really.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

News: Obama and Medvedev, Hotdog Eating Contest, China Riots, Monorail Accident

Yesterday, the morning was just filled with all sorts of news. From Obama and his agreement with Medvedev to reduce arms, and more importantly to let the U.S. move arms over Russia directly to Afghanistan, to a hotdog eating contest where a man ate 68 hotdogs in 10 minutes! Then there were the terrible ethnic riots in China, killing over 140 people, the news about Defense Chief McNamara's death, and the horrible monorail accident.

I stopped to comment on each of these stories as I read them - except the hotdogs. My son and I just had a good laugh about that one. I mean how does anybody eat 68 hotdogs period, much less in 10 minutes. It's grotesque.

The news about Obama's progress with Medvedev however was a little more relevant. While the reduction in nuclear arms can be seen as progress to some, I wonder what the world is thinking as the U.S. systematically dismantles its military bases, reduces its personnel, and reduces its defensive capabilities at a time when countries like Iran and North Korea are not only increasing their offensive capabilities, but flaunting them. Perhaps this is the time for a show of agreement to reduce arms from two of the superpowers. Perhaps the thought is that it may help to defuse the situation some. I don't know. From my perspective, however, it seems odd in the extreme.

The timing is just off. We have the Ayatullah Ali Khomeini, the supreme leader of Iran, blaming the west, specifically the British and Americans for the demonstrations and unrest in his country. They are actually going to try several British Embassy personnel for inciting unrest or some such nonsense. But it won't be nonsense if they are found guilty. It will be Laura Ling and Euna Lee all over again. Remember them? They are still languishing over in North Korea.

I don't understand what the riots in China were all about. Apparently one group said another group was trying to steal their homeland. But this is China right? And they're all Chinese right? Boy, I know I'm being naive on this one. I read the whole story and still didn't understand the dispute beyond that. They didn't delineate the factions very well, who they were and what they wanted. Apparently, an exiled woman living in Washington is being blamed for inciting the riots. Go figure. I'll have to look into this some more.

That monorail accident was just heartbreaking. The boy who was killed was only 21. He was conducting one of the trains. Apparently 5 or 6 passengers were treated at the scene. Disney still wouldn't release any information about how the monorail system worked. I think they are going to protect their secrets to the bitter end. I'm sure there will be more information on this today.

Last, but certainly not least was the story of Robert S. McNamara, the Pentagon Chief who is credited with escalating the Vietnam War and causing nearly 100,000 casualties. He died at 93 with a clear understanding of the mistakes he and others had made in that war - and understanding that was obviously too little too late. After the war, he took over the World Bank and did good things but nothing, most would argue, could erase the horror of Vietnam.

I wrote about these news stories today because each one of them touched me in a different way. I was pulled in and gripped by the stories, even the one about the riots in China that I don't fully understand. Trying to understand the world around us is part of human nature. It is also part of good writing. Understanding events gives us background and substance for our writing. I wouldn't be surprised if one of my stories has a man eating 68 hotdogs in it one day, or two countries negotiating for rights to fly over with arms for a foreign war. You never know.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Power of a List

Never underestimate the power of a list. I made one last night before I went to bed to detail how I wanted to handle my morning so that I would use my time more efficiently. Well, it worked. My morning couldn't have run more smoothly. Unfortunately, I fell off the list after breakfast. :-). I expect I'll jump right back on as soon as I've finished this post. After all, this is on the list.

In keeping with my declaration yesterday, I'm trying to start my day earlier so that I can accomplish more. So far, it seems to be working. I certainly was up and ready much earlier than normal. Let's see just how far I can travel on motivational speaking. I need to be editing my book. When I start doing that on a regular basis and keeping up with my other work, then I'll know I've made some healthy powerful changes.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Writer's Block is More Than a Loss for Words

I was thinking this afternoon after my second trip to the grocery store and while I was taking my first walk in, well, forever, that writer's block is also about being blocked in other areas of your life. For instance, if you aren't physically healthy, how can your writing be healthy and robust? If you are constantly worried about finances, how can you create a new character? If you are just plain weary, how can you convey energy and zest in your writing? So, I've decided to improve myself in as many areas of my life as I can and see if my writing doesn't also improve. As part of my plan, I went to my storage unit and dug out my copy of Tony Robbins' "Unleash the Power Within" and I'm totally committed to listening to all six CDs. It may sound hokey, but if it will improve my writing, I'm all over it. I know that walk I took was a direct result of being motivated by one of those CDs. I'm willing to bet that healthy habits, for body, mind, and spirit, will make for very healthy writing. Let's find out. Maybe Tony Robbins will become one of my heroes - that is the theme for this month's NaBloPoMo. I think I'll go turn on the CD player for a while.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

You Don't Know Me

This is for all our troops abroad.

You don't know me.
You stand in line for your new clothes
a uniform you will wear with your unit

You don't know me.
What do you think as they issue your gun?
Do you think of Dying? Killing?

You don't know me.
Your family sits home and worries
tears no cloth can dry

You don't know me.
But I know who you are
I think of you every day

My heart aches and my tears flow
I know what you do is for me
You are my Hero.

©2009 TSW

National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo)

I just joined National Blog Posting Month. It's not like NaNoWriMo in that there is no specific month in which it is done. This month, the theme is hereos.

I'd like to start off with a poem based on an unfinished poem that I found in my desk recently. Of course I promptly lost it again. :-) So, I'm going to write a new one now.

Friday, June 5, 2009

"Total Recall"

Here's a little snippet I wrote in response to the prompt "total recall" from Reena D's website, Creative Views in the group Writing Everyday . I sometimes write on that site. I have my own page there too.

I had total recall of the events. They were so clear in my mind. What wasn't clear was what had led us to this point. He looked at me, his head turning slowly to take in my face and said, "I don't love you anymore. There's someone else. I want a divorce." I went immediately numb to my toes. I lost all ability to move or speak. I just stood there in stunned silence. My mouth went so dry that my tongue stuck to the roof. Finally, I managed one word, "how?". He didn't answer. He had given all the explanation he planned to give. My husband of twenty three years just handed me the divorce papers he had already had drawn up. I couldn't see the words on the paper; they were all a wet blur. "I'll just leave these with you and pick them up tomorrow. I think you'll find it's a fair allocation of our joint assets," he said cooly as he moved toward the door. I began to shake. Then it hit me. "Someone else'! He had been cheating on me! I spoke very quietly then, "adultery is still a crime in this state. You will hear from my lawyer." He blanched. The final settlement was indeed a fair allocation of joint assets given all of the circumstances once all was said and done, though nothing could give back what had been taken from me. All those years of trust, smashed in an instant. I felt as though someone had driven a tank straight through my gut. To this day, I feel sick and tainted by his infidelity. Will I ever trust again?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Seven Ways to Beat Writer's Block

1. Find a challenge group - many social networks like Gather have them and write to the prompt. It works!

2. Find a writing group in your home town and join it. Preferably the one you choose will share their writing every week so you will be motivated to have something to share yourself.

3. Think of a word or phrase, anything, and challenge yourself. Write a story or a poem or even an article around that word or phrase. Don't think about what you will write when choosing the word - just look around you and pick.

4. Read the headlines and/or the current news. Write about something that raises your blood pressure. It can be a blog, an article or even a fiction story.

5. Enter a contest. This one will really get you going if you're up for it, especially a contest such as the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) or Script Frenzy where you have a fixed length of time to complete your work.

6. Look at a piece of art or a painting and imagine the story being told by it. You could write a story, a poem or even a whole manuscript!

7. Go through your old work and write a sequel, even if that work is a poem you can follow up on the story it was telling or the emotions it was describing.

Now - to take my own advice!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The 78th Annual Writer's Digest Competition

Well, it's here again and I'm desparately trying to come up with something to enter. I have two potential categories: genre short stories and poetry. But, I only have until June 1 to do it. Can I? Should I try? I have so many other obligations right now, the same obligations that have been hampering my writing in the first place. Do I dare take the time to really get into something deeply enough to justify entry in the contest? Right now I'm just grabbing a few quick minutes to jot down my thoughts here to soothe my pain. But this would take real dedication - and time. I could recycle something, but it can't have been published before, even on a social network. I guess time will tell. Perhaps inspiration will strike and then nothing will stand in my way. We can only hope.

Monday, May 25, 2009

A Creative Black Hole

Like many of you out there, I'm completely blocked. I haven't written anything creative in many months. I'm afraid I've just let life's demands get in the way. My house needs work before I can sell it - which needs to be soon - and I'm home schooling my son. I've begun I feel guilty if I'm not pursuing one or the other of those two endeavors. Hence, no writing is getting done. I even feel guilty doing this now, but I need an outlet - a way to vent my frustration. You see, I have already written a short book, for NaNoWriMo last November, and it's screaming at me to work on it. It needs revision and fleshing out. It's absolutely languishing! Worse, I realize just how long it has been since I have written anything new, original. I did write a couple of stories last month for a man, but the character was his, I just made up the story within his preconceived world.

I haven't written a poem in so long, I'm not sure I remember how. I shut down my popular poetry challenge group to spend more time on the house and I dearly miss it. At least with that I got to read other peoples' creative work once a week. I'm going to have to start writing again soon or things are going to get ugly.