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Want to people watch? Hold a yard sale.

Last weekend, a friend and I got inspired to clean out our closets and garages and hold a yard sale.  We set up some tables on the driveway, loaded them up, priced all our goodies with little round neon stickers and were ready to go. The morning was a study in people...

Progress on my Works in Progress

I’ve been awake since 4:08 am.  I do this every time I’m going somewhere that I’m excited to go.  Today, I’m driving four hours to the airport (the joys of living in rural America), and flying to Portland, Oregon to: 1) visit my sister and her kids and 2) attend a...

5 Reasons to Write a Character Sketch

1)      You get to have true schizophrenic moments and hear voices in your head without a need for medication or institutionalization.  Its odd how, when you begin to really develop a character, they talk to you.  I can literally see them in my mind’s eye, and we...

The Smell of Home

I grew up with pine trees outside my bedroom window.  For eleven years, I fell asleep listening to the branches and needles swoosh in the breeze coming off the mountains.  The wind is an everyday occurrence on the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  It...

Literary Black Holes – Part 2

I am an avid reader, and have been my entire life.  I read for the escape, the story, the characters.  I am normally something of a speed reader; if a book grabs me, say “goodbye” to Amy. My children could be hungry and late for practice while I just finish “one more...

Literary Black Holes – Part 1

This past year, I was blessed with a student who has an IQ many, many points above mine, probably higher than most anyone reading this blog.  He decided to read Atlas Shrugged.  My Dad had re-read it a few years ago and kindly gave it to me for my birthday last year. ...

Starting in the Middle

I’ve been surprised over the past few weeks how this project is coming together, kind of piecemeal, not all orderly like I approach most of my life.  I am a list maker, an outliner, a planner.  My kids tease me that “Mom, it’s okay not to ‘have a plan’ for the day,”...

What’s in a blog (or should be)?

In my last post, I concluded that I am a sucker for books on writing, so yesterday I lived up to my label, got up early, poured myself a cup of coffee and read We Are Not Alone: The Writer’s Guide to Social Media by Kristen Lamb.  Her blog is in my blog roll, just to...

Target Audience for a Book on Writing: Me

When I started this whole writing journey, I knew there were books on how to write.  I’m a book junkie, so I’d seen them.  I’d even occasionally picked up a copy of “Writer’s Digest” or “Poets and Writers Magazine” to peruse.  I was obviously aware there is a...

Just . . . Keep . . . Writing

I’ve read lots of books on writing over the years, but I’ve always read them from a teacher’s perspective ie. how can I use these ideas to help improve my student’s writing?  Now that I’ve begun writing, they’ve taken on a whole new meaning.  I have to improve my...

Name Block

When I had my children, the first one had a name way before he got here; the second one took a little longer.  She was here, in our arms, for a few hours before she had a name.  Now, I’ve given birth to a slew of characters all of whom need names.  Most of them have...

What does one do with a short story?

I wrote a story.  What now?  I am clearly new at this game and writing short fiction is not something I thought I would ever really be interested in as I have taught them for years and recognize that a tight, good story would be, for me, much harder to write than a...

Writing in my Sacred Writing Space

“I am a writer.  Today I write.”  That has become my mantra.  And since I have said that to myself or even out loud daily for the past few months, I have written every day.  Some days it might just be to take notes or rework part of my scene list in my notebook while...

Story world? What happened to plain old setting?

In this whole novel writing process, I’ve learned a whole new term – story world.  What happened to plain old setting?  I teach high school English and one of the basic standards is that a story takes place in a setting ie. it has a place, a time, and a mood. ...

Doing it all – just not all at the same time

I am busy, busy, busy – too damn busy to write apparently.  I’ve been on vacation this week with my family and trying really hard not to beat myself up over the fact that I haven’t written much, if at all.  I’ve spent the last five days either traveling or at...

A Visit from my Muse

I started reading a book called The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco.  It was published in 1980.  I’ve been writing and thinking about muses/inspiration, and on page 3, Eco writes in the introduction to this historical novel, “There are magic moments, involving great...

Where do stories come from?

This is an interesting question, one that I have been pondering for several months.  Now, at 3:00 a.m., God decided to answer this question, and I’m wide awake writing.  Apparently, inspiration comes at the most inopportune times, like when I need sleep.  On a more...

OMG! I’m writing a novel . . .

For the last six years or so of my life, I’ve known that I wanted to do something different career wise than teach high school students (my current J-O-B).  My big goal in life was always to be a college professor – think the wise old owl in Winnie the Pooh. So when I...