My New Blog

December 9, 2013

Thanks to the help of a good friend, a talented sister, and a devoted husband, I now have a customized blog/website. You will find today’s LLWord entry — and all my entries hereafter, at The site is still a work-in-progress, but I made sure to add email subscriptions. Please follow me there if you’ve been following me here. Thanks!




Dark Crystal Authorquest – The Final Stretch

December 2, 2013

I’m entering the final stretch of the Dark Crystal Authorquest, and much as in the frenzy of NaNoWriMo, I’m starting to feel as though I hardly have any words to spare for non-Authorquest writing endeavors. I did manage to write last week’s  Young Adult Catholics post while in the car on the way to Rapid City for Thanksgiving, and I got half of an entry written from A Year in the Life on Saturday, along with a few short journal entries.

My goal was to have 10,000 submittable words by the end of November, and I didn’t make it. Instead, I’m at about 12,000 words that are not yet submission-worthy. I have one or two more scenes to write before I’m going to stop to focus on revision, some of it substantial. I’m hoping to write that last scene tomorrow. Tonight I’m drained after writing about 1,500 words and am surprised I’m even managing to squeeze this entry out. I’m looking forward to having this submission all tied up and sent away, hopefully early enough that it won’t plague my holiday preparations. And perhaps when it’s finally out the door, I’ll have the energy to detail how I managed to get it written.

A Year in the Life, Week 31 – Your Perfect Opposite

November 30, 2013

This week’s prompt referenced the Griffin and Sabine books, which I meant to read once upon a time but which kind of fell of my radar. In particular, it talks about how the symbolism in Griffin’s letters implies that he is searching for his “perfect opposite” so he can live a balanced life. The starting prompt actually wasn’t about opposites at all — it asked instead to take three items and make them into symbols of something. The extension exercises delved more into the opposites theme, but I didn’t do any of the extensions.

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Have Books, Will Read, Need Time

November 25, 2013

Recently, I’ve had the good luck to acquire a nice stack of new (or new-to-me) writing books.

Writing Books

They are …

Publishing E-books for Dummies by Ali Luke – This is fairly technical reading, but after checking it out from the library, I really wanted my own copy as a reference. I’m about halfway through and plan to use it as my Bible for formatting and publishing Rumpled.

The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide by Angela Ackerman – I bought this one because I wanted to bring an Amazon order up to $25 so I could get the free shipping. I read about this book in Writers Digest and put it on my wishlist long ago. It has an alphabetical listing of emotions, along with some common facial expressions, gestures, or other mannerisms that are outward signs of that emotion. It’s not the type of book one reads cover-to-cover, but I thought it might be useful when I feel there’s too much lip-biting or hand-wringing going on. I haven’t used it yet, though … now that I have it, I almost feel as though using it would be cheating. It’s probably a better tool for revision than rough-drafting, anyway.

The Creative Life: True Tales of Inspiration by Julia Cameron – Another one I read about in Writers Digest. I still haven’t even cracked The Artist’s Way, but I’ve got the follow-up ready to go for when I do!

How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy by Orson Scott Card – There are not a ton of writing books out there that are genre-specific, and this is only the second one I’ve come across for sci-fi and fantasy. The other one I’ve read is How to Write Tales of Horror, Fantasy, and Science Fiction by J.N. Williamson, and that was over 16 years ago when I was writing my first fantasy novel. I’ve written about my ambivalence toward Orson Scott Card, so I feel it behooves me to say that I got this book through Paperbackswap so OSC isn’t making any money from my acquiring it. And when I’m done, I’ll pass it on via PBS again.

Magazine Article Writing by Betsy Graham – My dad bought this for me at a secondhand shop and recently rediscovered it in his basement. It’s over 20 years old, but good writing advice never goes out of style. And as much as publishing has changed and expanded over the past 10 years or so, magazines themselves haven’t changed much — aside from developing robust online counterparts and/or folding altogether.

If and when I get around to reading these, I’ll be sure to post my reviews here. And now that I’ve shared them, it’s time to finally make room for them on my shelf!

Book Review: Jim Henson: The Biography by Brian Jay Jones

November 24, 2013

Since The Dark Crystal has been occupying so much of my creative space these last couple months, it seemed worth sharing my review of the new Jim Henson biography here. As a creative person, I found the biography to be inspiring on many levels — in its reassurance that even cultural icons faced drawbacks and rejection, and in the knowledge that it really is possible (although perhaps rare) to be successful and to stay true to one’s artistic and moral compass. I feel honored to be participating, even in the smallest of ways, in Jim Henson’s great legacy.

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My Marketing Revelation

November 18, 2013

Cover image from Sarah Pepper’s newest release.

Last week, I went to a community ed class about how to market your book put on by Sarah J. Pepper, a local author who has achieved success through both traditional and self publishing. I always wonder when I show up at these things whether I’ll learn anything new, and I always walk away from them glad that I went. Along with some potential freelance contacts, great handouts, and frantically jotted notes, I also came away with this revelation:

To really market, I need to stop writing.

Not forever (God no!) but long enough to not be distracted. Long enough to let my writing energy rest and build up. Long enough to really commit myself to marketing, and long enough to possibly see results.

This came when Sarah admitted that her husband told her she “can’t start” writing a new book until after her soon-to-be-released Death of the Mad Hatter is released. So all that writing energy goes toward … promoting the upcoming book.

I’ve never been good at marketing because I always try to squeeze it in on the fringes of my writing work (which I try to squeeze in on the fringes of my paid work). And since I don’t like marketing, it’s easy for it to fall to the bottom of the “to-do” list. It’s not so much that I don’t like talking about my work — like most writers, I enjoy that very much. But I don’t like feeling like I’m “bugging” people. And as an introvert who doesn’t really like to be “sold to,” I project that onto anyone I might try to sell myself to, and I sort of crumple up inside. And I retreat to writing. True, there could be worse ways to avoid a dreaded task. But I really, really, really need to give this self-promotion thing a try if I want to keep striving to make writing central in my life. And I do.

Now the decision point comes — I know that my focus needs to be on my Dark Crystal submission until I send it off, hopefully in early December. After that, my initial plan was to return to work on my Rapunzel novel and work on preparing my Rumpled ebook for distribution. But it may not be wise to pursue both at once, as I’m likely to hide from the ebook within Rapunzel. Still, I’m thinking a good strategy might be to complete my second draft of Rapunzel, then set it aside to work on Rumpled. I’ll probably have some fresh insight when I return to my Rapunzel draft afterwards. Now the real question is whether I can accomplish all this before next November, which is supposed to be my “on” year for NaNoWriMo. Stay tuned!

A Year in the Life, Week 29 – A Recipe

November 16, 2013

The prompt from A Year in the Life for this weekend was “a recipe” — that is, how do you put together something you know how to create well? It was ironic because I got this prompt when I sat down to write the night I finished my Once a Month Cooking for November. My husband was away at a workshop that weekend, so I spent one of my first weekends alone since I got married. Luckily, I used to be an expert in this field.

How to Spend a Weekend Alone


48 hrs solituide
Internet connection/computer
Protein bars and other quick or non-meals

If you find yourself alone for the weekend, don’t despair! This can be an opportunity for reflection, personal growth, and rejuvenation.

It’s best if you know in advance that you will be spending the weekend alone. This gives you some time to mentally prepare. Think of all the things you might do when your partner, family, or room-mates are away. You might watch the romantic movie that’s too cheesy for everyone else’s tastes, or watch all your favorite “shipping” moments fro your favorite couple without having to explain why you’re watching just 5 minutes of a dozen X-Files episodes.

Still, even if you look forward to some aspects of your weekend alone, all that time to yourself might feel overwhelming. This tentative schedule can help you get started.

Friday Night

The weekend is here at last! Give yourself some downtime — eat leftovers or order takeout, and settle in for a movie you’ve wanted to watch. If you like to stay up late when you’re home alone, watch a series marathon, or make the movie a double feature.


Sleep in as long as you like — no one will judge! But this is the day when you’ll feel better about yourself if you’re a little bit productive. Clean the house or run some errands in the first half of the day. Consider using the second half of the day for creativity. Write in your journal, bust out the magnetic poetry, play an instrument, or make homemade gifts. Feel the bliss of “losing yourself” in a creative endeavor.

As the evening rolls in, give yourself the chance to relax again. Curl up with a good book, or plunk yourself down in front of the TV. At this point, a little junk food might help you round off the night.


Go to a different church than usual — maybe one you’re curious about, or one you’ve drifted away from that you’re starting to miss. This gives you a new experience, and you don’t have to answer questions about why you’re alone at your regular place of worship.

This is a good day to get outside. Take a walk or a bike ride, and bring a book so you can stop in a pretty area, perhaps a park, to read. Reflect on and enjoy your last few hours of solitude.

Sunday is a good day for making something special to get you through the week ahead — a mixx CD to listen to in your car, or a batch of cookies to pack in your work lunches.

Before you know it, that door will open and the people you share your life with will return. Hopefully your time alone has given you a new appreciation for them — and, of course, for yourself!