Sunday, August 27, 2006

Rules are Made to be Broken

How many times has a critique partner told you, "You can't do that?" Or "You need to get rid of every word ending in 'ing'." Or you've heard on a writer's loop somewhere that historicals are dead, cowboys are passe, you can't have a heroine who commits a crime, intentional or not (I actually had an editor tell me that once.) Then you pick up a new novel and on the freshly printed page is--horrors!--a heroine on her way to jail for committing a crime. (Unintentionally of course, and she's exonerated in the end, as mine is).

I've been doing a lot of reading lately. You know what I've found? I don't notice the word was. This is a biggie, because I get dinged for it a lot. Yes, I try to find other ways to say things, but sometimes was is the only word that works. (And no, I'm not referring to the most recent critique where a very kind author pointed out the tremendous overuse of was in an old ms. I have learned a few things. :) I also don't notice the use of adverbs, unless the story itself doesn't hold my attention. What I do notice is rambling thoughts, stilted dialogue, stupid heroines or unbelieveable plots.

Tell a good story, and I'll forgive you anything. So please, quit editing the life out of your book and just write it so I can read it.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Rain? Oh please!!

It's cloudy, I hear thunder in the distance, and it smells like rain. We're in the worst drought in recent memory, so please help us pray for rain. Not just an inch, though we'd take it. We need a good 6 inch rain to fill the ponds and bring the grass back to life. The cows and I would really appreciate it.

In other news--for a change, there isn't much. Which means I have no current crisis going on in my life, so I'm writing for all I'm worth. Youngest daughter is safely back at college, second youngest son goes back to college on Thursday, and other than my romance chapter meeting on Saturday, I have nothing crowding my schedule besides the ongoing job hunt. This is the first time in months and months that I've had any free time. I have 4 writing projects going at once. If I get stuck on one, I switch to another while ideas percolate on the first. If I get bored, I switch to the third. But I do have goals in mind. I want to finish two of these in time for the Golden Heart. That's only a few weeks away (Yikes!) The other two I want to have finished by the end of the year.

One of these projects is just in beginning pages form right now. It's different from anything I've tried before, so I have no idea how it will go. I'm just trying to stretch myself by writing outside my comfort zone. I figured I'd better do it now while I have the freedom to pick and choose my projects. (IE, while I'm still unpublished.)

Friday, August 18, 2006

The "New" Car

I was cruising Craigslist the other day, looking for a car for my youngest son, hoping to find someone who wanted to trade a decent car for his truck. Found a guy with a 1990 Subaru Legacy that had a blown head gasket who only wanted $600 for it, or was willing to trade for something else. We had a gas scooter that we'd never been able to sell at the flea market and he agreed to the trade. DH has been working on the car and it runs great, has a brand new MP3/CD player and speakers, new tires, new paint. I think we got a pretty good deal.

Trouble is, dh wants to keep it instead of letting our son have it. So now I have to start looking for another car.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

I Believe in Miracles part 2

I might believe in miracles, but I still don't trust Blogger not to eat my post so I broke that first lost message into two parts. I've forgotten what I wrote after GeeBee's good news, except the part about writers being solitary beings, by necessity, but coming together through the internet to form communities like the Bat Cave and the Wet Noodle Posse, becoming friends, rallying around each other when encouragement and support is needed.

If you don't have a community of support, find one. It's vital to have friends you can count on to pray when prayer is needed, to have people you can share the joys and trials of life with. Breaking in can be hard, but I've learned that the way to become part of an online community is to post, and post often, until you become familiar to the others. Getting through my father-in-law's death, my mother's stroke, and my daughter's blood clot crises would have been much harder if not for my online support system.

And just for GeeBee, because it touched home at this particular time:

7 Wonders of the World

A group of Geography students studied the Seven Wonders of the World.
At the end of that section, the students were asked to list what they considered to be the Seven Wonders of the World. Though there was some disagreement, the following got the most votes:
1. Egypt's Great Pyramids
2. Taj Mahal
3. Grand Canyon
4. Panama Canal
5. Empire State Building
6. St. Peter's Basilica
7. China's Great Wall.

While gathering the votes, the teacher noted that one student, a quiet girl, hadn't turned in her paper yet. So she asked the girl if she was having trouble with her list.

The quiet girl replied, "Yes, a little. I couldn't quite make up my mind because there were so many."

The teacher said, "Well, tell us what you have, and maybe we can help."

The girl hesitated, then read, "I think the Seven Wonders of the World are:

1. to touch
2. to taste
3. to see
4. to hear

She hesitated a little, and then,

5. to run
6. to laugh
7. and to love.

It is far too easy for us to look at the exploits of man and refer to them as "wonders" while we overlook all that God has done, regarding them as merely "ordinary."

May you be reminded today of those things which are truly wondrous.

~Author Unknown~

I Believe in Miracles

I'm going to try to recreate a post that Blogger ate, because I think it's an important message to hear...but I don't know if I can do justice to the original.

A friend's 3 1/2 year old grandson fell while jumping on his trampoline and hit his head on the frame. What followed was a grandmother's second-worse nightmare. He had a blood clot on his brain and the doctor's said IF he survived he might be paralyzed, on a breathing machine for life, mentally handicapped--all sorts of dire predictions. The members of eHarlequin's Bat Cave started to pray. They even changed the name of the current cave because it seems our lives tend to live up to the cave name, and this one wasn't suitable under the circumstances. People were praying in the U.S, in England, Australia, Sweden--all around the world, around the clock.

We nicknamed Cearha's grandson GeeBee. At first, GeeBee was in a medically-induced coma, his right side paralyzed, on a breathing machine. That was okay--at least he was still alive. Then he coughed against the tube a few times--baby steps, but progress just the same. Then he twitched his right side--the paralyzed one. He squeezed his grandma's hand. He curled into a fetal position. Finally, when he'd had enough of being messed with, he pinched the nurse, on purpose! Go GeeBee became the rallying cry in the Cave.

His brain pressure normalized and he was weaned off the sedation. Yesterday he began to breathe on his own, and last night he woke up! He knew his name, his sister's name, and he asked for his mama. So yes, God does answer prayer and miracles do still happen.

Next step--to see GeeBee walk, then run, then go on to live a totally normal life.

But for the love of God, I hope they burn the trampoline.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Lunch with My Favorite Noodler

Got to have lunch with Stephanie Feagan yesterday. Two hours of good conversation along with good food--what could be better? Listening to her stories about National really brought home how much I'd missed by not going to Atlanta, but it also made me more determined to make it to Dallas. I've already started cleaning my purse out every night, depositing my change and dollar bills into a coffee can. One can is full, and I've started on the second. I might not be able to afford the conference fee, but at least I can join the Noodlers for lunch one day since I live close enough to drive.

So how do you save up the money for conference trips (those of you who have to budget for such things)?

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Making Memories

I've spent the last few days with my grandsons, going swimming, playing at the park, fishing, watching as they rode their electric Harley. We had fun, but most importantly, we made memories.

No one was better at making memories than my father-in-law. He did it by repetition--doing and saying things over and over until they were forever a part of us. My grandmother always greeted us on our visits with homemade rolls, buttered and toasted, and mugs of hot chocolate. I hope I can follow their example with my own grandchildren. I've started by having a tradition of a big breakfast in the mornings when they're here. We have eggs, sausage, biscuits, pancakes, orange juice. If I forget something ( like I did this week when I failed to buy orange juice) the kids let me know I goofed.

Do you have "memory makers?" Things you do with your kids every year, or with your grandkids? I'd love to have some ideas of things I can do to make our own memories.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Something Every Unpublished Writer Should Read

Rita Winner and Wet Noodle Posse member Stephanie Feagan posted a letter to a friend on her blog at and I think it's a classic. Something every aspiring, unpublished writer needs to hear. And it wouldn't hurt the published authors to read it, either. Go take a look. It's the blog titled The Secret To Getting Published .

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Back to School Already?

This month on the Wet Noodle Posse website I wrote the Top 10 Tips for back to school. Click on the link above to check it out.

I'd invited my grandsons to spend a week with Gramma this summer, but with their Disney Cruise in June and the big wedding in July, then their mom being in the hospital, time just seemed to slip away. My oldest grandson informed me last week that he only had 21 days left until school started, so I picked them up today and brought them home with me. We stopped by the "sprinkler" park on the way home, where they had a blast, ate dinner at Grandy's, then came home to watch the Phillies/Cardinals game. Tomorrow we're headed for the park before it gets too hot, then we'll come back and play in the sprinkler for a while before heading over to my sister-in-law's house for a swim in their pool. Friday we're off to the waterpark, and Saturday we'll do something else involving water. The boys take after me--swimming is their favorite summer activity.

The news from the RWA National convention continues to roll in, with Noodlers taking top honors in a number of different contests. You can read all about it on the Wet Noodle website ( Also, JoAnn Ross, author and mentor extraordinaire, was awarded the RWA Pro Mentor of the Year award. There isn't a nicer, more helpful and more considerate woman on the planet and we love her dearly. Hop over to her website ( and check out her fabulous books and writer's tips.