Even More #FridayStuff About Me - 0013

Each week, Hilary lists four statements with a blank for you to fill in on your own blog. If you want to join in on the fun and come up with four fill-in’s of your own, please email them to her at feelingbeachie@gmail.com. If she uses them, she will add you as co-host to the hop! This week’s co-host is Leslie from Time Out for Mom (she came up with the last two statements).

Hilary would LOVE if you could please help her spread the word about this hop…So please tweet, FaceBook share, and add the linky to you post…

This week’s statements:

11.    I love to _stay up late_____but I hate to __get up the next morning_____.

22.    _Getting hugs from my children_____ makes a day better.

33.    They (my loving family) didn’t think I could _go a whole day without my Mac______ but I __did______. 

44.    Warning: _Don't try to talk to me in the morning until I've had my first cup of coffee________.

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Please link your Follow Friday Four Fill-in Fun post to the linky below. Please grab the linky and post on your blog…


Don't Put a Comma Where a Period Belongs

Don’t put a comma where a period belongs. End of story. End of discussion. End of dream. All of the three previous sentences are fragments, pieces of a full story, complete discussion, or an abandoned dream.

When I write I use sentence fragments without apology. For clarity. For definition. For emphasis. Sometimes I’ll say the same thing three times, three different ways to get my point across—bam, bam, bam.

Sometimes I say three different things, all beginning with the same word. I know this is repetitive. I know this catches the eye. I know this stalls the story. But sometimes the use of fragmented repetition slows the pace enough for the reader to perceive the full impact of what the writer is trying to convey.

Why three times you ask? Hum, twice isn’t enough and four is overkill.

In some ways life needs a little…emphasis, repetition, clarity. Sometimes the flow of circumstance needs to be fragmented to slow the progression of events so one can enjoy all of life’s little moments. What if I had rushed through my life this way—I grew up, I got a degree, I got married, I got a job, I had two children, I finally got published, I retired from my day job, and I died. Yeah, this flows, but it’s sort of…boring. Not that the stages of life are boring, just the rushed through summing up of them into one boringly long sentence.

Now… I grew up. My younger years had both moments of joy and moments of heartache. I got a degree. Sometimes I wish I’d majored in something else, but accounting is a skill that earns me a few dollars so I can enjoy what I really want to do. I got married. He’s a wonderful man and adds so much to my life. I got a job. Thank God, that job has come and gone, and I’ve moved on to other employment! I had two children. My babies are the joy of my life. What more can I say about that? I’m a proud mother. I finally got published. Oh, now we’re talking about my passion. I retired from my day job. Well, I haven’t gotten there yet. And I’m not even going to address the last one, because I’m obviously still typing this blog post.

Life doesn’t need to be like a run on sentence either. Run on sentences drive me up a wall and I get so frustrated I want to throw the book (or the Nook) across the room and hit the cat, except I don’t have a cat, all I have is one fat, lazy dog that my husband thinks is the most intelligent canine that ever lived but that barks incessantly in the middle of storms and dribbles dog food slobber all over the laundry room floor and then I have to get a mop and clean the mess up because my husband doesn’t “see” the slime until I point it out to him and my children don’t want me fussing about the dog because they love that mutt…

Sorry, I digress. The previous sentence reads a little like Jonathan Safron Foer in Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. No, I didn’t finish that book. I would have thrown it at the wall, except it was on my Nook. I like my Nook.

Just like a good read, life needs proper pacing. I think at the ripe old age of…old enough to have lived a little I have finally found my perfect rhythm. Nothing too choppy. Nothing too smushed together. Just right. And I don’t put commas where periods belong. Or vice versa.


Review of Disrupted Lives by Brenda Youngerman

5 of 5 stars false

Disrupted Lives
By Brenda Youngerman

Disrupted Lives is about injustice—social, economic, and racial. It’s the tale of two families, whose lives intertwine when one couple adopts the child of another couple. The tale of how the mistakes and prejudices of one generation can affect future generations. It is the story of how things beyond one’s control can shape a life and create a lifetime of regret and misery.

Ms. Youngerman weaves her plot with sympathy and understanding, relating how the decisions one person makes can disrupt the lives of so many others. Although the book is set in the Southern United States, it is a story that could have happened anywhere in any time—a timeless relating of the pain of betrayal, the heartache of rejection, and the devastating consequences of stubborn pride.

Her characters are drawn to perfection. Sympathy for Amelia, the woman whose child is taken from her against her will. Anger towards Fiona, whose pride in social standing alienates her from one grandson and sows the seeds of prejudice in another. Disgust for Chad, whose spineless refusal to stand up to his mother causes irreparable damage in his own family. Respect for Ben, who rises above the injustices of his childhood to become a great man.

In the end, Youngerman gives the reader a bright ray of hope. The abused can rise above their situation. The hurting can be healed. The stray can find a home. There is poetic justice for the hard-hearted.

This is both a serious and entertaining read. Ms. Youngerman’s goal is to write fiction with a purpose. She has accomplished her mission with this book. This is a good read for the person who wants to read more than superficial fluff, for someone wants to read something real.


Fear Anthology Coming In October 2012

Coming October 2012 from Crooked Cat Publishing, Life and Death in a Cemetery, included in the Fear anthology

The heroine is kidnapped by a psychopath and forced to dig what she believes is her own grave. To her horror, she realizes he is the same man who terrorized her and cut off her ring finger six years ago.


#SixSunday 08.19.12

This week's selection is from my single short Eye of the Storm.

Before she could move, the door burst open and banged against the wall.
A man stood in the doorway, his image cast in bas-relief against the flash of lightning that shot through the haze behind him. Water dripped from the end of his nose. Blood leaked from a gash in his left cheek and trailed down his arm to his hands. Crimson covered the left side of his shirt. When he lurched forward, she bolted from the chair, dropping the book to the floor.

Here's the back cover blurb....

A storm blows in off the warm Gulf waters, promising to drench the coast with the first downpour of a very hot summer. Kieran retreats to the house as the deluge begins. Just as she gets comfortable with a good book, the door bursts open. Rain soaked and bloody, Davis Jackson falls through the doorway, cracking his head on the wood floor. He needs a hospital, but he doesn’t want the cops involved. She won’t tell him her story, and he won’t tell her his. Together, they must fight for their lives as a Category Three hurricane pummels the Florida Gulf coast.


Some More #FridayStuff About Me - 0012

Each week, Hilary lists four statements with a blank for you to fill in on your own blog. If you want to join in on the fun and come up with four fill-in’s of your own, please email them to her at feelingbeachie@gmail.com. If she uses them, she will add you as co-host to the hop! This week’s co-host is Janice from Janice’s Footsteps (she came up with the last two statements).

Hilary would LOVE if you could please help her spread the word about this hop…So please tweet, FaceBook share, and add the linky to you post…

This week’s statements:

11.    I__drink____so much _coffee__in a day. Way too much coffee. It's my mother's fault. She put it in my sippy cup when I was little.

22.    I don’t like __editing____but I love _how much better a story reads when I do____.

33.    When I watch __Castle_____ I __drool______. What can I say? Nathan Fillion, right? I think he'll be the hero in my next story...Um, I mean, I'll base my hero on him...Or what my hero looks like...

44.    I have __no cash_______ in my wallet. Argh! It disappears. Really. One minute it's there and the next it's gone.

Please add the Follow Friday button to your post or your blog.

Please link your Follow Friday Four Fill-in Fun post to the linky below. Please grab the linky and post on your blog…


Conversations With #MyMuse (Minecraft Edition) - 0005

Image in Public Domain as a faithful reproduction
of a work of art in the Public Domain.
My muse woke me up last night…Well, actually it was my husband’s snoring, but that’s beside the point. While I was attempting to lull myself back to lullaby land, my muse started jabbing an insistent finger into my psyche.

Muse: What are you doing? Don’t go back to sleep. There’s work to do.

Me: Wha-?

Muse: Okay, so you rejected my last idea, but I have a terrifical, splentastic, awesomelicious good one for you this time! Hey! Wake up.

Me: * heavy breathing *

Muse: So you know how you’ve been doing all that stuff on Minecraft lately—

Me: * head pops up * Minecraft?

Muse: Yep, thought that would get your attention. So…there’s this girl and this guy—

Me: * mutters * That plot’s been done to death. Leave me alone. I have to have my beauty sleep.

Muse: No, no. This is new. This is a different twist. This is—

Me: Muse! Shut up! I need sleep.

Muse: What? So you will have enough oomph to play more Minecraft?

Me: * grabs computer, which is conveniently by bed * Okay, what’s the idea? Give it to me so I can go back to sleep.

Muse: * blah, blah, blah * (Did you really think I was going to tell you my story idea? No!) * faint sounds of snoring *

Me: Muse? Muse? Oh well, I’m awake now. Might as well play Minecraft!

Note from tired author: Writers (or anyone else) never, ever begin a new world on Minecraft if you’ve got editing to do. Never, ever! Never! Today, (it’s 9:13 am CST) I will edit and write and edit and write… And that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Anybody else out there addicted to Minecraft? Please tell me I’m not alone…pretty please.


Finding My Voice - A Writer's Tale

Many years ago, I was recruited to work in second grade Sunday School. I had little experience with children, but I was “volunteered” anyway. One morning, the little darlings were a wee bit rowdy. I watched in awe as my friend Donna calmed their restlessness with one word. Just one! “Enough.” My entire paragraph of words had failed to make a dint in their noise. How did she do it? With just one word?

A few months after my daughter was born, my first child, I discovered Donna’s secret. The Mommy Voice. It just sorta sprung up from my gut and poured from my mouth and I realized I had it—the tone that meant, “I’m an adult person with authority. You’d better listen to me you little urchin!” In time it became apparent my child responded to my Mommy voice quicker than other children, yet sometimes I could fake the little buggers out and corral them with my surrogate Mommy tone. Occasionally, there was the wily child that realized I wasn’t really their Mommy and she/he could ignore me at will.

Voice is important. It sets the tone, gives the speech, written or verbal, the feel of authority. Lends credibility to the communication. Expresses just a little more to the recipient than the message. That’s why, as a writer, it’s wise to develop a distinctive voice. The one your readers will respond to the minute they recognize it.

Voice is a difficult thing to define. When I first read this term, I was clueless. “What the heck are all the experts(?) talking about?” How do you relate something generally considered audible in a visual format? It ain’t easy folks. After years of writing, I believe I’ve finally developed a tone and style of writing that is distinctively mine. Considering all the words in the English language and all the possible combinations that could possibly form sentences, it’s how I combine those words and phrases and how I arrange them into paragraphs and chapters and stories that makes my writing unique to any other writer’s efforts. It’s my unique syntax.

When I read some of my earlier writing, I cringe. If I managed any kind of style or tone at all, I was usually copying my current favorite writer. Yikes! I don’t want to be someone else. I want to be me! Most of the time, my paragraphs were just collections of sentences strung together with very little… Argh, how do I define this? The syntax was just…bland, boring, uninteresting. I would have put my book down and forgot about it!

Okay, I’ll give you an example, just because I want to! The same paragraph, before and after. (Consider this a free snippet of my current WIP!)

BEFORE (please forget this as soon as you read it! pretty, please!): Cole looked around them. “Oh, it was just the attic door.” It was already hot in the attic, despite the mild outdoor temperatures; so they had left the door open. He went over to the door to reopen it. He grasped the knob, but the door wouldn’t open. He pulled harder, struggling with the door for another minute or two. “It’s stuck,” he said, trying to control the panic in his voice.

ANOTHER ATTTEMPT (one of many!): Cole looked around, searching for the source. “Oh, it was just the door.” Despite the mild outdoor temperatures, it was already hot in the attic, so they had left the door open. Cole grasped the doorknob, but the door refused to budge. “It’s stuck.” He pulled harder, struggling for a minute or two. “I can’t believe this.”

AFTER (hopefully the final draft): A loud bang startled Cole. He tossed the drop cloth he was holding onto the floor and turned around, searching for the source of the disturbance. Despite the mild outdoor temperature, it was already hot, so he had left the door open. How had it slammed shut? He eased his way through the stuffy, overcrowded attic, avoiding packing crates and heavy antiques, portraits of dead ancestors and large brass spittoons. When he grasped the doorknob, it refused to budge. “It’s stuck.” He pulled harder and then thumped the door in frustration.

See…ahem, read…the progression? I hope so. What makes the last version clearly my own? I don’t know. Ask writers to create something from the same prompt and you’ll get as many versions as you do writers. No one else would write this scene exactly as I did. I can’t tell you what distinguishes the last effort as uniquely mine. But it is. I’d know it anywhere.

So here’s the big question that mystifies beginning writers… How do I develop my voice so it’s mine alone? Simple answer? (Don’t you hate simple answers!) Just keep writing. Scribble something as often and as long as you can. Every day. You may not like what you write some days, but at least you’re moving toward your goal. The more you write (and the more you have the privilege of excellent reviewers/editors critiquing your work), the sooner your own distinctive style will emerge.

And finally one more piece of advice. (And an anecdote…)

Right before I met the man that would one day be my husband, I was crushing bad on a very handsome man. To my surprise, this hunk of handsomeness asked me out. I bet you can guess the next line. No, he never asked me out again. It took all the courage I could manage to hint I wanted another date. As men will do, he went around the world six times to tell me he just wasn’t interested, and he had the audacity to give me some advice on how to make my personality more pleasing! “Just be yourself.” Humph. I thought I was. And he was a jerk. But that’s beside the point. He was right. In all you do, just be yourself. Let your unique personality glow through your writing and your voice will one day spring from your gut and pour from your mouth…uh, fingers…just like my Mommy voice did so many, many years ago.

Happy writing!


Some More #FridayStuff About Me - # 0011

Read more Friday Fill-Ins at www.feelingbeachie.com

Each week, Hilary lists four statements with a blank for you to fill in on your own blog. If you want to join the fun and come up with four fill in’s of your own, please email them to her at feelingbeachie@gmail.com. If she uses them, she will add you as co-host to the hop! This week’s co-host is Susi from Boca Frau (she came up with the last two statements).

Hilary would LOVE it if you could please help her spread the word about this hop…. So, please tweet, FaceBook share, and add the linky to your post…

This week’s statements:

1.             When I was little my mom _used to let me dress up in all the clothes she kept from the 1940s and 1950s.____
2.             _Salsa__ is my favorite condiment.
3.             I don’t like to celebrate____ because____ (sorry, I got nothing! I love to celebrate everything! Bring it on!)
4.     My _incomplete manuscripts___take up more space __on my hard drive than anything else, even my pictures ___ and I can never__bear to delete any version of any manuscript I’ve started just in case I might want to come back to it. Sometimes I steal a scene from an old manuscript to use in a new one, but mostly I have a lot of old writing that makes me cringe when I read it!________


Feeling Flooded! #amwriting #amediting #amtweeting #am...

Have you ever felt totally overwhelmed? This Sunday my pastor called it being flooded. I liked the metaphor—the sensation of being underwater and out of breath. My life has thrown me an intense mix of changes these past few months. I won’t bore you with the details…okay, changed my mind, I will bore you with them. My oldest is headed to college and I know this will change our family dynamics forever. My dearly beloved spouse is in a transition period (translate this as looking for another job), and I foresee some very rough patches ahead because if he doesn’t find a job he’s going to get…never mind. My day job is evolving into potentially more hours (meaning less writing time). And last but not least, someone very close to me is changing from caregiver to the one being cared for. If you’ve been in this place, you know what I mean. Enough said.

All of this has been hard on my writing, sapping my concentration and my energy. As it should. My writing would be nothing without my life, and my life would be nothing without my writing. I have to maintain both to be a sane person. Even before the stable elements of my existence began morphing around me, I was feeling a bit flooded. With three releases in three months, my writing life was a swirl of writing, editing, tweeting, blogging, networking…

I needed to slow the pace. Catch my breath. Take a sip of iced tea. Consume a pot of coffee. Read a good book or five. Watch five straight episodes back to back of Castle. Something. Maybe you’ve noticed my blogging activity has decreased. Maybe you haven’t, I don’t know. Does the average blogger really know how many people actively follow a blog? (A few reassuring comments at this point wouldn’t hurt my feelings!)

So I slowed down this summer and spent some time with my children. After all, the oldest is headed for college, right? Now with fall fast approaching, I’m once again in the mood to write something fresh, yet the fifteen rough drafts on my hard drive beg to be polished into something submittable. (Is submittable a word?) Has the opportunity to submit something Christmas-y for 2012 already passed me by? The unfinished idea beckons me from a half-finished manuscript. That four book series demands to be transformed into novellas instead of full-length novels.

Meanwhile, I feel the driving need to increase my Internet presence. Yikes. What’s a techno-savvy writer of the new millennia supposed to do? What happened to the days of banging out one letter at a time on an old manual sling the return lever typewriter and then submitting the whole bundle to an agent via snail mail? Are you familiar with the kind of typewriter I mean? The kind where you tucked the paper into the roller and wound it to just the right spot before typing. Then you yanked it out after the first line because the type meandered sideways due to the paper being in the roller crooked. My old model (from years ago when I was just a writing toddler) was orange with a black racing stripe. Vroom! Vroom! Sexy, right? The kind of machine with an ink ribbon. Anybody out there remember carbon paper? Well, thank God nobody uses that mess any more.

So…I’m ready to once again create fictional worlds filled with fictional characters caught in intolerably wonderful conflicts. Using a Mac, of course.  I think I’m ready to flood my writing life again. Get ready. Get set. Go.


#MyPOV 0011 - Texas Panhandle

This windmill is only a few decades older than the water tank in the foreground.
Recently, my husband and I took our children to the panhandle of Texas to see the place where their great-grandfather cultivated the land and their grandmother grew up. 

Old farm equipment used by great-grandfather, c. 1930s - 1940s

Grandmother hated going in this storm cellar for fear of rattlers.

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