Thursday, November 28, 2013

Rumors of my Demise...

... have been greatly exaggerated. [Stolen from Mark Twain.] But it's true that I haven't written anything, anything toward my new novel, since I released An Untold Want. Done a lot of research, yes, but no writing.

I guess today, Thanksgiving Day, is a good day to talk about why.  I have a good friends, a wonderful family, a secure job, and heath care.  So if I want to take a month off from writing and just hang out with my friends or watch movies or read books, or go to Portland or some other such place. I have that option. And I am thankful for that.

I am going to take a page out of my friend Sherry's book [her blog post, actually] and list some of the things I'm also thankful for.

I am also thankful that...

  • I have the writing gene, so I can express myself without it being all about me. [Even though it is.]
  • I have a writing community, of both close friends and acquaintances whom I've never met in person.
  • I have my vision [with the aid of glasses these days] and my hearing.
  • I have good health in general.
  • I am intelligent.  [Okay, stroking my own ego, but it's true.]
  • I don't have to work outdoors in extreme temperatures.
  • I am no longer too skinny because of the Williamson poverty diet that was a staple in college. In fact, at this point, a little less food would be better for my health.
  • I am not afraid ...
    •  of losing my job, not because it's secure, but because I know that I will work at whatever job I have to, no matter how menial, in order to support myself.  
    • of people disliking me because I realized a long time ago, that no matter what I do, not everyone is going to want to be my friend. I try very hard to let everyone carry their own baggage, and not make it about me.
    • of expressing my opinion, for much the same reason; I know that not everyone is going to agree with me, and I'm okay with that.  
    • in turn, of keeping my own counsel, of keeping my opinions to myself, mostly because I don't like arguing just for the sake of arguing.
    • of being different.
  • I  can live without TV. I gave up cable TV about a year ago, and haven't missed it.  It has become the opiate of the masses.
  • I can afford to eat out when I want to.
  • I make a good salary, almost cushy, and certainly better than most of the people in the world these days.
  • I am not allergic to dogs or cats.  I love pets, and a life without one seems incomplete.
  • I love to read.  As with a lack of pets, a world without stories, without books, would be a poor life indeed.
  • I have been able to travel to foreign countries, to see the world, and yet, to appreciate what it right outside my door.

And there are so many more. 

Finally, because I can't write something without throwing in some snark, some sarcasm, I'm really thankful that I finished the memory quilt.  I will never put that much pressure on myself again, trying to finish something that complex in less than a year.  

I am especially thankful that my friend, Kim, gave up a weekend and helped me put all the blocks together.

With that said, I hope you'll take time to count your blessings too.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Reviews: An Untold Want

Wow, I've gotten some really good reviews on An Untold Want, and I can't help but brag a little bit. I did get one two-star review, but what the person wrote wasn't so awful. The other review more than make up for one unhappy reader.  My favorite is "best book I've read in a long time" which was written, BTW, by someone I don't know, not a friend.

So here goes, starting with the two-star review:

[one two-star review]

"It was an interesting read. But I didn't keep my attention. Glad it was free I would have not been happy if I paid for it."

[no three-star reviews, yet]

[four four-star reviews]

"A book by New author spins a riveting tail, set in a southern town. I liked the quick pace and life like story line. Just a touch pagan and interesting inter-dependencies."

"Didn't want to put this book down, and I hope there is a sequel. I can't wait for more books from this lady."

And two very long reviews that I won't add here. But you can find them here.

[nine, count 'em, nine five-star reviews]

"This is a great tale highlighting the value of women's relationships with other women, the depths of support we bring to each other, the passing on of wisdom and insight.The characters are well developed, interesting and likable. I'm hoping there is a sequel because I want to find out what happens next. :)"

"Love the interspersed diaries & how they your together. I kept going back to reference them. Well developed characters. Would have liked to see something happen to jerky boyfriend but guess that would have been too pat. Nicely interwoven plot."

"Great book. Best book I've read in a long time. Great writing skills by author. Can't wait to read her other books."

And six others you can find here.

In a future post, I want to write about how everyone brings something to the story, how everyone has their on slant on what's happening. That's the real magic of books, that I can read the same thing as someone else and get a totally different message from it.

NaNoWriMo Begins Without Me

Yes, NaNoWriMo started today, but if you had the day I had, well, I'm just not up for writing anything meaningful.  I could easily write a couple of gory murder scenes, but that wouldn't fit my new novel, hence doesn't fit into NaNoWriMo. What? you say. No bizarre murder(s) in this story? Yes, I say. Maybe I'm getting mellow in my old age, although probably not. What I do know is that if my days keep going the way they've been going, that could change. I could decide to change and write a serial killer story, one where the killer gets away with the murders.

Funny. It really is a stress reliever. When I was working at IBM, I made a friend who had a mother as mentally abusive as mine. We decided then that we'd write a series of murder mysteries, stories where we killed our mothers [in every novel] and got away with it. I never took it to that extreme, because I tried to love my mother, but writing brutal scenes sometimes helps me vent the stress.

Anyway, I've been bad. About writing. I haven't written anything since I published An Untold Want, over a month ago. I have been thinking a lot about Beryl and her situation.  And I had plans to write this evening, really. But writing isn't just typing. I can do research and mentally layout the plot. You know, right now, I don't even know her last name. So lots of stuff to do, without ever typing a single word, without a word count.

Also, I haven't written in the past month, mainly because I needed to finish the memory quilt before Christmas.  I finished it this past Tuesday.  Yay!! Tomorrow, via a friend, it's on it's way to the quilter [the person who takes the top and backing, puts some batting between the layers, and sews it all together] and should be done in plenty of time for Christmas.  [photo to the right]

With that said, life is complicated and my main goal is to enjoy it.  So if I don't write 50K words this month, I'm not going to be upset about it.  I want writing to be a joy not a job.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

e-book Cover Design Competition

So, last month I submitted the cover of An Untold Want to the e-book Cover Design Competition looking for feedback on my cover.  BTW, there is a wealth of information in the past competitions on how to create a good cover for an e-book.

Here's what I wrote as an explanation:

Nellie Williamson submitted An Untold Want designed by Nellie Williamson. “An Untold Want is a women’s literary novel. One of the motifs running through the novel is crows. Although the story takes place in modern times, there are diary sections from ancestors of the protagonist. The text on the cover comes from one of the diary sections.”

And here is the comment (understand the he doesn't comment at all on a lot of book covers):

JF: The bit of crow running off the top distracts more than it adds.

And yes, I can see that.  But I was pretty happy that there wasn't more of a criticism.  He typically doesn't hold back.  As with writing, if you put yourself out there, you need to be able to take the critique.

With that said, I probably would have still left the "bit of crow" at the top.  But I have learned a lot from his reviews, and appreciate his comments.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Maggie Sleeping, Beryl Rising

Now that An Untold Want is out there and being read, Beryl in the story I started working on last year around this time has made her presence known.

Several people--one in a Amazon review--have suggested that I write a sequel to An Untold Want, and I may do so sometime in the future, but right now I want to think of other stories.  And I'm not even sure where I would go with a sequel for An Untold Want, maybe follow one of the girls around.  But that's for later. 

The past few weeks, I've been working on Beryl's story,  on the structure, and details, have been letting backstory and life events percolate in my head, while finishing the memory quilt [will post photos when the quilt is done] I'm making for my sister-in-law's Christmas present.  You can't really watch TV while sewing, but you can think about stuff like plot lines.

And I had almost forgotten the joy of creating new characters and new places.  I want to explore where Beryl and Sinclair [potential love interest?] will go with their friendship.  Her background has expanded immensely in the past few months and I've figured out what I think is a clever way to bring in much of that backstory.

Anyway, I'm starting to enjoy writing again.  Not that I'm not loving the excitement of publishing, but for me it's always been about creating. 

So watch this space...  I don't think it will take me seven years to write this one.

Free Promotion Results are In

Sorry I haven't followed up sooner, but last week was crazy--work wise, book wise, and quilt wise. 

About the free promotion.  In the US, in four days, I gave away 4006 books.  During that time, I made it to and stayed consistently in the top three for free literary women's fiction/sagas.  I also hovered in the top 100 free the last two days. 

What I didn't know--until I stumbled across it last night--is that sales reports don't account for foreign sales/freebies.

Downloads in foreign countries:

85 on
6   on
3   on
2   on
2   on
1   on
12 on
23 on
2   on
0   on

A grand total of 4142 books downloaded in four days.

Good, right?

Well, at the end of day two, I read a blog post that stated that free promotions are a waste of time.  Needless to say, this post had me a little down for awhile.  It said that people who pull down free books usually don't read them.  So I did some arithmetic [on my calculator because I can't add/subtract/multiply/divide] and found that even if only 5% of the people who pulled the book down for free read it, that's 207 people who I hope will enjoy it and talk about it to their friends. [I omitted the 0.1 person of 207.1, because s/he is probably distraught and not very well rounded.] 

So, contrary to what the blog said, I think this was a great opportunity to get my name out there.  And people are reading it.  I've already gotten several really good reviews from people I don't know, comments like "Great book. Best book I've read in a long time. Great writing skills by author. Can't wait to read her other books."

You can not imagine how good that made me feel.  And the other reviews, though longer, are just as nice.  Don't believe me? Go check it out yourself. 

So, with that said, I feel really good about the promotion and the fact that I've sold 24 books this month (paid for books).  It's a start.  An execellent start.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

An Untold Want - Free Promotion October 7-10

Starting tonight, soon after midnight, my novel, An Untold Want, will be free until midnight on October 10th or until it reaches #1 in free books.

An Untold Want is at

It's only on Kindle.

Don't have a Kindle, you say. You can get free Kindle apps for your PC/tablet/smart-phone at or read it in the Amazon Cloud. I read on my smart phone all the time in doctor's offices or waiting for a tune-up on my car, you know, stuff like that.

Free promotions like this are a marketing tactic. Every free book looks like a sale after the price goes back to $2.99. So don't worry about it being free.

Please share this information with friends and family, so that I can start building a name and a financial cushion for retirement. Or I may have to come live with you when I retire.

Monday, September 23, 2013

An Untold Want is Live!!!

Just a short note to let you know that An Untold Want went live yesterday on Amazon.

I would write more, but I spent fourteen plus hours on Saturday reading for typos--and I still missed one, dammit.  It was hiding behind the cover page.  Yesterday, I made the changes (fixed the typos, except the one I missed) and uploaded it to Kindle Direct. [The nice thing about Kindle, I can reload the image after fixing the stupid typo I missed, and will this coming weekend.]   I thought I would be all excited, but right now, I'm just tired.

But don't get me wrong, I am excited.

You can buy An Untold Want now for $2.99 or wait until mid-October when I'm going to put it up for free for a couple of days.  Either way, please pull it down.  And if you don't know, you don't have to have a Kindle to read Kindle books.  There are free apps for smart phones, tablets, and PCs.  So, see, you got no excuse.

For the next few weeks, I'll be working on marketing, starting with an author spotlight by Serena Akeroyd [erotica author] on her Naughty Nookie News (Blog).

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Dialogue Only Contest Entry

Sorry I haven't posted anything lately, but I've been working on a quilt and editing An Untold Want and doing a bit of writing for fun.

My latest is my entry for the Bartleby Snopes Dialogue Only Writing Contest.

The Rules: Compose a short story entirely of dialogue. You may use as many characters as you want. Your entry must be under 2000 words. Your entry does not have to follow standard rules for writing dialogue. Your entry cannot use any narration (this includes tag lines such as he said, she said, etc.). These are the only rules. Manipulate them however you see fit.

You can find my entry, either by scrolling down to "My Writing Samples" or by following this link:  The Old Lynley Place.

And by the way, most of the past entries only had two characters.  It was much harder with no tag lines and three characters.  So I'm patting myself on the back for this one.

Sorry about the formatting, but cutting and pasting from Word into BlogSpot isn't the most user friend of interfaces.  I went ahead and let it put a background behind the text.  At least I changed it from white background/black text to vice-versa.

Let me know what you think!!!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Flash Fiction - Catfight Club

My writer friend, Sherry, has recently been competing in Indies Unlimited flash fiction contests. Her writing is quite good, and I was a little--no, a lot--jealous because I'm mired in the miasma known as self-inflicted, perfection-seeking editing. In other words, I'm not having a lot of fun writing.

This week's flash fiction topic is Oscar, "the terror of the night, king of the alley cats. He’s sixteen pounds of fang and claw and fighting fury. He’s defeated everything from copperheads to Rottweilers. Everybody knows he’s the toughest cat around, but that wasn’t how life started out for him. Oscar wasn’t born on the mean streets. In fact, he had it pretty soft for a while…"

I'm not competing, per se, I just wanted to write something fun for a change.

Anyway, here's what I wrote:

Gather round my grand-babies; I’ll tell you the story of how I lost this eye. That always gets their attention. No matter how many times I recount it, they purr with contentment. These days, I’m old, forgotten. I can only relieve my celebrity by repeating stories.

I wasn’t always Oscar, I tell them. My first human couldn’t even ascertain I was male; the idiot named me Monica. At this the grand-babies hiss. My adopted mom changed my name to Tom which, at least, was masculine, but so generic. Tom didn’t have panache. And so, in despair, I floundered through my first few lives, just letting myself be coddled.

But all that pampering made me antsy. One night during a bout of insomnia, I ventured out. That’s when I met Tyler, a loner who lived in a dilapidated house in an abandoned part of town. Most nights we would play, you know, torturing mice and batting each other around, but the ruckus attracted other toms, wanting to fight.

At the sight of my shiny coat, one tom had the nerve to call me Oscar Mayer, a weenie. That night, I gained a name and lost an eye, but he lost several teeth and half an ear. And the match. He ran. Never saw him again. At least not with this eye, I tell them with a wink.

That’s the night the Catfight Club formed. And even though I started out pampered, I learned fast and reigned as champion for five lifetimes.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Inner Voice...

I realized tonight, after letting myself constantly churn over something that happened today at work, that one of the reasons I write is to distract myself. I tried watching TV, then playing video poker, then reading, and nothing could stop that inner voice from saying, "you're in trouble now". Writing usually focuses me enough that I can forget for awhile, so that even my inner voice stops taunting me.

So today, I expressed my opinion on something going on at work, probably in a less than satisfactory manner. But I'll freely admit that I've gotten to the point in my career that I don't give a rat's ass about what people think about me. I do a good job, a really good job, and I take my work seriously. People like me, even my co-workers. My customers, whether internal or external, love me. So when I have a concern, people should listen. Unfortunately, in most of the places I've worked, someone like me -- a known trouble maker, at least as far as management is concerned -- has to throw a temper tantrum to be heard. Yes, I'm that person who says the things management doesn't want to hear.

But that really isn't the problem, because as I said, I don't really give a rat's ass about what people think about me. I'm a good person. If you don't like me, that's your problem. My problem is that my inner voice, let's call it Momma, nags me if I do something "wrong." Being criticized drives me crazy because Momma's always there to say, "I told you so." To say, "You, yet again, fell short of...." Doesn't really matter what it is. It could be a simple mistake. But whatever it is, it points out the fact that I'm never good enough, and never will be good enough for this voice in my head.

If you've read any of my work, you'll notice that not being good enough is a theme that threads its way through my stories. In some ways, writing helps me explore those feelings and try to put them away. If I prove that other people are like me, even if they're fictional, then maybe I'm not as fucked up as I think I am.

But in the fifty-four years I've been around, nothing has completely made those feelings go away. Writing comes closer than anything else. I tried meditating, and the voice said, "What a waste of time. You should be working. You're being lazy." I've tried mantras. Didn't help. I've tried therapy. And what a load of crap that is. If you understand the problem, where it's coming from, then it will go away. Not! I've tried running, but exhaustion doesn't help either. Running actually makes it worse because I'm trapped in my head for forty-five minutes to an hour. Plus when I run, I'm constantly berating myself for not going faster or further. I've even tried drinking myself into oblivion, but what usually happens is that I end up barfing up everything down to my toenails, which gives me further reason to focus on how lame I am.

And now, the voice is saying that everyone is going to think I'm having a pity party. So maybe writing about me doesn't help that much. I need to get back to actively writing. I need to finish editing and move on with something new, something that will distract me from this internal churn.

With that said:

"Wow, this blog post is really depressing," says my inner Momma voice. "No one will want to read it."

"Fuck you," says my inner Sara voice. "Oh, and here's a picture of BlackBeary, since I haven't posted any pictures in awhile."

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Read-through... Again!

I don't know if every writer has this problem, but it's a huge issue for me. Every time I do a read-through, I make changes. This time was supposed to be my final read-through of An Untold Want, but now that I have LisaP's editor voice in my head [right up there with my mother's voice in my head], I am again making changes. Not to the "and then" structure so much -- that's a dig at Lisa -- as how the voice flows, trying to smooth it out a bit. Not that it's wrong, but I just finished a novel [written by a very well known, well received, bestseller'er] that did exactly the same thing. Problem is that I noticed it in the novel I was reading [Thanks Lisa!], which means that others may notice it in my writing. Hence, editing. Again.

Which in turn means there will be at least one more final read-through after this one.

Sometimes I wonder if every other writer goes to this much trouble, or if they just trust that people will enjoy their work. I know I thought that one of the recent NYT bestsellers was very badly written, but people loved the story. And my real thought is maybe the average reader doesn't even know the novel is badly written. Although in this case, many of my friends who read it complained about the terrible writing. But it didn't stop them from buying the two sequels and reading them.  [I couldn't get past the first chapter, BTW. The female protagonist was so lame, she drove me into complete boredom.]

So should I just slam something together that will titillate the average reader or try to write something of a bit higher quality? I guess if I was just in it for the money, maybe....

With that said, please support authors who work hard at their craft. I'm not saying don't read badly written books -- well, actually, I am. But at least balance it out with well written books. And I don't mean you have to read literary fiction. There are a lot, a whole lot, of good writers out there in every genre.

Besides, reading well written books makes you look way more intelligent. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Been Awhile...

Yep, it's been awhile since I posted anything here.  I would say I've been busy, but, you know, everybody's busy, or appears to be.  So I'll say that I've had more pressing issues than writing a blog post, including a big party this past weekend.  Yes, some of the pressing things are fun as well as time consuming. I've been making an effort to have more fun because what with my 9-to-5 job and house cleaning and writing and quilting, my life can get very drudgy.  [I just made up that word; so don't look it up].

Actually being able to make up my own words (or change words, like drudge into drudgy) is one of my favorite things about writing fiction.  I also love telling and hearing stories.  Saturday night, at the party, I made people tell funny stories about themselves. Yes, alcohol was involved. So it was quite entertaining. Doing such gives me a plethora of ideas for not just stories, but emotions and facial expressions and reactions.  As with reading, talking or eavesdropping should be a regular occurrence in a writer's schedule.  Eavesdropping is even better, if you can sit and watch/listen unnoticed. 

I even have several of my friends intentionally eavesdropping now. We'll be at a restaurant, and one of them will say something along the lines of I think the couple at table X must be arguing, check out the body language or the girl at table Y looks like she's going to cry. And so on. The comment will start a line of speculation and eventually someone will pose a story about what's going on.  Sometimes the story involves a blind date, especially if the couple seems awkward with the situation. Maybe another couple, she's breaking up with him, or vice-versa. Maybe one is twisting his/her wedding ring. Potential admission of an affair? Maybe? But the best couple to watch is two old people who don't talk to each other over dinner. They obviously have been married too long and have nothing else to say.  But their facial expression and body movements say so much about what they're thinking or eating or drinking.

So make sure you closely observe the people around you. You don't have to talk to them, but you should watch and listen. There's a wealth of information out there just waiting for someone to pay attention.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

New Interview...

... with Dawn Husted at BookLoads.  She's a lovely lady who does the work [free work] of promoting new authors.  So give her your love.

If you want to read the interview (which I hope you will, because Dawn calls it inspirational), go to August Author Interviews at Dawn's website.

What a good day its been: lots of editing, an interview, two (now three) blog posts, and just some free time relaxing with BlackBeary and Twin Peaks [the retro TV show].

Is it Done?

No, I am not done with An Untold Want.  Not yet.  I'm doing a read-through of all the changes, and because I love to word-smith, it's not going as fast as it could. This weekend, I've gotten through 152 single-spaced pages, have 56 more to go, and then will need to do another read-through. Being dyslexic, I tend to transpose words. So, I always have to double/triple check everything.

I did get a rejection from an agent who I queried on the spur of the moment.  I have yet to hear from the last agent who requested the full manuscript, but it's only been three months, which is nothing in agent-time.  If this last agent rejects me, then I'll be putting An Untold Want on Amazon. I'm ready to work on something else.

A Lesson on Italics

Almost two weeks ago, LisaP, my editor friend, sent me her recommendations. I spent a two vacation days reviewing her suggestions, accepting or rejecting them. [She made if very easy by using mark-up.] I'm glad she's willing to help me, cause my grammar sucks. Dyslexia doesn't help, either. And I also suck at spelling. But, hey, I'm good at prose.

She and I had a couple of heated discussions about the ways to do things. By the way, we've been friends for a long time, the type of friends that can have heated discussions. They're just part of the landscape, especially when I lived in Texas and she hosted salons. And as she said, nagging is what being an editor is all about. Anyway, she hates hates hates that I use and then, instead of and or then.  But it's the way I talk, hence the way I write. It's part of my voice. I will admit to getting rid of about two-thirds of the and thens in An Untold Want because as I read through it, I realized that it can get overwhelming. So she was mostly right.

We also had quite a few discussions about using italics.

I've pulled the examples about italics, which are great, from one of her emails. All of these are frequently used, and acceptable formats.  But, as you'll see from my responses, there are reasons I don't use some of them.

1. Thought written in first person present, italicized, tagged

Mary closed her eyes and lifted her face to the sun. This summer has been so perfect, she thought. I don't want it ever to end.

[Me: this is one of my pet peeves. It interrupts my reading, knocks me out of the movie rolling in my head as I read. I think this is cheating. It's lazy writing. Either you're writing in first person present or you're not. I do not like mixing tenses and person. But this is frequently used in genre novels. I don't see it very often in literary novels though.]

2. Thought written in first person present, italicized, not tagged

Mary closed her eyes and lifted her face to the sun. This summer has been so perfect. I don't want it ever to end.

[Me: same, better than #1 though.]

3. Thought written in first person present, not italicized, tagged

Mary closed her eyes and lifted her face to the sun. This summer has been so perfect, she thought. I don't want it ever to end.

[Me: same, as #1.]

4. Thought written in first person present, not italicized, not tagged

Mary closed her eyes and lifted her face to the sun. This summer has been so perfect. I don't want it ever to end.

[Me: better, but I still don't like mixing first person and third person.]

5. Thought written in third person past, not italicized, tagged

Mary closed her eyes and lifted her face to the sun. This summer had been so perfect, she thought. She didn't want it ever to end.

[Me: much better.]

6. Thought written in third person past, not italicized, not tagged

Mary closed her eyes and lifted her face to the sun. This summer had been so perfect. She didn't want it ever to end.

[Me: much much better, my personal favorite.]

But here's the problem, An Untold Want is written in third-person-present/literary format. Not past tense, which is the norm and for which most rules are written. Present tense is getting more popular, but it's still not considered normal.

In An Untold Want, I used a combination of #5 and #6, but in present tense.  It may feel a bit awkward, especially if you're used to reading genre, but that's the way present tense works.

Which brings to mind another rule.  In literary, and most fiction, head hopping [moving from one PoV to another within the same scene] is a big no-no.  Except in romance novels.

With that said, study your genre. Read a lot in your genre. And know the rules for that genre, or things can get very messy.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

WhooHoo, Yet Another Milestone

Some time in the early hours of this morning, I passed six thousand views. If I'm counting right, I am now getting a thousand visits to this blog [my views/visits don't get counted, btw] every forty-five days or so [okay, forty-seven, in this case]. 

I just want to say thank you, really. Even if you're just being curious, it makes me feel good to get that much traffic on a site that is basically all about me

Monday, July 22, 2013

Not Even a Day

It didn't even take a day, and I was editing (mentally, and physically this evening) the cover art.  Several people suggested that the font for the title and the font for my nom du plume were too close to the same size, even though inch-wise, my name was an inch smaller than the title.  But visually it was hard to tell.

 So I'm posting some more to look at.  I like the color and the schema.  Now it's just a matter of getting it perfect.

When I made it I thought putting the coffee stain around my name was cute, but I can't decide if it's cool or hokey.  It certainly makes my name stand out, and I do want that.

With that said, these aren't the last.  But they're close.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Cover Art for "An Untold Want"

So I think this might be it, the cover art that I'll used for An Untold Want (formerly known as Counting Crows).  I've been playing all weekend, and if this isn't it, then it's close.

Let me know what you think.

Of course, after a few days, I may think, why did I like that.  Just call me finicky and mercurial and just a bit crazy.  I change my mind, a lot.

The crow imagery came from Colleen, my Crowtographer friend.  You can find a lot more of her incredible work (and there's more than crows) at @TheCrowtographer

Note: there is a pale gray 3-pixel border around the image because it's recommended by Amazon. Normally this will show up on a white background (instead of black like my blog background). Anyway, that's why you see a white line around it.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Yes, The Cat will be Okay

Last weekend I got a text from a friend which said that [and I'm paraphrasing] her friend was reading Couillon, and she really liked the story, but before she went any further she wanted to know if the cat would be okay.

Years ago, I was lucky enough to attend a writers' retreat in Maui.  [Sadly, that program no longer exists.]  Anyway, James Rollins spoke at the retreat.  He did a presentation on How to Make a Character More Likable.  The one suggestion I remember best, because I love animals, was to give the character a pet.  Again, I'm paraphrasing, but he said something like this: If in your book, you gave Hitler a big goofy Labrador as a pet, the reader would feel the need to find some redeeming quality in him because monsters can't possibly own big goofy Labradors. The thing is that even with Hitler, if he's part of your story, he can't be two-dimensional.  Yes, he was a monster, and should be portrayed as such, but if you don't give him other qualities, at least one good quality, your story will be flat... and boring.  You want to surprise your reader.

Maybe I'll write a post about making characters likable, someday, but, as they say in old books/movies, I digress.  Back to the issue with the cat being okay.

Oy, the BillyBunbler
The other thing I know about pets in novels, is that they should survive whatever situation you put them in. I can't remember where I heard/read it, maybe in Stephen King's On Writing, although he kills the Oy, the BillyBumbler in the last book of The Dark Tower.  Basically the rule is to never, ever kill a pet in your story unless it is absolutely necessary.  Where humans are concerned, we see and read about so much violence and killing, we've become desensitized to their deaths, no matter how bizarre or gross, but kill a pet and you will likely alienate your reader.  So, unless you have a following as big as Stephen King's, always make sure the pet is okay at the end of the story.

I will say that I cried more about that damn BillyBumbler dying than any of the other characters in The Dark Tower.  And if it had of been a new author I was reading, I may not have ever read another novel by that author.

Sometimes it happens even with authors I love.  In Minette Walters' The Shape of Snakes, her descriptions of cruel acts committed on neighborhood cats by one of the characters almost put me off reading her ever again.  She's a good writer, but I don't want those images in my head.  Maybe if she hadn't been quite so graphic about what was done, but it make me feel sick and afraid to read more of her work.  So you see, it does matter.  If she'd described those same things happening to a human... well, good, bad, or indifferent, let's just say all those murder mysteries I've read have certainly anesthetized me to humans being tortured and killed.  But not animals.

So, think twice before hurting or killing an animal, especially a pet, in your story.

With that said, yes, in both Couillon and An Untold Want, the cat will be okay, as will the dog in Beryl's Story.

OK, Back to Writing Posts about Writing

It's funny not having anything pressing to work on, writing wise.  My editor and friend, Lisa Poisso, is still crunching the bits on An Untold Want [formerly known as Counting Crows]; once she's done, I'll have more to do, especially if this last agent rejects me. If the rejection happens before August 1st, I want to publish An Untold Want on Amazon on that day.

Anyway, with Lisa hard at work, for the past few weeks I've been catching up on to-dos that have sat for months while I edited and re-worked An Untold Want.  I finished my quilt [as you saw in the refrigerator post] and mended a couple of older quilts.  I'm working on a quilt that's a Christmas present. Not saying for whom.  I've tried to de-clutter, but the kitchen is a mess without the refrigerator [water pitcher, sodas, and other stuff I normally have in the fridge, sitting out on the counter or on ice in the cooler on the counter].  I went through stuff and got rid of lots.  I now have several boxes of stuff in the boot of my car to take to Goodwill.

And I've read a lot.  I finished The Shining and Joyland.  Love him, but then you know that.  I'm reading Capote's first published novel, Other Voices, Other Rooms.  I finally finished A Confederacy of Dunces, yay!  The second half was much more engaging than the first.  And I sped through a couple of my beloved murder mysteries: Caedmon's Song by Peter Robinson and The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen.  Plus I'm currently reading The Laughing Policeman by Maj Sjowall.  Those Scandinavians are damn good at writing mysteries and detective stories.

But even with all that to keep me busy, the past few nights, Beryl and Jeryl have been sneaking into my consciousness.  What about us? they're saying.  Have you forgotten about us?

Sheepishly, I twist the truth and say, No, I haven't forgotten.  What I fail to mention is that I haven't been actively thinking of them, which amounts to the same thing.  Although, this weekend I've thought a lot about them and the story and its structure.

You see, this past Friday night, I went to a friend's retirement party, and sometime during the evening, he had everyone at the table stop and listen to me explain about Couillon and everything else I have been writing.  It was a lovely thing to do, especially as everyone seemed to hang on every word I said.  Yes, they're very nice people.  And so, my monologue ended with me telling them about what's coming up, the story of Beryl and Jeryl.

I do think I've learned a lot while writing Couillon and An Untold Want.  An Untold Want taught me the most because I worked on it the longest, but Couillon helped me with pacing and structure.  I was lucky that An Untold Want turned out as well as it did because I had no real plan when I went into it.  It morphed and shifted with my mood over the years.  And if you've been reading this blog, you know that I just recently figured out the ending. Arrrgh!

With Beryl's Story [working title], I know the story. I know the ending. I mostly know the characters, although I'm still trying to decide about the father's character, how or where he sits regarding Beryl's situation. Basically, I have to decide if he's evil or just foolish. And I also have to figure out the structure

For structure, I'm considering two different formats.  One would be similar to the format Peter Robinson used in Caedmon's Song. I'd have two parallel stories going at the same time which would merge somewhere between the middle and the end.  The other format is to have lots of backstory filtered into the primary story line through thoughts and actions.  Both are valid, widely used formats.  I just have to decide which one works best of Beryl's Story.  Right now, I'm leaning toward the latter so that I don't give away too much too fast.

With all that done, sure writing it should be easy.  Hey, I may even have it done in a year.  Who knows??

So, with that said, I've got one more blog post to write -- yes, I know, it's a record for me to even do three posts in a week, and wow, I'm doing three in a day.

Wish me luck with the agent, but if that falls through, be looking for An Untold Want on Amazon on August 1st.

Fridge Update

Day sixteen with no refrigerator.

And, the story gets better.  This past Tuesday I called Home Depot because I was supposed to get a refund within 3-5 business days.  That Tuesday would have been seven business days, and still no refund.  So I call HD's customer support, and got a very helpful young man who at the end of our phone conversation gave me his direct line number so that if I have more problems he can help me do follow up.

Anyway, the much mortified young man told me that the Customer Service lady I spoke with that Saturday, so long ago now, had not actually cancelled the order, even though she sent me an order cancelled email, that the refrigerator was still sitting in the docks waiting for me to call them with a delivery plan.  Arrgh.  So, per the helpful young man, I'm supposed to get a refund by this coming Thursday.  We'll see.  Not holding my breath on this one.

Also, remember that the HD delivery driver told me that I should have gotten a permit to allow him to park in a no-parking zone. Well, I called the Seattle DOT parking division and spoke with another very helpful young man.  He said that the driver (or shipping company) should get the parking permit as they are the ones who know when it's going to be delivered.  Another strike against HD and their fly-by-night delivery people.

The real clincher is that no where on their web site does it state that they, Home Depot, aren't responsible for the actual delivery.  Probably, if I burrowed down into the very minuscule print, hidden twenty or thirty links away,  it might indicate otherwise, but on first impression, I believed that they would be responsible for the delivery.  They weren't.

With that said, we'll see what happens with the refund, and you can believe that I'll never shop at Home Depot again for anything.

P.S. Sorry, this is another blog not about writing, but there will be a writing blog post tonight.  Promise.

P.S.S. God, I miss having ice.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Appreciating the Little [or Big] Things

Saturday a week ago, Home Depot was supposed to deliver a refrigerator to my condo.  I've never had problems with deliveries at my condo. So I didn't think anything about it and went ahead and gave my old refrigerator to a friend on that Friday before, figuring I could live for one day without refrigeration. [There's a grocery store right across the street, and I have a big cooler.]

Saturday afternoon comes, and everything is going great. The delivery guys called a half an hour before and were on time. But when they got there, this driver -- I got the impression the real problem was that he already had a bunch of tickets -- wouldn't park in front of the building because there's a no-parking sign there.  Now, this is Seattle, and like any big city, there's lots of signs that mean little or nothing for delivery drivers.  Some of the UPS guys just stop in a lane, double-park, whatever.  Same with FedEx, USPS, etc... But this guy wouldn't budge. No, we can't park in a no-parking zone [even though he was parked there in a no-parking zone arguing with me about it for more time than it would have taken them to unload the refrigerator and be gone].  He also would not consider any other solutions, like unloading and then moving the truck to a real parking spot.  He even wouldn't budge when I told him that he would be leaving me with no refrigerator.  And the Customer Service person was nice, but totally useless.  Sorry, there's nothing we can do about it.  To which I responded refund my money and cancel my order.

The problem is that I had to order another refrigerator, and to get the one I wanted [because of sizing, condos aren't the easiest places to buy appliances for], I would have to wait two weeks.

Today is day nine with no refrigeration.  Fortunately, a friend took all my condiments and cheese and stuff like that and is storing it in her refrigerator, because replacing all that stuff would be really pricey.  All the stuff in the freezer, I gave away or threw away. Damn you, Home Depot.

The lesson I've learned [no, not the one about never shopping at Home Depot again, which I did learn the hard way] is that we have so many things that we depend on and never think about how much we use/need them until they're gone. Heat, running water, hot water... refrigeration. [Most Seattlites don't have air conditioning, but in the Southern states, that's a big deal.]  But you know what I miss most, no-refrigerator wise, is ice.  I eat out a lot, so it hasn't been a huge issue in regards to food, but I don't like drinking warm drinks.  I miss ice.  Ice water, ice tea, martinis [which should be served icy cold]... the list goes on and on.

And how far does our dependence spread, when you really start to think about it?  Most humans, at least all of the ones I know, have a very cushy life when examined closely.  Yes, we bitch about work and the weather and the price of gas and so on, but we don't have to haul water or wash our clothes in a stream or grow our own vegetables. We don't have to hunt/slaughter animals for protein. We don't have to make our own wine or bathtub gin.  We don't even have to type term papers on a manual typewriter anymore [one of the banes of my college years].  Yes, some people do many of those things.

But the key words are don't have to.

Even my quilts are pieced using a rotary cutter and a sewing machine; the quilting itself is done by someone I pay who has a long-arm quilting machine.  Oh, and BTW, the cat quilt is finally finished. See. With everything I try to do, the five-bazillion projects I have going at the same time, it took me nearly ten years to finish it.  No, that wasn't working on it every day or even every year.  That was the time span from start to finish.  Imagine how long it would have taken if I'd had to sew and quilt the whole thing by hand.

Sorry that this blog post had nothing to do with writing, but I felt compelled to send this message, that we should all be cognizant of how easy our lives are, at least appliance wise.  Yes, we whine and moan and bitch about how hard things are, but think about what your life would be like... if you didn't have a refrigerator. 

With that said, I'm going to a restaurant and get some dinner.

Monday, June 24, 2013

So Where Have I Been???

Just wanted to give a quick update, since I haven't written a post in nearly a month.  I've been working with my editor friend, Lisa, for quite a while now, but the last month was really a push to finish.

I feel like An Untold Want (formerly known as Counting Crows) is done.  Lisa is doing another run through edit, and there may be some little things, but nothing that should take another year of editing.  I'm happy with the story as it currently exists.  I added some things, deepened some things, and explained some things that make it a richer, more satisfying tale.

I know I've told my friends that I've been working on this novel for nearly ten years, but I thought hard about it the other night, after Dustin teased me, and, really, when I started my current 9-to-5 job six years ago, I only had three chapters written. Today, An Untold Want is thirty-one chapters, plus five diary excerpts [from ancestors], a total of  129,244 hard earned words.  Plus in that six years, I've also taken a lot of breaks, while -- *sigh* --waiting for agents to reject me, including time to write Couillon and to start my new novel.

I had planned on submitting this novel to Amazon on Summer Solstice, but since it's still in the  hands of one last agent, I want to wait and see what happens with that.  If nothing else, I'd love to say I'm in the good-ol'-boys'-club.  I'd also love to have a physical copy [or twenty] of my book to put on my book shelves.

But if I get another reject before August 1st [Lughnassahd], then it will be going on Amazon on that date.

Lughnassahd is the first of the Celtic harvest holidays, the time to reap what has been sown.  Growing time turns to gathering time, which seems like an appropriate time to release a novel.  Maybe it will help me reap some rewards, as in royalties.  Who knows?  It certainly doesn't hurt.  As Maggie says, I'm praying to whichever god/dess is listening.

Holy Crap, I'm Critiquing Stephen King's Work...

In preparation for Stephen King's Doctor Sleep coming out, in which Dan Torrance [as in Danny Torrance] is the protagonist, I decided to re-read The Shining.  

Let me give you just a little background on my favorite writer, before I go on.  According to Wikipedia, he's written eighty-seven pieces [which include novels, short-story collections, novellas, e-books, non-fiction, a screenplay, a couple of comic books, and a poem -- you get the idea].  And if Google spreadsheets can be trusted, those eighty-seven pieces add up to 35K+ pages [not words, pages].

The Shining, which hit the book stands in 1977 [the year I graduated high school], was his third novel to be published. So needless to say, his writing has grown over the years and has changed with the times and the expectations of the publishing world.

Yes, I say 'needless' now, but I didn't think about all that when I picked up The Shining this time, thirty-six years after I'd originally read it.  No, I thought about how much I enjoyed it the first time, about the scene with the topiary animals [which I mistakenly remembered as having happened to Danny, not his father], about the creepy history of the hotel, about how after reading Salem's Lot at sixteen, Stephen King had once again written something capable of scaring the stuffing out of me.

And I couldn't wait to dig into it again.

But this is where my story gets wonky.  I'm about halfway through the book, and I'm thinking, wow there's lots and lots of telling -- not showing.  For example, not even three chapters in [or something like that], Wendy, the mother, while laying in bed [so no action other than her being drowsy] reflects on her life with Jack and what happened to Danny, etc... for a whole chapter. Basically it is a full chapter of flash-backs.  Same with the father, Jack.  Further in, there's a chapter of Jack reading newspaper articles about the hotel.  Even Danny does a bit of looking back on his short five years.  We get the arm-breaking incident from three different perspectives. What hit me was that that type of writing is frowned upon these days.  I was beaten soundly [okay, exaggerating a bit] for things like that when I was a new writer.

Back-story slows the action.

Maybe you should start the novel sooner. 

No one cares about all that.

SHOW us; don't TELL us.

And yet, I don't feel like all this telling takes away from the story. Yes, it could be cleaned up a bit, but it's still a fabulous story.  And when Stephen King shows you something, you can't get it out of your head.   So maybe a little bit of telling from the Master is a good thing. And yes, I noticed the discrepancy in style, a lot, but like I said, I've had it beaten into me that you don't do things like that, at least not in this millennium.  A new -- 'uneducated in the rules of writing' -- reader may not have even noticed.  [I do tend to edit as I read now, re-writing as I would have written a given story.]

So, I'm writing [no pun intended] off this problem that I'm having as a change in the rules of writing over the past thirty-six years, or maybe because so many more people are publishing now, the rules have become more rigid.  I know that Stephen King's new novels fit right in with today's requirements for what constitutes a 'good writer'.  I know that I only wish I could write as badly as Stephen King.  [That's for all the snotty, literary fiction people.  Hey, I read/write literary fiction, and he's still my favorite author. So there!]

With that said, I'm enthralled with Stephen King, and there are parts of The Shining that still has the ability to scare the stuffing out of me.  Oh my god, the old woman in the tub.  How scary is that?  Danny's only five in the story.  If I saw something like that, I'd pee my pants too, even now.

And I'm looking forward to reading Doctor Sleep.  Although Joyland will likely come first. I can honestly say that of the eighty-seven pieces that Stephen King has written, I've read at least half of them, and several multiple times.  [Doctor Sleep and Joyland are included in that eighty-seven.]

You want to know more about Stephen King, you say. Well, let me google that for you.  There are about a bazillion websites out there.  Go look for yourself.

But if you're really lazy, you can start here:

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Who's in Charge: You or Your Writing Tools?

From guest blogger Dustin Higbee:

By day, I’m a software developer.  By night, I’m a sleeper.  The spaces in between are filled with family and writing.  There are many parallels between software development and writing.  You need to know a language, but more importantly, you need to know how languages work.  You need to learn the fundamentals of good structure.  You need to adopt a work process that suits you.  This can be planning via outline or model, or you can iteratively write and revise.  No matter how you get there, the only thing that matters is the working code you ship or the finished manuscript that you publish.  But I’ve noticed that there is one part of the process that keeps both developers and writers from getting to done: tools.

It starts with an unmet need.  The project has grown too large to organize, so you search for a tool to help with organization.  The tedium of a repetitive task drives you to look for a tool that can automate the task.  Pretty soon you are auditioning tools instead of cutting code.  You are testing features instead of putting words on the page.  A little of this is ok, because a legitimate productivity boost is possible. At least that’s what you tell yourself.

Enter phase two.  You’re comfortable with the new tool, blissfully hacking away at your project, when a friend (or your stand-in, the Internet) mentions a useful feature that hadn’t occurred to you.  New tool X has it, your tool does not.  You decide that you don’t need it and continue working with what you have.  But the knowledge nags you from the back of your mind, tells you that you’re incomplete without it.  So you switch.

Again, you’re blissfully hacking away at your project.  But alas, you find that New Tool is missing features that were available in Old Tool.  In a brief moment of insanity, you contemplate using both tools at the same time.  If you are a software developer AND a writer, you are permanently insane, so you contemplate coding up a new tool that has all of the “required” features.  Maybe you are lucky enough to find a third tool that has everything.  But at some point, you catch on to what others in your profession have already discovered: the tool is a distraction.
If you’re a developer, you switch from Eclipse to Sublime Text.  If you’re a writer you ditch Scrivener for WriteRoom.  These tools hide the features they contain when placed in “distraction-free” mode (Scrivener tries to do this too), but in many cases these tools are simply missing features.  So you are almost back where you started.  From here you have options. 
  1. Repeat the cycle until vomiting ensues
  2. Retreat to quill and parchment
  3. Plan your process
Option one is obviously bad, but many great works have been created with option two.  If it works for you, I am impressed.  But I will still think of you as a Luddite who is missing out on the progress of humanity.  What about option three?

Option three starts with recognizing that the tools have taken over your writing process and that you need to regain control.  A little Project Management can help here.  Many writers think about the steps of their projects as Plan, Write, Revise, although maybe not always in that order.  In this view, the Plan task is focused on the real work of researching and outlining that happens during the project.  I’m suggesting that you add a pre-planning step in which you create a project plan.

The project plan describes your process for completing the work.  The key for this discussion is that you are choosing the tools you will use for the duration of the project.  You are setting aside a specific time for selecting tools (before the project begins), and then making an agreement with yourself to stick to them until the project is complete.  When you start the project, you simply Plan, Write, and Revise using the tools you have in your toolbox.
There are, of course, other parts of the process that you can lay out ahead of time and it is easy to fall into the trap of planning so much that you never start.  But if you know that tools flip on your ADD switch, then a little planning ahead may just help you maintain your focus.  

Friday, June 7, 2013

5000+ Hits, Another Milestone

Sometime during the night, I passed the 5000 hits mark on this blog.  I can tell I'm getting more of a following -- thank you all -- because I went from 4000 to 5000 in a little over a month.  Considering it took me a year and a half to get to 4000 hits, I consider this a huge accomplishment.

Keep your cards and letters coming, and keep coming back, please....

Love you all!

Reflection and Images as Writing Tools

Guest blogger Alan Brewer muses:

In my personal life, I allot time to reflect.  As a talent development leader and executive coach in my professional life, I spend inordinate amounts of time teaching executives to reflect and to capture those thoughts in a journal.  I ask them to think about what was, what is, and what can be.  There is no better window to the soul than a private, reflective journal.  I tend to keep two; one is an appreciative journal to remind me how wonderful life is, and the other is dark--- filled with vicious thoughts and evil.  I find that love and hate are two strongly connected emotions and sometimes when one is developing a character profile, the best emotions and most prolific characters can be found when I cull through my own journals.

While working in the media and entertainment industry, I became acutely aware of the value of images.  Think about a movie poster.  How does one create / capture one image that communicates the theme of an entire movie with all its twists, plots, characters and layers?  Creating an image with words can even be more challenging.  How does one create an effective, compelling image using only words?  Images, however expressed, are powerful storytelling tools, and there is a delicate balance to strike in getting them just right.

I recall two exercises from my undergraduate coursework that I still find helpful.  Exercise 1:  Take an ordinary red-tip kitchen match and strike it, watching it burn until it reaches your fingertip.  Blow out the match, inhale and observe the gray smoke unfurl and disappear.  Then, describe that activity in minute detail, writing a minimum of 5,000 words.

Exercise 2:  Take any horrific headline from the television news (destructive tornadoes, building collapse, plane crash), and tell that story in 3 or fewer paragraphs.  Get all the facts, and tell the story concisely as though you were writing the newspaper copy.   Those two exercises force your brain into mental Olympics, expanding and contracting your memory and thinking faculties.  Free thought and discipline are both valuable in character development and experienced writers learn how and when to use each tool.

Next, I’ll explore how a vivid imagination can fuel character development when “with that said” continues…

Friday, May 31, 2013

Guest Blogger Ann on "Write On"

Write On 
Guest Blogger Ann M. Piraino on her naïve and ingénue writing techniques.  Thanks Sara for inviting me to your Blog!!  Most of the things I have "published" reside on (so far).

So to Write On – these are the first tools you will need.  Some starting point like my 3 formulae – put some words on the page to start the flow – and an idea of the topic/person/place/thing in your story.  Sometimes it is best to start at the end and work back to the beginning – know how it turns out and head in that direction.  Of course, character development is great in the 3rd style if you use the semi-auto-biographical version of the formula.

I have three pseudo formula styles for my prose – poetry would be entirely different!  Well, maybe not.

First is OUT
The once upon a time group with lots of direction to go from there! Once Upon a Time, a Long, Long Time Ago, In A Land Far, Far Away, at the edge of a dark forest, in a (small, medium-sized) cottage (house) there lived. . . And so it begins, the first of my formula writing styles to flesh out into a story – maybe a fable, a fairy tale or something more up to date like a story set in Forks about vampires.

Okay, those have already been taken by Hans Christian Anderson, The Brothers’ Grimm and Stephanie Meyer but you get the formula concept. 

I then expand it by using the variables (parts of the OUT used alone or in parts): 

  • A Long, long time ago. . .(setting era, timeframe – good for stories about the past in real or fictional form);
  • In a land far, far away (setting a location – good for stories in the dessert or even other planets?)
  • Maybe in a land far, far away at the edge of a dark forest (look out for hobbits, werewolves, witches and Gepetto the wood carver).

 Second is DARN
That stands for It was a dark and rainy night – NOT Stormy!  Stormy can conjure up too much of a scary proposition – running off the road in your car, getting hit by a tree, stumbling around in the forest or being frightened inside that old mansion on the hill when the power goes out – no, stormy is Stephen King, Dr. Frankenstein, Edgar Allen Poe and the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Rain can be pleasant – thank goodness because we have so much here in the northwest. It can bring up visions of glistening rainbows from water refracting from streetlights as you walk or drive through the city.  It can bring up romantic moments in your cottage, home, motel room with the warm fire burning, candles lit, and anniversary dinner at the table.  It can be Sleepless in Seattle with the lapping waves on your houseboat. . .

But, you could still turn rain to a storm if you want to set up fear and terror – great way to go in a split direction!!

Back when Hannah/Morgan/Amelia – whatever I decide to call myself and write in the third person – was (insert age here) – this stuff happened.  This has been a wonderful vehicle to use not only to record some fun stories about my youth and later years but to be able to scrub and put into the files for some future generation (not from me of course, I have no children) to read and ponder.  Who could imagine typing and using something that didn’t plug in or use wifi??  Not having a car or having a car with manual transmission?  Heavens!  How could that be??  Even the current generations Y & Z find those things unheard of!

I remember my step uncle always talking about back-in-the day when he would travel miles to school, or camping trips dragging his canoe behind him until he found the river.  Hard to believe now but in the 1920s it was real!  They say write what you know and even with tricky memory, writing about yourself is easy – no made up backstory or the ‘what would my hero do in this situation’ concerns – you either know because you already did IT or because you would follow a similar value or ethics decision in the future.

Whatever I/you choose and wherever I/we end up – we can Write On.