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Monthly Archives: October 2011

Six Sentence Sunday 10/30/2011

Hi and welcome to Six Sentence Sunday!  Thanks for taking the time to visit.  I love reading comments, so please let me know what you think of my snippet.  Each week I will post another six from a work in progress or a finished manuscript.  All you have to do is read and enjoy.  That’s it!

This scene is from my book Some Like it in Handcuffs which is being released on March 23, 2012 by The Wild Rose Press both in print and ebook format.  YAY!!!

Quick set up…Judson (the hunk-a-licious hero) and Sunny (the feisty heroine) work late into the night on the cold case they’re trying to solve.  After a disagreement, Sunny decides she’s had enough of his company and goes to bed, telling Judson to lock up on his way out.  But the next morning…

“Judson…what the hell…?”

Judson’s body was strewn across the black futon.  His sleepy expression perked up when he noticed her.  He bolted upright, rubbed his hands over his face, and stared.  His eyes darkened. 

The heat from his gaze burned a trail from the top of her head down to her fuzzy slippers, stopping momentarily to circle her breasts, before she realized she stood in front of him in nothing more but her shocked expression and a pair of animal print panties.

I hope you enjoyed these six.  For more great previews from other authors please click on  SIX SENTENCE SUNDAY. Or join in the fun next week with six of your own.

Happy Reading!

 

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Friday Fun Facts

Hi and welcome to Friday Fun Facts!  Come play along and learn something new about me, and I’ll learn something new about you.

Each Friday I will post a question (something fun, maybe a bit quirky, it’s Friday after all) and include my answer.  You can join the fun and post your own answer by clicking the comment button below!

Since we are in the haunting month of October, I have geared my questions toward subjects pertaining to Halloween!  Since this is the last Friday of the month this is our big finale.  I’m sad to see October is about over, but looking forward to Turkey Day month!  YUM :)

One of my favorite parts of Halloween as an adult is seeing the costumes.  Before I was married I would purposely stay home on Halloween to pass out candy.  I loved seeing all the unique and different costumes kids came up with.  Some homemade with such imagination, some funny, some scary, some purchased from the store and even a few that I’m sure had to be rented, they were so elaborate.

When I had my own kids, it was so much fun to have them dress up and more often than not our costumes were homemade, put together out of bits and pieces that we bought, borrowed or made out of something in the house.  Even if the kids wanted a costume from the store, it seemed like we would personalize it somehow.  I loved going out with them and seeing what all the other trick or treaters wore.

Since we live in the country, we’ve never had a trick or treater come to the house.  And now that my kids are grown and I don’t go with them into town to make the rounds, I have to say I truly miss seeing all the kids dressed up in their finest gear.

Anyway, I was thinking about this the other day when I was in the grocery story and noticed the huge bins filled with all the yummy Halloween candy.  I can’t tell you the last time I bought a bag.  Why bother when I’d end up eating it all myself?  Lol

This got me thinking about Halloween when I was a kid.  I started to remember all the fun and excitement in our house on that wonderful night.  From the time my siblings and I stepped down from the school bus, we were preparing for our night out.  Now my brother and sister were older and it always seemed to me that they had the best costumes.  Most of the time we made our own costumes, but I do remember a few times they were purchased from the store.

I can easily remember my worst costume.  One I’m sure my mom regretted buying as I whined.  lol   Anyway, my mom bought my sister and I matching costumes (thanks Mom).  I don’t think either of us were too happy about it.  We were witches, complete with a black dress, pointy hat and one of those flimsy plastic masks that pinched and poked the skin on your face.  They were hot and hard to see out of when you were walking.  And forget about talking…you had to lift them up to hold a conversation in between houses, but I do remember sticking my tongue out a lot through the little slit for your mouth, and I also remember cutting it.  Guess I deserved it after torturing my mom with my complaints.  lol  Anyway, I hated (yes, I know that’s a strong word, but it about sums up my feelings) that costume.  And I think the main reason was that damn mask. :)  The only wonderful thing that came out of that torturous costume was that someone along the line must’ve despised them as much as I did, because I don’t see those types of masks in the store any longer.  YAY! :) :) :)

Okay, so I told you the worst costume, which only means I had to have had a favorite.  Right?  Well, of course!  I can actually remember I loved this awesome costume my sister made.  I can’t remember now if she was a gypsy or a belly dancer, but she had all kinds of beautiful silk scarves and bangle bracelets and makeup.  She looked amazing.  As for me, I don’t think I found my favorite costume until I was at a work Halloween party in my early twenties.  I ended up going as a Sexy Devil…lol…I had a wonderful short red dress, black fishnet stockings, horns and a red silk mask over my eyes.  Okay, not very kid-like, but I loved that costume and I had a great time the night I wore it *wink*

Which brings me to my final question for the month of October

…..Drum roll, please….Today’s Friday Fun Fact question is…

Everyone has a favorite and a worst Halloween costume.  One that we stomped our feet at as our mom or dad poured us into it while we argued and fought the entire way.  And of course the favorite one that we wore to school (or to a party when we were older…hehehe) that we could’ve worn all night long and never taken off.  Share with me your worst and best Halloween costumes.

I cant’ wait to read your comments and thanks for playing along!

 
 

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One leg in and one leg out

I believe that every writer has their own pattern or set of ‘writing rules’ that they follow as they create.

Some are Plotters.  In the beginning process this type of writer will plot detailed outlines.  They’ll make charts with sticky notes, a dry erase board or recipe cards they can rearrange as they write and their story characters, actions or motivations change.  Very detailed, they not only know their characters inside and out, they know each scene and have it planned to the most minor detail.

Others just sit down and write.  These are the Pantsters.  They have a basic concept, but prefer to have the story come to them as they write.  The story takes the lead and they follow with the click of their keyboard.  They write and write and write without stopping, getting as many words on paper as possible.  Then, when they feel the story is complete, they go back over it and tweak it.  Deepen the POV, fill in description and scene, maybe weave in another subplot.  Basically fill in the blanks and give it a fine tune until it sparkles and shines.

Still others will write out of order.  I’ve never heard of a label attached to this style of writing, but I call it the Hairpuller (lol…that’s just because it frustrates me).  First they might work on chapter one to introduce the main characters and get a better feel for them.  Then they might move to chapter five for a huge action scene.  From there they jump ahead further to the last chapter to finish the story and see how it works before moving back to fill in the blanks with chapter two.  Aaahh…you must write linear…lol (at least I must).

There are probably more styles out there, but these are the main ones I hear other writers talk about.   On occasion I like to shake things up on myself and see if I’m missing something.  If I try another way of getting my story written, will it improve my writing, keep my motivation high or help me work faster.

Nope… :).  I have tried these methods and they aren’t for me.  But hats off to the writers that can follow them.  That’s the wonderful thing about writing, you can do it your own way. :)

For me, the authors that write out of order amaze me.  I just can’t wrap my mind around that one.  Lol.  I must have order and direction.  I have to follow from the beginning, starting with point A and ending with point Z.

Then comes the Pantster.  To write without having an idea where your story is going…an incredible concept I can’t fathom.  I have tried to just sit in front of my laptop and start with one idea and go.  And I can actually do it for awhile, but then I notice I start writing scenes or allowing my characters to have dialogue that really doesn’t advance the story.  Or worse yet, I’ll write my characters into a corner and will have to backtrack to get them out and moving in another direction and I end up with a lot of detail I really don’t want or need.

But I’m also not a total Plotter.  I think that would take to much organization on my part…lol…and I’d feel like I was wasting to much time mapping everything out when I should be writing.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I have one leg in and one leg out of my pants!  And I definitely keep my hands away from my hair, so hairpulling is totally out :).

If you’re wondering what I mean by having one leg in and one leg out, let me clarify.

Basically I plot my stories by making a GMC (goal, motivation and conflict) chart for each character.  I know some authors will even do this scene by scene, but I don’t go that deep in the plotting process.  Then I write a small bio for each main character and if I have a villain they also get the GMC and bio too.  From there I basically write a quickie outline with the major plot points, which also acts as my rough draft for a synopsis.  My chart/outline doesn’t include the fluff stuff of the story, but the big points that move the story along.  I find if I go into to much detail, I feel frustrated when my story veers in another direction…and I have to say my stories always veer in another direction.  I like that I know where my story is going on the major points, but on the other hand I like the fact that something about a character or a scene can pop up and change a detail, adding a new level and depth to a character I hadn’t considered.  Thus making my story deeper and more real.  (I hope).

This works for me because it keeps me excited about the story.  I don’t know every minor detail and I’ll still have some surprises thrown at me, but it also keeps me on track because I know just enough to have direction.

So I am technically a pantster with one leg out for plotting.  LOL…does that make sense?

It’s funny how being a pantster or a plotter really fits into everyone’s world, even non-writers.

Some of us like to have lists and schedules and know what we are doing every minute of everyday.  Then others fly by the seat of their pants.  Jump from bed each morning and go with the flow.  Still others (like me), have a general idea, certain things planned and plotted, but let other things come and go as they will.

But the interesting thing here is that I believe someone that writes and is a plotter in their writing could very well be a pantster in every other aspect of their lives.  Hmm…makes you think doesn’t it?

What about you, writer or not, are you a plotter, pantster or do you hop around when you are putting your pants on with one leg in and one leg out?

 
42 Comments

Posted by on October 26, 2011 in Day to Day Life, On Writing

 

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Friday Fun Facts

Hi and welcome to Friday Fun Facts!  Come play along and learn something new about me, and I’ll learn something new about you.

Each Friday I will post a question (something fun, maybe a bit quirky, it’s Friday after all) and include my answer.  You can join the fun and post your own answer by clicking the comment button below!

Since we are in the haunting month of October, I would like to continue with topics related to the Halloween season!  Hope you don’t mind.

My family is a huge fan of scary, horror flicks.  When our kids were younger we actually had Scary Movie Nights on the weekends.  We’d all stay up late and rent sometimes 2 or 3 scary movies and watch them while eating buckets of popcorn and the occasional homemade pizza.

Scary Movie Night was actually an idea born from my husband’s warped, twisted and mangled humor, but it stuck for a long time and I know the kids enjoyed it.  At first I was a bit leery about letting them participate in something that my husband and I enjoyed after they’d go to bed, because I felt they were too young.  I worried they’d have nightmares and all that other stuff that goes along with getting your socks scared straight off your feet…lol.

But I have to admit, my husband handled it all pretty well.  He’d actually crack jokes when a scary part came up, or point out how fake some of the scenes looked (yeah, we rented some pretty cheesy scary movies at times :))…and in the process it got the kids involved and almost turned scary movie night into dissecting scary movie night.  And to this day our kids are huge scary movie fans with a touch of humor!   (I still enjoy some of the funny things that they say during a movie)

But there were some movies we didn’t let our kids watch.  Movies that are just too scary or disturbing.  Okay, I confess, there are some movies out there that still scare me and I prefer not to watch them when I’m alone, or after dark…lol!  So I certainly wouldn’t want my kids to see them.  (but on a side note, now that they are older, go for it!!)

I actually have two movies—and they are oldies but goodies—that make me curl up on the couch with a fuzzy blanket to use as a shield over my eyes when the going gets rough.  The first one is The Entity.  Made in the early 1980’s this is a ghost story (my favorite scary movie theme) and scares the bajeebies out of me no matter how often I watch it.  The other is the original OMEN…damn, that little boy in that movie gives me the creeps and to this day I’d cross the sidewalk to avoid anyone with the name Damien…lol.

Which leads me to…

…..Drum roll, please….Today’s Friday Fun Fact question is…

Everyone has a frightening movie that bothers them that they laugh off when talking to friends.  But when lights go out, your home alone or you hear the theme music, you get that tingly crawl over your skin.  What movie does that to you?  Share with me your scariest movie and why it makes the hair on the back of your neck stir, or why you lose sleep if you watch it before bed.  Can’t wait to hear your answers!

HAPPY FRIDAY!!!

 
 

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The Deal Breaker

I was reading a book yesterday, one recommended by a friend and I have to tell you that I enjoyed it.  It’s been awhile since I’ve had a chance to sit down and read without interruption or without the material being geared toward a topic to improve my craft.  It was nice because it was pure pleasure reading. :)

On occasion, I’m amazed when I am reading a story, engrossed in the characters, the scene, the story then—WHAM—a misspelled word or a missing word or a duplicate word jumps out at me like they are printed in bold and outlined in neon flashing green!

Yesterday that culprit was THE THE.  The clones bounced off the pages and hit be right between the eyes.

Okay, I have to admit, I stopped short for a moment and reread the sentence.  The mistake stalled the pacing, gave me pause and jerked me out of the story, but it’s wasn’t a deal breaker.

I shall overcome and read on.  (Insert your favorite battle song here).   After I recovered and packed my battle weapons back up into their crates, I continued to read for a moment, until I thought of a conversation I’d had awhile back with a friend.

This conversation is actually one I’ve had with a few critique partners as well as non-writer friends, so it must be on a lot of people’s minds…lol.  It’s been awhile now, but this friend actually called me up one day after she tossed the book she’d been reading into the donation box.  She couldn’t finish it.  Now, I don’t recall what the error was exactly, but to me I considered it a bump on the page.  My poor friend was quite upset by it.  She couldn’t understand how a book could go to print and be placed on the bookshelves of stores for purchase and not be ‘perfect’.  After all, the buyer was spending their hard earned money on this form of entertainment and the error should’ve been caught.

Yes, she has a great point.

On the other hand, she blamed the author.  They should’ve seen it.  They didn’t care about their work.

The reason my friend was so upset over this, is because, unlike me, this is a deal breaker for her.  When she runs across something that pulls her out of the story like a duplicate word or a misspelling or missing word, her enjoyment in the story is over.  She closes that book, never to return.

WOW, you might be saying.  But that’s how she feels, and you can’t fault her for being true to herself.  Although, I think she might have missed some really good books along the way…and her and I have discussed this.  But she is adamant that once she is yanked from the story so crudely, everything is ruined and she can’t continue to read because all she can think about is that error.  Sounds funny, at least to me…but I love her and she’s a great person…this is just her own quirk. :)

Anyway, I know somewhat of the process a book goes through on the road to publication.  All the eyes that see the words on the pages from the very beginning of story conception.  There is the writer (of course), critique partners, friends and family (not always but sometimes), beta readers—and then when it’s finally polished enough and ‘perfect’ it’s sent to either an agent or publisher (or both).  If it’s contracted it then follows the hallways to many departments that pick the work apart to make it shine and ‘perfect’ before it’s released to the hungry eyes of the readers.  It’s a process for sure, a process of many long months (at least for the writer…lol).

Now, I did try and explain to her some of the process.  Not to blame the writer.  Manuscripts, like I mentioned, are seen by so many eyes, it’s not just one persons fault. But she couldn’t get over the fact that it’s the authors work and they should have last eyes on the pages.

This is the part where we agreed to disagree…lol. :)

I’m sorry, I don’t blame it on the writer, or their critique groups or the editor, publisher, beta reader…whoever.  The people proofing a story are all human…things will get missed…things will happen.  It’s a mistake.  Mistakes happen.

An old conversation always pops into my head at moments like this, so let me digress a moment and share it with you.  Years ago, when I was working in the admissions department of a hospital (where we mainly handled paperwork…an extreme amount of paperwork…lol) I made a mistake (shock, gasp, groan) and I was so upset with myself, but my boss shrugged it off.  She helped put it all in prospective for me when she uttered these wise words.

“Nobody is going to die because of that inaccuracy.  Fix it and move on.”

LOL…damn it, she was right.  It wasn’t like I was performing neurosurgery on some poor unsuspecting patient.  I made a typing error.  I tend to think of this phrase often when I’m going about everyday life and trip up.  More than likely the mistake I made or the mistake I come across isn’t going to kill anybody (thank goodness).  So fix the mistake and move on.  (or in the case of reading a book, where you can’t fix the mistake, just move on).

Back to topic.  How about you?  When you come across an error while reading, are you like me and can look past it and continue on, actually forgetting about it as you become immersed once more into the story?  Or, are you like my friend and it’s a done deal, pages closed and book thrown in a box for donation?

 

 
50 Comments

Posted by on October 19, 2011 in Day to Day Life, On Writing

 

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Friday Fun Facts

Hi and welcome to Friday Fun Facts!  Come play along and learn something new about me, and I’ll learn something new about you.

Each Friday I will post a question (something fun, maybe a bit quirky, it’s Friday after all) and include my answer.  You can join the fun and post your own answer by clicking the comment button below!

Since we are in the haunting month of October, I would like to take the next three Fridays and post something related to the Halloween season!  Hope you don’t mind.

I live in the boonies, off a dirt road.  At night it’s a scary walk up a long, dark, curvy driveway with only the glow of moonlight to illuminate your path.  So needless to say, we don’t get trick or treaters.  It’s one of the things I miss about living in town.  Houses out here are separated by a great distance and most of the kids in the area are driven into our small town to dispense their tricks or gather their treats… :)

This time of year always brings back happy memories of when I was growing up.  We lived on a dead end street on the outskirts of a fledgling city, everybody knew everybody.  Getting ready for our big night, being allowed to stay out until well after the street lights came on, was a big deal.  More than likely we didn’t have the store bought orange plastic pumpkins or pails to fill with candy, but carried a plastic bag or pillow case (which both held way more loot) :)

I can still feel that thrill of excitement as I recall running across lawns in my costume, getting ready to yell those three magic words endless times for the next couple of hours.  “Trick or Treat.”

Now I admit, in my innocent youth I didn’t pull any tricks (that was for my teen years…hehehehe and another blog topic for the future), I was more focused at this young age of getting the sweet, sticky, sugary candies.  There were certain homes in the neighborhood that were on your radar and sometimes you’d go out of order to get there first in hopes that they wouldn’t run out of the good stuff.  Kid gossip filled the streets that Mrs. Hoogleboogleboom had Hershey bars—the large ones—and they were going fast, and Mr. Inglebingersol was giving out pennies so avoid at all costs.  (names have been changed to protect the reputations of their offspring).

Remember all those wonderful, delicious treats?  Remember coming home after trick or treating and spilling all your candy on the table or counter and counting it?  (Yep, we counted it…lol).  Remember sifting through the assortment, looking for the best pieces and putting them into a special pile.  If you had siblings or were lucky enough to have a friend over on that magical, mystical night, do you remember trading and sometimes even arm wrestling to get the coveted prized candy that everyone wanted?  I can still hear the shouts and laughter and wonder how my mother stood the noise level!  lol

For me, chocolate was a big hit, the major score!  I’d trade anything else for it with my brother and sister to have them give up a piece of their chocolately goodness.  Sometimes going so far as to give them several candies for a solitary piece of their chocolate.  And do you remember when you were sorting through your candy and came across that certain treat that you wouldn’t eat even if someone paid you a million dollars?  You could barely be bothered to push it off to the outer edges of your stash with the tips of your fingers.  For me that was the dreaded POPCORN BALL.  I still cringe just thinking about it…ICK! ICK!!  Triple ICK!!!

Well, I just found the perfect lead in…

…..Drum roll, please….Today’s Friday Fun Fact question is…

When you were younger and a trick or treater expert extraordinaire, what was the best type of candy that you could find in your sugary pile after you emptied your loot from a night out tricking and treating?  And what was the worst?

 

 
 

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Just Breathe…or is it Breath?

From the title of my blog I bet you can figure out what today’s topic is about.  Yep, you got it.  Those pesky words that are similar in spelling and/or sound, but have totally different meanings.

We all have words that make us stop mid key-board stroke and wonder (or is it wander) if we are making the write—oops, I mean right—choice.

I notice when I write there are certain words that trip me up and stop me in my tracks (or do I mean treks?).  Don’t you think everyone (or should I say every one with a space between the words?) has words that give them cause to pause?  As a writer I work hard to choose words which will convey my characters moods and feelings, set the scene, bring my story to life for my reader.  Sometimes it’s hard to accept (except) that I have to stop and double check myself from time to time to make sure I’m choosing the right word to get my point across the way I mean.

This brings me to those awesome people who help me get it right.  Critique partners.  As a writer, you have to love your critiquers.  (I know I don’t mean you’re right?  You’re is the contraction for you are).  These awesome sticklers of the written word catch many a mistake, not just with plot holes or inconsistencies, but grammar and spelling.  They are amazing and know—not no, as if in a negative response—their stuff.  Each partner is different in what they notice or catch, but they all have a flair (which means a conspicuous talent, whereas flare is either a noun meaning flame or a verb meaning to blaze or to burst in anger.) on finding those pesky mistakes and helping to make this woman get it right.  (Not women, which is a mistake my partners have caught for me hundreds of times, don’t know why, but I always seem to type the wrong one, even though I know the meaning…applause to the critique ladies). :)

So if you are like me and those mistakes bother you to the point where you lose sleep…*gulp*, I hope I don’t mean loose…even though you have those awesome critique partners and their eagle eyes, today I have a little website that I have come across to help you self edit.  :)

The next time your fingers are flying across the keyboard at warp speed and your muse is talking so fast you can hardly manage to keep up, then one of those words jump out at you and your mind falls flat and your fingers curl.  Check out this link and it’ll all make sense.

http://public.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/errors.html#errors

After you get it figured out, you’ll be able to sit back and just breathe (I hope I don’t mean breath).

Feel free to share any of those trip-up words that overtake your writing from time to time, I’d love to hear them.  And fingers crossed that I didn’t mess any of them up in my blog today…lol…now how funny would that be? :)

Happy writing and reading,
Christine

 
24 Comments

Posted by on October 12, 2011 in Day to Day Life, On Writing

 

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