Monthly Archives: April 2012

P stands for Passionate

You must be passionate. About your life, about your loves and about your words. If you’re not passionate, the words will never jump off the page and keep your readers awake until their eyes burn and they yearn for sleep ‘after just one more page.’

Not every writer is going to be successful at this endeavor. Some will write perfectly acceptable books; books which sell well and have an audience. But the novels where the author is passionate; oh, those are the great ones. Those are the ones where the reader will buy everything you write because you give them a world to believe in and characters to embrace.

The authors I love who fall into that category, regardless of genre:

Marion Zimmer Bradley (fantasy), Mercedes Lackey (fantasy), Chelsea Quinn Yarbro (fiction), Robert Asprin (fantasy), Kim Harrison (fantasy), Lee Child (mystery), Steve Hamilton (mystery), Robert Jordan (fantasy), David Eddings (fantasy).

I’m enough of a reader that I’m sure there are tons more I’ll think of as soon as I end this post, but so be it.






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O stands for Opportunities

I’m not talking about financial opportunities, or anything anyone else would consider ‘real world’. I’m referring to the golden opportunities in unpublished novels.

It really is a chain reaction. If your MC doesn’t have an opportunity to do whatever it is that’s motivating him, there is no way for your story to move forward. It’s your job as the writer to make sure those opportunities make it onto the page in such a way that the reader finds them believable. Because, let’s face it, without that believability factor they won’t read the rest of your novel. And isn’t that the entire goal? I’m sure there might be some writers, somewhere, who never ever share their work… but I don’t know of a single one…

The same can be said for the bad guys. (Every novel needs at least one perceived ‘baddie’.) Your challenge is to ensure your bad guys get the opportunity to potentially ham-string your MC, sometimes more than once, before the novel ends. Whether they succeed or not is utterly beside the point. It’s not what keeps your reader…ummm… reading. What should keep your reader turning the pages is the cat and mouse game which ensues once your MCs meet up with, or realize they are being pursued by, the bad guys. That’s what ultimately brings the novel to a climax and leaves your readers sweat soaked, sitting back in their chairs, thinking to themselves ‘Whew. Wasn’t sure that was gonna happen!’


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N stands for Nothing

Let nothing, nothing, stand in the way of your dreams.

I did that for years. It started when I was a teenager and I never thought I was ‘good enough’ to follow them. Everyone else followed theirs. But somewhere along the line, I learned that I wasn’t meant for college. I wasn’t focused enough to go through with higher education — at least, that’s what I was told. That’s what I absorbed. Because when someone close to you is constantly saying ‘She’ll never…’ you trust it. You believe it. It becomes true.

My first dream was to be a fashion model. I even went to modeling school to learn how to walk, eat correctly, and put on make-up. I did some light modeling, but quickly learned it wasn’t for me.

My next dream was to move to New York and be a full time author. Instead, I got married (still not going to college.) That pretty much killed that dream. I stayed in that marriage for six or seven years before I left. The reasons why don’t matter.

A few years after that, I became a mom for the first time, which took up a LOT of my focus. Various reasons after that kept me from writing and turning it into a career.

This isn’t to complain about the path my life took. It’s simply to illustrate how easy it is to lose sight of what you really want with other things you also want. And it’s completely possible to do both.

Now, at what is the middle of my life, I’m letting nothing stand in my way. I may never be the next Robert Jordan, and that’s okay… as long as I’m true to me and my wants.

Nothing stands in my way, least of all my own insecurities.


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M stands for Masculine

I was going to write ‘M stands for Muse’, but this struck me on the way home. The term ‘masculine’, in strict dictionary definitions, means:  Of or relating to men or boys; male.

In today’s society, among certain groups, it means men who don’t wear pink, or cook, or enjoy crafts (of any kind!), or who take hot bubble baths… the list truly is endless. And stupid. That’s right, I said stupid. Who, exactly, gets to decide what is masculine enough and what is too ‘girly’ to be masculine? Are tears in a man or a boy too ‘girly’ to be tolerated? By that standard, my father wasn’t a ‘real’ man because he had no shame in his tears. My brother in law falls in the same category because he wears pink dress shirts. My husband, the father of my two boys, cooks… so he must not be a man.

A man, a true man, is known by the strength of his convictions and his character. Masculinity does not abuse. Period. Whether it is a fellow man, woman, child or animal. A real man lifts up, never puts down. A real man understands that working inside the home can be just as difficult as holding down a job which issues a paycheck. He is not tight fisted with a compliment and showing affection to those he loves.

A masculine man should not be defined by whether he wears certain colors or enjoys watching sports. He should be defined by what he carries inside himself and by how he treats others.


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L stands for Laughter







Not the bad kind of ‘Oh. My. Gwad. You’re wearing THAT?!’ laughter. The good kind. The kind that cramps your stomach and leaves you with a smile on your face.

Without laughter, the world would be a dull place, indeed. Some authors have great comedic talent (Jenni James’ novels Pride & Popularity and Northanger Alibi are great examples of comedic Y.A.), while others excel at the creepy (Stephen King and Dean Koontz). Each talent has its place, of course, but the writers I prefer to read can make me laugh, cry, despair and triumph… all in the same novel.

I never thought I was the type of writer to have talent even remotely resembling comedic anything. Then I created my first gnome. And he absolutely cracked me up. He was fun, he was quirky, and he rapidly stole the hearts of everyone who read him. He turned what was an epic fantasy (with all the drama that implies) into something more.And that something more was worth every keystroke.

(…excerpt of BoH…rough unrevised draft…)

The gnome squatted by the fire, unseemingly bothered by the cold. “I do, but not the bad meat. Only the good meat.” He lowered his voice and they all leaned forward to hear his next words. “The bad meat is, well, really, really bad. I don’t recommend it at all. Not that it’ll make you ill, ‘cause I ate some once and it didn’t. Make me ill, that is…” He wilted a bit as they stared at his abnormal chattiness. “The Elders sent me to come with you. They said I needed to —” he scratched his nearly bald head. “Represent the gnomes when you found the elves.”

“So now we need a gnome to get an elf to get the Hand from the gnomes?” Leena closed her eyes. “I’m getting a headache.”

“A headache?” Orgon leaned across the fire, nearly setting himself ablaze in the process. “Where?”

Leena closed her eyes tighter. “In. My. Head.”

“Really? Can I see it?”

She shook her head. Gently. “Not unless you plan on dissecting me.”

“Oh, it’s on the inside?”

Leena opened one eye and glanced across the fire. Yes, he was utterly serious.

(…end of excerpt…)

As you can see, he was a great deal of fun to write. I could be as silly and nonsensical as I wanted to. And, best of all, I made everyone who read him laugh.


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K stands for Knights

When I was a little girl, I wanted a knight to come and sweep me off my feet.  Not because my home life was horrible or I was treated poorly, or anything else beyond the simple fact of ‘What little girl doesn’t dream of a knight coming and taking her off into the sunset?’

I placed that burden on every single boyfriend I ever had. One managed to live up to my expectations. For a time. But reality clouded in circumstances and growing up took care of that. We chose different paths. I learned, while knights are something to be dreamed of, that mentality doesn’t work in my reality. I don’t need a knight to protect me from the big, bad world, I need a partner to help me survive it.

Do I still sometimes wish for a knight? Yes, but you won’t find me wearing a gown and bemoaning my fate while I’m waiting. I’ll be out slaughtering the goblins and ogres standing in my way.







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J stands for Jalapenos!

My husband makes stuffed jalapenos that are out of this world. He first de-seeds the peppers, then stuffs them with a mixture of cream cheese, shredded cheddar and a touch of garlic powder, then he dips them in home-made corn dog batter and deep fries them.

No, they aren’t for the faint of heart, but they are totally worth it. Image


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