29 May 2012


There are some people that are so quick-witted it leaves me in the dust and I sit there, licking my slow-moving mental wounds and think, "how did they come up with that?"

For example:  My brother-in-law (I won't use his name because he's a lawyer on top of being clever and I don't want to mess with him).  He comes up with some of the best one-liners.  The kinds of things that people remember years later and still laugh about.  The kinds of things that get re-told at parties.  I would tell you some, but right now the only ones I can think of might offend some people (one uses the word "crap".  I know. Gasp!)

Okay.  You talked me into it.  (Isn't it nice to be a writer?  I can imagine the responses of other people.  No need to wait for actual answers.)

Just after buying a house that my brother-in-law had to make repairs on, he was talking to the previous owner about it.  The previous owner said something to the effect of "If you'd just be willing to eat some money up front, you'll come out better in the long run."  To which my brother-in-law replied, "I've eaten so much money on this deal I'm crapping quarters."

He just comes up with that stuff!

Another person who has that kind of wit, in my opinion, is the actor Robert Downey, Jr.  (We just went to see "Avengers" and I'm not ashamed to say I loved it.)  RD,Jr. came up with so many one-liners that I was still laughing about what he'd said when he came up with something else to laugh about.

I've always wanted to be that funny.  Always wanted the kind of power to take a situation and see the humor, then get other people to see the funny.

I have only ever felt that way in one situation.  The kind of situation I control completely.  The kind I can take time to think through things.  I really only feel funny when I write for certain characters and manipulate their dialogue into ways I can giggle over.

Is that sad, or just pathetic?

I guess that's one of the beauties of writing fiction.  If I can think it, I can create it.  I can even make myself funny.

21 May 2012

Just a Little Addiction

So on Saturday I started reading a book I picked up at random from a library shelf and before I had even finished the book I'd gone back to the library to get two more of that author's books.  Then I proceeded to read until 2:30 that night so I could finish the second book of the day.

I fully and freely admit I am pathetic and have no social life to speak of.

I justify these actions in two ways.

The first justification is that in every author's blog I've read, in every seminary I've attended as a reader of writers, in every bit of advice I've received in regards to being an author, everyone says that in order to write, one needs to read.  Often.  And in the genre you'd like to write in.

Personally, I like to read in two genres, generally.  The biggest and bestest is Young Adult Fantasy and that's what I usually write as well.  But then, sometimes I remember I'm a woman with a sex drive and a hyper-active romantic streak and I delve head first into the kind of books I blush about when other people see the covers.  (I must take a moment here and clarify:  I do not read books that talk about the act of what I consider sacred.  If a book begins to get too intimate, I close the book and don't open it again.  I'm talking about the kind of romance that begins with a touch of the hand and ends with a lengthy kiss.  Call me old fashioned, if you will.  At least I don't feel like a dirt bag at the end of a chaste book.  Instead, I close it with a contended sigh and go kiss my husband.  He doesn't mind.)  And with all that being said, I still hide the book covers.

And since, I have written a book in this toe curling genre, I should probably read as many as I can.  I'm only doing my duty, really.

My second justification:  last night when I lay my tired head on my feather pillow, I smiled the kind of smile that only comes from completing a guilty pleasure.

It was totally worth it.

14 May 2012


Is there anything more debilitating than failure when you don't expect it?    But I've moved on (obviously, since I'm still talking about it).

Now hold on to your pants because my cleverness is back in bucketfuls and I'm going to share.  As with everything on this blog, it's all my own opinions and you're welcome to disagree.  Just don't tell me about it. *grin*

A while ago I decided there were two kinds of authors: those who were good storytellers and those who were good writers.  Stephenie Meyer is a good storyteller.  So are J.K. Rowling and Suzanne Collins.  I would go so far as to say most of the popular writers of our day are good storytellers.  They write the kind of story that grabs you from the start and you find yourself falling in love with vampires or fighting off The Dark Lord while speaking in a British accent. Maybe you even spend a night listening to a person dying. (I'm talking BOOKS not movies.  Please don't even get me started on the movies of these books.  They ruin everything!  Stop me now.)

I've recently re-discovered the power of a good storyteller, even when telling a story I'm not especially interested in.  Louis L'Amour sucks me in every. stinking. time!  I love getting sucked in.

The other category is good writers.  Think Markus Zusak, Eva Ibbotson, Nathaniel Hawthorn.  The kind of writing that makes you stop and notice the writing.  The words used.  The order the words are in.  It actually takes you away from the story to notice how brilliant the writing is and then make you feel stink because you could never achieve that kind of greatness.

Then there are the truly exceptional.  Those authors who combine the two.  It's a pretty small list.  Off the top of my head, I can think of two.  (Both of whom are women, but don't let that make you think I'm biased or anything).

Shannon Hale
Jane Austen

You see?  There is a reason why I love Shannon Hale so much.

Alright.  I lied.  I can think of more.  Megan Whalen Turner, Charles Dickens, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (I'm positive I'm leaving someone important off the list, but it's not coming to me.  Possibly because I'm too concerned by including male names).

They combine the art of using words in a meaningful and beautiful way with the art of telling a beautiful and meaningful story.  They produce the kind of book that has layers and every time you read it you find more to it.  You come away feeling smarter.  To find an author of that caliber is a wondrous feeling.  At least for me.  It's the kind I aspire to be, but fear I never will.

Here's to aspirations.

07 May 2012


I'd like to thank Anne of The Book Garden for her review of "Uneasy Fortunes".

If you'd like to read it, follow this link.

Last week I had a whole post in my head to type up and give the world a "hmm" moment with my cleverness.  But I just got a rejection for a manuscript that I thought was pretty dang good.  And now I'm not feeling quite so clever.

I think I'll go bury my head.  But stay tuned for the cleverness. I'm bound to get it right sometimes.