What's Wrong with "Me"?

I am not a grammar Nazi. Honest. I don’t correct people’s grammar unless I am getting paid as an editor or yelling at the TV. But, like most writers, I do care about words and how they go together, and I respect their functions. And we all have our pet peeves, right? Mine looks like... Read more »

Stilettos, Cigarettes, Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy: 3 Ways to Liven Up Your Stories

Sometimes I get stuck when I’m writing. I overuse generic words. My dialog puts me to sleep. The plot gets lost under action that is as exciting as sitting on the front porch—facing the house. The writing is dry and lifeless and I lose interest. If I’m bored, readers will close the book, set it... Read more »

From Billie Holiday to Olafur Arnalds: the Music Behind My Writing

From Billie Holiday to Olafur Arnalds: the Music Behind My Writing
Last weekend, at our Friday meeting at the cafe, I told Deb and Susan about the Dave Matthews concert I went to the previous weekend. And then I made this ridiculous pronouncement: “There were 30,000 people there. In one place. Guess how many people were at the last author reading I went to?” They shrugged.... Read more »
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7th Grade Noir

When I was in seventh grade, my English teacher, Mrs. Long, announced to the class that we would all be participating in a district-wide short story contest. There were some groans, but I was thrilled. I spent most of my classes making up stories in my head anyway; now I would get to do it... Read more »

Blame it on the Vikings: Taking the Gender Out of Grammar

Good story lines are often born from random thoughts, which can come in the form of squirrels, shiny things or something fierce—like Vikings. In all but the most structured writing groups, there is room for distraction. The writers group I’m in has no place for stop watches wielded like tasers by facilitators who majored in Roberts... Read more »

I Blame Dave Matthews, Carpet Salesmen, Chainsaws, and Riding Lawnmowers for Making Me Miss My Deadline

I Blame Dave Matthews, Carpet Salesmen, Chainsaws, and Riding Lawnmowers for Making Me Miss My Deadline
The plan was to post this last Friday. But as any writer will tell you, sometimes Friday means Monday. Or is it the other way around? The theme last week was first stories. Punctual Susan posted hers right on time. Deb was finishing a short story for an anthology so she wasn’t able to post in... Read more »
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My First Short Story Starring Adolf and Eva

My First Short Story Starring Adolf and Eva
The very first fiction I wrote without crayons was a short story about Adolf Hitler and his mistress, Eva Braun. I was in grade school and too young to even know what a mistress was. To be honest, I didn’t remember it until my parents downsized and moved from the home I grew up in.... Read more »

Beginning A Novel: A Dramatization

Beginning A Novel: A Dramatization
I’m voicing an idea for a novel. It’s the first time I’ve talked about it, and I depend on Susan and Laura to ask questions. To react. Even if that means they have to tell me, ever so gently, that I should lie down until the urge to write this passes. “Okay.” I take a... Read more »

Snakes on a page: A glimpse into my novel "Saving Jesus"

Snakes on a page: A glimpse into my novel "Saving Jesus"
“Wake up, my lovely.” Nybbas ran a finger along the top of his collar and she slowly came to life. “That’s a good girl,” cooed Nybbas. She closed her narrow yellow eyes and nudged the top of her head against Nybbas’ cheek. “A snake?” said Abigor with an exaggerated eye roll. “Isn’t that a little cliché?” Nybbas... Read more »
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Writing a Novel: How Hard Could That Be?

Writing a Novel: How Hard Could That Be?
I love this photo. I took it in July, near midnight, 2008. In Iceland. It still makes me smile. I am in love with Iceland. Perhaps obsessed. I’ve been there a number of times to do research on my novel, Maelstrom, set in WWII Iceland.The novel was inspired by a box of my father’s WWII photos.... Read more »