Writingscape v1.0

Until you can look a little foolish, forget the possibility of becoming great.

My dedicated writing home has finally come to be.
Little Missy
I can be slow sometimes (okay, most of the time), but at some point I do get the job done.

I miss you, LJ mates. But you're never far from my mind. Hope your year has been stellar. May your upcoming holidays be unparalleled. :)


In loving memory of my mother.
Little Missy
My best friend's announcement...

[Cloud USA Announcement] Mrs. Annie Eloise Thornton

...and the obituary that I wrote for what we Southerners call "my mama's home-going celebration." She came out of remission right after Thanksgiving. I was blessed to be with her in her final moments last week. I miss the sound of her voice already.

The world looks and feels very odd to me right now. I'll write more soon, friends, when my head is on straighter.


Mrs. Annie Eloise Sellers Thornton soared on celebratory wings to her place in the Father's Heavenly mansion on the evening of January 11, 2012. Her final Earthly days were spent surrounded by the family that she had lovingly nurtured throughout her 74 years of physical life.

She was born on October 22, 1937 in Smyrna to Eddie Sellers Sr. and Emma Louise Bryant Sellers, both now deceased.

On May 4, 1957, she married the love of her life, Jimmy Thornton Sr., and was a proud Air Force wife for the 21 years of her husband's military service. Their marital bond has remained rock-solid and unbroken for 54 years.

Sister Thornton was an active member of Higher Hope Christian Ministries in Atlanta, where she wholeheartedly supported her husband, Deacon Thornton, and regularly dished out helpings of motherly love to all within Higher Hope's precious church walls. When she couldn't be there in person, she was always with them in spirit.

Her interests included crocheting, reading, cake and interior decorating, and gardening. She had a real eye for color and balance, and used it well. She devoted much of her time as a caregiver to her family members, including her parents and her younger son, Barry. She made it a habit every year to "adopt" a needy child for the Christmas holidays, and anonymously provided necessities and gifts for that child. She believed that in order for Jesus to work through you in such ways, you had to open yourself up and listen for His words. She never went to bed or went about her day without pausing to partake in a scripture first.

She was also a serious collector of angel figurines and bells, and was a champion bowler back in her day. And last but certainly not least, she was the proud mama of three goldfish, five mollies, and one algae fish who were spoiled rotten by her and who are missing her very much.

Ellie is survived by her husband, Deacon Jimmy Thornton; sister, Evelyn Baulding (Jeff); sister, Mildred Abbott (Oscar); brother, Frankie Sellers; daughter, Stephanie Thornton; son, Jimmy Thornton Jr.; grandson, Jamiel Thornton; uncle and aunt, Mr. and Mrs. Waymon Bryant; and a host of aunts, cousins, nieces, nephews, in-laws, and wonderful, wonderful friends.

She was predeceased by her son, Barry Thornton, and her brothers Eugene Sellers and Jimmie Sellers.

One of her favorite poems was about:


"True friendship, like a garden grows
From such a tiny seed
That's planted first with love and faith
And nurtured with each need

The warmth of sun, like kindness, makes
The tender buds appear
With loving care, this garden blooms
Like friendship, grows more dear."

One thing Ellie was not was a quitter. When it came to her health, her family, and everything she believed in, she never gave up and fought to the end.

She will be so, so missed.

Happy Thanksgiving, dear friends!
Little Missy

Of Pillow Talk and one of the best opening lines EVER.
Eye opener
"When my pillow first started talking to me, I ignored it."

This is the very first line of Bentley Little's horror story, "Pillow Talk." Holy CRAP!

And then, unbelievably, things get worse. As if a guy's pillow suddenly talking to him in the night isn't bad enough, what it eventually says is enough to make anyone's marbles retract: "I want you." I'm a woman and my testosterone ran screaming for the hills.

*shiver* :P

A great story with a very realistic ending. Heheh. Bravo.

That there be some good readin'.
Dragon Reading
Just sharing some good stuff I ran into this week. Hope it's good for you, too. I'm off to get my Alfred Hitchcock fix now... Happy Saturday! :)

What to Do If You're the First Human to Make Contact with Aliens. (Live, Nerd, Repeat)

Grammar Guru. (Boggleton Drive)

Pillow Comic No. 81. (Something A Week)

This Writing Life: Peaks and Troughs. (Not All Those Who Wander)

Of Tales of Tomorrow, today.
I've always been a die-hard Twilight Zony, Outer Limity, Night Gallery-ie, One Step Beyondy, Alfred Hitchcocky kind of gal. So I was stoked a few months ago to find something I hadn't seen before, much less heard of -- the very old, cheese-laden 1950s series that helped start it all, "Tales of Tomorrow", posted on HULU.

I dug into "Tales" with relish and haven't been disappointed. One of the really cool perks about it, if you will, is that I've gotten to see quite a few stars before they were stars. I've thoroughly enjoyed the whole first season, and wanted to share two of my favorites, one starring a young Leslie Nielson and the other the legendary Boris Karloff.

If this sounds like it's up your alley, grab your favorite beverage, kick back, and have fun! (The Kreisler commercial spots are a hoot.) :D



Cartoony to help you over the Hump.
Kinda Stoopid
Nothing to do with writing... but funny nonetheless. :)

...and you just have to FIGHT your way through that.
Body count
I saw this on the Restless Writers Blog and absolutely had to share it.

Thumbs up to Ira Glass, and to the Restless folks who passed his words on.

Ten years gone.
Little Missy
People excuse terrorism and make excuses for it at innocent victims' expense. At America's expense. I'm NOT one of them.


Fire and Ice
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if we had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice
-Robert Frost

(Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield picture credit: JT Thornton)

Writer cartoony to carry you into the weekend.
Kinda Stoopid
Oh Lord. This first one just might be me. LMAO!

All about voice at Dragon Con.
Longtime fiction critique-mate and aspiring horror writer Darrell, by a stroke of good luck, found himself at Dragon*Con last weekend, the massive, mega-cool, mega-sci-fi-fantasy festival that takes Atlanta over--like zombies--and overruns four or five hotels for four days this time every year. And, smart cookie that he is, he took full advantage of being one of those 30,000 fest attendees and didn't only enjoy the fun, but sought out panels that focused on writing.

His email about it to the seven of us in our fiction focus group was a pretty interesting report on his experience and a follow-up/confirmation of a previous discussion we'd all been having about "voice." I thought that it might be of interest and give newbie writers some much needed information, and so with his permission, I'm posting Darrell's observances here.

I hope you all had a terrific Friday and are going into the weekend primed and ready.

'Til the morrow, then!


Subject: Dragon Con and the question of voice, 9/6/11

Hi Guys!

I hope you guys had a great Labor Day Weekend. I certainly did. I wasn't planning on it, but thanks to the generosity of some great friends, I ended up going to Dragon Con!

While the comic vendors, the parades, the costumes were all as wild and as fun as anything you could expect, I ended up spending most of my time visiting the discussions/panels focusing on writing. I was surprised to find sci-fi/fantasy writers like Terry Brooks, Kevin J. Anderson, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Jade Lee, Jonathan Mayberry and Charlaine Harris taking time out of their busy schedules to talk to us wannabes. And when I say busy, I mean busy. Most of the above have more than a dozen books in print, and all of the above have been on the NYT Bestseller list.

I won't go into all of the discussions, but there was one panel that I thought I'd share with you because we just discussed it at our last meeting. It was a panel on voice, a subject we spent a pretty good amount of time on. Surprisingly (or maybe not), each panel member seemed to have a different idea of what constitutes Voice. After much discussion, here is what I came away with:

Voice is an aspect of style, and there are three voices. There is the voice of the author, which is basically the view of the world filtered through the author's unique experiences. Jade Lee, who is half-Chinese, half-Hoosier (her words), writes romantic fantasy (among other things). She discovered that when she was among her mother's relatives (the Chinese half) she behaved in a certain way, and her words, her tone, her demeanor, her voice, all reflected that aspect of her upbringing. And when she wrote a book based on Chinese culture, this was the voice that she accessed, as opposed to her contemporary sci-fi/fantasy, which she writes in her Hoosier-mode.

Author's Voice is reflected in the choice of words, patterns of speech, rhythm, etc., and it's how you know that you're reading Stephen King versus Dean Koontz versus John Grisham versus Tom Clancy.

Second, is the character's Voice, and is based on what you as the author know about that character. It's like the author's voice, but it's based on that character's experiences, which may have nothing to do with the author's experiences. It's how, if you eliminate the pronouns in dialogue, you know which character is speaking or thinking.

Third, is the Voice of the book/series. A large part of that has to do with setting/events. The Voice of a Victorian novel/series is going to be different from a pulp-noir detective novel/series, which will be different from a post-apocalyptic/dystopian/retro-futuristic/steampunk/dark urban fantasy/yaddah, yaddah, you get my drift. Long, poetic descriptions versus, short, gritty observations, something in-between, it's all designed to help your mind's eye create an image.

(My favorite quote came from an author on that panel. He said that fiction writing is a form of telepathy. Your job is to try to get the voices in your friggin' head into someone else's friggin head.)

I think, and several of the authors agreed, that it's possible to over-think things. At the end of the day, if you're serious about honing your craft, about knowing your subject and characters, a lot of these things will take care of themselves. And for the rest, well, that's what rewrites are for! Hope some of this helps! It did for me. Happy writing!


Holy Bocephus! (Now THIS is what I call Horror.)
Eye opener
One of my fiction focus critique-mates loaned me The Collection, by Bentley Little (the writer Stephen King called "frightening." Haha.) Just one paragraph into the first story, "The Sanctuary", I whimpered, "Oooh, no!"

The bottom of the second page made me scream in horrific delight.

Four hundred and forty seven pages to go. This is going to be a GREAT read.

*insert maniacal laughter here*

Of yellow legal pads and a little acorn not falling far from the tree.
Little Missy
For many years, I've wondered what planet I dropped in from.

No, seriously. I've always been the odd bird that never fit into her surroundings. Most people look askew at me when I'm doing things or when words are coming out of my mouth. I'm the one that co-workers can't help asking, "Do you know you always eat everything perfectly counterclockwise off your plate, without any of it touching? What's up with that?" I'm the one who can't stand anything on her desk being moved a millimeter from where she left it, the rabid multi-tasker who needs a clean workspace and four more hands, the chick with "dog" hearing, the woman who completely understands Terry Brooks when he says, "I am not all here."

The Real World has never been my home, just a vacation spot.

I've gotten used to sticking out of the "normal" landscape like some cardboard cutout, and it's okay. My family is somewhat acclimated too, after all this time. If they ask me a question at a gathering and get only a blank stare, they don't panic, probably assume that one of my fiction characters asked me a question at the same time, and simply walk off.

(Sorry. The point of this post is coming, I promise.)

Why I was born a writer never made sense. (Why I'm a fantasy writer, with uncountable ethereal worlds and strange and wonderful people fighting to get out of my head is also quite unfathomable by most. Why a black woman is creating "that stuff" instead of manuscripts that are "fighting the establishment" or "waiting to exhale" or "furthering the movement" or "literature that makes Oprah's book club weep" just does not compute to them. But that's a whole other blog post.) I say "born" because I've never been able to control this from as far back as I can remember. Writing is something I HAVE to do, or the color will drain from this world. Jumping in and getting my hands dirty, giving characters a voice, honing my craft, telling stories that hopefully one day will enrich people's lives by transporting them out of The Dull for just a little while... is what I live for.

But WHY? Where did my writing bug come from?

(Ah, now we're getting there.)

My family members have many natural talents that they are driven by. There are inventors, artists (paintings and drawings of all mediums), interior decorators, florists, bakers, chefs, engineers, seamstresses, crafters, actors, singers, athletes, musicians, photographers, and educators. But NO writers of any kind. Except me. I don't think anyone has even kept a diary. My own child is an elite athlete who was heavily into astronomy, oceanography, and math in school, and while quite intelligent, would only read and write if I put a gun to his head. *sigh*

And so I'd finally decided to stop wondering about it and just accept the inexplicable when lo and behold, out of the blue (get a load of those cliches, eh?) my 77-year-old father, the best baker in the entire family, took me to the side last month and whispered...

"I'm writing a book. What do you think?"

He proceeded to show me the yellow legal pads that he's been privately journaling in for years, in longhand. And come to find out, the man has destroyed several books worth of writing because he's retired military and won't take the chance that something from that period is still classified.

After I picked myself up off the floor, we sat down and he gave me a verbal, detailed outline of his memoir and I gave him pointers on how to get started, answered his questions on structure, told him yes, I would help him and made sure he knew I was behind him one hundred percent.

I've listened to his military and "before Civil Rights" experiences growing up since childhood. It makes me giddy just thinking about the amazing and historical stuff he has to give to the world now. Why is it only now registering how alike we sound when we're verbally storytelling?

I wonder if he's really going to be able to stop destroying his journaling, and be comfortable with having his written word -- unclassified stuff only -- exist long enough to get this book put together. I not sure that he can. But he's a stubborn ol' bird and so we will see.

He's very particular about what pens he writes with (like me), needs a pristine workspace (like me), and now that he's moved his writing spot from his bedroom to the living room, it's easy to see that he writes on and off all day long. Like me. You can see that look in his eyes when he's journaling that tells you he's not all there.

Can you believe it? This acorn may live in another world, but she didn't fall as far from the big oak as she thought.

*Bwahahaha* :)


(That's his space up there... and here's mine. Book(s). Pad/notebook in longhand. Pen. Sparse. O_O)

Review: The Rise of the Planet of the Apes (non-spoilerish).
For the moment, at least, until they blow it all to Hell again, my faith has actually been restored in Hollywood. Quick, somebody, take a picture!

Unlike with the 2001 debacle remake, I've been titillated by the new Rise of the Planet of the Apes since the trailers came out, in spite of myself, which made absolutely no sense. Me, lover of all things Ape before 2001. ME, avid Hater of Remakes/Revivals/Revisitations/Re-whatever you want to call them. There was just something about the look in Caesar's eyes and expressions that told me I shouldn't overlook this thing. And so, thanks to my son (who surprised me with a trip to the theater on opening night), I was front and center as the newest Caesar (CG'd by Andy Serkis) lived out his story.

(On that note, there were earlier rumblings about there being perhaps too much CGI in the movie. Well I say this--who cares about too much stinkin' CGI when it's done THIS WELL? You could have reached out and touched those apes. Their faces and body language were open books. They were REAL. Hell, give me more!)

I not only loved this movie, I appreciated it. I'll tell you why.

This prequel was a new story unto itself, and did the same thing as the old Conquest of The Planet of the Apes (a beloved favorite)--it explained how simians may have risen over humans to rule the Earth. The difference in the two stories, from my point of view, is that whereas with CONQUEST, you did have to suspend your disbelief a bit (though it wasn't that hard to do), with the new RISE, I could actually believe that this was indeed how it all started, with little suspension at all. Also, RISE gave wonderful nods to the very first movie, The Planet of the Apes of 1968, with Sir Charlton. From a very cool newspaper headline to some of the names that were used, though in different ways (Bright Eyes, Cornelia, etc.) to the old characters who were "represented" in unique ways (Dr. Zaius, General Orco, astronaut Taylor and his horse, etc.) to the iconic scene from the very first movie where humans were being hunted, and even right down to some of the signature phrases. I appreciated every single bit of it.

There was nothing extraneous in the plot, and the pacing was right on. The story was intelligently and realistically told. The actors were perfectly cast--thumbs up to James Franco and John Lithgow, especially. Nods to Freida Pinto! If I had anything to do with it, Andy Serkis' CG portrayal of Caesar would get him an award.

It was easy to identify with and sympathize with the characters, especially Caesar. You cared about him. You wanted to protect him. There was one make-or-break moment for him when I and the audience burst into spontaneous cheers and applause. We just couldn't help it. And that wasn't the only time it happened. You were with Caesar. Not because you were supposed to be, but because the character won you over. Hard sell that I am, I couldn't resist him.

By the time it ended, the story not only explained what happened to the apes in this evolutionary revolution, it remembered to also tie-in what happened to the humans as well. N-i-c-e.

I will say there was a moment in the opening set-up where the utter stupidity of the humans, while realistic, seemed waaaaaay too convenient to the plot. Talk about irritating. But with the way the rest of the movie flowed, I could let that go! :)

During the prequel's final climax, which was visually and emotionally incredible, I had a bad moment and was suddenly terrified that Hollywood might actually eff the ending up. (We're talking about the same folks who had the audacity to royally screw the ending to Godzilla, remember. I mean WHO ELSE has managed to trash an icon and a franchise of that caliber with ridiculous folderol, in the history of the world? Huh?) But somehow, everything ended just as it should have according to the dictates of the story we had been presented, again to spontaneous applause. I was looking around for Rod Serling because I just knew I was in the Twilight Zone.

Well, friends, that's my take, for what it's worth. This isn't just an ape movie. It's a story about what happens when a character (who just happens to be an ape) tries to take the reins of his own future.

GO SEE THE RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES. Go. Go now! I would love to know what you think.


(My personal nod to the first Caesar who fed my imagination and who I still love... Mr. Roddy McDowall.)

Characterization: When the clothes make the woman.
Body count
I got the greatest laugh ever when longtime ABC drama General Hospital pulled a terrific piece of characterization out of its trick bag last week for Harbinger of Death and longtime villainess Helena Cassadine.

You see, a veteran GH viewer already knows that Helena is one of the deadliest women on daytime TV, a crown she wears proudly. She not only constricts and devours her own young on the regular, but everyone else's young as well. Any man, woman, or child breathing is at risk, whether they purposely cross her path or not, and her own family has always suffered the most (not that any of them have been paragons of virtue, mind you).

And so, when Mrs. Cassadine slithered into the scene wearing this...

... I cracked up and found myself applauding.

The beauty of this is that the newbie GH viewer who doesn't know Helena yet will only see a very rich woman in her palatial manor dressed to the nines in a designer outfit from somewhere on Rodeo Drive. Only later, after they see this Burmese python in action, will they realize--to their horror--that they weren't looking at her clothes, but at her SKIN.

Bwahaha. ;)

Love it.

Please Make It Stop: Why does the Media insist on killing us with cliches?
Kinda Stoopid
I swear, it has become almost PAINFUL now whenever a news anchor or reporter on location looks into the camera and says: a flash

...when tragedy struck

...clear as a bell

...with guns blazing a wink harm's way

...the long arm of the law

*SIGH* *depressed*

Yes, yes, I know that the news is all about being as short and concise as possible in order to stay within viewers' attention spans. Still, this has begun to physically HURT. They don't even mix it up anymore, or attempt to spread them out. It's just boom--boom--BOOM. One after the other, kicking me in the brain like a mule I pissed off.

I couldn't get away with it, for sure. My fiction focus critique-mates would send me and my story manuscript home with my feelings hurt, and with a quickness.

Okay. I'm finished whining now.

Foreshadowing: Of course, he was talking about a desk job.
Body count
I'm sitting here watching one of my favorite episodes from one of the best classic shows ever -- "The Sixth Finger" (1963) of vintage Outer Limits fame -- on the Chiller Channel. And one of my favorite examples of foreshadowing just happened.

David McCallum's poor, tragic character, disenchanted by the hopelessness of manually toiling day in and day out in the oppressive darkness of the town coal mine, takes on a job as the town scientist's guinea pig. The project propels his human brain THOUSANDS of years into the future and evolves him from this...

To this...

And finally this...

... where he's not only grown a sixth finger but can absorb text at crazy speeds, read minds, spew out intelligence a normal brain could never hope to understand, and even physically repel anything that threatens him.

THAT BRILLIANT MOMENT OF FORESHADOW: Very early into the episode, David's character has a "hopes and dreams" moment and tells his girlfriend, "If only I could find work where I could really use my brain. I'd show them."

Of course, he was talking about a desk job. Haha.

Carry on, peeps. Conquer your Thursday and conquer it well.

He Said, She Said. (White House style.)
Eye opener
On what she and Obama tell their daughters to help them achieve their goals: "Read, write, read, read. If the president were here--one of his greatest strengths is reading. That's one of the reasons why he's a good communicator, why he's such a good writer. He's a voracious reader. So we're trying to get our girls, no matter what, to just be--to love reading and to challenge themselves with what they read, and not just read the gossip books but to push themselves beyond and do things that maybe they wouldn't do.

"So I would encourage you all to read, read, read. Just keep reading. And writing is another skill. It's practice. It's practice. The more you write, the better you get. Drafts--our kids are learning the first draft means nothing. You're going to do seven, 10 drafts. That's writing, it's not failure, it's not the teacher not liking you because it's all marked up in red. When you get to be a good writer, you mark your own stuff in red, and you rewrite, and you rewrite, and you rewrite. That's what writing is."

-- First Lady Michelle Obama, speaking with students from the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School, London, 5/25/2011

Michelle Obama on her “cute” husband, Hillary Clinton and how she raises her daughters. You tell 'em, guuurlfriend. :)

Matter of fact... everything she says here makes a hell of a lot of sense.

(image courtesy of Reuters)

He Said, She Said.
Dragon Reading
"When we read nonfiction, we try to catch the author in a lie. When we read fiction, we try to catch the author in a truth."
-- Silver Sparrow author Tayari Jones, in an interview on NPR

Thanks for the quote, Sylvia. :)



There should be no seams, gaps, or breaks in the illusion.
Body count
This video, referred to me by my brother, is one of the most amazing things I've ever seen. I'll let you watch it, and then we'll talk, okay?

Everything in that concert auditorium is REAL, with the exception of the singer--and her voice, which was done with Vocaloid software. (For other Anime folks out there, I had a flashback to Sharon Apple of Macross Plus, the #1 singer in the Galaxy who was in reality an A.I. program and not very nice. Haha.)

Even if my brother and I weren't longtime Anime fans (and I do mean longtime, like from the late 80s), we still would have enjoyed this snippet of a Hatsune Miku/Vocaloid live concert in Tokyo last year. And the reason for that is how perfectly the real and the imaginary meshed together. You couldn't see any seams, gaps, or breaks in the illusion. Audience, band, singer, and music were as one... as it should be whenever you write fiction.

Your readers (the audience) and their enthusiasm as they dig into your story (their glow sticks) will be real. Your setting (the stage and the band) may be real, as oftentimes even fantastical places come from the real places you've seen. Your story's tone and flavor (the musical accompaniment) will be real.

Your characters (the singer) will be imaginary. As intangible as Hatsune Miku herself. But your readers darned well better believe that they can reach out and touch them for your "show" to be a hit.

Go forth and conquer this fine Wednesday, everyone! One of my main projects today is finally getting a fantasy synopsis down to one page.

Is there anything major on your To-Do? :)

Of The Mighty Pen.
Space Ghost
Well, it IS a legitimate question.

I think the light turns off and the characters take well-deserved naps.

What's on my desk.
Space Ghost
Let's see now...

A 15-page short story from critiquemate Jeff for next Tuesday's fiction focus group session. (And we'll be in our new meeting place for the first time, seeing as our Borders Book Store has closed down after hosting us for YEARS. *sigh*)

Chapters 7-11 of critiquemate Sylvia's hometown novel, for May.

Neil Gaiman's Stardust. Arthur Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha. Bentley Little's Dispatch, which I've just finished reading... got to have a bit of a chat with critiquemate Jennie when I return it to her next week. What a RIDE! Wow.

Daddy's application forms for enrollment in the VA. A slew of medical prescriptions to be refilled for mi madre. A cold half-cup of coffee. CVS fast relief antacid liquid--maximum strength. LOL! Avatar, yanked from my son's extensive movie library. Lamb Chop.

A new keyboard for my computer, seeing as the other one suddenly hollered like a hit dog and gave up the ghost. (It was at least a hunnert in pet years, anyway.)

What the heck's on your desk?

Happy belated birthdays to Jon Gibbs and Jim Hines! Did you blow out all your candles?

Oh, and Happy Earth Day to ya all, friends.

OMG. "F-word" now has a home in the Oxford English Dictionary.
Kinda Stoopid
Not THE f-word. But "f-word." As in Dude, you just said the f-word in front of my mom--seriously?

It has a lot of company. OMG. LOL. FYI. And by the way, heart is now also officially a verb. As in I heart bunnies. (I do heart bunnies, but that's beside the point.)

OMG And LOL Join Long List Of Stupid Words In Oxford English Dictionary.

OMG! Oxford English Dictionary adds new words.

And people actually believe WAR will be the downfall of our civilization... OMFG. *eyes rolled so far back in my head that they HURT*

My favorite Taylor-made movie.
With "Cleopatra" coming in second. Rest easy, Liz.

Of riding motorcycles, writing fiction, and being a douche.
Body count
One very bad habit we humans can't seem to shake is the tendency to slide into complacency. You know what I'm talking about. Once we get really good at something, or comfortable with something, we stop paying attention and being careful because after all we are in complete control. Common Sense is evicted from its condo and Cockiness moves in.


While driving Mama home from her radiation treatment on this amazingly beautiful afternoon, we encountered two men on motorcycles on the five-lane. I love motorcycles and have utmost respect for the people who ride them. Sexilicious, all that power between your legs. Haha. But alas, these two were capital-D Douches -- impatient, posturing, riding full-throttle with their feet less than an inch from the pavement, darting in and out of tight spaces and between cars without looking, challenging each other in some kind of stupid oneupmanship.

Now, I'm all for looking hot and tempting on a 'cycle rather than all Joe Conservative. But come on. Get real. There's a line. And I didn't need my hella-busy life further complicated by something completely avoidable -- me spending an hour(s) explaining to the cops how some Douche and his bike got lodged waaaaay under my car. Because that's what would happen. Rather than hit another vehicle, if it's your idiocy that causes you to fall in front of me and I have nowhere to go, I'm going right over YOU, buddy, without blinking. Trust me. You're done.

*tapping myself on the shoulder* Oh, yeah. Getting to the fiction tie-in.

Lately I've been checking my writing for complacency because it occurred to me that, what with my writing time the last year being cut by two-thirds... reading other authors, studying other blogs for wisdoms, researching properly and keeping up with the writing world in general has totally fallen by the wayside. I've been completely comfortable with just digging in and writing my butt off, when writing should always be an evolution of sorts, a natural flowering of one's mind and craft from moment to moment. Progression. New growth. Because no author (not even Best Sellers) can ever know everything there is to know, and there will always be a kernel that you haven't tapped into up until the day you die. I truly believe that.

A reader seeing complacency in your writing is pretty much the Kiss of Death. (Scary thing is they often see it before you do. DOH.)

Don't be a douche on the road or at your keyboard. Drivers and readers will thank you.

I hope the weather is as gorgeous where you all are as it is outside my big picture window right now, dear friends. Tee-gee-eye-eff! :)

What's on my desk.
Space Ghost
A six-chapter submission of critiquemate Sylvia's lit novel about a small town girl who, even after facing the most incredible professional dangers and unbearable personal pain that the world had to offer, would rather continue to face all of that than return home. Because as you know, returning to the small town people you knew can be like walking straight back into Hell.

The winter 2010 issue of Caring4Cancer magazine, folded back to the caregivers section.

The first draft of an experimental short story, done journal-style, exploring the inner workings of a character of mine snatched up and plopped down in an entirely different setting. Lindsay is a rather nasty piece of work. I wanted to see how nasty she would continue to be. Or not.

The Sunday paper's comics section. (You mean I haven't read those yet? Doh.)

Jordan's Encyclopedia of GODS. Because my dark paranormal novel-expand depends on it. Gah!

An empty cereal bowl. Because I'm addicted to Cheerios.

My Green Hornet ticket stub from the movies last week. Bzzzzzzzzzzzz! :)

So what the heck's on yours?


The queen is amused. :)

Put Brad in the Carbonite.
Eye opener
What do you get when you combine 1) a very imaginative writer in a blizzard, 2) a snow-packed front door, and 3) Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back? (Oh, and said writer is naked...)

Any guesses? No? Well, I do admit that such a question can be either intriguing or terrifying. Or both at the same time. But the answer made me howl with laughter, so you know I had to share.

The combination of those three things would surely almost always result in something like THIS post: Thought 113: Long Ago, Far Away, Jabba Hunted Me Down. Good thing the snow was a little too cold for him, or that picture might have turned out unpublishable on some of the Internet.

Brrrrrr. :)

Well, heck... since I'm listening to this song, might as well play it for you, too.

Go forth and conquer on this manic Monday, friends.

The curse of knowledge.
Body count
Shari Lopatin of the Rogue Writer Blog said:

"The Curse of Knowledge: A communications coach from my work once fed me this term. Are you so embroiled in your area of expertise, that you forgot what it’s like to be an outsider? Think: what would excite an 8-year-old to read your story?"

I recall going through something similar this, when I suddenly realized that I had learned the bones of writing a little TOO well. So well, in fact, that it was actually stifling my spontaneous creativity, which is like the Kiss of Death to an organic writer. I remember being scared out of my wits that I might not be able to get the raw, fresh, unspoiled gems, before The Bones and being paralyzed by The Bones got a hold of my writing, back.

In trying to hone my craft, I no longer sounded like myself. Talk about sweating bullets.

The whole key was, of course, finding that happy medium between the two, which I eventually did. *whew*

Any thoughts on this, ladies and gents?

I'm off now to finish reading the rest of Shari's post... Be the Chicken Nugget in a Bag of Vegetables. Care to join me? :)

(And speaking of chicken nuggets... I know, I should be ashamed of myself for this one.)

Show the world the content of your character.
"Life's most persistent and urgent question is... What are you doing for others?"
-- Martin Luther King, Jr.

(image source: village401.wordpress)

He Said, She Said. (AND Of intimidating and impenetrable fogs.)
"Write even if you don't want to, don't much like what you're writing,
and aren't writing particularly well."

-- Agatha Christie

Thanks for the quote, Joyce.


Heheheheh. (source site:


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