Monday, October 5, 2015


So a video went around recently of the Portland flame bagpipe player balancing on a ball while he played and it got me to thinking about my childhood. I never managed to walk on a ball because that is like three-dimensional balance, but my dad worked at a hardware store (owned it for a while) and would bring home these spools for cable and rope, and my friends and I would race on them.

Like this, only smaller (usually--I did use one of these sometimes)
We would set up obstacle courses in my basement where we couldn't touch the floor, walking on these from sofa to fireplace mantle to chair.

Outside our driveway was lined with river rock, cemented in to form a jagged spiky barrier between cement and grass, so that too, I would walk, poised on the points—some of them with no reasonable surface, others large enough to stop and make sure my balance was in place. When I reached the fence I'd then traverse that.
One of these--simple design

So I'd climb from rocks to the fence, walking on the lower with the upper between my knees for balance, but in some spots either the upper or lower was gone so I needed to balance across. Some of the planks were pretty wobbly in there...

It's not shocking that by junior high the balance beam came naturally to me. In fact for years I prided myself on superior balance. But as I age and my muscles tighten and my weight shifts it doesn't come nearly so easily as it once did.

How Does that Apply to Writing?

I think the practice practice practice lesson is incredibly applicable. If we want to be balanced and poised and not look like a fool sprawled on the floor then we need to keep in practice. Some of us will have more natural balance than others, but we can all do it if we work at it enough. But I think the tight muscles thing applies, too. If you do the SAME THING all the time it will start to pull you out of alignment. So even if you aren't ever going to PUBLISH in another genre, maybe give yourself some fun exercises once in a while.

With that in mind, I've decided I want to, in my “non-writing months” (when I'm editing, which is usually 9 months of the year) I am going to additionally write a short story in an off genre. I may or may not submit these. Probably depends on how they come out. But I really am in need of some regular stretching. That said, after the entry for the Insecure Speculative Anthology, I saw a submission request for WITCH stories. So I think I will try one of those (I have a couple witch ideas in my idea file). The deadline is November 30 if anyone else is interested.

So back on the spool, my friends!

What do all of you do to stay nimble as writers (or whatever your preferred art)?

Monday, September 28, 2015

Trying a New Genre

So in case you haven't heard, the Insecure Authors Support Group is putting together an anthology... a contest of sorts. There is more than a month to the deadline and if you want to participate, there is still time. Ten stories will be chosen from those submitted and will go in the anthology. The TOP story will get a badge and the priviledge of naming the book...

The thing is... it's speculative fiction. Which I've never written. I've never thought I had quite the imagination for these alternative worlds sorts of stories. But I just finished an edit and had six weeks until NaNoWri Mo so it's not time to take on a BIG project, so I thought... what the heck? I can write a short(ish) story in 6 weeks... (if I ignore the fact I always say I can't write short stories at all)

And you know what? I'm having a ball. I picked my point(s) in history I wanted changed (one theme, but a series of things had to not happen) and what do you know. It lined itself up nicely with my favorite villain(s).

My point of telling you all this is that I think it can be good for us to push out of our comfort zone. Write something you've never written and even if it isn't any good, you've STILL had a good exercise. I'm hoping my story will be good. Even if it doesn't make it into the anthology, I may try it out in another publication. I only have very few short stories out there, so even THAT is new for me.

Do you try new things now and then? What's the next think you're going to try?

Monday, September 21, 2015

Sexy Monday

I know. Not normally the first think you think of, but I have two good friends with book releases today, both of them pretty sexy... all four of them? Both authors and both books? A whole bunch of sexy going on in any case.

These two ladies are family, in that way writers that help each other out a lot are family, and so if you like a sexy read, I hope you'll give em a look.

I will throw out an R-language rating, since I usually stick to PG around here. If you don't want to see it, look at the pictures and read MY words.

Vagabond: On the Road by Jade Jamison
(book 2 of series, best read in order)

All that glitters isn’t gold. Sometimes it’s plastic.

Kyle Summers hits the road with her band the Vagabonds, living the dream. Five young women are tossed into the limelight with little supervision, seemingly left to the wolves. Kyle is driven and headstrong, and—while she enjoys the temptations of sex and drugs on the road—music always comes first. In spite of her friends crumbling under the pressure and lack of support, the Vagabonds become a household name and enjoy success not experienced by people far beyond their years.

But Kyle realizes two things—one is that her relationships are hollow without love, but she and CJ, her main love interest, are only on-again, off-again at best, leaving her feeling unfulfilled. The second is that Kyle quickly grows weary of dealing with egos and prima donnas, and she feels helpless while watching her band fall apart.

Can she save her band—and her relationship with CJ—or will she end up alone and forgotten?

Vagabonds follows one young woman’s rise to fame past the pitfalls of sex, drugs, and easy money, through fortune and success to heartbreak and betrayal. Five girls build their band the Vagabonds from nothing but a hunger to create and quickly find that they are nothing but pawns in a larger game played by managers, agents, the press, the music industry, and all manner of unscrupulous, greedy people who want to feed on their triumphs. Friendships and lives hang in the balance. Who will survive?

Amazon UK: 

House of Payne: Rude (book 4) by Stacy Gail

(confirmed in spite of being book 4, these can be read out of order and only 99 cents!)

The Last Thing She Wanted…
From the moment Sass Stone overheard her social worker call her “broken,” she’s been hell-bent on proving her wrong. A broken woman doesn't have a posse of kickass friends, a foodie lover’s dream job and a string of pretty boys she enjoys playing with. Sure, she has scars, but they’re buried so far down no one even knows they’re there. Certainly her former foster brother, Rudolfo Panuzzi doesn’t know about them. The man she’d dubbed “Rude” could sniff around all he wanted, but it wasn’t going to get him anywhere. He’d never get inside—her pants, or her heart.

…Was The One Thing She Needed
A dozen years and several combat tours in the Marines has a way of maturing a man, and Rude is no exception. His last mission killed his closest friends and almost killed him, leaving him with wounds on both body and soul. When he looks in the mirror, the haunted eyes staring back remind him far too much of his sexy little foster sister, Sass. That’s when he knows there’s more to her than he ever imagined… and he’s imagined one hell of a lot.

When Want And Need Collide
One by one, Rude destroys the defenses that have kept Sass locked inside herself. But even as she reluctantly allows him to coax her out of her shell, a dark cloud casts its shadow on their world. Is it something from his past… or hers? 

Facebook Author Page:

****Stacy is doing a Release Day Blitz with Give Me Books on the 24th, and I'll have a giveaway that starts then and goes through the 30th.****

GIVEAWAY: Rafflecopter giveaway of a $20 Amazon GC, a $10 Amazon GC and a $5 Amazon GC. From 9/24/15 to 9/30/15.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Your Daily Digression: Self Help at its Zaniest

Need a little help being sillier? Is life a bunch of stern looks and red tape? Well I have the book for YOU! Or I will, a year from Christmas...

My Digressionista is a giraffe
See, I've had this idea for quite a while... know those calendars with a little inspirational quote every day? Something like THAT, but digressions... thinks or acts to make life a little more random, though not random in the mathematical sense, because all said, in a year of randomness, you are likely to end up with the same thing several times if it were truly random... random including some repetition and all... but I digress! (see how I did that)


ANYWAY... with my other writing and my LIFE interferences (gads, I hate that) I've decided the only way I'm really going to get this written is if I write ONE digression each day. Then I will finish in a year, just in time to format and get it ready for Christmas (which means it needs to be a 2017 calendar, yes?

Giraffe-necked weevil. Not nearly so cute as a giraffe.
BUT... (this is the part where some of you might be able to help me) it's be really cool if there were some art, yes? Photos or drawings or ink blots or some combination of the above? And IS THERE anywhere to produce something like this Indie, or should I start bundling this as a proposal for some publishing company? Who does this sort of thing? (and if I'm going that way, should I be thinking about a 2020 calendar #commentaryonthespeedofpublishing

Anything anybody knows about anything like this would be amazingly helpful.

And the OTHER One.

So I should finish the final (of this round) spit polish of Also Appearing tomorrow...

Here's the pitch at its draftiest:

Leia Clarence feels like an extra in her own life. A bystander. A bit part. An “Also Appearing”. Her friends and older sister have social skills she can barely understand, let alone display. To compound matters, her parents are relegating her to a summer at the lake, away from her friends, with poor internet and cell phone connections and no way to keep track of the social scene back home. It's going to be the worst summer ever.

Until she meets a cute guy who lives at the lake year-round. Trey is mischievous, charming and hot. And the crazy thing is he seems to like her, too. Not her friends. Not her sister. Her. She isn't a shadow, but the focus of his attention and affections. For the first time ever she has a starring role in her own life. At least until something goes wrong.

Back at home she tries to recapture that feeling of mattering, of being somebody, but it seems easier to just numb the fact that she doesn't. Alcohol, drug experimentation, and a different sort of boy all fail. Is there anything Leia can do to grab back that leading role, or better yet, write the script for her own life?

Also Appearing, at 59,000 words, is a contemporary young adult novel about a girl's struggle to break expectations that her friends have and to find an identity that not only fits, but allows her to soar.

I would LOVE LOVE LOVE feedback on this, especially if this is a genre you read or write in. And IFF anyone is honestly interested, I am looking for a couple second round readers.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

And So It Begins

I normally like beginnings, and historically the start of the school year is one of my favorites, but I am feeling a bit melancholy this time around. Thing 2 is a senior in high school, so it is my LAST start of school for one of my kids... and it is the start of the University school year, too, and my day job is so much busier when the students are present.

But in the spirit of having a better attitude, I am hoping to approach all this like it's a good thing. A chance to start fresh, reset my goals that thus far this year have been sorely missed...

Also Appearing

I think this is the only thing I've actually managed this year. I finished my edit Saturday. I am going to give it ONE MORE read to make sure there aren't any editing scars and then it is ready for my 2nd reader(s).

What That MEANS

It means I have 8 weeks until NaNoWriMo which is time to do TWO things:

1)  Edit one fairly done story
2)  And PLOT my NaNoProject

But What To Edit...

I think I am going to take a stab at Medium Wrong. I could do Kahlotus Disposal Site, but that has a different sort of problem than I feel currently equipped to deal with. Medium Wrong I think I can do... My goal is perhaps a “more or less” one... There is a paranormal element that I tried to keep very light, but I think I need to commit or tamp it down or it ends up deus ex machina. Committing would mean more clues or evidence Amanda has some sort of visions thing that she is capable of, the tamping would give her real ways of knowing stuff... I think the former works better.

As for My NaNo Project, I think I am going with a mystery. I still need to find my niche here. I want SO BADLY to walk the line BETWEEN cozy and actual dark mystery. I don't want humorless or just typical whodunnits. I want dark crime that affects real characters, but I want some of those characters to have tics and snark. I WILL do it!!! But I think I need to flesh out my characters better before I start and then I think I want to diagram the main murder plot. It is what I did for my cozy series and it helps me to not sort of get off pace or give too much away right up front.

So that is the rest of 2015 for me...

As for NON-Writing Goals for the rest of the year...

Um... wait, what? I really should have some fitness goals. I know I should... I think what I can commit to is some strength training and stretching stuff (I already walk a ton). And I should make some eating attempts, but I'm not convinced I will do a lot... Life is too full...

What about you? Do you have things you are trying to wind up in the four months left in 2015?

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

12 Steps for Writers

This is an Insecure Post

[This post is ALSO meant to be lighthearted and fun and in no way diminish the important role the AA 12 Steps play in the lives of many. I have loved ones alive because of them, so no disrespect intended]

1.  We admit we are powerless over the publishing industry. That it was making our lives unmanageable. 
2.  We came to believe a calling greater than publishing could restore us to sanity. 
3.  We made a decision to be true to our inner writer and turn our lives over to the writer we could be. 
4.  We made a fearless searching inventory of the mistakes we were making in both writing and publishing. 
5.   We admitted to our inner writer and our blog rolls the exact nature of our wrongs. 
6.  We were entirely ready to turn our inner writer over to a writing improvement process. 
7.  We humbly asked peers and beta readers to give us honest feedback and where we fell deficient committed to workshops and exercises to improve. 
8.  We made a list of all the idiot things we'd done in futile attempts at publishing and became willing to learn from them. 
9.  We erased evidence from the internet wherever possible and outed ourselves where it wasn't so we could at least claim to know better now. 
10.  We continued to take personal inventory and when we made mistakes, admitted and fixed them. 
11.  We sought through writing words and sentences and stories to improve our inner writer, making a conscious effort to be our best writer self, each day better than the day before. 
12.Having a writerly awakening because of these steps we carried them forth to other writers.

Don't worry about the publishing. Worry about the writing. The rest will come.

So there... a little goofy, but it occurred to me last night that what has been very hardest on my love of writing and has dampened my drive and my work ethic about it is my pursuit of publishing. I mean I want to publish. But I want to love writing more, and I think I write better when I let go a bit of what I think will sell, because apparently I know nothing.

Now go visit some OTHER insecure writers!!!

Monday, August 31, 2015

The Crack of Writing

And I don't mean butt crack.

I woke up yesterday... sort of... I actually lay in bed about 90 minute half asleep half awake with various ideas infusing my consciousness... I finished the season's True Detective the night before, so there was that... and I've been watching the Walking Dead, so there was a bit of that... a lot of escaping bizarre things, but I had enough awakeness to stop the action and go back and revise if something looked to dire. Lucid dreams... though I can't do that in a full sleep—only in a half-one. But I woke up with a truly great series idea... I'm very excited.

Now if you've been around, you know me and ideas... I have to let them stew a good long time before they are ready to expose to the light, but I tried to write down enough that I won't lose it all... enough to add to as things wind together. I am calling it the Armageddon Games. That is all I will say on the matter.

What I can say though, is that THIS is my favorite thing about writing. These shiny new ideas and the work of planning out a book from them. The actual writing I love, but I have lost some confidence on that part, so it feels harder than it used to. Editing too. But man the ideas are sure fun. I have a fairly large Excel file of ideas. I will never manage to write them all, but if I've lost steam, this is like a jump start. Actually got back to the editing I've been meaning to be working on all month last night.

Now if I could just have someone volunteer to shop and cook, and someone else to clean... then I'd be back on track.

In Other News:

Driver's license day
Samories, Volume 1

(Sam Memories, that is) My son begins his LAST week of summer vacation as a high school student this week. Last week he registered and yesterday I made him fill out a lot of silly long-shot scholarship forms (they are mostly lottery things, but somebody has to win, right?). I have tried to reinforce that college applications THIS week will be easier than they will after school starts.

He is applying to five schools—three in Michigan, my alma mater (Oregon) and our long shot (Stanford). The latter two would require incredible scholarships, but you never know unless you try, eh? His ACT scores were really strong.

I start to worry here, too. He is sometimes wise, sometimes impulsive, but a year from now, leaving for college, he will not be an adult as most of his peers are. He is sixteen right now. I'm not sure what that means except I think every year at that age is HUGE for maturing a bit more, so he will be 6-12 months behind most of his peers. He's only had his driver's license a few weeks.

At the same time, college was my very favorite time, so I am excited for him to have it on the horizon.