Monday, November 23, 2015

Xenophobia: The Real Enemy

Sorry for not blogging last week. I was mostly Wri-Moing, but also this...

It was a very draining news week. The sort that put me into a couple totally unexpected arguments with people. I try not to get too political here, though I have very strong views and sometimes can't help myself. Easier to not do it if I am just not here...

But I do have some stuff to say. The world feels truly scary right now. Terrorist attacks, sure. They are horrible. But also this mood of people wanting to close themselves off. The waning trust. The intend for isolation.

Trump wants a Muslim registry (hello, Hitler)
Cruz says we can take in refugees if they are Christian (does he know the US religious history?)
37 governors (in spite of no legal right) say “no refugees here”...

And then I saw this.

Scary-ass white supremacists-home grown

These guys were found by the FBI, intent on blowing up black churches and synagogues. And it got me to thinking a couple things.

1)  The terrorists we grow in the US are significantly more numerous than any risk of someone from outside coming in to hurt us.
2)  These terrorists are the EXTREME of Xenophobia. They are trying to kill people who aren't LIKE them.
3)  This means by US getting all paranoid about Muslims and refugees we are behaving more like these people who are a far bigger threat to us than the Muslims or Refugees in this country will ever be.


The terrorists in France? ALL European nationals. That dropped passport was done intentionally because ISIS wants us to do exactly what we are doing. Panic and refuse the refugees a safe place. Because see... those refugees are running from ISIS. Nice trick, and we are falling for it.


I ran across a conversation on Facebook (a couple actually) about when it was reasonable to “go in and blow them up” and this is what I have to say about that.

Go in WHERE? ISIS is not a place. It is an ideology of people who are scattered throughout the world. Malala says it best:

The cost of “going in and blowing them up” is this—too many innocents and not enough of the actual bad guys, which means we activate a whole bunch of NEW extremists... we GROW them.

The only way to do this is embrace, befriend, support and love the NON-extreme people of the world, regardless of religion or race. Be inclusive. Allow them to be self determining and help them when extreme groups try to force something on them. Nothing has promoted these extreme views as much as our own fear of socialism and interference we have conducted in defense of our capitalist agenda.

So there.

See. I'm not very good at not being political sometimes. That said, try to keep in mind people come by their views sincerely. People are afraid and saying things and wanting things out of a place of fear, not because they are evil. Give your friends a break if they disagree. Talk about it, but do so calmly and with a goal of greater understanding.


I passed 45 K for NaNoWriMo, so that is cool... about ready for the final big action sequence.


I wish all my US friends a very happy Thanksgiving! May the universe grant you much to be thankful for.

Monday, November 9, 2015

That Thing You Do

This is inspired by a little conversation I had recently that got me thinking about what the absolute essential thing is that makes us love a book, and how that has inspired our writing. Is it an MC you fall in love with (whether romantically or otherwise?) Is it beautiful language? Is it the character ARC? Is it a plot that surprises? Is it elegance? Because this stuff is all a matter of taste. Even within these there are taste differences, but I think all of us have one of these elements we care about a lot more than the other. Now there are things about the OTHER elements that can make me put a book down:

No Bella; Yes Forest
A stupid MC (though a character like a Forest Gump who has wisdom even with limited knowledge I can grab a hold of—I mean someone who just doesn't think... doesn't try to. And so does stupid stuff.) I want all the STUPID to have a reason that is not just an idiocy of character. (side characters can be stupid—stupid DOES happen)

Worse than stupid is a BORING MC (think Bella Swann), though I recently read a disappointing Margaret Atwood book (Bodily Harm) with a boring MC, and what distinguished her was she was not ACTING. Stuff was just happening TO HER. Yeah, none of that, thanks.

In terms of language, I love it if it's beautiful, but if too much is too beautiful it pulls me out of the story. Sort of like life, I prefer my beautiful trickled. Otherwise it sticks to the roof of your mouth. But far worse than TOO beautiful is clunky or error-ridden. I just can't ignore poor grammar and am only a little willing to ignore a couple typos.

I like character growth, but depending on the plot, it isn't always necessary. But ME?


I like a plot with some twists and surprises but DO NOT like a plot where the twists come out of left field. I know in life some events do that, but they are the sort of events that precipitate a story. Not the sort that totally change it mid-stream. I LOVE when something happens and it makes me shout “I KNEW IT!” but one page earlier it would not have come to mind... some little seed was planted, but the hints as it grew were elegantly hidden except in the smallest of peeks.


What this means to me is I HAVE to have some sort of timeline. The big events need to me conceived before I get started. I need to be working toward them. In mysteries I actually diagram... who are my suspects, what are their motives, what clues with the MC discover to connect each of them as a potential killer? From there it is more like a puzzle than a magic act. Oh, I still surprise myself, and I let myself add or change. Plans are not set in stone. Even a written story is not set in stone—stuff can be built in later. But I need most of it to at least hit the main plot points I started with.

As to That...

I am at about the halfway mark for NaNoWriMo and it is going well. I have reached the part where it gets harder, but hey, I always know 3rd quarter is my biggest struggle. I am enough ahead that I only NEED to write about 1200 words a day from here on out, though I'd prefer to be closer to the 60K mark at the end of the month. A rewrite is worth 10-15K added in, and I really need to be over 70K when I am done.

How about all of you? What component of a book is the “must” for you? And how has it influenced your writing? And if you are NaNoing, how is it coming?

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

When it Flows...

Hallo, fine friends and WELCOME to the Insecure Writer's Support Group!

You know... I've been in a bit of an identity crisis this year, doubting my abilities and floundering around... While I finished my NaNoWriMo project last year, much of it felt forced. It didn't flow easily and it will need really serious revision to get it where I want it. But FINALLY, I am feeling a story again.

Channels and obstacles, but also beauty and flow
[Did I mention how much I love NaNoWriMo? That excuse for a fresh story thing...]

Do you know how relieved I feel? Part of my fear this last year is somehow I'd “lost it”... not that I believe that is possible, rationally, but I DID lose my groove. And MAN was it rough to find the traction again... In fact I'm not altogether convinced I found it. Maybe it found me.

So my Tartish Words of Wisdom, such as they are today, is be patient with yourself. Don't give up writing. But if you go through a period where it feels hard or everything you produce just isn't quite right... it happens. And you will get back to good stuff again. Just trust and keep swimming.

Now go see some other insecure people!!!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Karen Walker and The Wishing Steps: Happy Book Release!

Happy Release Day!!! 

I just wanted to give a shout out to Karen Walker today and give all of you a heads up.

Three Women and a Single Story That Unites Them Across the Millennia

“Totally engrossing. A must-read for today’s wise woman!”Rev. Kathleen McKern Verigin, minister/priestess

Brighid, Ashleen and Megan: Bound through time by a curious light, a mysterious voice and a call they dare not ignore. Yet in obeying this strange force, the women must face soul-searing trials that call into question everything they know and believe — about themselves and about the world around them.

“Guaranteed to inspire you to a deeper level of spirituality and a new appreciation for Goddess.”Rev. Clara Z. Alexander

Check out Karen's new website at

Friday, October 30, 2015

Apocalybsessed: The Expansion

So Monday's Listy Blog was just my list... but here are my specifics and why...

I am only now realizing it's just me. Well, a few of you had thoughts. But I think we are the exception.

When people announce some new skill on Facebook or post pictures of the cool stuff they canned... I claim them for my apocalypse team. Nobody outside of the writer-verse seems to be thinking about it. So I wondered... are other people secretly amassing supplies but keeping it to themselves so when it happens nobody shows up at their house? Or am I ridiculous because of the entertainment I love?

Because I have plans.

MOST Important (aside from collecting my various loved ones):

GET WEST. The population is WAY too dense here. Supplies of available stuff will go fast and if it's the zombies, there are way too many people to be turned into them, and if it's the flu disease will spread so much faster with this many people. And if it is nuclear war—HELLO, nobody wants to be sitting between Chicago and Detroit.

Something like this oughta do it
HOW will I go west? Well going through Chicago just seems stupid. That twisty gnarl of tollways is going to get clogged in about two minutes flat, and a person has to go clear down to 70 to go SOUTH of Chicago... So North? Well I don't fancy having to count on the Mackinaw Bridge staying open—that bridge is five miles long and if all of Michigan is trying to cross it, I see a problem. Nope, I plan on hitting someplace like Traverse City and taking a BOAT to the Upper Peninsula. I will make my way to Highway 2 to cross the country.

I told you I'd been thinking about this.

Next Step:

WHAT WEAPONS? I've probably been watching Walking Dead too much of late, but I am convinced the sword is for me. Or possibly a hatchet—not a full-sized ax. I don't own any guns anyway, but I've been thinking guns run out of ammo. If it's zombies that is definitely the way to go. People acting all Neanderthal because apocalypses bring out the worst in some people is another matter. Though I happen to think I am better at strategy and stealth than I would be in actual combat. I was the kid that they quit the hide and seek game for because nobody could find me, so I am counting on that. A lot.

And FOOD! Stuff that is light enough to carry but you can make more substantial, like dried beans are PERFECT if you are somewhere you can take two hours to prep, so I'd take them. But you also need portables... Peanut butter... regular nuts. In fact trail mix generally is really darned efficient (thus the name TRAIL mix, duh). Canned stuff SOUNDS nice, and if I was in one place to store it, okay, but it is HEAVY and some portion of that heaviness is just water weight. In fact some freeze dried rations from a camping store would be good. My dad used to have that stuff, though the only stuff I'd touch was the freeze dried ice cream.

Driving across Highway 2 I figure the biggest cities are Duluth Minnesota and Minot North Dakoka, so those aren't a problem. In North Dakota I figure I should dissemble a wind mill to take with us—that way wherever we go will have power... Because I am on my way to my parents' house—my stepdad is VERY handy—an electrician among other things, but he is also sort of like MacGuyver. I figure our team needs him. Plus my kids will need their nana.

So who's with me?

In other news, final edits for story go in today and I will submit for the Insecure Anthology. Shorts are hard, but it is good for me and I am relatively happy with the result.

Monday, October 26, 2015

My Apocalypse Plans: A Listing Blog Hop Entry

Bish Denham is celebrating five years of blogging (Congratulations!) and so is hosting this fabulous blog hop whereby she is asking us all to make a LIST (I love lists). Check out her page for her list of participants!

My OWN List? What I plan to do when the Apocalypse Happens

1) Gather my people (family and friends who are interested)
2) Pack supplies (durable food, sleeping bags, basic tools, protective weapons--what we can carry)
3) Head WEST (population density is a problem)
4) The other side of Lake Michigan steal an all terrain vehicle
5) Seek shelter in old farmhouses (where stocks of home canned goods and practical things abound)
6) Collect people along the way who offer skills (hunting, medical skills, plant knowledge, building skills, mechanical skills)
7) Find someplace easily defensible and with a potential food supply (mix of farming land and fishing or hunting) in Idaho or Montana
8) Build defenses and set up alarm system
9) Just Survive Somehow (some of you may recognize that one)

Anybody else have their apocalypse plans in place? I will be expanding Wednesday if anyone wants more detail.

Now go look at everybody else's lists!!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Youthful Frights vs Adult Fears: A Blogfest

So this is part of a blogfest hosted by Denise and Yolanda at Write, Edit, Publish... and I love the topic. Because we all grow up, eh? Most of us anyway. And these differences in what scares us (and whether we like it or not) are enormous.

Erm... and I failed to follow the rules... I was meant to write a piece of fiction here and instead wrote a blog post... ooops...  but it is a bad habit of mine... only reading part of it...


I did this once. Wouldn't now.
Man, I was a kids who LOVED the rush of fear. Maybe it was adrenalin. Going fast, spinning, heights... that all fits in there, too, but I really loved to be frightened. I still enjoy scary movies but there is something about all of these things that has changed... About the time I became a mom (I was 28) anything life endangering (perceptively) got REAL scary, not FUN scary. Part of it was my pregnancy was the first time in my life I'd ever felt physically fragile—off balance, slow to change directions... no more darting across the street like I always had. I could honest-to-god get hit.

But it is more complicated than that. I think it may even be biological. It makes sense to me that people who become more cautious when children are born are more likely to both have children live to adulthood AND be around to raise them.

Yeah, not so much.
So what SCARE did I used to enjoy that now I don't? The PLAUSIBLE stuff. I still LOVE suspense—I prefer the unseen threat—but I hate serial killer movies—totally too scary (except from a detective of cop perspective—then I can do it--but not killer or victim PoV). I never liked the blood and guts ones much, though I can take it in certain circumstances—like the gore of The Walking Dead doesn't bug me because it is zombie gore.

But the things that truly terrify me (that always seems horrifying but never popped to mind first when I was young) are things like losing children (or horrible things happening to them) or losing my personal faculties... I mean I know I wouldn't know, but in the case of something like dementia that comes on slow, I know that would really bother me. I have had a good processor my whole life (though not nearly as great a memory) and I LIKE being smart. I think I may not take it well if that all slipped far enough I was no longer capable of at least mental independence.

So how have your fears changed? Be sure to check out the other blog hop contributors, too—they are posting between today and Friday.