Friday, November 30, 2012

NaNoWriMo Home Stretch

And by Home Stretch, I mean HOLY COW! This is the first year I haven’t been DONE by the last day! I’m CLOSE. I really am. And if I don’t finish by tonight will accept no social invitations and will plow through it. But I am ALWAYS done by now. Usually 4 or 5 days ago.

But see HERE are the problems I’ve run into:


See… I actually finished the book last Sunday, I think. The STORY anyway. Because my WriMo strategy has always been if you hit a rough patch, write a sentence or two about what KIND of thing goes there… [scene that does XYZ] and skip to the next place that flows.

And this is a BRILLIANT strategy… when your end goal is somewhere above 70,000 words… I just go in later, after a rest and a think, and fill in the holes.

But THIS BOOK will be done to the brim at about 52K… so I considered myself LUCKY that I was at 47K when I reached the end (only 5000 words to fill in, yeah?) But filling in is SO MUCH SLOWER than original writing. (like 200 words a day slow…)

Computer Fiasco

I lost almost a whole weekend because my desktop died. Now I have a couple other computers around here, but NONE of them have Open Office on them (the program ALL my stuff is in). And the computer I’ve been WORKING ON (a nice older Mac a friend lent me) doesn’t have enough memory to access my external harddrive from my old laptop (where all my stuff is saved), so there was a comedy of errors emailing myself stuff at work (where the newer version of word can read Open Office and I can save it all as word docs and then email them BACK to myself).

I also have a desktop from my aunt that I think is newer than the other stuff, but I am locked out by unknown password (anybody know what her other cats name was? Her clue was ‘cats’ and I have Sweetie, but not the other one), so I lost a good deal of time trying to save password breaker software, but none of the other computers is powerful enough to download the version I need of freeware (which is interestingly called Ophcrack *cough*). GAH! I can’t wait until the next leg of my advance comes and I can get an ALL MINE NEW laptop.

Near Death Experience

Not me. HWMNBMOTI… the hospitalization with all sorts of complications… one of which was a seizure, so he’s not allowed to drive, which means ME, the full time worker, full time writer, part time mom, also has to do the shopping (a task I’d never do AGAIN if I could opt out—I HATE it)—so I had a week of serious worry and adding FULL TIME mom to the other full time jobs, then part time worrier since then.

So today we are throwing a TRIUMP OVER ADVERSITY PARTY!

Swim in the champagne pool, eat from the chocolate fountain, rub a cabana boy for luck…

And have faith I will get there. I hope all of you who joined also make it!

Oh... and happy 21st anniversary to my sweet baboo... hopefully this next year will be LOTS healthier.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

My Wildest Fantasy

Let’s see if I can even get it out there without getting censored right off the internet, right?

*fans self*

So Michael Oufitt posted something yesterday… and it really got me hot and bothered. And he wasn't even dancing like I like. He was... well...

Maybe this will give you a clue…


And to give you another clue… I have no brothers (or sisters, except the 'of the heart' variety). This is not a sick incestual porn fantasy… No, this is every writer’s DREAM… Having a fandom SO ADORING, so engrossed, so enamored… that they are making PREDICTIONS with other fans about where your story is going to go!

I think (at least for books) fantasy is best able to do this (though on TV a good mystery that runs all season will do it--or say... the Walking Dead, but back to books...). The world building gives the reader a sense of being an insider in some other world… And the fantasy READERSHIP is patient. They like long books and a REALLY long story. So there is time to develop a relationship with the world... and SEVERAL occasions of waiting and anticipating...

The first fandom I got totally engrossed in was the Harry Potter series and the seven books: over a million words, all told. Part of the dive into fandom, of course, is the anticipation… rereading as successive books are pending… talking to others who love them… And seriously… that prediction thing. That even got me to writing seriously for the first time... finishing stories… getting my predictions out there for the world in story form.

I’ve had a few other series I’ve really liked (Sword of Truth, Hunger Games) but none of them quite got me again until Game of Thrones. This series has all that juicy stuff to suck people in, and because the book and HBO series are both going, it ALSO has a lot of people TALKING about it.

That’s what I REALLY WANT… people talking about my books every which way I turn.
Yes. Erm... and pardon the language *blushes*

Monday, November 26, 2012

So, Define Editing…

I’m reading a book a friend recommended… and I’ve been a little temped to ask if he recommended it because he knows the author personally. I haven’t. I don’t want to be disrespectful, but there have been several things that have really bugged me about it, and it got me thinking.

I’m pretty sure it was self published…
Well would you look what you find when you search 'bad book' teehee

And I don’t say that to put down all self-published books. I have a lot of friends who are doing it right—going through all the steps and publishing really professional products. I just think there are features of THIS particular book that could not have made it through an actual publishing system.

See, the STORY is pretty good… and there aren’t grammatical and typo-type errors (or they are very rare—I noticed a ‘wrong word’ but those are the ones I find hardest to catch, too).

But what it seems to be missing… and what I can’t actually expect my friend to have noticed… is it hasn’t been edited by someone in the industry.

There is a lot of passive language.  Helping verbs.  This is normal for speaking when we ‘are describing’ something. It is a natural thing to do. And it is a no-no.

The sentences have a lot of qualifiers (which I probably most especially notice because I have to work so hard to limit these in my own writing—it is just how I talk, so they creep in.

The VOICE of it… it is written in third person but SOUNDS like first person, if that makes sense. I think, in fact, a lot of those qualifiers wouldn’t bug me as much if it were first person. Then I could attribute it to narrator quirk, rather than thinking the NARRATOR (meaning the author) ought to know better.

I will be eager to see if the plotting still is good when I’m further in, as that’s another thing that I think a good editor helps with. In fact, I think that is sort of the first level.

I have a confession.

Fitting, possibly, since confessions is part of my blog title.  I am toying with the idea of self-publishing a couple of books. I don’t plan on doing it right away. Like I said, I am honestly just toying at the moment. But my primary reason for WAITING is financial. Professional editors cost money and I’m not going to put my stuff out there without it.

Here is just a SAMPLING of the things my editors have helped with for my Gardening series:

Contrary to fantasies, super-editor actually has to be HIRED

You really need to move the body forward. A lot. It should show up in the first few chapters. (I moved the body… in fact rewrote most of the beginning)

“Wouldn’t she know this if they’ve been friends all this time?” (had to give a ‘why not’—clarify the relationship)

“Where did her dad go? Is he at the party like she thought?” (add the sentence to clarify)

See… there are a thousand things we take for granted… that WE know, because it is our story, that a reader might get pulled out of the story wondering… I’ve also had a reader point out the coincidence epidemic (in my 2nd book).  This is a good time to point out unlikable heroes and deus ex machina, too.

Is it going to slow?
Is it going too fast?
Has a character shown up who is never introduced?
Is a subplot dropped off the face of the earth?
Is the motivation realistic?
Is the villain canned?


“Sweet Surprise, per first book.” (I inadvertently renamed a place)

“The Fish Market is actually a restaurant. NOT a fish market.” (fact checker extraordinaire…)

And then there is the language, voice stuff and only after THAT the proofreading.

I've had FABULOUS experiences with my editors but the process has made it crystal clear to me that I need not just a person, but a TEAM to make sure my process is fabulous. So until I have money to hire one, I am going to keep running the traditional paces.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Alison DeLuca Rocks!

Okay, my apologies for my half-assed title… but I’ve been meaning to have my friend Alison over to visit for ages… for one, then another book release.

See, Alison is one of my Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award friends, but we all know… in all places we make friends that we enjoy and say hi to, and then we make friends we sort of gel with… friends we cross pollinate with in other domains… blogging, facebook… and Alison is one such friend.

And Alison does something special with her books… something I would like to see more of, because as much as literature grows our minds to new worlds, I think it doesn’t always grow our minds to the diversity of the world we are actually IN… And to the extent we can get young people thinking about diversity and embracing it, I think we make for a more promising future. But I will let Alison talk to you about that…

If you watch a group of children play together, they are what they are. They don’t care what other kids look like, as long as they are all engaged in the game. When writing for a YA audience, keeping them engaged is the key.
Steampunk is a great genre for YA readers. By its very nature it is filled with adventure, fantastic inventions, and strange mysteries. The YA audience loves this sort of story: witness the popularity of the Foglios’ Girl Genius series (link -
If those stories, however, were all limited to a Eurocentric view and characters, or to cowboys (and girls) and explorers who all speak English and look the same, then the genre would, perhaps, eventually lose steam.
Including a multicultural theme is, I feel, the cure. Air pirates are fascinating, but how many books can be written about them? Look at how repetitive the vampire meme is becoming. I feel, though, that both archetypes, the aeronauts (and perhaps even the vampires) could be rescued from flabby similarity by a multicultural slant. An example of that rediscovery in paranormal romance can be seen with Natasha Larry’s book, Darwin’s Children (link
Steampunk authors are doing the same thing, and I feel it can easily carry over into the YA market. For example, if a group of teen-aged aeronauts were building an airship in Tibet, what an interesting premise that would make. The sky pilots could be struggling against overwhelming odds and have to escape a clockwork threat by using local materials and ingenuity. Along the way they could encounter strange, fascinating forms of prayer wheels and Tibetan temples.
In order to do that successfully, the author would have to begin with a great deal of research. What are the local materials in Tibet? What would that group of young sky pilots do during the day? What would they wear, where would they sleep, and what would they have for breakfast? The steam author can riff off the research and history, of course, but she must have a firm ground from which to launch the airship.
When I wrote my steampunk trilogy, it began in England and moved to an island. I based that mythical country, Lampala, on the real island of Madeira, which for centuries was a Portuguese colony. I used many of Madeiran realities in creating my steam country: Madeira had thick forests, which were used for export, and the population ate tapioca in lieu of wheat, which had not yet been cultivated there.
The colonial part didn’t fit my story, though. I rewrote Madeiran history and gave the local population ownership of their own industry, thus creating a wealthy, ethnic class. It just seemed the time to showcase PoC as an economically thriving group, whose members had large houses, beautiful clothes (made from local materials, of course) as well as living in an island filled with mysteries. I mention this as an example of how an author can start from reality and more to a steamier place from that background research. Now that I have finished the first three books of the series, I feel that there are many other, more fascinating worlds to be created.
One example of that is Jaymee Goh’s story, Between Islands (link to The story discusses an Asian response to The East India Trading Company, centering in the island of Pinang. It’s a fascinating subject, and one that is extremely well handled by Goh.
And this is the important element without which the multicultural steampunk story must have in order to survive.
Tart note: This is my favorite
A writer cannot simply jam a bunch of research into a story and toss in some ethnic characters, just as the addition of airships to a lackluster plot will not create a steampunk work. The writing itself must be well done. The characters must breathe and live, and interact with society. And yes, this is even true in YA fiction. The YA audience is quick to pick out dull characters and discard them. On the other hand, they will overwhelmingly appreciate a creation who lives and breathes and has real problems.
This can be very interesting in a multicultural work. In Joyce Chng’s Moon Maiden’s Mirror (link the main character, Foo H-si, is living in Paris and renamed Henri. The story is a fascinating look at a clash of cultures within a steampunk framework. Chng shows the boy’s reaction to European dress and customs, and does so beautifully.
In my trilogy, a lot of my main characters are PoC. They, like Foo H-si, also had to confront existing societal mindsets and prejudices. While writing, I hesitated over that a great deal. It took a delicate touch to delineate that confrontation while being neither insulting nor colonial.
A way to avoid that pitfall is to make the character a real person. The character of color must have real adventures, real problems, and real triumphs. It is difficult to sustain throughout a longer work, but the reward is falling in love with that character (or group of characters) and caring deeply about what happens to her.
There are many resources for the author who is considering writing a multicultural steampunk work. I would send her to and  There is an excellent discussion on the possible pitfalls of the genre at as well as a very comprehensive, in-depth discussion by Ay-leen the peacemaker, creator of the Beyond Victoriana blogspot, here:
When you begin your research, don’t miss reading back issues of Of course, you will need to do traditional research too, and Wikipedia and an old-fashioned library are great places to start. That journey towards creating a story that will be lively and multi-layered, filled with promise for the discriminating YA market, is difficult and mysterious. No map exists for that journey, but gorgeous treasure does lie at the end.

Bio:  Alison DeLuca is the author of several steampunk and urban fantasy books.  She was born in Arizona and has also lived in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Mexico, Ireland, and Spain.

Currently she wrestles words and laundry in New Jersey.  Alison's Blog is here: Fresh Pot of Tea

Monday, November 19, 2012


So I think it’s only fitting, in light of recent events, if we all go into a period of mourning. Because not only will there be no more Ding Dongs, Twinkies or Ho-Hos, but if you look at the documentation on the Zombie Apocalypse, we are losing a national treasure in food that lasts a lifetime… cakes that would last years… decades… after they were produced… for those special occasions when other sources of sugar, yeast and electricity are gone. (though, I have an uncle who can bake a mean cake in a Dutch oven buried in sand with a fire built over the top).

In fact... this HAD to be what the Mayans were referring to, don't you think?

All one needs to do is watch Zombieland to know how critical Twinkies are to survival of the species.

And because I look at it as my duty to keep you alert as to the dangers… the Apocalypse might not look like you expect…

We might not recognize the Apocalypse that is coming… it could take lots of forms…

One of the latest options I’ve seen is this:

Or this ever-more-likely scenario...

* The idea of the end of Twinkie… erm… Hostess… being what the Mayans meant by the Apocalypse comes from my friend Annette, though in retrospect, it seems self-evident.

Also wik: Blog plan this week… this today, Alison tomorrow, and then a blog Friday…

And don't forget to head over to Leigh's blog--she is doing a giveaway leading up to her Rouge blog tour.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Jessica Bell Shows & Tells!

Click to add me to Goodreads!
Halo, friends!!!

Happy Friday of the longest week EVER! (or is that just me?)--HWMNBMOTI still hospitalized... first the pancreas, then the heart (ACK!) but hopefully home soon.

In the meantime, our friend Jessica has a new book out... a WRITING book, and she wanted to share it with you and I was thrilled to have her, both because she's FABULOUS, and because I am a little short on time for writing my own darned post at the moment...

So without further ado, here is Jessica to tell you about Show & Tell in a Nutshell.

Welcome Jessica!!!


Have you been told there's a little too much telling in your novel? Want to remedy it? Then this is the book for you!

In Show & Tell in a Nutshell: Demonstrated Transitions from Telling to Showing you will find sixteen real scenes depicting a variety of situations, emotions, and characteristics which clearly demonstrate how to turn telling into showing. Dispersed throughout, and at the back of the book, are blank pages to take notes as you read. A few short writing prompts are also provided.

Not only is this pocket guide an excellent learning tool for aspiring writers, but it is a light, convenient, and easy solution to honing your craft no matter how broad your writing experience. Keep it in the side pocket of your school bag, throw it in your purse, or even carry it around in the pocket of your jeans or jacket, to enhance your skills, keep notes, and jot down story ideas, anywhere, anytime.

If you purchase the e-book, you will be armed with the convenient hyper-linked Contents Page, where you can toggle backward and forward from different scenes with ease. Use your e-reader's highlighting and note-taking tools to keep notes instead.

The author, Jessica Bell, also welcomes questions via email, concerning the content of this book, or about showing vs. telling in general, at


“Jessica Bell addresses one of the most common yet elusive pieces of writing advice—show, don't tell—in a uniquely user-friendly and effective way: by example. By studying the sixteen scenes she converts from “telling” into “showing,” not only will you clearly understand the difference; you will be inspired by her vivid imagery and dialogue to pour through your drafts and do the same.” ~Jenny Baranick, College English Teacher, Author of Missed Periods and Other Grammar Scares
“A practical, no-nonsense resource that will help new and experienced writers alike deal with that dreaded piece of advice: show, don’t tell. I wish Bell’s book had been around when I started writing!” ~Talli Roland, bestselling author

Purchase the paperback:

$4.40 on Amazon US

£3.99 on Amazon UK

Purchase the e-book:

$1.99 on Amazon US

£1.99 on Amazon UK

$1.99 on Kobo

About the Author:

The Australian-native contemporary fiction author and poet, Jessica Bell, also makes a living as an editor and writer for global ELT publishers (English Language Teaching), such as Pearson Education, HarperCollins, Macmillan Education, Education First and Cengage Learning.

She is the Co-Publishing Editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal, and co-hosts the Homeric Writers’ Retreat & Workshop on the Greek Isle of Ithaca, with Chuck Sambuchino of Writer’s Digest.

For more information about Jessica Bell, please visit: 





Wednesday, November 14, 2012

If It's Not One Thing...

Oi! So I'm not supposed to talk about HWMNBMOTI, right? Sort of by definition... (he who must not be mentioned on the internet, for the uninitiated). HWMNBMOTI is my sweet baboo... 21 years marriage this month. He is a private guy... and an anti-internet guy...

But darned it if he hasn't had a year of health challenges... and while THAT is his business... it affects MY LIFE, too, and my life is YOUR business, right? Erm...

Okay, so maybe that is a BIT of a stretch, but I can't seem to help myself.

So yesterday HWMNBMOTI had his 4th ER visit of 2012... and they checked him in AGAIN... a day or two in the hospital, which means it's not nothin.... And the REALLY wonky thing is NONE of these things has anything to do with the others. He has had 4 DIFFERENT things go BIG WRONG with his health.

And here is where I get whiny... it's HARD to have your partner unhealthy. He can't work. He can't do nearly as much around the house. He has little energy for fun stuff. And some of the lingering stuff makes him not sleep well, so he is ALWAYS tired. (and frequently crabby).

I get it. I study pain for a living, so I KNOW it makes a person crabby and depressed to hurt (I forgot to mention the arthritis diagnosis, didn't I?) and more so if a person can't SLEEP.

I want to go to Richard Dreyfus and have him write me a prescription to take a vacation from my problems.

But see, as the OTHER person in the household... I want him to FEEL BETTER (because I love him), I am terrified there is some huge underlying thing causing ALL of this (though for the life of me I can't imagine what that would be), I feel GUILTY for wanting a break from the health troubles for MY OWN sake as well as his...

For all that, I KNOW I'm lucky. I know most of my life is really good. I just want HWMNBMOTI healthy again. So if you have any spare mojo, karma, prayers or hugs, send 'em my way. We could use em.

And don't forget to come by FRIDAY, as I have a special post from our buddy Jessica, and NEXT WEEK I will have a guest post from Alison... so don't let my whining scare you away...

Monday, November 12, 2012


So remember my Insecure Writer's post last week on positivity? The same retreat had a couple other topics, but I am not even going to go in the general AREA of organization. In fact I will go so far as to say when one women was explaining how SHE could be organized, the problem was all the slobs who lived with her (her husband and children) and my friend said, 'oh, I have your problem,' I had the forthright honesty to say, “I AM your problem.” I don't have any delusions of organization. In fact I'd go so far as to say I don't even really WANT to be organized. It looks like a lot of work.

But there WAS another topic that sort of hit home.

You know how writers have all these parties and meetings and relationships between imaginary people in our head? And we can wander through our days perfectly entertained without ever talking to another human being? How you drive from A to B and don't remember ANY of it because you are so engaged in recrafting the scene in your head?

Yeah. That.

Well, see... it turns out it would probably do us good be be PRESENT sometimes in our own life. Not analyzing it or rewriting it as we live it, but just EXPERIENCING it.

And I get the temptation to let your creative mind fly. I LOVE the worlds in my head. But chances are we are missing some real life experiences when we aren't really in the moment. And if we live some real life now and then, our writing can really benefit.

We did a little activity... Laura (the woman who led this part) handed out strawberries to each of us and told us to pretend we'd never encountered one before. She walked us through experiencing it for the first time, even though, presumably, every one of us had had a strawberry before.

Use all five senses. More than once even, for something you are going to eat.
Look at it. Describe it in words. What shape is it. What does it remind you of.
Touch it with your finger. How does it feel?
Hold it under your nose. How does it smell.
Touch it with your tongue—how does it feel now?
Take a bite and hold it in your mouth. How does it taste?
Now chew on it. What's the texture? How does it feel now?

Her point was even the simplest experiences can be really rich if we pay attention.

And there are times we should ALWAYS pay attention. Some of these I'm really bad at. Often I feel very interrupted when my family needs me if I'm writing, but for pete's sake, shouldn't THEY be my first priority? But I'm a bad person that way. I need to work on this.

But the exercise... pick something each day and REALLY experience it. With all our senses. With no competing STUFF in our heads... It can be a walk through a park or a meal. Anything. But practice being in the present once in a while. It's good for us!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Nine and a Half Days

Isn't that a movie? No. There was 9 ½ Months... and How many days? There were a bunch of movies with days. And some with hours. Anyway. If this post were made into a movie it would be exhausting and a little bit boring, so you might as well just read the cliff notes.

Can I Just Tell You I'm EXHAUSTED?

No. Being me, I can't. I have to explain why. But I suppose that one line would have seemed measly and pathetic, so it's just as well.


I was really really good for six days, and have struggled a little since... Election obsession/fatigue/defense to be discussed later in the specific, but here noted. I just can't obsess about two things at once.

But as this section is about NaNo, I will go with it. Flow has had a few fast, right on spots, but mostly I've just been working at a normal mid-novel pace. Which is a little frustrating in a beginning when it should be flying. My timeline is more detailed than normal, though, so maybe that is it. And maybe I won't slow down in the middle. I can hope. The top right corner uses my BuNo Meter, so you can see where I am if you are curious.

A few of my blogging buddies are really rocking it.

If any of YOU are doing it and want to chat with FABULOUS PEOPLE, BuNoWriMo is using its discussion pages for NaNoWriMo and Writing Sprints R Us does sprints most days. I think you can just join both, but message me if not and I will invite you. I think for that you need to be my FB friend (Hart Johnson).


I am also doing my 'final before first readers' polish of MEDIUM WRONG this month. I am 100 pages in, which is just past 1/3. I will definitely finish the hard copy stuff, but the edits won't be entered until I hit 50K for NaNo...


Of course day three of NaNo I received the copy edits from my editor... ACK! Copy edits are FABULOUS... somebody has gone through and made sure I was consistent, has pointed out anywhere I was confusing, has checked my facts... this is such a CRITICAL step. But it is one as author I have to then go through and address piece by piece... and my home computer doesn't play nice with Word... thinking on it now, the MAC would—the kids use that more, so I didn't even think of it, but it has word on it. But my OWN computer has Open Office. So I did all my edity stuff... then had to RE-DO it at work where I have Word... *dies *

(yes, you may throw a pity party... or roll your eyes at me, whichever)

But that is DONE... sent it back to Michelle yesterday... and last I heard from her Penguin offices were closed... not sure if they are back or not... poor New York and New Jersey have really had a time of it.

Election Obsession

I honestly couldn't concentrate AT ALL on Tuesday and not much Wednesday. See... I CARE. And I'm an information junkie and a stats nut... and a social scientist.

Even SINCE then, I feel compelled to correct misinformation when I run across it. There are some angry people... I get it. 8 years ago the same thing happened to me. How could we re-elect that nut!? But you know what the VERY BEST thing I've found about it is?

This blog does exactly that... relates 2004 to 2012... because both sides have been on both sides of this... You should read this if you, or anyone you know, is unhappy:

 So Your Nation Has Elected a President You Really Don’t Like

Seriously.  Good stuff, regardless of affiliation.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

IWSG: Positivity

So it is first Wednesday! Man, it feels like we had one of these just a month ago... erm... But what it means is today is the day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group post. And you know... I'm insecure! And I write! And I like to be supportive! I may not be a group, but three out of four is close enough, yes?

Now I normally take this opportunity to whine and complain, but why not shake things up now and then?

So here goes...


A week and a half ago, on a Saturday, my friend Claire hosted an AMAZING women's rejuvenation retreat. It was smallish—a little party, all women, with some great breakfast foods, some get-to-know-you games and three great speakers, one on mindfulness, one on organizing (but not in an anal way) and the last (though she was actually the middle) on positivity.

Mary, the positivity presenter is a psychologist who studies HAPPINESS and how we can all be happier. And one of the strategies she gave—one that I think I can successfully extrapolate on to apply to writing—is a really simple little daily exercise with big results. In fact, she said if a person did this DAILY FOR A WEEK (not so much, really) their improved happiness scores are still present six months later.

So here's what you do... every night write down THREE THINGS that made you happy that day and why.

That's all. That simple.

See... how it works in the long run is you begin to NOTICE things more that make you happy, so you feel happy more often. And if you think about WHY, then those experiences stick with you longer, improving your happiness.

How I'd apply it to writing: When you get done with a sitting, whether it was an hour, a scene, a chapter... however you do it... take note of something you really liked about it. Did you nail the action? Did you give the reader great character insight? Was there ONE DIVINE SENTENCE? Take note of the things you do that really are fabulous. Because YOU DO THEM. I promise. We just tend to notice all the stuff we do wrong. So make a point of noticing something you did RIGHT. It will also reinforce the writing so you want to write more often, so that's a nice little side effect.

And just a brief election wind up (written BEFORE any results are in)--no matter who wins, lets make the best of it. Support the winners and urge them to work with the other side. We are in dire need of cooperation.

Be sure and get around to the other insecure people today!!! (link at top)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Open Letter to Ellen DeGeneres

So Saturday night I was with the Couch to Keg team... there might have been liquor involved... but we engaged in the rare sport of watching television. (I watch a couple shows, but never WHILE they are on the air, though I guess this wasn't actually on either... it aired originally October 30). We stumbled across an award show for Ellen Degeneres who had just been given the Twain Prize. She was the 14th awardee and Twain has been dead at least a hundred, so I don't think he originated them, but the idea is HUMOR. In fact one of the speakers actually SAID, the Twain is to people with humor what the Nobel is to people without humor. I assume he means the Nobel Prize for Literature, as if anybody reads The Giraffability of Digressions, you will know there is quite a lot of humor surrounding the Nobel Peace prize, but never mind. Ellen has definitely been a leading figure in humor.

As I watched people talk about her, and clips of work she'd done over the years, I had an immense braingasm. You see, I ADORE Ellen. And she would be PERFECT for... well I'll just let you read my request...

Dear Ellen,

Congratulations on winning the Twain Award, or is it a prize? Lily Tomlin said something about a fruit basket, but I saw the statue... whatever the case, I got the gist of the thing and think you were well deserving.

Watching people talk about you, and seeing the clips of you over the years, really got me thinking about what I loved about humor—YOUR humor, in particular. I was with two friends (the three of us embody the Couch to Keg team) and all of us laughed through the whole thing. But here's the thing... I've long said I don't really like American humor.

I think you enlightened me as to why. Most American humor is mean-spirited. You, on the other hand, are silly, mock yourself, but the only taunting of other people you do is in silly pranks. You never put people down or try to make us think less of anybody. To your very core you are kind.

This makes me think you'd be the perfect spokesperson for the Naked World Domination Movement. Now hear me out. I'm a writer by night with a day job to support that habit, but on the side, I am trying to get this going: Taking over the world and convincing everyone to get naked. It's not about sexing everything up. Not even a little. It's about COMFORT (and seriously, who couldn't use more of that?) and about the fact that I think it is REALLY HARD to be mean to other people when we are naked.

Naked people are, by definition, vulnerable. So who would chance a rude comment to somebody with their parts exposed? Not a THINKING person, that's for sure. I also think without clothes, a layer of the ridiculous, superficial status symbols falls away. Except, of course, for the people with Calivin Klein tattooed on their behinds. But most of us are brand free when naked. We really have nothing we can be but ourselves.

And who doesn't like a party? A BIRTHDAY party? And if we are all in our birthday suits, we are always ready!

Read this letter with her voice... Pretend it's on the air
So... I figured it couldn't hurt to ask if you'd be my spokesperson. I can't pay you anything at the moment. In spite of stereotypes, only about 10% of writers support themselves with it. I think I've figured out that I am averaging about $0.49 an hour for my efforts. All of the writers I know are either kept women (and by kept, I usually mean moms... yeah, like that's easy) or have a day job. But if you want to throw my name around, we can talk about a percent of sales...

I am hoping you will just see the wisdom of disrobing and get behind the movement because it is the right thing to do.

And in all seriousness—you rock. Funny, kind, and with unwavering integrity. Nothing sexier than that.

Hart Johnson


Friends... read this in Ellen's voice... pretend she is reading it on the show... Seriously, can't you picture it? I'd love it if the letter could get spread widely enough that she saw it. I think she'd get a kick out of it. I also recommend watching the award show. (and don't tell HWMNBMOTI, but I was reminded that Finding Nemo is the perfect stocking stuffer for him).

And for your entertainment, a couple Ellen clips...

Ellen, Bic for Her:
Ellen on Values:

Friday, November 2, 2012

Rouge by Leigh T. Moore: A Reveal and Review

So today's an exciting day and thanks to ME, YOU get to participate in it!!! I'm groovy that way.

My good buddy and crit partner, or critters, as she calls us Leigh T. Moore, who has had such success with The Truth about Faking has a new book coming out this month (November 11) and TODAY is the day we get to share the cover AND.... I've had the good fortune to read an advanced copy, so I am also going to give you a review!

First up...  The GORGEOUS cover for ROUGE!!!!

Isn't it amazing? It was designed by Jolene Perry and I believe perfectly captures the feel of the book.

From Goodreads:  Trapped in the underground theater world of 1890s New Orleans, Hale Ferrer has only one goal: escape. But not without Teeny, the orphan-girl she rescued from the streets and promised to protect.

Freddie Lovel, Hale's wealthy Parisian suitor, seems to be the easy solution. If only his touch could arouse her interest like Beau's, the penniless stagehand who captures her heart.

Denying her fears, Hale is poised to choose love until an evil lurking in their cabaret-home launches a chain of events that could cost her everything.

My Review:

Leigh's talent is clear in everything she writes. Polished, expert. Likeable characters, well-drawn plot. But I have to admit, though I love all her stuff, this is THE BEST ONE so far. It is historic romance set in steamy New Orleans in the late 19th century.

Hale has grown up in the cabaret hall--a place that carefully balances outward glamor and private sleaze. The girls all need to earn their keep... one way or another... and only through a promise by the manager to her dying mother (and a talent that keeps bringing in the crowds), does Hale feel she's avoided 'the back'.  Hale, good-hearted and not understanding the implications, begged to take in a young street girl several years back, and unfortunately, Teeney has the tragic combination of no talent and great beauty--she will never earn her keep legitimately... Hale feels fully responsible for the girl's well being.

I loved how rich this setting was--the combination of beauty, danger, and a sense of family for all these displaced people who are at the mercy of the people with money. The motive was built in beautifully and believably for Hale to feel so torn between duty and following her heart. The characters were well drawn, the tension and romance sprinkled just right. I really think this is a fabulous book. You should all go order it.

Leigh at Goodreads
Leigh on Facebook
Leigh's Blog

Good luck with your release, Leigh!!!