Hail fellow writers.

What holds you back from writing, from doing your best?  Procrastination?  Fear of criticism?  Writer's block?

It's daunting staring at a blank piece of paper, or a blank computer screen, or even taking on those darn edits.

What helps you push through the difficult times?

What inspires you?

Just to name a few of mine:

*A brisk walk in the park, or around the neighborhood, if I'm short on time.
*A drive through the mountains.  Who isn't inspired by nature?
*Sitting by a stream, by a lake, by a rushing waterfall, or if I'm super lucky, the beach.
*Taking pen and paper outside, under my favorite tree.
*Getting out of the house, breathing the fresh air! 
PS Anything will do when the weather is turbulent: library, mall, or even the car at a favorite spot.

Last week I attended the WIFYR Conference, a wonderful writer's conference, that's held every June.  While there, I met with some amazing authors, agents, and editor, and rejuvenated by writing batteries.

The advice was practical and inspiring, and the speakers did it with finesse and fun.  I would highly recommend it for anyone considering a future conference.  It's just the right size for mingling: with editors, agents, and other authors.

I came away ready to dig into my manuscript, armed with the skills to
make it better.


I found this wonderful video via Twitter and Youtube.  So helpful.  Really.  Enjoy!


There are so many avenues of writing, so many different styles, so many places to improve, and so many ways to show off your craft.  Which is your favorite, articles, short stories, novels, biographies?

Do you jump right in when you're writing and let your muse take you where she will, or are you a planner?

I find that I'm a little of both, actually.  It certainly depends on the day, but mostly, it depends on the task at hand.  I have dabbled in many a technique, thus discovering that the index card is probably my favorite.  I can take them wherever I go, so that when inspiration streaks in, or that one quick thought, I can jot it down to spur my imagination later.

Many days are spent in learning the craft a little better.  With so many wonderful books on the market, I am constantly feeling the need to update my skills.  I want to be the best writer that I can be.

If I'm not writing, practicing writing techniques, tweeting and learning new techniques from more experiences authors, I'm reading about writing.  And, of course, there's my biggest weakness of all, the latest bestseller, be it suspense, young adult, mystery, historical fiction, etc.  I just can't seem to resist a good book.  It's all in the name of research, right?

Most definitely!

Good luck in your endeavors to improve your on-going techniques and writing style.  May your muse be with you at all times.


Boy, oh boy, oh boy, am I longing for the day when my husband and I could fit all our belongings in a few suitcases, and in the back of an old station wagon.

We are smack dab in the middle of our 28th move. Can you believe it? I certainly can't. Are we crazy or what? Most definitely! But here's the kicker: IT SOLD IN THREE DAYS! Who does that?

 To say we PANICKED is putting it rather mildly.

It's probably been the hardest move to date, especially when you take into consideration the physical (as in getting the body moving swiftly) factor. Even now, two months later, I'm still feeling it in the knees, hips, biceps, and, oh yes, most definitely in the lower back regions. But I won't go into detail on that point.

Let's see... somewhere around fifty-something, or was it sixty-something, possibly eighty-something? Oh dear. Brain-cramp! Still recuperating, folks. Just how many times did I climb up and down those darn stairs in our old house--- let alone all the traipsing up and down in our three-story apartment. Oh, and need I mention the slogging from truck to storage unit? *Shudder, Shudder*

Whose idea was it to move, again?

Oh, yeah... mine.

I believe it was somewhere around four-thirty the next morning when my husband and I finally collapsed. Not because we were finished, mind you, but because our bodies just couldn't take any more. After all we're not spry chickens anymore, much as I would like to believe otherwise.

Oh, my stars! Embarrassing thought sloshing to the forefront of my brain. What must we have looked like as we crawled up off the floor four hours later, dragged ourselves to the Title company, and signed the papers to finally rid ourselves of the house we were selling. Did we comb our hair? Now that I think about it... I don't think I even washed my face. *Groan* Did I have mascara face?

Everything is such a blur....

...I think we signed the right papers. I hope we signed the right papers. Maybe I should take a peek at the packet we took home with us and make sure. Is it even ours?

(Huge grin spreading across my face) Yup, there's my name, bold as bold. Boy, do I write REALLY BIG when I'm tired!

How did all those over-sized letters fit on all those pages, let alone stay somewhat close to the designated lines? Suddenly, all the raised eyebrows, snickers, and smirky glances around the table make a whole lot more sense to me. Hmmm.

Makes me stop and ponder for a second. What else happened while I was zoned-out-tired? Pause for reflection.

I think maybe I should end this post and give my real estate agent a call. There could be a reason why she laughs hysterically every time she leaves a message on my cell phone. *Cringing time* Check in with you later, folks.


Ever had one of those days when all you want to do is take a shower and the phone never stops ringing? Well, today was one of those crazy, crazy days. First, the alarm company kept calling to tell me that the alarm was going off.

"But I'm standing right there," I say. "Nothing is happening, no shrieking, no beep, beep, beep, nothing!

They aren't convinced. "Check the panel."

I do, poking every button. The darn thing isn't even activated, but the person on the other line isn't convinced and they start talking to me through the alarm box.

Holy, Toledo, I didn't know it could do that! My heart almost skips a beat. Do I answer back? I feel really stupid talking to a box, but what the hay, no one's around to see my bizarre behavior. I'm all alone. Or am I? Should I be worried? Has someone broken into my house?

"Hello?" I tentatively say.

"What took you so long?" the person barks back. "Are you having a heart attack? Are you on the floor and can't get up?"

"No, I'm fine," I reassure the person.

"Then why are you pushing the panic button."

Once again, I try to explain, that I'm not doing anything, that the alarm box isn't doing anything. Nothing is happening!

They sound a little disgruntled, but eventually hang up. I head for the bathroom again. But the darn alarm company thwarts me again. This time, I'm not only talking to them over the alarm box, but over the phone as well.

This is crazy. Why does my house keep calling the alarm company?

So now, they have me running all around the house, in a towel mind you, checking out the phones. Nothing. And just to be sure that I am alone, I check every nook and cranny. Everything looks to be perfectly normal.

Finally, one of the techies ask me if my remote is close by.

Again, running around in nothing but a towel, I'm on the hunt for the remote. Finding it in the jewelry box, the panic button squished between two watches, I push the off button. My bad.

"Did it go off?" I sheepishly ask.

Thank goodness they respond in the affirmative.

Phew. All's right with the world. The mystery of the secret alarm is finally solved.

I step towards the shower. You see, I haven't learned my lesson yet, that the fates are against me.

The phone rings. It's my real estate agent, who has been trying to get hold of my because my daughter has called her because she can't get hold of me. Gee, I wonder why.

So, three phone calls later, reassuring everybody that I'm fine, I finally step to the shower door. I'm freezing by now, with not but a towel around me, granted it's a thick towel, but just a towel all the same. When, wouldn't you know it... yes, you got it, the phone starts to ring. My husband.

"So, you are home," he says. "People have been calling me all day because they can't get hold of you."

If he only knew. Well, that problem all worked out, I take a deep breath and just think about heading for the shower.


I'm just trying to take a shower, here, folks!

This time I can ignore it, thankfully. The caller id says it's just the drug store letting me know my prescription is ready. I hesitantly shuffle forward. Dare I venture into the bathroom? Yes! I'm covered in dust. And, ha-a-choo-oo, I'm allergic to dust. I have to get this stuff out of my hair, let alone thaw my poor freezing body. So, I try again. Need I say tentatively?

I stick my big toe just inside the door of the bathroom.



I hurry to the phone, all out of breath. It's the bank just letting me know that they received the papers I sent and everything is a, okay. Really?

This time, I run, don't walk, to the bathroom and dive into the shower and grab the shampoo.

Suds in the eyes and dripping down my face into my ears, wouldn't you know it? I hear, though muddled in the distance, yes, once again, the phone is ringing. I rinse my hair, in record time I might add, grab the same pathetic towel, and slippy-slide to the phone, barely able to see the darn thing. It's a recorded message. A political announcement.

That's it! No more dashing from the shower to the phone. Five minutes people! That's all I need! Just five minutes.

So, here I am, finally. Squeaky clean, warmed from the hotter than normal shower, all put together, hair's curled and combed, and the phone stops ringing. Wouldn't you know it. *SIGH*

It's amazing all the pressures facing people these days. I don't know of a single person that doesn't have something really big going on in their lives right now. Whether it's losing a job, losing their house, major health issues, or mega-problems with a child, the list goes on and on.

Sometimes it takes courage to stick your head outside the door. Fear of what is coming down the pike is frightening. There is just so much fear, sadness, and stress, it's a wonder we can function at all.

But then, I'm reminded again and again, of hope, love, and friendship.

I see hope in the eyes of a child, in the visit of a friend, or the care of family members. Sometimes, I even find hope at the end of a horrible day, in looking forward to the start of a brand new day.

Love is in the gentle touch and understanding nod of a spouse. Tears shed with a friend, sister, brother, parents, or children. It's felt when the tiniest of tokens, gifts, or hugs are given.

Even the smile from a stranger can make a difference in renewing a sad spirit.

Where will you find hope, love, friendship, re-newness of peace within yourself?

Who will you touch today? Whose burden will you lift, even with the smallest act? If it's one thing I have learned over the years, we are all in this together. We all need each other to make a difference.

And I must say... it's nice to know, I don't have to go it alone.


HELLO! The Christmas Holiday is here! So, why am I still stuck in September? I swear I just put the holiday decorations away a couple of months ago. And here we are, with the sparkly lights up and blinking, the smiley snowmen nodding up and down, and the ho-ho Santas chuckling their happy cheer. Again.

I have the strongest urge to yell: Don't blink! Or you might discover that six months have whirled by, and it's now June. But whatever you do, don't double-blink or you'll be startled to find it's Christmas 2012!



Can you believe it? Thanksgiving is literally around the corner. Where has the year gone? I swear as soon as June is over the holidays begin, and then it starts all over again.

This year I get to spend it with my family. Most are coming, here, for the occasion. I know that sounds daunting, but it's been a tough year for all of us, and we are really looking forward to getting together. We have such plans! I'm so excited to see everyone!

I hope all your plans are made and that you have a safe and wonderful celebration with family or with great friends. What a wonderful time to be joyful and thankful. Here's to you and yours!

I just couldn't let this day pass without mentioning that it's the 11/11/11 thing. And by golly, hard to believe, I know, but when it does comes around again I just won't be here to see it.

Flags are flying all over in our neighborhood, all down the winding street. So cool! Hope everyone's 11/11/11 is a good day, one to remember.

I am also glad that this day falls on Veterans Day so that I might give thanks to all the veterans in our country. Thanks for putting your life on the line for all of us. Thanks for protecting our country. And thanks so much for all your sacrifices!


Getting ready for the SCBWI Conference this weekend, which is always such a treat. If you are into writing or illustrating Children's Books, or interested in YA, you must make the organization a priority. The fee is minimal for such wonderful access to important, ongoing information in the industry.

You meet fabulous people in your area on a monthly basis, a calendar full of helpful tips at the meetings, plus the yearly conference, nearby, not to mention the truly amazing nationwide conferences that are available. If you haven't discovered this wonderful organization, do yourself a favor and check it out, find the chapter in your area. You won't be sorry.

Also, be sure and follow @SCBWI on Twitter too!
I have been reading quite a few blogs lately, and discussing with fellow writers and readers, about the subject of: why isn't there a category for college age protagonists?

There are several theories that have caught my attention, one of which is, that college age students do not have the time to pick up a novel and read for pleasure. Much of their time is spent in the classroom, doing homework, working, and of course, less we forget, the all important social life.

But I was also  intrigued to discover there might be other reasons, as well.

It took several years to recognize the need for a Young Adult genre, and now, slowly, it's being discovered that there might be a need for a college age genre, as well, especially with this new generation's ideas and expectations.  The industry, in time, will catch up.  But for now, the 18-25 fiction genre is still included in the Adult Sections of the library and bookstores.

It will be exciting, as a writer, to watch this new genre explode on the scene.  Like everything else this up and coming generation takes on, I feel, the "New Adult" genre will come to fruition with gusto.
This has been one of the most difficult years I have ever faced. One that has tested my very soul. First, we lost our sweet little Declan, then we lost our tiny AJ, and a dear uncle unexpectedly passed away, and now, we are in the midst of losing another, a wonderful man, our grandfather, my husband's father.

It's so difficult to watch one's children, brother's, sister's, parents, and husband grieve with so much pain, pain that I can't ease or take away.

There have been so many heart-wrenching moments, when tears were the only release. But along with all the heartache, sweet moments have trickled in: comfort from friends and family, tender memories shared, and hearts speaking to hearts without a single word spoken.

But through it all, I've been so grateful for family, for the love we have for one another, and the tight bond that has been forged between us over the years to help us endure such pain together.

I know that in time, this horrible ache will lessen, the engulfing waves will dwindle into soft ripples, and we will be filled with quiet peace. But for now, we must take the opportunity to look for each tender mercy, and be grateful for each cherished moment we were able to experience with our dear, departed, loved ones.


The life of a writer is an interesting one. There are so many hours spent alone, delving in the far-reaches of one's mind, pulling, and sometimes dragging, the inner-most emotions, thoughts, and feelings of oneself to the fore so that the characters come to life on paper. It's a daunting task, but also very fulfilling.

Some days, the writing comes quickly, naturally, flowing smooth and insightful, and I have a hard time getting it all down on paper, or in the computer, fast enough. Then other days, I'm lucky if I can come up with a single line. And even then, the words sometimes end up in the trash.

But when the manuscript is finally finished, there is such a feeling of accomplishment that I can't describe it. And I'm beside myself doing the happy dance in every room of my house. I call my friends, family, and critique group, those who have encouraged me every step of the way. And that's when I realize. I'm not alone in this endeavor. They are all there for me. What would I do without them? I shudder to think. Without their encouragement, ideas, and critiques, the manuscript is just words on paper, not a novel, not a book, not even worth the paper it's written on.

Thanks doesn't seem a big enough word. But here goes, anyway:


I love collecting fun and unusual words, and in the book "The Word Museum," by Jeffrey Karcirk, I found the greatest collection of forgotten words.

Take a look at:

Blutterbunged-- meaning: confounded, overcome by surprise. See gloppened. So, I looked up gloppened in the same book, and found: surprised. Don't you just love it?

Here's another great word:

Glunch-- meaning: to frown.

Or how about:

Maffle-- meaning: to stammer; to stutter.

And then, there's:

Snirp--- meaning: to shrink, to shrivel up.

Why have these words been lost? Wouldn't you love to have them in your repertoire, writers? I know I would!