If anybody out there gives a whoop…



998584-195…my word count came to 17, 562 words during NaNoWriMo. But some of that was rewriting, and I moved some chunks around among different chapters. So, it’s only a best guess. I just wish I were happier about it.

I truly admire the folks who can run with NaNoWriMo and accomplish their goals. Not for the first time, I wish I were one of you. I’m stuck with a brain that hops around among ideas and notions. A little tweak here, and, oh, this part can go back in Chapter 12. Not linear in the slightest. So, kudos, sincerely, and I hope you keep up the pace.

As for me, I’ll keep plugging in my own odd way. As Popeye famously said, “I yam what I yam.” Baked or candied, I write to my own drummer.

Happy holidays.

And here I thought I knew everything…


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Well, it’s been an interesting November so far. I’ve learned several things by trying NaNoWriMo for the first time. Biggest one is that it doesn’t work for me. I do have thousands of words written but I discovered a basic truth about the way I write: I go nuts if I don’t start each session with a brief edit of what I wrote the day before.

That may seem a small thing, but when I finally gave in to the desire to go back, take another look–rewrite, for God’s sake–my forward momentum died an ugly death. I was becalmed in my little sailboat of a writing routine and couldn’t catch any wind to return to the race. My focus had become fixed on piling up words, not discovering the heart of them. I kept finding half-thoughts tripping over each other, the kind of plot issues that don’t become a problem if you find them and deal with them every day. (Well, sometimes they sure as hell do, we all know that, but if your ears are filled with the ticking of the clock, it’s harder to deal with.) I floundered around for a while, fell into a pit of despair over an unsolvable plot snarl, and threw up my hands…and nearly my lunch. Ugly, my friends, ugly.

And then came the dawn. I would do what I always do (no, not try to take over the world, Pinky and the Brain fans.) I’d continue writing, I’d try to speed up a bit, but not at the expense of the incremental editing that appears to jump-start my brain. At the end of November I will add up all the words (and post them on Twitter and/or here, since I never actually signed up for NaNoWriMo.) And I’ll keep going until I’ve finished the book. And then I’ll go through the manuscript again and again until I’m ready to show it to readers.

I was really hoping the pressure of NaNoWriMo would bulldoze me through the slow patches. Came to find out the slow patches are where my writing happens.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Hair-tearing insanity in NaNoWriMo



Okay, remember how I tweeted that you should never look back at the earlier pages? I have a very mother of a plot snarl & my tired brain is scurrying around like a trapped badger trying to figure a way out. I’ve got words written on three different chapters but the totals don’t mean anything until I get a coherent narrative strung together. I think I’ve found a way, but I’m going to sleep on it to be sure.

The biggest difficulty is that what I’m working on is the third book of the series–three dimensional chess in fiction form. The details come from all three books and I’m struggling to braid everything together. The first two books are published so I can’t change anything in them. So I’m eyeball to eyeball with a couple of plot points that must be manicured a bit. And I’m mixing metaphors like a Fiction 101 Cuisinart.

I will sleep, perchance to dream up some answers to these highly irritating questions. And then I’ll preen at my genius. Right? (Cricket chirping.) RIGHT?

Bye-bye for now…


to my short-lived bestseller status on Amazon’s Kindle Ghost Fiction list. Edge of the Shadow slid off the list sometime last night. Fame is fleeting, friends, and I was lucky enough to get a taste of it now. Had to share it fast before it faded. Here’s to next time and here I am turning back to the NaNoWriMo task before me. Thanks for the nice comments & “likes.”


You know those words I was talking about…?



Gentle readers, today I’ve been in a swirl of words, not all of them having to do with NaNoWriMo. Not only am I writing Wisdom Court Book 3, All In Bad Time, but I’m also marketing and publicizing the first two Wisdom Court Books: Edge of the Shadow, and A Signal Shown. (This while falling short in the promotion of my two mysteries, Scavenger Hunt, and Obstacle Course. My bad.)

This is the day Edge of the Shadow has been featured on EReader News Today, and I’ve been sharing that fact through Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin. Once again I’ve noted that my Wisdom Court books carry a lot of labels. There are a lot of different elements in my books and they come from different genres.

All of the books I’ve written have been categorized as cross-genre. That means several things, some complimentary, some not. Historically books have been sold by genre, meaning bookshelf space given to them is ideally in a specific bookstore location. Mysteries with mysteries, romances with romances, paranormal with paranormal, etc. It gets murkier with mainstream novels, which get away with including various aspects under the umbrella of mainstream. Whatever that means.

The stories I like to tell myself involve more than one template. In the case of the Wisdom Court books the two things that intrigued me in the initial phases were first, the idea of a woman getting what she’d always wanted most, the chance to be totally supported for a year while she worked to make her biggest dream come true. Second, to observe the relationship among the five or six women living at Wisdom Court while they all got to be stars. The protagonist meets a lovely man. So, women’s fiction with an element of romance.

But then I began to wonder about paranormal events getting in the way of such an idyllic set-up. A problem that must be solved. Mystery, right? My belief that our memories and regrets are like ghosts haunting us as we age had me wanting those women forced to deal with scary supernatural stuff while they were supposed to be setting the world on fire during their year at Wisdom Court. Paranormal, supernatural, Gothic, horror, ghost story.

Thanks to the rise of independent publishing, I’ve been able to get the Wisdom Court books into print (POD) and on-line as ebooks. But as for promoting them, the old rules apply, because readers want to read what they like. So here’s my challenge to those of you who’ve read Edge of the Shadow and/or A Signal Shown. How would you describe them? How many genres would you have to mention to let readers know what they’re getting? I’d really be interested in having you weigh in. Thanks.


Days 4 and 5, NaNoWriMo


I got words and more words and…Day 4, 1506 words; Day 5, 966. Big falloff today, a jumbled, humbling day. That’s okay, because once I got going, the story took a turn that surprised and pleased me. I’m just too tired to keep going. Remember what Scarlett said: Tomorrow is another day. With more words!

AND: tomorrow November 6, eReader News Today will have Edge of the Shadow at a discount. I’ll post the link on Twitter and Facebook tomorrow in the a.m.

My eyes are falling out of my head, so I think it’s time to consider my bed. But first I need dinner, some leftover chile. Lost the rhyme.


My first NaNoWriMo Adventure, and an Announcement


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9781614176459First the announcement: Nook has my two creepy/Gothic novels on sale Nov. 3 – Nov. 6 !!

http://bit.ly/1tUB5Ns  Edge of the Shadow



http://bit.ly/1x2KoyA   A Signal Shown




I’m on the fourth day of NaNoWriMo  (National Novel Writing Month).

I’ve never done it before, but I’m behind on my work in progress (All In Bad Time, Wisdom Court Book 3).

Do you want me to tell you the word totals so far? Sure you do.

Day 1, 2288 words   Day 2, 1621 words   Day 3, 2633 words.

Now, off to write the words for today. Send me some energy & inspiration, please.

Halloween is coming…


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and I’m working on Book Three of the Wisdom Court chronicles, All In Bad Time. At times I get jittery while listening to the creaks and sighs of our old house as I tap away on my keyboard, sitting in my third floor garret. The weather has been summer-hot the last few days, and the deep blue sky heightens the yellows and reds of the autumn leaves. But when the sun goes down, and that’s early these days, the air changes as the shadows venture out from the corners. The bustle of the day gives way to the uneasy quiet of the dark. DCIM100SPORT

Not far away from my garret is a former graveyard. This time of year people again recount the tales of how the bodies were dug out of the cemetery to allow for the park it became. How the contractors grew impatient, not bothering to find all of the remains, moving out headstones but leaving body parts behind. Just a couple of years ago, a sprinkler repair project turned up bones buried beneath the grassy area.

Is it any wonder that some people–those sensitive to the emanations of the past in this old neighborhood–sometimes see things from the corners of their eyes? Feel a chill brush by them as they head home when the light falls behind the mountains?

Alone in my garret, it’s not hard to imagine ghostly figures behind me, intent upon catching the attention of my wandering mind, wanting their stories to be told. I like to think that what I write is the product of only my imaginings, but there’s no way to know whose wispy thoughts break through to shape the narrative. And I see things, too, from the corners of my eyes, sometimes feel a breath of cold air move past my cheek.  And I wonder.



Visual Shortcuts that Cut

Yvonne Montgomery:

I like this blog post from Elle Hill. It’s a useful nudge to my imagination to put more character actors in starring roles. Thanks, Elle.

Originally posted on :

As both a writer and a reader, I’m always trying to figure out why authors do some of the things we do: End scenes in particular ways, juxtapose dialogue and description, harness the rhythm of words to craft verbal songs…

Use visual shortcuts as symbols for the characters’, well, character.shortcut

Maybe it’s due to my rather colorful political sensibilities, or maybe because my dissertation focused on, in part, lookism, but I’m especially sensitive to the symbolism contained in the physical descriptions of literary characters. As I’ve written about before, I’m pretty devoted to making sure I representunder-represented physicalities, and I particularly delight in subverting traditional physical tropes. Given all this, I find it so disappointing when I read books that reinforce all the old, tired symbolism surrounding characters’ physical presentations.

You know what’s super fun and reflects a lot more creativity than relying on the usual physical…

View original 445 more words


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