Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Take a break!

Every summer I look forward to the day a group of writer friends converge on the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs for a day of writing, visiting, eating, and writing. I try to make this day a priority because it's important to schedule time to enjoy friends and beauty, and give yourself a break now and then.

It's a wonderful day spent in a beautiful setting. Wouldn't you like to sit on this bench and plot a novel?

The Broadmoor has beautiful, LIVE flowers everywhere. 

In the morning we sit on the patio by the building in the center of the photo. After lunch we sit in the lobby. It's a gorgeous and welcoming place. 

Bottoms up! These two ducks cracked me up. 
Don't forget to schedule some time for enjoying life. It's pleasant, quiet moments like this that fuel your creativity and recharge your emotional stores. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Everybody has a story

I've always known everybody has a story, and I'm fascinated by the stories of everyday people.

I once went to a new hairdresser, and within twenty minutes of meeting her I heard a most interesting story. After she told me, she stepped back, blinked and said, "I can't believe you got me to spill my beans." The memory still makes me smile.

I think the reason I got her to spill her beans is simply because she knew I was interested in her story.

See the photo on the left? My mom's in the center. I think she was about 17 at the time. She's with her sister and an aunt, walking on a NYC street. I've got plenty of stories about those ladies.

I stumbled across a fascinating website called Humans of New York. It's full of amazing portraits with small captions that give a taste of the subject's story.

I know I'll be checking back to see more photos and read more captions. My writer's mind loves that I can go there and find "characters" that I can put into novels.  :)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Good read: Into the Free

Into the FreeEvery so often I read a book that I can't wait to share with friends. Into the Free by Julie Cantrell is one of those books.

Millie's story got under my skin. I grieved for her small, desperate world, and loved (most of) the characters in it. Told through the eyes of a young girl and set in Depression-era Mississippi, Into the Free takes you on a journey of discovery. I yearned for peace and purpose for dear little Millie. Through it all, there was an underlying glimmer of hope that this girl would eventually find her way out of her life and into the free. Ms. Cantrell's prose was lovely and heartbreaking at the same time. She spun scenes with a delicate hand that painted vivid images in your mind. This is one of those novels that lingers in your thoughts long after you close the book.

I was delighted to learn the sequel to When Mountains Move, will release in September!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Sharing Beauty

These are my favorite lilies. 

I have several variety in my yard, but each year I most look forward to these beauties blooming. They're my only lilies with ruffled edges, and their color soothes me.

They grow beneath a stand of Aspens surrounded by yet-to-bloom hollyhocks just to the left of my outdoor reading nook where my Adirondack chair sits.

During the depths of winter when my chair's tucked into the basement and snow
covers the remains of summer's flowers, I daydream about my little piece of paradise where I sit and plot (novels) and dream and read.

Do you have a special place that revives your spirit?
That's my little buddy sitting by my chair. She keeps me company all the time.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Some pretty cool obsolete words

Last week I discussed beautiful words, so in keeping with a words theme let's talk about obsolete and archaic words.

In 2000 I attended my first writers conference and was surprised to hear a list of words that are out and considered archaic. I can't recall them all, but one was burnt. The (current) proper word is burned. Regardless, I've heard people say burnt again and again. Apparently they didn't get the memo.

I ran across an article that discusses obsolete words that shouldn't have gone out of style. It's an interesting list, and I wish some of those words were still in use. They're so expressive.

This list is a treasure of possibilities--words authors could bring back into use.

Take a look at a few:
Snoutfair: A person with a handsome countenance — “The Word Museum: The Most Remarkable English Words Ever Forgotten” by Jeffrey Kacirk
California widow: A married woman whose husband is away from her for any extended period — John Farmer’s “Americanisms Old and New”, 1889
Groak: To silently watch someone while they are eating, hoping to be invited to join them –www.ObsoleteWord.Blogspot.com

Wouldn't some of those words make intriguing titles?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

How can you NOT love beautiful words?

I saw an article about a summer reading list that brought back warm and wonderful memories of exploring new worlds and meeting new, unforgettable characters.

Yes, I'm a novel geek.

The book that popped into my memory was one that was on my 1969 summer reading list of novels I had to consume before starting high school. (Let me save you the time it would take to figure it out--I'm 58 years old.)

That book is Winter Wheat by Mildred Walker. Did you ever read it? Here's the funny thing, I don't recall the plot of the book as much as how I recall how the book made me feel -- how desperate I was to continue reading, to find out about Ellen Webb and how her future would unfold.

I just peeked at the first page, and I fell in love with words again. Look at this opening paragraph:
September is like a quiet day after a whole week of wind. I mean that wind that blows dirt into your eyes and hair and between your teeth and roars in your ears after you've gone inside. The harvesting is done and the wheat stored away and you're through worrying about hail or drought or grasshoppers. The fields have a tired peaceful look, the way I imagine a mother feels when she's had her baby and is just lying there thinking about it and feeling pleased. 


Do you recall a novel that enticed you to get lost within its pages when you were a child? What was it?

In an aside, that article about the summer reading list will make you crazy. The list was filled with errors. Check it out.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Rules and Techniques for Writing

Successful authors will tell you it's important to continually learn the craft.

I like to hear the "rules" explained by different sources because sometimes a new way of saying the same old thing will spark my imagination and help me to learn a new point of craft.

I'm delighted to share this article, 16 Fancy Literary Techniques Explained by Disney, in hopes it hits the mark and helps your writing.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Publishing Industry News

Have you ever heard of Novel Rocket? It's a blog formerly known as Novel Journey.

I've followed this blog for years. It's a website for writers and features great articles and interviews as well as several resources for writers.

I'm very honored to be accepted into the group of novelists who maintain Novel Rocket. I will post a monthly article on publishing industry news. My first article posted today. I hope you'll check it out.

Also, if you run across any industry news, please pass the info along. I'm always grateful for any help I get.