Monthly Archives: May 2014

Memorial Day

Such a kind review, Carol. Thank you for always being such a good friend and support. I am always teetering on the edge. Always. Of so many things and Carol has always been there to reel me back in.

I have so many wonderful writing friends. I am an introvert in most cases–which isn’t good for networking or trying to sell books–and having such caring, thoughtful, understanding people in my corner has saved me over and over again.

Yesterday was memorial day. We were at Liberty Park with thousands of other people. Everyone laughing, crying, kicking soccer balls, running through splash pads, swimming, riding the ferris wheel, screaming, singing, playing tennis. There was so much energy there and I thought, The world is full of so many wonderful people. Wonderful people with all kinds of joys and sadnesses and hopes and thoughts and complications and families and difficulties and things to look forward to and things to regret and things to plan towards.

I was holding my baby and walking on the hot cement with the three others holding onto my skirt and my husband in front of me, dragging a cooler and my bag and the chairs and the extra clothes and seemingly the whole world. The six of us, in a little pack, and I thought, I am happy.

I am tired. I get depressed. I am overwhelmed. I have a messy house. I have a messy car. I eat tapioca pudding. I miss my mom. I am worried about my dad. I worry about my kids. I worry about my husband.  I don’t write enough. I can’t do all the marketing for my books because I am the worst. I have a sagging belly. I have to make dinner and do dishes every single day and I don’t like doing it, especially the dishes part. My laundry room is now the entire family’s walk in closet. I have weeds all over the place. I am scared of summer. And I’m tried.


I am happy.

I think writing is such a celebration of life. Every part of it. I also think too often I get too caught up in the details to see the upward movement, the beautiful chaos that is surrounding me.

I hope I stop more.
I hope I write it down more.

I hope I laugh more. Both  at home and on the page.

I hope I’m kinder.

I hope I’m more compassionate.

I hope people don’t judge my bedroom and the peeling paint in the boys room.

I hope I don’t judge people’s bedrooms and the peeling paint in their kids rooms.

I hope I can stop all the bad things I do even though I know I won’t but I hope I keep trying.

I hope I go swimming this year, as impossible as it feels with all these kids.

and I hope I love more.

Those are my summer hopes.


Next week, the totally awesome radical summer challenge! You won’t want to miss it.


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The End or Something Like That

Just over a week ago, I went Ann Dee’s book signing.

The End or Something Like That.

She read.

A perfect reading.

I’d heard this book before. Had read it. Maybe even more than once. Loved the book as I watched it develop.


Here’s the thing about Ann Dee. She is a fast, smart writer. She knows how to move the plot forward.

Her characters are wacky. There are scenes that make you laugh. Make you cry.

She’s powerful with language. She keeps scenes tight. Not a wasted word.

The voice is incredible. A.E. Cannon is right–No one does voice like Ann Dee Ellis.

I honestly don’t know how she does it.


(Ann Dee and I are working on a book together. Sending crappy chapters back and forth to each other. Even her crappy chapters are great.)


And then you send your book to an editor.

Look, I know an editor’s job is to make your good book into a great book.

Do I always agree with editors?


Not when one is messing with your pal’s great novel.

(Actually, I have always agreed with MY editors. Except for one.)


Ann Dee kept telling me what was going on with her book. Sort of. Whisperings of what the editor wanted.

And I was like, Don’t do it!

Too much!



But this weekend I read The End or Something Like That.

Today, I am remembering the book emotionally.

There’s this sad blanket over me.

For lots of reason.

But the biggest is because Ann Dee did a beautiful job at a difficult time in her life and wrote a terrific book.


I will think about The End or Something Like That for a long time.


the line play

the character development

the emotion

Las Vegas









I could go on and on. It’s all there.


Beautiful, Ann Dee.

Thank you for the trip.

(Though I have to admit, I’ll probably be sad for a while. And I will blame you.)

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Filed under Ann Dee, Character, CLW, Family, Plot, Revision, writing process

Happy Friday-Before-Memorial-Day! by Debbie Nance

Monday is Memorial Day. Our family has a tradition of visiting the nearby graves of deceased relatives. We usually take flowers and sometimes flags. We always take photos. Now that our children are older, they bring their children along, and we caravan together to meet at the cemeteries. Then we have lunch and retell stories of our loved ones. It is a great day of remembrance.

One of our aunts never married. She is getting older and picked out her own headstone. It has a design that includes musical notes and a softball and bat, showing two of her favorite hobbies. She had the stone placed on her plot a few years ago so when she passes, relatives will only have to have the death date added. Her headstone is near her parents so she sees her own memorial each year. I’d say that is a little quirky, but one thing for sure, she’s prepared.

Think about your latest WIP. What traditions does your MC have? What quirks does she/he have?

Write a scene that shows the uniqueness of your MC and then enjoy the holiday!

And remember there are only 24 days until WIFYR so sign up before it’s too late. Hope to see you there!

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A Fourth Thing for Thursday

The 2nd tip for writing picture books from Ken.

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