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Writing an entire book

My next goal is to write an entire book.

I’ve done it before.

I’m not sure I can do it again.

I can start books.

Many many books.

I can make myself laugh and have a good time.

Then I stop writing and I sit on the floor and people climb on me and I don’t write again for awhile.

Then I start another book.

How do you decide which book is the book? Which idea is the idea? This is an article that tells you how to do it.

Will you do it? Do you write as fast as you can all the way to the end? Or do you stop after page 40 and say: this is crap.

Or: I’ve already written this before.

Or: This is boring.

Or: I don’t know what to write next.

Or: What is this even about.

Or: I should be making dinner.

Or: I have a better idea that will make me happier.

Here is another article about how to finish a book.

I especially like how they say you don’t HAVE to write every day but it helps and that you can’t use kids or a job or netflix as an excuse. It’s not a race. Chip away at it slowly.

I’ve been reading books my kids love and I’ve noticed that their very favorite ones aren’t complicated, don’t necessarily involve new worlds or surprising plots. The ones they love are simple, heartbreaking, real, funny and are about real life.

Write your real life.

Write your character’s real life.

Also, go to Carol’s book launch to read her book Messenger which is about real life and ghosts.

Love you Carol and love all you writers. Hope you finish a book, if not soon, sometime.




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Hello all,

Halloween is coming soon and last night a friend of mine told me that when she wants to destress, she listens to horror on audible. She loves Stephen King, of course, but has branched out. “It just helps me unwind,” she said.


Blood, guts and killer cars?

What do you think? I must admit I have not read very many horror novels. My mom loved them. Her very favorite movies were The Shining and Silence of the Lambs. In an effort to read more widely, I thought it might be fun to take on a few books for this October season. If you have any recommendations, I’m open.

Also, in the spirit of the season, how about some horror prompts? I dare you to try one or two or three of these. And if you feel like posting them, I would be so so very happy. I’d love to see what you come up with. I’m going to try a few myself.

Happy almost Halloween Month

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The Movies: From Carol

This past summer, when I’ve been able to, I’ve gone garage saling. Yup, I love a deal. Garage sales are a great place to do Christmas shopping, FYI.
One thing I’ve bought are books written for adults, including a novel that was recently made into a movie.
So. I read it.
The story is told from several POV’s, including two teens.
What kinda blew my mind is that all the people–men, women, teens, they all sounded the same.
And the other thing? The book was soooo corny.
I actually closed my eyes and thought, No way, at the end.
I thought “This is so dumb.”
I tried to figure out why this was a hit. Why it was made into a movie. And I couldn’t.
This isn’t the first time I’ve read popular adult books and cringed the whole time.
Many times, writers of children’s work are not taken seriously.
Not at the university level.
Not by general readers.
Not by some writers who write for adults and decide to cross-over and write for teens because that’s ‘easier.’
So keep writing.
Write truth.
Real feelings.
Fun plots.
Let’s keep teaching kids, now, what great story is.

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Hey, Everyone!
Ann Dee and I are barreling toward the end of this newest revision. I feel so lucky to get to write with someone who is so funny and so talented.
Two FYI’s–
#1 I’m holding at writing class–a month long–starting in a couple weeks. We’ll talk voice, structure, language and a few other things (like ethics in writing, beginnings and even . . . plot!). We’ll do critique, you’ll have homework (but not too much!) and we’ll end our session with a Q&A with a NY agent or editor.
If you are interested in this intimate, hands-on learning, email me for dates, times and pricing.
#2 For November (NaNoWriMo): I thought it might be cool to do a weekly writing event here at my home. Doesn’t that sound like fun? We’ll get together for a few hours of writing, one night a week. We’ll do potluck, start with a writing exercise to get us going and then just write. This event is free and limited to 15 people (on a first come/first served basis).
Please email me for more information on both events.

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Writing Practice

Get your favorite book out and copy three paragraphs at three different parts of the book. Then try to write your own paragraph with the same rhythm, the same number of words, the same punctuation. Play around with it. Maybe choose a book that is very different from how you write. Maybe try it with three different books. Read the passages from the book and the passages you wrote out loud. What do you hear? How did it feel to write like that? Can you hear the music of the lines?

Also, I need to get my brain back into writing. I’ve been editing and rereading and turning in final pages for my book that’s coming out next summer and now I need to get back into full on drafting. For some reason I think that means I should fix my spare room into an office and maybe read Neil Gaiman’s new writing book (really a collection of his speeches) and maybe do more yoga. Why is it so hard to get back into the groove of things?

Also, grapes, apples and peaches. So much to do. Love to you all. I hope you do the exercise. xoxox

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So I’m asking Ann Dee to post for me today because I still can’t get on my computer. And I expect it won’t be long before this little computer has had it, too. Until then, I am writing!
Yesterday as I was thinking, I realized something about myself.
It’s something I’ve known for awhile, so I guess I rerealized.
My best friends know this about me.
But I have to back up to explain it well.
On a Saturday a couple of weeks back, several nationally published writers in the area went to a writer’s retreat where we talked and laughed and cut up like a bunch of 12-yr-olds.
The incident that I want to talk about happened before the retreat.
I was in the car with Ann Dee Ellis and we were talking. And it was like Eeyore was driving. (Me.)
Bum bum bum bum bum.
Poo poo poo poo poo.
Wah wah wah wah wah.
I didn’t know this.
I didn’t know I sounded like Eeyore until Ally Condie got in the car.
The whole space brightened and I had to shield my eyes from how kind and happy Ally was.
Truly, and this isn’t an exaggeration. It was the difference between light and dark.
And I was the ugly stepsister in the group. The one with the too-big feet (true), with a huge frown (true) because the prince was more interested in the two gals in the car with me than me (true).
This happened in school.
When the boy asked me out and I was sure he wanted to be with my super-cute roommate and so I made us both miserable by talking about her instead of shutting the hell up and just dancing.
I can dance.
Anyway, my crappy attitude is a part of me.
But do I have to stay this way?
Here’s what the internet dictionary of I-popped-up-first says about attitude:
a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person’s behavior.
Someone said–in not exactly these words, but its what was meant–“As a writer, you can expect nothing more than what has happened to you in the past. You are never going to change unless you change your name or get a new, hungry agent.”
We were talking sales and notoriety and advances.
Could this be?
Am I stuck where I am, forever?
It was a hard thing to hear.
No matter what book I write,
no matter if I get all starred reviews,
no matter if my editor thinks this book will be my best seller,
I am here.
Not surviving.
I decided yesterday I am going to try and change this.
My attitude may not make more books sales, may not pay the bills, may not get my books the recognition I want them to have, but I CAN BE HAPPIER.
I can.
I will.
It’s gonna be tough.
It will take time.
But why not think I can do whatever I set in my sites. I changed a garbage disposal, after all!
So here’s this:
And this:
And this (from a Goodreads collection of quotes):
“If you can quit, quit. If you can’t quit, stop complaining – this is what you chose.”
― JA Konrath
A therapist said once that I have probably been sad since I was a tiny girl.
He didn’t say I had to stay sad the rest of my life.
Hmmm. Maybe that is a book idea.


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Last week I had an especially taxing day. There’s no need to go into details but lets just say there was a big box store involved, maybe a diaper malfunction, perhaps some screaming, for sure some forced smiles and definitely some tears by many. At the end of the day, I sat on my back  balcony watching the sky when I was supposed to be cleaning up and getting dinner ready and momming my kids, I sat there and I thought: This sucks.

This sucks.

All day sucked.

My mom hated the word sucked.

I can see why she hated the word sucked but words change, mom. Don’t be mad. And this sucks.

I also thought, the only way to save the day, the only possibly redeeming thing that could come from hours like these, was if i wrote it down.

If I wrote down how I felt. If I wrote down what was said and how it was said and who said what and the chaos. If I wrote down how alone I felt and embarrassed and mad and stupid and alone and incapable and mean and tired and alone. That would save me.

So then I put on instagram, “who wants to write memoirs with me?” Short ones. A few a week. We’ll write and then we can share or not share but we can write and we can feel connected and then some day we can look back on those days good or bad and they can be more than throw away days. They can be parts of us that we’ll remember even if we didn’t think we’d want to. They’ll be things we can talk about later and people can say I had that happen too. Maybe our kids down the road will say that. They’ll say, You did WHAT??? in Target and I’ll say, I did. And it’s okay if you do too. Or maybe we’ll say, never do that.

The point is, I’ve been posting prompts on my personal website and on instagram. Three a week. For eight minute memoir writing. I’d love it if you’d like to join.


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