Friday, December 31, 2010


My wishes on last day of 2010 for new year:

Finish writing a second book.

Read four books a month (if you knew my schedule, you'd think insanity).

Make more money. Give away more money.

Hug more often. Love more vigorously (2010 was good for that).

Dance more. Sing more. Run more.

Write better.

Forgive easily.

Say "I'm sorry" less. (read: make fewer mistakes that hurt people's feelings)

Think fewer negative thoughts.

In short, live fully. Welcome this moment.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Itinerant Writers

Cool thing about telling people you are a writer: they are, too, or know someone who is. Writers lurk in odd places. I used to work at a public radio station, and the janitor had published a cartoon book. It was very good. He never pursued another project.

Last week, a friend handed me a short story by a friend who wanted to be a writer. It, too, was very good. My friend said his buddy played around with writing his entire life, but he never took it up seriously, as in, pursuing publishing.

There's no pat on the back for the itinerant writer. They write for the love of it. Which is how any writer goes on. There's certainly very little positive stroking that goes on in this industry (one I've yet to break in to, so my view may be a little jaded). Too many obstacles and critics. But people usually think it's cool if you tell them you are a writer. Much more than when I tell them I'm a journalist or a college instructor.

The short story from my friend's friend was never published. He died earlier this year.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

What I'm Writing

"Three Musketeers" might be on a few read-this-book-before-you-kick-off lists, but it's not everyone's favorite. I think that's because it doesn't delve much into the thoughts of the Musketeers, for the most part. That's why I wanted to write a sequel about one of the men, in particular.

My book is based on Athos, the eldest Musketeer who shuns the company of women and favors wine. Good fodder for a romance novel, eh? Dumas wrote a book called "20 Years After," which I'm slogging through, where he revives Athos as a happy aristocrat with a son. How'd that happen? That's what I thought, so Athos is my subject.

I haven't found any blogs yet by romance writers who discuss whether they fall in love with their male protagonists (I know you are out there). I definitely did. He's complicated and brooding and lonely .... you get the picture. I'm also more interested in him than his love interest. Not sure that'll sell with the romance reading crowd, but I'll take the fan fiction spill-over.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Blank Page, Take That

It was a word. Denizen. I remember using it in an essay I wrote after my first interview ever. The woman I interviewed was in her 80s, living in rural Missouri and remembered when electricity first came to her home.

I had locked myself in my bedroom and was sitting at my desk (which my mother still has), writing the essay about her life for a contest on rural electrification. I wanted a word to describe her, and that's the word I found: denizen. I loved it. It was cool. It was another way of calling her a resident, and it made me want to keep going, thinking myself clever and all.

All good writing advice says stay away from the thesaurus, and for the most part, I try to follow that advice. Denizen probably looked quite out of place in a 15-year-old's prose. But it was fun learning new words and using them. My mom said too many $2 words in my recent draft manuscript. I retooled. But a good word is worth a million bucks.

I write because it's fun and because I love words. And I like to take a blank page and make something out of it. It's about creating images. Which can be a trip. And reaching into a character's head besides your own. I'm not intimidated by the blank, white stuff. Give me a glowing screen or a lined notebook. And take that.