Thursday, August 8, 2013

A Wonderful Reason to Not be Writing...

Rory James Shakespear

Our hefty feller was born on June 30th. You can see more fun pictures and read more about the adventure on my crafty/momma blog, Hazel and Company

Monday, May 6, 2013

Museum of Theives by Lian Tanner

Oh my! I'm reading such a great trilogy right now.

The first one is called Museum of Thieves.

And I'm almost done with City of Lies. 

And then I'll need to get my hands on Path of Beasts.

So, what is it I love about these books? (I'm so glad you asked.) 

Oh, so much! The brilliant characters I completely adore and want to see succeed, the fun fantasy element involving a museum which holds all the horrible stuff the world doesn't want anymore, the vicious villian who is conniving and smart and loads of trouble, the plot exciting plot twists and the completely fascinating world Lian Tanner has created. I especially love the idea of the Festival of Lies in the second book. What a crazy brilliant holiday! 

Here's the blurb about the first book, Museum of Thieves from Goodreads...

Welcome to the tyrannical city of Jewel, where impatience is a sin and boldness is a crime.Goldie Roth has lived in Jewel all her life. Like every child in the city, she wears a silver guardchain and is forced to obey the dreaded Blessed Guardians. She has never done anything by herself and won’t be allowed out on the streets unchained until Separation Day. 
When Separation Day is canceled, Goldie, who has always been both impatient and bold, runs away, risking not only her own life but also the lives of those she has left behind. In the chaos that follows, she is lured to the mysterious Museum of Dunt, where she meets the boy Toadspit and discovers terrible secrets. Only the cunning mind of a thief can understand the museum’s strange, shifting rooms. Fortunately, Goldie has a talent for thieving. 
Which is just as well, because the leader of the Blessed Guardians has his own plans for the museum—plans that threaten the lives of everyone Goldie loves. And it will take a daring thief to stop him. . . . 
Museum of Thieves is a thrilling tale of destiny and danger, and of a courageous girl who has never been allowed to grow up—until now.

Sounds fantastic, right?

And not only am I simply enjoying the ride as I read these books, I'm learning so much that I can apply to my own WIP. I love the tension Lian builds with her characters. I love the relationshop between Goldie and Toadspit and how they come to rely on each other even though at first they do not like each other one bit. I have a similiar relationship in my WIP which I'm trying to build. I also love how Goldie wants to leave the museum at first, but then realizes she wants to stay. Needs to stay. And she fears she won't pass the test she must take in order to have the priveledge of staying. 

Great lessons in these books. 

Question of the Day:

Have you read anything great lately? Anything that made you look at your WIP in a new light? Or taught you something new about writing?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Blogging from A-Z Report


I actually did it. I completed the A-Z blogging challenge for April.

Sure, I have a pile of laundry that can be seen from space, my children haven't eaten since March 31 and I should do some serious thinking about washing my hair, but I did it!

So, what did I learn this month?

Well...I learned about writing humor, of course! It was great having a theme which involved researching topics I wanted to learn more about. I've been working on this middle grade fantasy novel since...well, let's not put a number on how long, shall we? Suffice it to say, it's been a good while. And when I started it, it came out funny.

I mean, I never thought of myself as a humorous writer. Sure, I'm used to people laughing AT me all the time. But it took awhile for me to realize I was a funny person. And that I could...maybe...possibly write funny stuff.

Once I realized this was a possibility and, dare I say, a strength I was developing, I stumbled around in the dark finding humorous bits of writing lurking in my brain every now and then. But I wanted to be able to to be funny...on purpose. I wanted to look at a scene and know the best way to add more humor. Doing this theme for the challenge was a great step in that direction.

I learned about timing, how to write great similes and the K rule. I read many many articles written by brilliant comedians. And I made myself find a way to boil down what I was learning into blog posts. What a great month! And now I can tell when I sit down to work on my WIP my brain is starting to understand better how to add more humor to a scene.

Thanks to the organizers of this challenge. And thanks to all of you who took the time to comment on my silly posts! I really really appreciate it.

Ok. Now to wash some underwear, throw a handful of carrots at the kids and scrub my scalp.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

5 Writing Lessons From WWF Wrestlers

#1: It's hard work

I mean, even though those wrestlers are faking it, it's still a lot of work, right? They're working up a sweat as they perform the Tombstone Piledriver, the Figure-Four Leglock and the Gutwrench Powerbomb*.

Which is like writers. We have to fake a lot of things. I don't know about you, but I've never had the joy of learning I was suddenly capable of wielding magic. But since I write fantasy, I better make a good effort of figuring out what that would feel, look and be like.

I've also never been a boy. Or an orphan. And I've never been chased by strange creatures who fight dirty using their own snot.

But since my character has, I better learn to fake it!

And, I have to say, I'm glad I don't have to learn to perform a Crippler Crossface to do it.

#2: Put on a good show

They sure know how to add drama, don't they? And it's not like they stop at the actual fighting. Oh, no. There are all kinds of plots and sub-plots going on. Wrestlers trying to take over the whole WWF organization, stealing girl wrestlers to marry them and kidnapping other wrestlers to make their minions. Yep, those guys know how to put on a good show.

Writers, make sure you're entertaining your readers. Look at your story, really look at it. How can you stretch it, push it further and make it an even better show?

#3: Create villains the audience loves to hate. 

Ok. So, they have a wrestler named the Undertaker who runs the Ministry of Darkness. Come on now. That's just awesome, right? What a great sounding bad guy!

And who doesn't want to see a muscely hero-like wrestler take that guy down? Ok. Actually I don't. BUT still! If I was into wrestling, I totally would.

Writers, remember to make your villains so horrible and vicious and rotten that your readers will love to hate them. Don't go easy on your heroes. Pit them against a really great bad guy. Make your main character suffer. Make they grow. And eventually let them take that villain down. Your audience, or readers, will definitely cheer.

#4: Remember, chairs are handy. 

Those wrestlers sure know how to use a chair, right? Forget the mace, I just need to learn how to smack would-be muggers and assailants with a metal folding chair. It seems very effective. Of course, I'd need a bigger purse...

As for writers, we probably shouldn't make bashing someone with a chair a habit. Instead, we need to plop our rears into those chairs, preferrably ones with a bit of cushion, as much as possible and get the writing done.

#5: Work attire

Wrestlers sure come up with some snazzy costumes. Which reminds me of Nacho Libre...

"Chancho. When you are a man, sometimes you wear stretchy pants in your room. It's for fun."

But as far as spandex and rhinestones go. Every writer will have choose for themselves how to work those into your writing repertoire.

*And no, I am not making those up. Those are the names of real WWF wrestling moves. Don't they just make you want to tune in for the next match?

Are you a WWF wrestler fan? And do you wear spandex and rhinestones when writing? 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Z is for Zinger

This month I'm participating in the A-Z Blogging Challenge. The theme I'm going with this year is writing humor. Follow along to learn more about the different ways to make your fiction, articles or blog posts humorous. 

Mmmmmm, Zingers.
Ok. Ok. Not those kind of Zingers...

"Housework can't kill you, but why take a chance?" -Phyllis Diller

Ha! Phyllis Diller was the queen of excellent zingers. 

A zinger is a short line of comedy, sometimes the last line of an act. It's a great and memorable punchy line with a big  impact.

Here are 20 more of my favorite Phyllis Diller zingers:

1. My photographs don’t do me justice—they just look like me.

2. Burt Reynolds once asked me out. I was in his room.

3. His finest hour lasted a minute and a half.

4. I want my children to have all the things I couldn’t afford. Then I want to move in with them.

5. It’s a good thing that beauty is only skin deep, or I’d be rotten to the core.

6. A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.

7. What I don't like about Office Christmas parties is looking for a job the next day.

8. Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.

9. If your house is really a mess and a stranger comes to the door, greet them with, “Who could have done this? We have no enemies.”

10. Always be nice to your children because they are the ones who will choose your rest home.

11. Old age is when the liver spots show through your gloves.

12. Any time three New Yorkers get into a cab without an argument, a bank has just been robbed.

13. My 8-year-old bought a bicycle with the money he saved by not smoking.

14. Whatever you may look like, marry a man your own age—as your beauty fades, so will his eyesight.

15. You know you're old when someone compliments you on your alligator shoes, and you're barefoot. 

16. The reason women don’t play football is because 11 of them would never wear the same outfit in public.

17. Best way to get rid of kitchen odors: eat out.

18. Most children threaten at times to run away from home. This is the only thing that keeps some parents going.

19. We had far too many kids. At one point our playpen was standing room only. It looked like a bus stop for midgets.

20. To Ronald Reagan she said, “If you ever get to be president, and I think you may, and there's a depression— try not to have it at a bad time, like when everybody's out of work.”

Yay! The A-Z Challenge is over! 

Now I can go back to my regular blogging every other month or so, finally write about something slightly interesting, ok...more like something completely boring, like which kind of pillows I should buy, aplogize profusely for being apsent, blaming my children, husband, non-existent pets, dying houseplants, etc., beg readers to stick around by bribing them with drawings for trips to Jamaica which I don't giveaway  and then go silent for another long stretch. 

Hmmm...what's that you say? Maybe not the best schedule? 

So, what's your blogging schedule? Do you post a certain number of times a week? Every day? (overachiever!) Or three times a week?  

And how do you feel about Zingers? Do you like to eat them? Did you know a company bought control of the bulk of Hostess brands for a whopping $410 million? Thank goodness, right? What is a world without Twinkies and Zingers? Maybe one that would turn to carrots and celery? Ha! Yeah, right. We still have Little Debbie snacks. 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Y is for You

This month I'm participating in the A-Z Blogging Challenge. The theme I'm going with this year is writing humor. Follow along to learn more about the different ways to make your fiction, articles or blog posts humorous. 

Wow! I can't believe this month is almost over. 

Alright, for today I want to chat about you. And what you should be paying attention to in order to find excellent fodder for writing humor.  

Make sure you pay attention to...


Interesting conversations you over hear. 

Odd sightings in your neighborhood or town. 

The funny things your kids say. 

Stories and articles you read. 

Moments that strike you as funny. 

Notice what's going around you! Think about it. Mull things over. Find the humor. Jot down notes. 

A couple weeks ago I had to go in to the hospital for a lovely glucose test.  I signed in on the computer and sat down in a small waiting area with a few other people.  Then about every other year a woman came out of the offices, called a name, the person stood up and then went back to fill out the paperwork.

I wonder if I could request a pretty room like this for
my next stay at the hospital.

At one point the woman came out and called, "*Karla Gibbers." 

No one moved. 

"Karla Gibbers." 

Those of us in the waiting area looked around, trying to spot this Karla Gibbers. But she didn't appear. Maybe she wanted a cheeseburger from the hospital cafeteria. Or maybe she decided to go to the Emergency Room for faster treatment. Or it could have been something much simpler. 

She died already. 

Still not getting a repsonse, the woman went back into the offices. But a few minutes later she was back. 

"Karla Gibbers." The woman's eyes traveled over each of us sitting in the waiting area. We stared back at her with blank expressions. "Karla Gibbers?" 

Maybe I should have jumped out of my seat."Wait. Did you say Karla Gibbers? I thought you said Carl Gibbers! Why, I'm Karla Gibbers!"

The point of this story is that it made me laugh. This woman looked at each of us, hoping we were the missing lady, as if we were going to finally recognize our name and follow her.  So, I filed it away and thought I might use that little tidbit for something or other. 

*I can't actually remember the name called. So, if your name is Karla Gibbers, I'm sorry I suggested you died.

Do you collect writing material? Bits of conversations or anecdotes? Do you keep this info in a journal? 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

X is for X-aggerate

This month I'm participating in the A-Z Blogging Challenge. The theme I'm going with this year is writing humor. Follow along to learn more about the different ways to make your fiction, articles or blog posts humorous. 

X could have been a bit of a tricky letter for a post. 

Like how I solved that problem? 

Ok. So, exaggeration.  What does that have to do with writing humor? Why it has absolutely everything to do with it (and, yes, that was an exaggeration....or was it?)

But, really, exaggeration is like a turbo-charged, heavy duty, shiny, fully automated hammer in a writer's toolbox. 

Wow. Now THAT'S a hammer.

Now it's only right to include quotes from The Best Exaggerator of our Time, Dave Barry. 

"If your hostess subscribes to Martha Stewart Living, the guest bed may be so massively fortified with decorative objects that it can be deconstructed for sleeping use only by a licensed interior designer."

"It's time for my annual tax-advice column, which always draws an enthusiastic response from grateful readers.
"Dear Dave, " goes a typical letter. "Last year, following your advice, I was able to receive a large tax refund simply by claiming a $43,000 business deduction for 'paste.' I am currently chained to a wall in federal prison, but they tell me that, with good behavior, in 25 years they'll remove the skull screws. Thanks a lot!"

"I also don't know why a woman would be ticked off if you gave her a 56-piece socket-wrench set with a 72-tooth reversible ratchet, but thrilled if you give her a tiny, very expensive vial of liquid with a name like ''L'essence de Nooquie Eau de Parfum de Cologne de Toilette de Bidet,'' which, to the naked male nostril, does not smell any better than a stick of Juicy Fruit."

"Many bat species are endangered because of humans, some of whom view bats as actual food. A researcher named Tom Kunz told me that in parts of Southeast Asia, bat soup and fried bat are considered tasty treats. In Guam, people have eaten pretty much all the bats. There's a bat shortage! You could become a bat rancher and get rich! Although you would need skilled bat wranglers."

:(speaking about Halloween) It has been commercialized to the point where our young people think it's just ''fun and games.'' They know nothing about the somber origin of this holiday, which dates back to 1621, when the Pilgrims, having survived a difficult first winter in America, decided to express their thanks by dressing up in comical outfits with knickers and hats shaped like traffic cones and then went around playing pranks with what turned out -- tragically -- to be their last remaining roll of toilet paper, and thus as you can imagine their second winter was no picnic either."

Do you use exaggeration when writing humor? Or just when you're talking about how many dished you washed or papers you filed at work when you've been surfing the internet for turbo-charged, heavy duty, shiny, fully automated hammers instead?

Read more here:

Read more here:

Read more here:

Read more here:

Read more here:

Friday, April 26, 2013

W is for Wild

This month I'm participating in the A-Z Blogging Challenge. The theme I'm going with this year is writing humor. Follow along to learn more about the different ways to make your fiction, articles or blog posts humorous. 

There are so many rules. And tips. And ideas. And articles. MUCH stuff out there to help us become better writers. 

But when it comes down to it, we just need to write. We have to sit down and do it. 

And don't stay with the safe writing. Let yourself go wild! Especially when writing humor. Let your mind go off into strange lands and try new things. Dabble with new ideas. Try something exciting and strange and weird. And most definitely funny. 

With the idea of letting yourself be original and try new ideas in mind (and because I love quotes), I made these ...

What is your favorite quote about writing?