Friday, October 30, 2009

Kreativ Blogger

Debra L. Schubert awarded me this wonderful blog award the other day over at her blog. Thank you, Deb! Her blog is Write on Target, and if you haven't been over to visit her, you really need to check it out!

So, now I have the enjoyable job of nominating seven other worthy bloggers who must also follow the rest of these directions:

1) Copy the pretty picture and post it on your blog. (I can't figure out how to post the picture in the body of the post - so I've posted it on the side bar!)
2) Thank the person who gave it to you and link to their blog. (Thanks so much again, Debra!)
3) Write 7 things about yourself we don't know.
4) Choose 7 other bloggers to pass the award to.
5) Link to those 7 other bloggers.
6) Notify your 7 bloggers.

7 Things You Don't Know About Me...
1. I intend to go on an African Safari as a present to myself when I retire.
2. I drew cartoons for my university newspaper.
3. I love, love, LOVE being Canadian.
4. My iPod list includes Barry Manilow, Nickelback, Queen, Shania Twain, Diana Krall, & Daughtry... (It's hard to find music I don't like!)
5. My sister is my best friend.
6. I love Star Trek in all its many forms.
7. I've been sworn to secrecy over the recipe for a treasured family treat.

Now for the best part. Here are 7 great bloggers. If you haven't visited their blogs, you've been missing out on a lot of fun! Check them out:

Calista Taylor at A Steampunk Reverie.

Calista introduced me to steampunk. It's such a fun genre! For all things steampunk, check out her blog and website.

Jean Oram at

Jean runs 2 awesome blogs. The link is the one to her writing blog, but she also has a Kids Can Play blog that is full of awesomeness :)

Jenny Martin at Book Binge

Jenny's a librarian with a great eye for books and for delicious food! She combines her 2 loves in a great blog :)

Quillfeather at WM Morrell

My new friend from New Zealand has another great blog! She talks about all of the different aspects of writing.

Cate Woods at Words from the Woods

Cate's new blog is full of insights on the writing process and experience. She's thoughtful and always makes you think and feel!

Elizabeth Spann Craig at Mystery Writing is Murder

Elizabeth writes great cozy mysteries. Her blog is super informative and friendly too. All mystery writers, actually all writers, must check it out!

Elspeth Antonelli at It's a Mystery

Elspeth writes mysteries and murder games. She writes the best analogies! Her blog always makes you think about how you write. Great stuff :)

Check out these blogs - you won't regret it for a moment!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Deciding on the Next Project

It's coming!!! And, no, I'm not talking about Halloween. Instead I'm talking about NaNoWriMo. As most of you already know, NaNo is a writing "contest". We "compete" to see if we can write 50k words of a new wip during the month of November. Check out the nifty blog badge on the sidebar of my blog to see an example of the fantabulous "prizes". (No more quotation marks, I promise!)

I love NaNo. I had so much fun entering last year. I'm going into it this year, fully knowing my life is so crazy busy, it'll be nothing short of a miracle if I can win again. But I'm going to give it a shot.

My biggest problem is that I don't know what I'm going to write about. And the competition is sneaking up like any good Halloween ghoul.

It's not that I don't have any ideas. Rather, I have too many! I just can't choose.

Choice #1 - Steampunk YA. I've never written steampunk, I've never written YA, but this idea has wiggled its way into my brain and just won't let go. Thanks, Calista :)

Choice #2 - A (sort of) cozy mystery, with a female mc who could most definitely be a focus for a series of books.

Choice #3 - (Sort of) Paranormal mystery with a romantic twist. This idea has been pestering me for several months, but during my research for the idea, I've run into a couple of blocks as the mystery involves histories from several cultures.

There are more, but those are the top 3... at the moment. This is more proof that I'm just not built to colour within the lines all the time. My brain just doesn't work that way. But it's fun!

Do you ever have difficulties choosing your next project? How do you choose which is going to get your undivided attention?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Writing Fears

Halloween is creeping up around the corner with all of its craziness and fear. Hopefully it's "fun fear" for all.

So, of course, I got to thinking about fear as connected to writing. For most people there's an element of fear in any new endeavour. I think a little fear is a healthy thing. Kind of like the nerves an athlete feels before a game, or an actor feels before the curtain rises. Fear can keep over-confidence at bay. It can keep you on your toes, and more observant of the world around you - that good old flight-or-fight reaction.

Too much fear however is never a good thing. It is paralyzing.

Writers face their own personalized fear set. Fear of sharing your stories with others. Fear of rejection. Fear of public speaking. Fear of publicity & its accompanying loss of privacy. Fear of indifference.

For me, actually sharing my work with other people was the largest fear. Meeting such a great community of writers online has helped me enormously. Writers are so willing to offer their help, guidance and experiences. It's not nearly as terrifying as it was for me to offer my work up for critique. Still an edge of fear, but no absolute terror.

What is your biggest fear as a writer? Has it changed over time? Do published authors have their own fear set? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Gender Games

I'm back! I've had computer woes for most of the past seven days, so have been offline pretty much all of that time. It's good to be back :)

I was just floating in and out of the #yalitchat over on Twitter. For those of you who haven't participated, it's a rollercoaster ride on Twitter with a whole bunch of great folks who are interested in YA (young adult) writing.

Tonight's topic swerved around a bit, and one of the topics that popped up was gender. Specifically, if authors ever wrote outside their gender, and why or why not.

I enjoy writing from both the male and female perspective. Probably because most of my writing has a romantic side to it, I tend to have two main characters - one male, one female. I write from each mc's pov in separate scenes.

A friend pointed out a website called The Gender Genie that analyzes a piece of writing and tells you which gender appears to have written that section. I've checked out several sections and am happy to report that each mc shows up as the correct gender :)

I think I'm comfortable writing from the male pov because I've always had great male friends, and of course there are my great relationships with my hubby, son, dad and other family members. Plus as a teacher, I get to know boys pretty well!

How about you? Do you write exclusively from the pov of your own gender or do you switch it up a bit?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Sweating the Small Stuff!

Don’t be afraid to give your best to what seemingly are small jobs. Every time you conquer one it makes you that much stronger. If you do the little jobs well, the big ones tend to take care of themselves
– Dale Carnegie

I love this quote by Carnegie. It's another one of the quotes I often use in my classroom. I think I'm a quote-aholic :)

This quote definitely applies to my writing. I have learned so much in the last year and a half - and it's all been about the small stuff.

I've learned to limit my writing to what the reader needs to know - not to include everything I see in my head. I've learned to eliminate so many unnecessary words - that, just, seems, felt, suddenly, ...

I even think I've conquered my dialogue tag addiction!

So yes, working on the small stuff has made me a better writer!

How about you? What "small stuff" have you conquered that's made you a better writer?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Giving Thanks

It's Thanksgiving weekend up here in Canada. Naturally this reminds me of, well, giving thanks. Not too obvious, eh?

We just don't say it enough, do we? So, here I go!

I'm thankful for my family. Hubby, kids, mom, my late father, sis, nieces, nephews and all my wonderful in-laws. I'm one of the lucky ones. My family is tightly-knit. We may drive each other nutty once in a while, but the love and laughter do more than just get us through. They make it all worthwhile.

I'm thankful for my day job. I love teaching and love my kids. I love the fact that in a classroom full of kids from diverse backgrounds & socio-economic levels, my kids don't believe racism really exists. They don't understand it at all :)

I'm thankful for my (non-paying-so-far) evening job. I love to write. Creating characters, plots, settings and connections is a joy, even when it's really, really hard.

I'm thankful for my community and my country and my place in the world. We are indeed making it a better place one day, one moment, at a time.

I'm thankful to my on-line friends who gave me the incentive to take the next steps in writing, to push myself outside my comfort zone. To the online writers' communities who are so willing to give of their time and expertise and love of writing. You're an amazing group! So, if no one has told you lately, thank you for all you do. :)

So, what makes you give thanks?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Writing What you Read

"I don’t believe for one moment you can write well what you wouldn’t read for pleasure"
-- Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts is an amazing author. She's sold a bazillion books and is probably the first author who comes to mind when you think of romance.

This Nora Roberts quote applies to me. I read a lot, and always have. I enjoy many genres: mystery, romantic suspense, romance, fantasy, and sci-fi being the most common. I write mysteries with a romantic edge - a natural fit for me. I can see me (way far in the future) branching out into the fantasy and sci-fi realms, but not for a while. I really, really like the genre I'm writing now and just can't see it changing for a very long time!

How about you? Does the genre you write match your favourite reading genre? Or do you like to mix it up a little more?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Writing from the Heart

"The idea is to write so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight into the heart."
-- Maya Angelou

My thoughts turned to Maya Angelou after hearing of her health scare. From what I can gather, she is still in hospital, but doing well. Hopefully that continues.

Maya has written so many wonderful things, and she is very quotable. I love the quote at the top of the post. To me, good story telling does just that. It touches the heart. I hope one day to be a strong enough writer to touch the heart of my readers. What an accomplishment that would be!

Many authors over the years have touched my heart. I vividly remember reading the Anne of Green Gables series when I was a child. Anne Shirley is a character who has stayed with me for years. I've reread her stories, and passed those books on to my daughter and my students. Anne's gutsy, optimistic, fun-loving, dramatic attitude has had so many readers fall in love with her over the years. Lucy Maud Montgomery is definitely one of those authors whose writing has arrowed straight to my heart.

How about you? Who was the first author or character who really touched your heart?