Tag Archives: Writing

FLAFIWRIMO Flash Fiction Update


Yes, there are two February challenges on my calendar; the FLAFIWRIMO flash fiction story-a-day challenge over at Wordsmith Studio and my write-in group’s annual February Writing Dash of 15K words new writing or thirty hours revision/editing work on previous material.

Each day is a sprint, especially when there’s also a six-member critique group in the mix working on something totally separate from the challenges. Today has been a major writing day for me.

Four flash fiction stories were done today because I got behind on that challenge. I still managed 2700 words on those four. This post will add a few more. Revision work will be for later and I’ll get an hour’s worth done before bed.

Tomorrow is critique work, another ff story, and more revision. On top of that is a study session to learn a new voice recognition program and time to put the finishing touches on my newsletter for the month.

Yes, I know it’s running a bit behind. It will get done and sent out shortly and then will come once a month, every month.

Just so that you’ll know that I’m really writing, I’m gone to give you tiny excerpts from the rough draft stories I did today. Here you go.


… I’m ready. Nothing can stop me taking my position in the middle of the pack. My teammates, helmets back in place, give me a small bow as I join them. The defensive players shake their heads and begin to laugh.

They don’t laugh long.

As the defense moves onto the scrimmage line, I wave at each player. That’s always my first engagement with the enemy.

It generally causes confusion. The action makes them wonder why I’m being so friendly. They don’t notice the slight air current rolling their way from my fingertips.

By the time my helmet is secured, the first rank of opponents have elbowed each other. The distraction gains momentum. Slurs and snarls begin to pass back and forth down the line ,,.


Being cursed isn’t the worst thing in the world. Believe me. I know.

About a year ago, I bought a lottery ticket. One of the big jackpots was up for the taking and I was feeling lucky that week. I bought only the one ticket. And it had all the numbers.

I’d signed an anonymity request to keep my name out of the media, as well.

To be honest, however, I think it was that request that did me in. I wasn’t worried about getting taken to the cleaners financially by friends and family. I worked for the IRS as an auditor. I knew about how much that agency would try to skim off the top and every year thereafter …


The corpse lay, stiff and smelly, on the back porch of the Layton’s house. Mr. Layton had found it a half hour before. The man seemed most distressed about the situation.

“I can’t even salvage the meat,” the fisherman grated between clenched teeth. “Who, or whatever, stripped it, left all the fresh and took only bony parts and the scales.”

Sheriff Westle was known for being a stickler for detail.

“Well, Lester, I don’t think this has a high enough priority to warrant wasting my time on it.”

Three days after the fish carcass fiasco on the Layton- porch, Sheriff Westle was called to the home of Jasper Connors. In the Connors backyard were the remains of a large boar raccoon. The carcass had been expertly skinned, leaving behind undisturbed flash, supported by the entire skeleton …


Red-soled shoes—they’re all the rage, right? Okay, so they’re expensive and subtly ostentatious.  For some of me, though, they’re camouflage.

I can take my entertainment almost anywhere now without comment or suspicion. Especially, if I add a sleek briefcase to my ensemble. I’m in public relations during the day. I’m into self-gratification on my own time.

… Throughout dinner he laughed lightly at my witticisms, flirted undercover of his banter, and generally made me feel very female.

Of course, his flirtation was his downfall, too. I don’t get roused lightly, but he’d managed to rouse me easily and kept it up after his business partner left us for the evening. It didn’t take much persuasion on my part to convince the young man to escort me home.

When he left my place on the upper West Side, his memory had been cleaned of any unpleasantness. He would be a bit weak for a few days, but his contribution to my health would be replenished.

Now before you even think it, that last one has nothing to do with vampires and everything to do with those red-soled shoes. Okay, so there’s a bit more to it than that, but you take my meaning.

And that’s where I’ll leave you for today. Take a break. Write something totally outside your comfort zone. Me, I don’t often move into the macabre, but it’s refreshing when I do and recharges my Muse.

If you’d like to share an excerpt here from one of your own stories, drop it in a comment below.

Enjoy the rest of the week and I’ll see you again soon. TTFN




Which Comes First–Fiction or Life

Fiction writers all deal with the same obstacles, but also with the same basic reality.


Each of us carries fantasy within us. Whether in daydreams, goals, or planning strategies, fantasy is at the heart of our lives. Without it, things would wither and die. So would we.

As children, we talked to ourselves and invisible friends. Come on–‘fess up, you did too. We found ways to entertain ourselves. Okay, so that applies mostly to those born before 1085. But the fact remains–we fantasize all the time.

We’ve had an argument with someone and afterwards, we go over the confrontation and rebuild it with what we would/should have said if we’d thought of it at the time. We’ve done something we think we’ll be criticized for and we’ll mentally audition explanations before the dreaded reveal of our “crime”.

See what I mean?

That’s why I say, which comes first–fiction or life? We talk about the chicken and the egg, life imitating art and vice versa. But can we really determine an answer without contingencies?

As writers, we pluck story lines from headlines. We use our experiences to form cores of plots. And along the way,  we learn about ourselves and human frailties.

One reason readers connect with characters and books are the built-in human qualities, good and bad, we put  into the people who inhabit our stories.

Classics are born because of those qualities and those imaginary friends and foes we’ve fantasized about and put on paper and electronic devices. And in some ways, those illusory human and non-so-humans are as real to us as any flesh-and-blood individual roaming this earthly plane.

We predict the future, recount and explain the past, and live in a present somewhere in-between.   

For us, reality is merely a word plastered on whatever time zone we’re working inside at the moment. We like it that way, and it doesn’t matter to us which comes first.



Resolutions, Intentions, Challenges, and Reality

Mistakes photo

Are you on the New Year’s Resolution band wagon? Did you make resolutions and already break them? Yeah, I hear ya.

I set all of my goals for 2016 in December and was actually proud of them.  All of 2016 was mapped out. It’s funny how that calendar’s worth of work flies out the window of reality,

Life happens to all of us. Thank the heavens we still have one. Realizing that our desires and plans are just that, not life and death decisions, is part of coping with reality.

Circumstances change and we must adapt or perish.

Western MontanaMost people know that my vision was very limited to begin with. I had adapted to continually diminishing visual abilities. December changed all.

But my attitude and adaptive skills were rusty from complacency and habit. The past several weeks forced me to step back and regroup.

Progressive macular degeneration drives in the express lane. My central vision is rapidly disappearing. I must now unpack all of those voc rehab skills I tucked away in the closet labeled “Learned” and dust them off for renewed use.

My nemesis is the need to slow down and map out movements before the muscles leap into action. That hesitation is more necessary than ever.

But most of all, the mental processes needs to take center stage. So many factors influence every decision, every plan. Also the possibility of dependence on others takes on monster proportions for a normally strong, independent person.

Time is money concept with clock and coins

The mystery novel that should’ve been ready for final edit and a February release isn’t through  revision yet. The work takes tons more time and effort than ever before.

If work slows down that much, what about the three other manuscripts waiting in the wings for their revisions and editing? How long will it take to do those?

Fear of never getting my other stories ready for launch haunts me. And I have so much new work done last November to think about, too.

Enter common sense and calm reflection

abstract_2008012903-1113int.epsAfter much deep breathing and meditation, only one conclusion surfaced.

As is true of everyone, I can do only what I can do. If it takes three times as long to finish a book, that’s what it takes. Trying to push harder, work longer hours, etc. only creates strain, frustration, and burnout.

Tools are available to aid in this journey’s next stage. Practicing with those tools while working on each project can bring completion.

Perfectionism and self-expectations may rear its nasty head, but patience and constant reality checks can tame that beast. Patience doesn’t always dispel the frustration, but it can help make it bearable.

English Knight Fighting Dragon England Flag RetroThe new intentions are simple. I will attack  revision work on the mystery—two hours per day. Another novel will also get an obligatory two hours work. One hour will go toward getting a short story ready for submission to contests or magazines each week.

The rest of the day will be devoted to learning new tools and realigning my daily life. A blog post per week for each website will find its way into the mix. Everything else is gravy.

All of my former intentions—better known as “goals”—are out the window for now. Once I’ve made more progress with adjusting work and life to fit in the new visual challenge, I’ll know how to plan for the rest of the year.

So, tell me. Have new challenges cropped up to wreak havoc with your 2016 goals, resolutions, or intentions? If so, drop a comment below and share. It always helps to lessen a burden or concern.



Motivation Leads to Motion 

Image courtesy of jesadaphorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of jesadaphorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A story, an article, an essay or poem all begin with motivation. All move forward because of it.

The concept of motivation is defined as follows:

  • verb to motivate: to give (someone) a reason for doing something: to be a reason for (something).
  • The noun motivation: the act or process of giving someone a reason for doing something: the act or process of motivating someone: the condition of being eager to act or work: the condition of being motivated: a force or influence that causes someone to do something.
  • Motive: NOUN: something that causes a person to act in a certain way, do a certain thing, etc.; incentive’ the goal or object of a person’s actions:(in art, literature, and music) a motif. ADJECTIVE; causing, or tending to cause, motion; pertaining to motion.
  • The noun motion: the act or process of moving or of changing place or position; movement.
  • By reference, the noun emotion can be defined as any mental state which provokes a reaction or response in the body or behavior of an individual.

A single act creates adjacent questions. Example: Someone lied. What was the motive for the lie? Or, what motivated the person to lie? What was his/her motivation for lying? Did someone else influence the decision to lie?

You see what I mean. A single concept, always leading back to itself. You may ask what this has to do with writing. A lot, actually.

Writers are often asked “Why do you write? What motivates you to write every day? What’s your motivation for working in only one genre or many genres? In the end, what the writer is being asked the same question.

Writers deal in motive with every sentence they put on paper. For some, personal motives drive the writer to impart information for instructional purposes or to relate recent events. Academics and journalists are both highly motivated people. Each also has outside influences that put pressure on their internal motives.

Yet, for all that, what they write also imparts a milder form of motive; the importance of the material involved. The work may be critical for understanding a process or a theory. At the same time, the immediacy of a journalist’s report can have many influences and influencing properties. Political commentary, for instance, both tells of influences within politics, while attempting to swing the reader toward a particular opinion simultaneously.

Crazy, huh?

When you look at poets, fiction writers and creative non-fiction writers, motivation spreads its wings and flies. Not only do the writers have their own motivations—for writing, for telling a specific story, or using a specific subject—but they also must deal with fluctuating motivations within the body of the work they’re doing. For fiction writers, in particular, this requires personal motivations and those of each of the story’s characters.

And if you believe that memoirists have it easier, think again. They have personal motives for writing a specific memoir piece at that moment and the motivations they experienced at the time of the actual event about which they’re writing. Also, they’re required to acknowledge (either internally or on the page) all of the motivations that lead up to and away from the event.

Movement is never just forward or backward. Lateral movement takes a slice of time and effort, as well. Writers are often on the lateral plain with one project, while taking steps forward on others. During revision and editing, movement is both forward and backward.

When you think about the mechanics of motivations and motives, the world starts spinning. We do this juggling act on a subconscious level most of the time. It comes naturally. Consider daydreaming. That pastime is a deliberate invention of motivations and responses. Fiction is no different. Allowing ourselves to sink into a memory—pleasant or not—is the same, except more emotionally charged.

My motives? Some days, instruction stands at the head of the class. Other days, pure invention sends shivers of delight down my arms to create gooseflesh thrills. Right now, I’m moving in four directions: forward with NaNoWriMo, backward with revision, laterally with research, and up because of the high I’m getting from the creative process I’m in at the moment.

So, tell me. Do you know your motivations for writing, for reading, for spinning tales at the local pub? Are you moving forward or backward, or have you chosen to remain lateral for a while? Drop a note in the comment section and tell me.

If any are interested, you can read two of my recent articles on The Working Writers Club website.



Ramping Up for NaNoWriMo


Whew. Got Wisher’s World Launched and now it’s time to think NaNoWriMo.

October leaped out of the gate in a whirlwind of editing and formatting the first volume of Wisher’s World, which came out on Cot. 10th. Afterwards, I wrote two articles and  submitted them for columns on Working Writers Club. Wishers World CoverNext, I set up my editorial calendar for the next three months.

Now, I can take a deep breath and begin prepping for NaNoWirMo 2016.

If you’ve never tried NaNo, you might want to challenge yourself to do it this year. Be a rebel if you can’t think of an idea for a novel. What’s a rebel? Well, you’re reading from one of them at the moment. I seldom do a novel. I did one last year for the first time in several years. It’s in revision now.

You see, I’m a rebel. I work NaNo for other purposes than writing a new novel idea. I use the exercise to revise an already-written novel or something else. Trust me. That really does use your time well during the challenge month. I’ve done a book of poetry for the challenge, too.

Book Cover 02This year, though, I’m writing a collection of Flash Fiction stories for the event—one story per day, every day, including Thanksgiving. If you don’t think that’s challenge enough, consider this.

Each day I’ll be plotting, writing, and doing a light revision on a single story. The stories can run from 500 to 1000 words. Each story will be inspired from a single writing prompt. And some of those prompts are normally used for novel ideas.

I won’t be declared a winner at the end of the month. I know that going in. My nimble fingers won’t have churned out 50K words to snag a winner’s badge like I did last year. Instead, I’ll have written a collection of stories that will need little revision or editing for release before the end of the year on Kindle.

Work In Progress Sign Held By Construction WorkerI can pick up my own trophy if, and only if, I put in the back-end work to get the collection ready for a late December release.  That deadline is also a goal. I already have plenty of novels to work on. I don’t need to write another one for a long while.

And there you have it—my personal NaNo challenge. These are the kinds of things that NaNo Rebels do with their time in November and July. It’s not that we’re anti-establishment protesters. It’s that we have other goals and quirks.

I’m fortunate. I have a NaNo group year-round. Our group has expanded and contracted around a core of people for several years now. We write together a couple of times a month, nearly every month of the year. We support each other and even have a critique group of members, which meets regularly. Most of all, we have fun.

004-stock-photo-nRight now, I’m doing prep work to keep me focused on the goals ahead. I’ve chosen my writing prompts for the stories, including a few extra in case one of them doesn’t appeal after all.

I’ve set up my editorial calendar with article deadline dates, topics and titles for my regular column articles for WWC, as well as all the other deadlines that will come between now and the end of the year. Some of those include context deadlines,too.

And this weekend, I’ll put in the time to get my office lined up for the coming frenzy of activity. With more organization, I’ll be better able to make all of my obligations and still have time left over to do those other tasks required for a personal life.

Yep, it’s that time of year when preparation helps keep you sane.

That’s all for now, peeps. I’ll be back again in a few days with something more interesting. I think I may talk about a newsletter idea I’ve been rolling around in my mind. Think about what you might want to see in a regular monthly newsletter and drop your idea in a comment below.

Until then, adios, amigos.


Shifting Mental Gears


Sometimes, a writer has to take stock of a situation and begin shifting mental gears.

Now, I’ll give you the skinny on why things have slowed down on my Wisher’s World Series. I tried to pull up the completed final revision of Volume One last Sunday. The only thing available was a corrupted copy in a temp file on my hard drive. The Digital Gods had decreed that I should begin a totally new revision of the novel.

Wisher's World Vol. 1

Prelim Cover

The space beside me was occupied by my clone, who was freaking out about the situation. The anger, frustration, and normal emotional responses were being handled by the clone. The rest of me went through every retrieval procedure possible in an attempt to find the good copy.

No such luck.

What I did have was a beta reader copy that had been sent back to me with corrections, suggestions, and questions embedded in it. And another full beta reader assessment on file that I could add to the first one. Also, there was a hard copy I’d used to transfer all of those proposed changes, suggestions, etc.

I pulled up the corrected beta file and began again. I should have a new revision finished—barring more trouble—within a couple of weeks. Even though an anticipated edit should have begun this week, the delay isn’t too great. At least, not yet.

abstract_2008012903-1113int.epsMy clone still resents the interruption in the writing process. The rest of me came to a refined conclusion about the incident. Being forced to return to the beginning with fresh memories of the changes already made once, creates an opportunity to make the story better, fuller, richer. Maybe that  shifting of mental gears is a sign of writing maturity.

Wouldn’t that be nice?

Anyway, that’s how things stand with that series right now. Believe me, I have new copies of each chunk of revision done on a flash drive as well. Two other short projects wait in the wings for their time in the spotlight—a short tales chapbook of flash fiction, and an updated edition of my Writer’s Dragon book. With luck I can get all three projects out within the next month, plus a few others to outside markets.

Writer-Photographer Rebecca BarrayOh, and I’ll have another article for you on Sunday/Monday. It will be an interview with writer/photographer Rebecca Barray. We’ll be discussing her handling of the Wordsmith Studio Newsletter and what it takes to put a good newsletter together on a regular basis.

I hope you’ll stop in to learn how Rebecca does it. Until then, take time to breathe, look over your own writing process, and how you intend to work for the rest of the year. Have you looked at your goals lately?

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Logic and Language


Writing and logic are always paired. Oft-times wee, niggling logic puzzles run inside our heads like so many gears inside a box. They crop up in all sorts of locations, including our own work. Communication is, after all, a writer’s business.

I refer to the pesky oxymorons that test everyone’s logic. Army Intelligence is one of the best examples and one of the most widely used in a comedic sense. Here, though, are questions about a few frequently overlooked examples.

First one up–Is it good if a vacuum really sucks?

Now think about this. Is it? Of course, you say. That’s its function–sucking up the dirt. But, that’s not the point. This is a description with two meanings. In the vernacular, if it really sucks, it’s not doing its job, now is it? Stated in an excited, enthusiastic tone of voice, it could mean that’s exceptionally efficient. So, which is meant here with the original question?

Second up–If a word is misspelled in the dictionary, how would we ever know?

This question takes some consideration. It asks a legitimate question related to the roots of language. If your dictionary has always spelled a word a certain way, with a specific definition, can you be certain it’s spelled properly?

What if the thesaurus spells it a different way? Isn’t it a case of tear and tier. The words mean entirely different things. Yet, how can we be certain that the word originally used for that meaning was spelled that way. Language evolves over time, after all. In effect, consensus tends to rule usage.

Next up–What is a whack and how can something be out of it?

Anyone know? Please, clue me in. I’ve always wanted to know what a whack looked like.

flash fiction picGoing on—Doesn’t “expecting the unexpected” make the unexpected expected?

Tongue twister time. Logic dictates that this is an impossibility, yet we use it, understand its meaning and its directive. Living by this motto, we also began our slide into nervous exhaustion, insomnia, paranoia, and assorted other disturbing conditions. If you’re always expecting something to happen without warning, aren’t you constantly in fight/flight mode?  Therefore, the very act of being prepared brings us to our knees with a variety of psychological problems.

And last for today–If all the world’s a stage, where is the audience sitting? This one is a real teaser in its own way. Its underlying meaning says that each of us is both actor and audience member in the same instant. How can we possibly criticize those around us, or applaud them, if we are being judged for each moment of our own lives in that same moment? Makes a person think, doesn’t it?



So, consider some of those oxymorons that have cluttered your brain’s logic center for a while. Question their meanings. Along the way, you may find a story that takes you to unforeseen horizons.

Revisions—You Gotta Love ’Em

Girl Asleep On Her Notebook Computer

Years ago, when I began a serious push to get published, I heard a long-time writer say “Revisions are where the real work begins.” Brother, was he right.

Anybody can write a story. Just ask those who’ve gone through NaNoWriMo. Getting a story idea down in in loose form is easy. It’s the reconstruction that comes later that proves the writer.

Even after weeks of revision work, the writer—depending on her level of perfectionism—may sit back and say that more work needs doing. That’s common. Perfectionism is a bear of a problem.

The inner critic never sleeps, never takes a vacation. It’s always there to rap you on the knuckles and sneer at you while pointing out something else that could be made better. It can’t help it. Deep inside that drive for the perfect sentence, the perfect paragraph, the perfect twist, lies the heart of the tyrant—the dictator.

Yep, I’ve lived with that beast all my life, and it’s taken this long to get a handle on it.

Wisher’s World has floated around inside my brain for a few years now. The concept came long before. Now, I’m into my final revision of the first volume. In all, there will be more than ten volumes. That’s why it’s taken so long to put together the components of the story. It’s huge and covers a whole world.

Oddly enough, it didn’t begin that way. It began as a short story and went into algae bloom mode.

I have a few more weeks worth of work to do on it before it goes to the formatter. And I did promise you all a taste of the story with an excerpt. I’m giving you the excerpt today. Here it is, from the the first third of the novella. I hope you enjoy it. I’ll be back in a week or so with something new.

Wisher’s World, Vol. 1—Composing an Apprentice (excerpt)

When their small group gathered, Reibe kept his eyes focused forward. Nine days wasn’t enough time to accustom himself with all the oddities of this incredible place and its people. This unexpected invitation might leave him more confused than ever.

They walked across the flagstone court and through the central arch to the second courtyard beyond. Cheerfully glowing lanterns cast their iron animal patterned shadows but kept the passage light enough. A pervasive, musty odor rose from the expanses of drying nuts on the courtyard’s stone floor.

“I’m happy to see so good a harvest this year, Marget. We can have nut pies for Winter Fest.” Willem put an arm around and hugged his wife’s shoulder. She only laughed and slapped the man’s arm.

Arches and CourtyardsReibe smiled to himself as the last of the sun ricocheted off the huge panes of roof glass. Will I always feel like a stranger here? “Why did they move here?” Reibe asked as they entered the next pass-through.

Willem stopped and turned. “You mean the Juton?” At Reibe’s nod, the big man looked away for a moment and then back. “You must understand their situation.” The big man didn’t frown, but his eyes bored into Reibe’s, his voice solemn and barely above a whisper.

Reibe gulped. He knew he’d stepped into something he shouldn’t have. “Of course, sir.”

“Last winter one of the younger Juton came from their home in the southeast.” Willem sighed, as if in pain. “By the time he stumbled into Theusa, he was almost dead.” He stopped and signaled Marget to take the next telling.

Both Macai and Jori lowered their heads. Marget kept her voice as soft as her husband’s. “His people were dying and needed help. Then he stopped breathing. He’d run all the way, during our first severe storm of the season. He had no cloak for warmth or shoes on his feet. The Juton are built for many things. Running distances in cold and heavy snow isn’t one of them.”

They were immortal. How could they die? Reibe’s eyes filled with tears.

Willem took up the story again. “Several of us went to their quarry. Only about half of them were still alive. They’d interred many of their dead but had become too sick to care for all of them and those still alive.”

“What sickened them?”

Marget shook her head. “A disease I’ve never seen. We took what precautions we could as we cared for the survivors. We knew we could get sick.”

Willem pulled her in close. “We didn’t have time to think. There were five of us to care for sixty-two survivors.”


“Why did they come here?” Marget anticipated a repeat of Reibe’s original question. “We told them that staying there would be dangerous. The sickness could overtake them again. Their children wouldn’t be safe from it.”

“Is that true?”

Willem looked Reibe in the eyes and gave him a curt nod. “Yes. We don’t know where the disease came from. Their life is stone. Their dead are entombed in it, by custom. Those tombs are now full of the disease. If any of those tombs broke open…”

Reibe shuddered as he considered the man’s statement. Seeing the unasked question in his widening eyes, Marget said, “Yes, how to make certain that it wouldn’t follow them.”

Silence descended again. Reibe had heard legends of the giants and the magic they carried. Old tales spoke of how giants could pick up stone and mold it as a potter molded clay. “They did something to seal the tombs, didn’t they? So nothing escaped.”

Willem’s head came up slowly, eyes moist and haunted. “Yes. They performed one of their rarely used ceremonies and killed the place they’d lived in for so long.”


“Nothing will ever live there again,” Marget added.

Willem shrugged. “We don’t understand all of their ways, Reibe. Far from it. They live close to the earth. They work with its bones. They have powers that can change it. It’s never done without great purpose. They would not allow such as killed so many of them loose in the rest of the world.”

The big man’s last statement hung in the air around them. Riebe’s heart ached for them all. So much sorrow and pain. He’d lost his parents, but not the whole of Riverton. How many children survived? How many old ones?

Now, we to a meeting with these strange people, who were capable of killing the earth, to talk about trade. What could they possibly want for trade? And what about me? I am only an apprentice. What can I add to these talks?




Chapbook Release Today

My new Short Tales chapbook was released today on Kindle.

Now, everyone will get to know some of the pivotal characters in my novel Dreamie’s Box, which will be coming out this autumn. I’ve lived with these characters for a very long time and still came to know them much better through these short memoirs than I ever would have believed possible.

I ask that you take a chance, check it out, and write a review when you finish. You won’t regret it.

Dreamie Memior Cover (1)http://www.amazon.com/dp/B011ZJVGBG


Quilting A Story

I’ve had success this week. I finished quilting a story. I’m not bragging but vindicating my time spent.

I finished the last revision on the first volume of Wisher’s World, and began putting together my next Short Tales Chapbook, My designer will get the cover for these done this week; the latter one today and the other in a couple of days. It’s been a long haul these last few days.

Pink Quilt--Photo Courtesy of debspoons

Pink Quilt–Photo Courtesy of debspoons

While I work on getting the chapbook off the ground before the weekend, revision work on three short stories for submission begins. Like most writers, different projects come in different sizes, shapes, and needs.

Like a quilter matching fabrics to block designs, the act of writing takes on its small challenges. Take the revision of Wisher’s World Vol. 1, for instance.

This story line has been locked inside my head for several years. In that time, Muse has taken the opportunity to embellish character backgrounds, world dimensions and complications, etc. Also, that instigator of rabbit holes used her time to hide secrets from me. Who knew that one of the primary characters was something other than what I’d believed since 2007?

abstract-medical-background_My3tatDOThat shocker came out during the last chapter. Granted, she gave me a hint something wasn’t as it seemed a few chapters previously, but to change a character’s race? That takes guts, especially since it changes the entire dynamics of the overall story line.

Yep, Muse was on her high horse and not willing to hand over the reins. Will the story be better for that revelation? Probably. But the sudden impact of the change staggered me—sort of like when the quilter gets halfway through putting the quilt top together and realizes that three of her blocks had been reversed in orientation.

All writing is patchwork, after all. A splash of dramatic fabric

Fabric Bolts Photo Courtesy of  franky242

Fabric Bolts Photo Courtesy of franky242

color, an occasional stitch of comedic relief, a repeating pattern of character quirks, and on and on with dots and dashes of design elements.

The complete picture comes from the blending of all the elements. And so the writer’s life imitates the design. One day it’s a novella that’s running far too long. That’s when beta readers are brought in to add their opinions. The next day is creation time—developing a new quilt top pattern for a crib or a king-size bed.

Between keyboard sessions are the other elements of life. A stray image sparks while sitting in a restaurant. A quick note on hand paper to remember that spark for inclusion in something already written, or something in development. An overheard snippet of conversation pulls the mind into a world that exists only in the imagination, and becomes a catalyst for a scene.

I’m no different than most writers. My mind never stops working on story lines. Like fire crackers, neurons fire and ideas are born as exploding images waiting to become bits of a patchwork quilt.

The next six to eight months are full of designs; some old and revamped, some barely begun with incomplete patterns as yet. Regardless, I have plenty of fabric to use and more patterns to draw. Along the way, I’m going to share excerpts here. I hope you’ll chime in with your opinions when I do. Readers are the only real reason to write.



I’ll be back soon. Have a fantastic weekend, peeps. And enjoy the coming celebrations.