Signs

I’m not superstitious, but… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gU5Vg2JokU
Had to add that song because I can’t say “superstitious” without it playing in my head. And, yes, Europe is still around and sounding better than ever.

This morning I approached my desk to write the beginning of my new story. Yes, pre-writing is complete and it’s time to get to work! I pulled the blinds open and saw not one, but FIVE pairs of indigo buntings around the bird feeder area (which is just a few feet away from Fernando, if you were wondering.) Indigo buntings are beautiful—my simple camera, especially pictures taken through a window screen—can’t do them justice. Since they are BLUE, and the younger a gorgeous turquoise, you can easily spot them.

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I’ve only seen indigos once or twice in my yard, and it’s been several years since my last sighting. I thought it was amazingly cool, but didn’t put the birds together with writing until I noticed something on the floor. Right next to my anti-fatigue mat (you got it—I use a standing desk because it worked for Hawthorne and I like to pace) a picture was lying face-down. One of my favorite pictures, that just so happens to be me with local writing friend, Joyce Scarbrough, and my writing hero, Laurie Halse Anderson. At some point during the night it jumped off the top of my bulletin board and landed in my path.

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Then it all made sense to this creative brain of mine: my story is about to take flight and I’ve got good company on the journey. Or something like that.

While I’m not superstitious, I do believe in signs.

What do you believe in?

Attachment Writing

You’ve heard of attachment parenting, right? Parents wear their babies and co-sleep with them and everything. Well, I’m attachment writing. See my cute little bundle of joy!
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It’s gone everywhere with me this week: my youngest son’s Jiu-Jitsu class, my oldest son’s youth activity, and I even held it while watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. last night. (Oh, my, was it a good one!)
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My lovely, purple clipboard has it all a separate compartment for writing instruments, storage area large enough for a full-size spiral notebook, and a clip on the front to keep paper in place when needed. Standing over a foot tall, it doubles as a lap desk and coordinates with my other Office Depot bargain finds, like these lovely stacking crates that even the God of Thunder approves of.
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Yes, I’m kicking it old school with paper and pen because I need to know the chronological narrative of my characters before the official beginning of the story. I have the location, characters, and history. Now, I’m waiting for their names and the main plot points to strike me. I want my paper nearby when the time is ripe to move on to the next level. My baby has me covered.
What thoughts are you rocking to sleep tonight?

Autism Awareness Month

April is Autism Awareness Month (as well as National Poetry Month, School Library Month and a few other things.) I’ll be focusing on Autism, as it is something that affects my life every day—both positively and negatively. It is also the inspiration for CORRODED (my yet-to-be-published novel.)

I’ve recently updated my category tabs on the right side of the website. There is now more organization between ideas, including an “ASD Autism Spectrum Disorders” main listing with subcategories, to make it easier to readers to find exactly what they are looking for.

This month on my Facebook page I will be posting daily tidbits about ASD so join in the conversation there if you’d like. Also, you can check out my Pinterest board for CORRODED, where you can find videos and pictures relating to the main characters including Aspie Ben Thomas.

This image was created by The Analyzing Aspie. Find him at https://www.facebook.com/TheAnalyzingAspie

This image was created by The Analyzing Aspie. Find him at https://www.facebook.com/TheAnalyzingAspie

New Program

I’m in the hunting and gathering part of writing. This time called “pre-writing” can drag on as long as you feel the need to procrastinate—I mean organize your ideas. As part of the new project, I bought and downloaded a writing program called Scrivener. A Mobile Writers’ Guild meeting a few months ago had a presentation on it and it looks promising.
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If I can get past a document title.

Yes, I know many books are renamed before publication, but for me and my mind, I need a firm title in place before setting down the first words. My titles give me something to draw upon when I’m losing direction. (Case in point: Don’t let your fortitude get corroded.)

I’m one of those people who like to have a title right from the beginning. Usually, titles are easy for me to find during that hunter-gatherer part of my process. Not so this time. Even as my process is stumbling and the title evasive, I can already tell this story is going to be different for me. Perfect time to throw in a new computer program, huh? It’s all going to be a learning experience.

As for now, I’ve got a several research books (and even a CD) on hold at the library that I need to pick up. Maybe one will hold the treasure of a title for my new work in progress.

Fernando, for the Win!

Nature has a quiet way of speaking to us. A lot of the time, the noise of people and modern life drowns out the sounds of Earth, but we can all seek what we need to hear, no matter where we are.

From top to bottom, the water oak outside my window is a home and refuge to living things. Though the oak is just beginning to bud—and pollenate its surrounding with yellow dust—the uppermost branches support parasitic mistletoe growth. Though wind storms tear the plants from their host, more are there as a patch of green through the winter in an otherwise bare tree.

All the leaves are mistletoe.

All the leaves are mistletoe.

Slightly above mid-level, about three stories off the ground, there’s a red-bellied woodpeckers’ home. Happily, the lovely—and talkative—couple rebuilt a new hole after their original dwelling broke off from the same branch over a year ago.

The hole is in the center of the picture.

The hole is in the center of the picture.


If you look close, you can see the head of the woodpecker looking out. I don't have a fancy long-range lens.

If you look close, you can see the head of the woodpecker looking out. I don’t have a fancy long-range lens.

And, of course, near the base of this impressive ecosystem there grows Fernando.

Fernando in all his glory.

Fernando in all his glory.

Still fresh from a winter’s slumber, the ever industrious fern not only regrows but sets out new runners. There it is: nature telling me to spread—move on to the next branch of creativity.

It’s time to set roots for the next story.

It lives--and grows!

It lives–and grows!

Profiling Characters

I finished another round of revisions on FORTITUDE. Yes, I thought I was done last fall, but nope, still had room to improve—and still do, I’m sure! Each time I edit, I get a clearer picture of the characters: who they are, what they stand for, what roll to they play to each other.100_2566 Even though I begin writing with character files and notebooks, nothing takes the place of hours upon hours with a character. A lot of who I thought a person was has changed by the sixth rewrite. Now that I’m doubly past that, I’m thinking “whoa, and I thought ______ was just a ____,” or something like that. The characters in FORTITUDE are deeper than I ever imagined.

A lot can be said for real life people, too. In an age when we tend to make snap judgments based on a person’s social media activity, living situation, etc., I say nothing takes the place of spending quality time with each other. Don’t be so quick to shove someone into a box based on what they wear, their education, or what they might repost. People are deeper than their outward expressions. There’s a lot going on inside on any given day. Take the time to discover what it is before you dismiss someone’s opinion, or their value as a character.

Feeding the Muse

I’ve gotten notes back from two more beta readers—as well as one literary agent who turned down FORTITUDE. Now, I’m back to writing and editing to strengthen a few things before the next round of submissions/queries.

To help this creative groove keep its momentum, I’m listening to a lot of music. (Something I talk about a lot here.) In the car, my iPod played Europe on shuffle for about a week straight. My eight-year-old knows who Joey Tempest and John Norum are. They have so many great songs spanning thirty years and the music got into my head. The other night I dreamt about turning Europe songs into books—with the band member’s permission (in person, of course, because it was a dream.)
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Today, I switched over to Boston. I’m sure space-themed dreams will follow. It’s happened before—and spawned a manuscript.

What do you do to feed your creativity?

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