Home Where You can find me on the webs The Threshold DesignWrite

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Friday Online Writers' BlogHop

This week’s question:
Inspired by the spectacular melt down of Jacqueline Howett on Big Al’s Book Blog, how do you deal with a bad review?

Please join in in welcoming Nichole Chase from Nichole Chase  with this week’s answer.
I haven't officially published any of my works yet, but I hope that I would handle a bad review with grace. I think that the only appropriate way to respond to a review is to say thank you, and in most cases only in a private forum (email, or private message). Bad reviews hurt, even if they are handled in a professional manner. The hurt the author experiences should be kept private, and only shared with friends. Eat some chocolate cake, and watch a good movie- That is how I would handle a bad review. Probably shed a few tears to my friends or my husband, and then move on! You can always get better!

Adding this link to Nathan Bransford's blog about this here and here. The first link addresses the virtual witchhunt this writer endured, the second is advice on how to handle negative reviews.
There's nothing more to add to his words there, and he says it all better than anyone else could.

About Friday Follow Online Writers' Bloghop:   Elizabeth Sharp of SomeSharpWords started this bloghop. So... if you have a blog, you're a writer! And we  want you to participate, so join in! Here are the rules to Follow:
  • Follow this blog (required)
  • Follow Elizabeth's blog, the originator of this hop
  • Follow the featured author of the week
  • Copy the image code on SomeSharpWords (Elizabeth's blog) and paste in your blog. Add your link while you're there too. 
  • Copy and Paste the rules to the Bloghop, as well as this week's question:
                    The one  above^
  • Answer the question (anywhere, but I put mine in the comments)
  • You must copy the rules, the hop link, and answer the featured question on your blog 
  • Follow, Follow, Follow! Network, Connect, Make a Community. We love talking to our followers and replying to your comments!
  • If someone stops by, says 'Hi', and follows you, the polite thing to do is to follow back. 
  • Comment here, introduce yourself, and you just might find a new follower or two.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

NewOrleans for Beginners

I'm back from vacation.
If I had been smarter at this blogging gig, I would've followed my Social Networking Cruise Director,
Kristen Lamb, and built up a cache of posts to be scheduled for publication while I was gone.
But I had 2 teens going on their own school trip to Washington D.C., for the Air Force JROTC Eastern Regionals Championships Drill Meet, and Blitzen and Eliza knocking on my brain to get their story written down, and... well... my dog ate my posts, how's that?
So... if you're a beginner blogger like me, take Kristen's advice to heart and learn from my mistake.

Now for the regularly scheduled programming:
My hero/husband gave me a 3day cruise vacation to the Bahamas for my 50th b'day (hence, the Tan in a Can). Actually, he wanted it as much for himself as for me, but the birthday was the perfect excuse.  And the timing with the boys' school trip couldn't have been more perfect-- we left after they left, and got home an hour before them. Having family in the area where they were didn't hurt either, since we unplugged completely once we left port. We've had experience with $10 per minute phone calls and 1000 texts in one week before-- I have TEENS, 'nuff said.

On the ship I finished Leslie Tentler's  Midnight Caller on my Kindle, that was set in New Orleans.
V and K, online friends whose blog is on my blogroll on the right>, are planning to go to my hometown, New Orleans, next month (research for their book... really!)
  And shopping in the straw market in the Bahamas, vendors were eating lunch that smelled like the Creole  beans and rice I grew up with from my childhood. ( Miss Yvonne cooked the most sublime .... anything. She could've cooked grass and made it taste like heaven. She didn't, but she could've. )
Don't tell my mother I said that. 

I needed a little N'Awlins on this drizzly spring day.
David Lummis' Coffee Shop Chronicles will keep you warm in this cold spring weather. Part 1 is out now, Part 2 releases this winter.
While you sip, here's a little Vince Vance to get you wanting to go to the Big Easy soon,
thanks to Elaine (my red beans buddy) and her blog, thewriterscanvas .

The crawfish are in, the days are long and hot already, and Jazz Fest is coming up. Take your sunblock, your appetite, and leave the attitude at home. 'Cuz everybody's family in New Orleans, and you can relax around family.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tales from Tan-in-a-Can

The Goddesses Faire and Tawney had an argument between themselves when I was born.
"She will be blonde haired, with bright blue eyes, and skin as white as snow, with an adorable pink and purple map of veins," Faire declared.
"Are you kidding? She needs a tan! I'm okay with the blonde haired blue eyed thing, but don't ruin her life at the outset with skin that looks like the underbelly of a fish, Faire!" groused Tawney. "Her gene pool has dark hair and tanned skin. Let her be like them."
Faire was undeterred. "But I wish for this one to be round, and pink and cuddly, like a pet pufferfish."
Tawney had strolled off to endow another of my cousins with the Irish ruddy coloring my family sports: black curly hair, blue eyes, and golden tan skin. Before she could return, Faire touched me with her pale finger, and voila!
Pink Pet Pufferfish Pamela was born.
For the rest of my life, PPPP-- Pamela for short-- burned my skin in the burning white sands of Gulf Shores, crisping to a fine shade of rouge . But my wails of pain were heard by Tawney, who looked down from the sunny heavens one day, and took pity on me.
"I shall sprinkle my kisses on you ," she said.  And voila again! I was graced with freckles.
As I entered my teens, I attempted the artificial coloring of QT, resulting in an orange hue unbecoming with my maroon school uniform.
In college, hoping to make the freckles run together, I slathered on shortening to bake myself in the sun, but only succeeded in making the freckles pop out in darker relief over the red background.
Entering my mmphms, I discovered Tan in a Can (and Tube). I bought a spray gun that looked like something Princess Leia wielded.  Reading how to articles in every womens' magazine, I stood in a shower stall, and sprayed myself  with an artificial tincture of Tawney's blessing to the rest of my family.

Never mind that the palm of my hand was unrecognizable after smoothing the drips on my legs.
Or that a long skinny line ran like a brown tear down my back.
I was finally tan! And my vein roadmap was camoflaged!

Delighted, I danced around the bathroom....
Leaving brown footprints all over the floor and the pristine white bathmat.

And when I pointed out my lovely tan-from-a-can to my teenaged sons with glee, they said, "Something smells funny." And, "Why are your knees so dark, Mom?"
Husband asked, "What's with the manicure there? Some new style?"

"Oh well," I thought, "at least the pufferfish in the ocean won't be trying to remember if I'm a long lost relative of theirs."
And off I went on vacation.

With lots of long white pants.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Jane Eyre --Why do Good Girls crave the Dark Hero?

This is gonna be ugly.
I know the vast, vast majority of romance readers and writers out there prefer Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice to Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre.
 Austen's English bucolic countryside in its summer Sunday best. The country estate... the social whirl... the snobbery... the chickens.
Mr. Darcy-- quiet, reserved,  passion simmering beneath the surface of his cool demeanor. Endearingly confused. In need of backbone to stand up to his sister.
I cannot deny... it makes a beautiful story and an even more beautiful movie.

But... I like soap operas. Melodrama. Dark, gothic, gloomy romance.
So Jane Eyre is right up my alley.
Bronte's harsh winter landscape-- grey, drizzley, drear. Gothic with a capital 'G'. Hardhearted stepmother, bully cousins, heartless headmaster.
Thornfield-- an isolated refuge. No chickens. No sunshine either. A crazy lady in the attic with a caretaker.
Mr.Rochester-- brooding, dark, tortured. Again,  passion simmering beneath the angst, but oh! when he finally confesses his feelings to Jane in the garden and kisses her.... Swoon! But Jane made a choice in the end. She broke off her arrangement with the minister to return to Mr.Rochester. She chose her HEA with the wounded, blind man who stole her heart, brutally broke it, and yet still kept it firmly in his grip. 
Jane could never have been free of Mr.Rochester, no matter how much distance she'd try to put between them.
So... I pose the question to you: Why do some of us crave the Dark Hero?

What was so appealing about Edward that Jacob couldn't overcome to win Bella's heart?
Why do I wish Stephanie Plum chose Ranger over Morelli?

Kristan Higgins-- who writes happy, light, funny romance-- anything but dark-- has a line in her book
Too Good To Be True:  "...you can't pick the one you fall for...." Is there some embedded DNA code that makes us choose the tormented hero? Or Mr.Popular Jock? Or Mr. Politician?

Who would you fall for? Team Edward? or Team Jacob?
Ranger vs. Morelli?   Rochester or Darcy?                     Or your choice....

Here's a link to the trailer for the new movie Jane Eyre. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IFsdfk3mlk&feature=player_embedded   Enjoy!

And Kristin Higgins site http://www.kristanhiggins.com/  My One and Only is set for release this spring. If you like romance with both tears of laughter and heartbreak, get her books today!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Discipline, Structure, and Getting Published

So you're working on the Great American Novel.
No? You're on Facebook...Twitter?
Writing the blog that's going to win awards?
But... what about that urban fantasy you were writing last week?
Have you finished that chapter? Scene?

I think it's been a year since I first got the idea for my paranormal romance. In that year I have also written and changed the characters, the plot... oh... ten times, at least. The names haven't changed too much, but one of them is still not solid.
And I've let all kinds of things interfere... I bet you can guess exactly what.
Now, I have written and submitted short stories to magazines, and volunteered at my local romance chapter's writing conference, and taken umpteen online workshops online and in person, and made my presence known on the internet.... 

But you know, if I had made myself sit in the chair and followed the story through from the first idea, I'd be editing, revising, and probably pitching or indie self publishing by now.
So today, March 21, I am turning over a new leaf: I will set aside three uninterrupted hours to write nothing but my novel. Because I am now a year into this story, and really no further along than January 2010.

Here are two links that have convinced me.Be inspired:

http://jodyhedlund.blogspot.com/2011/03/4-ways-to-make-yourself-complete-book.html Jody Hedlund 's rules to Finish The Book
http://pamasberry.blogspot.com/2011_03_01_archive.html  A video of a TED talk by Sivers-- Do Not Tell Your Goal Too Early Unless You Don't Want to Achieve It.

A Bientot!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Spring Kitschy Friday Fever

Can't help it.

It's glorious, isn't it?    Spring Chicks are in the House! So Long Snow Birds! We'll Take it from here!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Disconnected in a Too Connected World

OMyGoodness! It's been a day with no internet access...no blogging... no CONNECTION!

I was able to tweet a little bit this morning on St.Paddy's Day, but a very little bit. Which leads me to this subject:

Should I have tweeted, written a blogpost, or worked on my wip?
I tweeted.
Thought about this post.
Read and pondered my wip.
And cleaned my house, ran around the neighborhood, took pictures for tomorrow's post, and generally enjoyed the beautiful spring day we had today.
Now I'm feeling guilty.

Reading and pondering does count for a tiny little bit if it moves you forward or untangles a plot problem.
But, with yesterday as our regular Crit Day with Lindy Chaffin Start and Pam Asberry, I wimped out.
And I am kicking myself about that. Except, I think, right now, my wip ... stinks.
Could be I am too close to it. Could be it really is stupid. Could be it's so original, melodramatic, and soapoperatic that it really is okay, and I just need to keep hammering on that square peg.

Keli Gwyn's blog deals with this in her blog today:http://keligwyn.wordpress.com/2011/03/14/overcoming-self-defeating-thoughts/  Which I should print out myself and tack to my screen.

Have you got any comments? Advice on self-defeating thoughts and behaviors? Tricks to beat procrastination?
                  "Your work here is done. We'll take it from here. Good-bye SnowBirds!"

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

For Twitter and Blog Beginners Only -- Some Basics and Tools For You

First off, I am no twitter expert. Just got on it myself a couple of weeks ago with a bunch of writer friends. But hang with me and at the end of this post, I'll link to some articles that have helped me get started, and can help you too.
If you came here from a tweet of mine promoting this blog post, Welcome! That's what this blog is about... getting started on something new, and celebrating your successes. Good Karma is good to spread for any endeavor, discovery, or achievement, whether it's starting out on weight loss, hitting your writing goal, or getting your first tweets on.

That's what twitter is all about really... if you are a writer, a weight loss coach, a vintage button collector, or a shoe designer,  you want all the followers possible for your blog . Tweet your blogpost, share with the Twitter button app, and hopefully others will 'hit' it (aka read it), and RT it (aka re-tweet). Even better, maybe new visitors will click on your Twitter Share button, your Facebook Like button, and spread your blog and your writing throughout all of our worlds.
And even even better, they'll follow you on twitter , follow your blog, post comments and keep coming back for more because they like what you say and how you say it.

The @symbol is for 'Dear', so @Liz is DearLiz.
Hashtags? LizSchulte, ruler of cubicle one and parts of France, says it too well:
Hashtags are the "Community-driven convention for adding additional context and metadata to your tweets. A way to mark topic of your tweet when participating in a group discussion. Example #amwriting If you do a search for #amwriting it will pull up every tweet with this hashtag and you can find other writers on twitter to connect with.  [Pamela here: Connect is the operative word. Participate in a conversation, make friends, connect with new people and get to know them, let them get to know you. Be social. Tweet.]

#FF- Follow Friday used to recommend people to follow
#WW- Writer Wednesday used to recommend other writers to follow
#SS Sample Sunday used when tweeting a link to a sample of your work. "

But Twitter's about so much more: Yesterday GalleyCat, a book publishing site on Twitter, started a Twitter list of writers living, surviving, and tweeting in Japan:  http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/
Plus, ways to aid Japan's survivors are all over: Try a hashtag in the search bar for the Red Cross, or your favorite charitable organization, like this: #RedCross

On a lighter note, if you have a scattering of interests like me, you can learn the latest in trends and see fabulous, utterly outrageous, wonderful things. Like this waterslide that starts in a bedroom closet to the coolest bathtub in the world : http://thenextweb.com/shareables/2011/03/14/whats-that-in-your-closet-oh-a-water-slide/

Yes. Twitter can be a time suck. Beware.

And remember:  the world sees all of it. Let me be a mama and drive that point home: The WORLD sees ALL of your tweets!! Only Direct Messages are private. So be positive...  Tweet nice.
Because as easy as it is to follow, it is just as easy to UNfollow.
And if we want to get ourselves out there and get started on our new beginnings, we want Followers.

Now, those are basic beginner tips from me. You're all very smart Nikes, and you can take it from there, but  here are my go-to's for learning how to get started with twitter, and two handy-dandy twitter tools I love.

A Bientot!

http://enteringbatcountry.blogspot.com/2011/03/marketing-monster.html?showComment=1300208132395#c1295578017679957887   LizSchulte, ruler of cubicle one and parts of France, quoted above. Go read her blog and tweet. She doesn't bite.

http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/?s=Twitter+Tuesday+%231  The first of a series by Kristen Lamb. Read them all and keep going back for more!

http://www.novelpublicity.com/category/advice-2/social-media-2/twitter/  This is the step by step instruction guide for those of us out there who need help getting started ... with anything.

http://twuffer.com/   This app schedules your tweets... which is good if you're promoting your book while you're on that research cruise trip.

 http://thenextweb.com/TwitterKeys/keys.php?noui=1&jump=doclose  This is a pop-up you put in your browser bar. Abbreviations and symbols for when 140characters just isn't enough.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Who Are You? Profiles, Platforms, and Personality

I never know what to write in that space that says: All about me, or View my complete profile.
I know people put pages of their interests and hobbies on blogger and facebook and twitter profiles, and I admire that. Trouble is, I'm usually happy in the moment I'm in... the movie I just walked out of is the Best Movie I've Ever Seen! and the book I'm reading is the Best Book! You've Got to Read It!
I keep discovering things about myself every day.
It's hard to keep it all concise and updated, and not all of it is terribly interesting.

But, I am working on my Platform as a writer... something to help us figure out which internet neighborhood to move into, who we identify with, appeal to. One exercise I completed was 100 words to describe myself, and ask others in your life to contribute to your list.
Eek! Like that wasn't just a little scary... does anyone really want to know what others may think of us?
But, in the interest of furthering my career, I wrote as many words as I could, and asked my husband to contribute. Not my sons... the 'Mom' label is all encompassing to them.
While both my husband and I were surprised at the words we came up with,independently of each other, it did fit. I am, among other things, an encourager, gregarious, dreamy ... but I have a good measure of caution, try to listen more than talk, and am a planner. I love color, design trends, and  vintage kitsch, though I prefer to keep my surroundings traditional, classic, with family keepsakes. I'm a morning person, but I don't settle in to work until noon-- I have to clear my brain, my family to do list, and  my sons' laundry  before I settle down to write.
So... what does that say about me? That I can't decide who I am??

Well, I've come up with something for my profile and platform. No, no... you'll have to read my profile to find it out, for this week, at least.
It's fluid, and I guarantee it'll change more than once.
By fun kitschy finds, this is a blog I follow that always sings to my kitschy little heart: http://elegantthrifter.blogspot.com/2011/03/object-of-my-desire-luxury-box.html
Today Mr.Williams showcases a stack of Hermes china boxes, various shapes and sizes, stacked floor to ceiling to become an orange tower objet d'art. Take a look, and imagine the possibilities with what you may have already: books? terra cotta pots? Wedgewood boxes?
And if you don't know Mary Engelbriet, allow me to introduce you:
http://www.maryengelbreit.com/blogs/   For sheer creativity, color, and clutter inspiration, she is my fav. She illustrates quotations and sayings with wit and perfect expression.

Writers... we can be whoever we want to be, when we want to be them... fun, but confusing too.
Who are you today? Who will you be tomorrow?

Tomorrow's Blog: Twitter Tools. Until then,
A Bientot!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mardi Gras Hangover

Tuesday and yesterday I posted a short Mardi Gras romance. It was something I'd always kicked around in my head, and finally I exorcised it and wrote it for you here.
It was inspired by the cedar closet we used to have in our home in New Orleans. In the 50's my dad was king of the Krewe of Pegasus, and his costume was kept there. Not the train-- those belong to the krewe to be used year after year -- just the satin costume and the crown. I used to open the door, peek inside, pinch the satin between my fingers....
The notion in my six year old mind that my daddy was a king...! Well, naturally that would make me a princess.
And over time, all kinds of wonderful romantic ideas spun out in my head about that.

So on Tuesday, I celebrated Mardi Gras in the second best way possible. If you can't be at the party, make one up yourself... kind of like make your own brand of lemonade.
So I wrote... all day and into the night. I made it all up off the top of my head and....
OMYGoodness I posted if for the WholeWideWebWorld to read ! (shaking head)
And I Tweeted it too!
WHAT was I thinking???
Frankly, by The End, I was too fried to think. And I was pretty fried the whole day yesterday too-- so much so I forgot to eat! (Yes, I could stand to forget even more, I know....)
Yup, it was the equivalent to a real Mardi Gras hangover. If it can't be a party with hand grenades (the drink ya'll, not the ammunition ) or floats and throws, then it's my blogfest with my virtual  Krewe of Nike. I enjoyed myself, ate all my kingcake, put away the tiara, and now back to spreading good Writer Karma.

I looked her up, and Nike is the goddess of Victory, usually paired with Athena, and daughter of Zeus. Curiously, there are no legends or stories associated with her, but I think of her whenever the Olympics roll around. How could you not?
Which is a good reminder: Special Olympics is gearing up for their fundraisers. There is nothing to warm you up faster in this sprwinter weather than to see a Special Olympian finish the race, throw the ball, or execute a perfect routine. 
Nikes everywhere. And more of us around the web:

 spellcheckedbycgpowell.blogspot.com >> C.G.Powell vs. FedEx, fighting over kingcake

http://enteringbatcountry.blogspot.com/2011/03/taste-of-easy-bake-coven.html   >> Liz Schulte's first chapter-- a treat!

SJWright's book, the Vampire's Warden, will be available also as print on demand starting this weekend. 

http://www.leslietentler.com/   Midnight Caller  Ohhhh... this is good people.... If you like dark N'Awlins romantic mystery suspense, go buy this book! She gets it! Available for Kindle too.

 http://www.coffeeshopchronicles.com/synopsis.html  by David Lummis-- Cannot wait for this release! First of three parts, written as a review of NOLA coffee shops but is satire, historical fiction, and mystery, according to the site. Cool site too with lots of radio interviews and NO jazz -- go see.

Until Tomorrow--A Bientot! 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Finally! The End of Happy Mardi Gras!

Lisette walked outside into the night air. The limo driver opened the door, so she got in.
And nearly sat on the jewel encrusted queen's gown. Yesterday she'd lusted after it, tonight, for all she cared, it could have been a rag.
Pia, in her white slip, knocked on the window, then opened the door. "May I come in?"
The three of them -- Pia, Lisette, and the gown-- shared the back seat bench. "He was doing it all for me. It was all my idea-- the spa day with you getting the same makeup and hair as me, the gown-- my wedding gown, which looks stunning by the way--"
Oh no! Lisette's face and shoulders flamed all over again. Wearing Pia's clothes even unintentionally was threatening to ruin Lisette's life. "But why am I wearing your wedding gown?"
"So we could switch places. Honestly Lisette, you're a smart girl. Haven't you figured it out by now?"
Lisette looked to the ballgown, shimmering in the moonlight as Pia continued. "Mother and the Krewe would never be able to tell it's you and not me. Our hair, our height, our figures-- once you put that gown and all the frou frou on, it's all they see."
"But I still don't understand why you didn't just tell your mother."
"Have you ever tried to tell your mother you didn't want to do something that was so all out important to the family?" Pia made air quotes with her fingers around the last word. "Should you refuse to be queen deah, well, Ah suppose you should also refuse your shar-uh of the family biznezz. You could go strike out on somethin'else everybody likes to drink, besides coffee or tea." Pia stifled her own laughs with her imitation of her mother. "Barilloux Beverages could always use some fresh new thinkin, Ah s'pose."
Lisette had to giggle at Pia's dead on mimicry.But Pia's words hit the mark with a bullseye-- hadn't she kept all of this to herself in the interest of 'family'?
"Are you sure you want to marry Dewey? I mean, now? Just before he goes overseas?"
"I love him. Yes, I want to marry him now." Pia covered Lisette's hand with her own. "He likes you very much, you know."
Lisette bit her lip. She wasn't ready to talk about CB liking her. This wound was still too raw.
"He did all this for me and with me. I really am the brainchild behind it all. The clothes, the shoes." Pia smiled and squeezed Lisette's hand. "Really. CB is all about  'family'. He thought he had it all covered. He probably went about it all wrong, but don't be too hard on him. He was really only trying to help me out."
Just then a knock on the tinted glass window. "Everybody okay in there?" Dewey asked.
"You just go back up to that altar and wait for me. I'm coming out! Soon's I get this dress on!"
Lisette shimmied out of the white silk, somewhat sorry to let it go. She'd enjoyed wearing it, if only for a short while, but not under the circumstances. "I hope I didn't mess it up on the horse."
"No worries, it's perfect." Pia hugged Lisette. "Got a guy waiting for me -- gotta run." And with a quick change, she was gone.

The gown shimmered in the moonlight now. Lisette couldn't resist stroking the rich fabric. Could we really get away with it? Would I really do this? 
She lifted the tiara to her head, and raised the scepter. It was heavy and ornate and really fun to pretend to be a queen. Lift your head, always... smile with teeth, but don't crinkle the eyes... wave to your subjects....
"You'd make a beautiful Queen Nike," Cb's voice called from outside the limousine door.
Lisette squealed, clutching the wand to her chest. She had on nothing but a strapless bra and panties and thigh high stockings. But she remembered the windows' reflective tint. Still...
"How did you know I was thinking about that?" she called out to him.
"Because you're still in there, and you don't have anything else to put on. So you may as well put on the gown and I'll have the driver take you home."
Lisette looked at the gown. "I'll need some help."
The door handle clicked open -- "Not yet!" she squealed. She managed to wiggle into the highly structured garment ,  and slid her arms in the wide strapped sleeves. "Okay, you can come in now."
CB bent inside, and managed to hook and zip and button and attach the garment together. It occurred to Lisette at exactly the same time  it occurred to CB how backwards this seemed to be.
"You know, if this was under those former circumstances...," he let his voice trail off.
"Back off peasant. Remember who's the royalty here." She tapped him lightly with the scepter. "Pia and Dewey all married now?"
"On their way to the airport." CB turned to Lisette and reached up to straighten the crown on her head. "You make a beautiful, beautiful queen Lisette." He took her hand, raised it to his lips and kissed it. "Forgive me?"
She had to smile. He was a good man, and yes, Pia was right. He would do anything for his family. Unlike her father, who'd shown nothing but selfishness, this man was the most selfless she'd ever known. And he had the respect of his family, his business partners, even the masked Krewe captain kidnapper. "I forgive you."
CB's thumb stroked her cheek. He angled her face so he could see her eyes in the moonlight. "Take a chance on a guy like me Lisette. I'm not like your dad, and I'm not your employer, and I'm not that other--"
Lisette put her fingers to his lips to silence him. "Shh. Stop talking and kiss me."
He kissed her, his lips firm against hers.His body pressed into hers, pushing her down, until the heavy crown on her head slipped and conked him on his head. "oommph."
Lisette broke the kiss, sat up, adjusted her crown and waved her scepter in the air. "I'm all dressed up with nowhere to go," she trilled. 
"I understand there's a ball going on."
"Ah yes. That's where we'll go." She tapped the scepter on the window. "Think the ball needs a queen?"
"I think it does," CB grinned at her. "Matter of fact, I know it does."  
And so do I.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy Mardi Gras Part 4

I don't know why I titled this Happy Mardi Gras,... now here it is, Ash Wednesday. 
And I also don't know how I managed to stretch this out to 4 posts, but I hope I haven't bored you. Lisette, CB, and New Orleans took me over, and I just wrote for them. Thank you for reading, for sharing, for tweeting and for facebooking this. Be kind... it's my first time sharing publicly, it's unedited, and  it's all been off the top of my head.

"Who do you think you are? Just who gives you the right...? You have balls, CB, balls I wish I could take..." she made a claw with her hand --" and crush..." Lisette showed CB exactly how she would damage that  part of his anatomy.
He merely stared at her hands forming and crushing said balls from thin air. He appeared  impassive, something he'd honed to perfection, an advantage in his career as a family court judge.
In matters of romance, not so much.
Lisette was angrier than he'd ever seen her, and he had to admit it-- she had every right to be. Over the past year that she'd spent in his family's home as the housekeeper's daughter he'd hear her voice through the door, the vent -- it wasn't eavesdropping if she was loud enough to be heard through the wall. He'd listened to her and Pia vent in detail the shortcomings of the male species. Or muse to the cat ways she'd handle her mama's dilemmas, her dad's debts, the problems of the world.  She had a favorite phrase ...if only someone would ask her.
He wanted very much to be the one to ask her.
To ask her opinion, listen to her advice, every morning over coffee, and every night  from the pillow next to his own.
But at this moment, another woman in his life needed him.
"Thank you Captain," he shook the silent, masked man's hand, patted the horse's neck, and waved them adieu.
He turned to Lisette, who was still sputtering. "I owe you an apology."
Lisette froze with her hands clawed before her, still squeezing air. She stopped, blinked, stared . "An apology."
"I brought you here on false pretenses, a completely fabricated ruse designed to scare you." He shifted, suddenly aware he was about to sweat through his coat. "I'm not like that-- not at all. But... we needed to get your cooperation..."
Zombie like, she repeated his words. "You needed to get my... cooperation?"
CB took a deep breath. And here is where it hits the fan. She was much too calm, like the calm before the  hurricane, and she was about to become regally and royally  pissed. He knew how she   could rub a hole in the family silver, or scrub the green patina off the copper fixtures outside....
She was a hurricane all right... .He hoped to one day make her his hurricane.
But first I need to duck.

"My cooperation... for?" Lisette prompted.
"Yes, your cooperation." CB took her elbow and propelled her into the grand cathedral. Candles lit the altar and  the side aisles, casting a warm glow. Incense scented the air. It was holy and romantic, all at the same time. The perfect place for a wedding.
CB  walked Lisette down the center aisle,  feeling his heart beat hard in his chest."Pia wants to elope. Here. Now. There was this family thing about the Krewe, so Pia was all set to be queen, but then Dewey got his orders to  deploy--"
Pia's voice rang out across the arched space, with no regard for those praying. "Lisette! Oh thank God!Finally! Lisette, has he told you? Please, come quick!" She stood in one of the confessional booths, wearing only a slip.
CB dropped his hand from Lisette's arm. His father's last words to him rang in his ears. Your mother..., Pia..., they come first. Always, you hear? Take care of family first.
But CB groaned inside from the weight of his legacy. There was too much of his father's dreams to be fulfilled, and no room for his own. Lisette, Lisette was to have been a big part of those dreams.
Now he watched  her face as the gears clicked into place, one by one. Take care of family first. But what about me?
The color drained from Lisette's face, even worse than yesterday when he'd been so cold to her. "Why did you make me feel so common? How could you treat me this way?" Her skin flushed, angry tears filled her eyes, her voice quivered. But the anger strengthened her, strengthened her voice. "You made me feel like a--a--" the words wouldn't come.
CB's heart broke inside. He knew he'd wronged her-- he knew that. "Lisette, honey--" he began, but she whirled away from him and stalked down the aisle, out the door.
He'd failed.
All three of them... he'd failed them all miserably.

Happy Mardi Gras! III

Just a little factoid: The Krewe of Nike is dearly departed,  according to www.mardigrasdigest.com/krewes/Departed_Krewes.htm 
 Everything's still fiction.

Her Majesty, Nike Queen Pia Barilloux, cordially requests the honor of your presence at the 
Krewe of Nike's Annual Gala Ball. 
Theme -- Take a Chance

Lisette stared at the engraved invitation she was about to give to the doorman, giving her admittance to the crowded ballroom. The Krewe tableaux  and decor was completely decorated in silver and gold -- a perfect foil for the black coats and white ties and gloves the men wore, and the jewel tones of the ladies' gowns. Alone, without an escort, in her elegant white silk, Lisette was a single pearl alone, among colorful gemstones.
People lined up along the velvet ropes that cordoned off the ballroom's  'parade route,' an indoor preview parade for the Krewe members' invited guests. Costumed and masked in the themes of the various floats, riders socialized with guests before scurrying away to climb on the floats and get their throws ready.
Chillbumps raced over her arms. She hated the fact of how she got here, but Lisette couldn't deny that she loved being here. Her heart pounded extra hard as she drank in the glittery decor, the costumes, the celebrities.
No matter what was yet to come, I'll burn this memory in my brain, to have when things get tough with CB. 
CB... Where was CB? Bad enough he'd abandoned  her to ride with with Pia in the limousine, forcing her to hitch a ride with Drea and the nail techs in the Floating Lotus Spa van. But now he was nowhere to be found. And here she was without her trac phone....
Such a strange noise blending with the hum and buzz of conversation and laughter, but just as her brain registered the clopping sound of horses' hooves on the hardwood floor, just as she started to turn to see--

--a white gloved hand reaching from a silver satin sleeve appeared just below her bodice, scooping her off her feet and up onto the horse's saddle, plop! in front of the Krewe Captain.
Before she could process..., before she could register  that she was sitting -- more like sprawling -- on a horse with the masked captain -- The Masked Captain!, whose identity was  kept secret, hidden, even years after  Carnival Season was over-- they were cantering through the crowd, through the riders, away from the floats, the ball... and out the industrial roll up door. 
"Put me down!" Lisette screamed frantically. She flailed, she screamed, she dug her nails into the one hand that held both of hers in an iron grip... to no avail. Tourists on the French Quarter's sidewalks pointed and gawked, diners in restaurant windows stared, but no one came to her aid.
The horse's canter slowed to a calumping stroll, and it shook its braided, bedecked mane as if to say, "All clear." Lisette's kidnapper was equally silent, but he hauled her body up further to gain a better hold on her body, trying to make them both more comfortable.
"I'm going to press charges. I know people," Lisette growled. "I'll find out who you are, and I will let my-- my--"  Who? What's CB to me now? She blurted out the word she didn't want to speak, didn't want to hear. "My employer know!"
Oh yuk...she cringed inside, that awful revelation reverberating inside her head. But there it was -- the truth laid bare.

The horse nodded and snorted and slowed, its hooves on uneven brick paving now that Chartres Street ran into Jackson Square.The arches and dormers of the Cabildo came into view -- fitting, since Lisette was set to commit a crime. But next to the Cabildo, waiting for them, stood CB.
The captain hand delivered Lisette to him, directly before the massive double doors to St. Louis Cathedral.

Happy Mardi Gras! part deux

By the way, just in case anybody cares to know: this is Fiction, spun out of my own head. Any similarities are purely coincidental. Now, on with our story: 

Lisette thought it would be easy to vanish the day of the Krewe of Nike ball. Hairdressers, make-up artists, photographers, jewelers -- all their attention should have been, would have been, focused on the debutante upstairs.
Except Pia -- and CB -- insisted. 
"It's not right. You have no business, no business being in there, getting all gussied up, for what?" Mama fussed, watching two nail techs buff and file and polish Lisette's nails.
Lisette couldn't meet her mama's eyes. She felt ashamed, helpless.... The words she'd lived by mocked silently. What Mama doesn't know couldn't hurt Lisette....
"Why don't you just have a seat here," James, in charge of everything spa, pulled a cushy armchair over to Lisette's mother and pushed her into it with an undeniable air of authority. "Drea here will polish your nails next. You get a little pampering for a change, alrighty?" He strutted away to check on the progress of Pia's foils.
"Huh. Bet he thinks he's  rooster of the henhouse," Mama muttered.
"He thinks he's sumpthin' awlright," Drea drawled around the gum in her mouth. "But it ain't a rooster," she grinned and gave a quick wink to the housekeeper of Barilloux House. The nail techs all giggled, Mama missing a beat before dissolving into girlish laughter.
But not Lisette. The ice cube in her belly flipped and settled again. Seeing Mama pampered and enjoying herself for the first time since they'd left Dad, left the apartment, and his debt collectors ... How much could CB know about their lives prior to Barilloux House? What kind of carrot are you dangling before me CB?
She sighed inwardly, caught between her own wrongs, and Mama's delight.
Oh Mama, how could I ever let you get caught up in this?

Frenzy descended  once the dress was drawn up over Pia's shoulders, the crown set upon her head, the train affixed to her collar. After the official photos were snapped, the Queen's Coach gave Pia her first curtsy, and some last minute reminders. "Head up, always.... Smile, show teeth, but don't crinkle the eyes.... Wave your scepter, gracefully... there, like that. Oh, you make a beautiful Queen Nike...."
"Enjoying the show?" CB stood behind Lisette. She couldn't help but stare at how refined and handsome he looked in his white tie and black tails.
"Stunning," Lisette whispered, then caught herself. Oh no, this would not do. Not do at all. Falling for CB? She shook herself mentally. Foul, low, dirty scourge.... "Pia looks stunning," Lisette said slowly.
"Pay attention. Wouldn't want you embarrassing yourself." His gray eyes bored right through her, the only part of his face visible over the scotch and water he brought to his lips.
The ice she felt in her belly started to spread to her heart. If she were to survive this, if Mama could be happy and taken care of, Lisette would need to harden herself against CB and all he offered.
"Of course. I'll pay attention. I'll learn." Keeping her eyes fixed on his cravat, Lisette drew herself up and straightened her shoulders, giving CB the full effect of her stature in the strapless gown. It sickened her to think that she stood before him in something so white, so bridal.  She swept her hand over the silken folds that dropped gracefully from the center of the pleated bodice. No beading or crystals or lace of any kind adorned this dress.
I'll learn.... I will be your Royal Majesty, your Queen of Ice.
CB reached into his breast pocket and pulled out a velvet jeweler's box. He opened it quickly, peeked inside, then snapped it shut to return it to his pocket again. He looked over Lisette again, as he had earlier.
"Think I'll just hold on to that for you. I don't think you have anywhere to put it." With that, he turned to give his sister one final embrace before escorting her to the awaiting limousine.

To be continued....

Happy Mardi Gras!

I am a rare hybrid. I am a New Orleans native, but half of my DNA comes from Mobile.
So what? You're thinking.
Well, come January, while most people are sweating out their New Year's resolutions  trying to lose weight for spring break, the Mardi Gras ball season begins. Both New Orleanians and Mobilians get to start celebrating with their fellow members of their Krewes and Mystic Societies. It's strictly white tie and tails for the men, long ballgowns and gloves for the ladies. High formal.
Mobile's Mardi Gras celebrations actually predate New Orleans'. And I could go on and on about the history, the pageantry, the celebrations... but you're on the internet. Google it. Then ask me and I'll be happy to tell you the stuff behind the scenes.

So tomorrow, while my N'Awlins and Mobile family and friends are enjoying the biggest block party in the world, I'll be in my quiet home, celebrating in spirit.
It's a good time to offer up a Mardi Gras tale. I hope you enjoy it.

"Shh!" Lisette whispered to no one. She froze on the creaky stair tread. Leave it to her to get caught when Mama had specifically told her not to go upstairs to the guest bedroom.
Well, what Mama didn't know wouldn't hurt Lisette. Unless she got discovered creeping up the oak steps of the Barilloux's Garden District home to take a peek at Pia's ballgown. But it would be worth it, Lisette decided. Just one last peek.
She eased the crystal doorknob around, peered inside. The room had been emptied to make room for the  magnificent ballgown and train and collar Pia would wear tomorrow night. Draped over a mannequin in the room's center,  grander than any pageant gown,  more regal than any costume worn by a queen, fictional or real. It was extraordinary.
Lisette squinted against the glare from the window. Sunlight shot off the crystals and beading that trimmed the glowing satin. Iridescent embroidery highlighted the bodice with the krewe's symbols. A stiff high collar for the detachable train was crowded with more impossible jewels and beading.
And on the dressing table, reflected in the triple mirror, sitting on a velvet form, sat the tiara and scepter. They glittered, sparkled. A captured rainbow for the Queen of Nike's head. A sunbeam for her hand.
The ensemble shimmered in the afternoon sun, charged with a surreal beauty that only exists in the fairy tale dreams of little girls and a team of gifted seamstresses.
It was an exquisite royal gown, meant to be worn only once, and then housed in a museum.
And she wouldn't dare touch it. No. She couldn't.
Could she?
Just a fingertip. There, on the skirt. Just a brush of the hand against the regal fabric. Just a --
"What do you think you're doing?"
Lisette jumped, almost crashing into the dress form. "Wha--?"
"You have no business in here." Carter Barilloux huffed. "Who let you in here? Surely not my mother. Or Pia."
He drew himself to his full height. "Did your Mama say you could come in here?"
Lisette's heart sank. Now not only would she catch it, but Mama would catch it too. And this was the best job she'd had in a long, long time.
"I was just--" she stammered.
"Just what?" CB drawled, cruelly mimicking Lisette's desperate plea.  His eyes gleamed with a wicked thought. "You aren't supposed to be here. You know that, or else you wouldn't be sneaking around, touching Pia's gown." He stepped forward, easily sliding over the tricky floorboard that had betrayed Lisette. "Probably stealing something else of my sister's." He looked her over, his beady eyes gobbling her up from head to toe.
"No!" Lisette shook her head frantically. She and her mama had gone hungry lots of times-- they wouldn't dream of stealing! The two of them even lived in one room of the Barilloux's home so they didn't take space in a shelter. "No, I would never steal!"
"Hmmph," CB snorted. "Then explain why you are wearing my sister's shoes." He arched an eyebrow. "Think I didn't notice?"
Lisette's feet shriveled in the discarded track shoes. Pia had put them out with some other discards from her closet, and had offered to Lisette whatever she could use herself. There was still plenty of wear left to all the clothes she'd  salvaged. Lisette wasn't proud.
Even online community college courses cost a few hundred bucks.

With a wicked arch of his brow, CB stepped forward into her space. She could smell the onion and garlic on his breath from his lunch, as well as the whiskey sour. For CB and his  partners, celebrating began at about 10 in the morning.
"I have a proposition for you," he said, looking down at her, undressing her with his eyes, and liking what he saw. "You're coming to  the ball tomorrow night, with me. Everything here-- the gown, the clothes, the shoes-- it'll all be forgotten. 'Slong's you do as I say. Everything I say. Wherever and whenever."
Lisette's throat clogged. Nothing came out. But really, she didn't have much to say-- if she refused, she and Mama would be out on the street. Again.
CB nodded, taking her silence as an assent. "I'll have Camille send over something for you to wear."
She could tell by the look on his face, the slight tilt of his smile, the heavy lids of his eyes, that  it wasn't going to be much. 
He turned, walked to the door. "Just do what I say, and you and your mama will be taken care of." He turned and put his hand on the crystal doorknob. "Just what I say."
He walked out, floorboards groaning with his weight.
The lump in her throat slid down to Lisette's stomach and laid there, hard and cold, like a solid ice cube.
She didn't have to wonder the price she was about to pay. She knew.

To Be Continued....

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Vampire's Warden by S.J.Wright -- How she moved her book to the top of Amazon's ranks

Yes, it's Monday, the first day of the first annual .... drumroll ....Ebook Week! We're MAKING history here People! Excited much? Well, I am! 
  First, a huge THANK YOU to everybody who's read, commented, and followed WriterMason. You've done more to boost my self-confidence than three years of Oprah shows & magazines! Don't hesitate to contact me if I can lead you to answers to questions that will help you Start with YOUR Beginning, or find your Community. My goal is to make us all feel like Nike. This week's posts will be about Twittering, and I am no expert so if you are... jump in and teach us!
To follow up on Friday's Community post, today S.J.Wright joins us. Stephanie is a stay-at-home mom who's been blessed with two fantastic children. Her oldest is sixteen and her youngest is four and has spina bifida. She's been married for eight years to a great guy and  lives in Little Elm, Texas. 

The Vampire's Warden is her first published book. It is available on Amazon's Kindle, and it was ranked #36 this weekend on Amazon's vampire romance list. Go Nike Stephanie!
Besides Facebook, Stephanie can be found on  vampireswarden.blogspot.com ,  kindlebooksbargainbag.blogspot.com, and onecrazywhitelady.blotspot.com.
This interview is the first of many we hope to see of this indomitable new author. Be sure to read all the way to the end, and Be INSPIRED by Nike Stephanie.
   I remember at the beginning of this week you were totally bummed about your book sales. Did people on Hp Online Writers' page lift you up a little bit? What turned that around for you?
I’m finding a huge amount of support at the HP Facebook Page. At the beginning of this week, sales were really slow on The Vampire’s Warden. The writers on HP continued to encourage me. So I kept up with the blogging, asking questions of my readers and started getting some comments.

I know you worked hard to put yourself & your book out there. What did you do to raise your Amazon rank? How did you figure out how to do that???

On Wednesday night, I started going through Kindleboards and the Amazon Discussion forums. I completely rewrote my plug piece and started posting. But I think the real change occurred on Thursday when Greg from E-Reader News Today gave me a free blurb on the front page of his website. Before I knew it, the book was in the top 1,500 rankings on Amazon and was selling several copies every few minutes. I ended up selling 71 copies of the book on Thursday. It was amazing.

Now tell us about your book, The Vampire's Warden (cool premise) and the series you are developing.

The Vampire’s Warden started out with a completely different title, actually. It was going to be called “The Gatekeeper” but a few days before I finished it, I realized that someone else had released a book using that title at the end of January. I want to point out that signing up for Google Alerts is essential. I had set up a Google Alert to let me know if anything came across the web with either the name of my book or my pen name. I also set up an alert for “Amazon publishing” which kept me up-to-date with everything going on in digital publishing.

As for the story itself, it’s a paranormal romance that takes place in a little tourist town in Indiana. Sarah, a 23-year-old who has just lost her father, finds out that her mother is still alive. She’s grown up believing that her mother had died when she was just a little girl. So she has to process this huge discovery that leaves her feeling like she was totally abandoned by her mother. And Sarah has a passionate temper. She’s hard and direct. She loves her sister and the land that they’ve grown up on. To top off the new information about her mother, she is given a journal that her grandfather wrote that says that there are vampires on the property and it’s now Sarah’s job to make sure one of the vampires does not ever escape. It’s an emotional story, in particular for me because I was abandoned by my mother when I was five. It was hard to let my own walls down enough to give Sarah the full depth of emotion she needed. The rest of the series will concentrate much more on the vampires and I’m already writing the second book in the series, which will be called “The Vampire’s Curse”.

(I do have it on my Kindle,  I bought it before you dropped the price! I thought it sounded very intriguing. But I'm not finished it yet, so no spoilers!)

So, last question: You must be a busy woman, but you are taking control of your career, and I admire that in anybody. What was the best advice that still rings true for you at this beginning point of your career ?
When I turned forty back in October, my sister Debbie flew from Indianapolis down to Dallas to spend a few days with me. While she was here, she gave me several miscellaneous Ziploc bags that all had forty pieces of something thing (candy, paper clips, matchbooks) in them. In one of the bags was forty pencils. And on the outside of the bag, one of my other sisters, Beth had written: Forty pencils so you never stop writing.

At that time, I had nearly given up writing. I was terrified to send my writing out to anybody. But I started reading about the Kindle Publishing platform and I had an idea for a story. So I pushed ahead. Now I know for sure that I never will stop writing. I’m not afraid anymore.

I was the Warden. He was one of the damned. We were destined to be at odds. Enemies. Sarah Brightman, having just lost her father to cancer, is stunned to discover that the mother she thought was dead is actually still alive. She also finds out that the legacy her father left her is a lot more than

Friday, March 4, 2011

Feel like Nike: Make a Community.

I don't know about you, but it's hard for me to watch a certain tv star self destruct on each and every media outlet available. He's got quite a lot to say, and boy howdy, he's saying it!
But what are the consequences? Lost job, lost custody, lost respect....
Whatever your opinion, consider those around him:  friends, family, co-workers. People have not only lost their jobs, they've lost their place to go every morning.

Like it or not, it's more than just a paycheck. It's Community with a capital 'C'.

And Communities of people who share a common interest or goal can make big things -- BIG things -- happen.

I used to be a  runner.  I'm not an athlete-- note I said 'used to be'. I ran to lose weight, and it worked! I liked it, but I didn't love it. So some days, some runs, were a slog... heavy footfalls, draggy legs, hard breathing. Sweat.
One particular 10k was awful. I was all alone, with hundreds of other runners of course. But no buddy to run with, no family member waiting for me at the end. It was in the city, on asphalt, smog in the July air.
I was lonely, bored, hot,pitiful ... just gutting it out.
Behind me came another runner. A lady who said, "I've been drafting you for the last mile. You're good for me, keep it up."
I was good for her?
With those words, I felt lighter, I could breathe easier. I was still sweaty, but that was okay .
Hearing that my running, my pace, my dogged persistence of just putting one foot in front of the other was affecting someone else... I was no longer alone.
With those words, I was Nike!

Okay, so maybe that's a little over the top. I am so not Nike. These days I'm back on the treadmill, just so I won't embarrass myself in my neighborhood.  Predawn, in black tights, so I don't reflect the moonlight and blind somebody heading off to work.

But the words someone spoke when I needed it made a huge difference. Big things happened. A year later I ran a half marathon in 2:30:30. Respectable enough for 45+. (Sometime I'll figure out the app to post my picture, not that it's attractive or anything....)

We writers are the best of encouragers, the best supporters of one another. Get us together and watch the magic happen.

But where do you find your Community?

Here's your 'Go' point : Facebook and Twitter. Use hashtags like #romancewriter, #writechat, #amblogging, #amwriting in the search bar and voila!  Follow people who are doing what you want to do, read their blogposts and sites. 'Friend' others, like your favorite author, or someone whose comments reflect just what you were thinking. Participate in a comment conversation.

You will be energized when you give somebody that "atta girl!" or "WTG!" or even just a thumbs up. It shows you read, you liked, you agreed, you identify.
And it will all come back to you too, when you ask for information, guidance, or just reinforcement.

More involved: Google or look in your local paper for your area's writing guilds, organizations, and conferences. Find out where and when they meet.Go.
And don't drag your friend who really can't wait for it to be over so she can score some shoes afterward.
Go alone if you have to, but go. 
It took me a year to say anything to anybody at my local Romance Writers' of America chapter. I flew under the radar; I spoke only when spoken to. I needed to find my place with these people.
So I took a chance-- I signed up to go to a workshop that was hours away, and I gave another member (whom I'd never met in person, but on the chapter board online) a ride. We sat with others from our chapter.
Then I was offered a massage by the man who sat across from me at the workshop. And no, he was not a therapist. Ahem.
My chapter friends did Elmer's proud.

The girl who rode with me? The soon to be famous Sally Kilpatrick now co-chairs Moonlight & Magnolias, a major writers' conference our chapter is famous for. She has a fabulous book she's shopping around, as well as a hilarious blog of her own : http://www.superwritermom.blogspot.com/

And I have two fab critique partners, (shout out to Pam Asberry http://pamasberry.blogspot.com and Lindy Chaffin Start http://unstoppablestart.blogspot.com/ ). I'm on Facebook, Twitter, and many thanks to them, I'm HERE!
Everybody's been in the same beginning place.

Don't just watch and lurk. Make the magic happen for others, and magic will happen for you too.
Feel like Nike. 

Who's your Community? Do you know where to find one? How to find it?  Tell me your great ideas where to find writer friends and supporters.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Let's start with the beginning....

It's a very good place to start.

Really, starting -- just starting -- is the main thing. It doesn't have to be exactly the final product you envision in your head. Who writes their masterpiece in the first draft?

That's what the 'delete' key is for.

Conditions will never be perfect. You'll never have the perfect balance of noise to silence, lighting, comfortable chair, and inspiration all at the same time. Doesn't work that way.
But I do have to keep reminding myself of that, more often than I care to admit to myself, let alone in public.

Nope. Accountability is the word here. Discipline. Structure. Work Ethic.

And Courage.

Add all of that to a bit of Imagination and Initiative, and with a whole lot of Luck, you've got yourself the recipe for Success. In whatever your endeavor is: cooking, music, art, writing . 

Wise Words: Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained.

So here it is-- my first blog. Welcome.
Let's use it to spread Good Writing Karma and support to everybody out there looking for their own brand of success.
Are you putting those first words on paper? Ready to upload your novel on Smashwords ?
Or are you trying to come out of lurkdom and join the conversation on a blog for the first time?

Maybe you're like me, sharing your thoughts and knowledge, taking your first steps into the blogosphere.

If there's anything to learn about social media and networking it's this:
We Are Not Alone.
(And no, that's not just a shameless plug for Kristen Lamb's book on social networking. But go buy it -- it's worth every penny. http://www.whodareswinspublishing.com/)

Do you need encouragement to try something new? Starting a new venture, or just getting around to that pesky New Year's resolution? Acting on a dream or a goal?

Let me know, because we're in this community of writers all learning together. Great thing about the internet: you self-educate, at your own pace. No question is too dumb to ask. Cool, huh?

Some of us, like me,  know next to nothing.
Hopefully you'll follow this blog for DearWriterMason: All those questions on genre, formatting, epublishing, blogging, craft, twitter, ...but were afraid to ask.  I'm no expert, but I can direct you to some who are, and to some sites you may find interesting, and together we'll learn.
If you ARE an expert, or just know waaaay more than the rest of us on any of the above, or other things like grammar, blogging stats, epublishing formats, writing the perfect query or pitching to an agent or editor without embarrassing flopsweat....
Welcome! Here's a forum -- use it!

Others of us just need encouragement and permission to call ourselves a "writer": Use the good notebook. Download that lesson. Buy that online workshop. Invest in yourself.

So tell me... where is your journey leading you today? And how may I help you?

Thank you for following!