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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

O to be in England... For a Royal Wedding

"Oh to be in England, now that spring is here." -- Robert Browning
Alas! I'm here in the states, across the pond from the greening of England's magnificent spring, full of yellow daffodils and red tulips and blue skies.

Not that you'd get to see much of that, with all us Yanks over there with the rest of the world (an extra 600,000 according to VisitBritain) to celebrate

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Future of my Past is now my Present

Growing up in the 60's, I used to wake up at 5 a.m. (!) just to turn on the little black and white tv set so I could wait through the test patterns and the national anthem until my favorite cartoon came on --

Friday, April 22, 2011

Follow Friday Everybody Hop!

The rules
1)      Follow this blog.
2)      Follow Elizabeth Sharp, the originator of this hop
3)      Follow the featured author of the week. This week’s featured guest is Michelle Ferguson of Michelle Ferguson Books.
4)      Go to Sharp words and copy the image code found there and paste it in your blog. Add your name to the link at the bottom of the post while you are there.
5)      Copy and paste the rules in your blog, as well as this week’s question.                     For me one of the most useful tool in my writing arsenal is Urban dictionary. What is your most referred to website for your writing?                                                   

6)      Answer the question:  I use dictionary.com and thesaurus.com, and I also read several other writers' blogs to learn writing craft.

7)     Follow, follow, follow. This is about networking, people, making connections with people in your community. So talk to us. We don't bite!
8)      If someone stops by, says hi and follows you, the polite thing to do is follow back.
9)      Comment here and introduce yourself and you just might find a new follower or two.   

Next, get the question here and answer it in your own blog.

Finally add your name to this list of wonderful blog authors by clicking the frog link at the bottom and adding your name and blog address. Make sure you actually answer the question and link to the hop. And please comment, we all like to hear someone out there is listening. 

And now we'll see who's paying attention. Bring in a new hopper, or if you're a new hopper who just wandered in, comment below with a way for me to contact you and you will be entered for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card. All you have to do to enter is recruit a friend and you both are eligible. We're trying to grow and need all the help we can get! I do go through the blogs every week and have access to past linky lists, so don't try to pull a fast one. If you don't know anyone with a blog and would like to enter, post a link to where you tweeted/facebooked/myspaced it and you can enter that way as well. Help me get the word out! 

This is the blog hop for the writing community. Every Friday writers who blog come together and hop! Leave your name and URL of the FF post and we'll come visit you too.
Chrysoula Tzavelas  Julee J. Adams  
Liz Schulte  Paige W. Pendleton  
Kristi Bernard  Larissa @ the Howling Turtle  
M.D. Christie  Pam Asberry  
Elizabeth Sharp  MG Ainsworth  

(Submissions close in 6d 12h 28m)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Follow Blog Hop-- Why WriterMason?

Our question for today is....
How did you come up with the name of your blog?
An interesting question, especially since my blog's name is not so interesting. At least, not to the naked eye.

I named my blog writermason because it is my name. A name that has a meaning that, unlike so many things that have changed in this space age century, has not changed.
 From Dictionary.com: 


(noun) --a person whose trade is building with units of various natural or artificial mineral products, as stones, bricks, cinder blocks, or tiles, usually with the use of mortar or cement as a bonding agent.

Though it is my married name, 'Mason' perfectly describes me.

Growing up in a lumber company family, we knew how to build and then rebuild. People want a new porch, new deck, new pier, they buy lumber. Hurricanes and floods destroy and wash homes away, but people want to rebuild in their original neighborhood. It's home.

I can still call up the screech of the rotary saw, the clop of a falling 2x4 onto cement , the green pungent scent in the unraveled threads of sawdust. Mr.Joe would pick us up from school in a rattletrap pickup truck and take us to the 'store', where we got a beauty parlor coke from the machine and punched the lighted buttons on the ultra modern and efficient office phone. 

Then I went to LSU's School of Architecture, College of Design, and got my degree in Interior Design. I knew it all... or so I thought. 

I never imagined back then that design would be drafted digitally, much less in 3D on a portable laptop.Or that I would blog my time away-- writing and reading blogs from around the world.

So, as drafting and designing reinvented themselves digitally, so now is the publishing industry.

Now I type with a laptop instead of inking in vellum, and my digital drafts don't make me high the way fresh blue print fumes did. The t-squares and parallel bar and the nifty electric eraser that I went hungry for now gather dust in a basement closet; the ever evolving technology of laptops and smart phones now drain my bank account. And even those withdrawals are out of my hands. (Working for the day when that changes to deposits.) 

I build now with words, but they're so much more than just words.

They're emotion and drama and plot and characterization. They frame a story that I've snatched from my dreams and experiences and construct a version that makes sense, so that the reader enters and dwells inside the walls of my imagination. The exits seal off to keep away reality and sleep, and the heroes and heroines are all smart people who make stupid choices for the right reasons, all ending up in a happy ever after. 

I'm WriterMason. Welcome to my World.






Thursday, April 14, 2011

Instead of Friday's BlogHop...

This Fear by s.e.gordon

Painting by George Grie
My confession?

I’ve failed at everything I’ve tried.

Except this.

Stupid. Worthless. Loser. How many times have people hurled these words like stones?

But I’m not made of glass. There’s stronger stuff below; a belief that runs right to the core.

I am destined for greater things.

My words will change the world.

Let the legions cast their venom; they do not know me.

Let the critics sneer; the joke is ultimately on them.

I know I can do this. A writer I am meant to be.

Forget about the past failures; they’ve made me who I am. The external world does not faze me; the real challenge lies deep within.

This fear. I must get over it.

What will they see when I am finally revealed? Will they give me a chance? Identify with me?


It does not matter.

They will see I am just like them.

Full of hope. Conviction. Dreams.

And that is all that matters.

I need this, I must confess.

I must find a way to make this work. Find a way to finish. Only then will they see the masterpiece underneath.

I will put myself before them. The entire tapestry, not just a shred of cloth. Myself. My whole self.

I refuse to cower. Refuse to give up.

This fear…just a fool’s errand…

Words echo inside me, fire threaded destiny. Can’t hold them back any longer.

Then I realize what’s gnawing at me.

These words, flowing so beautifully. Such emotion, raw and pure. My one talent, my only talent, please don’t let me screw this up.

I take a deep breath. Calm my mind. And ride the lightening.

This lingering fear is vapor.

I am ready for the next step.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

It's been a busy week for Spring Break. We picked out The Tux for Prom for my son... ivory notched collar jacket with black pants, brown vest and bowtie and pocket square. He will look handsome and yes, I will cry....

I won this extra cute "read" necklace from Evelyn LaFont's release party last week (Keyboardhussy.com). Thanks Evelyn and The Sweet Fairy Boutique on etsy.com. Evelyn's new book, The Vampire Relationship Guide Vol 1: Meeting and Mating, just came out and is available on Kindle .Check out Zoe Winters' review on it (Damn you Evelyn LaFont!) 

         <-  Love This! Who wouldn't?

                                                                                     Loved This too!  ->
   Again, Who wouldn't?                 Bacon...Chocolate...salty... sweet.... YUM!


<--Went to Piedmont Park in Atlanta where we saw a lovely wedding right next to a playground swarming with happy kids. No need to throw rice! Everybody within earshot applauded when they were pronounced Mr.and Mrs. There were three there that day, probably even more earlier in the day.
My friends Lindy Chaffin Start and Pam Asberry and I were there for a Fun Photo Session. Want to do something for yourself with your girlfriends that's fun? Split the cost of a photographer, take along some props (we used Lindy's ginormous tome of Michael Crichton stories and my margarita glasses) and channel your fav Sex In The City babe ( I channeled Samantha's attitude, but really, I'm more like Charlotte). Go on a beautiful spring or summer day at a great location: the beach, an amusement park (carousel... bumper cars) or like us, a great city park full of kids playing, muscular men playing softball, weddings (did I say there were three all at the same time?), a man riding his bike and blowing bubbles, and  hunky guys jogging, walking their dogs, playing frisbee,... did I mention teams of shirtless muscular men playing sports? Yesss....
You'll see One Six Photography's finished product in a few weeks, so stay tuned! 

And no... this is NOT a grave! It's my future vegetable garden!
My wonderful  husband built the frame for me to fill in with my
Special Recipe of DIRT!
Yes, DIRT!
For two long years I have composted every single carrot and orange peel, coffee grounds and tea bags, spoiled lettuce leaves and apple cores and banana peels and dead plants and dead cut flowers.... My GRW friend and roomie, Anna Purcella Doll, gave me the recipe for layering all of this with dead leaves. It's taken two long years to get this much (which isn't much at all...) and I am PROUD to show it to you! Next time you'll see it flourishing with young plants, but not until after Good Friday. Somehow, we always have severe weather on Good Friday, no matter where it falls on the calendar. So I don't plant anything in the ground until AFTER Good Friday.
Probably just guaranteed it for the Saturday after, huh?

So how was your Spring Break? Did you spend it on the beach? Or are you still planning it and looking forward to it?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday Follow Online Writers Blog Hop-- How Would YOU Handle a Negative Review?

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.

Kitsch Nike Allee Willis -- Heart, Soul, Herself

 Meet Allee Willis. 
She is the Grammy winning songwriter of my disco dancing college years. Earth Wind and Fire's September, the Pointer Sister's Neutron Dance ... Boogie Wonderland and Stir It Up... the theme from Friends... Lead Me On... What Have I Done to Deserve This?... and the score for the onstage musical The Color Purple.
She is --Fearless, Artist, Creative and Inspiring, and she belongs only to Herself.

Watch the video.... make sure you hear her words around the third minute... where she says (and I try to quote): "...that incongruity of taking High End Thinking and marrying it with Pure Passion...and mash them together with Commitment. Commitment binds the top and the bottom."
 Pasting this up on my monitor now.

People who zoom down their own path , who wear their crocs in  winter  and don't give a damn about being part of the herd or accepted into the 'right' circles, but follow their soul and  surrender themselves wholeheartedly to their uniqueness...

          ...they are the Citizens of the World. Those who make their lives and their name their own, instantly recognizable and uniquely, individually true as their own DNA. As if they snatched their identity out of thin air with their first breath at birth, impatient to talk and to walk so they could create what only they can see or hear or dance or paint ....

   e.e.cummings... Walt Whitman... Isadora Duncan... David Bowie... Lady GaGa ... Madonna ...

        ... and share it with the world, who can take it or leave it, their choice.

Do you Dance? Sing? Write? Paint? Create?

Are you your own Muse?

"Be Yourself. No one can ever tell you you're doing it wrong." 
-James Leo Hurlihy

Love Kitsch? (*raising my hand here! Tweety Salt & Pepper Shakers ! ) Go to her site, where
Allee's Kitschenette Virtual Museum of Kitsch  takes submissions for certification and display.
You can click on her records and listen to snippets of her Grammy winning songs too!

Contributions welcome!

Allee Willis is conducting a singalong fundraiser for her alma mater in Detroit to buy the band members new uniforms. > >
I have washed, mended, hemmed, and altered a few band uniforms, and believe me, they are worn for many years by many different people in many different places: rain = mud, sunshine = sweat. If you can contribute to Mumford High School's Marching Band Benefit to replace their uniforms, ^ there ya go!
Seems Detroit's The Happenin' Place these days....

A Bientot!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Round of Words in 80 Days Writing Challenge Update

Have a good wordcount ticker to recommend? I'd like to add one , and I have looked at TickerFactory's site, but nothing's sparked my interest yet.
It's not very Jane Jetsonesque to be without a wordcount ticker during a writing challenge, so if you love one, please share. 

You know how your stomach plummets to your ankles when you come home from vacay to find that email you've dreaded? The one you're afraid to click... the one you cross your fingers when you download its attachments?
That's what was in my inbox last week.
The crit from a published author  for Georgia Romance Writers' Gin Ellis Workshop.
The workshop pairs a published author with an unpublished one, to offer feedback and improve their entries for the Maggies Writing Contest, sponsored by GRW and awarded in October at the Moonlight and Magnolias Writers' Conference. (Interested? Check out information here and sign up!)
It's the Karma thing, where published authors pay it forward and help us unpub'd along....
Well, I really really really did not want to do this. Criticism isn't my thing (is it anybody's?) and besides, I'm so new at writng-- larva actually, in the gestation phase -- that I knew it would be a waste of the published author's time, energy, and efforts.
But, due to the prodding (read: ass kicking) from my crit partners Lindy Chaffin Start and Pam Asberry, I entered my synopsis, prologue, and chapter (up to 30 pages) to the coordinator with twenty minutes to spare before the deadline.

A month passed, and there it was: the judge's email.
With four (!) attachments.

So, I held my breath and downloaded them.
 I clicked open, clapped my hand over my eyes, and squinted at the comments.
Red ink never looks friendly. Never.
 Why isn't purple the default color on MS Word? 

But, wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles... guess what?
Well, no, it really did bleed red ink, so not that....

Maureen.Hardgree, author of Haint Misbehavin' was pretty encouraging. I wouldn't go so far as to say she was impressed with my writing, but she had some nice things to say.
Some very nice, encouraging things....
She liked that I had put in the time on world building (why yes, yes I have...) and that I threw lots of conflict at my hero, which is good (why thank you!). She thought the premise was interesting (I'll take that as a compliment) and that it had possibilities.

So. Okay. I can exhale now.

Really, I'm pretty happy with that. Bloody red ink and all.

I  wrote her a  thank you email  to say how grateful I was that she took the time  to point out my areas for improvement .
And she was kind enough to respond that it was her pleasure to help me, and we'll make an appointment to meet face to face to discuss things like
 my bad HeadHoppingHabit ... and Too Much Back Story... and One Big Character Mistake I Wish I Had Caught  (whoops!).

Surprisingly, from this big wimpy crit wuss, this wasn't a bad experience. Now, later in my career, as I grow and  improve, it will get tough, tougher, toughest. Probably soak the page in red ink.
But I have to get tough too.
Judges can be tough, but readers -- particularly readers who review and blog and tweet and facebook share--
They're the toughest.
 Okay... Update: 1281 words. I'll keep about 399 of them. 

Here are 104 other challenge takers you can follow here.

Maureen Hardegree's book is available on Kindle. Check it out!

A Bientot!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Meet Mr. and Mrs. Muse

You didn't believe me, did you?

This picture is from Jonathan Adler's Atlanta showroom opening last week, posted on Erika Ward's site http://www.blulabelbungalow.com/ 

Upbeat, positive, energetic, colorful and just plain happy, Erika wants to extinguish with her site  "the myth that style and budget are mutually exclusive."

Genius, yes?

As a designer you want to create something worthy, a space that will impress your client and their family and friends every time they walk in the door. That 'WoW' factor that makes your client feel confident their money was well spent. That they got value for their expenditure.

You want them to like it and by extension... to like you.

Writers want to do the same. We want to entertain, to thrill, to occupy a space in the reader's mind that makes them stay up late to read another chapter, then curse us for lost sleep. We want the reader to itch to get back to the story, to worry over the hero's predicament, to sigh over the resolution and, in romance, the Happy Ever After.

...If you're looking for ideas to spark your creativity in decorating your home or  making your colorful, frugal writing Muses happy take a look at Erika Ward's site, blulabelbungalow.com   

 ...For writing sparks, lessons, and craft, check out http://www.savvyauthors.com/vb/content.php.

 A bientot!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Round of Words in 80 Days Writing Challenge

A couple of weeks ago I posted here about being accountable with my writing...

...and then I left for a cruise. I still worked on Blitzen the Believer while on vacation. I wrote longhand, filling up a notebook on the deck, on the beach, on I95 riding home. I outlined, characterized, was inspired.

But there it remains... most of it still in the blue notebook that's bursting now with torn out extra paper stuffed in an inner pocket, and scraps of notes I made on the ship's stationary. I'm probably the first person to touch that stationary in years. But I'm the kind who takes the shampoo bottles too--.

Once home, I let Mme.Laundry take over my life, had to re-ingratiate myself with my cat LaDuchesse, and had to restock the fridge and pantry for the guys. Before me, my son  has all his Last Days as HighSchool Senior ahead, and so, by default, do I... at least in his orbit. Last Drill Meet. Last Field Day. Prom. Awards Night.
And then....
Commencement Exercises.
And on top of it all, I'm rolling his Graduation Party and Birthday Party together into One Major Blast,complete with bbq and swimming pool. 

I must be crazy in the head.

But, he's my first.
We'll bribe the second son with a cruise in lieu of all this when he graduates in two years....

  An author friend, DeeDee Scott, is holding a Yahoo online Muse Therapy group, designed to help you get in touch with your inner Muses. Signups are still open here. Go. She's fun! And a couple of blogging and writing friends I know via Facebook and the Friday BlogHop-- Buddy Gott and Gabrielle Bissett -- are joining in this writing challenge too.
Add up the two of these and I believe the universe is sending me a message.

Kait Nolan is the originator of this challenge. She's a self published paranormal writer with her feet on the ground and a head for business and hundreds of followers. And, like me, and like you too Reader, she has a LIFE! One that cannot stop for NaNoWriMo or the kinds of challenges that have you completing a novel in 30 days, all for a badge on your blog and the sense of achievement. I appreciate that, truly I do, but... but...

To me, you've got your kids for just a short time. The days for Wings living under our roof are nearing their end. Fins has been an independent little cuss since he grew taller than me and learned I needed him to reach the top shelf. I've had this need to be near and close, especially since there have been no aunts, uncles, cousins or grandparents nearby to celebrate their successes or watch their games.
Warring against that is my own need to create something special and valuable and worthy; to learn my craft, to ink this story and this series that has me talking out loud in WalMart and rolling my eyes at the characters' conversations in my head; has me excited with details I create, jumping up in the middle of the night to write in the dark; has me chewing my thumbnail in frustration when I can't figure out a motivation or a plot point.

Enough with the indulgence! 
Okay, Writing Goal for this 80 days-- April 4 through June 4 -- is to get the bones of the story down completely. That's it. Anything else is gravy. If I name a bigger goal, with all that May is bringing, I'm setting myself up for failure.
And from one dieter to another-- because everyone in America is on some kind of diet-- we all know what happens with failure, don't we? We roll in the self pity and then we binge and purge, or something along those lines.
I'm done with the bingeing and purging. I'm taking the time for myself to be consistent.

And I'm going to teach the boys how to do their own laundry this week.

Join me: here's the link with the rules again: http://aroundofwordsin80days.wordpress.com/    #ROW80 on Twitter. April 4 is the starting gun. Post your goal somewhere, even if it's on my blog here if you don't have one of your own; I'd be honored if you called this home. We can support one another and do this together.

A bientot!

Thank you for following!