Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday Musings From Under the Steps: K.I.S.S.

"Genius is the ability to reduce the complicated to the simple."
~~~C.W. Ceran this point I am still a moron.


~~~Einstein Quote Generator

Here's to stripping life down to idiot proof!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

WIP Wednesday: WIP Tug-of-War

Do you have two WIP's fighting over your head space, heart and time? I do. Presently both are showing me the best of themselves, taunting my muse to take on one and not the other. All the while they have pulled my nerves so taut, I'm not in a place to work on either of them.


I am very certain I am not alone in this dilemma. How do the rest of you sort out this tug-of-war of your muse?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday Musings From Under the Steps: The Highest Reward...

"The highest reward for a person's toil is not what they get for it, but what they become by it."

~~~John Ruskin

Writing anyone?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Shhhhh Its a Secret Blogfest!!!!!!

My late entry for the Shh It's a Secret Blogfest being held by the lovely Summer Ross (BIG congrats on your first Blogfest!) at My Inner Fairy. Under 700 wrds BTW! Stop on by her blog and check out all the other wonderful entries this weekend and have a great day!

From my shelved WIP 'Touched' (Never got to editing stage—so I have 2 POV going in this...bad Nicole). The moment is shortly after Mike(my MC's best friend) blows up and demands Logan (my MC) tell him what’s going on, after Logan uses some of his abilities to help Mike subdue a bad guy on the island (My FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT BLOGFEST ENTRY). Logan has just told Mike about his secret abilities--his biggest secret, and now Mike wants Logan to show him some proof. So Logan shows his friend his mind reading skills. The scene is in the chapter, ‘So Is It a Jedi Mind Trick or What?’


Mike grimly eyed his long lost friend. He still wasn’t sure about any of this, not by a long shot, but this ‘more human human’ before him was still the guy who had saved his life the night before and tried saving his late brothers life those many years ago. Logan was a friend. Hell, to a Mahoning that made you family. And even this new version of Logan, the jaded arrogance, coarse humor and darkness—he was still Logan. Aside from not telling him and his family that he was Seer Islands answer to Superman, Logan had never lied to them or taken advantage. He’d never hurt them...

‘Just kept one hell of a big honkin secret.’

“So what am I thinking now?” The bulky blond challenged, crossing his arms over his uniformed chest in a mildly childish stance.

Honestly, Logan had expected Mike to ask him to levitate a table or prick a finger and heal it. He’d already been witness to Logan’s strength and endurance. But the mind reading?

Quirking a dark brow at his pragmatic friend, Logan pushed off the window sill and stood before the young deputy, holding his friends unremitting stare. “Looking for proof, Sheriff?” Mike nodded. Logan simply shook his head, this moment bordering on a childhood dare. “Okay.”

Taking another step closer to Mike, Logan felt his friend flinch, but hold his spot at the center of the old hardwood floor. “You’re sure?”

“Do it.” Mike swallowed hard. Logan smirked then shook his head once more. He’d never been in the position where the person he was reading asked for it.

Taking in a deep breath, Logan raised his hand between them, palm out to Mike’s chest. He could feel the hum of life within his friend’s body—strong and steady like the lapping of warm ocean waves. Slowly his hand hovered to the side of Mike’s curly headed skull and began to see the shades of images sharpen and sounds become words. It was no surprise to Logan that his friend’s thoughts came to him as straightforward as the man who had them—with little hesitancy and no doubt.

“So-so what do ya see?” Mike blurted out.

Logan grinned, his eyes still closed. “I see a pretty brave guy for letting his ‘alien’ friend have his way with his brain.” Logan felt Mike’s entire body go ridged and smiled in spite of himself. “Kidding, buddy. Kidding.”

Logan lowered his hand and opened his eyes. He saw a lot inside the stalwart man before him; more than what he was comfortable revealing to the other man if he wanted to keep him as a friend. Things like how Mike had secretly envied Logan when they were children or the extent of Mike’s present fears—that he would not be able to keep the people of this island safe during the coming storm. No, what needed to be said now had nothing to do with the things he saw within his friends mind, but the reason why his friend had let him see them at all.

“You trust me.” His eyes steady on his friend. “You think I’m a little fucked up and you’re uncomfortable when Anne [Mike’s sister, also Logan’s childhood friend] and I are alone” Logan knowingly smirked when his friend’s eyes fell to his boots “but you trust me.”

Mike raised his head again and silently nodded.

“And that same trust does not extend to my family.” Logan continued.

“I’m sorry, Logan…”

“Don’t be. You are right not to.” Logan turned from his friend and walked back to his view of the mounting snow fall. Hell, he didn’t trust his own family. He was intimately aware of what his family was capable of and viewed mistrust as a survival skill when dealing with anything of his kin.

“And Anne?” Logan felt Mike’s brotherly concern before he spoke it. A pregnant silence fell between the men.

“I’d never hurt her, Mike. Believe that.” Logan just wished he could believe it too.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

WIP Wednesday: Writing What You Have Felt.


I think I speak for most fiction writers when I say we write what we know. Even when we think we’re writing/thinking outside our mental box, we’re really just borrowing something we have already absorbed from the world around us and now see from a different view. Living does that. Life demands it.

Moments in our lives can take what we thought we knew and widen it to proportions we will never be able to shrink back from. And then with the same gusto, break our thoughts and dreams down to scatter them to the winds, only to be rebuilt again different. Moments shine lights on ideals and set fire to new ones, but just as easily can yank them by the scruff of the neck and tosses them into shadows making us ask… “What the hell just happened?”

But what about writing based on what we feel through our empathy and observation of others? What about writing from other peoples experiences?

Like many writers, I am a people watcher who can be both distant and empathetic towards my subject. During my decade long stint in the “other people’s problems” business I accumulated an extensive and diverse catalog of other people’s emotional baggage that’s kept my writing well versed in human behavior. And of course there is the over thirty year diet of TV watching, movie watching, book reading and music rolling around like loose candy in my piñata head.

The fact is, I have relied heavily on this 'observers' stockpile to bring life to many of my characters and very little of my own personal plights. And for some reason I have yet to define, I feel as if I have cheated my writing in some way. That I haven't 'bled' for my writing.

Anyone feel this way? Do you use writing as a therapists couch or a working amalgam of the things you have seen around you? Maybe both? Do you have to 'bleed' for your writing to have it have heart?


I wrote this about a month after my own father’s death, two years ago. I think it was the first time I wrote something so close to home. The very first time I felt like I bled for a story.

This bit was from my Jericho Fan Fiction Chapters Series, the last chapter out of 22. Another example of my favorite mistake--TWO POV's in one scene. Jake (the MC) is in a dream talking with his dead father, Johnston. It's sort of a 'coming to terms' and a good bye.

A deep bark of a laugh rose from Johnston Green’s chest while he smiled at his son.

“You know you’ll get some stuff right, too? When you do it will make all the wrongs worth the gray hairs. I know that from my own personal experience.”

Jake looked up and gave his father a slight grin.

“You’ll do good, son. Might even get a little more right than your old man did.”

Jake watched his father smile and felt his heart pull. His mind was spinning trying to take in all that was said tonight. He wanted to remember this moment, when his eyes opened and this dream came to a end.

If only his father could be with him again, not in this world of dreams and memories, but with him like he had once been. In that moment, Jake wished more than anything, to take his father with him. To take Johnston Green back over the great divide.

“I miss you, Dad.”

Johnston reached out to his son’s cheek and watched the younger man swallow down emotion.

The elder Green gladly acknowledged the man his son had become, but right then the father in him could only see the young boy he’d once been. He saw that naked honesty in his son’s soulful eyes and not the stubborn silence that took him in the teen years. He saw his son’s limitless courage and heart, things that life’s circumstances never took from Jake, only buried for a time to be found once more. It seemed to Johnston, that in some strange way his son had finally come full circle. Back to his family, back to himself, back to life. It’s all he could have asked for.

“I’ll always be with you, son.” His words deep and warm. “Always.”

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sunday Musings From Under the Steps: My Lying Little Writer Heart

"The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.

Tom Clancy

And I have already proclaimed fiction writers to be wonderful liars, haven't I? Well that is how we make fiction make sense. How we make others believe our outrageous tales. 'Suspend Disbelief' they say. We flavor our fiction-our lies, with truth and that makes our lies believable.

The best writers and liars know when to ration out a little truth now and then. The truth is the best bones to support a body of lies.
So research my writing friends. Whatever your genre or storyline, dip into the real world for some real facts now and again and you shall spin the best of lies.

Now my lies and truth I told in participation of The Bold Face Liar Award Friday. I found it interesting what some found believable and not. I guess we really can be anyone we wish here in the blogisphere. ;-D Remember, lies are best told when paired with some truth...

1. I visit China with my husband every 2-3 years.
I visit Hawaii every year with my husband. We visit his parents and their hide-a-bed. I haven't found my way to China yet.

2. I've seen a ghost.
I have seen a ghost. This is the full truth, cats and kittens.

I once worked in a old Tudor style home that had been converted into a mental health facility. It was one of my favorite jobs, but it often had me coming and going at odd hours. During my first month working midnights, I could not help but feel that I was being watched or not alone when I knew for certain that I was at the time.

And then one night I saw a pale human form go through the front door without setting off the alarm and take the steps without a creak to the old hardwood boards. My older co-worker noticed me seeing this but said nothing. Later that night it happened again and she finally sat me down.

She told me of the young man who once was a client and how he meant no harm but liked to play. He had been a simple minded young man and this had followed him into the afterlife. She told me she had not only seen me react earlier in the night but earlier in the month and was just waiting to see if I said something--or I could be trusted. She said she knew he would like me.

The remainder of my midnight shifts, if I felt I wasn't alone on my rounds or the cat wasn't following me per usual, I would tell the ghost I had to work, but to go play without me.

3. I've talked a person out of killing someone.
I have talked a few clients out of killing themselves. One was serious, the others were looking for a reaction. The 'reaction' folks, the whole killing thing was a weekly or monthly conversation.

And does talking someone out of beating the ever loving shit out of someone count?

4. I was published in Writers Digest.
Nope, not yet. Sooner or later I will bite the bullet and enter one of there contests. I swear!

5. I live in a fairly old and very creaky Colonial in the country.
I hope to in the next year. It's a goal for me and hubby. And if not Colonial, something of the sort. But definitely back to country living at some level.

6. I killed my cousin.
I attacked and then choked my older first cousin till he turned blue and briefly passed out. It had been coming for years. That day he was messing with my sister and you do not mess with family--unless the family is doing the messing.

I told you--long long fuse with a big boom.

7. I use to 'dance' in college. It paid good.
I enjoyed dancing with friends in college, but not professionally. ;-) But I was mistaken for a local stripper by the old lady who sold me flowers every Sunday down at the market. She kept calling me 'Star' and then apologize. She would always give me this odd little smile, like I was lying. Maybe I was...

Photo courtesy SXC.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Finds and Friends: Thank You's and a Award.

I have a couple thank you's and a award to pay forward this Friday. First, a big long over due thank you to the ever multi-tasking and always generouse Lydia Kang at The World is My Oyster for the wonderful opportunity to win this...
...and a few other of it's deliciously wonderful smelling friends from...

I am LOVING the lavender soap. Thank you so much for the chance to enter your contest and congrats on making it past 300 followers. It was a wonderful prize. I am now no doubt hooked on the stuff!

Also, be sure to check out Doc Lydia's blog every Monday for Medical Mondays. Have a fiction related question regarding health and medicine, visit HERE and e-mail Lydia your question.

And a shout out and thank you to The Words Crafter over at The Rainy Day Wander, for awarding me The Bold Face Liar Creative Writer Award. I sort of hoping to get one of these. I love the concept. First, I am a wonderful liar. It's just true. But I have used it more for good and entertainment, I swear... *smirk* And second, I think a good fiction writer is a good liar. We fabricate stories around bits of truth and fiction, and then swindle others into believing the entirety of it. Journalist peddle the truth, Fiction Writers craft amazing lies. I truely have found my place.

So thank you my dear Words Crafter, and I shall pay this bit of fun forward. FYI, if you are not following this chick you are not one of the cool kids. So go HERE and enjoy yourself. You will find few bloggers so creative, supportive and thoughful of others in the bloggisphere.

So, the Rules atached to The Bold Face Liar Award...

The Bold Face Liar Creative Writer Award requires you to:

1. Thank the person who gave you the award and link to them.

2. Add the award to your blog.

3. Tell six outrageous lies about yourself and one truth. (Another variant: Tell six truths and one outrageous lie. YOU get to guess which variant I chose – and which statements are true, as well as which are lies.)

4. Nominate six creative liars writers and post links to them.

5. Let your nominees know that they have been nominated.

Can you figure out which group I went with? 6 lies or 6 truths? We'll see.

1. I visit China with my husband every 2-3 years.

I've seen a ghost.

3. I've talked a person out of killing someone.

4. I was published in Writers Digest.

5. I live in a fairly old and very creaky Colonial in the country.

6. I killed my cousin.

7. I use to 'dance' in college. It paid good.

Now you tell me if I won this award fairly. =^.^=

And I award The Bold Face Liar Award to...

1. Cort Ellyn at Wordweaver

2. Justin W. Parente at In My Write Mind

3. Old Kitty at Ten Lives and Second Chances

4. Roland at Writing In The Crosshairs (Because ya are ;-D)

5. Summer Ross at My Inner Fairy

DL at Cruising Altitude

And a extra Bold Face Liar award goes out to whoever guesses my lie or truth first!!!!

Thanks all, and I hope to have some more blogfests and contests up for your viewing soon. And check out all the nice folks above. They're a batch of great 'liars' and blogging friends!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

WIP Wednesday: Writing Recycling (And My Weekend at a Glance)

Sooooo. Have ya ever recycled bits of one WIP to feed another WIP? I assume you have. This 'recycling' is often what sparked the new WIP in the first place. A scene or a character didnt quite fit the project you were working on, but you liked it. So you kept it like the treasure hunting magpie that writers are and at some point it began to germinate into it's own story.

But what about using a piece of WIP from a Fan Fiction you wrote? I know the disclaimer--the characters and the story do not belong to me....blah blah blah. But what if the story bit was out of story cannon or non-specific of the original characters created for the original work of fiction? It's your writing right???? Writers find inspiration in others works all the time, don't they?

It's a topic that has crossed my mind now and then. I was wondering if anyone else has come across a similar dilemma?

BTW, Napoli (pictured in his favorite hiding place--my grocery bags) say's "Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. And remember my cat treat."

Below is a bit from a Mentalist Fan Fiction I am hoping to recycle into my present WIP, Ghost Mountain. It would not be word for word do to the many differences in the characters and works, but the gist would be there.

"Just the slightest touch from him was beginning to feel like the biggest leap into the unknown. So many voices of reason and experience told her to take her hand away, but so much of what she needed—what she knew he needed, was allowing his fingers to entwine with her own and hold tight. She simply needed to trust…"


As for this past week and weekend--and the reason I've been off the grid more than usual. Jim and I headed off to Cherry Springs PA, about 3 hours from our home in Ohio. Once again we enjoyed some camping, hiking, stargazing and a whole bunch of astrophotography (i.e. half our gear consisted of astronomy, computer and photography equipment).

We stayed from the 1st to the 6th. A long hall this time but worth the stay.

These are just a few images I took of our camp site on the astronomy field, the valley below our elevation (2,300 feet), and a few misc photo's including a engineered image my husband took of the Milky Way last trip.

photo by Jim Murray

And then, when we got home Monday, we unpacked some of our gear and headed off to the county fair...

Come one, come all! Welcome to the 164th year of the Canfield Fair!

For every year I have been alive I have gone to this mainstay of Mahoning County. One would think I'd tire of the giant pumpkins, row after row of animal barns, craft barns and exhibits, rides, funnel cakes and tractor pulls but alas I have not nor do I see this happening anytime soon.

The fair represents something to me--something pure and happy and unchanging in its way. And after 164 years, it is nostalgia of the very best sort for this country girl. And the best way to say so long to Summer and greet the Fall.

And these last few years, I have found a way to participate in this event. By entering the Fine Arts and Photography exhibit with my husband Jim.

My entries this year...

I hope all of ya had a great Labor Day weekend and I'll type at ya Friday!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sunday Musings From Under the Steps: Doing Great by Great People

I believe that the acts, struggles and triumphs of good men and women are not solely owned by the race or nationality in which they came. Although the places from which these individuals hail, should take great pride in and take honest advantage of their native son and daughters greatness, I believe the good works of such good people should be shared with all of humankind.


Do you believe in God? Buddha? The Great Spirit? Allah? Yahweh? The Goddess? Non-denominational? Many Gods or no Gods at all? A city dweller or of country kin? Blue collar or white? Silver spoon or plastic spoon? The list can go on with our differences, but the simplest thing that brings us together is that we are all human and in possession of a soul.

Because in the end, strip it all away and you are left with the fact that we are all human. Try as some may to separate themselves from the rest of humanity, we are all flesh and blood homo sapiens with souls.

I believe that a good person is one who not only understands this but lives by it. This man or woman reaches across race, religion and nationality and inspires ALL of us with their words and actions...

"In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force...

...And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." ..."

~~~Martin Luther King, Jr. Quotes from "I Have a Dream" delivered 28 August 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.

photo unknown

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

WIP Wednesday: Another Lesson Learned

The best laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft a-gley.

~~~ Robert Burns ("To a Mouse")

[Popularly misquoted as: The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray]

When beginning and following through with any project, one must be a good judge and scheduler of time. I was neither this weekend or even now, while I write this post. But I had the best intentions...

Like most of you, I have personal and professional obligations in my life. In order to keep those obligations met, I follied my writing and blogging time. I could have scheduled better. Coulda Woulda Shoulda.

Lesson learned: Continue to advertise others Blogfests and Contests. It's fun to do, good for the writing community and it's just good karma. But... NEVER enter one unless you have the time to visit other entries and give them the time you hope they give to you. It's just the right thing to do--the fair thing.

I wish all of you luck and a better scheduled week than mine. I hope to stop by and see a few of you soon.

Good day and good writing!



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