• Blog

    My 2018 Bookish Goals!

    #BoutofBooks has all wrapped up! I can’t say I did amazingly at reading last week. My ambition to complete three books wasn’t quite fulfilled, though I did finish Wide Sargasso Sea and — er — start Salt to the Sea. That’s pretty good, right?

    nervous sweat

    What can I say? My time was monopolized. I got caught up in reading Fire and Fury, and it always takes me a long time to read nonfiction (even gossipy, salacious, less-than-substantive nonfiction) and, in my defense, I also started reading this really amazing fic Dirt, from The Last of Us. If only GoodReads let you count 200,000 word fanfics towards your yearly reading goal, am I right?

    Anyway, January is nearly half over (somehow. has anyone else accomplished exactly nothing so far this month? Just me? Oh, okay, cool. Just checking.) and it’s time to share some of my naively earnest goals for 2018.

    My 5 Bookish Goals for 2018

  • Blog

    November Update; On Plans, And What To Do When They Fall Apart

    In the last few weeks, there’s been a movement (or maybe a meme) for Millennials – at least those of us currently latched to our Twitter feeds, forced to watch the democratic institutions of our country implode 280 characters at a time – to binge watch Frasier on Netflix. It’s the new Thing, and I’ll admit I’ve been suckered in by the sudden influx of Frasier Discourse floating around. Though I’ve been lately falling asleep to an episode or so of Ken Burns The Roosevelt’s documentary, last night I watched two or three episodes of Frasier instead.

    I had forgotten what a funny, smartly written show it was, or how overtly dramatic Frasier Crane was over every single mild upset life threw his way. I get it, twitter peeps. Frasier Crane is literally all of us. We just didn’t know it at the time.

    Frasier, for those of us not well versed in their late 80’s, early 90’s sitcom lore, was a spin-off of Cheers – another binge-worthy show now available on Netflix. (Bring back Roseanne, Netflix, or I swear…). Cheers took place in a bar in Boston, where Frasier Crane and his (rather intense) wife Lilith were frequent secondary characters. To account for the existence of the spin-off, which relocated Frasier across the continental United States in his home town of Seattle, hosting a pop psychology radio show and begrudgingly allowing his father and a live-in care worker to live with him in his lavish, eclectic apartment, conveniently in the eye of the space needle, it was told to us in the Pilot that Frasier had divorced Lilith and moved back home for a new chapter of his life. Because of this unexpected turn in the path, he had to leave his son behind, his practice, and everything he thought he had built in Boston.

    Something struck me towards the end of the Pilot episode. During his radio show, where he gives advice to call-in patients, Frasier takes a call from someone who says she has just broken up with her boyfriend of eight years and cannot stop crying. Is she mourning the relationship, she asks? Frasier explains that no, she isn’t. She is mourning the life she had thought she had planned for herself, but which has now been completely reshuffled.

    I thought that was such a poignant and insightful observation – that sometimes the plans we make fall apart, and not only do we have to adjust to this new reality, but we have to give ourselves the time and the space to mourn the story we had written in our heads of The Way Things Are Going To Be, and which now seems dashed, foiled, scrubbed out.

  • Blog

    A (Not So Happy) Hiatus

    Happy Writer is going on hiatus for the next little while. There won’t be a new post tomorrow, and I’ve unscheduled the posts that were coming up for the next week. As you might know, I live in Southwest Florida, which is currently in the path of Hurricane Irma. We’ve evacuated from Fort Myers, where the hurricane is potentially making landfall, but were only able to get up to my sister’s house in Sarasota — still in the hurricane’s path. Irma should be weaker by the time she reaches us up here, and my sister is at a good elevation. We should be fine.

    Just in case, though, I thought I would put this blog on a hiatus, since I will probably lose power and wouldn’t be able to respond to comments or promote tomorrow’s post.

    Happy thoughts, guys. I’ll update as soon as the storm has passed.

  • Blog

    What Does My Desk Look Like?

    I love seeing other writers’ set ups, where they work, what little items they have on their desks, the beautiful books they fill their shelves with … basically, I spend way too much time scrolling through Instagram pictures of other people’s bedrooms, an act which sounds so much worse put down in print.

    Full disclosure, I usually spend most of my writing time either bundled up in bed or outside on the porch, but these pictures of my desk are too pretty not to share.

    Desk with apple computer and gallery wall of artwork

    Why, yes, I do have way too many Funko Pops. The three-tiered magnet board has a post-it note outline of one of the books I’m writing!

  • Blog

    Beautiful People Couple’s Edition!

    This month’s Beautiful People, a link-up for writers hosted by Cait @ PaperFury and Sky @ Further Up and Further is all about couples. 

    Full disclosure: I meant to post this yesterday, Valentine’s Day. Wouldn’t that have been perfect? A romance-themed post for the most romantic day of the year? Well. I was too busy eating my weight in chocolate and heart-shaped pizza to even think of making this post. BUT, it is still February, I still have pink paper hearts hanging all over my house, so it is still as good a time as any to answer questions about my favorite couple in my WIP!

    First, we have Ol.

    Brown hair, beard, square jaw, perpetually growling, usually caked in a layer of grime, great lover and drawer of maps, depthless fount of information, has little to no patience, gets things done.

    And then Simon.

    Artist, working as an elementary school art teacher, messy black hair, glasses, cinnamon roll, sweet as candy, bitingly sarcastic, self-sacrificing, needs to learn to stand up for himself, kind as can be.

    Now, onto the questions!

  • Blog

    My 2017 Writing Goals

     It’s 2017, and, I have to tell you, I’m very happy about that fact. See, 2016 was about as flaming a pile of dog feces for me as it was for most everyone else. I had many memorably terrible days, lost two family pets to old age, had periods of depression that stalled my writing progress immensely, and basically just felt like a failure for most of that calendar year. So. I was pretty happy to be slamming the gas pedal on December 31st and watch 2016 diminishing in the rearview mirror.

    The first couple weeks of January have been rough, though, as my mom and I were both clobbered by a sinus infection/congested cough that would not release us from its sticky, snotty, feverish grip. So, here it is January 12, and I’m only just now starting to feel like a Productive Human Being again (who still occasionally coughs up quarter-sized gobs of mucus. Disgusting, but the constant and sudden expulsion of bodily fluids has become so normalized in this household that I’m utterly desensitized to the grossness.) Since I’m now ready to Get My Life Together (also known as being ready to Make Great Plans I May Never Take Any Strides to Actually Accomplish), I’m participating in PaperFury’s Beautiful Books: 2017 Writing Goals link up. Because I really, really do intend to make 2017 a year full of words.

    Onto the questions.

  • Blog,  For Writers

    Quick and Messy Writing Tip: Let Your Characters Disagree

    Say your characters are standing before the moss-draped opening of a dark, gloomy cave, and they’re deciding whether or not to go in.

    You know they need to, because there’s a glimmering, all-powerful gem in that cave they need to find (as well as a nine-legged creature with slobbery fangs and poison barbs guarding it.) The question is, how do they get into the cave?

    Character A saying, “Let’s go in” and Characters B and C nodding and saying, “Sure, that sounds good” might get them through the door, but it doesn’t lend much by way of excitement — or character development.

    Agreeing, in fiction, isn’t nearly as exciting as disagreeing.

  • Blog,  For Writers,  WIP Wednesday

    Using Weather to Set the Tone in your Writing (WIP Wednesday)

    It’s time once again for Work In Progress Wednesday, the weekly link-up where we talk about our stories! This week’s theme is: Some Weather We’re Having! 

    What’s the weather like in your fictional world? Show us snippets of your best sunsets, your most temperamental thunderstorms; mood boards of your constellations or cloudy skies!

    I definitely use weather to set the mood and tone for my story. There are so many ways you can use a stormy sky or sunny day or sudden influx of toaster-oven-sized-hail in a scene.

    Weather can be used to reflect a character’s current mood.

    Use weather as a mirror. Weather can reflect a character’s mood, whether they’re grumpy, or scattered, or raging, or indecisive. Think of how many movies set their final scenes in a gushing rainstorm or blackest night that, once the villain has been defeated, recedes so the sun can shine down once again. (Literally, The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, and Harry’s defeat of Voldemort in Deathly Hallows all come to mind.)

    Or, weather can be used as a tool, to warn the reader about what’s coming next.

    Something unique I’m trying to do with my MS is that, if it’s raining during a scene, you can’t trust the conclusion the character’s coming to. Someone is lying, or they’re operating under a falsehood, or their perceptions of what’s going on are just not quite right.

    The ominous rolling of thunder clouds in the distance can alert a reader that something terrible lurks on their horizon.

    Weather can also provide extra details to flesh out a scene.

    Stormy skies don’t always have to be symbolic or reflective of your character’s tumultuous inner state; sometimes, your characters just need to have some squelching socks they need to deal with.

    Think about how many scenes in Harry Potter are accompanied by rainy, drippy conditions on the Hogwarts grounds. Harry tracking mud through the castle. His robes sodden. That Quidditch game where it rained so badly he couldn’t see through his glasses. Weather brings Hogwarts to life, and the little ways in which the pouring rain or gusting windstorms affect the characters are details that make the story tactile and vibrant.

    Anyway, them’s my thoughts on using weather. Let’s get to the snippets!

  • Blog,  WIP Wednesday

    Danger in my WIP #WIPWednesday

    This week’s WIP Wednesday theme is about danger in your WIP. Here’s the official prompt:

    Show us a character in danger. (Doesn’t have to be physical danger, maybe they’re in danger of revealing a secret, or falling in love, or flunking a big test because they were out all night being a werewolf, howling at the moon!)

    So, in my fantasy WIP, The Other Side, my characters a stressful amount of time in life-or-death threatening situations. Here’s a few snippets from one of them, a Nightmare attack (a savage thunderstorm that plays with reality to torture whoever it happens to fall on) taking place in a treetop city: