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Help my friend win!


My friend and fellow author, Shannon Winslow entered a short story contest for Jane Austen lovers. There are currently 86 short stories competing in a popularity contest to make it to the top 10. The top 10 are then judged for possible inclusion in an anthology!

If you can spare a moment, please vote for #16 in the Jane Austen Made Me Do It contest:

Voting continues till the end of the month, but only one vote per person, so please tell your friends too!


Just a brief note to inform you…



Just got word from PI that my sis is alive, and pinned down to at least one country. (Yeah, I know that sounds weird. Long story. >_> )

It’s not much, but it is so much better than picturing a corpse in a field somewhere. ^^

There will now be much dancing and celebrating. Sorry for the interruption of your expected schedule. Have a good day!

Beware Writers: A Good Book Can Kill You.


I found another one of those books today. No, not the kind you may be thinking of. It isn’t badly written. It doesn’t make me groan. I am not being forced to read it. Quite the opposite. These books don’t kill you. They’re just really annoying to get through.

I’m talking about the kind of book that seems to attach itself to your fingers like it was cemented there. Sleep? What sleep? It’s only 2AM. You can fit in one more chapter. Well, maybe another one. And another.

Unfortunately, there are 6 of these horrible books in a row. I have 4 of them. I’ve read 3.5 so far. I was in the bathroom at 3AM last night hiding so I wouldn’t wake anybody while I read just one more chapter.

God help me if someone buys me another from this series. I need to know what happens, but at the same time, I gotta sleep sometime.


On the other hand, I only have 200 pages to go in the 4th book…at this rate, I could have rest of series finished in a couple of days.

Woof Wednesday


OMG! I'm not ready for my close-up yet!

Since my sister disappeared, my mother and I have spoken almost daily on the phone. I’m surprised how much I enjoy these conversations, since most of the time I keep phone calls down to once every 3 months. I don’t mean to be anti-social. I just hate phones. Unfortunately, phone is the only way to reach my parents these days.

There is no new news on my sister, but my mother is doing something new. She started writing for Associated Content. The economy has been tough on everyone, and my mother is currently unemployed. I’m not doing so well with my job either. She proudly told me she’d made $120 this month.

“$120 isn’t that much,” I pointed out.

“It’s $120 more than I had before,” she shot back.

She had a point. So, bowing to my mother’s advice, I spent the weekend working on dog related articles to submit to Associated Content. My assistant, Rocco the Chihuahua, was glad to help. ^^ Together we wrote and got pictures for an article on tooth brushing and ear cleaning for dogs. We had a blast, and Rocco was soooo proud he could help mom do anything.

Because I had so much fun doing it, I’m going to keep doing it, and post the links as/if they get published every Wednesday. ^^ I hope some of you will consider reading my articles, and passing them on to anyone you know who has dogs. I’d really love to try my hand at becoming a full-time freelancer, even if it does mean mom was right…

The divide between life and writing


My sister disappeared on 01/13/11. Her last words to me, filled with all the heat and passion of someone who knows they’re doing wrong, “I’ll call you when I’m state side.” She never did. The past few weeks have been a never ending roller coaster of stress and panic as a private detective, FBI, and police in two different countries search for my sister. To raise the stakes, she flat out told me the name of the person she was going to go visit, a person with five rape convictions.

Yeah. They can’t find him either.

I try to keep my personal life out of this blog, but every now and again my personal life and writing collide. The truth is that through all this, a small little voice in the back of my head keeps whispering, “If you ever find her, this would make such a great book.”

It doesn’t help that when I share the full story of what has happened so far, most people mention that you couldn’t come up with a better novel. I know that, but at the same time it is right at my limit for how personal I’m willing to make my writing.

I think we all have our limits. How much of our inner-selves we are willing to reveal to the public. The problem with that is that the story closest to your soul is the one most likely to touch your readers. Powerful fiction isn’t just a story with a plot and theme and characters. It’s the inner workings of another person’s heart, and that’s what people are buying when they hit the bookstores.

I don’t know whether I’m going to turn this into a story or not. I keep a notebook full of thoughts I have related to my sister, and I stay on the phone with my parents as they tell me what the police are trying next. I don’t know if writing this story would be healing, or harmful. I just don’t know.

I am quite sure none of you have had an experience quite like this one in your life, but perhaps you’ve got an epic story of your own. Have you told it? Fictionalized it? How did it impact your writing?

I’d love to know.

Outlining Part II – Thanks for your help!


I got a ton of great responses to my post, “Someone give me a kick in the pants. >.<“

For those who haven’t read it, it’s about my attempt at outlining an already completed manuscript, so that I can fix the plot holes without rewriting the entire novel 978 times. It seemed like the entire writing community gathered together to respond, covering every angle of outlining from seat-of-the-pants-never-done-it to 10 step programs on how to outline in style.

I loved all of your responses. In fact, I actually grabbed one of them for my own use. ^^ Today is show and tell: My rendition of Ellie’s sticky note project. Check it out:

First we get our poster board. Hello Mr. Poster board!

Then we add marker, and make it all pretty and girly, cause we’re silly like that. ^^

Then we get serious with…post-it notes!

Wait, does that character really appear in that chapter? Rearrange.

I’m only to chapter 7 in fixing stuff, so I didn’t bother preparing the rest. This is what my project looks like as of now. ^^ I can read the whole thing easily from my desk, which tells me it’s going to be awesome for beating things out while I’m working on the novel itself…don’t have to keep flipping back and forth between pages/documents!

Thanks everyone for your thoughts. This is wonderful!

Someone give me a kick in the pants. >.<


I’m sure everyone has noticed how little I’ve been posting here recently, although in my defense I’ve posted 12-13 new blogs on The Written Connection. I’ll confess to you, it’s because I’m doing something very new and hard on my novel, and even though I haven’t written a single word on the novel itself, I’ve made a lot of progress.

Remember how I said I was trying noveling in reverse? It helped a little bit, but the same issue that has been cropping up over and over again happened even trying to write that way. The last chapter I mentioned writing is still usable, but every time I fill in a plot hole, regardless of which end of the novel I’m working on, it changes something else that I just wrote and I lose yet more words.

I’m tired of chasing my own tail this way. I’ve probably written and deleted 500,000 words just trying to get this paltry 60,000 exactly the way I want it. Enough is enough.

So I’ve been working on something new since my last blog post. Newer than noveling in reverse…I’m outlining. I write down each chapter, what happens, what’s going on in each plot thread, and how to resolve the plot hole in that particular section. So far I’ve gotten 3 chapters done, and yes, I’ve had to go back and make some changes to several chapters to make those changes work.

The difference? It’s a one line sentence of what I’m eventually going to change rather than a full chapter with thousands of words I need to completely rewrite.

I’m also dashing out to the store to get myself a piece of posterboard to graph this bad boy on. If it works, I’ll show it to you. ^^

Happy writing everyone! I’m diving back in for another go.

Announcement for The Written Connection

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While you can still find The Written Connection at I am no longer updating it because my computer crashed horribly, and gaining access to that website is a nightmare on my laptop. Since wordpress itself is a lot easier to access on my stoneage hunk o’ junk and my snazzy droid, I’m going to move all the old posts over to…

and continue adding new writing related links there. ^^ Meanwhile, I’ve got something else to share…


Now you too can share the love by linking your fellow writers together with the snazzy button above! ^^ Eventually I’ll get the HTML code all put together too, so you can just be lazy and cut and paste.

That’s it for now. Happy blogging fellow writers!

To a little girl: Thank you!


Somewhere on this bright sunny day in Washington, there is a little girl who did a big thing for a beginning author. Obviously the odds are quite low that she will read this, but if she does, if she finds this blog, I hope she realizes just how much her simple action means to me.

What great huge thing did she do? What marvelous action of heroic preportions?

Today, I left my notebook in the ladies bathroom of the local library, while carefully remembering my coat and purse. The notebook was precariously close to the sinks, which had suffered from a day of concerned women ridding their hands of germs.

Soap and water are not good for notebooks.

Oblivious to the fact that my notebook was in immediate peril, I strolled out of the library, mind completely submerged in what I’d just spent over 2 hours on sitting in a chair in the library–the ending to my novel. (Not the last chapter mind, but the two chapters or so before that.)

I was getting excited, because these chapters represent a gap in the story I have to date been unable to fill. They represent far more than just a few words in a 90 cent notebook. They represented a very large portion of my heart.

Needless to say when I got home and trotted up the stairs to write all these jewels into my novel…I was not pleased. Where was my notebook?

I thought backwards, and realized just exactly where I’d left it.

Fortunately, when I returned to the library, panicked visions of what might have become of it in my head, I found out the truth.

Some nice little girl had rescued it from the sinks, and carried it to lost and found. I don’t know her name, but I do know she comes to the waist of the library lady, who was tickled by the sweetness of her good deed and wanted me to know about it.

I’m not tickled. It wasn’t just a sweet little act of goodness. It was an outright rescue. I’m so glad someone cared enough about my work (or at least about a 90 cent notebook) to take it to lost and found.

So I thank you little girl. I thank you.

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