What do writers really need to survive?


I’ve been thinking about Hawaii rather a lot lately. I’m not sure if it’s the place I miss so much, as the wealth of experiences I absorbed. I drew my first serious picture in Hawaii, waiting for my laundry to finish at the laundromat. I went kayaking for the first time. I went snorkeling for the first time. I had my 7,310th near death experience snorkeling, actually…which lead to a brilliant idea for a story, but never mind that.

I spent all day, every day, for 7 days with my husband. He usually works 7 days a week, so the fact that we had that much time together was priceless. It was such a beautiful time for me, and though I didn’t write a single word while in Hawaii, I’ve written thousands since that have greatly benefited from that trip.

Thinking back on it, I sort of wonder if experiences like these are necessary for the everyday writer. I’m not talking about needing something as grand as a trip to Hawaii, but needing to have new experiences if not daily, than frequently?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one. Are you a writer? Do you have this need? How do you fill it?

Please share. I look forward to your comments.


Noveling in Reverse


I said I was giving up on novels, but in my defense, I also said I was gonna finish my current manuscripts first. I don’t know what happened yesterday, but it struck me that the obvious way to resolve almost every issue involving A Mage Without Magic is to try writing it backwards.

Yes, that’s right, backwards.

You see, I love getting my characters into trouble, but I’ve never been all that good at getting them out of trouble again. Last night, I woke up around midnight, with the perfect vision of how the last chapter of my story would go, and I wrote all 1,500 words of it the second I had the thought.

Of course, that leaves how she got to the point she’s at, but at least I know who is with her in the end and who isn’t. ^^ Makes the rest of the story a lot easier, since most of my writing involves a whole lot of stumbling around in the dark.

1,500 is also the most I’ve ever written on any story all at once, so no laughing at how little it is. I’m so proud of myself!

Now seeing as that worked, let us see if I can figure out which of my characters wants to control a whole bunch of mages, and how s/he gets stopped.


One of these days I’ll get it right…


5 replies back for my short stories, 5 of them rejections, all of them fairly positive ones. I seem to be suffering from an inability to send the right story to the right publication, which I suppose is better than suffering from an inability to write well.

So far I’ve been told my pieces are too contemporary, too long, too short, or not quite the right tone. All publications invited me to submit again, or revise and resubmit same piece. None of these rejections hurt my feelings overly much, but invites to resubmit always make me happy. ^^

I hope everyone else is doing good with their writing.

Dialing in your creative mind.


My loving husband showed me his undying affection yesterday by buying me a gun. It’s a 10/22 Ruger, second-hand, with enough gunpowder residue hiding under the bolt to make me wonder if it has ever been cleaned. Believe it or not, I’ve wanted this gun ever since I found out it could hold a 50 round drum, vs. my .22 bolt action, which I love to shoot, but don’t love to load.

What does this have to do with writing? Well, when he bought me the rifle, he also bought me a scope. And the scope my friend, is not dialed in. This means that when I shoot at the target with my 10/22…I don’t hit the target. We spent all yesterday at the range, shooting endlessly, trying to get it accurate. It now more or less hits the target, and we both agree it needs to go see a gunsmith.

Being the writer that I am, I couldn’t help but compare this to how we authors learn how to write. We hear a lot of complaints in the writing world about writer’s block, and how to deal with it, and I’ve never heard of a single writer on earth who got tired of reading a pro rehash his writing schedule for the umpteen thousandth time.

Why is that?

Well, as my husband was looking through the spotting scope, yelling things like “A little to the left,” and “higher” and seeing his hand reach over every once in awhile to adjust the dial, I realized…that’s why.

I think there is a writer in everybody. I think we all have an equal chance of making it to the bestseller list. The difference between those who have writer’s block, and those who don’t, isn’t how much talent you have, it’s how dialed in you are to that talent. We do writing exercises, try new genres, take new classes, not so much to improve the talent that is already there, but to see if that brings us closer to being the writer that we are.

We’ll never be Nora Roberts, or Stephen King, because that’s not necessarily how we focus. We can be that good, but only if we stop mimicking the greats, and start teasing out what writing style makes us great in our own right.

Anyway, that’s my two cents for the day. I’d love to hear your thoughts, and how you’re coming along in dialing in your writing scope.

Oh yeah, cover letters…

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The Invisible Prince is on its way to Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Duotrope puts them at an almost 2% acceptance rate. Again, not the greatest of odds, but not the worst either.

This is the first place I’ve submitted to that asks for a cover letter. It has been over three years since I’ve written a cover letter. I had to look up what it was supposed to contain. If any of you are ever looking to write a short story cover letter, this is essentially what it needs to say:

Dear [editor’s name],

Here’s my short story, “Name”. (I formalize this a little bit, and added word count.)

My publishing credits are as follows… (Don’t include this if you don’t have any)

Thank you for your time,


Yup, that’s all there is to it! Since you include your manuscript with the cover letter, there is no point in describing the story itself. Ah, what peace!

Write 1 Sub 1 update


I have written one short story for the write 1 sub 1 contest. I’m calling it “The Invisible Prince” right now. I also submitted 1 flash fiction, in old piece called “Crayons” to Glimmer Train. I don’t expect an acceptance, as Dutrope puts them at 0.5% acceptances, but I feel good about the submission. It’s one of my better pieces, and frankly, I’m tired of sticking to semi-pro markets just cause I know I’ll be accepted. >_>

Wish me luck everyone!

Got this from WordPress

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The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meterâ„¢ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 2,500 times in 2010. That’s about 6 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 91 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 22 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 4mb. That’s about 2 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was July 29th with 89 views. The most popular post that day was Pardon me, is that an adverb in your best-seller?.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were WordPress Dashboard, twitter.com, ekcarmel.wordpress.com, google.com, and reflectionsfromacloudymirror.blogspot.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for am kuska, what’s a character theme, escaping technology, character workshop, and what is the best theme song for your character.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Pardon me, is that an adverb in your best-seller? July 2010


About July 2010


Writing Buddies July 2010
9 comments and 1 Like on WordPress.com,


Enough Already! August 2010
10 comments and 1 Like on WordPress.com,


The Idea Box August 2010


1 Comment

If you get a chance, drop by 10flash, a quarterly e-zine for flash fiction. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by consistently enjoyable fiction. I read all of the most recent issue, and liked all but 2 or 3 of them. That’s pretty good, considering how picky I am.

Anyway, give it a shot.

Writer’s…a bit of advice.


Please think of your readers before you send out your story for submission. For the third time in a row, I have read a beautiful story. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve enjoyed EVERY PAGE of the whole novel.

Until the last chapter.

When the whole point of the novel is ruined by a writer who just can’t resist adding one more twist. “Tee hee! You never saw this one coming! I’m a good writer, because I have a twist!”

No. You’re not. The story was complete, touchingly rendered, handled with care…and then butchered in the last chapter, which feels tacked onto the end of the story.

Stop it! Just tell the story and leave it at that. >_>

Rant over.

Write 1 Sub 1

1 Comment


I’ve tentatively entered the less insane version of this competition. Mostly because I’ve already have a small list of stories available to sub, and I know I’m capable of writing two short stories a month. Besides, I’ve already entered 3 competitions, and all of them in one month. If I can do that, I can definitely do this. Right?

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