The Magic City

The Magic City

Friday, September 24, 2010

Revist the Void in ReVamped

I cannot express my gratitude to author J.F. Lewis for agreeing to be the first interview for the ImagiCon blog.  The mass market paperback release of his second book, ReVamped, is scheduled for September 28.  Author, Author! is offering an advanced taste of ImagiCon 2011 by offering 20% off ReVamped.  The mass market paperback includes a teaser chapter from the third book in the Void City series, Crossed.

J.F. Lewis lives in Birmingham, Alabama with his patient wife, two adorable sons, an ornery Akita, and a very hyper Labrador-mix puppy.  He decided that he wanted to be a writer when a supposed creative writing teacher questioned his sanity and suggested therapy.  An avid reader, J also enjoys sushi, popcorn, lukewarm sodas, and old black and white movies. His two favorite activities are singing lullabies to his kids at bedtime and typing into the wee hours of the morning. Fortunately, like the protagonist of his Void City novels, the author takes very little sleep.

In Staked, we travel to Void City to meet Eric, a vampire with a short term memory problem and a volatile temper.  Who is Eric, and what furry problems come his way?

I tend to think of Eric as kind of a vampire John McClane gone terribly wrong.  He didn’t want to be a vampire, but now that he’s spent forty years as one, he’s not the kind of guy who would whine about it.  He tries to keep to his own little area of Void City, but that doesn’t ever seem to work out for him.  In the first book, he runs afoul of some evangelical werewolves from the Lycan Diocese.  They think he’s killed the son of the local Alpha.  Eric honestly isn’t sure whether he has or not, but it certainly seems like something he might have done, so he’s not trying to protest his possible innocence too loudly.   That’s a big part of the mystery in Staked.  Is Eric being set up?  And if so, by whom?
In ReVamped, life for the undead gets even more complicated.  What trouble finds Eric?

Heh.  In ReVamped I got to write an evil undead flesh-eating classic American pony car.  What more is there to say?  The second book pits Eric up against two things he really hates:  Demons and High Society Vampires.  Eric is strictly a working man’s vampire, so the more… elite… vampires really piss him off.  But he winds up having to try to work with them (some of them anyway) in order to get back a soul the demons have stolen.  It’s the soul of someone very close to Eric but I can’t really say much more without spoiling the ending for Staked.

Crossed, which is coming out in January, takes Eric from Void City to Paris. Can you give us a hint at what adventures and disasters await?

Wedding bells and a honeymoon gone wrong.  By book three, Eric has a good idea what is really going on with his wonky powers.  He is also finally figuring out how he became a vampire in the first place and what his family curse entails.  I went a little crazy with the third book and used Greta’s point of view for part of the novel.  She’s way more terrifying than Eric.

What is your writing process?  Do you outline, or are you a pantser?

I start with a character and a situation then go from there.  So… pantser.  Sometimes I have scenes in mind that I want to get to, and I might have an idea of how I want a story arc to end or issues I want to explore, but for me, writing is pretty much a case of everything flowing from that first scene.  Then I have to go back through everything and make sure there is a coherent plot, even if it takes an extra draft or two to get it just right. 

What is the worst writing advice you've received?

One of my college creative writing instructors told me to stop wasting my time on genre fiction, because, according to him, it’s a “masturbatory effort”.   His comments made me mad enough to write a novel, though…

Many thanks again to J.F. Lewis for agreeing to be the guinea pig for this first interview.  Please visit his website. You can also follow him on Facebook and/or on his blog.

Be sure to mark your calendar for ImagiCon 2011 where you can see J.F. Lewis and many other fantastic authors who we will be featuring on this blog in upcoming weeks.

Don't forget to check out Author, Author! for its special offer of  20% off ReVamped.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Contests: Testing the Waters

October 11 is the deadline to enter the Linda Howard Award of Excellence.  Last year, I entered. It was my first contest, and it was a fantastic experience.  The entry fee was reasonable, and I received constructive, but supportive feedback.  Not only did I receive great critiques, but also I earned an opportunity to have my manuscript reviewed by an editor for one of my dream publishers.  I cannot encourage people enough to participate in this contest.

As a result of the positive experience I had with the Linda Howard Award of Excellence, I started looking at other contests.  But there are so many. How do I know which ones to enter? I'm tight with a dollar, and it is difficult to know which of the dozens and dozens contests are right for me.  This could easily turn expensive.   My primary criteria have been the final round judges and cost.  If the judge is an agent or editor who I would love to place eyeballs on my writing, I am much more likely to enter the contest.  However, I'm not willing to pay $75 for the chance.  Call me cheap. I won't deny it.

I would love to hear everyone's contest opinions, pro and con, as well as recommendations of contests where they've have positive experiences.

Oh, and if I forgot to mention it, the deadline to enter the Linda Howard Award of Excellence ( is October 11.  Why are you reading this blog?  Shouldn't you be getting your entry ready?  Go on now . . . get to entering!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Linda Howard Award of Excellence - Enter Now!

Linda Howard Award of Excellence

Southern Magic’s 2011 Linda Howard Award of Excellence for unpublished writers

No synopsis needed for first round judging.
Discounts for entering early and/or for judging other categories.
Early bird deadline October 1, 2010
Entry deadline October 11, 2010
Finalists can revised their entry before going to final judge.

We are now taking entries!

For rules and entry form, check it out at


Series/Short & Long Contemporary - Susan Litman, Editor, Harlequin

Single Title - Latoya Smith, Editor, Grand Central Publishers

Romantic Suspense - Kate Collins, Senior Editor, Ballantine

Historical - Margo Lipschultz, Associate Editor

Unique Genres (Paranormal, Futuristic, Fantasy, Time Travel) - Melissa Frain, Editor, Tor

Young Adult - Alicia Condon, Editorial Director, Kensington

The Write Magic - For Southern Magic members only - Sara Megibow, Associate Agent, Nelson Literary Agency

Be sure to tell everyone about it. Go the website (link above) and check out the details.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Promise of a Long Weekend

Labor Day weekend, hello old friend.

I love the freedom of looking ahead three days and not seeing any appointments, depositions, or office hours. I've been on the road and in depositions a lot lately. A LOT.  Too much, in all candor.  I am relishing the idea of staying put in one place for more than a day.

Then the guilt hits.  Yep.  I feel it starting to nag me.  Right now it is whispering.  Somewhere around halftime of the Alabama game tomorrow, it will be yelling.  "Why aren't you making the most of this time?" "Do you really need to be on the internet?  Facebook will be there tomorrow." "Hasn't it been a while since you mopped?'  Buzz off guilt, it's my long weekend.

The promise of this long block of time is amazing.  I can finally get the things done that are on my "to do" list, and have been there since likely March.  Fall starts on Tuesday, as far as I am concerned.  That is the busiest time of year for my practice.  If I want to get any writing done, this is my last shot until November (NaNoWriMo you will not beat me this year!).

So here I go . . .  Scrivener is open . . . Hands are on the keyboard . . . Butt is in the chair . . . Time to write.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Too much travel makes a girl weary. And I am beat.  But I finally came to the realization as to why I need to get a Nook or Kindle.

Last week I flew to Rhode Island for a deposition. The flights weren't too long, but the layovers were. I packed three books to take with me (I'm a fast reader). I polished off two books with the flight up and first night in the hotel. Work occupied enough of my time, that I didn't crack open the third book until I arrived at the airport for the flight home.

Did I mention I arrived at the airport about five hours before my flight was scheduled to leave? (Work was done, and I hoped I could charm my way onto an earlier flight). I tore through book three, polishing it off before I hit my three hour layover in Charlotte.  I needed another book. I really didn't want to offer up my kidney to the airport bookstore in exchange for more reading material seeing as how I'd given them other organs for a Diet Coke and Twizzlers.

I totally understand the wisdom behind an E-reader now. If I'd had a Nook or Kindle, I would have had a huge library at my disposal and/or could have quickly bought another book.  No, this is not a commercial (although if the good people at Amazon or Barnes and Noble want to send me anything, I wouldn't refuse it), just an observation based on my personal experience.

So, in an effort to procrastinate starting on the book I just outlined, I will be doing internet research today comparing the Nook and Kindle.  All input and comments are welcome!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Home Again

I am back from Killer Nashville in time to change out my suitcase and fly to Rhode Island to take a deposition. Fun, fun, fun.  More about the conference later!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Deborah Sharp Interview

I am thrilled that Deborah Sharp agreed to an interview for our blog.  As a reporter for USA Today for nearly two decades, she wrote about killer sharks, rampaging alligators, and human evil-doers.  Now, she entertains her readers with the ''Mace Bauer Mystery'' series, set in a sweet-tea-and-barbecue slice of her native Florida. The series debuted with ''Mama Does Time'' (Midnight Ink, 2008). Mama's out of the slammer and into the saddle in ''Mama Rides Shotgun''(July 2009.) In 2010's ''Mama Gets Hitched,'' Mama ties the sacred knot of matrimony . . . for the fifth time.

You can check out her website or become a fan of Mama on Facebook.

Who is your heroine, Mace Bauer?

Mace is an outdoorsy, independent Florida native who works at a nature park and traps nuisance critters on the side. She's a middle sister, and Mama's last unmarried daughter. Mama never misses a chance to remind Mace of that particular fact.  Mace is tough enough to rescue Mama from an alligator, but she can't manage to wrestle her love life into submission.

Who is Mama?

Mama is the much-married Rosalee Deveraux (soon to be Mrs. Sal Provenza), a Southern belle with a taste for sherbet-colored pantsuits, sweet pink wine, and gambling with the Seminoles. 

In your first book, Mama Does Time, we first meet Mace and Mama.  What sort of troubles do they encounter?

The first book really sets the tone for the whole series: Mama has a penchant for landing in trouble; Mace will always have to to haul her butt out of it. 

Mama's on the way home from gambling at the Seminole casino, when she gets a hankering for a butterscotch dipped ice cream cone. She pulls into the Dairy Queen in little Himmarshee, Fla, where a fender-bender reveals a body stuffed into the trunk of her turquoise convertible. The police wind up thinking she's the killer. It's up to Mace and her sisters to find the real culprit. If they can't, Mama goes to prison-- just like an embarrassing lyric in a country western song. 

In your second book, Mama Rides Shotgun, Mama convinces Mace to hit the Florida Cracker Trail.   How do they fare on this trip?

Badly, as you might expect. The week-long horseback ride across Florida gets off to a nice start, despite Mama trying to lasso every available cowboy she sees for the still-single Mace. The trail soon turns to murder, though, when one of the wealthy cattle ranchers hosting the riders keels over dead in his Cowhunter Chili. Threatened by everything from rattlesnakes to runaway horses, Mace must corral a killer before the low-down varmint can strike again.
 Your third book, Mama Gets Hitched, was just released on July 1.  Publishers Weekly described the book in its review as ''charming.'' The review said: “Sibling rivalry, steamy romance, a surprising killer, and plenty of catfish and hush puppies make this Southern cozy a winner.”  What can you tell us about Mace’s newest mystery?

Who doesn't love a wedding? Mama loves them so much, she's fixin' to tie the sacred knot for the fifth time. Just because she's a serial bride, she sees no reason to tastefully scale back. She’s planning the Wedding of the Century – complete with a “Gone With the Wind’’ theme, her daughters in Scarlett O'Hara dresses, and a ring-bearing Pomeranian sporting a satin vest and top hat. What’s a Bridezilla to do, though, when her caterer turns up dead in the kitchen at the VFW, even before the first pig-in-a-blanket is passed? Mace must find the killer, or Mama’s Special Day could turn especially deadly. 

What is your writing process?

Not as disciplined as I wish it was! I do slack off a bit, but in my defense, I was tied to daily deadlines for 20-some years as a news reporter. When I left the news biz to pursue mystery-writing, I welcomed the chance to have a little more freedom. I was thrilled I wouldn't be a prisoner of the ticking clock, like I used to be. I do try to write a little bit every day. The upside is that I write quickly, so if I fall behind I can usually catch up.

I also write my first draft in long-hand (dinosaur-like!). I love the fact I can stick my cheapo spiral notebook in my backpack and go for a walk or a bike ride to the beach, to a coffee shop, to a bench along the New River in downtown Ft. Lauderdale, and get some writing done.

Today, I wrote while sitting on a marble bench in a cemetery, one of my favorite spots. Great atmosphere for a mystery writer, and very quiet!

What is the worst writing advice that you received?

This bit of advice was actually good for newspaper writing, but very bad for mystery writing. I learned to write in the style of the inverted pyramid, which basically means you load the top of your story with all the pertinent facts (the broad base of the pyramid). That way, the newspaper copy desk can cut the story from the bottom if space is tight, and only miss the less important stuff (the narrow point of the pyramid).

Because of the inverted pyramid, it took me a long time to learn how NOT to reveal my whole mystery in the first paragraph. 
What is the best writing advice you received?

Another newspaper habit I had was telling readers what I was going to tell them, then telling them, then summing up what I'd just told them. A great writing coach in Ft. Lauderdale, Joyce Sweeney,  told me that mystery readers are very smart. They don't need to be hit over the head by the author. The pace of my fiction-writing improved a lot once I learned not to repeat myself. 

Your books are humorous while delivering great tension and mystery.  How do you manage to balance the elements to deliver such an entertaining read while keeping the reader on the edge of his/her seat?

Well, thanks for saying that. I'm flattered! I attempt to take the advice of the great Elmore Leonard, who said: ''Try to leave out the part that readers skip.''

Not only was Deborah gracious enough to share time to be interviewed for our blog, but also the fabulous Rosalee Deveraux Provenza (akak Mama) of Himmarshee, Florida, also agreed to answer a few questions for us.  She has her own blog, Ask Mama, and would love for you to visit and read Deborah's books following the adventure's of Rosalee's daughter, Mace.

What role do you play in assisting Ms. Sharp in documenting the mysteries encountered by your daughter, Mace?
Assisting??? Honey, those stories are all mine. That's my life. All that gal does is write it down the way I tell her it happened.  You'll notice all the books have ''Mama'' right there in the titles, right? Mama Does Time; Mama Rides Shotgun; Mama Gets Hitched. Next year, in 2011, we'll have Mama Sees Stars.

She may take the credit for being the author, but  the titles don't say DEBORAH did any of those things, do they? 
What are your views on romance and romance novels?

Oh, honey, I love romance! (Now, I can just picture Mace and her sisters rolling their eyes over my multiple marriages, saying maybe I love romance a little too much!) I also love a nice romance novel, but not those ones with the heavy breathing and graphic sex scenes. You do know I teach Sunday School in Himmarshee, Fla., right? All I need is for some of my little lambs to spot me reading one of those heaving-bosomed, hoochie-coochie books. It 'd be a bigger scandal than when the choir's soprano ran off with the church organist.

What is your favorite book?

You mean after ''Gone With the Wind,'' right? Well, I hope I don't sound like I'm bragging, but I have to pick one of the MAMA books. Don't ask me which one though. That's like asking me which one of my three daughters I love the best. 

Thanks again to both Deborah and Mama for taking the time to share a little of their magic with us!  

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Ouch, my tush!

Work is killing me.  I have hit a great groove in writing and revising.  My ideas are really coming together and the writing is going so well.  You would think this would be bliss.


Work, you vile devil. You interfere with my progress and keep me hostage long hours at the office writing briefs.  Not even fun briefs.  Really boring and frustrating briefs that make me mad at the lawyers who filed them.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


It's hot. Really hot.  Well, everywhere except in the THE scene I've been avoiding writing.  Yikes.  I'm jumping in with both feet.  Hopefully I'll hit hot coals!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pondering Podcasts

I adore podcasts.  Love them. Can’t get enough of them.  Next to books, they are my favorite form of entertainment.  What is a podcast you ask?  One of the greatest things to be invented since chocolate chip cookies, I respond.  But, if you want the boring definition, Wikipedia defines podcasts as “a series of digital media files (either audio  or video) that are released episodically and often downloaded through web syndication.” Oh, yes, that was helpful.  Let me try.  Basically, podcasts are audio (or video) broadcasts that have been converted to an MP3 file or other audio file format for playback in a digital music player and/or your computer.  

There are great podcasts on every topic you could imagine.  I gravitate toward podcasts on writing.  Whenever I have a long drive (or some crazy urge to exercise grips me - trust me, that is rare), I load up my iPod with several podcasts to pass the time.

My favorite podcasts on writing are:

I Should Be Writing - Mur Lafferty, author, podcast pioneer and producer and general director of Escape Pod, puts out a regular podcast on the craft of writing.  It is excellent.  No, it is better than excellent.  No, it is better than better than excellent.  Each episode is about an hour and typically includes interviews with authors, agents, and editors as well as a feedback section.  She has recently started a "Good Cop/Bad Cop" segment where she and another author provide feedback (supportive and harsh) in response to listener questions.  This is a fantastic resource.  If you aren't a follower, stop reading this, go to the website, and start listening (and then come back and comment, please :)).  You will be happy you did.

Writing Excuses - Authors Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells and Howard Tayler put out weekly fifteen minute podcasts (their motto is "Fifteen minutes long, because you're in a hurry, and we're not that smart") focused on specific topics relating to writing.  This is a great resource.  They have covered everything from conference etiquette to the use of violence in telling a story.  With humor and intelligence, they deliver three rich view points on the various aspects of writing.  I run through these podcasts faster than a bag of Cheetos (and if you know me, I LOVE my Cheetos).

Southern Voices - Southern Voices, a four-day conference sponsored by the Hoover Public Library exploring Southern culture in contemporary arts, make available the video and audio podcasts of the panels and presentations from the writers, editors, musicians, performers and public figures featured at the conference.

Odyssey  - The Odyssey Fantasy Writing Workshop podcast features excerpts from lectures by writers, editors and agents during the Odyssey Writing Workshop.  New podcasts are updated every month or two.  

If you are a fan of audio books, many authors are beginning to serialize their novels, making parts (and sometimes even the entire work) available in podcast format.  New York Times bestselling author Scott Sigler gained so many followers for his novels through making them available on the internet as podcasts, he caught the attention of his publisher and the rest is history.

The potential use for podcasts is limitless.  They are great tools for education, marketing and entertainment.  I would love to hear what everyone’s experience with podcasts has been.  If you have a favorite, please share!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

World Building - Getting Started with the Physical Attributes of Your World - Part One

Is the world you are creating the only world where your story can be told?  If it isn’t, ask yourself why you want to create the world if it isn’t an essential part of the story.   World building shouldn’t be a gimmick.  Readers won’t appreciate it, and will see it as nothing more than clear Pepsi.  If you are world building, your world is as much of a main character as your protagonist.

Poor lost soul, once you realize you have to build your world, you need to decide where to start.  The physical attributes of the world need to work with the culture and politics.  Welcome to the chicken v. egg debate.  In my opinion, you need to begin with the physical attributes of the world first. 

If you are writing an urban fantasy or paranormal story set in a setting that already exists, this step is pretty easy.  If you don't live in the location and/or can't visit it, everyone’s best friend, the internet, waits with the information you need. 

Not only do you want to know what the location looks like by getting maps and pictures for your key location, but you also need to know what your location feels like.  Be sure to check out traffic patterns, local news, weather and sunrise/sunset times.  If your urban fantasy is set in Atlanta in July, you will need to know that there is daylight until the late evening, and that the humidity is so heavy and thick it can be suffocating. These details will drive the culture (when do people eat meals, where do they spend their time - inside with glorious air conditioning or outside in oppressive heat, etc.).  Be sure to get these details right. People who are familiar with the setting will spot the errors immediately, undermining your story.

Next week - building  a new world from the ground up!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

World Building Wednesday

One of the first computer games I bought (showing my age) was SimCity. I loved building the city from the ground up.  I branched out into the other simulations games, becoming more and more engrossed in creating new worlds. 

When I started writing fiction (I say with a sage voice implying that this was long, long ago at a desk far, far away - in reality, it was in the last few years), I enjoyed the world building component the most (almost too much).  I spent months researching details to include in my world, creating the mythology, and developing my setting.  Some might call it procrastination, but I prefer to call it “work.”

So I found myself with this really cool world in which to set my story.  Now, transporting the reader to that world was a horse of a different color.  Building the world was fun. Having my characters live in that world wasn’t a problem. Educating the reader on the world without an info dump? Brutal.

Hence, World Building Wednesdays where I document my world building efforts.  Each week I will try to blog about world building issues and questions.  Please comment below if there is a topic you want me to cover.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


I had depositions out of town yesterday. I used to hate traveling for work, but now I love it.  I load up my iPod with my favorite writing podcasts, and actually find a productive way to use the driving time.  The two podcasts I never miss are I Should Be Writing and Writing Excuses.  I depleted my reserves yesterday, and now I am looking for more!

I am going to try to blog once a week about a featured podcast.  If you guys have any suggestions, let me know.  Next week will be Writing Excuses.  There likely won't be a new I Should Be Writing up until June, so I want to wait to blog about it until the newest podcast goes up.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Less is More

(This interview was done for the Romance Magicians'  blog for the Southern Magic Chapter of the Romance Writers of America. Southern Magic has graciously allowed it to be posted contemporaneously here.  Please leave any comments for this post at theRomance Magician's  blog)  
Speechless. That is the best word to describe how I felt when New York Times bestselling author, archaeologist, and tea expert, Gail Carriger, agreed to an interview. After reading her debut novel, Soulless, she quickly joined the list of my  favorite authors. Her website best describes her novels. The “Parasol Protectorate Series books are comedies of manners set in Victorian London: full of vampires, dirigibles, and tea.” Whether you like romances, urban fantasies, comedies, mysteries, or alternative histories, you are sure to find yourself swept away in a delightful time once you open her books.

Ms. Carriger's obligatory biography reads: Ms. Carriger began writing in order to cope with being raised in obscurity by an expatriate Brit and an incurable curmudgeon. She escaped small town life and inadvertently acquired several degrees in Higher Learning. Ms. Carriger then traveled the historic cities of Europe, subsisting entirely on biscuits secreted in her handbag. She now resides in the Colonies, surrounded by fantastic shoes, where she insists on tea imported directly from London. She is fond of teeny tiny hats and tropical fruit. The Parasol Protectorate books are: Soulless (Oct. 2009), Changeless (March 2010), and Blameless (September 2010). Soulless won the ALA's Alex Award.

I cannot express my gratitude to Ms. Carriger for agreeing to this interview. Please be sure to leave a comment at for a chance to win a copy of Soulless or Changeless along with some Twinings Tea!

 1.    Who is your heroine, Alexia Tarabotti?
Alexia is a soulless parasol-wielding spinster with a head for trouble, a gay vampire best friend, and a werewolf problem.

2.    Who is Lord Conall Maccon, Earl of Woolsey?
Alexia's werewolf problem. The head of BUR (Queen Victoria's Bureau of Unnatural Registry), alpha of the London werewolf pack, and big fuzzy tempest in the teapot of Alexia's quiet well-ordered life (so to speak).

3.    What problems does Alexia face in Soulless, the first book in the Parasol Protectorate Series?
Alexia accidentally kills an unexpected vampire and gets embroiled in London politics, local scientific societies, and some very suspicious octopuses .

4.    Changeless, the second book in the series, was just recently released and takes Alexia to Scotland, the backwater of ugly waistcoats. What sort of creatures and challenges does she find there?
Aside from the waistcoats? Well there is a good deal of ghostly interaction, some very bad weather, more octopuses, and an unanticipated love of haggis.

5.    When is Blameless going to come out, and can you give us a hint at where Alexia's adventures may take her?
Blameless is out September 1 and Alexia is off in pursuit of Important Stuff traveling through Europe and into the company of a Frenchman with a very large beard, a German with a very small dog, and Italians wearing embroidered nightgowns.

6.    What is steampunk, and what attracted you to writing in this genre?
Steampunk is the love child of a BBC costume drama and Hot Topic. What attracted me? Isn't that self explanatory? (Seriously though, if you're super interested visit the steampunk page on my website ~ it's far more exciting and in-depth. )

7.    What is your writing process?
Generally speaking it involves sitting down in a chair, raising my hands to a keyboard, and pressing down on one key after another in succession. There is also usually a large quantity of tea involved, a few notebooks, and some general attempts at procrastination involving podcasts, blogging, and (erm) interviews.

8.    What is your favorite part of the writing process?
Editing! Especially the first "red pen" pass when I really get to eviscerate everything I've just written. It's immensely satisfying much in the same way as weeding.

9.    Would you share any writing advice you received that you found to be completely worthless or just flat-out wrong?
"Write what you know." Pah. Seriously, for fiction? If you don't know it, just make it up, it's probably more exciting that way. Still not happy? There's always actual non-fiction books or, horror of horrors, wikipedia.

10.    What advice do you have for pre-published authors?
Sit down, write the book, the whole book. Send it out. Forget about it. Then sit your arse back down and write something completely different.

11.    What is your favorite tea?
 Twinings English Breakfast gold label from England (not the red box found in the US)

You can friend or follow Gail on Twitter, Facebook, Livejournal, or Blogspot. Or join The Parasol Protectorate Facebook Group and take over the world one sip of tea at a time. You can also play the Alexia paper-doll dress up game.

Thank you, again, to the ever gracious Gail Carriger - I've already pre-ordered Blameless.  Until September, I will have to be content re-reading my copies of Soulless and Changeless

 All comments through Friday, May 14 at 7:00 PM (it's my birthday - I have to have cake and ice cream sometime!) will be entered to win a copy of Soulless an or Changeless accompanied with Twinings English Breakfast tea (unfortunately, it will be the red box found in the U.S.).

Monday, May 10, 2010

When Justice is Due

I'm a trial lawyer. Yep, the maligned evil being from political ads. It's okay. You can shudder and hide your children. I own my profession. I know what I am. I help people. If television ads want to vilify what I do, I'm happy to spend a little time examining the truth that can be summed up in a ten word tagline or ten second soundbite, if you are happy to oblige me the time.

That being said, the law is a bitch. That's right, I said that as well. You can never do enough. One of my professors advised that you have to accept varying levels of incompleteness. I have problems doing that, though. Maybe it is because I am an only child. Maybe it is because I am a spotlight junkie. Maybe it is because I am a little nutty. Who knows, but I am a slave to perfectionism.

Other than the obvious problem associated with this personality quirk, never being satisfied, I have found a new, and wonderful stresser. I can feel unsatisfied and frantic on two fronts!  The joy!

I'm starting to worry my first book is becoming the Winchester Mystery house, always under constant renovation and revision. Add to that my shredding trial schedule, and I really don't know how I can get anything done. Oh, and did I mention I need to get the house painted, new carpets installed, and septic tank fixed?

I'm out of town for depositions right now, and likely won't be able to look at writing until this weekend. I'll also need to do laundry, and check emails. Oh, and then there is the brief I need to write. I almost forgot the 3,000 documents produced by a defendant in a case that I need to review. I also imagine some people will want me to return their calls.

I've got all of the balls in the air right now. Let's hope none bonk me in the head.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Perpetually Thursday

I am not complaining, but it always feels like it is Thursday.  The beginning of the week if frenzied in terms of my day job, so there is no time for writing Monday - Wednesday.  Thursdays are when my life slows down a little - I don't have evening commitments and work tends to ease up a bit.  I starting getting psyched about writing on Thursdays, and try to put my energy to use Friday - Sunday.  I guess there are worse days that you could be perpetually stuck in!

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Calm Before the Storm

Listening to the news this morning, it sounds like I either need to get ready to visit some Munchkins or start building an Ark.  It's hard to believe with the beautiful blue sky overhead that thunderstorms of Biblical proportions are supposed to hit the area tomorrow (I also love that the majority of the weather coverage is focusing on the effects at the Talladega Motor Speedway - you have to have priorities, right?).

Tomorrow is the day I look forward to all month, though.  There is a writing club which meets in the morning at one local library, and my RWA chapter meets later in the day at another library.  This is usually the best day of the entire month.  I spend the entire day in libraries talking about writing.  And it looks like stinking rain, wind, hail and weather baddies are going to keep me at home.

So what am I doing during the calm before the storm?  Charging up the battery on my laptop (because you know I will  lose power tomorrow; I always lose power), printing everything I might need off of the internet today, and trying to find the silver lining by rejoicing that I will have nothing to do but write tomorrow. 

Oh yes, it is going to rain tomorrow.  Rain words!!!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Planning to Plan

I woke up this morning determined to get things done.  I'm doing okay at the moment.  My stack of "work" papers is manageable and has dwindled to the point I am contemplating calling it a day so I can focus on writing. This is where I always get myself in trouble.

I look forward at the rest of the day and weekend savoring the hours I can fill with productive writing.  The delicious anticipation allows me to sneak a peek at Facebook or Twitter or my email, or heck, why not all of them?  I have the time.  That is how it always begins.

How does it end? Somewhere around 5:00 on Sunday when I've done very little and decide to throw in the towel for the weekend and plan to do better next week.  Trust me, you don't have to sing this song twice. I know the words.

Maybe I need a better plan.  I am contemplating making myself prepare a schedule for tomorrow and Sunday, posting the sucker everywhere I can see it, and giving my husband the ability to punish me by depriving me of my remote control rights if he finds that I am not sticking to the schedule. 

Then again, I did miss Vampire Diaries and V last night.  I could watch them on the internet and then put together my schedule.  After all, I do have time.  And so it begins . . .  

Friday, April 9, 2010

Treasure Hunts

There is more treasure in books than in all the pirates' loot on Treasure Island . . . and best of all, you can enjoy these riches every day.

-  Walt Disney 

Yesterday I received a box, a BIG box, from Amazon (ok, lets not go into any Amazon hate here.  I understand many people feel Amazon needs to call a whaaaambulance over the entire Macmillan kerfuffle. I hear you, and I understand. But I love my packages. I need my packages. There is no rush like seeing that box waiting at your door, but I digress). I’d had pretty crummy day, and I was sitting in bed with my head bent over my laptop feigning an attempt at writing.  God bless the saint to whom I am married.  He came in with a glass of wine in one hand and my box in the other.

“Sweetie, this should brighten your day,” he said as he handed me the box first.  He was right.  I needed my mail order booty.  My treasure would cheer me up.

Some ladies are addicted to buying shoes or purses.  Not me.  My addiction is books.  I get light-headed and giddy in a bookstore.  There is nothing that smells better than a bookstore.  The only reason that I enjoy Christmas shopping is that it gives me a legitimate excuse to lose hours, and I mean HOURS, in bookstores.  Couple that with the ease of online shopping (Amazon super-saver shipping and its simple challenge to put together an order of $25 or more is my downfall), and it is easy to understand why my fashion style is stuck in 1998, but I am up to date on the most recent paperback releases.

My reading choices are pretty eclectic.  I would love to sound all intellectual and rattle off a bunch of literary fiction I’d finished, but I can’t.  God would strike me dead with a bolt of lightening for attempting to tell such a whopper.  However, with the exception of the books reserved for the smarties of the world, I’ll read just about anything you put in front of me.  This always leads to the burning question - what should I read next? 

My favorite moment is when I find a new author.  I have several “go to” authors that I love, but in trying to fill the time in between releases, I get to go on a treasure hunt.  First, I will seek out books by authors I have met.

Meeting an author (and having the chance to get a book signed) is a huge thing for me.  I feel more tied to the story and root for the author’s success due to the personal connection.  I keep a list of authors I meet at signings and conventions so I can search for their treasures when I am book shopping.  This last Christmas, I put together of basket of books from authors I’d met for my mother-in-law.  She devoured them.  I overheard her telling the ladies in her bridge group, “Oh, you must read x.  Heather met the author, you know.”  There is something electrifying and contagious about that brush with fame!  

Word of mouth is invaluable.  I’ve yet to have a friend steer me wrong.  But this feels like cheating.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m going to read the book you suggested to me. I hop onto too many bandwagons to be left behind.  However, the egoist in me likes to be the one to find the diamond in the rough.

The internet is another great resource for finding that hidden treasure of a great book.  To this day, I am not sure how I came across Kimberly Frost’s website, but I am glad that I did.  I had not heard of her or her books, but her website was great and it drew me in.  A few clicks later, I’d ordered her debut book from Amazon.  A week later, after finishing the book, I was pre-ordering her second book.  I am now biting my nails waiting for her third book.  I’ve found several books I love by following links on my favorite authors’ websites to new worlds.

What treasure maps do you use to find your next read?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Seeing the Forest Despite the Trees

I'm lost in the woods. Seriously lost. I am at that point in the WIP that I have gotten in so deep in the story that I know where I need to go, but my path is obscured due to all the damn trees. I've laid out my clues, and know the backstory for all of my characters. The problem is, I may be losing sight of my story. I am trying so hard to tie up the threads I've started and make my characters motivations believable that the big picture is starting to look more like a Monet painting than a crisp, digital photograph. I need to find a way to see the forest despite the trees.  Help!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Words from Which to Draw Inspiration

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."

- Theodore Roosevelt

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Rabbit Rabbit!

I loved to read Trixie Belden books when I was in elementary school.  I still remember the first chapter of "The Mystery of the Emeralds" where Trixie woke up on the first day of the new month, yelled "Rabbit Rabbit" and bounded out of bed. When her brothers reacted in a way that expressed they thought she had lost her mind, she explained her behavior.  If you say "Rabbit Rabbit" and make a wish just before going to sleep on the last night of the month, and say it again in the morning before you've said another word, your wish should come true.

I read that book when I was eight.  I have tried to remember to say "Rabbit Rabbit" before going to bed and when I woke up ever since.  I haven't been able to do it yet, and quite a few years have passed since I was eight.  But I still keep trying.  The promise of my wish coming true drives me to keep trying.

The same is true of my writing.  I keep trying to write a good story.  I'm not sure I've gotten it, but I keep trying because one day, it will happen and my wish will come true.

Today is the last day of the month.  I think I am going to take a trick out of Trixie's book and tape a sign at the foot of the bed to remind me to make a wish and say the magic words.  You think that you know what they will be?  I'll give you a hint - "Sleep is for wimps - get your fanny out of bed and start writing."

Rabbit Rabbit - may your wish come true.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Somebody's Got a Case of the Mondays

I truly wish I was one of those chipper, optimistic, bubbly people who bound out of bed on Monday morning excited to embrace the week's challenges.  Instead, I am the person that greets them at work, growling over a cup of coffee while calculating the hours, minutes, and seconds until the work week is over.

I'm not sure why I am this way.  My job isn't horrible.  I am my own boss, and I generally like the work I do.  Don't get me wrong, there isn't a day that passes where I don't want to smash my mouse against the wall or shred the phone cord to threads.  I have only myself to blame for that one - it wasn't exactly a well guarded secret that the legal profession was stressful and involved conflict.

I think the problem is that I would rather be writing.  I feel anxious all day until I can get home and write.  I live for the long weekends when I get that precious weekday to include in my writing routine.  This should have been one of those weeks except, being the dunderhead that I am, I forgot about Good Friday when scheduling a meeting OUT OF TOWN for Friday.  I'd thought I was being sneaky - schedule the out of town meeting in hopes of it ending early so that I could scoot straight home.  Yep, I just outsmarted myself out of a long weekend.  Way to go genius.

So, I have a case of the Mondays.  I look ahead at the long week that will end with a two hour drive to Auburn for a not so fun meeting that will likely end with a lot of screaming to be followed by a two hour drive back. I need to make sure Memorial Day is circled on my calendar so I don't do this to myself again.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Silken Sands Conference - A Must Go for 2012

This weekend I had one of the best experiences that I can remember.  I attended the Silken Sands Writers' Conference hosted by the Gulf Coast Chapter of the Romance Writers of America.  It was incredibly well run (great workshops!), and the people were amazing.  If you are able to go in 2012, I cannot encourage you enough to do so.

An added bonus was the new friends that I made the Southern Sizzlers.  They are some fun and classy ladies. Between Moondays and Wet Wednesdays, I think I have found the motivation to make it through the week!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Inspiration from International Women’s Day

    Annually on March 8, the world celebrates the economic, political and social achievements of women. When I found out that my first blog post for Romance Magicians fell on International Women’s Day, I was elated.  I just knew that I would write an inspiring piece about the contributions of great women in literature, and the accolades would flow like a keg at a frat party. All I needed to put my plan in motion was a little research.

    Research, sweet research. As a lawyer, research is the life’s blood of my profession. I have to research the facts of a case, the applicable law, opposing counsel and the judge - and that is just the beginning!  High school and college debate taught me how to research efficiently and effectively. I’m like a mole; I can find anything.   My head (and ego) swell with the praise I’ve received about my ability to research a legal issue and crank out a well-reasoned and precise argument quickly. I thought those skills would transfer well to my non-legal writing efforts.

    Starting early last week, I began planning this post. My first post had to great.  No, it had to be better than great.  People were actually going to read what I wrote. I needed to create Pulitzer quality material.  Did I start writing and revising to get myself to that goal?  Heck no! I needed to research!  And what has that research accomplished?  My blog post is due, and I have a huge folder busting with articles and notes about the history of International Women’s Day and countless women whose achievements deserve recognition.  The word count?  Oh, that is precious.  The word count, you ask again? Um, well, how would you like to talk about something else.

    I am going to let you in on a dirty little secret - research is my greatest procrastination tool This experience highlighted what I already knew about myself, but wanted to deny.  I use research to delay writing.  Several years ago, I realized that it was time to tinkle or get off the pot with respect to my aspirations to write.  Laptop in hand, I used a week’s vacation at the beach to try to live the dream.  I wrote a little, but nothing significant.  Something hindered my progress.  I knew what it was! My problem was that I hadn’t educated myself enough on how to write. That was easy enough to fix.  Surely I could find a good book or two on writing.

    I used to joke when I was in law school that if you could lose weight and get in shape by owning exercise videos, I would be an Olympic contender.  The same goes for books on writing.  I’m ashamed to admit that I spent the better part of a year reading book after book on how to write.  Repeatedly, I told myself I wasn’t ready to start writing.  I just needed to finish the book on plotting.  I couldn’t be expected to write until I’d read enough on how to develop my characters.  Somewhere around the time that the books I’d bought on how to write were equaling the books I’d bought to read for pleasure, I realized that instead of researching how to write, I needed to write.

    Phase two of the procrastination process wasn’t much better.  The notebook of story ideas on my desk demanded that I engage in substantive research.  Oh internet, you are a seductive tool ready to steal minutes, hours, days and weeks from me.  A few notebooks (and months) of research later, I realized that my obsession with substantive research was, once again, keeping me from doing what I needed to do - write.  I vowed that I would have to be satisfied with a level of incompleteness in my research and start writing. 

    Good fortune should come to the person who designed the button on my laptop that lets me disable the internet.  Feeling empowered, I hit that button and started my outline (how outlining is a procrastination tool is a post for another day).  From there, I moved on to writing.  But wait! I needed more research - I needed to find the perfect name for a character and the precise word for description.  Convinced I had my addiction under control, I hit the internet button.  I would only take a few minutes.  A little necessary research won’t hurt.  I think we all know how that turned out.

    Hello, my name is Heather, and I am a researchaholic.  To combat my addiction, I’ve developed the following steps:

  1. Write what you know.  This keeps the temptation to research at a minimum.  It is probably best that I not write a book about an astrophysicist.  I’m not even sure I can spell astrophysicist without a little research, let alone write a story about one.    
  2.  Make a list of what you need and do your research in your down time.  I keep a notebook and a chart next to my writing desk.  The notebook contains a list of substantive research which I need to complete (history of a building, mythology, pictures of a location, etc.).  The notebook also contains “lemon drop” research.  (I was once in a deposition where periodically, opposing counsel would say “lemon drop.”   I thought he had confectioner’s tourettes.  When I asked him about it, he shared that it was his way of marking the transcript.  If there was something he knew he needed to research after the deposition, he would use the index of the transcript to find all of the “lemon drop” moments.)  Similarly, in my writing when I need to find a better name or word than what I have used, I insert “lemon drop” before whatever I will want to replace so I can use “find and replace” to locate the spot in the manuscript easier.  I keep my notebook in my purse when I’m not writing.  When I find myself with down time when I can’t write, I try to use that time to finish my research.  
  3.  Research as part of your revision process.  This isn’t really a step which I developed, but a strategy I hope to employ.  A friend who has published three books shared with me that she does some big picture research that would relate to plot points before she writes, but that she saves most of her detail oriented research for the revision process.  I haven’t tried this, but it makes sense.  She explained that this method allows her to focus on the story through the first draft.  After she constructs the skeleton of her novel, she bulks up the muscle and tissue with research.  I’m seriously contemplating using this method for my next book because I want to write the darn thing, not just research what goes into it.

        And so I return to the writing of this blog post. I wish I’d been able to provide you with the dissertation on great women in history, but I think I need to do a little more research.  The women whose accomplishments are honored on International Women’s Day didn’t simply research the world around them.  They were women of action. So, in that spirit, I need to take action.  No more research.  It is time to write.

    Sunday, February 28, 2010

    "Dear Lucky Agent" Contest: Urban Fantasy & Paranormal Romance

    The Guide to Literary Agents Editor's Blog is holding its third "Dear Lucky Agent" content for urban fantasy and paranormal romance.  First place gets a 20 page critique and a one year subscription to Writer's Market.  The link to the contest for more information is:

    Tuesday, February 23, 2010

    Bringing the Funny

    Through humor, you can soften some of the worst blows that life delivers. And once you find laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it.

    --Bill Cosby

    My motto when it comes to movies is that I either want to laugh until I cry or be amazed by a special effects department.  I have no need for tear jerkers - if I want that, there are plenty of cable news networks which can oblige me.  To this day, I have not seen The English Patient, Brian's Song or Love Story (also, I refuse to watch animal movies - they always involve Kleenex - fool me once Old Yeller, shame on you, fool me twice Where the Red Fern Grows . . .)  My tastes are similar when I read.  I would love to sound intellectual and rattle off several literary books that are my favorites.  However, I fear the lightening bolt from above that would strike me dead.  

    I love fantasy and humor (The Great Brain series and Superfudge are among my all time favorites).  I used to read voraciously, then . . . I went to law school.  For years and years, the only reading material I consumed involved cases and controversies.  High on conflict, low on wit and imagination (with some exceptions - I do have a file of my favorite opinions if anyone is looking for a good giggle).  Then a good friend (I am talking about you, Joe Musso) changed things.

    It was a chilly November 2001 afternoon.  I needed to schedule a deposition for sometime within the next two weeks, but opposing counsel was dodging me in terms of committing to a date.  Finally, he broke down and admitted that the date I wanted to use would not do.  He and his wife had already bought tickets to Harry Potter and the Sorcer's Stone.  I revealed a deep dark secret - I had never read the Harry Potter books.  After a few minutes of stunned silence, he insisted I had to read the books, and do so immediately.  I protested.  They were children's books.  I was an adult.  I was a professional.  I did not read fairy tales (with the exception of a few interesting law review articles).

    So, at his urging, I asked my brother-in-law's bitchy ass Swiss girlfriend (a blog post for another occasion) if I could borrow her copy of the first Harry Potter book.  She obliged by loaning me her UK copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (again, another blog post for my initial reaction being that it must have been the Dollar Store version since I initially was unaware of the difference in the UK and USA titles).  Crack.  It was verbal crack, I tell you.

    I ran to Barnes and Noble and bought the first four HP books.  I read the first three (Prisoner of Azkaban remains my favorite) in a weekend.  Then I re-read them.  Then I read them again.  I saved the fourth book until I knew the fifth would be released.  I became an addict.  I needed to feed my addiction.  I started consuming all fantasy that I could.  I noted that a lot came up lacking.  Why?

    Humor.  I loved the humor of the Harry Potter series.  I noticed the same in my television viewing.  I loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer (no heckling, please - watch it - it is very well written) and the West Wing (Aaron Sorkin, please return to the small screen - you are missed).  I needed humor in my entertainment.  If the author/artist didn't bring the funny, they lost me immediately.

    So I find myself at a loss.  I need to bring the funny.  Without it, I can't bear to write or read what I write.  However, I tend to be on the dry side.  I spend all day talking about the right way to interpret federal regulations and statutes (let me tell you, you haven't had a good time until you try to wrangle with the language of the Family and Medical Leave Act).  By the time I find enough levity in my mood to write, it is bed time.  There are a few things about which I am serious:  bed time, cheese, and very large televisions.  My positions on all three are inflexible (all three are unlimited goods).  So I need to find a way to find the humor in what I want to write.  


    Friday, February 12, 2010

    The Best Laid Plans

    Robert Burns wrote the "best laid plans of mice and men often go awry."  I am finding this to be true with respect to my writing.  Specifically, I am referring to the futile efforts to adhere to my outline.

    My outline.  My dear outline, painstakingly crafted over several weekends. I think its best use at this point may be toilet paper.  I read books upon books all advising that when writing a story with mystery elements, an outline is essential.  I had a long outline, a short outline, a fluid outline, and an outline of the outline.  Worthless, all of them.

    When I sit at my keyboard, eager to write the scene I carefully outlined, I find myself trying to force things that don't feel natural.  The scene felt natural when I outlined it.  Now that I am writing, the story I outlined won't work. The scenes, plot and dialogue all seem stilted and awkward.  My fingers fly typing strange remarks and actions which I had not anticipated.  I'm getting pretty scared.

    An aside - I don't hear my characters talking to me.  Conference after conference I have heard authors say that their characters talk to them and whisper (or shout), "no, that is not what I would do."  Not so much as a peep from any of my characters.  Their voices are not what is derailing my outline.

    The problem with my outline is that I feel that story has been written.  Now, my short attention span and flying thoughts are taking the story to places I hadn't anticipated.  I am terrified.  What if, by abandoning my outline, I write myself into a corner.

    I am a planner.  I love plans, lists and organization (pipe down anyone who has seen my house).  Writing by the seat of my pants is terrifying.  Horrifying.  Mortifying.  Yet, I think I have to fly blind for a little while.  Hopefully, the time spent in the outline will not go to waste.  At least I have a lot of extra scratch paper on my desk!

    Wednesday, February 10, 2010

    Technology, Thou Art a Witch

    I admit it.  The internet is much smarter than me. 

    I cannot say how honored I was to be asked by Lee Lofland to write a column for his blog, The Graveyard Shift.  If you haven't been to his site, it is fantastic (  My column went up today ( 

    I thought it would be fun to put a widget on this blog to have a link to his site as well as to Romance Magicians ( another wonderful blog which is put out by the Southern Magic chapter of the RWA.  I am now experiencing the adage that the road to Hell is paved with the best of intentions.  Trying to get the darn widget to work is something that Dante couldn't have envisioned.  If you see me later sporting horns, a swishy tail and a pitchfork (but the link works), you likely know what happened . . .

    Friday, January 29, 2010

    Weekend or Weak-end?

    Hello Friday, my good friend.  You have come to test me once again. 

    You offer me the promise of two days where I can write.  I know that I should begin tonight.

    However, chores and off-put work also need to be done.  And, I can easily be distracted with the promise of a little fun.

    Will I find the work ethic to keep my end in a chair? Or for another weekend, will my word count be bare?

    (I apologize to all of the poets in the world for this entry). 

    Thursday, January 14, 2010

    Trials and Tribulations

    It's that time again.  I have trial.  Why is it that every time I get seriously deep into my writing, a trial pops up demanding that I keep unconscionable hours at the office?  Are the writing muses testing my patience by throwing these obsticles in my way?  Are the legal gods telling me to hang up my pen and paper because my only talent is being a royal pain in the patoot?

    I need at least forty-eight hours in a day to get done everything on my "to do" list.  Laundry calls (or I could just go buy new underwear), floors need to be mopped (then again, there are throw rugs), calls beckon to be returned (if they really want to speak with me, they will call back, right?), and I have the glaring word count to be met each day.  Oh, and I think I need to eat a meal or two (worry not - if you have seen me, you know I can find my way to food).

    I know the adage that if you want something done, give it to a busy person.  Well, I am the busy person.  Please, don't give me anymore.  My plate is full.  Seriously.  It looks like I hit a workload buffet. I am good.  I don't need another serving.  Really.  

    So, as the clock ticks closer to midnight, I contemplate the need to write while working.  I love to write.  It is fun. The escape is  far more enjoyable, for me, than going out to a movie where I am limited to someone else's imagination. But work keeps the lights on and food on the table. Why do I write?  Is it because of the trials and tribulations at work, or despite of them?  You tell me.

    Sunday, January 3, 2010

    So It Shall Be Written, So It Shall Be Done

    I love making lists. When I sit down, pen in hand (because a list can only be properly made with a pen in one hand and notepad in the other), the rush and excitement of the list take me away. Actually following the lists is a horse of a different color. Once the list is made, it loses its luster. Rather than being the certification of my ambition and responsibility, it taunts me and acts as an albatross hanging on my refrigerator.

    For this reason, I have vowed that any lists from this point will consist of short term, attainable goals. The biggies won't make it into writing, at least not yet. I need the rush that comes with marking things off the list. Am I settling for mediocrity to have the highest goals on my list be "write 100 words each day" and "do two loads of laundry a week?" If so, at least the list won't wind up in a crumpled ball sometime around March.

    So, in the spirit of setting attainable goals, this is my "to do" list for 2010:

    1. Write 100 words a day for 100 days
    2. Do 2 loads of laundry a week
    3. Keep a list of everything I eat
    4. Read at least one book a month
    5. Post on this blog at least once a month.

    It is now written. Will it be done?