Thursday, June 29, 2023

A Doggone Mystery . . .

 Today, temps are heading toward 93F, and I'm deep in a new project. 

Not that I've given up on other projects . . . yet . . . but I found myself wanting to write something just for fun. I woke up dreaming about a woman on the run (Caterina) and the dog (Max) who befriends her. What's the first step? Making a 'maybe' cover and drafting that story outline and character back stories. So, what do you think? 

So far I've learned a lot about golden retrievers, the most popular name for dogs in 2023, and I have an exciting 600 words.

About that title: Max to the Rescue: A Doggone Mystery is my working title. But what about: Chasing Shadows, Unleashed Pursuit, A Fugitive's Friend, Paws of Fate, or Unleashed Destiny? All followed by A Doggone Mystery. Or these titles could be for Book 2. Am I an optimist? 

I do love dogs, but we travel too much to have one, and somehow the idea of walking a dog in 20F and in the snow isn't appealing. 

My most memorable dog story happened when I took a Policy Academy class for 6 weeks (background gathering for my first novel). During one session, an officer brought in his German Shepherd and talked about working with police dogs. He allowed the dog to wander the somewhat large class of about 40 people. That dog strolled confidently and alone around the group until he came to me. He stopped and looked at me most intently. Then he put his head and paw on my lap and stayed until I snapped my finger and said "Down." After the class, the officer came to me and apologized. He said he had never seen his dog act that way before. I can't account for the dog's friendliness. I don't wear perfume. Can't think of anything really, except I do love dogs. And maybe that's why I'm writing this story.

Other news: We're recovering from a truly nasty cold that lasted over 3 weeks. Today I took my first walk, only 15 minutes, and I'm writing again. All's good. Hubby's about 2 weeks behind me, given the severity of his cough.

For your reading pleasure: I recently finished Nick Wilford's Black & White. This dystopian novel is quite entertaining as it explores the growing friendship between Wellesbury and Ezmerelda, high school mates in a truly perfect world. In fact, their world is so perfect that it’s all white. No dirt anywhere. Even food is sanitized. These friends might just be a little bored with everything all the same; every day's mapped out with an expected routine. And then a boy mysteriously appears in their perfect world. He’s smudged with mud, and he’s sick. 

Thus begins this tale that intrigues the reader as we slowly learn who made this perfect world and what the costs were and are. At the heart are the choices Wellesbury and Ezmerelda make to bring about change – at great risk. This book brings into sharp focus how the choices we make every day separate us or create community. A thoughtful read with unexpected twists -- currently free on Amazon

And that's all for this week. May you enjoy this warmer weather and stay cool!

Friday, June 23, 2023

June 23: And summer . . .

This week truly begins summer. School's out. Temperatures are heating up. The grandkids began swim lessons. Maybe a bit of normalcy? We're home after attending a joyful college graduation and visiting friends in Oregon. OK, we're exhausted, still recovering from a nasty cold, I haven't written anything in 7 days, and all I can think of is where are the lounge chairs?

Image from digitalmom

Time to set some goals? Or let go entirely? 

Maybe ask:

  • What do I really want to do?
  • What do I need to do -- and why?
  • What should I do (and why is this a 'should')?

Imagine we're sitting together on the patio. What's your advice???? And what are YOU planning to do this summer?

Image from cheezburger

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Remembering Cormack McCarthy

 I have never read one of Cormack McCarthy's books. Widely recognized as a powerful writer of dystopian fiction, I always put reading even one of his books off. OK, so he wrote deep stuff, and I respected his thoughtful efforts. I loved the movie adapted from his novel, No Country for Old Men. But, the shoe didn't seem to fit. 

Until this morning. David Brewer, of Writer's Digest fame, sent out a newsletter highlighting 15 Lasting Quotes From The Road, by Cormack McCarthy. Fourteen of these quotes were too depressing for me, but this one, highlighted above, spoke loudly to me.

For what do we all do but make promises to ourselves in hopes of creating a better tomorrow? To dream of what could be? What provokes us to take just that small step forward?

Image from Robert Brewer

Wednesday, June 07, 2023

IWSG June: Replace Writing????

The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. For more about IWSG, see below!

This month, the optional question is: If you ever did stop writing, what would you replace it with? 

I can't imagine not writing. The seemingly simple challenge of writing is such a part of me, whether with keyboard or pen, or a mix of drawing and writing. On one level, writing is a daily commitment. On another, writing allows me to connect more deeply with what's happening around me -- and inside, what I'm thinking and feeling. Stop writing? Nah.

In fact, I have a friend about my age who is writing her first poem. She e-mailed me, asking how I do this because it's so hard -- and easier to send that Hallmark greeting card. Yet she is trying to write a poem to comfort a woman who lost her husband, calling up memories of her own loss. How can I tell her that her poem is the deepest gift.

So, if the words did finally leave, what would I replace that loss with? I only can say we're not made of one dimension. Each connection outside of ourselves and within is important. So I would probably dive into another interest -- quilting, reading, walking, maybe even cooking (although after nearly 80 years, I have to confess that cooking is getting a little boring). Oh, and that new interest that popped up this spring, watercolor. Do you know that youtube has amazing mini-lessons for beginners?

Update on the writing: After last month's meeting with my writing partner, I faced anew my current wip and chopped out 4K words. That mss has been wrestled into a working shape with recognizable scene progressions, a flexible map for each section, and a nice 35K word overall draft (goal maybe 70K). I know who my characters are and where they're going. What's next: Having fun with plot twists and asking, oh dear, what can go wrong now!

What was fun this last writing session? Researching Egyptian proverbs and putting them in my draft. Here's one to pique your interest. Plus a picture from our trip so long ago to Giza:

What is still hidden is more than what has been revealed so far.

--Egyptian proverb

More about the Insecure Writer's Support Group: The Insecure Writer's Support Group provides rich resources for writers at every stage, from writing tips, to newsletters, to lists of additional resources on self-publishing, marketing, and more. To prompt our writing and build a community of writers, IWSG also posts a challenge question each month. As the guidelines say:

Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. 

Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time - and return comments. This group is all about connecting! Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

The awesome co-hosts for the June 7 posting of the IWSG are Patrcia Josephine, Diedre Knight, Olga Godim, J. Lenni Dorner, and Cathrina Constantine!

Why not join our community of 121 IWSG writers. Go HERE to find a few new writers to visit.