Monday, February 28, 2011

Super 8 Debut Album Blogfest

New blog friend DiscConnected is hosting the Super 8 Debut Albums Blogfest today.  The idea is this:  Share your list of the Top 8 Debut Albums, based on your taste in music and how those artists touched your life with their work. I chose 9 (couldn't narrow it down more!)

I'm not a big music enthusiast.  I LOVE listening to music, but I rarely know which artist put out which smash hit.  And I can't write with music on.  Somehow the two areas of my brain involved with listening and composing are hopelessly mis-wired.

That said, I liked the idea of sharing the debut albums that were the soundtracks of my life's chapters, that influenced me on many levels.  With that in mind, here we go!

My Top 9 Debut Album List

9.  Pat Benatar's In the Heat of the Night (1979) -- I was a varsity basketball cheerleader when I discovered this album, although it was several years old by that time.  It played over and over during after-school practices and on the bus for away games.  It was the first time we'd heard a woman rocking out.  Benatar brought down gender barriers for me and made me realize women really can do anything we put our minds to.

8.   Guns 'n' Roses Appetite For Destruction (1987) -- My life went into transition shortly after this album dropped.  By the time the second or third single was released, my family had moved to a new town. It was the summer before my senior year. Yeah. It sucked. I found if I cranked Guns 'n' Roses loud enough, I could drown out some of the stress.

7.  Heart Dreamboat Annie (1976) -- My dad loved this album and used to blast it on Saturday mornings when our weekends were getting underway. It was the time right before our relationship started to unravel.  I always think of him when I hear cuts from this album today.

6.  Bon Jovi [Self-titled] (1984) -- The year I graduated from high school, the family was deep in debt -- the extent to which my parents hid from me and my sisters. I was accepted to a university, had my on-campus rooming assignment and had been corresponding with my future roommates, and had pre-registered for classes. With only three weeks to go until I left, my parents dropped a bomb on my future. They sat me down and told me there was no money for me to go to school. Bon Jovi's music motivated me to spend that year working my ass off, saving every penny.  The next year, with no financial contribution from my parents, I started college.

5.  Boston [Self-titled] (1976) -- Growing up, my family owned a very small cottage on Lake of the Woods, one of hundreds of small lakes near New York's 1000 Island region. The first time we lived at the cottage all summer long, we had this album on cassette tape. We played it, rewound. Played it, rewound. Played it....All.Summer.Long.  Priceless memories!

4.  The Cars [Self-titled] (1978) -- This was the first album I purchased with my own money. It was a hit at the same time I was coming into my teen years, when I challenged boundaries and began thinking about myself as an independent young woman.

3.  Kate Bush The Kick Inside -- Six months after I graduated from college, I moved out of my parents' house in upstate New York and began a crazy two-year stint living in Los Angeles. During that time, I glimpsed a bit of what I was made of. You see, the stress was immense, from navigating my first professional job (at Chiat/Day advertising agency), from managing my first apartment, and from being truly all alone. Juggling the balls of my life zapped all my energy, and there was none left to hold down the hurt from my childhood. I spiraled into deep depression, but I lived through it.  I survived.  Thank you, Kate and your hauntingly beautiful voice, for being there for me during those dark days. 

2. Alanis Morissette Jagged Little Pill (1995) -- I left for the Peace Corps in 1994. Friends sent me care packages with letters, candy, little gifts -- anything to make me feel closer to them and home. One package arrived with a homemade cassette, Natalie Merchant was recorded on one side and Alanis Morissette on the other. I fell deeply in love with Alanis's music. Here lyrics ripped me to the core. I was alone under the blazing African sun, but the Jagged Little Pill provided a unique sound backdrop that turned my experience into something eclectic and avant-garde.

1. Madonna [Self-titled] (1985) -- From the first time I heard "Lucky Star," I've been a die-hard Madonna fan.  The year I (finally) made it to college, my roommate had this album. We danced like freshman fools in the dorm hallway to "I'm Burning Up," nailing Madonna's signature toe-tap-hop move. Years later, when I lived in LA, I waited for hours behind the rope lining the red carpet at the Hollywood premier of Madonna's documentary Truth of Dare.  Limo after limo arrived, and the crowd would buzz, "Is it HER? Is it HER?"  Then we'd all sigh. "Oh, it's only Janet Jackson." or "Nope, just Christian Slater."  Finally, thirty minutes after the movie was supposed to start, a black stretch limo rounded the corner. Instead of pulling all the way up to the doors where the press corps was stationed, the limo stopped  The doors opened, and there SHE was. Maybe six feet directly in front of me. She was with Nicky and Donna, her backup singers, and several dancers including Gabriel, Oliver, and Carlton.  It was such a thrill!!

So, there you have it. My top 9 debut albums. Any of your favorites on my list? And, visit other bloggers participating in this blogfest, listed HERE.

I'll leave you with Madonna's video for Lucky Star.  Can't embed (disabled by request), but here's the link:


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I 'AM' not; I 'DO'

 ~My Mantra ~

I am not a writer.  I WRITE.

I am not a wife.  I SHARE my life with the man I love.

I am not a mother.  I LOVE my children enough to teach them to be awesome grown-ups.

I am not a super-fit goddess.  I WORK OUT and ENJOY EATING healthy, nutritious foods.

I am not organized.  I STAY ON TOP of my responsibilities.

I am not perfect.  I STRIVE for balance and ACCEPT my humanity.  And I LEARN from my mistakes.

I am not.  I DO.

What's your mantra today?


Monday, February 21, 2011

Pants on Fire

Well, the first 'get-to-know-you'challenge put before us by Rachael Harrie proved one thing: Crusaders are a bunch of talented liars!

Our challenge was to write a short entry that shared with readers our answers to a series of guided questions (what's your favorite thing in the world, interesting quirk, etc.)  There were four prompt words we had to incorporate in the post, which was not easy!  And, one thing we said had to be a lie.

You can read my entry HERE, should you have any desire.  My lie will be revealed at the bottom of this post.

I'm ecstatic and completely overwhelmed by all the new followers I've gained in the past week and a half!  Between the Bernard Pivot Blogfest and the Platform-Building Crusade, I've fallen behind in following you all  back.  I'll certainly get caught up this week, indulging in the pleasures of visiting your blogs and meeting you. Looking forward to getting to know you better!

And so, without further ado, here is my lie:  Although it's true they're usually shut in pictures, the eyes in my profile picture have not been Photoshopped.

Have a wonderful, creative, crusading day!


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Crusaders First Challenge Entry!

One of my favorite things in the world is being a sister. Those who know me well recognize how defined I am by my family, so it seems fitting to introducing myself to new, Crusading friends by sharing a glimpse into my life with four sisters.

Our parents, more rabbit-like than fuliguline, had us one after the other, naming us Nicole, Natalie, Noelle, Nadine, and Natasha.  They stuttered through our childhood, resorting to pointing a trembling finger and growling, “You!  Get over here.”  Even our children have trouble sorting out our names.  I have a nephew who calls me Aunt Nic-Nack-No, our running joke which makes me smile.

Not surprisingly, there’s plenty of drama in our lives.  At any given moment, someone’s life is on the blade-edge of crisis.  And try as we might, we can’t keep each other’s secrets.  When one says, “Well, she-- Oops, never mind…” the other will pry the rest out, promising never to pass the info on.  Until she later slips to another: “No, I heard she– Oops! Never mind…”
I didn’t start social networking until recently, out of fear of sister drama playing out on Facebook.  It’d happened in the past, and I wanted no part of it.  (Plus, my sisters are beautiful and incredibly photogenic.  But me?  Systematically, as a picture is snapped, I feel the urge to talk.  I’m always captured with jaw swung to the side, nostrils flared, and eyes closed.  Those open eyes are actually Photoshopped in on my profile picture!)

Drama aside, I love my sisters to death.  They’re funny, stylish, quirky, and all-around awesome ladies.  Though in heated moments I'm accused of bloviating, I’m a very philosophical, even-keeled soul – a true Libra, through and through – and am able to offer perspective when the drama gets overwhelming.  Through it all, my sisters fill my heart with love, and they bring more joy to my life than words can express.

Thanks to Rachael Harrie for providing the prompts for this Crusader challenge!  Read all the participating entries here.  

And, within the paragraphs above, I have revealed something about me that isn’t strictly true, can you guess what it is?  The truth will be revealed Monday!  See you then J

Happy Weekend!


Friday, February 18, 2011

BPBlogfest Winners Revealed!

It was such a blast to read all the interesting, funny, and creative questionnaire answers you came up with in the Bernard Pivot Blogfest! I hope those of you who played along continue to visit blogs on the list -- every entry was a must-read. There are a lot of us, for sure! But each blogger brought something unique to the fest.

As you know, signing up for the blogfest put your name in the virtual hat to win giveaway prizes. If you helped me promote the event by putting my logo on your sidebar, your name went in five times.  Before revealing the winners, here's a reminder of what was up for grabs.

TWO prize packages, each containing:

A $25 Gift Card to Barnes and Noble or Borders Books (your choice)
A copy of Literary Foray, the anthology featuring my short story, and fiction and poetry by these fellow bloggers: Jessica BellMatthew Rush (a.k.a Matthew MacNash), Adriana NoirMara McBain, and Noelle Skeldon.
YAnd, assorted goodies J

And so, without further ado.....

The blog participants whose numbers were selected via the Sequence Generator at

and who have each one the above prize package, are.....

Angela Scott




Ladies, please email me your mailing addresses to nicoleducleroir(at)gmail(dot)com. Thanks!!

Thank you again for helping me bring the blogging world just a little bit closer this week. And a quick note to my fellow Crusaders:  If I haven't followed you back yet, I will soon! Please look for my 300 word entry for the First Crusader Challenge tomorrow.  Can't wait to read your entries, too!

Have a fab weekend, all!!


Thursday, February 17, 2011

What a Party!

The Bernard Pivot Blogfest was a phenomenal success, and I want to thank everyone who played along for making the event such a great party!

I made it around to almost all the participating blogs yesterday -- as of last night an astounding 150 of you had signed up!  *waves to all my new friends*  *fist-bumps to all my old friends*   (<-- old?- lol) 

As I made my rounds, I added you to a Word doc list, to kept track of your entries in the giveaway.  If you didn't have an entry posted yet, I made a note on the list.  So, there are still a couple blogs I need to go back and check today, as well as the seven additional peeps who signed up after I logged off last night.  All this to say:  If I haven't commented on your post yet, I'm on my way!

And speaking of the giveaway...I realized I never announced the prizes. #HostFail  So sorry!!  Here's what all you lovelies who signed up for the blogfest are in the running to win:

(Originally, I was only going to offer one prize.  But as you can see, in helping me celebrate 500 followers, my number shot over 600!!  You all SOooooo ROCK!  Thank you for spreading the word and introducing me to new friends.)

In appreciation for all the promoting and support you've showered me with, I'm doubling the prize package so that two names will be drawn, instead of one!  And I'm officially closing the drawing entries as of this posting. So blogfest participants #2 to #157 are eligible for prizes.

Two blogfest participants, chosen by random drawing, will EACH receive:

A $25 Gift Card to Barnes and Noble or Borders Books (your choice)
A copy of Literary Foray, the anthology featuring my short story, and fiction and poetry by these fellow bloggers: Jessica Bell, Matthew Rush (a.k.a Matthew MacNash), Adriana Noir, Mara McBain, and Noelle Skeldon.
YAnd, assorted goodies J

I'll announce the winners tomorrow around noon!  Remember, those of you who had my blogfest logo on your sidebar have your names in 5X!  Good luck to everyone!

Now, I'm off to visit those last blogfest entries, and then I'm having lunch with Summer Frey!!  Can't wait!

Have a fab day, everyone!!!


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bernard Pivot Blogfest Is Today!

Welcome to the Bernard Pivot Blogfest!  We have over 105 bloggers playing along, but if you've come by for a visit and you're not on the list, feel free to jump aboard!  Mr. Linky is at the bottom of this post.

We're having fun with Pivot's ten question questionnaire, made famous in this country by James Lipton of Inside the Actor's Studio. (Blank questionnaire found here.)  Blogfest participants have filled out the questionnaire and pasted it with their answers on their blogs today.  Hop from blog to blog and read everyone's answers!  I hope you learn something interesting about your blog friends and meet some new people.

Here are my answers.  And below that, you'll find Mr. Linky pointing you to other blogs involved in the fest.  Let the fun begin!

  1. What is your favorite word?  Torque.  The word means,The measured ability of a rotating element, as of a gear or shaft, to overcome turning resistance.” ...But who cares?  It just sounds cool.  And even without playing it on any premium squares, ‘torque’ will earn you 15 points in Scrabble.  J
  2. What is your least favorite word? Vain.  Vanity is such selfish, inward focus – the polar opposite of the humility I strive for and my desire to project positive energy outward.  I also hate vain’s homonym.  Having my blood drawn is a traumatic event for me.  If I even think too hard about veins, I start to get light-headed.  Ack.  Next question!
  3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?  Beauty in Nature.  Seashores, mountain trails, deserts, rain forests.  These are the places I always feel the most spiritually aware and creatively inspired.
  4. What turns you off?  Prejudice.  I have an innate aversion to any idea or statement that advocates Person ‘A’ is less capable, intelligent, or worthy than Peson ‘B’ on the grounds that Person ‘A’ is of a different gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or political or religious persuasion than Person ‘B’.  I don’t care how wealthy, powerful, or educated you are; if you hold prejudiced beliefs, I believe you just don’t get IT. 
  5. What is your favorite curse word?  Fuck.  I love its versatility and its humor.  Fuck effortlessly illustrates how passionate you are feeling in a moment.  But, fuck also has the unique ability to diffuse a serious situation, with a splash of campy shock-wit.
  6. What sound or noise do you love?  The first M&Ms to rain down from the just-opened bag into a glass candy bowl.  Such a delicious sound!
  7. What sound or noise do you hate?  The land line phone ringing.  The land line is primarily for our Internet connection, so its phone ringing rarely preludes a pleasant phone conversation.  My friends and family use my cell number to call me.  When the house phone rings, it’s bound to be a sales call or an organization trying to raise money.  I dislike both interruptions.  Maybe I should turn that ringer off…
  8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?  Graphic Artist.  I love web design, creating images with Paint Shop Pro, and fiddling with HTML and CSS coding.  It’s a hobby I would have loved as a career.
  9. What profession would you not like to do?  Nursing.  All that drawing people’s blood... and assisting doctors as they perform procedures or attend to injuries on patients like me, who are totally freaked out and feeling nauseous from the sheer anticipation of someone wiggling and then opening their veins…  Thank God for Nurses!  And thank God, for all my would-be patients, that I’m not one.
  10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?  Welcome back.

Thanks for stopping by!  I look forward to visiting all the participating blogs today.  Join me as I hop around! Here's the list of peeps playing along.  And remember, add your name if you want:

Post Script:  Patti Nielson's link is broken in the Mr. Linky list and I haven't been able to fix it.  Her blog is Patti Nielson.
Also, Ink Pots 'n' Quills may have a broken link.  Just in case, here's the correct link: Ink Pots 'n' Quills.
Here's another one with a possible broken link:  Michael @ In Time...
And another :))  Jolene Perry

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Roland Yeomans E-Book Release

I have great news about the wildly talented writer and always inspiring blogger Roland Yeomans.  Roland's debut e-book The Bear with Two Shadows is now available.  Huge congrats, Roland!

You can download your copy from Amazon's Kindle store in under a minute.  Isn't technology amazing!  You'll find all the necessary 411 HERE.  
          So happy for your success, Roland!         

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

I just spent an amazing weekend with my sister and her kids.  My heart is full.  

I hope you spend your Valentine's Day reveling in love!

(Pssst! Don't forget, Wednesday is the Bernard Pivot Blogfest!
Still time to sign up... See you there!!)


Friday, February 11, 2011

Fun Galore

Lots of great bloggy peeps and activities to pimp!  Here's what you don't want to miss:

If you've been visiting writers' blogs in the past week or so, you've definitely noticed this photo on sidebars everywhere.  Rachael Harrie @Rach Writes is launching this event for the second time, after the huge success of the first Writer's Platform-Building Crusade.  Become a Crusader and join us as we network with authors within our genres and outside.  Event is underway and runs from February 1st to April 30th.  Full details and sign-ups HERE

Don't forget: Next Wednesday, February 16th, is the Bernard Pivot Blogfest. To date, there are 95 bloggers playing along, but since the questionnaire is only 10 questions, it'll be quick reading and so easy to hit tons of blogs that day.  You'll meet dozens of new people, hopefully gain new followers, and share about yourself.  Fun!  Still plenty of time to sign up HERE.


Lola Sharp @Sharp Pen/Dull Sword is one of the sweetest bloggy friends I know!  Her giveaway is all about paying it forward, supporting each other in our writerly and personal pursuits, and spreading the love around.  Visit her blog on any given day and you'll be met with colorful, uplifting posts that do just that.  The prizes in this particular giveaway are awesome, but it's about more than that.  It's all about the rewards you reap from being the wind beneath another's wings.  Get in on it today, click HERE.

DL Hammons over at Cruising Altitude is celebrating a fantastic following of +600!  And because he's a mystery writer, and because he's highly creative and all-around awesome, DL has crafted a murder for us to solve.  To play along, read the murder-mystery short story HERE.  Then, hunt for clues that have been posted on the sidebars of 37 fellow bloggers.  (Psst....look at MY sidebar...)  Next week, DL will post a list of those 37 clue-toting blogs to help those out who haven't found enough to break the case.  Everyone who plays along gets a chance to win a prize, but those who solve the case risk to win more!  Full details HERE.

If you're looking for contests to join, I have a couple listed on my right sidebar.  If you know of any I can get in on, leave me the 411 in a comment!

And lastly, I have created an account with DropBox.  I have a question for those of you that use it.  Do you drop your files to save/archive/protect into your DropBox, or do you put a COPY of the files in?  It seems like to copy would be to double the memory it takes on my hard drive, but to drop means I no longer have a copy on my hard drive??  Is that smart/safe??  What if the files are compromised?  Maybe I don't fully understand.  All advice and tips are welcome and appreciated!

My sister's coming from Florida for a visit, so I won't be around.  Have a great weekend!!


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Accused of Being "Loose"

I've got my first draft in front of me, and I'm loosening up, I swear it...

I often wish I could read a slew of first drafts from published and unpublished authors. Intellectually, I understand first drafts are raw, messy, unrefined.  I've heard other writers describe theirs.  I've read countless articles and how-to books on the subject.  But to see a couple first drafts would be to truly believe, that every great novel began as a raw, unrefined mess.  

Guess I'll just have to keep the faith and plug away at mine, to capture my own Seeing-Is-Believing experience.  

Some tips I'm using to cheer myself on during this challenging plow-through-the-fear-and-self-doubt writing stage are:

² The first draft is the time to Free Write.  It's all about creating, letting loose a high energy flow of wild imagination.

² Concentrate on the characters, tell their stories.  Only look forward --> What comes next?  Don't look back and worry about what you've written.  If something important comes to mind, add a comment in the margin for later, but move forward!

² You are a Writer now, not an Editor.  Writers tell stories, so lose yourself in that task.  Leave the spelling, grammar and punctuation to the Editor you're allowed to be later, when you are in the revision phase

² Don't be afraid and have fun!

What other tips do you have for plowing through and getting that first draft finished?  


Monday, February 7, 2011

Little Darth Vader

Though I'm not an avid football fan, I love the game and never miss the Super Bowl. In fact, Super Bowl Sunday has become a holiday in our house. And truth be told, it's mostly because we love to watch the commercials. Here's my pick for the best Super Bowl 2011 Commercial:

How cute is that?? I thought most of the other commercials were lackluster. I did love the Snickers add with Roseanne Barr and the iPhone add with Ozzy and Bieber.

Which Super Bowl ad topped your list?

And in unrelated news, here are a couple items of note:

My sweet sister -- who is a talented writer and poet, and who is my number one support system out here in the "real world" -- has launched a blog. She's going through what we all go through in the beginning: nervousness, searching for her "voice," wondering if anyone will want to read what she blogs, etc. I hope you'll shoot over there and help me make her feel welcome! You'll find her at Noelle Skeldon, Author.

Lastly, there's still plenty of time to sign up for the Bernard Pivot Blogfest, scheduled for February 16.  It's going to be a fun way to get to know each other better through our answers to M. Pivot's famous questionnaire -- the same one James Lipton uses at the end of Inside the Actor's Studio -- (questionnaire and blogfest instructions HERE) It'll be quick to post, fast to read everyone else's posts, and -- don't forget -- there's a giveaway involved!  Prizes will be revealed at the end of the week!  SIGN UP HERE :D

I'm going to make this a productive writing week.  What about you?  Best of luck reaching all your goals!


Saturday, February 5, 2011

You've Come a Long Way, Baby

Christine Hardy @ The Writer's Hole had a fun idea for today's You've Come a Long Way, Baby Blogfest.  Since the craft of creative writing is a journey, she thought it'd be fun to share some of our earlier work, illustrating just how far we'd come since, you know, back then.  So, below is a piece of flash fiction I wrote in May of 2008.

It was for a daily contest, which asked me to produce in 24 hours a 300-word (maximum) short story, incorporating the prompt words:  Rainbow, Bicycle, and Backpack.  (psst!  This entry actually won the contest that day!)

When I read this back, I have to smile.  There are FOUR -ly adverbs in the first paragraph.  But they're hardly noticeable, forced to share a paragraph with such garish attempts at lush descriptions, calling attention to themselves.  It's as if all those fancy words and pretentious phrases had little arms, waving at me.  It screams amateur. LOL.  I'm happy to say I opt for more concise descriptions now, simple words that pack a mean punch, more bang for the buck. Okay, 'nuf said.  Here you are; enjoy :))


         A rapt spectator of uninhibited childhood bliss, Alan hovered on the porch as his young son played in the yard, tossing a rainbow colored ball high over his head. Eyes tightly shut against the dazzling sun, the boy giggled as he reached up to catch the ball. It ricocheted off miscalculating hands, and bounced down the slight incline toward the street. Alan’s smile faltered and his eyes grew steadily wider as he saw his son turn in the ball’s direction. With surging dread, his eyes followed as the boy scampered after it. Alan tried to run, but his suddenly cumbersome legs wouldn’t budge. He shouted, but no sound issued from his mouth. Rooted to the spot by unseen forces, he helplessly watched his son dash into the street as an electric blue car with tinted windows crested the hill. Never decelerating, the car barreled straight for him. Alan stretched out his arms, groping, pleading. “NNNnnooooooooo!”

         He woke with a start. His heart was racing and beads of perspiration clung to his upper lip. Sitting up on the couch, he ran a hand through his hair, impatient for the dream to dissipate. He wanted -- needed -- to be with his son. 

         Standing, he called out, “Honey? Where’s Jimmy?”

         His wife’s muffled voice answered, “Outside!”

         Nudging shoes and a discarded backpack out of the way, he pried open the front door. Jimmy was riding his bicycle along the sidewalk. “Son,” he called, “wanna shoot some hoops?”

         “Sure, Dad!” Jimmy answered, hopping off his bike and letting it topple to the ground with a crash. A moment later, as Alan draped an arm around the boy’s shoulders, the tranquil air was disrupted by the swell of a rumbling engine. Looking up, Alan’s pulse quickened as an electric blue car with tinted windows came barreling into view.


Thanks for reading!  Please visit the other participants' blogs over the weekend.  The Mr. Linky list can be found HERE on Christine's blog.

Have a fantastic weekend!


Thursday, February 3, 2011

High on Plot Pot (*waves to Jessica*)

One drop at a time, I'm filling the 'plot pot' for my revitalized WiP.  Formerly known as Overcome, the story has changed on many levels.  It feels like a brand new project.  The inciting incident and the character who instigates it are virtually all that remain of the original storyline.  And that character, once the antagonist, is now the story's hero.

The new working title is Safe in Captivity, which hints at a major theme that will weave throughout the story.  I'm very excited about it, because the theme manifests itself both as physical and psychological elements that will play parts in every major character's motivations and inner conflicts.

I have twenty-five  scenes sketched so far that take me from the opening, across major turning points, to the ending.  As I ponder individual scenes, connecting points blossom in my head.  It's amazing how the process allows you to capture details, shows you more about the characters, more about the settings, more about the story.  My notebook is filling up.

Today, I'm working on a loose timeline, to organize the scenes in chronological order.  I have some online research to do, too.

Amazon Info HERE
Nothing happens by chance. I happen to be reading Dark Places by Gillian Flynn, and I'm completely inspired by it.  The organizational decisions Flynn makes to tell Libby Day's story are brilliant.  Her scene choices cut right the heart of the story, and her ability to weave exposition into a moment so that the pace actually increases has been, for me, an education in itself.  And the descriptive quality of her voice?  Nothing short of brilliant.  I'm still 50 pages from the end, and already I give it a five-star rating.

I'm not going to make the same mistakes with Safe in Captivity that I did with Overcome.  This plotting stage will be brief.  And while the energy is high, I'm going to write the draft.  Straight through, resisting the temptations to revise or backtrack.  I'll add notes to myself as I go, when I realize something from an earlier chapter needs an addition or subtraction.  My minimum goal is 8,000 to 10,000 words a month.  Feel free to hold me accountable :D

And don't forget to sign up for the February 16 Bernard Pivot Blogfest!
It's going to be quick to post and easy to read everyone else's posts, so join in the fun!

Have a fantastic day,

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Just Do It!

hang on Pictures, Images and Photos

So, yesterday was a pretty crappy day.  A few loose ends had become frayed from neglect and required my full attention.  Spinning them back into resolvable strands I could tie up took all morning and most of the afternoon, leaving me exhausted and depressed.  But every terrible experience has its lessons to teach, so here's what was reinforced in my mind yesterday:

Photobucket Don't put off unpleasant tasks.  Deal with them.  Or they'll seem worse over time and you'll begin to loose sleep.

Photobucket Schedule time each week to deal with crap you hate to deal with.  I'm supposed to take care of unpleasant tasks on Friday mornings -- but it's been weeks since the last time I did.  Staying on top of matters, and out in front of potential problems, will make your life happier.

Photobucket Organization is key.  Don't put an important piece of paper on the corner of your desk because you're "sure you'll remember that's where you put it."  At the very least, keep a file folder for papers that need dealing with.  Name it something like "Friday Folder" (or whatever day of the week you deem 'Unpleasant Task Day'), or "Deal With Me, Dammit!" and keep it in a prominent or visible place on your desk.

Photobucket And the most important thing I remembered?  I'm human.  I make mistakes.  I get lazy, choosing to do the stuff I like to do over shouldering my responsibilities.  And it's okay.  I made a couple nice messes with that behavior, but I worked it all out.  I'm still healthy and alive.  The world is still spinning.  (And no, I am NOT responsible for that massive snow and ice storm some of you are dealing with today.)

Photobucket  But I can do better.  And I will.  Promise.

Do you have anything hanging over your head you should have dealt with like, um, last week?  Why not take care of it today.  You'll feel better, and you may even sleep better tonight!