Archive for March, 2012

it’s time for the weekly photo challenge.  Arranged!  I didn’t know what to do with that one, but Cee went through my photos and found some that would work for that theme.  Thank goodness she has the patience to search around through my stuff and find things either arranged by hand or by Mother Nature .  I like what she found.  I hope you do, too.  Blessings!

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Cee and I have returned to watching Dancing with the Stars (DWTS) for the new season that began last week.  We enjoy the show, and when I read this wonderful article by Marci Shimoff, I wanted to share it with all of you.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.


Last week, I started watching the new season of my favorite show-Dancing with the Stars. I’m completely mesmerized!

This show has a special place in my heart, as my dad and I watched it together during the last few months of his life. (My dad was a great dancer in his day, and I remember learning how to dance when I was 7 years old by standing on his feet.) (more…)

Plots!  Where do they come from?  How do you come up with them?  That’s what I wanted to know before I became a writer.  In fact, the idea of coming up with plots was the single most thing that prevented me from writing.  Words, character development, description, dialogue… all of that I can do.  But how do you come up with a plot?

Now that I’ve done a few of them, it seems simple, but at the beginning it was daunting.  Hallie Ephron’s “Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel” has some great pointers.  The place to start, though, is to open yourself up to possibility.  Here’s a little exercise for you… I’ll give you a topic and you write as many plot ideas as you can come up with.  But first, I’ll be nice and give you an example. (more…)

For this week’s questions and instructions on how to play, go check out Cee’s Share Your World Blog.

Here are my answers:

1. If you had a choice, which would be your preference: salt water beaches, fresh water lakes, hot tub, or desert?
My choice would be a hot tub overlooking the ocean.  The reason why I didn’t choose salt water beaches is because you can’t get into them all year round, at least not in Oregon in the winter without a wet suit.  I want to look at the water and also see it all the time. 

2.  What book do you think everyone should read and why? 

That is tough, given all the wonderful books I’ve read.  The winner would have to be one I’m reading right now by SARK:  “Glad No Matter What: Transforming Loss and Change into Gift and Opportunity”.

It’s a wonderful book to help people deal with loss, all kinds of loss, from the death of a loved one, to the loss of a job or a love.  SARK writes from her own experience in dealing with death.  The writing is warm, poignant and realistic.  She accompanies the text with exercises and suggestions.  As a grief counselor, I find it to be a wonderful resource.
3.  What’s your favorite way to wake up and what’s the first thing you do?

My favorite way to wake up is without an alarm clock.  Usually I wake up with a fifteen pound cat standing on my chest, crying for his breakfast.  Cee claims he’s too spoiled but I find that hard to believe.  After I’ve fed him he goes stays with me a little while, until Cee is ready to get up, then he greets her and sacks out after she gets up, as you can see in her blog.

The first thing I always do is catch up my journal.  Always.  I don’t skip a day.  I try for 750 words in the morning, just to clear the cobwebs and old garbage out of my head.
4.  What do you to relax?

I read, sometimes write.  Cee and I zentangle.  I’ve started to do kumihimo, a Japanese form of braiding and cord making.  I enjoy weaving and this is a new form for me to explore.


This week’s photo challenge is “Through”.  Here are my photos.  Scroll down to view the large pictures.

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Do you have a personal or family story that you really wish you could put down on paper but you just don’t know how to do it?  Do you enjoy genealogy and want to see a history written to go along with the charting you are doing?   Then I have a deal for you!  I will write it for you free of charge.

I once belonged to the Association of Personal Historians (APH) and I’ve decided that my main character in my second mystery series will be a personal historian.  I want to get my mind back into that groove.  This offer is limited to five people, so if you are interested in this limited time free offer, go to my Contact page and drop me a note telling me a little bit about the story and why you’d like it written for you.


Cee has another set of challenging questions in her Share Your World challenge this week.  (For more information, and to participate in the challenge, click here.)  Here are my answers for this week.

If you had to move to a state or country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why?

This is a tough one.  I love Oregon, but I want to live closer to the ocean, but still in the big trees.  I thought about New Zealand but they have those noisy bugs in the summer time. It sure looks pretty, though.  I think I’d just have to explore and find some place with lush greenery that is in a temperate weather zone.  Oh, wait!  That sounds just like the Oregon coast.

If your were a car or truck what make, model, year and color would you be?

Being a writer with an over developed imagination, I get to answer this a lot of times.  I could be a 1920s era Packard Phaeton with a V12 engine, which is to me the epitome of elegance, wealth and power.  Color?  Tone on tone beige / brown.  Classy.

I could be an SUV, in this case a Ford Expedition.  It’s a work horse that can pull a trailer and take me adventuring.  Power, easy to get in and out, hauls people and cargo.  Does it all.  Blue or green.

I could be a little motor bike, like a Vespa, able to zip around, run errands, weave in and out of traffic.  Efficient, multitasking. nimble, and a gas saver to counter my gas hogging alter ego.

What one thing have you not done that you really want to do?

Fly into outer space.  Be weightless and get a whole new perspective on plant Earth.  See the limitless view of the universe.

Where do you eat breakfast?

Usually at my computer, after writing three pages in my journal.  I always come first in my day, and my journal is “me” time.  On Saturday, Cee and I go out to breakfast and take time to catch up on our respective worlds.  It’s our time to talk about our creativity and where it has taken us.

These were some tough questions this week, but I enjoyed them.  Now I get to see what everyone else has written.


Writers, could you use some sound advice on how to edit your works?  Since I finished my first Alice Anne mystery novel, I needed to come up with a good process for rewriting.  I’ve had a very talented editor feeding me ideas for revisions (Thanks, Louise!), which I have dutifully made.  I’ve gone on to write the majority of a second book and start a third (that will be a new series).  Now I’m ready to take everything I’ve learned about my writing so far and give my first book a good read through, cleaning up the language that can be better.  But how to start and actually do that?  Inspiration came in the form of a blog by Elizabeth S. Craig, another mystery writer, and the person responsible for the Writer’s Knowledge Base that I wrote about last week.

Elizabeth’s blog has been selected by Writer’s Digest magazine as one of the best websites for writers in 2010 and 2011, which is quite a distinction.  She’s been providing me with sage advice since I found her blog.

Click here to read “One Writer’s Editing Process”


This week’s photo challenge was kind of fun:  unusual.  That really leaves the door open to a lot of different ideas, doesn’t it?  Here are my contributions.

Please check my wedding blog and help my friend Janice win her dream wedding.  Blessings!


Please help a friend of mine win her fantasy wedding.  She’s a finalist in a contest held by our local newspaper.  They’re giving the lucky winner a $25000USD wedding.  Let me tell you why you should vote for her and then I’ll tell you how to vote.  It’s just a couple of clicks for you, but a lifetime of happiness for my friend.  Here’s the story.  It’s a real tear jerker, as we say in the States, so get our your kleenex / tissue / handkerchief or whatever you call it in your country.

Janice is a grief counselor like me, and she helps adults who are working through the death of a spouse or child.  But that’s not the teary part.  That’s just how I know her.  She is marrying a love that she lost more than seventeen years ago, a love reunited in a way that is a fairy tale of its own… (more…)