Monday, November 28, 2011

The Little Engine That Could - Monday Motivation

You've heard it said, "If you think you can, or you think you can't, either way you're right."
This is so true. The last two mornings I went running in 20 degree temps with a headwind on the way home. This may not seem like a big deal, but I've been doing all of my training thus far on a treadmill. Sure, an incline here or there, but mostly just miles. When I set out yesterday morning, I knew there'd be a 16 mph headwind on the way back. I told myself, "Oh please, I've been in worse. Besides, with the running, it won't even feel like the real windchill." And I was right. The gusts were a bit much, but I did it. And boy did that cup of coffee that was waiting for me feel good going down.
Whether it's exercise, and pushing yourself to a new limit, or flexing your fingers on the keyboard and getting that project closer to finished, you can do it.
Your mind is extremely powerful, like a locomotive, and when it sets itself to getting the job done, you'd better believe it'll be done. But give it a second of doubt and you're doomed.
So scrap the "I think I can, I think I can," and replace it with "I know I can, I know I can." You are already half way there.
What have you overcome by the power of "I know I can"?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday - Friday Favorites

Normally there is a wonderful author in this space on a Friday, but since it's Black Friday I thought too many people would be either shopping or recovering from the day with family. So no author today.
  But If you feel inclined, you can tell me what you do on this day, and if you think the best shopping deals really are on Black Friday.
  I'll get us started, I NEVER go shopping on this day! People are nutty enough on other days, but the sheer terror of shopping with someone who either stayed up all night, or stood in line for hours waiting for the store to open keeps me home, relaxing and knowing I can shop for great deals on a less frenzied day.

Let the holidays begin!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Writing Sprint

I must confess, I love #writingsprints. And I type it here with the hashtag from Twitter, because that's where I first got involved in these crazed group sprints.
The wonderful TV writer Jane Espenson - see her writing portfolio here http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0260870/ - started offering up short sprints, "at the top of the hour" on Twitter. All who participated would check back at the end of the time period and share our writing results. These sprints can be for amount of time, 15 minutes, 30 minute, an hour.
I like the hour sprints best. I find that I'm completely concentrating on my story, and I refuse to be interrupted. No Twitter, Facebook, checking email, just 1 hour of unadulterated writing. I've been more productive during these sprints than when just writing on my own. I'm not sure why, but maybe because I'm accountable.
Yesterday, I announced I was doing a one hour sprint. Now mind you Jane and I aren't the only ones announcing sprints. But yesterday, I was just making a statement that I was doing a sprint for myself, "in 3 minutes." I was thrilled when several other Twitter peeps joined in on such short notice.
And we were productive. I had 5 pages, someone else had 3, another had edited 2 chapters. See? It's great to know you're not alone in the is writing world. And to be honest, it's a good way to get my own butt in the seat and start typing.
Have you joined a #writingsprint? And was it useful to you?
Be sure to join one next time you see it on Twitter and see what it does for your production rate.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday Motivation - The Red String

You see the red string on the left wrist of many celebrities, and it's a symbol related to Kabbalah, but it's not just about Kabbalah.
The red string is tied around one's wrist to ward off the evil eye. But in reality you bring about your own evil eye. It's worn on the wrist as a reminder to "to no evil." By this, the string reminds us to think twice before speaking negatively, or harming another.
For people who study Kabbalah, such as Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher, Madonna, and many more, the red string is their reminder of their faith, (Kabbalah is not a religion, it's a belief) and to ward off the evil eye by doing no evil.
But it doesn't have to be a red string. It can be a ring, any ring, or even a bracelet for which the only meaning of wearing it is for the purpose of reminding you to, take one less bit of food, say something nice, do no evil.
A bracelet or ring, or even a string tied in a visible place, where you can see it everyday, to remind you of a habit you want to start, and make it a regular habit, as you have a constant reminder in place.
What could be your red string? What kind of reminder would help you to achieve your goals, or start/change a habit?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Meet Nina Pierce and her Favorite Things



Hi, I'm NINA PIERCE and these are a few of my favorite things.

CURRENTLY ON IPOD: Ugh! That would mean music piped directly into my ears
... nooooo!
CURRENTLY READING: Kiss and Hell by Dakota Cassidy
COLOR: Green
CITY: Sedona, AZ (*sigh*)
DREAM VACATION: I'd LOVE to visit Italy and stay in the wine country
ACTIVITY: Playing cards with friends
BOOK: The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough
BOOK ON WRITING: On Writing by Stephen King
PLACE TO READ: In bed with my feet propped up
TV SHOW: Oh, tough one. It's a toss up between "Survivor" (don't judge me)
and "Big Bang Theory"
MOVIE: Grease
SONG: Old Time Rock and Roll by Bob Seger
SINGER: Kenny Chesney
BAND: Lady Antebellum (sensing a country theme here?)
ACTOR: So many to choose from, so little time ...
ACTRESS: Sandra Bullock
PET PEEVE: People who say they're going to do something, but don't (Say "no"
people!)
MOST LIKE TO MEET: Ellen Degeneres

My website: http://www.NinaPierce.com
My Twitter handle:  http://www.twitter.com/NinaPierce

Monday, November 14, 2011

Monday Motivation - Lighting the Spark

Spark People
I've tried every "fad" program out there. Do they work? Absolutely. Can you stay on them for more than a week? For me, not so much. And I'm not going to pay to lose weight. I already pay enough money to do everything else. I sometimes think, "Well, if I had money invested, I'd be more likely to stick with it." NOT! Money is not a motivator for me.
So I found this great site, which is very Weight Watchers like. And it's FREE. They cater to every type of dieter. And most important, they have jazzy little phone apps.
They also offer up a terrific blog The Daily Spark which is chalk full of great info. If Mimi from the Gotcha Detective series knew about this...
Now for Monday's Goals: Last week I was bad, bad, bad! It was my birthday week, which is no excuse. I was great about almost everything, and instead of cutting off 2 bites, I tended to cut my food in half and share with my employees. They loved it, FREE FOOD. lol
I'm starting over with last weeks goals again. Not adding any this week, as my life is on a different schedule for the next 3 months.
What are your goals this week? And what do you think of the Spark People website?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Meet Jennifer Lynne and her Favorite Things



Hi, I'm romance author Jennifer Lynne, and these are a few of my favorite things:

ON MY iPoD: Nothing right now as my daughter commandeered it!
CURRENTLY READING:  Industrial Magic by Kelley Armstrong and The Crystal Warrior by Maree Anderson
COLOR: Green
CITY: The wonderful city where I live – Melbourne, Australia
DREAM VACATION: The Maldives – far too expensive, but a woman can dream, right?
ACTIVITY: Writing and reading, especially when combined with sitting in front of a log fire on a cold winter’s day
BOOK: Anything by Ilona Andrews or Lisa Shearin. Love those authors – they create kick-ass heroines!
BOOK ON WRITING:  Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King
PLACE TO READ: By the log fire, on the beach, or in bed late at night
TV SHOW: Escape to the Country and The Amazing RaceMOVIE: Lord of the Rings trilogy, especially the first one
SONG: Katie Melua’s Blame it on the Moon
SINGER: Katie Melua and Norah Jones
BAND: The Beatles
ACTOR: I have far too many favorites – but a few are Al Pacino, Alan Rickman, Sean Penn and Geoffrey Rush
ACTRESS: Top three are Hilary Swank, Cate Blanchett and Helen Mirren
PET PEEVE: People who talk so much they never stop to just...listen!
MOST LIKE TO MEET: David Tennant (yep, I have a little crush!), Stephen Fry and Miriam Margolyes – that way I could have quirky, intelligent conversation with loads of laughter!

My website: http://www.jenniferlynne.com.au
My Twitter handle: JenniLynnAuthor  http://twitter.com/#!/JenniLynnAuthor

Thursday, November 10, 2011

It's not a Competition


When Jeanne, Kim, Mina, Zac and I first started ScriptChat, the motto was "It's a community, not a competition." And from that day, it's always been that way. We cheer for each other, support people in a slump, and generally try to be there for people across the globe. www.scriptchat.com

And when Vivi, Gray, Zac and I went on to develop TVWriterChat, we used what we learned from starting ScriptChat. www.tvwriterchat.com

It really isn't a competition. The only person you're competing with is yourself. How can you make yourself better? What can you do to improve your odds of succeeding? Being a part of a community really helps you beat the odds.

I'm noticing the same camaraderie among authors. Everyone supports one another. Check out this wonderful blog post by Beth Revis. http://networkedblogs.com/pJsel

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Go With the Flow - Taking a Story/Writing Detour

Originally I didn't have a blog post for Writer Wednesday. But after a one hour writing sprint, and reading a review that said the reader would like to have seen more twists, I'm on a roll.
I thought I knew exactly where I was going with my story. I won't say which one, but it was nearly set in stone. Then I'm writing and one of my characters says, "Did you see that? There, in the background of the picture." And wham! I was hit up beside the head with a new and twisted twist.
I fear this story is a bit darker than I'd originally planned, but tonight it just got a bit darker. I'll have to through in some humor to lighten the mood.
So what I'm trying to say, is I outlined this story. I knew exactly where I was going. I know who the killer is. I've set all the red herrings in place. Yup, I did all of that before I ever wrote a word of this work in progress, and now it's fresher and more twisted than I'd originally planned.
So go with the flow. Deviate from your outline if it's going to make your story better. Just remember, when you do this, be sure it still flows with the rest of your story.
Now, back to our regularly scheduled writing...

Monday, November 7, 2011

Monday Motivation - Getting Healthier in Small Steps

Nothing will motivate you to take a better look at what you put in your mouth than a bad test result from the doctor. Or will it? Nearly a year ago, I got my blood tests back from the doctor, high bad cholesterol, and nearly diabetic levels of blood sugar. I thought, "Oh God, I'm going to die. I can't die, I'm only (insert number here)."

I went online and read all the articles on eating to lower cholesterol. I changed my overall diet. I wanted to live!

Apparently I didn't want to live that bad, because within a week I was back to eating the same old crap. And not just some of it. Apparently the trigger in my brain that says, "One package of HoHos is enough," wasn't triggering. Somehow I decided that I knew my body better than the doctors. NOT!

What was going on here was that my brain couldn't accept the changes. And to this day, almost a year later, I go up and down with my eating habits. I've lost 15 pounds, but I seriously need to lose more. (I'm not obese, but I'm not skinny either).

So I was reading a book called,One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way about a month ago. The point is to change things in very small increments. So I started. Garlic is supposed to be a great food to help with cholesterol levels, and olives have heart healthy fat, so I started eating just one garlic stuffed olive each morning. After a few weeks, I added a multivitamin (I know, I should have been taking it all along). And most recently I started throwing away the first bite of food. (I take the bite and spit it in the garbage, or I cut it off with a knife and toss in the garbage immediately).

There's so much more I can do, in small steps, that will eventually become such habit I won't remember when I started doing things this way. But I'm committed to adding one more small step each week.

There is plenty more I can do. I'll talk about adding exercise to you life next week.

I'm cutting out one more bite of my food with each meal, and I'm adding flax seed to at least one meal.

This is about my life, I need to get serious! I want at least as many more years as I've already had.

If you are interested in changing a habit, I'd love for you to join me here each week and we can check in and add a new small habit that's good.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sample Sunday - LET US PREY (portion of Ch. 2)

Chapter 2

Sitting in the middle of the dining room table was Esme. Not all of Esme, just her head, eyes wide open, staring from the crystal bowl. Her hair had been cut into a short spiky chopped mess, and blood had pooled in the bottom of the bowl. Her body had been positioned in a chair next to an antique cabinet with her hands cupped in her lap, collecting pools of blood that had seeped from her neck. Her legs were twisted in the same twist tie I’d seen in my office that day.
I looked around the room. Everything looked the same as it had when I’d been there in the afternoon. The table was set with a series of white Nortaki china, crystal goblets, and a table runner across the middle. The runner was under the crystal bowl containing Esme’s head. The last time I’d seen the bowl it had been empty. I avoided looking at the head and tried to concentrate on the details of the room. I’d never been to a crime scene so I didn’t really know what I was looking for, but there didn’t seem to be signs of a struggle. I looked behind Esme’s body and saw a slight darkening of the brown walls where blood from Esme’s neck had sprayed the surface. Other than the blood, the room looked pristine. Pristine if you didn’t consider the trail of blood from the body to the head on the table. It looked like a set up for a horror flick or a bad joke. Only the acrid smell of expelled body fluids made the scene real.
Lauren wrapped her arms around her middle and bent forward, the remains of her fast food dinner spewing forth onto the floor. Holding her hair back with one hand, she spit vomit onto the hardwood floor. Her mouth hung open and spit dribbled from her lips. It seemed she couldn’t catch her breath as she dropped to her hands and knees. She didn’t seem to notice the chunks of her dinner under her hands.
“Oh my god, oh my god,” she said. Sucking in a deep breath, she vomited again. This time she didn’t try to pull her hair from her face.
I stood silent, stunned. I followed cheating spouses, did skip traces, took photographs of people committing insurance fraud, and I stood guard to protect people, but I wasn’t a cop, and I’d never seen anything like this. Between Lauren’s barfing, and Esme’s decapitated head I didn’t know how to keep myself from fainting. Finally, I looked up, which helped me swallow the bile building in the back of my throat, and concentrated on the ceiling for a moment.
Watching Lauren, and smelling the regurgitated fish filet, was too much. But I couldn’t vomit. I had to get my head together. Call the police. But I couldn’t move. I was the professional here, right? Oh, I so didn’t want to be the professional. I wanted to go back to the car and have a do-over. Lauren started to stand up, and I regained my composure, trying to be the consummate professional.
“Don’t touch anything. I’ll call the police,” I said.
She barely got herself into a sitting position on the floor rocking back and forth, whispering. I couldn’t hear what she said. I leaned closer, and choked back my vomit when I smelled hers.
“What?” I said.
“Henry. Where is Henry?” She wiped the vomit from her hands onto her skirt.
I pulled my cell phone from my hip holster and dialed 911. I put the phone to my ear and listened. It seemed like an hour before the dispatcher answered.
“911, what’s your emergency?”
“There’s been a murder.”
“Ma’am, are you okay?”
“Yes,” I lied. “A woman was murdered, and we just got home and found her.”
“Ma’am. What’s your name?”
“Mimi Capurro. I’m here with the owner of the house. She isn’t doing so well.”
“Has she been injured?”
“No. She found the body. She’s not handling it very well.” I looked back at Lauren who was still rocking and mumbling.
 “What’s your location, ma’am?”
Why do they always ask that, when they know where you are? Then I remembered I was calling from my cell phone. I gave her the home’s address.
“Okay, I have a car on the way. Is anyone else in the house with you?”
“I don’t know. I’ll go check.”
I crept down the hallway, switching from the handset to my Bluetooth headset. I heard the dispatcher snap at me. “No, ma’am, don’t go anywhere. The police will be there any minute. They’ll look for anyone else in the house.”
Knowing full well the killer could still be in the house, I didn’t even know if we were safe, so I pulled my nine millimeter from my shoulder holster and climbed the stairs.
“Ma’am, are you there?” The dispatcher sounded more concerned and less confident now.
I didn’t answer. I was trying to climb the stairs quietly, and I wasn’t really listening to her.
“Ma’am. Stay put. The police will be there any minute. Ma’am?”
She sounded distraught now, so I felt compelled to say something. I whispered, “Call me Mimi, please. I can’t stay put, I have to see if the husband is alive. I may be able to help him, if he’s still alive. I’m okay, I have a gun.”
Now that was the wrong thing to say. The dispatcher went on alert.
“Mimi, did you say you have a gun?”
“Don’t worry. I’m a private detective. I’m licensed.” Not that I’d ever had to shoot anyone before. But I could if I had to, I was sure of it.
“Please Mimi, stop where you are. I need you to stay put until the police arrive.” I’m pretty sure she was screaming at me, but I’d blocked her out.
I climbed the rest of the stairs and plastered my back against the wall, creeping along until I reached what I hoped was the bathroom door. Reaching across the door and turning the handle, I pushed the door open and flipped on the light, pointing my gun in front of me. The room was empty. I breathed deep, grabbed a hand towel from the counter and headed to the next room.

Friday, November 4, 2011

HORSES STOLEN - Empty trailer found in Idabel Oklahoma

Last night someone stole a Featherlite gooseneck 22 ft. stock combo trailer Georgia plates (TL7W102)with 5 horses, saddles, and bits from the college barn in Magnolia, AR! One was Ashley Mills good black horse with a rocking M brand on left hip. Shaun Smiths sorrel blaze face horse with a rocking V on his left shoulder, right hip had backward L with a K. There was also a grey mare with no markings, a buckskin mare with a star on her head, and a black mare with star and circle M brand. Mollies tod sloan, bayou west pads, Joe's team roping saddle and many of their headstalls are also gone...please get the word out


‎**ATTENTION** Stolen Horses Update! Last night the trailer was found empty in Idabel, Oklahoma but all 5 horses are still missing. Please keep passing this information to all your horse friends & alert your local horse sales. The above picture is a more clear faceshot the black gelding, "Badger". The 4 other horses stolen are: Sorrel blaze face horse with a rocking V on his left shoulder, right hip has backward L with a K. Grey mare with no markings, a Buckskin mare with a star on her head, and a Black mare. Call Ashley Mills with any information (386) 209-0469 & your local Sheriff's Department.

Thank you facebook friends for helping spread the word to get these horses back to their owners!

Facebook link: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stolen-Help-FIND/211056102298127



Email OK horse auctions to be on the lookout. 
http://www.noble.org/ag/Livestock/OKAuctions/byCity.html

Meet Stephanie Queen and her Favorite Things



Hi, I'm Stephanie Queen and these are a few of my favorite things.

ON MY iPoD:
CURRENTLY READING:  Nelson DeMille's Plum Island - love his macho cop John Corey 
COLOR:  Electric Blue
CITY:  Boston
DREAM VACATION:  Varies, but inexplicably, it's between Paris and Hawaii right now.
ACTIVITY:  Does snuggling count as an activity?
BOOK:  You're kidding, right?
BOOK ON WRITING:  On Being a Writer, a Writer's Digest compilation of essays circa 1989, includes Hemingway & Faulkner interviews. 
PLACE TO READ:  Bed
TV SHOW:  The Closer
ACTOR:  Russell Crowe
ACTRESS:  Kyra Sedgewick
MOST LIKE TO MEET: Harlan Coben - had a close encounter last summer in NYC at the RWA Conference, but not quite

My website:  www.StephanieQueen.com
My Twitter handle: @StephanieQueen

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Outlining Isn't Just for Novels

I can't tell you how often I hear writers lament about the dreaded outline. "It kills creativity," "I just don't want to box myself in," and so many more complaints. Well, I'm here to tell you, outlining is just as important in writing a TV or feature script.
For every script I write, I first beat out the beginning, the end, and turning points/act breaks. Then I fill in the scenes to get to those points. And believe me, this requires lots of creativity.
Coming up with a story, the beginning, end, and a few points along the way is usually how I spring an idea. It's getting past those few points that really make me dig down and get creative.
What can I do to keep the reader (remember, someone is reading our script, not watching a film reel) turning the pages? What hooks, cliffhangers, characters can I present to keep the reader involved?
This is a blueprint for the spine of your story, the DNA if you will. From there it's nature vs. nurture. Things will change as you write, just as life doesn't always go as planned. But believe me when I tell you that this original imprint will go a long way to making your story stronger, and you won't "hit the wall" at midpoint, wondering where the hell your story is going. Or what you were writing about to begin with.
I find that if I hit the wall in my outlining, it's easier to see where things went wrong, and I don't have so many words and pages to go back over to find a fix.
If you write by "the seat of your pants," you'll also get the story written, but I do believe it takes much longer to get there.
As for killing creativity, where do you think the outline came from? You created it. Just because you figured out the road to travel before the trip began, doesn't mean you can't take detours, or visit interesting places along the way.
Tired of the cliche analogies? Sorry, but I'm sincere in my clicheness. hahaha
What do you do that helps you map out your story?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Conflict: Who Needs It?

Who needs it? If you are a writer, you do!

Without conflict, you don't have a compelling story. And you need a compelling story to sell your novel or screenplay.

Look at the successful sitcoms on TV. Yes, I said sitcoms, not dramas. Every story revolves around conflict of some kind, and the silliness that ensues during the pursuit of controlling it. So, if you write comedy or drama, you need to consider conflict.

Starting TODAY, there is a great workshop on CONFLICT being conducted for the month of November. Check out the details: Creating Conflict for Your Story.