Friday, September 30, 2016

Fabulous Five: Evidence of Autumn

Last week, September 22, was the official start of fall with crisp mornings, sparkling dew drops, and breath hanging in the air. No rain yet, so the mutts are still eager for their walks. My vintage iPhone 4S may be clunky and slow, but it takes great pictures. Even with Tilly and Tango pulling impatiently on their leashes, a poop bag swinging to and fro, and my shaking while trying to take a one-handed close up...I manage all right. It's definitely an art, getting everything lined up for the perfect shot. "Places, people!"

Fern Fronds

New Salal Leaves...

...Mixed with Old Salal Leaves
A Treasure Map

An Orb Spider Wrapping Up Breakfast...

...for Chow Time

Yesterday, I printed my character photos and pinned them to my story wall. I vacuumed my stairs. I wrote up character sheets to get to know the people in my head. I actually dusted. Now, with picture-taking and walks and coffee out of the way and with procrastination aside, I can get back to book #3. Everything's in its more excuses. I have focus.

Today, I write.

"Procrastination is your body telling you you need to back off a bit
and think more about what you are doing." ~ James Altucher

Friday, September 23, 2016

Friday Fives: Game Night

Friday Night, Game Night!

I grab at any chance I can to make a list, and a giant pile of games is a good place to start. For this family, the best games are the ones that are lively and unique. Sometimes space is a factor and other times it's how much time is left on the clock. So here it goes. Five lists of five...

Fast and Fun
1.) Spot It!
3.) Square Off
4.) Forbidden Island or Forbidden Desert

1.) Catan Junior
2.) DiXit
3.) Carcassonne
4.) Blokus

Old School Favorites
2.) Clue
3.) Sequence
4.) Memory
5.) Pictionary

Games I Dread
2.) Monopoly
3.) Sorry!
4.) Trivial Pursuit
5.) Life

Alone Time
2.) Sudoku
3.) Solitaire
4.) Pajaggle!


"They'll either want to kill you, kiss you, or be you." ~ Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Updated Cover Alert

Dealing with Blue - New Cover for Print!

It came to my attention that I should not use lyrics in my work without getting written permission. I spent a couple hours searching the internet for who wrote the song I'd used, who owned the song, and what is in the public domain. Color me stupid, but I couldn't tell who I should ask, or how I would find the right contact information. What if I asked the wrong person, thinking they were the right one, and they thought they were the right one, but in fact, were wrong, and...and...

Anyway the whole thing made me nervous. So I simply rewrote the first two chapters, which worked out well for me. Dealing with Blue lost a couple pages, which made for a smoother introduction. So I'm happy to report, I have finished my first for a second time. It's been "new and improved" as an ebook (still available on Kindle Unlimited) but now it's "new and improved" in print, too!

It's all coming together, slow but sure.

"When things aren't adding up in your life, start subtracting." ~ Anon

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

From Legos to Roller Girl

This is going to sound crazy, but I like Legos. It's sort of a love/hate relationship, really. They're all over my house, little 1x1s in the carpet, dumped piles in the middle of the living room, and Lego tracks on every surface. I feel like I need a snow shovel to clean this stuff up! After another big box enters the house, and I find pieces erupting all over the place, I inevitably howl at the moon, "NOOooo! This is the last time I'm buying little plastic blocks!"

Yet, the mini-figures are ingenious and tap into my monkey brain. Different. Cute. Must. Collect. And I love standing in the toy aisle trying to figure out what I'm feeling through the wrapper...not in a creepy way, mind you. In a...wait. Is that a...? (crinkle-crinkle) No...a penguin, maybe? That's a camera...already have it. I'm pretty sure this is the Ice Queen! Squee!

Ice Queen
Mini Figure Series 16

The worst part is I'm pretty organized and can't stand to see the sets all messed up and co-mingling with other loose bricks. I told my kids, "Hey. Great idea, here. Let's print off the pick list in the back of the directions and re-package the sets...then you can put them together all over again! Fun, right?"

I tried it, and it went over like a lead balloon. Why are there missing pieces? Where do they go?

Believe it or not, this story is moving toward a graphic novel I just read...bear with me. The book is called Roller Girl by Victoria "Winnie the Pow" Jamieson and is a Newberry Honor book.

While out celebrating a birthday, and as per usual we ended up at the Lego store, we started building roller derby girls from the mini-fig station. Of course, once you start building, it's hard to stop and even harder to walk away. Needless to say, more Legos entered the building, my house. But they're so dang cute!

We created two teams...

The Blazies: Banana Splat, Winning Cup, Fruit Punch
The Cracken Skulls: Go-Go-Grizzly, Chompanzie, Bam-Bam

Game on! The only thing missing were the roller skates. No problem. The helpful Lego guy told me if I knew the part number, I could order individual brick pieces online at I quickly discovered for an organized list of all kinds of Lego-y plastic bits: wigs, bodies, name it. So I ordered the roller skates and the missing pieces from the set I was trying to package last summer, and...behold. Even I know I've entered dangerous territory.

So there it is. Legos and Roller Girl, a book we're still thinking about. It's a great graphic novel for kids!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Fabulous Five: Spiders!

While in my garden, pulling weeds, trimming lavender, and wiping spider webs off my face, I happened across some eight-legged critters. I don't mind phobia here. But if they jump at me, like the over-confident zebra jumper (below), then I check out. I'm not sure about calling spiders cute...but the jumper had four pairs of eyes. I mean, how cute is that?

Cross Orbweaver Spider

Goldenrod Crab Spider

Common House Spider

Common House Spiderlings

Zebra Jumper Spider

Thursday, September 08, 2016

New Book on Kindle Scout!

Welcome, bouncing baby book! Riding with the Hides of Hell has been born.

It's done. The scrub and polish, the fresh cover, a succinct back blurb...finally, it's done. (whimpers)

Now, why don't you head over to Kindle Scout and give it a gander? I'd appreciate a nomination, although I don't really know if it matters...but, hell! I'm game. It's available from September 9 through October 9 until midnight. If Amazon Publishing doesn't pick it up, then it will be independently published and available after that date.

Here's the back blurb I painfully eked out:

"It's always trouble with you."
Will Sullivan, sixteen, lost his mom in a tragic accident one year ago and has turned to drinking and driving, which lands him in the hospital, lucky to be alive. Enter his dad’s “brothers” from the Hides of Hell Motorcycle Club, a motley group Will used to consider family. They’ve got big ideas about biker therapy, and Will remaining in his comfort zone isn’t one of ‘em. Get ready to ride. Unfortunately, Will is teamed up with the prez’s daughter, the troublesome Miki, and playing passenger on her bike, holding onto her at every curve, is gearing up to be the ultimate nightmare.

"Hop on!"
Miki Holtz isn’t some bubblegum chewing high schooler who only cares about her blue hair and the chips in her pink nails. She wants to be a mechanic, to fit into her dad’s way of life, and to make a love connection with her soul crush, Will Sullivan. Yeah, her speed is fast, and his is slow. She’s a mover and a shaker while he’s oddly attached to his peach floral couch. But things are about to change.  She might be riding the tail pipes of the pack, but she’ll be on her bike, her wheels. Will had better hang on, and the tighter the better. Boom, boom. Hell, yeah!

"I don't like the way you like me."
However, the ride gets off to a tenuous start when one bad decision follows another, and a rival club takes notice from the shadows. Nothing good will come of it. Boom, boom.

Riding with the Hides of Hell*: A Love Story is a gritty young adult romance set in fictional towns peppered throughout the Pacific Northwest. It’s about a strong girl and a moody grump finding love on a road trip from hell.

**Young Adult FINALIST in the 2016 PNWA Literary Contest**

* Riding with the Hides of Hell has a new title: Burnout!

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Time for Some Fair Use

I was just typing along--la, la, la--throwing lyrics around like candy and thinking: Oh the beauty of the words...oh, to connect with people through music...oh, to create mood in my story.


In my first book, Dealing with Blue, I peppered lyrics from The Great Pretender by the Platters in my first chapter since it seemed appropriate, pairing nicely with the theme of the story: fake it 'til you make it.

No one said a thing.

In my second book, RHOH, I had written that a ring tone blared, "I am iron man." My copy editor jumped on it, saying I couldn't use even a single line from Iron Man by Black Sabbath unless I had permission. I could use the title of the song and the artist without repercussion.

That's it!

At the PNWA conference I attended a session called Legal Issues for Writers led by an attorney, Jason Cruz, and he pretty much agreed. Don't take any chances. Be sure if you're borrowing you have the legal right to do so or check that it's in the public domain.

Good luck!

I immediately rewrote the first chapter in Dealing with Blue to get rid of the lyrics and, fortunately for me, I think my story was better for it.

Here are a couple helpful links:

The Book Designer -- "...for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright."

Jane Friedman -- "Because songs and poems are so short, it’s dangerous to use even 1 line without asking for permission, even if you think the use could be considered fair."


"Only those who are asleep make no mistakes." ~Ingvar Kamprad