The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible - Vladimir Nabokov

There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside you - Zora Neale Hurston

10 February 2010

Writing Prompts and Over the Top!

Michele at Southern City Mysteries has begun this diabolical new series called Writing Prompt Wednesdays. The prompt was "How tides come crashing...". These things get into my head and I have to write something. It doesn't matter that I don't have time, that I should be doing a million other things, but I can't help myself. So here's the two bits I came up with.
First thing that popped into my head:

Green water crashed against the stone that had once crowned a mountain. Waves wore it down, tides moving in and out, commanded by the moon, thousands of days; thousands of years…until the strange symbol carved into the basalt vanished.
When the last mark was scrubbed clean by sand, the stone cracked, cutting into the Earth, slicing her to bedrock. Darkness wedged its way out, night without stars--and the tides stopped.

That was kinda bleh. I lost interest and went with this instead:

I love the feel of ocean tugging at my legs and crumbling the sand beneath my feet. It wants me to give up the land and come out into the deep to play, like a child begging me to see her toys. I can never say no.

I dive beneath the next wave and swim past muscled guys tossing a ball. It rolls my way, and I pause long enough to toss it back. They smile enticingly, but the ocean is more insistent, sending water up my nose for ignoring her.

I keep going, arms slicing a path through swells, until I’m as deep as the surfers who straddle their boards waiting for the right moment to catch a ride. I’m right where I want to be, where no one can see me. I always choose a beach without lifeguards. As soon as someone notices my head go under at the edge of dark blue water, they freak out, and would-be-heroes push their kayaks into the waves to search for me. They freak out even more when I don’t come up again.

I wish I was a mermaid. People would see a flash of rainbow scales, a flip of my tail then shake their heads, certain they had mistaken a dolphin for a girl. But dolphins don’t have scales. So, in their secret places they would thrill, believing for an instant that fairy tales are real, that Ariel can get her prince. They forget that in the real story her only choice was the agony of daggers in her legs or the agony of a dagger in the heart of her lover. My choice is worse than that.

I can’t become sea foam and live on in the songs of my sisters. The ocean is my sister, and we have a cruel father. No, my choice is not who should die, but who--among all those billions of beautiful, amazing, innocent people--will live.

Ok. Done now. Thank you for the exercise, Michele, but I'm going to have to put hands over my eyes when I'm reading Wednesday blogs from now on, so I don't get sucked in. Just kidding. It's a terrific idea, and I'll be back!

My other item of business is a beautiful and very very appreciated award from Crystal at Crystal Clear Proofing. I've always wanted this one! Thank you! You must read her blog if you want to know more about grammar, punctuation and all that important stuff. And, if you're a writer, you had better want to know.

For this award, I have to answer the following questions with one word. Here goes:

Your Hair? - brunette

Your Favorite Food? - tacos

Your Hobby? - reading

Your Fear? - spiders

Your pets? - none (I am ruled by two cats, though)

Something You Aren't? - male

Where Did You Grow Up? - everywhere

Your Life? - lucky

Your Mood? - energized

Your Favorite Color? - blue

Now, the reason it took me a couple of days to pass this on is that I really wanted to put some thought into my picks and try not to give it to people who already have it (but I fear I may have failed there). The very deserving winners are...

Dezmond - Hollywood Spy

Jemi - Just Jemi

Congrats you guys! And thanks again, Crystal!

07 February 2010

Sugar Doll Award

The lovely Southern belle, Michele, over at Southern City Mysteries gave me the Sugar Doll award. Thank you! It requires me to say ten things about myself:

1. I love Southern accents and slip into one whenever I think about the good 'ol US of A. I have family in Georgia and Arkansas, and I copy my stepdad's accent whenever I'm on the phone to him. I can't help it, and I'm not trying to be rude. He never says anything, so maybe he doesn't notice. That leads me to...

2. I'm bad at accents. If anyone's ever seen "Don't Tell Her It's Me", I'm as awful as Steve Guttenberg was at the start of that movie.

3. I was raised by my great grandmother, so I say "hold your horses" and "are you some kinda wise guy?" like those phrases are still in style.

4. When I was three, I used an old baby carriage to build a house for my cats. When I ran to my grandma saying "Come see my cat house!", she was not amused. I never understood until years later when I learned a cathouse was a brothel .

5. Also because of my grandma, I love the Andrew Sisters and Patsy Cline.

6. I never liked the Lawrence Welk show.

7. I was forbidden to watch The Addams Family. Apparently, the way Gomez spoke French and kissed Mortisha's arm was "filthy".

8. I watched it anyway when Grandma was busy in the other room.

9. My Grandma, Ruth, was the greatest parent and role model anyone could ever have had. She wouldn't even kill a spider, and she nursed people as well as wild animals. I have a photo somewhere of her bottle-feeding a white-spotted fawn.

10. I still miss her.

All right, wiping my eyes now. Back to business. I'm passing the Sugar Doll award on to Elizabeth Spann Craig, Tabitha, Anne Riley, Chase, and Heather. Congrats!

I'd rather be here reading blogs and posting, but I must now drag my sorry, summer cold suffering self back to work (I know alliterations are bad, but I couldn't resist. All the S's go with my sniffles).

01 February 2010


I just got the notes on my second manuscript back from Maz, my favorite test reader (she's my fave cause she says nice things without asking for a bribe). I'm 40,000 words into my third book, so I'd forgotten all about that last one. It was amazing, flicking through 300 pages that I barely remembered writing (it's not because I was Hemingway-intoxicated the whole time, I simply tend to focus on the present and forget the past until it makes an appearance).

Maz said, we (can't forget to mention my co-writer husband) had "gained much more confidence as writers.... The writing felt freer and flowed a bit more naturally. I also got the sense you were having more fun with the whole process." A reader can see all that in a book? Yikes! It feels like my soul really is laid bare, and I'm beginning to understand J.D. Salinger's desire to hide his manuscripts in a cupboard somewhere.

That last manuscript was tons of fun to write, with a sassy heroine uncovering a mystery in a fantasy setting of my own devising. It makes me worry a bit about my current WIP, though. I've tried to push myself further, and sometimes I'm nervous about being able to meet my own expectations. I hope that won't translate into writing that makes it seem I'm trying too hard? I don't want the prose to feel forced, but I want to do the best I can to achieve that gleaming vision of the perfect book I see in my head.

When someone gets published (I don't like to say 'if'), they've often written five or six books before that. Or so I've read. Of course, there are some lucky people that make it their first time out. I'm beginning to think it's all about confidence and finding your voice as a writer. Some do that quicker than others.

How about you? How many manuscripts do you have stashed away? How many did it take you to get published? If you're unpublished, like me, have you found your voice yet? Do you feel confident and does that come out in your prose?