Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Books, books, and more books.

Four months in our new house and we finally got the last of the bookshelves in and ready. I got to spend a glorious afternoon sorting through boxes and boxes of books, putting them on shelves, organizing, touching.

Only it wasn't so glorious.

Torturous might be a better description.

See, we don't have enough bookshelves for all our books. In fact, we could only get out about half of what was still in boxes (some books were already in the home)

There are these, 

and these.

How do you choose what stays out and what gets shut away? There were books I love that I had to groan and put back in the box. Part of it was easy. My first priority was the kids. I want to raise them to read. So anything that might interest them anytime in the next ten years, it got an automatic get out of the box pass. After that, it was a guessing game. 

Half of them went back in boxes in the garage. But at least I still have them, and they're not too hard to access. It's not goodby forever.

Until we meet again. 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Great Expectations.

While watching a movie the other night, a characters said of a novel “I hope it didn’t end happily” someone responded “The good ended happily, the bad unhappily. That’s why it’s called fiction.”

The character that had been looking for an unhappy ending, was one who had led a relatively happy and sheltered life. The one who believed that good and bad would get their just rewards only in fiction had led a difficult life.   

Many people read to escape life, and they look for those happy endings, something to give them the faith and hope that they don’t find in their own lives. Others may read to experience life, the depths, the tragedies, and the travel that they won’t encounter in their own.  

There are things that happen in real life that if they happened in a story the reader would throw down the novel in disgust saying it was too contrived, too convenient.  There are impossible things that happen in a story that seem plausible and right, given the context.   We each bring our own background into our reading, our own experiences and expectations.  People who read the same book may be overcome with opposite emotions or reactions to the events of a book.

I think this is important for authors to remember. We work hard to make sure our book says what we want, but we don't know and can't predict what readers will bring to the experience. There is no book the absolutely everyone will like.  All we can hope is that people will be able to find something to connect with.

Thursday, July 20, 2017


I've got a couple links for you. 

First on the list: 10 writing rules you can (and should) break. Okay, so some of the things he's listed as a 'rule' I'd never heard of before. While I can see the wisdom in them I'm all in favor of breaking them judiciously. Are there any you've never heard of?

Next: Ways to declutter your writing. I thought this had some great suggestions of things to watch out for.

Hope you enjoy them.

Monday, July 10, 2017


I often see writers asking each other how to stay focused. It's easy to get distracted by internet, laundry, life. Sitting down and writing a tough scene isn't always the favorite thing to do.

There are as many solutions as there are writers. For me, it's all about wanting it. If I keep my goal in mind, how much I want to be published, have a book in stores and libraries, have something that others will read and love, then it's easy to prioritize. Because I won't get that without putting in the work.

Writing is hard, you have to want it, and, if you want it enough, focus is easy.

Friday, July 7, 2017


Sorry about the silence, we took some family time. I'm getting back into a regular routine and should have a post next week. See you all then!

Monday, June 19, 2017


Having trouble with a scene? Try mixing it up.

Write it in a different POV.
Or a different setting.
Add characters.
Subtract characters.
Throw in an antagonist.
Drop a bombshell revelation.
Provoke a fight.
Have them make up.

Or maybe you can skip that scene all together. What is it really doing for your novel? Can reasonably get any important info to the readers in scenes you already have?

No matter what, keep writing. Don't give  up. If you need skip it and come back to it later.

Just. Keep. Writing.

Monday, June 5, 2017


I'm a huge fan of libraries. Some of my best memories from childhood were family trips to the library. I still remember getting my first library card. 

I've been getting most of my books through the library e-book lending system. It's worked pretty well. They had a half way decent selection and it fit my schedule. They've had notices up for months that this summer they will be changing systems so when I checked in the other night and saw the new system was up, I couldn't wait to check it out.

I was disappointed.

Turns out it is the same system I had had in a previous state. I hated it. I never used it. It had no selection and it wasn't user friendly. It looks as if the selection has expanded since then but of the 25 books I had had on my wish list in the old system, I could find only three of them in the new system. I was really upset and angry. It seems as if they library had traded systems for one that was worse than the previous one.

I know this is a first world problem. There is a lot that goes into these decisions. I know they have to try what works for the majority of people, not just me. And I would never want to be the person who had to make that decision. Still, I'm sad. I can't afford to supply my book habit solely with purchasing books. I rely on my library to stay sane, and in a busy world, it's just easier to use digital checkouts, rather than ILL, waiting for a book to ship, then having to drive to the library to pick it up. The closest library is very small and has weird hours (It is actually inside the high school so can't open during school hours.) the next closest library is 1/2 hour away.

Guess I'll have to go old school again, suck it up and ILL everything (My librarians in my previous state didn't like me much) Or, I'll have to sell a book for enough to supply my book habit.

I like that option. 

Do you use the library digital check out system? What do you think of it?

Friday, June 2, 2017

June second

Happy National Doughnut Day! 

Hope you found a special one to spend the day with.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Secret Gardens

Growing up I loved the book THE SECRET GARDEN. I loved the idea of finding a secret world. Somewhere to go to be by myself, to do things my way. Something I didn't have to share. It was one of those books I read over and over. Living the magic each time.

I find writing is a bit like looking for a secret garden. I'm circling a story, looking for a way in. When I finally find it, the story is neglected, pathetic, it takes a lot of time and work to shape it into something beautiful. Something others might want to share.

Sometimes I never find the way in, sometimes I can't make it into what I want, but sometimes, the magic happens and I find a beautiful story.

Thursday, May 4, 2017


We are settling down after the move and starting to regain some sanity.

I'm writing again, reading through my manuscripts. I love what I'm writing. I'm so excited to get at it. I'm so excited to be excited about writing again.

What are you working on?

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Author Interview!

Rose Phillips, a good friend and great writer, recently published her first novel, CUTTING TO THE CHASE.   

How do you fix something you didn't break? Lizzy certainly doesn't have the answer. All she knows is that she needs to survive senior year, then get as far away from her dysfunctional family as possible. In the meantime, when she can't take the pressure, she eases it with the sharp edge of a razor blade. But, she's been cutting deeper and her thoughts are growing darker. Until she meets Michael. With him she finds relief. Now, maybe—just maybe—she can make it.

It was a great read and I found it really got into the mind of a teenager struggling with some grown up issues.Well, on to the interview.

When I first met you, you wrote historical fiction. How did you get from there to writing contemporary YA?

When I was focused on historical fiction, I was working in education. It was a wonderful distraction, so different from my job. I wore many hats as an educator including literacy consultant for at-risk adolescents and principal.  While I’ve left that career behind, I guess it didn’t leave me. The kids I worked with, their stories, their raw honesty are part of the fabric of who I am. One day, Lizzy started talking to me. Just in snippets at first.
It was the fall of 2015, and I decided to take a break from historical fiction and fully participate in NaNoWriMo without worrying about research. So it made perfect sense to explore Lizzy’s story. She was hurting, and I wanted to find out why. Cutting to the Chase poured out in less than a month, surpassing the required word count for NaNo. While it underwent many revisions, including a full rewrite of POV, the story has essentially remained the same.

Once you signed with your publisher, was there any part of the publishing process that surprised you?

I’ve been pleasantly surprised that my opinion has been considered. I have read so many horror stories—from incompatible editors to disastrous covers—that I was fully prepared for frustration. But I was assigned a terrific editor and my input was considered for the cover and included a preview of it for approval. Working with the EvernightTeen team has been all positive.

Do you have a favorite character that you’ve written? That someone else has written?

I’m still a little in love with my main character, Brandan “Raven” Murray, in my historical fiction Raven’s Path. Since I feel I have again grown as a writer, I want to comb back through that manuscript and, no doubt, tighten it up. I’m looking forward to spending time with him again.

Do you have a book you love but are embarrassed to admit you enjoy?
I can’t think of any.

I know you have two dogs you love very much; can you tell us about them?

Ginger and Spice are little Lhasa Apso sisters. They’re now ten years old. Lhasas, historically, were raised to be Tibetan guard dogs inside the palace (Chows were outside). So, instinctively, they are calm quiet dogs, always nearby, listening. They will bark up a storm when someone arrives but stop as soon as they recognize the person. They do everything together. So much so that we call them the two-head beast because we’re convinced they don’t know they are two separate animals. They bring plenty of laughter and pure joy into our lives.

Favorite color?

It’s a tie between blue and purple.

Favorite food?

Anything without meat but with lots of cheese. I mean LOTS of cheese.

What are your hobbies, past and present?  I know you used to sing and act….

Performing has always been a part of my life. My husband and I met doing musical theatre. A group of us founded our own theatre company, which ran for over 20 years. We wrote our shows, a mix of song and dance and comedy. Lots of comedy. All profit for these cabaret style shows went to charity. It was a wonderful way to contribute to our community and scratch our collective creative itch at the same time.  For a few years, I also sang in a trio with my husband. That was good fun.
Two years ago (this July), we gave our lives a good shake and moved to Vancouver Island. While my husband is enjoying participating in a choir, I haven’t found a performance niche yet. I must admit, I haven’t looked too hard. So far, the writing seems to be feeding that side of my brain. And gardening. I’m loving the novelty of gardening.

Where can we find you online?

Oh, in far too many places these days! This two-persona approach to an online presence is keeping me hopping! 

YA Me:
I’ve just started a series of interviews with YA authors. Do drop by and check out the fun I’m having playing with formatting. It makes for a great distraction from writing. ;0)
Twitter: (@rosephillipsya )

Adult Me:
Twitter: @roserambles1

I hope you enjoyed getting to know Rose a bit, I know you'll enjoy her book! 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017


Here's an interesting article by Donald Maass about provoking emotion in readers.  Should be a good read!

Monday, February 27, 2017


I just accidentally posted two posts on here meant for my other blog. You are more than welcome to come on over and read them on my high altitude living blog. It's a new blog and I'm still getting it up and going.

We're entering the final frenzy for house building so I won't be posting here for a little bit, but hopefully when I'm back in a month I'll be living in my new house!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

life load

Sometimes the weight of life, yours and others is heavy. 

Sometimes knowing what others are going through or doing pulls you down. 

That’s one of the reasons I write. To put down the load, give it to someone else, someone fictional who won’t mind it and who will find a way to deal with it. As they find a way, so do I. 

It’s easier to share the burden. Even if it’s with someone imaginary.

Do you ever write to ease a burden or work through a problem?