IWSG: Heading to the Lake House

Welcome to this month’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group where, thanks to the genius of Alex J. Cavanaugh, Insecure Writers Support Groupwriters all over the world-wide web gather to share their insecurities and triumphs. If you want to join us, click the linky and add your name to the list of some of the nicest writers on the web!
For this month’s post I have a question for my fellow writers. As it’s summertime all over the Northern Hemisphere, I’m watching people pack up their swimsuits and head to the lake house, where they will sit under shady oak trees sipping lemonade and ruminate on the folly of the daily grind.Image courtesy of Jo Ann Snover @ StockFresh
I’ve begun to wonder.
When everywhere the gainfully employed are kicking off their sneakers and running barefoot in the lawn, when do writers get a vacation? When will I feel entitled to set aside my storytelling wizard hat and turn into a normal human being for a spell?

Of course there are those who would mock me and say that sitting in front of a computer screen transcribing daydreams isn’t work at all. And, in that sense, they’re right. I do enjoy almost every single minute of my writing adventures. Even Image Courtesy of Marek Trawczynski @ StockFreshthinking about stopping makes me sad, and as Stephen King so aptly describes his compulsion to write in On Writing:

“… when I’m not working, I’m not working at all, although in those periods of full stop I usually feel at loose ends with myself and have trouble sleeping. For me, not writing is the real work.” (On Writing pages 148-149)

And yet, in contrast, he writes, about writing workshops, where entire days are devoted to writing one’s masterpiece:

“ … the larger the work looms in my day—the more it seems like an I hafta instead of just an I wanna—the more problematic it can become.” (On Writing page 235)

Image courtesy of Marek Trawczynski @StockFreshI think my issue lies somewhere in between these extremes: There is just so darn much I wanna do, that it’s starting to feel like I hafta.
I just crossed over 50k words on my latest WIP and that’s going gangbusters. If I could just focus on that I would be a happy camper. But I’m also more than halfway through posting my revised novel chapters at Critique Circle, and I’d really like to get through the whole book there. I’d love to devote more attention to all the courses at the Holly Lisle Boot Camps  I haven’t explored yet. And though I know I don’t post nearly enough here at A Scenic Route, I’ve even thought about declaring a blog hiatus.

I know. Blasphemy!

Image courtesy of ArenaCreative @ StockFreshSo, Insecure Writers, how do you decide when it’s time for a vacation? Is there a way to cut back and still be happy with one’s progress?

And would you guys really desert me if I missed a whole month of posting?

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Footprint images courtesy of Image Courtesy of Marek Trawczynski, lake house courtesy Jo Ann Snover, vacation in sand courtesy of ArenaCreative @ StockFresh.

IWSG: That Whooshing Sound

InsecureWritersSupportGroupIt’s the first Wednesday of the month and time for the insecure writers of the world-wide web to get together and commiserate via the wonderful Insecure Writer’s Support Group. If you’d like to join us, click the linky, where you’ll find the Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh and some of the nicest writers on the web.

Let’s talk about deadlines. I’m sure everyone has read this little gem:

I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they go by. Douglas Adams

Kriss Szkurlatowski @ stock.xchngI can appreciate a solid deadline too. I deal with them all the time at my day job because in the lab our customers like their results delivered on time, often ASAP–if not sooner. I sometimes joke and ask them if they might prefer their results before the samples actually arrive in the lab! Deadlines met mean money made though, so I rarely fail to turn my workload around on time.

I’m the same way with my personal writing deadlines. If NaNoWriMo challenges me to write fifty thousand words in thirty days, I churn out at least a hundred thousand. If I resolve to free write seven hundred and fifty words every morning, I write my words no matter what, even if I can’t get to them until eleven thirty at night. If a short story contest ends on March 30, I hit send on March 29 to make sure the story is received in plenty of time. When I resolved to finish the How to Revise Your Novel course sometime in June, I finished it on May 26. If I sign up to post on the first Wednesday of every month about my insecurities, I start writing my post weeks ahead of time and haven’t missed a post. (Not yet anyway!)

I used to think deadlines were no problem for me. Then I tried to write and, more importantly, revise this book. For the life of me, I can’t seem to set a deadline to finish it. (For those of you who are counting, this is the draft I finished in September of 2009.)

I tell myself that it’s because I’ve never written books before, so I don’t know how long it will take to produce one that’s actually good. Besides, how can I set a deadline to finish my book if I keep running into potholes in the writing of it? It’s not as if my book is a batch of cookies, where all I’d have to do is look inside the oven and pull them out when they’re brown around the edges.Dominic Morel @ Stock.xchng

How will I know when my book is done?

When the critiques all come back glowing? When I’m finally able to summarize my story in a snappy query letter? Will angels sing and stars float over my head announcing that I have finally created the masterpiece I am hoping for?

Or will I hear a faint but rapidly approaching whooshing sound as a deadline hurtles towards me?

I don’t know. But I think I need to figure it out if I ever want writing stories to turn into a paying gig.

So I’m turning to the insecure writers–and the secure ones as well. What kind of signs do you look for to decide if the book is well and truly finished? Or do you simply set a deadline, and stick to it no matter what?

Microscope image courtesy of Kriss Szkurlatowski, cookies image courtesy of Dominic Morel, both @ Stock.xchng

1967

Hi there. I haven’t forgotten about ye olde blogge, it’s just that I’m writing. A lot!

To prove it, here’s some of what’s been going on in the land of revision, where I converse early and often with the story’s main character, Nick Moore. In fact, something eerie and magical happened the other day while I was writing an outline and I was excited to tell him all about it …

“Something kind of cool happened last night,” I type, hoping Nick isn’t too far away to hear me.

Image courtesy of Cema Graphics @ stock.xchngHe stumbles out of the bathroom, sleepy-eyed and unshaven. “It’s early,” he says.

“These are morning words– they’re supposed to be early. And besides, it’s Saturday. This isn’t as early as I usually get up.”

He cracks his knuckles and yawns. “Yeah, I suppose, but still …”

“I’m going to look up knuckle cracking. If it’s bad for you, you’re going to have to stop,” I type.

He grins. “Make me.”

I’m beginning to have misgivings about making him more bad@ss. So far, though, I think I can manage him. “I was going to tell you the cool thing that happened last night.”

“I’m listening.” Nick leans against the door frame, stretching his arms in front of him with his fingers entwined. “But you’re taking an awfully long time to get to the point.”

“I know, but this is morning words, and the point, I think, is to get a lot of words in a short period of time. Besides this will make me laugh when I read it over later.”

“Well, I think you’ve got that down pat then.” He raises his upper lip in a smirk. “But you had a point?” He’s done stretching and is fiddling with the tie on his sweatpants. Libra is right. He never stands still.

“Yeah. I was working on my Editor Outline last night.”

Nick holds up his hand, palm towards me. “Wait. Isn’t that part of Lesson Eleven of How to Think Sideways? And aren’t you on Lesson Twenty-One of How to Revise Your Novel?”

“Yeah, but remember our story is full of holes …”

He grins again and chuckles. “Did you ever think I might be messing up your story just so I can stick around? To keep you from moving on to other stories?”

“Yeah, I’ve worried about losing you. But the thing is, as a writer, I can conjure you up long after the story is over. It’s like my own personal fan fiction. I will finish this course though, even if I keep getting sidetracked.”

“Speaking of sidetracked …” He glances out the window and I notice the hyacinths have blossomed in the yard. Image courtesy of Claudia Meyer @ stock.xchng“Pretty,” he observes.

“And I’m in here with you. Working on an Editor Outline because I think it’s fun. Crazy, I know. ”

“So, how’s that going?”

“Splendidly, actually,” I write as my adverb alert spikes into the red. “I’m starting to see exactly where the holes in my story are. Do you want me to tell you about them?”

“Not particularly, but I have a feeling I don’t have a choice in the matter.”

“No, you don’t, but I’m going to tell you about the cool thing first. I was tired last night—“

“You don’t say?” He rolls his eyes and finds a spot on the bed, then pulls his feet up and leans against the wall with his head resting against his hands.

“Could you stop interrupting me?”

“Sure, but could you get to the point?”

“I will. I was tired so I stopped where you and Libby are in the apartment and you’re about to take her to the Hacienda.”

Nick raises his eyebrows. “Why’d you stop there? That was the good part, I finally get to kiss her.” His eyes turn dreamy.

“I told you. I was tired.”

“Okay, I suppose.”

“But anyway, as I was closing Scrivener I glanced at the word count, and noticed that I had exactly 1,967 words.”Screenshot 1967 words

“So?” Nick eyebrows rise again.

“Well, let me read you the first sentences of my outline. They’re about you and Milo:

They called it the Summer of Love. 

In 1967, Nick Moore packed up his guitar and joined his buddy Milo Young on a trek to the west coast …

“Okay, that is cool,” he agrees.

“Sometimes, Nick, it feels as if a ghost is watching over my shoulder. A good ghost, but still something bigger than I am, something that speaks through my fingers and guides me to what needs to be written.”

He cracks his knuckles again. Suddenly I know why. “It’s because you don’t smoke anymore, isn’t it?”

“What?” It’s when he looks innocent that I love him most. 

“Cracking your knuckles. You always need to be inflicting pain upon yourself, whether you’re ingesting nicotine and tar into your lungs, or cracking the bones in your precious hands.”

He looks stricken and I feel wistful because I love that word and have decided I simply must use it in the next thing I write. “What’s wrong?” I ask.

“Nothing. It’s just that you know me so well, it scares me sometimes.”

Silly man. It’s because I wrote you.

Have you ever had weird coincidences happen in your writing? Do you have a hard time letting go of your characters?

And, is cracking your knuckles really bad for your hands?

Alarm clock courtesy of Cema Graphics, hyacinths courtesy of Claudia Meyer, both @ stock.xchng

What's Up

In which I elaborate on the myriad and sundry reasons for my absence.

For one thing, I’ve been very busy writing! Finally, today, only a few hours ago, I hit send on my very first submission ever. It’s only a short story, the very one I discussed a month ago, but it took a lot to get it finished, revised, critiqued, revised again, polished, formatted … and finally sent. The details of this might make a very long blog post, especially the formatting which nearly put me over the edge, but I’ll save it for another day.

Image courtesy of Gerla Brakkee @stock.xchngWith all those steps to go through for just a short story of exactly 2497 words, I’m beginning to grasp why it’s taking me so long to get through a whole novel!

I’m also beginning to see that all that attention to detail and refusal to settle for anything less than my best is worth it. I’m rather proud of that little story, and now that it is floating in the ether of the world-wide web, I’m no longer worried about it. I’ve done the best I can with it, and the rest is now out of my control. It would be nice to be accepted for the anthology though!

As for what it’s about, I think I mentioned a cat and a mysterious Dr. M, as well as a serious need for inspiration. It’s part of an anthology themed An Adventure in Creating, after all. And there are feathers.

There’s been some travel on my schedule as well. Fortunately, I manage to travel and write (at least a little bit) at the same time, so there’s been some progress on a new draft, though most of my time was spent on, you guessed it, my short  story.

I’ve got a ton of blog posts I’m excited to write and post, so I hope everyone bears with me until I settle back into some kind of normal routine.

Meanwhile, I’ll leave you with this:

Deception Pass, Whidbey Island
Deception Pass, Whidbey Island

We visited Whidbey Island, WA on Tuesday and dined in Coupeville the day before the landslide. It’s reassuring to know that no one was injured in this massive landslide, though the property damage is tragic.

What have you been up to? Have you ever narrowly avoided disaster?

Feathers and rock image courtesy of Gerla Brakkee @stock.xchng, Deception Pass my own shot

Celebrating One Year of Insecurity

InsecureWritersSupportGroupSometimes it’s good to look back and acknowledge progress.

Take the case of my insecurity. I’ve been a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group for one year now, and I have made so much progress bigstock_first_birthday_cupcake_7328690that I can hardly believe it!

A year ago I was terrified of sharing my writing. In my first post ever for the IWSG, I wrote:

… insecurity seems a mild word for my symptoms. Any presentation of my writing affects me physically. I can’t eat. I can’t sleep. My hands shake  … every time I send one of my stories out into the world, I feel like my heart will stop beating until I know for sure the world won’t hate it.

It’s been a whole year, but honestly I never thought I’d reach a point where I could let people, and especially other writers, read my words. Check out these ten, (count ’em ten!) chapters up for critique at Critique Circle:Screen shot 2013-02-03 at 10.44.36 AM

And thanks to this blog, and my classmates at HTRYN, I’ve begun exchanging manuscripts. What a great feeling it is to get feedback on my story, and to know that someone out there likes it!

Image courtesy of Lucy Clark @ Big StockI also discovered a cool side effect to sharing my work. I had reached a point where, though I know there are problems in my story, I didn’t know where to go with it anymore. My writer readers help push me towards a better solutions. They ask the hard questions, but ask in the nicest way possible. They make me think. My story grew, and is growing still.

It feels like I planted a tiny seed and ended up with a beanstalk that grew to the clouds.

To what do I attribute this achievement? Persistence. Determination. And the wonderful support of all the writers who came by to comment and encourage. It really does help to know that I am not alone in my fears. If I screw up I have this great cheering section to come back to.

So, now that I’m beginning to make progress in the area of sharing my stories, what’s my next challenge, hmmm?

For guidance I looked back to the rest of last year’s post:

Why not just leave the whole mess on my hard drive, and keep writing only to please myself?

… The answer wasn’t hard to find.

The inside of my head is dark and lonely, but now that I’ve populated it with worlds and characters, I want to invite other people to the party. If even a few people love my books and live in them, even for only a short while, I will have done something few can. I will have shared my dreams.

There is a lot of weird stuff on my hard drive that doesn’t fit into stories but that I stumble upon in the course of my journey. Odds and ends of scenes. More character interviews. Strange ideas. Cool quotes.

I’m afraid to share it. Maybe I need to start. This blog would be a great place to do that!

Thank you, all of you who come by every month to cheer me on! You have no idea how much that means to me.

If you want to check out the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, click on this link to join the indefatigable Alex J. Cavanaugh in his quest to free writers from insecurity and self-doubt. Thank you, Alex, for starting up this fantastic group!

What writing challenges have you overcome? What kind of weird stuff lurks on your hard drive?

Related posts: Psst … There’s A Story on My Hard Drive

Images courtesy of Lucy Clark and Ruth Black @ Big Stock

IWSG: My Blogging Blooper Reel

InsecureWritersSupportGroupWelcome to 2013, Insecure Writers! If you’re not already part of the Insecure Writer movement that is—thanks to the inimitable Alex J. Cavanaugh— taking the Internet by storm, click this linky to add your name to the list of some of the nicest writers on the web. The first Wednesday of each month is the day we post about our trials and traumas, supporting each other as we overcome our writing troubles.

A new year is always an opportunity to look back upon what was and what could have been. In my case, a lot of ‘could have been’ never gets past the gatekeeper of, “Would anybody really want to read this crap stuff?!” But then sometimes, I think maybe I should have given it a shot. Hence, fellow Insecure Writers, I present for your amusement: A glimpse of the posts that didn’t make the cut for the year 2012: My Blogging Blooper Reel

Take for instance the unfinished post: Building the Perfect Hero

He’s handsome, of course, but with scars.'Lucretious'

Okay, but describe handsome. Handsome starts with the eyes, deep-set, probing, intelligent, thoughtful. Not sharp, unkind, or darting about the room while I’m talking, but looking directly into mine without fear, with curiosity. They can be any color. Blue is overdone, but green will work, and in my hero’s case they’re brown with auburn highlights …

Another post was about how a trip to the E.R. ended up nudging the Muse to whisper the name of a main character in The Whole of the Moon. The post was tentatively titled Stranger than Fiction.

I had asked the Muse a week ago but had given up on getting an answer. The heroine’s father was in need of a name. And since he is a god, it needs to be a good one. I can see what he looks like, bushy white eyebrows, aquiline nose, and a stern, disapproving set to his mouth, weathered skin framed by a cloud of white hair. His frame is aging, but every bit as powerful as it was in his youth. A name worthy of such a man would not be an easy assignment.

Then, as the darkness of sleep crept upon me, I heard a name whispered inside my head.

Teragus Swansong.

I had a mind to post a character sketch for Danny DeVries- a minor character in The Tempest’s Serenade:

Christy ThompsonHi Danny. Got a minute? I know you’re busy tonight, but if you could just…okay, I’ll sit back with my margarita and speculate. Thanks for the drink, by the way. I know they are mostly for the tourists so I really appreciate you sending one my way even though I’m a regular.

So, I’m trying to get what you look like onto my page.

What? You hate your looks? Who doesn’t. Getting older stinks, especially in self-conscious, self-absorbed SoCal. There are a lot of nice people in Los Angeles though, you just have to be open to them …

There was a short post about a pivotal scene that came to me on a rainy afternoon: Caught in the Rain

A sudden shower, a dusty gem of a song, and a burst of inspiration written on the back of an airline ticket was all it took to give my story another nudge in the direction of the book I set out to write.

My mind’s eye saw a newspaper article announcing the tragic death of an emerging musician by drug overdose tacked on a bulletin board. Beside it were lyrics and some chord charts hastily Billy Alexanderscribbled in dark pencil.

My female lead, insisting, “Because I’m a ghost” when I am desperately trying to keep her from disappearing off the page. She has unfinished business she left behind. She haunts him.

I had some interviews with Rigel, the protagonist of Book Two of The Dragon’s Milk Chronicles:

He gets up early, like me, before the rest of the world wakes up. It gives him time to think, time to let his defenses down. I’m not even sure if I should bother him.

“You again.” He tries to appear angry, but I can tell that he is glad to see me.

“Just a few more visits. I have some things on my mind.”

“Okay, I suppose so,” he says, but I know that the word ‘okay’ might not even fit into my fantasy world, even though it is set in our world.

“Can you tell me more about the girl you loved?” I ask him.

“You want to know her name, don’t you?”

“I do.”

I had an interview with the love interest in The Tempest’s Serenade all cued up, before I backed out. It went something like this:

Chrissi Nerantzi“Libra?” I ask.

I try to be calm and soothing. She’s a nervous girl, and very shy. She looks around the room the way my cat would, always prepared with an escape route. I don’t describe her blue eyes, but choose instead the fragile bones beneath her cheeks. Her lips part in a tremulous smile.

“You don’t usually ask for me,” she says. “It’s always Nick.”

“Does that bother you?”

“A little.”

Nick was angry with me once:

“You know why it is taking so long on this revision, don’t you?”

I sigh, and keep typing. I know what is coming without even thinking about it too much. “You were meant for this,” he says, “Why do you always try to deny it?”

“I can’t bring myself to let it go.”

“You are hiding. Why?” His eyes are gentle, his anger gone. “Why?” he reiterates.

“Said bookism,” I accuse him weakly. Why is he beating on me, when I am so tired?

And then, I was going to post the scene when Nick got his guitar at twelve years old: Nick and the Black Strat

Image courtesy of 'RockNRollP' @ stock.xchngA long-haired dude saunters up to the two of them and addresses Nick’s father. “What can I do you for?”

His father looks him over, and tries not to judge him. The guy can probably play the pants off Eddie Van Halen. Erik used to listen to rock music himself, but now music makes it hard for him to think.

“It’s for my son.”

The long-haired dude looks down at Nick, who can’t disguise his fervent admiration for anyone who plays the instrument he loves so much.

Nick looks up at him and smiles. “Can you play Van Halen?”

The dude grins and rolls up the sleeves of his flannel shirt to reveal tattoos up his elbows. “‘Course I can play Eddie, and I can play Jimi and …Satriani. ” The young man plucks a guitar from the upper row, bright red with black hardware. Nick grins in anticipation, but it is all Erik could do to keep himself from rolling his eyes.

Most recently, there was the post about my story having a shape:

Alaa HamedSometimes writers talk about writing with intention. For me, it is the unintended, those moments where I discover what my subconscious is weaving into my words, that gives me a glimpse of my soul.

One of my favorite aspects of drafting a novel at the accelerated pace of NaNoWriMo is when a pattern begins to emerge in the tapestry of my story. Halfway through The Whole of the Moon I was struck by a theme that keeps popping up. My story has a shape. That shape is a circle …

There are more, but that’s enough for today, don’t you think?

How about you, Insecure Writers? Do you ever toss posts back into the bin because it’s just too scary to put them up there? Do you have a blogging blooper reel?

Images courtesy of Antony Ruggiero, Chrissi Nerantzi, ‘Lucretious’, ‘RockNRollP’, Billy Alexander, and Alaa Hamed, Christy Thompson @ stock.xchng

Liebster Award-Holiday Edition

Liebster Award 12-12As I was casting about ideas on what to post for your reading pleasure, all the while frantically wrapping presents, baking cookies, and packing my suitcase for another cross-country trek, I was honored to discover that the lovely and talented Vikki at the View Outside has presented this blog with the coveted Liebster Award. Thanks, Vikki!

Me? How sweet! But what about Christmas?

So I’ve decided to combine the holidays and this honor to unveil the first and only Liebster Award-Holiday Edition. Now these awards come with rules—yes I know, so confining—but here at A Scenic Route, we like to twist things around a bit, so expect a surprise or two.

Here are the Official Rules:

1. When you receive the award, you post 11 random facts about yourself and answer the 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you.

2. Pass the award onto 11 other blogs (while making sure you notify the blogger that you nominated them!)

3. You write up 11 NEW questions directed towards YOUR nominees.

4. You are not allowed to nominate the blog who nominated your own blog!

5. You paste the award picture into your blog. (You can Google the image, there are plenty of them!)

Sleigh HollyIn keeping with the Holiday Liebster theme, here are eleven things I like most about Christmas:

  1. The smell of fresh pine in my house
  2. Christmas music, all kinds from Mannheim Steamroller to Vince Guaraldi to Bruce Springsteen’s Santa Claus is Coming to Town
  3. Mulled wine: the taste, the aroma, and the warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you drink it
  4. Cozy sweaters
  5. Cars driving around decorated with wreaths and antlers
  6. Wrapping presents!
  7. Random acts of kindness
  8. Gingerbread houses
  9. Streets lined with twinkling white lights
  10. Jingle bells
  11. Sitting around the fireplace with the people I care about most in all the world

SnowmenNow I am to answer the questions Vikki asked:

  1. Are you a punctual person or are you usually late? I come early and bring a book to read while I’m waiting.
  2. How many hours a week do you spend watching TV? Now come on, be honest! Honestly, we turned off the cable a few years ago. I know, blasphemy! We just rent movies a few times a month.
  3. What do you wear in bed? Umm, pajamas. It’s cold outside!
  4. In a heated argument do you walk away or keep at it until you’ve had the final word? I walk away before the argument starts. I usually know how people feel about stuff before they start talking, and no one ever listens to me anyway.
  5. How many times a day do you look in a mirror? Come on, you can tell us. To put my contact lenses in and my make up on. Then I never look back.
  6. What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? Pet the cat.
  7. Do you consider yourself lucky?  Yes. When I met my husband I knew I was the luckiest girl in the world.
  8. Do you fear death? Of course. But what I fear more is not leaving a mark on the world before I die.
  9. What are your top 3 pet peeves? Impatient people, rude people, presumptuous people
  10. What character in The Wizard of Oz are you most like? The Wizard! I’m the man—or rather, the woman— behind the curtain.
  11. How many pairs of shoes do you own? At least thirty. And that’s not counting boots! But I love them all equally.

Pine AngelMy eleven questions are going to be holiday themed too.

  1. What is your favorite holiday gift of all time?
  2. Which is your favorite holiday special: Charlie Brown’s Christmas or It’s a Wonderful Life?
  3. What is your beverage of choice: Eggnog, mulled wine, or hot chocolate?
  4. What is your favorite holiday song?
  5. Who are you going to kiss under the mistletoe this year?
  6. What was your best holiday bonus from a job?
  7. What is your best holiday memory?
  8. What was the kindest holiday gesture ever made by a stranger?
  9. What’s on your wish list this year?
  10. If you could spend your holiday anywhere in the world just by snapping your fingers, where would you be?
  11. Who would you take with you?

Gingerbread BowAs for my nominees, I’m making a list, checking it twice, and all these bloggers have been especially nice:

Armchairauthor at Ink

Peter Cruikshank-It Is What It Is?

Virginia at Poeta Officium

Rabia Gale-Writer At Play

Anushka Dhanapala at Finding My Creature

T. F. Walsh

Jamie Ayres

Tangent Shell

Melissa Maygrove

Katherine Checkley at The Intrinsic Writer

But wait, you say,  that’s only ten nominees? That’s because the last spot is reserved for you, loyal followers. You are all deserving of this very special holiday Liebster Award, so if you’d like to participate, pull this one out from under the tree and take it home for your very own.

Whew! That was longer than the Twelve Days of Christmas! So, how about you? What do you like most about the holidays?

(Images courtesy of Renate Kalloch @ stock.xchng)

Cheers, Cavanaugh Blogfest

11.19 Cavanaugh Blogfest LIVEIt is my great pleasure to be a part of the raucous party known as the Cheers, Cavanaugh Blogfest and raise a virtual toast to the enigmatic but influential writer who has made the blogosphere a better place to be. While the self-proclaimed Ninja seems to be everywhere at once, he remains an enigma to us all. It is time to fuel the rumors and postulate on the man behind the myth!

This blogfest comes with prompts to keep us from waxing on endlessly, so let’s get to them:

  1. What does Alex look like? He is a broad-shouldered god with dark wavy hair, towering in his leather boots, wearing a cloak embroidered with a Floyd Rose Tremolo.
  2.  Who could play Alex in a documentary? Christian Bale – rugged, cerebral, and blessed with a mellifluous command of the English language-would be perfect!
  3. Who does Alex remind you of? Since Alex is the rock star of the blogosphere, Matthew Bellamy of Muse, with his hot licks and prowess with women would be someone that Alex reminds me of.
  4. Write a flash fiction using all these prompts: ( Cavanaugh, Ninja, IWSG, Cosbolt, Guitar)

Apocalypse AvertedImage courtesy of Rodrigo Tambem

Drowning in a river of insecurity, a forsaken writer tapped out her final post.

“Help me, IWSG! The writing community has scorned me!”

Alex J. Cavanaugh, hunched over his guitar, engrossed in strumming the last minor seventh of his requiem to the end of the world, heard her cry. Since his Cosbolt was in the shop, the Ninja engaged his trusty blog hop companions. “A writer is in need! Encourage her!”

The blogosphere heard his entreaties. The hapless writer nearly spilled her Michelob over the keyboard when she saw all the comments awaiting moderation.

“Keep going!” “First draft always stinks.”

Before you could say CassaStar, she was back at her keyboard, finishing the novel that would take the world by storm.

How about you? Has there been one person who makes the blogosphere a happier, saner place for you to visit?

Thanks Mark Koopmans, Morgan Shamy, David Powers King, and Stephen Tremp for hosting and thanks, Alex J. Cavanaugh, for all the kind words of encouragement and inspiration! You Rock!

Image courtesy of Rodrigo Tambem @ Stock.xchng

Side Trips

While it may look like I’ve hit the pause button on A Scenic Route, I’ve only only been out visiting. In real life I’ve been away seeing family, and in my virtual life I’ve stopped over to see fellow Holly Lisle student and revision champ Anushka Dhanapala at Finding My Creature. Hop on over and say hi if you have a chance!

Oh, and I almost forgot. I won NaNoWriMo! Almost 75k words on The Whole of the Moon so far this month and I’m still writing …

How about you? Any side trips into real life? Any victories?

Detour: Where Do Stories Come From?

Change of scenery ahead!

I’m taking a jaunt over to visit Anushka Dhanapala at Finding My Creature for a guest post. Yes, me! A guest post! My very first.

Join me there as I explore where stories come from.