Tag Archives: writing

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Geeky Inspiration

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I have a problem.

I like to collect geeky things.

Especially geeky things that mean something to me.

Today you get a tour of one of the shelves of my desk! (Aren’t you lucky?)

Behold…my shelf!

1 – Aliens. I saw this show on TV when I was around 13, and I’ve been a lover of military science fiction with a splash of horror ever since! The fan fiction I wrote for these propelled me into writing genre fiction.

2 – Cat Ursula. If you like fairy tale retellings, and haven’t read my Fairy Tale Academy series, you should. Ursula is one of my favorite character in the books! She’s not a cat in my books.

3 – This was a stocking stuffer from my sister-in-law a few years ago. It helps me remember to not take things so seriously and to laugh more.

4 – Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I enjoy romance. I love zombies. The fact that these two things were combined so masterfully (especially in the book) has always been a happy thing for me. Jane here reminds me to think outside the box, but don’t abandon what I like to write because other things seem shinier.

5 – Diamond Quill Award. I won this (the highest honor for a book from the League of Utah Writers) for my cautionary tale about how online predators lure kids into extortion, human trafficking, and even death. The other authors in the series and I just gave the rights for these books to a third party who rescues and helps victims of human sex trafficking. This award reminds me that I wrote a book that might help someone avoid a horrible fate.

6 – Local Authors and You. I’ve participated in dozens of local author events. I love talking and teaching about writing, I love chatting with new authors, and I like selling books. This reminds me that I’m not alone in my plight of authoring.

7 – Shikamaru. This is my favorite character from the anime Naruto. He’s one of the most intelligent characters in the show and reminds me to work smarter, not harder.

8 – Winner Duck. I got this at a writing retreat, and he reminds me that I’m not a loser, I’m a winner!

What do the decorations in your room/house say about you?

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When Life is Terrifying!

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I’ve been writing for a while and have quite a few books out.

I’ve sent plenty of manuscripts to beta readers. For most of those I’ve expected some tough-love feedback to come back to me. That’s why I have beta readers, because I can’t catch everything myself.

Over the past eight years I’ve developed a pretty thick skin. I sort of remember how scary it was to send my first books to people for beta reading or reviews.

Or thought I did.

Now I remember.

Last week I sent out a finished, but not final, manuscript for my first YA Science Fiction Military Space Opera to beta readers.

After I hit the send button I literally wanted to run away and hide.


I’m comfortable writing the post-apocalyptic books, the contemporary fantasy, the fairy tale retellings, and the romances. Straight up sci-fi is new for me, and therefore, terrifying.

What if everyone hates it? What if it actually sucks?

I always think my books suck, but deep inside I have an idea of how much they suck.

This time, I’ve got nothing.

So, to pass the time while my book is away, I’m writing another romance. This one is a curvy girl romantic comedy that should keep everyone, including me laughing.

I’ll let you know how many packages of Oreos I go through when the comments come back from my beta readers.

There will probably be tears. They could be of joy or sorrow.

For anyone out there who’s trying something new, I feel you. We’re practically kin.

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Plotting: The Idea

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My nine-year-old nephew had to write a horror story. His other aunt, who is one of my beta readers, was trying to convince him that having an outline would help him when it came time to write said story.

I wasn’t there, but I guess it was quite the process to get this awesome kid to think of characters, a setting, and a conflict.

His least favorite part? Picking names for the characters. He wanted to call them the twelve-year-old and the three-year-old. Maybe he was burned out in making decisions by this point, but there was a lot of drama.

When the other aunt was telling me about this I looked at the nephew and said, “I get it.”

Who spent all last week trying to outline a story? Me. Who had no less than three meltdowns about it? Again, me.

I’ve been thinking about sharing my outlining process for a while, and I’ve decided to start today.

Honestly, the beginning is the usually the easiest part, because ideas tend to lurk.

What do you need for an idea?

There isn’t a list, but these are the sorts of things that I start with:
The Idea


I’m talking basics:
Science Fiction
Cozy Mystery

Pretty much the area where you would find it in at the book store or the library.


Here are a few for Science Fiction:
Alien Invasion
Apocalyptic / Post Apocalyptic
First Contact
Generation Ship
Space Exploration
Time Travel


Once in a while I start with characters. For instance, I have a story I wrote for Nanowrimo that started with the idea of Leverage in space. The characters are what brought that one to life for me. Sure, it’s a science fiction action thriller, but like the television show, the characters are the backbone of the story.

The Idea

This is a crazy idea that the author builds a story around. For instance:
What if people learned to transport themselves?
What if magic was real, but it was addictive?
What if monsters walked among us?
What if a ship from the future came back to warn us about our imminent destruction?

Basically you need to start with something. Whatever works for you.

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Once Upon a Time I Wrote a Children’s Book

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Once Upon a Time I had a friend with five children rant at me about how her kids could never find a pair of matching socks.

This was before matching socks were passe, BTW. This is probably WHY matching socks are no longer required.

At the time I was taking a writing class, and decided to use her plight as inspiration for a story. Thus The Elusive Socks was born.

A long time ago I submitted it to a few publishing houses, and never heard back. I believe I won 3rd place in a contest with it once.

So, today is basically the debut of said story on the internet, and you get to be here for it!

The reason I recorded it at all is because a good friend challenged a bunch of us good friends to read our favorite children’s book out loud.

Any picture book that I might have is packed away in the basement, and I was too lazy to go find them, so I read my own.

There aren’t any illustrations, so all you get is this lovely image I Googled. (It was that or a pile of my geeky socks.)

Someday I might come back to it, find an illustrator, and publish it. But that day is not today.

Tomorrow isn’t looking good either 😉

The Elusive Socks

Please excuse the flub-ups as well as the sound quality.

Try to keep a sense of humor through this madness! And remember, your socks don’t have to match. 🙂

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