Thursday, July 30, 2009


I've been trying to think how to introduce a blog – Hello, my name is seems uninteresting – and it's about the same I'm finding as introducing a novel or a short story or even a business article. Which is to say, hard and I don't know how I did it last time.

Not that there was a last time with the blog. But in May I started a novel called Kaleidoscope Window and during the process I wrote the same six pages or so about six times, each time a little more annoyed with myself and a little more certain I had no idea how to do this, despite having done it hundreds of times for short stories and sold 80 of those. In an attempt to explain everything I thought my readers would need to know about the main character and her situation right up front (first page, maybe first paragraph, maybe even first sentence and if I can get it long enough, who needs the rest of the book?) I found myself moving the character farther and farther back through time. Which is to say, farther and farther away from anything happening.

Which was frustrating, because it was completely backwards from what I wanted. I finally realized that, in the words of some writing workshops I've been to and loved, I was walking to the story.

My character walked across her porch and opened her front door.

No, I needed to explain the mud on the porch.

She walked up to the porch and noticed the mud.

No, she needed to be thinking something helpful to explain something else or maybe she was daydreaming so she'd trip over the mud.

I moved her back to the street where she parked her car because – well, because our garage is full of books and the driveway for reasons I won't explain here is full of 280ZX's that don't run, so I park in the street.

She parked in the street and walked up the walkway to the porch where she noticed the mud.
By now I hated the character and her muddy porch. I finally said hell with it, get her in the damn house. Then I wrote and rewrote trying to make the two enormous Maine Coon cats go away because I didn't want cats in the book.

The character took off her shoes. She flipped through her mail. She looked for voice mail. She –

Get in the damn kitchen, I yelled at her. Startled, she double-double spaced and stood in the kitchen and the next line was: It looked like blood.

Oh, I said when I started writing again. That's an excellent first line. And the pages before that, which had done nothing but introduce mud on the porch (there is no longer any mud on the porch, so at least she doesn't have to clean that up) and two cats that weren't actually welcome in the text (there's still one in the book and she won't leave, very cat-like) those pages are now gone.

So. To introduce my blog?

It looked like writing. And it was. Science fiction, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, YA of all sorts. I love to write and I love to read. I've sold 80 short stories, 700 articles on business and lifestyle and arts topics, ghostwritten eight books so far and am working on a couple nonfiction projects while working novels and short stories and catching feral cats on my doorstep. I'm married to my best friend Rick, and there are five cats in the house, or three cats and two pre-cats who never stop moving through the 100 degree Northern Nevada weather we're loving this July. I love to run, usually, though of late I'm in a running slump (possibly partly caused by a writing streak and deadline projects.)

And if you've found this blog, and you don't know me, how would you introduce yourself? If you've found this blog and you do know me, don't lurk! It's going to take encouragement to keep the words going here (and a sense of purpose. And readers. And, please, no more kittens!)


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