Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Have we forgotten -

The secured rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are the causes of liberty. To this end, governments are instituted among men to derive their powers from the consent of the governed to establish laws, conduct business, and define social order. "When any form of said government becomes destructive to this end, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its foundations on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness." so says the Declaration of Independence.

We are also reminded to heed prudence, to understand that "long established governments should not be changed for light and transient causes, and accordingly, all experience hath (has) shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, that to right themselves by abolishing forms to which they are accustomed. But, when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursing invariable the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is the right, it is their duty, to throw off such government and provide new guards for their future security." (Declaration of Independence)

With that said, prepare your vote for November for Congress has held this nation and its ability to move forward and conduct business, provide a secure economic footing, and promote the welfare of its citizens at high risk. It is time to pursue term limits. Compel its officials to civic duty living among the means of its poorest citizens for a month to understand how they survive since election to office secures they are living at their highest levels. Whenever they so derail the plan for doing government business by causing a shut down, their income, their livelihoods, shall be and should be held in trust by the Supreme Court, interest on their funds going into the government surplus until the deemed logjam has been solved. Congress and the President shall not be allowed to go home, travel abroad, or engage in titillating discussions or laying of blame on doorsteps, but deliberate as gentlemen and ladies of the highest moral standards to resolve their differences without the prying eyes of the media spin. Camera's permitted. These discussions, like a court of law, shall be preserved by a sworn court reporter who will then daily distribute copies of these statements to the media without corrections because the public deserves to see what we, through are hard earned taxes, are paying for.

No member of Congress, Senate or House of Representatives, nor White House is above the law. When a government shutdown occurs no member of their staff is considered essential. The only essential is that the officials meet, debate, and iron out a solid, equal, determined outcome for the American People for it is by OUR decree that they serve and it will be by OUR decree that they are removed .

I am now off my soap box, thank you. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

About those blackmoments

I will be the first to admit it, I am a Downton Abbey fan. Maggie Smith makes me chuckle. So its no surprise that I put the house to bed at 9 p.m. and sat down with a cup of tea to enjoy my guilty pleasure.

As always such a good episode. It was the next to last for season three. The episode brought the end to many small threads, would Matthew and Mary find out why they were not pregnant,Bates was released from prison but what would he do, how would Tom fit into the family now that Sybil is gone, and poor Mrs. Crawley's cook, how will the Dowager Countess get rid of a fallen woman who is trying to make good and causing so much chatter among the town folk.

Head spinning yet?

Well the writer did it in grand style. Not to mention dealing with a subject of an unwanted sexual advance by a male servant on a male servant. A delicate subject, broached, tackled and handled with grace as only the British can do. The writing on Downton is exceptional. It is crisp, full of action, and has you hanging on the edge of your seat. JUST what authors need to be doing.

To study a season, or an episode of Downtown is to bring strength an insight into your writing. Each episode is a book in itself complete with a beginning, middle, end, and the hint of romance. It gives you questions that can only be answered if you come back next week. In essence, each has its own little black moment that leads to the seasons jaw dropping ending.

The deep black moment of the season 4 will not be revealed for those who have yet to experience it. Yes, I'll admit, I cried. But for writers, its a visual show of how you think all is well until you have the rug pulled from under your feet at the precise moment that leads to gasps and cries of 'NO!'. This is what we need to do. As writers we can leave little moments of deep breaths, we need to bring our readers to that belief that all is well, then slam them back with a moment of total loss, devastating loss, a loss to great that only the heroic can over come it.

Your feet are pulled out from under you. Your chest hurts. All you can think to do is reach out and grasp the book with both hands and pray the author leads you out of this horrid black mess. This is what we want. Melodramatic? Perhaps. But isn't that why we watched and fell in love with Luke and Laura on General Hospital all those years ago? You betcha? We had to see if Scotty would ruin it.

So when writing, think about all your leads up to that black moment. Set your book up like a three act play. Figure your word count. Divide it into thirds and think to yourself okay, I want to leave the reader a clue near this amount of my work and then escalate. Remember from school, writing that paragraph you first have that minor detail, next important, most important... yep you are using this now. Your biggest, most heart dropping moment is that "BLACK MOMENT". It can't be gray, it can't be charcoal, it has to be black, from which no reader can think your characters can pull from. Then, let your characters show their true worth. Let them rise to the occasion and let your readers be lifted up with the reward.

Till next time...


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Life in a small town

Big city life may have its glitz and glamor, but there is something unique about a small town. People know their neighbors and often lend a helping hand without a thought to what's in it for me. There is a camaraderie of spirit. Often this closeness is referred to as your life being an open book. Everyone knows what you are doing. Perhaps the fault in all of this is no secret goes unnoticed.

My mother had a rule that lawns are to be cut on Saturday and woe be unto you if you waited to do so on the Sabbath. I can remember spending hours on the lawn tractor making sure the pasture and the yard was done by sundown as a youth. Now, married, its not exactly the same. I wonder if that comes from the difference in generations or the fact that the Blue laws have been lifted and most stores are open seven days a week. Whatever the case maybe, I still feel awkward cutting the grass on Sunday. I'm rambling so let me explain why.

Grass didn't get finished this week on Saturday. Yep, we've a bit more to do today. Oh yes, I will be helping with the little push mower that can be cantankerous at times. While all the good folk will be making their way home for that big dinner, I'll be out there doing the trim work. Husband will of course have already cut the larger portions of the yard where the trees and flowerbeds aren't. He'll have retired to the chairs in the driveway, beneath the shade of the pines, and in his hand will be a nice cold one.

When I begin cutting the country road that we reside on will be still and silent. But the roar of the motor will draw folks like the cry of a snake oil salesman. It will begin with a single car. The more I push, the more will suddenly ride by. The sound of the mower will draw their heads and they will gaze upon my face, red from exertion and then glower over at my husband who sinks lower and lower into his chair until it threatens to spill him from its seat. Then when the mower chugs off because its encountered that clump of grass too stubborn to be cut, he'll mosey over and take it from my hand, offering to do the manly thing and finish for me.

Oh, I'll protest. But, here in the south, a woman knows when to give up. I'll walk back to the kitchen and pour myself a nice, cold glass of sweet tea. Maybe I'll even place a wedge of lemon on the side, then I'll go out to the chairs and sit. The cars will dwindle. All has been made right with the world. I mean a woman can't be expected to cut a lawn properly - now can she. ( wink )

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Notes from Home

It's Thursday! Time for a check in... I hope everyone is having a great day. The sun has finally come out after yet another cool down over night. But I'm sitting here listening to Kenny Chesney and Island girl. If I close my eyes, I can almost smell the coconut oil and butter in the suntan lotion. This is all good because it means I will be getting some writing done. My goal for today is to get another 2k done. I did some note taking last night and I'm ready to move forward. What are your plans for today? Does it include reading?

Let me recommend Sherri Thomas and her new release Lost Memories. You can find it on Amazon and over at The Wild Rose Press. To check out more use the links below.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Blame it on Texas

A lot of my books are set in Texas. I don't know why, maybe it has to do with living in Virginia. In the early 1830's when cotton and tobacco had leached the land, many farmers carved GTT into their barns or on fence post and followed the trail to Texas. I've also noted that a lot of the women I admired from my youth also came from Texas. Barbara Jordan, Lady Bird Johnson, Ann Richards, shoot even Farrah Fawcett. So maybe, there is a connection. OH, what does GTT mean - Gone to Texas, what else.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Developing a concept.

I'm kicking around an idea. No, I haven't written it on a piece of paper or shoved it into a can. Nor, have I put it on the ground to heave my foot at it. Instead, I have this idea rolling around in my head and like a bulldog with an attitude, it won't let go. So what's a writer to do when something like this happens?

Well, this writer pulls out a notebook and begins to make some preliminary notes. I've written down the title, the description as I see it now of hero/heroine. I've even gone so far as to draw the map of the town, so I'll know where the square is, the Methodist Church and the Baptist Church, beauty salon, and from what my characters are telling me they shoved the Catholic Church out on a country road. Do I know why? Er-no and yes, I'm afraid to ask. I have to let my characters dictate what they want before I start asking too many questions.

These guys have gone so far as to have me make up a mock cover. While their personalities like it. I'm not so sure it will fly. You see, my story will take place in the south. My characters think a faded wood painted like the Confederate flag should serve as a backdrop for each cover. Which brings me to my quandary, how insulted would folks be if that flag was on a cover? Yeah, yeah, I know Bo and Luke Duke had it painted on the top of their car, but would such a flag keep readers from picking up this contemporary romance?

No radical whites would be portrayed. It's just a small southern town with a southern reference. How do you feel as readers? Would the backdrop of the rebel flag be a deterrent to you reading this southern romance?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Getting into the swing of writing.

Okay, okay, the holidays have come and gone. You're in the mood to start that next great project. So you flick on the screen and stare at the beautiful, white, blank page - and wait.

and wait -

Hearing those crickets chirp yet????

It happens to all authors. We start out with huge gusto and then the muse flits around laughing and leaves. How do you combat the illusive idea?

One suggestion that comes to mind is an idea notebook. I keep a small notebook beside me or on my desk at all time. When that idea strikes, I jot down the information in my head, sort of a back of the book blurb and then continue on with my chores, or my writing. I know I'll come back to it later. I might grab a few posted notes and jot down some ideas to see if it really has merit to write. If I find myself with more than ten well noted posty notes. I'm going to be writing that story.

So then, I flick on the screen set up my manuscript and stare at that blank page, just as most of you are doing now. Remember the fear of writing fades with words sprinkled across the page. They don't have to be perfect, thing of that first draft as what a gardener thinks of compost. Its what you place the seeds of your imagination in. You don't put it down and walk off. You place it in the ground or on the page and write, then come back and cultivate the seedling into a mature story. Add a thesaurus, a bit of planning, and you just might have a first class award winning tale to send out.

So keep writing, the blank page is your oyster and the world awaits. Till next time, Nan

Monday, January 7, 2013

It's in the details

I was watching opera the other night. Now don't get excited, we southerns enjoy a good melodrama, I mean we haven't gotten of the "the war" yet. Anyway, they had this big ole burly leading man. You girls know the type. Strong, blonde hair, blue eyed, deep voice that sounds like he's pulling it on with his bootstraps. I mean who am I to fuss and complain if this hunk of burning love is parading around in a skimpy tunic that would make most Roman's blush.

Any who - this person hosting the opera, decides to interview him. I gotta admit, I was expecting Luciano Pavarotti. You know, sounding like he was Italian or maybe British. Nope, the guy was very soft spoken, had a twang and said "now this is it". Slap my forehead! A southerner! Gosh knows, I'm sure gonna watch more of it. Well maybe because it comes on just before Downton Abbey - well a girl has to have a vice don't she? Nan
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