Sunday, November 13, 2011

My year on the blog

Blog Post one year

I have now been blogging for a year.  I have not been terribly faithful to it recently but some of that is due to Blog Bugs, rather than intent.  I have a terrible time posting on other people’s blogs suddenly, yet it is now resolved on most occasions.  I post a reply and it informs me that I am not allowed to post.  It took me a while to find out, they had not decided to ban my words personally, and they’re doing it to many bloggers. They seem to have it fixed for now…sometimes.

Looking back, it has been weirdly wonderful.  I went on road trips with YAW, met wonderful authors and discovered, I do not use enough contractions in my writing and it annoys people.  I wonder if that could be the reason why my husband gets people to like him so easily. I rarely use contractions when I speak.  He is from south Texas and they contract every other word.  I shall endeavor to dapple’em  int’a my speech patterns more often. 

I have learned many things in my writing journey this year.  Dear beaming beings of unrequited light, look upon my wretched dim gradient, shadowed only upon ponderous wretched fields of fallow furrowed brow, it has indeed come to light that I speak in deep purple.  I am happy to discover that I don’t write that way.  My sarcastic entertainment is safe and my writing has tightened, to a much more controlled level.  I have learned that I do not write quotes properly and I have remedied it, hopefully.  I over explain.  I stopped.  I have been noted for writing a little passive. I stop. I learned many of my flaws and I appreciate those who were kind enough to point them out.

There are many avenues that I have used to improve this silly useless thing I love to do.  This blog began with me wondering what in the world would I say, but things filled it I never expected.  It leads places I never expected.

This year, I did things. I ramped up power words, learned how to write the hottie parts in my own style without cringing, learned how to kill a main character, gave my first in person agent belly flop, wrote fan fiction(blech), learned it has value after all, watched a tornado, learned to blog, began round three of foreclosure fraud with BOA (bank 666), taught my daughter to play golf, and I wrote.  My house is falling apart, I am falling apart, the government is falling and failing everyone, the world is falling apart, but I wrote. 

I wrote.   

Good year in all.

Life has been such disaster for so many, yet there are moments of hope.  I have found many apples this year.  The blue variety can still be found in plain sight and they are so precious. I am thankful for the ones I discovered, both within and from afar. 

The year 2011 is almost gone.  Thank you blog and blogger buddies for making me laugh so often and making me wonder so many new wonders. Astonishments fill this place and I hope my next year of blogging has as many curiosities for me to discover. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Perspective = Perception + Interpretation + Backstory / (mood x hormones) +square root of time - blah(conflict + hope)

My son meanders to my car, a handsome fellow among a sea of clothing choices.  He flops his book bag in the tiny back seat of my convertible Jag, asks to put up the top, turns the radio down and keeps looking at me as I try to back around the yellow fuel efficient dinosaurs. 

"Hey Mom, do you know where the crossroads of America is?" he asks in his twelve-year-old engineer studying metallurgy voice.

"Um, Nebraska?  Or maybe Oklahoma City. That is where I-40, I-35 and I-44 cross," I say, knowing he's only happy with a detailed guess.

"Nope.  We learned today that Carthage, Missouri is the crossroads of America.  Isn't that interesting?" he looks at me expectantly.

Oh, good grief, every small town makes some claim. Looking at the figure standing in the street with her mouth open, finger disappearing into it's favorite location and her feet not moving, I am thankful we are not the booger capital. "Ok, but how is that based, sweetheart.  You know little towns like to claim things, that are more advertisement than truth." I wait for a pick-up to pick up the kid. They are blocking the road and all traffic movement for blocks, while said kid sends snotty texts to someone she is probably 15 feet from, here in the crossroads of boogerville.

"Well, I have been thinking.  It could be true.  Crossroads.  That is the key word.  Now we all know it is urban myth that demons live at crossroads.  So, if Carthage is the crossroads of the whole country, what would live here?" he asks, turning in the seat to study me.

"Oh, that is funny!"  I grin at him.

Finger waving in an old professor lecturing way, he says, "On Supernatural, the devil lived in Carthage. Demons live at crossroads and Carthage is the crossroads of the whole country.  You live here.  You do kinda creep me out, Mom.  Do you have something you need to tell me?"

I glance at him, and grin and shush him, like we have a secret. "So, you still want ice cream?"

He twists back forward, looking at his hands. "Might as well," he says with a small nod, then mumbles, "before you melt it all..."

Perspective - an authorly account.
A) My son loves me enough that even if I am Satan, he will still eat ice cream with me.
B) My son will dine with Satan to get ice cream.
C) My son is concerned enough with this subject that he put all those plot points together, to have a conversation with his Mother.
D) I should check his master-blaster for rosary beads, and fish them out before he sizzles me.
E) My son needs a new haircut and a Doctor's appointment.
F) I am scary.

How is this about writing?

As authors, or wanna-beez, or wish-we-weres, it is our job to understand each of our characters perspective, explain the motive for that perspective and put it in conflict with another character's perspective and motive.  

I see many little stories, that set up a wonderful conflict, then resolve all the bad stuff in a couple of lines and poof, the conflict falls into the abyss while we go on to read 20 pages of what is for dinner, and witty little exchanges that do not push the story anywhere.  Some of this is quite charming and, believe me, I am horribly guilty of it. (uhemm, thank you Beth - no more amaretto scented pages)

But, as authors, even if we know all, we must not 'over explain', partially because we easily lose the conflict if we do.  We must see every possible angle, then choose the condition that both enhances the story and fills the conflict void.  Our job is not to fix the world for our characters.  We must avoid playing Mommy and kissing all the booboos. Our characters are not us and will make different choices from what we would make.  If all your characters believe exactly alike, they can't be in conflict.

That brings us to motive.  Do you know why Mary-Sue just fainted?  If it is from blood loss, fine.  Blood loss is a motive for fainting.  Seeing a boy kiss her best friend, is not.  Hearing bad news, is not. Getting your story out of a Plot-hole corner is not a motive for Mary-Sue Heroine to faint.  Ever.  Boys do not rescue fainting girls, unless you are writing period romance.  Boys who are really mad at Mary, are not going to lug your fainting girl up stairs and fall in love out of concern.  The boy must have motive, and you must know it, even if you don't explain.

Motive - must be tied to perspective.
Marty-Hugh Perfect sees Mary-Sue Heroine faint.  What happens?
Nothing.  You have no past, no perspective, no motive -- so anything you make happen is occurring in a bubble. (You can open with that -- but why do any of your readers care?)  

Do not write scenes as soap bubbles of stuff that happens. You do not write every moment of life, but they must exist in perfect clarity in your authorly mind.  That is the only way to slip motive into a story without info-dump.  Knowing the whole life of your character up to the opening scene gives you perfect perspective of each character. Think of it as putting a straw in water and blowing a stream of bubbles surrounded by every moment of the characters life.  You are in charge of the bubbles, but they automaticly fall within the kenetics and physical dynamics of each character's surrounding life.

Having pretty eyes or exceptional hair, does not equal perspective.  (Perhaps for character two - the vision of character one's pretty eyes is a small motive, but physical description should be in your notes, not the first page.) 

Here is what I mean.  Same scene written two ways.
Marty-Hugh watches Mary-Sue walk across campus.  There are people looking at her because she is not popular and they all make fun of her.  Mary hardly notices them because she is reading.  She is smart and there is something about her that makes him want to talk to her, even if his popular friends won't approve. Her hair is messy and she is dressed like a yard sale, but her perfect orange eyes make him not care about her cloths, but what is under them.  He is the first to notice that she has just been shot and he runs as fast as he can, wanting to reach her as she lays on the ground.


That girl, the one who had killed the class rabbit in second grade, has her book open and her face bowed to it as she floats above the sly glances and mocking faces of her classmates.  Marty-Hugh ignores his friends, a wistful curl touching his lips, as he follows her ambling path and unfashionable hips across the broad green breach of popularity. The soft pop barely registers in his mind, but the blood that decorates her in stereo, back and front, before she lurches, twists and collapses, has his feet playing track star before anyone else sees the world is erupting in red sorrow.    

>>>>Which one do you care about?  

They are both an opening scene in which a violent, life changing event, is going to occur in the first paragraph.  A popular boy watches a unpopular girl walk.  He likes her.  What do you learn about him in each version -- that is perspective.

Now I just knocked the scene off - so it is far from perfect - but just to make a point, I want to compare some phrases.
1) Line one, you learn her name (so what) and she is walking (so what)
2) Line one, you learn he has known her at least from second grade to now (history is there) and she killed a bunny (gives you a glimpse of backstory without dumping it on you - I know she killed the poor bunny by letting him chew on her eraser, thinking he liked it, she didn't know bunny tummy doesn't do well with eraser nibbles --but you don't need all that - you suspect this may be one event that has challenged her ability to be popular) You learn that she reads or studies as she walks - she is not well liked and that she seems to not notice anyone.  Also you are given one ID for her - That don't know if it is a complement or not --but even if he isn't thinking of her by name -- to him she is some form of a person who stands out in some way.

If you, as an author, don't know all this stuff about your characters then you will fall into the trap of making physical characteristics the description and blowing air bubbles of floating blah for scenes, stealing the pure flow from your story. People read because they can get an open line to the perspective of another human being - (pseudo-human being).  There is an intimate connection to characters because you get to step in and be one with them.  If you don't understand all the pieces of a life - you rob your readers of richness in your characters.
Motives can't be determined if you don't know them. (very frustrating for reader)

I can't jump into my son's head and say -- this is the one reason he acted in this exact way.  In real life we don't even understand ourselves very well at times.  In your stories, if you don't know, you should stop and find out or you will end up with plot holes, corners, and flat, dull beings with cool made up names -- pretty eyes -- and nice hair. 

With deep perspective, conflict will naturally ramp up - flow will be there and you can tell a satisfying story.  That is what it is about - at least from my perspective.

P.S. -- I have been gone - not blogging.   Life bombs - working on my crafty issues and being a little under the weather -- (double entendres, not cliche') have been contributing factors.  I now have a working lap top and we seem to have a working tower again -- yeah!  Thanks to everyone and I will be visiting blogs and saying howdy's as time allows. 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Update on Me


We all have life bombs where we are sailing along and the world blows up in your face ....

I have had a few, lets just say Mr. Life Bomb and I have made acquaintance.

So I went to Dallas had a fantastic time got home - got sick - and the bombs began.  Just got done with those and any of you who know where I live --will know about what has happened here.

This is a before and after that gives you a tiny idea.

Our house was not in the path of this one, we only lost trees and screens and yard things, but we have so many friends who literally had a house full of stuff and now don't own a toothbrush.  My daughter and husband are working over there right now for friends who were lucky because they all made it out alive. They have no house and are still hoping to dig out one of the cars, but the things they had were not just scattered about, they were lifted away.  Other peoples unrecognisable things were left where the house used to be. This tornado went just south of us, and its friend went just north. Carthage didn't really get hit, but we are still hit because we are just up the road.  The Carthage kids were excused from school to help, because they all have family and friends who were in the path. They have teachers who live in Joplin (10 minutes away) and relatives and friends. You see things like this on television, but you don't really know what it means on a person by person level until you are in the middle of spotty cell service trying desperately to get calls in to people you know lived or worked in this path.  There are so many horrible stories, it makes your mind shut down to them as you accept each then move to the next and the next.

I may not be posting for a while, our internet is a bit over taxed by all of this.  I just wanted to let those who have emailed me know that we are fine.  We have stuff to do right now that takes priority, but the weather is finally letting us help.  Sometimes life bombs seem really big, but then a life tornado hits and puts the stupid little bombs into perspective.   Love and Hugs to everyone --- be back soon.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

One flu over the fan fiction

Ok I have been sick as can be every since I got back from Dallas.  I have not even unloaded my car!!!

I have about a million things to do but sneezing and sleeping have become my total hobby.  I have not edited pictures or written anything important.  However after reading some pretty fun fan fiction, I decided to give it a go.  It is really just silly stuff my fevered brain came up with.  Anyway, I thought I would share it in case anyone felt like reading some fluffy - lemony - insanely stupid stuff.
This Is my first attempt at fan fiction ever --  I have never been much of a fan of fan fiction honestly, but I have to say that it has been a very cool writing exercise that is surprisingly harder than you would think.

My three attempts (two shorts and one long) are Hunger Games fan fiction -- The books were laying around and so I attempted two shots at cannon with a twist and one that was just a fun cannon inspired different thought on Mockingjay.  (disclaimer - I don't own the characters or derive any profit from this exercise)

Things I learned -  When character motives are not clearly defined, they can be skewed to almost any interpretation.  I have done this and felt I could justify my odd side stories with the rather obscure passages surrounding them. 
I found it challenging to try to stay in the voice that didn't come from my own imagination. 
I took my favorite character (Haymitch) and all three stories revolved around things that I felt were rather obvious in the books but never defined.  From book one I felt there was more going on with him than what appeared on the surface.  I also felt that he had much deeper feelings for Katniss then were ever explored -- so sicko nut case that I am...I explored them.

One story explores how he feels but would never act on.  One explores How he feels knowing his feelings could never be returned and the long one explores how a true romance could actually form and grow between he and Katniss.  (I know he's twenty years older and she is a minor by our standards - but I have also known people who found love in that very context so it isn't impossible.)

Please don't read them if you find May-December romance offensive and note the content ratings.  Here is where they can be found if you are interested.  Please forgive the formatting - I had no control over it - the website formats all the stories very strangely.  Also I will include a small sample of one ------

New story from Howlynn,
Title: Haymitch and Peeta talk about the Quell
Category: Hunger Games
Character(s): Haymitch A. & Peeta M.

Words: 1,806
Genre(s): Drama/Friendship
Rating: Rated: T
Summary: during CF after the quell was announced to feature victors, Katniss
was falling apart in the basement.  This is what happened between Haymitch and
Peeta.  One shot conversation.  Haymitch and Peeta in a verbal sparing match
to determine who will go.

New story from Howlynn,
Title: I will take her home
Category: Hunger Games
Character(s): Haymitch A. & Katniss E.

Words: 1,952
Genre(s): Friendship/Hurt/Comfort
Rating: Rated: K+
Summary: How is it that Haymitch took Katniss home to twelve then didn't visit
her - what if there were more to the story... and there always is when
Haymitch is involved.  This is my version of stuff you didn't see happen. one

and the longer one --
Title: The Mockingjay and the Chameleon
Category: Hunger Games
Character(s): Katniss E. & Haymitch A.

Words: 35,134
Genre(s): Romance/Drama
Rating: Rated: M
Summary: Gale is hot and Peeta is toast - now there is only one person who can
fix the little mockingjays broken wings.  Haymitch the clown is really a bit
of a Chameleon and Katniss wants him, what will it take for the man with the
bottle to finally hold her?

Here is a short bit of the long M rated story showing a little peek at what starts it - a misunderstanding played as a strategy reflecting the P/K romance -- yes this is a much more adult story -

I think he could pull it off with class!

I look around and am mortified to discover the entire cafeteria has heard this exchange. I can almost hear their minds clicking away at my shameful betrayal of poor Peeta who is partially responsible for their lives being saved with his warning. They all know the price he paid to give us this information. They all knew the price it cost for them to rescue him to keep the Mockingjay happy. Now, they knew I somehow soiled it. I stood up, face cold and shimmering a heated red. I took my tray of wasted food and dared the attendants to say a word.
I was soon with Haymitch, drinking and slurring a confession of what I had done and that everyone knew now. I passed out in his room and that was where I spent the night. I tried to sneak out in the morning, but immediately bumped into Gale. He saw Haymitch passed out half clothed on the couch before the door swung closed, took one look at my rumpled hair and the dark circles under my eyes, and jumped to one very stupid conclusion. "Making the rounds now are you. I waited for you." He says with disgust so vile I couldn't believe I had ever seen his face before. "Am I going to have to beat up every man under the age of sixty just to keep you?"
"You don't have me. How dare you even think I …"I can't finish realizing the hallways are busy.
It only took four hours for every single person in the district to discover that I was cheating on Peeta with my cousin and cheating on my cousin with my old mentor. I didn't dare tell anyone that Haymitch and I were sneaking liquor, beings it wasn't allowed in district 13 under any circumstances. I can't stand to see him dry out, it's worse than the drinking. So, there was no other explanation to provide in place of passing out in Haymitches room.
Coin was furious with me. She scheduled a meeting between Haymitch, Plutarch her and I. Haymitch strolled into her office looking like a Mockingjay eating cat and greeted me in such a way that there was now no doubt in her mind of what we had been up to. "Hello sweetheart, looks like we're caught once and for all this time." He leans over me and actually pulls my face to his and whispers "trust me" before kissing me like we are carrying on some secret affair.

Charlie is Haymitch
Coin collapses in her chair in disgust "Oh dear crummy hell. Well, there is no …stop that this instant! …No sense hoping the two of you will have the good taste to deny this nasty little business of yours."
"Haymitch how could you be so stupid!" Plutarch says watching us carefully.
Haymitch grins. "No, we will not deny it. Announce it to the world for all I care. I am tired of pretending."
I blush, covering my face with my hand. I can't even look at her, much less him. I peek Coin's way as she sits with her mouth open, flabbergasted. "Well this certainly explains a lot Miss Everdeen. Is this drunken old fool actually your choice? Can you say to me that this is important enough to you that I can't forbid you from…"
"Tell her sweetheart. Tell her there is nothing she can do." Haymitch holds out his hand to me.
I glare at him, having no idea what he's up too. I want to scream at him that he's making a fool of me, but at the same time, I have learned to trust him. I take his hand and kiss it. I hold it to my face and close my eyes. With a huge sigh, and near tears that are quite real at the thought of what Gale would have to say now, I follow his lead. "It's true. Since before the games."
"All this time!" Coin demands.
"No. You old dog…"Plutarch says with amused respect and almost a note of jealous approval.
"All this time? Can you imagine what I have gone through all this time? Twice now in those damned games. Can you blame me for drinking?" Haymitch says with a perfect little choke of emotion.
I stand and embrace him. "Oh Haymitch, sweetheart, don't start that again. I just got you back from your scare yesterday."
He leans into me and shudders as if near falling apart. Then he wipes his eyes and smiles at me cupping my face with his hand. "Not much more they can do to me now, aye darling?" he says, his eyes so filled with love I am almost fooled. "So, is this what you wanted to see us about, or was it something important?" He says slipping his arms around me in a familiar way as if our audience is an afterthought..
Coin leans back in her chair shaking her head. "Peeta was all an act and what about the brooding cousin?"
"Smoke. If they suspected she was mine, had even an inkling, what would the game makers have done to her?" Haymitch says smoothly. He glances at Plutarch and winks.
"So the chameleon isn't such a idiot with his money after all…" Plutarch says nearly sick with his snickering.
Coin purses her eyebrows and nods. She glares at us both and wipes her face in frustration. "Every time I think I know your song Mockingjay, it changes."
"We had a little scare back before the Quell was announced, Peeta was hoping to get me out of having to go." I add helpfully.
"And he took your place and protected her? Why?" she has me stumped.
"Well the boy loves her of course. He did, before he killed her yesterday." He smirks, and kisses my hand.
"What is that about?"
"Trying to convince him his mission is complete so they can treat him. He is finally able to be sedated which is a marvelous improvement." Haymitch explains while glancing at me and flirting with me to the point I wanted to slap him.
"You two are making me sick – get out." She waves us out of the room.
Haymitch bends me way over backwards and kisses me so long and deeply that Coin throws a shoe at us. Plutarch cracks up laughing. I resist the urge to wipe my mouth on the back of my hand.
We walk up the halls and I keep trying to ask him what he thinks he's up to, but he keeps shutting me up with his mouth on me and finally we arrive at this room. As soon as the door closes, I sock him in the chest. "What are you doing?"
He laughs. "I am saving your beloved ones from being constant targets. I am protecting your little boyfriends. Scandal travels fast and before night falls on our drunken deeds, even the capital, will be aware that I win. Now, should we loose at some point – they will use me against you and not someone you actually care about. Who knows you might even be allowed to enjoy it before your own execution."
"oh…Haymitch." I can't say more. I am so mixed up with both gratitude and shame that I can't figure out how to begin. "It won't work as well as you think."
"Lets just hope we never find out. But in the meantime you have your privacy again so long as you're careful. I do expect you to leave my chamber rumpled frequently, I do have a reputation of debauchery I must maintain, but it will buy you a little time." He smiles and pours us brown spirits. "To a long and beautiful relationship."

Ok if you happen to take a gander -- please give me a review or a comment -- I will be back as soon as I can, but having some life bombs so I won't make any real promises.

Last but not least-- Who do you think should play Haymitch and why?  Have you ever written fan fiction? Leave us a link and share if you have?


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Road trip Wed at YA highway

Road Trip

Young Adult Highway - What book were You obsessed with as a child?
The first book I ever loved was a Little golden book called Rusty goes To School.
My Mom was a teacher in a one room school house at the time called White School.
Every day I missed her, and would stand at the front door waiting for her.  My Grandma would draw me away with this book.

Then I became obsessed with Robert Earl of Huntington - Beings our own family Book(dates from 1602 -and is so fragile it scares me to touch it) listed when we left England(1647) our name was Huntington - then Huntley - and finally Hunt.  I found an actual Long Bow in my closet and after talking my mother into letting me buy a string for it - I practiced for hours.  I was shocked at the sting of the string snapping your arm and even with a guard - it hurts.  I was not so bad for a 10 year old.  It belonged to my mother the College athlete - who was on the archery team at OSU.  I still can remember the way the arrow does not end up where you aim it depending on how you shoot - for me aim was to the left of the target and up.  I learned old English - in the forth grade.  This poem was the first I remember knowing by heart.

Hear underneath dis laitl stean
Laz robert earl of Huntingtun
Ne’er arcir ver as hie sa geud
An pipl kauld im robin heud
Sick utlawz as he an iz men
Vil england nivr si agen
Obiit 24 kal: Dekembris, 1247.

for those of you who didn't find the old ways easy to filter

Here underneath this little stone,
Lies Robert Earl of Huntington
No other archers ever as he/they so good
And people called him Robin Hood
Such outlaws as he and his men
Will England never see again
written 24th of December, 1247

I can still shoot a long bow buy the way - though the pull is harder on me now.  I was devastated when the beautiful old wooden thing broke on me - and was replaces with a fiberglass one.

This is not flat Old English or Middle English but a tween form.
It is said he is not buried here - this is actually the resting place of the final arrow that flew from his bow.

I don't like all the new versions so well - Marion was a betrayer and his love for her was tragic.  She killed Robin - bleeding him to death as cold as stone as he smiled up at her full of trust and love.  Only love could kill him - not the world.  I loved Errol Flynn too.

Then the Scottish play consumed me along with Hamlet.
I loved Mel In this ---Who knew it was foreshadowing.

Friday, March 25, 2011

YA sex and the condom cops - where is the sweet spot?

Should your characters have sex In YA?

It is your choice as an author to decide If- when- how much- how real - how graphic - how shocking - how it will be taken.  What a bunch of HARD stuff to figure out!

This zone is a mine field of disapproval - yelling people - screaming nuts - horrified adults -----and kids who think adults can't possibly stop being up-tight long enough to have actually Made them!

Here's the thing---- Kids know stuff - like old people.  Parents? - well I am having my doubts after being one for a while.
This is stuff I find strange about some very loved books ---
Twilight - there is no sex in it - yet people screamed that it was kiddy porn???  do what?
Harry Potter - there is no sex in it and there were people who thought we should not have main characters die and it would lead children into satanic worship.  (LOL yep I want people of that scary mentality to decide stuff for me - lets put them in charge - we haven't had a good witch burning in this country for many years)
20 boy summer - there is sex in it - and it is done perfectly - realistically and it is getting some yells and some likes.
Hunger games - no sex but a little bit of dead kid doesn't affect people!
Rainbow Party - OMG  that is what kids are reading----LOL  Ok then...coolio!
Mark Twain - wait they banned him?  He said a bad word?  Well what if Tuesday is a bad word in a 150 years - will they ban me then? 
Fahrenheit 451 - Did you know an editor Rescued this book - 40 censor hacks had attacked this book over the years - chipping away at it -------did those people read the book while they did that?  LOL
 I could go on and on.

My view for my children - I do not censor them in any way - never have even when little. (I will talk to them and answer questions they have on any subject)
I Let them watch Titanic just like Disney - and one of them was obsessed in a weird way by the frozen people - relax - she wants to be a doctor now.
Nothing off limits - guess what I learned - THEY have opinions on what they want to see - and will censor the parts that they don't. 
They Love the HBO series Rome - and they love Spartacus - but you should see them giggle and fast forward - when the hottie banging begins.  (yes even when adults are not in the room)  They watch True Blood and Vamp diaries and gasp Dallas ("Jr has moobs")  I had not noticed that.  When I was young it was a pretty big deal that he was Not in the twin bed like the dream of Genie days!  People thought it was unfit for kids to watch that show!

Belly buttons lead to sexual deviants ----you knew that right - Jeannie had to cover up her sexy man-magnet so the TV viewers would not fall into debauchery from viewing her Umbilical scar!  Thats ok - Barbie didn't have one either---no wonder girls hate their bodys - we have undisclosable PARTS that make us evil because they have function!

So I am writing a few little books too and I want there to be some balance between ---
"That is Just kiddy porn!"   And      "The 40 year old virgin has been done!"

I have mixed reaction to this post in all honesty.  Here's why--
Sex is being treated as a more shameful activity than Murder.

 I can not get over the fact that gore is fine so long as the characters don't have sex!
 Romance without bikini parts?  Killing fine- but kissing is even iffy... if it creates - any thoughts about more - kissing must be the ultimate thing you read 600 pages for!  (kiss - marriage - more kissing----that is the ideal romance right?  I am a little spooked by that - who says I can't be scared of someone - found my personal terror zone - AGGGHHH!)

 I am in no way saying there should be page after page of every pant and pantless moment - but lets say two kids in love were on a train to the Capitol knowing one of them, at least, would die - they would never see each other again because they were about to play a game in which loss means only getting hacked to death.  Now lets say these madly in love kids were sleeping in the same bed dealing with the sorrow of that sort of life ----
 It really would have been just unforgivable if they made a choice to engage in one moment of joy?
What a very sad message we must send.  Could something along the lines of -

{Peeta is watching me when I awake. I blush at what we had shared in the night, a hunger to give the other comfort.  We would know horror tomorrow, but for this moment, our secret smiles are full of joy.}

That acknowledges a physical relationship has occurred without being graphic.  I am not saying that it isn't fine to Not have any reference - that's her story - her art thing.
  (my 11 year old just ask why they were such dorks - he's on the floor reading Catching Fire right now----cause  he can't wait for me to read more - I guess I will be doing mockingjay for reading time tonight - giggle)

What I wonder is - People have praised the series as perfect for young -YA segment beings there is no sex.  Hmmmmm - so did ya miss the dead kids?  You approve of those?

 I hear replies to that comment  along the lines ---well they know it is just a story!  Yes, so they can make that exact same judgement about 20  Boy Summer. 
  Ken and Barbie love is really fine if there is no death, pain, cussing, drugs, bullies, rude people, ugly people, unicorns, nail biters, ----

If we are going to shield the poor little darlings -- I also want to censor!

Old People - let them be innocent- don't expose them to old people - we have terrible opinions for one thing - and you don't want them to imagine that one day they may have to face being old!

Sickness - I don't want my children to know that there is illness in the world - I can't face talking to them about it so don't want them to read about it---they might bravely ask for my opinion!  Any book with illness must be banned from a library near YOU.

Poverty - Hunger --let them think everyone is exactly like they are and can run up to MacFoodies - I don't want them to become not innocent that there could be people in the world who suffer!

War - there is peace on earth in my child's world and that is all I want them to read about - I don't want them to know that babies get killed by mean old governments - I want them to be pure and not even think such a thing could happen.

 Yes, I am being sarcastic.  I have to jump on the "kiss a flamer" bandwagon, and say my kids have dealt with the insane hatred of gay people - because they have a step-brother who is.  I have been terribly proud that they have stood up to all the mean little hatemongers who came out of the woodwork.

I have to wonder - if those kids had read about a fun, strong, lovable gay protagonist - would it change how they felt?  If they read about the mixed blessings of sex in an honest way - will they avoid choices that make them unhappy? (Them - not Ma and Pa Prudilicious)

If you really want them to be innocent lets protect them from being uninformed! - please stop confusing that term with clueless. 
Innocent is an informed choice.
A young bride is told of the mechanics of the birds and the bees years before her wedding night - did she lose her innocents with information?  A child is caught by a predator - he is still innocent and pure no matter what terrors befall him.  
Clueless = easy prey.
Clueless = unable to make good choices because you have always done what you're TOLD and suddenly there is nobody in charge of you - you will jump off any cliff, having been told that flying is possible if you are flapping your arms for the correct reason.
Does that mean every book should have sexual content - heavens no!  But, if it does, it should never ever be up to anyone else what I or My child decides to read.  I won't force anyone to read Stephen King or Mark Twain or even Anne Rice  --- But don't You take Ray Bradbury or Betty Greene or Toni Morrison away from me.  I don't need you to be My fireman. 

The world needs firefighters - not Firemen!  (if you don't get that reference - In Fahrenheit 451 - the FireMEN came to burn your books if you got caught with any.)

Am I saying that every child will turn out fine if they read bad stuff.  Please - reading only rainbows and bluebirds and peaceful misty inspiration does not guarantee they will turn out to be model citizens and reading about a kid who has sex does not make them pregnant and reading mysteries does not make them an ax murdering lunatics!

What if just some of this old nutty guys silly thoughts had a little truth?

It is another aspect of Freud's work that has had the greatest impact on human life in the West during the 20th century: his reevaluation of the role of sex and sexual behavior. Freud taught that sexual repression was the chief psychological problem of mankind. He surmised that repression and constriction of sexual behavior in youth would become manifest in adulthood.
Where Western society (often under the guise of “Christian morality”) had long treated sex as a taboo subject and covered over both normal and abnormal sexual behavior as “sin”—or at least shameful—there had been great neglect of appropriate help and correction. Freud was able to persuade his opponents and admirers alike that sexual repression was rampant, unhealthy, and the indirect cause of much crime, illness and woe.   There is the full artical.

(Yet, maybe the censors have something of value in a way)

Ever heard of Prince Siddhartha?

It is a story about a little boy shielded from all knowledge of pain, sorrow and sadness in the world.  Here is a little tidbit --
 When Prince Siddhartha was a few days old, a holy man prophesied the Prince would be either a great military conqueror or a great spiritual teacher. King Suddhodana preferred the first outcome and prepared his son accordingly. He raised the boy in great luxury and shielded him from knowledge of religion and human suffering. The Prince reached the age of 29 with little experience of the world outside the walls of his opulent palaces.
One day, overcome with curiosity, Prince Siddhartha asked a charioteer to take him on a series of rides through the countryside. On these journeys he was shocked by the sight of an aged man, then a sick man, and then a corpse. The stark realities of old age, disease, and death seized and sickened the Prince.

What Happened to the child ?- well he didn't do what Dad wanted at all.
Read more here....

More reading on the subject----

authors views

the Doctors opinion

Yeah sex is accepable in YA material

sexless teens

other people are over protective but not me

of course i won't read this ---just a bunch of peoples comments about why they put a book down

Nay - cause it's required

Banned Books----

maybe if she had read about boys?

So what should we do as authors?

You tell me where you fall?
 How do you decide?
 What is too graphic? 
Why are grownups so freaked about talking to kids?  (it was true when I was a kid and I am mortified that it is still true now to a large degree!)
Do you search for a balance or just say "This is my story and I will write it as I want" without concern?
What is your base limit for an age? 
What terms do you use to describe bikini parts or activity?  (medical, slang, misfire, cuss words, socially acceptable terms, raunchy words, double meaning )

Do You remember any book you ever read that made you do anything bad?

All comments appreciated - please type responsibly.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Road trip Wed at YA highway




Road Trip Wednesday #72: Lend Me Some Sugar, I Am Your Neighbour!

This Week's Topic:
Which book character would y

ou like most as a next door neighbour?

Neighbors - we all have them.

There's an old saying that good fences make good neighbors ----

Then there are the slight variations on those words - Such as my old neighbor

"Good fences - make good spots to sit stuff on fer target practice"    (neighbor's should be disclosed on the realtor listing LIKE meth labs!)

So out of the books I have read recently - who should I have?

Well - I have sort of had Haymitch on a golf cart - see above comment about fences.
I have had the fruitloop - who stands naked in the street at 4 am shouting that I am satan - while he pees on my fence. (different guy from drinking on a golf cart fun neighbor)

I have had Snoopy - well I still have her and her antique bi-plane that has a Red Baron friend - they are my favorite ------  they give rides in the loopy-loop planes.  (love you Pam) 

I am the-- don't mow my lawn til there are tunnels but will come out and help you dig your car out of the mud in the freezing rain neighbor.

I like off beat people for the most part - so I am pretty easy to get along with - so long as you keep your body functions on your side of the world - but never discount a neighbors stuff either - hot tubs and pools, tractors, saw collections are always a huge boon in the neighborly department.

Of course on the other end - rusted hulks in the yard and an affinity to rats may not be my idea of cute or charming.

So a quirky person with good stuff and most of his marbles is my ideal. 

I think Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle would be a fantasic neighbor - she quirky - has skills - doesn't mind if the kids bother her and well she's just adorable!

Friday, March 18, 2011

I just had a blue apple!

This is a wonderful day - I just had a blue apple.  A boost - a small touch on the shoulder that gives me light.

I can't hold back this small thing.  I was blog hopping and found a little button called YOU WRITE LIKE.  Hey a fun little gizmo for entertainment.

I plugged a couple pages into the magic analyzer and a name was returned.

David Foster Wallace

I think 'ok cool who the heck is that?'

Google returned some stuff.


[edit] Short story collections

And a speech - read the whole thing here.
 There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says "Morning, boys. How's the water?" And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes "What the hell is water?"

The capital-T Truth is about life BEFORE death.
It is about the real value of a real education, which has almost nothing to do with knowledge, and everything to do with simple awareness; awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, all the time, that we have to keep reminding ourselves over and over:
"This is water."
"This is water."


My freak out factor.

Day beforeYesterday I found an end zone - a part of me too personal to share for a simple YA highway road trip question.  I am a hard person according to many - I am not romantic - I rarely say much mushy gushy stuff to people.  It takes a lot to push me - more to break me and it is a rare thing that I will cry for or about anything.  Somehow I got to talking about my best friend.  I told everyone things I learned from him and that he had said the most romantic thing anyone ever said to me.  Then I couldn't stand it and took it down.
Not putting all the rest back up but I will share what it was.

  It is an offbeat thing that the most romantic thing I have ever had a person say to me, came from my best friend..  "you are my water"  That was the moment I knew - this kind of love is just as big as all the mushy hoopla.
I gave him one of those "Dude, if you get any more full of crap..." looks. (I do that to people)
He held up a glass of water and said.
 "I like to drink many things from orange juice to coffee to soda.  Tea is good and I love a root beer sometimes.  The thing is, I can live without those things.  Water seems so common - not important.  But, I can function without any of the other stuff - I don't exist without water.  I always have to come back to water. You are my water."

That is still hard for me to put out in the world.  But, then I read more about this guy who I seem to be like in my writing style..

We are both the sign of the water bearer.
His unfinished work - The Pale King is soon to be published 

He has a fan site called the Howling Fantods.  (yeah I know Howlynn is a nick name - but still)

This is the opening sentence of The Pale King
Past the flannel plains and blacktop graphs and skylines of canted rust, and past the tobacco-​brown river overhung with weeping trees and coins of sunlight through them on the water downriver, to the place beyond the windbreak, where untilled fields simmer shrilly in the a.m. heat: shattercane, lamb’s‑quarter, cutgrass, sawbrier, nutgrass, jimsonweed, wild mint, dandelion, foxtail, muscadine, spinecabbage, goldenrod, creeping charlie, butter-​print, nightshade, ragweed, wild oat, vetch, butcher grass, invaginate volunteer beans, all heads gently nodding in a morning breeze like a mother’s soft hand on your cheek.

That is perfection. 

Ok I have been discussing symbols - and I love to weave and drift them into my writing.

A few of you who were nice enough to comment on the 250 word thing - mentioned the way I had talked about a box on the wall - not the character.

If it were there for no reason - I would have to agree - but the box on the wall is a symbol.
It is in plain sight but nobody really notices it.  It is obviously malfunctioning, broken, dangerous - Like the Magical creature Natalie can feel watching her.  She can't see him yet - but he is watching her - falling in love with her - and her instincts tell her he is there.  The box foreshadows that he is very dangerous - The smoke smell is him - not just the speaker. This moment takes her life away - it will never be the same.  It is hidden in the every day things we ignore, excuse and take for granted.  In the book I am working on now - The river is a huge symbol.  The opening lines of book four.

The tobacco-brown water frightened me, swirling secrets, hidden danger, unknown eddies trapping things away from the light.  His blood is in the river, and I want to be held in his arms, nestled in his rusted liquid, sucked down to the blackness that is my heart without him. I am glad I killed the one who put my vampire in the river, but it does not stop me from longing to join him,to need to become one with the water.  I imagine the river as a gentle vampire draining my life away in the churning mud.  It moves on, as I stand trapped upon the banks, fearing I will give in to the call.  My heart is already there, only my face has not yet felt the hellish cold water cover me like a lovers caress.

(By the way I plugged my 1st books 250 plus a few into the gizmo - NOT the passage from book four!  I only went to grab that for this post, cause after reading his opening on Pale King - I was breathing funny - knowing it had a strange bingo in the impossible place.  It didn't see this opening to simply link up the similar words!)
My book four has nothing to do with his subject - He is literary - I just write monsters. 
So ----Not saying that he and I are near the same level - in any way shape or form -----but ya know its kinda like I get what they are saying about my clunky sentences - when I wrote the paragraph above it was two sentences - I made it much more easy to And it does stand out that his brain - and mine use some words in kind of a freaky parallel dimensional fashion faux pax!  I will go change tobacco -rust and even lovers caress - cause I know his words now - but It is still kinda freaky that we are wearing the same outfit?

He was a philosopher - I am only a teller of tales.  I had never heard of him until today, yet our muses are dancing in the same place.  It says to me that writing is important.  My David is gone and this one fell to the same sorrow.  I will never get to sit and talk with either one of them.  But the one I never met, spoke to me today across the veil.  He made me cry.

The river will flow on without us all one day.  What we leave here may be only words, but maybe, just maybe, another we can't imagine, will let those simple streams of words be water for their soul.

 That is a blue apple.

Going to buy "THE PALE KING" as soon as it comes out. 

Maybe it is just a fluke that this little writing analyser would spit out his name to me.  Then again, maybe it's Magic! 

Who do YOU write like?  Go here to find out.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Who have you written into a book? Be honest.

It could be someone that just inspired one specific trait in a character. Maybe your MC's ex has a weird obsession with anime, kind of like a certain ex of yours. Or maybe the evil witch wreaking havoc on your other characters is straight-up Mrs. Hawkins, your 3rd grade math teacher. Confession time – who's in your book?

Sorry folks - I tried really hard - I tried to walk it off - but I can't put stuff that personal on here.  No comments yet so whew!  I can share if its funny - stupid - but there is just stuff too deep for pickin' and that was IT!

So my funny answer IS - If you are a hollow shallow  mean person -----I will WRITE you. 
If You have an annoying trait  - watch out it is fair game.

If you talk pretty - you are there.
If others don't notice you ---I do.
And most deeply -If I love you - you already know.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

First 250 words of Ignite - contest!

Ok This is a contest and a Blogfest - the above link will take you there.  Heres the rules and what we do!
Thank You Brenda Drake and agent Natalie Fischer for your time and fun contest!

 On March 20 and 21, post the first 250 words of your finished manuscript (any genre) on your blog to get critiques from your followers and then hop around to the other participants' sites and give critiques. Polish those 250 words and email them to me at with CONTEST in the subject line by 12:00AM (EST) on March 22

My example is 253 words because I didn't want to cut it off in the middle of a sentence. So if your 250 words ends in the middle of one, please go to the end of the sentence.

All entries submitted before the cut off time will be considered. The first round will be judged by a chosen panel of your peers (agented and unagented). We'll pick the best 20 entries and post them on my blog by March 24. The 20 entries we pick will be judged by Natalie. The winners will be announced on or before Monday, March 28.

Bet you're wondering what prizes Natalie is offering, right? Well, here they are:

1st place - a critique of the first 20 pages
2nd place - a critique of the first 10 pages
3rd place - a query critique

Don't forget to SHOW ME THE VOICE!
Ok so here are my actual first 250 words or so.
Anyone is welcome to comment - anyone can say exactly what they think.(at least to me - play nice with the other people if you jump around)
I do not include the prologue - it is not the voice of the novel but a tiny glimpse into the mind of another character - thus a prologue.  Anyway - Red ink is LOVE so even though all you people are really nice - just for a moment, could you try to endevor to be less nice?  Like, alot less nice?  Border on mean if it is at all possible. 

Howlynn Martin
YA Paranormal

On my last day of normal, reality was my friend.  My wishes were insignificant, but they had to be earned.  I ran beside the sled, demanding destiny, before the bobsleigh of my life began to fall into speed, tilting and slipping precariously into unknown directions. Every single childish day of my life I wished for magic.  When magic answered, I had stopped believing.   I don’t wish for anything now.  I don’t dare.  
The loud speaker announces it is on, sounding like a flaming green log, in the most boring class ever invented for the torture of young minds. The math facts teacher winces in frustration, pausing at the board, chalk in hand.  The old wooden box, on the job and the wall for over fifty years, with it’s gold dusty speaker crackling says, “The Jr. High, JV and Varsity, Cheerleading tryout packets are now available at the office.”  It pops ominously before dozing off into silence.  The faint scent of smoke prompts comments about fire alarms, but the teacher quickly squelches such nonsense and the chalk scratches rhythmically once again to her mathematical monotone.
  Shivers of daydreams from my armpits to my toe-jammies argue with my self-esteem about the splendid plan I have in mind.   A telling rivulet of nervous sweat trickles secretly inside my shirt as my stomach lurches, and my throat plays unwilling gatekeeper. 
It may have not been only the announcement.  I feel eyes on me and I turn quickly in my third row seat to glare at the place that it issues, from behind me. 


Ok that is it - I put this up Way early because I am heading to Dallas for the 'Dreamin' In Dallas' Conference!  Also anyone who wants can pop over and enter too - Hurry - before Mr. linky-thing has a heart attack over there!

Show Me The Voice? - well I am up here in Missouri....  show me what you didn't like ...please comment below or whereever the darn thing pops up!  And not that it matters - but the main characters name Is----Natalie!   hehehe.