Wednesday, February 29, 2012


I'm calling on other writers to help me out here.  I have no idea what genre I fit into.

The history of how I came to what I write about starts from when I read Little Women as a child.  I had a huge imagination, and like Jo, I wrote fantasy based stories.  When I read the professor's advice on writing what she knew, it got the wheels turning and I actually stopped writing.  I figured a teenager growing up in suburban Wisconsin didn't have much interesting material to write about, so I went about my life seeking adventure.

I took a course to be an emergency medical technician (EMT) when I was 19 and worked in the inner city of Milwaukee for a couple of years, and did ski patrol on the weekends.  I backpacked through Ecuador, S. America when I was 20 for a month, and then got on the waiting list for nursing school at the local tech college, and moved to Ecuador for 10 months.  I ended up staying for three years instead, and lived in three different locations including the rainforest.  I fell in love and married my husband, and then we both moved to the States so we could pursue education.  I studied nursing and he studied computer programming.

Now after all these years, I'm back to writing.  Although I'm not Hispanic (funny thing is I look more Hispanic then my husband because I'm 75% European descent and 25% Philipino, AND I speak fluent Spanish now), I know a lot about the Hispanic culture because of living there, my husband, and my friends.  So that's what I write about.  My WIP is about a young American woman who travels to S. America and is inspired to study nursing and return as a volunteer.  She ends up in the rainforest in a small town where she discovers they are growing cocaine.  The government steps in and puts an end to it, and the cartel seeks retribution.  Oh, and she falls in love with the doctor running the clinic where she works.

So, what genre is that?  Mainstream?  Romance?  Help!  I'm so confused.

Then so I can get to know YOU better, how did you end up in the genre you write in?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Redeeming myself

So I withdrew my entry from the platform campaign, but it's no guts, no glory, so I found another prompt, and I promise not to remove it no matter how anxious I get.

You can find the prompt above.  It's 100 words, and must include "the chair dominated the small room.

The chair dominated the small room where the two men had thrown Felipe.  The room was dimly lit by a single bulb hanging from the ceiling, and there was a rancid, moldy smell permeating the air.  It didn't look good.  Felipe had sent Kate off safely on the bus, but the guerilleros from the drug cartel had caught up with him soon after.

Felipe sat down on the chair and leaning forward, sunk his face into his hands.  Please let her make it out okay, he thought.  The door flung open and a stout, muscular man with a scar across his face stood in the doorway.

And that's it!  100 words exactly.  Plus it could be an excerpt from my WIP, but it isn't.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ski Trip to Boone, NC

My little one waiting for her skis.
Farmer's field on the way up to the ski resort.  It makes me want to run through it,  and lay down in the middle, facing the sky.

A little garden in Blowing Rock- it made me think of the Secret Garden book.

Charming little home decor shops that I look forward to browsing every year.  I that's my handsome hubby taking the picture in the mirror!

Then we eat lunch at this yummy restaurant called Storie Street Grill, where I ate a fried green tomato sandwich on sourdough bread that is an absolute explosion of flavor with every bite.  Yum! Yum!

It wasn't the best year for skiing because it was a little on the warm side, but my five year old did great:)  She's the all guts, no brains skier while my eleven year old is the brains, no guts one.

Monday, February 20, 2012


I've withdrawn my story from the campaign.

I only endured one day!  It was the first time I've ever shared my writing, other than some pending short story submissions, and I felt too exposed.  I don't know why others didn't like it, but it may have been the subject matter.  Just by personal taste, I know it's hard to get past something I normally wouldn't choose to read.  Regardless, it was an enlightening experience, if not the positive one I was hoping for.  I'm not changing my personal style- if I write my novel only for myself, I'm okay with that.
Tomorrow I'll return to my normal blogging.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

In the Mountains of North Carolina

I'll post pictures later, but they really never do the mountains justice.  We traveled four hours today for our annual ski trip to Boone, N.C.  Even with the bare trees the mountains are luring in their beauty.  The rocky creeks running down the valleys, the sunny day with swirling clouds high in the sky, what's not to love!  Every time we come, we talk about how we would love to live here, on some mountainside in a little Victorian cottage that I've dreamed of since high school.

I love this family time with our children.  No house to clean, no driving the kids to and from school, no work (Yeah!)  We can just relax and enjoy!  I'll post an update on the trip on Friday, if I can pull my poor, aching, almost forty year old body upright enough to post a blog;)

Monday, February 13, 2012

How to Bathe a Cat

This is just my version of the How to give a cat medicine, humourous note, based on true events from this weekend.  All cat owners are probably wondering WHY on earth an inexperienced cat owner would even attempt such an act, but there is a reason for my madness.  This is the first (and probably only) bath I've given him since bringing Willow home from the Humane Society Shelter.  The Shelter is filthy (or rather was filthy, more on that later) and I felt it in his best interest to clean him.

1.  Start with three people and cat.
2.  Pour water over cat with one hand while holding cat with the other.
3.  Hold cat with two hands, involving second person to pour water over cat.
4.  Call husband to come help.
5.  With husband holding cat, rub in cat shampoo.
6.  Send 4th person to retrieve cat, console injured husband.
7.  Resume rinsing quickly while wiping splashing water from glasses so you can see. 
8.  Send 3rd person to grab a towel.
9.  Wrap up cat, assess bloody injuries on husband, look for bandaids.

I don't think we will attempt that again.

On an extremely happy note, we moved the animals from the sad, dumpy, dirty old shelter into the long awaited opening of the new shelter.  There were so many people that volunteered to help we had a caravan of probably 100 cars with a police escort to take them:)  It was so wonderful to see how many people care about these animals!

Anyway, on writing and reading.  I returned two unfinished books to the library.  I used to have a thing that if I started a book, I had to finish it, no matter how much I hated it.  But my time is so limited these days, that if it's not catching my interest I just want to look elsewhere.  How do you feel about that?

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Importance of Effective Writing

It's truly amazing what the written word is capable of.  It can create a clear picture of a person, scene, landscape, and so on, in a way that transports a reader to those places.  But it needs to be well written. 
Recently I took out an old textbook from an English course I had to take for my nursing degree and came across an introduction that reads like a spy novel, only it was real life.  Taken from the Sundance Reader, it reads in part

"In the summer of 1939 scientist Leo Szilard was worried.  .  . the exiled physicist followed events in Europe with growing anxiety.  His experiments proved that a nuclear chain reaction could create an atomic bomb.  German scientists had split the atom, and the Nazis had seized rich deposits of uranium in Czechoslovakia.  As a Jew who had escaped on the last train out of Nazi Germany, Szilard was horrified at the prospect of Hitler obtaining nuclear weapons."  He tried to warn the American government but was getting nowhere, so he sought help from his friend Albert Einstein.  "Although the idea of a nuclear chain reaction had never occurred to him, Einstein quickly grasped its implications and suggested writing President Roosevelt."  With a third scientist involved, the three set about trying to write the president explaining the danger, but they struggled with it, writing several versions.  They were frustrated because of the abstract theories they had to explain and English was for all three a second language.

The first paragraph of the actual letter sends a chill down my spine, it reads in part:  "...uranium may be turned into a new and important source of energy in the immediate future.  Certain aspects of the situation which has arisen seem to call for watchfulness and, if necessary, quick action on the part of the Administration.  I believe therefore that it is my duty to bring to your attention the following facts . . "

Just thought I'd share this.  The point that the book was making was on the importance of conveying an idea to your reader in a way that will make it clear for them.  A reader comes from a different background, and if the author doesn't take that into account, the story will be lost. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Platform building campaign

I'm totally hopeless when it comes to computers!  I will post the campaign badge when someone can show me how.  It's frustrating because I'm really not dumb, honest!  But I sit in front of a computer and I go blank.
Anyway, I'm blogging about a campaign that I've joined to connect with other writers at the blog, Rach writes.  I'll link it to the list of blogs I have on the side.  (At least I know how to do that!)  I'm looking forward to trying out the challenges and it's open to those interested in joining.  I'm also glad for this opportunity to meet other bloggers in the writing community.
Writers' Platform-Building Campaign page

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Books, Books, and More Books

I'm just assuming that when you're in the company of writers, you're also in the company of readers.  So what kind of books do YOU read? and has your interests evolved and why?
When I was a kid, we maybe had 5 television channels on a black and white set, no cell phones, and even though my dad was a computer programmer, we had no computer at home.  So we read books.  In fact, if I got in trouble, I got my book taken away, and remember it going on top of the refrigerator.  I was one of those kids that was told to put the book down on summer days, and go outside and play already!  What I read ranged from the classics-  Little House on the Prairie to mystery (Nancy Drew) but then in high school I read Jane Eyre and Sherlock Holmes.  I developed a preference for female writers like Jane Austen.
Nowadays though, I've started to lean towards male writers.  I like their sparse journalistic writing like Hemingway, and in fact I've been reading books by journalists like Richard Engel.  I'm a CNN junkie, by the way.  I've been reading some best sellers to get a feel for what's trending, but I stay away from romance and science fiction.  I like realistic books I guess, although it's not to say I won't read them.  Any well written book is worth my time, I guess. 
I'm currently reading 3 novels- I don't know why I do that!  What about you?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Happy Endings

So my last post I wrote about the sad story of Cookie.  The old dog whose owner had neglected her and then dumped her off at the shelter without a second glance.  But there is a happy ending here, because after passing by the pathetic looking animal several times, I just had to step in and take her home.  So here she is, sweet, happy, loving little Cookie.
And this is how she passes her days!  Sleeping in comfort in a warm house on a soft bed:)  So all in all, it was the best thing for her to have been left behind, because now she knows what love is.

And this lazy pup is the other dog we rescued, Lilly.  She was 10 months old when we adopted her, and had spent 5 of those months sleeping on a concrete floor at the shelter.  Obviously I think she prefers my bed now.  Lazy bum.  Gotta luv her though!

So these are some of my furry creatures, but don't worry, I'm not over the top.  They eat dog food and I don't own a dog stroller.  Although I know some people are against them being on the furniture, I do allow this abuse.

Anyway, back to writing.  I'm trying to work on my novel a little everyday.  I've really started to pick up steam on it and I just have to keep the momentum going.  I'm also going to submit two more short stories to a contest, but I'm not spending more time on writing other ones for now.  I figured I'll just see where these go and if they get rejected, I'll rework them and resubmit elsewhere.  I LOVE connecting with other writers through blogging.  It's turning into a fantastic experience and I appreciate all the comments and new followers who have joined my blog recently.  I had started blogging last year but I wasn't connecting with the right bloggers and no one was responding, so I gave up for awhile.  Thanks again for being a part of the conversation- writing may be a solitary endeavor, but thanks to the internet, it is not such a lonely place to be anymore!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Cookie's story

While my blog is mostly about writing, it's also about my life, and a huge part of that involves animals.  Any kind of animal.  Almost two years ago I started volunteering at the local animal shelter, and since then I have acquired two more dogs and a cat, which is the most recent addition.  They have some strange issues and I've often thought if only they could talk, just for a day, and tell me their stories. 
For example, our first dog that we adopted, Lilly, is terrified of balloons and large balls.  She was very anxious when we first brought her home but has adjusted nicely, with the exception of those things.  Then there is Cookie.  Yesterday I brought her into the vet and ran into one of the members of the board of the humane society.  She knew Cookie and told me that the woman who owned her was moving, and just dumped her off at the shelter without looking back.  Cookie is old, maybe about ten, and she has a bad leg but it doesn't seem to bother her.  She is absolutely the sweetest dog, but has so many health issues from years of neglect.  She's 100% deaf from severe ear infections, she's covered with moles that were raw and bleeding when I first took her home, her teeth were rotting and falling out, and I suspect her tail was broken, plus the bad leg.  Despite all that, her tail wags non-stop (even while peeing!), and she spends most of her days sleeping on the doggy bed.
All I can say is Why?  Why would you get a dog when you have no intention of caring for it?  No one is forced to own a dog- it's a choice, just as it's a choice to mistreat them, abuse them, or leave them neglected in the back yard.  They are pack animals who need attention and affection.  It's just sad.  Some day maybe I'll write a novel involving dogs:)