Monday, November 26, 2012

On Writing

I've been reading, and am almost finished with, the highly recommended book by Stephen King, On Writing. I've taken away a lot from it already, but am maybe more insecure about my writing then ever before. This post is appropriate for the Insecure Writers Support Group, but don't worry, I'll have plenty more to add in a few days when the first Wednesday rolls around again. One of the things he writes is, and I quote, "it is impossible to make a competent writer out of a bad writer. . .it is possible, with lots of hard work, dedication, and timely help, to make a good writer out of a merely competent one."

Now here's the dilemma, which one am I? If I truly suck at writing, and it's hopeless, would anyone ever tell me the truth? And do I want them to, for that matter? How do you feel about this?

I am going to give myself a full year of dedicating myself to writing. Finishing my WIP, which is about half done with a full makeover that's left it unrecognizable. Joining the local chapter of writers and attending a convention regardless of the cost. (Gulp!) And working on other pieces, maybe even starting another novel to work on my overall skills. Then I will decide, with unbiased input from others at the convention, if this is worth my time.

I think I will always write, for myself anyway. But I don't want to waste time at it either if my time, and money!, is better spent elsewhere.

In the meantime, I'm going to do a little of this before I curl up in bed. Feel free to share your thoughts :)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Trying Something New

I can't recall ever reading science fiction. . ever. That doesn't mean I hate it, I just don't read it. I actually loved Star Wars, and even got into Star Trek for awhile because everyone I hung out with was into it. Then why don't I read it? Quite honestly, a lot of times I just don't GET it. Kind of when my husband starts explaining something he's doing at work (he's a programmer), and my eyes glaze over.

That's all changed. I had read a review of Alex Cavanaugh's science fiction series and it made me really eager to read it! The reviewer raved about the characters and how well written it was, even for non-sci-fi fans. I am a little premature in gushing about how much I love his book Cassastar, because I still have 60 e-pages to go, but I actually had to force myself to put it down to do my Monday post. Needless-to-say, I am in awe. I hope someday to write as well as he does. Not only was I able to follow the out-of-this-world setting, but the characters are amazing! I was moved to tears as I gripped my e-reader, racing through the pages to find out what happens next.

I'd call it a cross between Top Gun and Star Trek, and I mean that by way of the highest compliment. As a woman it appealed to me because I imagine a hot young pilot, and I want to know what happens to him! Come on, why else would I watch Top Gun or Star Wars!

Right now, I gotta run- those last pages are calling.

Friday, November 16, 2012

It's a blogfest! Oh How I Miss You. . .

Hosted by Andrew Leon, Matthew Rush, and Alex J. Cavanaugh

The bloggers we really miss…
and the ones we would really miss!

Do you have a couple blogger buddies who aren’t posting as often? Those who’ve pulled back and seem absent from the blogging world? Do you have blogger buddies you are grateful they are still around and would miss if they vanished? Now is your chance to show your appreciation and spotlight them!
List one to three bloggers you really miss and one to three bloggers you would miss if they stopped blogging. Then go leave a comment on those blogs.
Our blogger friends are special – time to let them know!

The Bloggers I would miss if they stopped- There's more than one, even more than three, and I have to mention Alex Cavanaugh even though I know he'll be on everyone's list.

First, there's Sara at S. P. Bowers
I would miss her posts, which resonate with me because we have a lot in common, trying to juggle family with writing. We are at about the same place in writing, which is at yet unpublished, and coming to terms with the brutal industry for beginning writers. Most of all, I would miss her faithful and encouraging comments, and for seeking me out when I'm too lazy to look up anyone else.

Next, there's Elise Fallson
Again I have a lot in common with her, but I love her sense of humor and fun posts. Plus she lives in France and one of the first posts I ever read was a hysterical account of driving in Paris. (Worth looking up if you check her out!) Thanks for your kind and consistent comments!

I don't know what's going on with linking things. Apparently I screwed something up but I can't figure it out. Well that's it- I'm rather brain dead right now because I worked third shift last night. So before I start babbling nonsense, I'll sign out!

Take care all!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Move over .007!

I've just finished reading another book for research, and this one was amazing!

It's nonfiction and the research done on this was massive. It's everything you would want to know about recent Colombian events, politics, and U.S. involvement in the fight against the drug trade.

I titled the blog referring to the new James Bond movie because in this book they reveal a Colombian intelligence operation that released fifteen hostages from the jungle after years in captivity. It was a brilliant move that is worthy of being made into a movie. Those fifteen included 3 American hostages who had been held for 5 1/2 years.

This account requires setting aside the rose colored glasses with regard to our U.S. government. Don't get me wrong, having lived abroad I am deeply grateful for the birth right of being an American citizen. I have religious freedom, clean water, reliable electricity, and opportunity to better myself and find work.

That being said, how the U.S. handled the captivity of these three men is a cautionary tale of how you can fall through the cracks. The men were working as subcontractors for the U.S. gathering intelligence, but because they were not military, no U.S. troops would be allowed to rescue them when their plane crashed in guerrilla territory. The U.S. refused to negotiate their release because of Bush's policy to not negotiate with terrorists, and any attempts by the Colombians to rescue them would have probably ended in their being killed. It finally came down to an ingenious plan of the Colombian intelligence to deceive the guerrilla group into handing them over with no arms involved!

The book gives an in depth account of the behind the scenes attempts to work out the release of the hostages, including many Colombians who were being held captive as well. I definitely recommend this book!

Any good books you'd recommend?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Health Care- here and beyond!

I've mentioned before that I'm a nurse, and my main character from my WIP is one also. I love nurse humor because being able to laugh makes the hard times easier to deal with at work.

Today, times and health care are changing. I feel it on both sides of the equation, as a patient and as a health care worker. Our family insurance has gone from bad to worse- as in, if your healthy, GREAT! you're covered. Got issues? Not so much. As a nurse, I see working conditions deteriorating as companies try to cut corners.

I don't have the solution, and I think as long as people get sick and die, no one is going to be happy with the outcome. In Ecuador, people pay for doctor's visits out of pocket but the hospital is government run. The care is not the same quality as in the U.S., but I had a few minor health issues and came out okay. A doctor visit at the time cost me about $10 (That was a while ago though- I'm sure it's gone up), and medicine was dirt cheap.

I have my fair share of horror stories however, as a friend of mine lost her baby twins in a botched up delivery. The emergency response system was rather pathetic too. The only ambulance in the city was driven by a drunk! I was an emergency medical technician (EMT) when I went to Ecuador, not a nurse, but I would love to see how the hospitals compare, now that I am one. Maybe I'll get a chance to check it out someday.

This is relevant to what I write about, but how about you? Do any of your life experiences play into your writing?