Glimpse At The Girly Journal – Day No. 11

My 3rd Journal inner cover IMG_7777

I rarely share a personal thing about myself, and by personal… because whoa some of my poetry would make a shrink just have a giddy time….. I mean snapshots of my inner me. I don’t talk about my life much in the day to day sense, or the inner thoughts all the time. So, today, here is a snapshot of the inside cover of my last journal. The current journal has not been ‘decorated’ with clippings. I’m taking my time to make sure I really know what I want inside. The margins have been fair game, but then they always are. People that don’t write in the margins just don’t know how much fun it really can be. And honestly, my journals are rather neat compared to what they could be. But the front inside always gets filled with things that inspire me.

Susan Wooldridge's journal display at Magna Carta on 2nd st. In Chico for Artoberfest

Susan Wooldridge’s journal display at Magna Carta on 2nd st. In Chico for Artoberfest

Susan Wooldridge is currently displaying her journals in Chico for Artoberfest, and I am so jealous of how free and open her journals are. She pastes petals and leaves, pictures, notes…. They are very, very her. I’m still stuck in the follow the lines and write semi neatly… Some day I’ll be a more artistic person. Maybe.

But as you can see by what I paste into my cover, I have a style. Girly is definitely something I would say I am. I love, love, love the girl standing in green with the Oscar Wilde quote. “You can never be overdressed or overeducated.”  12106772_1072375282781852_1360914271801965849_n It makes me think of what James M. Sama has posted on his Facebook page the other day.  I’ve had a couple people say that I intimidate guys because I’m smart and confident. (not sure about the confident part) but I think to myself, uh, why wouldn’t a guy want a smart girl? I mean, I think intelligent guys are sexy.

Anyways, this is a jumbled neurotic post, but it’s how I roll. And I think it’s girly enough to fit with Day 10. So…


What’s Coming for October

lady reading silhouetteHello dearies.  It’s the day before October (gasp and horrors) and I’m sitting here panicking as I realize that my plans to write a bunch of posts for my 31 days in October challenge  has just totally not happened. I did my usual procrastinate and said, Oh, I have time, I’ll do it later….. and now, here is later.  Well, oh well. I guess I’ll have to write just like everyone else and just pound out a post a day for the month. Or well, write a couple on one day.

English: Studio publicity portrait for film Sa...

English: Studio publicity portrait for film Sabrina with William Holden and Audrey Hepburn. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Okay, so here is what the schedule is. For the entire month of October I will be posting about ladies, femininity, and things that relate mostly to women.  It’s not going to be super gushy, for those guys out there. I do have some things that are actually interesting in my opinion; Audrey Hepburn, women poets, Steampunk clothing and women in steampunk….. various thoughts.  Things like that. Just the theme is related to women.  I will have a directory of the posts here —–> 31 Days of October – Femininity & Ladies so if you miss a post, you can just check there. I do have some other non related posts I will being doing as I always have my book reviews. I thought I might get them out of the way before the month, but again, procrastination… and I just received one, so you know.

If you are curious about last year’s challenge, you can find it here —-> 31 Days of Fun, Fanciful, & Functional.  Also, check out Write 31 Days.  If you are interested in a monthly challenge, this is a pretty nice one because there is no theme. You create the theme. There are several categories to fit just about everything in. It’s kind of low key, but at the same time, it is a challenge, so basically you monitor yourself and well, challenge yourself. Joining is open until the 5th, I believe when you can link up and have your button on the site. Also check out their Facebook group if you are interested. It is a closed group, but we are all rather friendly there.

30 Day Plank Challenge - 30 Day Fitness ChallengesAnd lastly, because I haven’t been running due to being iron deficient/anemic/out of breath all the time, I am doing a 30 Day Plank Challenge from the makers of 30 Fitness Challenges.  Last year in March I was trying to do the 30 days of squats, crunches, and situps.  It did not go well due to other health reasons. But I hope to be able to do the plank challenge. Check it out. It’s not horrible and we all could use a strong core.

So, there you have it. One month of a frazzled brain and rushing to get posts done, and drinking too much coffee….  it’s going to be exciting, so I hope you join me. I highly recommend reading each post with a very good cup of coffee. Right now I am drinking an Americano I made with the espresso machine. It’s divine.

Happy October everyone!


Late August Mornings and Looking Ahead

Rugburn, taking a selfie.... Okay, I held up the camera, but it looks like he is.

Rugburn, taking a selfie…. Okay, I held up the camera, but it looks like he is.

I’m up early this morning, and while 8am isn’t the crack of dawn, when you go to bed after two, 8 is early. My puppy, a 12 year old puppy mind you, has an unusual growth under his eye, the same eye that I had a cyst removed from back in June.  So it required calling the vet first thing this late August morning.  (and while I have to wait till Wednesday for a visit, I’m stressing. I mean, I don’t know what I would do without him)

It’s one of those mornings where it smells like almost fall.  Not quite there, but almost.  I feel like fall might come on a bit sooner this year because everything else seems to be coming on so fast.  Yet looking back, it I remember everything falling into place at its normal time. In July we had our massive heat spell, then out of nowhere, it broke with two weeks of rainy sort of coastal weather. Suddenly, Boom! There was that first hint of fall in the air.  I always hate when that happens because I actually like the summer heat and smells.  Okay, I can’t really handle anything above 95 and feel really good, but that’s beside the point.  I like summer. It’s usually the season I’m feeling the best.

You know it's late summer when the wild clematis is sending out it seeds.

You know it’s late summer when the wild clematis is sending out it seeds.

So here we are at a week from September.  Today is the first day of school… No really I just pulled up the School District and there it was. No one in my family could remember.  So it is like officially fall, in that pre sort of way that it happens a month before it reads on the calendar.  Truthfully though, after reading Liza Dalby‘s East Wind Melts the Ice, where she says how the seasons actually start before the date on the calendar, I never look at the dates on the calendar as accurate. I think about fall almost a month before it happens, while mentally grabbing a hold of ‘summer’ that is and trying to dig my heels in.  I want to wear shorts and summer camisoles as long as I can. I want to feel warm when I walk outside.  And gosh darn it! I want to keep my tan which is so pale since I have this super pale FinishGermanWelshIrishWhatnot skin. My tan is like what a normal person gets in one week of the summer.

I’m hoping though with the cooler weather (ha! right. considering it was 90+ degrees yesterday) that I might be able to settle down and write more. I have pretty much given up doing much major writing over the summer because it was hot, I was tired, there was so much to do, I was reading…….. excuses. Except for the fact that I just got a letter from Susan Wooldridge who said she wasn’t writing a lot either.  I need cooler weather to write. Granted, I have dabbled in some poetry. I have a couple marvelous ones that I’m happy with and some that I have half finished and various starts. Eventually I hope to have them finished.

I never know what to do with my poetry. Do I post it here? Do I try to publish it? I have this Coral flushed series I’m doing that sort of relate to Boris… Okay, fine, they are technically just for Boris, but in my opinion they are good. So what do I do with them?  I really like dabbling in poetry because it’s something ‘small’ but I can take it anywhere with me.  I have my little book and pencil, because I seem to like to write poetry in pencil unless I’m out and all I have is a pen and several pieces of scratch paper or the back of my library book receipts.(those are actually fun to write on)

Fiction is sometimes so BIG in feeling that I feel like I have to really sit down to write it. But poetry is really something you can take with you, even down to having a small Moleskin or Field Notes and pencil (or pen) in your back pocket You don’t have to take hardly anything with you. It kind of makes it this perfect thing to write, because even if you don’t really do poetry, everyone has a poem in them just from how they might describe a flower they just saw.

And now I’m starting to ramble off on a tangent that is far from what I was thinking when I sat down on the couch on the porch waiting for the coffee to finish perking and listening to the Stellars Jays…… Oh wow does that sound so good to me.

What I wanted to say was that I am going to be doing a 31 Days in October again.  This year the theme will be ladies, femininity and all things girly. Or relating to me since I’m a girl. I have to keep a few options open just in case I can’t figure out a post or two.  I need to start working on posts and plotting out some ideas a bit more, along with deciding what I want a button for the  challenge to look like and a place for all these posts to go. I didn’t like that I have a header tab that is for last years listing. Maybe I can add under that or something. I clearly did not thing about it at the time.

So, new stuff for October is coming…. along with three new book reviews this month. I received a book last Monday and by Wednesday, I was done.  Okay it was lightish reading, but still I flew through it.

And now I am at 900+ words. Wow, I really just let it all fly out. I should stop.

Until I write again at some random point. Happy Monday, Dearies. (September means OUAT is coming soon! Yes!)


Dear Romance – Writing 101 Day 14

Dear Romance,

You spend your days hiding amongst the pages of  trashy novels or delightful love stories. You are the hero in the white knight costume. You are the heroine rushing to save the hero. You are the candles in the dinner or the music on the front porch. You are light, you are dark, you are not around for me.

I read about you in all things and I see you as I look at films.  The sweet romance of two tree swallows. The burning desire of Darcy and Lizzy.  You are in all things.

But you run from me.  You have left me. I have not seen you in years. You don’t cross my path. You flirt and tease me with your presence, just lingering on the fringes of my life,  but you never deem to enter and present yourself.

I’m lost and alone without you. I am left trying to find you. Hunt you down. I write about you and I dream about you for my characters. I plot out how you will enter or disappear. But how do I write about you when you don’t exist in my life?  How do I create a nuance of little moments that come together into what makes you so desirable?

You are so wanted by all women. You are what makes romance novels sell. You suck us into your sweet fragrance of kisses and love. Of roses and pink. Of candlelight dinners and walks on the beach. Though I must say, that is not what I really think of as romantic. That is for others. For me, I want a swinging bench with a man. Or maybe a night to stargaze and dream. With said man.

To each woman, You mean something different.

But to me, you are not there.



Lost and lonely



So for Writing 101’s  Day 14 assignment which is:

Today’s Prompt: Pick up the nearest book and flip to page 29. What’s the first word that jumps off the page? Use this word as your springboard for inspiration. If you need a boost, Google the word and see what images appear, and then go from there.

Today’s twist: write the post in the form of a letter.


I picked up Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell and the first word that hit me was ‘Romantic’. I chose to go with more romance than romantic and I wrote a letter.  I love epistolary stuff… I.E. letters, but this didn’t turn out quite as nice as I wanted. I need to come back and try it again, I think.

I’m still having issues sitting down and attempting any writing assignments, so followers will have to just take what i post. It’s a crazy time with the growing season and I’m still spending more time reading than writing.



My Character’s Home at 12 – Writing 101

I have been struggling with the writing prompts for the Writing 101  today’s day 11 was no different. I don’t want to write solely about myself. Not that I won’t since half the time I’m dabbling in random thoughts.  However, I have been taking an active interest again in my ‘novel’ (I’m titling it Picture Me Country at this moment) So instead of today’s’ prompt of

Today’s Prompt: Where did you live when you were 12 years old?Which town, city, and country? Was it a house or an apartment? A boarding school or foster home? An airstream or an RV? Who lived there with you?

Today’s twist: pay attention to your sentence lengths and use short, medium, and long sentences as you compose your response about the home you lived in when you were twelve.

I am going to use this as an opportunity to write some of my character, Phaedra Quinn’s back story.  Enjoy.


I have spent almost all of my life in the small town of Oakdale, California. It is considered “The Cowboy Capital of the World”; that is it’s motto anyhow.  I’m half Irish and half Croatian, and country has never been my thing, but my Da has always loved the country. So we moved here when I was 5 and that is still where Momma and Da reside. It’s this cool, older ranch style home.  Columns frame the front door and there is brick everywhere. I hated the brick when I was younger, but now it’s so pretty and antique-y. It fits my parents to a T and I can’t see them anywhere else.

The front isn’t very exciting with the lawn, brick path, and basic shrubs that everyone plants for landscaping. My da doesn’t have much of a growing thing in him, so he keeps it simple and low key. A few juniper shrubs and Momma plants daffodils wherever she can.

But the backyard is nice. Da put a patio out there with brick and he likes to grill in the summer. Because Da likes to work with wood, he built me a swing set when we moved in. I used it for years, swinging long hours by myself with my Barbies, or when I would have Coco over. Then, when my sister was born when I was ten, the swing set became hers. It’s still there and on summer afternoons when I drop in for the weekend, Olivia and I can still be found giggling over boys and college and life as we sit opposite each other and sway.

Da built Momma planter boxes and a few benches to put around the yard and a whole dining set. Like I said, he likes to build. The yard is our haven away from life.

And like a typical ranch style home, you step into the house and are right into the living room. The kitchen is at the back and the dining room off to the side of both the kitchen and the living room. Go down the hallway and there are three bedrooms. First mind, then Olivia’s, and finally my parents room. There is one bathroom, oh, and an office right across from my bedroom. 

When I was younger, my room was in shades of pink and totally girly. As I got older and hit my teenage years, I slowly started removing bits and pieces of pink, replacing it with more blues and greens. But in in the time of 14-18, I had this fascination with anything rose scented. I used rose perfume, oils, creams and potpourri. I think the rose scent permeated the walls and everything because now, even though all of my stuff is gone from the room and it’s just a guest room, there is still a hint of rose that escapes into the air like a fine mist. The room is still my room even though I only sleep in it about once a month.  Thankfully Momma loves rose otherwise we’d have trouble.

Downtown Oakdale, California via (Joellen Chappell Real Estate )The house is homey and warm. the living room has this ‘hideous’ bright orange velvet velour  sofa that is a relic of my great-grandparents. Momma hates it. She tries to dress it up with bold throw pillows, but it’s kind of hard to disguise a bright orange velvet couch!

And as for Oakdale, well when I was growing up it was a lot smaller than it is now, but even so, it’s still a rather cool place. I used to go with my girl friends to the Hershey’s plant on weekends, but it was bought out in ’08 by another company. It’s rather sad since I remember it all of my growing up years.  The town is famous for it’s rodeos and country life, but I never took much interest in that except for dating Kevin Hart who was a country boy at heart. No pun intended. Kevin and his brother Jesse run Broken Harts, the bar their daddy started years ago. But that’s about as country as I get,; going to the bar.

I always loved that Oakdale was near the mountains and in the summer, Da would drive us all up to Pinecrest Lake for the day. Only an hour and a half away, it was the best way to leave the heat of the Central Valley and foothills of CA and get up into the cool mountain air. It still has some of my best memories.

So, there is my home that is still my home, when I was 12. I love that it hasn’t changed over the years and I can always go home if I want to.



So, there is my character, Phaedra’s, take on her home at 12, written in her style, or hopefully her style and not so much as mine.


A Bit of Dialogical Debate

“Coffee all the way.”

“No! It’s like the worst ever!”

“But it’s so smooth and rich.”

“No. Coffee is like so bitter. Tea is way more smooth.”

“Only if you add milk and sugar. Plain, it’s rather sharp.”

“That’s so not true. . . Well, it could like be sorta brisk. . . but that’s why you ad the milk and sugar.”

“With coffee you don’t have to add milk or sugar. So you don’t have any calories to worry about.”

“Calories, schmalories. Who cares if it tastes like dirt?!”

“Dirt?! And what would you call tea? Leaves stewed in water!”

“Oh yes, coffee is sooooo superior.”

“Well there’s no need for you to get sarcastic.”

“Well, you don’t need to act like you are so much more superior.”

“Fine. Drink your tea, but leave me alone about the coffee.”

“I didn’t start this in the first place. You made a fuss when I said I was going to have tea!”

“So, have your tea.”

“Fine. I think I will.”


Okay, I love both tea and coffee and actually both of those are arguments I use for either…. Hopefully you can feel the different change in speech. I’m not sure. I usually use the ‘he said, she said’ moments, but I kind of wanted to try going without that.  Enjoy.

Now let me drink my tea.


They Were Reading What?

English: Bronte Sisters statue, Haworth Parson...

English: Bronte Sisters statue, Haworth Parsonage. Taken through the window of the museum shop – sorry about the reflections on the glass! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

EH Bates, over at Bumbles Books had a great challenge this week. In her post Defined by Books, she brings up the subject of what our characters would read. What book does your hero like? Does your heroine read romance? Can you define a person by the books they read?  For the answer to that question, I say absolutely!

I just read in Lizzy and Jane by Katherine Reay (a review I will be writing tomorrow or Wed.) And in it, the hero is a total Hemingway and Greek Tragedy guy. The reasons why this guy is a Hemingway guy is kind of just because of how ‘cool’ Hemingway was. The heroine is an Austen gal.

Who am I as a reader. Um, yes. But I have personal favorites. However how do my characters stack up.

Mia who owns a bookstore is a classics girl. Fitzgerald’s Gatsby, the Bronte sisters, Austen, Zane Grey and magazines. She likes the weirdly unnoticed books like what would come from Persephone Books. She reads magazines because she doesn’t have a lot of time to read, so magazines are quick.

English: Hemingway posing for a dust jacket ph...

English: Hemingway posing for a dust jacket photo by Lloyd Arnold for the first edition of “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, at the Sun Valley Lodge, Idaho, late 1939. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rafe, Mia’s hero is a total Hemingway guy along with books from the 1920’s and 30’s. He’s into jazz so the older style is totally him. He likes John Le Carre and the suspense/spy novel. You would see him reading Flemming. He’s classic and old school and totally like Patrick Warburton in the National Car ad. You know, sexy.


My character Rena, who’s a lot like me, would read like me: Emilie Loring, Sir Walter Scott, Tennyson, Bronte, historical romances, contemporary romances, Harlequin, non fiction herbal books, cook books, gardening. She refers to her authors by first name. So you have the Emily’s – Emilie Loring, Emily Dickinson, Emily Bronte. Can make for confusing if she asks for a book, but it also signifies that her books and authors are her friends. Books are her friends so she refers to them in the first person. (Silly, I know, but it is a quirk)

And lastly Phaedra. Since she’s a photographer, she reads a lot of books on photography, as well as travel guides and historical information. Things she can use. But she likes cheesy and girly. Fairytales and silly romance. Her favorite guilty pleasure show is Once Upon a Time, so you have to figure silly romancey fairytale.  I also picture fan fiction. She’s a total Captain Swan girl so she reads fan fiction late at night. She won’t tell anyone that, but oh, we know she just eats it up.


I had never thought that much about some of what my characters would read. Rena yes, since she is most like me. Mia more so since she owns a bookstore. But Rafe is a new addition to thinking about it.  I have other characters that I could list, but I need to think about them more.

This was a great writing challenge and I think it will help me with my character depth as well.  Check out Bumbles Books. Her posts are great and thought provoking.  And also, think about what your characters read. I’m going to ping John Guillen since I think he might appreciate such a post or for him to think about.



Plot? Who Needs A Plot?


I was reading a blog post today by Alex, from over at When Alex Writes. It was on being a panster plotter. You know, writing by the seat of your pants and coming up with the plot as you write?… Um, welcome to why I do not have any finished novels. Plot? Who needs a plot? I can get by perfectly fine without a plot. Right?

I have written about this in the past. My plotless novels. Which, by definition, can it even be a novel if it doesn’t have a plot?  Oh sure, I do have a general idea of where I want the story to go. Obviously the hero gets the girl and the antagonist goes away. I know, really thought provoking there. ( I deal in lots of sarcasm. It was right there, by the way)


The reason this post and thought came to mind was because I had a dream recently where I was called by a senator who had read a letter I sent him and he wanted to have dinner with me. Fortunately the senator was Linus Roache  so a sexy senator.  Anyways, the dream made me want to write out a romance story of a woman who meets a senator who wants to have a relationship with her. I suppose it’s a little bit alongside And American President, but whatever. I still had ideas.

I just have no plot. None. Just drabbling it out in stages here and there.

This is not going to work.

Now comes to Alex’s post. Plotting for Pansters: A Brief How-to

I suggest you check it out. The whole thing is quite brilliant. Though I am a little boggled by the first part….

“Start by taking the scenes you want to write, settings you’d like to explore, snippets of dialogue or even feeling and place and compiling all of your ideas into a folder or word doc. Then draw parallels with the information you need to communicate and the imagery that inspired you to write the story in the first place. You’re trying to create a complete image, develop details and ideas into full-fledged scenes, plot points and story arcs. This is, essentially, the brain storming phase.”

The bold part…. I’m not even sure what that means.  But I suppose I can try.

And I loved her suggestion about using an online whiteboard… Or as Castle calls it, the crime board…  I love this suggestion also because years ago, Mims told me how her friend used sticky notes or post-its to write out key plot details and she could move them around at will. I’ve always loved that idea, but I just could never get it off the ground. Mind you, I don’t have any place I could actually do this except on my ceiling, and no, I’m not going to do that.

So, I shall attempt, hopefully, to try and organize my thoughts a bit more. Sometimes I just like writing and seeing where the story takes me.  I had this whole idea of how I wanted another character to act in a different novel, and as I wrote, this person became her own self. It wasn’t me in that position. It was her and she was doing things I wouldn’t have even come up with. I worry I will lose that by plotting.  But, seeings as I have never plotted properly, what harm will it do to try it?


A Writer’s Toolbox

For a writer, you have your basic tools of the trade. If you are like me you have your pens, paper, notebooks, scraps of paper, fountain pens, pencils, and things to do all your writing by hand. I do a lot of writing by hand. Then you have your computer, laptop, typewriters, word processors (though most of those have gone by the wayside).  These are what make a writer create there work.

But sometimes, you need extra things other than just a pen, paper and your mind.  That’s where the Toolbox comes in hand.

First you have your hardware: the book thesauruses, libraries and other various methods of information.

Then there are the online sources.

First, let’s start with the blog A Writer’s Path.  Over there, Ryan has compiled a nice, neat list of links for places online that really do help a writer out. Mr. B would say it’s cheating and what did writers do before there was the internet? To which I reply, there were an awful lot of John’s, Jane’s, Mary’s and Frank’s as character names…. Just saying.

‘The little Nudge’ from The Santa Clause 2. Because we all need a little nudge…

Ryan, has links for random name generators, plots, clothing, body language, etc. , to help you get going where sometimes you just need a nudge.

Then he has links for traditional publishing and self publishing.  They are all really great links and I urge you to check them out because, as of yet, I don’t have my own list of links for a Toolbox. I really should consider compiling one for myself.

So, check out his Toolbox, but I also have a few links to add to this.

First off:  Fantasy Name Generators   This link has everything. Place names (fantasy, mixed with real, Asian, inns, bars, lakes, mountains, castles…), Fantasy names, real names, constellations names (fake), mineral names (fake), and I could go on and on. This site is rather remarkable and you can spend so much time futzing.

Treasury of Latin Prayers  If you are writing anything that needs a latin prayer, well here you go. I haven’t searched through the whole thing, but wow, both translations, so you know what’s being said. For all those historical novels, this can be quite useful.

Random Romance Novel Title Generator   Yes, I know, but hey, some of use do write romance and honestly, coming up with a decent title for a romance is harder than it looks. Especially without it sounding too cheesy.  Just try it out.

And for Westerns…. Random Western Novel Title Generator

For unique women’s clothing  DevilNight has a remarkable amount of cool clothing. Vintage, Victorian, Gothic, Retro, Wedding, Medieval….

These are just a few extra places to check out. There are so many resources out there for writing.

I love Tumblr for writing prompts. Some of my best pictures for writing have come from there. Bing and Google have an exhaustive image archive, for whatever it is you are looking up, and don’t forget Pinterest and WeHeartIt.  These are all great spots to help with writing as well.

So, does anyone else have some great Toolbox links?  I think I should start compiling a list and put it on it’s own page. Maybe right up there with ‘Methods of Madness’ a page I have yet to fully finish.