Skip to main content


Showing posts from January, 2009

Featured Post

Writing from the Dark Side

Heh! I started out calling this blog post "Blogging from the Darkside" and then went to "Writing from the Darkside" and then went on to finally arrive at "Pubbing from the Darkside".  This little tidbit of information should be able to give you a little hint over what has been happening at the Oliver Homestead since I last posted.

Big News! I am part of a great collaboration with a collection of Writers who decided that if a romance book should be done, it should be done by us! Hence, the beginning of what is now know as Welcome to Serenity Harbor, Maine.

This is huge! This is ginormous! All of the books are set around the fictional coastal Maine town of Serenity Harbor. We didn't limit genre, only that their characters fall in love in Maine.

For me, this was a return to something that I love... well, yes... it was a return to writing. I've blogged a little bit about some of my struggles with illness that left with being unable to write for a whi…

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale...

Sherwood Schwartz was a genius. Who is Sherwood Schwartz? He was the Executive Producer of Gilligan's Island. He was the one who composed the theme song and wrote it so that anyone who was watching it for the first time could listen to the theme song and know the premise of their story. He believed in avoiding exposition.

Can we take a lesson from this. The dictionary says that EXPOSITION is a setting forth of meaning or intent.
As writers we all need to present the most information possible in a timely manner without scaring away the reader. You want them to identify with the characters and the story from page one. By naming the characters the skipper, the millionaire, his wife, the movie star, the professor... etc. He gave a very clear idea of who it was and what their immediate difference were. All from very different walk of life. How do you describe you hero and heroine? Are you able to give a clear, immediate image of them that will intrigue the reader and make them want mor…
You know... I had one of those days... Let me make it one of THOSE weeks. I've worked my butt off at my day job. Done the mom thing and shuttled kids back and forth and now I have a husband and daughter with the flu. I know things could be a lot worse, but frankly... I could just use some good news. I even went to don't bother. There's nothing there, but a placeholder. I turned on the TV and the Davinci Code was one. Now, I have to be the only person in the world who has not read it or seen the movie. Unfortunately, I came into it halfway through and it didn't make much sense. The only thing I got from it was that there was a lot of passion for ideas that made them different. Lot of passion. Maybe that's what my books are missing? Or maybe it's my own lately. I feel a burn out coming on... time to find a way to reignite my own creative fires. Anyone got any ideas.

research fact

Just in case you ever wondered how hard it must have been to be a lightkeeper in the early years? Portland Head Light... probably Maine's most photographed lighthouse... was built in 1791 and originally lit with 16 whale oil lamps. How would you have liked to climb those stairs continually to refill the lamps? Not me. A fresnel lens wasn't installed until 1864. That's a lot of whale oil and steps.
photo courtesy of the Portland Head Light Photo Gallery

Quote of the week...

All writers are vain, selfish and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives lies a mystery. Writing a book is a long, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.
- George Orwell

Creating the Writer's Life, Part 4

We've talked about Intentions and Actions. We've looked at what we want and what is holding us back from what we want. We've even talked about setting long range goals. But today we are talking about... Creating the Results You Want.

My horoscope said "You are on a journey forward, but looking back is not a bad idea."

This was pretty prophetic for me. Not because I live my life ruled by words printed on a page, but because it cuts to one of my core beliefs. We all make choices in life, some good, some bad. But life is about choices and what you make from those choices. I've lost enough loved ones to know that looking back on life with regret is useless. It's done. Move forward. Learn from it. Did you reluctantly chose to change what you were writing because someone mentioned the market was looking for another genre? Only to find that by the time you got that book written the industry had changed again? Move on. But keep an eye to what worked and what didn&#…

Creating the Writer's Life, Part 3

We've talked about Intention... Now lets talk ACTION! But before we do that, I want to talk about those questions that I asked yesterday. Remember those?

What is it that you want?
What is it that you need?
What are the things that are standing in the way of your wants?
What can you do to get what you need?

I wanted to know what your deepest desires where and what was standing in the way of the Writer's Life that you want.

Now I want to know what you are willing to do to work toward those dreams?

Honest now... are you truly willing to give up that extra sleep time in order to write? Do you give up those mocha lattes so that you can go to conference and learn more about your craft, possibly putting yourself in front of an editor or agent? And are you willing to do the hard work that needs to be done in order to finish a book. I'm not talking about merely getting to the end, but doing all the hard work that happens after you enter that last page into the computer.

I've said this …

Creating the Writer's Life, Part 2

Part 2...
Intention: Do you have it?

Morgan Mandell said something after the first posting that had me mulling it over for the rest of the day. She said that she needed to put more effort into her endeavors and described her writing as a hobby. Sorry for picking on you Morgan, you are very sweet...

But (as you already know) I don't agree.

I think that just because my writing isn't the job that pays the bills that doesn't mean that I should consider it nothing more than a hobby. Any time that you put effort continuously into something, intention into action... it is more than a mere hobby.

Which brings me to todays questions:

What is it that you want?
What is it that you need?
What are the things that are standing in the way of your wants?
What can you do to get what you need?

Doing something with intention means making a conscious effort toward a goal. Writing one sentence, one page, one chapter... these are acts of intention.

If you answered that you want to be a published author,…

Creating the Writer's Life, Part 1

Success is not the default, and success does not come easily.

I picked up this little tidbit from Nathan Bransford blogentitled Picking Droplets from a Firehose. It's worth reading the entry because it's exactly what I've been trying to say with this mini-workshop-lecture series that I have going here. I'm starting of with these words because they are honest and direct. These are words that every budding writer should know.

Getting that first word down on the page is hard. It's hard getting to the end of the first sentence, paragraph, page, chapter, etc., etc., etc., (you get the idea).

Very early on in my writing career I realized that I was very good at writing the first three chapters of a book. I loved the excitement of getting those first words on the page and the escalating tension that came with the building relationship between the hero and heroine.

Unfortunately, after chapter three I tended to fall flat on my face.

It wasn't t…


I had intended to continue on with my mini-online workshop about Creating the Writing life You Want. Unfortunately, we had a bit of a family crisis here and it is going to be delayed. Look back over the next couple of days for the next installment. In the meantime, here's a quote to hold you over...


Question for the week...

John Quinones has written a book, Heroes Among Us.

If you seen John Quinones, either on Good Morning America or What Would You Do?, then you know that he talkes a lot about the psychology of how people react. Recently, he did a piece for GMA where he posed as a Migrant Worker being verbally abused by a restaurant employee. He did this in an attempt to see whether or not people would step in and intervene, or back off and let it happen. The results showed that there were people out there willing to step in and make a difference. To see that others are protected.

I haven't read his new book. I just found out about it this morning. But one of the things that he talked about in his interview on GMA was that women are more likely to step in and protect others. He said teenagers have a similar thought process, but that men lose this instinct as they mature. Very interesting. Twice now my daughter has stepped in and defended someone that she thought needed help. Twice she has put herelf on…

First thing first... Getting Ready for the New Year, part 1

DEFINING GOALS The time when I start refocusing on the business side of my writing. Taxes. Getting Organized. Setting up a plan for the coming year. These are all just as important as setting goals for your writing. We consider ourselves professionals and as such we need to have a business plan (of sorts) in order to move forward. Just as our books get those "sagging middles" when we don't do enough plotting or planning, the same can be said for our writing careers.

1. Do you know which direction you want to go? This is important and probably one of the hardest ones to define. If you are like me then you have more than one project going at a time and that means a split focus. This is not to say it's bad, but you need to have a clear focus for each on which way you want to go. For instance:

Writing Work:
--I have a non-fiction book proposal to write. This is something that I've been actively collecting information for it.
--Rework the Romantic Suspense and submit. This…

99 Things MEME

This came from Anne McAllister's blog. Like Anne, I tag any and all readers --
send me a link or link back here so that I can see what you been up to. THE 99 THINGS MEME Things you've already done: bold Things you want to do: italicize Things you haven't done and don't want to - leave in plain font 1. Started your own blog. 2. Slept under the stars. 3. Played in a band. 4. Visited Hawaii. 5. Watched a meteor shower. 6. Given more than you can afford to charity. 7. Been to Disneyland/world. 8. Climbed a mountain. (in a car) 9. Held a praying mantis. 10. Sang a solo. (Only in the car) 11. Bungee jumped. (Yeah, right) 12. Visited Paris. 13. Watched a lightning storm at sea. (But I did see an incredible one in Texas across the flatlands.) 14. Taught yourself an art from scratch. 15. Adopted a child. (I adopt most of the kids that work for me ~ at least it feels that way) 16. Had food poisoning. 17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty. (But I did stand in front of the Radio City Music H…

Sad news

2 local fishermen dead in sinking of 'The Patriot'

This headline is from the Gloucester Times.
These are the headlines that many dread. Those words that speak to something that shatters the soul. Mine is not currently a fishing family, other than those years that my father hauled his own traps while I was growing up. My husband did the same. But there is fishing in my blood. My cousins, Grandfather, Great-Grandfathers and Great-Great Grandfathers all eeked a sometimes meager, often hard life from the ocean. I can't say that it isn't in my blood somewhere. It was enough in my father's blood that he went into the Coast Guard. But that still doesn't capture that feeling of panic that many of us feel when when we know that there is a crew and a boat in trouble. Or worse, lost.

My heart goes out to the families. My own ancesters are Gloucester stock and many of the bigger boats from Harpswell have gone to Gloucester now to fish. I'm convinced that sometimes the pro…