Robin Hawke

March 21, 2012, 1:05 PM
Filed under: Three Sentence Stories | Tags:

Grandfather took her window shopping. There was toys and mannequins that moved and clockwork that ticked and things that popped; there was his beam from myopic eyes; there was his hand holding hers; there was square blocks with broad avenues with window after window, thick plate glass that went up the sky. Joys wrapped up, they went to eat at a restaurant where he knew the owners and called the waiter by first name and she ate oysters by dozens.

When a sentence doesn’t read well, it is often because I have omitted a word in parallel structures. Above, I tried to string experiences in pleasing patterns. The goal was to write a list with repeating structures and without repetitive rhythms. 

January 7, 2012, 7:16 PM
Filed under: Emotions, Life and Stuff, Love and Romance, Three Sentence Stories | Tags: ,

Recently, I wondered why I was devoting so much of my time to love. I’m skirting the trite, the seamy and the hokey catchphrases of sentimentality and overblown lace hearts.

Then, I had this question—what other emotion will transform me, my writing and our world in ways I can be proud?

New Year’s Wish

I want wonderful things to happen in 2012, but I’m concerned. Another earthquake, tales of corruption, friends battling cancer—these events threaten the 365 days to come with the true displeasures of life. Conversely, last year I discovered pleasure in writing daily stories on, of all things, this blog.

I’ve scrubbed paint on a canvas; I’ve managed dancers on a stage; I’ve moved furniture and tilled earth. These things taught me to push words around, to lift them, to bury them, to exchange them, to sound them out loud. I’ve drowned my fears for the future with steady, consistent storytelling. If one story fails, surely the next will succeed. Or the next.

But blogging, as I’ve recently discovered, is not limited to a writer’s output, however clever or truthful. There’s more: the good company of other bloggers; the pleasures found sharing reactions, comments and likes; the discovery of kindred blogs; the community of writers.

While this year will be spent traveling with words in much the way I spent last year, and while there will be periods when blogging will be confined to pushing the publish button, I hope to share new adventures in wonderful blogging:

Fulfilling, Creative, Insightful Words to All.

Buddha Rocks Project and Wrap Up
December 19, 2011, 7:52 PM
Filed under: All Writing Challenges, Emotions, Life and Stuff | Tags: , , ,

I want to thank Evelyn and Eric. The Buddha Rocks Project gave me something I haven’t put my finger on yet. How silly, I just learned BuddhaRocks is one word. Seven days rocking—you think I would have caught that significant detail before now.

This I believe: when we write, we have writing thoughts. When we stop, our writing thoughts get overlooked. During the Project, sentences invaded my dreams and images caused forgetfulness.

I sent the David Foster Wallace quotation to my sister-in-law who’s been MIA on the blog front. It helped her. She’s posting again. And in posting, became excited by what she was writing.

The cure for a writer’s block is absurdly simple. String together any two words. Then two more. Write until you feel like writing what comes.

November 20, 2011, 4:02 PM
Filed under: Quotations | Tags: , ,

Love doesn’t mean doing extraordinary or heroic things. It means knowing how to do ordinary things with tenderness.

—Jean Vanier

This describes the relationship I want to have with my writing. I want to love the word ‘and’ as much as the word ‘fragile’; I want to craft a three word sentence with the same care as one with multiple clauses; I want to quiet the voice that says, “Get on with it.”

Solitary Confinement
November 12, 2011, 3:59 PM
Filed under: All Writing Challenges | Tags: , , , , ,

I can’t forgive myself for what I’ve written this month of November. I hang my head with shame.

If I maintain my current NaNoWriMo progress, my self-imposed confinement ends in four days. Escape is in sight, but my fingers are lethargic. Tempted to write 6,000 words today, to make a last effort to finish in two days, I resist because of my experiences with gorging. A few of my writing buddies envy my steady progress. I envy what they must be writing; their words must be better than mine.

I’ve looked inside, found the blank slate, rubbed it.  My words come because I chain myself to the computer, resist food and water and email. But I have nothing to say. I sit. I wait for words. I type.  I don’t stop. I don’t get up. I wait for words. The discipline trains me.

I grant I’m in training—but not to write better prose, or a better story.

I’m in training to last out blocks, to push past dumb, to lower expectations. It is a small window in a large cell. In four days I win my freedom, no longer an innocent.

NaNoWriMo: The First Week
November 7, 2011, 2:31 PM
Filed under: All Writing Challenges | Tags: , , , ,

My goal for NaNoWriMo, for the fifty thousand words that become draft zero, was to write clear prose.

I’ve succeeded. If I look at word statistics, I’m writing prose that a third-grader understands. It is approachable and juvenile. My protagonist acts like a playground bully.

I confess: I’m mystified.

I’m meeting goals; I’m following the story; I’m developing characters and situations; I’m discovering; I’m writing.

Part of me, the part that knows I’m writing aggressive dreck, is learning that the relationship between myself and my story is far more sincere and honest than with any other story I’ve told. Words, expectations, resolutions, judgments can’t cloud what happens when I sit down to add another thousand words. That’s good right?

Part of me, the part that intends to take draft zero to completed manuscript, is completely befuddled. How will I manage to jump from inane, remember it is third grade stuff, to something of value to adults? Do I even want to? Is this whole process something of value to one single person, me? Despite quarantining my inner censor this month, those judgmental thoughts tickle my worry.

I begin to understand why so many NaNovels are discarded.

Feel free to add me as a buddy if I haven’t found you…


I’ve had a busy week!


My third book, Recommending Honey, ($0.99) is now live,  in Amazon’s ebook store. I wrote this one, a clean romance, in honor of my nieces. It’s about a realtor who is always intruding, opining and matchmaking. If you enjoy it, please consider writing a review.

***end of promotion, back to blogging***

NaNoWriMo Hoops

I signed up.

I’ve practiced…I’ve stood in place, bent my knees. I’ve kept my eye focused on the basket. Bend, bend. It’s rather a bouncy bend, somewhat satisfying. (Okay, the dribbles in between the bends are even more fun.)

Last night, I let go of the ball and lobbed it toward the basket. I followed through; I signed up, added my name to a long list of participating writers.

Anxious, I await the results of throwing words at paper, though all I expect is a count, 50,000 words by the end of November.

I’m not planning; I’m not plotting. I’m following through. I’m leaving my hand in the air, my wrist cocked until the ball whoofs through the net. Somewhere the score will climb, word by word. Some words I will stick, others not so much. They’ll all add up.

Then? I’ll run after that ball. collect it, go back to the line. Bend my knees. I won’t forget the backspin.

NaNoWriMo 2011

Voice Week Recap
October 3, 2011, 10:02 PM
Filed under: All Writing Challenges | Tags: , , , ,

I debated participating in Voice Week 2011. Worried it would push publication of my next book, Recommending Honey, back by a week, which it did, I almost clicked away from the site.

But, the opportunity was too alluring. It was a challenge; it would lead me to discovery; there was certain surprise (I had no idea what to write about, the voices I’d want to explore); the voyage included other like-minded writers.

I learned by writing, by reading, by analyzing, by commiserating and by constraint. Always, mistakes teach me more than successes. I learned punctuation is a variable–some characters prefer commas to semicolons and I agonized over a period and also a colon; I learned to distrust the words that came naturally; I learned syntax will nail a voice more surely than vocabulary words.

Thank you to everyone who stopped by to comment on my five voices and a special thank you for bekindrewrite who constructed the necessary restraints to let these voices out.

In order (opposite of blog order):

Voice 1
Voice 2
Voice 3
Voice 4
Voice 5

Value-Added and Value-Subtracted
August 12, 2011, 2:59 PM
Filed under: Emotions, Life and Stuff | Tags: , , , , ,

My job disappeared because people wanted the information, the how-to I sold, free of cost. They began to look on the internet for advice and knowledge. There, people willing to give it away—to market their skills and make their name—were easily found.

I turned to writing books as a way of consolidating the information I taught for over a decade. I wrote several nonfiction books…to discover that people sold tutorials on the internet. The tutorials were specific and narrow in scope, ten pages of information equivalent to one page of my books, but they were similarly priced. I began to write a tutorial, but discovered the value to price disgusted me. The prices of tutorials were entirely too high for my peace of mind. The practice felt like robbery. I put my moral foot down and never published a tutorial.

Fast forward, I began to write romance books.

I am finding a similar moral morass. There are so many free books, why would anyone pay for light fiction? I don’t have the chops to sell at a higher price; my fiction-writing skills are growing. I’m trying to make a name for myself, so I’m offering my books at a deep discount to those offered by established professionals. It’s the same situation, but I’m the one devaluing the occupation.

The value for price ratio in this industry disgusts me; $1 for my book seems too cheap and, yet, because I have to buy my own books to give them away, hoping to build an audience who will one day read my more-than-a-dollar books, I don’t want to raise the prices. But, $10-14 for a piece of fiction, no matter how many gushing reviews it has, seems exorbitant for a person in my financial situation. I would like to honor these seasoned writers, but find myself in the bargain basement, hoping to find decent prose, because my library’s budget is restricted.

This situation cannot be particular to writing. The internet has devalued all information. Seemingly free, its cost is the livelihoods of people with skills. And, if you scrutinize its free information, it’s often banal.

The moral dilemma has hit me hard. I feel trapped by the demands of society to provide a living for myself, the need to find an audience, and the crippling certainty I’m going about it all wrong.

June 5, 2011, 3:42 PM
Filed under: Love and Romance | Tags: , , ,

Aphrodite, the goddess of love, beauty and sexuality, figures importantly in my thoughts.  I wonder how much sex the characters in my books should have, how stunning they are and whether their love is as pure as the smell of honeysuckle. How much desire, lust, do these characters feel? Will my hero worship stretch marks? Will she mind his thinning hair?  Will their love have the maturity of a fully formed goddess rising from the sea?

I punch Aphrodite’s soft belly. My thumb is tucked in; my knuckles make a flat plain of force.  I pull out handfuls of Aphrodite’s long tresses. I ignore her creamy, lovely breasts. I kick her feet with vehemence—a fast, roundhouse kick that topples her back into salty foam. I’m violent with anger. Love, Beauty, Sexuality flounder; Aphrodite begs for immortality.

She can’t swim.

I watch, troubled. I don’t speak Greek, so don’t understand her pleas. Reluctantly, I curl my fist. Aphrodite, go back from whence you came.  Quit seducing me with your perfections and your promises of constant euphoria.