Thursday, January 31, 2013

Beach Musings: A Rose by any other name can always be changed…

          If you have a character named Rose and need to change it, it’s a simple as using the find and replace function in Word.  How do I know this?  Because I just changed the names of four characters in my latest WIP (that’s Work In Progress for those of you not fluent in writer-speak.)  Is a character’s name important?  You betcha! 

          I love the writerly life.  Well, most of the time.  But it’s a challenge for me to name characters.  Like most writers I know, I have in my writing toolbox a dog-eared copy of The Very Best Baby Name Book in the Whole Wide World.  I use it find good first names for my characters.  Back in the old days I also had a copy of the White Pages on hand so I could thumb through and find the perfect last name to go with the first name.  When’s the last time you saw a copy of the White Pages?  Yeah, it’s been a while for me, too.  The online version is not the same because you can’t just skim it but have to give it a name to look for.  Sigh.  Technology is making my job more difficult.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Beach Beverage: Hot Buttered Rum

Snow on the Water

As the snow fell gently this weekend here in the southeastern portion of Virginia (the first—and hopefully last—snowfall of the year!) it was a great opportunity to curl up by the fire with a hot toddy in hand.  The Ormerod favorite beverage to do that with is a Hot Buttered Rum.  As often happens, my real life overflows into my characters lives and the scene I wrote today had them drinking hot buttered rums.  Aha! I thought to myself.  A perfect blog topic, too! 

So here is the official Ormerod Family Hot Buttered Rum recipe, passed down through the generations.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

To Blog or Not To Blog…That Is the Question

I just did the math…over the course of the life of this blog (still a “baby” at 18 months old), I have written 162 blog posts.  I’ve tried my best to post three times a week.  So at an average of 900 words a post, that equals 145,800 words.  That’s two-and-one-half books.  How many books have I written in that same period of time?  ZERO!  So it occurs to me if I am going to be successful in this business I had best put fingers to keyboard and write more books and less blogs. 

So please bear with me as my posts are a bit erratic over the next few weeks as I try to set the fulcrum at just the right spot to balance writing and blogging.  But rest assured there is plenty of BITCh (that’s Butt In The CHair) time going on here!  I’ve typed THE END to a novella, which is about 20,000 words or about 1/3 (maybe a wee bit less) the size of a novel.  I’m on the deep editing stage.  It should be off to my critique partners by the end of the month, then on to an editor then released into the world.  I don’t mean to be a tease, but here is the opening line to Behind the Blue Door:  230 Periwinkle Lane:

“You’ll never guess what happened to Mudge!”

Hate to keep you guessing but I’m hurrying to get it done.  I promise.  I'll be back soon with another blog post.  

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Beach Inspirations: Sorry, Wrong Number

          As discussed before I don’t have to go out looking for inspiration for stories, inspiration comes to me.  I call this one, “Sorry, wrong number.”
          A few days ago my cell phone rang. It wasn’t a number I recognized and so I let it go to voice mail.  The person called back again immediately, so I figured he had the wrong number so I answered it to tell him so.  He said okay. The cell phone rang again from the same number and I let it go to voicemail.  I didn’t bother checking the message.
          That night about nine o’clock the same exact routine happened.  Even though I told the guy he had the wrong number, he still called back.  And again he left a voice mail.
          Curious, I listened to both voicemails.  The tone was angry and threatening.  Yikes, I thought.  Then I reached for a pencil and wrote them down word for word as they inspired an idea for a future novel.  Here they are, maybe they’ll spark a story idea for you, too.  (Caveat:  names have been changed to protect the innocent…and guilty…)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Beach Tale: Navy SEALS

A True Story from the Military Spouse Trenches

          Laden with pictures of my husband’s latest naval assignment onboard an amphibious assault ship, I returned to my landlocked (and Navy-ignorant) hometown prepared to brag about our exciting Navy life.  One day at lunch with my parent’s friends, I proudly showed off the pictures of the ship and explained, in what I thought were layman’s terms, about the floodable well deck in the back which opened up and filled with water, enabling sea-going equipment to float in and out as needed.   

Friday, January 11, 2013

Beach Inspirations: Where I Find Story Ideas

          One of the top questions I get asked by readers is, “Where do you get your inspiration for stories?”  The easier question to answer is, ”Where DON’T I find inspiration?”  Everything I see I wonder what the story behind it is.  It’s all about asking a few questions and then making up the answers.    
          Say you’re walking down the street of your small Midwestern town and notice that the large clock atop the town hall has stopped working.  So you ask yourself when and why did it stop?  A writer might (and one did) wonder if it had been struck by lightening.  Hence the time it had been struck was preserved for future generations to cogitate about.  That begs the question, if someone were to travel back in time and needed to harness a huge amount of energy, they would know what time the clock was struck and arrange to be there when lightning struck.  Hence with a few questions and a little imagination, you could have written Back to the Future.  And you would have made a little bit of money doing so, too. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Beach Chow: Milano Cookie Sheep


Excerpt from The Blond Leading the Blond: 
          The pantry held a treasure trove of snacks.  My gaze flitted from cereal shelf to canned vegetables shelf to crunchy snacks shelf and then, lo and behold, a dessert shelf.  Lined up in alphabetical order was the entire line of Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies:  Double Chocolate, Milk Chocolate, Mint, Orange and Raspberry.  I gasped with the realization that Aunt Izzy was alive.  Not “alive” in the physical sense, in that she’d been pirated away in the witness protection program somewhere, and another woman’s face had been beaten beyond recognition, or even the paranormal sense in that her spirit would be dragging chains down the stairs or moaning at all hours of the night.  I  meant alive in that she was not a glossy photograph but a real flesh-and-blood woman who had lived and breathed and loved and shared her DNA.  With me.
          We had the same cookie-loving gene. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Beach Resolution: The Year of The Blonds

First off, HAPPY NEW YEAR to all of my family, friends and faithful readers. 

According to the Chinese calendar, the Year of the Dragon will end on February 10th and we’ll move into the Year of the Snake. I don’t know who is in charge of those declarations or in our own country’s proclamations or decrees, but I’m going to find out.  I want to declare 2013 THE YEAR OF THE BLONDS.  I think it could be a big year for Ellery and Sam and I vow to do whatever is necessary (well, within reason) to get my second literary baby, BLOND FAITH, published and available to my reading public. I also will get book three, BLOND JUSTICE, written with the goal of a 2014 release.  It is about ¼ done, and has been that way for about 1-1/2 years.