A to Z Challenge 2013 – S is for…


Three words that every writer needs to hear whether they want to or not. And if you choose to ignore these three very important words, you can lose thousands more. Let this short and sweet post serve as a cautionary tale.

Sure, there’s the odd chance that you can regurgitate the scenes from frenzied memory recall. And after that panicked hack job and blistered fingers, there’s the slim possibility that you wrote something even better and inspired but then you spend the next fifteen minutes cursing that it happened in the first place.

Or in my case, third place. Since January. Grr, much?

Please, please, please. Make sure you save your work on various devices. Flash drives, SD Cards, External hard drives. Remember when I posted about my Bug-Out Bag? I wish I could say that was a preventative measure. Alas, I like learning the hard way–repeatedly.

It makes me sad to know how much time and as many pages I’ve wasted. Now, people might think I’m being paranoid, but I’m just being hypervigilant when I save the document every so often. After a paragraph, after a sentence. You know, you can never be too careful.

Again. Super duper important. Save your work before it’s too la



Today’s theme is brought to you by the letter


A to Z Challenge 2013 – R is for…


So, you know how dictionaries have a pronunciation key in square brackets next to the word being defined? I decided to look up unusual words for possible blog post themes. This is what they have for ranunculaceous [rəˌnʌŋkjʊˈleɪʃəs]. Thanks, dictionary. So, this word means ‘of, like or pertaining to buttercups.’ First thing I thought was, huh. That just kicked simplicity in the teeth. Then I started to think about buttercups and how when we were kids we’d put them under our chins and our necks would have a buttercuppy glow. I don’t remember the purpose of this task/game/event. If anyone knows, please refresh my muddled memory. My formative years in the UK had quirky highlights. Aside from the buttercup game, we also had a little quail family in our school yard.

As far as tangents go, buttercup necks and quails are pretty off, but it all got me thinking about yesteryear. Then that, in turn, brought me to a more thematically appropriate word that we can discuss for the day:


A more familiar word that allows one to reflect on the past, to reminisce, as it were. Boy, I’m up to four R words already. I’m on a ro–continuous streak.

Are you a dweller? We look back on memories with fondess, endure the pang of heartache and disappointment over mistakes. A double-edged sword, when we retrospect, we anticipate that can of worms to open, old scar tissue torn anew. Emotional wounds as fresh as the day they first happened. Memories have a funny way of creeping up on you. A smell, an image, a sound. As writers, we have an encyclopedia of emotions that can be utilized to build conflict and add depth to any story. As people, it shapes who we are at this particular moment in time. One of my favorite English teachers in high school told us that when he was asked if he could go back and change anything in his past, he said he wouldn’t. I’m sure that people want to forget certain transgressions or downright disasters in their own lives, but what he said made perfect sense.

I look back on everything that’s happened to me in the last year. I expand that to the last five years. Every choice, every decision I made, good, bad, or ugly, has brought me to this point in time now where I am blogging with the online community. While I didn’t always have shining moments, I must say that I could not and should not try to change anything. In fact, painful as some memories might be, we all need to remember what it took to get us where we are today. And if we don’t like where we are right now, we can use the retrospect to see where we went off course (beyond tangents, that is) and focus on working to get back on track. I’m a stronger person today than I was yesterday, than I was five years ago. I’m a better writer, have met and interacted with amazing people in the industry, and I know I’m that much closer to achieving my writing goals. I choose the positive retrospect. All else is folly.

You can choose to mope about the woulda, shoulda, coulda, and then find out that a decade’s vanished and you’ve been on a lateral drift. Or, you can keep moving, keep writing, keep dreaming. My definition of dreaming is ‘flights of fancy tethered to a bullet train.’ You can dream all you want, dream as big as you want, but if those dreams aren’t going to take you anywhere, what’s the point?

Think of what you want to accomplish as of today. Are these goals you’ve had for a long time? How far have you progressed in achieving them? Take that retrospect to assess what you need to plan for the days, months, and years ahead. I get why people have those 5-year and 10-year plans. They’ve got goals and dreams anchored to a tangible and progressive plan.

I have an assignment for you, as much as it is for myself. Think of it as a time capsule or a letter to your future self. If you are so bold, feel free to do this in the comments section or even just for your own edification:

1) List your goals.

2) Track how long you’ve had the goals and your progress to date. (This is expected to have highs and lows.)

3) List any new goals, alternate paths to help you reach your goals or regroup to define a new set.

4) Pick a day some time in the reasonable future. Months, years ahead. Tailor this to the type of goals you set and the variables therein.

5) On that day, spend a little time retrospecting. Do this with a positive mind set. If things work out for the better, that’s great. If some adjustments are needed, it’s important you take ownership for those, as well.

It should be interesting to see what our future selves think about what we’re thinking and doing today. Personally, I can’t wait to get there so I can ask. 🙂


Today’s theme is brought to you by the letter


A to Z Challenge 2013 – P is for…


As promised, I must share with you two of my favorite poems to honor National Poetry Month. How about a little Frost and Thomas? And unlike our beloved Kid President, I happen to think that Robert Frost is cool. And it’s thematic, as well. Have a read:


Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

By Robert Frost 

Whose woods these are I think I know.   

His house is in the village though;   

He will not see me stopping here   

To watch his woods fill up with snow.   


My little horse must think it queer   

To stop without a farmhouse near   

Between the woods and frozen lake   

The darkest evening of the year.   


He gives his harness bells a shake   

To ask if there is some mistake.   

The only other sound’s the sweep   

Of easy wind and downy flake.   


The woods are lovely, dark and deep.

But I have promises to keep, 

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.

I’ve accomplished a lot more than I had anticipated I would at this point of the month. I’d like to think that I have taken the road less traveled. Well, maybe it’s well traveled, but I overpacked. Two novels, a blogging challenge, and a Round of Words in 80 Days? I am as much tortured as I am an artist. Masochism aside, I feel accomplished. To quote another great from a previous post: My head is bloody, but unbowed.”  In this case, my fingers are numb, but still attached. It just doesn’t have that same ring to it, methinks.

Whether it’s this writing challenge or my entire writing career, I know I’ve barely scratched the surface of my full potential as a writer and storyteller in this global community. It’s so easy to get sidetracked on the path to publication. Distractions can keep you from your plans. While I don’t want to have blinders on so I can indeed stop and enjoy everything around me from time to time, I need to keep in mind my long-term goals and the importance of achieving them. Many adventures, challenges, and opportunities await before I take my final breath. With that in mind, I write on and move forward.

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep.


Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

  By Dylan Thomas


Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

You could go throughout your entire life without doing anything significant. Sure, you have a plan and you can see it there in the final hours. That is not to say that you need to make yourself known to the world, famous or infamous. But this is in line with yesterday’s post. How do you want to live your life? Each moment should be savored. Each opportunity taken else it is a waste. But I dare you not to conform. Do not settle. Before the end of it all, make a difference, even if it is just to one other person in the world. Remember the journey as well as the destination.

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


Let me end this poetic post with a bonus that many of you will appreciate. A lyrical genius by the name of Ferris Bueller had this to say:


Today’s theme is brought to you by the letter



A to Z Challenge 2013 – M is for…


I love food. I would sooner go to an amazing restaurant for a full sensory experience than clubbing any day. The culinary term, mise en place, is French for ‘put in place.’ In the culinary world, a chef would gather all the necessary ingredients for his recipe. In like manner, a writer has his tools: plot, theme, characters, and all the ingredients for a great story.

Back at the letter “B”, I had my Bug-Out Bag. The contents can be considered the utensils: pots, pans, stove, oven. The ingredients, when used in tandem with the utensils, yield wonderful results. At least, one would hope. Much like a sunken souffle or a burnt pot roast, too much of one thing and not enough of another lead to something less than palatable. In story creation, we need to find the right balance of ingredients: a pinch of wisdom, a dash of suspense, mixed with a heavy dose of conflict to leave readers satisfied.

What are your favorite writerly ingredients when writing a story?


Today’s theme is brought to you by the letter


A to Z Challenge 2013 – I is for…


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

I first read William Ernest Henley’s poem Freshman year in high school. It is my favorite poem of all time. I’m so glad to share this poem with you, excited to post this since ~ CARPE DIEM ~ last week. In honor of National Poetry month, I will also share a couple other of my favorites next week. Invictus may as well be my Writer’s Manifesto. I’m reminded that regardless of where my writing career takes me, it’s up to me to get there. There may be hardships, there may be pain, but I’ll forge ahead as any and every writer should.

I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.


Today’s theme is brought to you by the letter