Storytelling Done Right: USA’s “Suits”

I’ve discovered that lackluster programs generally lack luster for obvious reasons. Often they’re simply boring. Sometimes the casting and directing isn’t great. Sometimes the characters’ motives are inconsistent, and the story line just doesn’t hang together. For the most part, if I stop watching a show I can usually say why. Shows I love, though, are a little harder to dissect. I’m always on the lookout for what the program is doing right and I’ve been struggling for a while to figure out what, exactly, USA’s law-drama “Suits” is doing to keep me hooked. Continue reading


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For anyone new to Goodreads someone once described it to me as “like Facebook without all the dickery, and it’s mostly just for book-lovers.” I suppose that’s just about the best way to sum it up. Instead of finding out my acquaintances’  angst-ridden political views, I can log on to Goodreads and find out what my friends are reading, check out book reviews, and get updates on book-related blogs. It’s not social-networking so much as book-networking, and that’s freaking awesome.  Continue reading

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Odyssey Podcasts

There are a lot of great writing workshops out there, too many to try to attend, really. So I was happy to discover that the Odyssey Writing Workshop offers a podcast on some of its lectures. It’s a nice way to get an idea of what to expect if you’re thinking of applying but it’s also a lovely way to pick up on some great writing advice if a six-week workshop isn’t practical for you. The podcasts are produced intermittently, and are some of the best I’ve found when it comes to writing advice.

As a nifty bonus, they have a handy page of writing tips as well.

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January, Jedi, and Justifications

According to Hugh Howey’s advice, aspiring writers should blog every day. I’m not one to argue with successful authors. The reasons I haven’t blogged more in the past fall into two camps: I don’t have any successful-author advice of my own to share (yet); and the rest of what I have is just strong opinions. But I’m trying to embrace the idea that maybe there’s nothing wrong with a strong opinion or two. So, here goes. Continue reading

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Neverwhere (kind of a book review)

A decade ago I read Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. For the first – and, I increasingly suspect, only – time in my life, when I reached the last page I turned back to the first one and started rereading it immediately. I loved the characters, the setting, the adventure, the sense of history intertwined with myth. I loved something woven through it all but it took me ten years to figure out what that something was. Continue reading

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Worldcon Highlights

I’ve been meaning to say something witty or profound about Worldcon 2015, which was a delightful experience from start to finish. I’m really glad I went, and am equally glad that it was in Spokane which meant a short journey to a relatively familiar place. I enjoyed being part of the writing-critique workshops, helping out with the kaffeeklatches, and meeting some favorite authors (notably, Gail Carriger and Matt Wallace). The other volunteers (and the people in charge of the volunteers) were lovely people to work with and I found having duties to perform helped structure an otherwise overwhelming amount of possibilities. Next Worldcon, I think I’ll arrive a day earlier, if possible.


My only real regret was something beyond my control – the air quality. Spokane was, during Worldcon, home to the worst air pollution in the country. That put a pretty severe damper on outdoor activities for a lot of folks (though, we did enjoy one clear, beautiful morning). I had hoped to do a little more walking and exploring outside – but, aside from that, I had such a good time that I’m looking forward to subsequent Worldcons. I did find the historic carousel, and made several trips to Atticus Coffee.


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WorldCon, Spokane, Extravaganza

I’m headed to Spokane in August for WorldCon 2015 and have narrowed down my list of tourist activities (not that I’m going to have time for even these few). Within walking distance, there’s the historic River Front park carousel, which I will absolutely go get in line for, but mostly I want to ride the one tiger it features. (One tiger! One!) Continue reading

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Where I intended to go vs. where I needed to be

I am participating in the Writing Contest: How Writing Has Positively Influenced My Life (hosted by Positive Writer), and I would love to say that writing has made me more insightful, more sympathetic, more creative, and more disciplined. It might have. But the biggest impact writing has had on my life is my social skills. I needed to improve them…I needed, in fact, to acquire them in the first place. I went from a shy adolescence to a near-reclusive young adulthood. I went to college and sat in the back of every classroom. I took jobs in maintenance, data entry, and research, in positions where I could deal with other people as little as possible. For years I used my free time to write and write and write, and dreamed of the blessed day when I could quit going out in public altogether. I wanted to be a New York Times bestselling author, and have my groceries delivered, and write in seclusion and never face the peril of interacting with other human beings. Ever. Continue reading


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Old West Research

So, one reason I haven’t posted in a while – I’ve been busy. Top of my to-do list is revising some historical fiction that, even at this stage, requires a lot of last-minute research. For example, despite growing up in farm-and-cattle country, I actually didn’t know the exact definition of “oxen.” I mean, sure, I’ve seen an ox. But the textbook definition? I had to look it up. Sadly, once armed with this precise knowledge, I realized I needed something else for my story. Continue reading

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The Resolution-less New Year

So, I have only one resolution for 2015: more bike rides.

And that’s it. I started doing more writing and revising months ago and will keep doing that. The Minnows Literary Guild started off the new year with a fresh anthology release, and my writing goals, efforts, and plans are all proceeding exactly as I want them.

The very best part of my single resolution is that I get to wait for better weather to bother with it. So, 2015 is awesome already. (That’s right. It’s awesome already.)

ranch and ride 029

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