February Writing Update

Ok- Where do I start?

Writing Class.  Like my teacher.  I think he is really good at giving us helpful nuggets and examples of how to incorporate into our writing.  I think he is making me a better writer.  His critiques are well thought out and reasonable.  I think this was a great choice.  He has explored how to use techniques to get the story moving, and to use details that enhance the characters. setting and plot instead of distracting from them.  He has also helped me look for errant adverbs and adjectives which can make the writing clunky.  I’m writing tighter sentences now that are more impactful.

I presented my work this week.  I’m forming many ideas in my head as to what is critique versus what is opinion.  When I presented the prologue and revised first chapter of my book, I was told my characters sounded too old.  Another classmate told me my characters sounded too young. The critic who complained too old is in her twenties.  The critic complaining too young is in his eighties.  My characters are in their fifties, like me. You tell me?  Valid criticism or opinion?

I also got a criticism that I introduce the conflict too late in the book.  For the record, the conflict gets introduced about 15 pages in, in the beginning of the second chapter.  Pacing wise, I think this is the right time to introduce the “story”.  How much do you want thrown into the first chapter?  Should a little of the scene be set before the plot line starts to focus in?

But that being said, I still struggle with chapters/sections that rely too heavily on scene setting and what is known in my head as &^%$# description.  This frustration is especially apparent in the first section where I am describing the setting.  Though I have revised chapters one and three, they are still the bane of my existence. It took my three days to rewrite chapter three and I still hate it.  I feel that the final version of my novel will contain the plot, but i can’t imagine the exact wording to make it in. The words, sentiments and ideas don’t flow organically.  I am trying to describe the neighborhood in which these women live, yet it comes across as a generic laundry list. It’s boring and inane.  I am happiest when I am writing dialogue heavy chapters, because that’s how I like to get my story across.  I find conversations between people very telling, and it’s where I do my best work.  The extremely necessary conversation in this part is being overshadowed by trees and cars and neighbors.  I have to figure out how to describe the scene without describing it. Ughhhhhh.

I know my goal this month was to find an agent.  Guess what I didn’t do?  I have been researching writing query letters, so I’m getting some ideas.  I found one agent who I think would be a good fit, so I will work on that this coming month.  I’m actually struggling with finding an agent that would be a good fit for what I write.  I’m working on it.

So there you go.  I’m almost halfway through with second draft.  I’m liking the majority of my work.  I’m still meeting with my writing group which is awesome.  I made some great women writer friends.  My class ends at the end of the month, and I think I’m taking Novel Writing Three next semester, a class which focuses on revising your draft.  There is so much to learn about writing.

On a side not_ I am very behind on my blog related activities.  My sister and niece were in from Seattle, so the majority of Friday, Saturday and Sunday were consumed by them. (ahhh…family……there will be posts about this in the future)  Will be catching up this week!!



January Writing Update

I started another writing class this month, Fiction 2 with Gotham Writers Workshop.  This experience is different than the one I had last semester.  Last semester my teacher was a woman, older than me and a novelist/screenwriter.  This session, my teacher is male, younger than me (I believe he’s 12) and a short story writer.  The biggest difference is not the gender or the age:  it is the writing discipline.  Writing a short story versus a novel is the same, yet different.

Many of my classmates favor very ambiguous stories.  They’re OK with limited, or no plot.  They’re OK with vague descriptions.  They’re OK with no dialogue.  These are things the novel people never want to read/see.  The biggest criticism I get when presenting my novel is the lack of description- I am dialogue heavy, and personally, I don’t care if the kitchen is all black and modern, or yellow and countryesque.  But, readers of novels do.  Readers of short stories don’t.

Should I become a short story writer?

No.  I want to write a longer work.

So we have the first conundrum I face when working on my novel: how do I add description to my work?

Seriously. how do I add description to my work?

My problem appears to be in my first chapter.  OK- I have problems in other chapters as well, but lets begin with the section I’m currently playing with.  I need to introduce my setting, which is a kitchen, and my protagonist and her three best friends.  (on a completely different note- I did learn in this current class that the protagonist and main character do not have to be the same- who knew???)  This is a lot of information in the beginning of the book, and I am having difficulty maintaining my light, fun voice with the task of similes, metaphors, adverbs and adjectives.  I like description to appear in little bits and pieces.  People reading my book do not.  They want a laundry list of how the room looks.  How do I reconcile what the reader wants with how I want to present the story?

Is this the first basic problem with writing?  Writing what you want versus writing what people want to read?  Is this just a variation of chicken/egg?

So, I’ve added a prologue.  I am introducing my protagonist separately.  I’m laying out one of the “problems” before I even get to anything else.  I’m establishing the tone and voice.   I think I’m liking this better, but it is my first rewrite, so….

Which leads me to the following:  my first draft is finished.


Sort of.

To explain, I have the first half of the novel fleshed out.  The second half is just major arcs.  I have to fill in the filler.  Here’s the thing I realized- I want the filler to actually count, so I need to flesh out the filler better in the first half, so that it is more meaningful in the second half.  What, you say.  I didn’t understand this last sentence, how am I going to understand her novel?  I wish I could explain my thought process a little better, but really, how much do you want to get into my brain?

But, I am pleased with the main points of the novel.  I like my two characters- they are funny and smart and damaged, just like we all are.  I only hope that these things are coming across on the page.  I am enjoying the process though.  I look forward to writing.  That is huge for me, the fact that I look forward to writing.   I even think about plot points and dialogue when I am doing other things- my little pink notebook is never far from my side.

In other writing news.  I blogged at least 5 times a week this month.  Yay.  Had so much amazing feedback from comments and generated lots of new blog ideas.  Thank you all for that- you keep me on my toes and keep me thinking.  You are all an inspiration.  My hope is that every now and then I inspire you.

I formed a writing group with two of the women from my first fiction class.  This is the best thing I did.  We meet every three weeks and really do a line by line critique of each others work.  Even if I don’t like their suggestions, it’s making me look at my novel in a different way.  I’m thinking of the overall theme more, because I see how individual word choice effects the general feel of a work.

My next task is to try to find an agent.  Yeah.  Good times.  I don’t know how to even start this process, but my February goal is to start researching the “how”.  You’ll get the report next month.

So there you have it: a summary of my writing for January.  Tune in next month for the latest tale of my writing highs and lows.

Happy writing!!!





200 Posts!!

Ok- I don’t know how it happened, but here you are- my 200th post!!

I almost feel bad writing today, and claiming this as 200, because I had 3 days of non-posts where either me or my computer had a virus….but the wordpress Gods said that yesterday was officially 199, so here are some random thoughts on my blogsperience.

  1. I hate creating a title.  Seriously.  I think it takes me longer to write the headline than it takes to write the blog.  I’m not that clever, and I can rarely sum up what I’m writing about.  Perhaps because I am sometimes lost in thought.  Like, I can’t even remember how this paragraph started.
  2. I am horrible at grammar and spelling.  I had this conversation with Jay the other day- I don’t notice these types of errors/ mistakes unless they are glaring.  I’m more focused on content.  I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing.  Probably bad, because I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I will need to hire a copy editor before I send out my novel
  3. I can’t believe I find things to write about 1 day a week, much less 5.  My life is boring.  Yet, I manage to pump out 500-1000 words.  Go figure.
  4. I can’t write/blog when my family is home.  They are distracting.  Well, my Husband is.  I will be at a critical spot, where I have come to some sort of blog epiphany, and then he’ll start talking.  About nonsensical things.  Which is cute- but not when I’m trying to solve the problems of the world.  So, my not solving the problems of the world falls squarely on his shoulders.
  5. I have a lot of opinions.  No really.  I do.
  6. I look forward to blogging every day.  I hated when I was sick and my mind was cold addled.  Blogging has become cathartic.
  7. I have made so many wonderful friends blogging.  I look forward to reading and commenting with so many of you!!  I get excited when I see that you’ve posted, and I look forward to reading of your adventures, and misadventures.  I cry with you all, and laugh with you all.  I am humbled by your strength and perseverance.  I am awed by your wit.  I am emboldened by your honesty.  Thank you!! You all give me hope!
  8. I love comments!!  I love when people feel moved enough to tell me what they think!  And I love when people don’t agree with me, because I value the other side of any argument
  9. I don’t really talk about “likes” or “follows”.  That’s not the reason I blog.  I blog because I love it.  Plain and simple.  But I would be remiss if I did not mention that I have exceeded 1000 followers.  I know?  Right?  How the hell did that happen?  So to all of you who have decided to learn about me and laugh at me (or with me) THANK YOU!!  Seriously- I am humbled to feel that maybe I’ve made any sort of impact in someone’s life.  It is an honor to know all of you!

And there you have it!

Onward and upward!


Checking In

Hi All!  I was bust yesterday, so I didn’t start to read blog posts till late.  I was having massive WP problems- I liked things that automatically unliked.  I had trouble pulling up posts.  I had trouble commenting.  I have a writing/reading evening planned, so will hopefully catch up.  Apologies if anything thinks I liked/unliked them!!!!!!

On a decent note, wrote 1478 words yesterday.  Notice that when I don’t reach my goal I give you an exact number, not rounded…..yes…I am that crazy!!  Planning on 2000 words today.

Have a great Saturday/Sunday- aka the weekend!!!!!

Keep writing/blogging!

Mystery Blogger

I would like to thank Mischenko  https://readrantrockandroll.com/author/readrantrockandroll/ for nominating me for the Mystery Blogger Award  This site is filled with great reviews, great music and just great everything!  Am so glad I got to know this blog and this blogger!!

What is the Mystery Blogger Award?

This award was originally created by Maggie @okoto enigma

Mystery blogger award” is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging, and they do it with so much love and passion.
The rules:
• Put the award logo/image on your blog
• List the rules
• Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog
• Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well
• Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
• You have to nominate 10 – 20 people
• Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
• Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
• Share a link to your best post(s)

Three Things About Me:

  1. I like to write with a freshly sharpened pencil, except when I do crossword puzzles.  Then I choose pen.
  2. I’m really organized, but I can’t find a way to organize the people I nominate for blogger awards.  I need to have a better system.
  3. My shoe size is really a 6.5, but I often buy a 7

Miscneko’s Questions:
1. What’s your ideal pet?

I Love cats, especially my cat because she is so self-sufficient and can take care of herself.  I also love cats because they dole out love at their own pace.  We have that in common.  But don’t tell my dog.
2. What’s your favorite food? 

Cheeseburgers.  Love them!
3. If you had a chance for a “do-over” in life, what would you do differently?

Not to let my M control me so easily.  every bad decision I ever made was in response to my Mother
4. What is your favorite music?

Classic rock.  Can’t get enough of it.
5. Who do you most admire in life?

My daughter.  She sets a goal and does everything she can to accomplish it.  If she doesn’t succeed, she gets up and gets on with life.  I would love to say her attitude is nurture based, but I think nature played a little hand.

The questions for my nominees:

  1. When were you most proud of yourself?
  2. What is your favorite drink on a hot day?
  3. If you could go anywhere on your next vacation, where would it be?
  4. What color are your eyes?
  5. Dark, milk or white chocolate?

My best post:

You all know I am really critical about my writing- and I’m not sure how to qualify “best” in this situation.  Is it most likes, most views, most comments?  Is it one that I find the best?  So- I’m going to say I love when I write about my Daughter, both the funny ones and the heartfelt ones, because they mean the most to me.  And if you disagree, please feel free to reread all my blogs and give me a hint….kidding…..!!!!

The nominees!  These are blogs I’m just getting to know, as well as some I may know better!  I apologize if I keep forgetting you, or if I’ve nominated you a million times!  It’s more stupidity than anything else!






As always- there is no penalty for not playing!  This is fun, not torture!!!


Sunday Wrap up

Another week has come and gone.  New York experienced a little bit of humidity this week- not a fan of humidity.  Also thwarted with some subway issues this week, and trust me, waiting underground in humid weather is not fun.  But here’s the run down- Ratings 0-5.  I’ve received no compensation for any of these things!


“The Little French Bistro” Nina George  The heroine is 59 years old.  I don’t think I can say much more than this- it is refreshing to see an adult women in a novel.  This is a feel good book about overcoming adversity.  While not a great book, it is a fairly easy read. 4


“Home Again”

A story about a 40 year old woman getting her life back together after she separates from her husband.  (are you sensing a theme?  Middle age women overcoming adversity- yes- and I want to see/read more of it)  Movie is light and cute, if predictable (again, a theme) 3.8


“Suits”- Season Finale.  I didn’t love the finale.  My Suits friends, please give me opinions.


New York Historical Society

“The Duchess of Carnegie Hall: Photographs by Editta Sherman”  I loved this exhibits.  Portraits of celebrities- many from the 40’s and 50’s.  Absolutely gorgeous.  What was a little dismaying was how many people were photographed smoking, but it was a different time. 4.7

“American Visionary:  John F. Kennedy’s Life and Times”  Amazing photos of JFK.  Beautifully curated exhibit.  4.2

“Eloise at the Museum”  Exhibit that explores the beloved book character Eloise.  Cute exhibit, but really much better for children.  4


Ofrenda  Delicious Mexican food in a lively (loud) cozy (ridiculously small) place.  Appetizer called Queso Fondido, which is basically a Mexican fondue.  Yummy.  Killer, and I mean that literally, Margaritas. 4.3

Island Burger and Shakes- I used to love this place- but the quality of the burgers has gone way down.  No worth going to anymore.  2.8

Levain- This bakery has about the best cookies known to man.  So big they more closely resemble muffin tops.  And I love the chocolate brioche.  Ridiculously yummy!



I have narrowed down my WordPress issues.  On the app, my reader does not always work correctly.  I sometimes miss certain hours of the day, so for example, if someone posts between 11 and 2 pm, I will miss all of the posts- I am not receiving the “Load More Posts” prompt.  Let’s see how long it takes to fix it now that I’ve isolated the issue

Thanks again for all the amazing commentary this week- your feedback is amazingly valuable as always!


One Lovely Blog

I would like to thank Roda  https://growingself.blog/ and Embery  https://cozyandsage.com/ for nominating me for One Lovely Blog.  Both of these bloggers exude warmth, kindness and positivity with all of their words.  Please check out both of my friends blogs!

The Rules

• Each nominee must thank the person who nominated them and link their blog in their post.
• They must include the rules and add the blog award badge as an image.
• Must add 7 facts about themselves.
• Nominate up to 15 people for the award!

7 Facts About Me

This is tough, because I think I reveal a lot about myself in my posts, but here goes!

  1. I buy myself flowers every Monday because they signal to me that each week is a new beginning and flowers just make me happy
  2. I can’t drink a vodka drink and then follow it up with a Margarita.  I tried this last night and the after effects were less than spectacular
  3. My favorite Girl Scout cookie flavor is Samoas.  Just delicious.
  4. I love when I see celebrities doing what I call normal activities, like shopping or going to the Post Office.  For some reason, this reminds me that they are “people” too
  5. I love wearing a watch, but I never set them because I always look at my phone for the time
  6. I don’t like taking the dog out for the last walk of the night.  I have no problem with walking her any other time, including 6 in the morning, but that 10 pm walk crushes me
  7. I love sit coms above all other types of TV shows and I am totally looking forward to Will and Grace

I nominate the following blogs:






As always, there is no pressure to participate! This is supposed to be fun!







Unique Blogger Award

I have been nominated for the Unique Blogger Award by http://readrantrockandroll.wordpress.com/  She is a wonderful blogger who writes with heart and humor and grace.  Her music knowledge is pretty impressive too, and the soundtrack that accompanies my life is often spurred on by her!

The Rules:
Share the link of the blogger who has shown love to you by nominating you.
Answer the questions.
In the spirit of sharing love and solidarity with our blogging family, nominate 8-13 people for the same award.
Ask them 3 question

The Unique Questions I’m supposed to answer:

What’s something unique about you?

When I get really stressed out, I rub the inside corner of my left eyebrow.  It is instinctual- I just do it, and I don’t even realize I’m doing it, and I have done this all my life.
What’s a favorite book, movie, or song you enjoyed this month?

Of course, we’re early into September, But I recently reread “Murder on the Orient Express” by Agatha Christie.  This is a gem of a book- classic Poirot.
What’s your favorite thing to do in your free-time and what do you love about it?

I love when I get a chance to read novels during the day.  I usually set aside reading time as pre-bed ritual because it helps me relax and wind down- but I love when I can take my book to the park, buy a tea, and read on a bench for an hour or so

My questions for the nominees:

  1. What is the most unique experience you’ve ever had?
  2. When you get stressed out, what do you do to regain balance and calm yourself?
  3. What is your favorite flower?

I nominate the following:  (I have a few more awards, so I’m only picking a few people today-)






As always- this is supposed to be fun!  No pressure if you don’t want to participate!!!

Blogging PSA- Follow-up

It’s a vicious cycle.  I write a blog.  You comment.  I think of something to say based on comments.  So the following is all your fault.

First off, I learned a lot about trolls.  I am floored by the comments that others have made to bloggers.  To be fair, the majority of our little community is good, and seeks to inspire, not to criticize.  But you know, one bad apple….Someone was criticized for being too happy…..can you imagine?  “I’m sorry, happiness isn’t allowed here- it might give people the idea that happiness and positivity is an option- wouldn’t want that to happen.”  I don’t know about you, but, even though I don’t always get there, happiness is pretty high on my to do list…..

We know that I love a good spirited debate.  I have no problem with people who disagree with me, and vice versa, as long as it’s done logically and with respect, and no one tells the other, “Nah nah, I’m right and you’re wrong…”   I once had a conversation with a guy- we had opposite opinions of a subject.  I laid out my reasonable, rational argument, countering his points with my own.  After about 10 minutes, he began to see the rationale of my point of view, and actually changed his mind to my way of thinking.  Now, we were in bed at the time, but I really don’t think that influenced his decision at all……

But what do we think about when people give you instructions on how to do things?

I’ve given parenting advice.  My intention is not to shame anyone, or say “I’m right and you’re wrong” (though, who are we kidding, I’m always right), but it is to share the knowledge that I have learned in the past 50 years.  Some of it I have learned the hard way.  Some of it I have learned by doing almost the exact opposite of what my Mother had done.  I’m just sharing pieces of my life, in hope that you can see how I screwed up, so maybe you won’t have to feel the pain I did.

But what about the people that give advice, or make comments that are really just thinly disguised criticism?

You’ve seen them. The type that leaps to my mind are the Mommy Shamers.   They post pictures of perfect homemade treats, while they are wearing pressed white linen, their toddlers sitting quietly reading the works of Elizabeth Barrett Browning.  They say things like, “Oh- we’re so glad you had the time to run to the store to bring in that bag of Oreos for the bake sale.  We always forget about the children who don’t have advanced palates.”

There are also the lip pursers.  When you are discussing your wedding plans, the friend across from you looks like they are sucking on a lemon.  They say things like, “Sure, you could wear an off white dress, and carry flowers. I know you’re not really the creative type.  You need to play to your strengths, which is bland.”

And these are often people we call our friends.

So what do we do?

Yes- I’m about to give advice…..

  1. Not everyone has to be a close friend.
  2. Be selective about what you share.  Not everyone needs to know everything
  3. Be thankful if you have 1 close friend-  a true close friend is a rare and beautiful thing
  4. It’s ok to have activity specific friends.  I have a movie buddy.  The only thing we do together is see movies.  It works.
  5. Limit the amount of time you spend with people that only bring negativity, or make you feel bad about yourself (this includes family)- feel free to unfriend them
  6. Don’t take the shamers seriously, or pay them heed- they don’t deserve your time or consideration
  7. My advice is the only advice worth listening to- I am perfect……



Blogging PSA

My blogs are usually inspired by events in my life.  Last week I wrote a blog exposing both my shyness and fear of commenting- two things I continually work at overcoming.  It was something I wanted to share, and I felt spurred on by two things, my pact with another blogger to make more meaningful commentary that wasn’t self serving at least once a month, and the other is the story I am about to reveal.

I read a lot of blogs.  These blogs cover many topics- personal narrative, flash fiction, poetry, photography, organizing, food, reviews, and a whole lot more.  I do not care about the actual personal details of a persons life.  What do I mean?  I follow people regardless of religion, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, socio economic status, political leanings or anything else that may separate people into groups or factions.

So how do I choose the bloggers that I will follow/read/like? I choose the bloggers who are excellent at telling their story.  These bloggers are honest and passionate.  These bloggers inspire me to be a better person.  They share their opinions in a thoughtful and thought provoking manner.  They make me think about things in a way I never thought of before.  They help me grow, and expand my knowledge base.  If I follow/read/like your blogs, these are the reasons.

Now- for the record- I do not always agree with the opinions that are presented.  I may not follow the same life path.  But these things do not matter to me.  I would be a pretty shallow person if I only read things that I am, or already believe in.  In my “About” section, I state that I am a “work in progress”.  My goal in the second half of my life is to keep growing and learning.

So here’s the story.

I follow a blog that is written by a devout Christian.  I commented on the blog last week, sharing my opinion.  The blogger responded back with a perfectly reasonable comment.  But then, a third party entered the picture, “respectfully” attacking me verbally about a life style choice I made,  basically saying that this choice made me insignificant.  The interloper also made a statement to me….”I hate when evangelical westerners….”  So I responded, as nicely as I could, especially as it wasn’t my blog, “Please don’t attack the lifestyle I choose to live as it doesn’t hinder on your life.  And what in my statement makes you think I’m an evangelical?”  Blogger responded back “I assumed…..”  Well yeah, it’s pretty obvious I’m from a Western as opposed to Eastern based – but where do you get Evangelical?  (and there is nothing wrong with any religion, but don’t assume what I am or an not, especially as I’m not Evangelical, nor have I ever been)  And the blogger didn’t respond back.

Now I’m not Sherlock, but I could see that this blogger went into my archives and read my “about” and my last ten posts.  Big surprise.  I talk about everything, and share my opinions about a lot of things, but I’m guessing she could find no clue as to my religion, unless she found the one comment I make with another blogger about Catholic guilt (OK- the Catholic is out of the bag)

So being the mature person I am, I decided to look at this person’s blog- you know- tit for tat.  Guess what?  No blog.  Nothing but a user name.

So is there a point?

  1. Don’t comment on a blog because you have an agenda.  If you hate a group, don’t seek out their blogs and personally attack them, and their commenters.  If that’s really going to make you feel better, I’m going to suggest trying a bowl of chicken soup, or a massage, or just some quiet meditation.
  2. Don’t assume anything about anyone (Does anyone remember “The Odd Couple”  ass u me?)  Accept what the blogger writes, and work with that.  Anything else is conjecture.  You can’t build a something if the base doesn’t exist.
  3. Don’t criticize anyone’s lifestyle- how they choose to live their life is their business (assuming it is not harmful or hurtful to anyone- you know I mean within acceptable guidelines)

And that’s my PSA for the day.  I’m off to do shallow things and not think about anyone other than myself……..