For some reason I can add sidebars, but not new posts. Please check back later. I have been working on a variety of things including switching my blog soon from this one, which was set up with my now-defunct West Wisconsin Telcom account. I hope to have my new blog through Gmail up soon. I will provide a link and announcement when I've got everything straight. 7/2/11

Monday, August 30, 2010

Recently read: David Baldacci’s The Simple Truth

I am getting fonder of this thriller writer with every book of his that I read. As you would expect, this one is a page-turner with plenty of action. What makes it great is that the characters have depth, the plot is complicated and well thought out, and the writing is excellent. In this novel focusing on the processes of the U.S. Supreme Court, John Fiske, a former cop who is now a lawyer, tries to uncover the mysteries behind his brother’s death. The threads unravel as they lead to a prisoner wrongly imprisoned, military powers misused, and too many important people for the truth (and justice) to be safe.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Getting back into the business of writing

My first scanned photo! The happy family unit (Sharpie is 3 months) in November, 1998, five days after he adopted us.

Slowly but steadily, I’m getting my processes and accoutrements set up to get officially back in the business of writing. I picked up my new business cards this morning. And I’ve finally learned to scan items, a necessary new skill needed for art submissions. Now, once I perfect my elevator speech for my novel, I should be all set for the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ Gold Conference in two weeks (yikes, that is coming up fast)!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Recently read: Arnaldur Indridason’s Jar City

These are good times for books by Scandinavian authors in America (and probably everywhere else as well). This is the first one I’ve read by this Icelandic author, whose work is admirably translated from Icelandic by Bernard Scudder. Set in Reykjavik, the characters, setting and plot are gripping, making the book a hard one to put down. Inspector Erlendur and the rest of the team are puzzled over a three-word note left by the body of a 70-year-old man found dead in his apartment. The dead man kept himself to himself, so little is known of him other than years ago he was accused but not convicted of rape. Erlendur, aided by forensics, uncovers bits and pieces of the mystery surrounding the man’s death and life.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Job Series: being a writer

My collage titled "Show up on the page." Click on the image to enlarge.

I regularly am asked how I got started in writing as a career. It is a line of work with infinite variations, and I have done most of them. As I would tell my classes, I’ve written everything from state legislation to bad poetry. A recent email from a student, plus a barrage of questions from a poll-taker when she learned I was a writer, reminded me this is a subject worth posting about again. Over the upcoming weeks, I’ll discuss specific types of writing, including Grant Writing, Technical Writing, Corporate Writing, and Journalism (print and electronic). You can write for a company, a publication or on your own as a freelancer. I’ll discuss fiction later this fall after I’ve refreshed my credentials at the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ annual Gold Writers’ Conference.

First, allow me to rant: being a writer means you WRITE—not that you sit and moan about how one day when you have time you’ll be published and well-known. This maxim is true no matter what type of writing you want to do, whether it is the Great American Novel, a prize-winning essay, a computer manual, a feature article for a business website, or a textbook. This sounds elementary, but it is often overlooked by so many people.

A friend of mine has had a number of novels published. I personally do not care for them, but hey—many people do! Someone who is an aspiring writer who had never written anything brought up the novels and said, “I can’t believe how bad they are. I can write better ones.” My unspoken thought was, “yes, but he has WRITTEN them and seen them through the slow tedious process of finding an agent and a publisher. And how many books have you written?”

Another friend of mine was the editor of a medical journal for the medical association of his state and a published poet. Every evening after dinner he would go to his study and write poetry (his were good poems) for four hours. He wrote, rather than whining about how he’d write poems once he had the time.

So the first thing you need to do if you want to write, whether it is purely for self-expression or as a career, is "show up on the page." Start writing!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Recently read: Tim Dorsey’s Nuclear Jellyfish

I love Dorsey’s books! Again, we are off on a wild ride across Florida, stopping at every site of 20th century kitsch along the way, as Serge A. Storms and his mostly comatose buddy Coleman gather information for Serge’s new Internet travel service. Along the way they collect a gorgeous woman who can definitely take care of herself. Also dogging their heels are a sleazy salesman, a man with a really strange tattoo, and, of course, Agent Mahoney. And a host of other oddities, both human and otherwise.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

This time, it was my computer that was sick

I’m back online after a virus struck my computer. My anti-virus software did its stuff and blocked it, but it also blocked me from accessing the Internet. In the meantime, I was able to struggle through more than a week without email, blogging, or checking the Huffington Post. While offline, we had friends visit from Wisconsin, I reviewed the critiques (one good, one excellent) of my novel from the upcoming Colorado Gold Conference sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, and we ate out a lot—including at Joe’s Crab Shack with Pam and Jilli.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Recently read: Jean-Claude Izzo’s Chourmo

This book is part of Izzo’s Marseilles Trilogy and is as gripping as the first. Fabio Montale has quit the police force in disgust at is corruption. Living in the tiny town nearby where he grew up, fishing in the sea, relishing his meals and his wine—Montale is happy to let the crime of the big city pass him by. Crime nevertheless finds him as his cousin turns up at his house and pleads with him to find her missing son. Racial tensions, religion, organized crime, and murder are connected by the frail thread of the missing boy.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

My artwork will be in Patti Digh’s next book

Digh’s life is a verb, published in 2008 by skirt!

In April, I wrote about the fun my friend Heidi and I had creating artwork to submit for consideration for Digh’s book, Four Word Self Help, and it was still a wonderful experience even when our art was not accepted. So when we each were contacted to submit artwork for her next book, we did. And BOTH of us were accepted! How great is that? I will post more information, including how to purchase the book, later this year when it is published and available. In the meantime, visit Digh’s web site at