"Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart." ~ William Wordsworth

The Writing Life Too

And if you're reading this, it means you're not writing.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Edinburgh skyline
What a month--skies like temper tantrums of the gods; serious comfort foods like pumpkin pie and turkey; NaNoWriMo; the first frost and putting the garden to bed; fog and morning mist and early dark; a time for being housebound, yet content; a lull before the Christmas holidays as the year is dwindles and quiets.
Thought for the day:
Everything you write is an opportunity to practice your craft, whether its a sympathy note, a personal letter, an e-mail message, or an anecdote in your journal. Express yourself as well as you can at that particular moment. Don't settle for bits and pieces. Don't tell yourself this doesn't count as real writing. Good writing doesn't count as real writing. Good writing is a habit. Make every piece of writing the best it can be. 
Paul Raymond Martin, Writer's Little Instruction Book
Quick Take:
Pardon the snark here, but the most overused and hackneyed expression that I run across way too often in my clients' and students' manuscripts is "I took a deep breath."
Trust me, in real life we don't inhale nearly as deeply or as often as what happens on the page. And this doesn't mean our lives our dull.
Also, while I've got my snark on, stop with the striding purposefully. Striding connotes purpose. It's not lollygagging, right?
Happy Halloween
There is something haunting in the light of the moon; it has all the dispassionateness of a disembodied soul, and something of its inconceivable mystery.  ~Joseph Conrad

Sky is turning a pale blue here in Portland after rain yesterday and an amber colored bowl brimming with candy is waiting for tonight's trick-or-treaters. When I left Wisconsin 20 years most cities had adopted the custom of scheduling trick or treating on the Sunday afternoon before Halloween. It was meant to make the event safer for kids since sick adults were poisoning candy and such, but I always thought it was a shame that it couldn't happen in the dark. The thrill of trick-or-treating is to be spooked at shadows and the enormous, yawning dark all around you as we were when kids. I believe I wrote here about the year that we were out begging for candy as bears were roaming the neighborhood at the same time.  No adults chaperoning --we just needed to be back before bedtime with our loot and stories to tell.

Here in Portland, the tricksters are out in the evening and most people in this town go all out with decorations and such. Spider webs strewn everywhere along with front yard graveyards and enough bats, ghosts, and pumpkins to make Dracula feel welcome. 
I'm participating in NaNoWriMo this year so will try to keep up the blog at the same time--I've got several interviews planned, so stay tuned. 

Meanwhile, keep writing, keep dreaming,have heart

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Thought for the Day:

"Write without thinking of the result
in terms of a result,
but think of the writing
in terms of discovery,

which is to say that creation
must take place
between the pen and the paper,

not before in a thought
or afterwards in a recasting...

It will come if it is there
and if you will let it come."  ~ Gertrude Stein 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Thought for the Day:

The novelist is, in a sense, a compulsory moralist. Iris Murdock

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thought for the Day: Some passages are meant to be lush. That is, they glow like a pre-Raphaelite painting where the canvas is layered with paints and appear lit from within. Lush writing can be dense with meaning, yet not so crowded that you trip up the reader. It’s like stepping into a jungle, the vines and palms and flowers are fragrant and thick and altogether enchanting, but there is a path to follow in the midst of the verdant and abundant. Save lush passages for choice moments in the story: to describe exotic or Gothic locales, but also decisions, revelations, and reversals. If you use heightened prose every time your character feels an emotion the whole will become contrived. 
And speaking of paths, here is Tolkien writing about Frodo walking along a path:
Coming to the opening they found that they had made their way down through a cleft in a high steep bank, almost a cliff. At its feet was a wide space of grass and reeds; and in the distance could be glimpsed another bank almost as steep. A golden afternoon of late sunshine lay warm and drowsy upon the hidden land between. In the midst of it there wound lazily a dark river of brown water, bordered with ancient willows, arched over with willows, blocked with fallen willows, and flecked with thousands of faded willow-leaves. The air was thick with them, fluttering yellow from the branches; for there was a warm and gentle breeze blowing softly in the valley, and the reeds were rustling, and the willow-boughs were creaking.

And of course lush descriptions work beautifully when describing food and meals, such as in this passage from The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Gouge:
The supper was delicious. There was home-made crusty bread, hot onion soup, delicious rabbit stew, baked apples in a silver dish, honey, butter the colour of marigolds, a big blue jug of warm mulled claret, and hot roasted chestnuts folded in a napkin.
Miss Heliotrope confined herself to eating bread and butter and sipping a little claret, but she did it with an appetite that surprised her. Maria ate everything there was to eat, very daintily, as was her habit, but with an enjoyment surprising in one so ethereal looking. Her cousin greeted her good appetite with a chuckle of appreciation, 'A digestion of cast iron, like all Merryweathers,' he noted with approval.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Simultaneous Submissions
A question that still comes up (surprisingly) among writers is whether they should submit to more than one agent  or editor at a time. The answer is a resounding yes. I've long lamented that there are two time frames in the writer's world: the normal world we live in and then the calendar of the publishing world. Sort of like dog lives and human lives. Submit to anyone who seems like a reasonable venue/choice/market for your writing. Do it often. Keep shipping the stuff out. And if you don't believe me, here's the wise Rachelle Gardner weighing in on the topic here.  Her advice: It’s best to send your queries in batches. Choose maybe six to ten agents to query at a time, then wait four to six weeks, in which time you might get some feedback that can help you revise your query if necessary. Then send another batch.

Favorite line from agent  Janet Reid today about an incoming query: "My agent died. I didn't kill her. At least, not by myself."

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Newsletter Update:
I just sent out the Autumn issue of The Writing Life newsletter via email. My column was on voice--a writer's signature. If you did not receive it, please contact me with your updated email address. Meanwhile, keep writing, keep dreaming, have heart

Monday, October 24, 2011

It's almost bed time on a Monday night after a mostly sunny day here in Portland. Earlier we took a brisk stroll as dusk fell and as we returned home the shadows and dark were overtaking the neighborhood, revealing landscapes and shapes not recognized in the daylight. Cats prowling, dogs barking, lights and televisions flickering, pumpkins lined up on porches, spider webs decorating fences.Our new neighborhood is becoming familiar now, and although I miss the creek and my former walks, there is so much to notice in a new landscape, particularly during nightfall.

I've been adding writing info to my website including one on storyline structure and a cheat sheet of fiction tips. Go to this link.  

Voice announces a writer and invites a reader onto the page or into the story. I still have openings in my upcoming Power of Voice workshop this Saturday, October 29th. Write to me for details if you're interested.It's going to be a really elucidating workshop.

NaNoWriMo is 8 days away. Are you ready to write?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Thought for the Day: 

I write because something inner and unconscious forces me to. That is the first compulsion. The second is one of ethical and moral duty. I feel responsible to tell stories that inspire readers to consider more deeply who they are. ~ David Guterson

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A small gaggle of Writing Life Suggestions:

If you're struggling with creating a writing routine that you can stick with, then try a blitz day once a week when you write your butt off….

Build your vocabulary: Words are your tools and if your toolbox is dinky your reader becomes bored. 

Become Limber: Like a ballet dance, stretching at the barr, writers who write regularly become limber. For a writer, limber means that the words have an ease, a flow, an unquenchable source. The more you write, the more you write. Write often, and your fingers will fly across the keyboard, humming  with ideas and insights. 

Murder your darlings: Let’s face it. Most writers are in love with their words. Once they’re on the page all black and new and pretty, we hate to get rid of them. No matter how awkward, wordy or cluttered our sentences become. No matter how awful. No matter how boring. But all writing requires trimming or editing. William Zinnser claims that your writing improves in direct proportion to what you cut from it. Each piece requires a word-by-word and sentence-by-sentence scrutiny. First look for unnecessary modifiers, adjectives and adverbs that don’t add to the meaning. Now tune in to your verbs, are they active and lively? Are there too many prepositions?  The goal is taut prose.  If you are a true coward about beheadings and such, find a second opinion. Preferably someone who is honest (perhaps brutally so) and wields a ruthless red pen.  

Paint word pictures: Writers write, but they also paint word pictures in the reader’s mind. Abstract words don’t create pictures, the tools for the job are nouns and verbs. Don't  write about freedom or justice, bring these concepts to life with a narrative. 

Write with Passion: What do you love? Football? Gardening? French cuisine? When was your love for words and books and storytelling first stirred? What moves you? Why do you weep? Where would you like to live? What would you write if nothing stood in your way? Own your life, your heart, your memories, your truth.  Celebrate what you love about life or transform what 

Read it Aloud: Looking for the places you bog down and clunk. Notice sentence variety, pauses, and tangles.
Learn to handle rejection: Into every writer’s life a little rejection must fall. Of course a rejection letter is about as much fun as a computer failure. Deal. Move on.

Read like a Writer: Writers must become critical readers. While it’s wise to admire  a writer’s obvious successes--plot, character, dialogue, notice  language, examine each sentence, word by word. The more we pay attention to how other writers assemble their ideas and fashion their sentences, the more our own writing improves.  Observe the construction of sentences and paragraphs, the underlayment and  basics of style. Notice verbs, and  word choice, sentence structure and length.

Embrace Solitude—a state of being intimate and comfortable with yourself that you need to become with in order to write and then write some more.    

Share your Truth: The place to begin writing is from your own truth. This is a variation of the advice to write about what you know, and it’s good advice because it works. If you write about who you really are, about your pains, embarrassments, loss and grief, your  words are bound to ring with authenticity. Write about your divorce, your grandmother, the time you got lost in the haunted house,  the way the wind howling through the trees outside the windows of your childhood bedroom terrified you. Take these pieces and weave them into fiction, most of the great writers do. When our writing doesn’t flow or gel it’s often because we aren’t authentic. We only have our own lives to write from, our own truths to harvest. Don’t wait for your family to understand you or forgive you or die. Write about what you know. It’s all you really have.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tolkien speaks
But how powerful, how stimulating to the very faculty that produced it, was the invention of the adjective. ... The mind that thought of light, heavy, grey, yellow, still, swift, also conceived of magic that would make heavy things light and able to fly, turn grey lead into yellow gold, and the still rock into a swift water. If it could do the one, it could do the other; it inevitably did both. When we can take green from grass, blue from heaven, and red from blood, we have already an enchanter’s power. ~ J.R.R. Tolkien, “On Fairy Stories”

For those of you writing fantasy, if you're interested in reading Tolkien's essay On  Fairy-Stories here is the link .
In his best known essay, he covers the origins of fairy tales and defends the genre. 
Keep writing, keep dreaming, have heart

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Translating Oral Tradition
Ever since there was language there have been stories. The first ones were likely told or sung around a fire. In the first chapter of my book, Between the Lines,  Master the Subtle Elements of Fiction Writing I described how writers are descended from ancient story tellers.  We pay attention to oral traditions—the campfire tales and recounting a hunt--because storytelling is a physical experience that expresses enduring themes and dilemmas and preserves the past. The storytelling tradition reflected in modern plays, novels, and films remains linked to its ancient roots. Today’s stories, like their primitive counterparts, play with language to translate anecdotes and events into dramas embedded with characterization, place, dialogue, and action.
 When we write based on archetypes and incorporate the physical aspects of storytelling we can bring fresh and endless interpretations to storytelling and keep this valued and necessary tradition alive. So how does this knowledge of an oral tradition affect you as a writer of fiction? Obviously you cannot don an animal skin and build a fire to tell your story. Nor can you start shrieking a warning to your reader when the villain comes into the scene. The physicality that exists between you and your reader will be the heft of the book, the pages he turns, the actual print on the paper.
            Yet you can still evoke a fireside experience; you can appeal to the child within, who is wide eyed and wondering and sometimes afraid; you can spin tall tales, reinventing timeless themes, in other words, you can be a part of the tradition that stems back from times past when a far-off wolf’s howl sent shivers down the listener’s spine.
            Here are some techniques, that you can apply to your writing to craft a spellbinding tale in the tradition of the greatest storytellers.
  • No matter your genre, your idea must be wrapped in a story; a tale of a person or people in the midst of troubles, challenges, and change while pursuing a goal.
  • Primitive stories evolved from the daily happenings like bringing home dinner, meeting a tribesman from the next village, weather ruining an outing, or finding a new fishing hole. But mostly they stemmed from surprises, dangers, and beasts encountered, because a person meeting danger holds a timeless appeal.
  • Make certain that you include at least one visual element on every page.
  • Use all the senses, especially the sense of smell which directly links to a reader’s brain.
  • Write in the active voice and generally put things in motion whenever possible. This includes, when appropriate, sketching description through a character’s viewpoint instead of inserting inert blocks or long passages.
  • Make certain that your story explains or suggests why people do what they do. A character’s motivations hold a deep appeal because readers are constantly trying to understand the human condition.
  • Remember that real life is nonlinear, that is, we do not only live in the present moment, but shift back and forth into our past, present, and imagined future. The best fiction is also nonlinear in that it shifts back in time via a character’s memories or flashbacks and it subtly foreshadows the future while pressing ahead.
  • Ancient stories also contained useful information, so “pad” your stories with useful bits such how your character shoots his bow or catches dinner.
  • As stories evolved, they often featured happy endings where good guys triumphed, evil was overcome and hard choices paid off. Likewise, happy endings still sell, but tragedies, if finely crafted, can also satisfy modern readers.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

There's a gunmetal sky this morning and I'm at my desk working on a memo for an editing client, trying to solve some story problems that have me stumped. Autumn colors are appearing here  as if ribbons of lemon and pumpkin are wrapping the trees. I woke this morning dreaming of a meditation class that was taught to music. Since breakfast I’ve been thinking about the former Poet Laureate and gardener, Stanley Kunitz, so wanted to add a few of his quotes here.

You must be careful not to deprive the poem of its wild origin.”

" Old myths, old gods, old heroes have never died. They are only sleeping at the bottom of our mind, waiting for our call. We have need for them. They represent the wisdom of our race. "

“Be what you are. Give What is yours to give. Have Style. Dare.”

End with an image and don't explain. The Collected Poems

Friday, October 14, 2011

Vermeer’s studio:
It was a large, square space, not as long as the great hall downstairs. With the windows open it was bright and airy, with white-washed walls, and grey and white marble tiles on the floor, the darker tiles set in a pattern of square crosses. A row of Delft tiles painted with cupids lined the bottom of the walls to protect the whitewash from our mops. They were not my fathers.

Though it was a big room, it held little furniture. There was the easel and chair set in front of the middle window, and the table placed in front of the window in the right corner. Besides the chair I had stood on there was another by the table, of plain leather nailed on with brass studs and two lion heads carved into the tops of the posts. Against the far wall, behind the chair and easel, was a small cupboard, its drawers closed, several brushes and a knife with a diamond-shaped blade arranged on top next to clean palettes. Beside the cupboard was a desk on which were papers and books and prints. Two more line-head chairs head been set against the wall near the doorway.

It was an orderly room, empty of the clutter of everyday life. It felt different from the rest of the house, almost as if it were in another house altogether. When the door was closed it would be difficult to hear the shouts of children, the jangle of Catharina’s keys, the sweeping of our brooms. Tracy Chevalier, Girl With a Pearl Earring

What does your character's room/studio/home/office reveal and suggest?
Quick Take: Emphasis at the end
A number of studies have shown that readers remember openings and endings best. But this doesn't just refer to opening scenes and ending scenes. Wise writers stack the most important information, images and words in the front and end (or most important places), careful not to bury important information midsentence, mid paragraph or mid scene.
Whenever possible place words that evoke tension and suspense at the end of sentences and paragraphs because emphasis belongs in final notes. Best are words or ideas that readers cannot anticipate. Also add important new information at the end of sentences.  I came, I saw, I conquered.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sky is sooty again this morning, but it hasn't rained yet today. I've been updating/adding items to my web site jessicamorrell.com/ For years I avoided naming a web set after myself because it seemed too hoighty to do so, but I want people to find me, so practicality won over modesty.  You might want to check out my new Cheat Sheets here, which include a fiction checklist and information on modifiers and verbs. More updates to come. If anyone knows how to make Wordpress behave so my lists don't appear all scraggly-assed, please let me know. They look orderly when I add them and then when I publish them, bird tracks scitter across the page.... by the way, this is the actual color outside my window>>

Laura Miller is weighing in on whether the National Book Awards are still relevant at salon.com. This is a piece I need to ponder more, but she raises some good points, don't you think?

I'm also starting to verify my faculty for my upcoming mini-conference which is happening here in Portland on January 28th. It's called Making It in Tough &Changing Times and I'm thrilled at the talented instructors who will be joining me for a fast-paced day of inspiration. Ditto for 2012 Summer in Words. Stay tuned...meanwhile, keep writing, keep dreaming, have heart

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Opportunities, etc.
The sun is back in Portland today, glimmering down on a wet, wet world. Our young trees are happy about all the rain, but it's about a month early and a great deal of complaints about our too-short summer can be heard just about anywhere you go. I had the flu much of last week and am now on the mend and working on completing a bunch of editing projects and trying to clear the decks for NaNoWriMo. Hope your autumn is productive also.
Can you write your life story in 150 Words? If so, enter the Reader's Digest Contest on Facebook.

You could win $25,000 and get your work published in Reader's Digest! There are other cash prizes too! Read others' stories, become inspired, and vote for the stories you like best! Here's the link: To see the contest rules and prizes, just go to this link: http://www.facebook.com/ReadersDigest?sk=app_108814999219210

Author's Road Adds Tom Robbins to its interview list. About 10 years ago I heard Tom Robbins speak at a banquet and have never forgotten his eloquence, humor, and insights. Here's a link to an interview with him.And doesn't Author's Road sound like too much fun?
"My goal has been to twine ideas and images into big subversive pretzels of life, death and goofiness on the chance they might help keep the world lively and give it the flexibility to endure.” ~ Tom Robbins

Attention Seattle Writers: The Seattle 7 Writers are at it again. They're offering a fabulous line up of workshops and such on Saturday, October 15.  It's called Write Here, Write Now and it's a one-day learning/writing intensive. Information and the schedule are here. There's a talented group of authors teaching and mentoring including Erik Larsen and Jennie Shortridge.
Keep writing, keep dreaming, have heart

Monday, October 10, 2011

 “As an artist, you are a representative human being – you have to believe that in order to give your life over to that effort to create something of value. You’re not doing it only to satisfy your own impulses or needs; there is a social imperative. If you solve your problems and speak of them truly, you are of help to others, that’s all. And it becomes a moral obligation.” Stanley Kunitz

 "Autumn teaches us that fruition is also death; that ripeness is a form of decay. The willows, having stood for so long near water, begin to rust. Leaves are verbs that conjugate the seasons." ~ Gretel Ehrlich The Solace of Open Spaces  

"Everybody's born with some different thing at the core of their existence. And that thing, whatever it is, becomes like a heat source that runs each person from the inside. I have one too, of course. Like everybody else. But sometimes it gets out of hand. It swells or shrinks inside me, and it shakes me up. What I'd really like to do is find a way to communicate that feeling to another person." ~ Haruki Murakami

Sunday, October 09, 2011

The Power of Voice
October 29, 10-5
Location: 5441 S.E. Belmont Portland, Oregon
After your title, the first thing an editor or agent notices is the voice of your story, manuscript, or proposal. Voice is the breath of the writer or, in the case of fiction, contains the power and personality of the story or narrator. And editors fall in (or out of) love with a compelling voice. Since stories and essays announce themselves through voice this workshop covers everything you want to know about voice how to create an authentic voice in fiction and nonfiction. We’ll also discuss how to create introspection, close voice, distant voice (for delivering information) creating emotional atmosphere through voice, and how voice stems from a character’s socio-economic background. We’ll also discuss how voice and viewpoint connect to bring readers into a story. During our session we'll dissect powerful examples in fiction and nonfiction, brainstorm ways to make voice sound authentic, and generate story beginnings during our session. Ideal for both the novice writer and those seeking an engaging refresher, a one-day intensive is a great way to energize your writing. 
I'll be at the Willamette Writers booth # 1104 at Wordstock today from 11-1, then am going to listen to several panels, including one at 5 p.m. that includes my hero Daniel Woodrell--author of Winter's Bone and other fine books. Hope to see some of you writers there....

Saturday, October 08, 2011

I think the point of every sentence, every detail, factual or imagined, and every line of dialogue is to illuminate character and advance the story. Research has been, for me, a reassuring and intriguing line of luminarias. ~ Amy Bloom
From an Editor's Desk: Short stories
I've been reading short stories lately that are short stories in name only. Some of them are character studies, or anecdotes, or rambles without a particular destination. A short story is first and foremost a story. Which means it includes a beginning, middle and an end. The end resolves a situation, usually a conflict, that begins the story and the opening creates a threat in the protagonist's life. Short stories will always include a character who is changed, or better yet, profoundly changed by the events of the story. No change, no story.

In potent short stories the voice is always authentic and memorable, conflict simmers throughout, and the first paragraph is so finely wrought that it's the literary equivalent of a Fabergé egg. Here's are a few beginnings from Amy Bloom's short story collection Where the God of Love Hangs Out. I cannot recommend these stories too often.Notice how the voice in each opening is distinctive.

Every death is violent.
     The iris, the rainbow of the eye, closes down. The pupil spreads out like black water. It seems natural, if you are there to push the lid down, to ease the pleated shade over the ball, down to the lower lashes. The light is out, close the door.

I was born smart and had been lucky my whole life, so I didn't even know that what I thought was careful planning was nothing more than being in the right place at the right time, missing an avalanche I didn't even hear.
      After the funeral was over and the cold turkey and the glazed ham were demolished and some very good jazz was played and some very good musicians went home drunk on bourbon poured in my husband's honor, it just me, my mother-in-law Ruth, and out two boys Lionel junior from Lionel's second marriage and our little boy , Buster.

Compassion and Mercy
No power.
     The roads were thick with pine branches and whole birch trees, the heavy boughs breaking off and landing on top of houses and cars and in front of driveways. The low, looping power lines coiled onto the road, and even from their bedroom window, Clare could see silver branches dangling in the icy wire. Highways were closed. Classes were canceled. The phone didn't work. The front steps were slipper as hell.
     William kept a fire going in the living room and Clare toasted rye bread on the end of fondue forks for breakfast, and in the early afternoon they wrapped cheese sandwiches in tin foil and threw them into the embers for fifteen minutes. William was in charge of dinner and making hot water for Thai ginger soup-in-a-blow. They used the snow bank at the kitchen door to chill the Chardonnay. 

Keep writing, keep dreaming, have heart

Thursday, October 06, 2011

"Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes ... the ones who see things differently -- they're not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. ... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things. ... They push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do."~ Steve Jobs

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Confronting Grief and Loss
Perhaps there is nothing so difficult to confront on the page as loss and grief. It requires such dexterity, honesty, and tenderness of the writer. It requires quiet reflection and courage.The ability to sort through the pain and pathos of a situation. I know from my own life that sometimes grief can feel like a whole country. This country has no borders, yet, somehow you cannot escape it. There is no train, or plane, or transport out.
So here's an example of writing about this difficult topic from McSweeney's 2011 Column Winner. Notice how Michelle Mirsky takes a minimilist approach to her subject, yet how her details and metaphors send ripples of recognition through a reader. The link to These Things Happened is here.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Going Home
You can find my column Going Home about writing and the importance of tracing memories, at my website.
I wrote it last year after spending time in my hometown when my father turned 80.
Keep writing, keep remembering, have heart
From the Wish I'd Written That Metaphor File: 
"By now, the morning sun was just over the horizon and it came at me like a sidearm pitch between the houses of my old neighborhood. I shielded my eyes. This being early October, there were already piles of leaves pushed against the curb—more leaves than I remembered from my autumns here—and less open space in the sky. I think what you notice most when you haven’t been home in a while is how much the trees have grown around your memories.”Mitch Albom, For One More Day
Love is the answer to everything. It's the only reason to do anything. If you don't write stories you love, you'll never make it. If you don't write stories that other people love, you'll never make it.

Love. Fall in love and stay in love. Write only what you love, and love what you write. The key word is love. You have to get up in the morning and write something you love, something to live for.

My stories run up and bite me on the leg - I respond by writing down everything that goes on during the bite. When I finish, the idea lets go and runs off. ~ Ray Bradbury 

Writing in the still of the night. The world so quiet I feel like I'm the only one alive. After months of all the preparations for moving, then moving into a new house, then settling into a new house, on Saturday night we hosted a housewarming gathering. Lots of friends and family showed up and their good wishes made the phrase heartwarming have special meaning. After months and months of crossing off items on a too-long to-do list I'm looking forward to slowing down. This means writing, reading, cooking, movies, and watching the Green Bay Packers (and my secret boyfriends) win the Super Bowl again. Walking and enjoying the colors in nature change around here. Last forays to the farmer's market.

I'm also gearing up for NaNoWriMo in November. 28 days away. This means cranking out at least 1500 words a day. I've never attempted it before, but have written that many words while under contract with a publisher. What are your autumn plans?
Keep writing, keep dreaming, have heart