Friday, December 2, 2016

The Last Month of 2016

2016 is winding down.  There are a ton of things to do in this last month, but I feel like a bear ready for hibernation.  Sort of a 'wake me up in January' kind of thing.

This, of course, has been an unusual late fall.  It hasn't even snowed a little yet where I'm at.  Which I'm not complaining out, believe me, but it is worth noting.  We usually have at least a little somethin' by the end of November.  But no.

The leaves are almost entirely off the trees now.  Finally.

The fish are finally beginning to act like 'Fall fishing' and it's almost Winter.

Not quite sure what this month will bring.  Snow?  Probably.  Christmas?  Definitely.  Albeit a truncated kind.  (I'm not feeling at all Christmasy.)  And this year will come to an end.  I know a lot of people are ready for 2016 to be over.  Eh, this hasn't been a better or worse year for me than any other.  I say, let this one end and the other begin with all hopes it will be a better coming year and not a worse one.

Does it feel like December to you?  Are you ready for this year to be over?  Excited for 2017?  What's on your agenda for this month?  For next year?

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

10 Gifts for the Writer in Your Life

I was inspired to write this post when I saw that Donna at GIRL WHO READS included The Hitwoman Under Pressure in her fabulous list of 10 BOOKS TO BUY THE BOOK LOVER IN YOUR LIFE.

So here's my list of 10 gifts for writers:

1)  Coffee (or whatever their liquid fuel of choice is). If they like to write outside of their home, a cafe gift card is always welcome.

2) A massage (or a gift certificate for one). It's not easy to be hunched over a keyboard for hours at a time.

3) Your attention and support. Look, I get it, most of what a writer does take place in his/her head, but that doesn't mean it's not real for him/her. Find out what your writers is excited about, or worried about. Ask if there's anything you can do to help.

4) Books -- Writers love to read. Again a gift card will be most appreciated.

5) Headphones -- So they can shut out the real world. So they can rock out while pounding the keyboard. So they can listen to audio books.

6) An artist date. -- Help your writer refill their creative well. Museums, concerts, plays, botanical gardens, a trip to the sea, a hike in the woods, a short class in an artistic discipline other than writing.

7)  Something for the writer's workspace. A candle, a chair, a lamp, a timer, a piece of art, office supplies (can't go wrong with a gift card for this either!), a planner. (I used the Your Best Year in 2016 and will use it again in 2017. Just be warned that it's designed for Creative Entrepreneurs so if you're writer isn't at that point yet, it won't help them as much. )

8) Technology -- Hardware, Software, Apps -- Oh my!

9) Write a review of their book (if they're published).  Trust me, we love them!

10) A fun and frivolous writer's gift. Just look at the choices you get when you search for "writer gift"
at Etsy. Soooo much fun stuff!

Tell me Killer Friends: What are your favorite writer gifts?

Monday, November 28, 2016

A Writer Walks Into A Bar...

I spent six days in Toronto recently visiting my sister. In case you're unfamiliar with Toronto, it's Canada's largest city. To put that in perspective it's also the fourth largest city in North America. It's a great city and I love spending time there. A short amount of time anyway. After five or six days I crave the quieter pace of my much smaller city, which boasts a population of approximately 240,000 folks.

That means Toronto does things on a bigger scale like the Royal Ontario Museum and the Art Gallery of Ontario. Very impressive places and I was fortunate enough to see the AGO's latest exhibit - Mystical Landscapes: Masterpieces by Monet, Van Gough and others. It was fantastic and inspiring and a host of other things. Being in a bigger city also means sampling a host of unique boutique type places like Famous Last Words, a literary cocktail bar.

It's named after a classic book of the same name written by Timothy Findley. With bookshelf wallpaper, 11,000 Scrabble tiles covering the bar, and hundreds of books on the shelves the ambience is set . The menu resembles a book with pages numbers and a glossary. Be still my heart, the drinks are named after books. One of the ones I sampled was called Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shyteyngart. They give as much care and attention to their list of mocktails as they do their cocktails.

It go me thinking of what cocktails I would create for my books. But since I'm not a mixologist I'm having a challenging creating new ones. But I believe Lily from BACKLASH would prefer a nice pinot grigio. Kate from EXPOSED doesn't drink alcohol but downs coffee. Grace from GONE, my work-in-progress, sticks to beer.  

Right now, with the weather turning chill,  I'm wishing for a nice dairy-free hot chocolate. What do you like to sit and sip? Morning, evening or anytime in between?

Friday, November 25, 2016

Black What?

Okay, so we all know today is Black Friday - that day when people shop with rampant abandon to get 'blockbuster' savings on a 700" flat screen or that tiny car for their kids or whatever.

I don't do Black Friday.  In fact, I did all my regular shopping so that I wouldn't have to be near any stores through Monday.  If we run out of milk before then, we're screwed.  Ya know what I'm sayin'?  I do not want. 

Yesterday, I heard about stores opening on Thursday for Black Friday savings.  Umm... Black what?  I also heard about Black Wednesday.  Black what? 

I'm confused.

I know when I lived near family, we made it a big deal to gather together and go to the mall on the day after Thanksgiving.  We never got up early.  We never waited in long lines.  We got there when we got there and if there were savings involved, great.  We gals (it was always the gals + kids) would shop and then do lunch and then shop some more, if we were so inclined.  Oh, there were lines at the checkouts, but not like there are today.

If I remember correctly, the worst lines were at Toys-R-Us.  That place was always a madhouse.  But each of us Meissner gals - having either kids or grandkids - needed to make a stop there.  It was all good, though.  No fighting over the last Cabbage Patch doll.  (Mom tells a story of the year those came out.  Madness.) No crying over missed opportunities.  Okay, maybe there was some crying.  We did have the kids with us after all. 

We shopped in a pack.  If my daughter wanted something but she was in my cart, a sister would put it in her cart when the Kid wasn't looking so we could maintain the Santa factor.  I did the same for them.  Or they would distract her so I could put something in my cart - under my coat - and I did the same for them.  It was nice.

I don't need to do any of that anymore.  I don't buy gifts in stores, for the most part.  Everyone I love except Hubs is hundreds of miles away.  Online catalog shopping in the best.  Or cash for the Kid.  Or I pick up little things while I'm grocery shopping.  I might pay a little more because I'm missing out on the Black Friday deals, but I'm okay with that.  Which proves I'd pay money to stay away from crowds. LOL

So, yeah, all this Black Friday, Pre-Black Friday, Black Wednesday stuff confuses me.  But, hey, if it's your thing, have at it.  Stay safe.  And good luck with your bargain hunting!

Do you do Black Friday?  If it a nice experience for you, or are you one of those who hate it but do it anyway?  I know Mom and one of my sisters will be out there in the crowds sometime today, so remember to be pleasant to your fellow shoppers.  ;o)

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Friday, November 18, 2016

What Do They Look Like?

Eons ago, in another life, I was having a book discussion with my then significant other.  Okay, it was more like an argument.  He absolutely insisted that a particular character was a brunette and I was totally certain she was a blonde.  It actually got to the point where he stomped over to the bookshelf, flipped through the pages furiously, and stabbed a finger at the passage that proved he was right.  Well, I'll be damned, she was a brunette.  :shrug:  In my head, though, she's still a blonde.

And, for me, that's what it's all about.  Not whether the author created a character to look a certain way, but the way that character looks in a reader's head.  This is probably why adaptations of books for movies or television irritate me so.  I have my own concept of a character in my head and it never matches what the casting director has seen fit to put on the screen. 


As a writer, I understand the need to have readers see what is in my head, to describe everything exactly.  But I also understand if the reader doesn't adhere to my image.  I want readers to see what they want to see.  So, I try to describe just enough to let the reader come up with their own idea.  The only time I've gone beyond this, I think, is with my Once Upon a Djinn series.  I found a cover model who is the embodiment of how I see Jo.  (My apologies if she doesn't match how you saw Jo, but I needed a full frontal model for this series.) 

When you step in, though, you run the risk of changing a reader's image.  Humphrey Bogart will always be Sam Spade to me.  Gary Sinise is now and forever Stu Redman.  That little girl actress will pop up as Scout whenever I read the book.  Dorothy will always have the face of Judy Garland.  It is what it is, but I had different ideas of Stu and Dorothy before I watched the movies.  (Yes, I read The Wizard of Oz before I watched the movie.  Long story.)  Now, my original images are erased and replaced.  Which is kind of sad, but there's nothing I can do about it.

So, anyway, I hope I provide enough information to give readers a platform on which to build their own image of my characters.  I suspect for some it's not enough, but I can only do what I can do. 

What do you think?  Do you like everything described perfectly or would you rather build your own mental image? 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016


Maggie and the gang are back!

Order on AMAZON

Maggie Lee’s done a lot of questionable things that have made her question her own sanity. Chaperoning her niece’s class trip is one of them.

Not only must she attempt to corral a bunch of energetic kids, but at the same time she has to argue with the talking lizard in her bra, avoid a mysterious doppelganger, and chase down runaway horses!

And that’s just the beginning.

With her relationships and alliances in flux, Maggie is uncertain of what her next steps should be. Caught between the family drama caused by the return of her sister, Darlene, and her own efforts to save an innocent boy, Maggie struggles to make the right decisions and protect lives that hang in the balance.

Can Maggie navigate these latest landmines, or will relationships, or even a life, be lost?