Sunday, November 28, 2010

What Spurs Your Creativity?

Personally, I prefer quiet when I'm writing.  No radio.  No music.  No sounds of traffic, ambulances, or barking dogs.

Definitely no TV.  The voices distract me.  You know, all those words...  Not to mention the hollering, screaming, and other idiocy.

Some people have told me they MUST have music playing in the background when they're writing or painting or in the midst of other creative efforts.  Bach and Beethoven do it for some of them, heavy metal does it for others.

Other people report they like to write in a coffee shop, while commuting on the bus or train, or outdoors.

What spurs YOUR creativity?  I'm curious.  Curious enough to give a few other things a whirl.  Every so often I like to shake things up ... this week, I'm into shaking myself up.  That's what four days at home does to me...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Release Date Moved Forward

Just received word that Taking the Mystery Out of Business will be available in December 2010 instead of January 2011!

It's included in my publisher's catalog and now appears on their website.  If you'd like to pre-order via their website rather than waiting until later in December to purchase it from your favorite bookstore or on Amazon or Smashwords, click here.

The Kindle and iPad versions will be available a few weeks after the print and eBooks.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Wild Mountain Goats - Glacier National Park - 08/2010

My father has always stated that he doesn't believe in coincidence.  Unless, of course, it's a real coincidence.  He then goes on to explain the difference between a real coincidence and an event masquerading as a coincidence.  The comparison goes like this:  A real coincidence is when you go to China on vacation and run into your next door neighbor--who's also on vacation (and you didn't travel together or discuss vacation plans in advance).  A coincidence is not when you're on your first date with a guy and his favorite color is the same as yours.

Dad is skeptical of any type of seeming coincidence that doesn't contain an element of the bizarre--such as the vacation in China thing.

When we writers tell our stories, we need to avoid calling contrived events "coincidences."  For example, what are the real chances of the the father of your secret baby returning to town ten years after he abandoned your pregnant self and stumbling upon his nine year-old son...and recognizing him immediately?  And suddenly wanting to be a dad?  I doubt it's happened in real life, but it's happened in fiction--and it's not a coincidence.  It's baloney.

And how about the slasher movie when the hero shoots the bad guy with a single bullet?  Coincidence?  Yeah, right.  All of us can shoot a moving target and kill it with one bullet.  Then the weirdest thing happens: the hero is so sure of his marksman ability (just like we are, right?), he turns his back on the dead slasher...who then leaps from the floor, dripping blood and guts, and makes yet another attempt to kill our hero.  Coincidence?  I don't think so.  For Pete's sake, everyone knows that if a slasher tries to kill you, emptying the gun, reloading, and emptying it again is the only real way to kill him.  Cripes.

Our characters' actions have to be motivated.  They have to make sense.  And sometimes it's really hard to come up with sufficient motivation to write the really terrific scene that's been playing in your mind for the past three days.  (Guess what I'm stuck on?)

So, here's a real coincidence in my life these days.  BACKGROUND:  One of my two blogging buddies in Scotland recently revealed on his blog (May Contain Nuts) that he's a tremendous fan of the author James Lee Burke.  Oddly enough, JLB lives about twenty miles from where I live.  I don't know JLB personally and have never met him, although he was a speaker at the Montana Festival of the Book that I attended last month.  COINCIDENCE:  I taught two insurance seminars today and just happened to mention to my students that my newest book, Taking the Mystery Out of Business, is being released in January.  I was then asked about my "writing career" and one of my students mentioned that her next door neighbor is a writer.  She's never read anything he's written, and she doesn't know if he's famous or anything, and her 11 year-old son has occasionally been hired by this writer to do yard work.  Guess who this writer-neighbor is?  You guessed it.  James Lee Burke.  Now that's a coincidence!

Guess I'm going to have to buy one of his books.  Or stop by his next book signing at Fact and Fiction Books in Missoula.

Now it's YOUR turn to share a REAL coincidence.  Tell all...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Being Famous

Every once in a while someone says something that snaps me out of my little world.  You know how it is:  you're walking around like everyone else, intent on The Life of [_fill in your name__], and you get a glimpse of yourself as another person views you.

I was talking to my oldest granddaughter on the telephone the other day.  She lives 2,700 miles away and I try to call her a few times a month.  We catch up on things and not only does she share the details of her life, she shares the perspective of a highly intelligent and precocious 11-year old.

She has a Facebook presence (monitored by Mom and Dad) and told me how neat her friends think it is that her grandma has a page on Facebook that people can "like."  They all think I'm famous because I wrote two books and have a fan page.

From their minds to God's ears, eh?

Who thinks you're famous...and why?