Month: January 2011

I’m in!  I’m now one of the crowd.  I took the dive: I started a Twitter account–and yes, it was as easy as pie.  And the funny thing was, it didn’t hurt at all.  No.  Painless as an ice cold margarita on a Saturday afternoon.

With all this technology and progress, I sometimes like to look back a little bit.  I don’t know if it’s genetic or simply the age I grew up in, but I’ve always felt like I was reincarnated, as if I lived in the Forties and was born again–literally–in 1968 after a long hiatus.  I know in my heart that this is fanciful thinking, but it carries a certain reality for me, and I often wonder how much this affects my writing…?

Simply said, past ages fascinate me.  What was the pace of life like back then?  How did it compare to today.  Was writing a novel a completely different experience without all the world’s information and resources at our fingertips in tools such as Google?

I think about the people who populated those eras.  I puzzle and stare too long at the pictures of writers we all admire, wondering what floated through their transom on any average Tuesday, and how that train of thought might compare with my own.  I play games in my head.  For example, wouldn’t it be fun to imagine some of our favorite authors–some now long since dead–tweeting?

If you too have wondered these things, then today’s your lucky day.  Behold, with a little modern magic, some Photoshop and a little elbow grease, we can see what a few of the best known writer’s might have tweeted, if given the chance.

Off the bat, I can see it now: good old F. Scott sitting around with Zelda, jotting off:

Or Hemingway, laying it on thick:

And who knows what kind of crazy stuff Lewis Carroll would come up with:

I can imagine good old Charlie Dickens adding his voice to the conversation:

What about Herman Melville?

Of course we can’t leave the ladies out.  Jane Austen might have expressed herself thusly:

No doubt Charlotte Bronte might have quipped:

Standing in the shadow of these literary giants, I am indeed humbled, a condition in which I have spent most of my life, well in advance of the Twitter Age.  Thus, and I understand the meagreness of my offering, upon opening my account today, I could but manage:

If you’d like to come join me on Twitter, feel free.  You can find me here.  Rest assured, I’ll see if I can find a way to be a tad more interesting.

Hi all!

FurnaceGirl here. I’m not nearly as talented or well-versed in this writing gig as J.P., so please be patient with me.

If you haven’t already heard what this post is about, go check it out here. I’ll wait…

So, now that we are all up to speed here goes: I must be honest and say that I am very proud of and slightly surprised by my dear husband. He talked about wanting to be a writer ever since we met. The tricky part was, that apart from the work he produced when finishing his English degree, he hadn’t written much. He had a hard time while in college because he had such high aspirations and couldn’t quite make his work match his potential. He needed more practice, and patience.

It was not easy to watch him struggle with the realities of creative writing. He would get so excited about a story idea, then often grasp and fumble to put it on the page. I wanted a better way to help him beyond simply reading and offering constructive critiques, but I suppose that was the best way. I couldn’t tell him how to write (I’m certainly NOT the expert in the family!), I could only encourage him to keep pulling it apart and working toward his goal.

I see that he has really blossomed as a writer in the last year and a half. It is really quite dramatic, let me tell you. His writing is on a whole different plane than it used to be (Did you read his excerpt from Daisy?!?!). I believe some of the credit goes to you, his readers. You have offered critiques, feedback, support, encouragement, and comraderie to him along the way. I know that has meant a great deal to him, and to me.

If I could be selfish for a minute, I’ll share that there are a few drawbacks to this new blossoming. It’s not as much fun to go on our lunch dates when he’s lost in thought and dreaming about the idea he’s been working on fleshing out all morning. Sometimes he can get a little grumpy when he’s having a particularly hard time getting through a plotline. But, like I said, that’s me being selfish. :)

I’ll take the dreaminess and grumpiness once in a while to see him grow as a writer and fufill a long-time dream of his. I will bring cups of tea, and glasses of ice water when he’s hard at work, and not complain…much.

This is my Kindle. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My Kindle is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. My Kindle, without me, is useless. Without my Kindle, I am useless–or at the least, very very bored.  😀

This is just a quick odds-and-ends post to get a few things out of the way, share my recent good fortune, and warm up the crowd for tomorrow–so consider this your reminder: don’t forget to check back to see my better-half-by-far, FurnaceGirl, hi-jack WSMG and take it for a spin as part of the Significant Other Blogfest.

In the meantime, I’ll share some mental meanderings with thee.  I’ve given it some thought and decided that I’d like to share more of myself on this blog. 

Now before you go backing away from your computer–oh gawd, here it comes, you’re thinking–let me explain what I mean: I don’t talk a lot about flying or about living in Sicily or some other fun things I do–and I am reticent to do so under the rubric that folks are probably not interested. 

This blog is about writing, no? But as I was putting together my recent post reviewing the last year and getting an overview of my posts in toto, I realized am a great user of the “royal” we.  We, as writers, should do this.  We, as readers, should consider that.

Frankly there hasn’t been a lot of the “I think…” or “I struggle…” or “I fail…” going on, if you know what I mean.  And I think that is what we(!)…I really want to be better about talking about, to share these daily tales with you guys more often and in ways that are riskier and not so safe.

Strangely enough, putting myself into my writing is something I think I struggle with in my fiction too.  :)

So I am going to broaden this blog’s scope somewhat, pull in more of the personal, tell–no show!–more, to make the ride a tad more enjoyable perhaps, and learn to let my guard down.  After all, many of these things are what make me who I am as a writer, so talking about them in this forum should be a natural development.

In that spirit, here’s a recent piece of fun and excitement in my world.  Look what FurnaceGirl got me for my birthday!

Yeah, it’s pretty sweet.  I know, I know.  I am light years behind most of you.  As one of my old coworkers, a retired Marine Corps Colonel who flew Hueys in Vietnam, used to say: somebody needs to drag me kicking and screaming into the Twenty-First Century (for the record, the Colonel could run circles around me on any Microsoft product, bar none).

I told the Le Donna De Furnace that this device is downright dangerous in the hands of someone like me.  Our monthly book expenditures are gonna skyrocket!

Yeah, and Stormy the dog (his real name) had to get in on the action.

So you see, FurnaceGirl is a pretty cool customer, especially after hooking yours truly up so well.  Check back tomorrow to hear her side of the story.  BTW, any of ya’all out there in the blogosphere have a handy-dandy tip or two for this here new Kindle user?

P. S.  Oh yeah, almost forgot to mention: we’ve got a little one on the way–and it’s a boy!  😀

The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible.

~Vladimir Nabakov



I think setting goals and staying passionate and motivated is a huge part of being a successful writer.  We can have all the talent in the world, but without the stick-to-it-iveness to sit down on a regular basis–preferably every day–and actually pound out those words, especially when we don’t feel passionate or motivated, we’ll never reach our true potential.

Despite the importance I put on this idea, I still struggle with staying disciplined and sticking with it.  Sometimes I blow off writing.  Sometimes I decide to do something else–procrastinate!–like play a video game or watch the television.  I know it’s not what I should do or need to do or even what I want to do, but I do it anyway, and ignore the nagging voices in the back of my head saying I’m letting myself down.

There are no easy answers to this problem.  The cure to “not writing” is to “write”, as often and as much as possible.  But it is also easy to let days and weeks slip by and not be honest with myself about how little I’ve actually done.

So, to address this troubling dilemma and find a way to stay on target, like many of you, I occasionally identify goals and then measure my performance accordingly.  Publicly stating my goals works well because either I’ll show you all what I’m really made of, or I get to stand here and admit my embarrassment. 

I’ve said it before: fear of failure is a huge motivator for me, but I’ve found over the years that the way to make the fear real is to ensure there are witnesses.  Making the possibility of failure public helps me succeed.  Sounds twisted, but it works for me!

So without further adieu, here are my writing goals for 2011:

  • One hundred WSMG posts
  • Ten draft short stories
  • Five short stories ready for critique
  • Three shorts submitted for publication
  • One short story published
  • DAISY ready to query
  • First 50k words of SHOOTER NUMBER ONE (my next novel idea) completed/Win NaNo 2011
  • Start Twitter account
  • Climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Kenya
  • Read a ton of good fiction
  • Support my fellow writers

Obviously this list is pretty ambitious, but I guess I’ve always been a “go big or go home” kinda guy.  Call me crazy.  Anyone got any pointers on getting a Twitter account set up?