Monday, June 29, 2009


carriage lightAs a “starving artist” – I’m always looking for ways to save money. But I still have that urge to nest – which for me generally means one of three things: cooking, organizing or decorating. Unfortunately, I don’t always have the cash for my latest project filched from HGTV.

That was – until I discovered the joy of SPRAY PAINTING. (Hmmm - maybe I could use that as a premise for a book????)

So, if you are looking for a quick update for lighting fixtures without buying new – read on. It is amazing the transformation you can make with a can of paint.

Instead of replacing the dated shiny brass light on my back porch, I bought a can of exterior spray paint made to adhere to metal. I chose Krylon’s H20 Latex in black – but there are MANY choices – even hammered finishes.

You might be wondering – as I did, if using spray paint at all can be considered a “green” choice. Or if you might get brain damage from inhaling the fumes.

Here’s an article that convinced me that my project met the criteria for being both lean (reusing rather than buying something new) and green (environmentally-friendly).

krylon h20 Krylon’s H20 Latex™, the first 100 percent acrylic latex spray paint, contributes 55 percent less to smog pollution than most solvent-based spray paints. It can be safely sprayed indoors with ventilation.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Count your blessings. . .really

Work is the pits, we are short a person, I have to work Sundays, I don't have time to write, I'm cranky, on the pitty pot, yada, yada, yada. I can whine with the best of them. And of course I haven't had time to write. You know the nobody likes me,everybody hates me. . .
We found out yesterday morning that the two young women that are being held in connection with the hit and run of that mom at the ice cream shop are the niece and daughter of one of the girls I work with.
Stunned doesn't come close. Kinda makes pulls everything into perspective. I can't begin to imagine what she is going through.
Everything we do in life is by choice and the consequences are no one else's fault but our own. So count your blessings and give thanks.
There, but by the grace of God go I.
Just had to share, thanks for listening

Thursday, June 25, 2009

BIAW North and South

By the time I reach the fourth or fifth day of a BIAW, the energy and the power that comes from the muse can go one of two ways...

North, bringing lots of new ideas, excitement and words...

or South, like the well had totally dried up. There ain't no more words.

If you're heading north right now-woo hoo! You go! Drive those words to your goal destination. And further if you can.

Falling behind? The words just are not there for you? Try this. Just write nonsense Write something like 'I am the best, most prolific writer in the world.' Write it over and over and over. Eventually, your brain will kick in and your story should begin to flow again. Yep, this is positive affirmation time. Avoid any negative statements, even in your rambling. Writing, 'I can't write today.' is only reinforcing your not writing! So that's what your brain, characters, computer, even your soul comes to believe.

Belief is a huge, essential componant to being a successful author.
And in meeting your BIAW goal!

Today's photos are compliments of John Shaver.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Distractions. We've all got 'em. Unless we write in a vacuum, there's going to be something, someone, some idea that's going to distract us from our BIAW (or any writing) goal.

From something as simple as--for me right now the washer just quit so it's time to be distracted by laundry--to discovering you've wasted an hour on the internet when you went in to just check on this one little fact--or you need to read all the blogs/twitters/facebook wall/yada yada yada. (Why are you reading this blog now? Shouldn't you be writing? )

Distractions happen. It's how we deal with them that's important. Both now during a book in a week, and later when we step back into our 'normal' writing mode.

I will be the first to admit I'm fairly well addicted to email and the internet. Although I don't tweet often, I can get so caught up in reading others' posts--well, where does the time go. I have to make a conscious effort to stay away! I try to use checking email as a reward for a certain period of writing or some other task. When you can, group your distractions into a bunch and deal with them all at once rather than one at a time. Put a 'do not disturb' sign on your door--and a mental one on your writing mind.

Understand that distractions happen. And all do have some level of importance...although it's easy to assign a higher degree of importance to something when we want to be distracted. Such as looking at pictures of Indian motorcycles. Or... need I say more about him?

WADD? I know many of you share this condition with me. Writers' Attention Deficiency Dis--oooh, shiney!

Or, as Dug the dog (in Pixar's UP) puts it--Squirrel! (Did you know Dug has his own Facebook fan page? How's that for a distraction?)

Monday, June 22, 2009

BIAW--Writing Without Editing

Writing without editing?

Yep, that can be a tough one sometimes. Just rememeber that your next step will be editing, so it's not like you'll never get the chance.

Some tricks...

*Imagine locking your internal editor in a closet. Whop her up side the head with a two by four and stuff her mouth with a thick gag. Whatever it takes to shut her up.

*turn your font color to white. It'll look like you're not doing anything, but you'll have words when you change the color back. Now, I've never tried this--and with my tendency to have my fingers on the wrong keys...well, not so sure how that would work. There are those who swear by this technique.

*rearrange your screen so you can only see a few lines of what your working on. (use the double-headed arrow thingie to increase the size of the task tray on the bottom of your screen (if you're in windows). I have an alpha smart word processor I use sometimes--it shows only four lines of type at a time. Makes it difficult to go back and 'fix'.

*If you get stuck on something--a word, something you need to research, anything like that--make some notation like ### or **** or (word) and go on. Something else to work on--LATER.

*Be strong! Set your mind to writing fast, knowing next week you can edit!

Sunday, June 21, 2009


413-03854 One of the first things we learn as a professional organizer is the importance of making lists. Unfortunately, I am soooo not a ‘list” type of girl. I had convinced myself that making lists takes away the “spontaneity” of life. The creativity. The fun.

It’s also not fun to waste precious writing time because you’ve forgotten for the third time to buy eggs at the grocery store. Or toilet paper. Even the most dedicated BIAWers can’t go without this necessity.

Just as our desks can easily become cluttered, so can our minds. And as we age, there’s much less room for clutter. I know I have enough trouble remembering where I parked the car at the mall.

So… I’ve made myself become a list person.  And one of my first lists was a magnetized pad on the refrigerator to jot stuff I need to do or to purchase.

I love this list for many reasons. It’s cute. it’s funny. And it gives my mind the space it needs to be creative.

Do you use lists? If so, how can this tool help your writing?

BIAW Sunday

Hey *lizzie, I can only participate in the biaw for 3 days...
Wow! That's okay. Participate when you can--just report your goal to the loop and how you do on the days you can participate.

Hey *lizzie, I wanna make my goal for timed writing.
That's okay too. just let us know.

hey *lizzie. I want to participate but I'm shy and I don't want others to know how silly my goal seems.
Opps, that's not okay. Part of the biaw experience is being accountable for your goal! Whether you make your pages or not!

hey *lizzie. So I want to write five pages this week. What's so cool about that?
You know, those who have reported their goals are aiming for page counts that already total over half of a book on our growth chart! I'm excited to see how many pages Connie's timed writing will add to that. I'm hoping--no I am expecting us to add enough pages to the growth chart to equal one bar. That's 400 pages. We're over half way there. Your five pages could be the ones to put us over that unofficial goal.

hey *lizzie, count me in
Brilliant! Just send me your goals and how long you can participate this week. Check in every day. Watch the HWG blog for updates!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Book Growth Chart

For the past several years, Heartlandians have reported their freshly written--or heavily edited--pages for the bookshelf. This year, the goals guru had a different idea.


Take a look at this year's chart. Pages have been collected since January 1, 2009.

Each colored bar equals 400 manuscript pages--enough to equal a 100,000 word book! Count 'em. Go on, count 'em.

Heartlandians have reported enough new and heavily edited pages to equal 15 books. And that's only those who report pages. And that's only through June!

Imagine what the rest of the year will bring! Will the goals guru have to add on to the growth chart? That would be... Brilliant!

Click on the picture to make it bigger and take a look at the book covers lining the sides of the chart. These books have been released this year--all works of HWG authors. Mighty fine work, ladies!

Blast From the Past: 1998

Triva: The first RWA Chapter #81 Retreat was held October 23-24, 1998 at the Hampton Inn in Omaha, reported then-president Cindy Rutledge in the RAH Cheering Section. (At that time the chapter was called Romance Authors of the Heartland.) With almost 30 writers in attendance, a good time was practically guaranteed.

Cindy went on to say: "The festivities kicked off with a potluck on Friday evening. Thanks to our Iowa members for hosting a rousing game of Romance Jeopardy, complete with elaborate game board and prizes. The night concluded with breaking into groups for critique. It's amazing how many talented writers we have in our chapter.

"Saturday morning began bright and early (especially considering the late night we all put in on Friday). The interactive workshops were informative, stimulating and fun! There was something for everyone. In one workshop, for instance, we read advertisements or looked at photographs and tried coming up with a plot or a great hook.

"Ask those who attended and I'm sure you'll hear a common refrain--they honed (well, maybe they wouldn't say honed) their writing skills, met some new people and had a fabulous time. Last but not least they want to do it again!"

Bernadette Duquette was the retreat coordinator that year. And guess what, we were holding our monthly meetings at The Old Country Buffet on 144th and Center!

Julie Breese handled the Chapter Cheers column for the print newsletter, and among the reports - Cindy Rutledge placed first in the Touched By Love Contest and had her inspirational novel, Faith on a Harley, go on to an editor. [Cheryl adds: Cindy sold that book.] Cheryl St.John received a first place award for The Truth About Toby from Under the Covers Readers Favorites.

Officers were:
President; Cindy Rutledge
Vice-President: Chery Griffin
Secretary; Becky Royer
Treasurer: Barb Hunt
Newsletter Editor: Debra Hines

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Goals Challenge: A Book In A Week??

Write a book in a week?? What in the world is the goals guru thinking?

She's thinking that by challenging the Heartlandians, the pages of summer writing will flow, increase, drive wonderful tales forward. In general--she's pushing. Pushing, pushing, pushing.

And don't we all need a push now and again?

So... I'm challenging all Heartlandians to join in a Book in a Week event, June 21-27, 2009.

No single one of us may write an entire book in seven days time--but maybe together we'll create pages to equal that book!

How cool will that be?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Local Booksigning

Pam Crooks and Cheryl St.John attended Linda Lael Miller's local booksigning, where they had an opportunity to chat and invite Linda to guest blog at Petticoats and Pistols.

Left to Right: Pam Crooks, Linda Lael Miller, Cheryl St.John

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Charm Bracelets

HWG members earn charms for writing achievements. Shown are a few of the members bracelets.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Booksignings, Love 'em or Hate 'em?

I’ve known a lot of authors over the years who absolutely detest book signings. Some say it’s uncomfortable to sit and expect someone to come buy your book. Some don’t think there’s any benefit in the time spent or the travel. I have always enjoyed signings. I’m a people person, and I love to get out and meet new people—readers, booksellers, even the occasional curmudgeon who claims she doesn’t read that trash.

When my first few books were released, I traveled near and far to promote them and meet the booksellers. Of course back then we had many independent stores and local distributors. Occasionally an author is fortunate to find a chain store with a great PR person or an independent that loves the romance genre. In Nebraska we have a couple of stores that host the local authors and often authors from all over.

On June 6th Mary Connealy and I traveled to Independence, Missouri, a Kansas City suburb, where we signed at Dog-eared Books, a lovely new and used bookstore, owned by Tina.

Tina’s cohort Connie works at the store and hosts a reader website Once Upon a Romance where you will find reviews and recipes and news about authors. Connie always bakes cookies for the authors, and we weren’t disappointed this time. How she gets them uniform and prettily perfect is beyond me. Yummy, too.

They’ve created a cozy welcoming atmosphere in the store, right down to Tina’s resident cats—I think she calls them mascots. Even the cats are laid back and friendly.

Traveling with Mary and I from Nebraska was Robyn Roberts, who reviews at Once Upon a Romance, along with Connie’s sister, Trudy. Robyn and I have made the trip to Missouri more than once—more than twice—we kind of like those gals and their readers.

Signing with us was the always delightful, Bobbi Smith, Queen of the Western Romance. Her newest book is called Runaway. And joining us, another Nebraska gal, Julie Miller, who signed copies of her new Intrigue, Pulling the Trigger. Julie had her 2009 Romantic Times Career Achievement Award there for us to admire.

After visiting with all the gracious and sweet readers and signing oodles of books, Tina took us to a late lunch at the Olive Garden. Drat, I should have gotten someone’s photo to show you. So anyway, that was my latest experience.

When I learn about a romance author coming to our city, I usually make it to the bookstore to support them. I’ve been to those of Susan Wiggs, Susan Crandall and Linda Lael Miller to name a few. When LLM was here, Pam Crooks and I went to see her and booked her for a blog at Petticoats and Pistols.

Sometimes readers are too shy to approach the author, but will come back later and pick up a signed book. Have you been to many author signings? If you went, did you enjoy talking to the author?