Sunday, February 10, 2013

Not all is quiet in the library

I've come to accept the fact that I'm the only person to ever turns off her phone when she's in the library. Instead of grumbling about it, I use what I hear for story fodder. It's amazing what people will say, even in a public place. Last time I was in the library I got an ear full.

So it's a weekend and I've hauled my laptop and pile of notes to the library to get some editing done. In my library there's a room in the back corner that I particularly love to work in. Its got big picture windows facing the wooded hillside behind the library and a little sliver of the docks down by the lake. Lots of lovely light and some nice plush chairs in front of a fake fireplace.

Since this room is set off to the side, and it houses special research books that can't be checked out, few people come through here, so normally it's pretty quiet. The only down side to this room is it's the "I've really got to take this call" room. People are always ducking in with their cellphones and using their "I'm whispering" but everyone can still hear them voice.

That day it was a gal in her early 20s who came in and plopped her huge purse down on one of the chairs across the room from me.

"Why does it matter who called the cops?" she says. My typing slows. What?

"Is she in the room? Can you leave so we can actually talk?" Long pause. I bring up a new Word doc and start typing what I hear (at least the interesting parts, she mumbled and cursed a lot).

"So you were lying when you texted her?"

"I don't know, like, I guess, like, it's like fine, like you know?" (I wish that was an exaggeration)

"Like I don't care if you get back with her... ya, I love you too."

"You're totally like better then that [word that start with b and rhymes with witch]."

"She's like using you. That [lots of cursing]."

"Do you have $20 right now?"

"Dang, well maybe you should have read the fine pint."

"So they took your whole check and you only have $7?"

"[a lot of really graphic curse words]"

"Why was it when I was in jail it like, and when I get out, like you go over that night and..." She walked out of the room, so I didn't get to hear the end of the story :( To bad. It actually was starting to get interesting.

Maybe next time ^_^

Friday, February 8, 2013

Beneath a Broken Sky

It's finally here!

Quin is the newest generation in a long, proud line of Knights, but he less than lives up to his legacy. To earn his knighthood and escape the looming disapproval of his father, he accepts a mission far in the North. There he runs into Arria, an ancient dragon newly awakened, and Keeva, a half blood dragon whose word is as dubious as her birthright. The violent encounter with Arria and her servants leaves Quin's mentor dead, and him stranded far from the safety of the Knight's Guild. Keeva is his only ally, but she has a past she cannot escape. Quin finds a kindred soul in Keeva, but their growing friendship holds danger as well as hope.

Arria, her mate slain by Quin's ancestor, clings to the only thing she has left: grief-stricken revenge that threatens the survival of Knights and dragons alike. With Keeva's help, Quin must dig up a truth long buried and secrets that were never meant to be found. Both Knights and dragons need to fight together to defeat Arria, but in his attempt to unite these enemies, will Quin commit the ultimate sin for a Knight? To fall in love with a dragon.

Sound interesting? Click here to find out more.

Note: At the moment Beneath a Broken Sky is only available on It will also be available from Barnes & Noble soon.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

When they say "You're stupid, give up."

So I have Blogger set up to notify me when someone posts a comment on here. This was the comment that came in this morning on my post about Note Cards:

“What concerns me is that your article here, is fraught with spelling and grammar problems. No offence but not sure I'll be taking writing advice from someone with less-than-average English skills. Perhaps you should stick to stuffing dead pets?”

My first reaction was the strong desire to give a snarky and cutting remark in return. I squelched that one quickly, it’s beneath me. My second reaction was to delete it or ignore it, but I’ve decided not to. Instead I’m going to give this a serious response it doesn’t deserve.

I'm not talking specifically to the writer of that comment, I'm talking to everyone else.

I grew up hearing comments like that all the time and, at the time, I believed them. You see I’m dyslexic. That’s not an excuse, just a fact. I don’t talk about it much because, like I said, I’m not using it as an excuse. It’s simply something I have to deal with and will have to deal with for the rest of my life. The only reason I’m talking about it here is because I have a point to make at the end.

Schoolwork growing up was a nightmare. All the words just kept flipping and jumbling in my head. I didn’t really start reading until I was ten. I remember clearly the scoffing looks from other children when I was still reading picture books when they were on to chapter books or adult level novels. I loved books and the stories in them, but reading was a challenge. I had to concentrate on each and every word to keep it from moving or flipping around.

Worse yet were the times when I had to work with other kids on some project. Invariably I would write a “d” instead of a “b” or a “3” instead of an “E” or some other jumbling of syllables. “What kind of idiot makes THAT mistake?” one of my fellow children would laugh and I would have no defense. No one figured out I had Dyslexia until my late teens. So I believed every cutting comment. Everyone else was getting this with no problem. So they must be right, I was stupid.

And that’s just what this blog commenter is saying: you’re stupid, give up.

It took me years to overcome (or at least mostly overcome) my fear and self-flagellation, to finally believe in myself enough to start writing my stories down. Even then I only showed them to close friends and family.

When I started sending stories out to critique partners I was terrified that they would see through my “disguise” and realize that I was just a stupid idiot that couldn’t spell. And when I say terrified, I mean TERRIFIED. But I had decided that storytelling was something I loved and because I loved it, it was worth fighting for.

You know what else? Those critique partners never did say I was a stupid idiot. They just corrected my spelling and asked for the next chapter, then asked if they could read my next story.

So the point of me telling you all that is this: You have to find the courage to believe in yourself, even when no one else does. And I don’t mean just your writing. I mean YOU. Believe that YOU are of value and have something of value to offer the world. Even if it’s hard and you have to fight through things that everyone else seems to get naturally. Even if no one else understands why you love this thing or that, the very fact that YOU love it makes it worth fighting for. Your happiness is worth fighting for.

If you struggle with something don’t give up. “Oh well, I guess I just can’t do it, so I won’t even try.” No! Find a way to compensate for it. There are always ways.

In the words of Terry Goodkind (another Dyslexic writer): “Think of the solution, not the problem.”

My solution is multiple critique partners that have eagle eyes for spelling and grammar. They see what I can’t. Do I bother them with every blog post? No. I value my critique partners and I’m not going to bog them down with simple blog posts.

So, yes, my posts will have errors. I spell check them as best I can, but I simply can’t see the errors most of the time. It’s not from laziness or lack of intellect. If one is bothering you, point it out in the comments and I will fix it. And if a handful of errors disqualifies for you the information and ideas I’m trying to present then… well, that’s too bad.

It’s not my job to be perfect. All I can do is be the best I can.