Wednesday, February 19, 2014

My new online home

Finally I have achieved the task that eluded me for a year: I have settled down and set up shop at

There I lay me down to rest, no need for the wanderlust that plagues and enriches my not-so-cyber life. For now it is a simple micro-blog, a quaint and unassuming little hobbit hole that my new mommy self can handle. I hope you'll stop by, whenever you are able. I hope you'll check in for news about my book(s). I hope you'll watch it grow, post by post, until one day it is a classy fantasy mansion, my very own waterfall-laden StockenDale. You know?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Little Old Mermaid

At a writing conference, after a writing playshop...

Little Old Lady: What is your book about?

Me: It’s about a 17-year-old girl who goes on a cruise with her family and mysteriously falls into the water and mysteriously transforms into a mermaid and has to figure out what happened and how to get home. It’s about searching for home and longing for what you once had.

Little Old Lady: Oh, I grew up as a mermaid!

Me: I grew up as a fairy so mermaid was a stretch for me.

Little Old Lady: Oh, so I have a fan. See, my father built pools in Southern California, where we lived. So my sisters and I got to go swimming in all these different pools every day. Celebrity pools. Decadent pools.

Me: The most extravagant pools.

Little Old Lady: Elizabeth Taylor’s pool. Cary Grant’s pool. 

The decadent pool of Doris Duke (on O'ahu).

Also friends, I'll soon be moving this blog to WordPress. Once the process is complete, I'll let you know and I hope that you will come check out my new digs. 

Happy Saturday!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Continually surprised

I've been thinking a lot lately about how stories can really just come from INSIDE. I got a beautiful comment about my current WIP. A new beta reader said, "Don't get too many opinions on this. You have a true story here, and you have to tell it."

That pretty much made my day. Well, that was last week, so I guess it made my week. Anyways, I avoided a lot of mistakes with this book, and I don't understand how or why. This character was going to be an only child with no friends. I just came across this post by Justine Larbalestier about why that would have been a bad idea (boring, unrealistic, etc.)

Lucky me: when I wrote the first draft, this character ended up having a sister who blames her for a lot of things and a crew of "friends." Not great people to be around sure, but they exist, and it is...complicated.

Also, this book was going to sci-fi and it ended up being an alternate contemporary. Not that sci-fi is a problem, but it just didn't fit.

This book was going to be in third-person. It wouldn't come out that way and it had to be in first. I'm so glad that it is.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, no matter how much we plan, we always surprise ourselves. I love not knowing what will happen, even if I think I've got it all figured out. I think writing is magic. I think it's a lovely mix of slow dedication and some serious impulse.

So, enjoy what you're working on and let your heart override any bad decisions your mind might try to impose on your characters.

I love that sister, BTW.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Releasing literary pet peeves

I came across this article today at HuffPost. Greg Zimmerman writes:
My literary pet peeve is readers who have pet peeves.
...a literary pet peeve becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, severely limiting your exposure to great books. That shouldn't be: There are exceptions to every rule, and every rule is made to be broken.
I've read posts lamenting all books told in first person when the main character wakes up at the very beginning of the book and has no idea where he or she is. Some people hate all first person stories in general. Some people don't like YA because they are convinced it is all full of colloquialisms and one-word sentences.

I've had my own pet peeves. Pretty much about covers. Like paperback fiction that looks like it was purchased at the grocery store. Blech, I thought. Never would I ever. But then my sister talked me into trying Twenty Wishes, by Debbie Macomber. I decided the cover was cutesy, but not embarrassing. I loved that book. I devoured it. It was my first time reading anything like it, and it opened me up to a world of chick lit that isn't necessarily romance--which I still struggle with.

Critique partners past have had such obvious pet peeves that I knew what they would comment on in my manuscript before they even spoke. This is not good. Predictability in criticism is not good, I think.

So, do you have any literary pet peeves? Are they keeping you from reading a specific genre or book? What pet peeves of yours have been broken?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The joys of summer

The last summer I experienced was in 2009. No, really. 2010 and 2011 were spent in Hawaii. I know what you are thinking...poor thing no summer because of Hawaii no summer in Hawaii...wait there's no summer in Hawaii?

Some would argue that there is, but it's different. Oh, it's gorgeous (soft sand, warm turquoise water, deep blue sky with big white puffy clouds, palm trees blowing in the breeze, the scent of plumeria in the air, and my personal favorite = the gecko's mating calls). Yes, it's gorgeous, but it isn't summer. Not really. I'm a mainlander at heart.

This summer involved a very large pot of sangria...

And a family trip to Yosemite...

And darn good strawberry cupcakes...

 I finally got to see Ani DiFranco live. (I only cried through three songs!)

 We did a little boating, crawdad-catching and paddle-boarding.

We got scolded by a topless hippie for swimming at our favorite hole.

 The little cuts from picking five pounds of blackberries healed quickly.

The resulting tart was very exciting.

This water was really freaking cold.

And this water was a little creepy.

Classic NorCal summer. Exactly what I needed! Thanks to the family and friends that took me and hubby on such fun adventures. The whole unemployment thing is tough stuff, and job-searching kind of sucks, but evenings and weekends have been really superb. Whilst lamenting the state of our finances, we've had a really good time. So thanks.

All that said, I'm not gonna pretend that I don't miss the geckos.

p.s. I do not think the images appear in the email version, so click through to the link. love!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Are self-doubt and great artistry directly correlated?

"The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize."
--Robert Hughes

I'm currently revising, and I keep saying to myself, I don't know what I'm doing with this. Am I making a mistake? Am I screwing this up?

Doubt. Doubt. Doubt.

So, I'm not sure if I agree with the above quote, but given the doubt I've been feeling, it is at least encouraging. Actually, no I don't agree with it. I can't. There are moments of both reflections. This quote is talking about visual arts I do believe, as Robert Hughes is an art historian. But I assume that just like writing, there are moments.

Self doubt in the rough draft process can be frightening, but helpful. Self doubt when revising can get you to really step back and figure your ish out (thanks Alpha Reader #1 for getting me to take out all mention of trolls in a contemporary novel --duh!). But self doubt while copy editing just down right sucks.

At those end stages, when you're ready to put the work out there into the world, you need some confidence, perhaps even perfect confidence. Or else that manuscript might go back on the shelf. (Nope, not happening.)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

You know you're a writer when...

You flip to the back of the book to see if there is an acknowledgements page...

...and if there is one, you recognize some names.

You find stuff on Pinterest that your characters would like.

Your birth date is an illiteration.