How Many Blogs Do you Follow?

First let’s do last clichés:

To Put my Food Down—To take a firm position. This refers to putting one or both feet in a fixed position, which represents a firm stand. Versions of this exist from the 16th century on. It became current in 19th century. See the OED cites James Payn’s The Lack of the Darrells (1886).

To Keep Body and Soul Together—To sustain life, sometimes just barely. This frequently describes a job that pays scarcely enough to live on. This term refers to the idea that the soul gives life to the body, which dies when the soul is separated from it. This dates back to the early 18th century cliché around the mid-19th century. See Manchester Guardian (1974) by Susan Lowry.

The Pen is Mightier than the Sword—Writing is more effective and powerful than fighting. This appeared as a proverb in 1571 (“No more sword to be feared than the learned pen”) and then took a different form in Robert Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621): “The pen is worse than the sword.” It appeals to writers ever since. See Time Magazine (1990) “The Pen is Mightier” article.

How many did you find?

Well, it’s par for the course that I missed a few weeks of blogging. Had company and I celebrated my birthday, and still, I’m alive and kicking.

I’m wondering how many bloggers do you follow? How many do you follow faithfully? How come?

When I find a blogger that gives me writing information, I sign up for their email, so I get alerted when they blog. I have to own up to the fact that maybe not all of their writing interests me, but usually it benefits me in some way. Some of the ones I follow are: Frances Caballo; Jan Friedman; Live, Write, Thrive;

What bloggers do you follow? Do they have signups to be sent when they are out?

Keep learning and Writing,


How much Time do you Devote to Writing?

First let’s check the clichés:

 To Fill the bill—to suit a purpose, to satisfy requirements. This originally came from 19th century American stage. Poster announced a program, listing star attractions and then added lesser-known entertainers to complete the show (or fill out the bill). By mid-century, the term had been transferred to other areas—it acquired a primary sense of providing what was needed. Harper’s Magazine in 1890: “they filled the bill according to their lights.”

Mind the Store (to)—Take charge in someone’s absence. Dates from about 1900. It originally meant literally taking over the business of a store when the owner was temporarily away. Later it expanded to more general usage.

Broke Ground (to break ground)—To be innovative; to start a new project. Dates from 16th century. Literally meant to break up land with a plow. Figuratively used by late 17th cent. by the poet John Dryden and others. In 1830, De Quincey described Jeremy Bentham as “…who first broke ground as a pioneer…,” – this expression was already headed toward clichédom.

So, how many did you find?

I heard someone say if you don’t write at least two hours a day, you aren’t a writer.

I’m going to put my foot down and disagree. Lots of time I may not be actually writing (by hand or typing on computer), but I’m thinking about my story, getting ideas for either a story or characters. Sometimes I’m even going over my story in my head, figuring out more scenes.

There are all types of “writing” and ways to do it. My writing keeps my body and soul together. Makes me happy. I don’t write for money or fame—it would be nice, though. I just love to tell stories and, hopefully, entertain others.

I also believe the pen is mightier than the sword, so all of you who write, keep writing. You can either entertain others with stories, essays, poetry, etc., and/or you can impart knowledge. I pray that I do a bit of both.

Some writers commit to a certain amount of pages per day rather than the time. Stephen King, at one point in his career, committed to 10 pages a day. Some do five pages a day. Of course, it all depends on the writer how much time or how many pages one does in one sitting.

My time writing per day varies each day. Some days I’m writing all day, some a couple of hours, some, not even one sentence or word written.

Even if you only write ten minutes a day—you are a writer!

Enjoy, and

Keep Writing,



Your Write Time

What’s Your Responsibility as a Writer

Finding Time to Write

Self-Publishing on a small budget

Went to a great talk the other day. But first–

Last Clichés:

Don’t Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth—Accept a gift in good faith. Dates from St. Jerome’s biblical commentary (c. A.D. 420) on St. Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians. It’s based on fact that a horse’s age is revealed by its teeth. Looking inside a horse’s mouth therefore will tell you if someone is passing off an old nag for a spry colt. The same expression is found in French, Italian, Portuguese, and other languages.

Captive Audience – An audience that cannot escape a particular presentation—a play, speech, sermon, etc. I.E. “the preacher always makes his sermon twice as long on big holidays—he knows he’s got a captive audience.” Originated in the U.S. about 1900.

Did you find them?

Heard JoAnn Bassett the other day. Her talk on Self-Publishing: Professional Results on a Shoestring Budget hit the spot. (See:

She spoke about Print Publishing and ran out of time and didn’t get a chance to speak about E-book Publishing.

The nuts and bolts of her print publishing talk:

  1. Determine your goal and budget
  2. Fine-tune your manuscript
  3. Have it proofread by at least two people (besides yourself)
  4. Make corrections
  5. Add the “necessary” pages: i.e., a information page at beginning or end to establish your ownership and prevent lawsuits. It includes the copyright and ISBN number of your book
  6. Write the book “blurb”
  7. Set up the interior pages for on-demand printing (Adobe Acrobat) Do on your own by using CreateSpace templates or have someone do for you.
  8. Create a cover: graphics, text, and photo: You can either create your own cover or hire someone to create the cover for you. Make sure you get FREE graphics or photos that say “royalty-free” images.  Text for your cover includes: Title, Sub-title (if any), author’s name, a very short synopsis of the book (the book “blurb”), author photo, a short author bio, barcode, isbn and spine.
  9. Do the on-line set-up on Getting your book into print using CreateSpace is easy and free. There’s a step by step process and even have templates for you.
  10. Set a per unit price
  11. Order a preview copy and review and reread for errors and/or omissions
  12. Order copies to have on hand for book signings or reviews

Using to self-publish your book is not chasing rainbows. It has how-to do information for all the above.  It’s free and they walk you through all the steps.

I used it for my two books: Night Terror and Vanity Killed. I will use them for my next book, but I may have my cover designer from Vanity Killed do not only the cover design again, but she also formats the interior for an inexpensive fee. Would be well-worth it.


Keep Writing,




Part of my speech re Creating Antagonists

My speaking engagement on Nov. 1, 2016 went well.

It’s been awhile, but here are the last clichés:

Do it up Brown–To do something perfectly. Not sure where it came from. Might allude to the brown color of meat that has been thoroughly cooked. To Do Brown first appeared around 1600 in England. However the exact phrase was used in print only in the mid-19th century and in the U.S. (“‘Done up brown,’ as they say on the Bowery,” Lorenzo Dow, Sermons, c. 1849). One of Eric Partridge’s consultants believed that “brown” referred to John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry (1859), an incident contributing to the Civil War, but the term was known before that. But to do someone up brown meant to deceive someone, and to do oneself up brown meant to get oneself into a jam. Both are obsolete.

Picture Perfect–Exactly right, especially in appearance. From the 12th century. It alludes to the precise resemblance of a painting or photograph to its subject, as in “The day was picture perfect for a picnic–not a cloud in the sky.” Time Magazine used the term as the caption for a photograph of the presidential candidate Al Gore, his wife Tipper, running mate Joe Lieberman, and Lieberman’s wife Hadassah, calling it “the purest moment of their campaign” (August 21, 2000).

So did you find them?

Even though I wasn’t a silver-tongued orator yesterday, I’ll pass on some of what I spoke about.

There are 3 types of Antagonists:

  1. The antagonist is an obstacle that gets in the protagonist’s way and prevents her from achieving her goal. Can be a person or nature or society. Like cancer, or an avalanche, or a bully.
  2. The antagonist is a villain who has a goal that goes against what the protagonist wants. Unlike an obstacle, the villain has a goal of his own that often doesn’t even involve the protagonist until she is compelled to stop him because she doesn’t want his horrific plan to come to pass. They are usually in crime stories. My antagonists are villains, at least that’s how I see them.
  3. The antagonist is a competitor; he wants the same thing the protagonist wants. They have the same goal, and if one succeeds the other fails. They say that these are usually common in thrillers, action/adventures and heist stories, where both are after the same priceless artifact, etc.  Even though I write thrillers, my antagonist is a villain, and I’m sticking to that.

When I write, I write in two different tenses. The Protagonist is in third person, past tense. Then, with their own chapters, I write in the killer’s POV in first person, present tense. I do that so you know when you are in the killer’s mind set.


An example from my writing would be from Vanity Killed, Chapter 1 first page:

Today, the prized possession dies.

I hide behind the brocade drapes and peer through the sheer curtains at the front parlor window. Everything looks distorted.

My heart pounds. Blood rushes through my veins. Chills shoot up and down my spine. I shudder from the rush. The kill is happening again.

The window stands ajar and I hear Sarah Hudson’s heels staccato-click on the brick walkway outside. Carsonville’s foghorn blasts its eerie warning. The clicking halts. Sarah tilts her head. I feel certain she abhors that warning of imminent grayness closing in just like I do. We detest the cloying salt sea odor that mixes with the stench from the pulp mill. That mill has been spewing its odors for decades, but will soon be shut down.

The minute I learn she wants away from her Northern California home town, I set my plan in motion. Sarah Hudson will spend eternity here.


Let me get to the point. There are all kinds of tips for writing your Antagonist or Killer. Use the internet and do research.

Some say your Antagonist is more important than your protagonist. You need to build a solid villain. Even the greatest protagonist in the world cannot truly shine without an equally well-rendered opposition. However, the reverse is not true. Your protagonist, even if a bit shaky, and your villain shines, you can still tell a very successful story.

Of course, you spend equal time developing your characters whether a protagonist or an antagonist. They should be equal in strength, so they can fight a good fight. I try to develop all of my characters in my books, no matter who they are, because as you’ll see, they might turn out to be my killer.

Depending on the type of antagonist, they either have conflicting goals or the same. However, the Antagonist is the character who MOST stands in the way of the protagonist achieving the story goal.

The Antagonist and Protagonist should have conflicting characteristics. But, your villain doesn’t have to be evil.  Again, that depends on the type of story and type of antagonist you are using. Don’t make the antagonist too weak or too strong. My killers are evil. As my editor says, “You may know me as a shy, loving person, but I have an alter ego you do not want to meet in an alleyway!”  Where that comes from, I have no idea. Might have come from my husband who was always reading true crime stories.  Some of those killers are scarier than what I could come up with. Always told people, if something ever happens to me, look toward my husband.  Now, I think the reverse might be true?

I have lots of get up and go, but I’ll stop here and continue my antagonist tips and how to choose a killer for next week.

In the meantime, Keep Writing,


Life gets in the way/speaking on Nov.,1, 2016

Well, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted: I want to apologize. After me and my family having illnesses, I’m now back to almost normal and seriously writing again. I refuse to make any promises, as those keep getting put aside, that I will write faithfully every week on this blog. However, I will try to do better!

Next post I will continue to have my clichés and their explanations.

For now just wanted to say I’m back, and will be speaking at the library in Green Valley, AZ on Nov. 1st.  Any locals, hope to see you there.

Keep Writing,


Nov. 1, 2016 flyer

Cover Design and Edit

I’m back. After a grueling working summer—not on my novels—I’m back to writing.

First—Last Clichès:

Full of Piss and Vinegar –Quite aggressive, very energetic. This is not a very nice cliché (piss refers to urine, used to be acceptable language, but no longer is) dates from mid-1900s. Mickey Spillane used it in Death Dealers (1966).

Finishing touches—The final stroke(s) that ensure perfection or completion. This is taken from painting (the last stroke of the artist’s brush) and was transferred to any creative effort, ranging from baking to sewing a costume. Dates from mid-18th century. Eric Partridge concluded it became a cliché within 100 years.

Get Cracking—Get busy, hurry up, begin. Originated in Great Britain in the 1930s, crossed the Atlantic during WWII. Crack=”more fast”-dating from the late 19th century. Often is put as an imperative.

So, how many did you find?

Well, I’m trying to get back into the swing of things. I contacted my new book designer Debora Lewis, She’s created my new web banner, a facebook banner, my e-book cover, my POD front and back cover, and is working on my bookmarks. She also prepares the inside of your manuscript, getting ready to self-publish if you’d like her to. I highly recommend her, and if you don’t think she’s great, I’d eat my hat.

My editor, Ana Manwaring of JAM Manuscript Consulting is champing at the bit for me to get Vanity Killed published. She’s written me a glowing review and can’t wait to publish it on several media outlets.

Therefore, I’m busy proofing my manuscript and will go to CreateSpace and set up my new novel.

Until then, see you later, and

Keep Writing,


Traveling Still

I’m still on the road, but here are the last clichés:

Off the Top of my Head – Impromptu, extemporaneously, impetuously. A mid-20th century Americanism. Term appeared in Harold L. Ickes’ Secret Diary (1939). See also author June Drummond (Junta, 1989).

Make the Grade – To reach a given standard or pass a test. Alludes to climbing a steep hill or gradient and was transferred to mean any kind of success in the first half of the 20th century. There was an early appeared in print in S. Ford’s Inez and Trilby (1921).

One for the Road – One last drink of alcohol. Eric Partridge thought the term originated with traveling salesmen who applied it either to one last drink after a night’s carousing or to one more drink before one literally set out “on the road” to see more customers. From 20th century, heard less often today, especially in America where heavy drinking is increasingly frowned upon, especially for drivers.

How many did you find?

I’m racking my brain to figure out my blog post while traveling. Usually I write about writing, but this trip it’s difficult. Came to say good-bye to my sister-in-law who is dying of cancer.

Make no bones about it, this trip was hard and writing a blog about writing is even harder.

So, I’ve posted my last blog clichés and since the cat has my tongue, I will say…until next post…

Keep Writing!


Time Flies when Having Fun

Can’t believe a month has passed. Sorry for not writing here. Too busy caring for others and editing on my next novel, which is almost done!

First last clichés:

Fire(d) away – Go ahead. Say what you need to say. Ask whatever. Fire away refers to a gun loaded to the muzzle, dates from early days of firearms and transferred to other proceedings by the 18th century. See Frederick Marryat, Poor Jack, 1775.

Work your fingers to the bone – Work extremely hard. This is a hyperbole – image of working the flesh and skin off one’s fingers. Dates from 19th century. 18th century used to work like a horse. Some 19th century exaggerators stated to work like a galley-slave.

Let’s get down to brass tacks – Arrive at the heart of the matter. Some believe the late 19th century terms comes from Cockney rhyming slang for hard facts. Another source is the American general store, where a counter top was marked with brass tacks at one-yard intervals for measuring cloth, and getting down to brass tacks meant measuring precisely. Or this theory that in upholstered furniture, brass tacks were used to secure the undermost cloth, and to reupholster properly one had to strip the furniture to that layer.  A mid-20th century American synonym is to get down to the nitty-gritty, alluding to the detailed (nitty) and unpleasant (gritty) facts of the case. This term was borrowed from black English, where it signified the anus and alluded to picking body lice (nits) from that body part. This association had been mostly forgotten by the time the term was popularized by the 1964 hit song “The Nitty Gritty” by Shirley Ellis.

So how many did you get correct?

Thinking off the top of my head I thought I’d written a blog post mid-September. Guess I thought about it, but didn’t get it posted.  I definitely won’t make the grade for blogging on a consistent basis. However, I won’t make excuses, but I have been gone quite a bit and am editing like crazy on my second novel and working on my third.

I’m posting this blog one for the road. Yes, I’m heading out once again and will be gone til mid-November. I won’t make any promises, but I will try to blog while gone. First week, won’t happen-no internet. Second week, all I can do is try.

Why should I blog on a regular basis? To keep up a fan base, and to keep writing! Writing is my world and it makes me feel so much better when I write. Keeping up this blog is also writing, so that’s why it should happen, and I like imparting writing knowledge to others. So, I will try to blog more often.

How many times have you said this? Several for me. All one can do is their best. Barring life getting in the way, I will write! Hope you will too. Write a little every day and it will all add up. So….

Keep Writing!!!

Book marks and branding

I’m proofing my new book – Night Terror – right now! It will soon be ready to publish.

First, last post’s clichés:

All present and accounted for– Everyone or everything is all here. Originated in the military as a response to roll call. It’s kind of redundant since if one is present, one is also accounted for, but that’s the military for you. The British used “all present and correct”. Correct of course means “in order.” This version makes more sense, but it did not cross the Atlantic.

Making headway– To advance. This term changes the original meaning of “headway” which is the forward motion of a ship, to any kind of progress. Used by Augustus Jessopp in Arcady for Better or Worse in 1887.

All things considered– Refers to when everything has been taken into account. A careful weighting of all circumstances involved. G. K. Chesterton used it as the title of a collection of his essays in 1908 and it’s also the name of a thoughtful but long-winded talk show on US public radio. Both cases, it’s the idea of thoughtfulness that’s stressed. Been in ordinary speech for about a century.

Come to grief– To fall or to falter; experience a misfortune. Common in early 19th century. Thackeray used in The Newcomes, 1854.

Did you find them all?

At long last, I am almost ready to publish my first novel. The book cover is ready, the ebook cover is ready and now working on the bookmarks. My designer: Mary Ames Mitchell suggested that I do a postcard for my books marks. That way you can get 3 book marks on a 6×8 postcard and cut them. So you’re getting triple of what you order. She suggested I use this site: rather than Vista Print. I’ll go with her expertise. The cost of printing bookmarks this way is next to nothing, and it can get your book out there to the public easier.

Mary also suggested that instead of having a generic header for my blog, I should change it. I’d already talked with my website designer: Blake Webster and informed him that I wanted to make some changes on my website when my book was finished, so he’s already up to speed on that one.

Branding is all about getting people to recognize a “look.” So on your website, you want to show off your book covers, etc. so that the public recognizes you.

Until next time, Keep writing,