SSA author showcase

Hope you have a great holiday season with Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah,  etc.

First, last clichés:

Three-ring circus—an event of utter confusion. This is an Americanism that started in the late 19th century, alluding to a circus in which three rings or arenas are featuring performances at the same time. Probably invented by P. T. Barnum. The term was transferred to other extravagant events and disorderly situations by about 1900. Rudyard Kipling used it in A Diversity of Creatures (1914).

Have another guess coming—Be mistaken or wrong. This cliché also implies that though one is wrong, one has a chance to reconsider and correct one’s error. Dates from the first half of the 1900s. D. Day Lewis used it in Child of Misfortune (1939).

Hope you enjoy trying to find the clichés.

Now that my second book Vanity Killed is out, what do I do next?

Well, I have my hands full with working on my third book. Also, I will be reading from Vanity Killed at my Society of Southwestern Authors/Santa Cruz Valley Chapter’s 9th Annual Local Authors’ Showcase. It is a luncheon held on Saturday, January 16, 2016 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Desert Hills Lutheran Church in Green Valley, Arizona. Eight local authors will read from their works of fiction, memoir, humor, and poetry. Also, there will be a delicious catered lunch and door prizes.

I will hopefully also be working with a musician and putting my reading to music for another event.

Day in, day out, I write on something. I try not to be my own worst enemy and procrastinate on writing, but write, even if it doesn’t make any sense at the time. My third book, Birthmark is coming along.

Please, all of you keep writing!

Until next time,



bookmarks and branding

making it real

Writing groups:

After a few months, I finally went to my Redwood Writers meeting. I sure miss them.

First, last weeks clichés:

A Ballpark Figure- An educated guess or a roughly accurate estimate. This expression comes from baseball and it rests in turn on in the ballpark, which means within certain limits. Both of these terms are usually applied to numerical estimates, neither has anything to do with baseball scores.

Fat City- Prosperous circumstances. This is an American slang which originated about the middle of the 20th Century.

To Be On the Go- To be very busy and active. Used to mean a variety of conditions, among them intoxication and imminent catastrophe. Acquired its present meaning in the first half of the 19th Century. Thomas B. Aldrich used it in Prudence Palfrey 1874).

Time Will Tell- Wait and see. This was used in print in 1539 in R. Taverner’s translation of Erasmus. It was a cliché by the time E. H. Porter used it in Pollyanna (1913).

I’m not letting the cat out of the bag, but writing groups are a must for a writer. They offer so much benefit by having contests, workshops, and speakers; not to mention the camaraderie and networking.

Let me put all the cards on the table and say that I belong to a minimum of three writing groups, besides critique groups. I’ve learned so much from belonging to not only the Redwood Writers Branch of the California Writers Club, but Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America. I don’t make it to meetings for the latter two, but Redwood Writers has been so inspirational. I get to rub elbows with fellow writers and learn from them. If it had not been for them, I would have never published my first book and about to do so with the second one.

Writing groups can be very helpful and when I attend a meeting, I come home and feel like writing and writing and writing. I’ve made so many good contacts, learned so much, and have improved my craft that, suffice it to say, I highly recommend joining a writing group.

Do some research, find one near you or one on-line that is close to your genre, and join. Even if you can’t attend the meetings, you will probably still get a newsletter and find contacts that will help you in the future with your writing.

Until next time, keep writing,


Writing groups and editing

Hi all,

First and foremost, let’s jump right into last cliches:

Off the Cuff – impromptu.  Comes from the practice of after-dinner speakes making notes for a speech on the cuff of their shirtsleeve at the last minute, obviously as opposed to preparing a speech well beforehand.  Originated in America in 1930s

Take Umbrage – feel slighed; take offense.  Umbrage comes from Latin umbra = shade or shadow; rarely heard today.  1934 Alan Dent used it with a play on words see James Agate, Ego, March 11, 1934; cited in Penguin Dictionary of Modern Quotations.

Think Positive – concentrate on the bright side, on what is constructive and good and ignore the negative.  Comes from Norman Vincent Peale’s, The Power of Positive Thinking (1953).  Numerous psychologists of early 20th century developed idea, but popular after Peale’s book.

Keep the Faith – Carry on, continue with good work.  Phrase common among activists in American Civil Rights struggles of 1960s.  Originally alluded to maintaining one’s religious beliefs, – lost both meanings and more neutral now – used when two friends part.  See Stanley Ellin, The Man from Nowhere (1975).

I’m trying to keep my head above water and write on my blog.  Soon I’ll be receiving hopefully several hundred renewal applications for my Redwood Writers group of 246 members.  Every year, we must renew by June 30th.  I’m offering an early bird raffle with 10 prizes to get all the members to renew.  So processing them all again will keep me busy.
The prizes will be a printer, our club giving them back a renewal fee, and editing of their work.  Several of our members are editors and two who work at will edit.  Some lucky winners will receive editing of 10 pages.

When I went to the Spring into Publication workshop, the one thing all of the speakers agreed on was that if you really want to get published anymore, you must have your work edited.  So, having this as a prize is a good incentive.

However, I will try not to let all of those applications coming in stop me from my writing on this blog or my novels.  The blog entry might be short, but I’ll at least point out the last cliches.

On another note: Does anyone know anything about: the Next Big Writers site?  They’re offering the strongest start novel competition, but you have to join to enter.  You have to read and review other writers.  Sounds interesting, but there is a fee.  $7.95/mo, 14.95/qtrly, 49.95/yearly.  If anyone knows anything about it, please let me know.

Well, I hate to cut and run, but expecting daughter for lunch. Having abalone that my husband got Easter weekend.  Enjoy.

Keep Writing,


Writing Clubs

Hello everyone!

Well, I was so busy with my new position for the Redwood Writers Branch of the California Writers Club, I forgot to blog last week. I’m membership chair for the branch and it is renewal time. Busy!

Last Post Cliches:
Time Flies – time moves swiftly onward. Numerous ancients in roman times said tempus fugit (time flies) Check out Chaucer, The Clerk’s Tale. Term amplified by Ken Hoshino’s translation of Kaibaka Ekken’s Ten Kun (1710). Today-time flies when you’re having fun.

Every Little Bit Helps – any tiny contribution to a ause, collection or undertaking can be useful. According to Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs, this expression began in 1590. Another version in O’Keefee’s play, Wild Oats in 1791. The “bit” was added in America early 20th Cent. A.W. Upfield used it in The Man of Two Tribes (1956).

Well, I’m slow but sure working on my new position. We have over 170 members in our Redwood Writers Branch and we need to get them renewed by June 30–that is if they want to win a prize for early renewal. Luckily we have a Renewal button on our website:

I can’t say I’ve learned the hard way for taking on this position, because I’m enjoying it. Getting to meet new people and help members is rewarding for me. I’m able to do this job in the creature comforts of my own home. No, I don’t get paid, but the writing clubs’ motto is “writers helping writers” and that’s what I’m doing.

As soon as I learn the position and feel comfortable, it will be okay. Right now it’s busy with renewals and getting a few new members signed up, but that’s how the cookie crumbles.

Next week I’ll try and post on Friday as usual.
Until then, join a writing club — learn from and enjoy the company of other writers.

Keep Writing,



Well, I went to bed last night and realized I’d forgotten to write here! I’m sure that might happen now and again.

I decided to join the on-line critique group I used to belong to a few years back.  So I went to the website (I put a link up) and joined their novels list and young adult/children’s list.  I read all the information they sent me on their rules and how to format.  Then their critiques and submissions started pouring into my email.  I read some crits and dove into a submission.  I hit reply in my email account and told them my comments and then line by line I added my comments between // //.

Now keep in mind, I used to belong to this group and I haven’t changed my settings on my computer.  I have my email set for plain text and my word set for plain text with no smart quotes, etc. like they suggested.    So after rereading several times I hit “send”.

In this group you get your critiques back through their list server.  It came back with strange markings like ==A20.

So the next submission, I copy and paste into my word file, do my critiquing and copy and paste into my email account, that says I’m sending in plain text like they want.  It too comes back with the strange markings which  says it’s unformatted.

So I ask for help with the formatting.  They tell me I have to be in plain text.

I look through my email account, which I have never changed, but with a thorough search I find a place that says messages in plain text.  It is unmarked, so I mark it and save it.  Maybe that will make a difference.  The staff also told me to go to a “cleaner site” that will clean my stuff up for me before I send it.  That sounds scary, but not wanting to have all the problems, I’ll give it a try.

I got a thank you from one of the submissions that I’d critiqued, and he said it was unformatted, but he thought he could read it.  I had to apologize to him, but I’m working on the problem.  Never had it before and didn’t change a thing on my computer, but there ya go–always something!

However, this on-line critique site is great.  You get to be teacher and student and will learn so much by reading and giving your comments.  If you give a comment like “I like your writing” that doesn’t count.  You have to do two submissions or critiques per month to stay on the list, failure to do that two consecutive months in a row,  you will be removed from the list.   I have pages of greetings, welcoming and rules for the group and I read every one.  A very helpful and friendly group with good moderators.

Anyway, hopefully today I will figure out how to get everything formatted correctly and have no more problems, so that I can submit one of my chapters.  Looking forward to having people critique my work.  I’ve read some of the critiques and they are very in-depth and helpful.  Some of the people on this site are teachers, professional writers, etc.

I will try not to get caught up in critiquing only and continue to write on my own stuff.  This morning I had 38 emails.  I remember in the past I’d have up to 50 or more, just from the on-line critique group and at that time I was only on the novels list.  It will definitely keep me busy.

But I will remember to write something here too!

Keep on writing and enjoying the process.

more about writing groups-critiquing


Well, thank you all for your comments.  I did forget to mention that I also belong to Lake County Writers Group which is a critique group that meets once a month.  The group is growing and we meet from 11-4.

Like I said before, belonging to a group is so important for writers.  They give you inspiration as well as some frustration, but what’s a writer without frustration.  Getting that right word is so important.  Also, the write sentence, paragraph and chapter!

Well critique groups can help with this.  Since most of us won’t make a fortune at our writing, we can’t afford to pay someone just yet to edit.  So that’s where critique groups come in.

They are a way of getting some input into your work, whether it be a first draft or what you think is your final draft (which of course turns out not to be the case).

I started my arson novel back in 1989.  No, it’s not published yet.  I’m still editing it!  It’s my first adult novel and I refuse to give up on it.  I changed it a bit, so this latest “version” is more with a heroine, instead of her arson investigator husband being the hero.

I belonged to an on-line critique group through the Univ. of Penn. while in Baja, and until I lost my internet, was a great group.  However, you must be careful that you don’t start critiquing more than writing, which was happening to me.  I felt the more I critiqued someone’s work, the more they would critique mine.  That turned out not to be totally true.  Therefore I spent more time critiquing others, than actually writing on my own. I did learn a lot through that group and am thinking about joining it again, but will definitely limit my critiquing.

I feel the saying for critiquing is so true:  If one person doesn’t like something of your work, ok, their opinion; if two people don’t like it, take a hard look at it; and if 3 people don’t like it, it’s out of there.

So how do you feel about critique group?

Keep on Writing and above all, Enjoy

Hello world!


I’ve decided to start a blog.  What will this blog be about?  I’m a writer, so I write.  I’ll write about writing, sites that are of interest, books, clubs, etc.

I belong to the Redwood Writers branch of the California Writers Club.  Yesterday I attended the meeting in Santa Rosa, California at the Flamingo Hotel in the Courtyard Room.  The meetings are from 3-5 p.m.  The first hour is Redwood Writers announcements and business.  The second hour is a guest speaker.  Yesterday  Hal Zina Bennett who is the author of more than 30 successful books was our guest speaker.  His newest book, Write Starts: Prompts, Quotes & Exercises to Jumpstart Your Creativity will be released by New World Library in 2010.  He was very informative and after the session, signed some of his works.

Writers need to be a part of a writing community.  Joining this club was important to me as I’ve been away from the “writing community” for awhile. I lived in Baja Sur Califiornia, Mexico for the last 25 winters and have only had contact via internet.  Before that, I belonged to the Idaho Writers Group and by joining clubs, find it helpful, informative and inspiring.

I find I write more, when I belong to groups that can help get you motivated and critique.

Besides the Redwood Writers, I also belong to Sisters in Crime  and Mystery Writers of America.

So what groups do you belong too?