Thursday, March 31, 2011

"Did you just say Abe Lincoln?"

Sorry. That's been stuck in my head all morning. Must be time to pull out the movie Robin Hood: Men in tights. Terribly funny.

But wait! No time for movies. There are more pressing, urgent, important things going on!

As you probably know by now The A to Z Challenge begins ...duh, duh, duhhhhh... tomorrow, April 1st!

26 A to Z posts in 26 days, no Sundays.

If you are on Twitter make sure you use the tag #atozchallenge when you post. And feel free to follow moi so that I can follow vous!  @hmgardner.

If you are on Facebook feel free to add me as a friend:

Shameless self-promotion over...I am very excited about this challenge and hope that I can keep all of you entertained and on the edge of your seats for each and every letter!

Maybe I should come up with a Plan B. Just in case.

See all 800ish of you in the AM!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Harry Potter Blogfest

Today is the Harry Potter Blogfest from Michael at In Time ...

Here are the rules from his post: 

It's quite simple. All you have to do is choose which two characters would be YOUR best mates at Hogwarts. You can use any student characters from any book.
After you choose your mates, then, all you have to do is write a fun little piece on why and what kind of trio would you be. It's that easy. 
Have FUN with this. Let's keep it between 300-350 words, so we can all read each others work. Sound COOL?

And here is my entry:

Dear Donovan,

I write this letter hoping you will read it on the train.

First, let me tell you how proud I am of you, my son. I know you will be an amazing wizard.

I am so excited for you and for all the new adventures you will experience at Hogwarts.

As for your House, the sorting can be frightening.

Let me share my own experience to help alleviate your concerns.

If I had been incredibly brave the Sorting Hat would have chosen me for Gryffindor.
If I had intelligence to spare, Ravenclaw.
If I was completely mental, Slytherin.

But, I was none of those things.

I was from an average wizarding family who taught me to be a good student, loyal friend, and to be honest and fair.

I was chosen for Hufflepuff.

While at Hogwarts I saw great things, some terrible, but great.

Good friends helped me through those turbulent years.

In my second year I met Hannah Abbott when she was sorted into our house. She was short on self-confidence and easily flustered but she was a good friend to me and always there when I needed her.

In my first year I met the handsome Cedric Diggory. He was in his second year and had already distinguished himself as an excellent student and athlete, but he was modest, fair-minded and a fierce, fierce friend.

You already know how we lost Cedric. How his tragic murder would compel his classmates to form an army and fight against Voldermort and his Death Eaters, to fight against evil, to fight for those that had sacrificed everything.

Without my friends I might never have had the strength to fight. I’m proud of them, and myself, because we made a difference.

It is my wish that you and your classmates will always be able to look up at that beautiful Hogwarts Castle and understand and appreciate all that was lost and found to secure your future.

Good luck. Study hard.

With all my love, your mother

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Brain needs rewiring!

Deirdra Eden Coppel from A Story Book World 
sent me a very sweet blog award. 

Luckily I don't there were any rules involved with receiving it.

So, thank you for thinking of me.

I'm afraid I having nothing new to talk about today. Been mostly fuzzy around the edges for a few days. 

Trying to fight off a cold, I may be losing that battle. 

Had some company over and had to prepare the house for guests. 

Playing with my new top, the laptop, and not accomplishing much. 

I've got plenty of reasons to write, but lack the gumption.

Perhaps my brain is saving it all for the A to Z Blogfest in April! One can hope.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Love, love, love this motivational poster.

Couldn't we all use a little motivation?

I'm pretty sure that Captain Malcolm Reynolds could motivate me to do just about anything he wants. 

If you are a Firefly/Serenity fan you probably already know about the constant hope and recent push to bring back the show. I don't believe that will happen. Most of the stars have moved on to new projects and wouldn't be able to commit anyway. 

Besides, Joss Whedon killed off one of the best characters in the movie and the show wouldn't be the same without them.

What I think is really sad is the way that Joss Whedon talks about the show, how he grieves over it. He says he is always thinking about the scenes and shows he didn't get to write.

That is true love for your creation and real heartbreak over losing it.

I think we can all empathize with him.

I'm not eloquent enough to be able to describe Firefly like some do but I thought it was amazing.

Sure, they called it a 'space western' but that was just a small part of the whole.

The world that Joss Whedon created was just phenomenal and completely believable. The cultures, the language, the scenery, the style. Great action and suspense, terrifying bad guys and ... no aliens!

If you have never watched the show or the movie, I highly recommend both, in that order. 

The dialogue is smart and funny. The characters are witty and interesting...and hot!

Come on! Nathan Fillion! Jewel Staite! Summer Glau! Morena Baccarin! Alan Tudyk! 

What's not to like!

Interested in all things Whedon? Check out this fantastic website:

Monday, March 21, 2011

I don't have a short attention...oh, look a chicken!

Sometimes I worry about myself.

I have to cause not that many others would.

I get all excited about my writing and then I post about it and then the well dries up.

I guess I jinxed myself.

So, I thought I would read. I ordered a few books from the library and picked them up the other day.

I read one and that's a good start but the others are just sitting here.

I remember a time when I used to get a brand new book in my hand and I would get a tremendous rush of excitement just knowing that I would be soon be trapped in its pages.

Now I feel guilty for reading instead of writing.

I know its important to keep reading while you write. I have read many of your posts on the same subject. It's good for the gray matter.

But, I'm having trouble concentrating on writing or reading.  I'm too easily distracted by just about anything.

Maybe it's spring fever. We actually were able to spend most of this past weekend outdoors and then we got snow today. Snow. I'm pretty sick of it, I've got to tell you. It's been a really long winter. I'm about ready to go to PA and have a talk with that stupid beaver.

Guess I will just have to suffer through the dry spells and wait for my next inspiration.

Only 10 more days until the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Anyone joining me on the crazy train heading to crazy town?

Friday, March 18, 2011

You are now free to move about the cabin...

I have cut the to speak.

Back in 2004 my wonderful husband bought me my first laptop in the hopes that I would write the first of many bestsellers on it and he could retire early and become my manager. 

He's a dreamer, that one.

Over a year ago the screen died on the laptop. Just died for no reason, but the computer was still running.

My husband said we should just get a new one but I didn't want to buy a new one. I hadn't made any money using this one yet! 

So, being the cheap-o broad that I am I stole borrowed a flat panel monitor from my dad and hooked them together.

It effectively turned my laptop into a giant desktop PC but who was I to complain? It was still working.

But, I was chained...tethered...leashed. Laptops are supposed to be portable.

Long story short...too late...we invested in a new laptop just a few days ago. It was time. Things were flashing red. Things were slower than slow. Things were having issues.

So, I am now the proud owner of a brand new, faster than a speeding bullet, laptop.

I am hoping it is going to bring me some good luck with it. I would really like to use this one to bring in some extra bucks!

One thing I will have to get used to is working on Word 2010. I have been writing on Word 2003 all this time. Everything looks different, exciting and shiny, but different.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Perseverance. It's not just for breakfast anymore.

A tweet caught my eye yesterday. Someone was excited and had big news, so I clicked on the link. 

I'm glad I did.

Seems this lovely writer was sharing her wonderful news about a publisher calling to sign her to a three book deal.

Congrats to her.

Here is the part that I found interesting.

To paraphrase her very long post: she submitted/queried her story to agents/publishers, revised, then submitted again, sometimes to the same places as the first time, repeat revision and submission process.

Stay with me.

She states that after 73 rejections she was done sending it out.

But, that after she posted an excerpt on her blog she got a message from a legit publisher asking for the manuscript.

Boop, boop, boop.

Back it up!

73 rejections! 73!

That's it! I am the laziest submitter, EVER!
I only sent to 16 agents/publishers. Just 16. Of course her odds are better than mine! She blanketed the publishing world!

Why didn't I do that?

Probably because I was so shocked and brokenhearted that no one wanted to scoop up my amazing story immediately and make me a three book deal that would lead to my fortune and glory.

But, that's no excuse! Submission #FAIL. 

It must be that I didn't believe in my story, or more likely my query, as much as she did. She wanted it more than I did. She worked harder than I did. She is signing contracts and I am ... not. 

So, I guess the next time we hear an author say that they were rejected numerous times before they got their first big break, we can recall her tale of perseverance.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Buggles have nothing on me!

Do you remember The Buggles? No? That's okay. Most people don't. Only a handful of my generation may know that their song, Video killed the Radio Star, was the first music video aired on MTV in 1981. That is about the only song I ever heard from them.

Where am I going with this?

I'm beginning to wonder if I am a One Hit Wonder.

Yes, I know, technically my book is not a hit because it has never been published.'s finished.

I have started 4 or 5 stories since I finished that one and I can't seem to get past a few chapters of any of them.

I want to. Desperately.

I want to work on them and develop them and, you know, finish them.


Even Caine is giving me problems. He doesn't want to go where I tell him to go. What's up with that? He's stuck over here and all the action will be going on over there and I need to get him to go over there!


Colin cooperated. Colin always did what I asked of him. So, I put him through a little hell, but everything worked out in the end!

Perhaps I need to give Caine more incentive. Make it worth his while to go where I tell him to go.

I'll try that and let you know how it works out.

Anyone else having trouble motivating their characters today?

Friday, March 11, 2011

...and another thing!

Leave it to me to fuck up my own story.


I decided to post another excerpt from my finished book today, Setting the Record Straight (StRS).

While I was checking the length of the excerpts I noticed that I had skipped posting 600 words.

600 words. 


So, for those of you who have been reading StRS, my sincere apologies for the confusion and I hope, really, really hope, that you will go back to read what I so stupidly forgot to post. 

To sum up:
Part 1 is still the same.
Part 2 is the 600 words that I skipped.
Part 3 was formerly known as Part 2.
Part 4 is new.

In other news...

I have been awarded the One Lovely Blog Award from Myne Whitman at Myne Whitman Writes.

How cool is she? Awesome! Major amounts of thanks go to Myne!

Here is where I break the rules. I mentioned that I hate rules, right?

Since I only just convinced you to listen to 7 odd facts about myself and turned you on to 6 stupendously great blogs that I follow, I won't force you to sit through that again.

 Instead I will just thank you guys and Myne Whitman and enjoy the cute new picture that came with the award...

...even though it's pink.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I've been called worse.

Well, I'm 64 days away from my 1 year anniversary of writing this blog and I have won my first ever blog award!

The Stylish Blogger Award!

I don't think I've ever been called Stylish before. I'm feeling slightly under dressed in my jeans and Harley t-shirt but, really, what else is new? 

Would you believe that receiving the award comes with rules?

Cause I'm so good with those. 

Rule #1 - Thank the person who awarded it to you.

Thank you Jessica A. Briones at *A Wannabe Writer* for sharing this blog award with me!

Rule #2 - Share 7 facts about yourself

Really? Like you want to know facts now?

Fine. Here goes...
1. I love chocolate
2. I have one tattoo and would like another
3. I am in the auxiliary for our local volunteer fire department
4. I love my cats but someday want a German Shepherd
5. I ride on the back of a Harley
6. I own a guitar but can't play it
7. I enjoy target shooting firearms

Rule #3 - Choose _____ bloggers to pass this award on to.

I have seen a number as low as 5 and as high as 15 for this rule. I will be going with 7 because that is how many facts that I shared and I'm obsessive like that.

(You don't know how hard I am trying not to make this 7 rules to follow the theme!) 

Rule #4 - Notify said recipients of the #3 rule.

Since #3 and #4 technically go together I'm not sure why we need 2 rules but what the hell do I know.

Here they are in no particular order:

1. Christine Bell - Christine is very nice and I have read one of her books and enjoyed it. I also won a critique from her and she was an amazing help and a true professional.

2. Liz Fichera - Liz has been very supportive and is just genuinely a nice person. She has lots of good advice on her blog.

3. Arlee Bird - This gentlemen, along with 7 of his minions, is hosting the A to Z blogging challenge in April.

4. Murees Dupe - Always has words of encouragement for me.

5. DL Hammons -  Held a really fun mystery contest recently on his blog. Great way to meet new people and think outside the blog.

6. Wendy Tyler Ryan - Smart, funny and entertaining. Is working very hard to share information about self-publishing on her blog.

7. This one I'll use to thank my family and friends who visit my blog all the time. They don't have to come and read my crap here all the time but they do and I appreciate it.

So, thanks again to Jessica and thanks to all of you who come to visit me on my little blog!

"Nothing in the verse can stop me."

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Whip cream with your humble pie?

"Oh lord it's hard to be humble .. When you're perfect in every way
I can't wait to look in the mirror .. Cause I get better lookin' each day
To know me is to love me .. I must be a hell of (wo)man
Oh lord it's hard to be humble .. But I'm doin' the best that I can."   M.D.

That was how I was feeling when I posted my entry for the blogfest yesterday.

I was feeling AWESOME about my first 500ish words of Maguire's Corner.

Then I got the feedback.

It was intense.

Don't get me wrong, a lot of very nice comments were left and I thank you for that.

I do appreciate every comment because for a long time I was on here talking to myself.

Some comments are just harder to take because either I agree with them and can't figure out why I didn't pick up on the same thing, OR, I completely disagree with them and don't know if the commenter and I are even reading the same page. 

A few things I would like to address:

During one of the many revisions I had taken out the information about Maggie calling 911 to report a hit and run. Sometimes you just work on something so much or change so many things that you forget to put important info back.

I, the writer, know she called 911. You, the reader, don't. This was a simple fix.

One of the things that came up time and again was using the five senses to describe what was going on. I really thought I had this nailed but you would have had to read the whole chapter in order to catch it all not just the first 500 words. So many of the suggestions were in the next few paragraphs. Argh.

Another comment was to slow down the pace. This I can't do. I understand that some readers want more description but, to me, this was an action scene and I wanted to keep it fast paced. I wanted the reader out of breath. I wanted the reader to say, get me out of this car!

So, that I think I will leave as is.

I listened. I pondered. I suffered. I edited. 

If you want to read the reworked first chapter of Maguire's Corner in its entirety, please use this link.

I have finished going through all the blogfest entries. Lots of good writing out in blogland.

It's good to know there are so many of us out there just trying day after day to write and connect and share. It feels good to be a part of this writing community where we are all striving for ourselves yet supporting each other.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Catch Me if You Can Blogfest Entry

Thank you to Kristina at KayKay's Corner for hosting the Catch Me if You Can Blogfest. Check out this link for the rules, to sign up or to read the other entries!

Here is my entry from a work in progress called Maguire's Corner. This is the first 500ish words of Chapter #1.

“Emily? It’s Maggie. I just saw a guy hit someone and keep driving. You need to send an ambulance to Main Street,” Maggie Maguire said into her cell phone.

“Will do, wait one sec,” Emily said, putting her on hold for a moment. “Okay, they are on their way. What happened?”

“Everything happened so fast. This guy came out of nowhere. I can barely keep up with him.”

Maggie’s voice shook with excitement and fear but, at the moment, excitement was keeping her foot on the gas pedal.

“You’re following him? Just tell me what kind of vehicle it is and I’ll send a patrol car out there,” her cousin responded with disapproval.

“I wouldn’t have been able to tell you it was a big black SUV with Jersey plates if I hadn’t followed him now would I?”

The truck was far enough ahead that Maggie had to squint to read off the plate numbers to Emily.

“Where are you now?”

“Driving down Oak Lane passing Uncle Timmy’s garage.”

Maggie tried to maintain her high speed. It was easy to follow the SUV’s taillights in the dark but her car definitely didn’t have the kind of horsepower the truck possessed.

“And he hit the other car on Main?” Emily asked.

“No, he hit a man walking across the street.”

“Heavens! Maybe you should back off. I’m sending out a couple cars.”

“By the time anyone gets out here this guy will be long gone. He’s flying out of town. I’ll just stay with him until they catch up.”

“Just wait - just hold on.”

Maggie absently listened to the hold message for a second time from the Town of Maguire’s Corner Police Department. Something about ‘your call is important to us; remember to store your firearms safely’.

“Maggie, I have two cars heading your way.”

“Okay, but he’s slowing down. Wait, what’s he doing now? He’s pulling into a driveway. I think he may know I’m following him. I’ve got to put my phone down.”

Nervous fingers fumbled with the buttons on the phone before she threw it down on the passenger seat.

“I put you on speaker. I drove past him but he pulled out behind me. He’s catching up.”

Maggie didn’t get a response from Emily. She must not have pushed the speaker button after all.

“If your advice is to drive faster I’m on it.”

She rammed the accelerator all the way to the floor but the old, used subcompact was at maximum speed. The SUV’s headlights filled her rearview mirror with blinding light then disappeared before the bigger vehicle smashed into the back of her car with a sickening crunch.

“Damn, he hit me,” Maggie shouted, holding tight to the steering wheel trying to control the car.

The other vehicle was speeding up behind her again and she braced for another hit. The SUV all but pushed her car down the road. Everything from the passenger seat went flying under the dashboard, including her phone.

“What the hell?”

Her earlier excitement had turned to real icy panic and her hands clenched the wheel harder dreading the next strike.

 So...want to finish the rest of this chapter? Click here.

Page 99 is available from a different blogfest here.

And a little smooching is over here.

Thanks so much for coming by! 

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Gone but Not Forgotten Blogfest!

The Gone but Not Forgotten Blogfest!
My top 5 TV shows no longer making NEW episodes.

The Carol Burnett Show (1967-1978) - I watched a lot of television as a kid with my family. We liked to laugh so I mostly recall shows like Laugh In, The Benny Hill Show, The Muppet Show, Soap, M.A.S.H., The Bob Newhart show and The Carol Burnett Show. This show is what comedy is all about. Laughing and sharing funny stories with your friends cause that’s what they were doing each week. The best parts weren’t just the skits or the guest stars but when they would make each other laugh in front of the audience. They would barely be able to keep it together to finish a scene and they would push each other to see if they could make the other lose it. True comedy genius from real talented people.

The X-Files (1993-2002) - Has to be my favorite show…ever. I watched from the first day and I was hooked through the whole show (even when David left, reluctantly). I think the X-Files always appealed to people not just because of the sci-fi content but because the writing was always creative and funny. Some of my favorite memories are of the comedy or parody episodes. I have an entire box full of cool memorabilia. I even went to a convention! My husband and I were given VIP passes to a sci-fi convention in Jersey. I wasn’t able to meet Gillian or David, they were not there, but others from the show were. It was amazing. Recently, my husband bought me the entire set on DVD and now I can watch it whenever my little heart desires.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003) / Angel (1999-2004) - Yes, these shows were basically the same. And they both had their ups and downs but the majority of the shows were fantastic. Witty dialogue, interesting characters and cheesy special effects. Fighting the good fight, fighting against evil always makes good TV. But the love affair between Buffy and Angel was tangible and beautiful and always kept me coming back for more.

The West Wing (1999-2006) - I cried when this show ended. We had to record this show on VHS tapes (I know, right? What are those?) and I knew the last episode was on the tape and I couldn’t bring myself to watch it for days after it aired on TV.  I loved this show. Not just for the politics or the controversies but for the amazing characters. I knew them. I cried with them and laughed with them. The show was fast paced and current. They perfected the art of ‘walk & talks’. It introduced me to some of my favorite actors like Dule Hill and Bradley Whitford and had the Godfather of all presidents, Martin Sheen. Great show.

Firefly (2002-2003) - I see a trend too…Joss Whedon is my Master now. Love him. I missed the original boat for this show. I was just coming off the X-Files high and of course it was the end of Buffy the Vampire Slayer as well. I didn’t think I wanted to watch this space western at the time. WTF is a space western? Well, while I was home with 'the baby' in 2005 I saw an episode on the SyFy channel and fell head over heels for the crew of Serenity. I saved my pennies to buy the only season they were able to create (FU Fox) and the Serenity movie and became a lifelong fan.

Thanks for coming by!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Rejections are for babies!

I do solemnly swear that if I ever receive the big "R" rejection letter again I will watch this video and remember to laugh.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


"I got a fever! And the only more cowbell!"

Yep. I got issues.

I found another two, not one, but two blogfests that I want to enter. 

Let me give you the scoopage!

March 4, 2011
The Gone but not Forgotten Blogfest from Erinn at something else to distract me.


TV shows. You love them, you watch them, you plan your life around watching them. OK, not so much anymore since they created the wonderful DVR! But, you have dedicated large portions of your life to these shows and then some network ASS comes along and since the numbers aren't lining up for him like a cosmic g-spot he cancels your favorite show! 

Or, it had a good run and now it's over...but not for you!

So, list your top 5 favorite TV shows that are no longer making NEW episodes.


March 7, 2011
The Catch me if you can Blogfest from Kristina at KayKay's Corner.

The Question: Does my Work In Progress catch the reader's attention right away? Post the first 550 words (or less) of your current WIP and see!

Both of these blogfests are still open if you are interested in signing up. 

And of course the April A to Z blogfest starts in less than a month. I have about half of the topics for the letters picked out. I read a suggestion to write them all this month and post them all next month. It is smart and efficient and way to responsible for me. I think I will write the posts as I go hoping that my 'work better under pressure' theory holds up.

Anyone else think we need more cowbell?