08.07.2017

You Need Space To Write. You So Do.

You need space, yes you do.

If you want to write, you need a space all to yourself.

You need a place for scribbling, drafting, drawing, and editing.

You need a place to concentrate, daydream, plan, and wonder, ‘What if…’

(Click on the link to see my columns on writing in Ms. Career Girl

A Writer’s Space

…or keep reading below.)

A Writer’s Space

 

And you need a place that inspires and makes you want to write, even if writing makes you sob like it’s raining out of your eyeballs or cackle evilly.

Your writing space should feel beautiful, creative, and encouraging to you.

I often write at my kitchen table.

I call it, not-so-originally, my Kitchen Table Office. I usually have flowers and I am almost always slugging down coffee from my favorite owl mug. If there are cookies nearby, then I have only a few feet to traverse to find them, thank goodness.

Who wants to work hard to find a chocolate chip cookie? Not me.

The lion is from Rebel Dancing Daughter when she went to Kenya. I stare at it for humor.

I keep journals around for ideas and to write through teeth-gritting problems I’m having with my book. One of my journals says:

Trust Your Crazy Ideas.

Which, by the way, you should, fellow writers. Take off and fly. Trust your crazy ideas and the zany, off-beat, swirling and twirling ones. Examine them. Throw them around. See if they’ll work.

I also love to write outside, in my backyard. This is called, again, not-so-originally, “My Backyard Office.”

I can get distracted because I love to stare at my garden and make outlandish plans for building a blue, curving slide from the second story into a pool, a ten foot rock fountain, a hot tub with Keanu Reeves inside, and that sort of thing.

But I find it peaceful, too, which makes me want to write. I’ve seen hummingbirds, blue jays, raccoon, and possums out there and we have no problems with each other.

As long as the bees aren’t swarming and wanting to eat me, I like my little corner under the trumpet vine, next to the impatiens.

Sometimes I have to write with Little Kitty nearby, the cat that Darling Laughing Son dropped off at my house before he skipped away across the seas for an internship.

I like watching our wisteria vine grow and my faux windmill spin.

Adventurous Singing Daughter and I planted Sunflowers and I love watching them grow taller each day.

An outside “office” works for me. Nature is inspiring. Gardening gives me ideas.

Maybe it would work for you, too, although for those of you who get three feet of snow in winter it probably won’t work well unless you can keyboard in gloves.

I do have a place for my extra books and journals in a small bedroom upstairs.

And I do have a place for “junk.”

The junk is in a corner of my dining room. I have NO IDEA why I keep it there. Really. It’s a nice dining room with red walls and a chandelier.

It makes no sense unless we’re going to EAT the manuscripts and notes. Paper is not tasty but, alas, there it stays.

I should move it, I should.

I probably won’t.

Many writers have cleaned out closets and moved in a small table.

Other writers have claimed part of a room in their home for their office. The room might also have exercise equipment (MUST we use it?) and boxes of Christmas decoration (We really need to haul a bunch of that to Goodwill), but it’s their space.

Some writers have a desk in the family room where the kids screech and yell and the dog barks. They learn to shut all that out unless there’s blood or the police arrive with a noise complaint.

Some have a true writer’s office. (See PS below.)

Their writer’s office is only for them, decorated with color, quotes, books they love, and lists of Things To Do. The views are cool, the dogs wander in to chat, and their imagination leaps about.

Go and create a space for yourself. Go make pretty. Find a corner. Find a room. Find a wall. Find a desk, find a table.

Clean it out.

Plug your computer in.

Add flowers, photos, a stapler, journals, notebooks, pens, a printer, and cool souvenirs. Add you.

Then write. Write away.

 

PS

Where Writers Write is coming soon!

We’ll peek into the offices of some of your favorite writers including Catherine Ryan Hyde, Barbara Claypole White, Kristy Woodson Harvey, Ann Garvin, Amy Sue Nathan, Laura Drake, Amy Impellizzeri, and Katie Rose Guest Pryal.

 

 

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08.01.2017

Readers Coffeehouse HUGE Book Giveaway

Fun book giveaway (HUGE giveaway) next Tuesday if you’re interested. We have dozens of writers participating.

Click on this facebook link, below, and we’ll accept you into Readers Coffeehouse, which is an online book club hosted by writers Catherine Ryan Hyde, Kimberly Belle, Kimberly Brock, Jo-Ann Mapson, Laura Drake, Barbara Claypole White, Steena Holmes and moi!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/ReadersCoffeehouse/

Good luck! I hope you win a book, I really do.

 

 

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08.01.2017

Thank you, Debbie Macomber

I was so happy about this I teared up! Debbie Macomber recommended my new book, “No Place I’d Rather Be,” as one of thirteen books to read on Book Bub.

She’s a wonderful author and a wonderful person, and I am so delighted I am going to make myself chocolate chip cookie bars and say, “Cheers to you, Debbie!”

 

13 New Books and Old Favorites Recommended by Debbie Macomber

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07.26.2017

On Being A “Good Wife”

I needed a laugh.

Just had to post this.

 

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07.24.2017

Narnia, Star Wars, Little House On The Prairie – Which Do You Want?

I posted this question on facebook recently, and thought you all might like to see the answers. Post yours below, if you would like!

This is a very important and extremely serious question so grab a slice of pie and ice cream and get ready to think really, really hard. If you had to go and live inside one of these books for the rest of your life, which would you choose and why? Extra points: Which character would you be?

1) The Narnia Chronicles.
2) The Lord of The Rings
3) Star Wars
4) Fifty Shades of Grey
5) Little House on The Prairie
6) Outlander

 

Bridgette Tullos I would be a Jedi from Star Wars that lived on a Little House on a Paririe that lived in the Shire in Scotland
Kelly Kile
Kelly Kile Definitely Star Wars!!! And I would be my hero, Princess/General Leia. She’s such a badass! One of the first women I ever looked up to <3
Kelly J. Phillips
Kelly J. Phillips Totally agree!
Simone Gonzales Laura from Little house on the Prairie because she is spunky and fun, I like to be outside, and it was my favorite show as a kid
Keleigh Wagner
Keleigh Wagner ⬆️ what she said 😉
Cathy Lamb
Write a reply…
Tonni Callan
Tonni Callan Definitely Narnia
Michelle Petrazzoulo Dukette
Michelle Petrazzoulo Dukette Outlander- because I could travel through time to exciting destinations and always return to a loving and handsome Scotsman in a kilt.
Jen Wheatley
Jen Wheatley Outlander. Scotland, adventure and being a sassy foul-mouthed Sassenach? Yes please.
Keily Davis Derrick
Keily Davis Derrick Outlander!!!!
Linda French
Linda French i think it would be outlander for me as well..love Jamie!
Carol Woods
Carol Woods Laura from Little House on the Prairie! Why would I be Laura, she’s a writer, very good at it & she is the heart of the show. Unafraid to be herself.
Terri Johnsen
Terri Johnsen Fifty shades……Anastasia!
Donamae Clausen Kutska
Donamae Clausen Kutska Little house laura she’s brave fun and has imagination.
Rachel Lamb
Rachel Lamb The lord of the rings as some bad ass arrow shooting elf

Remove

Cathy Lamb
Cathy Lamb You crack me up Rachel Lamb
Barb Dowdell James
Barb Dowdell James Outlander would be my first inclination as I could travel through the stones to different times but then I am a creature who likes modern plumbing every day so for that alone I will say Fifty Shades– but only as a secretary or something because he and she and just too hinky for my liking…….
Pamela Bohrer Allen
Pamela Bohrer Allen Well I’ve never seen 1,2 3, or 6, so I’ll go with Little House and Laura! Such a wonderful character, fun and adventure! Maybe I’ll check out the other movies sometime..if I can get my nose out of a good book! ♡
Laurie Becker
Laurie Becker Outlander!
Kelly J. Phillips
Kelly J. Phillips Star Wars- I could be Leia!! But no one, and I mean no one wants me in the metal bikini!!
Although I could handle Anastasia Steele as well.
Katie Linder
Katie Linder If I can’t be Anne of Green Gables, I’ll be Laura.
Connie Binion
Connie Binion Little House On The Prairie
Laura she was bold and brave
Times were hard but she and her family made the best of every day
Marilyn Dummer Grable
Marilyn Dummer Grable Little house!!!
I do love outlander.
Noreen DePersis Karcher
Noreen DePersis Karcher Little House on the Prairie.
Dusti Douglass
Dusti Douglass Realistically, as a nerd, this is an impossible question to answer as there are lengthy arguments for numbers 1, 2, and 3. 😆
Sherie Nash
Sherie Nash “Little House’, and Ma…that was easy.
Debbie Rhodes
Debbie Rhodes Little House. I would be Caroline Engels, the mom because I loved Michael Landon, what a cutie. I like olden days and simple times and I would like making my own clothes and you can’t beat fresh garden vegis! I already have nightgowns and a bonnet. Ha
Tina Ann Forkner
Tina Ann Forkner Outlander. ❤️
Joleen Wheeler
Joleen Wheeler Star wars and go on glorious star gazing trips

L

Rhonda J Gothier

 

Nanci Noyer
Nanci Noyer Little House for sure!
Annette Herbst
Annette Herbst Little House!
Lori Taylor
Lori Taylor Little House … Im a middle sister and my name is Laura.. I always thought I was her anyway 😂😂
Tosha Dillard
Tosha Dillard Laura from Little House on the Pairie. Read the books and love the show.
Greer Macallister
Greer Macallister I would probably live in Fifty Shades just because it seems that world offers the least chance of dying. (Look, even the Prairie had its dangers!) I could just be some sort of bystander or sassy friend or something, right?
Diana Bjarko Fahrenbruck
Diana Bjarko Fahrenbruck I would be the heroine from Outlander❤️❤️ for sure!!!
Ellen Urbani
Ellen Urbani Little House. And I’m pretty sure I am Pa in a dress.
Lindsay Hartgroves
Lindsay Hartgroves LOTR, because of the language, the countryside, the pure fantasy of it all. I’d be Arwen obviously because she finally gets Aragorn (yum)
Sallee Kirby Lines
Sallee Kirby Lines Little house for sure Laura of course grown loving that show!
Susan Dentler Cross
Susan Dentler Cross I’ve been thinking really hard, all the while eating my pie and ice cream but not finished thinking! Another piece of pie and ice cream and I will make a firm decision! But I am leaning toward Laura in “Little House”!
Joyce Ferrell
Joyce Ferrell Outlander, Claire or little house, laura
Karen Calcagno
Karen Calcagno Outlander…just for the sake of Jamie 💖💖💖
But really, little house. Simple life rules with trees bustling in the breeze
Sharon French
Sharon French Outlander. I’d be Clare (sp?) She is brave and a healer. She is also very strong and has a man in a kilt for a husband!!!!! Yes!!!!! I could live this life if I had too!
Cathy Doces Foster
Cathy Doces Foster I second that!!
Write a reply…
Sydney Derrick
Sydney Derrick Christian grey from fifty shades, wouldn’t mind the extra funds
Cathy Lamb
Cathy Lamb Sydney Derrick You crack me up
Cathy Lamb
Cathy Doces Foster
Cathy Doces Foster The Lord of the Rings. Character The Fairy Princess with Ryder after the ring was destroyed. 

Remove

Cathy Doces Foster
Cathy Doces Foster Wait I changed my mind. Legolas’s wife!!!
Cathy Doces Foster
Cathy Doces Foster Or Jamie’s wife in Outlander.
Cathy Lamb

Write a reply…
Connie Cannon

 

Connie Cannon Little House
Eileen Goudge

 

Eileen Goudge Little House with a watermelon patch.
Leslie Stacye Lindsay
Leslie Stacye Lindsay I’m thinking LHOTP and Half-Pint for sure…but you had me at pie and ice cream.
Stella Kensington-Reece
Stella Kensington-Reece Little House. A bit of each character, even Nellie Oleson!

 

 

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07.19.2017

Need Chocolates And A Book? Julia’s Chocolates is $7.43

She threw her wedding dress into a dead tree on a dusty road in North Dakota and took off to a farmhouse painted pink with a rainbow bridge in the front yard and five giant concrete pigs. She started over.

This is the cheapest I’ve ever seen Julia’s Chocolates, paperback, sell for. $7.43.

https://www.amazon.com/Julias-Chocolates-Cathy-Lamb/dp/0758214626/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

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06.27.2017

Chocolates For Life And Advice On Writing

 

This article is not actually all about chocolate, although it looks delicious, and I definitely need more in my diet for nutritional purposes ONLY.

No, this article is about writing.

I had to go to some really smart people to get advice on how to write.

Thanks to these really smart people. I hope you have a box of chocolates today: Amy Guertin Reichert, Amy Nathan, Susan Gloss Parsons, Kaira Sturdivant Rouda, Weina Dai Randel, Eileen Goudge, Ellen Urbani, Lisa Barr, Sally Koslow Nicole Lynn Baart, Kerstin Carlson March, Brandi Megan Granett, Katie Rose Sandra Block and Sonja Yoerg.

Chocolates For Life And Advice On Writing

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06.26.2017

Golfing and Writing And Throwing Clubs In A Lake

(Printed in Writers In the Storm: http://writersinthestormblog.com/)

I recently started golfing. My husband (nicknamed “Innocent Husband” because the poor man can never be held responsible for what his wife says or writes), made me.

He has been hoping I would golf with him for over two decades.

I have resisted. Even thinking about trying to put a tiny white ball into a tiny hole hundreds of yards off made my brain want to bust open and shriek.

But Innocent Husband recently bought me clubs, smiled endearingly, and I caved.

I am a terrible golfer. No one told me that golf balls have evil brains. No one told me that the golf ball will do whatever it wants to do no matter how I swing the club. I have hit trees and almost Innocent Husband. I have hit my ball into grass so deep, and so far off course, it took ten minutes to find it.

But I love it. Unbelievably. Miraculously. I love it. As I love writing.

So let me link golfing and writing if I can. I think they have some things in common besides swear words.

1) Practice Swinging and Scribbling . Golfing takes practice. It’s going to take a lot of practice for me to get the ball to go straight instead of heading straight towards the sand pit. Writing does, too. It takes practice for beginners and for people who have won The National Book Award. You must write. Write and edit your manuscript, but write an article or a blog, too. If you like poetry, write a poem. Write a letter. Write on your computer, write by hand in a beautiful journal. Write in a whole new genre. Write.

2) Analyze and Dissect. You need to analyze your golf swing so you don’t keep swinging and swinging…and the golf ball is still sitting there cackling meanly up at you from the tee.

You need to analyze your own work. Don’t tell yourself you’re terrible, but take a hard, deep, honest look at your plot. Will it find an audience? Who is your audience? Is the plot, truly, interesting? What about the characters? Are they unique, compelling, funny, maddening or diabolical? If they need to be likable, are they likable? What about the pacing of your book? Slow pacing kills a plot. I have seen this a hundred times. Is your plot moving right along?

What about the dialogue? Is it realistic? Is it flat out amusing or threatening or thought provoking or utterly sincere? Does it tell the reader about the personality of the characters? Are you using the setting and weather to enhance the plot? Are there character arcs? Will your story evoke emotion in the reader? Will it make them laugh or cry or think or all three? It should.

3) Get Outside and Groove. You need to get outside to golf unless you want to break a window and you need to get outside to write. On nice days I set my computer up on my table in my back yard. Hiking helps. Walking helps. Going to the lake or the beach or the mountain helps. (Don’t golf in the mountains.) You need to get a different perspective and being outside will help you think through your work.

4) Learn from others, like I learn from Innocent Husband when he’s coaching me on the golf course and telling me not to treat the golf ball as the enemy. Read your favorite authors and take their work apart. Why do you like their books? How can you put those elements in your own work? I have learned from Geraldine Brooks, Alice Walker, James McBride, Bailey White, Kaye Gibbons, etc. If you read a book you didn’t like, why? What can you do to make sure you don’t repeat that author’s mistake?

5) Never throw your golf clubs in the lake. Too expensive. Never quit writing if it’s something you love to do. Never.

Good luck. I mean that, I do.

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06.20.2017

A Teeny, Tiny Lie About Golfing

For years I told Innocent Husband, an avid golfer, that I would golf with him when I retired.

That was deceptive.

I have no plans to retire from writing. I like daydreaming while slugging down coffee and translating daydreams into stories.

I told him that teeny, tiny marital lie because I didn’t want to golf.

For me, a person who is not very patient, trying to put a tiny white ball into a tiny hole in the ground from hundreds of yards away is my idea of mental mayhem and emotional chaos.

I pictured myself hurdling my club into the sky in frustration and accidentally hitting a sweet duck flying overhead.

I pictured myself as one of those crazy people who heaves their clubs into a pond and then stumbles in after them.

But then Innocent Husband, who so wants me to golf with him, broke the agreement about retirement/golfing.

He got a sweetheart of a deal on golf clubs, secretly signed me up for lessons with two of my girlfriends, and voila. I’m out on the driving range.

Susan and Debbie and I looked at each other in disbelief that first day. How did we get here? What the heck happened? They are also non-golfers and were tricked into this game by their husbands.

I was terrible. What was this stick thing I was gripping? Why did the ball go sailing off to the right instead of straight? I actually managed to hit one ball almost straight up into the air. Another three feet and I would have had a black eye or no nose.

Innocent Husband, delighted at my attempts, took me out on the golf course.  I swung and missed hitting that bad ball, sitting on the tee, mocking me, laughing at me, numerous times.

I sent one ball careening into someone’s backyard. I hit three trees, as if the trees were my enemy. I darn near smacked Innocent Husband with a golf ball and did not yell, “Fore!” because I didn’t know I was supposed to.

In addition, putting is a mystery. I seem to have to whack every ball as far as I can, as if speed is of the essence.

But a funny thing happened: I loved it.

Yes, I love golf. I don’t have the cute, spiffy golf clothes that women wear. I am wearing an old orange golf shirt of my husband’s and green shorts I’ve had for at least five years. So no cutesy skort for me with a matching collared shirt.

But I’ve learned something:  I really need to try more new things. I have been swamped with writing, raising kids, a house and garden, and a whole bunch of other stressful “life stuff” that unfortunately comes down the pike for all of us.

Which led me to this question, especially since I am now an empty-nester: What else should I try? What else would be interesting or entertaining or just flat out new?

What  hobbies or interests do you want to try? What adventures do you want to have? What countries or states do you want to visit?

I’m makin’ my list and checkin’ it twice.

Have a wonderful summer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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06.20.2017

Short, Sweet, Happy Beach Reads

If you like short stories, that I PROMISE will end happy, try these. I have a story in each anthology.

I tried to put a lot of humor in because I think we women all need to laugh. I LOVED writing these modern-day, real women, real men romances.

I think I’m a romantic at heart. My husband might disagree, but I do TRY. And trying counts, right?

https://www.amazon.com/Cathy-Lamb/e/B001IGO5L0

 

 

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