Sometimes when I read other people's blogs, it drives home the fact that my own blogs are pretty fluffy. And that's okay. I'm not seeking to change the world, I'm not here to discuss my political views, I don't consider myself an expert on the subject of anything but myself (and possibly spreadsheets... and sarcasm). If someone does read my blog, I hope they find something they can relate to and enjoy, and that's all. If my book ever gets published, and if people buy it, and if that purchase leads them here to this website... they may very well be disappointed... unless they're looking for the person behind the book. What I want is to be relatable... I'm willing to share my own foibles with the world.

(Okay, what's the deal with all the helicopters flying over head? Go away already, you're loud and you're throwing off my groove! The Emperor's New Groove is an awesome movie by the way - LLAMA!)

I'm sure that (eventually) someone will make their way to my site thinking it's a site dedicated to the art of writing. Because - I can almost say it without choking now - I'm a(n unpublished) writer, and that's what I advertise on the home page. But nope. This blog is just me talking about whatever the heck amuses me at the moment (and as you may have noticed, I'm all over the map... EVERYTHING amuses me). If what you want is writing advice, check out my Writing Biz page, any time I find something interesting I put it there -- and I updated it again today.

Today I am going to talk a little about writing... nothing so lofty as craft, just the way it works for me. People have asked, so I assume it's interesting to someone out there. I'm pretty sure my method won't work for most people. Until recently I preferred to write by hand, now I prefer to use the computer, but I digress... sort of:

Location and setting: Very informal. No desk. I sit indian-style on my love seat, in front of the television with the volume down so low that it's barely audible - yet loud enough that I'm not struggling to hear because that would distract me - I have my laptop cradled in my lap (as I do now)... and I type. Obsessively. When I've got the creative juices flowing, hours of my life disappear and I only realize time has passed when I have to stop and turn the lamp on in order to see.

When I finally force myself to break away from the computer to take a bath and wind down for the evening, I take my notebook with me so I can write down whatever pops into my head, because God has cursed me such that most of my best ideas come to me when I'm in the bathroom... and I wish I were making that up. Afterward, I may go back to the computer, or I might carry my notebook to bed with me, because God has also cursed me such that the rest of my best ideas come right as I'm about to fall asleep... and if I don't write them down I get into a long (mostly internal) debate about whether I can remember this nugget until the morning, or whether I should write it down immediately -- trust me, if you have this dilemna, write it down immediately and save yourself the heartache of a lost idea, or the tragedy of insomnia.

Process: I write, then the next day I re-read, and add to, what I previously wrote. Anything that was handwritten in the notebook gets transcribed onto the computer. Then I build on what I wrote. I didn't use an outline initially, although once I got into this story I did sort of draw a skeleton to keep things sorted out.

I don't know how many edits I did because I edit as I go along. As I mentioned, I am always re-reading what I wrote before... George Lucas says don't do it... write until the whole story is out there and then go back and edit... but what does George Lucas know? (I jest) I save at least one new file each day, with the date and word count, and if I make a major story change I also save a new file with 'story change' in the title. Not only does this make life easier if the idea doesn't work out, it also helps me feel secure that I can - without a doubt - prove that I am the author of the story should it ever become necessary. If 120 or so files don't prove anything, I don't know what will!

Whenever I get what I consider to be a brilliant idea that will further the story, I skip several lines so there's an obvious break, and I type it out so that I can revisit it in the future and see what I can do with it. Anything I delete from the story goes into a scrap file in case I can use it somewhere else (not a word or two, but good sentences and paragraphs).

Where do I begin: I start with a line, something that I can't get out of my head. In this case it was "I moved here from a place where the sunlight was abrasive and cruel; where it not only beat down on you, it also beat you down." Then I add to it. In this story I wanted the first paragraph to set a mood that was almost palpable, so I challenged myself to be as descriptive as possible.

I ask myself questions... how would someone accomplish this... how would I feel if this happened... how the hell is she going to get out of this mess... and see what answers I can come up with. I may get ideas from conversations I have, songs I hear, movies I watch, books I read, random internet tidbits, dreams. Wherever the inspiration comes from, I make sure to tweak the idea until it's mine. I do sometimes draw from my own life experiences, and apparently it shows, more than one person accused me of being Grace... and okay... we are similar, but we're also different. Thankfully, they also felt that my other characters had a different voice.

I also did a lot of research. I researched wolves, morthouses, skeet shooting, castles, cailleachs, wildcats, gardens, lime-based paint... all kinds of things. Many times that research led to more ideas.

I don't know if that's helpful to anyone. That's just how I did it. There's no one method that works for everyone, that's for sure. If you're a writer, stick to whatever works for you, and good luck!


Greg -- Unfortunately, we drive the same streets my friend

Jeff -- Have I mentioned that I'm going to Scotland soon? LOL Today's weather is awfully nice, too... windows are open again
Life without an internet connection pretty much sucks... I never realize how reliant I am upon technology until I have to go without... I was trying to buy international currency for my upcoming trip to Scotland, but I didn't have the phone number... because that's on the internet. I wanted to call Comcast to find out why I didn't have an internet connection, but that phone number? Also on the internet. I found an old bill (because I'm nothing if not resourceful... and yes, I'm kidding about that being a resourceful thing to do), which had the number on it. I called, only to find out that there was indeed an outage in my area, and technicians had been dispatched... they were already aware of the issue thankyouverymuch. I need an outgoing message like that at work... something that gets to the point and tells people to leave me alone, but said in such a way as to imply that I'm being helpful by not taking their call...

So today I want to talk about 'the ick.'

'The ick' is a feeling that you get in your gut when someone is creepy - and you can't necessarily put into words why you feel this way - but you immediately want to run the other way (thanks to my cousin, Jamie, for letting me in on the terminology). Today I met someone who gave me 'the ick.' It had a lot to do with the way they presented themselves; this person bordered on grotesque. That said, sometimes even very good looking people also give me 'the ick,' it all depends on the situation. And there's more to life than being really, really, incredibly good looking (thank god, or I'd be screwed).

It's odd really, how a person could look so completely different if they only made minor changes in their appearance. Have you ever watched one of those geeks-get-the-girl reality shows? Neither have I. But for the sake of argument let's say you got really bored one night and decided to watch just one episode... Me too! Okay, so you understand where I'm coming from. Something as simple as a hairstyle can make a major improvement in the way someone looks, or clothes that fit (my albatross), or the right makeup. Hair though, that's pretty paramount. It's the difference between Kristen Stewart in The Cake Eaters or The Runaways, and Kristen Stewart at the MTV Movie Awards (yes I watched it... I'm a Twilight addict and they were premiering the new trailer - what's it to you?). And Joan Jett rocked that hair by the way... it's just not for everyone...

I'm going to share something pretty mind blowing with you. This is Kandee Johnson, one of the links on my new random stuff page. Sure, she's attractive without makeup (and I applaud her for going in front of the camera with no makeup on), but after she's done, she's an absolute bombshell. It's almost unfair that women get to play around with makeup, because guys (typically) don't, and that means guys are judged on their natural appearance (gasp!)... they have to actually be good looking... we can fudge it until you wake up next to us one morning and wonder who the hell that hag in your bed is... and what did she do with the hot chick?

Last but not least, since I had a raging hangover this weekend, I used the time to consolidate some of my pages in an effort to de-clutter the website a little. The Scotland page now includes the pics and video that used to be on a separate page, I updated the Ireland page, I deleted the sketches and put them with my research, I consolidated my sample chapters and poems, and I added the aforementioned random stuff page which is chock full of things that are really cool; I also added two more recipes. Like I said on my home page, I will try to continually update things to keep it interesting for those poor souls who stumble across my website while they're looking for something else. =) I also linked this to my blogspot account so all my bases are covered (lol, if you click the link it's just going to send you back here... but you know you want to, so go ahead...).

Answer to Greg's question, and a comment -- I know the urine collection procedure because I, as most people have at some point in their lives, have had to provide my doctor with a urine sample before. I know it verbatim because of (and now we come full circle) the internet... And thank you, I thought my website needed a darker format because my book is dark; I like this one, too.  =)
If you've ever wondered what it feels like to have bamboo shoved under your fingernails, I can now provide you with valuable information - it hurts like a motherfucker.

I have bamboo blinds in one of my rooms, and as I reached for the rope to raise them up, a piece of bamboo was sticking out just far enough that it was able to lodge itself under my fingernail. Imagine that. Through some weird twist of fate, my hand was at just the perfect angle to receive it. Another thing you should know about bamboo under your nails? Removal hurts almost as much as the insertion, and even after you remove it, it still stings.

Quite a bit.

For a while.

So I like to dress up for Halloween, and most years I attend a huge party that one of my friends throws, but this year I'll be in England (that's not disappointment you're sensing - don't get me wrong, I do look forward to the party and the Wooga... but party here... or party in England...). We'll be just under the Scottish border in Northumbria, at Chillingham Castle where we will spend the night... in a haunted castle... on Halloween... mm-hmm.

I was half-joking to my friends that we should dress up for the ghost tour. At this point it's gonna happen because now there's more than one of us who is excited at the prospect. It shouldn't come as a surprise that I will, probably, be dressed as a vampire... it's a pretty easy costume to don and I shouldn't scare too many people unless I get these contacts (which I'm seriously considering because they're cool... or maybe these). Anyway, I checked the Chillingham website because I was going to ask if people dress up, and I found out that they're having a bonfire and fireworks on Halloween night. AWESOME. So, a bonfire at a haunted castle on Halloween... how cool is that? It's pret-ty cool.

No... it's ridiculously cool.

Do I think that Britney is going to find love? I think the fact that she seems more together these days is a good sign. Do I think Lindsay Lohan is happy as a lesbian? I don't think Lindsay Lohan is happy, period. But since I don't know either of  them personally, eh... I could be mistaken.