About Me

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May - 2016: Upcoming, I'll be participating in Desert Sleuth's Donald Maass Workshop. I'm afraid it sold out months ago, but if you have questions, contact me.

Apr - 2016: A 2nd Kami Short will release in the Malice Domestic anthology in Bethesda MD. I'll also be moderating a panel with authors Karen Pullen, Sue Cox, and Gretchen Archer. Don't miss the fun! I'll have special edition signed copies of the 1st Kami Short from the SinC - Desert Sleuth anthology to hand out for free.

Apr - 2016: An adult short story, Big Horn Mountain Carnivores, was selected as the adult category winner in the Tempe Community Writing Contest loosely associated with Arizona State University! The e- & print release where I read a portion of the story was the greatest fun. Thank you everyone who came by! Free download here (scroll to bottom): 

Aug - 2015: Politics of Chaos was released at an event attended by the awesome NYTimes best-selling author Sara Paretsky! Also, a flash fiction entitled, "Lightning" was 3rd runner up in the national 2015 Writers Police Academy's contest.

July - 2015: NYC FBI headquarters. Many thrilling authors were there, the presentations were fantastic, and the experience was a solid 15 on a 10 point scale. Thank you to the International Thriller Writers for inviting me. Thank you to the men and women of the FBI.

MAY - 2015: The Poisoned Pen submitted Chaos Theory for the 2015 Edgar's young adult novel award. Please note that submission is NOT a nomination. Still, it is an exciting development.

MAR - 2015:Tucson Festival of Books booksigning! Great time by all.

FEB - 2015: CHAOS THEORY, released by The Poisoned Pencil, an imprint of The Poisoned Pen Press - one of the nation's largest publishers of hard-back mysteries.

MAR - 2013: Meg was honored to receive a year long mentorship from author Jan Blazanin through the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators - Iowa. Ms. Blazanin praised Meg's multiple characters' distinct and age appropriate voices.

Her writing blog is located at megevonne.blogspot.com contains reviews and writing craft tools.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Another Writing Goal for 2013

How often in editing do we revise the sentences, the grammar and the flow of our story? This is important, but perhaps we overlook the obvious.

How often do we read our work to find those segments that are truly beautiful and worthy? How often do we simply toss away those that are not? In the process of revision we can overlook the most crucial portion that makes us better writers. That part is the beauty and worth of our words and sentences.

Hand in hand with that concept, we must become better readers. I will immerse myself in their work and set goals for reading that match or exceed my word count or editing goals.

In 2013, I vow to seek the beauty and worth. I vow to remove the mundane and, as always, I vow to excel at my writer's craft.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Crafting the Perfect Ending & Writing Goals for 2013

I was probably the last person with media access that hadn't seen the final episodes of the wonderful and brilliant television series House. Strange, I know, but I save endings to great shows and books like fine wines. I held one for over ten years! It is hard to avoid the spoilers in tweets, blogs and forum posts, but I manage.

Tonight, I watched them. I can only say, "In order to see the last two episodes you must close your eyes and listen to them." The music and interplay of the creative sound contributors was stunning. The overplay of the cafeteria normalcy sounds, the crackle and threat of the fire in the burning building, the scrape of chairs & fading footsteps along the halls and the haunting fading in and out of the background music added a texture few consciously realize.

In the best work a good ending plays on in echoes within the reader's mind for days and even years. I haven't studied endings, but I believe it is time to do so. I am making it my writing goal for 2013. By the end of a full year, I will have dissected, decoded, analyzed, agonized and hopefully found a source to provide me with a set of guidelines or rules on good endings. I hope that I can find some quality classes or lectures to take. I can't wait to begin.

In another example of a perfect ending, I want to thank SCBWI-IA for a wonderful and inspiring writing conference. It echoes on in my mind as well. My output and the quality of that work has been incredible as a result.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Nebraska Novel Retreats & the SCBWI

Even the most solitary of writers need renewal, but where to go can be perplexing. Here is one amazing Midwest destination. Please contact me if you would like additional information. The website is at http://nebraskanovelretreats.com/upcoming-retreats/

I attended Nancy's 2nd retreat with Jill Santopolo - editor and Stephen Barbara - agent. The workshop was amazing with lots of useful information coming from people in the business who know the business.

The site is a fantastic and beautiful modern monastery where you can write in solitude, laugh with good company, learn with intensity, and center your writing muse for the upcoming year by sitting near or walking around the calming lake. Did I mention that the food was excellent? It is!

It was through this retreat that I discovered the membership joys gained through the SCBWI (Society of Children Book Writers and Book Illustrators.)  This organization's website is http://www.scbwi.org/. Great information and retreats/workshops from fellow writers, editors, and agents who offer support, knowledge and encouragement. 

Feed the muse!

What Not to Say to a Children's Book Writer on a 1st Date!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Mish, Mash, & Late Night Musings

Notification of great offer!

 http://misssnarksfirstvictim.blogspot.com/ (July 2nd) has a 24 hour offer for finding critique dating partners. Check it out. I hope she does this again. Right now, I'm in the great swampy middle of my current WiP. Anyone who hopes to tread with me would surely die from sucking in mud.

Pursuing the Writer's Craft:

Love those little sections called: "Tell us who you are." Yes, immediate gag reflex. So, who am I and what is my learning goal for my recent online class?

I'm a successful business owner in the Midwest, but I have given into my passion for writing. As Noel Coward wrote in Waiting in the Wings, "My mind is a sieve." My goal is to keep those sieve holes as tiny as possible as I pursue the writer's craft. I work with young adult.

I seek confidence, consistency, and competence—all of which seem too often in short supply. I promise to keep my Collins COBUILD English Grammar close to hand; unfortunately, it is falling apart and I still don’t have this down. I blame it on President Kennedy. He called for us to learn science and, thereafter, grammar teachers became unimportant apparently and I ended up with a useless chemistry minor in college. I especially look forward to proofreading tips and have a great fear of lie, lay, lain, lying (see my assignment 1), lay, laid, laid, laying, and collective noun/verb agreement gives me nightmares.  Also, I am not a purist—where the *#%^* is spell check?

My profile was woefully outdated. Here is my update. 

Greetings from the heartland.  I'm a successful business owner, but have given into my passion of writing the last six years. I am presently writing for young adults. I'm 58, but was thrilled when several fellow online students assumed that I was in my twenties.

I've taken several classes through mediabistro, through University of Iowa Summer Writing Festival, and once though the Piper Center in Tempe, AZ. I've had opportunities to travel for research and to meet some great editors and authors. My last jaunt was a trip to North Carolina for the Writer's Police Academy. It was a blast, although I happily skipped the murder crime scene when one sweet lady offered to let me dab some of her crest tooth paste up my nose to cover the smell. That night, I sat at a large banquet table with a huge grin, amazed that all these dressed up people were actually discussing how far the body liquids would travel over different lengths of times!  Yes, I'm going to write about that one day...

I religiously write from six to eight every morning, but rarely on my blog. I'm not sure what would frighten me more--being offered a publishing contract or no one wanting to read my work again! Thankfully, people have been kind and gracious.

This pursuit of the writer's craft is a marvelous journey.

If anyone is out there that actually reads this? Feed my fish? They have been zombies now for months and need love-- As you can tell from my infrequent posts, I ain't giving it to them.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Short Version on Characters

On characters, short version

Give them motivation that arrives from backstory.
Give them a secret.
Give them connections with as many of the other characters as possible.

Read jim-butcher.com's blog about writing. It's one of the tabs.
Visit writingexcuses.com.
Take a course on creating characters on line or in person.

Top down or Down up development--the end result is the same. Think of a coloring book--they are boring as hell for an adult. Now, take that and put it into an artist's hands and it turns 3D and beautiful or terrifying or compelling--just maybe all three. You want to make sure that your end result has maximum impact on your reader. You can't end up with your first thoughts and motivations for these characters; they have to be ten steps beyond your first ideas. Strive for depth, but always logical, realistic and often simple characteristics. If your character isn't speaking to your heart, then she will not speak to the reader. If she can't make you cry, the reader won't either.

Monday, March 12, 2012

On Getting Stuck in Rewrite... Advice to a Friend.

Ach... Rewrites can be horrors, but they are the vital part of professional writing. I now love them--perhaps too much! For years, I completed novel after novel for my own enjoyment, and I let NO ONE read them. Yet when you strive for professionalism and want others to read your work, rewriting tools in your writer's craft are essential. Your knowledge and skill to rewrite is as important as the initial creation segment of your craft.

As to your specific situation on being stuck on a crucial point, I would stick the whole thing in the drawer for a few months and play with something else. You might find that the perfect solution comes out of the blue or in a re-read later realize that yet another major rewrite needs to be done. In fact, you may never come back to this story and end up canabalizing it to incorporate sections and scenes into another work. That isn't a bad option either.

Several times I start a work thinking I have the most unique and fascinating premise, but, in the details, it just implodes on me. Luckily, after experiencing this the hard way several times, it happens less and less.

Keep your hopper full and your head above water. Putting it away in that drawer to 'ripen' or to 'spoil' is far better than investing countless hours in something that simply refuses to work effectively. Not all stories are meant to be told at this point in time.

Best wishes and a virtual hug to this writing friend and to others in search of stuffing their writer's toolbox.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

When the Muse Turns Her Back

One of my favorite web sites has an author section. This was my contribution for when the muse turns her back:

1. Become accountable to someone. Or use #amwriting on twitter. Both can give you a sense that you are NOT ALONE at your laptop.

2. Take a writing class. Try mediabistro.com. You'll be forced to come up with 10 pages every week, plus you'll crit 15 of your fellow writer's work of 10 pages each. That'll keep you focused.

3. Edit the words or scene you wrote the day before, then move onto a fresh scene.

4. Play white noise or listen to zen type music that masks city sounds, then fades as you write. I 'awoke' from my best and longest writing session to find myself listening to the DVD repetitious episode selection music for Gray's Anatomy. I write with old tv series on the screen. Old stuff--so you aren't riveted to it.

5. Find several that work and rotate them. Anything that jiggles the writing genes helps.

6. Love your characters. Make them your friends, although you'll need to kill some of them off...so make it a prostitute relationship. *smiling*

7. There are a lot of google sites you can explore, but this one tickled my own creative muse. http://clicks.robertgenn.com/find-your-muse.php Now, I'm off to strip and then eat some extra gorgeous raspberries. You'll never know if I'm serious or not.

Whatever and however you find your muse, write. Even if the muse hides, write about her/his absence.

Yes, I'm a Book Whore follower...

Lynn Rush's new cover.... And thus I receive 25 points toward an ecopy. If I ever get published, I am going to camp out on the BookWhore's web page until she shows me how to do all those cool things she does on her blog post!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Writing Systems: What Works for Me

I've been asked how I organize my research and my work. Here is the short answer, and who would ever want the long answer? LOL

Plain old word doc by chapter here and extensive excel sheets: for characters, for chapters names, for scene goals (reason for being there), for color highlighting the rating tension level of scenes (to assure that it is ever ratcheting up as the book progresses), for color highlighting tension type such as action, sexual, etc within scenes to make sure they balance nicely, and for word count by chapter, by section, and total for entire work.

I keep image files: of characters, of locations, of maps, of research type photos such as weapons or costumes. I keep excel sheets with web addresses for my research sites.

I keep a 'to do' list while re-reading or editing--so I don't waste creative juices editing when the muse is speaking into my ear. I can then go back and fix what I had found objectionable when my mind wants to wear the editor's cap.

I work off flash drives, which are effective and easy, but I keep one steno pad (or more) for every manuscript where I doodle and work out complicated world info. I fanatically back up on two separate computers as well.

I never begin a second full draft edit without first using shrunken manuscript concept to find white space, then dialog vs description, then dialog without good physical action, then I fix that first. This is followed by searches for every 'ly' adverb, for most, always, just, seems etc and the infamous 'said'. (Seriously have you heard an Audible book that has a gazillion 'said' after 'said' after 'said'--give my ears and my intelligence a break folks. If you didn't show me who that character speaking is through action and that character's voice--you already lost me!) Shrunken manuscript is crucial. I keep everything. That helps me cut my babies. They are there if I change my mind.

I believe that the Google cloud will be my final home, but for now--I don't have the hard control I want to have on the editing process there.

Some downsides: Once I compile it into the single manuscript after I've gone through several drafts--life gets complicated. As I set up pages for agents, I can't keep from tweaking, and those tweaks don't always make it back into the original manuscript. (Not sure they should--often times the tweaks are god-awful mistakes.) Problem is that I start to get confused on which is the most recent vetted pages and are they in the single manuscript or not? I don't know if other writer programs would solve that or not. Generally those are e-mails that I save, so they are located on a whole different platform.

I keep everything, labeling chapters 01.23 (Chapter 1, rewrite 23 etc) for example. And yes, that is a 23. I begin every writing session re-reading and editing the last scene, then move on to 'get-her-done' writing. If it takes a week to get that scene right, I can have seven versions before I ever begin real editing. FYI, that next scene is firm in my mind: who, what, when, why, how, emotions & conflicts of each character set, etc.

I tried Scriver beta, but it was more complex than what I use. I don't like to fight a system while I'm writing. Also, my Toshiba has a cool bulletin board that is excellent, but over time the short cuts can get lost and I have to relocate and reattach--especially when I do my year end back up into a safe deposit box. That bulletin board though gives me one central location to easily click back and forth. My bulletin board has over six projects, and two of those are series. Proof that the visual nature of a bulletin board is invaluable for organization.

Bottom line? Your system shouldn't fight with how you write from day one through publication date. If you obsess with systems, you'll never get to the real work and fun of simply writing. Systems can be a safe haven for procrastinators. Are you a writer or a procrastinator? Speaking of procrastination, just how much of your precious writing time are you blogging, facebooking, tweeting, e-mailing? How much true writing time have you lost? If you haven't figured it out by seeing how infrequently I blog, you can take that as a positive sign my WiP is gripping me tightly.

Just write and your system will evolve by your third manuscript. It will be perfected by your eighth!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Stubborn Scenes

When a scene refuses to behave...

Try to fix it.
Try to fix it.
Try to fix it.
Finally---cut it.

Why couldn't I have figured that out before I spent an entire day on it?


Do you watch Justified? It's something that I really admire: the writing, the complexity of the characters and the acting.

If you get a chance, get Season 2: Disc 2 and after watching the story arc, check out the special feature called Clans, Fueds and Apple Pie. It is an exemplatory discussion on villains.

At one point, an actor or writer says, "I don't know where this character is going, but it is going to be exciting." They said it better. I agree. How do you chart your villain's internal journey, when you haven't seen how the plot and fellow characters are going to mold them? There is value in keeping that sketchy, allowing them to evolve toward the end point.

Yes, we can chart out what that last climax is going to look like, but the character's journey needs to be fluid enough to allow our creations to mature.

If you get a chance to see it, let me know what you think.


Saturday, January 21, 2012

My 1st 'completely love' book.

A Wrinkle in Time (Time, #1)A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

50 years??? That means that I read my 1st 'completely love' book at
eight? Yes, waiting for the age snark to begin--I am that old.

Still, when Amazon posted the 50th Anniversary I was terribly disappointed. (Photo showing is NOT the 50th anniversary version.) The cover on this thing is atrocious and the ad copy seems to have nothing incredible or wonderful to add.

I'll keep my 25th, thank you very much. I am angry that the publisher even bothered. If you purchased it and have a differing view, then I would be delighted to find out differently.

Her fans and her family deserve better than this!

View all my reviews