Inspiration for your novel’s tagline (beyond the usual Top 10)


I’ve decided SCVK needs a zippy tagline for the front cover and an improved one for the back blurb, so I’ve gone into research mode.

It’s easy to find a list of the top ten movie taglines of all time (Pro Tip, it’s from Alien and those eight words do a lot of heavy lifting!), and of course I looked through my hubby’s movie collection, but I needed more scope.

Luckily, I stumbled upon the IMP Movie Poster Tagline Database. AND it’s searchable. Which means it’s addicting! So don’t use it to procrastinate, all you naughty writers, you! Happy hunting!


Hit 10K on my second Armello story


Worked hard (and exclusively) on my second Armello short story last week. This helped me through a tough part of the story.

Pro Tip for myself: when you hit the Great Swampy Middle, keep going!

At the beginning of last week, I dreaded writing, because I didn’t know WHAT had to happen next. But I bribed myself, saying, “Just do a little, to prime the pump.”

Ends up I didn’t have to know what had to happen next, because the longer I sat there, the more crazy interesting things began to happen! All of the sudden the section that looked murky and intimidating turned into a FUN SURPRISE FEST and I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next.

It feels like the ending’s around the corner. But a proper title? Nowhere to be found.  🙁

Right now it’s 22 pages long, (compared to Stone Seekers‘ 16 single-spaced pages) but I also have a much larger cast…After all, what’s a wolf prince without a pack?

(Oh, and according to my chart, I’ve written 41,948 new story words this year! Whoa!)

For writers who can’t turn off the TV: How to use Netflix to escape writer’s block and help you write more regularly


This year, my aspiring playwright friend Ghost and I decided to report to each other on our daily wordcount. Yesterday, she sent me this text:

I wrote for half an hour with no distractions besides sipping a glass of water right next to me.

It about killed me. I don’t know how you turn out those voluminous tomes.*

Now, I learned a lot of my productivity tricks  reading Julia Cameron’s Right to Write, including listening and taking down a story (versus “making up” things). And this year, thanks to Dean Wesley Smith,  I’m monitoring my consistency using an Excel spreadsheet.

But if ANY of you think I am some kind of monk-like writing machine, scribbling down stories in spartan room devoid of windows or cheer, let me state that I firmly believe that distraction can be a legitimate part of writing. Who hasn’t gotten one project done while putting off finishing another?

How I use TV to Escape Writer’s Block

Don’t get me wrong–there’s  definitely times where silence and focus are needed (in both drawing and writing). But I do a lot of drawing while a show’s on, and yes, I’m even “guilty” of writing while watching TV. (I rarely do that, though, because when I write, it feels like I’m tuning in to a movie-in-progress, and if I’ve got dialogue running on a TV, I can’t hear what my  characters are saying!)

But when I DO write while watching TV, it means writer’s block has shown up.

Now, writer’s block is just a code word for FEAR. Usually (in my case) as the thought pattern: “no way can I pull off writing this scene, I am not a good enough writer, I will never be skilled enough to make this scene sing.” At this point, I’ve usually put off writing the scene for a week. At least.

So when that fear shows up, I set the TV on to a plotted show. That way, while the critical (and frequently overwhelmed) part of my brain is distracted by the story onscreen, the other half my brain–the judgment-free, finger painting, for-the-heck-of-it, “why not?” side–gets assigned the task of writing the story I’m stuck on.

But since we’re watching a show, nobody takes it very seriously, which is good, because if you’re just goofing off, that means your Inner Critic can go to sleep, which is usually what you need to break through a block.

In my book, it’s a legitimate tactic.

Everyday Writing

Now, for everyday writing, sometimes I need something in between silence and dialogue-filled TV.

That’s where Netflix streaming comes in.

One chilly day, on a whim, I searched for and found a fireplace video to watch while writing:


Actually, the one I found was called “Fireplace 4K: Classic Crackling Fireplace”

Afterwards, Netflix began recommending me similar titles, which I now like to watch during my daily writing time. They provide a little noise or music when my nose is to the page, and something pretty to look at when I look up. Here are my favorites, as of 1/28/2017:

f26659b9f8c44f445faca1bec5f7fa3957c7356bJellies. One hour of psychedelic jellyfish boppin across the screen to electronic lounge music. I find myself tuning into this one A LOT.


Search Netflix streaming for “Moving Art” to find all 6 films!

Louie Schwartzberg’s MOVING ART series. Variety is the spice of life, so I like that there’s more than one of these. The collection includes Forests (with timelapse mushroom growth, eew/cool!), Underwater, Deserts (my current favorite), Flowers, Waterfalls (the first one I discovered), and Oceans (beautiful coastlines). These are all shorter films–about 25 minutes each–but every time you look up, you go WOW. Gorgeous production values. Bonus for having soothing and non-distracting piano music.

cc87c5a26140a35b31276008f37648ec89ce3a7eNatureVision. This one has more animals–and a ton of episodes, each differently themed–but I’ve only watched the first episode, and it was just (shrug) aight. Probably the music could’ve been better.

aquarium-for-your-home-saltwater-reef_70298699a7210ccb19678aabb0a170847476683cb7ee751dAquarium for your Home: Saltwater Reef and Aquarium for your Home: Goldfish. For those of you who can’t stand music, these companions to the Fireplace 4K aren’t too bad. I think the Aquarium is superior to the Goldfish, but then, I like that underwater bubbly sound more.

So those are some of the vids I run on Netflix when I’m writing to keep my visual brain entertained while my writing brain gets to work.Need more advice on how to write more? Leave your questions and comments in the comments section below!

*The voluminous tomes she’s referring to is my sci-fi novel Steel City, Veiled Kingdom, which isn’t quite published yet. But stay tuned!

You’ve Disappointed Me, Internet


I was going to write you a post that went something like this:

What it feels like writing a new novel:

And below that text would be an endless looping animated gif of James Sunderland from Silent Hill 2 rowing his rowboat into a foggy nothingness (see Figure A).

But the internet has disappointed me yet again. There is no endless looping gif of James Sunderland rowing on Toluca Lake.

There are only screenshots, none of which convey the sensation of typing hundreds of words every day, writing scenes as they show up, not knowing where they’ll lead, because you have no plan.

You never have a plan.

All you have is dogged faith that some day, if you keep typing into the fog, the shoreline will appear, and you will wind up there, and you will be finished.


Figure A