Tag Archives: art

“You have to write the book that wants to be written.”~Madeleine L’Engle–Beth Trissel


A few favorite writing quotes.

old books

“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” 

 Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt

“Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences.” 
 
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar: A Novel

“Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” 
 Mark Twain (I took his advice, to a point, and deleted needless ‘verys’)

Book, History, Writing, Old, Pen, Antique“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” 
 Mark Twain, The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain

“You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.” Saul Bellow (True)

“Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It’s a way of understanding it.” 
 Lloyd Alexander

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” 
 Anaïs Nin

Mother and Child - Education--Victorian Era“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.” 
 Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

“Write the kind of story you would like to read. People will give you all sorts of advice about writing, but if you are not writing something you like, no one else will like it either.” 
 
Meg Cabot

“History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.” 
 
Winston Churchill

“There are books of which the backs and covers are by far the best parts.” 
 
Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist

“Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” 
 E.L. Doctorow (I talk amongst ‘myselves’)

woman reading“You can make anything by writing.” 
 
C.S. Lewis (His Chronicles of Narnia are my all-time favorite stories)

“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.” 
 
Stephen King, On Writing

“Write what should not be forgotten.” 
 
Isabel Allende

“The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.” Thomas Jefferson

“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” 
 W. Somerset Maugham (My favorite writing quote)

Rose LetterAnd the best for last: “You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.” 
 Madeleine L’Engle (Author of A Wrinkle in Time, a favorite story)

Following Our Creative Dreams with Rebecca J. Clark


I’m happy to welcome my talented friend author Rebecca Clark to my blog today. She’s sharing a favorite subject of mine, going after your dreams.  And now, back to Becky.

~I changed majors several times in college, finally choosing from a list of majors that didn’t require me to take any math (I don’t think kids have that option now). I ended up majoring in graphic design. (*I changed majors so many times, I didn’t even get around to graduating.)

I hated every minute of the classes and the work in the field afterward.

Why? It wasn’t my passion. Graphic design is artistic, but it wasn’t the type of art I wanted to do. I wanted to major in fine art (no math required LOL)—portraiture and watercolors. But I knew I couldn’t make a living off drawing people and painting watercolors…at least I couldn’t plan on it.

Looking back, I realize I made the right decision not to major in art. The term “starving artist” was created for a reason. (*Our youngest daughter Elise, also very talented, is a 2011 art major graduate. She’s living with us and pursuing her dream while working a day job at Target.)

But it’s still in my blood. I love browsing through art galleries and local art shows. Every time I’m at Barnes & Noble, after the writing reference section I head straight to the art section. I have almost as many art instruction and reference books as I do writing books (don’t tell my husband, LOL). But I can’t remember the last time I picked up a pencil or paintbrush with the intention of creating a work of art. (*Ah, but you must!)

My hero, Gabriel D’Angelo, in my new release, DELIVER THE MOON, isn’t an artistic slacker like me. His passion is photography. Escaping to his darkroom as a child kept him safe from an abusive foster-mother, and he’s carried that escapism into his adulthood. Through his artistic photography, he not only makes a good living but also is able to ­­­­­exorcise the demons of his past. He travels the world as a documentary photographer (think National Geographic magazine) and visits some of the most horrific places. Yet, through his camera lens, he manages to find the beauty and hope and spirit of the people he photographs.

I haven’t created any art in a while, but I really need to get back to it. Not much feels better than creating beauty from a blank piece of paper. Even if no one other than me appreciates that beauty.

Gosh, that sounds kind of like the writing process, doesn’t it? (*Yes, hmm…)

What about you? Do you have a passion you’ve set aside for whatever reason? I’d love to hear about it. I think you should get back to it. I will if you will.~

*And so say all of us.  The voices in my head…

Blurb for Deliver the Moon:

Once upon a time, he promised her the moon. It’s time to deliver.

Louisa D’Angelo used to believe in happily ever after—until the tragic death of her son and the demise of her marriage. Now, five years later, with her life back in order, she has a great career and a wonderful man in her life. So what if the passion and excitement isn’t there? In her book, passion and excitement only lead to heartbreak. Then, her ex-husband shows up and upsets her tidy little world.

Gabe D’Angelo never believed in happily ever after—until he met Louisa who taught him how to love and be loved. But their happiness was short-lived. Guilt and grief forced Gabe to walk away. Now, though he’s pulled his life together and should be happy, he realizes something’s missing. After seeing her from afar at a family wedding, he knows what it is. It’s Louisa.

The problem is convincing her she’s still in love with him. ~

*I really like the sound of Deliver the Moon. The title is fabulous, and it’s interesting how you drew on your artistic past for the concept behind the story .

Deliver the Moon is available at The Wild Rose Press and Amazon.

Visit: http://rebeccajclark.com

These lovely paintings are by the author! I’m a fan of both but the lady in the hat with the flower garden is my favorite. Of course. 🙂

Fairy Update from my Wee Niece


Several of you had questions about fairies and their habitats in regards to attracting them to your garden.  I dutifully reported these queries and in response to whether fairies live in Alaska or the desert, Cailin said: Snow Fairies live where it’s cold and are quite tiny—she stretched out her little hand to show their height–and added that they’re few in number.  Desert fairies, she said, are also small, though slightly larger than snow fairies, and very scarce.  As to fairies in the Shenandoah Valley,  she told her mother (my younger sister Catherine) about Forest, a female fairy with blond hair who wears a wedding dress and lives locally.  She recently spoke with Forest.

Also of interest, Cailin speaks with animals and had what she termed a ‘disscussment’ with the cat, so that contrary feline would understand the rules of living inside the house before she becomes an outside cat.  I’m sure Cailin has that all straightened out now and bad kitty will behave.  If not, my sister and her husband have a lovely fenced in garden she can hang out with Forest and the other fairies…

***I should add, if you have any further questions about fairies I’m sure Cailin would be happy to share her insights.

Check out all the reviews for Time Travel Romance Somewhere My Lass at Amazon!


As of today, Somewhere My Lass has 19 four and five-star reviews at Amazon,
The newest review from Romance Novel Junkies says: “The glowing reviews for this book are not to be ignored. If you are not really a fan of time travel, this book will make you feel differently. Even though this was a romance novel, the adventure of the whole book was exciting and appealing to me as well…Truly, this was a good adventure and romantic time travel story that delivers.” By Romance Novel Junkies “Lady Raven Rave”
Like many others, she also requested a sequel featuring Fergus, the strong and unique  secondary character in Somewhere My Lass.  I’m at work on a story featuring Fergus who will probably be the first brilliant geek hero to time travel between contemporary Virginia and the 17th century Scottish Highlands.

The Secret Life of Bees, errrr, Writers


Ever noticed that when writers are portrayed in movies they tend to come across as, well, nuts?  The examples are endless.  Take Nim’s Island, the author in this film is so agoraphobic/germaphobic she can’t open the door to get her mail, runs through bottles of handsanitizer, and only eats a certain kind of soup—not certain which phobia that is.   She also carries on vivid conversations with her only companion who happens to be the main character in her novels.  *Gerard Butler, so certainly tempting, but throw in  delusional schizophrenia.  And then there’s Stranger Than Fiction where the novelist, another ‘eccentric’ to put it mildly, has Godlike power over her bedeviled character who ultimately arrives on her doorstep begging for his life.  She plans to kill him in her novel.  And the list goes on.

I suppose there’s some justification for this crazy writer theme, as there’s a fine line between creativity and insanity.   And it’s not lost on me that this portrayal is coming to us via the scriptwriters, although they’re mostly making fun of novelists.   But it’s my thinking that most people simply do not understand the mindset of writers.  For example, on chat loops, Twitter, workshops…we blithely inquire of  each other which would be the best way to kill someone in a given situation or time period.

When I taught my herbal lore class last fall I received numerous queries as to which poisonous herb to use for the desired effect, depending on how fast or slowly an author wished their character to succumb–yes, yes, we’re speaking of characters–and in what form to deliver the fatal elixir, mixed with food or other medication…and should they disguise the bitter taste or will the unsuspecting victim just knock it back as is?

Writers can be quite morbid at times, but all in pursuit of our craft.   How to better persuade readers that the story is REAL, because to us it is.

The other day on Twitter I noted a tweet from, I assumed, a writer asking what was the most romantic way for a young man to propose to his girlfriend and  make it really special.  My first thought was, are they writing a contemporary or historical, so I shot back, “What century are we in?”

The answer from the probably puzzled groom to be was, “The 21st, I hope.”

“Ah, a modern setting,” I said to self while wondering at the ‘I hope.’  I mean surely they knew what time period their story was in.  But I persevered.  Being primarily an historical author, I simply pointed out that in many of the romantic comedies I’ve seen there’s a tendency for the proposal/I love you confession to come via a microphone or shouted in front of a crowd, like in a football arena.

The tweeted answer was, “Yes, I see what you mean but she’s not a sports fan.”

No biggie, I thought.  Most anywhere people gather will do. An Irish pub, fountain in the center of a town square, airplane terminal, or best of all breaking into the adored one’s  wedding to someone else just in the nick of time.

Not helpful in this situation, I might add.  Once I realized I was advising  an actual proposal, I chuckled heartily and left him to it. The last I saw a proposal at Disneyland was faring the best.

Among random tweets from writers I noted this week:  “Gonna watch Winnie the Pooh with the kids and then finish my demon novel.”   Anyone see the irony in that?   But it’s typical.   All of this has led me to my conclusion that writers have their own language–a secret life–which most do not understand.

I’ve gotta go figure out how to handle that ghost/exorcism without making it TOO paranormal.   In my latest historical, of course.  ~

The Trials and Tribulations of Romance


“This is true love – you think this happens every day?” ~Wesley, The Princess Bride

The answer to that quote is ‘no, true love is often elusive.’  I recently read a unique and interesting take on relationships, mostly of a romantic nature, but also friendship, appropriately entitled: Fractured: essays on love, friendship, and the nightmares in between by K.J. Pierce.  I downloaded and read it in one sitting.

Author Keiti Pierce has led a colorful life with an eclectic succession of ‘man boys’ with whom she explored the possibility of obtaining that intangible ‘something more,’ that rare relationship in which she can fully express and share herself with someone equally capable of giving back.   The search continues, but she’s learned a great deal along the way and gleaned insights well worth sharing with fellow seekers, or anyone interested in how people relate—or don’t—and why that might be.   This quote taken from her book struck me as profound, “As easy as it is to blame someone else when hurt feelings come into play, it really was irrelevant who was at fault in the demise of my previous relationships, romantic or otherwise. The fact of the matter is that they all had one thing in common: me. I figure that has to mean something.”

I agree.  And so she begins with herself.  Wise indeed.  While deeply pensive and introspective, Fractured is also rich in the comic as Ms. Pierce is gifted with a wonderful sense of humor.  And that’s a good thing because she’s needed it.~

And now, my interview with Author Keiti Pierce:

To get us started, I have some questions for you to ponder, the sorts of things all of us, readers and writers alike, wonder about.  Normally I find myself interviewing authors of romantic fiction, but as Fractured is a deeply personal work of nonfiction, I won’t ask if you’ve killed off any of your characters (I, of course, have) or what attracted you to paranormal or historical romance…  In Fractured, you explored the real thing, or lack thereof, in your own life.  Are you a diehard romantic (like me) and is that what prompts your search for ‘true love?’   *Perhaps you have a different wording, such as meaningful and lasting relationship? 

Keiti: You’re right, I haven’t killed off any characters, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t *thought* about it on occasion.  🙂  I am absolutely a die-hard romantic, something which many of my friends have shared a laugh over.  I tend to have a bit of a tough exterior so it isn’t always apparent.  I’m sure the dreaminess of True Love is part of what prompts me; there’s something utterly compelling in the idea that there is one perfect person for me – that’s the romantic part.  The 40-year-old me, though, has a hard time reconciling the concept of true love with the reality of my life – in that I sometimes feel that, as an adult, I’m supposed to be beyond the girlhood fancies.  Regardless, I think for most people, myself included, there’s a draw towards wanting companionship – someone to share your life with, good, bad, and ugly.

Beth: Also along those lines, what draws you to search your soul and share those discoveries?  Do you hope to help fellow seekers along the way?

Keiti: Ultimately, it comes down to a general sense of dissatisfaction with where my life is at the moment.  It just so happened that when I sat down to write it tended to involve relationships, romantic or otherwise.  I was very lucky as a teenager and young adult in that I had a great group of friends who were supportive and who accepted me for who I was.  I chose to walk away from most of them when I was 24 due to growing up a bit and deciding that I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life clubbing and absorbing all the emotional chaos that went along with it.  In doing so, though, I stuck myself in this weird middle ground.  I don’t feel wholly comfortable in what I call normal society, but I don’t feel like I belong in the freak scene any longer either – at least not to the same extent.  This affects every aspect of my life, but what it means in terms of dating is that “normal” men tend to think I’m too weird and “freak” men tend to think I’m too normal.

Basically, it all comes down to sorting out for myself where and with whom (if anyone) I belong.  For me, writing is far better (and less expensive) than therapy and taking meds; my original intention in writing these essays was wholly selfish, sort of a writing-induced exorcism.  (*I totally agree ) That being said, it’s ridiculously easy to fall into the trap of thinking I’m the only one who feels this way and certainly if my essays remind others that they’re not alone, either, that’s fantastic.  If I otherwise provide a laugh or two along the way, that’s a HUGE bonus.

*Indeed it is.

Beth: Back to the beginning, what was it that made you want to be an author?  Are you one of those writers like me whose been scribbling since childhood, or did the burning desire to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard strike later in life?

Keiti:  I’m not sure there’s one defining moment that made me want to be an author.  I can’t say I’ve been writing since I was 5 or anything like that.  The first story I can remember writing was co-authored with a friend of mine when I was in eighth grade and it was, oddly enough, a romance between us and our favorite members of Menudo (a Puerto Rican boy band back in the 80s for those who might not know.)  I actually still have the notebook packed away somewhere.  Anyway, I’m pretty sure it was more of a way to break the monotony of school than a burning desire to write. (*Beth again, school bored me senseless and I also wrote little pieces and poems) It wasn’t until I took a creative writing class in my early 20s that I realized I was relatively adept at something (and honestly I was beginning to despair.)  From there, I ended up studying English Literature / Creative Writing at Agnes Scott College where I fully indulged myself in actually learning the rules of writing.  Mostly so I could try to break them.

Beth: A follow up question, have you ever written in another genre besides nonfiction or considered it?  If so, might I suggest romantic comedy? 🙂

Keiti:  You’re not the first person to suggest I write romantic comedy.  I had this fantastic roommate when I lived in Los Angeles who swore I should write Chick-Lit.  My original intention out of college was to write scripts (film and play) but I find that I start scripts, get a great storyline going then they languish in a drawer because I get distracted by another idea.  I’m a great ideas person, but sometimes my follow through stinks.  I am considering trying my hand at fiction – I’ve had this idea for a YA series in my head for the better part of 20 years, but fiction not a format I’m wholly comfortable with. (*Get comfortable because you’d be terrific!)

Beth: Do you ever struggle with writer’s block?  What are some of your coping strategies?  Apart from bribing yourself with chocolate, as I do.

Keiti:  I constantly struggle with writer’s block, though that may be my tendency to jump from idea to idea more than anything else.  I’m also (if you’ll pardon the pun) a fractured writer.  I can’t concentrate on anything longer than about 10 minutes.  Generally, I’ll write for a bit, take a break to think about what I’m writing, distract my brain by playing online games then go back to writing.  This gets repeated quite frequently. (*I hear you.)

Beth: Clearly there are many individuals who helped inspire this work, whether for good or bad. Is there a particular someone who was the catalyst for your writing Fractured?

Keiti: Absolutely.  Name and identifying characteristics withheld, of course, but it’s someone I love dearly who quite unmaliciously broke my heart, though I think the unmalicious part made it so much worse – it’s easier to walk away from someone if I’m angry.  The emotional wreckage is what gave me the kick in the ass I needed to actually start compiling this collection.  I still struggle with how I feel and what to do about him – I tend to think the best of people even when many other people would have already walked away.  This is an unfortunate pattern for me – one that makes me feel like I’m the resident idiot of lost causes.

And that indecision is probably why I chose not to include an essay specifically about him – I started one, but ended up feeling like I was writing it to serve an agenda more than anything else.  I’m still too emotionally attached to sit back and look at it from an honest viewpoint.

I also discovered that revisiting old wounds and remembering the “good, old days” was extremely emotionally taxing.  It got to the point where I was sick to death of thinking and writing about relationships.  Perhaps one day I’ll do an updated version of Fractured with additional essays – there were some people I simply couldn’t write about quite yet – but for now I’m ready to move on to other topics. (*Understood, and a big hug)

Beth: Who are some of your favorite authors? Favorite books?

Keiti:  My hands-down favorite author is Oscar Wilde, book:  The Picture of Dorian Gray, which is ironic because it was Wilde’s way of sorting out two very conflicting sides of himself – the chaste Victorian side and the rebellious indulgent side.  I can only hope my own exploration doesn’t end in quite the drastic finish.  🙂  My next favorite is Anne Rice’s A Cry to Heaven, which has some of the most beautiful language I’ve ever read.  I’m also partial to Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan series and the Harry Potter series – I’ve just finished re-reading that in prep for the last movie.  Right now I’m reading this great book called Desperate Romantics:  The Private Lives of the Pre-Raphaelites by Franny Moyle.  It seems I can’t get away from relationships no matter how hard I might try!

Aside from that I’ll pretty much read anything you put in front of my face. (*I much admire Oscar Wilde too, and if Author Linda Nightingale is reading this, she’s got to be his biggest fan ever).

Beth: Any new projects you’re at work on, or new directions you’d like to tell us about?  Any further comments?

Keiti:  I haven’t started anything new, yet, but I plan to start work on another collection of essays about growing up as an Army Brat within the next couple of weeks.  I have an urban romance short story, Weeping Ash, available for sale on a number of different sites including Smashwords, BN.com, and iTunes.  (It apparently hasn’t yet shown up on Amazon, but kindle formats can be purchased at Smashwords.) I also have 3 scripts that need attention and a completed children’s play (Bethany and the Belfry Bat) that needs to be shopped around, though I am considering turning that into fiction, as well.  All-in-all, I’ve got plenty to keep me busy on the writing front for a while.

Beth:  Agreed.  I hope you will return to my blog when you have more to report.  And we’d all love to hear about your happily ever after which the die-hard romantics among us still believe will come.  🙂

Keiti has generously agreed to give away a download or two of her new release, Fractured, to one of the visitors who leaves her a comment.

Fractured is currently available at Smashwords and will move onto Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online booksellers.~

If You Like Kewl Scotsmen


Witty ones.  Pop into my character interview with Neil MacKenzie from light paranormal/time travel romance SOMEWHERE MY LASS.  And leave a comment for a chance to win the book at: