Confessions of Grouchy Writer

lollipopWe all have those days – you know the ones where it feels like someone has licked the red off your lollipop.

It’s nothing major, just little things setting your teeth on edge and you can’t figure out why your blood seems to be boiling beneath your skin.

But it could have something to do with the fact that you just showered, washed & styled your hair, put on clean clothes and walked outside – only to be blasted by the smoke from your neighbor’s burn barrel.   Now you smell like a campfire and every time you move your head, a smoky aroma wafts from your hair.

Yeah, that could be one of those little things…

frustratedIt certainly set the tone for my day and no matter how hard I tried to find the humor in the situation, I couldn’t get past the fact that my neighbor was oblivious to the gusting winds that so conveniently blew the smoke and smell out of his yard into those downwind.



I’m sure he had no idea how much I like being outside on sunny days – especially after being stuck inside all week. It’s not like he was aware that I have allergies and  being exposed to smoke triggers some pretty severe headaches. And I’m absolutely positive, he had no idea that his playing pyromaniac would release the monster that I try to contain.  But it did…

and Whiny Deb emerged.

I not only managed to stomp around all afternoon, I was the poster child for the grouchy and irritable.  Evil queens and fabled monsters were busy taking notes.

Now as the day draws to a close, I look back with much regret.  Because my plans (writing outside) didn’t pan out, I took a dive into the deep end of the pouting pool. I focused on what I couldn’t do instead of what I could.  Because of that, I missed some valuable writing time and I have no one to blame but myself.




Fort Macon Photos

This past weekend, we took a little day trip to Morehead City and  Atlantic Beach.  While there, we visited Fort Macon State Park.

I love history and find sites like these quite fascinating.  As such, I took several photos and thought I’d share them.  If you write historical fiction, maybe these will help.

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scale model of Fort Macon
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Fort Entrance
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Not sure what it was called historically but basically it’s the Mess Hall
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Bunk Room
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View from Bunk Room
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bread oven
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View from the top of the Fort
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View from the top of Fort Macon

For more information about Fort Macon, click here and here.  



Writing: Procrastination & Accountability

When I wrote my first novel, I worked a full-time job, had two kids in school which meant football games, practices, etc.  I was taking a weekly creative writing class as well as dealing with health issues.  I had a lot going on.

I didn’t publish anything in 2015 – worked on a couple of stories but failed to finish anything.

Flash forward to 2016:  My kids have graduated so no more practices or games.  That, in and of itself, freed up all kinds of time.  I still work a full-time job but I’m usually home just a few minutes after five.  Logically, I should have been whipping out the words only that wasn’t happening.  In fact, short of my blog posts, I wasn’t making any significant headway with my writing – particularly with my current WIP.

image from Microsoft Word Clipart

So what was the problem?

It wasn’t writers block or my super busy life. We have an on-going home remodeling project but that doesn’t take anymore time than picking my kids up from practices and attending football games.

My problem came down to accountability.

Back when I was writing my first book, my creative writing class sort of morphed into a critique group – same instructor – only we started bringing in what we were working on.  We shared excerpts of our work, offered and received honest critiques and we made progress.

no excuses
image from Microsoft Word Clipart

The excuses.

Over the past year or so, I let other things get in the way of my writing. It started with a “just this one time” and became an “I’ll write later” kind of situation. It’s amazing how easy it was to justify my lack of progress.  I mean seriously, The Big Bang Theory couldn’t be missed and trolling Facebook – that was okay because I was just too tired to even think about connecting a subject to a predicate.

Only the excuses wore thin and I was left facing the truth. My book wasn’t going to write itself and the literary fairies weren’t knocking at my door.

So a couple of weeks ago, at our last book signing, we decided to give the critique group another try and seeing as how I couldn’t go empty handed, I took advantage of those spare moments. My characters, who had all but given up on me ever taking the time to listen, roused from their slumber and excitedly shared their stories.

I listened and I wrote and I made some real headway with my story.

And it’s been wonderful.


The Maltese Falcon 75th Anniversary

75th AnniversaryShowing of theMaltese FalconHumphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet – I just love those guys!  So when I realized that The Maltese Falcon was being shown on the big screen, I knew I had to go. Because seriously – How do you pass up the chance to see some of the most memorable movie characters brought to life – Sam Spade (Bogart), Joel Cairo (Lorre) & Kasper Gutman (Greenstreet).  I was in black and white movie geek heaven!

What I think  is so compelling about the Maltese Falcon is this movie is character driven. The plot it there – but it’s the characters and in particular – the incredible chemistry between these three actors that capture my attention.

Seeing the movie on the big screen offered a unique perspective.  I noticed moments of humor that I had missed in the past and found a new appreciation for the cinematography.

And then there’s Sydney Greenstreet.  The Maltese Falcon is Greenstreet’s first time on film and he’s a natural.  The way he moves says as much as any words he might use.  He’s my favorite actor to watch when doing character studies.

Quote from one of my favorite scenes between Kasper Gutman (Greenstreet) and Sam Spade (Bogart).

I distrust a man who says “when.” If he’s got to be careful not to drink too much, it’s because he’s not to be trusted when he does.
~ Kasper Gutman, The Maltese Falcon (1941).

Now, if I can find a showing of Conflict (Bogart and Greenstreet, 1945)…

Ten Commandments For Writers

Some writers are very disciplined. Me? Not so much. As life happens, my writing pays the price.  It tends to be the first thing that gets moved to the “I’ll do it tomorrow” list and I end up feeling frustrated with my lack of progress.  I admire writers who stick to schedules, who recognize the importance in what they do. In an effort to make some changes in my writing life, I came up with a set of commandments that I hope will help me stay on the path.


Ten Commandments for Writers (1)

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