Wednesday, April 17, 2019

#AuthorToolboxBlogHop: April 2019

The Author Toolbox Bloghop is a monthly blogging community led by Raimey Gallant. Join us and share our expertise on the challenging career of being a writer. Find the entire list and sign up here.

So many people are thinking about Game of Thrones this week. Well, for months perhaps. I'm sure social media will be awash in recaps, theories, celebrations, and complaints about what happens in this final season.

I thought it would be appropriate to share some George R.R. Martin writing wisdom for this month's post. Here is one of many articles that delve into the mind behind the mega-hit series.

I'm a big fan of large, sprawling fantasy worlds as created by Martin and Brandon Sanderson. Unlike older fantasy novels such as Tolkien's Lord of the Rings where the bad guys were bad and the good guys were good, Martin's characters are much more complex. Sometimes they do bad things for selfish reasons but sometimes they do bad things when they're trying to do the right thing. Except for the Night King and the walking dead, all the characters believe they're acting within their rights and that their side is the right side. Martin's characters suffer and act out because of that suffering. Complexity keeps the fans reading and watching.

The other big advice I agree with from George is write what you know. He's not talking about facts, though he's a big fan of research, he's talking about emotions. When you're writing about something sad, find those sad memories in your own heart. We all have them. Is one of your characters joyful or thrilled about something? Can you remember such a moment in your own life? The birth of a child or perhaps when you won an award. Emotion isn't always easy to get on the page. Delve inside yourself to find the right words to convey the feelings your characters are experiencing.

Some things that George RR Martin can't teach us? How to write fast! LOL How many fans will finish reading the book series if they're not satisfied with how the TV series ends?

Do you feel like your characters are complex enough? Do you make yourself cry when you're writing an emotional scene?  What is the longest it has taken you to complete a writing project?




Wednesday, April 3, 2019

IWSG: April 2019

The first Wednesday of the month means time for the monthly bloghop of IWSG members. Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh and all the wonderful administrators of the group, we have this safe place to share concerns, victories, and ask questions. Find the entire list of participants here.

This month's optional question:

If you could use a wish to help you write just one scene/chapter of your book, which one would it be?

I thought I didn't have an answer to this question, but then I realized I would like that magic wish for the first chapter in the new epic fantasy series. I'm only in the world-building/plotting stage so far, but we all know how important that first chapter is when we start to query. I'm going to try all the big traditional publishing houses again.

In place of wishes, I'm still working hard on the next book in my Generation Ship series. I'm nearly at the end.

"You can't wait for inspiration. Sometimes you have to go after it with a club." Jack London

How exciting is this month in entertainment? End Game from the Avengers, the final season of Game of Thrones, and the return of my favorite TV show, The 100. It seems like there is a new trailer from Thrones or Marvel every few days. It is so exciting.

I finally watched Aquaman last weekend. It was really entertaining and more fun than any of the previous DC movies. I'm looking forward to Shazam coming up this month, too.

The announcement that Supernatural will end after next season was bittersweet. I feel like the show has been at its best the last two years, but I'm glad they're going out before they lose their mojo. I have to wonder about the ending. Can it make sense for the main characters to get out of it alive?

I caught up to The Expanse on Amazon recently and really enjoyed it. Has anyone read the books? Are they good? Though my TBR shelf is sagging under the weight of all the books awaiting my attention.

Factoid from The Old Farmer's Almanac:
On this day in 1860, the Pony Express began postal service.

Do you have a special writing wish? Is 2019 a great year for entertainment or what? Have any predictions on who will survive End Game of GoT season 8? Do you think mail delivery has improved since the Pony Express?




Monday, April 1, 2019

It's A Person Thing, Sandra M. Bush


Please welcome, my good friend, author Sandy Bush. Sandy is as much fun in person as she is in her writing. 

It’s A Person Thing
By Sandy Bush

For Christmas, I bought myself a new computer. My old one, an Apple Mac Book, circa 2008 ran slower with each passing day. decided to make the switch to the dark side and buy something using Windows 10. Best Buy helped me with my purchase, talked my husband and I into the extra year of unlimited support from the Geek Squad, and transferred the stuff from my Mac to my new Lenovo Yoga.

When I picked up my computer, during the busy Christmas season, the store was crowded, and the line to speak with the Geek Squad twisted all the way to the greeter desk at the front of the store. The young man (i.e. kid) who completed our transaction, rapidly ran through the basics of operating my new computer. Confident I could manage and figure it out, we left after a few minutes, relieved to know the Geek Squad could rescue me whenever I needed help.

Christmas chaos left little time for learning to operate my new computer. I loved it, but it was a different operating system than I was used to. Even simple tasks required me to rethink everything. Frustrated and challenged, I wanted to figure things out on my own.

Fast forward to March, and I continued to putz and putter on my new machine. I grew more anxious, having made little progress. A few times I called the Geek Squad 800 number for help, and they did. They remoted into my machine and helped me access my photos—oddly in a billion small folders—and explained how to navigate through a few problems. But they’re busy people. They’ve got tons of other baby boomers to talk off the ledge.

After three months, I admitted I needed professional help and booked an appointment at the store with the Geek Squad. I arrived armed with my list of questions for the man- child who assisted me. He barely looked old enough to drive or shave and radiated an aura of boredom and disgust. For about twenty minutes, Geek Squad Boy begrudgingly helped me, anxious to be rid of me and my middle-aged questions. He lectured and shamed me to overcome my fears.

 “You can’t be afraid to use it. There isn’t anything you can do that we can’t help you fix, unless you drop it…” During his rant, I made eye contact with an elderly woman who waited in line for help. She smiled at me, understanding my embarrassment.

“Honestly, I think it’s a generational thing,” I said.

“No,” said the boy computer guru, “It’s a person thing.”

I felt my face grow red. I glanced over at my new friend in line. “I agree with her,” she said.

I zipped up my computer case and walked away, smiling and giving a silent thumbs up to the lady who’d come to my rescue. Maybe it is a person thing.


A graduate of The Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications, Arts and Sciences and a Minor in English, Sandy has a background in Federal, State and County Government.
Her first novel, Money Man was published January 2018 (Year of the Book Press). She has published articles in the Pennsylvania School Board Association’s magazine The Bulletin, online magazine Keystone Edge, and has worked in advertising, and museum script writing (Oil Heritage Museum, Titusville, PA).

Sandy, a freelance writer, is completing her second novel. She is serving her second term on the Pennwriters Board of Directors as the Area 5 Representative. She and her husband Todd are the parents of two daughters and one grumpy cat.  
Can you empathize with Sandy's visit to the Geek squad? Do you think we approach tech in certain ways because of who we are or what generation we are?