"Everybody has a secret world inside of them. All of the people of the world, I mean everybody. No matter how dull and boring they are on the outside, inside them they've all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds. Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands maybe" ~ Neil Gaiman (A Game of You)


The Blue Forest

It was autumn in the blue forest.  The trees stood nearly bare, limbs outstretched like spindly arms trying to touch the sky.  Crimson leaves carpeted the floor, a breeze occasionally lifting one to dance around the cobalt trunk of its most recent home.  Quieter now, the chatter of summer long gone as squirrels found burrows and sparrows migrated south for warmer weather.  Hungry wolves slunk silently through the shadows, looking for one last meal before laying down in the warmth of their den.  Soon, skies would turn gray and snow would fall, smothering the colors in a blanket of white, and the blue forest would wait, on ice, until the spring thaw.


I found this picture today on Pinterest (I don't want to post it on here for copyright reasons).  It stuck with me, and I thought I just had to write about it.


Freebie Alert!!! Mythology

I'm a reader.

I was the kid who holed up in her room reading all day.  The one who stayed up until three in the morning to finish a book, even though I had a big test that day.  And I'm the one who was so engrossed in a book in the library that the librarian had to literally walk to my table and put her hand on my shoulder to get my attention (the library was closing and she was trying to get out of there).

But now I'm a writer, too.

And that changes things somewhat.  No longer can I just get lost in a good story.  There are so many booby traps to pull me out of it now.  Shouldn't there be an inciting incident here?  Hey, that's a blatant deus machina!  Can you please stop jumping in and out of all those characters' heads?

Mythology by Helen Boswell
Recently I read a book that appealed to both the reader and the writer in me.

Mythology by Helen Boswell is a YA novel that, like Twilight, will appeal to audiences of all ages.  Here is the description of it from Amazon:

Hope Gentry doesn’t believe in Fate. Born with an unusual power to see the dark memories of those around her, Hope just wants to be a normal teenager. But on the first day of her senior year of high school, she finds herself irresistibly drawn to a transfer student named Micah Condie. At first glance, Micah seems like a boy that most girls would dream about. But when Hope's powers allow her to discover Micah's darkest secret, she quickly becomes entangled in the lives of mythical entities she never dreamed existed

What I loved about Mythology is that it has wonderful, engaging characters.  Hope is a powerful female main character who makes a wonderful heroine.  I love how Helen is able to show Hope's powers in a very visceral way.  Hope is the one who pushes the action, making her own choices and  moving the story forward.

I'm thinking that Ms. Boswell must have read Save the Cat, because her story structure flows flawlessly.  Inciting incident?  Check.  Increasing tension leading to an action-packed climax?  Check.  False victory?  Oooh, good one, yes check!  Deeply satisfying ending?  Yep, check that off, too.

Add to that a wonderful, distinctive voice and a masterful treatment of theme, and Mythology turns out to be an engaging page-turner of a novel.

And here's the best part:  Mythology is free!  You can purchase the Kindle version of Mythology for free today (Monday, October 1, 2012) through Wednesday (October 3, 2012).

I hope you enjoy Mythology as much as I did, and when you're done, please take time to leave a nice review on Amazon.



The orderly pushes me down the hall on the gurney, jogging as fast as protocol will allow.  Twin doors swing open ahead of us like the gates of heaven to let us pass unhindered.  He swerves to miss a nurse that absentmindedly crosses his path.


She presses up against the wall as we brush past her.

The orderly stops in front of a door where another nurse, this one dressed in surgical gear, is waiting.  She takes over and wheels me into the room.

I don't remember much about the accident, but judging from the amount of blood covering me, it must have been bad.  A dull ache in my arm hints that it is probably broken.  I can't move, so I think that I might have broken my neck or back or both as well.

A masked surgeon waits at the head of the stainless steel table, scalpel in hand, and I look up into his eyes when I am transferred onto the slab.  He looks like he knows what he's doing.  I think I'm in good hands.

A nurse pulls away what's left of my blouse, leaving my stomach and chest exposed.  She swabs away the blood with wet cotton, and I catch the acrid smell of alcohol.  I wait for the anesthesiologist to put the mask over my mouth and nose, anxious that the unendurable pain might finally end.

The surgeon reaches forward and his scalpel pierces my skin as he deftly draws a line from the top of my sternum to my pelvis.  I try to scream, but my mouth remains closed, immovable, and the only echo is inside my head.  Tears seep out of my eyes.  Can't he see the tears in my eyes?

He's digging through my organs, pulling up my kidneys and they look so small in his hands.  He lays one aside and with a snip severs the other.  He turns to an orderly standing next to him, and I now see that the orderly is holding a cooler.  The surgeon gently places my kidney in the corner, then returns to the forgotten one.  A quick, burning snip and it, too, joins its partner.

The orderly races off as the doctor returns his attention to me.  One by one, he harvests my liver, my lungs, and something I don't even recognize.  Now he's wielding a saw, cutting through my sternum, bone dust wafting in the air.  He slowly spreads the two halves and secures them with a retractor.  I feel like I am being torn apart.

"Lara.  Come with me."

I don't know how, because my neck won't move, but I look over my shoulder to see Papa there.  I remember him giving me piggy back rides and sneaking me soda pop before dinner.  But that was a long, long time ago.

"But I'm not dead yet." I look back to the surgeon who now has my beating heart in his hands.

"I know," he says.  "But you will be."


Today's prompt: Write about your greatest fear.


As Yellow As...

A pirate's parrot?  A Yankee traitor?  A blazing sun?

Today's exercise takes the last lesson on similes and metaphors a little further.  In poetry, as in all effective writing, you want to use descriptions that utilize all the senses: sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell.  It creates more interest, and it gives you more tools in your arsenal.  It makes your writing richer and more expressive.

So, your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to take your favorite food and describe it using each of the five senses and using similes and metaphors.


Orange like a...
An orange is...
Orange like a fiery sun
Bumpy like a toad
Hissing like a deflating balloon
Sour like an old maid
Fruity like a bottle of old wine.

OK, now it's your turn.  Take a peek in your fridge if you need inspiration.  Share your efforts in the comments.


An Unexpected Storm

Lena had always loved the rain. Showers at any time were an invitation to kick off her shoes, run outside, and dance.

So she didn't try to escape the sudden, torrential downpour, though lightning lit the black sky and thunder shook her bones. She stood perfectly still until her t-shirt was drenched and her shivering could have been from the cold.

The rain washed the blood from her legs, washed his stink from her skin, and when she opened her mouth to catch a few drops on her tongue, it washed away his taste.

She wished it would rain forever.


Similes and Metaphors

Hello!... (hello)... (hello)...


My apologies for neglecting my poor blog for so long.  Health and other issues had me rather sidetracked for awhile.  The writer in me has NOT been happy.  I've decided I must give my writing a lot more attention.

Yesterday I wrote a poem.  For the first time in over a decade.  It wasn't great, but it wasn't that bad, either.  I had a friend ask to read it, and he was very complimentary.  He then asked if I would help him learn to write poetry.  My first thought was, whoa, you don't learn how to write poetry -- you just do it!  But then I realized there are some tips and exercises that could be helpful in awakening your inner poet.

So, I agreed to help him out, and I thought this would be a great place for me to do it.  If you'd like to join in the creative writing fun, please feel free to jump in!  Any comments and suggestions are of course welcome.

When searching the internet for ideas on how to proceed, I found a lot of information on structure, meter, rhyme schemes, and the different types of poems.  It sounded good, if you were looking for nuts and bolts information.  But to me, poetry is about finding the exact right voice to put your emotions into words.  Before you start to look at mechanics, I think you need to learn the language of poetry.

Poetry uses a lot of symbolism and imagery.  You say one thing when you really mean another.  The easiest way to do that is to use similes and metaphors.

Both similes and metaphors are used to compare two like things.  A simile uses the words "like" and "as" to make the comparison.  A metaphor makes the comparison by stating something "is" the other thing.

The trick to effective creative writing is choosing a simile or metaphor that is not cliche -- not overused or obvious.  When trying to find the right comparison, the first thing that pops into your head is not likely to be the best or most expressive.  Dig deeper, brain storm a little bit, write down everything that comes into your mind.  Your best simile or metaphor is probably going to be your third, fourth, or even fifth choice.

For example, when I say, "It was as dark as..."

What do you automatically think of?  I bet you thought "night," didn't you?  I did.  However, in one creative writing class, a young girl came up with "dark as a secret."  Oooh, how good is that?  I love the feeling it elicits.  There is nothing darker than my secrets.

So, here's a little practice for you.  I'm going to write a series of adjectives, and I'd like you to come up with your best similes and metaphors.  Leave them in the comments section.  And if I don't get very many participants, then it's my own dang fault for neglecting my blog for so long.