Just a Pinch will do.

All you need is a pinch.

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I heard that often as I was learning how to cook, both from my mother and my grandmother. But what is a pinch? To each person it can be a different measurement. Yet, this measurement can make the world of difference in the outcome of your recipe. Going to flat to robust in flavor, a pinch can make or break your meal.

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Writing can be like following a good recipe. You have your main components; your beginning, your middle, your climax and finally your ending. But in between those four elements, you have pinches of other things.Other ingredients are working to make your story a success.
Your character grows throughout the story giving the reader a totally different character at the end. You throw in red herrings and false trails, a story arc or two, and new characters. There might be a bit of romance, or maybe a bit of humor. These are the pinches that take your story from being flat to fabulous. These are the pinches that take your story in your own personal direction, the pinches that make your story yours.

Let’s be honest, there are only so many story-lines. It’s what you do with them, the twists and complications you add, which make it a story uniquely your own. As you grow as a writer, you develop your own style, using your pinches, creating the interest to keep the reader reading. From the next line, to the next chapter, to the next book- your pinches keep them reading.

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But remember the lesson taught as you were learning to cook: just a pinch. Don’t overdo it and do not go to extremes. Or you could end up going from sweet to sour.

Remember, just a pinch will do!

Our True Friends

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My personal opinion is that, in general, writers are introverted lot.

We would rather hold private conversations with our characters than talk to a group of strangers. We are most comfortable when we’re talking about our books, or planning our next story.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying we’re antisocial, I’m just saying we feel more comfortable on our own, with our thoughts raging inside our head, rather than making small talk.
Oh I’m sure there’s the social butterfly or two out there who’s written some great books. They can carry on conversations with just about anybody and draw people like bees to honey. But I rather think they would be the exception.
I’ve also found that most writers seem to have pet; cats, dogs, birds. I’ve even seen some with rabbits or lizards. The list goes on, but we’re comfortable having a pet to talk to.
This brings me to the root of my blog- our pets.

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Have you ever noticed as a writer,  you have a ritual that you have to go through before you’re ready to write? You get your laptop open, your notes in front of you, the proper music on- setting the mood. You’re all set to get in some solid writing time- and then cat walks across the keyboard, or your dog paws at your leg wanting to go for a walk.
It never fails, this is inevitable, and it makes me wonder if they wait for that exact moment or if it’s just second nature to them. Personally, I think they wait, and watch, and just when you’re comfortable and ready to settle down, they demand attention. Or what often happens in my household is this; I’ll be going along really strong, right in the middle of a writing frenzy, and my cats decide that I’ve ignored them long enough. Next thing I know, there’s crashes in the other room, or one of them is climbing up the chair to look over my shoulder and find out what I’m doing. If all else fails, there’s that flop on the keyboard to make me stop.

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But I love my pets, and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. No matter how many times they plop on my keyboard, or send my notes flying to the floor, or knock my glasses behind the desk, I know that for some reason they need my attention. It usually works out that is the same time that I personally need to get up and stretch. Or walk around the house and clear my head because I’m stuck in a story-line.
So, I simply smile, and give my kitties a hug, and thank them for bringing me back to earth.

You Need to Read

As a writer I don’t think there’s any possible way to not be a reader. The two go hand in hand, they coexist and they feed off of each other.

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Personally, my shelves are full of books. Both my shelves made of wood and my viral shelves you can find on my Kindle. Like any avid reader, I have my favorite authors and my favorite books. Some of my favorite books I’ve reread many times, and each time I find something different I missed the first time I enjoyed it.
As a writer, reading another writer’s work is a wonderful exercise- not that you copy- but you’re inspired. If you write in a specific genera such as mysteries, like I do, then it’s smart to read other mystery writers. Find out how their works flow, how they drop in the red herrings and back stories. You can learn a lot from other a writers’ style and even from the comments written by the readers. But even using reading as an exercise in learning, there’s a more important reason for me to read: to clear my mind and relax.
There are certain times which call for a book. On a cold winter evening when you’re sitting in front of a fireplace, what’s the better time to pick up the cat and a book and settle in for a couple of hours? Or maybe you would rather relax on the beach for the day.

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Reading is a stress reliever, and I think it shows very clearly most people feel this way. When you look at a doctor’s office and see the number of magazines sitting there to help people relax or the patience to come in with their own books to read while they wait patiently, or maybe not so patiently.
As a parent, it is vital we teach our children to read. They can’t get along and our world without this skill. I think it’s just as important to teach our children to love to read to find the excitement in each book; the adventure waiting to be envisioned by the imagination of the reader.

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Nothing breaks my heart more than to see books thrown away. Now granted, some books may be damaged and need to be thrown away, but perfectly good books are thrown away just because they don’t want to take up the space? That doesn’t seem right. There are so many people who want to read and don’t have accessed books. Donate them, to give them to your library, to your Community Center, to children’s group. People are always looking for books to read, so, do your share and recycle those books for the next reader.

 

The Winds of Change

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Today the wind is strong and furious coming out of the southwest. Tomorrow it is going to shift, and it will be coming cold and hard out of the Northeast.
And isn’t that just like life? Things change on a whim, or like a shift of the wind, the best laid plans are put aside. Other parts of your life take over and become more demanding, needing more attention. You shift things around as you go through life, sometimes one thing has a higher priority — other times it’s something else.
I find few things that are consistent in my life. But my love family and God is always consistent. And another one is my passion for writing.
My writing may get pushed to the background now and then, but it’s always there. I’m always plotting the next story, the next plot line or the next witty conversation between characters.

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I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions, because I know that I never go through with them, at least not more than a week or two. Why look, it’s already the first week of February, and I haven’t even made one.
I do, however, believe in lifestyle changes. One of the biggest lifestyle change I’ve made so far this year is for me to be in control and not let the little things control me.
This year I will put my desires above the mundane things in life that always seem to take over. One of those desires is to write and write prolifically. I read from some very good writers, that even if you can only write a paragraph a day-you do it. They swear that blogging is a great way to start.
My first step is to get back to my blog. I do apologize for not being consistent with that, so bear with me as I get back on my feet again. It’s time to get  a blog out once or twice a week– in between the editing, the gardening, the shopping, the housework… well, you get the idea.
So here’s to a productive 2016.

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This isn’t a resolution, instead it’s a goal towards a life change.

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