Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Hoping for a Better New Year by Konnie Enos

With this year ending I’ve seen many posts on Facebook exclaiming how grateful the person is that it’s almost over. I’m getting the impression that it’s been a horrible year for a lot of people.
I think I’ve been lucky since my year has been rather normal for me, but I can’t say the same for the rest of my family. Several family members have had their computers die for some reason yet to be explained. Then there is all the health issues cropping up. One time, and only once, I had a car dump me in the middle of the road, though that car dumped my husband a couple of times. We’ve also lost pets unexpectedly in the last year.
However, all things considered, I think we’ve faired this year fairly well.
Now my sister is another story.
I don’t think the start of her year was too horrible, but since about June she has literally had one thing after another. From her father-in-law dying to her car being totaled (not her fault), and she’s either been sick or in pain, unable to walk since June. Right now, on top of all that, she also has a concussion (from the accident). If anyone needs 2016 to be over with, it’s her.
Though at the moment 2017 isn’t looking up for her.
Being on a fixed income she was hoping the promised pay increase would help her budget, as we were. Yeah, thanks so much for the 0,3% raise. Seriously! Less the half a percent of a raise! After three years without one. Most people on SSI are getting maybe a dollar raise.
That’s right. One dollar. Then they also increased the cost of insurance premiums which will totally wipe out that raise, and then some.
So not an auspicious start for 2017.
I’m hoping that 2017 will bring better things and for my sister her health will improve as she gets her life back together.
For everyone else out there that has had a lousy year, I can only wish you a better one this next year.
I for one have had my ups and downs, but that is what life is all about and I’m muddling through.
I still have my family around me and this house to live in. And it’s still teeming with animals. We’re actually doing okay.
Now if we can just figure out this computer issue so everyone has one again and we can all get the work done we need to without juggling computers, well that would be good.
What’s that old Disney song, at least a line of it? ‘Think happy thoughts, any happy little thought’s’. Maybe if we all think happy thoughts this next year will be better.
So think positive.

Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Season’s Greetings by Konnie Enos

Due to the season the debate has raged on all over social media about season’s greetings.
Are you politically correct and wish everyone “Happy Holidays”?
Or do you settle with polite and say whichever greeting you are most comfortable with? I’m not sure how many holidays are between Halloween and New Year’s Day, but I know it’s a lot more than just Thanksgiving and Christmas.
I honestly don’t understand why there is such a debate about it.
If you are a good Christian, and truly follow Christ’s example, then you would accept everyone, no matter their religion. If you are a polite, caring, decent, human being, you’d do the same thing. I’m also sure most, if not all, religions have teachings about being polite to others.
So during this holiday season when so many of us are celebrating one significant festivity or another, why can’t we all just spread good cheer? Why can’t we stop debating about the “proper greeting” and just be kind to one another?
In all honesty, as a Christian woman, I’d be ecstatic if someone greeted me with a hearty Happy Hanukah.
Judy Marcus, a Jewish freelance writer (her blog Opinionated Woman appears on Merry Christmas vs Happy Holidays) posted, on December 7 of this year, a similar opinion. Basically a friendly greeting is appreciated even if someone says Merry Christmas.
What difference does the greeting make as long as the giver is genuinely sincere in offering it? If no malice is meant, why take offence?
As Ms. Marcus asks in her post, what would Jesus do?
Did he ever once ridicule anyone?
I would think the Christ like thing to do would be to greet everyone with friendship.
Personally, if you tell me Happy Hanukah, I’ll wish you one back. Not because I celebrate it, but because I now know you do and I’d want your holidays to be joyous for you.
The same would go for anyone else.
In my church we have a saying. The truth hurts the guilty. So to me, people who are so easily offended by a simple greeting are the people who are most guilty of not being kind human beings. They are the one passing judgment, (Matthew 7:1-4) quickly pointing out the small ‘mote’ in another’s eye hoping they won’t notice the huge ‘beam’ in their own eye.
If you are going to be offended by a simple greeting, what are you doing wrong?
Christ commanded us to not take offence.
And that is the problem. Far too many people take offence. At every little thing. Even when no offence was intended.
If I were to see Ms. Marcus on the street I would have no way to know, just from looking at her, that she is Jewish, so I could not possibly know to wish her a Happy Hanukah until after she expresses that greeting to me.
So I have a perfect solution for everyone.
Instead of trying to come up with one phrase that pleases everyone, why don’t we just use the ones we already have and everyone just greet everyone else with the one they are most comfortable with. And if you’re comfortable doing so returning the greeting of someone that is different than your own.
So I’ll say to any Jews who might read this, Happy Hanukah.
If you celebrate Kwanzaa, Have a Joyous Kwanzaa.
Whatever your celebration this season, enjoy it.
Merry Christmas.

Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Celebrations by Konnie Enos

It’s December.
Everywhere you go you see and hear all about the gifts that have to be bought for the Christmas season. (Or Hanukah, or Kwanza, or whatever giving celebration you have at this season.)
In all this hubbub people, lots of people, with December birthdays, are forgotten.
Everyone else gets presents for their birthday and Christmas.
People with December birthdays often get just one gift in December sometime.
Everyone else gets a birthday present wrapped in birthday themed paper.
People with December birthdays often get just Christmas wrapped gifts.
People such as Charlie Puth, Holly Marie Combs, Daryl Hannah, Sara Bareilles, Kirk Douglas, Rider Strong, Mayim Bialik, Dick Van Dyke, Taylor Swift, and list goes on and on. There are lots of people with December birthdays including Walt Disney and Patty Duke.
For anyone who is fortunate enough to have a birthday no way near a major holiday you can’t possibly understand the problem. I however have some idea how people born in December feel.
My mother went into labor at the fireworks display. Since the bicentennial fell on a Sunday, we celebrated, you guessed it, on our birthday. Since our birthday was so close to a major holiday our birthday parties generally had sparse attendance, if at all. Everyone had holiday plans.
Having a child actually born in the month of December, I’ve tried really hard to make sure he has a birthday AND Christmas.
So in celebration of the arrival of my first born son, seventeen years ago today happy birthday Tony. And happy birthday to everyone else with a December birthday whom I’ve known throughout the years. (This means you too William Parker.)

Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Illness by Bonnie Le Hamilton

Okay, I really shouldn't be writing, or even on the computer because I still have a concussion from my accident, but Konnie is on antibiotics and not feeling to so well.

I hope everyone else is fairing better than we are at this time.

Happy Holidays.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Oh What is Sleep? By Konnie Enos

I did a silly thing at bedtime last week. I bought a book.
In the Writer’s Chat room we recently had the Crossover Alliance, a couple of their authors, come speak to us, and one of them had a new book come out that day.
I was intrigued.
Since I didn’t win a copy, I decided to buy, and I started reading.
I purchased and opened it (on my kindle) about ten  and, it was nearly seven in the morning  before I finished it. I never put it down.
I was entranced by the characters and wanted to find out what happened to them, how it all ended.
It’s been a long time since I’ve very literally read a book cover to cover all in one night without getting any sleep or other breaks in the process, this book was that good.
Of course if you don’t much care for the dystopia genre you may not find it as appealing. But this is was even more so because it wove strong elements of religion into it.
It was a well-crafted and well told story.  
If you like dystopia stories and can handle the less then gentle subject matter, which she handled skillfully, this is a wonderful story to delve into.
December’s Child by DA Williams. I’m told it’s her first published book. We should all encourage her to write more.
And since I’m recommending books, I might as well put in a good word for one I read some time ago and hope the author writes more. This one was a fantasy and I found it quite absorbing, though I’ll have to admit I didn’t get the opportunity to read it all in one sitting. I did read it as quickly as I could.
It was also an engaging story with captivating characters. I wanted to keep reading to find out what happened to them.
Fatal Heir was written by L.C. Ireland. It’s her first published book and I’m looking forward to reading more of her work.
I’m sure I’ll hear from her. I happen to know one of her aunts really well. Or more accurately the wife of one of her uncles, as in my sister, Bonnie.
Now I have plenty of things to do today since I spent so many hours hidden in a book.
Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

My Bad Luck by Bonnie Le Hamilton

Okay, it is now November 23rd, Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and normally by this time, I’m real close to the 50k mark. I usually make it sometime on Thanksgiving day — not happening this year.

My present word count for the month is 23,126, which is where I stopped like on the 11th when I realized I had a mild concussion from the air bag hitting me in the face.

Yeah, yet another injury, and the concussion wasn’t all. Turns out, I also strained a tendon in my left knee during the accident. Meaning, I’m back to having to stay off one limb as much as possible. And I thought it was bad when my carpal tunnel started acting up at the first of the month!

I never saw this coming. And I mean that quite literally. One second the road was clear, and I had the green, the next I had a face full of air bag. When the air bag deflated, there was still no body in front of me. I wasn’t even sure the other driver had even stopped until the police pointed out her car to me. And now I have no car.

Anyway, I’ve spent the last couple of weeks unable to get on my reader or computer, or watch TV or even read at the same time that I’ve had to stay off my left knee as much as possible. Now I know what torture is like.

And here’s hoping the headaches are over!

Happy writing everyone! J

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Finding the Bright Side by Konnie Enos

On my wall by our front door we have a large calendar. One of those erasable reusable things that we can write a month’s worth of dates on and fill in with our families appointments.
My youngest daughter has an artistic side so she has taken to decorating it as she sets it up each month. This month her sister helped her, so rather than draw relevant pictures for the season, they wrote words.
I walked in one day to find the calendar covered with words around all the usual stuff about appointments. Words like wir danken schon, gracias, and merci. I’m not sure where they found all the words, but they are in several different languages.
It gave me a moment to pause, think.
Do we really focus on what we are thankful for in this season?
My sister has been going through some really tough times the last several months including her car getting totaled.
But with everything that is happening there are still things to be thankful for.
I even have things to be thankful for even when I can’t get everything done that I need to because my husband only sees what he needs to do and can’t seem to realize that my to do list is twice as long as his is.
This morning for example.
He was too tired to get up and take our boys to school even though he was asleep a good three or four hours before I could even stop running kids around, let alone get some dinner and crawl in bed. And I woke him up a good half hour after I got up. Yet he was too tired so I had to drive.
It didn’t matter that he’d had more sleep or that I had a full to do list that depended on me using the time it would take to take the boys to school to do other things, like get this post up on time, rather than late.
I can, however, be grateful that I can run on only five hours of sleep. Otherwise I’d never get it all done.
I can be grateful I have a working car and a roof over my head.
I can be grateful I have daughters who at least understand how hectic my life is because clearly the men in my life seem to think I have nothing to do most of the time.
I suppose I’ll never get my husband to understand.
I came home and started typing, I was late already and my husband said something to me about getting a much needed bath, since the tub was available. After all I was yelling at him this morning about needing one.
So I yelled at him again for not listening.
Yeah, I need a bath. I also need to get my post up, among other things. My list is a whole lot longer than that, which is why I didn’t want to drive the boys to school. I didn’t have the time.
And now I’m running even later.
My post is late and I still need breakfast and that bath. Along with the rest of that list I didn’t get to because my husband was too tired after sleeping for twice as many hours as I got last night.
But hey, at least I’m still breathing.

 Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Ode To November by BonnieLe Hamilton

November is the busiest month of the year for me, as I stated in my last post, November is National Novel Writer’s month, it would also be the month of my anniversary, if Tom were still alive, and it is the month of Konnie’s anniversary (and no, not the same the day or even the same year). And, of course, there’s also Thanksgiving, and Christmas shopping. As I said, it is a busy month for me. Plus let’s not forget the National Election and just incidental things like trips to the pharmacy and grocery stores and just plain household chores.

It’s a wonder I’m able finish the Nano every year.

Okay, maybe not a wonder, because, I only have one person I chauffeur around on a regular basis (my sister-in-law, who doesn’t drive) and Konnie still has a Mom Taxi. And where I need to take my sister-in-law to appointments at most three times a week (and some weeks not at all), Konnie has to chauffeur kids around several times a day.

Frankly, it’s a wonder she managed to finish the rough on her colossal sci-fi with how much time she spends running kids around and just plain running errands. It also explains why she spent so much time while she was visiting me working on editing that sci-fi; she actually was able to work for hours straight without interruption. Too bad my place is so quiet; she resorted to putting videos in just for the noise!

Yeah, our lives are totally different. I really doubt the lives of any two writers are the same. We all have different living situations, and our families have different needs.

But anyway, for all those writers out there participating in Nano, I’d like to tell you my personal motto, “Slow and Steady wins the race.” 

And for all those who are not participating because a deadline or family obligations won’t let you, keep on writing. Each word you put on the page is one word closer to, “The End.” Or I could remind you of the old quote attributed to Nora Roberts about how you can’t fix a blank page, and tell you, if you have one word on it, it isn’t blank anymore. J

Happy writing everyone!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Balancing Act by Konnie Enos

Okay, the middle of the night I roll over and the bed is empty. I find my husband on his computer, totally stressing out. It’s well after midnight on the first and his money hasn’t appeared in his account and we have less than an eighth of a tank of gas in the car, and it’s a school day.
After groggily telling him at least three times that the money would be there when I checked, IN THE MORNING, and listening to him moan about the amount of money that was in the account, I finally told him everything over a certain amount was gas money and hadn’t been spent yet and since it was more than enough for to fill our tank he had nothing to worry about.
He left, at two in the morning, to fill the gas tank. I went back to sleep.
And, following my usual routine, I got up at my normal school day hour, motivated our sons then started checking my emails and eventually verified his deposit, at a much more reasonable hour. It was, of course there.
I understand there is always a yin and yang to things but that one event just illustrated how different my husband and I are.
He doesn’t handle the finances in our household. There are many reasons for this but mainly because he’s never been able to figure out how to get all the bills and necessities covered, let alone keeping track of everything. I can do both.
Even half awake at two o’clock in the morning, I knew just from the amount he was telling me that was in the account that only one item was outstanding and how much it was for. Even though I was too asleep to fully comprehend what he was saying, I was still cognizant enough to let him know he had more than enough to get the gas he was so worried about.
On the other hand my husband was stressing out because his monthly deposit of a few thousand dollars wasn’t in his account so he was looking at a balance of only a few hundred dollars and we needed less than thirty to fill our gas tank.
That’s not saying I don’t stress.
For me it’s missing things. Sometimes I’m perfectly fine with it. I’ll look, do my best to find it, then figure it will eventually either show up or it’s gone forever. Other times, it’s pure panic. I absolutely have to have my keys, my brush. If my glasses go missing, well I can’t find those on my own and I absolutely need those.
Yeah, kids come tear apart mom’s side of the room, she’s in panic mode because she can’t find this one item.
I’ve been known to go into full out panic, screaming, fussing, crying even fighting, because something I need isn’t where I think it should be and I can’t find it.
Now my husband on the other hand has never flown off the handle because he can’t find something, even something he needs.
So that yin and yang thing. In a lot of ways we balance each other out.
Even in rearing our kids we do that.
He’s this completely overprotective dad and I’m far more reasonable, after all our youngest is pushing sixteen now. He tends to lecture and I tend to listen.
Life is always a balancing act.
But then I guess I’ve always known that.
Being a twin is being yin and yang too. My sister and I balance each other out.

Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

National Novel Writer’s Month by Bonnie Le Hamilton

National Novel Writer’s Month, or in other words Nano, is just days away meaning I’ve been trying to outline a story idea for it. Except this time, I’m not just running scenarios through my head, I’m actually writing something down. Though I admit it isn’t much of an outline, all I really have is a list of scene suggestions (unfinished) of what should happen in the story. Just a sentence or two for each scene, that’s all. More than I usually write.

Not that I really need the help, I generally don’t have a written outline, just ideas floating around in my head, and I always manage to reach the goal of 50 thousand words before the end of the month.

Nano is also another way Konnie and differ, but that difference goes back to how many people live in our homes.  

Konnie still has a houseful of people and pets to deal with and the only time she managed to write 50 thousand words in a month, her family nearly revolted. For me, when my husband was still alive, I’d barely manage to get 50 thousand words with only a little grumbling from Tom. Now, living alone, well, last year I managed well over 60 thousand words. There’s no longer someone begging me to turn the computer off, so I don’t have to stop once I reach my daily goal, or even 50 thousand, if I feel like it, I can keep going.

So anyway, as Nano fast approaches, I know there are writers like Konnie that can’t find that amount of time in a single month to write, and I even know there are writers with deadlines to finish some editing, but other than those, who’s up for the Nano this year?

Happy writing everyone! :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Age in the Eye of the Beholder by Konnie Enos

I’ll be honest with you. I don’t think I’ve ever looked my age. Part of that is that I’ve always been small in stature, which was a blessing for both Bonnie and I growing up. We ended up behind in school but I doubt any of our classmates realized we were as much as two years older than they were. We were never the tallest kids in class and by fourth grade I was always the shortest kid.
I can distinctly remember one year our drama teacher in high school wanting to line up the whole drama club across the stage by height. He indicated tallest on one end and shortest on the other then told everyone to sort themselves out. I went to the short end then sat down and waited, with Bonnie beside me, just a tiny bit taller. There is a picture in the year book of us sitting together on the end of the stage while everyone else sorted themselves out in the yearbook.
But as we’ve gotten older I’ve realized it was more than our lack of stature but something else that made us look so young.
My youngest daughter is a good half a foot taller than I am, being the same height as her father, and people routinely mistake her for younger.
This past weekend our church held a youth conference. It was for children, in the local area we call a stake, which is a group of congregations, who were ages fourteen to eighteen years old. After the weekend was over, the president of the stake was talking to my husband and at least two of my children. One of which was my youngest daughter.
He turned to her and asked her if she was old enough to go to the youth conference and if she’d gone.
Knowing my daughter I can imagine the expression on her face as she told him. “I’m twenty.”
At some point in the conversation he turned to my husband. “Why didn’t you warn me?”
What’s even funnier is when she was younger people would mistake her, my tallest daughter, for the one in college, and ask her about it. She’s five years younger than her oldest sister and was still in middle school at the time.
When I was newly married and in fact expecting my first child, who is now twenty-five, I was talking with a lady friend who was also newly married. She had at least met my husband, so she knew both of us.
Since we were both newly married we got on the subject of having kids. She said her and her husband were going to wait at least a year. I told her we weren’t waiting, even adding that we wanted to be parents before we were thirty.
She commented something along the lines of, “You have plenty of time.”
I shook my head and told her our child was due less than three months before Jerry’s thirtieth birthday then add that I’m only six months younger than he is.
Her jaw dropped when I mentioned Jerry’s age, a man she’d only met a time or two. I wasn’t all that surprised she didn’t know how old he was. Then it dropped further when I told her how old I was, which surprised me because we’d known each other for a few years, but apparently she’d thought she was older than I was.
Too often today people are fussing and trying everything they can to look younger. Woman my age are dying their hair to hide their gray. Me? I’m over fifty. I’ve earned what little gray I’ve got and then some.

Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Show Don't Tell by Bonnie Le Hamilton

How do you get across to someone they need to learn how to write well before they try to finish their story?

I have no idea but that’s what I need to figure out.

A budding author asked me for help, and sent me his manuscript. In the very first sentence, I noticed problems. Starting with the fact he wrote it in first person PRESENT tense.

Now, of course there is nothing wrong writing in first person, lots of authors do. And I particularly enjoy Dick and Felix Frances, both of whom write in first person. But, well, I don’t know if it’s a rule or not, it’s just that I’ve never read any novel written in present tense, so I found that jarring, on its own, then it gets worse.

Some time ago, I had the great luck of having a professional editor volunteer to read one of my manuscripts and she informed me I was mostly telling. Now all good writers know we need to show not tell, so I was devastated, and I struggled to reword my manuscript so I’m showing not telling. It wasn’t easy, but I’ve learned that it’s a whole lot easier to start out showing than it is to fix telling.

This is the problem I’m facing. This budding author isn’t just mostly telling, he is just plain telling. 
All of what I managed to read (and believe me it was difficult to do and stay awake) was telling.

And how can anyone lose themselves in a story, if the writer’s style is boring and so clinically precise he states the exact height of every single character as they’re introduced, furthermore, he doesn’t show relationships, he states them.

If your main character walks into a room occupied by someone this person knows, don’t state their relationship — SHOW it. Have the character greet this person in whatever manner he would whether its by slugging or hugging this other person, show their relationship, do not state it!

As for the height issue, the only time I’ve seen precise height mentioned in a novel is when a character is stating it for some important reason, like a cop giving the perps description, but to state it as you introduce the character? Okay, I find that annoying, and certainly something, which would never “draw” me into the story.

Instead of stating height, show it.

Show someone who is short trying to get something out of a cupboard or, as I’ve done before, climb into a pickup truck. Of course, seeing the world and its challenges from a short person’s perspective is easy for me. :) It is harder for me to visualize the opposite end of that spectrum, i.e. remembering that tall people have to duck through doorways or under low hanging ceiling fans. I have witnessed this stuff; I should remember it when I’m writing.

And another way to show height is show how two characters interact because of their height differences. I see this mistake too often where the author indicates the heroine is on the short side and the hero is considerably taller, yet they don’t have to make any adjustments to stand facing each other and kiss. Really? I could have sworn I either had to stand a step up or we had to do a combination of him scrunching down and me standing on tiptoe.

If there is an extreme height difference, at least figure out how that would affect your characters’ interactions before you write it.

Anyway, I still need to figure out how to get all this across to someone who isn’t willing to hear the bad news about his writing.

Happy writing everyone. :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

On Differences by Konnie Enos

The other day my daughter’s dog jumped onto my bed and promptly threw up. Said daughter jumped into action and stripped my blanket and top sheet (all he got) off the bed and stuffed them in the washer. Good kid.
Sometime later I was walking past the washer and noticed it had stopped. I didn’t want to go to bed without a blanket and since we don’t have any spares for our bed I checked to be sure the dryer was empty then quickly emptied the washer. Then came the task of starting the dryer, but I needed to put a dryer sheet in first.
I looked for the box and easily spotted it. I looked at it for a moment. Then I walked away from the dryer and told my daughter to finish the task because there was no way I was going to be able to reach those dryer sheets where she keeps them.
As the lady of the house I as a rule set things up so I can reach the things I use most often or at least try really hard to. I have a handy stepstool in the kitchen that sees a lot of use because I can’t possibly fit everything on the bottom shelf.
The shelf in the laundry room is more like the third shelf in the kitchen. Needless to say I didn’t use it for stuff I used regularly. However, my husband and kids took over doing the bulk of the laundry several years ago and it’s no longer set up for me, the shortest member of the household. In fact my tallest daughter has organized my kitchen so I either have to use that step stool or get help pretty much every day.
Then last night as I went to enter my car I noticed that the driver’s side seat was far enough forward that I could see the full side of the front passenger seat from where I was at. My thought, no wonder the taller people I give rides to prefer to sit behind me in my car, far more leg room.
It’s a good thing that car has power seats because I sometimes use the valet parking at my doctor’s office and one of those guys has to be at least six feet. When I get in after he’s driven my car I can’t even come close to reaching the pedals, even if I stretch. I have to move the seat up. Of course, he probably has to move the seat back just to get in with cracking his knees.
All of this got me thinking about what other obstacles people come across because they are different from the normal.
I’m actually a lefty. You should see me try to use scissors or can openers.
Now imagine someone tall enough they have to duck to walk through a doorway or down the aisle of a bus.
When we write our characters for our stories do we think about how their differences effect their everyday lives? If you have a tall character, do you just say they are tall or show it? Showing them ducking as they walk down the aisle of the bus and always managing to catch tufts of their hair in the rivets in the roof of the bus is far more effective than saying they were tall.
Anyway those were my thoughts as I contemplated the fact I’m the shortest member of my household and it’s no longer set up for someone as height challenged as I am.
Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Wednesday Musings by Bonnie Le Hamilton

Konnie and I have talked before about how different our everyday lives are, and the major part of that difference is how many people we live with. There is a huge difference between living alone and living with a houseful of kids and pets.

When we’re writing our stories, we always need to consider when lifestyles are different between characters. I have one story where the hero lives in what is essentially a commune. He lives in an almost mansion with a lot of other families. While the heroine lives with her aunt and uncle and cousins. This makes a huge impact on how they view the world, and how they relate to each other.

In another story I have, the hero and heroine have just eloped, but they don’t have a place of their own yet, so they are in her parents’ house, and its Saturday morning. Well, that’s a busy day for the heroine, because it’s both laundry day and baking day. And well, her family is considerably larger than his, let alone that he wasn’t the one who did the laundry for his family, then add in his mother isn’t much of a baker, and he’s shocked at how much his bride usually does every Saturday morning before breakfast.

If I’d had them living his family home, that morning she’d have been out of sorts trying to figure out what to do with her vast amount of extra time.

Of course, putting characters in unfamiliar situations is actually a very good writing ploy, but I have to point out, in the story I referenced above, I did put one character into a different environment.

Though I think most writers already know that changing a characters setting is often what a story is about. The writer starts with showing what is normal, then throws the character a curve ball and the whole story is about the character learning to cope and adjust to that curve ball.

If I stopped to analyze every book I’ve ever read and liked, I’d say that’s what all books are about. Even in romance that seems to hold, because in romance the curve ball usually includes finding the new chance at love.

Happy writing everyone! :)

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Problem with Mindreading by Konnie Enos

I’m beginning to think in all seriousness all men think women can read minds.
On multiple occasions Bonnie complained about Tom making plans for the day and then getting upset with her because she wasn’t ready to go when he was but she hadn’t known they were going anywhere because he never said anything. I honestly thought it was a Tom thing, until yesterday.
Yesterday, pretty much all morning my dear husband was asking when I had to pick up our youngest daughter from her class. I told him, more than once, that her class got out around eleven and I’d pick her up when she texted me.
He told me after I picked her he was going to take off, first he said one thing, then changed his mind and said another, but obviously both things had to wait until after I didn’t need our one car.
Finally I got the message from our daughter. I told him she was done but I was on Facebook and also didn’t have my shoes on. (I was in the house. Why would I have them on?)
My dear husband, standing in the room, fully clothed mind you, asked me if I was just going straight there and back. As I worked on closing tabs I said yes and he shot out of the room without another word.
Then I heard the front door open and close.
Curious I went to check and happened to see him getting into the front seat of the car.
“Okay then. I guess he’s picking up our daughter.”
I went back to our room and texted her the information and continued on Facebook since I didn’t have to leave after all.
Five minutes later he came back in. “I guess you’re not getting her after all.”
The man went and got in the car. He even started it. How on earth was I supposed to know he wasn’t picking her up himself? He never said a word to me.
And with all of that, he wouldn’t go get her even though he was fully dressed and could leave right then. Me, I had to close tabs and get my shoes on plus make sure everything I needed was in my purse. I really needed to go to the bathroom but I opted not to make her wait any longer.
He honestly never said what he was doing when he went out to the car and I knew he got in and started it. What else was I supposed to think?
I didn’t think for a second he was running off on some errand he felt he needed to do. He’d been pestering me all morning about when I had to pick her up and he’d just barely asked me about it before he took off out the door.
Personally, I saw one parent dressed and ready to head out the door without delay, and assumed he knew where she was since he has taken her to class before and I was going to take a few minutes before I could head out. Seemed logical to me that since he wanted the car he’d get the task of getting her home finished as quickly as possible.
But apparently he thought I needed the car started for me.

Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Busy Days by Bonnie Le Hamilton

Konnie and I have talked about how our lives are different a lot, and I know I’ve told a lot of people I’m glad I’m not Konnie with all she has to do, because it always sounds like way more than I can handle. Then Monday came along. And I mean this past Monday.

I had a doctor’s appointment that morning and left my apartment around ten A.M. After my appointment with the doctor, I went to the lab, and from there I went to pick up my sister-in-law for her doctor’s appointment.

By the time she was done, it was lunchtime so I invited my sister-in-law out to lunch, afterwards, I took her home and hurried over to the store where I got my walker, because they finally had the part to fix the seat.

Next was my appointment with the physical therapist.

I returned home around five P.M.

Not as bad as the days when my sister-in-law and I spent the day running errands together, but I was still beat. And Konnie has days like this just about every day of the week. It’s a wonder she ever gets some writing done at all. I haven’t managed much of anything since I started going to physical therapy, well actually before that.

As I said last time, it’s been an awful last couple of months, and things are not getting any better.

But it got me wondering about stories that have characters doing a bunch of things in what the writer says is a single day and making me wonder if they have the timing right. Sometimes it seems like there is too much happening for it to be in a single day. Or am I the only one who feels that way?

We have to remember there are only finite hours in a day, even if we are writing fiction. And there’s only so much a person can accomplish in a day, no matter how hard they try. It takes time to drive to a different location, it takes to get something to eat, and eat it, and it takes time to do little incidentals like heed the call nature, all of which detracts from getting things done.

It also takes time for a washer or a dryer or a dishwasher to do their job. You need to consider how long it will take, which I know isn’t easy.

I myself have a scene where the heroine is cleaning the house, and planning for lunch and dinner. But in my case, I considered how long the washer, dryer, and dishwasher would take, as well as a slow cooker, and how much else a body can do while those appliances are working. And at the end of that morning, I have her husband comment on how amazed he is over how much she got done in just a few short hours.

But, not everybody is all that organized, and I could have easily thrown in a kid or two to make it interesting, or harder for her do what she did.

Anyway, do you ever feel a writer has the characters accomplishing too much in a single day? Or do you sometimes have to pare back what you have your character accomplishing?

Happy writing everyone! :)

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Bad Day by Konnie Enos

Did you ever have one of those days? You know the kind where either nothing seems to go right or you just can’t seem to get enough energy to tackle the day, or its one disaster after another. Yeah, that kind of day.
Well that was yesterday for me.
It started out as a perfectly normal day around here. Bright and early, before the sun even got up. Then my oldest son complained of stomach pains whenever he moved.
Okay, so maybe he wasn’t going to school and I would be calling the doctor.
I got his brother to school, then his sister to her school, I even managed to call the doctor then my other daughter came into my bedroom with a look of sheer panic on her face trying to get her dad’s attention.
I asked, “What’s wrong?”
“Gunner’s bleeding.”
“What? Bring him here, let me see.”
She called him in and he calmly jumped up on my bed like there was nothing wrong but I easily spotted the gaping gash in his side. I’m sure I yelled, because unlike my daughter who’d been standing right next to him, I was able to get my husband’s attention from across the room.
While I quickly texted Gunner’s Mom (said daughter that I took to school), Dad found his leash and loaded him in the car. We were out the door in minutes.
Of course my daughter was still in class and didn’t get the message until class got out. Normally she’d text me to let me know she was ready to be picked up. This time she called, right as the vet came into the exam room, which set me flying across town to pick her up.
Then there was the mad scramble to figure out how we were going to cover this.
We finally got home from the vets and I had about half an hour before I had to take my son to his appointment. Mind you, I don’t normally take naps, but yesterday, at that time, it was rest or not drive my son to his appointment.
After his appointment I had about an hour before we had to pick up Gunner (after his surgery). You got it, I laid down again.
Not that I got much rest.
My husband laid in bed with me and seemed to think it was a perfect occasion to talk. All my kids (at least the ones who live with me) were home and they each had something they desperately needed to tell me, at least once each. I think one daughter came in at least three times. Then there was the fact that the few times I’d been online yesterday my sister had not been so she hadn’t seen me all day so she called to make sure I was all right.
“Yeah, can I go back to sleep?”
“Okay, maybe if you get some rest I won’t have to take another nap.”
“Don’t count on it, nobody will leave me alone.”
She finally said she was going to go take another nap.
I finally got up to go pick up Gunner, trying to beat the clock because the normal Tuesday night activity for our boys had been moved from the usual seven o’clock time up to six.
Yeah, that’s about the time we got home, but I don’t think my son, the healthy one, even noticed or cared that we didn’t take him.
Now today, I feel sick. That could explain my lethargy yesterday.
Here’s hoping today's a better day.

Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Bad Nights by Bonnie Le Hamilton

Have you ever had one of those nights where you just can’t get to sleep because you can’t get comfortable? Well, I hate those kinds of nights.

Of course, something like that can be good fodder for a book, but in reality, it’s annoying. Especially since, I hate taking pills. I drove my stepmother up the wall with my refusal to take anything. Every time I complained about any old ache, she’d ask if I’d taken anything for it. And, generally, I hadn’t, and you should have seen her face the one time I had.

That time she ran to the phone to make me an appointment with the doctor.

Yeah, I don’t take pain meds unless I’m in a lot of pain. Well, actually, I’ve gotten better about taking them since that incident, but still, I tend to wait longer to take them than most people would, so anyway. I took some pain meds last night, so I could get to sleep. Enough said.

But it also means I was up late, and ended sleeping in. What a way to start the day, behind already! Which is something that would make a good story, but only if the person has a lot more on their plate than I do, because I don’t need to be out the door until ten o’clock. To be a really good story, the person sleeping in has to have like kids, and a job, and --- oh wait, I think what I’m describing is that story about the Terrible, Horrible, Very Bad Day.

Then again, that is a good story, and there are only so many stories, it’s in the telling that makes it unique. :)

Happy writing everyone! :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Computers and Sciatica by BonnieLe Hamilton

Okay, here’s the deal, Konnie’s having computer issues, so you’re stuck with me another week, and I haven’t got much to say about being mirror twins or about writing because the only thing I’ve been dealing with is my sciatica. And if you’ve never been to the emergency room, simply because you were in so much pain you couldn’t move without bawling, then you don’t know how bad sciatica can get it.

Honestly, I’d had it happen to me back in my college days and that was a walk in the park compared to what I’m going through now. I can barely walk, with my walker. Getting into my car was another issue.

Of course, that wouldn’t be problem if I didn’t live alone. If someone lived with me, or if I had children, I could get to the car, and sit down, while whomever lived with me could put my walker in the car, and when I got to where I was going, that person could get my walker out for me.

Konnie doesn’t live alone. If this were happening to her, she’d have people to wait on her, so she wouldn’t have to keep getting up to fix meals or get water. She’d only have to get up to use the restroom, or go to bed. I don’t have that option.

Sometimes living alone stinks.

On the other hand, maybe I can use this experience in a story someday. Then again, there are things I’ve experienced that I’ve never been able to figure out how to put into a story. Thought about it though.

Are there things you’ve experienced that you’ve never been able to insert into a story you’re writing?

Happy writing everyone. :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Mirror Opposites

Ever since Konnie visited me last month, all my friends have been commenting on how much alike we are, and it got me thinking about how, being a mirror twin is more about how much we are opposites then about how much we are alike. The definition of mirror twins is after all, “mirror opposites.”

Yes, we look alike but we are different. Though I admit those differences are things that most people don’t notice. I think it might have something to do with how most people depend too heavily on sight, or maybe don’t utilize it enough, maybe a mix of both. Because honestly, people fixate on our face, and don’t see anything else.

Like we dress differently. Oh, we both dress modestly, but we do have different tastes.

Our hair is also different lengths, well it is now, and really for a lot of our lives, just that we can’t ever seem to agree. Though well, technically, this last time I cut mine off, it started with the doctor shaving half my head.

(Let’s just say, he got it all, and leave it at that.)

But beyond that, people do change their hairstyles over time and we’ve gone from me having the shorter hair to me having longer hair and back again, several times. That has annoyed a few people over the years, those few who depended on our hair length to tell us apart.

And that is because too many depend on what they see, and not on what their other senses tell them, like the fact that Konnie is a soprano and I’m an alto. Although to be honest, our blind counselor in high school knew that about us, and still had to depend on our hair length to figure out which was which. And boy was he annoyed when Konnie chopped her hair off!

Anyway, we are different, in a lot of ways, because, after all, we are “mirror opposites.”

Happy writing everyone! :)