Monthly Archives: July 2012

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I wonder about people.  I look out the window of an office building and watch people zip around in their cars (they look like odd-shaped bugs) and nobody really seems to be going anywhere, they’re just going.  Rows of cars like caterpillars around the rim of a flowerpot.And they sit in their cars and they have no idea that I’m up here looking down at them.  Wouldn’t care if they did know, but maybe there’d be fewer accidents on the silly roundabout.

People are just strange, and I put myself at the head of that list.  But sometimes I just sit and wonder.  Is that semi parked in the driveway in front of the building full of explosives?  Is the driver who just went into the building going in to get his girlfriend or use the restroom?  Is he aware that a minivan just went right over the curb to get around his truck?  Does he care?

What about the driver of the minivan?  Is it actually a kid taking his mom’s car for a joyride, and he’s going to crash it into a ditch a few miles away?

Then there’s the lawn maintenance guy zipping around on his 4-wheeled toy.  Is he just zipping because that’s his job?  or does the lawn really need to be cut?  Would he even notice if he came out one day and the whole place had been covered in concrete, or would he just zip around as usual and mow the concrete?

Some day I think I’ll go out there and just drive around and around and around and around that silly roundabout and see how long it takes people to notice.  🙂

By Lauren Ritz


When inspiration strikes, how do you keep from losing it?

Remember that time you overhead a really fascinating snippet of a conversation the next booth over in a restaurant and wanted to remember it when you got home, but couldn’t? Or when that interesting article on the migration pattern of wolves sparked tons of ideas in your mind, but you forgot to bookmark it and Google isn’t finding it again?

These specific examples might not have happened to you, but I’m willing to bet that something similar has. Something you read or overheard or saw sparked your creative fires, filling you with story ideas, and then you went and forgot all the ideas, or had trouble connecting them together once the source of that inspiration had vanished from your memory. How can you stop that from happening again?

I’ve met writers who carry notepads with them everywhere to jot down conversational snippets or ideas that hit them while they are out and about. This is still a good strategy; however, in the world of modern tech there are many more options. You could easily take digital photos of places or people that spark ideas for you, use a voice recorder app on your phone to mutter a few quick thoughts or repeat a conversational phrase that you want to remember, or even send an email to yourself. When you find articles on the internet you can bookmark them in your browser, or copy them into a document. Google users can save things to Google Docs, so that their inspiration will be out there on the Cloud, to go wherever they go.

The point is, it’s easier than ever before to save your inspiration when it strikes. So don’t feel bashful about pulling out your smart phone to snap a photo, record a message to yourself, or type in some notes. You never know when a piece of inspiration will spark the story that will finally get you published. It’s totally worth looking like a geek while furiously typing notes to yourself on a tiny touchscreen.

What are your favorite apps or online tools for keeping track of your sparks of inspiration? Share them in the comments below.

By Jocelyn Carlin


Cindy Hogan on Writing Suspense

Join us for author Cindy M. Hogan’s second podcast interview with us on Suspense. She talks about her formula for writing suspense, discusses the differences between suspense and thrillers, and explains some of the sub-genres of suspense as well as a few subtle differences in MG, YA, and adult suspense novels. Remember to comment on one of her interviews to be entered in the drawing to win a signed copy of her book Watched. Learn more about Cindy and her books at her blog.


Download here (right click and select “save link as” to download)


Independence Day

When the time comes that one person’s constitutional right to freedom of speech is strangled by another person’s right to be offended by that speech, we are in danger of losing that right altogether.

“The government shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”  This constitutional right was intended to protect the people against the abuses evident when religion is enforced.  It says NOTHING about not being able to use the name of God in school, and in fact, if they’re going to go that far, outlaw swearing!!!.  That is more offensive to more people than the mention of religion at a funeral.

It says NOTHING about not being able to post historical (religious) sentiments on government property.  If this is the case, please remove the majority of the lawyers (they swear by Him as well.)

I believe in God and I am not offended by another person stating that they do not.  What offends me is the idea that this person who does not share my beliefs has the right to silence my beliefs in favor of his or her own.  Atheism is a belief (religious system) in the idea that there is no God.  That person has as much right to his or her own beliefs as I do, and I will not stand by while my own beliefs are strangled.

How long before freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and all other rights granted to us by the Constitution of the United States, are taken away in the name of not offending anyone?  When one is taken, can the rest be far behind?

Wednesday is Independence Day.  Please join me in celebrating a nation where all share the same right to freedom of speech, and do not have to worry (yet) about the nation legislating their religion or lack thereof.

(reprinted from Eclectic 2011, unaltered)