Changelings on Tour: Marie Anne Bailey

Day two of the Changelings Blog tour has Marie Anne Bailey, of 1WriteWay, playing host. What can I say about Marie?

I love this picture of Marie, because you can just

I love this picture of Marie, because you can just see the last bits of pink in her hair. Yes, Marie dyed her hair pink. Yes, Marie is my hero.

She is one of the most genuine people I know. Her compassion and open heart are tempered with wisdom and good humor. I’m not exactly certain how I found Marie – I think it might have been through Building Rome – but she has become such a part of my world that the starting point matters little.

I really got to know Marie – and her work – through the creative collective, The Community Storyboard. She quickly became one whose opinion I valued, for its hsincerity and honestly. Marie is a wonderful promoter of other writers, while also being an accomplished writer herself. Many of her pieces have been featured on The Community Storyboard as well as her own site. She’s turned her characters into her reviewers, incorporated her blogging world into her writing world in ways I could only dream of doing. When she chooses to release her books, I am going to be the first in line to pick them up!

Finally, on a personal note – and as a personal thank you – Marie was one of the beta readers for Changelings. Her thoughts and opinions were a vital part of later revisions.  She made me think about the book as it was, and as I wanted it to be. I have to believe that the story is better because her eyes were on it.

So please, stop by Marie’s site – you won’t regret it (and do tell her I – and D – said hi!).

Some Write Highlights

NaNoWriMo: Clemency, the Novel In-Progress

Reviewer: A Different Kind of Book Review

Collaborator: A Date with a Druid

Vignettes (and a personal favorite):  A Love Letter to a Young Man in a Foreign Land

Guest Writer: A Random Act of Kindness


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Twelve Drummers Drumming

On the twelfth day of NaNo, my true muse gave to me

Twelve drummers drumming,

Eleven snowflakes snowing,

Ten random factoids,

Nine trains a-chugging,

Eight ways of souping,

Seven shows a-sassing,

Six books a-writing,

Five Syllables!

Four pumpkin cakes

Three cough drops

Two cuddly cats

And a family that’s dear to me.

***

I should have known better than to use 12 Days of Christmas as my Non-NaNo anthem – I always get lost around day eight. I suppose it doesn’t help that I also get lost crossing the street – so the two together obviously means I failed to find my way to the computer/blog.

D: But you still managed to haunt Facebook all weekend.

A: Facebook doesn’t require a great deal of thought – just photos, some pithy sayings and cyberstalking – I mean enjoying some of my favorite—

D: Don’t say it. Can we please have a post without Dwarven #majesty?

A: No. The majesty cannot be contained. It must be allowed to flow.

D: You are so strange sometimes.

A: Thank you.

D: So what’s this about souping? Is that even a word?

A: No, but it fit the syllable requirement. Thanks to a week-plus of nothing but soup, the boy went on a diatribe that sounded remarkably similar to Cohen the Barbarian’s lament in Color of Magic

(particularly at 0:58 onward)

D: I see. So the whole household is crazy then, yes?

A: Perhaps.

D: Good to know. And the nine trains?

A: TrainFest. Had to work. Train Guys are pretty cool.

D: And the 10 random factoids?

A: What I call research others may view as procrastination.

D: I see – still having a hard time getting inside Jenny Mallory’s head?

A: Something like that.

D: Just write the bloody thing, A.

A: (Sigh). Yeah. Moving on . . .

YELLOW FLOWERD: Eleven snowflakes snowing?

A: That’s rather self-explanatory, isn’t it? It snowed, D. On November 11 and at roughly 11:11, it started to snow. I’m going to find out who made that wish and—

D: Careful A, you still haven’t quite gotten your strength back. You may just end up giving whoever it was a hug and that just gives out mixed signals.

A: True.

D: And finally, the twelve drummers?

The boy puts together the snare drum from his early Christmas gift . . . only 4 pieces left and a stool . . .

The boy puts together the snare drum from his early Christmas gift . . . only 4 pieces left and a stool . . .

A: Well, it’s more like one awesome kid, but I’m pretty sure he’s going to make enough noise with his very early Christmas gift to sound like 12 drummers.

D: Ah, he can beat the war drum for me any day.

A: Actually, it’s for Jazz Band, but I’ll let him know.

D: You do that, A. So, is this it?

A: It is. The 12 Days of Non-NaNo are over.

D: And what have you learned?

A: That if I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard—

D: I mean from blogging A – not from your journey to the Wonderful Land of Oz.

A: Oh. Well then, how about being able to blog about things other than my writing and my topsy-turvy character-rich inner-world.

D: You’re talking about me in that last bit, right?

A: Yes, D.

D: You aren’t planning on eradicating that part, right?

A: (Eye-roll) No, D.

D: Good. Just so we are both clear on that. You couldn’t live without me, anyway.

A: What are you going to do when your books are finally done and out there for the public to enjoy?
D: Well, I was thinking you should retire to someplace warm. I have these aches in my elbows – I’m thinking it’s from the sword – and really, I could do without the early arrival of winter, you know?

A: You are not retiring in my head.

D: Oh, come on, A! You’d miss me if I were gone.

A: . . .

D: You would. Just think about it, A.

A: And the final thing that I learned during my 12 days of Non-NaNo? D is as irrepressible as ever, and never ceases to surprise me. Hope all the NaNos out there are doing well as they approach the mid-way point, and that everyone else is having their own grand time! ‘Night all!

Related Posts

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7

 

Six Geese A-Laying

On the sixth day of NaNo, my true muse gave to me

Six books a-writing,

Five Syllables!

Four pumpkin cakes

Three cough drops

Two cuddly cats

And a family that’s dear to me.

***

D: Really, A?

A: What? I am writing six books in the Changelings compendium . . . or four. Depends on how Series 2 turns out.

D: That is not what I’m talking about – and if I know you, that number will change next week, too—

A: No, I’m pretty sure this time—

D: I mean the “a-writing” part A. Is that really what is happening here?

A: Um . . . theoretically.

D: What happened to 500 words a day?

A: Does blogging count?

D: No.

A: Oh. Then I guess under those conditions, no, I haven’t been writing, per say – wait, no, I had a few words written on Monday.

D: . . .

A: Don’t give me that look – it totally counts. And I have a brilliant idea to help me get inside Jenny Mallory’s character (she’s a tough one, even for a secondary character). Add in the three scenes I need to write for Book 1, and I’ll be done with edits.

D: Done? Really?

A: Okay, when I say “done,” I mean there’s the last read-through and edit run before it goes to beta readers, but that’s cleanup. The bulk is almost done.

D: So what are you still doing here? Hm? Time’s a-wasting, A.

A: Are you really tapping your foot at me?

D: Maybe.

A: I’m still here because there’s some fantastic news we need to share.

D: Oh you mean–?

Me and Billy the Kid by Briana Vedsted

Me and Billy the Kid by Briana Vedsted

A: About Briana – and her book, Me and Billy the Kid? Yes, indeed I do!

D: I’m so excited that her book is out! You have to read it, A and give a review.

A: I fully intend to – although I should perhaps leave that to you?

D: If only it were so easy to convince you to do that in all things.

A: Not bloody likely, D.

D: (Ungrateful wench) Did you know that Charles did his first audio interview?

A: (Overbearing Scot) I did – and Dean is looking for some feedback on his latest cover.

D: (Pict) Plus, there are some great reviews over at Green Embers’ Recommends.

liches tale

A Lich’s Tale and Other Stories by Bradley Corbett

A: (Same difference) And that hilarious conversation on Readful Things with his alter-ego to let the world know about his new novella, A Lich’s Tale and Other Stories.

D: (Heathen) Is Bradley the alter-ego, or is it Green?

A: (Thank you) I think it depends on one’s perspective.

D: And you know what my perspective says?

A: I don’t think I want—

D: It says that you should toddle off to bed so you can recover enough energy to finish those edits you keep talking about, woman!

A: There is no distracting you, is there?

D: Not unless—

A: Not unless, what?

D: Not telling.

A: D, come on, you’re killing me! What?

D: Get the book in the hands of beta readers and I might just tell you.

A: Now he gives me incentive. Sheesh! I guess that’s all tonight folks. Thanks for reading!

This is the sixth in a series on my own brand of NaNoWriMo – or rather, my Non-NaNo. One day D’s story will be told, and then what is he going to use to torture me? Stay tuned for what tomorrow will bring in our 30 days of NaNo.

Related Posts

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5

On the fifth day of NaNo . . .

On the fifth day of NaNo, my true muse gave to me

Five Syllables!

Four pumpkin cakes

Three cough drops

Two cuddly cats

And a family that’s dear to me.

***

D: Five syllables? But it is a four-syllable phrase.

A : I know. That’s why its funny.

D: But . . . but. . .

A: Go with it, D.

D: Only if you can actually come up with a five-syllable word.

A: I have lots: refrigerator.

D: Mmm, cannibalism.

A: D, it’s five-syllable words, not word association. Ew.

D: (Eye roll) Fine, what about decontaminate?

A: Yes please – can we start with my house and my office? Just swab it down with bleach and maybe this cold will get better.

D: That’s simply self-preservation.

A: Do hyphenated words count?

D: Yes.

A: Why?

D: Because I said so. You’re not contributing, A.

A: Sorry, what? I was looking at a book. It’s a preoccupation of mine.

D: Very nice.

A: Wow, was that appreciation?

D: Maybe. What are you doing, A?

A: Checking for marks. I hear the body snatchers always leave them.

D: I’m not real, remember?

A: I was speaking figuratively, D.

D: And here I was hoping for some consideration.

A: Ooh, fair play. You know, we could do this all day.

D: Well, I could – you may lack the sophistication.

A: Are you saying I have some sort of inadequacy?

D: . . . .do you really want me to answer that, Snuffles?

A: . . . No.

D: Didn’t think so. It’s inevitable, A.

A: What?

D: The end.

A: The end . . .

D: Of this dialogue.

A: Say it ain’t so, D!

D: I mean for the day, A.

A: Oh, so you were speaking figurativly, then?

D: Always with the last word.

A: Quite-literally.

D: But—

A: Hyphens count!

D: Only because you’re ill, A. Only because you’re ill.

A: Ha! I win! ‘Night folks!

This is the fifth in a series on my own brand of NaNoWriMo – or rather, my Non-NaNo. This installment was brought to you by lotion facial tissues, menthol cough drops and the letter E. stay tuned for what tomorrow will bring (I know I am!).

Related Posts

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4

On the fourth day of NaNo. . .

On the Fourth Day of NaNo, my true muse gave to me

Four Pumpkin cakes

Three cough drops

Two cuddly cats

And a family that’s dear to me.

***

Oh yes, the fun just keeps coming with this song.

And by fun, I mean the pumpkin cakes.

I don't have a picture of Pumpkin Cakes because they never last long enough to be photographed. So, instead, we have squirrels with coconut helmets. Nothing is better than squirrels with coconut helmets.

I don’t have a picture of Pumpkin Cakes because they never last long enough to be photographed. So, instead, we have squirrels with coconut helmets. Nothing is better than squirrels with coconut helmets.

I voluntarily gave up gluten in all its forms in 2011. Celiac runs in the family and while I have not been diagnosed with it, my skin, and my overall digestive health have thanked me. Since then, I’ve switched to using coconut flour as my baked-goods flour of choice. It’s high in fiber and protein and its fat is considered a medium-chain triglyceride, which means it is easy for the body to metabolize. It’s an acquired taste, but after a year of using it, I’m fairly confident in my ability to produce decent product that is low in refined sugar, and high in taste.

Then I found the Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Muffins at Health-Bent and I knew I had to bow down to the masters. It calls for more sugar than I – or the good people at Health-Bent – would put in, but I’ve adjusted it using Stevia drops and coconut sugar (I know, for those sugar-conscious out there, sugar is sugar is sugar, but I still try to go for the low-glycemic versions when I can).

I’ve adjusted the recipe only slightly (click here for the original). I find I need triple the amount of spices when working with coconut flour, but that may be a personal preference. The recipe below reflects my spice addiction and you can adjust to your own liking

These are lovely with morning coffee, or after dinner, but really, these are what sustain me on the weekends when all I do is write. Or at work, if I didn’t feel like actually cooking that week and have no lunch. If I put dark-chocolate chips in them, they sustain the boy as well (until, of course, his teenage-boy-feed-me hormones kick in and he starts scrounging around the fridge for anything resembling bacon).

Fourth Day of Non-NaNo Pumpkin Cakes

  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1 cup tapioca flour (I’ve also made it with 4 Tablespoons Tapioca starch or 4 Tablespoons Potato Starch)
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 2.5 T ground cinnamon
  • 1.5 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1.5 tsp ground cloves
  • 1.5 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 cup melted butter, or coconut oil, or palm shortening  (I’ve used both butter and coconut oil. Both are great).
  • 2/3 c brown sugar & 2/3 c coconut sugar OR 1 1/3 cup plain white sugar OR 2/3 cup coconut sugar and 2-3 dropper-fulls of Stevia OR Sugar substitute of your choice to equal 1 1/3 cups.
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 15oz can pumpkin puree (yes, I could make my own, but that would mean less time writing, so I don’t).
  • 2 T vanilla extract
  • Extra cinnamon and sugar for sprinkling on tops before baking OR pumpkin butter (which is excellent).

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF and line a standard size muffin tin with liners
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
  3. In a large bowl, beat sugar and butter (fat) until well blended and thickened (it won’t get fluffy because it’s melted fat). Add vanilla, eggs and pumpkin. Beat until well blended.
  4. Pour dry ingredients into the wet and blend to combine. Coconut flour absorbs something like 4 times its weight in liquid. It will appear runny at first and then WHOOM! You have very fluffy batter because the flour sucked up all the moisture. It’s fun to watch. I may be a disaster in the kitchen.
  5. Portion half the batter into liners. Sprinkle, swirl or do a happy dance with whatever you want on the tops of your pumpkin cakes.
  6. Bake until cooked through – about 30+ minutes (check after 25 min – ovens vary and burnt pumpkin is no-one’s friend. I will note however, that coconut flour tends to take its sweet time in actually cooking).
  7. Enjoy warm, cold, with butter, with honey, with anything because these are truly gifts of the gods.

This is the fourth in a series on my own brand of NaNoWriMo – or rather, my Non-NaNo. Each day, either D or I (or both) will discuss something to do with NaNo, writing life, or simply life in general. Stay tuned!

Related Posts

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3

On the third day of NaNo. . .

On the third day of NaNo, my true muse gave to me

Three cough drops

Two cuddly kitties

And a family that’s dear to me.

***

D: Three cough drops?

A: Yep.

D: Only three?

A: Nope.

D: At least three?

A: Yep.

D: Now now, don’t get all loquacious on me, A.

A: Sorry, I had a cough drop. What were you saying?

D: You do this on purpose, don’t you?

A: Pretty much. Look, it was the first thing that popped into my head. I could very well have said three ginger snaps, three fun naps or three episodes of Spaced, but that one doesn’t rhyme, so it’s out.

D: . . . Or three doses of cold medicine. You know, you’re kind of fun on Nyquil, A. How many fingers am I holding up?

A: . . . 3?

D: (Puts up two more fingers) Close enough. You know what else comes in threes?

A: Don’t say bad things. We’ve had two near-misses this week, a third is pretty much going to turn all my hair white.

D: Oh, you mean it’s not already?

A: Shush.

D: I was going to say good things, Miss Pessimistic-Pants.

A: Oh. Well. Good. That’s good, D. Miss Pessimistic-Pants?

D: Don’t judge, A. As I was saying, I will see your three cough drops and raise you three good pieces of news.

A: Um, are we playing poker with my NonNaNo posts?

D: Can you think of anything better?

A: Not really, no. Take it away, D!

By Green Embers

By Green Embers

D: While A toddles off to her tissue-filled rest, please allow me to give my congratulations to a talented gentleman who has taken on the task of bringing me to life visually, not once, but twice. The talented Green Embers has released his first novella, A Lich’s Tale and Other Stories. Check it out.

Second, the lovely Sarah M. Cradit is responsible for this week’s prompt at the Community Storyboard: Childhood Memories. I’m interested to see how A – and everyone else for that matter – will careen down memory lane.

Finally, the most-excellent and prolific scribe of Windemere, Charles Yallowitz, is releasing his third book in the series on December 1 and he needs you, yes you, and yes you too. And yes, madam, you as well. Ah, and the gentleman in the top hat – I think he requested you by name, good sir—

A: Uh, D?

D: Oh yes. Sorry – do forgive me. Where was I? Right – Charles is looking for volunteers to celebrate the release of his book, Legends of Windemere: Allure of the Gypsies. Check it out and sign up!

A: Well done, D. In this case of NonNaNo Poker, I fold. Your 3 good news totally beats my 3 cough drops.

D: Well, obviously.

A: I think on the fourth day, D gets to learn graciousness.

D: I’m sorry, A – your voice is a little muffled with  that cold. Was that greatness?

A: How about humility?

D:  Ah, great ability you mean? Why yes, I do have quite a bit of that.

A: I give up. Good night, folks!

This is the third in a series. Each day, either D or I (or both) will discuss what the 30 days of my Non-NaNo have given us. Stay tuned.

Related Posts

On the First Day of NaNo. . . 

On the Second Day of NaNo . . .

On the second day of NaNo. . .

On the second day of NaNo, my true muse gave to me. . .

2 cuddly cats

and a family that’s dear to me.

Isis taking a moment to smell the flowers.

Isis taking a moment to smell the flowers.

And by two cuddly cats, I mean two cats who demand I cuddle. They’re both rescues, and while Cleo is the Queen, Isis is a Goddess, and I am her chosen minion. It’s both an honor and a burden.

Of course, when I’m feeling poorly, or life begins to teeter recklessly on two wheels instead of four, Isis insists we sit together on the couch so that she can drape herself across my chest. There she purrs in time to my heart. Right now, the cats, the boy and myself are one big jumble on the couch, purring, munching, napping, reading and playing . . . at the moment, it’s Dragon Age. I don’t mind – modern RPG games are almost like watching a movie you can control to some extent. It’s kind of fun.

So, second day of NaNo, thank you for my two rescued cats. They fit in perfectly with my rescued bit of family.

This is the second in a series. Each day, either D or I (or both) will discuss what the 30 days of NaNo (which I’m not actually participating in – or rather, I’m participating up to 15,000 words rather than 50,000 words) have given us. Stay tuned.

Related Posts

On the First day of NaNo

On the first day of NaNo . . .

On the first day of NaNo, my true muse gave to me. . .

A family that’s dear to me.

It came to me, yesterday, how I could blog and NaNo at the same time (because NaNo is a verb, now). The reviled and/or beloved holiday song, The Twelve Days of Christmas, was to become The Thirty Days of NaNo.

That was, until I had an unfortunate flash of prescience. Or perhaps it was foreshadowing. That, or it was simple, dumb luck (to be said with Dame Maggie Smith’s accent and intonation when she admonishes Harry and Ron in Harry Potter).

The circumstances around the prescience are mundane. Needless to say, never should I utter the words, even in type, ‘barring catastrophe.’ It is like saying ‘bring it’ to the Universe.

Three days later, and my family has made two trips to the Emergency Room. My father remains in intensive care. It is not the stomach flu, as we had thought. My son, luckily, is home, now – only a little worse for wear in his tussle with the car that hit him this morning on his way to school. I bless every damn deity in the heavens above that he can be macho, and twelve, and brag to his friends on the Xbox that he was hit by a car and walked out of the hospital three hours later, because the alternative is too horrible to contemplate.

On the first day of NaNo, I realized that my family needs me more than I need NaNo. I still have a goal of 15,000 (which is my standard 500/day), but 50,000 words and the insanity that those words can bring . . . well, the world doesn’t need my novel that much. I will write it – I’ve already written what amounts to two books already this year. Books 3, 4, 5 and 6 will come in their good time.

In other news . . .

D’s taking the night off, so it’s up to me to be your valiantly verbose victor.

Ghosts Prompt Roundup

Check out the responses to this week’s “ghostly” prompt at the Community Storyboard

Not-so-newbie in town:

Have you met Dean? He draws, he writes, he blogs. You can find out about Dean at his new blog, Dean’z Worldz: http://deanzworldz.wordpress.com/about/.

He also has a new book, Quentin Hide and the Evil Lord Twigton. Check him out!

For the NaNoNites

Chuck Wending is Hilarious. His NaNoWriMo dialogue is even funnier, if such a thing were possible.

Support your local author

Because the internet community is the new local.

Good reading

There’s so much good reading around the web, but here were some I was able to check out this week:

Jessica B. Bell

She deserves her own section, why? Because she’s Jessica B. Bell, that’s why.

And Finally . . .

adventureswithD-final (1)

Adventure with us to Green Embers Recommends and my weekly Entertainment News installment with D. And this time, D’s status as a time-travelling Druid actually pays off!

 

The Druid Dazzles with Daring-do

By Green Embers

By Green Embers

A: What exactly are you doing daringly that dazzles so much, D?

D: Wouldn’t you like to know.

A: Well, that was the point of asking the question.

D: . . .

A: I mean, you have something back up all that hype, right? Or you just a flimflam man?

D: Flimflam man? Are you calling me a sham?

A: With yams.

D: You are ridiculous.

A: Yes, I am. And see, I have proof, right here. In writing. Back it up, D!

D: Could I just get on with the tale-telling?

A: Certainly, my dazzling drivel-meister.

D: There is something wrong with you.

Celebrate it

D: John W. Howell, he of Fiction Favorites fame, has been published in The Paperbook Collective. Congratulations, John! Hey, A – do you think he’ll forgive me for mistaking him for that other guy?

A: That other guy?

D: Yeah, you know, that other John guy – John Milton?

A: Maybe if you ask real nice and offer to do a real interview with him, he’ll consider it.

Promote it

D: The Literary Syndicate, your resource for all things helpful in our literary world, has established a “Features” section on his blog. Want to showcase your work – look no further, as Features are Wanted!

A: And check out Papi’s first feature, Angie Skelhorn.

D: I have it on great authority – if one considers A’s assertion a fact (and I’m not sure I do, as she once insisted that fuzzy socks were a requirement for breathing. Her authority on anything has been mighty suspect after that), it can be more than a little nerve-wracking for writers to go beyond the borders of their heads, but Twitter at least allows one to do it while still in your bathrobe–

A: And fuzzy socks.

D: (Sigh) Legends of Windemere scribe, Charles Yallowitz offers up these tips to de-beak the Twitter-beast and instead, utilize the tool as an effective weapon in your promotional armory. Enjoy.

A: With fuzzy socks.

D: Seriously?

A: It’s cold.

D: Moving on.

A: Kill joy. You don’t know what you’re missing. And neither do you, out there in the blogosphere, if you haven’t, check out Green Embers. Green is this week’s Blogger of the Week at Readful Things, and frankly, there is no one more deserving.

Read it

D: there are more than a few talented wordsmiths here on the blogosphere – talented and prolific. One is Jessica Bell, who writes at the behest of Helena Hann-Basquiat. Check out the latest installment of the Bayou Bonhomme serial, In the Shadows.

A: And once you’ve shaken off the shivers and anticipation, check out Charles Yallowitz’s poem, Yesterday, She Was, at the Community Storyboard. It is beautiful and touching.

D: In other words, break out the hanky.

A: Finally, Sue Vincent has some great news – you can download The Initiate, adventures in sacred chromatography, to celebrate the upcoming launch of her books, The Living One and The Osiriad. Find out more on her blog, Daily Echo.

Debate it

A: Helena Hann-Basquiat has a thought-provoking and entertaining piece at the Outlier Collective, Euthanasia is Sexy

D: Did you just use the words Euthanasia and entertaining in the same sentence?

A: Yep. And don’t just think it’s for real people, D. . . characters can—

D: Don’t say it, A. Don’t even think it.

A: Then you know what you have to do, don’t you?

D: Take over the world and ensure that you are slave to my power for all time.

A: . . . .

D: Yep, thought so.

Write it

A: Only 14 days until NaNoWriMo!

D: I think there should be care and feeding tips for owners of writers embarking on the NaNoWriMo gauntlet.

A: Really? Aside from the pejorative terminology, that almost sounds like you care, D.

D: You think I want you going off the rails? I’m all for you trying to write series 2 in 30 days, but I’m afraid if you aren’t kept well, part of it might happen from a hermit cave or worse, a jail cell.

A: . . . your concern is touching. I think.

D: Don’t say I never did anything for you, A.

A: Never would I ever, D. . . .(Insanity is doing something, right?)

D: (You bet your aunt fanny it is.)

A: (eye roll.) Speaking of writing (and not from a jail cell or otherwise) Catherine Ryan Howard, from Catherine Caffeinated, asks, How Much Time Do You Need to Write?

D: And while you’re writing, here are some words to avoid like the plague

A: Do cliché’s count?

D: Maybe…

A: You’re hopeless.

D: Thank you. Keep in mind this list doesn’t apply to all but it is a helpful guide.

Publish it

A: Every once in a while, we do aim to educate.

D: Every once in a while? A! I educate all the time.

A: Pray tell…

D: I’m a time travelling Druid. My very being is educational.

A: The scary thing is, you believe that. But since you don’t know anything about the publishing industry (and I know precious little myself), check out this 2-part series from Critical Margins:

D: If you like your publishing tips a little on the funny side, check out Fiction Favorites and 1WriteWay’s simu-published “Top 10 Things Not To Do When Trying To Get Published.”

Prompt it

D: that doesn’t make sense, A.

A: People can infer, D. I’m pretty confident that the intelligence level around here is capable of that. . . well, maybe not you.

D: I will fong you.

A: . . . .

D: You aren’t the only one who can make tv and movie references, woman.

A: Fine. Fong away. Meanwhile, at the Community Storyboard, the prompt of the week is Yesterday. Check out the offerings, including mine, and submit your own!

D: And The Queen Creative’s Prompts for the Promptless this week is Kintsukuroi. A wrote a lovely piece here.

A: You thought it was lovely?

D: Of course I did. You thanked me at the end. I can hold that over your head for the rest of your days. It’s beautiful.

A: I will fong you!

D: And with that, we wish you good night, ladies and gentlemen – thank you for catching up with us here at the D/A Dialogues.

The Druid asks the Questions – Marie Ann Bailey

He flicked black hair from his eyes and straightened his bowtie. He could feel the heat rising from his collar and hoped he wasn’t blushing. Blushing would not be dignified. And he wanted dignity, perhaps even a little presence, when interviewing Marie Ann Bailey, writer and blogger extraordinaire at 1WriteWay.

D: Nothing about that is dignified, A.

A: Well, I’m not the one who wanted to present Marie with a bouquet of flowers.

D: Impossible woman. Is there something wrong with trying to impress a lady? She was gracious enough to allow me to interview her, again. Sheesh. Some people.

Without further ado (or interruptions from A), please welcome Marie Ann Bailey.

marie ann baileyD: Give those who may not know about your series, The Widows Club, a quick snapshot:

M: The series is about three cousins who grew up together, went slightly separate ways when they married, and then regrouped when all three become widows.  And all three cousins are in dire financial straits with few marketable skills, so they get the idea to set up their own private investigation business.  The business leads them into interesting but dangerous adventures such as kidnapping and murder.

D: By the way, how is Brittany? She and I met briefly, if I recall. I hope the poor girl makes it.

M: Well, I would be giving it away if I told you, D. Let’s just say, at this point in the draft, she survives, but barely 🙂

D: Oh, I forgot about A’s favorite word: Spoilers. Of course – and thank you for the update. I shall continue to hope for her.

D: How did you meet the lovely Mary, Melissa and Maggie? Have you known them all your life, or did they knock down your door, demanding to be written?

They gave me insomnia, to be honest.  The thing is, I do have a lot of cousins and many of us are close in age so we spent a lot of time together when we were growing up.  I’ve always been kind of fascinated by the difference between the relationships one has with their families and their friends.  One of my cousins often said, “You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your relatives.”  Lovely sentiment, don’t you think?  Anyway, one night I couldn’t sleep because these three women kept popping into my head.  I got up and wrote a page or two, and then the next I knew it was October 31 and I had decided to participate in NaNoWriMo.  I took those two pages and ran with it … whatever “it” is.

D: I think “it” sounds fantastic so far. I’m looking forward to A reading it someday soon!

D: I have it on good authority that you are indeed the Great Cat Rescuer: how many and do they all get along? Any cuddly stories for the cat fanciers out there (you know who you are)?

M: Do you like cats, D?  I imagine you as more of a timber wolf kind of guy 🙂

D: Ah, timber wolves, wolfhounds and mastiffs . . . those are my kind of animals, but cats do have their uses, I suppose.

M: Right now we have four cats, which is the most we’ve ever had indoors.  Two of the cats, though, Maxine and Junior are indoor/outdoor because they do stay close to the house and it helps the dynamics if they are not indoors 24/7.  Maxine is a b**ch because she wants to be the “only kitty” and doesn’t really like to share.  She’s not above tormenting the old lady (Luisa).  She tries to give Junior a wide berth because he enjoys beating up on her.

The good news is our most recent “rescue”, Wendy, is generally getting along with everyone now.  We think Wendy has a crush on Junior, the only male of the bunch.  He’s quite rambunctious and likes to play and run around.  The last few nights they’ve taken to running up and down our hallway for several minutes.  You know, right when we’re ready to go to sleep.  That’s when they like to play.  As soon as lights are out.  It makes me feel very old, like Wendy is our late-in-life child.

D: I can relate – A makes me feel like that sometimes. Speaking of which, do you have a least favorite character within your series – or any other novel-in-progress?

M: I’m struggling with Melissa, one of the cousins.  I’ve become very fond of Maggie and Mary, but Melissa is turning out to be a challenge.  All three women have their flaws of course.  Maggie is a bit too reticent and trusting.  Mary is headstrong and acts before she thinks.  But Melissa has some issues with her cousins that frustrate me.  She has some deep-seated issues stemming from childhood that are only now starting to surface and create rifts between her and her cousins.  The upside is that their conflicts drive some of the plots in the series; the downside is I have to keep my eye on Melissa, try to make sure she doesn’t go off the deep end and ruin everything (as in, I will no longer have a story to tell).

D: Following on that, do you have any methods you use to keep troublesome characters in line?

M: Well, to be honest, D, I was thinking of asking A how she keeps you in line.  Wait, not that I mean you are troublesome!  Please don’t scowl at me, D.  It makes you look your age.  No, let’s just say you are very independent.

Anyway, it’s still a mystery to me how to control a character who starts developing issues, like Melissa.  I don’t want her to ruin the relationship with her cousins because then their story would end.  But she needs to work through what is bugging her.  I’m hoping we resolve things in the third novel.  It’s almost like I have to be her counselor and try to nudge her toward making better decisions.  Easier said than done, though.

A: It is rather like being a counselor . . . and ‘independent’ is a good – much nicer than I would use – word for D. Of course, I do let him get away with anything, within reason. Later, I kill the darlings when he’s not looking.

D: A! How could you?

A: (Shrug).

D: Well, I never . . . Marie, If you were to find yourself alone in the world as your characters in The Widow’s Club are, how would you face that challenge?

M: Oh, dear, if you mean, if I found myself as a widow?  I hate to admit that it’s crossed my mind and perhaps to some extent, that’s why all three women are widows.  My husband is several years older than me and statistically . . . (D, I know you think you’re an exception, but you do just exist in A’s mind) . . . Anyway, some of my female friends and I have discussed the possibility of moving in together if we should become widowed. Although I doubt that any of us would want to start a private investigation business.  Actually, Maggie and Melissa don’t like the PI business.  Just Mary does.  She’s nosy.

D: Nothing wrong with nosy – I would have very little to do if A weren’t a bit of a nosy madam herself. Speaking of nosey, A’s friend once knit her a nose warmer. Are all knitters mad or is it just A? What has been your favorite piece to knit?

M: What? Knitters aren’t mad.  Hatters are mad.  I imagine that where A lives, a nose warmer would be a nice thing to have.  For a while, I was knitting a lot of socks. I learned how to knit two at a time, toe-up, and made a few.  I made my husband a pair of wool knee socks that have Aran cables on the sides.  Those were fun.  I want to knit more socks, but right now I’m knitting a shawl.  Shawls are my next favorite things to knit.    I pretty much like to knit anything I don’t have to sew together.

D: You are a huge advocate for NaNoWriMo – any plans for November? Do you have any future stories you’d like to share?

M: I love NaNoWriMo!  Thanks to last November’s challenge, and the camps in April and July, I now have three (poorly written) first drafts for my series.  I will be participating again this November.  I’m not sure what I will do, but I’d like to write another horror novel.  My very first NaNoWriMo was in 2007 and that was a horror novel, and my very first novel actually. The first two chapters of it received the Featured Post badge from the Community Storyboard.  I hadn’t looked at the novel in so long; now I’m thinking of editing it to see if I can make something more of it.  But in November, I’ll have to come up with something else.  Unfortunately, I’m a pantser so I probably won’t know what I’m doing until I start doing it 😉

D: You are a versatile writer – as your blog, and your work on the Community Storyboard proves – do you find that helpful overall when writing a series, or can it be a distraction?

M: Why thank you for saying I’m versatile, D. I’ve never really thought about it before. Aside from the wonderful community of bloggers and the Community Storyboard, all this writing is helpful because it gets me to write.  The more I write, the quicker ideas come to me, the faster I write, the more productive I am.  Before my blog, I could go for long periods without writing.  And actually I was fairly convinced that I didn’t have it in me to be a writer.  Blogging has changed all that.

The only distraction now is just trying to keep up with everyone else who blogs. I could spend days and days just reading other blogs.  There is so much good stuff out here!  And that’s why it’s really great that you are doing these interviews, D.  You need to get out A’s head now and then (and give her a break).

D: A break?! The woman takes enough breaks. She needs to work harder! Do more!

A: D? Come back, D. Your dictatorial tendencies are showing.

D: Oh dear, I don’t know where that came from. Anyway, continuing on your versatility, is there any genre that you would love to explore more? Why?

M: I would like to explore writing a memoir.  I have a very poor memory of my childhood, which may be a blessing, but I still want to write what I remember of it and of the people in my life.  I think writing a memoir could be cathartic in a way that writing fiction is not, even though a memoir may border on fiction.  It would be a way for me to preserve the memory of people I’ve known, people who should not be forgotten.

D: Say, how is Mary doing? Do you think she’s really ready for commitment with that ‘old friend?’ Don’t you think she could spice up her life with a little Druid love? Please?

M: Hmmm … Druid Love.  Sounds like a good name for a rock band.  Tell you what, D.  Mary is … well, has become intimate with her old friend, but that doesn’t mean you two can’t have a date together.  I know she would find you very interesting … and her late husband was quite a bit older than her so, you know, she likes older guys.  Have a talk with A.  Maybe she’ll let you out for an evening.  And thanks for the interview.  You were quite (surprisingly) the gentleman.

D: And you madam, are ever the treat to have on this space. Thank you for gracing it again and chatting with me.

A: Yes, thank you Marie for giving D another chance! It was such a pleasure to have you here! And PS: I love that you knit Aran cables on socks – they sound really cute! Now everyone, go check out 1WriteWay, Marie’s blog! You won’t be sorry!