We’ve been snowed under here in the DC area. Snoverkill, Snowmegeddon, kaisersnowze, Snowtastic, Snoprah…

We have about 30 inches in my backyard and its snowing again now, blizzard conditions expected this evening.

People out west and our northern neighbors make fun of the DC area’s inability to deal with heavy snow. However, in our defense, this rarely happens. Take a look at the historic records and the seven year pattern — and then read what Laura Ingalls Wilder had to say about the seven year snowstorm pattern in “The Long Winter.”

This article describes the DC area records for heavy snowfall about every 7 years…

“The chart also shows that in the past two decades, we have been getting our big seasons every seven years (not the case in the 1980s and 1970s).”

From Laura Ingalls Wilder’s The Long Winter:

“What was that about seven big snows?” Almanzo asked. Pa told him. The Indian meant that every seventh winter was a hard winter and at the end of three times seven years came the hardest winter of all. He had come to tell the white men that this coming winter was a twenty-first winter, that there would be seven months of blizzards.” (Wilder, p. 62).

Hmmm…Similarities? Of course, she was in Dakota territory, not the east coast (or Arizona). And this particular chapter, “Indian Warning,” is probably fictionalized. Still, I wonder if it is all a coincidence or if there is a seven year pattern?

What’s Your Sign?

Log line, pitch line, the ultimate one-liner for your manuscript… A pick up line for your work.

Just as a pick up line in a bar needs to be rehearsed so that it doesn’t * sound* like a pick up line (not that I’d know anything about this), your manuscript one liner needs to roll off the tongue, be conversational, as well as short, sweet, and concise.

You need to be able to explain the plot to someone who has absolutely no idea what it’s about, who your characters are, or the far away setting. You and probably your critique group know all of this inside and out – but can you tell it without getting into all the nitty-gritty details?

Can you pitch it? Can you hook a new reader in one sentence or less?

It’s taken me several months of mulling over to it down to the following one-liner’s below. Let’s see if it works!

Feedback welcome. Just please don’t throw a drink in my face 🙂

Once A Goddess:

In ancient Ireland, Brigid risks her life and sacrifices her secret love to save her people from Bres, her enemy and her husband.

Fiery Arrow:

When Brigid, a druid priestess, and Patrick, a Christian priest meet in Celtic Ireland, they are torn between their opposing missions and their desire for each other.

Recommended websites that helped me:

Hilari Bell on

Writer’s Digest

Inspired Writing vs. Good Writing

At what point do we give up our originial inspiration? When we rework and edit and critique and workshopto the point that the original no longer remains?

My first five, for example, pages have been reviewed, edited and workshopped by some excellent writers and authors. The beginning doesn’t resemble my original beginning at all – for good reason. I’ve gone from backstory (not good) to action (better). I feel like its been so reworked, I have no objectivity. I no longer connect with it. The spark is gone.

Why doesn’t that first flush of inspiration carry us through? Perhaps there is a relationship analogy…the spark, the chemistry of the beginning of a relationship has to be solidified with work, compromise, and understanding – if its going to last.

I have a prologue that I love which, of course, doesn’t get sent out with partial requests. I’d like to be able to work the prologue into the first chapter. However, that delays the battle-scene action for about a page and a half. From the critiquers, it seems to be a 50/50 split…some like the gradual beginning. It gives them a sense of place, of setting of the characters before swords clash and blood…well…bleeds. Others (famous published author included) encourage going straight to the battle, grab the reader right away.

I suppose the trick is to try and merge the two, to weave the words together in such a way that the gradual setting cushions the harshness of war. Like a relationship, inspiration and craft must be combined for a solid story to be told.

The blizzard will give me plenty of time to play with this first scene.


When is the best time for writing? Or to create any art for that matter? For me, I write best in the morning. Well, maybe not “best” but the inspiration flows freely and I get a lot down on paper (paper and pen for the first draft works well for me, too.)

I’m able to write a good bit between 6:30 and 7:30 a.m. Now, that is about to change. Upcoming job will require me to start at 7 a.m. and add on to that about a 45minute to an hour commute. So I’ll leave the house by 6:00, awaken at 5:00…it will take me that long just in ingest enough coffee to make me functional.

In preparation for these changes, I’ve been trying to write in the evenings. It’s turned out to be more editing and revising. That’s going ok. Editing seems to be an after-work sort of task. I’m wondering how the changes will affect writing something new?

What works best for you? If you have additional responsibilities (other jobs, kids, etc.)how do you schedule your creative time?


No, I’m not talking about the shoes. I’ve been out of the querying mode for awhile. I’ve finally dusted off various manuscripts, took a great creative writing class through Arlington County (with Jean Russell), and feel like I’m ready to start the process again. And now, it seems the buzz word of the day is “platform.”

Platform – how are you doing to market your book? This used to be (back in the day, five years ago) a requirement generally for non-fiction writers. Now, it’s a good idea to include in a query some platform ideas. A blog? A website? Facebook? Twitter? Any other networks or contacts? Are you willing to host book readings or teach workshops?

Yes, yes, and yes. We wouldn’t want to turn into Bernard, would we?

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