Saturday, December 29, 2012


Greetings from the land of sorting out new year's resolutions. I have decided that I am just going to throw away most of my carefully planned ideas for 2013 and go with the flow.

Why? Because I have Sisu! I am a quarter Finnish through my ancestors, and I have decided that the only thing I really need is that special determination that only the Finnish can truly define. 
But there is a reason that I called my blog various things involving Sisu. It's because I have always intended to invoke as much of that special power from within as I will need to succeed.

My first step toward success: Bringing forth my latent Sisu tendencies.

My second step toward success: Launching my internet platform for my writing and joining NaNoWriMo, Twitter, and Pinterest.

My third step toward success: Discovering that cross country skiing is still, in fact, in my blood after (ugh...) a really really long time of not skiing...(like really long time...)....I just skied today for the first time in that really really long time and It. Was. Wonderful. Enough said.

So, I am going to go forth with the battle cry of Sisu! You will all get to watch me roar! I do hope you'll stick around and make more discoveries with me. You'll even get to read some new books, written by yours truly, eventually.

For now, I am off to work some of that sisu into getting rid of the holiday aftermath that hit my house.
Stay tuned for more Sisu updates in 2013! Happy New Year!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Hopeful Holidays!

May 2013 bring everyone good and wonderful things...not just the things needed for everyday, but the things needed for the heart as well!

See you then!

Be kind, find peace and give love!
Happy Holidays from HMMS Wooldrage

In Memory of our beloved cat, Fooston April 1997 - September 2012

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Realization About Reading

0r where I preach to the choir, a little

I was ruminating while in the shower today, and came to a realization as often occurs to people who think in the shower. I realized why eBooks are good things. I still favor the turn of a paper page, but eBooks are another way to READ.
In a society that is evolving into a digital realm, where we are all communicating with words via screens, especially our children... we need to promote more reading for these devices! 

Promoting literacy needs to ramp up and include showing kids that books are on those screens too. I think this is already going on, but I know I still have a hesitancy toward showing my kids how to read on a screen. I would rather show my 3yo how to read a paper book first. That's what I do too. I know there are all the Leapfrog® type things that have been around for ages, but I believe reading out loud, without having to jab at a word with a stylus, is still the best way to learn reading.

However, older kids, who have devices to use apps, and play games, and post pictures...they should be encouraged to read on those devices. READ. Texting is one thing, and it's kind of nice that people are using typed words more to communicate. However, the fact that we are using words more is why the abbreviations in texting, and the count limitations of words in social media sites bug me. I get it, I know why the limits are out there, but they still bug me.

People are starting to name their children with social media vocabulary. Really? People are also starting to speak in these new made up "words." *shakes head* My dear daughter just told me today that she sometimes says LOL - says it - instead of actually laughing out loud! Fortunately, she also said this drives her nuts, but it's a prime example of what's going on.

Let's not destroy language (especially English) entirely, people. I agree that evolution of language is a good thing, but speaking in abbreviations lacks emotion. I hope it isn't going to become professionally acceptable someday. I hope that eBooks will preserve the language, and I hope that kids will read them and know there is more to "texting".

I guess what I am trying to say is Promote the Hell out of READING! Any form of reading is good! Except maybe reading hate...but that's morality vs. literacy, and literacy is my point. Parents, take morality up with your kids in your own way, and teach them to read any format of book available!
What do you think? Will eBooks preserve languages? Can we preserve paper books or will they go the way of the LP record albums and become expensive collectors items? Can we promote the hell out of reading?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Gift Card Give Away Hop

Gift Card Give Away Blog Hop, hosted by I'm a Reader, Not a Writer: Here's the list. I am probably doing this promotional blurb wrong, but wanted to promote these great book blogs! The give away is for gift cards to favorite bookstores. Hop around and try your luck. Happy Holidays! I am particularly promoting Cozy Mystery Book Reviews and their give away for a $15 gift card to either Amazon or Better World Books. I am a big promoter of Better World Books, so I had to jump on the band wagon.

Be Kind, Find Peace and Give Love

taking a pledge

 Last night in a haze of "should be sleeping", I decided to join this pledge thing.
I signed up after reading all of the "requirements" and I do agree with all of the convictions listed. However, there was one inference that I realized after I signed up. It was the fact that I was a "Mommy Blogger". Now, I have nothing whatsoever against "Mommy Bloggers." I think they probably get a bad wrap in the blogosphere. I just don't want my blog to become first and foremost a Mommy Blog.

As a "promise" sort of thing to the pledge that I ever serious you want to look at the pledge...I am supposed to blog what the pledge means to me. I am going to be brief. The pledge means that I agree with the importance of community, and I support other moms in everything they are trying to do. Being a mom is hard. It's a 24/7 job, and you're always on call. Moms need other moms.

This blog of mine is my sort of selfish blog. It's my place to put up whatever I want. It's primarily where I am going to talk about my journey as a writer, but I can talk about anything, even if it's family, moms, or in support of moms. I suspect as readers you already know that.

Still the pledge is worth a read. The link for it is from the badge on my right -> sidebar. It's got worthy reminders for women and men alike, and that's why I signed up. After all, the tag line on my blog is Be Kind, Find Peace and Give Love.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Blog Post Relocation PSA

All posts from my NaNoWriMoWhoas blog have been relocated to this blog. (I am glad there weren't that many.)

My NaNoWriMoWhoas blog has been deleted. Please feel free to leave comments on the relocated posts if you feel so inclined.

Thank you! I apologize for any inconvenience.

(NaNoWriMoWhoas) Title Change and an Idea

*post relocation* From Dec. 2nd, 2012 NaNoWriMoWhoas post

 I realized that I needed to change the title from NaNoWriMoWoes to NaNoWriMoWhoas. I'm not sure why it took me so long to realize that there wasn't too much to be woeful about, but I was feeling frustrated when I started this blog.

Now, however, I see that NaNoWriMo has been a journey of wonder and discovery for me, and therefore it definitely needs the title WHOAS!

I hope other WriMos will join me here. I would love to have this become a collaborative short story blog and a place for us to chat.

What do you think? Need to keep those fingers and muses nimble throughout the year? Tweet, email or comment below and I can add you to the list of authors for this blog. Hope to see you soon!
*UPDATE: (Dec. 9, 2012) - No longer thinking about doing the co-writing idea at the moment. I will keep you posted if the idea resurfaces. Thanks*

(NaNoWriMoWhoas) Yeah, Baby!

 *post relocation* From Nov. 27, 2012  NaNoWriMoWhoas post

Wooo! I couldn't be more excited. And after a few victory laps around the house, I just had to sit down and blog about it.

There really weren't many "Woes" to go along with NaNoWriMo. I have to say I have had the time of my life and I hope that I can stay in touch with everyone I met in such a short period of time. I  hope to be hanging out all year with the NaNoWriMo folks. And if you think you can't do 50K in 30 days, I did it in 18, so it is possible to reach your goals and follow your dreams!

I still have a long way to go. My journey with my novel is not finished, but I made it to the goal and ran the marathon like any good athlete. And I learned so much, shed a bucket or two of tears and learned some more. It's been amazing.

Thank you so much to everyone involved with NaNoWriMo for making the creative process so very real! And I have to thank my family and friends and fellow writing buddies. Without all of you, I wouldn't have been able to do any of this. *group hugs*

(NaNoWriMoWhoas) Home Stretch

*post relocation* From NaNoWriMoWhoas Nov. 27th Post

My sister skis the Birkebeiner Ski race every year in February up in Hayward, Wisconsin. I now have some idea of what she feels like doing such a long marathon. She skies around 56K for about 7 hours. I write 50K for a little less than a month.

I don't think either of us are any more exhausted than the other, and we still each have our own exercises to do to prepare.

I have a little over 3K to go for my word count, and it's the hardest 3K I think I have ever written. I've done all the tricks. Scene jumping, adding random scenes I know will be edited out, and other possibly less admirable shortcuts. And I can't come up with my last 3K.

Just like any marathon, I will push onward to the finish line, and I have to admit I am happy I am not physically running or skiing or swimming. If writing can make my muscles sore and me feel exhausted, I wouldn't even be able to move after a sports marathon.

How is every one else feeling on your home stretches? Remember, it's not the word count that matters, it's the fact that you're creating something full of awesome! Conversation is welcome in the comments below. I hope you will stop by! :)

(NaNoWriMoWhoas) Me vs. Muse ~ Muse Wins!

*post relocation* (from Nov. 18th 2012 post on my NaNoWriMoWhoas blog)

By now it's common knowledge that I am working on NaNoWriMo. I decided I needed a place to vent about my struggles, failures and successes. I might even invite guest WriMos to write here if I can figure out how to get blogger to cooperate.  It might even become a neat little community to carry us through until the next November.

For now, I have a confession to get off my chest. At least it feels like a confession.

I have been writing since forever, but started most actively 9ish years ago. I wrote a lot in college and had a really long non-writing dry spell. You can read about some of the trials of me being an active, unpublished writer, here.

So, I started NaNoWriMo as a way to kickstart my solo career in writing. I will be perfectly honest, I have been working on a novel since August. I ran into a wall with that, and I started NaNoWriMo with another idea I had swirling around in my brain.

Halfway through NaNoWriMo, I hit another wall. Only for me, it wasn't halfway. I am a week behind everyone who started on November 1st. I had to work fast to catch up. Suddenly, I realized my muse and I were working on two different novels. Muse was working on the original novel from August, while I was trying to spew words into a text app for a completely different novel. Muse was much more in touch with my characters. Our characters…(shhh, Muse, I am writing this blog post.)

Switching gears, I am now working on the first novel that I started in August. Is that cheating? My word count is completely authentic. I did not alter it all. The number is the number of words I have written in the novel I want to work with, and only that novel, even though I had almost 23K written for the ditched novel.

Both novels have the same main characters, but are totally different genres. One is Urban Fantasy. The other is a traditional, slightly cozy, mystery. *surprised face* The characters  conspired behind my back with Muse, and I got the clue phone yesterday. It was kind of painful. Muse threw it at me. I guess it had been ringing for awhile.

NaNoWriMo has been an incredible experience so far, and I will be using the word sprints and enjoying the wonderful fast friendships to get me to the completion of this draft, and beyond. 

Eventually, I hope people will enjoy my mystery writing as much as I do. Time will tell what other characters will whisper in my ear. Hopefully they won't throw too many phones at me.

Merry Maintenance

or blogging with stream of consciousness as I think out loud and beg a little

Good Morning ...ok, well, it's afternoon and I slept in,, an hour ago...soooo sleepy. However, I'm trying to start in on my blog maintenance for the week, and beyond. And right now it involves subjecting readers to my brainstorming. Lucky Readers! *hugs*

I tried experimenting with all kinds of blogs as you can see with my 4 currently active blogs. The big news is that I have decided to take down my NaNoWriMoWhoas blog and move the content over here to my main site. So, the next few posts will be historical and labeled as NaNoWriMoWhoas. Unfortunately, that means I won't be able to do my co-written story idea at the moment. I can always start another one later. For right now, I think most of the authors I know have enough to do.

Anyway, after a dose of my new favorite coffee drink that J Elizabeth Hill got me addicted to, I will be moving and shaking up my blog stuff. Check out J Elizabeth's new release: Bound. 1st Chapter Sample can be found Here. You know you can't resist that inherent curiosity trait of yours. ;)

I am still keeping my crochet blog, Sisu Strings. I've got 8 tiny reindeer Sisu Jellies to make for there. ;)

Here comes the wee bit of begging:
I am not sure about my book review blog. I am pretty insecure about it, actually.  I like the format of having an all book blog, but I like to read for pleasure, and reviewing is feeling a little bit too much like work. So, I might remodel the site into something like a promo site with occasional reviews, or something.

What I would really like is to get some guest bloggers on there. Anyone interested? Please? With all holiday goodies and treats on top? Anyone want to review a book on Sunday Book Brunch? Leave a comment below if you're interested. You'll get a permanent icon/photo badge, like mine, linked to your own bio, and any other personal sites linked in the side bar.

I'd like to give author access to reviewers who are interested. That way you can post a constructive, no spoiler review on any Sunday of the month. Only rules I can think of would be No Spoilers, and tweeting/sharing the post so that both the blog and the books get promoted, and only posting on a Sunday. Please leave a comment below and discussion can move forward from there. Thanks!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Back to Priorities

There is nothing sexy or fun about prioritizing. UGH. I am not good at doing it, and I inevitably find myself sucked back into things of interest in order to escape.

I think my head is as full of new information and I have a To Read Book Tower that is about to fall over. I won't even get into the fact that the holiday season has launched, except that we have not done any decorating in our house yet.

It got me to thinking that it's time for me to hole up. I need to back off of my Twitter IV Drip, since all I am seeing there right now are more books for me and/or my daughter to read and I am already buried.  I've been trying to talk myself into doing this for awhile.

I need to write. My singular goal of launching myself into the Twitterverse and beyond was so that I had my foundation in place for my future books. I plan to dazzle you all when I am ready. In order to do that I need to write.

Remember that I just tossed about 9 years of writing stuff into a "beloved but never to return to" file. That's a lot of writing and it means I have to start over on my own. So, this is going to take awhile. There's a tiny taste of a blurb for my rough draft mystery over on my NaNoWriMo page.

I feel like I need to apologize for hiding. My insecurity is that my foundation is not strong enough to hold up under my absence, and all my lovely followers and bookmarked information will *Poof* away while I am gone. I have a fear of abandonment. *sigh*

However, I have to write. I have to edit. I have to research plots and locations. I have to get my focus back onto my passion for the written word. And I have to say it all out loud to convince myself.

I hope everyone will stay tuned for some razzle dazzle. I'll keep popping in to say hi and do book reviews when I finally get some reading done. I read slowly.

Please leave a comment. Follow my blog here with the google thingie or email. I am still building my tribe and would love to hear from you! Thank you!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Bloggy Goodness

It's #MondayBlogs over at Twitter, via @MondayBlogs so I decided to bypass the character limit of Twitter and shout out a few blogs thru my blog and tweet this. Yeah, I am sneaky.

Shouting out blogs:

Fiona Chapman - Writer
Musings on writing and life with thoughtful insights

Container Chronicles 
An interesting look at the world

Michael Allen Scott
 Mystery Surreal

Donna B. McNicol 
 Roaming and writing mysteries - can't get much better than that.

Central Battery Musicworks 
Need a soundtrack for your story? Film? Booktrailer? Or anything that needs a spark?

and of course mine: Sisu Strings and NaNoWriMoWhoas (linked from tabs above).

Thanks and Happy Blog Slogging! You never know what discoveries you might find.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Gifts! Enter to win!

Who doesn't love secret tattoos? Enter to win great prizes and check out Keiran Kramer's new book. You got a love a guy who looks like this: (I just *had* to put him up on my blog so I have a constant source of eye candy. ;) )
Click the link below to go to giveaway...

Pre-Order Contest: The Earl with the Secret Tattoo by Kieran Kramer(International)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Because This Just Tickled Me

or I Felt the Need to Promote

I just added a link to my Favorites list in my side bar. It tickled me and I feel the woman, Lisa Clarke and her family could use a boost of promotion. I also want every hook on her website for my crochet addiction. Her pens look like they need to end up in my pen collection too. How much better can it get? Someone who makes gorgeous stuff that feeds into both my writing and crocheting addictions!

In the spirit of spreading the word, please check out Polka Dot Cottage! Thanks!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Yeah This...

"Swiper, No Swiping!": The Demonology of Dora the Explorer

By Dennis P. Quinn 

"... We tend to use the power of words today to demonize rather than exorcise. If we could get children to treat all such “old enemies” with compassion and understanding, they might indeed understand one of the central tenants of the Christian tradition, unfortunately lost by the most “pious” among us: “Love thy enemy.” Then, perhaps, we adults may all learn from our children to do the same to our foes, whether we conceive of them as demonic or not." 

Me: I never looked at Dora the Explorer quite this way. It's an article worth reading, especially if you have kids. I guess I can forgive a little of the over use of shouting in the show for the better message that comes across. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Another Lesson

Or There Can Be Only One

I just want to curl up in a ball and read. I need to finish NaNoWriMo for my sanity's sake, but after that, I will be fighting with my muse for some time to devour books. I have met and discovered so many new authors via Twitter, and now I really just want to read.

It never occurred to me that writing, reading and "branding" oneself would all fight with each other, even though they are meant to all be complimentary to each other. I will continue to fight the good fight to find a balance between the three things I like doing best (writing, reading and crocheting) and conquer the "marketing monster" which by necessity, must link the three together. After all, I still do want to be a published author and make a career out of this adventure and I do want to share my crocheted creations with people.

My most valuable lesson I have learned this month is that no matter how much advice comes pouring in, or how many opinions there are for doing something "the right way" - there is really only one right way - my way. There's only one right way for you too, my faithful readers. Your way. Soak up the advice, but learn how to manipulate it to your own diabolical schemes.

Together, we can take over the world! Muhahahaha....*cough* Now back to your pens, your pencils and laptops! Or your libraries and bookshelves!

Conversations welcome in the comments below. I hope you'll stop by!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Impulse vs. Priorities

or Black Friday Blues

I am frustrated today. No better place to blab about this than on my blog, right? Time to tell the world my emotions instead of keeping them locked inside.

Right now, my Bibliophile persona is showing a very grumpy face to me right now. It (she?) wants books. . Muse is also bugging me. I don't have shoulder angels. I have Muse and Bibliophile. One wants books and the other wants me to write. They are both getting shafted today.

I want to buy every book on my TBR list and devour them while curled up in a corner with no interruptions

I can't buy them all though. I can't afford to buy them all. I am not complaining about the price of books. I think books should make their authors money so that we can all keep enjoying them, and so we can keep writing them. I am complaining about the fact that I apparently have no sense of budget or priorities. Hard to buy books to read and review when I've already blown my budget.

I wish my priorities would present themselves in the proper order so I could still be impulsive, but in a practical way.

I, I, I, - It's apparently all about me. ;)

So today I am sacrificing a bluetooth keyboard for my iPad and laptop (even though I could really use it to get my writing done) because I just had to purchase something else earlier, instead.
And I have to sacrifice books today (and for awhile.) Gosh, I am grumpy today. (*sigh*)

Do you ever act impulsively and buy the things that cheer you up, or that you really want instead of what you should be purchasing like new tires or socks? Do you have expensive taste like me? Please chat in comments. I am feeling chatty.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Twitter IV Drip

or my last post about Twitter

I've been all over the "Interwebs" today (and most of this month) following intriguing links for books that look like tantalizing reads. Sometimes I find one I just can't resist, and I have to download it. Others I put on my "To Read" shelf in goodreads. I am loading up my browser's bookmarks with web sites of authors I want to check out, and I have a growing Twitter "To Read" list of authors as well.

I am new to all this information that pours out from Twitter. It's like a constant IV drip of a powerfully addictive drug.

Truly, I am a book-a-holic. A good cover gets me almost every time, even if it's on a book I would not typically read. I could find a corner in a library or a bookstore and hide there just living on books. So, when I see all these books being tweeted at me, I nearly lose my mind.

In the effort to keep my sanity, I am going to have to cut down on reading my main twitter feed and concentrate on enjoying some of the tantalizing books. I am planning a review blog, so I have somewhere to promote authors and guide readers along on their own personal reading addictions. I am a reading enabler.

I am also a writer. One of my final lessons on this Information Gathering journey is that there is a limit to how much information and how much "people pleasing" I can handle. It would not be a good thing for me to lose myself in the twitterverse and forget who I am. I am learning how to customize Twitter for my purposes and use it as a tool instead of a "fix."

Thanksgiving is going to provide me with a welcome break. I will not have Internet where I am going. I'll be gone for 3 days and hopefully I will actually have time to just read a book. *ahem* *crosses fingers and toes*

How do you deal with the Twitter IV Drip? What's your strategy for discipline and how did you get over the novelty of the first few weeks you were on Twitter? Please leave a constructive comment below if so inclined.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Time Consumption

I have never been very good with time management. I am adding another level to the learning curve as I get my footing with trying to set up an Author-worthy identity out in the strange society of the Internet.

It's a little scary how time consuming this stuff can be. I am neglecting a lot of things, and I need to reprioritize a little bit before I fall down the rabbit hole and lose the magic potion cupcake that lets me get back.

Or something...

My family has been very patient. I am going to ask everyone, including myself, for a little bit more patience.
Coming Soon: 

Sunday Brunch is where I will occasionally toss up a bunch of book reviews on the table for a feast of words.

Sisu Strings  will have a Santa Sisu Jellyfish up soon. Just one, at the moment.

NaNoWriMoWoes is where I blog about the National Novel Writing Month process when I feel like it. I hope to make it a "support group" for people to continue to discuss their woes, hopes, and successes throughout the year.
Who knew that blogs were such interesting arenas for all kinds of creative outlets? I obviously didn't until just recently. I was very resistant of blogs when they first became popular.

I can see now why the writer in me likes blogging...Not only do I get to write about whatever I want, I get to write about what I like doing best.
So, patience. Good things come to those who wait. I hope.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Writer's Wisdom

where I learn a valuable lesson and shed a lot of tears

Today I embarked on a very difficult task. I had to write a farewell letter to a very dear friend of mine. We have shared a lot over the past 9 years. The funny part about this relationship is that, after all this time, I hardly know any personal details about my friend. I don’t know this person’s full name. I don’t know exactly where my friend lives. I don’t even know what my friend looks like.
I met my friend online 9 years and 2 months ago. We started writing together with a few other people, creating fun worlds where we simply played. We called it text-based role playing. For me, it was the door for my writer’s soul to walk through and play in a safe place, with people who shared my passion for stories. The group evolved. It ebbed and flowed. People came and left. Two of my friends stayed. One of them, the one I just had to let go, wrote stories with me almost every day since that first day we met in September of 2003.

I’d like to think that even though we knew very little personal information about each other, we shared a special relationship. I felt I had found my muse’s soulmate.

Recently, I discovered my passion for writing was taking me in a different direction. I thought I could do this with 9 years of stories I had created with my writing partner. I thought we could share the next step together; share the agony of defeat and the glory of success. I hit a wall. My friend did not want to publish *anything* with me.

I was devastated. I felt devalued. I felt like all those years of writing were going to go to waste. I would have to start all over again. I panicked. I freaked out. I scared the hell out of my friend.

I don’t know if I will ever see my friend again. We made an agreement in the beginning that we would never meet in person. My friend is a very private. As my muse’s soulmate, I will always hold him in my heart.

Feeling abandoned, I hunted for other people, other writers. I searched for ways to get around the fact that I had a pile of stuff sitting in my archive files that would never be ink on a paper page or see the light of an e-reader’s screen. I still wanted to use this stuff. My partner said I could go ahead but take out his characters.

A few days ago, I stumbled upon a live chat with Deanna Raybourn, another of my favorite authors. One thing she said...and I will misquote, but this is the gist of it...She said she would never go back to her old stuff because it wasn’t her. She had to let go of it. She had more words of wisdom, but that is what stuck with me and struck me as the lesson I needed to learn.

For NaNoWriMo, I have been trying to rewrite a story I thought would be particularly interesting, and I will admit, marketable. It's from my archives I had written with my friend. It isn't working. I am no longer that person who wrote the kind of characters in that story. Those characters were written in tandem with another person's characters and to gut the story just wasn't right. They will need to live forever together in my archives. Buried.

I have to let go, fix my broken heart and launch myself, free-falling if I have to, into this brave new world of Authorship. I still have hopes I will be able to share successes and failures with my friend. In the meantime, I hope I continue to meet new friends, who just may catch me when I fall.

I feel like I was led to all of these discoveries in the past two weeks. Whether I was guided by my muse, my sisu (see blurb in side menu), or by God, I don’t know. I would like to believe it has been all of these things with the help of other writers who are sharing their wisdom as I continue on this journey.

A quote from another author I found has helped to bolster me on this emotional day. This is from Allison Brennan and her interview at Mysterious Writers.

“Write boldly and with passion, because that’s what it takes to stand out in this tight market. But mostly, write with the love of writing, because even when you curse the computer and your lack of imagination and your fear of failure and your fear of success, even when you think you’re writing total garbage, deep down you love it because it’s you.”

Thank you Allison and Deanna for your words of wisdom.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Deer in Headlights

where I rant and rave just a little…
I have reached the phase in my Twitter initiation I am calling the "deer in headlights" phase. Twitter has become a big deal to me. I swore that I would never *ever* join. The weird little symbol laden blurbs made no sense out of context.

On a shy whim, when I was feeling particularly discouraged with many other things in my life, I followed my favorite author to the twitterverse. Nothing like diving into the deep and taking my WIP novel with me. Both me, and my novel got quite wet.

I plunged in head first with no life preserver, and no instructors. I only had faith that if my favorite author was on there, it must be all right.

*comes to the surface gasping for air*

Holy Information, Batman! The ocean is teeming with authors and writers I never knew existed. Not only that, but the number of people "in the biz" keep pulling me under, and my "Following" list keeps growing with astounding leaps and bounds. I won't even get into NaNoWriMo right now, for fear I will get pulled under once again. None of this is bad, mind. It's just an overwhelming amount of *stuff* to soak up in only a couple of weeks.

Today I washed up on shore. I am beaten and tangled with the flotsam and jetsam that swirls around in the tide of Twitter.

(It makes your brain mushy.)
I keep telling myself I should walk away from the keyboard. Go do some laundry, wash some dishes…EAT…but no, I sit attempting to mine for more nuggets of information. NaNoWriMo, Independent publishing, ebooks, new books, blog posts, giveaways, goodreads...the list goes on and on. I feel rather gluttonous, and tired! I have been enjoying late night writing binges a bit too much with NaNoWordSprints as well.

If I were a fly on my office wall, I imagine I would see me sitting at my keyboard looking glassy-eyed, but with my eyes moving way too fast as they skim every line…A bit like a SciFi movie where the antagonist has the protagonist wired up to a machine and is flashing pictures of events on a screen at dizzying speeds.

If you think my metaphors are mixed, and my messages messed up, that's kind of what Twitter is like when you first dive in…mixed up and a potentially big mess.

All of this rant aside, I am again extremely grateful that I took that plunge and followed Susanna Kearsley to Twitter. It's the truth. I really did follow her there. She didn't know, but I am sure I made it completely clear how much of a fan I am of her work, once I got there. Susanna, you are my rock in the Twitter Sea. (Sorry, I am also feeling really punchy right about now.)

Presently, I am on the beach (ooo, back to the beach metaphor) and I need to make my sandcastles and write my stories in the surf. I will be lurking around Twitter still, but I will be much quieter. If I don't follow the next person that follows me, I hope they won't be offended. I *really* need to stay focused.

Did Twitter pull you under when you first joined? How did you rein in your curiosity and regain focus? Are there tricks and trades of Twitter I should know about? (I won't use an autotweeter. I like to form my tweets one at a time.) Please leave a comment, because I love to hear from readers.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Discovering New Authors - My Favorite Quest

Or Confessions of a Book Addict

With the help of Better World Books, Half Price Books, the local library and occasionally Barnes & Noble, my bookshelves are overflowing with books I need to read. If I am ever lost on a desert island, I better have my books. If I like an author, I will feverishly hunt down every book they have ever written.

Being new to the Twitterverse has introduced me into another overwhelming list of authors who I hope will populate my bookshelf, becoming new favorites along side my trusty old ones. Oh yes, and goodreads is another new source. My head might explode.

I still have mixed feelings about the ebook market. However, as I mentioned, I will be purchasing my first e-book soon. I am coming to see digital format as another bookshelf that will be filled with favorites. As an upcoming Author (oh yes, I *will* be an Author), I am seeing ebooks as "the way of the future" and I can not discount their importance. However, if all bookstores and libraries become digital cafes, I will dearly miss the smell of new and used books. My elder daughter and I inhale deeply before we set off to plunder the shelves.

This got me to thinking about authors whose books I would miss on my physical vs digital bookshelf, and recently (in the last year or so) discovered authors who have a presence on my shelf. My Better World Book Binges are by far my most reliable supplier of my habit, at the moment.

Here are some of the authors I have discovered that made an impression on me and my bookshelf.

Erle Stanley Gardner  - introduced me into the world of Perry Mason, and I fell instantly in love.

Rachel Lee - introduced me into the world of  Conard County, assuring me that reading series romance is not a bad thing.

Shana Galen - currently entertaining me with her regency adventure romance. I love the title, When Dashing Met Danger (Update: finally got some time to read a few more pages and I am totally in love with the hero, already.)

Elizabeth Bailey - made me a fan of the Lady Fan series. (Ugh, that wasn't even punny, but it is true.)

Sarah Addison Allen - introduced me to the delightful world of the paranormal surreal. Her books are like nothing I have ever read.

Patrick Carman - followed me on Twitter and I nearly fainted when I had a book of his on my shelf that I need to read. (The Dark Hills Divide)

Are you a book collector like me? Would you miss having shelves full of well loved paperbacks, or glossy hardovers? Would you miss the smell of a bookstore if they all become "ebook cafes"? Or is digital just the way to go?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Comments are Fixed

Sisu Things is having technical difficulties. I'm still a bit wibbly wobbly with the comment formatting here on the blogger.

So far, I am only able to fix comments for this and future posts. All past posts appear to have the comment box achievement locked forever.

However, please leave comments on any previous posts at the end here, if you like.

I am still curious about fashionable vices of characters in genre fiction. Or are vices considered too much of a crutch these days?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tweet Up Tuesday!

Where I Attempt to Toss Interesting Books at You
(because I am a huge bibliophile and most of my tweet ups will be books)

These are books from my favorite authors and wonderful, friendly authors I have met on Twitter. These are on my To Read List at goodreads, or my personal To Read List. I will try to do follow up posts with reviews as I get time to read.

Shouting out in no particular order:

Silent Night - Deanna Raybourn - digital release (This will be my first ever e-book purchase.)
Shymers - Jen Naumann (My daughter is chomping at the bit to read this.)
Treasure Me - Christine Nolfi (A very intriguing looking set of books.)

One Last Love - Derek Haines (This one sounds deeply touching.)
Wildcat - Cheryl Brooks (Hot stuff!)

The Firebird - Susanna Kearsley (I am chomping at the bit to read this one. 2013 release.)
Please Share and Retweet! Thanks and Enjoy!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Fashionable Vices, Got Any?

It has occurred to me that many books seem to be lacking in vice, lately. Characters have depth, attitude, sass, brawn, mental problems, etc. Rarely do I see the classic habits that once populated books of an earlier era when things like smoking cigarettes, drinking martinis (or other drinks), and gambling seemed to be elements of the status quo.

I started wondering what the fashionable vices are for the 21st century. I wonder if there are *any*, or if I am just not reading gritty enough books. Are vices relegated only to the really gritty books?

Smoking cigarettes, pipes, etc, is definitely not popular any more, and if there happens to be a character who smokes, he or she is usually the bad guy. Maybe introducing those smokeless cigarettes or nicotine patches could work for a vice now?

Drinking seems to be hit or miss today. The fantasy genre is safe with tankards of ale, and wine tends to be particularly popular in other genres. There still isn't a character drinking on every other page, at least not in the contemporary books that I read. Coffee is acceptable in excess.

If I turn to my beloved authors of an earlier era such as Erle Stanley Gardner, I can find plenty of fashionable vices, of course. Smoking is definitely up there on at least every other page. Gambling drives many plots and drinking tends to be a tossed in with flasks in the glove compartments of cars, or drawers of desks, and it's usually always brandy or whiskey.

That's for Erle Stanley Gardner's books, but many of my authors of earlier eras such as Mary Stewart and Phyllis A. Whitney include characters who smoke, especially.

This all came up for me because I wanted to introduce a character who was not a bad guy, but who had a fashionable vice of today. I wanted him to smoke, but I am pretty sure that is now taboo for a hero level character.

So, I am asking, and I am really asking… What are some fashionable vices that you stumble across while you are reading contemporary fiction of any genre?

Unfortunately, I still haven't figured out how to fix comments. Please tweet me @risurocket, or even email me at with your comments!  I'll do a follow up post with your comments to enlighten us all. Thanks!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Update to Writing as an Endurance Sport

I just realized that like many athletes, I have my favorite "sports gear" or in my case, writing gear. I have my favorite pair of socks, a favorite sweatshirt, t-shirt and lounge pants. I have been questing for the perfect writing pajamas, but maybe I should be looking for the best active wear instead.

Oh yeah and I have a favorite energy drink too. Coffee, of course. Fitness food would have to be chocolate. Truly I have a warped idea of what a mix of writing and fitness should be. Though I am serious about wanting a Wii Fit for Christmas.

Writing as an Endurance Sport

I've joined NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and it's been a whole new experience of writing. I have never been a writer to worry about word count before. The count never crossed my mind. In the back of my head, I knew that publishers had word count limits and I would have to learn to count eventually.

I decided to explore NaNo Word Sprints on Twitter. They are wonderful, entertaining and downright basic training for novelists. OW! I am definitely getting a workout.

Since I got serious about getting books published, I have plunked myself down in my chair with @NaNoWordSprints to cheer and drill me on. And I have discovered that I am physically way out of shape!

Anyone who says writing is not a physical occupation is not serious about writing. OW! Sitting in my chair for 4 hours minimum, focused, plunking on the keyboard, twisting my head to look at notes, plunking some more, staring at the screen, dashing back through words to correct a glaring typo, and occasionally dozing with my head on the keyboard…all of these things are telling me my body is not prepared for the endurance sport of writing sprints or marathons (I am a marathon writer).

I wake up stiff, carpo tunnel is threatening, my arms and legs feel like I literally have just run a marathon, and I am going to need a chiropractor…or a new chair…

Time to get ready for that Writing Physical Fitness Plan!

I am now doing the stretches a bike rider and/or runner would do. Arm spins, leg stretches, that kind of thing, before I sit down at my computer. I also do  a keyboard warm up by trying to do a blog post. I know I am going to need more. I am not one to go to a gym, so a Wii Fit is definitely on my Christmas list. Writing Workout Regime, here I come!

(There's a bug in my comment boxes, making it impossible to know if comments are working or not. If you see a comment box, I would love to hear from you! If you don't see a comment box, please tweet me your comments! @risurocket Thanks! Incidentally, the word of the day is Plunked. ;) )

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Writing Rituals

I thought I would do a blog post to warm up my keyboard this morning. I have read several accounts over the years about writers and their rituals; the little things they do, collect, or arrange in order to prepare for writing something great.

I have tried several rituals over the years. I have to say that I don't really have any exciting, or bizarre rituals. I collect pens and pencils, which seems logical, and notebooks. I go out and buy new pens (or pencils, as I am finding them more satisfying) and notebooks every time I want to start something new. I have tried to use notebooks and/or pens from my stockpile in the past, but they never seem to do the trick. It always has to be a brand new notebook, and pen or pencil.

I have always craved a more bizarre ritual, something odd I could call my own while I write. Something that would put me up there with the truly eccentric authors. I haven't really found one yet. I haven't even found a "fashionable vice" (future blog post about fashionable vices in writing is in the works) to use while I am writing. I don't smoke, drink alcohol to excess, or any other thing that is truly a dangerous vice. I mean, I eat chocolate, but who can resist? In fact, I have tried to incorporate chocolate into my writing ritual, but it doesn't stick around for long. I am usually too distracted to eat when I am writing.

Coffee. That has been my only constant food-ish goodie that I keep at my keyboard side. I am probably tempting fate by keeping a beverage near my laptop (which is pretty much a desktop computer because it never leaves my desk), but I need to have my coffee.

Location. Ideally, I would have an office that had a door I could close, and all my cozy knick knacks and shelves overflowing with books. I like mojos. Photos, pictures, knickknacks. I think my muse is a latent packrat. At the moment I have my office corner in my bedroom and it is working out well even though it doesn't have a door, it is still *my* space for the most part.

So, pens, pencils, coffee, mojos and location seem to be my elements for writing...OH! And music. How could I forget music!? Usually my characters have their own soundtracks. And of course, my overall story has one as well, but it is usually driven by my characters' music, and they all have their own favorites. I find myself listening to music I never thought I would like just to appease my characters.

I think my rituals will be continuously evolving as I settle into my true dream career of writing. I wonder what will try to invite itself into my "office" next.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Thankful for Tweets

I broke down recently and started my Twitter account. One of my friends was nagging me to start using the Internet for my "platform". She said I needed to get myself out there. I left facebook because of the myraid of garbage that floats around on the surface there, and I had sworn I would never join Twitter. Going back on that vow has been the best thing I have done recently.

Twitter has become a fascinating network that a shy person like me never thought I would have. I don't *do* networking. I don't go out with the intent of finding other people that might advance my career. Well, I didn't. Twitter has solved that by giving me a launchpad. My fears of going out to meet actual people in the industry are dwindling.

I am not here to endorse Twitter, but I am grateful for what I have gotten from this networking tool in such a short time. I have been given doors to open for opportunities, and that is a very cherished thing.

Since I am giving acknowledgements, I must thank one of my favorite authors, Susanna Kearsley for not updating her webpage, and indirectly leading me down the Twitter path. Not only did she show me the world of tweets and follows, but by having a list of her favorite books on her website, she helped me get out of a deep writing rut. I am now the proud owner of most of Erle Stanley Gardner's Perry Mason books, and I can't wait to add Ms. Kearsley's new book to my shelf. Reading feeds my muse, and I hope my writing will be better for it.

So, on this gloomy November day, in the month of thankfulness, I am thankful for Twitter, and my favorite author(s), and for this blossoming network I am gaining. Exploring new worlds in all forms is one of the best things a writer can do, and I am certainly glad I decided to explore the world of tweets, hashtags (which just sounds rough), and follows. It might just get me published. ;)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Day of Song

This just struck me as something that needed to be posted today. It's a kind of gloomy day weather-wise, and countless people might be worried about the vote results later tonight, and I, personally just feel a little like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh.  So, here's something that helped add a little brightness. Sing! A Day of Song with Bobby McFerrin Enjoy!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Ray Bradbury on Writer's Block

He's not even one of my favorite author's but he sure touched me with what he says.. So, I had to quote it here.

“Now, what I’m thinking of is, people always saying “Well, what do we do about a sudden blockage in your writing? What if you have a blockage and you don’t know what to do about it?” Well, it’s obvious you’re doing the wrong thing, don’t you? In the middle of writing something you go blank and your mind says: “No, that’s it.” Ok. You’re being warned, aren’t you? Your subconscious is saying “I don’t like you anymore. You’re writing about things I don’t give a damn for.” You’re being political, or you’re being socially aware. You’re writing things that will benefit the world. To hell with that! I don’t write things to benefit the world. If it happens that they do, swell. I didn’t set out to do that. I set out to have a hell of a lot of fun.
I’ve never worked a day in my life. I’ve never worked a day in my life. The joy of writing has propelled me from day to day and year to year. I want you to envy me, my joy. Get out of here tonight and say: ‘Am I being joyful?’ And if you’ve got a writer’s block, you can cure it this evening by stopping whatever you’re writing and doing something else. You picked the wrong subject.” — Ray Bradbury at The Sixth Annual Writer’s Symposium by the Sea, 2001

From: 13 Famous Writers on Overcoming Writer's Block  
The whole article is good. Every writer on the list has something helpful, motivational or just plain "kick you in the butt" to say.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Office Chaos

I don't have a room in my house I can officially call my Office. I dream of the day when I have my 4 to 5 bedroom house (or a house with a den or something), that has a room I can choose for my very own writing room. I like the sound of writing room much better than "office"... but it's harder to say when you want to tell someone where you are going.

Anyway, I still don't have an office. Tonight, however, my husband and I carved out a new space in our bedroom that is now my space...eventually I will have some kind of privacy screen, since I can't have a door, and I won't keep him up with my desk lamp burning the midnight oil.

I mentioned chaos, because I was amazed at the amount of stuff that exploded from hidden nooks and crannies. I didn't think my original workspace could hold that much stuff.

Well, I am still dreaming of my "real" work space, but I am rather pleased with this one and will be nagging dear hubby to fix the privacy screen as soon as possible. Someday I will have a real door too and enough space for at least 6 more bookshelves. (I have 2 overflowing ones right now).

Now to get my characters to behave and figure out a book pitch. *gulp*

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Prices for Sisu Jellies

I am borrowing some space to make a list of prices for Sisu Strings.

Jellies are inspired by color and character. Prices are subject to change. Updates will be posted here as necessary. All creations are made on order basis at this time. Availability of new items not on special order will be posted on the blog.

Sisu Jellies:
Holiday, Super Hero, Sports, and Food are $15.00.

Custom Jellies in your favorite colors are $18.00.

Non-jelly related items:
Accessories such as hats, scarves, bags, etc. are dependent on item.

Dolls also vary in price.

Thank you!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Musings on Blogging and Other Miscellaneous Things

So, I had to add this little blurb now that my "shop blog" is up and running. With that done, supposedly I am going to have time to write. That compulsion of mine wants free reign. My muse is getting restless and so are my characters.

I love crocheting because it lets my brain wander while my fingers are occupied, and I am actually getting good enough with the craft that I can let my brain go off into other realms. It's the perfect complimentary hobby to writing. And if crochet can help me pay for a few more pencils, all the better.

I am already astounded by the number of views my shop got in the past few hours after going live. If I am lucky, a fraction of those are actual people and not search engines. If I am really lucky, I will get some orders.

Ah well. We will see what happens. It's out there, and I am the one in control. My muse, however, has other things to say about who's in control, so I better get going on my writing too. I have lots of work to do... *deer in headlights look* Oh boy...Lord,  please help me not get overwhelmed.

My Little Shop of Jellyfish

I am so excited...and nervous! Sisu Strings is live! Anyone need a little wonder? All the fun and details are over there. Hope to see you soon!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Evolution of my Blog

The blog you are looking at now sprouted a new blog that took over this blog's original name. This blog has become Sisu Things, and will be where I get on my soap box, or wax rhapsodic, or maybe borrow a few cyber shoulders to cry on. It will generally focus on my writing and struggles with that, but will have touches of insight and philosophy thrown in.

My new blog, which will eventually have its very own little tab at the top there, is my "Shop". I plan to showcase my crocheted creations and launch a campaign to get a few more pennies into my piggy bank. My new blog is now called Sisu Strings to tie (ahem) it all into my fiber craft hobby. Here's a sneak preview. Sisu Strings Sneak Peek

Note that the new blog is not up and running fully at this time. Thank you and I hope you will help me spread the word when I give the shout...or in this case, it will most likely be the tweet.

Friday, October 26, 2012

An "Acceptable" Four Letter Word

There's a sneaky word out there that does a whole lot more damage than most any curse word I have ever heard. It's a four letter word that gets thrown around and used for almost everything.

The word is - Hate -

To be trite, I hate the word hate.

To be more precise, I feel it is a very damaging word that portrays images of terrible violence even if it is used in connection with an object as in, "I hate this refrigerator." So much anger, and pent up emotion that it makes me cringe. I can see the person who is at such odds with the refrigerator just kicking the machine, probably damaging his or her toe, and denting the fridge.

Granted, saying that one hates an object is far more minor than saying you hate a person. Using the word hate in connection with a person is terrifying. All that anger and violence directed at another living thing...

What is even more terrifying is when the word comes from the mouth of babes. I strive to never use the word hate in my household, but somehow my 3 year old discovered the word and is quite fluent at using it in its correct context...which is to say, in a violent rage. It's horrifying. And to think, this child of mine has most likely gleaned this word from one of her favorite educational television shows...Caillou...A children's show on the PBS channel that proclaims to have high values and educational merit. Yet, somehow the editors allow the four letter word to enter into the show.

I have never heard Caillou say the word in the context of a person, but it still is no less damaging. The word has been introduced in the context of anger and frustration, and a child will easily translate that to all and any angry or discontented moments. It's now our job as parents to educate our children that Hate is a very ugly word, because even "safe" shows are not always aware of what they are filtering to our children.

The consequences of hate are not just a damaged refrigerator or a stubbed toe. Hate is the absence of love and respect. And the phrase "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me" is a false proclamation of confidence from an already damaged person who has been served the derivatives of hate by people who are name calling, slurring, and otherwise trying to damage someone. Other people's behaviors can be inappropriate and disliked, but every human needs to learn to communicate with understanding. It's a lifelong challenge for most people, and people need to work on building self esteem not just within themselves but within other esteem...people are cool!

I believe that people are entitled to their opinions, likes and dislikes. However, with entitlement comes responsibility. It's the responsibility of every person to respect and love your neighbor as yourself.

An exercise to try would be taking the word hate out of the vocabulary and replacing it with the word love. If that is too much, at least tone down the violence and use the word dislike, even if it is for the refrigerator. "I really dislike this refrigerator." I suspect that both the toe and the refrigerator will remain undamaged and the high level of emotion will have dissipated.

Friday, July 6, 2012

It's Hot!

No denying it, the weather right now deserves a blog post. I don't remember ever having temperatures in the triple digits for longer than a week before. Not here, in Wisconsin. I fear for what my utility bill will look like. However, there are more people out there suffering worse than I am, and those are the farmers. Get ready for higher food prices and try not to take for granted that our food is grown for us. We don't just go to the store and magically buy it. Buy local! Support our farmers! And here is something for everyone who may not have seen it and if you have, then it's worth seeing again...The brilliant "I'm Farming and I Grow it Video." 
Enjoy and Pray for Rain!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Holy Moly!

I was the most surprised today when I checked out my blog reading list and discovered that one of my projects is featured! Woo Hoo! Thank you, Dragonflymom at Crochet in Common! Now I just have to figure out how to blog well enough to post my projects here. :D