Scribbles and thoughts ...

These are ramblings from J L Wilson, published author of romantic suspense, mystery, and paranormal -time travel fiction....

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hello from the Canadian border

On vacation this week! Whooee! Yesterday was windy, rainy, and raw, but a bad day on the lake is better than a good day at work any time. Today promises to be partly cloudy and cool but hey -- I'm 50 miles from the Canadian border and it's almost October. OF COURSE it's cool.

There's a good thing/bad thing this year at the resort where we stay. And it's why you're reading this blog. They have WiFi now in all the cabins.

Good thing: I can stay caught up on email, especially since I get no satellite service here and thus can't read email on my Blackberry. Bad thing: I get to read email. When we came on vacation in years past it truly was a 'get away from it all' event because there's no phone in the cabin, no TV (one channel from Canada), and no Internet.

Now we have WiFi, we have satellite TV, and I can use the phone with my phone card.

Sigh. Progress, I guess. And yes, I could just not use the WiFi. But I much prefer to stay caught up on email. I get 200-300 emails a day and if I can just keep it under control I don't come home to a queue of 900 messages (yes, that's happened to me).

So I'll get caught up on my mail, eat a cookie, drink my coffee, and look at the loons out on the lake. Yes. Life is good.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

My Saturday event

I attended a Michael Hauge screenwriter's workshop (8-5, almost non-stop, which is why I didn't post yesterday). His talk also applied to novel writing. He said one thing that struck me as very useful. There are 4 types of characters to have in a novel or movie:

1. hero
2. nemesis
3. reflection
4. romantic interest

I didn't glean a ton of nifty stuff from 1, 2, or 4 (a few salient points), but my Ah Ha moment came with the Reflection. This is the sidekick, the buddy. This is the person who points out to the hero how he/she can achieve their happiness. He's the one who shows the hero a glimmer of what the future MIGHT be.

I've always had 'sidekicks' but I never thought of them in this sense before. Because of that "ah Ha" moment, I've redefined a minor character in my current WIP and I think the book is stronger because of it.

I was so energized when I came out of that workshop -- the best way to feel for a day-long event, right? I took pages of notes and now look forward to putting them all to use.

Off to write!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Mystery solved

I figured out why my blog post never showed up. Grr. It should have worked but it didn't.

Famous little words: "It should have ..." It should have rained, it should have been okay, it should have hurt his feeling (or not hurt his feelings), etc. Words like "it should have" are more about our perception of what we would like rather than an understanding of reality.

Perhaps this is one reason why most religions annoy the crap out of me. There's an implied 'you should' in almost every tenet of faith and I really dislike someone else telling me what I should do, especially when those people claim to be channeling a deity or speaking for a deity.

The leaders are (let's face it) just human and why should I believe them? I mean, look what happens when people blindly follow leadership like that: 'drink the Kool-Aid and all will be well' or 'kill those people because they're different than us'. All religions are cults of some kind. Many are less objectionable than others, but most demand a change of personality and surrender by their followers. Is this a good thing?

The rare times I hear a religious discussion I take a step back and look at the "you should" objectively. Is it a reasonable request or idea or concern? Is it realistic? Or is it just a control mechanism clothed in the voice of the deity (you have only to look at some of the larger church organizations and some their policies to see what I mean).

I've been pondering this lately because I'm getting ready to embark on rewrites to my 'end of the world' books in which I pit the few remaining religious people ('few' because they were wiped out by a plague) against those who have no time for organized religion (literally 'no time' -- time is running out for the human race). So I've been reading a lot about religions and how the leaders manage their followers (most religions are run like a business, which I find fascinating). I suspect ponderings like this will continue until I actually start to put words on paper. Then, hopefully, it'll be full steam ahead because my characters will take over the writing.

Until then I'll let the ideas simmer in the back of my brain while I work on other writing. But I'm hoping, someday soon, to dig deeply into those books. I've found I really like the world I created there...

Sunday, September 20, 2009


I sent a blog post yesterday from my phone but apparently it never got here. Odd.

I was out of town with my buddies at a gambling weekend, brainstorming books. I'll give more of an update on Tuesday, but suffice it to say, I lost $60 (surprising -- I normally at least break even) and I had a blast.

More later. For now, I'm going to investigate why my post never got here. Hmm.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

There are just some days ...

I had one of those "things just don't go right" days at work today. It just grated on my nerves to be there. First of all, we've been battling a leaky ceiling (not sure what's in there to leak, but something is), so I heard drip--drip--drip for about six hours.

Then I was worried about my kitty, Pandora. She went in for the Big Surgery and while I was sure she'd be fine, I worried. And worried. And am still worried because she's not home -- she's with the vet overnight because *he's* worried about her.

Then I was trying to use a piece of software which was designed by idiots and ... Okay, I won't go into more details but suffice it to say I asked for help from my group. I was pointed to the Help System on the software, which I had already read. That's why I asked for help: I couldn't find what I was looking for. Grr. What I've been doing lately is writing my own documentation about how to do things because the info we have to use is so cumbersome. This will become a new chapter. Grr.

Then I went shopping at noon to look for a rug (long story) and didn't fnd what I wanted. Plus it's hot today. It's mid-September. It's not supposed to be hot. I don't like hot.

I went back & forth to the vet 4 times in 2 hours, and I'm SO relieved Pandora is home with the vet tonight -- he'll keep a good eye on her. But I am still worried....

Let's hope tomorrow is better. If not, you may see an eruption just south of the Twin Cities...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The 3D experience

Went to a press screening of "Cloudy, With a Chance of Meatballs" today. Imax & 3D. Whoa. BIG meatballs, falling from the sky.

It was a fun little film about an inventor whose inventions never quite worked right (hence the meatballs falling from the sky and the spaghetti that overwhelms the town). There was a scene with the inventor's taciturn father, who couldn't artiuclate that he was proud of his son. The inventor-son puts a monkey translator on the father (trust me, it works) and the father's thoughts were all laid clear -- how proud he was, how he loved his son, etc.

It was a VERY touching moment in the movie & one that made me realize that we often don't express ourselves to our loved ones very articulately. I plan to use that in an upcoming book (the CCR, or Cross-Country Romp book I'm crafting right now). It's an excellent way to show a character's personality.

It only goes to show ... there are plot points everywhere! You've just gotta look!

Saturday, September 05, 2009

well, Hooray!

Life is getting back to normal!

After a week of phone calls & hassle, Mom has email again. Thank you, WebTV! I can't tell you how relieved I am to know it's (1) arrived and (2) has been installed and (3) is working!

Let's see, what else has been on my plate lately? I've had a lot of deadlines the Paycheck Job, but most are under control now. I've gotten the handouts, etc., ready for the class I'm co-teaching this fall. I finished the third book in the Deadly Landscaping series. I got a request from an agent for the Oz book, so I'm prepping that. And I'm getting ready to start the Ghost Story, which features some Oz characters.

And it's a holiday weekend! I love long weekends -- I am already getting SO much done. I'm going some promo for 2 books that released (see the sidebar) in between writing and editing. I'll be promoing those books for the next month, so I won't blast you with the information now, you'll see it at some point ::smile::

For now, though, just a bit of time out on the porch, enjoying the balmy weather. Then back to the Oz book for a bit more editing.

Did I mention I love long weekends?

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

once again ...

no time to blog.

Still troubleshooting Mom's computer. Finishing a WIP. Kitty to the vet today for his surgery so I'm trying to watch him. Chat tonight. Work.

Maybe Saturday?