Friday, December 21, 2012

Choose Your Own Apocalypse

The Warrior Muse is hosting the Choose Your Own Apocalypse Blogfest today. I admit I forgot--signed up days ago, but neglected to actually write a post--until now. I give you my version of Apocalypse :)

There was a time when our Friday evening gatherings on the porch extended deep into the night, even to the hour when skies began to lighten above us, when, as the last friend or two left, we'd turn off the light over the front door because the bright blue of Curaçao dawn made it irrelevant.

I'm in print!

A nice milestone to close my first whole year of being a writer: I get to see my words on an actual, physical, print publication
A novel-length book published by Pure Slush, GORGE, a novel in stories, contains a piece of mine (Dessert), and is available as of today for purchase via Lulu.

I ordered three. Cannot wait for delivery :D

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

50 Best Literary Insults (Thank you, ShortList)

You have favorite lines from Shakespeare, don't you? Roald Dahl, Margaret Atwood, James Joyce? Lines so poignant, so rife with truth that they dropped like smooth riverstones into the still pond of your mind, that you felt the ripples to the tips of your fingers?

Of course you do.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

My Next Big Thing

I was invited to participate in the NEXT BIG THING blog hop by the awesome Vanessa Wu of Intense Sensations (read her awesome Big Thing post here; awesome short story collection of lesbian erotica)--thank you, Vanessa! 

Ten questions about the current / new WIP: check. 

1) What is the working title of your current/next book?

Okay... I'll go with Novel #1, A MANTRA FOR CATS AND OTHER RUNAWAYS. I've been working on revisions for over a year, so that definitely makes it "current" :D

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Do-Over 'Fest: Progress

Originally posted on April 18 this year, for the A to Z Challenge: Progress. Brought to you via the Deja Vu Blogfest, courtesy of DL Hammons at Cruising Altitude 2.0. Thanks, DL!

Tarahumaran women in the
Chihuahua mountains.
Up in the Mexican Sierra that scars the country from North to South (same tectonic origin as the Rockies), there are a few communities left that live the way they have for hundreds of years, maybe thousands. No electricity, no plastics, no pop culture.

Once in a while, medical missions make their way up the craggy paths and provide basic care--vaccines for children, prenatal controls, setting bones, treating infections. But most of these communities have, at best, minimal involvement with the modern world.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Those poor bots, man

Last week, for the first time ever, a spam comment made its way past the Blogger filters. First time in eighteen months. Like everyone, I get email notifications when someone comments, so I deleted it immediately... But it started me thinking.

These bots that troll the blogosphere, leaving comments with links to such trust-inspiring sites as cheap cigarettes online UK, or speed up computer--I know they're bots, I know there's no actual person typing these comments over and over. Or maybe there is; I'm sadly (perhaps happily) un-versed in how spam works. Still, even if they're bots, I feel kind of sorry for them. Trolling, trolling, trolling... All that effort going to waste, because Blogger's spam filter catches them more often than not.

Makes me want to cry.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Post-NaNo Blues

On Friday I skidded past the NaNo winning line at 50,022 words and felt all good and self-satisfied with myself. I decided to take the weekend off from writing--from the computer as a whole, period. I deserved it, right? I worked hard all month, neglected all sorts of stuff to get this NaNo thing (and the editing thing) done.

And now, five days later, I can't seem to garner enough enthusiasm to get up from the couch, let alone write.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


NaNo Update Nov. 28 2012

Pffff... I'm aiming for a historic redefinition of the 'comeback' concept.

See that slump there, from Day 17 to Day 25. I flatlined. 3,179 words written so far today, but I need at least 5K in order to be sorta back on track. 5K today, 5K tomorrow, 5K Friday, and I'll make it, just barely, to the 50K goal. Forget that 75K target--simply undoable at this point, unless I commit to not sleeping and just writing round the clock.

Hmmm. That's an idea.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Say Thank You

Have you ever given a stranger's child a gift? Maybe a colleague invited you to their son's birthday party, or Bar Mitzvah, or Christmas at their place, or, you know, whatever. Say this child is young (so maybe Bar Mitzvah doesn't apply), younger than eight. You hand the child a gift-wrapped box or one of those feisty gift bags with tissue paper arranged just so, and the child's eyes go a little wider, their face a little seriouser. They take your offering somewhat solemnly.

And their mother says, "Say thank you, Robbie"--or Jenny, or Mindy, or whatever.

[At least that's the way it was when I was growing up. Nowadays parents seem oblivious to their kids' manners.]

Here's the lesson. It's not that the child isn't appreciative of your gift. He--or she--is dying to open it, to see what it is. Their heart is racing, adrenaline is flowing, endorphins are kicking in. They can't wait.

Mom, on the other hand, is all about social mores. "Say thank you."

So the kid does, kind of halfheartedly, or maybe a bit shyly if they're older. They'll feel a little embarrassed for the greed they feel, for the desire to get it over with and tear the damn thing open. And you'll nod, say they're very welcome and you hope they enjoy the toy--or book, or sweater, or whatever. You'll turn back to the mom, release the kid to the freedom of shredding paper and ribbons and plastic wrap and cardboard.

Aren't we all like that? Yeah, even the grown-ups? We resent the "say thank you", the obligation to pause in our enjoyment of gifts. Gifts like life. Like health, or family, or an exotic bird chirping on our windowsill, a tiny flower blooming among the weeds.

I don't think the child is wrong. That carpe diem of tearing gifts open, of getting excited over wrapping, over ribbons, is a wonderful thing. But I think Mom's lesson is pretty powerful. "Say thank you." Not because it's socially required, not because the gift-giver deserves the thanks, although they certainly do. I think it's important to say thank you because that pause of contemplation gives the gift depth.

In the hedonism of "a gift! a gift! a gift!", we forget to appreciate the moment. Moments pass so quickly. Saying thank you is a nod, however brief, to acknowledge it. Before it's gone.

Happy Thanksgiving, USA.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

NaNo Update -- 2012/11/18

So I didn't make those 5K I promised the other day... Or any day since. *Sigh* But I did manage to catch up, at least to the par per day (today's par is 30,000, and I made 31,387).

And I have my donor's halo--yay! I'd been trying to donate since mid-Oct, but the system doesn't have "Curacao" or even "Netherlands Antilles" in the country drop-down menu. Credit card info and billing address have to match, so... But ok, finally I got the payment through. Let's hope it also works for the merchandise I'm planning to buy at the end of the month--including the Winner's T-Shirt :D

Thanks, all, for your support. Means a lot to me that you take the time to stop in and leave a word or two of encouragement :) Keeps me going.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

NaNo Update 2012/11/14

I have been remiss in my NaNo updates, haven't I? Yeah... Well, I've been remiss in my NaNo, period. I'm far behind my goal of 35K (2.5K per day x 14 days)--almost by half.


Why? I haven't finished revising Novel #1. Revising a novel and NaNo'ing require different sets of skills--for NaNo one wants more words, it's all about twisting open that faucet of creativity all the way, but revising requires cutting words, evaluating each one and making sure it carries its weight. You can probably imagine what a mess my head is from trying to do both.

Even on separate days. See those brown lines below that stay the same day after day? Those are the days I've spent editing MANTRA.

BUT I will catch up. Today I will write 5K words, no excuses. No dog rescuing, no laundry (well, maybe a load. Or two). No leaving this chair until I have a minimum of 5K in that section at the top that says Words Written Today.

No excuses.

And I'll post the updated screenshot sometime before midnight to prove it.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

SF vs. NY Bestsellers

A great compilation and comparison of 10 bestsellers at City Lights (San Francisco) and McNally Jackson (New York), via SF Weekly Blogs. Interesting discrepancies, food-for-thought similarities, and--if nothing else--great to-read suggestions.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

US Elections 2012

Why do I care, you say? I'm Mexican, not American, right? Plus, I live on a Caribbean island faaaar removed from American politics. Right?

Well, no. Wrong, actually.

None of us are "far removed" from American politics. Yes, as a Mexican, American politics have a closer impact for me than for, say, Sweden. Or Timbuktu. The amount of Mexican immigrants, legal or otherwise; the close ties (some would say too close) Mexico's economy has to the US; the importance of not just cordial but prosperous relationships between our governments... Sure, this election's results will impact Mexico immediately.

But that's not all.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

NaNo Update 2012.11.01

Yep, I started at midnight. Hope to get in enough word count to make me feel a bit more comfortable about that 75K goal I've committed to.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Where Do Ideas Come From?

With NaNo prep running rampant everywhere, the forums teeming with excellent plots and characters so alive you hear their pulse, isn't it remarkable there's so many ideas out there, so many stories to be told?

Sometimes it doesn't feel that way, does it? Sometimes, when you're facing that blank page, it seems there are no more ideas anywhere, everything sounds trite, cliched, boring. On these same forums I've heard the comment "all you guys have such great ideas, mine sucks" so often I keep having to check it's not the same person. No, it's not. But here's the clincher: that person's idea sounds awesome to me.

Where do ideas come from? Where do we get the inspiration for what we write? What kick-starts our imagination into a snowballing run that ends in that disorganized, ultra fertile mess of a novel's first draft? Do we all get inspired by the same things--overheard conversations, autobiographical stuff, a story in the newspaper that sparks a what if? Or do we have different sources? Because, see, if we share these sources, then the next time any of us is stuck in the myideassuck rut, we can try a different source.

NaNo Spotlight Interview

Today the great Chris Kelworth features me in his NaNo Spotlight series. Come on over and join the conversation!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

NaNo update

NaNo begins in 15 days, and I'm beginning to have serious doubts on whether I can reach 50K or not. Last year, my first, was tough enough--I slacked there at the middle horribly, then had to rush to catch up.

My NaNo stats from 2011--note the slack there between
day 13 and day 21
St. Jorisbaai yesterday, storm clouds
in the horizon, no wind, water like
a mirror. Hot.

And that was the only thing I was doing.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Just broke 25K views!

According to Blogger's counter, Quiet Laughter just got 25,005 views--yay! A triple round of Tequila Gratitude for all you wonderful people out there that made this happen. You ROCK!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

NaNoWriMo 2012

Last year was my first NaNo. Yeah, I won with 54K (or was it 52K? Oh, oops--50,582 :D Bit full of myself, aren't I?). As soon as it was over, though, I was already looking forward to the next one. And now IT'S. AROUND. THE. CORNER.

Who cares where the year went? Who cares I'm still tweaking my 1.5-year-old MS, haven't finished the NaNo project from last year? Who cares time is flying and we're one year closer to death? Who. Cares.


So. Who's signing up? I just registered for this year (updated profile here), added a synopsis for the novel I'm planning to write (that would be Novel #3, thank you very much), and have started lurking in forums. Add me, and let's have some fun!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Romy's Story

The last weekend of September I got a call from CARF. "There's a dog at the dump," the woman said. "We've been feeding her for a while, and we think she's ready to be caught and brought to the vet. Can you foster her?"

Romy, at the dump where she was
Uh, yeah. But--at the dump? The garbage dump? Who throws away a dog like garbage?

"The rescuer will meet you at the vet's Monday morning."

The rescuer called me Sunday evening, a lovely Dutch woman, wife of a Marine officer, unfortunately only stationed here in Curaçao for a few more years. Why can't people like these stay around forever?

When I walked into the vet's waiting room, she was holding a reddish-yellow dog, smaller than I thought, on her lap. Huge eyes, all sweetness. Her legs were stiff from fear, but she let herself be moved over to my lap and we cuddled while we waited. She was so dirty--he-llo, a garbage dump--that I got a rash all over my arms and neck. Nothing that a good shower didn't cure, though.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

This time, my excuse is REALLY good

You've noticed I've been, uh, absent. You probably thought, "ah, life." Or "she's busy with the WIP." And you weren't wrong. But I've also been doing something different. I've been rescuing dogs.

Meet Sasha II (the story of Sasha I from last year is here). She lived under an abandoned truck in a vacant lot next to Goisco (the Curaçao version of Costco), and she was lucky that the business next to the lot (Rituals Coffee Shop) employs gold-hearted people that fed her and looked after her, as much as they could, for two months.

I say as much as they could, because she wouldn't let anyone touch her, she wouldn't come closer than a meter--even to these lovely people that gave her food every day. They noticed she didn't like kibble, so they tried different things: rice and meat (she ate the meat, spit out the rice), veggies, pasta, stuff with sauces, stuff without sauces. She grew skinny but not emaciated, and stayed relatively healthy thanks to them.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Janet Fitch's 10 Rules of Writing

If you missed this list, check it out here. The LA Times reprinted Janet's rules last month. These are worth printing out and keeping next to your keyboard. My favorite? #1: "Write the sentence, not just the story". Great stuff.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Truth About The Mayan Apocalypse

If you didn't read Veronica Sicoe's post on why the Apocalypse won't kill you last week, you totally missed out. Go read it, watch the video (longish, but well worth it), and spread the word to the nearest doom-monger near you.

The stone isn't Mayan but Mexica (Aztec), and
it's not a calendar, not even by the loosest of
definitions, but ignoring that, the concept is
brilliant :)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Plotters, Pantsters, And Self-Pubbing Success

Mona, the Montana Scribbler, had Rasana Atreya (author of A Thousand Liesguest-posting on her blog today. If you're ever considering self-pubbing, this is a post you must read. And, by the way, A Thousand Lies rocks. Get it. Read it. You'll love it. 

A Thousand Lies blurb: 
In a land where skin colour can determine one's destiny, fraternal twins PULLAMMA and LATA are about to embark on a journey that will tear their lives apart.  
Dark-skinned Pullamma dreams of being a wife. With three girls in her family, the sixteen year old is aware there isn't enough dowry to secure suitable husbands for them all. But a girl can hope. She's well versed in cooking, pickle making, cow washing -- you name it. She's also obliged her old-fashioned grandmother by not doing well in school.  
Fair skinned and pretty, her twin sister Lata would rather study medicine than get married. Unable to grasp the depth of Lata's desire, the twins' Grandmother formalizes a wedding alliance for the girl. Distraught, Lata rebels, with devastating consequences. 
As Pullamma helps ready the house for her older sister Malli's bride viewing, she prays for a positive outcome to the event. What happens next is so inconceivable that it will shape Pullamma's future in ways she couldn't have foreseen.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Dog Days of Summer

Down here in the Caribbean it's summer year-round, which makes it difficult to write about anything summer-specific. Barbecues, poolside piña coladas, outdoor dining with candleholders strung up in the trees, beach time? Any weekend, January or July, is fine. Heaven, right?

Well, yeah. Sort of.

But here's the downside. It's hot. All the time. Want to do some gardening, chores around the house? Within five minutes you're soaked in sweat. Feel like taking a walk? Forget it; there's little vegetation on this rock, much of it shrub-height, so the sun will bake you in the first block. Even the thought of spending an afternoon baking is psychological torture. A/C? Well, turns out electricity is kinda expensive down here. Unless one is prepared to spend USD 1,500 a month on energy, it ain't doable.

The worst part? There's no end to it. No change of seasons, no crisp fall days to look forward to, not even a real rainy season. Here the "rains" come with hurricanes, which--need I really say--aren't all that fun.

So this contribution of mine to Jeremy Bates' Dog Days of Summer blogfest is to tell you that, as much as you enjoy your summer and as much as you dread the arrival of that Labor Day weekend... Please cherish it. Be grateful for your changing seasons, for the dip in temperature, for snow and slush and ice and hail. Because, as much as you hate those, they're what make it possible for you to enjoy your summers with childish glee.

Enjoy these last days of summer! And share your unique summer stories by signing up to the Dog Days of Summer blogfest!

Friday, August 10, 2012

WRiTE Club!

Cruising Altitude 2.0 is running WRiTE Club again! Sign up here and get ready for a one-on-one twelve-week-long fest of 500-word-long literature butting heads. Best of all, this year the final round will be judged by publishing professionals: agents, editors, published writers!

Wait, what? You don't know what WRiTE Club is? Hahahahahaa.

You're serious?

Oh, man. Okay. Here's the link to the full explanation, but the short of it is this:

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Childhood Monsters

Christine Rains is celebrating the release of her book Fearless by hosting a Childhood Monster Blogfest from Aug. 7 to 9--post on any of those days about the monsters that made you pull the covers up higher. She says that one of the funnest parts of writing Fearless was creating the monsters that came from children's imaginations. And we all know how vivid those can get :)

I couldn't resist signing up, but I'm afraid I have to disappoint.

I had no childhood monsters.

See, my parents, being the wonderful atheists they are, had little patience for make-believe dangers. My mother especially taught me to view the night and darkness as a time of peace and quiet, not of fear. She explained that ghosts, on the very remote off-chance they existed at all, would be harmless and probably suffering, unable to let go of something in this dimension. Devils and ghouls she discarded with a pragmatic scoff that left no room for doubt. She changed the focus entirely from fear into curiosity. "If you ever see anything like that," she'd say, "make sure to observe carefully. You could become famous as the person who finally proved the existence of these things!"

So I'd wander the house--huge six-bedroom house--at night, alone in the dark, without a qualm. Until...

Monday, August 6, 2012

WIP Update

It's coming close to the one-year anniversary of me typing THE END on this WIP of mine on August 15th last year. As a pantster I knew I had tons of revision ahead of me, that THE END was merely the beginning... But I never imagined exactly how much, or how tough it would be.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Becky Levine on Critiques & Time

If you're a writer and you missed Becky Levine's post on giving critiques time--how could you miss it? Even Nathan Bransford picked it up, it's that good--here's the link. Seriously, read it.

Friday, August 3, 2012

On Crime And Honor

This morning, in that misty land between waking and dreaming I hover after hitting snooze the first (or second) time, a realization on the meaning of life came to me.

No, not on the meaning of life.

On crime, and honor. And the law.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Forever Young

I'm a child of the 80's (born '73), and this song... Well, it was more than an hymn. There's no other song that so completely embodies the melancholy of my youth, the nostalgia of the future. With the first chords I rush back, a sort of rewinding, to my 15-year-old self, to how it was--how it felt, what I thought.

And, back then, I didn't appreciate it. Being young, I mean. Is it true that youth can only be appreciated in maturity?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Kreativ Blogger Award--Reloaded

Ermie over at Just Ermie was kind enough to award me the Kreativ Blogger. I did this a few months ago, so I'll play a bit with the rules. The first part is, of course, thanking my awarder, so


Then I need to answer seven questions, which I already answered here. I also need to provide ten random facts about myself, so even though I did name a few before, I'm including ten new ones:

1   I smoke a pack a day. Yeah. Ooops.
2   No, I'm not planning to quit.
3   For a long long time, my favorite book ever was Sidney Sheldon's If Tomorrow Comes. Eventually I grew to realize the error of my ways. Sort of.
4   Major drawback of living in a Caribbean island: the lack of intelligent conversation. Guess angst doesn't thrive in 35C weather and sunny beaches.

Monday, July 9, 2012

On selecting your editor

A while back, I posted something on editors, about how important it is for us writers to get one. The truly wondrous EJ Wesley asked a key question in the comments that day that I've delayed enough in answering.

Yes, we agree editors are the cat's pajamas. The bee's knees. The last Coke in the Sahara. The first daffodil of spring. The last cigarette in the party (at 3 AM). And we all want one. Desperately.

But, EJ asks, how do we choose one?

Now, I'm no expert. I never worked with an editor until three months ago. What I am is extremely lucky.

If you're looking for an editor, even just beginning to think about finding one, or maybe have given up on the whole thing because you got scammed (or heard of someone who knows someone who did), let me try and help.

What are you looking for? A panacea to turn your "great idea" into a marketable novel? A grammar fiend to help you fix the "small" details of verb tense consistency or dangling modifiers? Someone who can cut away those extra words in your 312K manuscript?

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Mexican Tragedy: A Nightmare Come True

Mexico is a country without memory. Twelve years ago, after much bloodshed, the PRI was ousted from power, and we swore it would not return, not ever, certainly not for a hundred years--fifty, at least. Just over a decade later, the PRI is back in its presidential throne.

What happened, Mexico?

Explanation #1: Fear.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Do NOT read 50 Shades of Grey

This is fantastic and definitely needs to be shared. Help spread the word, people. Bad writing doesn't seem to be its own punishment--let's enlighten the world! If you know anyone who's reading that or any other baaaaaad book, share this list and save a mind :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Apologetic (and funny) explanation Part II

The other reason why I fell off the face of the blogosphere there for a while is because I'm moonlighting as my own housekeeper. Our housekeeper, Nancy, went berserk.

She'd been with us for seven years. Older Colombian woman, fiftyish, very trustworthy--the kind of person we left in charge of the house and dogs when we went on vacation. Dependable, committed, good head on her shoulders. No children, but in a twenty-year-long relationship with a Dominican man. A hard worker, too. No beauty, but the work kept her in shape. She didn't seem to care either way--never saw her wear makeup, she dressed simply, comfortably, and although she dyed her hair, she often had an inch (or more) of grey roots showing.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Ladies & gentlemen, Contestant #2

Mexican elections are this coming Sunday July 1st. You know who's going to win?

This guy.

Andrés Manuel López Obrador, otherwise known as AMLO, or, if you're *really* a fan, AMLOVE. A tad too purple for me (you know how I'm all about banning purple prose these days), but you're free to spread your AMLOVE if you want.

At least, those of us with a halfway operating brain hope he wins, because alternatives are dire indeed. Presidential elections this year aren't a matter of who's best, but who's least worse.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

You missed me?

I know, I'm a bad friend. Worse blogger. I've abandoned you, this awesome community of awesomer people, and although I know I don't deserve it, I'd like to humbly ask your forgiveness. I'd also like to explain what I've been up to--no, not an excuse. Just an explanation... And a couple of funny stories.

First: the MS. Did I mention editors are awesome? You missed that post, you say? Well, I'll say it again--sadly, not as well as Chuck Wendig--editors ROCK. And as a result of such rocking, my MS is undergoing some sorely needed reality checks.

REALITY CHECK ONE: the original manuscript took place 90% in 1995, only 10% in 2003. That wasn't working. The 1995 story is lovely and very cute, but it only acquires relevance in retrospect.

And the "retrospect" part was missing--duh. Major oversight. A few minor ones (like tension) also fell short. So I decided to add more into the 2003 timeline.

But the novel already was above 100K. In order to add even the word "retrospect", I had to cut. Yeah. Bitter moments.

REALITY CHECK TWO: Not only was the novel already long, but my editor also happened to drop the hint that there might be some "verbiage" that perhaps didn't add quite as much as I thought it did. 

Yeah--she's too tactful for her own good. But I'm good at reading between the lines, and I started noticing longish sentences, explanatory dialogue, scenes that didn't go anywhere... 

My editor, with a Mona Lisa smile, said, "be ruthless"

Best advice ever

REALITY CHECK THREE: Another gem of a morsel from my editor: you're in love with your MCs. You solve problems for them. You don't let problems happen to them. In other words, m'dear (aka amateur), tension is lacking all over the place. It's not there

Yep, I looked, and--lo and behold. Zilch.

So now, woven into both the 2003 and 1995 timelines, a steel thread of razor-sharp tension has been added. Ok, is being added.

~ * ~

That's my first excuse for dropping the ball on Quiet Laughter here. I have another two for later, funny in a Fawlty Towers way, that I hope will soften your heart and earn me your forgiveness. Even a single iota of--

Yes, that's the prose that got me into trouble in the first place. Let me just say then that I love you, Quiet Laughter readers. I do. From the deepest recesses of my heart and liver, from within emotional places within my psyche that have no name still A lot.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Why an Editor?

You a writer?

You need an editor.

Oh, you're going it alone, you say? Because that's what the indie and self-pub revolution is all about? And, besides, you've read all the how-to books. Don Maas and Stephen King and Anne Lamott; Stein On Writing, and Self-Editing For Fiction Writers. You keep your copy of The First Five Pages and Strunk & White's bible open on your desktop for easy reference. You don't need an editor, right?

Uh, wrong. Unless you want to end up like certain authors embarrassing themselves in public (anyone remember Jaqueline Howett's meltdown from last year?), you need an editor.

Jeannette de Beauvoir, a colleague and friend from the Internet Writing Workshop, is hosting me on her blog today to discuss this issue. Take a stroll over and join the conversation! And don't miss the Write It Sideways post from yesterday on the topic--excellent points there, too.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hope is Rekindled

I have hope. An article in the LA Times, by John M. Ackerman, bashes Peña Nieto hard. Maybe--just maybe--there's hope for Mexico after all.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Faithless: Short Story Published Today!

Yay! Fiction365 published another story of mine, Faithless. It's their feature today, Monday 21. If you have a moment to take a stroll over and read it--it's short, something like 500 words--I'd be super curious to hear your thoughts.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Perspective on Mexico, Drugs, & Violence

Excellent article on CNN by Ruben Navarrete takes a big-picture look at the drug-related violence in Mexico and who's at fault.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Bill Weldy and the Journey to Publication

For readers not yet in the know, Bill's first book, OUTLAWS, was published yesterday, May 18th. Congratulations, Bill! His journey to publication, spanning over half a century, is an inspiration, and proof that the unexpected does happen.

Welcome, Bill! It's an honor to host you, and to be a part of your critique group in IWW. Thank you for making the time to share your experience with everyone in the Quiet Laughter community. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Mexican Tragedy (A Rant)

My poor, poor country. So far from God, so close to... ignorance.

The original saying, voiced by our last (official) dictator Porfirio Díaz somewhere at the turn of the last century, was "so far from God, so close to the United States". Mexico's story has been shaped by the gravitational pull of the US in everything from idiosyncrasies to economics and the unappeasable American hunger for oil.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

An award, an award--for ME!

Yes, people--two awesome blogger friends have passed on the Kreativ Blogger award to me, and I'm deeply honored. Touched. Moved beyond tears. Thank you, J.W. Alden and Vero Sicoe, for thinking of Quiet Laughter.

And, by the way, both these bloggers are awesome, so if you're not following them, you're totally missing out.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Indie vs. Traditional Publishing Bullies & Anne R. Allen

Anne R. Allen has a MAGNIFICENT post up on her blog: Indie or Traditional Publishing? Don't Take Sides: Take Your Time. It is a MUST read for writers everywhere--she puts all the squealing and jabbing and screaming into clear perspective. Please. Go read it now.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Calm After The Storm

Took me two weeks of blogging vacation after the A-Z Challenge, and I feel like I'm on withdrawal. What a ride April was! And, as hard as keeping up was--the daily posts, returning visits & comments, visiting new blogs--I wish it wasn't over.

This was my first A-Z, and I'll definitely do it again, every year. I'm challenge-driven; I masochistically enjoy setting impossible goals for myself. I honestly expected the A-Z to be harder, to have more trouble keeping up, to find myself slacking mid-month. What I did not expect was the warm welcome of a community, the hundreds of people that stopped by and, either publicly or privately, shared their own thoughts and experiences with me. I did not expect the interaction to feel so real, in spite of physical distance, of only cyber-contact.

Monday, April 30, 2012

A to Z: Zeitgeist

The spirit of the times. 

Genius seculi

What defines a nation, a community, an era.

Zeitgeist is important to writers. It doesn't just get us published. It makes or breaks our work's success.

Our characters may be alive and poignantly human, our prose organic, our settings crisply three-dimensional, the tension and inherent conflict present on every page, the stakes masterfully escalated... But without zeitgeist, the work's shelf-life is comparable to that of potatoes.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A to Z: You Know You've Lived in Curaçao When...

Porto Marie, our favorite beach

... you're completely used to people speaking at least three languages--fluently
... your sentences often contain more than two languages--and you're surprised when people don't understand you

... you end your sentences with "swa"
... you automatically switch to Spanish at the snek (and you know what the snek is)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A to Z: Xenophobia

intense or irrational dislike or fear of people from other countries.
~ Mac dictionary

fear of foreigners or strangers or of that which is foreign or strange

unreasonable fear or hatred of foreigners or strangers or of that which is foreign or strange

Irrational. Unreasonable.

And yet... So prevalent.

It's not a modern thing, a product of our globalized era. Xenophobia has been around from the beginning of time, so much so that I'm beginning to think it's a key ingredient of the human psyche. Us And Them. Insiders vs. Outsiders. Black vs. White. Old vs. Young. Me vs. You.
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