The Demons of Critique Groups – Addendum to Novel Workshop – A Blast From The Past From December 2014

This is too good to not share!

Mad Genius Club

*Sorry to do a blast from the past, but not only am I on the homestretch of an overdue novel, but I woke up really late and I have a doctor’s appointment.  But this is old enough you might not remember it, and it sort of ties in with Amanda’s thing. – SAH*

Now, these can be a problem in short stories too, but some of them are rather specific to novels, and if you’re a first time novel writer and find a writer group for guidance, they’ll eat you alive.

I could give you a list of ten, but I figure it will do nothing, because to counter the poison, you need to know why it’s a poison, and that it in fact has nothing to do with your novel.

View original post 2,060 more words


Win the Ultimate Firefly Prize Pack!

Do you like Firefly? Nothing in the ‘verse is quite like it. Now you can win the ultimate Firefly prize pack!

Check it out!
Jayne’s hat
“Inevitable Betrayal” dinosaurs
Lots and lots more!

To paraphrase Jubal Early – this does seem right to me!


Counting down – Sword’s Edge still on sale for a few more days!

Counting down to the end of the month! Sword’s Edge will only be on sale for $0.99 for a little while longer!

Science fiction author P.M. Griffin writes:

“…The characters are soundly crafted… The society is complex and intriguing; the action scenes are detailed and well described. I look forward to reading the rest of this fine series.”

Check it out before the price goes up!

Sword's Edge

A rant from a frustrated gymnastics coach

In 2004, it was Carly Patterson. In 2008, it was Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson. In 2012, it was Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman. In 2016, it was Simone Biles and Laurie Hernandez.

I’ve heard it again and again in the fourteen years I’ve worked as a gymnastics coach.
“My baby is going to be the next __________!” Choose a name from above, depending on the year.

Usually (but not always) the child has natural talent. Also usually, the child has no discipline, expects to the center of attention, doesn’t like correction, and likes to announce that she is better than the others in her class (one was less obnoxious about it though, whispering to me instead of saying it aloud because, “they can’t help it if they’re not as good, and I don’t want to hurt their feelings”).

The end result in almost every case: the parent complains the child isn’t getting enough instruction, and why hasn’t the child been moved up to team yet?

Occasionally it is possible to explain to parents that just because a child can sling her feet over her head, or just because a boy is seemingly supernaturally strong, doesn’t mean they’re ready for a more advanced class (much less team). They need to learn to listen, develop the discipline to follow through without being babysat and to work independently, and also come to the realization that their skills aren’t fantastic, but need to be honed and built upon for years.

More often than not though, that message never get processed by a parent’s brain. The parents make excuses for their precious future Olympian and cast snide remarks or openly sling accusations that the coach isn’t doing enough for their child, and before long they’ve ragequit (to use a gaming expression). They hop from gym to gym, never getting it, always complaining, and the loser in all this is the child, which saddens and frustrates me.

Some of the kids do go on to become decent gymnasts, but generally they develop an arrogant, superior attitude which isn’t borne out by their actual skill level. Others – who knows? Do they ever go on to excel at anything, or do their parents refusal to see that hard work and accountability are necessary for success hinder the child from succeeding?

= = =

I know most of my posts have something to do with writing or my stories. Even the gardening ones, because one of my characters (Tam) is an avid gardener. But what connection does this have? Um. Well, none I guess. I just wanted to vent because sometimes it gets to me. But – let me give it a go: The same work ethic needed in gymnastics is needed throughout life. Even with writers. We need to work hard at our craft, despite any natural talent we might have. We need discipline, and we need to be able to take criticism, and we need to never, ever give up.


Resuming Gardening, Slowly but Surely

I had to give up gardening and really, almost all outside work, because of my disabilities. But with the improvement in my health, I’m starting, in a small way, to get back to one of my loves.

Here you see my a raised bed with two vegetables in it, and in the background, you just might glimpse some of the incidental flowers as well as survivors from when I had an herb garden (chives, comfrey, lemon balm, chocolate mint).




I also used an old, useless wheelbarrow to try growing a small herb garden. In first photo, you see last year’s thyme, which survived the winter, and the basil which reseeded itself.
The parsley I just planted and petunias as well, because I have some extra and thought they’d be a nice touch.



In the second photo, you can see how they’re thriving a few weeks later.



I think it’s easy to see where my one character Tam (in Sword’s Edge and Children of the Enaisi) gets her love of gardening.