Monday, April 20, 2015

Here we go...

... and I am starting by teaching my characters a new language.
Yep, we're gone take the new trip in German and see how that goes.
Since we all know the path and all characters are as excited as before,
we shall see how plot, emotions and problems work this way!
Sometimes one's just gotta take changes -
even if some of the main figures grind their teeth
and I have those voices in my head all over again ;)

Friday, April 17, 2015

Starting Over

 As I was trying to collect my own feelings on the subject, I stumbled over the following blog-entry. Getting over writer's block is never easy - sometimes it's easier to start over and see where it leads.

reblogged from Positive Writer by Bryan Hutchinson

Have you ever been ready to throw your work in the air and give up? Who hasn’t? Hey, maybe starting over isn’t such a bad idea.

Yesterday I was talking with a friend over coffee when he told me he doesn’t get it. “What don’t you get?” I asked him. He explained that every time he starts a creative project, writing a book in this case, he comes to a point where he realizes he must start over because it’s just not good enough or doesn’t make any sense.

As he was explaining his face took on an exhausted and frustrated look. I recognized it instantly, because I’ve seen it so many times… in the mirror…


My friend was suffering from a common issue that most all of us go through when we find ourselves starting over.

We tend to think it indicates our work isn’t good enough or that we have somehow failed, but the reality is that starting over isn’t about either of those things.

It’s not anyone’s fault that we see it this way, because over the last hundred years the industrialized world has become all about standards and measurements, with little to no patience for the creative process.

In fact, until the previous decade creativity had been practically removed from most people’s lives.

Do it right the first time became the mantra, and standards were put in place to insure you did do it right the first time.

But now that the world is once again changing, more and more people are going back to their creative roots and the process of creativity must be rediscovered.

It’s kind of scary, I know. But it’s okay.

It’s okay to start over. (Tweet This if you’ve ever started over).

We’d all like to start a project and see it to fruition in one go, but the reality is we need to start over.

The human mind is designed to contemplate, to learn, to grow and to seek out and find solutions and new ideas.

Whenever we begin a new creative project it’s usually from a vague idea, a mere inkling of what we really want and it takes working it to discover if an idea has any potential to blossom.

The first draft may seem like a garbled mess, but it’s really the way the brain works through thoughts and ideas.

Our brains work this way all the time without us taking conscious notice of it.

Quiet your mind and try to follow your thoughts and you’ll discover they seem scattered and random. That’s why meditation can be so difficult.

As creatives we are fortunate (or unfortunate, you pick) to see our confusing thoughts in writing or on a canvas, and it can be disturbing.

When you start a creative endeavor, be it writing a book, painting a picture, or sculpting a portrait, it’s absolutely natural to start over, putting aside the first effort, and second, or even the third until the right words, the right colors, or the right shapes finally come to you.

This is why we are taught that it is better to let go when writing the first draft, because when you try to control and edit it you’re disturbing your brain’s natural process, and as a result you become frustrated.

We must go to the edge of quitting.

It’s happened to me many times after writing several drafts that when I am about ready to quit and throw my keyboard into the trash, the idea suddenly begins to take shape in a coherent form.

When this happens my writing becomes like a symphony and the angels sing.

I often wondered in exasperation why I always seem to go to the very edge of quitting before I start writing something that makes sense.

Because that’s the way the brain works.

We might not understand how our brains are putting ideas and thoughts together to form our concept, but we do know it feels exhausting and it’s hard to trust that somehow it will put everything together to create something that matters.

Each time we start over, or begin a new draft, the message becomes clearer and it is the process of starting over that makes this possible.

Consider Thomas Edison – why is he famous?

Is Edison more famous for his inventions or for how many times he started over and did not give up?

Thomas Edison’s story is so inspiring and motivating because it tells the truth of human nature about how we learn and grow, and ultimately, hopefully, succeed.

We make mistakes (or we call them mistakes) and we start over, but without doing so success would not be possible.

The next time you start a project try not to worry too much about whether it will unfold perfectly or not. Just know that you are on the right track you if you feel compelled to start over again.

    Many of life’s failures are experienced by people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.

    ~Thomas Edison

Don’t give up.

It’s okay to become frustrated and exhausted. Go for a walk or get a drink of water, and then start again.

If you’re a writer, never throw away any of your drafts.

They may seem like a mess, but if you wait a few days and read them again you are likely to find gems, a delightful word here and a beautiful sentence there, and you may discover the writing is not as incoherent as you thought.

Here’s the thing, you’re never really starting over, you’re simply taking the next step in the creative process.

Take. The. Next. Step.

What have you started over lately? Share in the comments!

Monday, April 13, 2015

+++++ Raymond Howell Jr +++++ A victim to Bullying

My memorial to a very special young man,
who believed he had no one he could talk to.

Raymond was a victim of non stop bullying, until he saw no other way than to end his own life.
If we all join together we can put an end to bullying for good and let his sacrifice not be in vain.


If YOU get bullied, PLEASE talk to someone
and rally friends and supporters around you -
you are not alone!
If you need someone neutral to talk to who is miles removed
and neither known by bullys, school or parents,
I can be found on all social-media as lilprincessperl

 Raymond Luther Howell Jr. 27/5/2000 - 2/4/2015

A letter from Raymond's sister Amber to let you know about her younger brother: "I’ve been sitting here trying to come up with a way to sum up a life in a paragraph. In truth I could spend a lifetime telling of the 14 years I spent with my baby brother. He was the kind of kid you wanted to know, the friend who always had your back, the classmate who extended a hand when you needed it and stood up for you when others turned away. He was the brother who brought me food when I was sick, the son who turned off the lights and kissed my mom goodnight if she fell asleep watching TV. He wasn’t afraid to try new things: football, skating, guitar and art. Even at 14 he had a strong sense of self. He liked to build and take things apart, he had a craftsman’s spirit but most of all he had a big heart, the type of kid you wanted your kids to be friends with. When my brother was picked on by these students, he fought back, he stood up for himself despite the videos and the cruel classmates. He still braved going to school every day and stood his ground when the boys came back. Even though my brother is gone, his memory lives on in the lives he touched. He became a message for change. A message that says we will not stop, we will not falter, we will not draw the curtain or close the door until we can keep our children, our grandchildren, our siblings and our friends safe. Until continuous bullying is looked at as an offense to body, mind and spirit and not simply written off as kids being kids."

Raymond's love for the world and all that it offered was vast. Like many young teen boys he loved to skate. But he also had a larger sense of purpose and enjoyed looking at the world through the lens of a camera. He was also interested in pursuing a career in engineering. Raymond brought smiles to those who were hurting whether they were friends or strangers. His zeal for life resonated with all who knew him. A kindred spirit and champion of the underdog, Raymond showed love and friendship to many, and as a result touched many lives. He possessed the type of compassion in 14 short years that few achieve in a lifetime. Although he is no longer with us, his love and compassion will live on. He is forever loved and never forgotten ...
RIP Raymond, you won't be forgotten and your voice will continue to be heard, sweet boy...

Petition to end Bullying:

Raymond's Revolution:

Hour dedicated to Raymond 103,7 KVIL:

Music: @RonanParke "Defined" & "Fix you"
All pictures copyright at the family of Raymond Howell Jr

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Celebrating my first blog comment!

Thank you Lorilyn Roberts
for making my day!
(I almost missed it -
gotta be more attentive in the future,
but until now I felt like I was talking to ghosts!)
Where there is one there can be many - 
so let the interaction begin...
Oh dear, my baby is growing up ;)

Monday, April 6, 2015

Writers Can Lay Easter Eggs

Do you like Easter egg hunts? No, not the kind with puzzled toddlers and woven baskets and brightly colored candy and hardboiled eggs. The type of Easter egg in question is a hidden message or other feature in any piece of content or even a computer or software program. A variation on this theme is naming or describing someone or something in a story to give readers a clue about a plot element.
Writers employ this device all the time, merely by giving a character an evocative name. The moniker of Ebenezer Scrooge, for example, thanks to its grating, discordant qualities, does not inspire a reader to visualize a kindly, generous figure (though names can be — or, in this case, can become — deceiving).
But authors can go a step further and foreshadow plot revelations or twists by assigning a name that, at least for some readers, will hint at later developments. Here are a few examples of this strategy (which, for all I know, may have another name):

The Egg of Columbus
Speaking of eggs, an anecdote about Christopher Columbus features him countering the claim that anyone else could have accomplished his feat of discovery by challenging others to stand an egg on end. When they fail to do so, he taps the egg on a table, breaking the end, and sets it upright on its now-flattened base. (A similar, possibly apocryphal story predates this incident, which itself may or may not be historical.) This analog to the Gordian knot — or a reference to the Gordian knot itself, part of the lore of Alexander the Great — could allude to an offbeat solution to a problem.

Kobayashi Maru
This is the name of a fictional spaceship in the Star Trek universe, the subject of a computer simulation that tests a prospective Starfleet officer’s character by presenting a scenario in which the vessel is disabled in forbidden territory. The exercise, similar in theme to the riddles of the Egg of Columbus and the Gordian knot, is ostensibly a no-win situation: The simulation program cheats so that the test subject always loses, thus guaranteeing that the focus will be not only on the person’s approach to solving the problem but also their reaction to the failure.
However, several Star Trek films, series episodes, and novels refer to efforts to subvert the test. In your story, a ship or person so labeled — perhaps with the names inverted — will tease knowing readers with the understanding that some similar stratagem is in the offing.

Arthur Conan Doyle
The creator of Sherlock Holmes can lend his name to any one of a number of intriguing ideas. A character named Doyle (using the full name would be overkill) might allude to sleuthing or presents a link to one of the following alternative notions:
  • At least one researcher suspects that Doyle was a conspirator in the Piltdown Man hoax, in which a fossil skull found in England in the early twentieth century was believed to be the fabled missing link between apes and humans.
  • Doyle became an ardent spiritualist after the deaths of his wife, a son, and other close family members, and argued for the existence of fairies.
  • He was a friend of escape artist Harry Houdini until the latter’s antispiritualism crusade, during which Houdini debunked fraudulent psychics and mediums, led to an estrangement.
  • Doyle also created another legendary character, Professor Edward Challenger, hero of The Lost World and other adventures.
This post does not suggest using these specific examples; my hope is that they will inspire you to cook up some of your own Easter eggs purchased in your store of knowledge and served in a story in the appropriate genre.

Friday, April 3, 2015

For Easter prep I asked: Why do you write?

The answers are a tribute to the creative genius + passion of writing

Summed up, here are the twenty best reasons why we - you & I - love to write:

  1. IDEAL. It’s one of the most accessible & portable creative passions in the world. You can do it anytime, anywhere, either alone or around others.
  2. INTUITIVE & CLEAR. It puts you & keeps you in intuitive awareness & perception, in creative flow: if you’re having a bad day it instantly uplifts you if you let it, both through releasing doubts and fears, helps you gain clarity by just being able to lay everything out and see it all on the page and keys you into the true opportunity of learning by showing you what you are really resisting.
  3. PERCEPTIVE. Your journal is a constant companion that listens without judgment, allowing you to see and accept yourself in quite no other way: writing keeps you authentic.
  4. PRODUCTIVE. You can write even when you are sick: you can still squeak out some pretty decent stuff and hey you get to stay in bed AND still be productive.
  5. PURE RELEASE. It’s the perfect way to lose yourself in the play of words & ideas.
  6. UNLIMITED REACH. Writing is one of the most effective, efficient ways to get your creativity out there, connect with like minds and inspire an unlimited audience. And it’s always out there reaching people 24-7 once created. It’s one of the perfect vehicles for unlimited reach especially if you are online.
  7. FUN. It’s just fun, pure & simple. I’ve never met a writer yet who doesn’t secretly & seriously love what they do.
  8. INSPIRATIONAL. Writing uplifts & inspires. Even on the rainiest day, or when you don’t have a lot of time, or get caught waiting. You can carry a notebook and pen wherever to catch those ideas.
  9.  CREATIVE POWER. When you put your dreams, desires, visions & intentions in writing they tend to happen, often all on their own.
  10. FOCUS. Writing trains focus, which in this world, is one of the most important skills you can possess.
  11. VOICE. Writing brings out your voice which once you get a sense of ultimately empowers you AND the world.
  12. CREATIVE PROCESS. One of the best ways I know from all my personal creative experience to learn and experience the creative process itself, is writing. Once you get the basics, you can apply these creative process skills to just about any & everything creative. {It’s what got me started, then came dancing and singing}
  13. INTRIGUE. There are so many genres, you’ll never get bored, plus exploring new genres not only strengthens and empowers your creative voice, it enhances your writing skills.
  14. STYLE. You are free to develop your own style and rules – it’s an open canvas to be as creative as you are inspired to.
  15. PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT TOOL. In addition to giving you your own 24-7 access to your intuitive voice & skills, a journal can be the best listener you’ll ever find allowing you unlimited access to your deepest dreams, desires, aspirations & motivations. There’s nothing quite like it to reveal exactly what you think and feel.
  16. LINE OF THINKING. Unlike just thinking, writing out your thoughts allow you to explore a particular line of thinking, which usually gets cut short by some immediate external stimulus or distraction, or by an associated idea or line of thinking. Such exploration is the key to understanding & realizing the potential of a particular creative idea or inspiration, which might otherwise have been missed.
  17. ZONE. There’s no better feeling than just letting loose on the page, the ecstatic rush of anticipation of what is going to emerge next, when you lose yourself in the free flow of writing, in the absorbing intoxication of words.
  18. CREATIVE. It’s an amazing way to create and to share your message, your life’s motivation with the world.
  19. PLEASURE. Not only is writing so pleasurable to the author, it gives so much pleasure to others.
  20. IMAGINATION. Writing is the most fun way to stretch & exercise your imagination, whenever you want or need it: the perfect excuse and permission to indulge.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April Fools, the Writer’s Way

Many years ago, while I was working at Tyndale House Publishers as their senior editor for books, one of my author’s titles released in late March. A few days later, on April Fool’s Day, inspiration hit. Being the serious-minded, somber person that I am, I sent an email. It was addressed to one Mr. James Watkins, whom many of you know is a humor writer, and who loves to tease others–and who has teased me mercilessly from the day we met. The email said something along these lines (alas, I can’t remember the exact wording):

“Hey Jim, it’s Karen. I’ve just received word about something regarding your wonderful new book for teens. I’m SO sorry to have to tell you that an entire signature was printed upside down. Yes, UPSIDE DOWN. Please don’t worry, though. We’ve contacted all the retailers who’ve received the books and asked them to shred them. And we’ll get new books out as soon as we can, though it may not happen for a few weeks. Or months. It all depends on the printing schedules. But sales and marketing have both said they don’t expect the book to sell many copies, so we don’t think the impact will be too damaging. Again, I’m just so sorry.”

As you can imagine, Jim called me, frantic, sputtering—at both the situation and the opinion from sales and marketing. I listened for a few minutes, then said, “Jim.”

“And furthermore, how can you be so calm—?”


“I just…I…”



“April Fool’s!”

Stunned silence followed my words…and then uproarious laughter. From Jim. From me. It was–dare I say it?–perfection.

Well, a few days later, I received a call from the Tyndale operator.

Operator: “Karen, I have a call on hold for you.”

Me: “Okay, put it through.”

Operator: “It’s a police detective.”

That stopped me. “A what?”

“A policeman.”

Well, that could be cool. Did he want to write a boo–?

“Karen, he says there’s been a suicide…and you’ve been implicated in it somehow.”

Whaaaat?? I can’t even begin to describe the emotions washing over me. I drew in a deep breath. “I guess you’d better put him through.”

A man’s voice, all official business, barked at me. “Karen Ball?”


“This is detective Able Wilson from Noble County, Indiana. We have an apparent suicide here.”

My pulse was hitting triple time. I was seeing myself in an orange jumpsuit. Talking to my family from behind a thick plexiglass wall. “Yes?”

“Apparently he’s a writer. He was found early this morning, deceased, and in his hand he was clutching an email from you about a book—”

Sudden understanding—and soul-deep relief—slammed into me. “Jim Watkins! Is this you?”

The deep laughter on the other end told me I had–in Jim’s inimitable “I will never be outdone” style–been had. Royally.

So, in honor of April Fool’s Day, I just want to say to dear ol’ Jim…

I bow to the master. Oh, and one more thing:

Watch your back. Some day, I’m gonna get even.

Now all of you, get out there and have some fun!