Make It Positive!

The power went out in Bucks County, PA during Hurricane Irene.  Half the block was trapped due to the Neshaminy Creek swallowing the asphalt, concrete and grass that the townsfolk took for granted each day.  So what does one do when the street is engulfed by the neighboring creek?  Break out the kayak!

GROWing With The Flow

Growing with the flow… what the heck does that mean Darlene?

It means…. I’ve learned not to force things.. no forcing traffic (never works), no forcing two hours of work into an hour and no forcing the writing.

When I force a character, it feels false. I have learned to leave that character be and when it is time, that character will pop up and say, “Hey!  You!  Over here! I’m ready to jump in and take over.”

Ahhh.. there you are my sweet.   My characters are little pieces of me peppered with the traits of others.  They must be placed at the right time with the right voice.

The voice. EEK.  My voice is their voice and their voice is my voice.  I know after the first chapter write as I re-read my work that a character sounds “just right” or sounds “LAME.”

One of my characters is a pimp.  His actions, traits, flaws, tone of voice and wording must resemble that of a pimp.  No, I don’t know any pimps, but I have read about many and seen a few in movies.  As I write the character outline of my pimp and then fill him into the corresponding chapter, having him say something un-pimpish is, well, unbelievable and it simply will not work.

How I Love Thee.

That is unless his back story is that he was once a college professor and it just didn’t pay well enough.  Plus there weren’t many women to degrade… hmm…. not bad.

Anyway.  This week I am ROWing with the flow.  Tonight I am taking my daughter to work and there is a Starbuck’s right next door.  My butt will be firmly planted along with my laptop, a bottle of water and a cup of delicious coffee.  She is working for three and a half hours.

Yes!  Three and a half hours of writing, people watching, eating a tasty morsel or seven and really hunkering down and getting to the meat of my plot.  I am about to start Chapter 2 and I really need to add some substance.  With two jobs and all that other hugamaloo, I am finding that I have little time to write. 😦

My goals for this week are simple.  Read, Write, Blog, Comment. That’s it.  Usually I have a slew of goals that get bashed into the mud because it is too much.  Sure, I start out with  the Super-Wonder-Indestructible Woman attitude.  By the time Thursday rolls around I am deflated and mad at myself.

Attainable Goals.

Sweet Sixteen

Sweet Sixteen - Awesome.

Today is a big day. My little girl, the last of my spawn, is 16 today.  A bittersweet day indeed.  There were no gifts of Barbies or stuffed animals.  She got gift cards, a gym membership and a beautiful card from yours truly.

No cake.  “Cake is fattening,” she said.

I rolled my eyes.  But respected her wishes.  Even though I wanted to say, “but I WANT BIRTHDAY CAKE!”

So her big day got me thinking about life goals. She wants to join the Army and I am all for it.  I seriously hope she pursues her dreams and doesn’t let revenge or a boy stand in her way… this is exactly what happened to me at her age.

I gave birth to her brother at 16.

It is interesting to me that the years have flown by. It seems just a week or two ago I was talking to her about things un-boy related, un-fashion related and all little girl related.

Friday, Andy and I are taking her out to a restaurant of her choice for dinner.  I took the day off to hang out with my little princess.  In a bit we will be going to the mall so she can spend her gift cards.

My little girl is the polar opposite of me… I love it.  No one wants to grow up to be like their mother… and it looks like she isn’t going to.  *phew*

Happy Birthday, sweetheart! I love you.

Where Do You Write Best?

Ok.. so I am finding out that writing at home is becoming a non-option. I get distracted by television, my family and my cat that I taught how to fetch. Oh, how that last one has come back to bite me on the arse.

Where did you throw my mouse, mother?


I find that writing at the office on my lunch is the best option so far. Writing in Starbucks also works out. Which is why, when I drop my daughter off at work tomorrow night, I will plop my butt at a table in the corner of Starbucks next door for three hours.

This will help me out in several ways.

First and foremost, no cat to bring me a little stuffed mouse to throw in the other room. Over, and over and over again.

Secondly, people!

If I am hulled up in the apartment all the time, how will I find interesting character traits to give my characters that layered “real person” vibe? Sure my cat is adorable and didn’t earn the name “Little Bastard” for nothing… Still… not much dialogue there.

The best part? Super caffeinated coffee! Oh, how I love coffee; the stronger the better.

The Investigation Discovery Channel will be miles away as I sip my delicious beverage and people watch (in a major non-creepy fashion). No distractions of grizzly murders (they do help – occasionally) and crazy people. I would say this channel is an excellent observation for behavior, but I wind up getting engrossed in the story and forget all about my work.

Bad Darlene!

My book is coming along a little faster these days. This is a blessing. I had awful nightmares of me publishing a book with blank pages. *shudders*

So I want to know from y’all (nope – not from the south, but sometimes I like to pretend!)… where do you write best? Alone? At home? On the subway? Under a tree?

Talk to you soon!

Here Comes The Rain.. The Thunder.. oh, and The Lightning.

Rain. I love it when I have nowhere to be. I love listening to rain smack the ground, the trees and the air conditioner in the window. Rain is cleansing. It purifies the Earth and my soul.

At this moment it is not just raining. There is a wicked thunderstorm going on outside. The thunder is so loud, it sounds almost fake. I love that, too.

Thunder scares some people. I never remember being afraid of thunder. I used think that two dark, poofy clouds which seem weightless and smack together was thunder. I think most people thought this. Now it seems the sound of thunder comes from by lightning. What?

I won’t get into any scientific details here, because a) I am no scientist and b) it is all over the web and for me to sit here for three hours and piece together some mumbo jumbo about thunder being lightning that has already been written by others (way better mind you) is ludicrous.

So it was a sunny Sunday morning. I took a nap and awoke to a cloudy afternoon.

Although thunder does not scare me, lightning does. Maybe it is because I never get a warning before it shows its flashy self. When I see lightning, I have these horrific images of a bolt shooting across the sky coming right at me. I have nowhere to take cover, save a tree maybe.

What idiot runs under a tree when there is lightning around? Not this idiot, that’s for sure.

I was going to write a poem about the thunder, the rain.. oh yeah, and the lightning. But then I thought… WHY? I haven’t written a poem in five years. Sure, I had a dark, slightly disturbing poem published in a local newspaper about ten years ago. But a poem? Really?

Eh, maybe I’ll give it a shot. When it all boils down and I am left staring at the empty pot on the stove, what is left to lose? Ok, maybe the pot, but they’re like twelve bucks at Wal-Mart.

To Write Or To Read? That Is The Question.

So…. I have been busy. And I wish I could say, “busy busy busy writing away as the words overflow in my little pea brain.. and oh, this is so exciting!”

But, uhhh… no. Nothing like that. I picked up more hours at the store (job #2). At the office (job #1) I managed to sneak out of the office and actually go to lunch at the park one afternoon this week! I couldn’t believe it. I almost felt guilty.

Gotta work on that guilt thing.

Let’s not forget trying to figure out an angle for my wrap up blog for the Ninja 1000. I have to give it back this Friday. 😦 It was so much fun riding that bike. I wrote quite a few entries for the page which can be found here. I have not written anything on the blog since July 30 because on the days it was gorgeous out I was double duty working and on the days I had time to ride… it rained.

I have written less than 500 words this week. At the moment I am catching up on email and tweeting and reading blogs.

So I have been doing some reading which I am guilty of slacking on from time to time. Tonight I was reading Erica Lucke Dean’s blog which can be found here.

She has some fun posts about things like adrenalin, coffee and flies… I love it. Definitely worth checking out.

I will have some time to myself tomorrow after I drop my daughter off at work. I am going to go to Starbucks and sit in the cafe with my laptop. I find I write best when I am away from home… How sad is that?

Rowing Down The Highway

Ok, total tool title. OOh, alliteration. Anyhoo…. I am totally Starbucksed up and need to wind down before I attempt sleep.

Haven’t checked in for a few. Life keeps happening.

I haven’t written anything in a stone solid week. I think my mojo slipped away at some point. 😦 Sad.. But I am fighting for it, and I know I have to pretend I already have said mojo and it will peek out any moment.

Fake It Til You Make It

I just got in from a great AA meeting and coffee and cheesecake at the diner across the street. Speaker meetings are always great because I feel they are personal. Sure, reading from the Big Book is nice, but hearing others’ stories there is always a small piece in each one that reminds me that I am just a person in a world full of more people and while I am unique in particular ways, I am really not so different.

My writing has gone running somewhere and I believe it has gotten lost trying to find its way back. I am off to look for it. I am certain it is inside me somewhere. I will dig and borough until I find it!

ROW Goals for the week are:

*Write 50 words a day. If I can do more… wee!
*Write up a budget – my finances are spiraling as well.
*Look into gym specials – find one to join.
*Get oil changed in car.

*Make a gratitude list; keep it handy.


I have been doing a lot of thinking today. My co-worker lost her battle with cancer last night. She is survived by her two daughters, her husband and her dog Timmy. The funny thing about Timmy is that she didn’t want him. But the two of them grew thick as thieves. I could see the love in her eyes and hear it in her voice when she talked about the white pooch.

The passing of my co-worker has not fully absorbed yet. Her funeral is Saturday. I am sure when I see her daughters, it will hit me. I cannot fathom how they must feel and think of my own daughters.

Today overflowed with much thinking. What is important? What can wait? What do I regret? What will I regret? Hard questions that were left empty as I cursed myself for all the times I was short with her; wrapped up in personal demons. The questions fade as life continues and the day goes on.

But here is the one thing that will not escape my head. Her daughters. My daughters. How I forget to say “I love you” all too often because I take for granted that tomorrow will always be there. How I’m quick to tell my youngest not to forget to clean up her dishes and not sleep too late. How I give my older daughter hell for being irresponsible at the age of 21. I was nowhere near as responsible as she is when I was 21.

If I fight with my boyfriend and go to bed angry, he’ll be there in the morning and we’ll get to talk about it over coffee and say the obligatory “sorry’s” and “never again’s”.

I have learned that the day is a gift filled with red lights, moody children and spotting a deer in the park. All the people I see and talk to in a day, the cars I hear roar by, the rain I feel on my face… it is all a privilege.

I am guilty of taking much for granted. Time is precious, as are my loved ones.

ROW80 Check-In

Things are coming along nicely. Very nicely. I have found great places to write away from the hustle and bustle of television and Phillies Games. Now, I love my Philadelphia Phillies, but sometimes I gotta put the boys on the back burner and concentrate. Ya feel me?

So.. book is coming along. I am working on the outline as well.

Today Andy and I drove down to Kelly Drive with the bicycles and I got some great ideas for location and a potential subplot. We did a six-mile loop on the bikes. There were so many people! People on bicycles, runners, walkers, rollerbladers, walkers, parents pushing kids in strollers. It was amazing.

I also came up with a another plot idea for another book. Andy said I am demented for coming up with such a wicked idea, but I can only thank the public bathroom and the dirt trail that led off to the right of it.

Dirt Trail.

We looped around the Art Museum, passing a line of people waiting to have their pictures taken with the Rocky Statue. I found this interesting. All the history in Philadelphia and people come from all over to have their picture taken with a fictional character. I smiled at the line of tourists as I passed.

Rocky stands for the underdog, the working class, the loser, so to speak. Rocky had heart and did not give up. I needed to see that Rocky statue today.

Goals for this week:

Write! Write at least 400 words a day on at least five days.
Read! Read blogs and comment.
Research! I have to do a little more investigation into the areas of Philadelphia in my book.

Happy writing my fellow writer peeps! Stay strong, keep it real and remember…. taking a break to regroup is an important part of the process.

See ya on the flip-side! (I just always wanted to say that). 😀

Dear Me: A Kick In The Pants

Dear Me,

Well, here we go again! Last year was a disaster wrapped in awful. Maybe this year we can get some of those goals accomplished we set out for last year? The things we think we want to do with our life! Yikes!

It seems the cat farm didn’t turn out so well. We now know first hand that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I’m sure the neighbors won’t forget that cat incident for a long time.

Let us try some more tangible goals that can help us reach our dreams, shall we?

The catch 22 of getting published is frustrating I know. But hard work always pays off and so we must stick first to the task of writing for at least a half hour each day.

Our first goal is to get at least two articles published on an e-zine. You have one article published on an e-zine, but come on. Writing Prompts? Really? We both know you are far more creative than that.

This achieved small goal will most likely lead to our next slightly larger goal of getting an article published in a print magazine (cross fingers).

And now for the big one. You have the whole rest of the year to work on your novel and I suspect with my help and your charm, we will be able to pull that one off! The final revision should be complete by the end of the fall. Therefore, we should be looking at publishers by November.

Oh, and in between all of this, you really should lay off the brownie bites and get a little more cardio in. I’m just saying is all.

So, let’s get cracking!

Love, Me.