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Spiders? Ick! August 1, 2014

Posted by Jae in Personal Item.
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Last night I was over at a friend’s house for our weekly viewing of Farscape episodes. We both munched on a couple of Jimmy John’s #6, the veggie. I don’t know what it is about that sandwich, but I do love it. Not that I have a problem with meat.

Oh Jimmy John’s, how I am addicted to thee! *sigh*

Anyway, I stood up, and THANK goodness I did because the itsy bitsy spider climbed right up over the couch. Jae did a squeal and the spider ran down the couch.

Kind of felt like this. (@_@)

Of course in my mind when there isn’t a spider around, I totally think I’m like this.

And I do have the Batman-gonna-bring-some-hurt-on-this-spider spirit in me, cuz as much as those eight-legged critters make me squeal they make me kill. Kill immediately. KILL NOW!!!

Usually I flush them down the toilet for good measure, all the while saying in a pirate voice: “Say hi tar’ Davey Jones fer me ya filthy vermut!”

But what did my friend want to do? Catch it. CATCH IT?!?!

You people are INSANE! INSANE I tell YOU!

Okay, so she wanted to catch it to know if it was a brown recluse because those suckers are dangerous and it can be a bit of a problem. But still. Who wants to spend time messing with a spider that’s as quick as Speedy Gonzalez running all over the couch when it could be in the toilet and out of the house quicker than you can say “nuke the arachnids!”

Was it a recluse spider? We may never know. It’s not like spiders hold still when you have them captured in a jar. (Captured in a jar?! Nuke it, flush it, squish it, DESTROY IT!!!!!!)

They are watching and waiting for that moment when they can burst out of the jar and kill you.

One mistake.

That’s all they need.

Do you love spiders? Hate them? Have they ever interrupted a movie? Have they ever interrupted you period? How do you like to dispose of the devil’s spawn?

Jae NOTE: Okay, I hate spiders a lot, but I would never wish them completely gone. I know they kill a lot of things I don’t like. Mosquitos for instance. But that doesn’t mean I have to like them.

No Sugar Please July 29, 2014

Posted by Jae in Personal Item.
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I’ve been supremely absent. I know. It’s a motivation thing. And a time thing. Unfortunately it is not a space time thing. That would mean I’ve been gallivanting off with a certain Doctor. And I weep for that loss.

Anyways, while I’ve been not blogging, I’ve been trying something out off and on. Mostly on. That is the no sugar diet. And what I mean by that is probably no sugar added diet, or no unnatural sugar diet.

How is it going?

Okay, that’s not entirely accurate. But I do get the cravings for one certain sugar-filled item.

I know, I’m hungry too. But I did come up with a sort of solution for that. Homemade tootsie rolls made with…………………………………………………….



Things I’m Doing May 27, 2014

Posted by Jae in Personal Item.
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I recently finished a new draft of Book 2 in my SHADE series and now that I’m done I’m getting that, “so now what?” kind of feeling. I’m trying to decide whether the book needs to go into cold storage for future editing or if I should try and fix things I think may need fixing. But I go through this with every novel, every major draft.

Book 2 got split into Book 2 and Book 3, which means Book 3 is practically finished already. Woot! I think I’ve discussed this before, but have you ever had to do that? It was a super hard decision I fought for a month or two. This must be the outliner/plotter in me that when a draft has been completed, it’s completed! Luckily I’ve done enough revisions over the last couple of years the logic side of my brain comes out to remind me all the goodness that awaits in revising.

But there can be too much revising, or rather too much at the wrong time. I’m a firm believer that drafts need to rest. The cache needs to be cleared.

The odd thing was when I started new draft, I had no motivation to write it. I was still fighting that old splitting decision. Now that it’s come to an end, my motivation demands more writing. It’s a nice feeling.

So I’m turning to project codename CLEMMINGS. Originally I’d only planned it as a novelette at best. Now I’m trying to figure out a novel’s worth of plot. Sometimes it’s tough in the beginning. For me it always seems to help if I ask myself a bunch of questions.

  • Who is the apparent villain?
  • Who is the true villain?
  • What’s the main goal?
  • Can I make characters that seem like they are good guys be bad guys and vice versa?
  • What’s the point of the whole story?
  • How would I like for the main character to arc?
  • If this person is the villain, what does that mean for everyone else?
  • What do my characters believe about their world and how does that move the story forward?

Stuff like that. Sometimes I type it, sometimes I write it in a notebook. The nice thing about physically writing things like this down is you can see the progression of your thoughts. It is possible to see that digitally, it’s just more apparent physically. Many an outline has started that way, though I organize all those thoughts digitally in the end. It’s hard to keep my notes straight after a point, the way I write them.


I decided to save on gas and improve health I wanted to purchase and use more often a bicycle. It takes around 45 minutes to bike into work (mostly depending on me) and it’s not super easy, but I’ve noticed my happiness factor has increased since doing it. That doesn’t mean I never have bad days, but they certainly seem easier to cope with.

Yesterday I went out to a trail that’s an old railroad route. Utah’s natural state isn’t typically much more than prairie grass and sagebrush in the valley. And while there is that along this trail, there was also lots of trees, marshland, wildflowers—even a tunnel and a couple of creeks. And though several cyclists passed me by frequently (we have a high concentration of legit cyclists, both of the road and mountain persuasion), I kept reminding myself to enjoy the ride rather than keep the pace.

It really helps clear the cache. I’ve been trying to walk, too, in order to keep my feet conditioned for tour guiding. I feel like it’s making me a better writer, all this exercise, for how much it alleviates stress. Sometimes I think about my stories, sometimes I don’t.

It just seems stopping and smelling the roses so to speak has helped me maintain some balance.


Candy Crush Saga and the farm one (most of you know what I’m talking about) have also occasionally been pushing their way into the horizon. But I think it’s important to know yourself. And while there are times when I probably play a little too much of these games, I find them also to be good cache-clearers while I’m writing. Sometimes when I was stuck on a certain scene, all it took was a game or two and I had clarity again. And if that didn’t work, the walk or the bike ride.

Curse those stinkin’ jellies!

Whether games, exercise, TV shows/movies (and I consume plenty of these as well), I think if done in good measure can be helpful to our mental health and our writer health.

So, with all that being said, what are some things you do to keep up mental/physical/writer health? Are there things you definitely can’t do? Anything you’d recommend that has worked well in your life? What things help you through difficult scenes? What things help you through difficult moments of life?

Late Bloomer Appreciation May 5, 2014

Posted by Jae in Personal Item.
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Hello friends! I know I’ve been significantly absent as lately. I’m still trying to sort out life, but I haven’t forgotten about you, the fabulous WP community (and really the fabulous blogging community overall).

I recently went to New York. You see, many of us struggling writers need a day job and while I enjoy graphic design and will probably still keep doing it part-time, I’ve been investing time in starting another career. It’s called tour directing, but essentially I take people on vacation for a living. And in New York I led a group of students through the city, many of them for the first time.

View from the Top of the Rock. The bright area is Times Square.

View from the Top of the Rock. The bright area is Times Square.

I’ll probably do another post on that later, but it’s a lot of fun, it’s just a bit hard to get into. I’m not sure why I’m attracted to the difficult careers, but it is what it is.

My point in mentioning all that is tulips. Why tulips? Well, in Utah just before I left was the pique of tulip blooming season and tulips in Utah look good!

A small cluster around town, but go to Thanksgiving Point or Temple Square and times this by 1000.

A small cluster around town, but go to Thanksgiving Point or Temple Square and times this by 1000.

Anyway, off to New York I went. I saw a few tulips and a lot of daffodils, but nothing quite like the focused view I can get in Utah. But hey, I’m in NYC, where’s the need to complain?

By the time I got back, most of the tulips had been trimmed down or were wrinkled shells. Basically I had missed it.

But at my own house which is next to a mountain and where the sun doesn’t shine as fully as in the valley, we had several very late bloomers. They bring a smile to my face every time I see them. I count them as a blessing that I didn’t have to completely miss tulip season after all.

But it got me thinking. Suppose those late tulips had thoughts? Suppose they worried, knowing it was well past the time for the majority of the tulips to come out and they were running late?

It made me wonder in life if sometimes we think we’re running late because things aren’t happening according to our time schedules. Maybe we think we’ve missed the boat on a relationship, a job, a writing career, whatever it is. But maybe our timing is exactly as it should be. Maybe we’re not meant to run according to one timetable because we’re on a better one, one that will bring joy to those who see us when whatever it is we’re working on comes to fruition.

I’ve been working on writing for a long time. And there has been many times I wished I’d been published or been envious of someone else’s success. But maybe I’m just on exactly the timeline that I need to be. I have to admit, over the past couple of years I’ve learned a lot about writing, and I’m not sure I would have learned it if I’d had my success early on.

So I say, here’s to the late bloomers out there. Keep on doing what you’re doing, trusting that if you make your best efforts you’ll emerge exactly at the time you’re needed.

Cheers to the late bloomers!

Cheers to the late bloomers!

For the Sake of Story April 14, 2014

Posted by Jae in Writing Tips.
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Back in November for NaNoWriMo, I put together a sequel for SHADE. (And I won myself a discount on Scrivener. Holla!)

Anyway, I had used most of October to meticulously plan out the novel which is what made it really easy for me to write. Once I have my idea outlined, it’s more or less a paint-by-number, though I do leave room for my muse to take me in other directions should it choose.

December came and looking over my nice little rough draft I realized something that I would fight against for months. Book 2 seemed more and more to be me trying to cram two books worth of story into one.


But the plot twists!

Another murky middle to deal with?

Splitting a book in half is too hard!

But then all those other moments get pushed to Book 3!

Can I really make this split work?

What about the children? Is anyone thinking of the children for goodness’s sake?

Thankfully, I’ve faced these hard moments before. When it came to Book 1, after a writing conference in New York I knew I had to make substantial changes, not unlike the changes I’m probably going to make now.


For some of you rewrites are not any kind of problem. It may be your curse. But for some of you the idea of having to majorly revamp your book scares you like Reevers scare Captain Mal.

For the sake of story, suck it up, and do it anyway.

How do you know if you need to revamp the story? The easiest way to find out is beta readers. And some of the best ways to find beta readers is going to writer’s conferences and networking. Your fellow writers will appreciate a beta read themselves, so offer to exchange chapters or even full novels, get feedback and see what’s working and what isn’t.

Another way is right here on the WordPress community. We’ve got some of the best people on here who have loads of experience who can help.

Hopefully it doesn’t come as news to you that golden ink doesn’t drip from your pen—or keyboard. Think of it as getting the translation of the story in your head right. I’ve often noticed while some things in my stories change substantially, the essence tends to remain the same.

And I’ve probably said this before, but revamping or splitting books can often bring about creative discoveries you might not have stumbled upon otherwise. I created a character from a book split I doubt would have come to me any other way—and he’s one of my faves.

If you really want a story that’s going to be significantly impactful to your readers, it’s going to take some work, and often that work will be uncomfortable and hard. But you owe it to your readers and to your craft to present only the best possible.

It is my own personal goal to make every book I write better than the previous. My hope is that my skill will continue to grow and be illustrated in my writing as it goes forward.

What do you do for the sake of story? Have you had to make substantial edits or changes to a book that you didn’t want to make at first? What are your personal goals for your craft?


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