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Friday Favorites – Mash-up of Fun

I’ve had a busy couple of weeks, especially with the holiday in there, but I did manage to find some awesome gems to read in my downtime. I hope you enjoy.

Since I didn’t do any kind of mash-up last week, I know I missed out on a bunch of Thanksgiving-related blogs.

Thankfully, Angela Peart did a Thanksgiving mash-up that offered me much to read.

Writing advice for the week —

Catie Rhodes talks about how to build characters through small traits. Great ideas. I think it’s the small things that make characters interesting and memorable.

Tawna Fenske describes how music lends itself to a writer’s process. I recently took a class with Lani Diane Rich that focused on the Discovery part of writing. The beginning stuff, where we get to know our characters. One of the assignments was to create a soundtrack for our WIPs. It wasn’t easy to create, but it definitely helps get me focused while writing. When listening to music does it influence how you writer?

Merry Farmer offers the only writing advice you’ll ever need. Mostly common sense, but we all need to hear it when we’re bombarded with conflicting advice daily.

Food and Drink–

With the holidays upon us, lots of food and alcoholic concoctions are consumed. Personally, I’m a baker. I cook for my family out of necessity, but I bake out of love.

Myndi Shafer offers her family’s cream cheese cookie recipe that I think I’m going to try.

To go along with those cookies, Jillian Dodd gives us the recipe for holiday-themed cocktails.

Just for Fun–

Over on the Bettyverse, Nan writes about the importance of childhood dreams and how they can have a lasting impact on our lives.

Tiffany White does a weekly roundup of good TV on her Worth a Watch Wednesday. As a fellow TV lover, I read her post every week. This week she talks about Unforgettable, yet another new show I tune into. Check out her previous weeks’ posts for recommendations and critiques.

Jenny Hansen has a great post on creative swearing. When my children were smaller, I tried not to swear, but I’ve pretty much abandoned that attempt. By child number 3, my thought is that I can do what I want because I’m an adult. Of course, that means that she can swear better than anyone.

Here’s a little blurb that shows the power of social networking and Twitter. Artists gather to record a song to raise money for charity.

And finally, a friend of mine had a book release this week. Marilyn Brant’s book A Summer in Europe is now on sale. To celebrate, she’s taking readers on a virtual European tour. Check her web site to follow her blogs on the journey.

Thanks for checking out my blog. Have fun visiting the sites I’ve linked to. With all the great advice I’ve listed, it’s hard to choose a favorite, but I think Jenny Hansen wins with her creative swearing. Between the list she gives and reading the comments, I had a heck of a laugh. How about you? How do you curb your potty mouth?



Since I’m traveling for the holiday, I’m going to keep this one simple. It’s Thanksgiving and here’s what I’m most thankful for this year:

1. My kids (this year and every year) – Although I work part-time, I work from home, so I’m always around for my kids. I never thought this was the life I would want, but even when they make me want to pull my hair out (or theirs), I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’m also thankful that they are healthy, smart, and pretty well-behaved.

2. My husband – we bicker, we fight, but we’ve known each other for over 22 years. He was my best friend before we got married, and my life would have a gaping hole without him.

3. Chicago-North RWA – this is my local RWA chapter and this group of women rocks. We are a critique group, and I’ve learned so much as a writer from them, it’s scary. We’re getting ready for our conference this spring, so if you’re in the area, check us out. Chicago Spring Fling

4. My Macbook Air – For a year and a half, I wrote on a netbook because I got it free. I love my iMac that I work on at home, but most of my writing time is out of the house. Using the netbook saved me time and increased my productivity over using pen and paper, but I hated that netbook. My husband worked an extra side job this fall and gave me the money to get the Macbook. It’s pretty.

5. Fran Black – She’s my agent. I just signed with her in October and we’ve been working on revisions for a book that wouldn’t let me go. The thing I like most about Fran is that she loves my book. Isn’t that what every writer wants?

6. Warm weather – Right after Thanksgiving with the in-laws in Tennessee, we’re headed to Florida because my daughter’s cheerleading squad made it to nationals for competition. We decided to turn it into a family vacation. I’m from Chicago — I’ll take any bit of warmth I can get in December.

7. Books, books, books – electronic, paperback, you name it, I love it. 

8. DVR – There are many conveniences I depend on daily, but this is one I probably enjoy the most. No more having to remember to check to see if there’s a new episode and set the timer, or worse, having to put in a VHS tape (remember those days?) The downside is that I find myself being roped into at least trying way more shows than I ever would’ve in the past.

9. Diet Coke – I’ve been a Diet Coke addict since about the age of 12. Over the past year, however, I’ve linked the worsening of my migraines to aspartame. I switched to Diet Coke with Splenda, which is not as good as the original, but it’ll do. There are times when I still drink the real thing, and as long as I don’t over-do it, I’m okay. And it’s still my favorite form of caffeine.

10. Time to write – Ever since I decided to take a stab at writing, I’ve always had to “find the time.” I already had a gazillion responsibilities, so squeezing writing time in had to happen around everything else. I trained myself to think about plot points while driving or doing other mundane tasks so that as soon as I sat down to write (while the kids were in swim lessons or tae kwon do or football/cheerleading), I was ready to actually get words on the paper. I created that routine and now I look for every spare moment to write because I love it so much.

How about you? What are you most thankful for this holiday season?

(note: I’m on the road today, so I won’t be able to read comments until late tonight, but I will respond. Thanks)