Friday, February 24, 2012

Rote Skills and Creativity

by Tam Linsey
I've often wondered why so many writer friends I know like to crochet or knit. For a long time, I refused to put a hand to a ball of yarn, insisting I had no time for such endeavors. But my critique group had dubbed themselves the "Critters and Knitters," and one by one, those who did not know how to create using needles or a hook took up the practice.
I gave in September of 2010, toting a single skein of cotton yarn and a crochet hook to our yearly writing retreat. I just wanted to fit in. I made a dishtowel, and felt I'd mastered the double crochet, so I moved on to making circles and got a matching set of coasters.
I learned the half-double crochet stitch and made a bathmat for my cousin as a wedding gift. How cool is that? I love homemade gifts.

Then came the back post stitch. And various types of increasing and decreasing stitches. Shell stitches, popcorn stitches, V stitches… Next thing I knew, I was making broomstick lace and creating sweaters and fingerless gloves.
My critique partners laugh at me.
Out of all the Critters and Knitters, I've become the most obsessed. I'm infatuated with textures and shapes. The feel of different types of yarn possesses me. When I'm stuck on a passage of my writing, I pick up yarn and hook and put a few stitches onto my latest project until my head clears. I've become so comfortable with the action of crochet, it is like second nature.
Now I realize why writers like to do hand-work; it engages another form of creativity and clears the mind just enough to find the plot point or character choice or perfect twist without occluding our thoughts about the story. Rote skills require us to engage a different part of our brain. (Plus keeping my hands busy keeps me from eating! lol!)
Playing Solitaire, taking a walk or a shower, even going for a drive can do the same thing. But I find I can be easily taken away from my writing if I leave my seat. So crochet works best for me.
Do you have an activity you find re-engages your creativity?
© Tam Linsey, 2011. All rights reserved.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Home Sweet Home-School

This has been one of the coldest, snowiest Alaskan winters in memory -- or so I hear. We're in Hawaii for a few sanity-saving weeks, along with our seven-year old and a backpack full of her schoolwork. This, no doubt, will be our only brush with home-schooling—at least until our next trip to Hawaii. And wow, it sure is an eye-opening experience. Here's a quick rundown of the ups and downs. 

She can flit from one subject to another, so she never gets bored with any one thing.

Are we encouraging ADD here? Focus, girl, focus.

We can decide it’s a beach day and spend the morning snorkeling and catch up on schoolwork later.

Chances of actually catching up: zilch.

She thrives on the one-on-one attention.

One-on-one attention is exhausting for the parent side of the equation. Talk about a crash course in patience.

It’s an excuse for field trips to the Mauna Kea Observatory for stargazing.

Field trip nearly killed our truck.

We get LOTS of quality time with the kid.

She’s jonesing for some friend-time. It’s possible she’s getting sick of us.

She can go to Circus Camp a couple afternoons a week and learn valuable life skills such as stilt-walking and unicycle-riding.

Not sure stilt-walking will help with No Child Left Behind school testing.

Learning to walk on stilts

So … the jury’s still out on this brief home-schooling experience. It’s fun, but it does take lots of time and attention from either me or her father. Overall, I think it’s a wonderful experience for her, though my own writing has taken a hit. (You probably haven’t seen me as much on Twitter lately.) But it’s worth it to spare her a few weeks of neverending winter. If you've had experience with home-schooling and would like to offer up some tips, I'd love to hear them!

Love from the hammock --

Jennifer Bernard

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Next in the Betrayer Series

Time is running out to be part of my next book
 Kiss of the Betrayer
The deadline to enter the 'Name the Character' Contest
ends on February 14
So enter now

Rules: Read the character description
                Come up with a clever name
                You can submit just a first name, just a last name, or both

How to Enter: You may enter five ways:

1.                  Email your name choice to
                     Put Name Contest in the subject line
2.                  Tweet me at Twitter
3.                  Go to my Facebook Author Page at Facebook
                     At the left side of the page
                     Click on the 'Contact Boone' button
                     Put your answer in the Message section
4.                  On my website, you can enter by sending me a message
                     from my 'Contact Boone' page
5.                  Last, but not least, you may enter from my blog
                     Just click on Contact Me at upper right corner of sidebar
                     and send me your entry

Easy squeezy!!!

How will the name be chosen?
1.                  Every entry will be considered and chosen through a process of elimination by myself and other Entangled Publishing editors, including Heather Howland, Libby Murphy & Kerry Vail. 
2.                  In case of a tie, the winner will be randomly drawn.

What will I win?
·                     The character in Kiss of the Betrayer will be given your contest entry name and you will receive a glowing acknowledgment in the book, praising your brilliance and creativity. 
·                     Your contribution will be heralded throughout the land on several blogs, including my personal blog, website, Facebook and the Entangled Publishing blog.
·                     You will receive a signed copy of Shield of Fire and Kiss of the Betrayer when released. 
·                     $50 gift card to Amazon

So let your creativity flow and name this character
·                     Female, approximately 29 years of age
·                     Sturdy and curvaceous, medium height, long brown hair and hazel eyes
·                     Profession: Prostitute, works the docks
·                     Private Life: Poor, Single mother with three children, 12, 4, and five months
·                     Redeeming Qualities: Strong, resourceful, has a good heart, would rather sell her body than accept charity, a good mother, fearless, smart, streetwise, rolls with the punches
·                     Less Redeeming Qualities: Stubborn, too curious for her own good, has associations with a lot of unsavory people.
·                     Significance in the book: This character is slated to become a major secondary character, appearing throughout the rest of the series

Okay people, name that character. I've received some great entries so far. This is going to be a tough one to judge!

--- Boone Brux

Friday, February 3, 2012

Not Feelen the Luv

What the pustulated pox-marks on the drippy foreskin of a one-armed ogre piano player trying ta make a little chump change in the middle of town square would ya make of the last few months I’ve had?
I don’t think she luvs me anymore!
Maxine Mansfield that is.
I’m sooooooo alone.
What’s she been spending her time doing instead of paying attention to me? Well, that’s a good question. She’s been write…write…writing male on male…umm…stories.
And before ya ask, sigh, nope, I’m not even in it. I’m not even mentioned, can ya believe that? And, ta make matters worse, The Wild Rose Press gave her a stupid contract for it, so now I’ll never get her undivided attention again.
If I wasn’t immortal, I swear I’d go lay out in the snow until even my willy froze solid and fell off. Though with as impressive as my love muscle is, that might take quite awhile.
I guess I shouldn’t complain too much. At least she’s still doing the edits-that-never-end on my, I mean Uthiel and Briar’s story, Touched by the Magic.
But, damn’t, I want some ME time, I deserve it. Especially after all I’ve done for her.
Maybe I can get her attention back with a game. Perhaps a round or two of Hide-the-Sausage? Or…hehehe…Ride-um-Cowboy?
Sigh, the sacrifices a gnome makes for stardom! But, desperate times call for desperate measures, and as we all know, once ya go gnome, you’ll never again roam.
                     Leeky Shortz
                     Rogue Gnome Extraordinar