Friday, May 29, 2009

Clark County Library Events

Some nice person at the Clark County Library District is kind enough to send me e-mails about writing-related events. The events for June and July are listed below (with thanks to the CCLD). They have some great (and free!) events scheduled, so get out your calendar to mark a few:

Friday, June 05 at 7 p.m. ◊ An Evening with Laurell K. Hamilton: Anita Blake, Las Vegas and Skin Trade, Laurell K. Hamilton, New York Times number one best selling author, returns to the Clark County Library to discuss the 17th novel in her popular Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series, Skin Trade.

Saturday, June 20 at 7 p.m. ◊ An Evening with Augusten Burroughs: Augusten Burroughs discusses his renowned memoir, Running With Scissors, his unusual life experiences, and the fame achieved as one of the most celebrated modern writers in the US.

Wednesday, June 24 at 6:30 p.m. ◊ Meet the Authors: When the Handshake Is Mightier Than the Pen, a Writers Group Open House: In June, this "Meet the Authors" series hosts an open house and "open mic" where authors can mingle with writers from a variety of local writers groups.

Monday, July 06 at 7 p.m. ◊ Urban Fantasy Superwomen: Chicks Who Kick A#$ : Vicki Pettersson (The Sign of the Zodiac) and Caitlin Kittredge (The Icarus Project), who have made a name for themselves in the explosive Urban Fantasy genre, come together to speak about their superhero series, the appeal of the paranormal in contemporary fiction and why readers can't seem to get enough of kick-ass female protagonists.

Sunday, July 19 at 2 p.m. ◊ Norm & Tony Curtis: Inside the Actor’s Studio – Vegas Style: Norm talks with legendary actor, Tony Curtis, about his life, the movies and his latest autobiography.
Photograph: My picture of the exterior of the Clark County Library at 1401 E. Flamingo.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Vacation & Other Writing Prompts

Are you ready for summer vacation? Go there in your mind for prompt number one. Or skip on down to find something else that takes your imagination elsewhere for a moment. Write for ten minutes without stopping, stalling, or second-guessing yourself. Don’t form expectations about what you’ll wind up with—just write!

--Beth was excited about summer vacation because….
--What’s your favorite breakfast food?
--John’s computer crashed just as he was finishing….
--Do you remember the first wedding you attended?
--“Why on earth would I want to visit you?” snapped Betty. “After what you did, I never want to see you again. As a matter of fact, I hope….”
Picture courtesy of Johanna Ljungblom at

Step Away From The Computer

Sunday is supposed to be my husband’s day in the office. Time in the office has to be booked ahead because that’s where I work every day, and I get cranky about anyone bothering me while I’m working. When you work at home, you have to set very clear boundaries about your work hours/routines and what justifies an interruption. At my home, during my posted office hours, I am not to be interrupted except for valid reasons: compound fractures, excessive bleeding, dignitaries arriving unexpectedly, etc. Interruptions for other reasons aren’t tolerated so well. This is why we decided Sunday would be David’s day to take care of his paperwork. First, he protested about not getting office time during the week. Then he and my son told me they thought I should be barred from the office and the computer on Sunday. Completely.

At first, I thought this was vey sweet. They loved me so much that they didn’t want me to be in my office, away from them. Then I realized we don’t spend that much time together when I’m away from the office. In fact, they’re usually doing something and I’m… cleaning or cooking. My husband loves to build things and tinker in the garage and yard, and my son might be doing anything from playing video games to building Lego creations to helping Dad turn a pen on the lathe. I wasn’t telling them that they shouldn’t spend time doing what they wanted, but they objected to me being in my office, doing what I love to do. My initial feelings of flattery turned dark. What the heck was wrong with them?

I walked down the hall and asked my son, who was playing a video game, “So, if I’m not supposed to go in the office on Sunday, on what day are you not going to play video games?”

I immediately had his attention. He said, “What are you talking about?”

“This thing about me not going into the office on Sunday, that’s what I’m talking about. If I have to give up a day of writing, then you should give up a day of video games. And Dad should give up a day in the garage.”

“But that’s different! I like playing video games,” he said.

“Well, I like to write. When I’m in my office during the week, I might be doing anything. I’m not always writing.”

“I thought it was always work, so I thought you should take a break. Shouldn’t you have a day off?” he said. “I always thought it was stuff you had to do, not anything you wanted to do.”

I spend a lot of time doing all sorts of things in my office that involve writing, but that are not the kind of writing I yearn to do. I spend hours looking for work, researching topics, submitting proposals, editing, and other writing-related tasks—none of which are the wide-open, blank Word screen that I long for. If my son thought I was doing something I didn’t want to do in my office, what did that say? I realized that I’d let the business side of things overshadow the value of my writing. I like being a writer, but I don’t want my writing to always be work.

That afternoon, I found a way to hook up my laptop and write in the backyard. I made sure to enjoy the bird song and my blank screen, and I wrote about whatever I wanted. No one had objections to letting me work—oops, I mean, write, that day.
Photo courtesy of Kriss Szkurlatowski at

Monday, May 18, 2009

Cora and Irene & Other Writing Prompts

You’ve heard of love at first sight—how about dislike at first sight? Maybe you can get to the root of Cora’s reaction to Irene. If not, move on to another prompt. Freewrite for ten minutes without stopping, stalling, or second guessing your work. Don’t think about where you’re going… just write!

--Cora was a friendly person, and it bothered her that she disliked Irene from the moment she met her. Cora thought Irene was pretty, but….
--Are you afraid of bugs like spiders, beetles, and wasps? Or do you have a peaceful relationship with the insect world?
--“I’m 30 years old!” Alice told her father. “Why do you care if I….”
--The wedding was going beautifully, right up until….
Picture courtesy of Moi Cody at

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Disappointment & Other Writing Prompts

Freewrite for ten minutes on the prompt of your choosing:

--Denise was disappointed, but not surprised, when she got the news that….
--What do you think of the advice, “Follow your bliss”?
--Clarence heard scratching outside the door, and when he checked it out, he found….
--The one place I never want to visit again is….
--Janet knew she shouldn’t drink coffee because it kept her awake all night, but today she was guzzling java because….
Picture courtesy of Glenda Otero at