To Write, Or Not

This has been a busy week and writing was not even a blip on the radar. Sigh.

However, I did stumble on this Feelings Chart yesterday. Love the layers illustrated. A tool for the ol’ character toolbox?

ROW80LogoYearly Goals

  • I have once again registered on Goodreads to read 100 books. However, this may change as I plan to put writing before reading this year.
  • Lose 50 pounds. I slacked off the last part of 2013, ’nuff said. – No change this week (4.2 total) probably due to my water intake being down.

Quarterly (AKA ROW80) Goals

  • Draft the Steampunk story I attempted for NaNo 2013. Oh, and figure out a title.
  • Read Who Are You in the Tarot? by Mary K. Greer and do the applicable exercises. – Read two chapters, no exercises yet.

Monthly Goals

  • Read, at least, one paper book. With the ease of carrying my eReaders around my poor paper books have been neglected. – Goal attained for January. Read Desire’s Edge by Eden Bradley writing as Eve Berlin. Goal attained for February. Read A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux.
  • At least, one date night with That Man. – Goal attained for January.

Weekly Goals:

  • Spend a minimum of 3 hours per week on writing. – Not attained.
  • Maintain 3 blog posts per week. – Not attained. Only 2 of the 3.
  • Visit and comment on at least 12 blogs per week, 3 of which HAVE to be ROW80 blogs. – Target attained (17/4 ROW blogs).
  • Connect on Facebook and Twitter with, at least, one non-blog post or share per week. – Target attained for Facebook. Not attained for Twitter.
  • Maintain books read on Goodreads. – Target attained.
  • Exercise 3 times per week. – Not attained. Only 1 of the 3. Started back with yoga. Oh the quivering muscles!!

You can find and support other ROWers HERE.

How was your first week of February?

Scrivenings Sunday Summary

If not for the fact the fine folks who designed Scrivener might mind, I think I’d change the title on all my Sunday posts. It is, at least today, apt.

My Scrivener class with Gwen Hernandez runs all month. The first week really didn’t net me any new information but it granted me the chance to play in the program without the pressure of drafting or editing. But the tide is shifting and I was inspired to…gasp…open my WIP projects. I know! I don’t want to think about how long they have been languishing on my laptop, LOL.

Even better, Friday and yesterday, I actually WORKED on my WIP. Well, one at least. It is massive, requiring massive amounts of rewrites and revisions and edits, oh my. My goal is for this story to be the first of a trilogy. Books two and three have their own projects too, and even have a scene or two already roughed out.

What brought this miracle about?

Well, the link to Hope Ramsay’s post about using Scrivener for plotting on the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood blog showed up on the class loop. (Super writing pal Melanie Macek also emailed it to me. Thanks for having my back doll!) Hope’s post talks about her process and how she uses Scrivener to complete it.

This all happened about the time Gwen had a lesson up on the Label, Status, and Keyword features. All customizable to individual process. Now, I had played with the labels and status a bit. I knew keywords could be applied to documents.

But suddenly, BAM, of Emeril quality, it clicked. As fast as I could mouse over, I opened my WIP. I changed the Labels to POV, Status to the stages of the Hero’s Journey, and added keywords to track characters and plots. Pets the pretty. BAM!

Pardon my infomercial…But wait, there’s more!

Gwen was over on the Murder She Writes blog talking about her Scrivener for Dummies book right before the class started. In the comments, Gwen mentioned getting her children started with the program for their academic papers. Hello! (And look out wee beasties. This better than the SpongeBob Squarepants Typing program y’all learned to type with.) In class, Gwen mentioned she uses Scrivener for her blog posts, tracking productivity, etc. I’ve been using the simple Draft template for my Morning Pages. There’s even a recipe template!!

I was in love with the program before but now I’m seeing its potential in new ways. The class has paid for itself :)

Have you tried Scrivener?

If not, what is your go-to writing program?

When Characters Cross the Line

I want to pitch that book across the room. Not the best practice these days with over half my reading being done on an eReader, LOL. However, it does result in my not finishing the book more often than not. It also makes me less likely to buy that author again.

Is it subject?

An established author, one I trust to see me to the end of the journey, can and has escorted me across many a line I thought firmly drawn. I’m looking at you Joely and Sloan :D

For example, I generally have zero tolerance for cheating spouses. Yet, Elena Aiken has a character do just that in Drawing Free. Did I agree with the character’s decision? No. Did I understand it? Yes. I know a little harmless flirting has uplifted my self-confidence, made me walk a little taller, feel a little sexier. I suspect most of us can relate to that.

On the other hand, another author, a first time read for me, has lost me. Her hero gets amnesia and ends up having an affair. I’m not even sure I can call it an affair, LOL. Anyway, amnesia…I should be able to forgive him, right?

Does that mean gender makes a difference?

Well, I do like my heroes to be perfect, or perfectly flawed with the ability to become more with the heroine’s love. But, no, I don’t think the sex of the character has much to do with it, as long as the character STAYS in character.

Back to the amnesic hero, if the ‘affair’ happened off the page, I probably would have forgiven him. I mean, he didn’t remember much beyond his name, didn’t know he had a wife waiting for him, or that the villain of the story was making her life miserable as only a great bad guy can do.

As it was, it felt like the author tried to fit some erotica into a mainstream historical romance. Those scenes were not needed to move the story forward. We have the heroine’s POV. Readers felt the tension build the longer the hero was missing, feared dead.

So is it craft?

Kait Nolan has a wonderful scene questionnaire. Type A that she is (hey, she admits this), she completes it before writing a word. Me, I like to use it for revisions/edits. In it she says every scene must do three things.

Which of the following does the scene accomplish?

____ (G) Dramatically illustrate a character’s progress toward the goal or provide an experience which changes a character’s goal.

____ (M) Provide a character with an experience that strengthens his motivation or changes his motivation.

____ (C) Bring a character into conflict with opposing forces.

It can, of course accomplish all three, but minimally must accomplish at least one. This point gives me the broad goal of the scene.

What are the three reasons for the scene?

Now one of my three reasons for the scene can be answering the GMC *** question above. But I must have at least 3 total reasons for the scene to be included and make the cut. Why three? Well, if I remember correctly, I think Dixon says something about it in her book, but mostly it’s because I think of something having three points as being stable. If I can come up with three reasons, then more than likely I won’t have to axe the scene later.

I think she has a point about three points being stable. It’s no wonder three-legged stools have been around forever. (And the image analogies using them…wow.)

But I digress.

Do you have a hard limit where characters are concerned? What do you do when characters cross the line?

*** Kait references: Goal, Motivation, and Conflict by Debra Dixon, one of my recommended reads.

Pets in Fiction

Lord Groaner — the dog could carry a tune, I kid you not!

A week or so ago Amy Shojai did a name that dog post. In the comments I gave a shout out to every canine fur baby I’ve had — a veritable pack — from the first, a Toy Poodle my sister conned my father into through to Beastie Girl, a Boxer/Pit Bull.



Danielle — for years my longest relationship outside of family, much to That Man’s chagrin.

Beyond the trip down memory lane, listing all those pets made me realize it’s been a rare point in time when I wasn’t sharing my home with a four-legged friend. And that’s an enriching thing. I’m mostly a dog person, some of my best fur babies were strays and pound puppies, but there was a cat or two as well :)


That, in turn, got me thinking about pets in stories.



Nathan the Neurotic — I can’t count the number of presents that required re-wrapping (IYKWIM).

I can’t imagine my life without a fur baby, or two, in it. Is it really a stretch for our story people to have pets?

Yet, I’ve only written one story so far with a pet, a tribute to my Blue Heeler mix, Dani (that pretty spotted one). It’s not as easy as one might think. The heroine can’t just run off for the weekend with the hero, I mean, who’s going to watch the fur baby?

It’s much the same situation writers run into by having children in the story. Beyond, babies being born or hinted at (in an epilogue), I’ve only written one story where a child was an active part of the story line. Strangely enough, or not, the same story featuring Dani. And he’s a teen, about to graduate high school.


And then there’s Roxy, my beloved Beastie Girl.

As a reader, I’ve enjoyed the extra layer of having pets (or children) in a story. I’ve also seen it done poorly. As a writer, I like the idea of adding that layer of reality to a story yet not every story calls for it. I suspect I have a bit to go before I master it. How about you?

  • Readers: Do you enjoy reading stories with children and/or pets in them?
  • Writers: Have you written a pet or child into a story?





For kicks and giggles and a trip down the rabbit hole…

Me and Lord Groaner, circa 1983, as part of my high school senior photo shoot.

Character Surprises with Joely Sue Burkhart

I met Joely Sue Burkhart through one of Lynn Viehl’s Left Behind and Loving It ‘online conferences’ and began stalking reading everything she wrote. Over the years we became friends: cheering, crying, supporting, and giving the occasional kick in the arse to each other. It is with extreme pleasure I welcome Joely here today.

Take it away Joely!

~ * ~


It never matters how much plotting I do — the characters still manage to surprise me before I hit “the end.” When I started planning and writing Yours to Take, all I really knew up front was that Vicki wanted a menage. I didn’t know who the men were or what brought them together at first. So here are a few surprises that she sprung on me as I started writing…

  1. Vicki’s a switch. I suspected, given her family history (Victor, Conn, and Mama Connagher are all dominants) that she’d be dominant too. But until Elias walked in, I didn’t know that she’d also play a more submissive role. Granted, she makes him work for it…
  2. Jesse’s so submissive he’s scary. He’s willing to do absolutely anything Vicki tells him, which petrifies her (and me!).
  3. But Jesse’s also got a very strong core. I knew he was a survivor and he’s certainly seen a lot in his life, but it surprised me when he stood up to Rodgers and even Elias when it came to Vicki’s welfare. Jesse may be putty in Vicki’s hands, but if she’s ever threatened or upset, he’s a strong shoulder for her to lean on.
  4. Elias can be an alphahole. I love alpha men, don’t get me wrong, but he can be a jerk too. His pride is a problem that gets in the way of him reconciling with Vicki after they separated three months before. He recognizes when he’s being a jerk, but he’s not a warm and fuzzy sort of guy. He’s certainly not going to quote poetry like Conn! Luckily Vicki doesn’t take any of Elias’s shit. She’s more than strong enough to smack him down when he’s being too arrogant.
  5. Vicki’s favorite pastime (other than designing her own line or loving her men)… zombie movies. I love zombie stories, don’t get me wrong, but I haven’t seen too many zombie movies that I could watch more than once. She loves them all, from the old black and white Night of the Living Dead
    to Zombieland.

If you’re a writer, what’s the biggest shocker your characters have pulled on you?

Readers, what has surprised you in a favorite book?

One commenter will win a free eCopy of Yours to Take: The Connaghers, Book 3!

~ * ~

All fire and gunpowder need is a stray spark…

The day one of her old clients gunned down a cop, former defense attorney Vicki Connagher lost everything—her passion for justice, and her lover, Detective Elias Reyes. The dead cop’s partner.

Even though she’s following her dream to start her own fashion line, it’s tough with heartache as her only companion. Until she brings Jesse, a wandering street artist, in from a freak Texas snowstorm. His submissive flirting brings out dominant tendencies she never knew she possessed, yet she hesitates to let him take her as far and as hard as she wants to go.

Some homeless junkie in Vicki’s house? Not on Elias’s watch. Pride kept him away, but as long as Jesse is staying in Vicki’s downstairs shop, he’s staying with Vicki. On the couch, but it’s a start.

As the days go by, the three work out an uneasy alliance. But Vicki’s joy at having Elias back in her life is tempered with a growing desire to have it all. Elias in her bed, and Jesse under her command. The only question remaining is if her tough alpha cop is willing to embrace all that she is…

Bio: Joely always has her nose buried in a book, especially one with mythology, fairy tales, and romance. You can find her on her website, Twitter, and Facebook. Be sure to check out her free reads!

~ * ~

Congrats Natalie Hartford you are the winner

of the Yours to Take giveaway!

Numbers in Tarot

Last week, in the Meet the Cards series, we concluded the Major Arcana (trumps) of the Gaian deck. Next week, we will begin to explore the Minor Arcana (pips).

Before we continue meeting the cards, I want to pause and explore the numbers we find associated with the tarot. Just like a standard deck of cards, tarot cards are numbered. And there is a whole science around numbers!

As we saw, the Major Arcana is numbered 0 to 21. Major secrets, lessons, and archetypes.

There are two basic thoughts on how you figure the numerology of the cards.
  1. Reduction. For example, the Star (17) would be reduced to 1 + 7 = 8.
  2. Numerical Signifier. For example, Temperance (14) would be 4.

Either way works and from what I can tell it’s a personal preference.

One overview of what the numbers mean is The Numerological Significance of the Tarot by Anthony Louis. There is also a school of thought that the odd numbers are masculine (active) while the even numbers are feminine (passive). That goes back to the elements too.

If we look at the above examples.
  1. The Star (17) is reduced to 1 + 7 = 8.

    Eight is made up of 2 x 4, or 2 x 2 x 2. Like the four, it is a number of power, manifestation, and material accomplishment.

  2. Or Temperance (14) as 4.

    Four is the number of manifestation and material reality. There are four elements, four sides of a square, four cardinal directions of a compass, four seasons, four winds, etc. It is a number of order, structure, power, and earthly dominion. Four is the number of the prototypical complete family: a father, a mother, a son, and a daughter.

What do those mean to you? How does it add to your ‘reading’ of the card as you look at the image or read the details out of the LWB (Little White Book) that came with your deck?

The Minor Arcana is closer to a regular deck of cards in that we have four suits (which correspond to the four suits of a standard deck of cards) and each suit is comprised of fourteen cards numbered ace [1] to 10 plus four court cards. The Minor Arcana represent the everyday events and feelings within each suit. The court cards represent family with the father (king), mother (queen), son (knight), and daughter (page). The Gaian deck focuses on this sense of family (or ‘it takes a village’) even more by changing the court cards to Elders, Guardians, Explorers, and Children.

If you’re interested, I uncovered a great series of lessons while researching this post. The Secrets of Tarot Numerology is 12 lessons long complete with assignments to practice. I’ll definitely be doing this in the near future.

However, we’re going to look at the journey.

Just like the Seeker’s journey through the Major Arcana we have a Seeker’s journey through the Minor Arcana, too.

Three mini-dramas, in fact.
  • Ace – 2 – 3
  • 4 – 5 – 6
  • 7 – 8 – 9
Or look at it this way.
  • Ace, 4, and 7 = new beginning
  • 2, 5, and 8 = the challenge
  • 3, 6, and 9 = resolution (if the Seeker met the challenge)

Each of the three sets of three goes a bit deeper as the Seeker grows and matures. The first triad parallels the trials and exploits of youth, roughly corresponding to the Child and Explorer [court] cards. The second triad is more about the experiences of midlife, corresponding to the Explorer and Guardian cards. The third triad is about maturity and wholeness, corresponding to the Guardian and Elder cards. ~Joanna Powell Colbert

  • Culminating in 10…transition. Something dies, is reborn, and the cycle begins again. Hmm, doesn’t that just sound like the “dark night of the soul”?

How about this?

Is it me, or are you seeing character arc and/or plot structure at every turn of the tarot?

For a blogiversary giveaway tease hop on over to Tarot Elements where they recently featured the delicious Steampunk Tarot.

Sunday Summary & #ROW80

Group 1: Thank You, Hello, Follow Your Dreams, & Love cards.

Here’s a tease of the cards up for grabs in the blogiversary giveaway…

Okay, on to the update.

  1. The Writing: Apparently, working on the shiny is speaking to me this week :)
    • Monday: 805 words mostly new wordage with a bit of character development.
    • Tuesday: 685 words toward character development.
    • Wednesday: 0 words.
    • Thursday: 0 words.
    • Friday: 145 words toward plot points.
    • Saturday: 631 words of new wordage.

    So while I didn’t write every day this week I exceeded the overall words (1750) for the week.

  2. As you can see from above, I’ve been working on characters. Marcy Kennedy wrote a wonderful post about characters who don’t match stereotypical qualities and included a link to Rob Preece’s guest post Women are from Venus, Men are annoying. LOL, a great male POV post! I’m firmly in the John Gray camp of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus: The Classic Guide to Understanding the Opposite Sex so it’s nice seeing it applied to crafting characters. And if that isn’t enough character deliciousness, Roni Loren also posted about writing the male POV. Is it any wonder my hero has been taking up all my time? And he hasn’t even told me his name yet!
  3. The Reading: Check. I finished The Plot Thickens: 8 Ways to Bring Fiction to Life and read two fiction stories. Now to decide which craft book to start next.
  4. The Blogging: Check. Maintaining about a two week cushion on posts and met my comment goals for the week.
  5. The Social Media: I did well with the sharing this week. However, I don’t think I met my updating goal and, sadly, didn’t meet the conversation goal.
  6. August McLaughlin has more great info on Pinterest and blogging.
  7. The Health: Managed 4 glasses of water per day all days this week but Saturday. No dog walking. Bad fur-baby parent, bad. Sugar reduction is going well. I didn’t even cave with all the Easter stuff in the house…go me :)

    Beastie Girl

  8. And speaking of health, Jenny Hansen reminds us women of medical tests we should have done. When was your last visit to the doctor?
  9. Fur baby loving. (This is my phone wallpaper…we girls have to stick together!) Amy Shojai talked about why NOT to hug your dog today. (Edit: link fixed)
  10. To support the awesomeness that is ROW80 you can go HERE

#ROW80 Round 2 Goals

Can you believe it’s April already?! Happy Sunday everyone, today we kick off the blogiversary :throws confetti:

My MIL sent me this link, the video had me at Scotland :) but this cyclist is ah-mazing!

Goals for Round 2 are:

  1. Writing: So I have a fantasy MS to finish a first draft on, a sci-fi MS to revise, a shiny to brainstorm and plot, and a contemporary MS that needs edits I really want to get back to. Instead of limiting myself to working on one or two, my goal for this Round is to write/revise 250 words (approximately a page) per day.
  2. Reading: I have a yearly goal of 100 books. Of course, reading goes in cycles depending, to a degree, on the writing. I want to read two books on craft this Round, perhaps even plotting the shiny based off one.
  3. Blogging: My blogging goals worked well for me in Round 1 so I’ll continue them in Round 2: write two blog posts in addition to a weekly check-in post, comment on three blogs per day, and comment on two new blogs per week.
  4. Social Media: This is a struggle for me :sigh: For the most part, I think the goals I had last Round work, I just need to apply myself better. So my goals are: three updates (not including blog posts) to Twitter and Facebook each week, share ten blog posts each week, and have at least one conversation. (Started this week with @MarjiLaine and a fun Coke vs. Pepsi conversation, LOL)
  5. Health: My overall goal this year is to get healthier. The plan was to add/change/lose one thing per month. Yeah, that worked last Round…not. Still I think it’s the right approach. January was to be water. February, dog walking. March was sugar reduction. In April I wanted to add yoga or something similar. Well, I need to go back and focus. For this Round my goals are to be drinking 8 glasses of water per day by the end of the Round, be walking the dog 7 days a week by the end of the Round, and to continue with the sugar reduction. If I master the dog walking before the end of the Round I’ll revisit the addition of yoga or similar exercise.

To support the awesomeness that is ROW80, go HERE.

Tarot: Elements

The fantasy piece I’m currently working on is deeply seeped in the elements. Angela Wallace’s Elemental Magic post last week made me realize I never did cover the elements during my Using Tarot in Writing series.

So, let’s call this an addendum to my series :)

You may want to catch up on the earlier installments before continuing with this one.
Part one, Introduction
Part two, Plotting and Brainstorming
Part three, Character Circle
Part four, Character Creation
Part five, The Hero’s Journey
Part six, Creating a World
Part seven, Tarot 101


  • Active
  • Masculine energy
  • Spontaneous, Inspired, Enthusiastic, Outgoing, Passionate, Visionary, Dramatic, Instinctual, and Self-centered
  • Tarot: The spiritual experience, the driving force behind work and passions
  • Suit: Wands (wood burns) in a Tarot deck (Clubs in a regular deck)
  • Court Cards: King = Father
  • Trumps: Emperor, Wheel of Fortune, Strength, Temperance, Tower, Sun, and Judgment
  • Signs: Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius
  • Colors: red and orange
  • Direction: South
  • Fire can bring about new life or destroy the old
  • Fire and Water: Fire can show Water how to be in the moment. At its worse, it’s a hapless situation, Water often dousing Fire.
  • Fire and Earth: Fire can make Earth feel needed. At its worse, Fire can become frustrated with slow-moving Earth.
  • Fire and Air: Fire helps Air from being all talk. These two always astonish each other.
  • Fire and Fire: A fantastic adventure as long as they don’t burn each other out. At its worse, Fire’s temperament will turn into a struggle for dominance.
  • Fire trusts in life’s journey, is often a catalyst, and is able to bring out spontaneity in others. Fire often acts on gut feelings. Fire’s lust for life is contagious, spreading to those around them, but it’s equally important for Fire to have a cheerleader. Fire is often stubborn but if Fire is open to what the other Elements can teach then Fire is as nourishing as sunshine.


  • Passive
  • Feminine energy
  • Intuitive, Emotional, Imaginative, Nurturing, Dreamy, and Secretive
  • Tarot: Emotional affairs, well suited to love and relationships
  • Suit: Cups or Chalices in a Tarot deck (Hearts in a regular deck)
  • Court Cards: Queen = Mother
  • Trumps: High Priestess, Chariot, Hanged Man, Death, and Moon
  • Signs: Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces
  • Colors: blue
  • Direction: West
  • Water can heal and purify
  • Water and Earth: Water opens Earth to deeper emotions. These two have a satisfying romantic relationship.
  • Water and Fire: Water can add emotion Fire’s passion. At its worse, Fire is like an annoying alarm clock.
  • Water and Air: Water helps Air make deeper emotional connections and Air helps Water put their feelings into words. These two are a strong motivating force.
  • Water and Water: Acutely understanding of each other. At its worse, Water can lose a sense of boundaries, and self.
  • Water is slow to trust, can border on psychic, and is ruled by their intense feelings. Water often pads everyday life with emotional meaning. Water can be quickly shaped by their relationships and needs alone time to stay true to themselves.


  • Active
  • Masculine energy
  • Analytical, Curious, Thinking, Intellectual, Social, and Detached
  • Tarot: Thought and communication (swords and spades “have a point to make”)
  • Suit: Swords (swords cut through the air) in a Tarot deck (Spades in a regular deck)
  • Court Cards: Prince (Knight) = Son
  • Trumps: Fool, Magician, Lovers, Justice, and Star
  • Signs: Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius
  • Colors: yellow and white
  • Direction: East
  • Air is the breath of life, it blows away strife and carries positive thoughts
  • Air and Earth: Air can be liberating for Earth. At its worse, Earth ties Air down.
  • Air and Fire: Air helps Fire be more logical and Fire gives Air a sense of purpose. These two are a dynamic combination.
  • Air and Water: These two bring balance between feelings and thoughts.
  • Air and Air: A meeting of the minds. At its worse, these two can become coolly distant.
  • Air leads with logic, offers clarity from a higher position, and is social. Air is perceptive to cultural trends and attitudes. Air can maintain a balanced mind-body with yoga and meditation will calm the static.


  • Passive
  • Feminine energy
  • Practical, Useful, Structure, Productivity, Tangible, Grounded, Sensual, Tactile, and Dependable
  • Tarot: The physical, material, and financial realities
  • Suit: Coins or Pentacles in a Tarot deck (Diamonds in a regular deck)
  • Court Cards: Princess (Page) = Daughter
  • Trumps: Empress, Hierophant, Hermit, Devil, and World
  • Signs: Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn
  • Colors: green and brown
  • Direction: North
  • Earth is all aspects of life: birth, life, death, and rebirth
  • Earth and Water: Earth can guide Water toward a goal. Water nourishes Earth.
  • Earth and Fire: Earth can guide Fire by a mastery of structure and is energized by Fire. At its worse, Fire can burn them both.
  • Earth and Air: Earth offers practicality to Air. At its worse, Air finds Earth stuffy and talks circles around Earth.
  • Earth and Earth: A world of things to see, touch, hear, and taste. At its worse, these two will fall into the trap of not living for today.
  • Earth is intimately attuned to nature, often falling into the “all work, no play” cycle, and are realists. Earth can stifle inspiration, faith, or purpose. Equally, Earth is balance for the idle dreamer, assessing and organizing the tangible.

All that being said, it is unfair to say one element weakens (or strengthens) another exclusively. There are degrees. In Tarot, what appears to be a weak combination could be the last grain of hope. That friendly pairing could be disastrous.

When you do a spread, no one card is more important than the others. A Water card influencing a Fire card…

Water getting the heat of Fire definitely is not happy, for the most part it just feels disturbed and hates the intruder. It can be, though, that the placid Water just needs a wake-up call to drag its behind out of dreamland, but it still won’t be delighted by the annoyance.

…is different from a Fire card influencing a Water card.

Fire and Water is a hapless combination, they simply do not get along with each other. In some rare instances it could be that the Water provides an emotional base for the imbalanced Fire, but in 99% per cent the Fire simply gets weakened or even extinguished.

Connections within connections. The more I study tarot, the elements, and the zodiac/astrology, the more I find similarities!

Do you think your sign/element is true to your personality?

Note: images and quotes from Raven’s Tarot Site

Budding Author in the House

I had the most amazing experience with oldest beastie on our recent family road trip. We travel this same route every year to visit family. That Man and I drive overnight allowing the wee beasties to sleep the majority of the trip. Something I remember from many childhood trips. In the non-sleeping moments we have a DVD player set up and it works beautifully. Usually. This trip the DVD player broke down about an hour into the trip.

Complete parental unit fail. I hadn’t prepared any of the non-technology activities I normally do. So no coloring books, drawing pads, colored pencils or crayons, games that can be played independently, or the cookie sheets for them to use as tables. Sigh. “Are we there yet?” started about an hour after the DVD player broke.

What’s a kid to do when technology (and parents) fail? In true writer fashion…write a story!

Oldest beastie set up a game of “pick my story” where he would tell a part of a story then pause at key moments (hook, inciting incident, etc.) and give the other beasties three choices. He’d then adjust the story based on the answer and continue to the next key moment.

First off, he impressed me with his improvisation and pulling the bored wee beasties into something creative.

After the game was done — youngest beasties got bored with it — the process morphed into the two oldest creating characters, building a world, and brainstorming a plot. Something along the lines of ET meets Transformers but hey the kid has to start somewhere.


My ears perked up. My middle-schooler had an amazing grasp of what was needed to build a story. Much better than I remember having at his age but then I did come to a love of reading late in life so perhaps teachers attempted to drill it into me and I just promptly forgot.

I was drawn into the conversation when oldest started asking next oldest what was happening during the “rising action.” Where the two were getting twisted was what that exactly covers. Oldest was using it to cover everything that happens after the intro and set up in Act One through to the climax in Act Three. Which it is but that makes for a rather challenging plot development.

What followed was an amazing conversation on plot and structure.

Yep, proud mama moment. I hope the beasties finish their story…who knows, maybe one (or both) is the next JK Rowling.

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