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Holiday Gifts For Writers 2012

What To Get Me You, The Writer, For Christmas

It's that time of year again. 

Melissa Sugar's List of Unique & Fun Gifts for Writers

I truly mean it when I say that I love giving gifts as much or more than receiving them. (Did I say that backwards?)

Do you have a problem shutting out the world~wide~web when you should be working on your manuscript? I do.

 Freedom might be the answer for you. For only ten bucks you can temporarily block Internet access to your computer. I think I need it. My ADHD takes over when I am surfing the net, researching info for my NIP and three hours and three hundred clicks later, I have no idea what my original question was.
If you still want some freedom, why not try, Anti-Social. It only blocks access to social media sites, while you work.

Revisions and editing got you down? Having trouble concentrating? Can't seem to block out all the distractions? Perhaps the problem is not you, it is your writing desk. Try the Re-Write Desk and you'll churn out that polished manuscript in no time.

When all else fails, pour yourself a nice glass of wine, I mean juice- mommy juice, that is. 
I haven't tried this, but you gotta love the name. 
I don't know your opinion on creative lubrication, but a great number of famous authors have struggled with alcohol. I sit in the middle of that fence. I would never get anything accomplished if I lived in a Hemingway stupor and too much alcohol steals time from creativity. I tend to write without my inner critic after one or two glasses of wine, but that's when the law of diminishing returns kicks in. I didn't mean to get all philosophical. I just wanted to show you this quirky gift of Liquid Courage.
And with all that drinking, you are sure to need some creative, artsy, writery coasters.

 Favorite writer coasters on Etsy 
The designer's name is Kelly Pulssegur

What if you find yourself in a writer's funk? It happens, to drinkers and non drinkers, alike. Well, there's a tool for that. Dig into this Writers Toolbox.

This writer's toolkit looks like fun. Try the Observation Deck.  It is a combo, book and cards with useful writing tips, prompts and other creative tools.

You probably know that I am a notebook junkie. I write my first draft with pen and paper and I am a little neurotic about having the perfect notebook. I can blow an entire day if I don't have the right pen. I must have a fine (needle) point, rollarball  blue pen.  

I saw the cutest notebooks on this website. Here are a few of them.
Here is another fun notebook to brainstorm the rough draft of your first novel. It comes in three different abstract patterns. 

What? You can't sleep, right now? 
Oh my mistake. You meant, you cannot sleep, so you are going to write, right now. Ah! Yes, that makes much more sense.
So what do you do when you Can't Sleep Write Now?

An inspirational journal for all tireless thinkers. It is filled with provocative quotes and writing prompts. So the next time you lie awake at night, battling insomnia, just give into it and pick up your handy new creative writing journal.

How many times have you answered the question, "What books are on your bedside table?" 
So, how many? 
If you are anything like me, your bedside table is overflowing with stacked books. I have books stockpiled on the floor next to my bed. How many? So many that I actually grouped the stacks close together and formed one giant stack and created a makeshift bedside table out of my stacked books. I place my water bottle and other nighttime necessities on top of my books~turned end table. 

I had to come up with a better idea and every "how to get organized book" (yup, more books) I have, stresses the importance of going vertical.  I would turn all four walls in every room into built in bookshelves if my family would allow me. In the meantime, these inexpensive, almost invisible floating bookshelves due the trick. The shelf is about $15 bucks.

I am also in love with this pop orange bookcase , found at cb2, for $189.00.

For those of you who don't buy into the whole notebook thing, we can all use a mini idea book.

 They are tiny enough to slip into the back pocket of your jeans, or you can toss one in your purse. 
They come in packs of three for only six bucks. 

I think my favorite gift for writers this year is the Book Book. 

What is a book book? 

It is a novel way to cover your MacBook

It is so many things, but mainly it is a one of a kind, hardback leather case designed exclusively for your MacBook Pro. It is unique, cool, and no two are alike. Book book is also an innovate and stealthy way to disguise your laptop. For $79-$99 dollars, you not only get an attractive laptop protector, you reduce the risk of having your MacBook stolen while at the library, dorm, work, coffee shop etc.

What's on your Christmas list this year? What is the one item you really want? What is your "non writer" favorite gift? Have you stumbled upon any cool gifts for writers? Please share.

Happy Thanksgiving & Win a Manuscript Critique.

Want to Win a Manuscript Critique From a Professional Editor?

Laura Carlson at Between The Lines: Edits and Everything Else is hosting an awesome holiday give a way. Her blog and her editing service is new to me. No, I don't live in a cave (not really), but I have neglected my blog and visiting other blogs, during NaNo,  so I just recently found Laura's blog. I discovered Between the Lines: Edits and Everything Else, when I read her informative guest post, Increasing Your Book's Momentum, over on one of my favorite blogs, The Bookshelf Muse.

The winner will receive a FREE manuscript critique and the first twenty (20) entries will receive 1000 words of FREE edits. How wonderful is that? It is extremely festive and generous of Laura to offer her professional services, so be sure to check it out. You need to follow her blog to enter and that is basically all you have to do.

Visit Laura Carlson's  website for more information on her services and rates. Be sure to read the flattering testimonials offered by her clients.

Happy Thanksgiving

I am thankful for my two little ones just above.

I am thankful for my kids,  Blake, Bennett & Logan (photo just above)
For my kids and my nieces and nephews

For my mom (sandwiched in the photo above. My 14 year old is as big as my petite mom.
Okay. Now it's your turn.

It is almost over. I hope all of you had a very happy and memorable day. I am already stuffing my face with turkey and mayo sandwiches. 

How are you doing with NaNo?

A Peek at Karen's World: Let's Talk about Something MUCH More Fun!

A Peek at Karen's World: Let's Talk about Something MUCH More Fun!

Check out this blog & nominate your favorite blogs for her 2nd Annual Blog Awards

Writer Feeling Disconnected

Today Was The Official First Day of NaNoWrimo.

How many of you are participating?

Let me tell you how foolish I feel. For the entire day, I  thought today was Wednesday. Okay, I get it - how foolish can I be? I mean it is not like today is just another random and normal day. It is day 1 of NaNo! If that's not enough to make me feel stupid, yesterday was Halloween! WTF? How did  I not catch on all day- to the actual day of the week. 

By the time this post is published it will be after midnight- so, Friday, morning.  I didn't want you to think I was two days behind in my head- nope, one is enough!

So I was all set to post my Insecure Writers Support Group post tonight, but looks like I missed the boat on that-again. Actually, I didn't miss it (yea!), I was early, for once in my life.

My topic for IWSG was going to be how totally and utterly disconnected I feel right now. Disconnected from friends, family, work, writing, blogging (really disconnected from blogging and bloggers.) Believe me, I know it is all my own doing, but the frazzled and hazy feeling that accompanies disconnection is the same regardless of what brought it about.
In September, I had the honor of one of my favorite published authors reading my manuscript. I knew that it needed some work before I began querying it, that was the reason I sought advice from a trusted and respected reader. What I was not prepared for was (okay I was- but are we ever really- mentally prepared) the amount of work that would go into the changes, cuts, additions, deletions and restructuring and/or moving scenes around involved in getting said novel query ready.

So for those of you who have experienced this and for those of you who will probably at one point or another in your writing career, experience this, let me tell you, it is both exhilarating and disappointing. It is quite a giant ego boost when someone really loves your work (or claims to), but I trust the sincerity of this author. It is also crushing when you see so many red lines and red comments in the margin.

So, needless to say, I  spent the month devouring the critique and making all the necessary changes. Some, of course, I did not agree with - but- hey, I am partial to my people. I love my characters and I am very close to my plot.  This is the very reason we need critique partners and beta readers. I am talking about those who are brutally honest, not someone like DH who promises to be honest. I swear I could hear the criticism suggestions rolling off my husband's tongue and then he suddenly choked his words back down his throat. 
I wonder if his actions/reactions had anything to do with the malevolent look in my eyes, steam erupting from my ears and horns sprouting from my head?

Long story short (shorter), I poured myself into completing this project and in doing so I feel hopelessly disconnected from my blogger/writer friends.  Knowing that the month of November, is never the appropriate month to reconnect, I am feeling sad and worried about the friendships and connections I have made here. On the positive side (I always include blogging on my my list of positives ), I started blogging a little over a year ago with the hopes of connecting with fellow readers/writers/bloggers. I have done that. We have all heard how necessary it is to build our online presence, our social media platform before we try and sell our first book, but if we never finish the book, we will never have a book to query, publish and yes, sell.

Blogging is fun and in addition to the connections and relationships I have made, I have also learned an enormous amount about the craft and the business from all of you.  If I had not started blogging, I would not have learned what was needed to finish my book. In fact I actual thought it was completed until I learned just how incomplete and unready/unpolished it was - and I learned that from all of you. 

So thank you all- for your help, advice, how to blog post, recommendations, feedback, pep talks, ideas, writing exercises, encouragement  and the multitude of valuable information, personal struggles and success stories you have shared. Damn this is starting to sound like the post we all anxiously await writing- the I have an agent or I am getting published. Hell, why not, I won the academy award.  I guess I am just as excited as I foresee myself being when I get to write those post (notice I said "when", not "if") Positive thinking. Something else I attribute to ya'll.

It's a start. A multi published author whom I  respect and admire, loves my revised manuscript. I no longer even care that I had to pretty much cut the first three chapters- tiny white lie (okay- I got to use some of it), but the little that remained of those first few chapters is sprinkled sparingly throughout the rest of the book. My plot and subplots all come together the way they did in my head and the way I intended for them to on the page.  The order of my scenes finally feels right and natural. 

I have always heard and everyone tells me that the next step is dive into a new project while I await responses from my query letters and what better day to begin that process than November 1st? So it is time to begin the grueling, yet often rewarding process of churning out a book in thirty (30) days. It's NaNo time.

Good luck to all of you who are participating in NaNoWrimo. I plan to post once a week during the month of November and I will not forget my IWSG post. That will be next Wednesday, November 7, 2012.  I will visit your blogs periodically throughout the month and in December, I will be back with consistent and scheduled post and will spend time catching up with all of you and your blog post. Hopefully, by then my blog design makeover will be completed. 
My stand alone pages will finally land exactly where they are supposed to land. 

Tenille, at The Cutest Blog On The Block (TCBOTB) is putting the final touches on the custom designed blog and gadgets she has been working on. I am computer illiterate (especially the writing code part) so I am at her mercy and she does good work. I can't wait to see her finished product.

Are you participating in NaNo this year? If you are, how do you manage your blog post and comments during the month? How much planning, plotting, outlining do you do pre-NaNo?

Attorney/Client Privilege Keeps Innocent Man in Prison

Attorney-Client Privilege :

The attorney-client privilege is the oldest privilege recognized by Anglo American Jurisprudence.

There are very few exceptions to the sacred privilege and in all but one state, a lawyer may not reveal confidential communication even if the information would free an innocent person, wrongfully convicted of a crime.

I viewed an unusual privilege issue on Law and Order last night. Yes, I am a Law and Order junkie! What can a lawyer do, legally, if her client confides that she killed a certain person and the lawyer subsequently learns that an innocent person is is imprisoned as the perpetrator of that crime? Tough one?

I confide in you as my lawyer that I murdered Jane Smith. Six months later, Rick Bond is arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced to life in prison for murdering Jane Smith.  You know that Rick Bond is actually innocent because I am your client and I confessed to you that I did it. The law prohibits you from revealing your clients's confidential communication. What do you do?

Watching this particular episode of Law and Order made me queasy. Law and Order is fictional, but the issue addressed is very real. If a lawyer reveals the privileged communication he or she is throwing away their career, livelihood and everything they have worked so hard to become and could also be charged with a crime.   If the lawyer remains true to his or her oath, does not violate this sacred privilege and follows the law, an innocent man will spend the rest of his life in prison. It get worse. Even if the lawyer follows his or her conscious and reveals the privileged information, if it is revealed without a waiver from the client, the information is useless in a court of law.

In the past several years, the fictional plot explored on Law and Order has haunted real lives. Two wrongful conviction cases have been spotlighted in the media. Both cases involved lawyers who were privy to confidential information conveyed to them by clients that would help free wrongfully convicted men, but both lawyers were barred from coming forward. They were prohibited from coming forward and sharing information that would help free innocent men. These lawyers were bound by the very same judicial system that advocates life, liberty, freedom, justice, truth, and the pursuit of happiness

In one of those cases the offending client allowed his attorney to reveal information that would free the innocent man, upon his death. The lawyer did so, but not until after the wrongfully convicted man spent two decades in prison. The second case has a much more chilling result.

Staple Hughes, a North Carolina attorney, revealed his clients's privileged communication in 2004, after his imprisoned client died. Hughes hoped to free the wrongfully convicted, Lee Wayne Hunt from his life sentence. Hughes, stated that his his now dead client, confessed that he and he alone committed the double homicide for which Hunt was serving a life sentence. Hughes kept his client's confidence for twenty-two years while Hunt was serving a life sentence for a crime he did not commit.

 Hughes felt it was "ethically permissible and morally imperative" that he come forward with the exonerating information, once his own client died.  The law, unfortunately disagrees. An attorney is bound by the attorney- client privilege even after the death of his or her client. Because Hughes did not receive his client's consent to reveal the confidential information upon his death, Judge Jack Thompson of the Cumberland County Superior Court in Fayetteville, North Carolina refused to consider  Hughes' testimony during the 2007, hearing for a new trial. The judge stated, "Mr. Hughes has committed professional misconduct." The judge reported Hughes to the North Carolina Bar for violating attorney-client privilege and Lee Wayne Hunt remains in prison despite the exculpatory evidence showing his innocence. You can read summaries of both cases and find links to the actual court cases here.

The principle of confidentiality is set out in the legal ethics rules in each jurisdiction and in ABA Model Rule 1.6. Model Rule 1.6 Comment [2] states: “A fundamental principle in the client-lawyer relationship is that, in the absence of the client's informed consent, the lawyer must not reveal information relating to the representation. ... This contributes to the trust that is the hallmark of the client-lawyer relationship.” American Bar Association

What is your opinion on the law that prohibits an attorney from revealing confidential information? Should there be an exception if the information will free a wrongfully incarcerated person? Or would an exception to the rule hinder a client's ability to freely and openly discuss facts and circumstances with his or her attorney without fear of disclosure?

This blog is not intended as legal advice.

Teen Party Ideas- Scavenger Hunts, Amazing Race & More: Ages 13-15

Teen Party Ideas:

If you landed here for Teen Party Ideas, my other blog has a much more detailed article on fun party ideas that your teen will love & thank you for.

Party ideas that your teen and friends will not call lame. Scavenger Hunt ideas for teens that will rock the party.

This is my crime fiction writing blog, but I've noticed quite a bit of people landing here, in search of teen party ideas. I have a second blog with a boat-load of cool, unique teen scavenger hunts & other teen party ideas. Check it out. You will also find fun party ideas for tweens.

"Whatever you do mom, my party cannot be lame."

 Said the fourteen year old.

The First Wednesday Of The Month:

Another month has rolled around and it is once again time for Alex Cavanaugh's IWSG. In case you have been living in a cave without Internet access for the last year and don't know what the IWSG is, it stands for Insecure Writers Support Group. Alex is the brainchild of this epic event. It is a "Time for us to release our fears to the world-or offer encouragement to those who feel neurotic."

I feel neurotic, but for once it has nothing to do with my writing.

My daughter is turning 14 and (yes call me certifiably crazy- lady gone ape shit nuts-cuckoo) she is having a sleepover, Friday night. She has invited twenty-seven (27), yup, I said 27, girls to spend the night. She has invited guys to hang out until after the movie .

I've done my best to jam pack the day, evening, night and wee hours of the morning with non stop activities. How else can I hope to contain middle -school- teenage- girl- drama  x27?

The girls & guys will draw a tootsie roll sucker from a paper bag to determine which of the six teams they will be on. I decided against making the groups myself for fear of the, "That's not fair." and "Why is she on her team?" or "Why are all the cool kids in group 3?" I have five other friends/parents helping me with transportation. The party kicks off after school with revised versions of "The Amazing Race", "Fear Factor" and "Survivor".

At 7:00 we are headed to the boardwalk for a teen scavenger- photo hunt.  The kids take photos of their teams doing weird things and finding odd objects. I am sure that one group member will have a camera phone. Oh, who am I kidding? All 40-45 kids have at least one electronic device that takes photos/videos. I bet they have them posted to facebook before I even get to see them and select the winners. 

The last clue will (hopefully) lead the kids to the movie theatre at the Boardwalk where they will see Pitch Perfect and I will have a much needed break. I can just sit alone in a pub (I'm not one of the drivers and by then a little vino might be necessary) or maybe just a coffee shop and do what I love to do, write. I will have two whole uninterrupted hours to write. Assuming nothing goes wrong and really what could possibly go wrong with 40-45 teenagers going to a movie together. I do pity the others attempting to watch the film.

The movie lets out a little after midnight and the adults and 40 or so kids will eat at IHOP, which is also on the boardwalk. The kids love watching the drunks stumble in to one of the few all night places to eat. They love to people watch drunkards. I suppose it's a hell of a lot better than the teens thinking they should get drunk so I'm not complaining. I so dread that day. The day one of my kids comes home and I smell booze on them. 

And...after that we are going rolling. For those of you unfamiliar with that term it is when kids throw massive amounts of toilet paper in the trees of a friend or crushes home. In the North and Midwest I think it is called T.P.'ing. 

Don't worry, it is not illegal or anything like that. It is a time honored southern tradition and we always help clean up the next day (if we get caught). What do you think the chances are that word will leak out that it was Blake's party who rolled the poor victim's home? You think 40-45 kids can keep a secret? Nope. I'll be up at 7 AM cleaning toilet paper out of trees.

So, I am a feeling a little neurotic , anxious, edgy, overwhelmed and on the verge of a major panic attack. I'm actually starting to hyperventilate. I want to sneak away with a notebook and pen and just write, but I know it will be fun. At a minimum I will get in a lot of people watching and eavesdropping. I am certain to pick up tidbits for my next WIP.

I hope none of you are feeling the writing blues. Have a great week and weekend.

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