28 July 2011

5 Dos & Don'ts in a Long Term Marriage

I've been thinking about my husband a lot these days. I'm really proud of the fact that we've been married over 24 years now. Which led me to feeling like I need to share the secret of my success. So, here are my 5 dos and don'ts in a long term marriage for you to consider. They may lead to your own successful, long-term marriage.

1. Don't get offended if the only words you ever hear from him are "So, you wanna DO it tonight?" He's been married to you for 25 years already; he shouldn't have to work on his charm anymore.

2. Do drop everything that you are doing, no matter how important, when he suddenly asks for your help in fixing something he broke or finding something he lost.

3. Don't nag him about your time when he stops to compare prices in the grocery store. I don't care that you make six figures per year. You should thank him for the penny savings that he made because he carefully read the labels and performed the math.

4. Do promptly make the decision as to which restaurant you choose for your dining pleasure when asked. He will override this decision later on, so make sure your heart isn't set on what you originally decide.

5. Don't forget to praise him for helping out around the house. It's not enough that you fix the bed every morning, clean the dishes noon and night, vacuum, dust, work a full-time job, breed and raise confident, well-adjusted children and with a heavy heart, turn them loose to be productive members of society. After all, what's it gonna hurt for you to take a few seconds of your time to show some appreciation?

26 July 2011

Character Descriptions and Race

In my last creative writing class, I submitted a short story for review. The story I submitted never provides physical descriptions of my characters. Leaving the descriptions out was intentional. It was not important to me what they looked like or their color. What was important was the story. Why is my main character standing here in a funeral parlor in front of his father's casket? What brought him here? The story is what is important.

If a main character is going to turn out to be a white supremacist with major conflict in a story, then I can understand the need to describe him in the stereotypical fashion, shaved head with a swastika tattooed on the back. In this case, the physical description moves the plot along. That’s helpful.

However, that is not the case with the story I submitted. I was a bit surprised when a fellow student asked, "I'm curious why you never described the main character. Was he black or white?"


It is a short story about the relationship between a father and son. The physical descriptions of the characters are irrelevant. This is not a screening for a movie where I have to choose Samuel L. Jackson or Tom Cruise as my hero. I can care less what color they are.

One response I read from another woman was she assumed every character in Harry Potter was black and she further states it is natural for a reader to assume that so long as no descriptions are given, all characters in a fictional story belong to the reader’s own race.

This concept is foreign to me because I never write with a pre-determined idea that all my characters are Asian. Are you kidding me? All my stories would have to take place at Disney World or some other touristy place and my main characters would all be wielding cameras and donning ebony cloaks.

So what do you think? Is it that important to you as a reader to know the race of the characters you read about, even though clearly there is no logical reasoning behind mentioning it at all?

22 July 2011

Racist Characters in Fiction

Everywhere I visit on the internet, looking for interested readers of fiction, I find more and more would be writers asking this odd question, "Is my main character a racist?"


Or, "Is my secondary main character being sexist in this scene?"

Again, what?!

In fiction, you're not going to write a believable story if you (the author) tip-toe around social problems, trying to keep your characters politically correct. Besides, no character should be without flaws. The world…bad, hero…good. That's just boring.

My heroes are more anti-heroic. Give me someone flawed and give me that opportunity to make their character arc believable. Let me redeem that character in some way, show the reader that this flaw can give more depth to the story and develop my character more than any 6 foot 2 Adonis with the moral code of a Saint.

I don't want to read about perfect characters who love people regardless of color or creed. I want that atheist, gun toting, racist bastard of a character of mine to go on a journey and discover things about him that end up changing his life for the better.

I don't want the God loving, Kumbaya singing, save the world from its own demise characters making me draft a story around them and their perfect little selves. Does this make sense? Why am I finding so many writers mulling over this? Are these things paralyzing today's young writers? I hope to hell it isn't.

We build characters that kill and maim. We build characters that cheat on their spouses, rape their neighbors, commit blasphemy, but oh wait...my character is a racist. Really? Oh my goodness, she made that white soldier character call that Vietnamese girl character a gook. May as well put down that pen now and end your writing career before it even got started.

Do you think this is a normal reaction from readers of fiction? If so, you shouldn't be writing fiction, because your work is probably not going to feed the family, you know? I'm not saying all your characters must be flawed, racist, bigoted assholes. But entertainment is entertainment and you should stop worrying about possibly offending someone.

Truth hurts, yes, but it has to be present in fiction or you'll never make your stories believable.

And, everyone lived happily ever after, right? We all know that's not true.

What are your thoughts? Do you hold back on your character flaws when it comes to racism or sexism? Why or why not?

19 July 2011

Contest Winner - Hint Fiction

Not-So Newly-Weds, by NoƩmi Csiki

Silence, disturbed only by mouse clicks and keyboard taps.
“Did you say something?”
“I … (she doesn’t look up) I don’t remember.”

My daughter picked this as the winner of my Hint Fiction Contest. She said to me, "Mom, this is the story of you and dad."

Oh my goodness! I know I am at the keyboard a lot, but I've not gone senile just yet.

16 July 2011

On Vacation

Well, I may be without my internet for the next few days, so I thought I'd post a personal note and hope you leave me some love in a comment! No, really! It would be like coming home to a bunch of cheers yelling, "Hey, we missed you, welcome home, Diane!" :)

We'll be rafting at the Ocoee River this weekend and then Zip-lining 1500 feet down a mountain. Lord, what have I gotten myself into? I'll never know. Maybe it was my 16 year old daughter and her boyfriend, both giving me that look like "Come on...chance of a lifetime, you're not getting any younger." Really?

I'm just hoping I get back to my online life soon, praying that I don't fall to my death and leave my posthumous first novel, unfinished, and in electronic format buried deep within the confines of my PC. Ironic, I feel like I'm writing my last will and testament, bidding farewell!

Be safe all, and have a wonderful weekend. We will announce the winner of the Hint Fiction Contest when I return from vacation!

11 July 2011

Book Cover - Lethal Injection

Newest Book Cover - updated July 29, 2011

I never created a book cover before, but I needed to have one for my favorite short story, Lethal Injection. It's not published yet, but I plan for it to be soon. I may give away some electronic copies in the near future, but I can't do that just yet since results are not in from a short story contest for which I submitted.

Please let me know if you would download a copy of my short story just from viewing this book cover. My heart is not set on it, and I haven't done a synopsis just yet. I want to know if the cover is appealing first before I commit further. Is it too plain, too unbalanced? There is actually a maroon border around it that cannot be seen because of the background color from my blog.

Thanks for any feedback I get! And if you really don't like it, tell me because I don't do book covers...just wanted one really badly! :)

07 July 2011

Write This Book Now!

Thanks again for participating.

Get your pens ready. Or should I say keyboards? There have been six entries so far for the hint fiction contest. However, I get impatient waiting for the deadline, so I thought I would give us something to do while we wait for other entries to be submitted.

Do you see this interesting book cover with no title?

It has no title right now because it is not a real book cover. I just found a picture on the internet that I really liked and now I am going to pretend it is the book cover for a novel I might like to write someday (or something you might like to write).

Please give it a title and in 100 words or less, write the first few paragraphs of this novel. This is not a contest, but if you participate, I will send you a free electronic copy of Snow Leopard. Please, please...no oohs and ahhs.

Okay, let's begin. Comments on entries are welcome since this is not a contest, just something fun to do. Yes, I have no life. I will be working on my own entry, too. Can't wait to read the first paragraphs of your future novels!

05 July 2011

Fighting For Freedom

I thought a lot about our military and the meaning of freedom this Fourth of July weekend. My son is now 22 years old and home to enjoy the festivities. I do appreciate his service in the US Army and his one-year tour in Iraq, but he is out now and I can breathe more easily.

My father and my husband both served over 22 years each in the US Marine Corps and both retired to enjoy second careers. Therefore, I know I am bias and my appreciation does not necessarily reflect the same as all Americans, but I wanted to mention my family and their patriotism, because yesterday, during a pool party at my house, there was a discussion about military service. Of course there was, it was Independence Day!

I told everyone about an incident which happened when my son came home for a brief visit after a tour in Iraq. He went out with a group of friends to a local bar and someone accused him of being a baby killer because he was a US soldier. I was shocked. When he got off the plane and entered the terminal in his military uniform, most people clapped and thanked him for his service. Even another woman's eyes filled with tears when I gave my son a hug.

Why would anyone call my son a baby killer? Is our country so divided by politics that we cannot even thank those who fight for our freedom, or is freedom something so obscure anymore that we all believe it to be a right with which we were born? We do not have a right to this freedom automatically. There are soldiers who have died in order that we are able to enjoy the freedoms that we do have, and there are soldiers that must still fight and die for our country if we are to remain free.

Our freedom is not ours simply because we pay our taxes and a portion of that money goes to pay for this military. We have our freedom from serving in the military ourselves because the men and women of our military served so that we did not have to.

If you ever hear someone refer to one of our military soldiers as a baby killer, please remind them of those brave men and women who fought and even died so we could have these freedoms today. Should one day our military become weak from the unpatriotic voices of those who do not appreciate these freedoms, I hope you pray to your God when our enemies pierce the boundaries of America and destroy our families.

You might never appreciate something until you no longer have it. What a world that would be...

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