Can you guess what I’m writing about?

Here are some of my recent Google searches.

Q: what kind of trees grow at the lake of the ozarks
A: Native Trees for Missouri, Missouri Botanical Garden

Q: what kind of snakes swim in the water
A: Facts About Water Snakes, Live Science

Q: how many kinds of squirrels are there
A: Different Species of Squirrel Living in the US, Pets on

Q: age, car seat or booster
A: When is my child ready, Safe Seats 4 Kids

Q: rolly pollies, synonyms and spellings
A: Armadillidium vulgare, roly poly, pill-bug, potato bug, woodlouse, doodle bug, carpenter

Q: black, dense caterpillar, california
A: 13 matches, Discover Life dot org
A: Black, Bristly Caterpillar, Hilton Pond dot org

Q: Google image search: caterpillar of Giant Leopard Moth

Q: do giant leopard moth caterpillars sting
A: no

Q: little ears, meaning
A: “Small ears may be an attractive feature, but they could make you prone to eczema and kidney disease”

Q: short lifespan
A: Top 10 Shortest Living Animals in the World, The Mysterious World dot com

Q: are there dragonflies in california
A: California Dragonflies and Damselflies, Insect Identification

Q: what does a cottage look like
A: cottage.png

Q: stages of flower growth
A: The Stages of a Flower From Seed to Bloom, Hunker

Q: parts of a flower
A: Plant Parts – Flower, The Great Plant Escape

Q: prologue or prelude?
A: “They’re the same thing, but Prelude deals with music and Prologue deals with literature.”
A: Self-Publishing Basics: An Unabridged List of the Parts of a Book, The Book Designer

Q: what are all the eye colors
A: What color are your eyes exactly?, Eye Doctors of Washington

Flower Glossary

Q: what flowers grow in missouri? plants native to missouri?
A: 12 Top Midwest Perennial Flowers, Midwest Living
A: Perennials for Season-long Bloom, Missouri Botanical Garden
A: List of Missouri native plants, Wikipedia

Q: what flowers grow in california? plants native to southern california?
A: California Native Flowering Plants and Wildflowers, Ojai Valley Land Conservancy
A: Coastal California Wildflower Seed Mix, Eden Brothers

Q: what flowers grow in hawaii? plants native to hawaii?
A: Hawaiian Plants and Tropical Flowers, Wildlife of Hawaii

Q: does honeysuckle grow in hawaii?
A: Japanese honeysuckle is an invasive plant in Hawaii

Q: do pastels melt?
A: videos: oil pastel melt, best way to melt oil pastels, how to melt oil pastels

Q: major airports in california
A: Search Results for “Airports, CA”

  • Fresno Yosemite International Airport (FAT) …
  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) …
  • Sacramento International Airport (SMF) …
  • Metropolitan Oakland International Airport (OAK) …
  • John Wayne Airport-Orange County (SNA) …
  • San Diego International Airport (SAN)

Q: san francisco california to lake of the ozarks missouri
A: map.png

Q: christ sake synonym
A: Prepositional phrase

  • for cripes’ sake.
  • for fuck’s sake.
  • for God’s sake.
  • for Pete’s sake.
  • for pity’s sake.
  • for goodness’ sake.
  • for heaven’s sake.
  • for crying out loud.

Q: emojis for plants
A: emojipedia
A: How to Type Emojis on Your Keyboard, HuffPo

Q: sheep in kansas?
A: sheep

Q: old black and pink candy
A: Bulk Licorice Allsorts, Old Time Candy dot com

the exciting momentum of good writing days


(It’s like they know me. Jetpens)

I have recently happened to have several good writing days back-to-back. A good day for me looks like: spending quality time (ie a lot) doing the work (butt in the chair) and coming away with a positive feeling, that the work in progress has been improved. My boyfriend gave me a new notebook (The Crossfield from Nanami Paper) which prompted me to dig back into my fountain pens. (I’m using my big fat Jinhao 159s from Jet Pens with my rainbow of Diamine inks from Vanness.) Handwriting is just one more way I can change the pace and see things anew. The goal should always be to distance enough from the work that we can cut mercilessly! In order to get it in the best shape we can.

(Seriously, it’s like they know me. Vanness)

I decided to incorporate a previously separate piece (3rd person fictionalized memoir set during junior high) into the larger manuscript I’m crafting (1st person memoir set during high school, college, etc.), which has been an exciting breath of life into the whole project. Writing new connective tissue, dropping into scenes with dialogue instead of breezing past with narration, changing perspectives from third to first! And you’d best believe I’m droppin’ bombs on Google Search like a mumma frumma. (I’ll include some of the fun ones in a separate post.)

Significantly, I was also able to pick back up the commentary from A Famous Author I received a couple of years ago, and receive the positive and negative notations without the emotional smack I experienced when I first reviewed them. That’s a great sign, because it’s another indicator that I’ve gotten farther from the material emotionally and will be able to chop it up till only the good bits are left! Welp, that’s the goal.
On my drives to work I’m listening to the audiobook Killing Commendatore, the latest from Murakami Haruki (one of my all-time favorite writers), and the synchronicity (or utter chaos) of the Universe just so happened to lead me to this timely point in the book where two main characters are discussing creativity:

“Menshiki said, ‘It’s like an earthquake deep under the sea, in an unseen world, a place where light doesn’t reach, in the realm of the unconscious. In other words, a major transformation is taking place.  It reaches the surface, where it sets off a series of reactions and eventually takes form where we can see it with our own eyes… The best ideas are thoughts that appear unbidden from out of the dark.’ ” —Murakami Haruki, Killing Commendatore


Meanwhile, I’ve had that itchy thought in the back of my head for a while now reminding myself to find “that beads quote,” because I couldn’t remember exactly how it went or who said it but I remembered thinking when I read it that it was really good, and that I should hold onto it. So I finally remembered while at a computer instead of, say, behind the wheel, to do just that.

“I learned that you should feel when writing, not like Lord Byron on a mountain top, but like a child stringing beads in kindergarten—happy, absorbed, quietly putting one bead on after another.” —Brenda Ueland, If You Want To Write


Isn’t that just too good!? I love it. Not surprisingly, it’s everywhere all over the internet, but now it’s here too, so there. I hope your writing is going well. I hope you’ve found your flow and you have happy, easy days where the words just pour from your fingertips. But if that’s not the case right now, that’s okay too. Just don’t give up. Bad days don’t last forever, and the act of always coming back is so much more important than the results of a single session. “The master has failed more times than the beginner has tried.” Let’s always keep trying.

If you need encouragement, read Dr. Mrs. Stephanie Vanderslice‘s new book, The Geek’s Guide to the Writing Life. I absolutely adored it and it may just contain the exact words you needed to hear.



December 2018

December has arrived. How did your Nanowrimo go? How many books did you read this year? How did your word of the year go? Have you thought about what to select for your next one? The last month of the year is all about reflection, summary, arranging the narrative in a way that makes sense. And thinking about goals for the year to come. What do you want to accomplish in 2019? How did your goals for 2018 go, what were your roadblocks, what were things that worked well?

I didn’t win Nano this year, and I have mixed feelings about it. I’m glad for the writing I accomplished and disappointed in myself that I didn’t work harder to meet my goal. I’ve completed 25 books as of now and may finish a few more because I can sometimes listen to audiobooks at work. I think despite all the ups and downs inherent in a year, my word (phrase) of the year “get up and go” went pretty well. I’ve been thinking about selections for the upcoming but I’m not quite ready to share.

My writing has been through good and bad patches. Journalling seems to be what I’m drawn to most naturally so I’ve tried to accomodate that natural instinct. I’ve met with my awesome writing group countless times to great effect, and attended several write-ins that were great for productivity as well as morale. I kept teaching writing classes and feel good about that. My reading has been slow this year, as intended, to give myself a break from the previous year’s supersonic speeds.

Exercise comes and goes. I get into a great groove and then it falls apart, and I don’t realize until long after I’ve stopped. Then at some point I start again. I’m not sure how to fix this. My cleaning is at an all-time high for the year, following my family’s visit for Thanksgiving, and my laundry is at an all-time low. I’m certain I’ve increased the number of rainbows in The House of Rainbows. I hope your year has treated you kindly, and you have accomplishments you can feel good about.

Much Love,

books read

Academic year in review, backwards

My buddy Ellie di Julio sometimes does this thing where she lists the ton of cool stuff she’s been up to lately. Since June is the last month in my academic calendar, I thought it’d be fun to flip back and review the year at a glance…

June 2017
Vampire game
Kushiel munch, made new frands
Kushiel pool party
Laman Scribble
Chris’s work picnic
Werewolf game
Sticky’z & Museum of Discovery
Three paydays this month, yaaay!

May 2017
Writing group
Memphis in May Bealle St Music Festival
Missed out on the Laman Scribble because
Doug gave me a kickass Mother’s Day with flowers and sweets
Jack finishes the school year <3
Replaced our leaking hot water heater (which was from ’92, sheesh) and
Replaced our malfunctioning A/C compressor (so expense, very ow)

April 2017
Writing group
Chris bday!
Laman Scribble
Argenta Farmer’s Market <3
Science March
Right to Write Litfest @ Mosaic Templars
Book Talks Litfest @ Lvl 4

March 2017
I turned 35
Writing group
Co-taught writing class with Karen Hayes!
(Missed the Scribble)
Annual Pen Show
Massage & chiro appts to fix my back, ow
Taught more writing classes

February 2017
Thompson Branch book shifting
Kushiel party
Writing group
Laman Scribble
Jack to friend’s bday @ D&B
Werewolf game

January 2017
Laman Scribble
Writing group

December 2016
Doug’s work xmas party
Laman Scribble
Vision Board & Scrapbooking
Hair appt
Our NYE party

November 2016
Visit to KCMO
Trevor Noah
Staff Day
All Day Write-a-Thon @Moore’s

October 2016
Melanie Martinez
Pride <3
Christopher moves to LR!!!
taught a writing class

September 2016
taught a writing class
went to FL for funeral
South on Main

August 2016
Oxford American

July 2016
Littles Tea Party

Bicycle, Bicycle

Did you have a lovely summer vacation, darlings? Since I finished my thesis and graduated my master’s program, I let myself take a break. But now is that important time when we get back on our bikes and zoom, zoom, zoom! The daily habit is the single most important tool at a writer’s disposal. A bad writer writing improves at a faster rate than a good writer at rest! As I’m preparing to do a short reading tonight, it seems like the perfect opportunity to explore writerly options for online assistance. If you have a little piece you’re looking to edit, revise, update, or improve (go, thesaurus, go) why not give these a try?

Amanda Shofner at The Write Life wanted us to know about these six : Grammarly, After the Deadline, AutoCrit, ProWritingAid, the HemmingwayApp, and WordRake. (If you’ve been following this blog for a while you’ll remember some of these.)

Issa Mirandilla at Hongkiat also used six as her magic number, with new additions EditMinionWordCounter, and ClicheFinder.


Grammarly takes over everything if you let it, so I suggest if you’re trying a bunch of tools out like I did, use this one last so you know which features are G and which are the others. It allegedly costs money but it’s working on my machine for free (no I didn’t do anything jinky, and no I didn’t enter my credit card information for a “free trial.”) It requires a log-in but allows a Facebook option. Not to brag or anything, but this tool is basically awesome. (Do I get awesome points for recommending it?) Maybe they get you hooked first and then ask for money…

After the Deadline, ProWritingAid,  EditMinion, and the HemmingwayApp are all places online where you can dump your text and get instantaneous feedback right there. AtD gives commentary on spelling, grammar, and occasionally, style. PWA requires a user (or sign in with Facebook) and gives you the biggest bang for your bicycle, including categories like overused words, repeated phrases, plagiarism check, and sentence length. EM falls somewhere between those two. It’s lower tech than AtD but does more. Useful stuff, and additionally, a setting to tell you which of the words you used were invented by Shakespeare–I only used one of his, “bedroom.” EM also endears itself to my heart because it was created by Dr. Wicked, who you may recall also came up with the ingenious tool WriteOrDie (indispensable to Nanowrimo-ists everywhere). tHA does more than AtD but explains less, if that makes sense. Check them out and see what you think.

WordCounter and ClicheFinder are just what their names imply, and these functions are both part of PWA and EM. I got an error message for CF when I pasted my 2,000-word piece, but their example text works, so maybe there’s just a word limit.

AutoCrit costs $30/mo but it lets you try for free if you provide your name and email address. Now that I think about it, it’s probably so you can’t keep pasting new text and using it for free indefinitely. You also have to answer two questions but I guess you could lie if you wanted to. And I guess if you’re willing to continue creating new email addresses–anyway, this tool gives info that none of the others do, exciting stuff like how you work compares to published authors in various categories! For anyone with the spare change who is writing a great deal, this looks like it would be worth the cost.

WordRake costs, too. They let you do a 7-day free trial if you provide your email address. This is the only one that required a download, and you have to pick if you want to use it with Microsoft Word, Microsoft Outlook, or both. So I guess if you don’t have those on your computer you’re out of luck. Once it’s installed you re-open your program, highlight your text, click “RAKE” and watch it appraise your work. Then you just accept or reject each change. I wonderful if the uninstall will be a headache–I’ll let you know.



Meanwhile Jane Callahan on Zapier explored fifteen different writerly tools, with a more comprehensive approach, from work flow to scheduling, collaborative writing to edition control. A few of the usual suspects appeared, namely Scrivener, along with the ever-popular HemmingwayApp and After the Deadline. There was even a Reverse Dictionary that might be of use to folks.

But the one that caught my attention was BlindWrite. Much like WrittenKitten and WriteOrDie, the concept is to help you write. WK gives you a kitten every 100 words, WoD blares horrible noises and flashes menacing red lights at you if you stop writing, and this new-to-me addition, BW, fuzzes out your words as you type so you can’t go back and edit until later. But don’t worry, you get all your words back, they’re still there, you just aren’t allowed to see them while you write. Just one more way to turn off your inner editor.

Until next time,


PS Images found by searching “writing bike” on Google images.

Jobe is Your Girl Friday

Morning Y’all,
Jobe here. So we’re doing this blog thing, and we figured the more the merrier. So what do you want when you gather a group of writers? Well, you likely want to talk about writing. So in the next few weeks and months you can expect to return back for some great discussions on writerly topics. But since we’re at the beginning, getting-to-know-you stage, here are some fun random facts about your friendly neighborhood Jobe.

Introvert or Extrovert: EXTROVERT to the max
Western Zodiac: Pisces
Eastern Zodiac: Dog
Birth Order: Oldest of four
Learning Style: Kinesthetic & Visual
Favorite Color: YELLOW. See also, RAINBOW.
Favorite Animal: I’m a big fan of lions, foxes, and my dog Scout.
Current Shows: Arrow, Community, Game of Thrones, Grimm, Lost Girl
Favorite Movies: Secretary. Knight’s Tale.
Disney Princess: I’m a big fan of the genderbent fan characters, especially Jasmine/Aladdin.

What I read: I enjoy sci-fi, fantasy, YA, memoir. Anne Rice, Clive Barker, Neil Gaimon, Jacqueline Carey, Laurell K. Hamilton. Murakami. John Elder Robison.

What I write: See above 🙂 Currently on a second draft of a YA novel and the first draft of a memoir. In coming weeks I’ll be talking about revision.