Literary Engineer
Because reading and writing are my only obsessions

Author Archive

My Writing Process

Sunday, April 20th, 2014

I’m sure you’ve been seeing all the other writers doing The Writing Process blog post lately, and I was nominated by my friend Chloe Banks, who did her post last week. So now you will know all about my writing process.
What I’m working on: I have so many manuscripts that need work. I did a lot of writing before I knew how to do it. So these manuscripts will need a ton of work, and eventually I’ll get to them. But right now I’m working on a contemporary YA about two foster kids. I just gave it to two more betas and hope to start querying maybe by summer time.
How my work differs from others in its genre: I usually go for stories that are about the struggles of teens, whether it’s by their doing or someone else’s. A lot of time in these kinds of stories, the parents are not ‘good’ parents—which of course leads to those problems, or they’re blind to what’s going on with their teens. With my current story and some others, even though I have those bad parents, I also have ‘good’ parents who have a big impact on the main character’s life.

Why I write what I do: I just love to see how my characters grow. Their struggles are real, and they often make bad choices at the beginning, but usually… by the end, the new choices change their lives in a positive way.

How my writing works: I’m more of a pantser. I start off with a basic premise and write. More often now, I start thinking about character traits at the beginning, but I don’t necessarily have it all plotted out. Sometimes I’ll have the turning points, but other times I don’t know until after I start writing. Sometimes I won’t have the ending planned out yet.
It’s different for all the stories, and since I write fast, I end up spending 10x the amount of time editing.
So that’s about it. How about you?

A to Z – Rock on, man

Saturday, April 19th, 2014

Rock music is one of my favorite genres. I’m sure you can break rock music up into many different categories, but I don’t know what they all are, so I like to just lump them all together. Here are some of my favorite rock songs.

Light My Fire by the Doors – I still hear Doors songs all the time. They’re one of those groups who’ll always be remembered. Partly because of their music, partly because of their antics and the death of Jim Morrison.


I Wanna Rock’n'Roll All Night by KISS – I had to include this live video because they’re in full makeup. These guys would’ve been interesting to see in concert. This isn’t my favorite KISS song, but it rates high up on the list.


I Love Rock and Roll by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts – How cool is Joan Jet? I don’t know much about the history of women rock starts, but she’s definitely one that had a big impact. This song plays often on the radio and I still love to sing to it.

One by Metallica – This isn’t my number one Metallica song, Nothing Else Matters is, but the reason I like this song is what inspired it. You don’t often think of heavy metal music and literary classics together, which is why I think this song is cool. The lyrics and theme are inspired by Dalton Trumbo’s Johnny Got His Gun. I read that book in high school, and it’s not that it freaked me out, but it’s like whoa—could you imagine that happening to you?


Paralyzer by Finger Eleven – This is the newest of all the rock songs in this post. I don’t really know any other of Finger Eleven songs, so this one automatically becomes my favorite. :) I ike the intensity of this song.

What are your favorite rock songs?

A to Z – That piano needs tuning

Friday, April 18th, 2014

I had a piano growing up, and still do. I took lessons around third grade or so, but quit once I started playing the clarinet in grade school. After high school, did I ever pick up the clarinet and play? No. And that’s why I wish I’d stuck with the piano.
Here are some of my favorites that I used to play. FYI: My piano playing ability is nowhere near anyone in these videos.
The Entertainer by Scott Joplin – This song was one of my favorites to play. It’s fun and fast, a ragtime song that’s been around for a long time: 1902.


Music Box Dancer by Frank Mills – My mom had this in a little music box, which is maybe why I feel in love with it. Still love it today. I can play easy versions, but that’s it.


Somewhere Out There written by: James Horner, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil – This song was in the movie An American Tail, which is probably where I first heard it. It’s a soft, calming song with beautiful lyrics, which of course you won’t see on this video. I still have a few pages of the sheet music for this one but whis I had the whole song.

The Glory of Love by Cetera – And no, I don’t love this song because of the Karate Kid Two, but that helped. Plus I was a big Chicago fan and one reason is Peter Cetera. Chicago is not the same without him.

Did you play the piano or any other musical instrument? What were you favorite songs to play? What instrument do you wish you’d learned to play?

A to Z – Oldies, but goodies

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

I grew up listening to oldies music because that’s what my parents played, and even now I’ll listen to the oldies station on the radio. Sadly, I feel old cause kids today think that music from the 80s (my growing up year) are the new oldies. :)

Come a Little Closer by Jay and the Americans – I love the music and song this tells. Gives me a chuckle.


The Lion Sleeps Tonight by the Tokens – This song is pretty recognizable with it’s unique tune and lyrics. Recently my son was listening to it and I told him I knew the song. That it’s from Grandma/Grandpa’s time. He was surprised that it’d been around that long because he thought he was showing me a ‘new’ song.


Rock Around the Clock by Bill Haley and the Comets – This is a pretty well known song, and to me, it totally represents the oldies era. It’s lively, fun and innocent, and makes me want to dance.

Hello Goodbye by the Beetles – So many great Beetles songs. It was hard to choose, but this is one of my favorites. I’d also rate Come Together, Yesterday, and Hey Jude high on that list.


Sloop John B by the Beach Boys – I put the Beach Boys on the same level as the Beetles. The BB have many songs that are still used today in movies or TV. I narrowed my favorites down to three. Sloop John B, Good Vibrations—the meaning lost on me as a child of course, and Wouldn’t it Be Nice.

Do you listen to any oldies music? Any favorites?

A to Z – Now that’s love

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

There are so many wonderful love songs out there, so it was hard to chose. But here’s a few of my faves.

In This Life by Collin Raye – Hmmm, another Collin Raye song, and it also makes me weepy. I always thought this song was about a man and woman, then I stumbled on the video I show below.
And now I’m wondering if this song is about Jesus.
1. There is no mention of woman or the use of SHE in the lyrics.
2. I watched the official CR video, and it’s just him singing. No pictures of a woman. At the very end, the camera pans down to his hand as he’s playing the piano and you see a wedding ring on his finger, but otherwise no mention of a woman.
So that was kind of cool because I’d never considered that it might have a Christian theme.


You and Me by Lifehouse – There’s a lot of songs by these guys I love, but this is one of my favorites.


I’ll Be by Edwin McCain – I don’t know many other songs by EM, but this one is beautiful. By the way, does anyone else associate this with Beverly Hills 90210 episode with Brandon leaving? Or maybe that’s just me.


What are your favorite love songs?

A to Z – Marry Me

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Wedding songs of course. Not ones from the ceremony, but that oh-so-special first dance.
Can’t Help Falling in Love by Elvis – This was the song of the first dance at our wedding. It was my husband’s choice because he’s an Elvis fan. I like the song and was totally okay with that. Plus, I got to make most of the decisions for our wedding, so when he actually requested something, how could I not give it to him.

Always by Alantic Starr – I absolutely love this song, and if I could’ve chosen our wedding dance song, this would be it. A beautiful duet.


Love of a Lifetime by Firehouse – Even though I probably wouldn’t have used this for our wedding dance, I’ve always loved this song.

What song did you have for your first dance, and who got to pick the song? Or what song would you like to have?

A to Z – Love this

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

This post is pretty basic. Songs that I love to listen to. They’re not necessarily my favorites, but they are some of those songs (from the different decades), that when I hear them on the radio, I never turn the station. (Which I tend to do, more so in the car, when a song I don’t like comes on.)
Remember the Feeling by Chicago – Chicago is probably my favorite groups of all time. My dad got me interested in them, and they have so many terrific songs. Chicago 17 came out when I was growing up, so that’s maybe why it was my favorite album. I remember rewinding my cassette over and over to listen to this song. I don’t think this one got as much play as some of the others because I don’t remember hearing it on the radio much, but it’s my favorite Chicago song. So sad and beautiful.

It’s Been Awhile by Staind – This is a totally somber song, but… when I listen to it, I hear the hope, that this is the turning point and things are going to get better. Maybe others see it differently though.

I love this song, but anybody see a problem with the title? I went to their official website to make sure I had the title worded corectly. And I do.
So if you don’t see what’s wrong, go to Grammar Girl’s posting about AWHILE vs. A WHILE.

One Toke Over the Line by Brewer and Shipley – I heard this song for the first time a few years back on an AM station I listened to in the mornings during work. They played it a lot, and it totally grew on me. I’m not much into folk music, but I love this one.

Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana – Nirvana has some interesting songs, and this is probably my favorite. One of the interesting things is their lyrics. Sometimes you read them and just go WTF. What does that mean? So I wouldn’t even try to interpret them, and unfortunately the guy who wrote most of them is dead.

Breaking up Hard to Do by Neil Sedaka – My parents listened to the oldies when I was growing up, and there are tons of great songs. This is just one of the fun one.

So what are some of your favorite songs?

A to Z – Kleenex, please

Saturday, April 12th, 2014

I’m a sap. I’ll admit it. It doesn’t take much for me to tear up. Movies, songs, books–whatever.
You may notice that most of the songs I list are country. Even though I’m not the biggest country fan, to me they seem to have the best sad songs.
Ships That Don’t Come In by Joe Diffie – This is such a beautiful, sad but also inspiring song that says to me that no matter how hard life is, there are always others who’ve had it worse. This song doesn’t just make me tear up, it totally makes me cry.
This is one of my favorite lines: And as he ordered one last round he said, I guess we can’t complain. God made life a gamble, and we’re still in the game.

The Walk by Sawyer Brown – I love these guys, and they have so many terrific songs, but this one always gets to me.
It’s a touching story about a son talking about how his father was there for him all his life. As a child going off to school for the first time and as a young man going off to Vietnam. And when his father is getting older and has to leave his home, the son is there for his father. It’s also impossible for me not to cry at this song when I hear it. This is the official video from Sawyer Brown and it’s a fantastic video, so you should check it out.

Love Me by Collin Raye – He has so many sad but beautiful songs, it was hard to pick. This one is about a grandfather telling his grandson about the love of his life (the boy’s grandma, of course) after she passed away. Also impossible not to cry.


Cats in the Cradle by Cat Stevens – Another sad song of a father and son. The father realizes how much of his son’s life he missed because he was always too busy with work and whatever–there was always something. This one doesn’t make me cry as much as the others, but it’s such a great reminder of what children want and need the most: your time.


Are you the type to cry at sad songs? Which sad songs do you love and why?

A to Z – Just Dance

Friday, April 11th, 2014

I am not the most coordinated dancer, but I like to dance. I probably shouldn’t have quit those ballet lessons years ago—which would’ve led to jazz or something else that made me a good dancer. (Didn’t have twerking back then though, so I guess I would’ve had to learn that on my own.)
But back to my dancing history. I was so adorable in that white tutu and tiara, I wish I had a picture so you could see I’m not exaggerating. But anyway, dancing lessons were not for me. (Neither were gymnastics, figure skating, softball, track, volleyball, basketball, or cheerleading.)

So these are good dancing songs that I like and wish I could dance to and look like I know what I’m doing.

Funkytown by Lipps Inc – Disco–woo hoo! Apparently it just came in at the end of the disco era. Oh how I wish I could’ve gone to Funkytown. Oh well. By the way, you should check out the lyrics for this one. There isn’t a lot of words. And by that I mean, they repeat the same lines over and over. It’s an easy song to memorize I guess.


Down at the Twist and Shout by Mary Chapin Carpenter – This is just a fun song. It’s country, but I could see dancing more swing dance to it.


Rock the Town by Stray Cats – How can you not want to swing around the dance floor to this one?


Boot Scootin’ Boogie by Brooks and Dunn – I wasn’t much of a country line dancer, but the tempo would be much easier to dance to than the others.


Any type of music you like to dance to? Or specific songs?

A to Z – Inspiration and Ideas

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Like many novelists, I have songs that have inspired story ideas. I’ve actually had quite a few. some I’ve written, others still waiting in my idea book.

Everything She Wants by Vertical Horizon – This song inspired a novel I wrote–adult contemporary. My story is very close to what happens in the lyrics. About a man who loves woman but she loves someone else. The song is kinda sad actually, but I love it.


Because of You by Kelly Clarkson – Kelly Clarkson is awesome. She has a ton of songs I love, and that list includes this one. The song in this story seems to be about the effects of the parents’ relationship on a woman and how it affects her life. More so based on how her dad left. The story I wrote is a little different, but it’s about a woman who grew up with a narcissistic mother and how it’s affected her life.


Chevy Van by Sammy Johns – This is a 70s song that I think I first heard because it was on one of our records. It’s about a man who picks up a woman hitchhiker (something I don’t recommend), and what happens with her. (Not murder :) ) This inspired a story, but I haven’t fleshed it out, or written it. There are too many other ideas I have and stories I’ve written that need editing, so I’m not sure if/when I’ll get to this one.


I Write Sins Not Tragedies by Panic! At The Disco – This song is about a man getting married who finds out about his cheating bride at the wedding. I totally get a kick out of this song, and the video of this is totally cheesy. I haven’t written anything, but I had an idea on the premise of this song. Again, haven’t fleshed it out, but maybe someday I will.


Have any songs inspired you to write a story or some other kind of art?