Saturday, October 31, 2009

Dog Day Halloween

So wrong but so amusing, so many things funny are, aren't they?


A friend (hi friend if u read this ;-) sent these funny shots to me and I just had to share!

All Rights Reserved. © 2009 by Elizabeth Bradley.

Friday, October 30, 2009

A Job Well Done!

Our yard project is almost finished, we still have some plants to add and whatnot, but the sod's in. I'm happy and the dogs are ecstatic, they couldn't wait to pee and poo all over the lovely new lawn.

The bad part is, our nineteen year old son, (he's been our laborer), will be returning to our other house tonight, and we're going to miss him. The fridge and pantry will return to be stocked with food that doesn't disappear, and he won't be making us any exotic ice cream. While he was here we went to see Where The Wild Things Are, (his name is Max), and he claimed the movie did not ruin the book or suck at all. We took him for all you can eat sushi, and I had to cut him off. At six foot two, with two very long hollow legs, he can eat and eat and eat the establishment right out of house and home. We also took him over to Wahoo's fish tacos, but he still prefers Chipotle's over-sized burritos.

The Husband and I will be staying home tomorrow, even though my niece is throwing a big Halloween bash. With four dogs and a neighborhood of ghouls and goblins roaming door to door we don't have any choice. We'll hang out on the porch and hand out candy. We'll each carve a pumpkin. (I'm a big kid, gotta have a jack-0-lantern burning. And I'll have to make due with the pictures my kids will take Saturday night at the party. Hope you all have a safe spooky Halloween.

All Rights Reserved. © 2009 by Elizabeth Bradley.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


In honor of Halloween I decided to explore the subject of witches/bitches, depending on your viewpoint. I suppose I should start off by saying, I do have my own inner bitch, most women do, don’t they? She comes out when I’m overtired, stressed, or just plain mad. She’s not an in your face bitch, but more grumpy and sulky. If you try to hurt a member of my family, she transforms into the-mother-bear-variety. That said—I do have empathy for other women when their inner bitch materializes, just as long as that inner bitch isn’t predominant and unrestrained.

My mother had trouble keeping her bitch under control. She had an argumentative streak. Her need to be right was ubiquitous. Anyone foolish enough to get in the way of Mom’s delusion of importance would become ready fodder for spiteful retaliation. If you didn’t appreciate her vision of the world—look out—step back. Better yet, make a run for it.

I know an award-winning bitch, one that deserves the-bitch-of-the-decade award. She’s sneaky, underhanded, and diabolical. I’ve witnessed the way she ruined many lives over the years. I have absolutely nothing to do with her anymore. Wouldn’t be caught in her sphere, not for love nor money. Uh-uh. I won’t name her, hat’s not necessary. But, suffice it to say, if I ever decided to base a character on
the bitch, that character would be deemed too one-dimensional. I can hear it now, the criticism would sound like something like this: Elizabeth Bradley’s villain, a woman with long dark hair and eyes and an even darker heart, is so hell-bent on wreaking havoc on loved ones, you can’t help but wonder why she hasn’t been expelled from their lives. It’s hard to believe anybody would put up with such a heartless self-centered woman. Although not quite evil enough to be imprisoned, the vile creature is not good enough to be deserving of the reader’s pity or attention.

Do you know a bitch? Are you a bitch? Has a bitch/witch ever put a spell on you?

My youngest daughter carved the pumpkin in the picture above. Won’t it make a spooky Jack-o-lantern?

All Rights Reserved. © 2009 by Elizabeth Bradley.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Free Stuff Rocks!

I won a book over at Kirti's blog!

Karma and other Stories by Rishi Reddi came in the mail today and I'm so excited to read it. Go over and check out Kirti's blog when you get the chance.

All Rights Reserved. © 2009 by Elizabeth Bradley.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Where Am I? And What Do You Look Like?

Does your protagonist have blonde, black, red, or brown hair? Is he/she tall or short, fat or skinny, pimply or clear skinned? What a plethora of choices: athletic, sickly, handicapped, bull-headed, clumsy, elegant—oh the possibilities! How does an author choose?

Varied genres handle the task of portraying characters in differing ways. Chick lit is big on meticulous description—right down to depicting outfits and shoes and hairstyles and the like. I don’t read YA, but imagine description must play an important role, as adolescents and teenagers tend to be obsessed with appearance. When it comes to more literary fare, some schools of thought recommend a light-handed approach when it comes to portraying the main character. Don’t bog the reader down with limitations, they say, let the mind's eye supply necessary details. Save in-depth depictions for villains or secondary characters. Do you follow these rules? Or are rules meant to be broken?

And then there’s the setting, or settings. You’ve got the country, the city, the suburbs, uptown, downtown, under the bridge, skyscraper penthouses, tenements, golf course condos, farmhouses. Are we in a foreign country, local, staying put, or on the road? Don’t start off in one locale and then halfway through the book switch gears—that’s a big no, no. If we’re on the move, make that clear from the beginning, or end the book with a change of scene. Don’t confuse the reader. Change of scene must be intricately tied to the story, don’t put your protagonist on the move for no good reason. More rules. More to think about.

Below are some fine examples of description by authors one can only hope to aspire to one day.

John Irving describes Garp's mother in The World According To Garp:

Jenny was twenty-two. She had dropped out of college almost as soon as she'd begun, but she had finished her nursing-school program at the head of her class and she enjoyed being a nurse. She was an athletic-looking young woman who always had high color in her cheeks; she had dark, glossy hair and what her mother called a mannish way of walking (she swung her arms), and her rump and hips were so slender and hard that, from behind, she resembled a young boy. In Jenny's opinion, her breasts were too large; she thought the ostentation of her bust made her look "cheap and easy."

And, can you imagine putting the reader into a mind of a dog while also preparing the reader for the far north setting of the story with any better skill than Jack London displays in The Call of the Wild? I sure can't.

Buck did not read the newspapers, or he would have known that trouble was brewing, not alone for himself, but for every tide- water dog, strong of muscle and with warm, long hair, from Puget Sound to San Diego. Because men, groping in the Arctic darkness, had found a yellow metal, and because steamship and transportation companies were booming the find, thousands of men were rushing into the Northland. These men wanted dogs, and the dogs they wanted were heavy dogs, with strong muscles by which to toil, and furry coats to protect them from the frost.

One of my favorite authors of all time, Anne Tyler, sets the scene in the main character's family home in The Accidental Tourist, with a light touch, yet establishing a strong sense of purpose.

When his brothers came home from work, the house took on a relaxed, relieved atmosphere. Rose drew the living room curtains and lit a few soft lamps. Charles and Porter changed into sweaters. Macon started mixing his special salad dressing. He believed that if you pulverized the spices first with a marble mortar and pestle, it made all the difference. The others agreed that no one else's dressing tasted as good as Macon's. "Since you've been gone," Charles told him, "we've had to buy that bottled stuff from the grocery store." He made it sound as if Macon had been gone a few weeks or so - as if his entire marriage had been just a brief trip elsewhere.

Here's the great Willa Cather's opening for O Pioneers. Places you right smack dab down in Nebraska.

One January day, thirty years ago, the little town of Hanover, anchored on a windy Nebraska tableland, was trying not to be blown away. A mist of fine snowflakes was curling and eddying about the cluster of low drab buildings huddled on the gray prairie, under a gray sky. The dwelling-houses were set about haphazard on the tough prairie sod; some of them looked as if they had been moved in overnight, and others as if they were straying off by themselves, headed straight for the open plain. None of them had any appearance of permanence, and the howling wind blew under them as well as over them. The main street was a deeply rutted road, now frozen hard, which ran from the squat red railway station and the grain "elevator" at the north end of the town to the lumber yard and the horse pond at the south end. On either side of this road straggled two uneven rows of wooden buildings; the general merchandise stores, the two banks, the drug store, the feed store, the saloon, the post-office. The board sidewalks were gray with trampled snow, but at two o'clock in the afternoon the shopkeepers, having come back from dinner, were keeping well behind their frosty windows. The children were all in school, and there was nobody abroad in the streets but a few rough-looking countrymen in coarse overcoats, with their long caps pulled down to their noses. Some of them had brought their wives to town, and now and then a red or a plaid shawl flashed out of one store into the shelter of another. At the hitch-bars along the street a few heavy work-horses, harnessed to farm wagons, shivered under their blankets. About the station everything was quiet, for there would not be another train in until night.

I'd love to hear what descriptions in fiction you find most memorable or totally blew you away.

All Rights Reserved. © 2009 by Elizabeth Bradley.

Monday, October 26, 2009


The Husband is pissing me off. We argue once in a blue moon. Currently we're having a disagreement and the resulting discord is causing me to draw back. I’m letting him have his way, even though he’s wrong. No. Really. He is wrong. But I am no mood to push back. I’ve been pushing back all my life in one way or another, and I’m weary. For some reason having my way just isn’t all that important to me anymore. A blaze that once burned bright is reduced to a little campfire. Encircling stones to protect the endangered flames, I sit quiet and wait for my spirit to return, searching the dancing colors well into the night, under the blue moon.

Conflict—there will be no story without it.

Do you enjoy a good fight?

Are you a pussycat?

Would you ever back down even if you felt you were right?

Do your characters act like you, or are they stronger/weaker?

Is it a conscious decision on your part to add conflict to your stories, or does conflict just appear organically?

All Rights Reserved. © 2009 by Elizabeth Bradley.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


It’s Sunday, so let’s talk about inspiration. Here’s Webster’s definition of the word:

- a breathing in, as of air into the lungs: inhaling
- an inspiring or being inspired mentally or emotionally
- an inspiring influence; any stimulus to creative thought or action
- an inspired idea, action, etc...
- a prompting of something to be written or said
THEO—a divine influence upon human beings, as that resulting in the writing of the scriptures.

Two great Jack London quotes:

~~ You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.

~~ I wrote a thousand words every day.

I am a walking light bulb. Ideas, I got a million of ‘em. What comes first though, does the inspiration spur the work, or visa-versa? For me—it happens both ways. If I’m not inspired I make myself sit down anyway. I usually find that my motor kicks in and I’m off. It’s a rare occurrence when I don’t kick into gear. Not that I haven’t been sidetracked. The blogging gig, it’s a time-consuming enterprise, to be sure. I’ve got to come up with an idea, write my own blog, and visit other blogs, then there’s the links and so on and so forth. Pretty soon a couple/three hours have gone by. I can hardly believe how the time flies online.

It’s a cold hard fact, learning about writing won’t make someone a good writer—writing makes a good writer. You’ve got to make the time. You’ve got to write your guts out. Then you have to throw most of what you’ve written away. And then you have to sit your weary self down and write some more.

It’s not lost on me, certain skeptical people out in the real world think I’m nuts because I spend so much time in front of this computer screen. For me it’s a portal to other worlds, not only the world of my own over-active imagination, but other's worlds too. I get to connect with other writers and readers. What an honor! That you come and read what I've written is always a source of great joy. I value your visits more than you will ever know. And, I learn something everyday from visiting all your blogs. Every single day. Like breathing out and breathing in. Thanks for being there. Know this, you are all are a constant source of inspiration, varied and nuanced.

All Rights Reserved. © 2009 by Elizabeth Bradley.