Summer is Here

On Wednesday, my writing group held its last session for the Spring term this year. The official feedback sessions are closed and most of us are getting ready to travel.

Summer in Sweden always fascinates me. Everyone leaves! Everyone. It’s like a weird horror movie. Homemade signs stuck in windows saying something like ‘Closed until August 16th’.

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Project Update

Blue Light Revision
Blue Light Revision

As some of you know I’m a member of the Stockholm Writers Group, a select group of writers founded over twenty years ago to provide feedback, encourage each other, and support each other with their writing goals. We meet on a regular basis and offer feedback to those who’ve submitted their work. In addition, we pair up with a writing buddy. Some terms we switch buddies, some terms we keep the buddies we have. At the moment, my buddy is a wonderful writer named Rebecca, and this past week when we met, the conversation turned to blogs.

We’ve decided to both revisit our blogs with a concentrated focus. She’s studying craft books and enjoys the exercises these books provide. She’s decided to focus her blog on those exercises, or insights she’s gained from the process.  Read more

Butt to Chair

cowboy computerMy writing group promotes the butt-to-chair philosophy, which is basically this — sit your butt in a chair and write. A simple thing really, yet it’s difficult to pull off if you’re stuck in the swamps of life, or if you prefer a happier image, the amusement park of life, where we rush from one activity to the next.

Job —> School —> Kids —> Pets —> Friends —> Family —> Church —> Housework —> Insert hectic activity of your choice.

Is there time left to write? Personally, I think we all go through phases and some periods are better for writing than others. It drives me bonkers when people say things like, ‘If you really wanted to write, you’d carve out the time and if you can’t find the time, it means you don’t want it badly enough.’ Obviously these people are at a good place in their life. They’re not taking care of sick family members or stretched so thin they think they’ll snap any day. And I’m happy for them. But when they advocate waking up at 5am, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt they aren’t taking care of small children because that’s what time we crawl into bed. Right. Before I go off on a side rant . . . I think we can all agree that when we do find those golden moments of time, however and whenever we find them, it all starts with sticking our butt in a chair.  Read more

Jen Campbell and Marie Phillips visit Stockholm

The Bookshop BookOn Thursday, September 10th and Friday, September 11th the English Bookshop in Stockholm hosted two visiting authors, Jen Campbell, author of the hilarious Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops and Marie Phillips, author of The Table of Less Valued Knights. Stockholm Writers Group member Karen Hagersten reached out to the bookshop and organized a wonderful evening for the group, and hopefully the authors.

For Jen’s talk, the bookshop was packed! Some folks were even sitting on the floor. But it was all worth it. I mean, who wouldn’t enjoy a glass of wine, a great interview, and a chance to not only get a book signed, but also to chat for a moment with the authors? After Jen’s talk, we took both ladies out to dinner and a number of us returned the following morning for the breakfast talk with Marie Phillips. (Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it to the breakfast talk. I’m bummed, too, because Marie was so funny and I really wanted to hear more about her book. The way she described it at dinner was–and I’m paraphrasing here–‘You know how King Arthur had the round table knights? This book is about the other knights–the ones who didn’t make it to the round table.’ My kind of book.) Read more

My writing group celebrates 20 years!

swg cake
The cake! Minus the sparkly candle things, which were way cool.

Last year I accomplished a lot in my writing world. I finished and self-published my first fantasy novel, Ashborne. I published my first short story, Orbital Extraction. I applied to a grant program. I took several courses related to the craft of writing, including a screenwriting course I never thought I’d take. I created a writing network for writers within Stockholm. And I created this blog. But the best thing I ever did was join a professional, physical, face-to-face writing group called Stockholm Writers Group.
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What my search for quotable lines taught me

copyright Cas Blomberg
copyright Cas Blomberg

My inner critic hates me. I know you’re all saying she’s supposed to be critical, but I think you underestimate her. She really hates me. Or maybe you know the feeling. Maybe your inner critic is just as vicious.

To combat the critical voice from hell that lives inside me, I try to tell myself the truths I already know but have to repeat daily. Truths about how I’m in this for the long haul, first drafts always sound like crap, 10,000 hours makes a master, and each word I write makes me better at my craft. That’s why half the posts in this blog reinforce these truths, at some level or another. Not because I’ve decided to become a self-help fanatic, but simply because I’m trying to convince myself.
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They say a picture is worth a thousand words . . .


I say a picture is worth a million words, especially if it falls under one of these categories:

  • Spontaneous life. In-the-moment happiness, goofiness, and all-around surprise. Nothing beats these photographs. They are so much better than the other ones. You know which ones I’m talking about. Those where we pose our kids like wooden dolls and hope they stand still long enough for us to get the shot. If someone walked behind us, they’d hear something like:

“Move the left leg back. That’s it. Now, act like you’re happy instead of trying to kill your brother. Thank you.”

“Say, ‘Cheese!'” (Fun fact: In Sweden they say, ‘Omelett!’)

“I know! Look at the sky and pretend there’s a dragon up there.”

“On the count of three, we’ll all jump into the air!” (Okay, this one can slide. Jumping is always fun)

“Oh, do that, but instead of hitting each other, hold hands. Perfect!” (talking about children here, not adults)

These pictures come out with a smile, but they’re missing something else that’s more important than a facial expression–like life. The best memories are those crazy, glaring at each other, one foot in the air, the other in a tub of butter kind of photographs.  Read more

A new job, a new city – well, sort of.

New neighborhoods are always fun to explore, in fiction and life.
New neighborhoods are always fun to explore, in fiction and life.

I’ve always believed 2015 was going to be a great year. Based on what’s happening so far, I need to listen to my premonitions more often. First, and probably the most important news, my husband was recruited for a new job! For him, it’s a mixed bag of feelings. He’s sad to leave his employees at his current job, but excited to work with something new. For the rest of us, it means a lot of changes for the whole family. Mainly because said new job is on the other side of town, which means we’ve spent almost every night looking for places to live. Pretty soon I’ll have to start digging through all the junk we’ve accumulated over the past four years in our current place to throw out what can be thrown out, donate anything we don’t want that’s still in fairly good condition and pack the rest.  Read more