Archive for the 'Carrie’s Posts' Category

Monday, December 31st, 2012 by Carrie Vaughn
Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, and welcome back from our holiday break at Genreality.  We’re wrapping things up this week.  Never fear, the blog will stay archived, posts will still be available for reading.

I’ve enjoyed posting here, having a place to put all my thoughts about writing and to share what I’ve learned about the business of writing and publishing.  Thanks to all of you who’ve been reading, and especially to those of you who’ve come up to me at signings and conventions to tell me how much you’ve liked the blog.  I’m so glad our work here has been useful for you.  I’m still blogging at my personal site, and you can also find me on Facebook.  I’m sure I’ll have more to say about writing in days to come.

In closing:  The question I get asked most, even more than “Where do you get your ideas?” is “What advice would you give to new writers?”  I get asked this in interviews, in e-mails, at signings, at parties.  I try to condense my response into something short, memorable, true — and practical.  Here’s what I say:

Write as much as you can.  When you’ve finished and sent off one thing, start the next.  Always be working on something new.

Improve your writing as much as you can.  You have to get better.  Challenge yourself.  Write more, write better.

Read as much as you can.  Words are tools, you can learn a lot by seeing how other people use them.

Analyze what you read.  Figure out what you like, and do that in your writing.  Figure out what you hate, and why, and then don’t do that.  This is how you get better.

Educate yourself.  Know how the business works.  Know what a scam looks like.  Talk to people.  Learn.

Repeat, forever.


Monday, December 17th, 2012 by Carrie Vaughn
Excerpt: Kitty Rocks the House

Hey all, welcome to my last week of the Christmas rush:  I still have to do all the baking, I have a couple of handmade gifts that need finishing, and I would love to run by the mall at least once, just to take in the atmosphere, even though my shopping is just about done.  And I’m still trying to get some work done, because freelancers don’t really get vacations.  (Or, as I like to think of it, every day is a vacation…)

As you know from Sasha’s post yesterday, we’ll be wrapping up Genreality at the start of the new year.  Please let me know if you have any last-minute questions or topics you’d like to see me talk about, and I’ll get to it after the holiday break.

In the meantime, have an excerpt — a bit of holiday reading!


Chapter 1
For all the death I’d seen, I’d been to very few funerals.

This one was fraught, and I couldn’t sort out my feelings, or what I was supposed to be feeling.  Grandma Norville had fallen and broken her hip three months ago, but the pneumonia she caught after had been the final culprit.  I kept thinking I should have been there.  I could have come to visit one more time if I hadn’t been so busy, if I’d just made the effort.  But I thought she’d hang on longer.  I thought she’d always be here.  How selfish was it, to feel guilty at someone’s funeral, as if her passing were somehow my fault, or a personal inconvenience?  I was sad, nostalgic, tired, shell-shocked.

Mostly, I was worried about my father.  He seemed tall and stoic enough, his chin up, eyes dry.  Mom held her arm wrapped around his and kept a tissue close to her eyes.  He didn’t seem to be looking at anything, though.  Not the flower-drenched casket, not the dark-suited minister, not the sky or grassy lawn with its rows of modern, polished headstones.  I couldn’t tell what he was thinking.  I couldn’t ask.

The service was graveside, the springtime Arizona weather was reasonable–sunny, but windy.  I kept squinting against dust in the air.  The crowd gathered was small, incongruously young.  All of Grandma’s friends, siblings, and her husband had gone before her.  All that was left were her three kids, their families, and a couple of staff from her retirement home.  It had been a quiet ceremony.

My husband Ben and I had driven all night to get here.  We stood a little apart from the others.  Not so much as to be noticeable, but enough to be comfortable for us.  Werewolves didn’t do so well in groups, even ones as small as this.  Especially when we were off balance.  We stood side by side, our hands entwined.  Ben had never even met Grandma.  He was here to look out for me.  A rock to stand next to.  He’d pulled out polish, combing the scruff out of his light brown hair and wearing his best courtroom lawyer suit with a muted navy tie.  I’d had a terrible time packing, convinced that all my clothes were inappropriate for the situation.  I’d settled on a black skirt and tailored cream blouse for the service, and pinned my blond hair up in a twist.  I looked like a waitress.

The rest of the family had flown ahead of us.  My sister Cheryl’s husband, Mark, had stayed home with their two kids.  Standing next to Mom, hugging herself, Cheryl seemed small in her dress suit, which she probably hadn’t worn since before she was pregnant with Nicky, eight years ago now.  She was staring at the flowers with a wrinkled, worried frown.

The minister, a nondenominational chaplain from the retirement home, spoke in a calm, inoffensive voice.  He’d started with a Bible verse, the one about walking in the valley of shadows and not fearing evil, and dispensed comforting words of wisdom that might have come from the lyrics of a sixties folk song.

What would the guy say if I told him that I’d had proof that people existed in some form after death?  He’d probably say, of course.  He was a  minister, after all.  I had proof of life after death.  But I couldn’t say I believed in heaven or hell.  I still didn’t know what exactly happened to us after we died.  What had happened to my grandmother.

When people at the funeral told me that my grandmother had gone to a better place, did I believe them?  I believed that part of her lived on.  But I couldn’t say where she was.  Was she here, watching us mourn for her?  I resisted an urge to call out loud to her, just in case.  Was the cemetery filled with the shadows of the dead, all of them watching?

I’d met beings who claimed to be gods.  Were they, or were they just powerful people who had existed for thousands of years and so built up a tangle of stories around them, and in those stories they became gods?    When the minister called on his own God, did he really know who he was praying to?

In matters of faith, I couldn’t believe in much of anything anymore.  I had my family who loved me, my friends I could count on, and that was about it.  Everything else–I saw the signs, but I didn’t know what they meant.  All I could do was focus on the road in front of me.

The chaplain said his amens, the rest of us echoed him, he closed his book, and that was that.  I decided Grandma would have been disappointed with the whole thing.  She’d have wanted something big and grand in a cathedral, with organ music.  But this wasn’t for her, it was for the rest of us.  Funny how we all seemed so anxious.  I wasn’t sure having a chance to say good-bye at a funeral was any better than not having a chance to say good-bye, when the people you loved were snatched away in front of you without ceremony.

We filed back to the cars parked along the curb, leaving the flowers and casket behind.  The earth that would fill in the grave had been discreetly hidden away during the ceremony, and would be brought back after we’d all left.  I spotted the cemetery employees who would do the deed lurking behind a well-groomed hedge, waiting.

I squeezed Ben’s hand before letting go and trotted forward to catch up to my dad.

“Dad?  You okay?”

He smiled a sad smile, putting his arm around my shoulders and pulling me close to give me a kiss on the top of my head.  Without a word, he let me go and kept walking on with my mother.

So what did that mean?

My aunt, Dad’s younger sister, was hosting a lunch–catered, I found out after discretely poking among my cousins, which was a relief.  Friends had been bringing over mountains of food as well.  I didn’t want to find out anyone had been cooking for everybody, but no one had.  A little less guilt there.  I slipped my cousins some money to help with the cost.  Wasn’t much else I could do.  Ben got directions to their house; I’d never been there.  I was close to my immediate family, but I didn’t see the extended family that often.  Weddings and funerals, and that was it.  Another cliché in a day filled with them.

Before we reached the car, I took a last look over the cemetery’s green slope, toward the row of folding chairs and mountain of flowers that marked Grandma’s grave.  Said a farewell, just in case she was hanging around, and just in case she could hear.

Ben had stopped a few yards away from me and gazed off to a stand of bordering trees.  Two figures, a man and a woman, were standing there.

“You see that?” he said, nodding toward them.

“Yeah.  They just keeping an eye on us or do they want to make trouble?”

“You want to find out?”

“I kind of do,” I said, and we started toward them.

They’d put themselves upwind so we’d be sure to catch their scents:  musky, odd.  Werewolves and foreign–not part of our pack.  He was a big, burly latino; she was young and motherly, her dark hair in a ponytail, a gray cardigan over her jeans and blouse.  When we approached within speaking distance, they lowered their gazes.  She started fidgeting, shuffling her feet–pacing, almost.

“You must be Andy and Michelle,” I said.

She blushed and smiled; he nodded, only raising his gaze to us for brief moments.  The werewolf pair had gone submissive, which was a little unnerving–they were the alphas of the Phoenix pack, strong and dominant.  I’d been able to send a message ahead to warn them we were coming, that we had no intentions of invading, and could we please have permission to stay in their territory for as long as we needed for the funeral?  They’d sent a welcoming message back.  I wasn’t sure we’d even meet them while we were here, or if they’d keep their distance.

“Thanks,” Ben said.  “For letting us pass through.  I hope it hasn’t caused any trouble.”

“Oh, no,” Andy said.  “I hope you haven’t had any trouble.  You haven’t, have you?  You have everything you need?  Is there anything else we can do for you?  A place to run, maybe?”

“No,” Ben said.  “Full moon’s not for another week, fortunately.”

“Ah, good,” Michelle said.  “I mean, not good–I’m really sorry about your grandmother.”

My polite smile was feeling awfully stiff.  “Thanks.  We’d probably better get back to it.  We’ll let you know if we need anything.  Really.”  I started backing away slowly.

“It’s nice meeting you,” Michelle said.  She was so earnest I could almost see her tail wagging.  “I mean–you’re not really what we expected.”

“What did you expect?” I said.

She ducked her gaze.  “Well, you both look so friendly.  I guess we expected you to be. . .”

“Tougher.  Tougher looking,” Andy finished.  His smile appeared as strained as my own felt.  “Given some of the stories we’ve heard.”

“Ah,” I said.  “I think some of those stories exaggerate.”

“Even so.  It’s still pretty impressive.”

I shuddered to think.  Exactly what did I look like from the outside, anyway?  I was just a talk radio host.  A werewolf talk radio host who’d publically declared war on a shadowy vampire conspiracy.  Alrighty, then.

“Thanks again,” Ben said.  “We’ll be out of your territory in a couple of days.”

Their smiles suddenly seemed relieved.  Ben and I waved good-bye and walked back to the cars.

I frowned.  “They’ve been keeping an eye on us the whole time we’ve been here, haven’t they?  Just to make sure we wouldn’t start a fight.”

“Seems likely.”  His smile was amused, his hands shoved in the pockets of his suit jacket.  I was a little offended that he wasn’t more worried, or at least insulted.

“They acted like I might try to eat them.  When did I become such a badass?”

“Your reputation precedes you,” Ben said.

“I don’t even know what reputation that is anymore.  I don’t even recognize myself, the way they were looking at me.”

“Don’t let it go to your head.”

“On the contrary, I think I’d rather ignore it completely.”  I wouldn’t know how to act like the badass tough they’d expected.

Cheryl was watching our approach from the edge of the groups of relatives still lingering and talking.  There was one person who’d never see her little sister as a badass.

“Do you know them?” she asked.  Andy and Michelle were walking away, into a different section of the cemetery.

“Not really,” I said, and left it at that.

“You’re kinda weird, you know that?”

“I’m a werewolf,” I said, glaring.  “Trust me, Cheryl, you don’t want to know.”

She rolled her eyes at me.

It wasn’t until the reception was almost over, after Mom, Dad, and Cheryl had already left for their hotel room, after I’d said good-bye to all the relatives without knowing when I was going to see any of them again–we made noises about a family reunion, or maybe a big wedding anniversary celebration, or something–and Ben and I were walking out to our car, parked at the curb a block down the street, that I started crying.  The tears burst, all at once, without warning, soaking my cheeks.  I choked on a blubbering breath I couldn’t quite seem to catch.

Stopping, I squeezed my eyes shut and held my nose in an effort to stop the stinging.

“Kitty?”  Ben had gone on a few more steps before looking back.

I took a deep, stuttering breath that staved off the waterworks.  “I’m fine.  It just got me for a second.”

He took my hand and leaned close, not to kiss me, but to let his breath play over my neck.  His touch, the scent of him, calmed me.  I was safe, I was protected.  We stood like that for a moment, taking comfort in each other’s presence.

“I’ll drive, okay?” he said finally.


I slouched in the passenger seat, watching the suburban tract housing pass by as we drove away.  I turned over the thought that had pushed me over the edge, had triggered the grief I’d kept at bay for the last few days.  Grandma had always called me Katherine, refusing any less dignified nickname.  Never mind that I hadn’t displayed a lot of dignity as a kid.  To her, I was Katherine.

Then it hit me:  now, the only people in the world who’d call me Katherine were vampires with an overdeveloped sense of decorum.  It was enough to make anyone cry.

Monday, December 10th, 2012 by Carrie Vaughn
The Revision Slog

Back in the day, I thought revising meant reading the thing over and making sure everything was spelled right, grammatically correct, and that the main character’s hair never accidentally changed color.  Ha!  Those were the days…   I’m in the middle of revising the twelfth Kitty novel, Kitty in the Underworld, based on editorial notes.  Here’s what I’m doing, without any details to avoid spoilers.  It’ll give you an idea of what constitutes a serious, in-depth revision.

  • I’m moving the end of Chapter 2 to the end of Chapter 1.  Thematically, the same thing is happening, and this way the story won’t have to switch gears, then switch back again.
  • I’m adding a scene to the end of Chapter 1, a great big bombshell of a plot coupon.  In the earlier draft, the first three chapters mostly described the series’ status quo as of the end of the previous book, Kitty Rocks the House.  This is one of the pitfalls of writing the twelfth book in the series:  I’m trying to re-introduce characters, remind the readers what’s been going on, etc.  But it’s actually kind of long and boring to read.  So let’s follow good novel writing rules and do something early that actually changes things and starts the plot off with a big push.
  • This Very Bad Thing I’ve added will influence absolutely everything that follows.  The novel’s main plot starts in Chapter 3, and this Very Bad Thing has the added bonus of making the main plot that much more critical and suspenseful.  Note that none of the comments I got from my editor or my beta reader suggested adding a Very Bad Thing happening in the first chapter.  I got notes that the whole book needs more drama, that the stakes and motivation aren’t clear, and that the opening is a little slow.  I decided that having something bad in the first chapter will fix a bunch of the more vague problems my readers pointed out, in one fell swoop.
  • Previously, Chapter 2 was a bunch of people sitting around talking about the status quo.  Now, it’s a serious meeting about what to do about the Very Bad Thing that happens in Chapter 1.  Note, I’ll also be reminding my readers of the status quo from the previous book by having my characters discuss the new situation in contrast with the old.  Now this scene is doing more than one thing plot-wise, which is a big improvement.
  • And that’s about as far as I’ve gotten right now, but as I’ve said, the changes I’ve already made are going to have consequences for the rest of the book, so I need to go over the manuscript carefully to make sure those ripples make it all the way through the story.

This is heavy, tedious, slogging work.  Not the glamorous side of writing at all.  Rewriting entire chapters kind of sucks.  I sometimes feel like I’m breaking the whole book to pieces and I’ll never be able to put it back together again.  Reviewing the manuscript to examine how one big change affects every other aspect of the story is intensely tedious.  But I do it, because I know it’s going to make the book better.

Here’s the really tricky bit:  the manuscript was probably okay the way it was.  A lot of cool stuff happens.  My beloved characters are doing what they do, and the readers who’ve been with me throughout the series would probably like the old version just fine.  But you know what?  It can be better.  I can make it better.  I don’t want to put out an “okay” book.  I don’t want a book that makes my readers think, “Oh, that was nice.”  I want them to think, “Holy shit, that was amazing!”  I want a brand new reader who’s never read any of my work to read this book and think, “Wow, I ought to check out the rest of the series.”  I don’t want to put out a competent book, I want to put out a great book.

And that’s why the slog is worth it.  (But I seriously need a big pot of hot tea and some good music to get me through it…)

Monday, December 3rd, 2012 by Carrie Vaughn
A Couple of Thoughts from Last Week

Thought the First

Here’s a concrete example of how over time it’s good to review how you do things and make adjustments:

When I was first starting out — I mean, going to my first science fiction conventions as an author with only a couple of stories published — I realized how nice it would be to have business cards, to give people my e-mail address, and so on.  Since I was pretty short on funds and moving around a lot, I decided a good way to do this was to make them myself in small batches, printing them on do-it-yourself business card stock, rather than shelling out for a big stack of cards that might quickly become obsolete.  And this was a good way to do it, at the time.  When my first books were published, I added the covers to the cards, and this became a great way to hand out info about my books.

I ran out of business cards recently.  It’s been awhile since I did up a batch, a year or so maybe.  I have a new printer, and the thought of reformatting my templates to the new printer made me want to cry.  (This is part of why I ran out of cards in the first place.)  Then it occurred to me:  Why the hell am I still doing this myself?  Especially with so many great online printing services that will let me design something I really like and send me a package of nice cards for a reasonable price?  Great big lightbulb moment, let me tell you.

I’m kicking myself for waiting this long to go the professional printing route.  I should not be wasting the time doing them myself anymore.  My career is in a very different place than it was twelve years ago, I should not be doing things the same way.

Thought the Second

I think I’ve talked before about how much I hate the concept of “author branding.”  Mostly because on all the lists of “how to build an author brand,” I hardly ever see, Be an Awesome Writer.  And because I came to blows with my old publisher about what my own “brand” should mean.  Most of what people mean when they say “branding” is stuff aspiring authors are doing anyway:  writing work they care about, setting up a website, being professional about it all, and so on.  “Branding” just puts a fancy name on it and gives writers one more thing to stress out over.  One more unnecessary thing to stress over.

Well, The Onion just did an article that illustrates exactly how it comes across (to me, anyway) when an author is more focused on their “brand” than they are on their writing.  Oh, I can’t stop laughing.

Monday, November 26th, 2012 by Carrie Vaughn
Books Make Great Gifts!

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend.  I certainly did, starting with a holiday trip and ending with dinner at my parents, and a relaxing weekend settling back into my routine.  If you like shopping on Thanksgiving weekend, I hope you got in plenty of shopping — and if you did, that you bought books to give as gifts!  I worked in a bookstore for a few years right after college, and I loved this time of year, up to and including the holiday CDs on endless replay, the people we’d bring in to do free gift wrapping, and most of all, the recommendations I’d get to make for customers looking for that perfect gift.  There’s a book out there for everyone.  Usually several.  Novels of every shape and size, art books, travel books, science books, memoirs and history, craft books, how-to books.  There’s nothing better than curling up on the sofa on Christmas afternoon, after the presents and the dinners and the church services, and reading for hours.

One very important exception:  don’t give self-help books as gifts.  As well meaning as your intentions may be, as much as you may think you’re trying to help your loved one, it’s just about impossible for the recipient to view a self-help book as anything but criticism and judgment, and what should be a happy day will suddenly be filled with resentment and frustration.  Do I know this from personal experience?  Why, yes.  Yes I do.

What books do you have on your shopping list to give as gifts this year?  What books are you asking for?

Me, I’m probably going to stop by the Tattered Cover in Denver for a few hours sometime in the next couple of weeks, and just wander to see what jumps out at me.  That’s one of the things I miss about working in the bookstore:  while hunting for books for customers, I could also browse the entire store for myself, and pick out the perfect books for my whole family (and a few for myself as well — oh, that employee discount could be deadly. . .).  A bit of wandering is as close as I can get to that these days.  But it’s usually enough.

Monday, November 19th, 2012 by Carrie Vaughn
NaNoWriMo Halftime

NaNoWriMo is a more than halfway to the finish line.  Once again, I’m not participating, because I know my writing pace and schedule, and I’m just not set up for it.  Also, I’m on vacation this week.  Woooo!

But if you are participating in NaNoWriMo, you’re probably encountering, or have encountered, or have bogged down in the “messy middle” part of writing a novel.  Many novelists go through this at every stage in their careers.  It seems to be a natural part of the novel-writing process:  you get to a point where you’ve got a bunch of characters, a bunch of plot lines, a bunch of things happening, and you’re not entirely sure how it’s all going to come together for a slam-bang ending.  No matter how carefully you outlined, you seem to be missing one or two crucial pieces of the puzzle, and at some point, you stall out.  Hit a wall.  You’ve got tens of thousands of words, and it all seems to be falling apart in front of you.  Many people who start writing novels might quit at this point, thinking their once-brilliant idea is, in fact, junk.

Do not despair.  Do not quit.  These feelings are all normal.  Here are a few things I do to get out of the slump, past the wall, and get excited about writing again.

  • Step away from the computer.  If you normally sit at a desktop computer, take a pen and paper and move to the sofa.  If you normally write in a coffee shop, go somewhere else.  Change scenery, change mode of writing.  This will physically get you out of the rut, and your brain will probably follow.
  • Brainstorm.  Open a new file, grab that pen and paper again, and make a list of everything that can possibly happen next.  Think of your characters in whatever situation they’re in, and think of every possible thing that could happen.  Go wild.  Maybe they all drop whatever they’re doing and go home.  Maybe aliens abduct them.  Maybe a man walks through the door with a gun. Be outrageous.  You’re not going to use most of these options anyway, but once again, this will jolt your brain into new ways of thinking.  You’ll have to reassess where your characters are, why they’re there, and what they want to do next.  At least a couple of options should get you excited and give you new ideas on how to move forward.
  • Go backwards.  Sometimes if you’re stalled out, it’s because you’ve made a mistake earlier.  I know on NaNoWriMo you’re not supposed to go back and revise, but sometimes you need to go back and figure out if you took a wrong turn.  Maybe a character stayed home when she was supposed to go out and be reckless, or vice versa.  Maybe these two characters met too late, or too early.  If you find a problem, you don’t have to fix it right this minute — leave yourself a note in the manuscript marking where you took the wrong turn and what should really happen next.  But then you can move forward, on the right path again.
  • Talk it out.  Find a willing partner, maybe another NaNoWriMo buddy, and talk out the problem.  Explaining where you are in the story and where you want to go, and articulating the problem out loud can give you new insight on what’s really going on and how to move the story forward.
  • Skip scenes.  It is absolutely, totally okay to skip scenes.  This happens to me all the time:  I may not know what happens next, but I definitely know what happens two or three scenes down the line.  So I’ll skip to what I do know about the story rather than dwelling on what I don’t.  This works up to and including writing the end before you’ve written the middle.  I do that a lot.  If you know where you’re going, you’ll have a better idea of what you need to get there.  If you know A and C, B looks a little clearer.  Or, you may discover you didn’t need that middle scene at all, that the story works just great without it.  For some writers (like me), this can be a very efficient way of writing!  One way or another, you’ll get your word count in.
  • All of the above.  You might need a combination of these techniques to get you back on track.  That’s okay.

Good luck, you NaNoWriMo jockeys out there.  I hope this helps you make it to the finish line.

Monday, November 12th, 2012 by Carrie Vaughn
Dream Projects: Deciding What to Work on Next

(Our theme week got sliced up a bit because I didn’t post last week.  Mea culpa.)

What would I write, if I had no other considerations?  Turns out, that’s a complicated question.  Like Diana, I love everything I’ve worked on, so it’s not like I’m not working on dream projects every single day.  It’s always been my dream to work as a full-time writer, and here I am, doing it.  But projects do get pushed back.  I have ideas that just haven’t cooked up yet and don’t really fit with I’m doing right now.  I’ve been extremely fortunate that since selling my first book, I’ve never really had to stop and figure out what to work on next.  Opportunities have presented themselves, and I’ve had projects to fill those opportunities.

There’s something of a flipside to this, which is that when an astonishing, fringe, crazy idea comes along, I don’t always have the time to work on it.  I can write two books a year.  This is great, because I can be productive, prolific, maintain a one book a year schedule on my series and then do other things, like YA, on the side.  The problem is that while I’m writing two books a year, I get ideas for probably 3-4 books a year.  And my contract obligations make it really easy to pick which ideas to work on:  the ones that have actually sold.  Which means I always have a couple of dream projects sitting on the sidelines because they’re not sold, and they’re not sold because they don’t really fit any category that I’m currently writing in.  I have an epic fantasy I want to write, and a space opera I want to write.  They’re going to be challenging to write (never mind marketing them), so I’ve put them to the side to let them cook a little longer.  And then, sometimes, an idea strikes that’s so immediate, so energizing, that I make room in the schedule, and worry about the rest.  This just happened to me, and I’m now working up a pitch for a YA novel that I didn’t know I’d be writing a year ago.

Someday, the other parts of my writing career will slow down, or a break will come for some other reason.  Then I expect a stretch of time will open up, and I’ll pull out my file folders on those ideas and go to town.

But there’s more:  I also want to write a screenplay someday, and I’d love to write comic books someday.  The reason I haven’t yet is that they’re both entirely different formats of writing.  I’d have to learn a whole new set of techniques, a whole new kind of writing, to do either one of those things.  And that takes time, which I don’t have right now.  But that doesn’t stop me from thinking about both.  I’ve already picked out which story of mine I want to translate to screenplay form — my WASP mystery, “The Girls from Avenger.”  And my comic book idea kicks ass.  I’d also love to write a tie-in for one of my beloved fangirl properties.  I’ve actually gotten close on that one a couple of times.  I expect it’ll happen someday, if I’m patient and prepared.

I may not have time to write every single idea I have, but that’s okay.  I collect and nurture them anyway.  Because if an opportunity ever comes along to go in any of these directions, you can bet I’ll be able to say “Yes,” because I’ve got the ideas tucked away.  Oh yes, I do.