Status Update – January 2014

champagne & candleApproximately five years ago this month, I “published” my first work of fiction: George & Annie, An Unofficial Biography, a Harry Potter fanfiction. (That story, as well as Here Be Dragons, are archived on several different fanfic sites.) I remember the nauseating excitement over my first reviews, how over-the-moon I was to read positive feedback. It’s still true today. If you ever want to make a writer’s day (or week or month), leave a positive review of their work. And if you’re curious about those first forays I made into the world of novel-writing, check out my fanfic page for more information and links to archives.

After three weeks of having my family at home, the house is at last empty again. The kids are back at school, and hubby’s at work today. It’s finally quiet enough to hear my characters talk, and I’ve got an ambitious to-do list for this month. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Last month’s writing retreat was a great success. I logged 4K words there and brought the word count on Ingénue up to almost 44K. Wholly Trinity is now with my critique partners and the early feedback is positive. A big announcement (including a release date) will come later this month. Follow this blog by entering your email address in the box to the right, or click here to subscribe to my electronic newsletter for direct, immediate notification.

Thanks, as always, for your continuing support!

Fifty Shades of Thesaurus Bashing

Confession: I have not yet read any of E.L. James’ “Fifty Shades” books or her fan fiction series, “Master of the Universe.” There are several reasons for this, not the least of which is a lack of time on my part. I’ve heard from a few sources that it’s poorly written, though blockbuster sales and others’ rave reviews might (or might not) argue to the contrary. As a fan fiction writer (though not a Twilight one), the idea that this published story is a result of nothing more than using the “find & replace” function to change characters’ names makes me pretty nervous [find this very interesting study at]. The biggest reservation I have is that I’ve heard the story portrays a normal expression of adult sexuality (BDSM) into a “problem” that only true love or innocence can fix.

But I take issue with’s recent critique of the work, “50 Worst Synonyms in 50 Shades of Grey.” The snarky post doesn’t accuse James of clumsy prose, misusing words, or even grammar mistakes, merely an excess of “fancy” word choices. Then it goes further to suggest “fixes.” For instance, where James uses “taciturn” to describe a character – a lovely, precise, and evocative word in my opinion – the blog recommends “a quiet guy” would be an improvement.


I personally like to read flowery descriptions. I prefer to be stimulated, even challenged by an author’s word choices. Schools spend years teaching kids to employ more descriptive words in their writing, and reading is one of the best ways to expand the intellect with ideas as well as vocabulary. Why fault a writer for doing exactly that?

If anything,’s criticism only encourages me to read James’ stuff. And for that, I hope she’s laughing all the way to the bank.