The Quotable Writer, a book filled with

“Witty and wise…words from writers and others on
the craft, practice and business of writing…”

was a gift to me from my daughter.


“What a wee part of a person’s life are his acts and his words! His real life is led in his head, and it is known to none but himself.” –Mark Twain


I turn to it from time to time for inspiration and recently decided to use it as a jumping off point for future posts.
As a Book Muse…of sorts. I would begin with the first topic, and explore a new one each month. It seemed like a marvelous idea, until I actually opened the book and saw the first topic: Biography.

Ugh! This isn’t going to work. What inspiration can I possibly gleam from quotes about writing biographies? I’m a sci-fi/fantasy writer. I don’t even pretend to tell the truth. So, I closed the book and set it aside. Yet, my book muse had already taken flight, her winged thoughts fluttering around my head whispering, “biography, biography…that’s the topic!” And wouldn’t you know…it is. It really is.


Be warned, people say, on your death-bed it’s not the hours you missed working you’ll regret, but the hours you missed spending time with your loved ones.

True…I guess.

Yet, have you ever read a biography about somebody whose greatest achievement in life was hanging out with his or her family? Biographies are not obituaries. Obituaries are filled with families. Of so and sos left behind to grieve. Everyone gets an obituary. Only people that live interesting, *significant lives have biographies written about them. Which makes me wonder… am I living my life in a way I would find significant and interesting?

Would my life inspire me?

I don’t care what anyone else thinks, but I’d like to think that if I ever had the chance to read my own biography, I’d be pleased with how I’d spent each day. That I’d accomplished certain goals. Not Einsteinian sized goals—just MY goals.

It’s definitely not the same as living every day as if it was your last. Heck, if this was my last day on Earth, hanging out with friends and family would be the only thing I’d care about. But it’s not my last day…at least I hope not.

–Excuse me while I call my mom and tell her I love her.

(Okay, I’m back.)

Maybe it’s as simple as asking: Am I living my life the way I want to live it? Or, from my author point of view: Am I writing my own story?

Anyway… it’s something to think about.

*Biographies about celebrities (i.e. people that live interesting, insignificant lives) are purely gossip and simply don’t count.



Necessary, Though Not Necessarily, Writing Apps

One thing I know about writing—it’s fattening. Fattening, unhealthy, and horrible for your back…not to mention your knees, your hands and your neck. Writers are fatI should have chosen a healthier career, such as tightrope walking or race car driving. Unfortunately, I suck at heights and you have only to look at the back of my car to see that…well, I should stick to writing.

Which is why I absolutely love the two apps I’m about to tell you about. Apps, without which, my butt would be as wide as Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (hardcover edition, page to page, all the way to the moon). Most important, my inspiration would be lost to aches and pains.

Time out Free

Time Out Free

Time Out Free , by Dejal Systems, LLC, is a simple app that encourages computer uses to take regular breaks. As they say,

“The human body isn’t built to sit in one position for endless hours, gripping a mouse or typing on the keyboard.”

While you could achieve the same effect by setting an alarm, Time Out Free gets in your face by popping up on your screen and, based on your preset preferences, blocking your ability to work for a period of time. Yes, you can still push a little button to skip the breaks, but the in-your-face element is a good reminder to get up and stretch. Plus, you can program in micro breaks (i.e. 15 seconds stretch reminders). (Click HERE to check out similar apps for PCs)

yoga studio

Yoga Studio

Yoga Studio, by Modern Lotus, is the answer (well, my answer) of what to do while you take that break. Yoga not only makes you feel better and keeps you feeling that way, but more important, it helps you look good (i.e. Keeps your writer’s butt in check). And we all know…

“It’s better to look good, than to feel good.”

(I guess I should add, please check with your doctor before trying yoga.)

Anywho, I’ve check out tons (Okay, several) yoga apps, and Yoga Studio is by far my Yoga studio
favorite. It offers three levels, a variety of lesson lengths and most important, the instructions flow well and are crystal clear. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced student, add Yoga Studio to your iPad and enjoy a healthy, feel good 15 minute (or 30 or 60 minute) break. (Click HERE to check out a similar app for Android users)

What Apps do you use to keep you healthy, moving and motivated? 




Step Away From Your Computer!

Imagination is fine, but it needs fuel to survive, to grow–to really set it on fire.  What is that fuel? Life–the big LIFE–yes, really experiencing it. And to do that, sometimes you’ve just got to Step Away From Your Computer.

Whether it’s a visit to your local coffee shop to catch up on world news via some of your not so always neutral minded chums. Or, whether you hop on a plane and travel half way around the world to visit a temple or two, and then find yourself lost in the back alleys of a foreign city. Think of it this way…a fairy is only a plain old Disney fairy until you jump on a train, travel down to the city and start imagining what that same fairy would be like living among skyscrapers and taxis.

Anyway, as I enter what I consider the second part of my novel, I’ve been lucky to do just that–hop on a plane and end up half way around the world in Thailand. While I won’t be spending much time writing, there will be plenty of adventures and lots of living refueling going on.  Below are some pictures from Day 2 in Bangkok.

Inspiration in a bottle

PENspirational, MUSEtastic, Talks for Writers – #1

Inspiration in a bottle

This month I’m beginning a weekly series which I  call PENspirational, MUSEtastic, Talks for Writers. Basically, videos  that have inspired me as a writer. Many of these will be TED talks, but not all. (If you haven’t checked out, please do. It’s a wealth of inspiration.)

Truthfully, right now, it is all I can do to share a video or two… as I continue to meet the demands of moving, selling a house, meeting a book series deadline and reading all the manuscript submissions coming into The Purcell Agency. My life, to say the least, is very full!

Anyway, enjoy this video. Andrew Stanton is a writer, actor and producer – a triple threat, to say the least. He worked on Toy Story and WALL-E… among other movies.  He’s also a very entertaining speaker and knows just a bit (A BIG BIT) about story telling 🙂