Monday, June 11, 2012

Picnic Magic

We all know what happened when Alice fell asleep on the river bank following a picnic with her sister.  There's something magically about the entire idea of a picnic be it on a riverbank, a favorite spot in the woods, in the park, or on the beach. You're packing up and 'escaping the normal.'  All the items purchased and placed in the picnic basket are meant for this adventure. Gone are the rules of sitting at the table, of using china, and silverware – it's time to step outside the box.
Writing is like going on a picnic. You start with a basket – there is an endless variety to style but the purpose is the same – to hold your picnic items.
A plotter's picnic basket...
 What type of basket are you?

Tradition outliner....
A blender of methods...

A panters....

What type of pinic is this going to be? A gathering fo friends and family? Some downtime? What type of story will it be? Will it be a mystery if so will it be blood or cozy? Or will it be a romance?  A science fiction or fantasy? Etc. Whatever the type it's meant to give life to the contents inside.
Once you have decided on the type of story you want to write, you have to decide who your characters will be. Characters are the food for your basket. No two people pack the same items like no two writers create the same characters.  
When you look into your empty basket, your mind races with ideas of what to place in there. It disregards possibilities as quickly as they form until finally you've decided on what you want to take. Will it be a simple sandwich and chips picnic or a chicken and pasta outing?
The spot you've selected for your picnic is as important as what goes into the basket. The same is true with your story's setting.  Once you arrived at your selected picnic destination a special feeling fills you.
Only your imagination will limit the possibilities of a picnic and the same is true for your story. So this summer pack up a basket/bag/cooler and head out for a couple of hours. Take a notebook/Ipad/laptop and create. Let the magic of the picnic seep into your story….
Here is a recipe for a peanut butter cookie I always make regardless for the type of picnic...


  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream


  1. In a large bowl, cream together 1/2 cup butter or margarine, 1/2 cup peanut butter, white sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla. Add egg and beat well.
  2. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add these dry ingredients to the creamed mixture. Stir. Add oatmeal and stir.
  3. Drop by teaspoons onto greased baking sheet, and press each mound down with a fork to form 1/4 inch thick cookies. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 10 minutes, or until cookies are a light brown.
  4. To Make Filling: Cream 3 tablespoons butter or margarine with the confectioners' sugar, 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter, and the cream. Spread filling onto half of the cooled cookies, then top with the other half to form sandwiches.

Monday, June 4, 2012

How much love?

I was very sorry to hear that Justin Bieber had a concussion. I hope he's feeling better.  The truth is that I hadn't really heard of him until the movie about him came out.  I actually watched it one night with my husband (our kids are too young for him, the youngest is seven, and they're all boys, not his demographic)  and I was impressed by how much talent the kid seems to have.

I am always shocked every day by just how many times Justin Bieber seems to be trending on Twitter.  His fans go out of their way to start phrases that end up trending world-wide.  Things like "Real Girls Always Love Justin."  Its amazing.  It is said over and over again enough times that it becomes a twitter trend world wide.

Wow.  That is love.

In college, for a short period of time because I was just slightly too old, I really started to love NSYNC.  I went to one of their concerts after spending so much time thinking about them that I wonder if some of my grades couldn't have been better Junior year.  I paid a fortune for the tickets and they were far back from the stage. It was like looking at five little figures running around. I could see them on a large screen that made me wish I'd stayed home and watched them on HBO.  It would have cost less.

And I remember realizing that it was sort of sad that I really really liked those guys (well. Lance.) and I would never be any closer to any of them than the far distance from the stage.  I'd devoted so much time to them and I would never know them, not really.

I think that is why books are so fulfilling for us. We can have a fantasy and we can really know that fantasy.  We can read about them any time we want.  Which is why a character like Edward Cullen can become so consuming to its audience.  Somehow, it just seems healthier.  You do know that the character. The author gave you the chance to really be part of their lives.

Unlike NSYNC, who took a few months of time when I didn't want to contemplate the rest of my life because it seemed to scary, or Justin Bieber who will never know those girls who chase him around endlessly.

What do you think? How much love is too much love for people we'll never know?

Saturday, June 2, 2012

My First Time...

Today, I’ll be attending the Wisconsin RWA conference. This is my first event, and it’s with a mixture of excitement and trepidation that I’m going. Oh, and did I mention this will be my first book signing for Until Darkness Comes and my first agent pitch? Lots of firsts, and I guess that’s okay, someone’s gotta be the newbie, right? I’m not sure what to expect but maybe it’s better that way.
I look at where I am, where I was, and where I still need to go on my literary journey of success, and I’m reminded that we’re all at different places in our lives, and in our careers. I guess the most important thing is to enjoy the ride. J

I've been slaving over my Bonded in Exile pitch. I think in the last 2 days I've rewritten it at least twenty times. I decided to post it today, and would love your feedback. Here goes:

Bonded in Exile is a 143,000 word paranormal romance, about an exiled angel who accidentally becomes bloodbonded to his enemy, a female Nephilim. Silas must decide if saving her is worth risking his eternal life, because Emily is either his road to salvation, or the catalyst to unleashing hell on earth.

Emily has no idea what, or who, she really is and discovers her entire life had been nothing but a lie.

Silas wants nothing more then to go home to his world, and has been exiled to earth with his legion, hunting the wicked Nephilim for centuries. One is left, and she holds the power to send them home.

But not all the angels want go back, dissension is brewing, and a mutiny is inevitable. Silas has no choice but to bring the Nephilim under his protection to prevent her from falling into enemy hands. He struggles against his growing attraction to Emily that's getting stronger by the day. Emily's heart starts to soften toward the angel who makes her feel alive in ways she never imagined. She wants to help Silas and stop the evil threatening to take over the world, but in doing so, she'll be required to make the ultimate sacrifice and give up the angel who's captured her heart.
Have a great day! Wish me luck!!

Melynda Price