Friday, August 29, 2014

What's Inside

Today we return to our regular Friday series on quotes, which, by the way, may go on far longer than I'd at first thought. I still have dozens of quotes that I love. Don't judge me.

Despite the irksome has-got error, this quote is entirely correct.

I can attest to this, in a simple and fairly short story:

In my freshman year in college, I was bored. Schnikes, I was bored. Especially in my English classes (go figure).

You see, my English teacher was fresh off a plane from China. She literally sat at the front of the class and read the textbook to us. She never really taught us anything, or at least, anything useful. One day, she tried to teach us that semicolons are never really used in today's English, that they're archaic, and that we should never use them. I proved her wrong, using the very textbook she was reading.

For the record, I blame that teacher for my problems with overpunctuation.

Back onto the point... During my first semester, I had a dream. It was very similar to the basic idea of Telekinetic (you see where I'm going here, I'm sure).

No matter how hard I tried to ignore that dream, to pretend I never had it, I couldn't. I had to write it down.

Now, it's critical to mention that up until that point, I had not truly written before, aside from school assignments.

As I'm sure you've guessed, I finally started writing down my dream. By the end of my second semester, Telekinetic was finished. By the end of the following summer, Telepathic was three chapters away from its end. Two years later, I had both Teleporter and Totalitarian completed as well.

The story wouldn't let me ignore it. It wouldn't die. It was sitting inside me, begging to be written down, and I hardly slept until I'd at least started something on paper.

That's how it is for most of us. There's a story in us, and we need to write it down--because there's another aspect to this quote, one that's not mentioned within the quote itself:

In each of us, there is a story. Even if you don't think of yourself as a writer, there is a story in you. No one can write that story but you. If you don't write it down, no one will ever read it. It will continue to sit inside you, to fester, to rot, and eventually to die of disease.

That story needs to come out. It wants to. It's up to you to take the first step and write it down.

I dare you.



p.s. Don't forget to send me a message and let me know what you'd like to see for my 100th blog post! I'm only a few posts away! 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Problem of the Seal

Over the weekend, I was watching one of my parent's favorite home renovation shows, Fixer Upper, when I realized something fairly amusing that has occurred between a dialect of English and the pronunciation and understanding of a fairly common term.

Confused yet?

I'll start by saying that in a few of my classes in college, I noticed people using the phrase "window seal" when talking about the small ledge that sits beneath a window inside a house.

Understandably, I was slightly taken aback.

"Window seal?" I thought. "What on earth does this mean?"

Then in another class, I was asked to edit a paper in which a student had used this phrase. I was one of very few to have caught the mistake and written it down in my notes.

"By window seal, I believe you mean window sill."

Now, to get back to Fixer Upper. This is when I finally realized how this mistake has become so frequent (especially in my region).

You see, the family of reno experts in Fixer Upper are from Texas. The wife, in particular, is the person in question. She very plainly told her husband something about the window sill of the house they were renovating, however, because of her Texas accent, the word sill sounded exactly like seal.

I'm from New Mexico. You know this. We're greatly influenced by Texans, in that they're our neighbors and they think they're awesome and they believe we're their suburb (we're not, thank you very much).

I believe this error has spread, at least to New Mexico, by way of Texans. With their accent they've confused the brains of New Mexicans who think Texans are smarter than them, and somehow they've all ended up saying "window seal."

I really hope that this stops spreading, because I'm tired of explaining what a sill is.

[love and homemade cookies cooling on a window sill]

{Rani D.}

Monday, August 25, 2014


I was sitting at my computer today, trying to decide what to write and coming up with very little (yeah, it happens to me not infrequently), when a thought popped into my head...

"Talk wordy to me."

I don't know how many times I've heard this said this week, and I'm fairly certain that everyone who's ever tried to flirt with an English major at university has heard this line.

We like words, we like to hear people say them, and in a way, they get us all excited and make us want to dance around like wee little children.

I'm one of those English majors (or at least, I was an English major, who now has her degree). I like the sounds of words, the way each person pronounces them just a little differently, and yet we all somehow seem to know what each other are saying.

I find it one of the most beautiful and fascinating things, and I'm probably a little weird about it.

But that's not the main point of this post.

Talk wordy to me always brings me back to one of the most fun topics on the market: pick up lines.

See, I'm a woman (in case you weren't sure). I'm also a single woman. I also hear pick up lines not infrequently. Some of them are amazingly funny, others are idiotic, still others I can't seem to wrap my head around.

Because I can, because I'm bored, and because I'm overly wordy today, here are a few ways to talk to (and perhaps pick up) a lady writer/English major/wordsmith, without making yourself look like an idiot.

Here are several ways to turn a lady writer's head, and maybe help you get her to be your lady writer:

  • Use your dictionary. Come up with some words that we haven't heard of. This is sure to get our attention. 
  • Talk to us about something we don't talk about all the time. (mathematics, anyone?)
  • If you speak another language, tell us about it.
  • Enunciate. Please. For the love of all that is pure.
  • For the love of pizza, don't tell us you're bad at grammar. If you are, we probably already know.
  • Read. Then tell us about it. In big words. 
  • For that matter, just try to use a few big words here and there, and use them correctly. We'll be impressed. 
  • Be willing to people watch with us, in case we're looking for material. 
  • Talk about what we want to talk about, especially if we're looking for material. 
  • Tell us something unique about you, something that we might be able to use in a story. 
  • Know the art well enough to be able to talk about it (i.e. read some famous literature, know your Shakespeare, etc.)
  • If we're in research mode, offer to carry our bag. It's usually about twenty pounds heavier than we'd like. 
  • And of course, the ever popular: tell us we're pretty, because a lot of us are nerds or geeks and we don't hear those words very often (but don't say it like you're trying to get us into bed, because that's just rude)
There are, of course, many other things that would likely work to get our attention, but this is just a start. Use your words, don't be too shy around us, and don't forget that we don't always want to talk. A lot of the time (especially when we're in research mode), we'd rather just be listening.

And don't forget...



Friday, August 22, 2014


Happy Friday, my lovely readers! Don't you look dashing today! 

Below is Deanna Leah's second guest spot here on Writing, Editing, and All Things Rani. She's sharing on one of my favorite writing quotes (I know, I know, I have too many of those), and I hope you enjoy what you read. 

I'll be bringing her on to write some more fun pieces very soon, as well as bringing in a few fresh faces to tell us their thoughts on reading, writing, and the trials of publication. 

Happy reading! 


p.s. Click here if you'd like to read Deanna's first post!


Hello everyone! This is Deanna for round two!

Have you ever been in the middle of a story and then suddenly you stop and stare at your keyboard? Your writing has been jumping out of your fingertips like a bunch of frogs and suddenly you don't know what to say.

It's the terrible onslaught of writers block – which I believe is a falsified disease for writers who are afraid of what people may think of what they have to write or, even worse, afraid of what they will find in themselves if they write it. (are you seeing the connection with the previous post?)

When you were a teenager you probably had a diary. (Which if you are smart, unlike me, you would still keep up as a habit.) In this journal you were willing to write everything you thought, felt or asked. In this diary you documented your life in great detail.  You...

You were fearless in that 70 page, worn, tear stained notebook and now on your computer screen you are being called to be fearless again. You are being called to dig up ghosts you never wanted to experience again. You are being forced to reveal a broken heart to the world.

And that is what makes a best seller a best seller.

Many people may think that being a writer is a job for someone who wants to hide their life and problems behind prose, but I find that writers are the bravest people I have ever met. They are utterly vulnerable when they put their book in the hands of a stranger because a nonchalant reader doesn't see that they are reading the soul of another human being.

We are releasing our mess into the hands of the world to judge as they see fit and that is a terrifying existence. We become translucent—and we must, or our writing will fail to touch and to change. Isn't that what we all long to do? Don't we all want our pain to become another’s victory?

Amateurs write to let go of what is inside of them. They write because they have to get it out. Don't be an amateur. Don't be fearful of what your work is trying to change in you.

Real writers are like the Greeks. They study it. Furthermore, they grab their fear by the horns and never let it go.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Game Over

As promised, I've been reading more, and therefore have things to write reviews on!

This past week, I both started and finished reading Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card. I know, I know, what science-fiction nerd hasn't read this series? The answer to that would've been me, until very recently.

But I'm now here to tell you that if you haven't read this book and you at all enjoy science fiction, you must get your hands on the nearest copy.

Card somehow manages, within Ender's Game, to create children warriors. Until this book, I'd never seen that done successfully. He writes children in a way that I've never seen before, in a very fluid manner that makes the reader almost forget that they're reading about children at all.

Through the whole of the story, as one might expect, we follow the life of young Ender Wiggins. He's a small boy, only six years old at the start of the book, but he's very bright, sees things in ways no adult sees them, is able to sense compassion and realistically rationalize the actions of others, as well as thinking three steps ahead (to paraphrase), in order to prevent the bullies from ever coming back and harming him again.

The thing with Ender, I believe, is that there is a part of him that is relatable to every person on this planet.

That, in my mind, is what makes this book one that truly transcends science fiction and becomes something that more than just geeks and nerds can enjoy.

In this world where Ender resides, there are creatures called Buggers. They've attacked earth before, but humans haven't seen them in many, many years. Still, they train young boys (and a few girls) in the art of war. Humanity was only able to defeat the Buggers in the war through the leadership of Mazer Rackham, whom I was led to believe had been dead for some time.

The premise of the story is that Ender is a miracle child, that he is the one whom the humans will train to be their leader in the case that the Buggers return and try to kill them all. 

But all at once, it's far more than that.

Card reveals to us what children warriors would be like, how it would be if we forced our children to play war games instead of learning their arithmetic (though the characters do still have regular classes as well, I'll admit). Through this, we watch as Ender loses his childhood to become what humanity needs him to be, all for the love of his sister, Valentine.

This story...

Well, it's probably the best story that I've read in a very long time. I bought the books months ago, but I never sat down to read them. Now, I find myself having already finished the second book in Ender's tale, Speaker for the Dead, and have started reading the third, Xenocide.

What's that to you?

I'll tell you.

It takes a lot for me to sit down and finish a book like this in a matter of days. It takes more than a good plot to make me stare into the pages for hours on end, and stay awake at night thinking about how the story will continue.

But now, I doubt that Ender will ever leave my side. He'll always be there, the compassionate little boy who always knows the right things to say and the right moves to make, long after I finish Children of the Mind, the final book in the collection.


{RA Divine}

p.s. Don't forget to stop by on Friday for Deanna Leah's next post! 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Lend Me Your Votes

Happy Monday, my dear friends! I hope this afternoon finds you well, and not too stressed under the circumstances of this being that oh-so-dreaded of days

Lately, I've been reminding you all of what I'd like to do for my 100th post (which, by the way, is now only a few weeks away). I'm sure by now you're all very familiar with my post "Eight One" (which was not intended to be eighty one, but rather singular identification of the numerals eight and one). I'm also sure that you're tired of my parenthetical remarks, because, well, I'm rambling in them.

I haven't received enough votes from all of you to be sure which of the following options you'd actually like to see, so I'm posting them again to make them easier to find, as well as cutting two of the least popular variables.

So, again, your options are...
  1. Another excerpt from Coetir: The People of the Wood, out in January
  2. An excerpt from the next Advanced novel, Telepathic
  3. My best attempt(s) at poetry
It seems to me that you're all still more interested in seeing story than anything else, so I'm also considering adding a popcorn-story to the blog within the next few months as well (don't know what that is? Drop a comment and I'll explain). To do that, I'll need to bring on a few guest bloggers willing to write in crunched time periods, so I'll keep you posted on that.

For now, keep sending in your votes! I want to post the things that you most want to read, your wish is my command, and all that jolly stuff.


{Rani D}

p.s. don't forget! Deanna's Leah's next guest post will be this Friday, the 22nd! Stop in this weekend and give her some love!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Teary Eyed

This is probably one of my favorite writing quotes. It helps me keep my head in the game, especially toward the end of a book.

I know that a lot of people don't believe this, because many of us are so accustomed to heightened emotional scenes that they don't make us cry anymore, but I believe it's very, very true.

You see, I'm one of those people who doesn't cry easily. (I also don't laugh at writing easily, so if you write something hilarious and ask me to read it, I might not think it's funny--I just don't enjoy humorous writing).

I don't want to cry when I read books, so most of the time, I don't. I keep everything all bottled up inside and I ignore the fact that very emotional things are going on.

But. I almost always cry when I write the endings to my own stories.

It's almost the exact same feeling either way, that moment where everything has burned and the main characters have to pick themselves back up from the ashes, that gets me. It's pretty much the only thing that gets me (which is why I've never cried in the middle of a book: only at the ending).

What I do when I write is that I look for that same depth of emotion that I feel when I read my favorite books, and I squeeze it into my own characters. I dig a little deeper into them, pulling out things that I didn't even know they contained, and it makes me weep every time.

Even going back and reading them again makes me weep.

It makes my friends, my beta readers, weep.

And that's exactly what I was going for.

Don't forget to let me know what you'd like to see for my 100th!



p.s. Deanna Leah's second guest spot is finally set! Be sure to pop in on Friday, August 22 to see part two of her work, and don't forget to hop on over and give her a like on Facebook

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Sink or Swim

Would you like to know a secret?

Well if I tell you, it won't be a secret anymore. But I suppose I'll tell you anyway.

I can't swim.

You heard me.

I can't swim, and I'm writing a book that takes place almost entirely in the water. Doesn't really seem possible, right? If you think so, you'd be right. I'm flying blind here (or maybe swimming blind, eh?). Realistically, I barely even know what I'm doing.

But it's where the story wants to be written, so I do it.

Why am I telling you this?

Because I'd like to explain something to you that not many writers (or writing teachers, or experts on creative writing) will tell you.

You know that whole "write what you know" thing? Yeah, that's not necessary for the information age.

We have these lovely little things called computers (and mobiles, and kindles, and iPads...) that allow us to access this wonderful database called Google (and bing, and dogpile, and yahoo...). So we don't need to write what we know from experience. We're free to write what we know from knowledge, lacking any experience.

I've been in the water before, so I know what that feels like. But I've never been able to keep myself afloat, so I have no idea what it's like to do something like that.

Fortunately, other people do. And they've described it, in detail, online.

So in truth, we don't have to write what we know. We can write whatever we're able to obtain knowledge about, and for we science-fiction and fantasy buffs, fudge the lines and make it work along the way, sink or swim.

Don't forget to tell me what you'd like to see for my 100th!



Monday, August 11, 2014

The Grammarian is Strong With This One

It's that time again, folks. Time for another post on grammar. Or rather, which word means which thing.

(No, I'm not a genius. I just -really- like English. That makes me a geek.)

Today, we're going over the four word pairs that I've heard (from friends willing enough to discuss such things with me) are the hardest to get right in every day writing or speech.

Word Pair #1: 


This one is the easiest, so I thought it would be the best place to start.

I don't know how many times I've seen people get this wrong. It's upsetting, how often it happens--especially when you know this very simple device:

A desert is a very dry land that you want to spend as little time in as possible (so says that woman who lives in New Mexico). Dessert, on the other hand, is something you want more of.

Now count the letters s. The extra s marks the one you want more of. Dessert is delicious (she says, while waiting for the time when her father's birthday cake will be cut) and we always want more.

Word Pair #2: 


This pair was pointed out to me a few weeks ago, by one of my very good friends. She mentioned how much trouble she has in remembering which one of these means what. So I made an easy way for her to remember (and I hope it works for you as well).

When you accept something, it's a positive. It's a "good" thing (depending on the situation).

When you except something, it's a negative.

Think of it like this: we want to cross out the negatives. To cross something out, on paper, would be to put an X through it. Guess which one of those has an x in it?

You got it.

Word Pair #3: 


These two are a little more difficult. Even I have trouble with them from time to time.

Let's start by defining them.

To allude to something would be similar to implying.

To elude someone would be to hide from them, so well that they don't find you.

Honestly, I'm not sure how I can state it in any way that you'll easily be able to remember it, so maybe you'll just want to bookmark this post so you'll never forget. *wink*

Word Pair #4: 


Ahh, the dreaded question. Is it who, or is it whom?

Realistically, the vast majority of the time it is proper to say who. It's a very rare occasion when whom is proper, and when you're talking it only makes you look like a grammar Nazi, which we're really all trying to hide.

So I'll just say this:

When it would be he, use who.
When it would be him, use whom. (note the m's at the ends of the words: that's what always helped me)

Again, these are some of my favorite posts to write, and I hope that they help you or at least amuse you on this lovely Monday afternoon. We all know how much we like Mondays, don't we?

And don't forget! I still need to know what you'd like to see for my 100th post! I have a few votes in, but their all for different things. If I don't get enough votes in I'm just going to have to pick something... But I'd really like it if you'd all be nice and help me decide. Maybe I'll make you cookies, or share a cookie recipe with you. (ahh, bribery...)

Check here for options for my 100th post:



Friday, August 8, 2014

Double (double)

For the first time in this series, I'm talking about two quotes in one post. O.O

Today we're talking about reading and writing as quoted by Stephen King...

And reading and writing as quoted by Benjamin Disraeli.

After reading the two of these, I noticed something rather interesting (at least, I found it interesting, and I suppose we'll find out if you do, too). See, King believes that in order to write, we have to both read and write. But Disraeli seems to think that reading isn't as important as writing.

Which one's right?

I think a lot of the time it depends on your age and the amount of books on your shelf, because that will tell you just how much reading you've done in your life.

See, what King is trying to say (I believe) is that in order to get better at writing, we have to both read many things by many other authors, and write (both in the style we prefer and the styles we abhor). By doing this, we become better at writing in general, because we know what we like and what we don't like, we have a better conception of what can and cannot be done within a novel, and what we believe works and does not work together.

But once we've gotten to that point, where we've found our style and our niche and we're out of money to spend on other books, then what do we do?

Should we keep reading the same books over and over again, because they're all we have to read and Stephen King says we have to read so we'd better be reading?

I think not.

At this point, we follow the example of Disraeli. When we want to read a good novel, we write one.

By now we know what we like, we know what makes a good story and what makes literary trash, and we're okay with our standards.

We know what type of book we like, and we know what it is that we want to read--but instead of searching for someone else's version, we write our own.

In a sense, the two quotes work together (again, in my mind). But what do you all think? Am I reading these right, or am I crazy to think that one could ever not have enough books, and only read the ones that they themselves write (at least until they have the money to buy more *wink*)?

Speak words here, friends. Tell me what you think, because I really would like to know.



P.s. don't forget to vote on what I should do for my 100th blog post! For the available options, check my post "Eight One" (no, that isn't a typo):

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Mavguard Magazine


Mavguard Magazine

I've spoken to you all before about RAD Writing and the things going on there, but until now I haven't really gotten the chance to speak about Mavguard (you'll just have to visit their Facebook page if you really want to know what that means, because I'm not going to tell you *wink*).

But that's all about to change.

As of yesterday, Mavguard Magazine has officially green-lit their first edition, to be released in 2015!

That means their submission window will be open soon! In fact, it will be open on September 1, and will remain open until January.

They will accept all forms of fiction writing, poetry, and art (send them a message if you need specifics), and they cater specifically to unpublished authors and artists.

You heard me right, folks. They cater to the undiscovered.

If you have anything you've ever wanted to submit but were too afraid to send it in, this is the time and the place. Trust me, Mavguard is going to be amazing and a lot of fun. I've even signed on as a reader once the submission window closes, and if you let me know what you've sent in, I'll be sure to let everyone there know that I sent you. *wink*

Mavguard plans on working with authors and artists in much the same way RAD Writing currently operates. Even if your work isn't accepted for publication, they'll tell you other places you might try, give you insight about your work, and try to help you in any way they can. 

Message me or drop a comment if you'd like more information, or go to the link above to check out their Facebook page. Their webpage is still under construction, but it will be up within the next couple of weeks, I promise.



Monday, August 4, 2014

Eight One

Well looky here. This is my eighty-first post. I suppose I wasn't really paying attention to how many posts I've been doing lately.

But do you know what this means?--We're only a short ways from post 100!

So here's my idea.

I want to do something special for my hundredth post, but I'm not positive as to what you'd like to see on here for an event so momentous. I've come up with a few options, and you're welcome to add your own opinion into the mix, but I want to hear from you:

What special something do you want to see for my hundredth?

Here are five things that I've come up with, and like I said, you're welcome to suggest one in the comments below, on FB, or via messaging.

  1. Excerpt from the next Advanced novel, Telepathic
  2. Another excerpt from Coetir: The People of the Wood, out in January
  3. A short story from so long ago that I don't remember when I wrote it
  4. My best attempt at poetry
  5. A Q+A session, where you'll be allowed to send in questions the week before and I'll answer as many as I can fit into a 1000 word post

Again, I'm not sure which one of these would be more fun for all of you, so I'm leaving the decision in your hands. Obviously we have a little bit of time, so I'm giving you until August 22 to leave your responses.

I'll keep eluding to this post in my next ones, so you won't forget. *wink*



Friday, August 1, 2014


There is one word that I've constantly have to remind myself not to use in my writing. One word that people use all the time, a word that I use in my everyday speech so often that I've had difficulty entirely cutting it out of my writing.

That word is "very".

I don't know who said this, and I wish that I did, because it's a perfect explanation of why very shouldn't be used in writing.

It's a qualifier, you see, and therefore doesn't need to be used. It changes the meaning of the word after it (i.e. very tired changes the meaning of tired, so it now means exhausted).

So if it changes the meaning of the following word, why do we even use these words?

I believe it's because many of us have forgotten to use our dictionaries. We've grown so accustomed to the way that we speak that it begins to be echoed in the way that we write. This, my friends, is a serious problem.

The solution, you ask?

Well that's easy. (easy to say, at least: perhaps not so easy to put into action)

If we're going to write like professionals, to use the appropriate words and stop using things like "very", we have to start speaking better English. If we don't speak it, it only becomes that much more difficult to put into our writing.

If we stop saying "very" and start saying the words that we mean (morose, exhausted, exuberant, etc.) then we won't even have the desire to use "very" in our writing.

The answer is just that simple. And also that difficult.

Ever tried changing the way you speak? I'll tell you, it's no easy feat.

One might even say it was very difficult. *ahem* I mean, challenging. It was challenging.

[you can do it]