Friday, April 23, 2010

Basenjis, ratties and character building

Cleo on the lookout, and yes, we let our beastie family members up on furniture--even place furniture for their enjoyment!

As I posted earlier, Cleo passed away. The past couple of weeks, I've been on the search for a new dog family member. This is partly for myself and partly for the cat--who is missing having a dog sibling.
Bax grooming Cleo, now the cat insists on grooming my hair!

So the search is on--and over the past couple of weeks I've learned a lot about a different breed, rat terriers or ratties or feist dogs. I have friends who have ratties and I adore those particular dogs so I read up on the breed and fell in love with a new type of dog. Why? Because the breed is different in a way I believe will add a lot to my life (and I can add a lot to theirs because of who I am). Rat terriers are healthy, curious and active dogs, who adore their people. In the last three ways they are like my previous dogs, basenjis. But they are different in that they are very social, and adore being in the midst of it all, are not overbred so not prone to many diseases and are a terrier--so trainable and love to "do stuff with others." Me too. It gets lonely sitting in a room by myself, writing.

Cleo, under the clean towels on the bed, wondering what all this has to do with writing.

Well, Cleo, I got to thinking about how, basically, all dogs have much the same character in many ways, because they are pack, i.e. social animals. Overall, they get along and need to be with other pack members. This is part of their secret of success with humans, who are also social beings. The huge majority of dogs are friendly, love being with people, etc., no matter what the breed. (I've known a pit bull that knew he was just a big lap dog.) That having being said, I thought about how the dogs I've known personally have all had very distinct personalities one from another. And while a particular dog might be "of the breed," basenjis for example love to eat paper products, each dog will have their own unique twist. Cleo liked to eat paper-like weeds:
 Cleo going in for the kill.

If dogs have these many unique differences, how about sentient, supposedly more evolved, people? It doesn't matter if my book is set in a small town where most people are middle class and staid and...would seem indistinct one from another. But then one goes and eats a weed.

So now, as I'm building characters for my new novel, I question: How is this character like other people? How is this character different--and why the differences? Why does this character eat weeds? How does that work with the plot/the other characters/the entire book? (In real life there may not be a reason, but there needs to be in fiction.)

Dear readers how do you build a character? Or do they come to you fully formed? Or?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Of this and that and t'other

This is my dear friend Kathy's of Well Placed Words daffodil, thank you Kathy!

This post is a spring mix of various blossoms and one weed.

First up: a couple of FANTASTIC contests if you're looking for an agent:
Sarah with a chance is holding a contest with several great prizes, including lunch with well-known agents! This contest closes Sunday, April 25th.
On the, they're having a one line pitch to an agent contest starting April 27th.

And speaking of great places, great places to go to find agents are and Agentquery are both excellent resources.

Now the one weed: I doubt if the spammers will get this message, BUT--here goes. At least I'll feel better. I vet every comment on my blog and say yay or nay on it's being posted. I allow anonymous comments because I have some family members and friends (Hi, Cynthia!) who don't have a screen name. However, if you're trying to sell me something that enlarges a part of my anatomy that I don't even possess, or trying to sell me cheap, bizarre drugs from some other country, or marry me to become an American citizen, or post something in gobbledygook, I reject your comment. I don't post it. Nyah, nyah.

There, vent over. I do feel better. Does anybody have a better way of handling this problem?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Devil You Say?

In the comments of my last post, several of you mentioned eating oodles of eggs so I thought I'd post my favorite recipe for deviled eggs.

Deviled eggs Conda style:

Take a dozen hard boiled eggs, cut in half, and remove the yolks. In a large bowl, place the yolks, a half cup of mayo (fat free works), a tablespoon or two of any mustard you like secret ingredient, a tablespoon or two of curry spice. Blend well until smooth, then spoon into the egg halves. Sprinkle with paprika or chili powder.

Eggs are healthy, so eat! Good brain food for being creative!


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Egg and Spring Day Greetings

Daffodils for a HAPPY EASTER

One of the funnest things about being a *semi* Buddhist is that I feel that I can embrace all holidays! I'm a semi-Buddhist partly because I was raised by a declared atheist who participated in Navajo ceremonies and a come-to-it-late sloppy sorta Buddhist. Our tradition was a morning egg hunt, but we had to find all the eggs and have egg salad sandwiches forever after. And why we celebrated Easter...

Whether you're celebrating the traditional holiday or love eggs or simply enjoy a new spring day my good wishes go out to you.

My favorite Easter candy is Cadbury cream eggs--but I only like them NOW. How about you? Any traditions you'd like to share?