Monday, March 31, 2014


Good morning from Radine Trees Nehring.

My thought for the day a few days ago was: "I HATE the Internet."
I actually said this aloud to my husband as I moved through nearly a hundred incoming e-mail messages on my Nexus. He was driving the car on one of our frequent trips back and forth from our condo in Fayetteville to our rural (and "for sale") home at Spring Hollow. I often catch up on incoming Internet messages during that time.

But, at that moment,  my daily ritual of dealing with the Internet had suddenly exploded into TOO MUCH. It was taking too much time, there were now too many "take up space" or downright annoying messages (example:  political diatribes from my cousin, or news from folks I never heard of.). Of course there were some nice-to-know messages--about book sales and good reviews, for example. There were lists and newsletters and blogs with good information for a writer. And there were messages from fellow writers and friends I enjoy hearing from.

But, suddenly it was all too much--even the forwarded e-mail with two dozen pictures of cute kittens.

Once upon a time, what did the Nehrings do during long car trips? Much of the time we listened to recorded books, and we haven't done that in a couple of years. We even talked to each other. Now, all I said aloud was "I hate the Internet."  

And, once upon a time, what did Radine do first thing in the morning? For years, my early morning practice as a writer was to re-read and edit the previous day's burst of  written work before starting on new writing. I always enjoyed this, as I enjoy all editing work. Polishing, changing a good word for a perfect one, deciding to add a scene, and, of course, getting back into my story before I moved forward. One of life's little pleasures. But, for the past few years, my first-in-the-morning practice has been to turn on the Internet and read my incoming mail. (See problems above.)  Talk about a time suck!  If I read much DorothyL or Murder Must Advertise or the Sisters in Crime list,  if I answer even one or two e-mails, it's 9:30 or 10:00 before I surface, and time to fix breakfast.  (Both my husband and I snack a bit around 5:00 when we first get up--yogurt, a banana, a bit of pastry. Real breakfast comes mid-morning.)


So, for better or for worse (sorry, correspondents) I am going back to my old early morning practice of edit first, then write new material next. Unless we have to see a weather report, check on a response to a message we sent that needed an answer, or (like now) write a blog, the Internet can wait.  Oh, I'll still be sitting in the car reading messages on my Nexus. But, in my office, the Internet stays off until morning writing is over.  (So, if you have an urgent need to contact me early in the morning try 479-787-5930!)

Okay. Send this, and then begin my "real" writing on the next chapter in my novel in progress. Yea.

How do YOU tame the Internet?

Radine @

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Writing As An Astral Projection Device by Mar Preston

When a book comes alive it’s a wonderful feeling. Your words sparkle on the pages. The dialogue is snappy. You even laugh out loud at some of your one-liners. The characters leap off the page. You can’t wait to get back to working on it.

Well, I’m not there yet. This is my fifth murder mystery, the fourth featuring Detective Dave Mason of the Santa Monica Police Department.

I’m reading through the second draft connecting bits and pieces, finding notes to myself:  (Describe bedroom) and (More here.) You writers know what I mean.  Now it’s time to wrestle with exactly how the bedroom looks, what kind of comforter or curtains reveal the character of the protagonist, how her closet smells, what pictures are on the wall.

But there’s the fight scene I’m having terrible trouble with. I’ve never been in a fistfight, never been shot, and never seen an actual gunshot wound. But how many times have we witnessed violence and death on TV and in the movies?

I suppose this is why we are given an imagination. I can imagine a fist coming at me. In my imagination I know the smell of gun powder, the sound, and feel the kick of a gun.

Take today’s New York Times, book section:  Write What You Know’ — Helpful Advice or Idle Cliché? 

I take this from the second essay by Moshe Hamid. He writes:

But I also write about things I haven’t experienced. I’ve written from the point of view of a woman, of a global surveillance system, of a writer who is being beheaded. I write these things because I want to transcend my experiences. I want to go beyond myself. Writing isn’t just my mirror, it’s my astral projection device.

Ah, yes. We’ve all catapulted ourselves into worlds we will never know. I’ve written from the pov of a Chechen gold digger, a homeless teenager, a Kurdish gangster. It all feels normal to me while I’m doing it. You’ve done it too as writers.

Where have you soared in your imagination? 

My recent book about an honor killing in glitzy Santa Monica: