Thursday, November 19, 2015

Books I'm Thankful For

It’s safe to say, I’m addicted to books. I may even have a book problem, so as Thanksgiving draws ever closer, I’m thinking about things I’m grateful for and books come to mind.

Thirteen Books I’m grateful for
The Bible
I like the stories about people, like me, who make mistakes, but count on God’s mercy, grace and help.
The Earthsea Cycle by Ursula K. Le Guin
My friend gave me these books in college and I fell in love with Ged and the magic of Earthsea.
100 Cupboards by N. D. Wilson
The language, the story and the characters pulled me in and I liked all the baseball games mentioned.
Redshirts by John Scatzi
I grew up as a trekkie and this book just might show what really happened behind the scenes of Star Trek. Also, Wil Wheaton narrated the version I listened to, which made the story even funnier.
The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt
I’m not a huge Western fan, but this read taught me that any genre can be humorous and fun.
Warm Bodies by Issac Marion
I liked the unlikely blend of horror, humor and romance.
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Aibileen’s wisdom and kindness spoke to me.
The Patchwork Girl of Oz by L. Frank Baum
I read this book with my grandmother.
David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell
This book gave me a lot to think about.
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
I loved the friendship between the girls/ women.
Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
This epic fantasy is so complex, rich and noble.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night by Mark Haddon
This book helped me to see things from an entirely new point of view.
The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook by Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht
Ever wonder what a person should do in a given situation? This book series has brief easy-to -read answers.

Since I read continually and my favorite read will almost always be the book I’m in the middle of currently, this list will change. In fact, I’m hoping that you will throw me some suggestions for additions.
What book or books are you grateful for? Why?
Please share.


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Writing and Looking for Ideas? Check out National Novel Writing Month and Seventh Sanctum

November started this week and with its start 2015’s National Novel Writing Month kicked off. Many aspiring authors, including me, will attempt to write a 50,000 word novel before the month ends. That means we have to pen 1, 667 or so words every day. And sometimes it’s hard to keep the story going and to simply come up with ideas.

To help another Nano participants and myself I’ve gone to Seventh Sanctum. It’s a page of random generators. I used one that made interesting characters because I’ve found if you start with some interesting people the scenes seem to come together quickly.  So here are thirteen classic, overused and archetypical types scrambled together to hopefully create some eccentric and intriguing oddballs to fuel a budding storyteller's inner muse.

See if any of these trigger your imagination or your funny bone.

1. The upper-class fop who has an unusual scar from an equally unusual incident.
2. The stealthy assassin who keeps repeating themselves over and over.
3. The mysterious elderly wizard whose scientific endeavors have given them a god complex.
4. The friendly sentient computer who wants everything for their children and who is bound by an unpleasant duty.
5. The rough-and-tumble dwarven fighter who is accused of a crime they did not commit and who is friend to a giant city-smashing monster.
6. The new kid in town who has nothing left to lose.
7. The emotionally detached genius who knows the solution to everyone's problems.
8. The family man who is a softy at heart despite strong biases.
9. The strong-willed yet elegant Southern Belle who is stronger and more skilled than most anyone.
10. The aristocratic vampire who is just this side of crazy and who wants to destroy the world due to emotional issues.
11. The loudmouthed opportunist with a heart of gold who has to prove their worth.
12. The scoundrel with a heart of gold who came back from the grave and who stands alone against the Main Villain.
13. The brilliant young adult who is persecuted by a government conspiracy and who surprises people with their ability to survive.

If you’re working on a manuscript or taking the National Novel Writing Challenge this November and you’re looking for ideas, consider checking out The Seventh Sanctum. It’ll inspire your creativity.


Conferences: Worth Leaving the House for?

By Elizabeth MS Flynn w/a Eilis Flynn
This week I’m recovering from a writers’ conference I attended over the weekend. I gave two workshops and talked to a lot of people and in general did all those things that one does at a conference. And now I’m doing what people do the week after a conference: recover.

Then again, I’m lucky. It’s been a full week and I haven’t come down with anything. “Con-crud,” that indescribable and annoying ailment that hits con-goers almost immediately after the con (a cold, judging by all the symptoms), hits conferees and conventioneers alike. The last time I got hit with it was a while ago, after we hit San Diego Comic-con, but that was truly inevitable with all the hugging of people I hadn’t seen in (some cases) decades. Whether it’s something that gets introduced by someone just catching something, going through something, or getting over something, unless you make a point of not touching anyone or anything and possibly wearing a mask and using latex gloves, unless you are at SDCC or something similar, you’re going to stand out. (That is the advantage of going to a comic convention or cosplay convention or pop culture convention or some such. Wearing a mask and gloves will not make you stand out, not even a cape or a rubber chicken tucked into your belt. At a professional convention or conference, well, you didn’t really like that job, did you?)

Anyway, I haven’t gotten sick after a con since then, and seldom in general. (These are famous last words.) In the past few years, I figure I haven’t gotten sick because I now work at home and rarely come in contact with the outside world, except for the necessary trips to the grocery store or library or post office. Which I have little problem with, except my already poor talents at networking and socializing positively disintegrate. And since conferences and conventions are often places to go in order to network and troll for work, it helps if one can be sociable in order to glad hand for said work. See the problem?

But I’ve got to wonder. Back in the old days, all a shut-in had was the postal service and subscriptions. These days, with the Internet, someone who spends most of her time indoors rarely has to use the postal service and subscriptions for print periodicals aren’t what they used to be (and hence why I now work at home, since I worked for a print periodical). But a FaceTime/Skype session takes the place of a lot of face-to-face interaction. So do we really need to go to conventions anymore?

Wouldn’t get sick as often. Wouldn’t have to spend money, time, and aggravation to get there, spend time and money there, and get home. Wouldn’t be completely and utterly tuckered out and spend the next week or so recovering. But would a face-to-face work better than a FaceTime session or a persuasively written email when you’re trying to find work?

And I’m cheap. And poor. Then there is the problem that if you spend all your time drumming up work, you don’t have time to do the work you already contracted for. I know someone who’s hitting three conferences in the space of two months, and she’s contracted bronchitis and had horrible allergy attacks (grains allergies) pretty persistently. But she’s drumming up interest in her series, and she knows how to network.

It’s a real plus-minus thing. In the meanwhile, though, I finish off these blog posts and take unintended little naps.

Elizabeth MS Flynn has written fiction in the form of comic book stories, romantic fantasies, urban fantasies, historical fantasies and short stories, a young adult novel, and a graphic novella (most published under the name of Eilis Flynn). She’s also a professional editor and has been for more than 35 years, working with academia, technology, and finance nonfiction, and romance fiction. If you’re looking for an editor, she can be found editing at and reached at If you’re curious about her books, check out In any case, she can be reached at