Best. Thing. Ever.

Sometimes, I’m forced to turn out the lights long before I’m ready. (Aren’t we all, Night Owls?) Tonight is one such night.  So I decide to peruse the old Etsy, as I’m known to do from time to time, and happened upon this gem: Old Books Book Lovers Scented Candle.  Here’s the link: .

You’re welcome.

- sld

No contract? There’s probably a reason for that…

Fellow contractors, take heed.  If you read nothing else but this intro, please take my next sentence very seriously.  Require clients to sign a legally binding contract before you begin work.

It sounds obvious enough, I know.  Yet, for some businesses, not providing a contract is like waving a “Will Work for Free!  Ask Me How!” sign.  You don’t provide a contract; your client might not provide one either.

How are you supposed to know the terms of your working agreement? How much will you be paid?  When will you be paid?  What is the client’s measure of your success?  Who owns the materials you’ve created?  When can you leave?  Can you be fired?

Without a contract, no one really knows the answers to these extremely important questions except your client.  If he did not provide a contract for you to sign, then there’s a chance he’s hiding all of that information, possibly hoping you’ll inadvertently break one of those unspoken rules so he can hold you accountable for breach of contract. (What contract? Why, the non-existent, phantom contract, silly!)  Even if some aspects were verbalized, there’s no signature binding either you or the client.  Do you really want to leave your hard-earned pay and reputation on the line with a verbal contract?  What if a dispute arises?  Well, it’s a whole, big, steaming pile of mess, and it may or may not be worth the legal fees for you to fight.

Get acquainted with other contractors in your area.  Before starting a job, ask them for information about your potential client.  If there are any red flags, like high turnover, complaints about working conditions or expectations, beware.  Also look for signs that the client could be treating contractors like employees, an illegal tax/wage/benefits evasion tactic known as misclassification.  Trust me.  These kinds of clients know what they’re doing.

No, it’s not fair.  Yes, there are ways to win these legal battles, depending on a lot of factors, and you need more than sufficient proof to validate your claims.

Bottom line?  If you’re new to the independent contractor world, please, please, please hire a lawyer to draft a contract for you.  It won’t cost much, and you’ll avoid migraines and random bouts of cursing later.

- sld

When You Go

The garage door wakes me. You’ve gone for the day, drove right out of our home and into a world of strangers. No goodbye. You thought you were being kind.

The bed is cold. The room is cold. I’m certain if I look closely, I could see my breath. The heat from the rising sun makes these old wooden joists pop, but I’m still cold. You’ve left me here to freeze.

I get up. I wrap myself in a throw, the one on your side of the sofa. It smells like you, fresh from the shower. I remember you, here, just hours before. How we talked and laughed and kissed.

I work. I try to create, but my usual flood of ideas is an ice floe inching downstream, so I resign to the mundane. Dishes. Laundry. Shower scum. The television drones on in the background, constant, like falling snow. I think I can’t go on another second, not like this, not with the frost creeping in closer and closer, and then I hear the garage door again. I’m suddenly so full of life and love and warmth that I forget how cold I’d been.

Why must you take my sun with you when you go?

- sld

Why You Need to Read to Write


Love! I’m still working on my voice, too, but reading definitely helps… I always read to get my mind right before I start a new project.

Originally posted on Page by Page:

Have you ever asked, “How can I be a better writer?”

Has anyone ever answered, “Read”?

That probably wasn’t the advice you were looking for. Generally, people want a nice checklist to complete and then have an exceptionally better product once they’re finished. They shrug off the reading advice because they want to write, not read. But that advice you ignored may be just what you need.

1) Improve your vocabulary

It may not seem like it, but you’re constantly increasing your vocabulary with everything you read. The greater your vocabulary, the greater your grasp on the English language will be, allowing you to more effectively convey feelings, settings, ect, through your writing.

I don’t mean your manuscripts have to be riddled with big words that the majority of your readers will have to pull out a dictionary to understand in the first place, but there’s a huge difference…

View original 411 more words

Recommend :: Bullies, Bastards & Bitches: How to Write the Bad Guys of Fiction

::A Writer’s Reference by Jessica Page Morrell::

bullies bastards bitches

Crafting a memorable and truly sinister villain can be tricky.  After all, don’t writers tend to “write what they know?”  And I believe most people carry out their lives with good intentions.  So how does a clean-cut writer channel those complex, less-than-perfect motives and evil plots without sounding like a corny, cookie-cutter movie of the week?

As a writer, I cannot deny that my normalcy meter rests just a hair’s width above “Bat-Shit-Crazy,” thus making interesting characters and situations relatively easy for me, but coming up with a believable antagonist has been challenging.  I was on a pretty good path for my antagonist, but I struggled with back story and motivations.  I googled articles about sociopaths, looked at psychology websites about power-loving individuals, histories of abusive or absent parents… yeah, it was a lot to take in.  Not sorry I did it, but still – I was slightly overwhelmed with information.

And then I found this awesome book.  Bullies, Bastards & Bad Guys is 290 pages of villainous gold.  The author guides you through the many types of characters, explaining the nuances between them and giving in-depth analyses of weaknesses and psyche.  The first few chapters tackle the category of protagonists (because good guys can be bad), like the “reluctant hero” and “dark hero” and many more.  This unexpected look into the factors that make up a tarnished hero was invaluable.  Morrell uses examples from literature and short exercises to illustrate the character-types and help you determine the appropriate traits for her story.

Next are the antagonists.  Now, I was expecting a discussion on shady, dark-suited kingpins and dirty, gun-toting convicts, but there is more to consider than my narrow view.  Morrell explains that an antagonist is more than bad.  After all, your good guy can be bad.  The antagonist is a person (or a thing) behaving in opposition to your protagonist.  That’s a textbook answer, for sure, but I was not thinking about the second suitor in a love triangle, or the office gossip, or a narcissist – y’know, not the devil.  I was pleasantly intrigued by the discussion, however, I was thrilled with the in-depth content about sociopaths and the like.  This was, of course, why I consulted the book in the first place.  Morrell offers several examples of haunted and troubled characters and a reading list for more exploration.

Following a couple of quick chapters on how to pit your good and bad guys against each other and making the story believable, Morrell delves into a fun topic:  the Bitches.  Bitches can play either antagonist or protagonist, but they are always beguiling rule-breakers.  The trouble with writing Bitches is they can’t always follow the same rules that the Bullies and Bastards do.  Women tend to be more complex than any male sociopath (I’m a woman, I can say it), and special care should be taken to write them with all their insecurities and inconsistencies.

The book ends with a fun chapter on monsters, another on keeping your villains age-appropriate, and finally, a list of questions to ask your bad guy.  All good stuff.  No doubt, this is a writing tool I will keep on my shelf and refer to again and again.

For more information on this title, check out:

Writer’s DigestGoodreads


Buy Bullies, Bastards & Bitches on Amazon!

- sld