The easiest way to get more is to keep moving.  It’s true; a mind at rest stays at rest while a mind in motion stays in motion.  A mind stuck on one dull, repetitive thought stays there indefinitely.  When it’s time to sit down and write your query letters introducing your work make sure you cover all the bases.  Brief introduction, writing bio, which market your work is best suited for and most importantly make sure your writing is tight and there are no misspelled words.  You want more as a writer then push yourself.  LA Carlson


A Lantern above the Treehouse-(Hunger Mountain contest submission excerpt)

The energetic man in the imposing white FedEx truck with green lettering left the envelope from her mother resting against the window next to her front door.  She was doing a marvelous job of ignoring the other envelope which had sat on her dinning room table for several days; papers ending her 20 years of marriage to Andrew Wonacotti.  Her mother was renowned marine biologist, Dr. Hillary Sands, who lived in San Luis Obispo California.  If ever there was a person who embraced the California life-style it was her and as she opened the front door to dazzling morning sunshine her thoughts went to her mother’s enduring spirit.  The dog snuck between her legs and bounded down the cement stairs heading for two large trees on the side of the driveway.  She slipped on a pair of favorite flip-flops and followed her knowing she was headed to the wading pool she had filled with water and toys.   She did admit to feel a bit of revenge because it had been Andrew’s insistence to buy the dog for hunting but it was Elizabeth whom the dog lay against in the early mornings and then on her feet at night when she was reading.

A familiar maroon car pulled into the driveway as she was getting her feet wet.  The dog wasted no time and jumped on Jen as she got out of the car.  She immediately followed suit with the dog’s favorite anthem; “Oh, your such a good pup-pup, good girl.”  Jen buried her head in the dog’s snout, scratching her brown ears and the two of them continued their love affair.

“How are you?”  Jen kissed her lightly on the cheek and gave her a hug.  Her sister was toned in a beautifully feminine way.

“The kids made it to California okay.  I’m relieved.”

“Come on, you don’t worry about flights anymore?”

“Yea, honey when you’re a mom it’s intrinsic.  I can’t help myself.”

“Mom will spoil them and they won’t want to leave; you know better.”

“Like I had a choice.  Mom wouldn’t speak to me if I didn’t let them come out each summer.”

“Stop sulking you should be glad.  Now get your things because you’re in dire need of a new outfit if we’re going out tonight.”

“Too old for dating, Jen.”

“Who said a damn thing about dating, we’re going out to have fun!  Remember when you  used to have f-u-n, Beth?”


Elizabeth’s head was pounding early the next morning as she smelled the aroma of bacon.  The night table was buzzing as she slammed her hand on the phone.

“Hello.”  Her voice was a murmur and unrecognizable.

“Elizabeth Ann is that you?”

“Hi Mom.”

“Whats wrong Elizabeth?”

“Jen and I went out last night.”

“Oh, sweetie. Should I call back?”

“No, NO.” She sat up and leaned against the board.

“Listen your sister makes the best hangover remedy, she’ll take care of you.  Goodness, the kids

have grown so much since last year.  They are so much fun.”

“I know.”  She reached for the bottle of water and knocked it promptly on the floor.” Shit.”

“They are having the time of their lives can’t get them out of the ocean.”  Dr. Sands spoke for another 3 minutes before Elizabeth could

get a word in edge wise.

“Oh, tell Jourd I sent his iPod.”

“He’s barely missing it.  Listen I remember a few of my hangover mornings so I’ll be brief.  The kids are

doing well I’ll have them talk to you later and no, I won’t mention their mom is hungover- but call me tonight when you’ve had time to check the package I sent. ”

“Okay mom, tell them I love them and Aunt Jen sends her love too!” She closed her eyes and put the pillow over her head.

“Hey, you have to eat this.  It’ll help I promise.”  Jen was sitting on the edge of her bed holding a plate.

“No hangover for your?”  Elizabeth tossed  the pillow.

Jen cocked her head.  “I didn’t have as many of those shots as you did.”  She took her hand.  “When was the last time you

had any booze anyway?’

Elizabeth nudged her as she made a face.

“Eat it and that’s an order.

“Where did you get the chili?”  Elizabeth said as she continued to devour it.

“Christ, I brought it with me-who cares?, it’s the secret ingredient.  I dated this guy who’s family had this hole-in-wall eatery and they knew

a thing or two about hangover cures.  Everyone who eats it claims it works.”  Jen had remained single and had worked

herself upward in the world of academics.  She was presently the President of a prestigious liberal arts college for women.  Unlike her

I had stopped being interested in education after high school.  A few hours later Elizabeth was feeling back to normal.

“You don’t have any idea what’s in this envelope do you?”  She said she watched her sister play a game on the Wii console.

“You know mom, always full of surprises.”

Inside the envelope were two small envelopes and several pages of text with a large brochure.  Elizabeth saw the words;

African Game Reserve in South Africa at the top of the page.  A handwritten letter was paper-clipped to everything.  The small envelopes

had an airline logo. Elizabeth eyed her sister suspiciously as she read the letter out loud;

Dearest Elizabeth;

All through your life you have taken a backseat to everyone else’s dreams and goals; its high time you find something that makes

you joyful.  I know you volunteer at the Human Society but I’ve enclosed an opportunity that is too good to miss.  A couple of

my colleagues have been here and its top drawer!  I’ve arranged for you to spend an extended time there.  Don’t worry about the

children, I have several options lined up to aid.  The most important thing is for you to you’ll need to bring a companion

your sister would be an excellent choice.  Your flight leaves in 3 days!

Love, Mom

“How long did you know?”

“Mom asked me at Christmas time and the impeding divorce just made everything fall into place because Andrew would

have never let you go.”

“He never told me what to do.”

“Do you miss him?”  Jen was panting as she put her hands on her knees.

“Sometimes, he wasn’t enjoyable to be around for the last 2 years. I don’t miss the anxiety to tell you the truth.”

“I’m sorry, Beth.  But this could be a game changer for you, besides you’ve always had the strength to move forward.

Who do you think I most wanted to be like when we were growing up?”

Me?  No way.”

“You were always unique and memorable.”  Jen sat down next to her and put her head on her shoulder.


“I’ve always told you the truth when I’ve bothered to tell you the truth!”

Elizabeth laughed and opened the envelope for the plane tickets.  “She didn’t?”

“Mom goes first class all the way.  Come on, we have work to do.  The clothes in your closet need to be sent to the Goodwill!”

Authenticate and Visualize

It seems all too familiar in our present day no one takes the time to Authenticate details or fact check.   There is too much reliance on (instant gratification)two words I despise as much as I loathe hearing about the latest so-called celebrity? memoir being hawked by publishers.  Even in fiction authentic details provide astute readers with the ability to expand their intelligence and I’m much more inclined to read something when I can learn something new.  For instance, in my debut adult series Seeing More than I can Remember in Amsterdam there is a great deal of food mentioned (Mediterranean style) and many of those recipes are real. Asparagus Fries with Aioli Sauce is something I’ve made and they are to die for.  The second part of this post involves Visualization.  So often putting together a novel via the computer can be overwhelming.  As I’m now in the process of writing query letters to introduce this project I have created my own storyboard which gives a clear vision of my story.  Mine is as simple as purchasing a tri-fold display board, colorful letters and letting your creativity breathe. LA Carlson

Guide to Literary Agents

In every industry there is always a gold book.  While the publishing industry continues to change dramatically with the introduction of e-readers, online services and the disappearance of beloved book stores; writers still need a reliable source to introduce themselves.  This guide offers a free online subscription service for 1 year, tips on crafting an excellent query letter and other useful information, agencies are presented in alpha order with a helpful speciality index in the back of the book.  I made contact during the summer of 2010 with an agency in NY using this guide so I know this is a dependable source.  LA Carlson

Writer’s Scorecard

As a writer you’ve done all the right things; entered contests, taken writing classes, got on the blog bandwagon, stay updated on the latest trends in publishing, organized your research ideas, read-always read and write everyday.  It’s helpful to have your own scorecard of where you have been and where you hope to go; keep it in a journal, plaster it on the wall next to your desk or keep it on your computer-the ways are endless.  It may not seem like much but the power of visualization on your writing journey will do more for your personal physiology than you will ever tangibly be able to measure.  LA Carlson


Father’s Day and Baseball

One of my lasting associations with Father’s Day will always be baseball.  Early on my father would have the baseball game playing in the house or outside on the radio.  His favorite thing was to turn down the sound on the television and listen to the radio commentary which he felt was superior.  In Alexandria, MN as a young girl I would play baseball with a guy friend  (Mark) whose father worked with my grandfather at the local Piggy Wiggly.  It was our version of sandlot baseball.  I know the passing of legendary baseball player, Harmon Killebrew, earlier this year would have given Dad reason to pause not only for his ability on the field but for his much talked about classy presence off the field.  Do something extraordinary for your Father today or if your Father is no longer here do something extraordinary for a Father you don’t know, it will make their day.  LA Carlson

This writer’s inspiration is… water

Water has long played a purification role in Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and Taoism. In literature it is the drowning of Ophelia in Hamlet and Sherlock Holmes inferred; “From a drop of water a logician could deduce the possibility of an Atlantic or Niagara without ever seeing both.”  When I’m looking for inspiration, to clear my head from the dreadful stories we are surrounded by in our 24/7 newsreel, or to remember why I’m pursuing being a writer I go to a place nearby by bike or car it always gives me great feedback.  There’s always a breeze coming off the lake which gives me everything I need for the day.  LA Carlson