How Not to Write Female Characters

Greetings! Before I commence complaining, I would like to provide an audiobook recording update. I have 99.9 percent of my voice back and have now finished recording 6 chapters!

Now, the…rant? It’s not intense enough to be a rant.

So I’m listening to an audiobook that shall remain nameless. It’s a best seller. There’s a TV show. It’s a big deal.

The writing is somewhat questionable. The word “bigness” has been used multiple times.

The main character is a man. The romantic interest is a lady. We’ll call main character “MC” in the interest of efficiency.

When MC first lays eyes on ladyfriend, the author/MC spends a significant amount of time describing how utterly perfect her physical appearance is. The picture of femininity, super slim arms, delicate bird bones, ballerina-like. Did I mention she’s French? And a genius biologist from a prestigious, European university?

The author goes on to describe how perfect looking she is over and over. We get it. You’ve created an unrealistically hot female in your brain. Congratulations.

Did I mention she was the most boring character of all time? Seriously, the woman has served the following functions in the story: 1. Damsel in distress. 2. Emotional support for MC. 3. Provided a baby for MC.

That’s it.

What happened to her brain? At the beginning of the story, she was supposedly a brilliant biologist. Now, she just follows MC around, fretting and functioning as eye candy and corraling MC Jr.

Super gross.

I’m not quite done with the book, so there is a chance she could still serve some real purpose in the story. However, I’m not overly optimistic.

If you’re a writer, please don’t do this. Seriously. I mean, what is this, the fifties?

Sneaker disapproves of boring characters.



A Wrinkle in Time, my copy

Oh, yeah, baby. Look at this glorious cover. This is one of the very few books I still have from my childhood. With the movie coming out, I thought it would be a fun thing to post. The book is a little old and battered but still readable. The page after the cover is a teaser bit from the front of the book.


Wrinkle in time 2


Sorry for the blurry pictures. I think my phone camera might be dying a slow death.

I have not yet seen the movie. I really want to, especially after suffering through the 2003 version a while back. That was…not awesome.

I am considering reading the book again. We will see.

Hey, by the way, if you’re an author and looking for interesting ways to market your book, you might want to check out my podcast that features authors reading from their books. It’s called the Authors Read podcast. Several people have signed up so far, and I could have the next episodes up as soon as next week. I am super excited about it! If you’d like to get in on the action, click here for the jump to the podcast blog. 

If you’d like to follow the podcast, it can be found on Podbean and iTunes.


Writin’ Music

Hey, there! If I didn’t have a cold that’s affecting my voice, I would probably be recording another audiobook chapter because I am officially caught up on editing! WOO!!! 4 chapters down. 20-something to go, I think.

When I write, I’m almost always listening to music. It makes my brain go. The music needs to be mostly instrumental unless it’s Radiohead. Thom Yorke’s voice is magic, what can I say?

I’ve listened to a wide range of music for quite some time. There’s the yoga/spa music, monk chanting (which I acknowledge is not instrumental but I can’t understand what the heck they’re saying), ambient electronica, and some random titles like Beastie Boys’ The Mix-up. Sometimes I listened to classical, but if you’re sticking to the old stuff like I was, it can get a little intrusive, especially the more common songs that pop up in movies and cartoons.

The husband got Apple Music, and he added me to his account, so now I have this wide-open field of music that I can just grab whenever I want.  Here are a few albums I’ve been listening to lately while I’m writing/proofreading.

writing music


Starting at the top left.

Game of Thrones soundtracks. My favorites are seasons 2, 4, and 5. It’s basically classical music but more modern.

Assassin’s Creed Unity soundtrack. This is a 2-album set of upbeat, adventurous sounding music, if that makes sense.

The Lazarus Effect soundtrack. Ah, yes. I’ve actually only listened to this one a couple of times, but I included it because it has great, creepy atmosphere.

Bruno Sanfilippo. He’s an Argentian pianist/composer. OMG, I just love his work. Claroscuro is my favorite of his albums but I also really like Lost and Found.

Splendid Labyrinths is kind of a weird one. It’s basically ambient electronica.  I have a couple of Max Corbacho’s albums on my list.

Gaia by Fractal. I originally found this one on Soundcloud. This is also electronica. It’s just nice, mellow background music.

I should also include the soundtrack for the movie The Mountain Between Us. It’s by the same guy that did the Game of Thrones soundtracks: Ramin Djawadi.





Quitting But Not Quitting

I decided to stop taking outside submissions to NightLark. That’s the publisher I started a year or so ago.

For the last couple of months, I’ve been thinking about it, and I’ve been back and forth on whether I wanted to keep it going. I took the holidays off, read a submission or two and thought about picking it up. Every time, something stopped me.

There have been many frustrations, a lot of them with myself. I’m not assertive enough. I’m not that great of a salesperson, really.

In the end, I decided it wasn’t worth the time or frustration. It just wasn’t. Life is too short, and I have too much that I want to do, creatively.

I will say that running it has been, by far, one of the best learning experiences for me. For real. I did things that I never would’ve tried with my own work.

I do still plan to use it for my own books, but for the foreseeable future, I’m not taking on any projects from other authors. The website is staying up with occasional updates. The books currently listed there that aren’t by me should disappear here in the next few months.

So yeah. Still writing. Still recording. Just not handling anyone else’s business.

Emerging from Hibernation?

Hey-o! I have been SO lazy lately. The urge to curl up in my house and hibernate until spring is real and true.

But I did finish a rough draft manuscript today, so yay! It was my nano project, and this version is complete at about 71,000 words. Yeah, it’s kind of short. Most of my stuff is. That’s okay because it makes it easier for me to wrangle.

I questioned my decisions a lot during the writing of this thing, especially toward the end. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

For instance, there was one point in which I was really on the fence about whether a character should die. The death would make sense during the course of the story. But I couldn’t bear to kill that person off, and then I felt bad about not killing them off. I wondered if I was letting my feelings get in the way of what the story should be.

Then, with another character that actually did die, they did so off camera. They were just kind of found dead. Should I have done more with that? It made sense in the story, for the body to be found, given the chaotic situation that was going on at that time. If this story happened in real life, such a thing would be entirely possible if not probable, but books aren’t real life.

I’ll have some time to mull things over before I circle back to edit this one.


IMG_20180123_223243 (1)

Sad Kitty Tomato is Sad


Gardeners vs. Architects

I was watching some writing lecture videos today and found these Brandon Sanderson lecture bits. I watched about 5 of them, and I like them very much.

The one below is about gardeners and architects. Basically, if you outline your story in advance like I do, you’re an architect. If you prefer to start writing without a plan, you’re a gardener.

Sanderson does a good job of describing the difference between them and the drawbacks of each approach. Personally, I plan to remain an architect, but to each his/her own.

NaNoWriMo 2017. Thing Completed.

I have completed the thing! Current word count: 50,039. That was a whole bunch of words. I was behind up until yesterday. I never did manage to get ahead a day, but I finished, so I’ll take that.

I worked the fastest on my phone/bluetooth keyboard setup. It was functional enough for me to type but not functional enough that it was easy to switch over to something that distracted me. Whenever I tried to type on the laptop, I couldn’t seem to fight the urge to check on things, email and other projects, etc.

I entered my word count on the Nano website to make it all official-like. I had to paste the text of the book into a window, so that they could verify that I reached the word count. I don’t remember having to do that before. I thought it was interesting.

Once I did that, the nanowrimo site granted me this certificate graphic thing.


And there was this video, which may actually be the nerdiest thing I’ve ever seen in my whole life. I say that with love.

The book is not finished yet. I plan to work on it through the weekend and hopefully finish by Monday. I probably have another 5-10,000 words left in the story.

Boom. Completion.