Just Enough to Be Dangerous

I’m working on edits for one of my books and I have a comment that my editor isn’t sure what the above phrase means.

Here’s the paragraph (from my book):

“Can my own notes be used against me even if I’ve not done anything wrong? She often talked aloud to herself, especially when nervous. “I’ll label them as privileged for my attorney, just in case. That should protect me.” She’d taken a business law class in college but that’d been fifteen years earlier. She remembered just enough to be dangerous. She wrote down everything she could recall from the prior day and began a list of things she needed to do. She also started a list of potential suspects—like she had a clue.

In other words, my protagonist had the confidence to try something but might not know enough to be successful. It was a crapshoot. She might succeed. She might not. It was like trying to pass herself off as fluent in a language in which she knew only a few words and phrases.

BUT… if I have to explain it, it doesn’t work. So, what do you think? Are you familiar with the phrase? Does it work in this instance?

Please leave your input in the comments section.

Many thanks.

~ Kay

Scrivener For Dummies

I’ve learned to do several things through online classes. The two that have been most beneficial thus far were the one on blogging and one on revising my novel—not only for the content but also for the relationships with others in the class. I took both over two years ago and am still in touch with folks from both of those classes today.

I’m beginning a new class today for which I have high hopes. It’s taught by the lady who wrote Scrivener For Dummies, so I figured it should be simple enough even for me.

First, you might be wondering, what the heck is a Scrivener? It’s a software program for writers. I tried it out a couple of years ago during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and was overwhelmed with its versatility. I purchased my software soon afterwards. I’ve used it for the last two novels I’ve written and it is amazing. I’ve not actually written a novel in it mind you, so I’m only using a minute portion of its capabilities.

I’ve used it to outline chapters and plot points. I keep everything in a virtual “binder.” I list my characters and their descriptions and even drop in pictures of what I imagine they look like when I find photos that resemble them in my mind’s eye. I track setting descriptions, keep a running list of ideas for future use, and have a folder of links to websites I’ve found during research where I might want to return. And, I’ve done all of this by just playing around with it. Imagine how great it will be when I actually know what I’m doing!

Prior to this, I kept up with all of these facets of my books on an excel spreadsheet. It worked, but it was cumbersome. (Of course, I’m self-taught on Excel, too!) I needed multiple sheets, had to cut and paste, and it was grueling. It’s so easy to move things around in Scrivener, which, for me, was its major attraction.

Like I said, I’ve not ventured into actually writing in the program, though I do know authors who do and who swear by it. My comfort level is still using MS Word (again, self taught). But who knows? After this course, maybe I’ll be a full convert.

The course starts today, is six weeks and a bargain at $40. If you’re interested, it’s being taught by Gwen Hernandez, author of SCRIVENER FOR DUMMIES, 2011, a Golden Heart Finalist. It is available for both MAC and Windows users. You do, of course, have to have the  Scrivener software, but it’s reasonable too–around $50 USD, I think. There’s even a trial version you can try which will work with the course.

Question for my readers who are writers: what writing software do you use? What do you love/hate about it?





My views on guns

I lived alone for almost five years between a twenty-year marriage and this (ten+ year) one. I was perfectly fine.

That’s probably why I was dumbfounded when Hubby recently asked if I wanted a handgun for when he’s away on business. Say what???

Back up a little: He has recently started traveling worldwide as an expert witness.  (That’s a whole other blog!) He’s in England now. I know I shouldn’t put that on my blog, but he’ll be home soon. Besides I have a kick-ass security system, six Pit Bulls, and really nosey neighbors. (Just kidding about the dogs…and the neighbors—mostly.)

Anyway, I took a Police Academy class last year and shot all sorts of different guns. I did pretty well, too. i.e. I hit the targets instead of my classmates. Hubby extrapolates I might want a gun. And the whole point of the conversation was to tell me he’d want me to take a gun safety class should I get one. Well, duh!

A gun? I’d shoot my foot off, and that’s what I told him. To which he replied, “What if three men broke in the front door while you were asleep?”  Three men? Heck, what if one man (or woman — let’s not be sexist) broke in the front door while I was asleep? I was too flabbergasted to remind him I’d lived alone all those years without incident. I did tell him I always have the security system armed when he’s away (true) and I lock our bedroom door (also true), which would give me time to slip out (the second story) window (crock of bull). He made sure I knew where the escape window ladder was located. (There’s one under every bed not on ground level in our house…just in case you’re a guest in our home and need to make a quick exit.) That satisfied him.

I know the second amendment and the right to bear arms has been hotly debated and that’s not what this is about. I think you’ve got to do what’s right for you. I fully expect to hear from my lawyer cousin in California with an offer to pick out the perfect little piece for my protection. But that’s not what’s right for me. If I can’t talk or think my way out of a situation, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to shoot my way out of it. My sister, on the other hand, keeps a gun in her car. She travels a lot at night and it makes her feel safe. And, I have no doubt if she needed to, she’d shoot to kill—which is what we were taught you have to do in the Police Academy class, lest the bad guys take the gun and use it on you.

Besides, I feel safe in my own home. If a gun was here, I’m pretty sure it would make me uneasy. A paradox, I know, but my thoughts none-the-less.

What are yours?


Me and the Guys

Hubby belongs to a group of men who meets weekly to catch up with what’s happened in each other’s lives and talk about their feelings. What? Guys do that??? Well, my guy and six of his buddies do.

And, guess what. They don’t meet in a bar. They meet at one of the single guy’s home. (Five are married; two single.) But they don’t play pool or watch TV. They talk. Really.

But, what do they talk about? Well, that, they keep to themselves. So they will feel safe to be vulnerable with each other, they promise not to share whatever is said outside their group with others. Not even pillow talk when they get home.

It’s not a therapy group; there is no therapist. My understanding is they take turns facilitating. I’ve been in women’s groups where we share, but nothing like this.

This enlightened type of men’s group is gaining popularity, especially with more mature men seeking to know themselves better. To that end, Hubby and his buds sponsor an annual weekend “camp” where they hire professional facilitators and invite members of other men’s groups to attend. I think they shoot for about fifty participants, and men come in from all over to attend. A few years ago, I “helped” with airport runs. I remember chauffeuring guys from Louisiana, North Carolina, Florida, D.C., Colorado, New Mexico, and California. I dropped them at the “camp” and got the hell out of dodge.

But, back to Hubby’s group. Of course, I know (and love) all of these men. Hubby joined their already established group several years ago. We get together socially on occasion and often celebrate milestones like birthdays and holidays together. Sometimes we will do something with one of the members and his wife. But I’ve not felt like I knew all of them well—until this weekend.

This weekend, the seven of them plus a man from another group invited a trainer in from Colorado to do a coaching workshop. And, guess what! They invited the wives to attend. One other wife (Erica) and I took them up on their offer, and for 2 ½ days the eleven of us did large group training, breakout groups, and other exercises. It was a “train the trainer” seminar of sorts, but while learning to be trainers (coaches) we were trainees as we learned the material.

Hubby and I hosted the event and when I say it was a cool experience, that’s a gross understatement. The days were long. Some brought their lunch, but Hubby brought a year’s worth of cold cuts and, because we awoke to a smattering of snow on Saturday, I made an impromptu pot of vegetable soup. Several of the men were vegetarians and the soup was scarfed down in the blink of an eye. Since it was so popular, I made bean soup for Sunday, using what I had in the pantry. I’ve not left the house since Friday.

After all was over, the other couple hung around and watched the Super Bowl with us. Hubby made the comment that he’d never seen me so relaxed when I entertained. And, he was right. I didn’t feel uptight at all even though six or eight people were maneuvering around my kitchen island.

As I reflected on his observation, I wondered why I wasn’t uptight. It’s because I didn’t feel responsible for the experience they had. If they wanted coffee, they could make it. (The coffee maker was on the counter, as was sugar, creamer, cups, etc., but I make lousy coffee.) I didn’t feel like I had to put the meat on a tray and make everything all “pretty.” We used paper plates and plastic cutlery, and kept the dishwasher going with cups and bowls and other things.

I just let things happen. And you know what? It worked out fine. And because I was relaxed, they were relaxed. Or maybe they would have been relaxed regardless, but I thought that was a keen observation and one I’ll remember when MY friends come over and I start fussing over things. They don’t care either. It’s me who drives myself crazy.

But, again, back to Hubby’s group. Erica and I were with them all weekend and it was great. I’m not sure what I expected, but I didn’t expect to integrate quite as naturally as we did. The course was interesting. (I’m still digesting it.) The guys wanted to do it to make them better facilitators at their upcoming “camp.” Erica and I wanted to do it for several reasons. One was to get a sense of the energy of their group when they’re together. Of course, we knew we would shift the energy, but probably not as much as we thought.

I was a bit surprised to have been included. Of course it was at my house, so I would have been here even if I hadn’t participated. The guys seemed glad with their decision to invite us. Of course, they don’t plan to invite us to be a part of their weekly meetings. That’s reserved just for them—as it should be. But, Erica and I are ready to start a women’s group using a similar model. We’ll meet every other week.

Does anyone have any experiences you’d like to share with a similar group? Ideas. Suggestions. We can make our group anything we want it to be and are open to input.

~ Kay