Sunday, December 30, 2012

December Butt-Kicking & Hope for the New Year

December kicks my butt. Every year.

Because for me, Decembers aren't just about Christmas. Both my children were born days before Christmas. Separate years. Same month.

So between class birthday parties, class Christmas parties, school recitals, and friend's parties, life gets more than hectic on an annual basis. This year, throw in a puppy and a surgery, and you've got the makings of a woman who'd rather hide under the evergreen than chop it down and decorate it.

But when Christmas comes the craziness stops. Like the crazy train hit a brick wall and poofed into torn wrapping paper and left-overs. It's a day of peace and quiet with my hubby and kids and yummy already-made food. And then there's those days of lull, making up one of my favorite weeks of the year. That week between Christmas and New Years. When you've spent time off bonding with loved ones. And you have a fresh new year to look forward to. When the knowledge that anything is possible is like a twinkling fairy urging you in a new direction. Bright, magical, and exciting. Full of hope.

So, I've got my new hour-by-hour planner. New colorful pens. And new hopes. Well, same hopes, but a new sense that they are within grasp. *I also got a bunch of new bottles of wine, but that's beside the point.* 

What are your hopes for 2013?  

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Contest Participants?



So, I don't know about you, but I'm hearing a bunch of chatter about the contests going on this month. Bakers Dozen just finished. Pitch Wars is going on. And PitchMas is kicking off.

Have you entered any of them? How is it going for you?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Puppies and Butt Kicking

My puppy, Katana, is doing great and blending well with my family.

Of-course, I'm exhausted. Man, puppies are work! I mean, I knew...but I didn't really KNOW the amount of cleaning, and watching, and sleepless nights. We've had puppy poop-tastrophies, and puke-tastrophies and squat patrol and night watch.

And...I adore her more everyday. It must be the curled tail, the pointed ears, and the fluffy fur. Or it's just her. Yeah. It's her. :)



But I have more to talk about than puppy love. I may need you to kick my butt, actually. It's about my writing. I'm not. And I want to. But I just can't make myself do it. After the conference at the end of October I took a break from everything writing related. But, it's been over a month now. I am a third of the way through my newest ms, Shattered Choices, but I haven't even looked at it in a long while.

It's my only novel, so far, that was inspired by a dream. (A melatonin dream, which if you've taken the natural supplement before, you know it gives you wacky dreams.) It's my only novel from two POV's, a male and a female. And it's my only manuscript that I've completely plotted before writing.

Is that why I'm dragging my feet? Because I'm going about this one so differently? I mean, IT'S PLOTTED OUT! The hard stuff is done. I just need to fill in the blanks. Connect the dots. And it's not that I'm not passionate about this story. I can't wait to read the thing! I have CP's and betas and friends who are bugging me to finish so they can read it.

So I'm asking you. Have you experienced this before? Am I dragging because I'm a panster at heart and this plotted out stuff is out of my comfort zone? Or maybe it's just the pressure and stress of the holidays bogging me down. That and a poopy puppy.

What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Puppy Pictures!

Thanks for the congrats, guys! I've had my puppy Akita, Katana, for two days and already I'm in love and addicted. The first night she slept beside my bed in a crate. She did great. Me? Not so much. I tossed and turned, worrying why she was being so quiet. At 4:30 am my hubby woke up and saw me. He knew, too. After snickering, he encouraged me to check on her so I could get to sleep. I grabbed the flashlight and sure enough, she was breathing. I am officially the new momma of a furry baby. That's for sure!

Play Time

Potty Time

Nap Time



Sunday, November 25, 2012

Getting A Puppy Today!!!!!!

Today, I'm getting a puppy!!!! And if you've read my "About Me" little area, you'll know I'm a dog hugger. I love them. To the umpteenth power. I've had a little Bichon named Squeakers for a while now. Before her, I had a little Bichon named Ozzie. I've had little dogs since I was eight.

I've wanted a larger dog to go running with. To protect me while walking the woods, or nature trails on my own. But, with my hubby being a military man, we were moving every two years. And we were never guaranteed we'd live in an area that was large enough, or safe for a large breed dog. So we always said that when he got out, and we settled down and bought a house with a big back yard, we'd get a big dog. Well, that time has come. And I am giddy with excitement.

Want to see what she looks like? She's an Akita, which is a Japanese breed, so we are naming her Katana.





 As the proud mommy of a new puppy, I will no doubt be posting pictures to my blog on a constant basis. Just to let you know.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving & Publishing...An Interesting Mix?

I hope your Thanksgiving was lovely. :) Here's some of what my spread of yummies looked like.



If you'll notice, I started placing the sides in serving dishes, but by the time it was time to plate the mashed potatoes I just threw the mixing bowl on the serving table and called it a night! :)


Also, I read a great post today on Rachelle Gardener's blog today that I thought I should pass along. It's written by a published author, and it's about the publishing process...kinda. Go here to check it out.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Breaking Dawn Premier!!!

So I did it. I went to the premier of Breaking Dawn Part 2. And man...It was AMAZING!!!

Yes, the rumors are true. There is a surprise ending. And it caused such a visceral response from the movie-goers that a few times during the movie there was yelling and gasping. From me? What? No, I'm not one of those crazy Twi-Hards...FINE! Yes! I shouted at the screen and felt so strongly I actually shook in my seat! At one point I grabbed my sister's thigh and squeezed to release my anxious feelings without actually having to get up and pace the aisle. Yeah, it was like that.

And yes, I'm one of those Twi-Hards who got there way early and waited in the cold. Let me tell you how it went down...

I live two hours north of my sister. So, I drove south. She called the theater that afternoon to double check the line rules, where it was located, and that sort of stuff. They said we weren't allowed to line up (outside) until 7:15 pm. Our showing was at 10:30 pm. I was shocked we had to wait.

So, we got to the theater at 6 pm. Because my little sister was adamant about being the first in line, we hung around the theater. Grabbed some coffee at a nearby coffee house and then stood beside the people lining up for the 10 pm showing. See, the theater was taking the 10 pm showing folks in early, so as to decrease the outdoor line length. My sister wanted to hover near the 10 pm line so that the moment they were taken into the theater, we could be first in line for the 10:30 showing. So, we pulled the blankets, coats, Twilight games, and foldout chairs from the car trunk, and waited.

Then, the 10 pm folks went in. And guess what? We weren't merely the first in line for our showing, but we were the ONLY ones in line!

My sister, very excited about our line status. 


    We set up our chairs, and waited.
By this time the line was forming. 

What? We look cold? Yeah. It was 37* out with a light mist, because you know, we ARE in Washington. But, our line wasn't supposed to be taken into the warm theater till 9:15 pm. What did we do while we waited? You mean besides drink lukewarm coffee and eat buckets of popcorn? Why, play Twilight trivia games of-course!
My sister's sister in law, clearly excited.

And then the moment came. They opened that side door and led us into our designated auditorium. My sister reminded us a couple times, that since we listened to her, we had first choice of seating. Joy of all joys. After our bones warmed a bit we shed our coats, and scarfs, and gloves. And then we ate more popcorn. (I hadn't eaten since 11 am, so popcorn was my dinner.)

We didn't shed the blankets, though.

And then we chatted excitedly. Until...the lights went down. The previews were even great. But when those words came onto the scene, uh, my breath hitched, and my eyes locked onto the huge rectangle of amazingness.



Now, I wont tell you the ending. I wouldn't want to ruin it for you. But, I will tell you how sweet the very end was. Many of you know the meadow scene in Twilight was the dream Stephanie Meyer had had that sparked this whole thing. You'll also notice in every movie (save for the first Breaking Dawn, I think) there's a meadow scene. Breaking Dawn part 2 ends with Bella and Edward in the meadow and man, that made me want to cry! Also, during the credits, when they show the actors who have played characters in the Twilight movies, there's a piece of the screen displaying the book that character was in, and pages that flip to the page where that character is introduced. To me, as a book lover and writer, that small piece was incredibly special. 

So there you have it. :)

Have you seen it yet? Are you planning to?


Thursday, November 15, 2012

ODE to TWILIGHT

Me and Jacob!
In exactly two hours, I will hop in my car and drive two hours south. In exactly six hours, I will be standing in line...waiting...for the premier of BREAKING DAWN!

I have special feelings for this series. It reminded me of my love for reading and writing. It gave me the gusto to actually write a novel. And, when the first Twilight movie came out, I was living in Texas desperately missing my home state of Washington. I sat at home, watching the DVD over and over again, reminded of the evergreens and ferns and cloudy days. I even planted a fern, but it didn't last long in the Texas heat. :(

My little sister cavorting in the woods with Edward! 

After New Moon came out, my little sister joined the Twilight Bandwagon. We made a pact that no matter what state I lived in, I'd fly to Washington and we'd go to the midnight premier of Breaking Dawn part 2. Tonight, I will sit beside my little sister (and a few of her friends) and watch the last piece of Bella's story.

My life has changed since sitting in the theater, years ago, enjoying the first movie. 

I now live in Washington. I have ferns in my yard and they are thriving, by the way. I've written two books and am working on a third. Both of my books have been submitted to agents and editors, so I am on the road to publication. I get to go hiking in the Washington forests when I feel the need. I get to jog on trails that wind in and out of the woods. And today I don't have to get on a plane to fulfill my promise to my little sister. I just have to hop in the car. :)      

This is my parents' dog. In this version, Jacob bit Bella first.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Thanksgiving Blog Hop #1

This month I'm participating in Brenda Drake's Thanksgiving Blog Hop! Go here to sign up.

Today, I'm thankful for the ability to write. For the fact that I love it. Because, I know this sounds crazy, but to most people the idea of sitting down day after day, stringing together 90,000 words of cohesive story is pretty painful. Like gouge their eyes out, painful. To me, it's heaven.

I've always loved to write. Even as a kid. And when the teacher assigned an essay, oh yeah, I was ALL over that! Now that I'm older, I like figuring out how best to weave together plots and characters. How to show the beginning, the middle, and the end in a way that best highlights each story component and leaves the reader glued to the pages. I buy best-selling novels and mark them up with a pen. I study how the author shares what's in their heads in an understandable and addicting way.

It's because I love stories.

Admittedly, I still don't completely grasp the idea of the comma. My spelling is less than desirable. But, stories...I know stories. I live and breathe stories. And for that, I am VERY thankful. :)

Found this the other day. I forgot about it. Now I need to find the novel that won this award!


       

Monday, November 5, 2012

Just For Him

As most of my blog friends know, I attended my first ever writer's conference the last weekend of October. It was awesome. And I'm planning a blog post explaining its awesomeness. But, I wanted to write about something most people don't know.

My grandfather was an author. Well, first he was a journalist. That was in the late 40's and 50's and on. Which is pretty cool to me. :) Later he became a journalism professor at a university. And then, he became an author.

Growing up, we didn't live near him, and I rarely got the opportunity to visit. But he and I wrote letters. From a young age, I knew I wanted to be a writer, and he was very encouraging. When he'd respond to one of my letters, he'd include my written letter with red ink all over the page. Always editing. :) I wonder if he was preparing me a future of seeing red.

When I was in high school, he offered his home to me if I chose to attend his college, and especially if I continued to pursue a career in writing. Unfortunately, I never took him up on that offer. After high school, I fell in love and ran off to Germany. That's also when I gave up on my dream of becoming an author.

Fast forward to a few years ago when my dream of being published reignited. I wrote a book. And then another. And then started on another. But, I hadn't told my grandfather that I'd dusted off my desire and chased it like nothing else. I wanted to prove it to him. This time, I wanted to show him more than my will, but my book. The finished product, proving I'd finally stopped talking and started doing.

I dreamed of sending him a signed copy like the book he'd sent me. Pictured his face, proud of his granddaughter. Pleased to know the "author gene" hadn't ended with him.

But, about two or three weeks ago, as I prepared for the conference, a thought occurred to me. The process of being published was a long one. And my grandfather was getting older. Maybe simply telling him what I'd done or sending him a manuscript would suffice. He'd still be proud, even if I couldn't sign a copy yet.

So, on Saturday, October 27th, after I'd pitched to agents and editors and received wonderful feedback along with requests, I decided it was time to write a letter or make a phone call. Time to tell my grandfather that I'd followed my dream. I had one more day of conference left. One more day till I made that phone call.

On Sunday, October 28th, after the closing ceremony  I followed the new friends I'd made to a gathering for the after conference dessert and celebration. As I was chatting and laughing, I got a text. I peered down at the phone and my heart dropped. My throat closed. And my eyes stung. My Grandpa Ladd had passed away that morning.

I tried to pull myself together. Not show that I'd just received devastating news. But it was impossible. So, I left and headed home. The moment my car door slammed shut, I wept. I wept for my loss. Wept for the missed opportunities. I never told him I'd written a book. I never told him how far I'd come. How close I was to my dream. And now I never can.

It's been a rough week for me, mourning the loss of my author grandfather while submitting my work. Being continually reminded that I had waited too long. That I had missed out on the experience of holding his hand while walking the author's path.

Yesterday, though, a friend suggested that my Grandpa Ladd can still be an inspiration. He can still push me forward and hold my hand through this process. And I very much agree with her. As I write, I'll think of his encouraging letters. As I edit, I'll laugh at his red-ink revisions. And when the day comes that I'm sitting in front of a stack of my published books, signing my name, I'll set one aside. Just for him.               

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Deliciously Dark Scene for Halloween!!!

Hi Guys!! First off, the conference was AMAZING!!! I'm a believer now. Conferences are musts. Period. 

But, I'm not posting about my conference experience today. 

Lets celebrate Halloween!!! WOOHOO!!!

And to usher in the night of fright, I'd like to post a deliciously dark scene from the manuscript I'm currently querying, Dark Waters. I'm posting this to read and have fun, and I'm hoping you'll find a deliciously dark scene from your book and post it too! But, just to be clear, I'm not posting this for critiques. By the way, the ancestors of my main character, Allura, were man-eaters. ;)

I absorbed the air pushed into my body and my nose rose with a jerk. Blood tainted oxygen shot through my nostrils and swirled across my pores.
Damn.
My nose led the way as I skipped behind him, far enough back to keep anyone from noticing he had a follower. I felt like whistling as I skipped, like a school-girl anticipating a lollipop.  Only, I didn’t wear pigtails and I wasn’t interested in licking to find out what was in the center of my brand of tootsie roll pop.
Mr. Tasty rounded the corner of the back of the school. I slowed my pace and scanned the surroundings. We were far from the student parking lot and there were no teachers around. We were alone.
Perfect.
I edged closer to the corner. Mr. Tasty’s scent stirred nearby. My heart pounded. A drop of acid fell onto my tongue. I savored the taste. My fists clenched and the muscles in my legs began to twitch. I gripped the wood slats my body pressed against. My nails dug into the forgiving surface.
I pushed my body from the building and leapt into the path of Mr. Tasty. He eyed me skeptically before pulling something from his pants pocket. Old green trash dumpsters boxed him in between the building and me.
“What do you want?” he asked, lighting a blunt.
I eyed the muscles in his forearm as they contracted and stretched with every flick of the lighter. My jaw twitched, anxious to sink my teeth in and tear. The edges of my mouth tightened.
“Smiles won’t get you anywhere with me. I don’t share.”
I took a step closer to him.
He shrugged and breathed out a puff of dense smoke.
I inhaled through my nose and absorbed the air into my pores, relishing the scent he exuded. The smoke smelled somewhat like his blood, tinges of earthy musk. Billows of red clouded my mind. Blankets of scarlet wrapped our surroundings like fabric. No more dumpsters. No more school. Just me and Mr. Tasty and the promise of a crimson satin embrace. The assurance that a perpetual emptiness would soon be filled. The knotting and twisting of my stomach would be calmed. The painfully loud pulsating in my temples would be satisfied.
A thud sounded. Then another, and another. My feet pounded the pavement but it felt more like I was floating to him. I didn’t know if his breath caught, or if Mr. Tasty screamed out as I lunged at him. I only heard the thudding in my chest and head.
He fell back to the cement and I toppled down with him. The blunt dropped from his mouth. His eyes were large circles of white. I sat on his stomach, straddling him. It seemed he didn’t know whether to push me off or stick his hand up my shirt. I knew, though. I knew what was next.
My right hand pressed over his mouth and my left hand grabbed his arm. That’s when he started to struggle. When he realized I wasn’t on top of him for his pleasure.
No. It was for mine.
I forced his forearm up and sunk my teeth into the flesh.
Oh sweet mother of…
A spasm ricocheted through my muscles as I tore at the fibers of his. I pulled my face from his arm. His leg. I wanted his leg too. As a repositioned my hold on him, a sound broke through my red wall of euphoria. An animal sound.
Immediately I clung to my prey. Mine. No animal would steal my target; I had tracked and hunted him. They hadn’t. A low growl vibrated from my curled lips. I swung my gaze to stare face-to-face at a large, hairy dog. It barked over and over. I raised my arm to smack it away when the red haze slowly lifted. It was barking. At me. Not to fight me for my meal, but to alert others.
I jumped back and crouched near Mr. Tasty’s feet.
Crap.
“Help!” he yelled as the dog yapped and snarled at me. “Help!”
I scurried on top of him again and shoved my right wrist into his mouth. The bracelet stifled his shouts. I couldn’t risk him remembering me. I forced my wrist harder into his mouth until he choked and gagged.
“I’m so sorry,” I whispered. “I’m so sorry.”
The dumpster did little to block me as I jumped over the square bin and ran to a door behind the school. The dog followed me, barking, proclaiming to the world what I’d just done. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pitch Live! & Couponing

Kinda blurry view of the sunset over Puget Sound from my porch. 

If you're a blogger, or even a blog lover, you've heard about Pitch Live! I had planned to participate, even decided to record my pitch in the woods near my home, but a head cold took over. And seriously guys, it wasn't pretty.

But, just because I didn't enter, doesn't mean I'm not lurking like a professional stalker. See, in less than two weeks, I'll be pitching...live...to agents and editors. Pretty intense  Which means I need all the arsenal I can get. So, as I watch these pitches, I'm taking notes. What works for me and what doesn't. I've been participating in pitch training on the conference thread, and watching these Pitch Live! videos is bringing the tips I've been learning, to life. Perfect timing, if you ask me. ;)

Have you checked the videos out? If not, I definitely suggest it.

In other news, Netflix recently started streaming the show, Extreme Couponing. While I was down with the head cold, I watched every episode. And then guess what I did? I went rifling through my recycling bin for this week's circulars and cut coupons! Ha! Today I'm going to try it out. Certainly not extreme style, but more like dipping my big toe in the money-saving water. I'll report back as to whether I saved cents or dollars. :)

Other than that, my in-laws are flying in this weekend, which means lots of restaurant eating and movies. They'll only stay the weekend, and then next week I'll be back at the task of perfecting my pitch. So, what do you guys have going on this week?


  

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Writer's Conferences

She's begging me to chill out.

In exactly 17 days I'll be attending my first ever writer's conference. GSRWA Emerald City Writer's Conference.  

Yes. I'm SUPER nervous. And INCREDIBLY excited.

Why am I nervous? Let me tell you a little about myself. A co-worker once said (he was an older gentleman so picture a grandpa saying this with a smile) that if there was nothing to worry about, I'd find it. Yup.

I really have no reason to be grinding my teeth at night. Yes, it's the Seattle chapter of Romance Writer's of America putting in on. But, I'm already a member of a RWA chapter and I gotta tell you, romance writers are the funnest. They don't take themselves too seriously. They joke about love, romance, men, wine, life, you name it.

I mean, all attendees have been signed up for a yahoo group thread and the emails I get on a daily basis are a hoot! These ladies obviously know how to have a good time. And honestly, if I'm gonna lose my conference virginity to anyone I'm glad it's with romance authors.

In exactly 18 days, I'll be standing on a stage in front of the conference attendees, finding out if Dark Waters won the YA division in the ECO contest. I'll also be pitching to agents and editors that day. For some reason though, I'm more nervous about the stage thing. Freaks me out. I'd rather them secretly hand me a win/didn't win card in passing.

So, I'll stop rambling now and ask you a BIG favor:
What advice do you have for me concerning conferences? If there was one thing you wish someone would have told you about them, what would it be? What did you not bring with you that you wished you had?

THANKS!!!!  

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

What Would You Do?

This post has nothing to do w cats, but I love this pic. 
I'm in the query trenches wading through mud and muck and self-doubt mixed with moments of hope and elation. You know how that goes.

But I had a thought today. And I'm curious how you will respond.

I've read plenty of blog stories of how authors found their agents, and one in particular stays with me. The author mentioned that after many form query rejections, an agent finally requested a full. Now, after this author sent the agent her manuscript, she did some digging. Much deeper than the initial who-do-I-query digging. And when the agent called and offered representation, the author asked lots of questions. In the end, the author decided this particular agent would not be a good fit for her. She turned the offer down.

*I really wish I knew whose story this is so I can link to her blog, but I read this some time ago.*

Of course the author eventually did sign with a great agent. But when she turned down the first offer, she had no agents on the back burner.

This got me to thinking. If you queried agents who seemed like they'd be a good fit (AAR, book sales, etc.) but then felt they may not be the one, would you turn down their offer of representation? Or would you figure the door is open, and hope it's the one to walk through?

I'm not asking because this is a personal issue of mine. I just thought it'd be interesting to read your views on it. :)

~Also, I was thinking of posting the darkest scene from my ms, Dark Waters, on my blog on Halloween. Do you know of any blog-a-thons doing this?~

Monday, September 17, 2012

A Polishing Pointer

Hi All! I wanted to share something. Something that has worked well for me in my latest round of polishing the ol' MS.

Earlier this year an agent requested the full of Dark Waters. This submission ended in a rejection, but a very nice rejection. He explained why he was passing on the project and gave advice to fix the issues he found. The main issue he had with my MS was the amount of inconsistencies. Yeah. Ouch.

He also agreed to let me re-query him when I had made the changes. So, after months of work, I'm done. Oh, I revised the tar out of it. But, when I was done, I did something I have never done before. And here's where I share the little something that's changed my writing in a major way.    

I downloaded the MS to my Kindle and read it like a novel. I know writers re-read their MS's on the computer, but I gotta say, it's way different on an e-reader. When I read my work on the computer, even as I would a regular novel, I'm still in edit mode. I'm in story-teller mode. But when I read it on the Kindle, no more story-teller. I am a reader. In the first chapter I had the scoffing, "Why is she asking that when it's already been answered?" reaction. And I've read that piece SO MANY times. But, this time, when I read it as a reader, I had a reader's reaction.

I read the MS in a matter of days. Two or three, I think. And this was great to clear up inconsistencies. When you write the novel, it takes months. And for me, to edit it takes months. So, sometimes I forget I already mentioned something. Reading it on an e-reader in two days kept every fact, hair color, and plot line fresh in the front of my mind.

Here's a picture I took of myself as I was reading my MS. I didn't take it to use in a blog, but to send to my CP. It works, though. I had my laptop nearby, open to the chapter I was reading, so I could make any tiny changes as needed. I had a notebook nearby to note the bigger changes necessary. I went back and fixed the bigger changes later so as to not pull me out of reader mode.


How about you? Have you read your MS on an e-reader? 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

My Bookshelf

*If you're dropping by for the GUTGAA blog hop, the answers to my questions are down below. :)

As I avoided implementing the necessary tweaks my critique partner has suggested, I played on Blogger. And a post caught my eye. About bookshelves. I love bookshelves. She mentioned her own interest in the wooden story-holding slats and posted a picture of one. Of hers.

For me, eyeing the personal bookshelf of another is my way of taking stock of who they are. It's kinda like the way dogs do a meet and greet. No, sniffing the rottweiler's rear won't tell you how much that rottie likes to play ball, but you still get a good sense of who you're dealing with.

Same goes for bookshelves. Or even the lack thereof. And so, I decided to post pictures of my bookshelf. See, up until two months ago, my interests were hidden away in my bedroom. In every house I'd lived in, my books were hidden from prying eyes. But, two months ago when I moved into my current home, I took the plunge and arranged my bookshelves to be the first piece of furniture visitors see. They now live in my front room along with vine pants, and mermaid and fairy art.

If you stare at my choice of books long enough, you'll see that according to culture and society I contradict myself. And I'm pretty much okay with that. :)








I thought about straightening them up before I shot a picture, but I figured I'd show you how messy they are. Books pulled out, with no room to go back. Figurines. Painted rocks from my girls. And all of it lovely. :)

How about you? Will you post a picture of your bookshelf on your blog and let me know where I can fin it? I'd love to stop by and snoop. And if you're not ready for such a leap, tell me if you're drawn to the shelves of others?
    

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

MEET AND GREET

Hi! I'm participating in the GUTGAA blog hop, and this week is the meet and greet. I had planned on bowing out of this one, but after reading the answers of others, I had to play too!

Short bio: I've tried my hand at a few different jobs: preschool teacher, sales associate, secretary, and an optician. None fit. When I was pregnant with my second daughter, I decided to learn how to help women have the births they desired. To give the laboring woman the reigns over her own body, the power she deserves in a situation where many professionals would try to take that power away. I went through the training and became a doula. But then, as I attended births, I realized many of the women hadn't been trained properly in what their bodies were doing and so they lacked the information to grab the reigns confidently. So then I went back to training and became a childbirth educator.

I've moved a ton in the last few years and haven't been able to educate folks on birthing much, but I have attended births. :) In June I made my last move for a very long time, so I'm looking forward to helping to empower pregnant women soon. :) And while I haven't yet written a story about birth, each one of my main characters finds the power within herself to take the reigns of her life and decide the direction she chooses to run in.

And...I have a husband, two daughters (ages 7 & 11), and a white fluffy dog. We have made northwestern Washington our home and love it!

Now, on to the questions...

Where do you write? At the roll-top desk in the front room. The front room is my room, with book shelves, vine plants, and fairy/mermaid art.

Quick. Go to your writing space, sit down, and look left. What is the first thing you see? Two very full book shelves standing side-by-side and a futon-type reading chair.

Favorite time to write? Late morning, early afternoon and afternoon. That precious time when the house is quiet, everyone is gone, I've been coffee'd up, and I can slip into the skin of my main character.

Drink of choice while writing? Coffee. And then water because if I'm writing a ton, I drink lots of coffee which makes my fingers fly and my mind reach very much outside the box. But it also makes me super jittery, so at some point I must switch to the jitters flushing of H2O.

When writing do you listen to music or do you need complete silence? I need music, but which songs depends very much on what I'm writing. I use soundtracks like Braveheart, Twilight, New Moon, etc.

What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it? The girl who lived across the street from me when I was in high school.

My house was far out in the country. So much so that my bus ride to get to school in the morning was an hour long. Across the street from my house was a small abandoned home. It had no running water, no electricity, and no windows. It was old. One day, at the bus stop, I met a new girl. Her family had moved into that little house. Soon I made friends with her and learned that her hair was greasy because they only took showers when they could use the paid public showers at the local lake camp grounds. I went into her "home" once too. They'd covered the empty window holes with blankets that did little to keep the chill out.

I didn't know her for long. Soon after we'd met, her and her family were gone, and the shell of a house was left empty. And I don't remember her name. But, I very much remember her.

What's your most valuable writing tip? I have learned so much about writing from reading. Great novels are my text books. So that's my tip. Read tons. Read great books, and study their pace, character depth, and plot points. Then read books in the market and genre your're writing in so that you know what's expected of your book. And then after you've written and polished your manuscript, swap it with another writer's work for critique. It's easier to find the mistakes of others than your own, so after you notice issues within critique partner's manuscript, look for those same mistakes in your own work.

And that's it! It's been great sharing myself with you. Please leave a comment so I can make sure to stop by your blog and read all about you too! :)

Friday, August 31, 2012

Review: With Every Letter

I love Sarah Sundin. I just do. I love who she is, how she encourages writers toward their dreams of publication. I love what she does. She writes stories of flawed people. Humans who aren't perfect, who struggle, who question life, and who desire companionship and love. And I love that Revell keeps buying her books so that we can keep reading them. :)

Upon receiving the advance reader's copy of Sarah's new book, With Every Letter, I took a picture and sent it to my mom and my niece. They too are fans of hers. They each pleaded for the book, but they had to wait their turns. I read it in a few days (which is amazing for a slow reader like me). And needless to say, the day after I finished the book, my mom and niece were literally wrestling for it. There was a race and then a chase on foot, which led to a not so loving embrace, flailing arms, and ultimately a winner. I'd love to show you pictures, but I think it may mortify a couple people.

Sarah Sundin writes about love during WWII and this particular story is about a flight nurse and an Army engineer. I had fun reading about the nurse, Mellie, because in some ways I related to her. She is a shy introvert who has a hard time making friends and puts her foot in her mouth whenever the opportunity for friendship arises. Throughout the book, Mellie learns what being herself really looks like. She learns more than that, but I can't just give these things away. ;)

With Every Letter flows well. The story has a quick pace, and yet you really get a sense of who each character truly is. Before you know it, your emotions become entangled in the feelings of the characters, and if you're like me, you find yourself crying along with them as well as cheering for them.

If you enjoy historical fiction, I would encourage you to read With Every Letter.

Want to know more about it? Click here to buy it. Click here to add it to your Goodreads. Click here to visit Sarah's webpage.    

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Kiss Summer Goodbye!

My dog, Squeakers, howling as I drove to the family reunion.

I have elementary-aged children. Yes, I smile as I write this because the first day of school is inching closer and closer. And we have a celebratory tradition in my house. Every summer, as the kids' break is dwindling to its end, we do Summer Blowout Week. Yup, it's always the week before school starts, and it's always fun. Basically we have a summer activity planned for everyday of the week. Here's this year's schedule:

Sunday: family reunion

Monday: playing with cousins, snack time at a small town bakery, hanging at the park.

Tuesday: hanging at the movie theater eating candy.

Wednesday: swimming at the local pool.

Thursday: baking lots of yummy treats for their new teachers, and of course for themselves too. (I realize this is not technically a summer activity, but it's what they wanted to do).

Friday: special secret family event in which happy tears will be shed and a celebratory lunch will be enjoyed.

Saturday: cousin's wedding, yummy food and dancing. 

Sunday: family trip (with family friends) to San Juan Island for sight-seeing and whale watching.


Yeah, now you know why we call it Summer Blowout Week! 


And then, once school starts back up again and the house is quiet and I'm able to crawl into my character's skin without interruption, I get to resume writing! I am beyond excited about this! 

And guess what else? I get to attend a conference in October. So, soon I'll map out the schedule and make plans. Super exciting. 

Yes, this fall brings good things. I just know it. 

So, what about you? What are you looking forward to this fall bringing, besides gorgeous orange leaves? What are you doing to kiss summer goodbye? 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Do You Encourage?

Over this last week, my eleven-year-old daughter has been drawing something special. My best friend recently celebrated a birthday, and my daughter wan't to draw her a gift.

See, my best friend wrote a book. And my daughter thought it'd be fun to draw the main character of that book. Because, my daughter is gifted at art.

So, throughout the week my daughter and I visited Michael's craft store to buy special color pencils and other supplies. We picked out matting and a frame to make the colors in the picture pop. And yesterday, when my friend came over, my daughter and I unveiled her work of art. My friend was touched and thankful. My daughter was encouraged.

And that got me to thinking.

As you pursue your dream, how often do you encourage your loved ones to pursue theirs?

I have heard plenty of parents tell their children they won't allow their kids to try an activity because the child will just quit. I understand teaching your child to persevere, but sometimes we must try a few things on for size before we find the activity that fits.

My oldest daughter tried ballet, horse back riding, writing, and archery. I'm sure there's more. :) But what she kept going back to, was drawing. Drawing stuck. Art fit. So, over the summer my husband and I enrolled her in art camp. She felt right at home and excelled.

As I stood in the art aisle at Michael's, watching her ooh and ah over the different types of chalks and instruction books, I thought of myself. The way I feel in a book store.

Art is where she fits. And it's my job to encourage her to pursue her dream and her passion. If you don't have children, do you have nieces or nephews? Can you think of a child you know who could use some encouragement?

Because, honestly, we all want a place where we feel like we fit. And children especially are seeking such a place.

by: My daughter. :)
       

Monday, August 13, 2012

WriteOnCon & A Little Sharing

I LOVE WriteOnCon! LOVE IT!

Maybe it's because I'm surrounded by YA writers. Or maybe it's because these writers are just amazing. But the feedback from the WriteOnCon forums is like nothing else. Friendly. Helpful. Professional.

So, that's where I've been this last week, and I'll continue to linger on the forum until the event is over and the doors are closed.

BUT

I did want to share a little something.

Before I began writing Dark Waters, I did some research on the islands of the Pacific Northwest. I decided to create Allura's home on Friday Harbor (one of the San Juan islands), but I looked at plenty other islands in making that decision. I scoured Google earth for jagged cliffs Allura and her sisters could jump from and climb up. One island I found was Whidbey Island. On Saturday, the family went to see the place in person and WOW. Gorgeous.

I sat on a beach full of pebbles (common for beaches on the islands up here) like I'd written about. I stared at the Puget Sound. At the jetted cliffs covered in evergreens. I'd only seen these places through online pictures. These are the places Allura inhabits. And finally, I was apart of them.

It only intensified my desire to share Allura with the world. To share the islands of Washington with the world. Below are a couple pictures I took. :)

Look right

Look left

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Pitch Pointers

I've never been to a writers conference. But now, my best friend has. And the night she returned home from her conference, we talked on the phone for hours. I picked her brain, asked tons of questions. And you know what she kept coming back to? This business is SO subjective.

I know, I know. The form rejections explain the same thing. So does the websites. And the books. But, when we see fellow writers receiving multiple offers of representation, a little part of us asks, is it REALLY as subjective as they say it is?

Yes. It is.

My friend told me about the first night at the conference; there was a pitch practice session. When she had decided to go, she thought the folks helping to perfect writer's pitches were fellow writers, probably of the published persuasion. But, then she walked into the room, and very quickly texted me.

There was a panel of editors and agents at the front of the room. They were the "helpers" of pitch practice. She did get up and pitch (I'm so proud of her), but that's her story to tell, not mine. But what struck her, is as the other writers pitched their work, the feedback from the professionals was all over the board. Some wanted one thing changed, some thought it was perfect, others wanted something completely different changed. And she experienced this subjective-ness all weekend long.

So, I wanted to offer that encouragement. There is no magic formula. And if she learned one thing about pitching to agents and editors (besides the fact that it's all very subjective), it's to just tell them about your book. Make sure you're not rambling, and you're behaving professionally, but other than that, tell them about your story with all the excitement and interest you'd have when sharing with a friend.

Oh, and if you're a kidLit writer, I suggest you stop by WriteOnCon. The forums are super helpful and the free online conference starts on the 14th. :)

Friday, August 3, 2012

I'm A Finalist!


I finished the rewrite of Dark Waters a few days ago, and just felt fed up with combing that ms. Tired of reading it over and over again, searching and searching. Tired of tweaking. Tired of not knowing what to do with it. And when I get so tired of my ms that I can't stand to look at it anymore, I want to delete it all. This is why I trunked my first ms, Until We Meet Again, so prematurely.

I had entered the beginning of Dark Waters in a contest called the Emerald City Opener. The winner will be announced at the conference I'll be attending in October. And the finalists get to have one-on-one pitches with the agent judges. I have been getting form rejection after form rejection, and I really needed this exposure for Dark Waters.

Yesterday the email came. Dear Author. Yup. I know those. It told me that I had NOT made it into the finals. I was out of the contest. I tried to keep my mind positive. At least I'd get a critique of my first page out of it--the judges comments. And then another email came. A form rejection letter from another agent. Okay. That was enough for one day.

I announced to my hubby that I was done with all this writing-to-get-published stuff. He smiled and shook his head. "Just give it a week," he said, "you'll get the itch again."

Well, today I opened my email to a, Dear Rachel. It contained many apologies and congratulations. Apparently there was a mix-up and I received the wrong email. I DID make it into the finals. I WILL have an agent judging my entry. And the winner will be announced at the conference.

Thus the roller-coaster. Now it's on its way up. At least for now.    



 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Anything BUT Writing


Sometimes, the best way to write, is to not to. (Where did I hear that saying? A child I think).

I've been knee-deep in revising, and to be honest, it's become tiring. One moment I'm hopeful and excited, seeing how far I've come and how much I enjoy my story. And then the next moment I notice how far I've still to go and I want to just stand up in a huff and throw in the towel. This roller-coaster of emotions makes for a frustrating writing atmosphere. And then you add in the fact that my kids are on summer break and despite their ages, still feel the need to follow me around the house (any room I choose to write in), and then fight with each other right beside me.

That's when, yesterday, I decided to make the best decision for my current crazy state of mind, and for my writing. I decided not to write. No, I went outside and did yard work. My hubby was mowing the lawn, so I figured, why not? I pulled weeds, then watered the plants. It took hours. Hours of quiet. Hours of peace. Hours of time to think.


And when my kids followed me to the yard, I welcomed them and allowed them to chat my ear off as much as they wanted. As long as they were pulling weeds beside me. My oldest wanted nothing to do with dirty hands. And my youngest gladly helped for about twenty minutes or so, told me she was going to take a break, and then never came back out. :) 


I didn't discover any plot revelations. My mind hadn't come up with any amazing one-liners I could add into the dialog. But, for some reason, that physical activity coupled with peaceful nature (even if I WAS killing the weedy part of nature) gave me the gusto I needed to write. 


Do you find that to be true for yourself? Does a little break from writing, to do something physical, surge your writing ability? 


Here's more pictures of the finished yard work. Except the back yard. It still needs a weed hunt. 




 My dog follows me everywhere too, but she doesn't fight with the kids, so I let her stay by my side. :) And yes, that statue is headless. My sisters swear that I got tired of the little girl statue staring at me with her beady little white eyes so I chopped her head off. No. It was that way when we bought the house. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Conference Decisions...Where Do You Stand?


My best friend, who is also one of my critique partners, will soon be headed to the Pacific Northwest Writers Association conference in Portland, Oregon. I wish I were going with her...kinda.

So far, we've been hand-in-hand on this writing journey. I want to be there to jump up and down like crazy, hormone-induced Twilight Moms, the moment she gets her first request for materials from a pitch session. I want to share a fun weekend away with her, where we're surrounding by our dream career choice.

But, really, that's the main reason I want to go. Which is why I'm not.

See, I've taken a turn in my writing behavior. I've learned a little from Allura, my main character in Dark Waters. She's a hunter. She stalks. Waits. Watches. And most of the time, when she goes in for the kill, she ends up with a tasty meal.

I don't plan on eating anybody, but I refuse to pounce until I'm confident I've brought my A game. And at this point, I feel like I'm sitting at a solid B. I have nine more chapters to revise in Dark Waters. When I am done with that, I will load the document onto the Kindle and read it as a whole, making changes where needed. After that, I'll send it out to my beta readers. And continue tweaking as needed. Then, comes the polishing of the query. Then the verbal pitch.

THEN, I'm ready.

And in October, I'll be attending my first conference.

Why am I telling you this?

Because with my best friend calling and texting me with updates to her pitches, and with the numerous tweets and Facebook posts about the RWA nationals, this is my way of self-soothing. ;)

Plus, I'm wondering your thoughts on all this. Have you set a goal that you must reach before attending a conference? Do you plan on attending one soon? If you have attended a conference, what was the main point you felt you took away from it? And lastly, but most importantly, do you like my flower at the top of this page? I took the picture yesterday, in my front yard. :)    

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hookers & Hangers

So, I'm not sure if this is allowed (because I didn't post any hookers), but I thought it'd be fun to join in the Hookers & Hangers Bloghop.




Just a short bit about Dark Waters:
When sixteen-year-old Allura breaks the rules to save a human, she accidentally absorbs the injured woman's blood, igniting a flurry of flesh-hungry cravings buried within her DNA, and becomes the centerpiece in a plan her kind has constructed to revert to the lifestyle of their folkloric ancestors who once lured and killed less than honorable human men.

Here's a few of the hangers from Dark Waters:

~ To her life and--if my aunts found out what I had just done--my undoing.

~ "If she wants to sympathize with the humans, she can eat like one too."

~ That didn't guarantee that she wouldn't still call my aunts.

~ Why did following the rules feel like such a mistake?

~ That's when I first fantasized about killing David.

~ "Don't worry." The words seethed from  my salivating mouth. I stood on tiptoes, staring straight into his deep brown eyes. "I'll show you the real me."

~ I could really use a good kill--something with skin to sink my teeth into.

~ He walked away from me, without once looking back.

~ "Yes," I said, my voice strengthening with each breath. "Kiss me."

~ But before I could open my mouth and let out a fake shrill of pain, another shrilling sound screeched through the air.

~ Her hand pressed into my right shoulder. "You're the reason the Council is meeting, right now."

~ "I wont let them hurt you," I breathed, my voice thick and throaty. "Even if it kills me."


~ I couldn't hover, or even hold myself up. Shortly after the two pieces of dead animal fell, so did I.


~ His arms bound behind his back, David stood, glaring straight at me. 




   

Sunday, July 15, 2012

On Being A Cry Baby

I'm not a cry baby. Ask my best friend, I rarely cry at all. But, when I come across a book that pulls at my heartstrings enough to bring me to tears, it's insta-love. When I finished reading The Reason Is You, last night, my face was red and my eyes were swollen. I cried at the end. I cried hard. I love this book.

It's one I haven't heard about. I haven't seen it on blogs, or websites, or marketing material. I won it on a Goodreads giveaway from the author. And I'm so glad I did.

The Reason Is You, is the debut title from author Sharla Lovelace, which makes me think I should email her and ask her for an interview. Because her book did not fit into any genre box I could think of. It had a little of women's fiction, a little of paranormal romance, a dash of fantasy. And so I wonder, was it hard to query this book? I mean, sometimes a book that breaks the mold is highly sought after for its uniqueness, and sometimes it's unwanted for its inability to cleanly fit into a genre, or sub-genre. So for her, which was it?

I think I can assume what won the publisher over though, the voice in this book is wonderful. You automatically get a sense of the main character, and then when the paranormal is thrown in, it feels so natural. Needless to say, I really enjoyed this book and would very much recommend it. Here's the the link to Amazon to read what it's about: The Reason Is You

Have you seen this book? Have you read it?        

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Movie Was Better Road Trip Wednesday!

Good morning! How's the weather from where you're sitting? I'm looking at gray skies and fog cover out one window and blue skies out of another. Love that Washington weather.


So, over at YA Highway, they're asking a question: What movie have you seen that actually improved the book?

Here's my answer:

I laughed during this movie, and most importantly, cried...a lot. But, the book felt jumpy and confusing at times compared to the steady, smooth flow of the movie.

 vs   


And...

Don't throw tomatoes at me, but while I enjoyed the book, it didn't draw me in nearly as much as the movies. Anne of Green Gables.



That's all I could think of off the top of my head. I bet if I sat and pondered, I'd remember more, but why when I can go hop over to other blogs and see what they put?

Happy Wednesday! Oh, and what's your answer? Any movies you thought were better than the book?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Four Types of Critique Partners

They've lurked in the shadows, behind the laptops, and on the writer's forums. They've made you smile, made you cry, and most likely made you want to throw something.

If you've ever had your work critiqued, you've experienced them.

If you've ever critiqued another writer's work, you've been one of them.

CRITIQUE PARTNERS.

I've been doing a lot or critiquing these days. And after my own experiences and chatting with other writers, I thought it'd be fun to compile a list of four common types of critique partners. And I use the term "partner" loosely. Of course I've had amazing ones too, but the not so amazing are funner to poke fun at.

*Disclaimer. This is ONLY for fun. No panties getting into bunches here.*

-The Over Achiever
This critiquer seems to think it necessary to point out EVERY little problem they find with your work. Even the problems that aren't there. Like a blood hound, they're sniffing the issues out and by golly they're gonna find something! They've read about ten words of your first page, and already they're making comments in the sidebar of how the main male character wouldn't think or do such-and-such because it's out of character for him. And if they've used track changes, there's now a lotta red on your manuscript document.

-The Gusher
This person absolutely LOVES your story. I don't care if it's only two pages long, they love it. The plotting? Perfect. The dialog? Perfect. The pacing? Perfect. The world-building? You guessed it. Perfect. Now, at first you're thanking your lucky stars for a reader like this, but at the end of the day, without helpful feedback, your manuscript is no closer to being...perfect.

-The Doomsday
This one makes me laugh because while I've had each of these types critique my work (and I've been some of them too), I've had one run-in with a doomsday critiquer, and I can still remember her words. This person is a fine critiquer. Not too much, not too little. But then at the end, when they're summing up their thoughts, they add bits about how hard it is to get published. How the odds are against you. How if you don't follow ALL the rules in your writing, and don't attend as many conferences as possible, and don't work tirelessly for years and years, then your odds of getting published just went from bad to almost non-existent.

-The Stoic
This person is a little like Doomsday, except they don't add that heaping of fear at the end. Actually, they don't add any emotion at all. In fact, they don't tell you if they've even liked or disliked your work. They'll answer your manuscript related questions, give their suggestions for possible changes, and even go so far as to tell you that you did it all right, without so much as cracking an online smile.


Of course there are plenty of wonderful critique partners, and I hope I've been helpful to those I've critiqued, but we all know that at one time or another, at least one of these types have graced us with their presence. And if we're being honest, we've also donned one or two of these hats ourselves. I know I have. That's why it's so enjoyable to poke fun!

So, even if you're the BEST critique partner in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD, which of these types do you sometimes tend to become? Me? The Over Achiever. I've gotten better. I've realized that just because the writer chose a way to explain something different than what I would have preferred, doesn't make it worth highlighting and commenting on. ;) But, have I been completely cured of it? Is anyone ever COMPLETELY cured? ;)




Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Finger Waggling

If I were a finger-waggling type of gal, I'd write the letters "R&R" on a 3x5 note card in big, black lettering, stare at that note card, waggle my finger and say, "Oh you Revise And Resubmit, I've been burned by you before."

Of course, I'm not a finger-waggling gal.

If you've been with me for more than a year, you'll know I received one of those R&R's from a very insightful and friendly agent. You'll also know that she was the first agent (who took my genre) I had queried. The only agent I had queried. And, *sigh* you'll know that I thought she was the one. Which, in writer terms means: I went straight to work revising, then nine months later I resubmitted, waited another few months to hear back from her and received a rejection.

Did I query other agents while I waited?

No.

Will I make that mistake again?

No.

Then why do I feel like I'm cheating on the agent who's recently emailed me an R&R on Dark Waters?

And by recent I mean, like, a month or two ago.

Because I loved his feedback. Because he really seemed to get the story and was intrigued by the whole eating men thing. And let me tell you, that in itself is a miracle. I'm thinking even the content of my query can be upsetting to some. Case in point: the very short--not even form--rejection I received today twenty minutes after I had sent out the query. Which, by the way, is a new record.

So as I revise, I'm also submitting queries. Regardless of my weird sense of duty, or loyalty or whatever craziness this is.

Do you have craziness going on? Tell me about it.  

Friday, June 29, 2012

Views

I gotta tell ya, a month and a half ago, I was a sad woman.

We had been house hunting for months, and finally had an offer we'd put on a house accepted. The house was everything I thought I wanted, and even had a green belt in the backyard! (For those of you who don't know what a green belt is, it's a nature-filled piece of property owned by the government and gives you a great view).

Then things went sour. It was a HUD home, and although the folks in charge of the sell of this home originally agreed to our terms of using VA, they soon began fighting those terms and ended up denying VA. We had to use a different type of loan, or walk away. Eventually we walked away. If you were to look at me, I was fine. Great even. The very next day after we pulled out of the contract, I was house hunting again. But, while I knew I had to pull my big girl panties on and find my family a house, I also realized nothing I looked at would compare to the beautiful view of trees I almost had.

When I went house hunting that next day, it was a gloomy out. I had two homes to look at. TWO. I liked the floor plan of the first one, but it was just so...blue on the inside. And the second, I disliked the floor plan altogether. I mulled over this decision for days before putting an offer on the blue house. An offer that was accepted.

The day I visited the house (it's a two hour drive from where I was currently living) for the inspection, it was sunny. And what I saw took my breath away. Trees shmeeze. (I'm sorry trees, I didn't mean that, you know I love you).

I have a view of the water! The Puget Sound to be exact. And the Olympic range. Oh, and the San Juan islands. The very San Juan islands where my book takes place. The very Puget Sound my characters swim in. :)

So, here's a picture of one of the views. And as soon as I locate my camera, I'll take more.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Before and After Pictures

So, as you know, I've been knee deep in paint and boxes. It's a happy place to be when you've been wondering for the last couple years, and not because you've wanted to. It's hard to tell in the pictures, but I painted my house a deep purple (it's called Chianti) and a beige color. Just looking at my walls gives me an urge to write and sip red wine. Hum.

I thought I'd share my before and after pictures. I've painted and had the floors re-done. I plan on changing out the light fixtures, but all good things in time. ;)







 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Muse Muscles

It. Is. Done.

Well, the moving part. The unpacking part has yet to officially begin. And after a week of painting my new house, having all new flooring installed, and basically running myself ragged, the ol' body has a few choice words to share at the mere thought of unpacking.


So, today I sit. Today, after a super long time, I get to check in on my blog-world buddies and place my proverbial fingers on the writing-world pulse. With of course my dog on one side of me and a mug of coffee on the other.    


This last week was amazing. I have been moving at least every two years since I was seventeen. I have mainly lived in military housing and rental homes, with the exception of a home we purchased and then two years later sold. I have never painted the walls the color that I preferred. And honestly, up until a year or so ago, I hadn't even known what I liked.

So, painting my house, the walls that would surround me day after day, year after year, was almost, in some strange way, therapeutic. And as the deep, dark purple slathered those walls, I felt my muse grow and flourish. Crazy. I'd never felt that before. The hope inside, that I'd sign with an agent and ultimately with a publishing company, sparkled and shone until I knew inside that it isn't a matter of "if", but a matter of "when".

I want to keep going, excitedly ramble on about my house the way a grandparent would about her new addition. To post before and after pictures of the house and the breathtaking views from my porch and windows. But, I'll save that for future posts. Right now, I'll let you snicker at the pictures taken during laughable moments yesterday. My sisters and best friend (and their husbands) helped us move. And when we get together, there's always fun to be had.


My best friend Rayna pulled as I pushed the heavy piece of furniture. As you can see, I was also falling and grabbing onto another piece of furniture. I ended up on the floor.

You can barely see my sister back there. Packed into the SUV







So how about you? Have you ever done something that took you by surprise in how it strengthened your muse?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Sirens Conference

I am in the throws of busyness. Right, smack in the middle of buying a house. Literally. Like, yesterday we signed a ton of papers at the mortgage office, buying a house.

You know what that means? No lap-top time. :(


Which means, lots of iPhone time. Sitting in offices waiting, standing in lines waiting, sitting at the school waiting. Yeah, you get the picture. So, it's no wonder I've been reading lots of twitter updates, which I normally don't do. 

An agent twitted--that just sounds weird--about a conference in Portland Oregon called Sirens. Never heard of it. Have you? So, naturally I clicked on the link and checked this Sirens thing out. WOW. It's a conference on women in fantasy literature. How fun does that sound?!



Love these pictures. They were created to represent this conference. 
So, I thought I'd tell you guys about it. See if you've ever heard of it. What you've heard. And if you've been, what did you think?

Oh, and wanna see a picture of the house? How about a sneak peak?
My front yard is a hill--lots of beautiful ground cover. :)