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! :)

23 comments:

  1. Hi Rachel! Nice to *meet* you as part of GUTGAA. I love the Braveheart soundtrack - it's great for writing. Last of the Mohicans is another one of my favorites.

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    1. Oh I haven't tried that soundtrack, but I bet it's a good one! I'll have to check it out. Thanks. :)

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  2. Love your blog title! And the inspiration for your novel sounds fascinating. Best of luck!

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  3. Hello! *waves* So nice to meet you!

    Gosh, your bio is SO interesting. Sounds like an awesome memoir right there :)

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  4. You're so interesting! Can you please be my go-to gal for research-related questions I have re: pregnancy and childbirth? Pretty please? I don't have anything planned right away, but I can see myself having some q's down the road. :)

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    1. I would LOVE to be your go-to gal. And if it's a pregnancy/birth question I can't answer, I have midwife friends who can! :)

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    2. Awesome. :) Nice to meet you!

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  5. The story about that little girl was touching. If the stories you write are inspired by her, then I'd love to read your stories.
    Best of luck

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  6. Reading is always an inspiration for me. Nice to meet you here through GUTGAA, I love Washington state. We lived there for 17 years -- want to come back.

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    1. Ah, yes. I love it here too! The people aren't as friendly as other places I've lived like Texas, but the nature here is breathtaking.

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  7. The girl's story sounds fascinating. I look forward to reading it. - Liana

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  8. Here from GUTGAA (and The Pine Tree State aka Maine) - see we already have things in common :) I also have 2 daughters, and 3 dogs. I think your advice is great, I've also learned a lot from critiquing others (not to mention being critiqued). I'm still figuring out the blogging thing, just started in August. Come say hi!

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    1. Wow, the evergreen state and the pine tree state. Who knew? ;) Oh, yes being critiqued is...helpful. :)

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  9. Hello from GUTGAA!
    Sometimes I get so wrapped up in reading, I don't want to write. And then sometimes, I get so wrapped up in writing that I forget to read.
    Do you drink your coffee black, with cream, sugar, or both? I have to have flavored cream and my favorite is Cream Brulee!

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  10. Nice to meet you, Rachel!
    I agree with your writing tip. It's good to read your genre. BTW, I like your bookshelf and your collection of books. If I could, I'd like my bookshelves to take up an entire wall space, from floor to ceiling. The kind you need a ladder.

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  11. Rachael, I just want to jump in that lake! Whoa beautiful and it reminds me of Alaska. Nice Blog, and I like the "Take it to the Next Level" icon....I got that suggestion to join a Critique Group... and Wala! So great to meet and greet!

    So nice to meet you via GUTGAA! Beautiful blog!

    Dr Margaret Aranda
    www.drmargaretaranda.blogspot.com

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  12. You have a roll-top desk. How cool is that? Nice to meet you by the way.


    http://otherworlddiner.blogspot.com/2012/09/deana-barnharts-gearing-up-to-get-agent.html

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  13. Wow. Sounds like we have a lot in common.I took a doula course too! Only, I never worked as a doula because on the last day of the course a working doula came by and warned the class that you had to be emotionally prepared to accept a stillbirth--just in case. After that I was too scared to try it. I know I couldn't handle that, so I moved on to other things, but just learning all about it was a great experience.

    I also put the same writing tip as you did and I love fairy art!
    I was so inspired by all the great blogs on GUTGAA that I finally started one of my own. It's www.onemagicbeanbuyer.blogspot.com I'd love it if you could stop by! Nice to "meet" you! :)

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  14. Yay! Soundtracks are a must for me too.
    Nice to meet you!

    Trish
    GUTGAA

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  15. Wow- that inspiration for your story definitely speaks loudly. I can easily see how that little girl would have had a story to tell!

    One of my best friends is going to school to be a doula. I hadn't even heard of them before! What an amazing choice of professions :)

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  16. Hi,
    Just blog hoping by way of Gutgaa! Hoping to meet as many gutgaa-an as possible. Stop by blog if time permits. Cool meeting you. Don't be a stranger.

    Paula
    http://authorscornerpaulakouman.blogspot.com/

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