Friday, December 31, 2010

What Clay Taught Me About Writing

In the spring of 2010 I made the decision to go back to school and work toward my degree in Elementary Education. On my schedule that semester I had English 102, Cultural Diversity in Education, Geology, and the Geology Lab. Early into the semester, I realized the Geology and Geology Lab classes (same teacher/class hours) were going to be too much for my haven’t-been-in-school-full-time-with-hard-classes-for-fifteen-years brain to handle.

I needed to drop them, but since I was on financial aid, I needed to replace them with other classes (6 credits worth) so I’d still be full time.

That’s when I looked through the schedule and decided ceramics might be fun. Make no mistake, I had no idea what I was in for. I thought “ceramics” would be painting ceramic figures. I was very wrong. Ceramics was working with clay to make your own art, firing it in a kiln, glazing it, and firing it again.

Was I a bit intimidated? Heck yeah! I’d never in my life worked with clay or kilns or glazes, but I set to work and made my first piece using a bowl as a mold.

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The close-up is to show you there’s a design in the bowl. I didn’t carve it deep enough so it didn’t show up well through the glaze. This piece of misshapen work taught me I needed to carve deeper into the clay and that clay shrinks as it dries and is fired (also, it taught me that I don’t care for Robin’s Egg Blue glaze).

Sometimes, I need to cut deeper into my writing to make sure my plots/characters are developed enough.

Next I tried to make something without a mold (free building).

PC311476 I did manage to carve the design deeper into the clay so it showed up, but the form was sloppy and kind of disturbing.

Sometimes my writing is sloppy and disturbing too . . . though the disturbing part isn’t always bad. *grin*

The rest of the semester, I continued to learn about clay and glazing and improved my skills.

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I learned the more I write, the more I improve.

Then I learned you could attach clay to other clay by slipping and scoring (slip is a mix of clay and water to make a paste consistency that you put on the clay before attaching it; scoring is scratching up or cutting lines into the part of the clay that will be touching the other clay). This opened up a whole new world of possibilities.

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This taught me I shouldn’t be afraid to add elements to my writing to enhance it. Description can be my friend as long as I don’t overdo it.

PC311478I even tried the pottery wheel (this bowl is really small).

In the fall semester, I decided to take ceramics again (the only classes I took). I spent most of the semester learning the pottery wheel.PC311480 This bowl taught me I could put glass marbles in the bottom and they melt in the kiln. FUN! Most of the bowls I made on the wheel I gave to my sisters and didn’t get pictures of them (cause I’m brainless like that), but they were all large bowls!

Using the wheel taught me that sometimes work needs to be scrapped. One of my sisters asked me to make her a bowl set (large and small bowl) similar to one she received for her wedding. I tried over and over and over to make the bowls for my sister. I believe I ended up making seven large bowls and four small ones before I got two I was happy with. Those numbers don’t include the bowls I started on the wheel that didn’t even make it to the kiln (they fell apart right on the wheel). But there came a point when I stopped trying to make her bowls and moved on to making other things.PC031460PC311479PC311482

This taught me that sometimes I need a break. It’s okay to stop working on a novel and move on to something new. Did I go back to making bowls for my sister? Yes! And it’s okay to go back to working on the novel I set aside too. But when I got frustrated, I went on to make something else.

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The mermaid/fish vase is by far my favorite piece of the semester even though I had to glaze and fire it three times to get the effect I wanted. The first time I glazed it, I painted on the glaze. It wasn’t thick enough and the clay showed through more than I wanted it too. The second time I glazed it I painted it again, thinking the second coating would surely do the trick. It didn’t. I needed to go back and do it right. I re-glazed the mermaid, the fish, and the bubbles, then I painted them with wax. After they were waxed, I dipped the whole vase into the blue glaze. This makes for a thicker coating than you can get painting on the glaze, and waxing the pieces prevents the glaze (the one you dip the entire piece in) from sticking.

You’re probably wondering why I didn’t wax and glaze the piece the first time. For one thing, I wanted a wavy look (to make it seem like water), and for another thing, painting wax on each individual item and keeping it off everything else is time consuming and HARD! If I had waxed and dipped the piece, I probably wouldn’t have gotten the wavy effect I wanted. Sure, I would have saved myself some time, but I’m not sure I would have been happy with the end result. What I should have done was wax and dip it the second time instead of trying to paint it on again.

Making this vase taught me two things. First, that I shouldn’t try to cut corners in my writing. Doing it right the first time (or in this case, the second time) prevents me from having to do it again. But it also taught me that sometimes it takes many revisions to get a story I’m happy with. Even if it takes me a bit longer than I’d like to get there.

There are many more pieces that I made and that taught me valuable lessons, but those I’ve shown are enough to make my point.

“And what is that?” you’re wondering by now.

It’s this.

Working in clay is like writing a book.

Most of us start out having no idea what we’re doing. We think, “Hey, this might be fun. I think I’ll write a book.” But when we get into the process, we find out it’s not exactly what we were expecting. Still, we dive right in, determined not to give up. We write that book. It may be misshapen and probably didn’t work exactly like we’d hoped it would. We go ahead and revise and sometimes discover that it’s still not quite what we wanted. So we start asking questions, finding out more about our craft by reading writing books, asking other writers, following blogs, whatever it takes. Slowly (at least in my case) we learn more and more. We write more, we revise more, we learn different techniques.

We learn what we can add, what we should take away, how to polish it and revise it. We show it to others, get their opinions. Learn that what we’ve done is good, but there are still ways to improve. So we go back and start again (or at least revise again). This time, we’re happier with our work. Again we show it around, feeling all proud of what we’ve done, only to learn it’s still not quite where it needs to be. Something is missing.

The more I work with clay, the more I learn. It’s the same with writing. The more I write and learn about writing, the better my writing gets. I’ve been told by my instructors as well as some of the people in the class that I learned how to work with clay pretty fast (most of them had been doing this for years and hadn’t learned what I had).

Unfortunately, it hasn’t been the same with my writing journey. It’s been a slow process!

Technically, I wrote my first “novel” in sixth grade, and I continued writing through high school and beyond (mostly poetry). I took creative writing classes in college (my first go-round), but didn’t really learn much. I decided to take my writing seriously in 2003. I set to work on a MG fantasy novel. I joined a critique group. I read writing books. I got some good feedback and revised and revised and revised. In July of 2003, I gave birth to my fourth (and last) child.

This put my writing on hold. I no longer had time for critique groups or writing. I worked on my novel here and there, but my main focus was on my family. As JR got older, I went back to my writing. I sent out a few queries and got the rejections I deserved. I wrote a sequel to my first novel and started the other two books I’d planned for the series (Nano 2005, 2006, 2007). I revised some on them, but mostly concentrated on the first book . . . revision after revision after revision.

Just as I learned from trying to make my sister’s bowls, I learned a lot from writing those other novels; the biggest lesson being I needed to move on to something different. In 2008, I wrote a brand new shiny novel. I’ve been revising it, polishing it, making it all nice and wonderful ever since (I also had a full-time job for a while there so I didn’t have much time for writing). But that’s not the only thing I’ve been doing. I also wrote a Picture Book for the Cheerio’s contest (won a first prize), jotted down several ideas for new novels, read, read, read, read, read, and read some more. I also became a reviewer for (more reading with some writing on the side).

I sent out some queries for shiny new novel. Received rejections, did more revisions, and queried some more. I even entered a contest with the first 250 words and received an honorable mention.

An agent asked to see my full MS. I sent it. An editor asked to see my full MS. I sent it. I received a rejection from the editor, but before the agent had a chance to reject me, I let her know I wanted to do some revisions. She asked to see the full when I finished the revisions (that was back in May of this year).

The revisions I planned ended up being more than I had anticipated, and I’m currently doing a complete rewrite of the novel.

But that’s okay. Sometimes imperfections in the clay would be too much work to file or smooth out; it’s better to smash the pot you’re making and start over.

Here I am at the end of 2010. I thought for sure I’d have the rewrite done and sent back to the agent, but I don’t. Have I stopped working on it? No (though there were days I didn’t write). I’m near the end now and anticipate I’ll be finished rewriting and revising by the end of January (at least I hope so). I’ll send it off to the agent and see what happens. There’s a good possibility that even after all the work I’ve done, I’ll receive a rejection from the agent. I’m prepared for that.

The story has changed quite a bit, kind of like pottery does once you put it in the kiln.

When you glaze pottery, the glaze dries to a powdery finish that could be scraped off . . . it’s not until it’s fired again (and at a higher temperature than the first firing) that the glaze bonds with the clay. The heat changes it, and revising/rewriting/learning our craft changes our work.

Even if the agent does reject the novel, I’m happy with where it is going now. I like it much better now than I did before . . . just like the mermaid vase.

In 2011, I plan to finish up my rewrite/revision, and write another novel I’ve had on the back burner . . . I may even get to write one of the others I have waiting. I’m taking time off school (at least the Spring semester) and really concentrating on my writing.

I’m thankful for the opportunity I’ve had to work with clay and look forward to working with it again in the future because I still have much to learn. I also still have much to learn about writing and I look forward to 2011 as the year when I’ve finally written a novel that makes me happy (hopefully  more than one).

What do you hope 2011 brings for you (other than a book deal; we all hope for that)?

Happy New Year to all of you! Whether it be in your writing life or your personal life, may you be better by this time next year than you are now.

Improve on!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wednesday Weather


It’s cold and wet here today. We might get snow either later today or tomorrow.

This is bad.

Not that I don’t like snow, I do. It makes things clean and pretty and white . . .

But this storm is also bringing snow to Flagstaff and the roads on the way to Flagstaff. My kids are in Flagstaff and hubby and I are supposed to go pick them up tomorrow.

Between today and tomorrow, the forecast is calling for 1-2 feet of snow in Flagstaff. Of course, they’ll do their best to keep the roads cleared off, but they’re going to be a mess . . . especially on the way to Flagstaff!

Also, we’re supposed to go to my parents’ house for New Years. My parents live in Snowflake. In order to get to Snowflake, we have to travel over the Mogollon Rim (pronounced mo-gee-OWN or mo-gee-ON) which has a higher elevation and is expecting accumulation in the 1-2 foot range as well.


We may not be able to get our kids back home in time for New Years Eve, and we may not be able to go to Snowflake either. Hubby and I may end up spending New Years Eve here at home with E. Bummer. Not that I don’t love hubby and oldest son, but I was looking forward to being with my parents, brothers, sisters, and their families (some of them weren’t there for Thanksgiving but will be there for New Years Eve). We play games all night, eat delicious food (pot luck type situation), and have a never ending supply of Chex Party Mix. Then we toast the New Year with Sparkling Cider (most of us don’t drink alcoholic beverages).

That may not seem like much, but it’s a blast, and I was really looking forward to it.  *sigh*

Hopefully the roads will be clear by Thursday afternoon so we can still get the kids and follow through with our plans.

In the meantime, I guess I’ll do more work on my rewrite.

What are your New Years Eve plans?

Write on!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

To Do Tuesday

Well, we made it through Christmas!

Yes, that was a mighty feat in and of itself. *grin*

Here’s how it went down:

Saturday the 18th, youngest son, JR, and youngest daughter, K, were playing “horse” as they cleaned the hall. JR was riding on K’s back even though I’d asked them to stop at least a thousand times. K stood up and JR went down (hickory, dickory, dock . . . well, more like crunch). He cried and cried and said he thought his arm was broken. He did have some swelling, but nothing seemed obviously broken. Still, he insisted he’d heard it crack when he fell so I took him to Urgent Care (faster than the ER).

They did an examination and took x-rays but didn’t see anything broken. They said they’d send the x-rays off to a specialist in Tucson and let us know if they found anything. JR went home with his arm wrapped and a sling. By Monday he was still complaining and crying, and I called our primary care physician. Unfortunately, he wasn’t going to be in the office all week. The only one available was the nurse practitioner who works out of that office. I debated about just taking him in to the ER, but decided to go ahead and let him see the NP. She ordered more x-rays, and JR and I came home to wait for them to get back with us.

They called about three hours later and wanted me to bring him back into the office. I did, and they said he had a chip fracture on the end of the ulna (at his elbow). *sigh* They put him in a half-cast (which means it only covers the underside of his arm where the break is and leaves the upper part of his arm uncast) and wrapped it with a bandage. They instructed him to wear his sling and made an appointment with a pediatric orthopedic doctor for January 14th. In the mean time, he’s managed to loosen his arm in  the cast and is bending it . . . though he can’t straighten it, he can bend it at the elbow as he plays with his toys and video games, etc. I’ve tried to explain that he needs to keep it immobile, but he’s a seven-year-old boy and it’s hard for him to be inactive. I might have to take him in and have them do a full cast. *sigh*

Christmas Eve, hubby and I made another trip to Urgent Care because he smashed his finger while trying to switch out the hitching ball on the truck he borrowed from his friend (because hubby’s truck had some problems and ended up in the shop). No broken bones for hubby, but they gave him a splint to wear and told him to wear it for three weeks . . . he took it off Sunday and hasn’t put it back on . . . I’m beginning to see where JR gets it from. *wink*

Then K twisted her arm and ankle while playing on the trampoline (one year of owning it and this is the first real problem we’ve had so I guess it’s not bad), E smacked his ankle on the side of his bunk bed (metal frame), and J had a bit of stomach flu.

Still, we managed to get the tree up on the 21st, I managed to bake a few cookies, and Santa and Mrs. Claus managed to stay awake long enough to fill the stockings and leave presents.

Then the in-laws wanted to see the kids (we went to my family for Thanksgiving so they were feeling left out, I suppose). So MIL and SIL came down and picked up J, K, and JR (E stayed home) and took them to Flagstaff to stay until Thursday when hubby and I are supposed to go and pick them up . . . then we’re supposed to go to my parents’ for New Years on Friday and the kids go back to school on Monday.

So, what am I going to do today while the kids are gone? As soon as I’m done writing this blog, I’m going to jump in and see if I can get some work done on my rewrite (yep, still working on that). And later today, I hope to make some more cookies and do more laundry (maybe I can catch up while the kids are gone and aren’t changing their clothes every five seconds).

What fun (or not so fun) things have you done so far this holiday season? Did you all have a great Christmas, or was yours filled with drama and stress like mine?

Write on!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas! Hope your day is filled with joy and happiness. One of my gifts was an gift card so I’m very happy. =D We also got Family Game Night 3 for our Wii and I look forward to playing with the kids . . . as soon as we can drag them away from their toys. ;-)

What fun things did you get?

May your day be filled with the joy of the season.

Write on . . . or in my case, shop on. Yay books!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

So . . .

I haven’t gotten any more writing done, which is a bummer. Things have been crazy busy with the holidays and getting ready for the sale at the kids’ school (a Holiday store they do each year). Also, news that the kids’ school will likely be closing next year has put a damper on things. The district will be rearranging things so the kids and teachers will go to one of the two other elementary schools in town.

Anyway, I’ve been spending my time finishing up school (tomorrow and Tuesday are the last classes for the semester) and dealing with the sadness of not going back next semester. I’ll miss it, but I really need to take some time to get my house in order and get my novel finished . . . oh, and decorate the house for Christmas. Yeah, we haven’t even done that yet. And the shopping . . . yeah, that still needs done too. *sigh*

Hubby has purchased a few things for the kids, and I bought a stocking gift for each of the girls, but that’s the only shopping I’ve done. It’s strange since I’m usually the one doing all the shopping, but it’s also kind of nice that I haven’t had to worry about it this year. *grin*

Anyway, I’m looking forward to getting the decorating done, my novel finished, and getting back into a routine with my housework.

How have you all been? Are you ready for the holidays?

Live on.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Mad Monday

What a crazy week! I lived through the holidays, but I’m still fighting a cold/virus/deadly thing. I think I’m going to have to break down and go see the Dr. because it’s not getting any better. *sigh*

Still, we had fun going to my parents’ house for Thanksgiving. I ate way too much pie (my favorite part of the feast). The kids spent the night with Grandma and Grandpa (except K who wasn’t feeling well). Hubby and I brought K home and I ended up sleeping in the living room on the futon with her. Can you say, “ouch?”

Yeah, it didn’t help with my cold/virus/deadly thing since the futon is positioned under the window and it needs caulked something fierce because it was burr burr freezey cold!

The next morning, K and I drove back to my parents’ house (she was feeling better). K spent the day playing and having a great time while my sisters and I made cheese balls. Mmmm. Another of my favorite holiday things.

We have our own recipes so there were several batches made. I brought home seven cheese balls and there are only two left today. Yeah, my family likes themselves some cheese balls! Okay, I admit, I ate two of them all by myself with some Wheat Thins.

Anyway, between all the bustle of Thanksgiving and kids’ school programs and sickness and all that fun stuff, I still managed to get some writing done.

Yep, I passed my 70,000 mark, but I’m not done with the rewrite yet. I’m close . . . oh so close though. Pretty much all the new stuff is done and all that’s left is to rewrite the ending chapters of the book. They’ll stay pretty much the same as they were in the previous version except they’ll be changed from third to first person.

The changes will be minor (I hope) so it should go quickly here at the end. At least that’s what I’m telling myself. *grin*

Anyway, I’ve almost reached my Nano goal as well. I should reach 50,000 tomorrow.

So, how was your holiday? Have lots of fun? Eat too much? Leave a comment and tell me about it!

Write on.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Madness of Monday

I didn’t update on Friday so I’m here today.

I haven’t had a Monday like this in a long time (thank goodness).

Last week, I had sick kids from Tuesday thru Saturday. On Saturday, I was unlucky enough to catch the virus so I spent my weekend feeling miserable and trying to catch up on all the writing I missed.

I’m still a bit under the weather (though I’m feeling a bit better). I didn’t catch up on the writing I needed to do (falling behind on the Nano front), but I was able to get some writing done.

Yes, that says 85% . . . but the problem is I’m not close to the end of the story. I’m afraid I’m going to have to make a new goal (more than 70,000 . . . but I’m not sure how much more).

Still, I’ve come a long way in the last few weeks and I’m happy.

Anyway, back to my crazy, mad Monday.

I didn’t sleep well and woke up late. This meant a mad scramble as I tried to get the kids off to school. They ended up being tardy.

I made it to ceramics class, but the lasagna pan I’d finished on Friday didn’t quite survive the car-ride. One of the handles broke off. This made me sad. There was no way to repair it. I thought about throwing it into the recycle bucket, but then had a better idea. Just break off the other handle and the rest of the pan was still usable. I figured a lasagna pan without handles could still work (though I might get my oven mitts dirty when I remove the pan from the oven).

So, after breaking off the other handle and scraping away the excess dried clay, I started a new project. A small bowl on the pottery wheel. After the small bowl, I moved on to a much larger bowl in the pottery wheel. I was thrilled with the results . . . and then my teacher suggested I use a stretched out spring to texture the bottom (to cut it off the pottery wheel bat). It sounded like a good idea to me so I made a trip to the hardware store and bought a couple of springs.

I cut the pot, but now we’re worried that the spring may have been too high and the bottom ended up too thin and might crack as it dries. The bowl was BEAUTIFUL (I used two different colors of clay) and I’m going to be so sad if it cracks.

Then I came home, ate a quick lunch, got a little writing done, then had to go pick up kids from school. By then, my head was pounding and my nose stuffy again. I got the younger kids, brought them home, went back to pick up the oldest from high school, took some Motrin for my headache, then took oldest son to Teen Court so he could be tried by a jury of his peers for the accident he had back in August.

That was about an hour of waiting around for about ten minutes of “court” and sentencing. He’s got 28 hours of community service and two jury duty assignments for Teen Court.

Now I’m exhausted and am going to crawl into bed for some much needed sleep . . . I hope I can get some!

Write on . . . or sleep on . . . or whatever. =)

Friday, November 5, 2010


Okay, it’s Friday again and that means it’s time for a blog post.

As most of you know, I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short, or Nano for even shorter). I’ve also been working on finishing up my rewrite of my YA novel so I can send it back out into the world.

Since I didn’t get the novel finished sooner, I’m using Nano to complete the novel. Don’t worry, I’m only using words I wrote after Oct. 31 for my Nano count. So, Since Nov. 1, I’ve managed to add another 6,462 to my novel.

I was at the kids’ school all morning dealing with volunteer and PTO stuff so I haven’t done any writing today. This means the word count is expected to rise . . . at least a little bit . . . at some point in the day.

My overall progress on the rewrite looks like this:

It seems I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel . . . it’s small, but it’s there and getting bigger each day. YAY!

Once I get my YA rewrite finished, I’ll be working on a new YA project I’m calling “Behold the Dead” in order to get the rest of my 50,000 Nano word count. Yeah, I’m assuming the YA rewrite won’t end up being an epic novel that needs another 44,000 words to finish. ;-)

So, how’s everyone doing on their Nano progress? Don’t lie now because some of you are my buddies on the Nano site and I can check up on you. =)

For those who aren’t doing Nano, why aren’t you?

Now I must get busy with the rewrite before I have to go get kids from school.

Write on.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Few Things on Thursday

I’m a day early on my updating, but I’m taking a break from my rewriting and thought it would be a good time to blog.

First of all, I’m going to share a link to an amazing auction with you. Swati Avasthi, author of SPLIT, is having an auction to benefit the Family Violence Prevention Fund. There are all kinds of things to bid on, including critiques (from agents, editors, and authors); signed books, photography, and much more.

Swati was kind enough to allow me to donate some bookmarks to the cause. You can find them under the “Everything Else” category. In addition to the already made bookmarks, I’m offering a custom bookmark (you get to choose the charm, colors, etc.).

In my Etsy shop, I sell my bookmarks for $8, but you might get it for less in the auction because bidding starts at only $4!

Go. Bid. Get stuff you want. Help a great cause.

And now to an update on my word count. Things are finally starting to flow! I’m optimistic that I’ll be finished before long, but I’ve given up setting a specific date to be done. ;-)

Even though I’m not finished writing for the day, I’ll go ahead and give you the word count as of right now):

Do you see that? Can you believe it? I’m over halfway done!

I’ve been having fun playing with Scrivener for Windows, even though there are some bugs to fight through. It’s still amazing software (though it’s not for everyone), and I plan to purchase it when it comes out early next year. Even though I’m still working on my rewrite in Word, I plan to write my NaNo novel using Scrivener (it will transfer back to Word as a .rtf file when I’m ready to finalize and format the MS), but I love the flexibility of working in Scrivener. NaNo will be a blast! I’ve probably mentioned this before (I can’t remember so if I have ignore me), but I’m writersblock on the NaNo site if anyone wants to add me to their buddy list.

Now I must . . .

Write on!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Scrivener Shall Be Mine!

Obviously I didn’t make it back on Friday to update. I ended up volunteering at the kids’ school all day (helping with health screenings) . . . but I’m too excited not to post today. Here’s why:

My name is Joan, and I’ve been suffering from Scrivener envy for several years. I do not own a Mac so this software was unavailable to me. I saved up money for a Mac, but then we ended up having to spend it on silly things like car repairs, food for our empty table, clothing for the children.

I didn’t start saving again because I knew Christmas was coming and I’d just have to give up my Mac savings for presents for the kids . . .

. . . and then the most wonderful thing happened:


It’s true!

It is being released in January or February of 2011!

But I don’t even have to wait that long because I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month and there is a wonderful post on the forums that I only just discovered. In this wonderful post, I learned NaNo participants can beta test Scrivener for Windows (some of you probably already knew that, but if you knew it and didn’t tell me, you better not admit it)!

Yes, there may be some bugs, but it will be worth it to get my hands on this software early (I just have to remember to save, save, save my work). And there are even better things mentioned in the post. Instead of me trying to explain it all to you, I’ll just put a link so you can go read it for yourself.

If I wasn’t already going to do NaNo, this would be enough to make me do it . . . and I’m more determined to reach the 50,000 words so I can take advantage of the generous discount (info in the link above . . . if you can’t find the link, it’s the word link in the previous paragraph)!

The beta version should be released in a few minutes . . . or so, and I’m thrilled beyond reason (as my FB status attested earlier today)!

In other news, I haven’t worked much on my rewrite. My word count is a sorry thing to look at, but I decided I’ll use NaNo to finish writing my rewrite and then work on my new YA idea to reach the 50,000 word mark and beyond. So, I should have a finished rewrite and a great start to a new novel by the end of November! YAY!

Oh. . . and if you wanted to actually look at the sorrow of my rewrite word count, here it is:

Friday, October 8, 2010

Emerging From the Cave

Though I’m not finished with my rewrite, I’m emerging from my cave to update you all on my progress . . . both in life and with the novel.


K had her neurology appointment on Tuesday. Our insurance won’t cover the expensive testing he would normally do (we’re looking into different insurance), so he did his best to diagnose based on the medical history we gave him as well as the exam he gave her.

He determined she had a few other seizures. One at school when she looked into the overhead projector and didn’t respond for a bit (we found out about that last Friday at parent/teacher conference). The second and third were at home when she was speaking to me, but the what she said didn’t make sense (I hadn’t realized these were seizures, but they were strange behavior so I reported them to him).

So, his diagnosis is viral encephalitis. Since the “treatment” for it would be the same no matter if he ran the tests or not, he opted not to make us file for bankruptcy (nice of him). The treatment is to watch her and see what happens. If she has another seizure, we are to contact him immediately (well, after we call 911, of course). He even gave us his cell phone number. If she does seize again, she’ll be admitted to the hospital and they’ll run all the expensive tests we’re hoping to avoid.

She’s not on any medication at this point. He thinks she’ll continue to recover and within the next two to three weeks, her memory and behavior issues should resolve themselves. He will see her again in January unless she seizes before then. He sent me home with literature about the different types of seizures so we can read up and hopefully learn to identify them (complex partial seizures, simple partial seizures, and atypical absence seizures). Of course if she’s twitching on the floor or being stiff and foaming at the mouth like she did the first time, we’ll know she’s seizing, but the others are more subtle . . . thus the literature.

The kids are on Fall Break for two weeks (gotta love the “modified school year), so I’m not sure how much writing I’ll get done, but here’s that update.


My current word count looks like this:

I’m hoping to finish by the end of this month so I can participate in National Novel Writing Month again this year. We’ll see if I make it. I’m almost to the point where I can use most of the scenes from the previous novel. Though I’ll have to make a few changes to these scenes to make them work in this version, I’m thinking the changes will be minor (other than the POV change, of course).

And that’s my update. I’ll try to post at least once a week (probably Fridays) from now on.

Write on.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Give Me A Break

You may have noticed I’ve been offline for a while now (at least I’m deluding myself into believing you’ve noticed) . Part of it was because I was forced into it through internet trouble, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the internet free days . . . well mostly. Like any addict, I found myself suffering from withdrawals, but going cold turkey opened my eyes to the enticing ways of that frivolous waste of time called the internet. To be fair, the internet has many wonderful advantages that when placed in the right hands can do wonders for a writer.

My hands are NOT the write right hands. My hands find it far too easy to click on link after link and take me further into the world wide web instead of working on my WIP.

In all honesty, I didn’t think I spent that much time online. I figured the hour or so I spent visiting blogs, responding to emails, tweeting, etc. was but a small portion of my writing day . . . but being without access brought home the sad truth.

If I got to a rough spot in my writing it was so easy to click on my email, or follow a link from a tweet, or reply to another blog. These “little” trips online throughout the day wasted more writing time than I’d ever imagined.

Though I still have many distractions to take me away from writing (kids, housework, pets, food), they are more “necessary” evils. The internet isn’t “necessary.” Years ago, writers didn’t have access to the world at their fingertips and they still managed to write. Am I better than they because I have the internet? Nay! . . . in fact, I may be more worser of a writer (intentional murdering of English grammar because I’ve been awake since 4:00 a.m. and am feeling silly).

And so . . . I’m going to make it official. I’m taking a break from the internet while I concentrate on finishing my rewrite. This doesn’t mean I’ll be vanishing completely like I have for the last few weeks. I’ll still drop in from time to time to update my blog, shoot off a quick tweet, read a blog, etc., but I won’t be replying to blogs, clicking on links, and otherwise “surfing” the waves of available distractions.

So, though I may not reply to your blogs, I’m still reading now and then to keep up with what’s going on. Who knows, I may even occasionally reply—

“NO! Stop it! She won’t be replying either!”

Woah! Sorry about that little interruption from my inner editor (she’s overprotective of my time and extremely jealous of the internet . . . I think she was the one who somehow caused the internet troubles in the first place, though she’ll never admit it) . . . what was I saying . . . oh yeah, I have to limit myself more.

I hope none of you wonderful people will be offended by my decision. I do still care about what’s going on in your lives, but I have to be selfish and concentrate on what NEEDS to be going on in mine.

As Shakespeare put it, “Parting is such sweet sorrow.” In this case, it’s sweet because I know I’ll accomplish more writing, and sorrowful because I’ll miss the interaction with all of you.

See  you when I emerge from my writing cave . . . all bleary eyed and staggering from lack of internet contact. ;-)

Write on!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Exercising Creativity

You know how they say if you don’t use your muscles, they’ll deteriorate? I think it’s the same with creativity. If you don’t do something to exercise your creative mind, your creativity deteriorates. We certainly don’t want that to happen!

In exercise, it’s good to keep things fresh by doing different exercises to keep the muscles stimulated. The same old exercises won’t work the muscles as well, or at least won’t exercise more than the same muscles over and over (at least I think that’s how I remember being told it works . . . I don’t exercise enough to really know what I’m talking about . . . but go with me on this one).

I think this is also true for creativity. Sure, I write, but I also need other creative outlets to keep from becoming stagnant and to focus on different creative muscles. In addition to my writing, reading books, making beaded bookmarks, drawing, singing, sewing, painting, etc., I recently found a new creative outlet!

Some of you will remember I took a ceramics class during the Spring semester and fell in love with it. So, I decided this is a form of creative exercise I should continue. I signed up for it again this semester. First of all, let me say, if you’ve never played with mud, you’re missing out. I played with mud all the time growing up, and as I’m in ceramics class, I’m taken right back to my childhood . . . though I’m a bit more creative now and the mud is in the more solid form of clay.

I missed getting to play with the clay yesterday because of the holiday so I was all kinds of excited to get to go back to class today. Especially when I arrived and found my first finished project of the semester waiting for me.


Grape Vase front


Grape Vase back 


Grape Vase side 

I set out to make a vase (though several people in my class thought it was a wine bottle chiller . . . I suppose it could be, but I don’t drink wine so it’s a vase), and I’m pleased with the results. I’m not sure what possessed me to make the top like I did . . . it just happened . . . but it gives it a little something extra, and I’m happy.

Doing something like this (or any of the other creative exercises I do) keeps my creative mind energetic and fresh and ready to . . . well, be creative! I glazed two other pieces today and put the rest in the kiln for the first firing. I’m excited to go back next week and do some more! I have so many ideas for new projects and can’t wait to see how they turn out.

In the creative writing front, after playing with mud, my mind is full of creativity, and I’m ready for a day of writing tomorrow! I got another two hundred words done over the long weekend (brother-in-law came from Idaho so we spent most of the time visiting with him), and am planning on doing more writing tonight (after homework and dinner and bedtime for the kids).

But tomorrow will be a full day of writing!! At least that’s my plan. Now I just have to hope that life doesn’t interfere with my plans.

What do you do to exercise your creative muscles when you aren’t writing?

Create on!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

What are these?! With pictures.

In my back yard a little while ago, the kids found these large and frightening things:

  P9041277 P9041274P9041278

Is this one above some kind of wasp (all three pictures are of the same bug) and the one below a bee (again all pictures are of the same bee thing)? Hubby thinks they’re both bees and that the one below is a black bumble bee (I’d never heard of one before and looked it up . . . it’s possible, I suppose, but the wings look to big for a bumble bee IMO).


P9041296P9041284P9041294 P9041293

  Here they are together:



Strange . . . I’ve never seen them around here before but they freaked us out pretty good. They are BIG (you can see a bit of the chain link fence behind them for reference)! I didn’t want to get too close and don’t have a great zoom lens so sorry if the pictures aren’t the greatest.

Can anyone identify them?

Help on!

Really, September? Really?

I don’t know why September felt the need to arrive so soon. August had barely begun, and then September came in and kicked it aside (September is kind of pushy like that). I’m miffed that it arrived ahead of schedule and brought my impending deadline that much closer. Curse you September!! Couldn’t you have waited another week?


I’m a bit stressed because I worry that, once again, the date I set for being finished with my rewrite will come and go, and I still won’t be finished. I hate missing my goals, and I don’t think the goals have been unrealistic. Unfortunately, whenever I set a goal for a certain date, things conspire against me to ensure I’ll never reach the goal.

Just a few minor things happened this time . . . like my son having an accident and my daughter having a seizure . . . but I should have been able to push through them and write, right?

Yesterday was a great writing day, but still not quite great enough to get my word count where I’d like it to be right now (at 40,000).

My self-imposed deadline is a week from today and I still need another 48,899 words. Yeah, chances are slim, but I’m going to try!

I probably ought to change my goal to be HALFWAY finished by the 11th so I can feel accomplished instead of bummed (because reaching the halfway point would be much more realistic at this point).

But changing my goal would be cheating so I won’t do it. I’ll work as hard and as fast and as much as I can and see where I stand next Saturday.

Okay, now an update on K. She had more blood work done on Wednesday. I got a phone call yesterday saying that everything came back normal. Our doctor referred us to a pediatric neurologist so she has an appointment with him on Oct 5th. She hasn’t had any further seizures, which is a good thing. =)

Have a great Labor Day Weekend!

Write on.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

How did I miss this? and other stuff

While catching up on my friends’ blogs today (I occasionally find time for it), I came across Cindy Pon’s awesome book giveaway. I’m not sure how I missed it, but since it doesn’t end until Sept. 3, I still have time to enter. She has some pretty cool books to give away so check it out!

I’m getting a bit more sleep now. K hasn’t had another seizure and we plan to send her back to school tomorrow even though I’m still nervous. But I can’t keep her home forever and watch her every second (well I could try, but it would drive both of us crazy).

My word count hasn’t improved by much (about 400 words), but I’m hoping this week will be seizure and car accident free so I can get some writing done!

Of course, I’ll be in ceramics class tomorrow and Tuesday (or maybe just tomorrow . . . or maybe just Tuesday) so I probably won’t get much writing done until Wednesday or Thursday (hubby is off Wednesday and he’s distracting so I may not get much done on Wed.) .

I’m still planning on being done by the 11th though so I’ve got to find some time to

Write on!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thursday Things

Wednesday is over. I ended up leaving hubby to entertain on his own, and I hid away in my room to grab some sleep when the in-laws arrived. *evil grin*

K hasn’t had any further seizures. I called the neurologist’s office (the number the hospital gave us), but I had to leave a message because I guess they weren’t open yet. We’ll see if they call back. I think I might call our personal doctor and see if he has a recommendation for a neurologist too (always good to have choices).

All the kids are home from school again today. Oldest son is having back pain from his accident and it hurts him to sit in the chairs at school (he went for part of the day yesterday before he called me to come get him). We’re going to take him to get checked out.

Last night, K slept in our beg again. She shares a room with our oldest daughter, J, and J didn’t want to be in her room alone. So . . . I ended up sleeping on the futon/couch again while J and K slept in the bed with hubby.

The futon/couch isn’t very comfortable, and sleeping on it two nights in a row makes it even more uncomfortable. But that’s okay, I didn’t sleep much anyway. I’m too stressed out about K. I’ve been through so much with both my girls already, that I’m not sure I can do it again. Even being in the ER on Tuesday almost sent me into a panic attack.

All that kept running through my mind last night were the horrors of the previous troubles with the girls . . . the weeks in the hospital and the surgeries, the breathing machines, having to learn to insert a feeding tube, the way my little K looked all twisted and stiff during the seizure, her incoherence afterward . . . the stuff of nightmares, only I wasn’t asleep.

So, I’m tired today, but I’m pressing forward anyway. I guess I’m just panicking and will hopefully calm down as time goes by (hopefully with no further seizures), but, right now, I’m afraid to leave K alone.

She has an eye doctor appointment today (she’d been complaining of not being able to see the board at school). I thought about cancelling the appointment, but decided to go ahead and get it done. After the appointment, I’m hoping to get some writing done . . . but we’ll see if I can let go of my worries enough to dive into writing.

How are the rest of you doing out there? Hope your Thursday things are more fun than mine. ;-)

Live on.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I Hate Tuesday!

Okay, not all Tuesdays, but yesterday, for sure!

First, son got into a car accident. He turned off the highway onto a dirt pullout and, not being familiar with driving on dirt, couldn’t stop in time and hit a parked truck. No one was injured, though son is sore today. There was some damage, but we had full coverage so we’ll survive. In all honesty, I’m glad the truck was there for him to hit. He couldn’t stop and would have gone over the cliff!

Okay, so as if that wasn’t enough to stress a mother out, second daughter, K, came home from school with a 100.2 degree fever. At about 5:00, she had a massive seizure! We spent most of the night in the hospital while they ran tests, but everything came back normal (including the CAT scan). They have no idea why she seized, but gave us a pediatric neurologist’s number to follow up. They’re just calling it New Onset Seizure.

The doc said it isn’t uncommon for a child to have a seizure and then never have one again, but he also said if she’s susceptible to them, she’s more likely to have another one. The kicker is, we won’t know if she’s susceptible unless she has another one. Honestly, one was terrifying enough! It’s not like I’ve never witnessed a seizure before (I have a friend who has them), but it’s a whole new ballgame when it’s your own child! It’s horrifying!!

So, everyone is home from school today because we’re exhausted after the hospital and car accident excitement. We’re keeping a close eye on K. Other than not remembering what happened just before and just after the seizure, K seems back to normal. She slept in our bed with hubby last night while I “slept” on the futon with oldest daughter who was all freaked out and worried that she’d have a seizure too. *sigh* Hubby and I didn’t sleep well at all for some strange reason.

Yeah, I want to be sleeping right now, but hubby’s dad and sister decided they needed to come down and see K today. I wanted hubby to tell them no, but he won’t because his father has health problems and hardly ever comes to see the kids. So, hubby ran off into town to finish up some work he didn’t get done yesterday, and I’m here waiting for his family to show up.

I hate yesterday’s Tuesday, and I’m beginning to hate today’s Wednesday.

On a happy note (if you can call it that), my copy of Mockingjay should arrive today . . . not that I’ll be able to read it because I’ll either be entertaining family or sleeping away some of my exhaustion.

Whine on!

Monday, August 23, 2010

I Resisted . . . .

. . . and didn’t make the bookmarks, though I was sorely tempted to. I hoped to manage 5,000 words this weekend, but it didn’t happen. I did get a little more writing done after my post on Saturday, but the kids ended up wanting to play games and have some fun . . . so we played games, had fun, and went for ice cream.

My weekend word count ended up looking like this:

And do you see how the computer sticks its tongue out to mock me?

Anyway, I’m still pleased with the progress. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any writing done today because I gave in to another temptation.

Some of you may remember that I went to school full time in the spring. I decided it was too much and wasn’t going back in the fall . . . but I decided I had WAY too much fun in the ceramics classes so I signed up for the fall.

Classes started this morning. I made a vase today. I’m not sure what I’ll make tomorrow. Though this takes time away from my writing, the good news is, I’m not taking the classes for a grade this time so I don’t HAVE to go to class. I signed up for both Monday and Tuesday and figure I’ll be able to make it to one or the other each week, even if I can’t make it to both. The classes go from 8:30 to 2:30, but I can leave earlier if I want (like I did today).

I’m a bad girl, I know, but how can I resist being able to play with mud (cause that’s basically what the clay is)? Especially when I get to make things like this:


Yes, that bowl was from last semester, but I don’t have anything to post from this semester because it just started today.

So, I’m hoping to get some writing done today, but the kids will be home from school in a little while and then it will be time for homework . . . we’ll see what happens.

Create on!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Resistance is Futile . . . or is it?

When I got the mail today, I had a package waiting for me from ChubbyChicoCharms. I’d ordered some charms for making bookmarks (a special order of some letters and some wolf themed). Now I’m trying to resist the temptation to make bookmarks because I really need to be writing.

On the other hand, the kids are home and keep bugging me so I can’t really concentrate on writing . . . maybe I ought to give up and make bookmarks.

But I really need to get some more writing done (though I did accomplish a bit this morning).

Here’s where I stand:

Anyway, I’m not sure what the day will bring. I’ll probably do more writing because I feel guilty and also because I’m at a great scene that should be easy to write.

But if I get stumped . . . then the bookmark making supplies  might come out. =)

Write on!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Here we go again . . .

Though I’ve been working on my novel every day, it doesn’t seem like it when this is my current word count:

It looks like I haven’t done much at all, but in reality I have . . . honest! This word count doesn’t reflect the nearly 10,000 words I ended up cutting and all the revising I did in the first few chapters to incorporate a new aspect of the novel.

Though I love the new direction the novel is taking, it meant I had to do some major reworking/editing/cutting. Several scenes were reworked, and a few had to be cut out entirely! I’m not sure they’ll be able to be recycled. While this makes me sad for all the time I spent writing them, in the end, this new dimension will add more depth and is worth it!

So, while I’m not going to reach my goal of being done by the 23rd, (I’m still going to write like crazy and get as much done by then as I can), I’m happy with the progress I’ve made.

And, I’m setting a new goal of being finished by September 11th (one of my sister’s has a birthday then).

I’m actually hoping to be finished before then, but decided to give myself some leeway since I don’t often get much writing done over the weekends (needing to spend time with the kids and all that).

I’m still playing around with my scheduling and trying to find out what works best for me. Right now I write while my kids are in school (like now . . . but I’m on a lunch break). When they get home, we have homework, dinner, and then it’s time for bed when hubby likes to relax in front of the TV.

I’m not very good with writing while the TV is going so it ends up that what I write during the day is pretty much what I get written.

But, I’m thinking of changing things around and writing at night after the kids have gone to bed (going in the living room) because I get a lot of inspiration then and there aren’t as many distractions during those hours. Plus, I can try to sleep during the day when the kids are in school . . . right? ;-)

Anyway, my lunch break is over (I only give myself 1/2 hour), so I must get back to writing.

How are things going for all of you out there?

Write on!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Blogger or LJ Blog? A Write On Con Conundrum

During the Write On Conference, there were suggestions on author branding that included making your online presence consistent with they type of author you are/type of books you write. This “theme” or “mood” should carry from one online endeavor to the next from websites, to blogs, to Twitter, etc. Basically anywhere you can customize, you should, but keep it consistent.

As you may have noticed, I took that to heart and have been working on customizing my blogs and twitter. The topic of creating an online presence came up often during live chats and I was amazed to learn there were industry professionals who declared they didn’t like LJ because it wasn’t as easy to customize and was restrictive. I’m not sure what they meant by this (though it’s not as easy, you can still sort of customize the look of your blog), but it got me thinking.

Are Blogger and other online blogging options better than LJ? Is LJ a moon being paled by the much brighter sons in the webosphere?

I happen to like LJ. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s the first blog site I joined and it’s like an old familiar security blanket, or if it’s because I get notifications of my friend’s posts in my email. Granted, I can get email notifications from some Blogger friends as well, but not as many offer this option. Besides, I have many more LJ friends than I do Blogger (or other journaling sites).

Yes, it’s easier to see the Blogger followers if a “follow” gadget is put on the blog so knowing the popularity of your blog is easier (though just because you have followers, doesn’t mean your blog is popular . . . the commenting is what counts), and I do have to agree that Blogger is much easier to customize (I was able to make my own background for Blogger and fairly easily put it up using the CSS feature, but I was also able to add a background to my LJ using the CSS, just not as easily and as completely as on Blogger).

Blogger also has a new Template feature for editing your blog which makes things a bit easier . . .

And yet, I still love my LJ and all the connections I have there (though I love the “look” of my Blogger more).

I’m wondering . . . how many of my LJ friends also have another blog they frequent . . . maybe even more than they do LJ?

What is your choice of platform for blogging?

Though I suppose it doesn’t matter what platform you use if you aren’t consistent with your postings and keep things interesting (this was mentioned quite a bit at the conference too). I’m going to work on the being more consistent thing . . . but I make no guarantees in the “interesting” category.

AND . . .There must be an easier way to keep in touch with my Blogger friends, so if someone out here can tell me how it’s done, I’d really appreciate it!

Blog on!

Friday, August 13, 2010

What’s Up?

Okay, so I’ve been offline for a few days . . . okay, for several days. Things have been busy. I’ve been restructuring my WIP, plotting out a couple of new ideas, and setting writing goals. Then, I enjoyed Write On Con Tuesday thru Thursday!

If you didn’t attend, you missed out!! It’s the best conference I’ve ever been to . . . Okay, I admit, I’ve only been to one conference (SCBWIAZ Welcome to Our House). Still, I don’t think any conference could have been better. Instead of attending one or two presentations, I got to see them all (or read them, depending on what it was). The live chats were so much fun (I even got a few of my own questions put through) and informative too.

Everything was online, and available whenever I could get to it (except the live chats). That came in handy for those moments when I had to use the bathroom, eat something before I fainted, go pick up the kids from school, move because my butt fell asleep . . . you know, things like that.

Plus, it was FREE!

I’m definitely looking forward to it next year.

I’ll be posting some helpful hints about things I learned and sharing my thoughts over the next week or so (hey, it’s much needed fodder for the blog).

I’m also going to be madly typing if I hope to reach my goal of finishing my rewrite by the 23rd.

“The twenty third of August?” my inner author asks.

“Yes. The twenty third of August,” I say.

“Why do you set impossible goals for yourself?”

“Nothing is impossible,” I say.

My inner author doesn’t think I can do it. If you promise not to tell, I’ll let you in on a little secret. Do you promise? Okay. I’m not sure I can do it either, but I’ve got a new writing strategy so we’ll see how it goes.

I’ve decided to quit trying to write the book chronologically. I’m going to write scene by scene and then put it all together after I’m done.

I really think this will keep those staring-off-into-space-while-I-try-to-figure-out-how-I’m-going-to-get-from-point-A-to-point-B moments to a minimum. That’s the theory anyway. I really hope it works.

I’ve made a list of the major scenes I need and another list of the subplot things I need to happen. I figured out how to combine some of them, and the ones that are left standing off stage I’m hoping will be the glue that puts the major scenes together.

Yeah, so that’s my plan.

What’s up with you guys since I’ve been gone?


Write on.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Help . . . if you can . . .

I think I’m losing my mind. In an effort to help regain some of my sanity, I’m reaching out to my friends. Help me if you can!

Okay, here’s the thing:

In speaking with my third grade daughter’s teacher this afternoon, she showed me they are working on doing Illuminations (they’re reading Igraine the Brave and doing a whole medieval section). I mentioned how I loved illuminations and had seen some at the Getty Museum when I went a few years ago (for work, but we took time to see the sights).

Then it happened . . . a little something in my brain said, “didn’t you just see some sort of blog post or something that mentioned someone’s picture book being illustrated with illuminations? Didn’t you even mention in a comment that you loved illuminations and had seen them at the Getty?”

I have wracked my brain, searched through my friend list, but I can’t find the post.

Maybe I’m completely insane. Maybe I saw it on a link on someone’s blog and clicked which took me to another blog and clicked which took me to another and it wasn’t even one of my friends.

Maybe it was on Facebook . . . maybe it was on Verla Kay’s . . . I just don’t know!

But if you know what I’m talking about, please, please, please let me know. It’s driving me crazy, and I need to concentrate on writing instead of this!

Maybe I’ve lost my mind and it never happened . . . if you find my mind, please help send it back.


Help on!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Word count Wednesday

So, I obviously didn’t reach my goal of finishing my rewrite by the end of July. Life happened.

Still, I’m back in the swing of things now that the kids are in school, and I managed to get some writing done today. Yay! That was with an appointment this afternoon and my husband home early from work (not feeling well)!

I’d like to do more writing tonight, but I’ve got to get dinner done and get some sleep (I was up until after midnight because I couldn’t sleep).

I’m hoping to get more writing done tomorrow before I have to go to the PTO meeting followed by the school’s open house.

Oh, and remember how I was determined not to read LINGER until after I reached the 30,000 mark? Yeah, that didn’t happen. I gave in and read it a few nights ago. I’m a horrible person. I know.

I’m still debating whether to take ceramics classes at the college this semester (I won’t take any other classes right now though), but if I do, class starts on the 23rd.

So, my new goal is to finish this rewrite by August 23! I CAN DO THIS!!

Write on!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

How to Procrastinate

I think I’m an expert by now. It’s not that I don’t WANT to write, it’s just that things conspire against me.

Today, it’s the squirrel’s fault.

Let me explain.

write bracelet

I purchased this bracelet from artistq’s (Laura Hamor) Etsy shop back in November and have worn it pretty much every day since (though I do take it off to shower). After months of daily abuse, the cord had worn through and the last threads holding it together broke today.

I tried to figure out how to tie another cord, but I’m knot challenged and failed miserably (it’s some sort of horribly complicated slip knot so it adjusts . . . you probably all know how to tie a slip knot like this, but I couldn’t figure it out).

Instead of putting it away and contacting Laura to see about a repair, I decided I’d use my creativity (which should have been working on my novel) and fix it myself.


I used black and white so it would pretty much match everything. It’s now back around my wrist, and I’ve discovered this new style has an added benefit. As I type, it knocks against the laptop and reminds me I need to be writing (I’m feeling guilty even now).

But . . . in true procrastinator fashion, as I was sorting through my endless boxes of beads to pick just the right ones for the bracelet, I was inspired to also make this:

P8031245 P8031251

It’s a bee bookmark for my own Etsy Shop (though I’ll resist the temptation to procrastinate further and list it on there today).

So how is it the squirrel’s fault?

The stupid squirrel came into my yard and made my dogs bark. If my dogs hadn’t been barking, I wouldn’t have had to go bring them in to keep the neighbor from complaining. If I hadn’t needed to bring them in, I wouldn’t have caught my bracelet on the fence which is what broke the last threads holding the bracelet together.

Now it’s 11:53 AZ time and the kids will be out of school in three more hours! Still, I’m taking the time to post this here instead of diving right in to my writing.

This, my friends, is how you procrastinate . . . or at least how I’ve managed to procrastinate today.


Now I’m going to see if I can use my remaining time to do some writing . . . although, it’s pretty close to lunch time, and I’m pretty hungry. Maybe I’ll get something to eat first and then start writing . . . unless I find something else to distract me.

Procrastinate on! =0

Monday, August 2, 2010

I Won A Contest . . . and Other Weekend Stuff!

I’m thrilled to have had the chance to enter Julie Jordan’s Alphabet Stories Contest and even more thrilled to have won! I’m not sure what my prize is (I’ll be getting a surprise in the mail), but it was a blast to write the story. =)

What was it all about? Entrants had to write a story of 26 sentences (one for each letter of the alphabet, but it began with G instead of A). It was so much fun to try to make it be engaging and not be obvious that I was starting each sentence with the next letter of the alphabet. I went with a strange story using Hel, Loki’s half dead half alive daughter from Norse mythology, as my inspiration. Anyway, if you go here, you can read my winning entry.

In other weekend news, I have sick kids again (it’s so much fun). This time, it’s the oldest boy. He’s trying to go to school anyway, but we’ll see how it goes. Hubby was also sick over the weekend. He’s still not feeling well (it’s a stomach thing), but he’s off to work anyway. I didn’t get much sleep last night, but I’m going to struggle through my day anyway. I’m spending a few hours at the school to work on some paperwork for the PTO this morning, but I’m hoping to get some writing done this afternoon . . . we’ll see how it goes.

I spent quite a bit of time this weekend making new bookmarks. I haven’t gotten them up on the Etsy store yet, but I’ll get to it sometime . . .

The most fun thing that happened this weekend?

We had a baby gecko hatch out of one of our gecko eggs!!!

P7311153 P7311155 P7311154

We’ve been trying to hatch geckos for quite a while, but the eggs always died. This time, it worked (I added moisture to the container to keep the eggs from drying out even though the instructions for the hatching material said I didn’t need to).

I have five more eggs waiting to hatch, though I’m not sure they’re all fertile. Four of the eggs were laid on Saturday (same day the baby hatched) and I’m not sure they’re fertile yet (will check them by “candling” later today).

So that was my weekend. How was yours?


Write on.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Novel Novel Review and contest reminder

It's that time again!

Here's a quick reminder of my rating system

A+--I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend this book. In most cases, I passed it on to my child/teen.

A--I enjoyed this book and I might pass it on to my child/teen.

B--I liked this book, but probably won't pass it on to my child/teen.

C--I thought it was okay, but I won't pass it on to my child/teen.

D--I didn't like this book, and won't allow my child/teen to read it.

F--I hope I never have to go here. =D

I will give reasons for my rating in my review, but if you have any questions, please feel free to ask. If you find your book here, don't panic if I rate it below an A. These are my personal preferences and I'm only one small person in a large market. =D

On to the review!

THE HEALING SPELL by Kimberley Griffiths Little

Rating A+ (and a few more +s)

Category: Middle Grade contemporary

Livie has a frightening secret; her mother is in a coma and she's responsible for it. She's terrified her mother might die, and even more terrified her family will hate her if they find out her secret. She already feels so alone that losing their love would be unbearable.

Burdened with the truth, Livie tries to come to terms with her guilt, but guilt isn't the only weight on her eleven-year-old shoulders. She's trying to find her own place in the world. Unfortunately, her world is changing and she's not sure which way to turn.

Her older sister is supposed to be getting married and leaving, her little sister cries at everything, and her father quit his job to care for his wife. Circumstances are forcing Livie to adapt, and she isn't very good at it.

After deciding her best hope at redemption is to heal her mother, Livie visits Miz Allemond, a traiteur, and gets a healing spell. The spell isn't full of magic words and instant results. Instead, it forces Livie to take a closer look at the world and people around her, including herself.

I loved THE HEALING SPELL! Though not my usual fare of fantasy or paranormal, this book captured me from the start. It was easy for me to feel connected with Livie as she struggled to find her place in her family and the world around her.

Livie reminded me what it was like to be eleven; that in-between age where you're no longer a child, but not a teen either. Her loneliness and longing reached through the pages of the book and grabbed the lonely, longing child within me. With a firm hold on my inner child, Livie took me on an adventure of self-discovery.

I shed more tears while reading this book than I have in a long time and felt better for the catharsis. Through Livie, I rediscovered my eleven-year-old self and gained a stronger understanding of the woman I am today. THE HEALING SPELL is more than a book; it's a salve for the soul, a balm for the burdened, and an enjoyable read for everyone.

THE HEALING SPELL does more than heal the characters, it heals the reader!


I was thrilled to meet with Kimberley on Saturday. I should have taken my camera, but I don’t like having my picture taken so it’s not something I thought to bring. Anyway, Kimberley and I had some great conversations about life and writing and the life of writing. She’s so gracious and easy to talk to. If you ever get a chance to go to one of her book signings, don’t miss it!

She signed my copy of her book and also signed the copy for the contest (pictured below)!


She even gave me a bunch of The Healing Spell bookmarks to help spread the word:


There are more than three bookmarks, but these three are up for grabs. I’ll be including them as prizes for the contest. If you haven’t entered, there’s still time. However, the contest ends on July 30th (that’s Friday) so don’t wait too long and miss your chance to win a signed copy of The Healing Spell (and the gator bookmark I made to go with it) or one of the three bookmarks!

Now I must go mow the lawn and do some laundry. At some point today I also have to put my two new bookmarks in my Etsy shop.


Hopefully I’ll find time to do some writing today too.

Write on?