Thursday, December 31, 2009

I'm Resolute!

Okay, I have to admit that I never make New Year's Resolutions (never say never. I'm sure I have at some point or another... but bear with me) only because I'm usually setting goals on a weekly basis, but there are some things I would LOVE to accomplish this year, so I'm going to write them out publicly. It's easier to hold myself accountable that way. Plus if I write them down, I might remember them... ;)

  • I am going to spend five hours a week composing. I've gotten out of the habit and I really need to get back into it. I've sort of been setting it aside to write, but I can work on both! I miss it a lot and one hour a day isn't that much time.
  • I'm also going to spend five hours a week writing. It doesn't matter if it's on lyrics or my novels. This is my freebie goal to me. We all need an easy one, right?
  • Find a critique group! I'm not sure why this one has been so hard for me, but everyone I've sent it to has left me hanging (except one). Either I'm a terrible storyteller or my friends/crit buddies are extremely busy! (Just for the record, I'm sure it's the latter. :P)
  • Revise Power's Touch, repeat several times, research and write a query letter, get it on submission!
I will be setting smaller goals, but these are my roots. Broken up like that, it doesn't seem quite as daunting. I can do this!

Happy 2010!

Wishing you the very best! Go write and make your dreams come true!

*I have to amend this because it's bothering me. I do set yearly goals, just not at New Years. There. I feel much better now.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tuesday in Ten Words or Less

Rewriting: The Grip of Dreams.
Reading: The Well of Ascension

*I feel like this first one needs an explanation so I'm breaking the rules this once. Every Tuesday I'm going to be doing a post in ten words or less thanks in part to Elana's brilliant post, which I couldn't agree more with, and a conversation with Mercedes. For the record, there are times when long posts are necessary and informative, but there are so many great blogs I want to read and keep up with and I can't do that when every post is a novel. Anyway, I think saying what's on my mind each week in ten words or less is going to be both fun and challenging. Feel free to join in if it catches your interest. :)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I've watched this several times already this season and it just never gets old for me. Words and music, what a lovely combination! I'm a sucker for all things historical as well. I hope you enjoy it.

From my heart to yours, have a wonderful Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Thank You and You're It!

I was so surprised, pleasantly so, at all the comments I received yesterday. Thank you all so much for stopping by, for clicking the follow button and for commenting. It really made me smile. I hope I got back to all of you. If I didn't, give me a nudge and I'll head on over to your blog.

I'd also like to thank Danyelle for the tag and thinking my blog is awesome. She's just sweet like that. So here goes:

1) What's the last thing you wrote? What's the first thing you wrote that you still have?

I just finished the first novel in my "Touch" series or whatever it ends up being called. The first thing I ever wrote are some lyrics called "Rescue Love" clear back in Jr. High. If I knew how, I would totally play the song on my blog, but I haven't got a clue how to do things like that. I'm still learning.

2) Write poetry?

If lyrics count... I say they do.

3)Angsty poetry?

There's lots of it out there. Oh, did you mean do I write it? Well, that's half the fun. The other half is the non-angsty stuff. ;)

4)Favorite genre of writing?

Fantasy, most definitely. I love creating and with this genre, I get to start from scratch.

5)Most annoying character you've ever created?

Gramble, as attested in yesterday's post.

6) Best plot you've ever created?

Well, I only have two. I'm going to have to say the plot in the "Touch" series, though it's not finished yet... 2 plotted out of 4 books planned. And the second needs to be totally rewritten.

7) Coolest plot twist you've ever created?

You can't expect me to give away all my secrets!

8) How often do you get writer's block?

Is that those wooden blocks with alphabet letters carved into them that my kids use to build towers on a daily basis?

9) Write fan fiction?

Oh my, more secrets. Okay, I'll tell this one. Back when I was high school, I discovered the Star Wars books and became a huge fan. I used to mentally write myself into all those books. Does that count?

10) Do you type or write by hand?

As much as I love reading about centuries gone by, I prefer writing in this one because, honestly, I can barely read my own hand-written scratches at times.

11) Do you save everything you write?

Yes, I do! It's great fodder for gleaning new ideas and practicing revisions. ;)

12) Do you ever go back to an idea after you've abandoned it?

See question 11.

13)What's your favorite thing you've ever written?

Lyrics entitle "Sleeping with Ghosts". Oh yes! Love them and I'm not afraid to say so.

14) What's everyone else's favorite story you've written?

I honestly don't know.

15)Ever written romance or angsty teen drama?

Not so much. I have tried to wipe those years clean from my memory. :P

16) What's your favorite setting for your characters?

You know, I don't dwell on setting as much as I should because my characters monopolize my pen.

17) How many writing projects are you working on right now?

One thing at a time! I can't focus on more than that and stay sane. Hmm, maybe that's my problem. I'm trying to stay sane...

18)Have you ever won an award for your writing?

Back in my school days, but back then, I never thought I'd ever want to be an author.

19) What are your five favorite words?

Infinitesimal, plethora, miasma, capricious and cheese. Who doesn't love cheese?

20) What character have you created that is most like yourself?

Nakine. Though, I think they all have little pieces of me.

21) Where do you get your ideas for your characters?

My head. :P

22)Do you ever write based on your dreams?

Yes! I have a short story that was a dream first and my second novel idea as well. I've dreamed some of my scenes from Power's Touch before I wrote them too. I dream a lot...

23) Do you favor happy endings?

Yes, I believe in them and I love endings that are hopeful.

24) Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?

Yeah, I so am. I can't turn off my editor. The sad thing is what bad shape the first draft is in even with that!

25) Does music help you write?

Sometimes, as long as there are no words. If someone is singing, you know I'll be singing right along with them.

26) Quote something you've written. Whatever pops in your head:

This is from The Grip of Dreams

“You’re awfully forward for someone who should be dead.” She smirked.
“It’s only a gash to my shoulder,” he replied, “If you had wanted me dead, you should have aimed first.”

As for tagging others, well, I've seen this on just about everyone's blog lately so I'm going to totally cop-out. If you are reading this and haven't done it yet, you're it! Just leave me a comment so I can read your answers!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Blame It On the Mistletoe

Sherrinda is hosting a fun day today and I'm kind of excited about it. Today is Official Kissing Day in Honor of Mistletoe and we're supposed to post a kissing scene from our WIP. Mine is from "Power's Touch". In this scene, Nakine, the MC, is following her friend, Dreiyn, who is in turn following Gramble. I think it would be more interesting if you knew the history of the characters, of course, but I hope you enjoy regardless!

      Her skin began to rise in tiny bumps as she realized too late what was happening. Gramble had disappeared near the pavilion and her thoughts had distracted her from seeing where he’d gone. Dreiyn’s expression of confusion warned her that he hadn’t noticed either. He was walking into a trap! No sooner had she formed the thought than Gramble was on top of him, knife to his throat.
      “Spirit and Flesh,” she swore.
      “Why are you following me?” Gramble hissed.
      She moved swiftly from her own hiding place, strutting to them with one hand on her hip, before a plan had even come to her.
      “I would never try and follow you, Lehnan,” Dreiyn said confidently.
      “I don’t believe you,” Gramble’s eyes narrowed to cat-like slits.
      “Boys, boys, play nice. There are ladies present.” She let a flirtatious smile adorn her lips as she took them both in.
      “This isn’t your affair, Nakine.” Gramble eyed her suspiciously.
      She smiled seductively, “It was supposed to be. Dreiyn asked me to meet him here for the promise of an,” she hesitated and hoped she sounded alluring as she continued, “an entertaining evening. I would hate for you to ruin that for me.”
      With a sinister leer, Gramble said, “You two eh? I always suspected as much.” He rubbed at his chin and then withdrew the dagger from Dreiyn’s neck. Dreiyn blinked in confusion, but took the opportunity to stand.
      “I would hate to ruin the fun.” He took a few steps toward Nakine then, taking her chin in his hands, “Perhaps you and I should meet here at a later time.”
      She smiled at him, brushing her fingers across his cheek, “I’m not opposed to the idea. I like a man who can hold his own.“ She winked. Dreiyn’s mouth dropped. She ignored him.
      Gramble’s sick grin became even wider before turning to Dreiyn. “You’re lucky this one is here to vouch for you. If I ever find that you really are following me…” He let the glint of his blade emphasize his meaning. “Next time, I won’t hesitate to just kill you.”
      Dreiyn nodded and flashed a congenial smile. “I would never get in your way, Gramble. I know better.”
      Gramble snorted, unimpressed. “See that you don’t. Lieutenant or no, you’ll be dead. Maybe we’ll replace you with Nakine.” He seemed to think this was a great joke and laughed as he walked away. Nakine watched his every step from the corner of her eye. She saw him duck behind a few trees, but a bit of cloth hung to one side. He’d stayed to watch. She wanted to roll her eyes.
      “Maybe I should save him the trouble and kill you myself,” she muttered under her breath.
      Dreiyn stepped in front of her with anger’s fire lighting his blue eyes. He opened his mouth but before he could say anything, she wrapped her arms about his neck and kissed him firmly on the lips, pulling him into a tight embrace. He did not step away like she thought he would, but the kiss ended all too soon.
      “What are…”
      She cut him off with a harsh whisper, “Gramble is watching.”

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Our *Many* Traditions!

Anytime I hear the word "tradition", I immediately break into song. I just can't help it. Though I have to say that today's topic is a lot happier than what poor Tevye went through in "Fiddler on the Roof". (I love musicals! Bet you never would have guessed...) I've been thinking about our family's Christmas traditions of course. (Bet you never would have figured that out either. :P)

We have a lot!

I guess it's because I believe traditions are so important, though a bit of an irony if you ask me. They don't happen often and yet they are repetitive. How can something that happens over and over again be very special? I believe it's because these annual little events build up cherished family memories. I have so many fond childhood moments that I can look back on, which makes my lips curl into a smile and my heart beat faster in anticipation of sharing them with my two boys.

After the Turkey and stuffing have been downed and we've wallowed in a pool of gravy-covered mashed potatoes, we kick the season off with - No, not football - a viewing of "White Christmas". This is something my mom and I enjoyed and it's not quite the same without her, but the boys all humor me knowing that the next day is their day to celebrate. They love decorating the tree and hanging stockings. Well, James not so much, but he humors us all. ;)

Of course, the Christmas music is blasting and we're all (okay, just me usually) singing at the tops of our lungs! It doesn't get better than that, or does it?

December is a month of giving and that means teaching moments. Throughout the first couple of weeks in December, we have the boys choose and collect toys to give away to kids who don't have as much as they do. I love being able to teach them this form of charity. It helps them to realize how important it is to give of themselves to others. Growing up, we would always do the twelve days of Christmas as well and I want to start this tradition again, but this year it didn't work out. Back home, we would pick someone or a couple from the senior citizens in town and then we would go and visit with them Christmas day. Oh I miss that so much! So many of that generation have passed away now and going home just isn't quite the same without them.

On Christmas Eve, we have a series of traditions. Growing up, we'd always have a little Christmas concert. This is another tradition that has gone by the wayside, but I hope we can start again someday. Instead, we start the evening off by role-playing the Christmas story. No, not the movie. The one in Luke chapter 2! ;) James reads from the scriptures and the rest of us divvy up the parts. After that, we read a Christmas book - Last year, it was "The Giving Chest" by Dan Farr and Dick Van Dyke. This year, it's "The Christmas Sweater" by Glenn Beck. Finally, we let the kids open one present and then we send them to bed.

We even have a tradition about what we eat first thing Christmas morning. I'm just funny like that. What can I say! After we force breakfast down they're throats, then we do my favorite Christmas tradition of all. We have a special stocking that holds cards we had written on the year before. These little notes contain our gifts to Jesus. After we assess how we lived last year, we then write out our new gifts to Jesus - our goals on how we can live this year better than the last. Of course, then the kids jump to the Christmas tree to open their own gifts.

This list doesn't include the traditional sugar cookie gifting, party mix, caroling and light-seeing expeditions. And what Christmas wouldn't be complete without reading "The Forgotten Carols" and listening to the beautiful songs that go with it. Not to mention, SheDaisy's album "Brand New Year". Oh I love Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone! (And happy holidays to all those who don't celebrate it!)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

All is Calm. All is... Wait... Calm?

As I sat down to write today, I kept getting distracted by the cacophony streaming through the baby monitor. No nap again today? You've got to be kidding me! You're not even two! Where in the world do you store all that energy?

That got me thinking, "A dangerous pastime, I know". (Love Disney's Beauty and the Beast!) What can I do to not get so distracted? Really, E is safe and sound upstairs and I can hear him so I know. I really shouldn't be letting him keep me from concentrating on my revisions. He's happy (very happy - yelling "Oh! Oh! Oh!" at the moment in his little singsong voice) and I need the release that my novel brings. It's sort of a longing that I shove to the side more often than not and it's time to just sit down and focus.

Then it hit me, I just needed to say it out loud. E is okay, where he is supposed to be right now, so focus. Am I the only one who tries to make things too complicated? How do you all focus when life (or child, dog, work, husband watching TV in the background) gets really loud?

I think as we sit down to write, there are a few things we need to remember to do first. Here's my list:
1. Turn off the phone. If you miss a few calls, the world is not going to end.
2. Don't worry. If you have to, write what is worrying you down on a piece of paper and push it aside. That way you don't have to worry about forgetting the things you are worried about. You can have worry time after writing time. Yes, I'm serious. ;)
3. Don't answer the door! If you know someone is coming around such and such a time, the pizza delivery guy or whoever, wait to start writing after they've left so your mind isn't clutter with thoughts of gooey cheese and spicy pepperoni. That leads me to number four.
4. Eat, drink and use the bathroom BEFORE you sit down to write. Seriously, I'm not turning this car around!
5. Write well rested. I am a believer in the magical, mystical power of sleep. Now I just need to find some. I wonder if it got lost in the pile of dishes on the counter...

Now before you think I've gone nuts, these are actually for me, not you. Yes, I need the reminders. So really, what do you do to help yourself focus?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My Version of the "Twelve Days of Christmas"

Since music is my outlet (and boy do I need one) and Christmas is just around the corner, I present to you my version of the "Twelve Days of Christmas" or "Ode to My Superhuman Husband". You decide.

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me a happy home full of family.

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me an empty trash can and a happy home full of family.

On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me an afternoon free, an empty trash can and a happy home full of family.

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me comfort and peace, an afternoon free, an empty trash can and a happy home full of family.

On the fifth day of Christmas. my true love gave to me a clean kitchen, an afternoon free, an empty trash can and a happy home full of family.

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me a call just because, a clean kitchen, an afternoon free, an empty trash can and a happy home full of family.

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me help with my critiquing, a call just because, a clean kitchen, an afternoon free, an empty trash can and a happy home full of family.

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me a meal I didn't cook, help with my critiquing, a call just because, a clean kitchen, an afternoon free, an empty trash can and a happy home full of family.

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me a break from the doing laundry, a meal I didn't cook, help with my critiquing, a call just because, a clean kitchen, an afternoon free, an empty trash can and a happy home full of family.

On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me a side-ache from laughing, a break from the doing laundry, a meal I didn't cook, help with my critiquing, a call just because, a clean kitchen, an afternoon free, an empty trash can and a happy home full of family.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me a win in Mario Kart, a side-ache from laughing, a break from the doing laundry, a meal I didn't cook, help with my critiquing, a call just because, a clean kitchen, an afternoon free, an empty trash can and a happy home full of family.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me meaning in life's madness, a win in Mario Kart, a side-ache from laughing, a break from the doing laundry, a meal I didn't cook, help with my critiquing, a call just because, a clean kitchen, an afternoon free, an empty trash can and a happy home full of family.

Monday, December 7, 2009


Whoever anonymous is, thank you for writing this beautiful and true poem. It can be so hard for me to take risks, but if I don't step out of my comfort zone, where will I have gone? The answer, of course, is nowhere.

(Sorry, I don't know how to change the margins and make it look nice.)


To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach out to another is to risk involvement.
To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self.
To place your dreams, ideas before a crowd is to risk their loss.
To love is risk not being loved in return.
To live is to risk dying.To hope is to risk despair.
To try is to risk failure.

But risks must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, and is nothing.

They may avoid suffering and sorrow, but they cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love, live.
Chained by their certitudes, they are a slave: they have forfeited their freedom.
Only a person who risks is truly free.

- Anonymous

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Never Argue with a Reading Woman

Okay, I have to admit that I got a good laugh about this forwarded e-mail I just received. Since writing and reading are so closely related, I thought I'd share it with all my writer friends. I hope it gives you a chuckle!

Never Argue with a Woman

One morning the husband returns after several hours of fishing and decides to take a nap. Although not familiar with the lake, the wife decides to take the boat out. She motors out a short distance, anchors, and reads her book.

Along comes a Game Warden in his boat. He pulls up alongside the woman and says, 'Good morning, Ma'am. What are you doing?'

'Reading a book,' she replies.

'You're in a Restricted Fishing Area,' he informs her.

'I'm sorry, officer, but I'm not fishing. I'm reading.'

'Yes, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment. I'll have to take you in and write you up.'

'For reading a book?' she replies.

'You're in a Restricted Fishing Area,' he informs her again.

'If you do that, I'll have to charge you with Sexual assault,' says the woman.

'But I haven't even touched you,' says the game warden.

'That's true, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment.'

'Have a nice day ma'am,' and he left.

MORAL: Never argue with a woman who reads. It's likely she can also think.

Yeah, my mom sent that one to me. You have to love her...

Friday, December 4, 2009


So I discovered this beautiful piece of technology called google reader. I know. I realize I'm probably the last to know, but hey! If anyone is a little less than tech savvy, you have my empathy and instant friendship because I obviously didn't hear about this baby when it first came out and I'd love to let you know how helpful it is. I am actually keeping up with all the blogs I follow now. It's amazing! I love that I just have to go to one place and it's all there. Check it out! One more reason to love gmail.

Now to keep up posts on my own blog. My biggest problem is that I'm just not sure what topics should be covered here. I update my WiP status every now and again, but what is it that makes someone interested in returning to blogs for more. I can think of two things that drive my love of certain blogs. 1. Information. Really, I am sort of devouring all the info on this business that my sweet, little brain can handle and since I am just learning, I really don't have much to offer most people in this area. 2. Humor. Oh my gosh, there are some hilarious people in this world! I love to laugh and funny is a bit of an addiction for me, but putting it into my own blogging? For some reason, I struggle with that.

I guess what I'm wondering is where do you come up with your ideas/inspirations for your posts? I could use some creative juice over here! I've got mango and pineapple but I'm fresh out of creative... All the sunshine is going to my head. ;)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The End of November and Nano

All right, I'm a few days late as November is now over and done and so is NaNoWriMo, but I haven't reported my progress. It's because I'm a tad ashamed to say that I didn't finish. I definitely hold myself to a higher stander than anyone else would hold me to and I tend to dwell on the things I don't accomplish. In light of that, I am going to revel in what I have succeeded in doing. I made it over halfway, 26K+, then I switched gears. I went to work on revisions for "Power's Touch". I guess I'm a bit single-minded. After a two week break from this novel, I couldn't stop thinking about it. I had to jump back into it and now the second draft is finished! I'd say that was worth it. Plus I started rewriting the second book in the series - my nano novel last year, "The Grip of Dreams".

Yeah, it doesn't just need revisions. It needs an overhaul, but I'm excited to do it. It's a labor of love that I know many of you can relate to. It is a bit overwhelming though. Where to begin. I read through and fixed portions of the first three chapters, but I need to do even more. I think I'll start by writing an outline. I didn't do this the first time through, but I think it will help the narrative flow and keep it connected to the first book better. Since the second book was written first, I'm afraid of the confusion that might ensue otherwise. Have you ever written a series? What do you do to keep track of everything? I'm a bit of an organizational nut and would love to hear your ideas!

Happy December! It's my favorite month!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I Love Thanksgiving!

This time of year really makes you think. It's hard to be sad when you're reading all these blogs listing what everyone is thankful for. I love that! It is so uplifting and heartfelt and it has made my day (which, incidentally has started off on the harder side). So here is my list!

1. I am so grateful for my boys and my husband. Not to sound trite, but they are the light of my life, my sunshine, my everything. To relate this to writing, they are my support system. The little ones don't even realize it yet, but they are. They inspire me every day to write things I would feel comfortable with them reading.

2. Angie and Mercedes. Sadie, thank you for convincing me to do nano a year ago. Thank you for being there to brainstorm. You are such a good friend! Angie, you gave me my first critiques and have helped me whenever I've needed it. You've taught me so much and I'm so grateful for you!

3. I'm grateful for NaNoWriMo and all the encouraging writely websites out there.

4. I'm also so thankful for all of the informative blogs and all the bloggers I've been able to meet as I've delved into this new world! You are all amazing and I love that I get to be a part of a community that is so kind and helpful and encouraging.

5. Talent. I'm thankful the Lord has blessed me with this love and ability and the desire to grow and become better at it.

6. I love music and I'm so grateful that I can put the emotions I feel when I listen to it into lyrical passages on paper.

7. I'm so glad that I have this outlet and rallystorm to post my progress and hold me accountable.

8. I am extremely grateful for critiques and honesty! It does make me better and that's what I want to be.

9. The story I'm working on has been on replay since my college days. How thankful I am that I get to lay the story out for everyone to enjoy.

10. I'm thankful for fantasy. Sometimes it's just nice to escape reality for a little while and explore new cultures and meet new people. I love it. I'm so grateful for the genre!

I'm sure there are a million other blessings I could post, but I'll leave it at ten. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope your holiday will be filled with fun, family and food!

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Taste of the Touch Series

I am not sure I've ever posted a snippet of my novel on my blog so I thought I'd start the week out with a hint of the story I just finished. It needs a lot of revisions still, of course, and I'm so excited to get to them. Please, feel free to leave your thoughts. The genre is fantasy. Straight-up. Sorry, nothing urban or paranormal here. I'm just a traditional kind of gal. Enjoy!

Power pressed itself against the thief’s skin, gripping him tightly; it was as tangible and cool as an autumn wind. The brisk wave rushed though him and poured into every particle of his body from flesh to soul. It increased his awareness, slowed his heartbeat, quickened his reactions, heightened his senses in every aspect and filled him completely for the first time. He had only just caressed this kind of power before, now he kissed it, became one with it. It was heady and dizzying.

All doubts in his mind were decimated with one violent slash. He pulled his silver blades free from the sinews of his victim and wiped them clean of the blood. The touch of power held him firmly now and he knew that all he wanted, in good time, would be his. He could be patient. He had been patient.

The power, or Godgift as some would rather call it, had first been given consciousness around the age of eight. That was when he realized who he was and what he could do. It seized control of him many times since then, but now they were one in purpose. Now he could control it. When the world was still, it called him by name and whispered its ideals. It hadn't always been so, but now they were his ideals as well. He had always known the power; had been comfortable with it residing inside of him, but, like the wind, had never seen it.

Now he viewed it with open eyes. He hungered for it.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Authenticity to What Extent?

Here are just a couple of questions to start off this blog post. What makes reality and authenticity so important and how far should we take it as writers? Obviously, a reader can only suspend belief so far before the illusion is shattered and interest is lost. I do believe Tom Clancy when he said “The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense”. So when creating a world or adding a magical aspect to the one we live in, you do have to answer the whats and whys. Why does your magic do that and what is the consequence? What is the political system and why? What about culture? Asking questions is the most important thing any writer can ever do so if you're not a logical person, I would suggest you find someone who is so that they can help you know which questions need to be asked and how to answer them. I am a pretty common sense kind of person. I can ask the questions, but I can't always find plausible answers. I get to turn to my husband to sort out a lot of details. He's so good at finding realistic solutions to my questions. He can sort out a complicated situation like nobody's business! It's amazing!

But this isn't really the point of my post, however. It leads me to my next question. How far do you take it to make it authentic? I've seen a lot of discussions lately about swearing in writing. Do they have a proper place in young adult novels? (Especially the worst one which I hate even referring to with the letter F. Poor letter F...) I would ask if they have a place in any novel. The one thing that keeps me from enjoying any book is a lack of tact where virtues are concerned and here's why I think swearing in general should be used with the utmost of care and in as few circumstances as possible.

1. Desensitization - When a word is overused, any word, it loses its powerful meaning and its dramatic affect.

2. The world is an ugly place at times. Do we really need to use foul language to prove that? As authors, we have the ability to use words more powerful than expletive. We get to use these wonderful words to show how decrepit and low people can be, not to just tell.

3. Cussing is the number one reason I won't buy and read a book. If I know it's in there, I'm not interested. Obviously, this doesn't affect the authors. I'm just one person, but I have a feeling that I'm not the only one who won't purchase a novel riddled with offensive language.

4. Virtue - I'm going to go back to desensitization from a different angle. The more exposed to filth you are, the less you realize you're rolling in it. If we want good things for all, we have to spread good things. There is enough mud for all of us to wallow in, but so few pure springs to wash us off. I can't say it any better than Mary N. Cook "Why is our being virtuous so important...Virtue brings peace, strength of character, and happiness in this life."

5. One more thing. People seem to want to expose teenagers to the "real" world through the use of this kind of language. Really? That's the "real" world? Only because we make it such. I want to make it better and I believe we can!

So when writing out what your character or the narrator says, pause for just a moment and ask yourself how necessary it really is and how does it heighten your story. If the answer is that it has no purpose (and my guess would be that this included about 80-90% of all cussing), take it out. Please, take it out!

Friday, November 6, 2009

November Neglect

Okay, so I don't just neglect this blog in November. It happens quite often. I suppose that because, while I feel that a lot has happened, the steps I take seem infinitesimal when I sit down to write them out. The revisions on Power's Touch are coming along well despite my inactivity in the blogosphere.

Also, NaNoWriMo is sucking up all my energy. Well, my kids actually do must of the work, but then nano finishes me off by 9:00. I am really enjoying my second year of it. My novel is titled Seasoned Words. I'm sure it will change a thousand times before it's done. I can't seem to be satisfied with anything I come up with. Titles for song lyrics are so much easier! Anyway, that's neither here nor there.

This year's nano is about how paradise isn't always what it seems. I wrote 10k in three days and now I'm stuck. I'm sure I'll get out of it soon. I know what I want to do and where I'm going. It's just a matter of getting there. How are your novels coming along? I would love to hear how you're doing!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Awesomeness, Awards and Awareness

Elana has one of the most uplifting blogs I've ever had the privilege of reading. She doesn't just say we're all awesome, she really believes it and so do I, which is why I am passing along this logo to you. I wasn't going to at first because anyone who stops by here has surely stop by there, but you know what? It's so important to know that people really do care and are cheering you on so this shiny logo goes out to you from me as well. You are awesome!

Another person who makes me feel so great about myself is Angie over at Notes from the Writing Chair.. She was kind enough to give me a heartfelt award and since beginning my writing journey, I could list so many people who have helped me along the way and who I feel deserve this in turn. Elana and Angie are definitely on this list. Here's some others:

Mercedes at A Broken Laptop
Danyelle at Myth-takes.
Christine at The Musings of Christine Fonseca
Kate at The Lovers, the Dreamers and Me.
Suzette at Shooting Stars.
Lady Glamis at The Innocent Flower.
Mary Lindsey at Mary Lindsey's Webblog
Also, H. L. Dyer's Weblog

Thank you for taking the time to write such thoughtful blogs and share your knowledge with those of us who need all the help we can get! :D

On a final note, awareness is a funny thing. Some people like to remain ignorant, stagnant. They choose to watch life pass them by and call their lack of awareness a bliss. They believe they are happier uninformed. I am not one of those people. As I've begun my critiquing journey, I have learned to recognize so much that I hadn't noticed before. The thing about teaching is that the one doing it often learns more than the students. This is the case for me. I can't wait to attack my novel with this wealth of information I've gleaned from reading and critiquing. It just might become a love of mine. Okay, maybe that's stretching, but I am liking it.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

WiP Wednesday

It's done!! It's so done! My novel is finished! Well, we all know how relative that is... So to be clear, the first draft is done and now I can move onto revisions! Honestly, what else needs to be said? This post is just going to be a chaos of confetti, streamers and caramel because no one should have to celebrate without caramel! Yes, you heard right. Caramel over chocolate hands down.

Honestly, I think I'm all out of words. I just wrote almost 4,000 in the last two hours to bring my fantasy novel to a close and my hands ache *whine* *complain* *grumble* *grumble* This is a party and no muttering is allowed so I'm done. :D

Next step, find an on-line critique group. I'm a little terrified of this step. Not that I'm afraid of the crits. I'm kind of looking forward to that part. Sick, I know... What scares me is finding a group of people that will be honest in non-brutal fashion and constructive without being cruel. I'm a little nervous about finding a group that I'll click with. I can get along with just about anyone, but I'm trusting this new group of people with pieces of me and I'd prefer that we really hit it off as opposed to just being distant acquaintances. I was hoping I'd be able to find a group I could meet with in person, but no such luck there.

Anyway, that's where I'm at. Also, I am going to be participating in NaNoWriMo this year and I'm so excited! I've got the idea and I've got a husband willing to take on more than his fair share of the load for a month. He's a saint! If you're doing it too, buddy me, nisa79, and let me know so I can keep up with you as well. :)

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Name Game

Half the fun of writing, if not all for me, is creating characters. I love that rush that comes when a character becomes more than just a mess of hair color, eyes and body structure. Giving them depth is like creating a symphony. Each has a unique timbre, tone, melody and harmony (Forgive the musical terms, but that's how I view the world) that mystifies, demands, lures, uplifts, conjures, elates and so on. Naming a character is like the cadence (the chords at the ends of musical phrases). Do you want it to sound finished, deep, thoughtful, whimsical? As different chord structures can evoke varying emotions, so too can names.

Hypothetically now. You're walking through the fantasy section of the bookstore and the cover of one of the books jumps out at you. You pick it up and start scanning and then immediately put it back on the shelf. Why? Because you can't pronounce the names of the characters. Oh I get the whole idea that an author wants to create a unique language for his unique world, but let's be realistic. If you have to stumble over every name written throughout the book, most people won't take the time to read it. Since I mainly write fantasy novels (I know... All 'almost, not quite two' of them. Haha), I'm going to give away my number one tip for creating names. Ready for my secret? It's earth-shatteringly simple. Take your favorite popular name and just change one letter or syllable. Really, that's it. I know. Brilliant right? So brilliant that I'm sure there's been a million other posts written on this. I just haven't seen one yet. Anyway, before you start thinking I'm an egomaniac (I swear I'm not!), let me give an example. Let's talk about Labyrinth. Remember that great movie starring David Bowie? (Who could forget!) His character's name was Jareth. Jared, Jareth. Simple as that. Now I'm not saying that's how they came up with the name. It was just a handy example.

Another simple tip when writing is to pick up a character naming book (or look online where it's free) and browse meanings and origins for what best fits your story, but remember to stick with names that aren't convoluted or ten syllables long... My two cents on fantasy names. May your musical masterpieces all have brilliant cadences. And on that cheesy note (no pun intended), I'll get back to writing my own.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Honest Scrap

Thank you, Angie, for the award! Danyelle also gave me award awhile back and I was in the middle of moving and didn't do anything with it. Sorry, Danyelle. I am grateful that you thought of me though!

Angie said she sort of fudged on the rules because she was feeling overwhelmed. The result was one honest thing about her that others might not know. Here's my one honest thing. I love cartoons and kid shows. I would watch a Disney movie before a chick flick any day. I love that they're clean and they teach good life lessons and they just make me happy. From Gem and the holograms back in the '80s to Wizards of Waverly Place today. Immature? Probably, but honest! ;) I'm going to pass this award on to Mercedes because, well, she's always honest for one and she deserves a much bigger award than this!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable."
— C.S. Lewis (The Four Loves)

I think writing should be included in this as well. We work so hard on our projects only to have them ripped up, rejected and tossed aside. Is it worth it? Oh yes. Failure is just a step on the road to success. I'm pretty sure I stole that from someone else, but I couldn't tell you who. (I did a google search and came up with nadda. Anyone know where that originated?) Having a broken heart makes us better writers. It allows others to feel what we've written, not just read it. Are the rejection letters hard? Is the waiting nearly unbearable? It can be, but the alternative is an emptiness, a numbness that will take you absolutely no where. Just my thoughts for the day.

Friday, August 28, 2009

After the Bust comes the Boom

I know I'm not alone in the ups and downs of writing. The booms and the busts seem to be normal for just about everyone. I have been in a writing recession for several days now and I'm realizing that writing is a lot like the economy. Okay... it's nothing like that, BUT, bad joke aside, my personal withdrawal from writing ended today! I took the advice of a spectacular friend (Thanks, Sade) and skipped ahead to a scene I'd been dying to write (that pun might have been a little intentional, but sadly no one will get it but me. Well, until now. :P) and finally wrote more than 200 words in a single sitting. I'm so excited! I do have to go back of course, eventually... Actually, it was really hard for this organizational nut to jump ahead when the previous scenes had yet to be written. Normally, I go scene by scene, moment by moment. I can't force myself to leap forward when my characters are stuck in a distant past! I almost felt like I was abandoning them. Ha ha! But I did it and I think it put things back in perspective for me and the moments I missed will now be better because of it.

How about you? Do you write your novels in any sort of order, chronological or otherwise, or do you jot down notes and skip from middle to end to beginning with reckless abandon? It seems like most people just sit down and type whatever comes to mind and somehow end up with brilliant works of art, but maybe that's just me getting the wrong impression. :D

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Why I Write

I have always known that I could let my mouth run a mile a minute. In fact, I consider talking one of my favorite hobbies. Perhaps that sounds a little strange, not to mention annoying for anyone on the listening end, but I promise I only talk when people want to listen. For the rest, there's writing. Oh how I've fallen in love with the written word. I had no idea how much I would miss it! Fortunately for me, I do love moving as well, but I'm glad the writing part of me is back and going full throttle.

My reasons for asking why I write came about when Angie asked the question on her blog. So here's my list.

It's an Outlet - I already mentioned this above, but it's so much more than just rambling. I believe that when I write I put myself into it and, in turn, I take away so much more. I walk away a better mother and wife. (As long as they don't interrupt me while I'm in the middle of the process... lol)

It's for Understanding
- When I write, I become more introspective. I learn things about myself and the world around me that I normally wouldn't have taken the time to think about.

It's Creative - I have this intense desire to want to create things. When I was younger, I would play Dungeons and Dragons or those other table top role-playing games just so that I could create characters. Now, as a writer, not only do I get to create characters, but I get to create worlds for them to live in.

It's to Help - I have this crazy ambition to touch people's lives that began the first time a performance of mine brought someone to tears (the good kind) and this has spilled over into writing. If I can help someone else with the words I put on paper, nothing could be more worthwhile to me.

I'm sure if I sat here long enough, I could come up with many, many more reasons, but I have a fantasy to write, a world to color and characters to mold so here's a quick update on my WiP and then I'll stop rambling. Judging by my loose outline, I would say I'm about 2/3 of the way through it, though I do keep adding things here and there. I'm at 50k and getting to the really exciting parts! I've had to stop and go a bit through this section as I flesh out history/culture even more and to search for the world map I drew up. Granted, this meant unpacking all of our stuff, which arrived last thursday. It's taken three days, but we're d...almost...not quite done. I'm gonna go write anyway!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

So Close

I am almost settled. I can taste it! We fly to our new home in the Bahamas on Thursday and, miraculously, our stuff made it there before us! I don't know how long it will take to set up a drop-off and get everything unpacked, but that's so much better than waiting two months for everything to happen, which is not unusual. So cheers! The bad news is it could take up to six weeks to get internet up and running, so this is a brief post on my infuriating laptop just to update. I haven't written much and won't until my desktop is up and running, but I have been able to do a lot of reading, which has been great! I find that now that I'm writing a book, the way I read is different. i'm looking for things (like adverbs :P) that I wasn't looking for previously. It's been both enjoyable and enlightening. All right, before the shift key and various sticky keys drive me nuts, I'll escape from blog world into reality.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I Was Just Thinking

It's a good thing thinking about my story counts for something because that's the extent of my creative energy at the moment. That did get me to thinking, what do you do to stop feeling guilty about not being able to write when life just overwhelms? I know I'm not the only one this has ever happened to and at the moment, I'm just too tired to even feel guilty about it, but I do know the shame will come! I should be writing!

For me, I have to go through a mental or sometimes written list of the things I've done just to remind myself of all the non-writing "to-do"s I have accomplished! It's usually an eye-opener. When I get to the point where I can start writing again (next Tuesday hopefully barring a natural disaster), I have to start with small goals because, for some reason, getting started again can seem rather overwhelming in and of itself.

Do you have any tips or thoughts on the stop and go of writing? Sometimes life doesn't even bring these on. How do you get motivated to start writing something new after working so hard on a now completed novel?

Monday, May 18, 2009


Villains. What makes them so interesting? I'm not a villain. In fact, I think my friends would call me a prude, but I love villains! I've written an entire musical based on my love for the villain in Sleeping Beauty. Well, it's more than just about Moira, but she is by far my favorite character. By. far. So what makes her so interesting? What's the fascination? As a little girl, I remember watching old movies where the girl was always drawn to the bad boy and I always thought that was so stupid and then I grew up. It's not that I ever found myself wanting to date a rebel, but there's something so alluring about them. The snarky thief, the power-crazed brother of the king, the jealous wife, the bitter outcast. They sure make good reads.

My philosophy is that these characters are more round than the hero could ever be. They have more layers than an onion and dissecting them to see what they're really made of is nothing short of a thrilling roller coaster ride. We are made up of memories and mistakes.

Granted, there are some villains who were just meant to be hated. I couldn't pick up a novel about child abuse. I wouldn't make it through the first chapter without chucking the book across the room I'm sure. Not all villains are intriguing.

Kind of a random post, but Windsong's comments got me thinking about it.

Friday, May 15, 2009

A Bit of Dialogue

So in answer to Elana's gauntlet, here's my bit of dialogue. I don't think I need to explain it. Hopefully it will speak for itself. (Hopefully!)

“Little Syrent, I have so much to teach you.” He grinned.

“Only to use me like you did mother. It’s not going to happen, Denium.” She called him by his first name as an insult. It didn’t faze him. Nothing would.

“So negative. You don’t get that from your mother,” he stared at her.

“Where is she?” she asked coldly.

“Who, Tamber? I haven’t the faintest idea. I only used that to get you to come out of that blasted sorcerer’s highly charmed home. It worked.” He shrugged.

It sounded like the truth, but he had a way of making everything sound true. “And why would you want me? You have so many other children you could pester.”

His eyes gleamed, “Is that what’s bothering you? Put that unpleasant thought out of your head. You’re the only legitimate heir.”

“Heir?” she snorted. “You wouldn’t leave your little treasures with anyone. You’d have them buried with you.”

“True,” he laughed, “but I’d forgive you if you dug them up and kept them.”

She rolled her eyes. “You haven’t changed at all.”

“Were you hoping I had?” He examined her as she opened and shut her mouth. “You had,” he exclaimed, “In that, you are like your mother.”

“Not so naive to believe in you,” she managed belatedly. “What do you want?”

“You are obviously not interested in a heart to heart so I’ll make this quick. Your magic, Syrent. I need it.”

Thursday, May 14, 2009

After These Messages

We'll be right back! Remember that old jingle from Saturday morning cartoon watching? Well, that's about how my brain is functioning these days. I have made headway on my WiP, but no killer word counts this week and more editing. Not a bad thing at all since real life keeps swooping in to remind me of all the things I need to get done in the next five weeks. Technically less than that since the minute my parents land in the DC area, we'll be doing more touring and playing than anything else. (Yes, I can't wait!) Less than a month!

At the moment, I'm spending more time wading through the piles of stuff that have collected like cobwebs in the corners of every room. I swear my house is the receiving end of a black hole. Where did all this stuff come from? Oh yes, I have children. Now I remember... Anyway, Between now and, well, hmm... August? September? You never know... Until "then", my life is going to be crazy. Fun, but crazy! So if you don't hear from me, it's because I got sucked into the black hole as well, or at least sucked into the boxes that are calling my name. Hmm... Maybe sirens would have been a better analogy.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Experimenting with Pitch is hosting a contest today on writing one-line pitches. I believe you have to have a finished manuscript in order to enter so I haven't, but I have spent the last few days writing pitches just to see what I could come up with and here's how they went.

When the dead bodies of Vismour's renown begin piling up in the streets and no one, not even God's Elect, are being open about it, can seven unlikely heroes solve the mystery and forestall the darkness?

In a world where power is had by kings and courts, where magic is a thing as tangible as the elements, only the cunning thrive and only one cleric's faith can stop the cunning.

As Eloy tries to discover why Vismour's clerics are dying off under mysterious circumstances and the young thief, Nakine, discovers the bitter realities of joining the guild to hone her skills, a clever antagonist uses them both to caress the power he believes belongs only to him.

In Vismour, deception is a game played best when Babel's Moon shines brightly in the Upper Realms, but while Nakine plays to satiate her lust for wealth, Dreiyn plays to save their world from an evil so vile that not even the God's Elect seem to want to intervene.

In the realm of Vismour, a young girl learns the harsh truth about life on the streets as a hidden power grows and threatens not only the kingdom's faith but also its crown.


So after thinking it through, I have come to the conclusion that I need a lot more practice on writing pitches. Oh yes... a lot more practice! Oh and I think Dreiyn needs a new name, but I haven't stopped to think about that one yet.

Friday, May 8, 2009

It Had to Have Flowers

City of the Dead - Cairo, Egypt

A few other bloggers have been writing short stories this month and the only criteria was that it had to do with flowers. I actually wasn't going to participate because I've been so focused on my novel, but I sat down and wrote these lyrics this morning and thought I'd share an excerpt. It's not a short story, but it does tell a story (in its entirety.) and it does have flowers in it! And, yes, it does have a melody which is not on paper yet. I wish I could share the whole thing, but I did make sure to post the section with the flower.

You're Still There


A wraith watching every move I make
You're still there
Though I saw them place you in your grave
You're still there
And it's so hard not to think of you
When you're still so close, I don't want to move
If you love me, you know what to do
Your breath calls me home
But you're still there


When the rose grows wild, its thorns scrape across my core
When the light goes out and there's literally nothing more
When there's simply nothing left
Will you leave me then?
I envision worlds carved from black
Fear whispers you're not coming back
But I know you're still there

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Green and Embarrassed

This post has a little back story so bear with me here. As you know, I'm just starting this writing process and I'm completely green! A few months ago my cousin's spectacular wife asked me if I'd like to join their writing group. I was absolutely ecstatic! For the duration, we've been reporting on submissions and giving each other support, talking about inspiration and of course writing. When Angie asked to read what I'd written so far, of course, I was happy to pass it along without a thought about critique. I had never envisioned "writing" group to be synonymous with "critique" group. Yesterday, I posted on finding one and the panic that went with it only to log into RallyStorm and find this beautiful critique of my prologue! All right, I will admit to being very green and very embarrassed, but I'm learning... albeit slowly.

As for my weekly update, I have been cruising along and enjoying the ride. The side of me that loves a good pun (or bad in this case...) craved putting "the write" there instead, but I managed to refrain. (Just barely! Notice I still got it in. Ha ha!) I'm currently working on chapter 11 and have 32,000 words behind me. I've also made my first real cut and believe me, I get attached to things easily and it was hard to hit that delete button, but it's done. Whew!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Like the Moon

After running faster than I was meant to and flying even though I have no wings, reality is starting to sink in. What in the world am I doing?? I'm sure this is just a cycle similar to those the moon experiences and if that's so, I'm at the "new moon"
phase; complete and utter darkness or the equivalent of panic! I've been reading about critique groups and contemplating what I should do about finding one. I'm moving in just a meager 45 days and so finding one in my area is out, though that's the method I would prefer. Soon we'll be living in the Bahamas and I'm not sure of how anything will work there having never spent any time on an island before. Will I be able to find a group there? I hope so! Will I be able to get to that group once I find them? Again, nothing but hope. (I'm legally blind and don't actually drive...) Well, all those thoughts aside, my only option now would be to find a group on-line. I started my search after reading several blog entries on the subject, but nothing felt right. Then I read this. That's when the real panic set in. It's not that I'm afraid of critiques. I have a bachelor degree in music, vocal performance no less. Being critiqued was almost a daily occurrence and yes, sometimes it stings, but it's always meant to make me better. No, this anxiety-induced state was brought on when I realized, only naturally, that in being critiqued, I would have to critique others. I haven't sat in a formal English class since high school. I opted to waive out of all the requirements for college (except one Shakespeare class) thanks to my AP English class. I never thought I'd be trying to write for a living... I was never great with punctuation, though I did love diagramming sentences. Sick I know, but I thought it was fun. Still, I couldn't tell you what was what now! And as I read all the amazing things others write, I have to ask myself how I could possibly add anything brilliant to what they've already done? How could any critique I might give actually be helpful? What good would I be to them? So critique group for me? I don't think so! I'm going to hide under the bed and wait for a full moon. Well, at least wait until I can brush up on all things writing technical. That could be a very, very long time coming.

Oh! And yes, I do realize this is no reason to panic. Really, I do...

Sunday, May 3, 2009

My Favorite Character

This morning, I picked up "The First King of Shannara" by Terry Brooks and upon turning the second page was very disappointed to find that one of his characters has the same last name as my favorite female MC. I don't know if great minds think alike or what, but I really don't want to change it. The character is Nakine Ravenlock and her last name adds as much purpose and meaning to her character as her story does to my plot. Would it be a major faux pas to leave it the same? Having not gotten far in Brooks' novel, I have no idea how major of a character Kinson is...

Here are just a few reasons why Nakine is my favorite character. The first is how real she is to me. She's a piece of me. The piece that would have totally been out of control if I didn't have the gospel of Jesus Christ to ground me. She is sassy, resourceful, intelligent and unafraid. The last definitely is not a quality I possess, but something I would absolutely love to be. She doesn't have the gift of discernment, however. She's curious and a bit devious. Her wrong choices make her hard and she develops a quick temper. She also lusts after gold like nobody's business. It's a passion for her, which leads her to join the thieves' guild. All in all, she's a very endearing character. Hopefully, everyone else will see her that way as well!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

WiP Wednesdays

This is going to have to be a super quick post. I spent an hour on the phone with a friend, which was so great! She's living in this area until July and it was so good to talk to her again. It's been so long, but needless to say, I have so much to do and I can't spend a lot of time blogging. Onto my WiP... Can I just say how ecstatic I am about it right now? I just want to sit and write ALL the time because I know where I'm going now and I'm so in love with my characters. Being the mom of two very active little boys doesn't lend itself to that, which is good because I wouldn't want to get obsessed or anything... (If my husband were to read this, he'd be laughing hysterically at this point.) I am just a third of the way into the book, but I feel like I'm running at full speed. If I'm finding it exciting, that has to be a good sign right? If I want to go back and read it and if my husband enjoyed listening to me read it aloud, those all point to me doing something right, but most of all, I'm enjoying it! I feel like it's a release, from reality to a point, but mostly just from stress. And can I just say that Nakine rocks!! She's my female MC and will get her own book in the series eventually. This one is primarily about Ithon, my male MC. Question: When you see Ithon, how are you pronouncing it? I love the name, but I don't want it to get confused with Ethan, especially since I have a son named Ethan who is absolutely NOTHING like my character! Okay, I've rambled enough. I have to go check a few things off my to-do list.

My WiP is really moving along this week! Cheers to the motivation that is throwdown!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

WiP Wednesdays - Rushing

This week has been a pretty successful one for me, but last night I hit a dead end. Life is funny though. I have to admit, rather, give credit where credit is due. I didn't want to be stuck. (Who does?) I'm a pretty spiritual person for those who don't know me and when I realized I had no idea where to go next, I literally prayed for help. It's amazing how some prayers take awhile to get answered while others don't get answered at all. This prayer doesn't fall into either of these categories. I got my answer last night in a dream of all places. (Now I just sound crazy, I know. I accept that.) I'm so happy that I can continue on. I was really wondering what in the world I was going to do. Of course, all the details won't come until I sit down and write it out. I'm at the point in the book where the MC is going to be put through a series of tests to become a part of an elite group of, well, Watchers. They look after all things in my little country of Vismour. Anyway, I didn't want these tests to be easy or cliche and I got a few great hints last night as to where I need to be taking him.

Before I do, I have one question. The beginning of this chapter has already been written, but it's rushed. I was just reading Kate's WiP post about how she was rushing the plot forward and needed to go back and slow it down for her characters, but what if your character is feeling rushed? Do you let time fly by in those moments to heighten that sense? Do you blur details? I did, but once the trials begin, I had intended to slow down time and become more detailed. Is this appropriate? What do you think? Feel free to share your thoughts on the matter. What can I say? I'm insatiably curious.

And I have to cheer for myself because I'm so dang proud. I got that little link to work! Maybe there's hope for my computer skills yet.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Strengths Finder

This is not a stellar book review. I've never had a love for book reports, but I felt this book deserved a mention. My husband and I have been going over it for hours and it has been so much fun!

StrengthsFinder 2.0: A New and Upgraded Edition of the Online Test from Gallup's Now, Discover Your Strengths StrengthsFinder 2.0: A New and Upgraded Edition of the Online Test from Gallup's Now, Discover Your Strengths by Tom Rath

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book is amazing and if you wonder what your talents are, this book will help you find them. It is so cool!

View all my reviews.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Inspired Reading

I've been reading through a fun blog chain lately and their topic was books that had inspired them whether as authors or in their personal lives. This is a topic that automatically draws in anyone who loves to read and I couldn't help just throwing in my two cents or, in this case, my stack of books.

I'd always loved to read, but in third grade, I discovered my first fantasy series. It was The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander and I haven't stopped reading Fantasy since. A few of my favorite authors in this genre include Steven Lawhead, Terry Brooks, Anne McCaffrey, R.A. Salvatore, Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis, Mercedes Lackey, Robert Jordan and more recently Jim Butcher, Brandon Mull, Obert Skye, J.K. Rowling and my favorite by far Tamora Pierce. I'm sure there are many more I'm missing, but here's the short list. They have all influenced my desire to write fantasy novels as well.

In high school, I discovered two things about myself. I loved classics and I loved history. This led to a love for all books by Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, Hardy, Doyle, Carroll, Tolkein, Faulkner, Orwell, Steinbeck, Twain, Shakespeare, Hugo, Gaston Leroux etc. I haven't listed specific books because, frankly, these people wrote too many! Some of my very favorites include Pride and Prejudice (and every other book she wrote), The Phantom of the Opera, Tess of the D'Ubervilles, Heart of Darkness, Jane Eyre, 1984, and Wuthering Heights.

Those were just the classics! I also fell in love with historical fiction. My first taste came from Jean Plaidy/Victoria Holt(and all her many other pen names!) and Michael Shaara's Killer Angels was next, but I must admit I also devoured the non-fictional (okay, maybe partially fictional... haha!)text books of my history classes. If you enjoy historical fiction and have other authors to suggest, please do! I have been pretty single minded in the fantsy genre for a long time and I would love some recommendations in this category! Lately, I've read, New Deal or Raw Deal by Burton Folsom Jr, Meltdown by Thomas E Woods Jr and A Slobbering Love Affair by Bernard Goldberg, all very good!

Along the years, I stumbled across C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters and had to read everything he wrote as well.

I read a book by Cynthia Voigt when I was in Jr high called Jackaroo and it is still one of my most favorite books. I haven't read anything else by her. I probably should!

Finally, I LOVE Mary Higgins Clark! She and Tamora Pierce are the only authors where I find myself rushing to the bookstore as soon as they have a new one out. I love them! I do enjoy Carol Higgins Clarks books as well.

Other favorites include Timothy Zahn, Orson Scott Card, L.E. Modesitt Jr (His wife was my vocal teacher in college. I wonder what he'd say about my trying to become an author...), John Grisham, Neal A. Maxwell, Bruce R. McConkie, Gordon B. Hinkley etc.

I'm sure I've missed a lot! This was harder than I thought it would be!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Throwdown Thursdays

Okay, I missed WiP Wednesdays so I thought I'd just be progressive. ;) Speaking of, I actually have made some this week. I've gotten quite a bit done on "Power's Touch" and I'm getting very excited about both my novels. I've set a goal with a group of other writers in a Rally Storm forum to write 500 words a day and so far so good! Plus I spent a good amount of time editing my first story, which I keep re-titling... Currently, it's "The Grip of Dreams". We'll see if this one sticks. There's still so much to do though and at times it seems a bit daunting. This week, I think it's time to find someone who would be willing to critique so that I know I'm on the right track. I know I have a problem with telling vs showing and I've tried to get better at that but sometimes you can't see the forest for the trees. (There's another darn expression. I just can't help myself! They slide off my tongue. Err... fingers!) Anyway, off to google search I go...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Progress? What? I'm supposed to be progressing? I think someone forgot to put that word into the dictionary embedded into my brain. Okay, humor aside, this week and last week have been a bit... not unproductive, but certainly not progressive where my stories are concerned. I wrote some lyrics and have spent a good amount of time composing music for some friends, but my novels have been set on the back burner. I hope to get to them once my husband isn't traveling and training, once my kids and I are no longer sick, once the heat comes back into my fingertips because it's super cold here and once I can sit down at the computer and not feel guilty about writing when I should be doing the other things I'm supposed to be doing. On the bright side, it has been a very productive week as far as prepping for the move has gone and spending time with my kids, exercising and spiritually renewing myself... Once the weekend hits, I should be able to put some time into my story, as long as everyone's healthy, happy and no hypothetical disasters shake the world to pieces.

Friday, March 27, 2009

My Muse

My muse decided to visit! I wish she'd just become a permanent guest, but I suppose even muses need their beauty sleep. The last two days have been so productive. Not only did I write a prologue and finish (finish is such a relative term) the first three chapters of "Power's Touch", but I also wrote a sweet little lullaby, added some poetic lyrics and feel absolutely good about myself. I really needed that. I do love a productive day.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Researching My Own Work? Yeah...

Today is going to be a research day for me. Research probably isn't the best word, but I'm running with it. I wonder how authors keep track of all the information they have used when they're writing a series. I've been stopped in my writing over the last couple of days because I have to go back and read sections of my first novel to remember what exactly I'd written about a few later scenes before I can move on with the prequel and I just haven't had time to do that. I really need to get organized. Any suggestions on this point would be appreciated! One of my pet peeves is inconstancy and I certainly don't want to be accused of it! I've worked very hard on the time line of my world and it's something I'm a bit proud of. Now to just get the rest of the facts straight. I think my biggest problem is that I love a good complicated story. I know, crazy. Most people like it simple, but I loved trying to keep up with Jordan's Wheel of Time. I loved all the characters, plots and subplots and, admittedly, I have a lot of characters. The plot isn't as complex as his however. I love how Mary Higgins Clark goes back and forth between characters and that's what I've done. I don't mind books that follow just one character all the way through. I'm definitely not picky in that regard, but I like a little chaos... (Maybe that's why I had kids!) So research is on the schedule today. Does it count as research when it's something you've written? Hahaha!

Monday, March 23, 2009

What Am I Doing?

I have to say this might not be the best career choice for me. Just because I love to do it, doesn't mean I'm good at it! I just posted the first paragraph of my novel onto a site where it can be constructively critiqued and my nerves are flitting out of control. I am so scared! Honestly, I know critiquing is subjective, but I'm afraid I haven't even got the basics down. I haven't stepped into an English class for over 10 years and I've never taken a creative writing class. I'm afraid the critiques will be so massive, Like surgery after a heart attack, I might never recover from the shock! Okay, am I being a tad dramatic? Sure! Don't I earn that right just claiming to be an author? Okay, maybe not... Still, wish me like. I'm sweating bullets. And yes, I like cliches! (Especially when I can twist them, but even when I can't, I still enjoy them.)

Maybe I should stick with writing as a hobby. On the other hand, I wrote some amazing lyrics yesterday. The kind were you sit back and tell yourself those actually were pretty clever. With me being the most self-critical person on the planet, you can imagine this doesn't happen very often so stand up and do a happy dance with me. Okay, stay sitting at your computer zoning out on this incredibly schizophrenic post. I'm going to go hide under my bed until it's safe to come out.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Playing with Words

I'm just starting out as a writer, my genre being fantasy, and I have little to no experience. This is just a blog for me to get down on paper so to speak what I've learned, review books (usually the frivolous kind), log fun and interesting observations and keep track of my own progress. Right now, my goals are small and simple. I've written 90% of my first book, but it was being weighed down by back story so I've dropped it for a time while I write its prequel. My goal is to just write a line per day. If that's all that I do, I'll be happy with it at this point. Once I've written it, I plan on going back to the first book to do a rewrite.

I'm a stay at home mom and have plenty keeping me busy for the moment. I don't want writing to become a stress. I want it to be the fantasy world I can run to and enjoy in my downtime. When my kids are all school age, I'll be able to attack this more aggressively, but for now motherhood calls!

Why do I write then if I'm so busy? Because I love it! There is no greater feeling than the one that comes as you create. The means doesn't matter: writing, composing, art, architecture, organizing, dancing, children... It is the most beautiful, magical feeling possible and I'm happy to spend even a little time reveling in this power to create. It's ethereal!