Friday, July 23, 2010


It's FUN FRIDAY! It also happens to be my husband's birthday!


(That's the hubster in his GQ pose on our wedding day.)

I feel really guilty for leaving him on the glorious day of his birth. But we celebrated wildly on Wednesday (and I still managed to get my wishes out) so I am leaving tonight to fly to Seattle. My dad and I are going into the forest in search of Elves. Well, not really. My dad is going to camp, relax and fish. I'll be hiking, writing and searching for Elves. Perhaps if I turn my head fast enough, I'll catch one just before it disappears behind the trees again! They're out there on the edge of our consciousness. Our mass consumerism has driven them out of our conscious world and deeper into the forests. (Oh! On a mass consumer side note because I'm so big on overshares when it comes to my life - we have a house in our neighborhood that we walk past ocassionally when walking Dear Lily that is just over the top ridiculous. They bought the lot next to them, knocked the existing house down and built a huge house that covers half a block. Every light in the house is ALWAYS on, they have two RVs, all of their cars are SUV gass guzzlers on monster tires, their air/heat is always blasting and they have lawn decorations for every holdiay that take a great deal of energy to blow-up with their commercial blower and even more energy to keep lit all night long - we have dubbed them the Mass Consumer House. Excess everything. The Elves would not be fond of this family.)

The forest is such a magical place. I grew up spending a few weeks every summer there - running through the trees, wading through parts of the river we were told to stay away from (sorry, Mom!), hiking into high lakes with my cousins by my side and having magical adventures. I look forward to falling asleep to the sound of the river as it runs over rocks and fallen logs, to breathing in deep the fresh pine! I can hardly wait to walk the paths to waterfalls. I can feel the inspiration already and I'm not even there yet!

I will be back on August 3rd and have a FABLOUSLY FUN Summer Giveaway planned. You don't want to miss it!

What FUN things do you have planned for this FRIDAY? Salt, anyone? Happy Hour with friends? Or a little 'me' time at home and some writing? Whatever it is, I hope you all have a FANTASTIC time!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wednesday Wishes

This is Wednesday leaning out of her cat tree. She may look like just your average gray tabby cat, but she has many skills. Most of these skills, she uses for The Good. Okay, 'most' might be a slight exaggeration. Wednesday is a good little kitty, though, at heart. She loves her family, loves her sisters, loves annoying those sisters and she also loves to grant wishes. Every Wednesday morning, I will rub the side of the cat house and summon our magic cat!

Today, and every Wednesday to follow except next week (which she asked to have off), she will be granting Three Wishes. Choose your weekly wishes wisely (say that one five times fast without tripping over your own tongue and she will grant you a magical fourth wish)!

Here are my wishes for the week:

1) A body pillow. This one came to me in the middle of the night last night. It may seem like a wasted wish to you, but not to me! I am currently using two pillows in the place of one long one and it's extremely annoying having to roll over and take TWO with me each time. You have to spend the time arranging them, which takes precious minutes out of the sleep night. One long pillow that I could roll over with me in my sleep would be fantabulous!

2) More Katniss. If you haven't read The Hunger Games (where have you been!?!), you won't understand this one. Luckily, I only just finished book one. Tomorrow I will be picking up Catching The Fire so my wish will be granted, but only temporarily. Until August when Mockingjay comes out. But I just want more, more, more. Thank you, Nutschell, for introducing me to this trilogy!

3) I eat whatever I want on vacaton and don't gain a pound. Shouldn't vacation food be calorie free? I really think that should be the rule of God (or the gods, depensing on your belief). Eat what you want, however much of it you want and you won't have any movement on the scale! Except maybe down. That would be acceptable after vacation. But I will settle for no upward movement on that scale.

I made one practical wish, one dreamy wish and one magical wish (because surely not gaining a pound while stuffing your face would truly be magical). What are your wishes for the next week? Are they more exciting than mine? Do share! Wednesday will grant them if she likes them!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Journals Are a Girlz Best Friend

"You got to keep 'em separated." - Offspring

Sage advice, my friends. Keep those ideas, that writing, separated. A writer could get lost in that journal otherwise. This is my current collection of journals - one for each story I am working on.

The blue/green recycled one is full of notes, riddles, conversations between characters and chapter bits for my completed manuscript. It smells like the forest - crisp, clean, pine. Okay, not really, but I imagine that it does as I open the pages.

The beige toned one with the flower on it is filled with the first chapter of Bright Shiny Idea #1. The magic in this is not yet contained so you have to be careful when opening it. You might get zapped like the poor, unsuspecting cat that is now a cockroach. Yeah, not a fair trade at all. Poor thing. I promise that I will make her right, though. She's not the main character so I won't be getting in her way quite as much.

The brown recycled cardboard with the flowers on it is Bright Shiny Idea #2 notes - it's a dystopian YA book in the making so I figured the recycled paper and journal were appropriate given the end of their world is coming. Poor kids.

The Book of Kells is an idea that is actually seven years old. I started it, but never went far with it. Every time I crack it open, I fall in love with the main character and her storyline all over again. I will eventually pick it back up. This one has potential as a graphic novel and a summer blockbuster. Intrigued? So am I.

I can't write everything down in one journal or I would never be able to keep things straight. I have trouble enough leafing back through the pages of one to find little gems hidden within them that I have jotted down for future use. I can't imagine trying to sift through four stories for things! This makes it easier, plus what is more fun than a colorful journal? The pages just call out to me! They're portable and I can carry them anywhere I go so the minute inspiration strikes - I can answer the call.

How many journals do you currently have? Do you have a favorite?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Renew Refresh Recharge

I love to sleep. I genuinely love it. It is one of my favorite things to do. I can function on six hours a night, but there is nothing as glorious to me as an eight hour snooze. Well, maybe one other glorious thing - a lazy afternoon nap. Twenty minutes on a busy day is all I need to recharge my battery. I love waking up feeling renewed, refreshed and recharged! Add a little coffee and look out world! I am ready to take on any challenge - angry Sorceress out for revenge, Dark Elves, Goblin Mafia families, end of the world.

Sleeping is not the only thing that can recharge me, though. On Saturday, I went to a Mid-Summer Schmooze with other writers. We met at a Nature Center, had great conversation and wandered through a marsh to find an inspiring writing (or illustrating) spot. We were even lucky enough to see a gopher snake during our meandering. To me, the setting was only part of the inspiration. I love spending time with other writers. I love hearing their ideas and sharing mine. Feedback is invaluable as is the comraderie. THIS renews, refreshes and recharges me in a big way! I came home excited about the old manuscript (willing to hand it off to my first readers), ready to dive in to some serious outlining on Shiny New Idea #1 and ready to jot down some notes for Shiny New Idea #2. It is such a supportive community - whether we are just blogging or we are joining writers groups. Isn't it wonderful to have those people around you? They lift you up and it's just a priceless companionship.

We need creative people around us because we aren't always inspired. Sometimes, we need them to validate that Shiny New Idea or the rewrite on our story. How many times have you had an idea that you are excited about and can't wait to delve deep into, but then The Voices creep in to tell you otherwise (we hates them, precious, nasty biters in our ears eating away at our writing self esteem). This is when a writing group can be the wind beneath our wings, holding us up, reassuring us that our idea is WONDERFUL (or at least headed that way). They can add to and enhance a SNI or polish up a spot on your current manuscript. You can walk into a schmooze feeling okay and walk out feeling energized. It's like an eight hour sleep or an afternoon nap!

How do you refresh, renew and recharge your own battery? Where do you plug in?

(Note: I know that isn't me in the picture sleeping, but they look much cuter than I do. And it is Lily's Garden, after all.)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Beginning

It started when I was four. I had an imaginary friend named Jessica with purple hair. My mother was amused until she had to set an extra place at the table for her. Her amusement turned into annoyance as she made extra sandwiches, poured extra bowls of cereal and packed extra picnic food for this new addition to my life. When Jessica ran away, she was a bit relieved. When I announced that Jessica had been hit by a car and died, she got worried. Was that normal? My imagination was running wild at an early age, but the best was yet to come. I hadn't yet learned how to spell, to write. That was coming soon enough.

In kindergarten, we had to make All About Me books. My mother was shocked to flip through my handwritten and colored pages to find that the book didn't contain much about me. I got very creative with it. While most kids were writing about their actual pets in the pet section, I was drawing pictures and naming pets that didn't exist. Not your garden variety furry pets either. Those were too boring. I had caterpillars! My family section was a bit embellished. There are sisters listed there that didn't exist. My favorite thing to do was swing on the bar in my closet in my squirrel costume. I didn't have a squirrel costume. My dad would have "blistered my bottom" if he caught me swinging on the bar again. I had already broken it once before. But it was fun to pretend that I was allowed to do that!

I went on to create elaborate worlds in my mind as well as on paper. There was a ghost carnival with Disneyland type rides that I told my friends existed in my closet. All we had to do was step inside, close our eyes and the "elevator" would take us down to them. I wrote stories about the moon. I had vivid nightmares. Mom worried more. It wasn't until high school that she stopped worrying and started realizing the creativity was just a part of who I was. My freshman English teacher encouraged it, nurtured it. I wrote and wrote and wrote more. I poured my teenage angst into poetry. I escaped into different worlds in short stories. I wrote the pep rally scripts. The football coaches were kind enough to indulge me - dressing up as all kinds of villians to be foiled by the football team. I got an offer to write a documentary my senior year of high school. College brought more script writing, as did life after graduation. But I always returned to my first love. Creating my own worlds, I could be that carefree child again as I ran free in them. Good always triumphed over evil. The bad guys lost in the end. I'm still at it today. Capturing those ideas that float around in my head, trapping them on paper for my own enjoyment (and friends and family as well!).

When did it start for you? At what age did you start creating? Write your first story?

Friday, July 9, 2010

No More Fishing

I'm thinking of printing this out and sticking it on the front of my manuscript. I tried my best to stay away because that is what everyone says I should be doing. Walk away. Come back with less attachment and fresh eyes. Oops. I started reading it today. I did my best to leave it alone, I swear. I cleaned the house. I did laundry when the hamper wasn't even full yet. I unloaded the dishwasher, reloaded it, ran it, unloaded it and started to reload again. I folded the laundry and put it away neatly. I rearranged the living room furniture. I took Pip out into the yard and walked her around. I walked Lily. Twice. I watched Judge Judy. I did my best to ignore it. I would stroll past it all nonchalant like with my head turned the other way...and still manage to sneak a look at it out of the corner of my eye. You know, just to see if it was looking at me. And it was. It was flirting mighty heavily. So I gave in, grabbed it, hugged it tightly to me like a treasure someone was demanding I hand them at gunpoint, sat down and started reading.

At first, I was mighty impressed with it. Then I got about 60 pages in and realized my crucial chapter that I forgot to write? Turns out it's very crucial (and how you miss a chapter that is clearly in your outline that you are following to a T is beyond me). As in, I-need-to-write-it-this-minute-and-stick-it-in-there-crucial. Okay, that's a bit melodramatic. It's not like the pages depend on it or they can't stay together. Really. But the truth is, it is almost 1am and I am still up because I am not letting myself write. I couldn't sleep last night either. This chapter is eating away at me. Until I get it written, I won't get any sleep. I need to write it. So I told myself I could do that tomorrow. But only that. Write it, stick the No Fishing Sign on it and stick it in a drawer for at least a month. Promise. Just that one, itty-bitty, crucial scene and I am done. The rest of it will sit as is. I swear. I will catch up on blogs, comment on them, read books about reading, read books about writing, clean clean clean to my hearts desire but I will not touch for a month once this scene is written. Or at least try really, really, really hard to.

Do you have trouble letting go? Do you cast that line back out there just to see if you get a nibble? Or a bite?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Finished with a BANG!

First rewrite is complete! I'm very excited. It certainly felt like I finished with a bang, fireworks and all. Now, the dive in after letting it sit a mere week to finish the next rewrite or let it sit for a few months, work on a new idea and come back to it. I have two shiny new ideas flirting away with me at the moment. But I'm obsessed with my current WIP. It calls to me. This past weekend was extremely hard, as the last two days have been. I can't stop thinking about it. I want to read it. If I read it, though, I will start to make notes. I know that some recommend stepping away from the work for awhile to clear your mind. Others recommend ploughing right through until it shines and you are ready to query. I think each writer has to discover what works the best for them. I'm not sure what works best for me just yet. I have a problem walking away before a project is finished so this may be very difficult for me. We shall see.

How do you work? Do you take breaks or do you push on through? Chase a shiny, new idea for a bit, then return to the original story? Or have trouble letting go of the current WIP for anything? I love reading and learning how other writers work! After all, we're all in this together, we might as well share the journey!

Happy writing, everyone!