Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Writing Updates and Goals

     I am happy that April is over.  I loved the A-Z challenge and am happy with my collection of children's stories.  I survived being the maid of honor at a wedding and traveling 12 hours each direction with my three children (leaving our lab/Great Dane puppy at the kennel was an awesome decision!).  Despite how well all these things went, I am drained.  I am ready for a new month.

    Last month my main goal was to avoid looking at the first draft of my novel "Awaken".  I succeeded, mostly, anyway.  After spending months immersed in it I found it hard to leave it alone.  I read all of  the Tiger's Curse books by Colleen Houck except for the last 50 pages of the final book.  Somehow the library here had a review copy of the book that was complete except for the final 50 pages...  How cruel is that?  I guess I will have to go to the downtown library and hope that they have the complete book.  I also read Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare and bits and pieces of books on revising.  I didn't do much writing other than my a-z stories.  I did start my next novel though! It deserves its own paragraph so more on that in a minute.

    My goals for May are:
  • read 2 YA books
  • plug away at the stack of review books that's staring at me
  • begin revising "Awaken"
  • finish plotting my new WIP (even though I've started writing it already...)
  • write 2 short stories with the end goal being magazine submission
Knowing me, I will probably draft quite a bit on my new WIP, as well. 

   I made a post a while ago about following the muse.  I am so happy that I did!  My latest work in progress makes me smile every time I think about it.  I don't know if this will be it's final name but for now I am calling it "Simmer". 

Here is a line that may or may not be included in the book but I think it tells a lot about the tone of the book.

It was their way or die, or so they said. We looked around. The mainlanders were puppets. The islander’s were asleep, afraid to open their eyes to reality. We would settle for neither. We took to the sea. 

Z is for Zipper

Wow!  I can't believe that its the last day of April.  Here is my final children's story for the A-Z challenge. Congrats to everyone that made it to Z!

Ellie tugged at the zipper.  It didn't budge. She gave it another tug.
"Yay!" Ellie said.
She had done it!  
Wait, something was wrong.  Ellie tried to lift her right arm.  It was stuck.
"Oh no." Ellie thought.  "I zipped my jacket but I forgot to put both arms in the holes."
She tried to wriggle it into place.  There wasn't enough room.  
She pulled on the zipper pull.  It held tight.
Ellie ran down the hall.  
"Help!  I'm stuck in my coat!"
Jack ran up to her.
"Stuck?" He asked.
"Yes.  I'm stuck.  Can you find Momma?"
Jack just looked at Ellie and grinned.
"Can you help me with my zipper, then?"  She asked.
Jack gave the zipper a giant tug.  He toppled over on top of Ellie.
"What are you two doing?" Sam asked.
He was covered in paint.
"I'm stuck in my coat and Jack tried to help but he knocked me over." Ellie said, sticking out her bottom lip.
"Here, let me help." 
Sam grabbed the coat.
"EEEWWWW. Sam, you're all messy.  Now I have a red hand print on my coat."
"I"m sorry, Ellie.  I didn't mean too.  I was painting a volcano picture and I forgot to wash."
"Now I will have a volcano hand print on my favorite coat forever." Ellie said.
"That's kind of cool.  I'd like a volcano hand print on my coat." Sam said.
"I don't like it.  Its not suppose to be there."
Ellie helped Jack up.
"You should go wash before you forget again."  She said.
"Your right."
Sam disappeared around the corner.
Jack stomped after him.
"Now I'm all alone with my volcano painted coat and I'm still stuck."
Ellie hung her head. If she didn't hurry she would be out of time to play outside.
She let out a sniffle.  No one came.
"I will just have to figure it out myself." She said.
Ellie stared at the zipper.  She pulled at the fabric.  
"Mean old zipper." She thought.
It looked like the zipper was trying to take a bite out of her jacket.
She gentle pulled the fabric from its teeth.
"That looks better." She thought.
She gave the zipper a tiny tug.  
It worked.  The zipper went all the way down.  
Ellie made sure that both her arms were in the sleeves this time and she carefully zipped the coat back up.
"I did it.  I did it!" She sang as she headed for the door.
Momma was outside.
"I zipped my coat but I got stuck and then Jack knocked me over but I didn't need anyone to save me.  Not even Sam!" Ellie said.
"That's great, Ellie!"  Momma said.  "I can't believe what a big girl you are."
Momma looked down at Ellie's jacket.
"What's this?" Momma asked.
"Sam made a volcano print on me by mistake." Ellie said.  "I didn't like it at first but now I do cause it makes me look tough."
Ellie ran of to play.  She had to be the bravest, toughest girl ever.

Y is for Yawn

Here is my next children's story!  If you haven't already you might want to read W is for wind and X Marks the Spot first.
Sam was covered in sand.  
The sun shone down right over the top him.  He looked down at the water.  If it wasn't full of sharks he would jump right in. 
"Stop yer day dreamin and dig, boy.  We don't be havin all day.  Pirates from all around these here parts be after this very same treasure" Captain Drake said.  
He crossed his arms and stared down at Sam.
Sam dug a little faster and winked at Carlos.
The evil pirate Captain Drake had no clue that he was following the wrong map.
I think we are digging in the wrong spot, Captain Drake, sir." Carlos said.
Captain Drake looked down at the map.  
"Shiver me timbers, why, there be more than one X!"
"What do you want us to do, Captain?"
"Why, we will dig up every single one of them there X's until we find me treasure."
"How many spots do you think he needs to dig before he's tired?" Carlos asked Sam quietly.
"I think he needs to do at least five."
"What happens if we get tired before he does?" 
"We will just have to be super tough and not get sleepy." Sam said.  
The boys dug slowly and kept an eye on the pirate captain.
After three X's he was so mad that he stomped his feet.  Four X's had him jumping in circles and yelling.  After the fifth X he leaned against a tree and rubbed his eyes.
"Now?" Carlos asked.
"Yes, now."  Sam said.
Carlos walked up to the old pirate.  
"Here, you look thirsty."  
He handed him some water.
"Humph." Captain Drake grunted.  He drank the water in one big gulp.
Carlos yawned.  It wasn't a small yawn.  It was a giant, I'm about to fall asleep yawn.
Captain Drake took a deep breath.  He opened his mouth and he yawned.  His yawn was so big that the boys could see his golden teeth.
"You sure do look tired, Captain.  Maybe you should rest for a bit while we check out the other X's."
"I think I shall, but mark me words, boy.  I will be watchin.  No funny stuff or I'll tie ye up to this very tree."
"Yes sir." 
Carlos began to hum the lullaby that his mother sang to his sisters.
Captain Drake closed one eye.  They other one was watching the beach.  Soon both of his eyes were shut.
The boys waited.
"He's snoring now, should we go?"  Carlos asked.
"Yes." Sam said.
They ran down the beach and didn't stop until they were safely on the ship.
"We did it!" Sam yelled.
"I'm not so sure." Carlos said.
"What do you mean?"  
"Look."  Carlos pointed.
Captain Drake was racing towards them.  His rubber duck floaty was around his waist.
"I'm a comin for you boys.  Nobody.  NOBODY tricks the evil pirate Captian Drake and lives to tell the tale."
"Can we out race him?" Carlos asked.
"Of course we can.  Our ship has to be faster than a ducky floaty."
Slowly, slowly the ship pulled ahead.  The pirate kept yelling and shaking his fist.
"I'm a comin.  Don't ye ever forget it!"
His voice could barely be heard over the roar of the waves.
"We made it." Sam said.  "I see the top of your swing set dead ahead,"
"Phew.  I didn't think we would ever get away." Carlos said. "What do you think we are having for snack?"
"I don't know but it has to be better than sea biscuits."

X Marks the Spot

Here is my next children's story for the A-Z challenge.  If you haven't already you might want to read W is for Wind first.
Sam woke up to the smell of bacon.  
Mmmm. Mom must have made breakfast.
He opened his eyes.  What was that?
A parrot?  What was a parrot doing in his room?
"Sam wake up."
Carlos tugged on his arm.
They weren't at home.  They were sailing the seven seas with the evil pirate Captian Drake.
Sam stumbled after Carlos.  His arms hurt.  Captain Drake had made him scrub the entire deck last night. 
"He wants to find treasure.  Are we going to help him?" Carlos asked.
Sam shook his head.  He remembered what the pirate had told him last time they had met.  If they knew where the treasure was they would never, ever go home again, but first, they needed some breakfast.
"Ahoy there, ye sleepy heads.  Here be a sea biscuit to keep ye from starving." 
Captain Drake slammed a plate down on the table.
"I smell bacon." Carlos said.  "Can we have some of that too, please?"
"Bacon?  I smell no bacon.  Harty har har." Captain Drake said, sinking his teeth into something crispy.
"That sure looks like bacon."  Carlos said.
"Off with ye, pesty cabin boy.  Go swab the decks."
"We did that yesterday." 
"This be my ship now.  Do it again." He said, with a snarl.
"Carlos, come on."  
Sam pulled his friend away from the glaring pirate.
"We don't want him mad at us.  We need to come up with a plan."
He slipped an old looking paper out from under his shirt.
"You have the map?" Carlos asked.
"No, just a copy that I made but I think its good enough to be useful."
Sam pointed to a large X on the far corner of the map. 
"We are headed here." He said.
"When we get to land we need to distract him long enough to get back to the ship."
"You mean, strand him on the island with the treasure?" Carlos asked, his eyes big.
"Yes.  We can leave him some of those crunchy biscuit things. Oh and his rubber ducky,  He will be alright."
"What are ye boys a whispering about? Get to work!" Captian Drake said.
Sam looked at Carlos and nodded.  They had a plan.
to be continued

Stay tuned for x,y and Z!

Its after one a.m. and I just made it home from our trip.  The world is spinning around me so I'm off to bed but I wanted to let everyone know that I have X,Y and Z on the way.  Being the maid of honor at the wedding seriously took more of my time ( all of my time!) than I expected. 
My final A-Z posts should be up at various times during the day so please stop by later and check them out.  I can't wait to catch up on all the great posts that I've missed the past few days.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

W is for Wind

I thought I'd be able to get away and spend some time on my a- z stories while helping with my sister-in-law's wedding....  Yeah, that didn't go so well.  The wedding is over now so hopefully I will have a bit more time now.  Here is my next story.

The wind was perfect.
"What a great day to set sail." Sam thought.
"Ellie, I'm going on a voyage.  Want to come?"
"No.  Its to cold."
It didn't seem cold to Sam but then he was super tough. 
Carlos would come.  He wasn't afraid of being cold.
Sam went right to work.  
"Are we ready to go?" Carlos asked, walking towards him.
He had his arms full of supplies for the trip.
"As ready as we are going to be."  Sam said.
Soon they were sailing towards far away lands. 
"Where are we going?"  Carlos asked.
"I don't know.  I hope we end up somewhere fun." 
No one noticed the shuffle, shuffling of bare feet sneaking up behind them.
"I've got ye now, ye wee scalawags.  Ye be mine and this fine ship too."
Sam and Carlos whirled around.
"Who is that?" Carlos asked.
Sam knew who it was.  He  recognized that growly voice and stinky breathe..
"That's the evil pirate Captain Drake."  He said.
"Ye took yer friend out to sea and didn't think to warn him about the pirates that sail these here waters?"
"I-I thought that you were busy looking for treasure." Sam said.
"Me brother the sly Pirate Seamore  beat me to it.  He stole me treasure right out from under me very nose and then he stole me boat."
"If he stole your boat how did you get here?" Sam asked. 
  Even a pirate couldn't swim that far, could he?
"I came by rubber ducky."
"Haha.  That's funny." Sam said.
Carlos tapped him on the shoulder.
"He isn't teasing Sam."
Sam peeked over the side of the boat. 
A bright yellow duck floaty stared back at him.
"You really came here in that?" Sam said.  "How did you keep your feet safe from sharks?"
"Safe?  You call this safe, boy?"
Pirate Drake held up one of his feet.  A old boot hung off of it. 
"The terrible creatures made a snack out of me boot. Har Har."
"You want to take our ship, don't you?" Carlos asked.
"Me?  Take yer boat?  Now where would ye get an idea like that?"
"So your  not going to take it?
"Of course I'm going to take it, boy.  I be a pirate without a boat or a crew.  Now I can be having both and if ye don't agree to me plan, I happen to know of a hungry shark or two that would love something more filling than my boot.  Harty har har. 
"What do we do?" Carlos whispered.
"We play along until we come up with a plan." Sam said.
"What are ye boys going on about?  I'll have no mutiny among my crew.  Do I make my self clear?"
"Yes sir."
"Say good bye to life as you know it.  Ye be pirates now."
to be continued...

Saturday, April 27, 2013

V is for Visitor

  Today's story is short and hopefully it makes sense.  I've been traveling and helping with a wedding.  Its been busy!
Ellie ran into the living room holding the picture she had just colored. It was a birthday cake.   She couldn’t wait to show Daddy.
She left as fast as she could.  That was not Daddy.  He looked kind of like Daddy.  He even sounded like Daddy but his hair was too long and he had a fuzzy face.
“Sam, Sam where are you?”
“Over here.  Under the table.”
“What are you doing under the table?”
“I’m hiding from the Daddy looking guy that’s not Daddy.”
“Where is Momma?” Ellie asked.
“She’s making coffee.”
“Ahhhhhh”  Jack said as he ran into the room.
“I guess Jack found the not Daddy person too.” Ellie said.
“Come hide with us.” Sam said, patting the spot next to him.
"Where are you guys?” Momma called.
“Hiding.”  Sam said.
“Come on out.  I want you to meet someone.” 
Sam and Ellie looked at each other.
“Ok.” They said.
They slowly came out from under the table.
The stranger was standing next to her.
“This is Uncle Joe.”  Momma said.
“You look like my Daddy. “  Ellie said.
“Daddy doesn’t have a beard though.” Sam said.
“I’m your Daddy’s brother.”  Uncle Joe said.
“Are you the Uncle that lives far, far away?” Sam asked.
“Yes.  That’s me.” Uncle Joe said.
“Are you here to stay?”
“No, Sam.  I wish I was."
“Does Daddy know you’re here? Sam asked.
“Not yet.  I wanted to surprise him for his birthday.”
Sam heard someone pull into the driveway. 
“Daddy’s home!  Quick, Uncle Joe.   Hide under the table.  It’s a great hiding place.”
“Why don’t you hide with me.  We can all surprise him.”
“Great idea!”  Sam said.
Daddy was going to have the best birthday surprise ever.





Wednesday, April 24, 2013

U is for Under

       Here is today's story for the A to Z challenge.

“Oh no.  I lost it.  It’s gone forever.”   Ellie said.

She tried to wipe the tears from her eyes but she was crying to hard.  The tears just kept coming back.

Jack wrapped his arms around her.

“Th-thank you, Jack.”

Jack ran out of the room and found Sam.  He grabbed Sam’s hand and pulled.

“Hi, Jack.  Where are you taking me?”

“Dooo.”  Jack said.

“I wish I spoke baby” Sam thought.

Jack didn’t let go until they were in front of Ellie.

“What’s wrong?” Sam asked, sitting down next to her.

“I-I lost it. “

“What did you loose?”

“My favorite sticker.”

“What does it look like?”

“It‘s a sparkly, purple star.”

“How big is it?”  Sam asked.

He hoped it was really big.  Little things were always so hard to find.

“Its smaller than my pinky nail.” 

Ellie held up her little finger for Sam to see.

Sam sighed.  It wasn’t just small, it was teeny tiny.

“I think I will need to be Super Sam to find something so small.” He said.  “I’ll be right back.”

He would have to be fast.  This was an emergency.

Super Sam walked into Ellie’s room.

“I heard you lost a sticker.” He said.

“Yes.  My very favorite one.”

Super Sam pulled out a flashlight.

“No sticker will remain lost on my watch. I will look under every single thing in this room if I have to.  Let’s start with under the bed.”

He slithered under the bed, shining his flashlight into every corner.

All he found was seven dirty socks.

He looked under the bookcase.


Jack threw all the blocks into the toy basket. 

The sticker was still missing.

“Well, Ellie, at least your room will be clean.” Sam said as he put away some dress up clothes.

“My poor sticker is lonely. It misses me.” 

Ellie jumped onto her bed and hid under her quilt.

Only her feet stuck out.

Jack walked up to her and peeled something off of  one of her big toes.

“Stop, Jack.  That tickles. “She said.

“Let me see that.” Sam said.

Jack held out his hand.

“You found it!  Yay Jack!”

Ellie popped out of bed. 

“My sticker?” She asked. “Did he find my sticker?”

“Yes. He did. I looked under everything in your room except for one thing.” Sam said. "You!"

He handed her the sticker.

“Please, please, please put this in a safe place.”

“Of course I will.” Ellie said.  “I never ever want to lose it again.”

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

T is for Travel

  We are about to take a family trip from our home at the beach to Grandma and Granddaddy's house in the mountains.  Travel seemed like an appropriate theme for today's story.

Trees. Everywhere he looked all Sam could see were more and more trees. 
"Daddy,  how will I know when we are close to Grandma and Granddaddy's house if all I can see are trees?"
"You will know we are close when we start going through the mountains." 
"But if I can't see the mountains how will I know we are going through them?"
"You will know." Daddy laughed.
"Close your eyes, Sam." He said.
"Me too, me too!" Ellie said. 
"You too, Ellie."  Daddy said. 
"All right, can you feel the car moving?"
"Yes!"  Sam and Ellie shouted.
"Shh, not so loud."  Momma said.  "You don't want to wake up Jack.  He will be cranky if he doesn't get some rest."
"Okay."  Sam said.  He would be quite.  It made his ears hurt when Jack was fussy in the car.
"What will it feel like when we are in the mountains?  Sam asked.
"When we get to the mountains the road will twist and turn.  You will feel the car go up and down." Daddy said.
"Like the roller coaster at the fair?"
"A little bit like that, but it won't feel as fast."
"I want to be there now."  Ellie said.
"Me too.  My legs have too many wiggles in them."  Sam said.  "They won't be able to hold still much longer."
"Its going to be awhile."  Momma said.  "Why don't you read a story to Ellie?"
Sam didn't just read one story to Ellie.  He read three.  When he was done he closed his eyes.  He could still feel the car going.  It was going straight, just like it had been earlier.
 Something tugged on his hair.
"Ellie, stop that."
"I'm bored." Ellie said.
She reached over and tickled his knee.
Sam almost yelled.  He looked over at Jack.  He was still asleep. 
"Ellie, why don't we play a game?" Sam said.
"Ok.  I love games.  Does it have a princess in it?"
"Yes.  You are the princess."
"I am a knight." Sam said.
"What is a knight?"
"They protect princesses with their super sharp swords."
"How can we play if we are stuck in the car?"  Ellie asked.
"We are traveling across enemy land.  If we don't make it to our castle by tonight, the evil King Melvin will move in and rule our kingdom."
"So we are traveling?  How is that fun?"
"Because, Ellie, we are traveling by dragon."
"Dragon?  Is it a purple dragon?"
"Yes.  Purple with green stripes.  Hold on tight.  You don't want to fall.  It is miles and miles down to the ground.
"I see fluffy clouds!"  Ellie said.
Just then the dragon started to shake.
"Oh, no!  Ellie, quick!  Find something for the dragon to eat.  He's hungry.  If he gets too hungry he will try to catch some birds for a snack."
"Ick.  I don't want him eating cute, little birds."
Ellie tossed something towards the dragon's mouth.
"Good throw, Ellie.  He caught it.  What did you feed him?"
"I gave him a chocolate cupcake with purple frosting."
"I think he liked it.  He's purring."
Ellie giggled.  "It tickles when he purrs." She said.
    Sam opened his eyes.  He looked at Ellie.  She was asleep.
"I wonder how long I was sleeping?" Sam thought. 
The dragon began to lean to one side and then the other.  It almost felt like they were climbing higher into the sky.
Sam sat up and looked around him. 
The land was steep and pointy.
 "Mountains!"  Sam thought.
They were finally in the mountains.  Sam wiggled his toes. 
Soon they would be at Grandma and Granddaddy's.  Soon he would be able to run and run until all his wiggles were out.
"Good dragon.  You did it." 
Sam pat the dragon's scaly back. Dragon was definitely the best way to travel.

Monday, April 22, 2013

S is for Snake

I wrote this story for my oldest son.  He asks me for a pet snake at least once a week and can't understand why I keep telling him no.

“Are the girls gone?”  Sam asked.
“Yes.”  Carlos answered.  “They should be busy for awhile.  Mia and Sophie brought over three princess movies and their tea set.”
“Good! The snake palace is no place for sister's.  Let’s go.”
Sam led the way through the thick jungle.
“Are you sure you know where you are going?” Carlos asked.
“Of course I am.  I grew up in this jungle."  Sam jumped over a fallen log.  "Watch your step. Stay right behind me.”
Sam picked up a rock and threw it. It landed close to where the boys were standing.
“Nothing is happening.” Carlos said.
“Keep watching.”
The rock began to shake then it sunk down into the earth making a loud slurping sound as it went.
“Whoa.  Cool.” Carlos said, staring at the place the rock had been.
"That was awesome." he said.  "What's the matter Sam?"
Sam was holding very still.
 "Shhh.  Something is following us.  Its going to get us.  Run!"
"Wait up guys.  I want to come too."
Carlos spun around. 
"Sophie? What are you doing here?"
"I want to come with you guys. I don't' like tea parties." She said.
"But we are going somewhere dangerous." Sam said.
"I'm not scared."
 She didn't look scared.  Not even a little bit.
"It is full of snakes." Carlos said.
"I like snakes."
"I guess you can come." Sam said. "But you have to keep up."
"I am super fast." Sophie said and she was. 
Soon they could see stone towers rising up above the trees.
"Is that it?" Carlos asked in a whisper.
"Yes. That's it." Sam said.
They climbed the steep stairs and entered the palace.
Snakes were everywhere.  Some were small.  Some were so long that they wouldn't fit in a house.  Some hung like vines from the ceiling.  One curled around Sam's ankle.
"Look at all the colors." Sophie said.  "I didn't know that snakes could be so pretty."
"I think we should head back." Carlos said, after awhile.  "We have seen all the snakes and its getting dark."
"You're right." Sam turned to lead the way.
 No one noticed the long, slithery snake that followed home.