Friday, May 31, 2013

Celebrate the Small Things

Its time for VicLit's Celebrate the Small Things blog hop!

   It is very easy to come up with something to celebrate today!  I have been blitzed!!!
(for any one that is not familiar with DL Hammons' Blog Blitz click here for more info.)
My blog has never had so much traffic!  Thank you DL Hammons for starting something so fun and encouraging and thank you to everyone who stopped by (or is still stopping, as every time I check I seem to have more comments!)
I am overwhelmed at all of the encouraging words and by how many of you are now following my blog!  Thank you so, so much!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Donut Dwellers # 3 and JuNoWriMo

ImageHere is part three of the bedtime story that I am writing for a very sweet four year old that asked me to write a story about little people living on a donut.  To read the first installment click here.  For the second click here.

Water splashed onto August's toe. 
"If your not careful he is going to run out of water before we get him to our house."  Zandy said.
"I know.  I'm trying."
August wrapped his arms as tightly as they would go.  Why couldn't Zoomer have a square fish bowl?  Maybe one with wheels on the bottom. Round bowls were so slippery. 
"Watch out!" Zandy screamed.
August jumped.  His foot hit something hard.
"No, no, no.  I won't let you fall, I won't let you fall."  Even as he said the words he could feel the bowl slipping from his grip.  He hit the ground with a thud.  Zoomer would be next. 
What if his bowl broke?  His poor, poor little fish. 
August waited for the sound of smashing glass.
 He had tripped.  He was flat on the floor, but he hadn't heard anything break.  He hadn't even heard a thump.
August looked to one side.  Nothing. 
He looked to the other.  There was Zandy.  She was on her back and balanced on top of her was Zoomer! 
"That was close." she said.
"You saved him.  How did you do that?" August asked.
"I don't know." she said, shaking her head. "I saw him falling and I just sort of slid under him."
"That was the best save ever."
August peered over the edge of the bowl.  Zoomer looked at him and blew a few bubbles.
"I'm so glad your ok, little buddy."  he said.
August looked ahead.  He could see their donut home straight ahead.  Had the tunnel always been so skinny? 
"I sure hope you fit inside." he whispered to his pet.
(to be continued next week)



I can't believe that it is almost June!  I also can't believe that I decided to write 50,000 words for JuNoWriMo!  I am so excited.  I haven't done anything like this before and I can't wait to finish drafting "Simmer".  I tried to convince myself to plot at least a little but I only have a vague outline, some amazing characters and my crazy, runaway imagination.  Since this novel runs parallel to the first one I wrote I do have my setting figured out.  I can't wait to see what happens when I sit down to type it out.  I'm going to try to blog like usual but if I'm scarce this month, you know where I will be, drafting with a giant cup of coffee beside me!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

What's up Wednesday

It's time for What's up Wednesday!  If you would like to join or learn more please check out please click here.
What I'm Reading:  I am reading "Looking For Alaska" by John Green. 
What I'm Writing:  I haven't done much writing this week.  I had to postpone some of my goals so that I could keep up with other areas of my life.  I have been working on a subplot for "Simmer" and hiding from my revisions...  I think I burnt myself out slightly so I'm trying to relax so I am ready for JuNoWriMo.
What Inspires Me Right Now: Coffee!  After a refrigerator catastrophe (two in to days to be precise) and a crazy week, its about all I can think about.  Hopefully I will have something deeper next week.
What Else I've Been Up To:
I've been cleaning, recovering from the afore mentioned refrigerator adventure and celebrating my baby's second birthday.

What have you guys been up to?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Book Review - Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

  I was excited to start this book.  I love historical fiction, and I especially enjoy world war two era stories.  I stayed excited for a few pages then I felt stuck.  I just wasn't liking the main character.  I kept reading and I am glad that I did.   She ended up being my favorite character in the book.  She wasn't who I first thought she was and I love that about this book.  It kept me guessing until the end.
  Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein is the story of two very different girls who found themselves pushed together during world war two.  The deeper they find themselves in the war efforts, the deeper their friendship grows.  When one of the girls is captured she begins to sell her secrets to save her own life. 
  I am going to keep this review short out of fear of giving away hints about the intricate plot twists of the novel.  I didn't see them coming and I'm pretty sure that I read the last quarter of this book with my mouth hanging open.  It was one of those books that has kept my brain mulling over every detail for hours (days) after I finished it. 

Please visit my friend, Jocelyn Charette, to read another review on this amazing book.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Little Buddy Kisses and Sub-plots

It's time for Viclit's Celebrate the Small Things!

Today I am celebrating chubby little arms wrapping around my neck and sloppy kisses in my hair.  After two years of cuddling my youngest son, kissing his fuzzy head and telling him "I love you" he is returning it to me in the sweet way only a toddler can.  He even says "uv you" in my ear.  Two may be a challenging age in some aspects but parts of it are just wonderful.

My second celebration is that I have an idea for a sub-plot that makes me want to sit down and write it now (even though I have a mile long to do list..).  I think it will add some depth and intrigue to my main plot and the idea came just in time.  I have a week to figure it out before JuNoWriMo starts.
Now I am off to make some of my favorite coffee and start tackling my to do list!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Donut Dwellers (part 2)

This is a series of short stories that I am writing for a little buddy of mine.  If you missed the first story you can read it here.


Zandy flicked donut crumbs out of her hair. 

“How long do we have to dig this tunnel?”  She asked.

“It shouldn’t be much longer.” August answered.  “We can’t be that far from the center.”

“What if it doesn’t have a hole in the middle?” Zandy asked.  “Oh, no.  August, what if it is one of those jelly filled ones?”

August didn’t answer at first.  He hadn’t thought of that.  What if they dug and dug only to have the tunnel fill up with jelly?  How would they get out?

“If it does, start digging a tunnel going up as fast as you can.”  He said.

He closed his eyes and grabbed another handful of donut. 
 If he was going to get covered in jelly he’d rather it just happen.  He didn’t want to see it. 
No jelly came out.  He took a deep breath and reached for his next handful.  It wasn’t there.  Nothing was there.  He opened his eyes. 

“We did it!  It is just a normal donut, no jelly.”  He said.

“That’s good.” Zandy said.  “I didn’t want to get sticky.”

“Me either.  Can you help me make this hole big enough to go through?”

With both of them working the job was easy.  

“Do you want to go in first?”  August asked.

“Yes!  Thanks.”  Zandy crawled through.  

August went after her.

“Its huge in here.” He said.

“It is.  I like it.  It’s like the courtyard of a castle.”

“We will have to build a tower on top of the donut.   Then it will really be like a castle.”  August said.

“But first, we need to rescue Zoomer.  I’m worried about him.”

(to be continued next week)

 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

What's Up Wednesday

I just discovered What's up Wednesday and I thought I would jump on board.  I think it is very important to share our progress and encourage each other as we balance life and writing.

What I'm reading: I am reading "Code Name Verity" by Elizabeth Wein.  I will hopefully finish it today.  Stay posted for a reveiw!  I never just read one book at a time so I am also reading "Looking for Alaska" by John Green. 

What I'm Writing: I am still revising my first novel.  I will be at it for some time ,I think.  I'm also working on "Simmer" my YA dystopian story that runs parallel to my first book (but this one has pirates!).  I am going to draft the rest of it during JuNoWriMo.  I wrote one short story for a children's magazine.  Now I need to get brave enough to submit it and write another one so I can meet my goal of writing two stories for magazines this month.

What inspires me right now: I am finding the end of the school year and the warm (hot!) weather to be inspiring.  It makes me want to slow down and enjoy the summer with my children. I am also inspired by the online writer's community.  You guys help me stay on track!

What else I've been up too: 
  • I have been trying to carve out some time for crocheting.  It is so relaxing and sometimes my brain needs to do something that isn't word related.
  •  We are almost done with school for the year.  We have one reading lesson and a few math pages, then we are done!!!  The extra time will hopefully be spent at the beach and the pool.  I also really want to make a "rainy day" tote full of craft supplies that only come out when we are stuck inside.  I am so excited that my kids are old enough for more crafts now.
  • I've been working on replacing most of the foods on our pantry with the healthiest version possible.  We are eating lots of fresh ingredients and much less processed food.  I struggle with finding time to work out so I've been fitting small routines in during the day as much as I can.
I think that pretty much sums it up!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Monster

   Once upon a time there was a woman.  A monster lived in her house.  It seemed harmless at first, but soon it began to grow.  Instead of fighting it off the moment she noticed it, the woman shoved it in a room.  Every now and again she would open the door just enough to peek inside. The monster never spoke. It never moved.  It only got bigger.  Every time she checked on it she gasped at its size and slammed the door.  After awhile the woman began to avoid the room all together.  If she didn't see the monster maybe it wasn't  there at all. 
No, she could feel its presence.
 She couldn't relax. 
She could barely think.
She knew it was there, waiting for her.
Straightening her shoulders, she marched to the room.  Her hand hesitated as she reached for the door knob.
"I can do this." she told herself.  She pushed but the monster had grown so large that it was leaning against the door. 
 Now that she had made her mind up to face the beast the woman wasn't about to be discouraged.  She stepped back.
She threw herself at the door.
It swung open.  Her body sailed into the room and crumpled up next to her enemy.  She could smell its stench. She could feel it curl around her.  She was going to die.  This, this thing was going to be the end of her.
The same courage that had given her the strength to open the door filled her.  She stood.  She wrapped her arms around the beast.
She forced it into the washing machine. 


I was going to write a normal post but this more accurately portrays my mood... 
I'm off to conquer my own laundry monster.  Happy Monday!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Coffee and Bookworms


It's time for Viclit's celebrate the small things!


     I'm getting ready to make my morning coffee.  Currently, my favorite cup of coffee is brewed from freshly ground beans in my French press.  I swirl in some cream from a local dairy and a touch of  maple syrup.  It is divine.  It is even delicious over ice (which is good when you have little kids that distract you until your coffee is cold!) It is worthy of celebrating on its own but I also want to celebrate the number of bookworms that live in my house.
     All three of my children are developing a love for books. My two year old enjoys holding picture books upside down and chattering as he turns the pages. My little girl does the same thing but she sings and she actually holds the books right side up.  She also loves for me to read to her. Usually the same book, over and over and over.  I have most of the "Ladybug girl" books memorized.  My oldest son is like me.  He has a book with him wherever he goes.  He reads while walking around the house.  He reads in the car.  He reads sitting outside.  Sometimes he even reads in his closet so that his baby brother won't steal his book.  I love that my children love books and that something I value has such a big place in their lives.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Donut Dwellers (bedtime story #1)

 One of my favorite four year olds asked for a story about little people that live on a donut.  I had trouble keeping it to one story, so...  I'm now writing a weekly donut bedtime story until my ideas run out :)


"I'm not living in that." Zandy said, wrinkling her nose.
"We have to live somewhere, at least until I can scare that spider out of our house."  August said.  He tugged at the old shoe.  It seemed sturdy enough.
Zandy shivered. 
"You'll be careful, right?  That spider is almost as big as you."
"I'll be careful." August said, as he climbed into the shoe.
It smelled horrible.  His sister was right.  There was no way they could live in here.  
"What about up there?"  Zandy said, pointing to a wooden mountain, or maybe it was a table.  August couldn't decide. 
"Maybe the spider won't find us if we are up so high."
"Maybe" August said.  He jumped out of the shoe. 
"How would I get Zoomer up there?"
"You're going to bring your pet fish?"  Zandy asked.  
"Of course.  He's my trusty buddy."
August took a deep breath.
"What's that smell?" he asked.
"It's probably the shoe."  Zandy answered.
"No, this is different.  This smells sweet."
Zandy took a little sniff.
"Ooo.  It does."
They followed the smell until they hit a dead end.
August tipped his head back as far as it would go.
"Careful!" Zandy said, giggling.  "Your going to fall over."
August wobbled and fell into the giant... thing.
"I think its a donut." he said, wiping something white off of his nose.
"Isn't it a bit large for a donut?"
"Not for someone that's full sized." he answered.
"I don't know.  It still seems way to big."  Zandy said.  "August, why are you grinning?"
August didn't answer.  He sunk his teeth into the giant..., whatever it was.
"Yup. Definitely a donut."
He wiped his hands on his pants.
"I think we just found our new home!" August said.
"You want to live on a donut?"  Zandy said.
"Its that or the shoe." he said.
"If I choose the donut, how are we going to get up?"
"Watch."  August said. "I have an idea."
(to be continued next week)



Monday, May 13, 2013

Meeting my Characters

       How is it that I feel like I meet my characters when my mind is the one that made them up?  Its  slightly disturbing if I stop to think about it...  I do love it when things just fall in place, however.  I will be writing and I just know that my character likes green and that she's scared of being vulnerable and that she hides behind her bold actions.  It makes it easy to know how she will react and what it will take to motivate her.  Sometimes I stop and ponder what my characters are like but most of the time their personalities just show up.  I realized this when I was answering a list of questions I found on a blog called Writer of Wrongs.  Most of the answers were just there for the taking whether I had thought about them or not. It was really rather fun! 
    Oh, but there is a limit to this magic.  I only seem to meet the good guys in my stories.  The bad guys are standoffish and slow to cue me in to their motives and personalities.  Its more like I'm chasing them around hoping that they will drop some sort of clue about themselves.  They don't even like to tell me their names.  Maybe I need to watch more movies with compelling villains.  At least my latest villain has a name and he has brown hair.  That's a start anyway...  I wonder why he likes to pick on my MC so much...  Maybe she will tell me, seeing that she is the more talkative one out of the two.

I'd love to hear how you come up with your characters or if they are like mine and sorta just show up!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Sunshine Award x2


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 I was recently awarded, not one, but two sunshine awards!
Thank you SO much Glendon Perkins and


Here are the rules:
  • Include the award’s logo in a post or on your blog.
  • Link to the person who nominated you.
  • Answer 10 questions about yourself.
  • Nominate 10 bloggers.
  • Link your nominees to the post and comment on their blogs, letting them know they have been nominated.
And now for the 10 questions:
  1. Favorite color –Blue ( I like purple too, in case you haven't guessed!)
  2. Favorite animal – I love white tigers but when it comes to pets I prefer dogs ( the bigger the better!)
  3. Favorite number – 7
  4. Favorite non-alcoholic drink –coffee!  I love green tea, too.
  5. Favorite alcoholic drink – None.  I don't drink.
  6. Facebook or Twitter? –Facebook for friends and family, Twitter for networking
  7. Passions – writing, homeschooling, healthy eating
  8. Prefer getting or giving presents? –Giving!  I love finding the perfect gift for someone.
  9. Favorite City – I don't really have one.  I'm more of a country or small town girl.  I love some of the coastal towns on the gulf.
  10. Favorite TV Shows – Gilmore Girls, Lost, Once Upon a Time, McLeod's Daughters, the Office
I am changing the rules a bit to fit my schedule.  I am nominating five bloggers that I think are very deserving!
  1. Nancy LaRonda Johnson
  2.  Murees Dupe`
  3. A Dose of Jules
  4. Satirical Knitting
  5. Jocelyn Charette
Thanks again for the nominations!

Happy Mother's Day!

I just wanted to wish all of the moms out there:

Happy Mother's Day!!!!!!!
Being a mom is one of the most wonderful and hardest things I have ever done.  So far this morning my oldest son has volunteered to wash the van, clean his room and let me choose which episode of
his favorite show we get to watch. He and my daughter have drawn me beautiful pictures.  My two year old, well, he is is normal happy, busy self!  I feel very blessed and loved.
I hope that you enjoy this day and all the big and little blessings in your life.


Friday, May 10, 2013

Celebrate the Small Things

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This is my first Friday participating in  VicLit's "Celebrate the Small Things".  It is a weekly blog hop where we share something we achieved during the week.  The purpose is so that we can all celebrate each other's accomplishments, both big and small, and encourage our fellow bloggers.

   I am very tired today and I'm not feeling accomplished in anything really, so I'm going to celebrate the only thing that comes to mind. I kept my almost two year old safe and prevented him from throwing away the dishes ( I think anyway...), snacking on the puppy's food and many, many similar things.  It was no small feat.  My little guy is busy!  He is such a hugable little buddy, if you can catch him...

  On the writing front, I am pleased that I made progress on my first round of revisions.  The previous post is about that so I won't go into details, but I'm happy to be moving in the right direction. 
I can't wait to see what all of you have accomplished this week!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Revisions

I've been revising all week.  I'm not sure if I love it or not but I don't hate it.  That is good enough, I suppose.  I think I will find it more exciting once I get past this first round.  I'm basically reading through and answering questions about every scene.
The questions I'm asking are:
  1. Whose point of view is this scene from?
  2. What is the goal of this scene?
  3. Is the character consistent?
  4. Is the conflict strong?
  5. Does it end with a disaster of a hook?
  6. Is the tension escalating?
I found these questions and a lot of other useful information at writerunboxed.
It is a guest post by Cathy Yardley.
I'm not following her methods completely but it gave me a great place to start.  I have answered these questions for the first 23 scenes of my book and I am noticing some interesting facts about my writing.
  • I almost always have character consistency.
  • I almost never have enough action/conflict.  I come off as passive when I shouldn't.
  • I have lots of hooks and not enough disasters, which is probably why my work lacks action...
I take this to mean that I'm stronger in character development then I am in plot/action.  Now that I see these areas pointed out so blatantly I can begin to improve my work (hopefully!).  I also have detected a few major holes in my plot.  For example,my main character risks his life to get information from the enemy camp.  What is the information?  I never said.  What did they do with it?  Um...  Yeah...  That is going to need some work.  They did nothing with it.  Ever.  Discovering one's flaws is humbling but I feel like I am learning so much right now and that is encouraging.







Monday, May 6, 2013

Almost Summer

       I do not want to be inside right now.  I have the stroller posed by the door and my older children's scooters are lined up,ready to go. As soon as the little ones are up from nap we are taking off and walking until we are so tired that being inside sounds pleasant again.  My oldest son is at the table working on his writing practice.  It is so peaceful.  I love spring and its promise that warm (hot) lazy days are on the way.
       Today is one of those days that I don't want to end.  It's sunny with the perfect amount of breeze. All the errands for the day are done.  School is winding down so we only have a small amount of assignments to complete.  I love homeschooling my kids but I am ready for a break from lesson plans. I'm looking forward to spending our time at the beach or walking down by the bay.  Our garden is starting to grow so we should have fresh herbs soon. I can not wait! 

      

Thursday, May 2, 2013

A-Z Reflections

   I must confess, I didn't even know what the A-Z challenge was until about mid March.  Everywhere I looked, people were talking about it.  I grew curious enough to go check it out and thought about it for a full minute before I signed up.  So many people had themes for their posts. It seemed like a smart idea.  I chose a theme that I could share with my family.  I wrote a children's story for every, single letter of the alphabet.
  Coming up with a story everyday stretched my imagination and I'd like to think it strengthened my writing as well.  It was during one of my pirate stories that I got the idea for my next novel.  I also received so much encouragement that I think I'm finally brave enough to start submitting some of my work in to magazines.  Even more amazing is the growth of my blog.  I started with eight followers and now I have fifty-three! 

   I would like to thank Arlee Bird and everyone else that worked so hard to make this challenge happen. It was an incredible experience.  I also want to thank all of my followers for joining me on my writing journey. Some of you faithfully commented on every post I wrote.  Thank you so much!

I discovered so many wonderful blogs this month.  A few of my favorites are:
Hugs & Kisses of Poetry by Fida
A Dose of Jules
Into the Ravenous Maw
S.P. Bowers
Moody Writing


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Insecure Write's Support Group



 Sometimes I wonder if there is anything writing related that I am not insecure about.  I'm always afraid that my ideas are to tame, or to quirky or any number of other things.  My main insecurities at the moment come from my completed first draft.  I have hours and hours of my life staring at me when I open that document.  I love my story.  I love my characters but now I fear I won't be able to figure out what to do next.  Revision is all new to me.  Publishing scares me too.  I guess I will do what I always do. I will learn as I go. (and perhaps beg any unsuspecting authors for advice!)


For more information or to join IWSG click here.  Thank you Alex J. Cavanaugh for coming up with this awesome group!