Wednesday, December 30, 2009
I just got off the phone with my mom, and we talked about those things. About how, because we're to get yet more of this white stuff, a trip to the store for supplies and such is gonna be necessary.
Toilet paper. I need toilet paper and I have to write that down, I said, because I don't want to be snowed in without any.
Which led to a discussion about what if you did run out of it while in a snowstorm, what then? What if you have no Puffs, no Kleenex (or have worked your way through them)?
Paper towels? Too scratchy. Maxi pads? Perhaps, but try talking my husband into that.
Hmm... Fabric would work, though. Say you have flannel sheets tucked away, haven't been used in years. Grab some scissors, cut into squares. And there you have it.
And there it was, the swift realization that one of my characters (in a current WIP) will go through this predicament. She'll be home, alone, snowed in. And she has nothing. But ta-da! A stray thought that, yeah, just might work, will work. It'll be a small scene, and I can already see it building. It'll fit with things, with the story, so well.
My mom, as I blabbered all this in her ear, was quiet. Like why-would-you-put-that-in-your-book quiet.
Stuff like that just doesn't convey well when you share it with others. I'm sure she didn't know how to respond. Maybe she couldn't imagine it.
But I can. Oh, I can. And it'll be great on paper.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Sometimes there's something you didn't even know existed, you'd never seen anything like, but the second you open it, you know it was meant to be yours.
My sister gave me this box for Christmas. It's heavy with a beautiful bronze finish, felted interior (ideal for stashing, oh, I don't know... chocolate?), a pile of pens on top, and is engraved with the quote THE WRITER MUST WRITE WHAT HE HAS TO SAY, NOT SPEAK IT. - Ernest Hemingway
I'm still speechless. And it looks perfect at its place of honor in my writing space.
What did you receive that couldn't have been more perfect?
Monday, December 21, 2009
Either way, I'd like to share its message again.
Cranky, that was me. Had been all day, to be honest. Because work hadn't gone well, and I learned my boyfriend would be out of town for Christmas, and I spilled rootbeer on my winter-white sweater at dinner.
Still felt soggy with stick. And I despised looking unkempt. Which was the exact effect of the muddish splatter high across my left boob, given the once-over the ticket counter lady gave me. Made me feel this big.
I crossed my arms, hiding the stain and all it made me feel, as I sat in the auditorium of my niece's high school. Merry people talked in excited circles around me, trapping me in my stiff third-row seat. Who makes that kind of seating anyway? It's so uncomf--
I felt a nubby jab on the tender underneath of my arm.
"Meggie, what's the deal?" my sister asked.
I shrugged but kept my mouth closed, knowing better than to unleash sour complaint.
"Well, perk up! It's a Christmas concert."
Right, I grumbled to my lap. Don't get me wrong - I loved vocal concerts, hearing holiday music, soaking up youthful talent. It was just really poor timing for me. I wasn't open to Christmas spirit.
My heart was sore at Jacob, who'd changed plans on me. Despite the fact we'd never been apart on Christmas Eve, not in eight years, and I'd been hoping for a special night, and a special proposal. Instead, he and his siblings were all going home, he'd said, without extending an invitation to me. I had--
The house lights went all but black, signaling the sea of audience to fall quiet.
"Mama!" A small boy's voice broke through the still. "There's somebody back there!"
Heads turned, short of unison, to the rear of the auditorium. Choir members in black robes slipped through the doors, and goosebumps poked my arms when I saw each held a candlestick. The small dancing flames lit their carriers' faces and they sang, the sound of their a capella voices rising with the room's acoustics. As they made for the stage, the pace of their single-file lines matched the unrushed tempo of the first song.
O come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant...
I saw my niece, Jem, whose strong alto voice I heard melt into the hymn's harmony. The slightest of smiles appeared in the flicker from her candle, hazy, and my heart warmed.
O come ye, o come ye to Bethlehem...
The rich voices - amazing, they were coming from teenagers - hugged me, and I pulled comfort from the lyrics.
Come and behold Him...
And suddenly my brain, that little part responsible for my mood, flipped as a switch. Love blew past the grumps, settled in. Contentment took its place. And gone were my cranky thoughts. They were replaced by... by... the Spirit.
Who cared about a rootbeer stain, really? And work was work; I'd no reason to dwell on one day. Jacob? I'd tell him I wanted to go on the trip with him. If he had some problem with that, well, then I'd stay with my own family, and reassess my relationship with him later.
Born the King of angels...
It was Christmas, after all. I should have been happy, focused on my God-given blessings.
I reached for my sister's hand and gave it a squeeze. She smiled and brushed a tear from her eye.
"I feel it, too," I whispered. "I feel it, too."
The 'nets have already slowed, and I think I'll be adding to its silence for a bit. Will catch up with you in a week or so.
May each of you be blessed. And Merry Christmas.
Friday, December 18, 2009
I get tired of Christmas songs.
No, no, don't get me wrong. I fully love and understand their intent. The hymns tell the most important of stories; they remind us of the season's purpose. And the fun ones just liven things up. But every year (earlier and earlier, it seems) they begin playing on the radio, and it's like I've heard Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree each day of my longish life. And too, hasn't every recording artist claimed their own version of a classic carol or two? Why would Mariah Carey and Josh Grobin and Bon Jovi and Dolly Parton all have to rehash the same lyrics? It can be too much.
Still, don't think me Scrooge. Christmas is important to me, and so is its song. There are some, like O' Come All Ye Faithful or O' Holy Night, that pump appreciation and awe through my veins, no matter the arrangement, no matter the delivery. And every once in a while, somebody comes out with something new, and I sit up, take notice.
Like this one.
This one gives me goosebumps. It starts straightforward, traditional. But then something happens, and you realize it's different, kinda cool. And when it's come to an end, you want to listen again. And again. Again.
Straight No Chaser, 12 Days of Christmas
[My efforts--multiple times on different computers--to imbed the video have been unsuccessful. Something, somewhere, has gone wonky. Please follow the link to experience the song. There's some talking at the beginning, but the goods will come, so do stick with it.]
So, what did you think?
How do you feel about radio play this time of year?
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Me thinks she knows what she's doing. And now she wants to help others do it!
Roz graciously says:
I'm giving away FREE copies of the pdf of my book, Nail Your Novel.
Many writers fail to complete their novels because they don't know how to organise the work or solve the inevitable problems they encounter. Nail Your Novel tackles this problem head on. It's a complete methodology for writing a novel. It's aimed at any writer, experienced or not, who would like a coach to take them from the blank page to finished manuscript with submission documents. At around 100 pages, it's about half the length of other writing books - for effective writing advice without the waffle. Readers are telling me it's helped them battle through with manuscripts they thought they would have to abandon.
In theory the process should be simplicity itself - no registration, no need to give any email addresses or personal details - just download, save the file and start to enjoy! (If you try it and find otherwise, do tell me - and that includes the enjoyment part too...)
Sounds great, right?
To take Roz up on this fantastic offer, or learn more about her, visit her Nail Your Novel site. (Peruse her sidebar to find out why Dirty White Candy.) You can also see warm and informative advice from Roz, here, where she talks about writing, revising, and going on submission.
Thank you, Roz! You're great.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Say you've ordered a whole lobster.
How does it come from the kitchen? What's it look like? How in the world do you crack into it? What are those little crab-crackin' tools even called, and do you use the same thing for lobster? How's it taste? Does it come with butter? Anything else? Do you risk shots to the eye, as with crab? Doesn't a cheddar garlic biscuit sound delish right about now?
Tell me what you know.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
Sometimes I wonder if my soul isn't older.
I can be old-fashioned in my thinking. Sometimes I feel out-of-touch with my own generation and its wants, its pastimes. I might feel more comfortable among women twice my age, in conversation and connection, rather than those of my own generation. I've gone on and on here before about antiques--anything of age, really--and my love for them.
The main character in my WIP is 82; her kids, all in their fifties, are satisfying to write about. And I'm reading The Bondwoman's Narrative, which was written by a slavewoman sometime around the mid-eighteen hundreds. Her speech and words, the flow of her thinking, draw me in as if we communicated with such prose every day.
I once took a Facebook quiz about my soul's age, and it suggested 42. Part of me thinks even that's too young.
Not that I'd ever know for sure, because I'm 31. Ask my mom.
Do you ever wonder about your soul's age?
Friday, December 4, 2009
It's always been important to me that I reply to you individually, within each post's comment section, and I've liked bringing the comment circle to completion. It's been my small attempt at hospitality, letting you know I appreciate the time you took to say something about my post.
The time has come for me to rethink this. I didn't want it to, but it has.
Between family, household, holidays, writing a novel, visiting others' blogs and all those other things that make up a life, responding in such a way isn't always going to be possible anymore. And I hate that, because it feels kind of like I'm taking away my part of a life line so crucial to, well, my life.
Sappy, ain't? (That's me, in a nutshell.)
I know you haven't expected it, anyway. I know this will be no skin off your noses, and I'm not trying to place some psuedo self-important purpose on this thing I've always done. I just wanted to be clear with you all that I will continue to relish your words. That your comments will feed me, they will bring warm and lifted moments to my days, even if I don't call attention to it by replying.
Thank you for being my readers. And please, do keep those comments coming. I appreciate them, and I appreciate you.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
I hope the same for my writing. That while my words will over time will be forgotten, put away to storage as many toys are, they'll someday be rediscovered. My girls will come of an age when they can find new purpose, enjoyment, appreciation in the things their mother has written.
Styles will have changed. The life I've breathed into my characters, and what I've created as some sort of reality, may not shine as brightly in the years to come. Not as it did for me.
But if my writing is worthy, it will carry the next generation. Carry my daughters' imaginations, much like it has mine.
What does legacy mean to you?
Monday, November 30, 2009
New Radicals, You Get What You Give
"Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end."
Semisonic, Closing Time
"I am invincible, as long as I'm alive."
John Mayer, No Such Thing
"I can only imagine..."
MercyMe, I Can Only Imagine
What lyrics speak to you, more than just words?
Friday, November 27, 2009
My main character, Besty, is caught in a splendid and carefree moment, one of her first in quite some time. Her adult son has interrupted with a phone call, with his plans for the family trip she's been coordinating...
“I’m sending Virginia.”
Besty was weeding her garden, deep in the soil, wearing panties and a faded shirt of Silas’—not a stitch more. No custom gloves protected her smooth hands, no tools littered the bed of flowers. She didn’t have use for them. No want for them, either, not today.
The feel of the dirt, which now slimed the cordless telephone she held between head and shoulder, smudging her cheek, was like raw silk. It was a... an intimate feeling.
“Sending her? What do you mean, Charles?” The warm morning breeze, alive, stirred around her bare legs, making them long to dance.
“To the lake, Mom. I can’t come, but the wife can.”
She heard a tap tap tap, full of motivation, behind his voice.
“Virginia’s really excited about it. I'd bet she’s already packing.”
“That’s wonderful, love. But why can’t you come?” She rose to her feet, spun with experimentation. Didn’t lose her balance, hmm. She’d forever been envious of dancers, who moved their bodies with such powerful ease.
“Here’s the deal, Mom.” More tapping, woven with his voice.
Besty imagined it was the beat; she, the dancer.
“I’ve got procedures that week, there’s no telling how they’ll go, if there will be complications. And of course, there are always emergencies. I doubt things will clear up enough, Mom. I just don’t see how I can take vacation right now.”
“You’re certain?” Breathe, two, three. Breathe, two, three.
“I don’t want to make any promises I won’t be able to keep.”
A rock jammed her heel, puncturing her poise. Chagrin filled the space that had only moments before been occupied by beauty. Confidence.
She dropped to her knees. “I can’t tell you how disappointed I am, Charles.”
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
Good gravy, so much of it embarrasses me. Even the published stuff.
Once I was proud of each of those pieces. Now I don't want anyone else to lay eyes on them. It doesn't seem like the writing I know I'm capable of. And I don't want to be judged by that old stuff.
I can gauge how my voice and style have changed. And I wonder if it's those things that have changed more than it's marked improvement of my writing. Or, maybe it is improvement, which bled into the voice and style I've been working toward, and feel I've found within the last several months. I'm not entirely sure.
How do you suppose it works?
And when you look back at your old things, how do you feel about them? How and how much have you changed?
Friday, November 20, 2009
I perused. I walked the aisles. And because the section I wanted was all but elusive, I asked in my most authorly tone, "Where are the writing books?"
"Right over here," the associate gushed. "We've got books that tell you how to write, and even how to get published!"
Apparently I didn't look the part.
I smiled, even though inside I frowned, followed her quietly, so as not to ruin her fun in introducing me to the world of writing.
As I considered the titles, my daughter plucked a floor-level book from the shelves at my back.
"This is a little book, Mommy!" she called, throwing herself across the carpeted aisle.
Too caught in the dilemma of which Grammar Girl book to choose, I murmured an unintelligible response.
Oh, and here's Strunk and White's book. I've been needing that one.
"Mommy, it's a doctor book!"
I wonder if they have The Fire in Fiction?
But then awareness set it. The trance broke, my gaze falling to my four-year-old. Who was flipping through the penciled drawings of an adult-content book of, erm, positions.
"Sweetie! You know, since you're not a doctor, let's put that book back. Hey look! I have candy!"
I placed my treasures -- The Elements of Style, The Grammar Devotional, Noah Lukeman's The Plot Thickens, a cat book for my daughter and a bucket of pink Legos -- on the counter.
"Looks like someone's writing a novel," the cashier surmised.
I flinched. No one's ever been so bold. Such things have always gone unnoticed for me before. "Er, yeah. I'm writing my second." But it felt kinda good to admit it somewhere in public. Not online, here in my world of writing, or among those family and friends who already know. Just, you know, to a person.
"What happened with your first?"
Another flinch. "It had a publisher's interest last year, but they turned it down." Dangitall. I was losing confidence, associate by associate.
"Oh, I'm sorry!"
"It's okay. Really. I've learned a lot since then. I'm moving on, trying to write better."
We had a pleasant, two-sided exhange. Turns out she's a writer herself, published in magazines. She gave up on her dream of writing children's books years back, though. I found that so sad.
I said to her, "From what I've learned, perseverance is key." To myself I said, "Don't you ever give up."
By then my transaction was complete. We wished each other luck, and my daughter and I left, happy with our purchases.
It was the first time I'd gone into a store and openly sought writing books, the experience wasn't lost on me. It was my first effort at small talk about being a writer. With another writer. In a book store, a shrine to writers everywhere.
Except for the sex book thing.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Slated for our drive home is Home Safe by Elizabeth Berg, one of my favorite women's fiction authors...
What are you reading now? Are you learning from it?
Friday, November 13, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
I'm not sure what she wants from me.
No, that's a lie. I know exactly what she wants from me. Time. My undivided attention, all my guts and emotion. But I can't give it to her. I don't withhold it to be mean, because I do care. It's just that I have so much going on. Life won't slow down for me, let alone for her. And what, does she want me to drop my family? Forget about my commitments? My kids and their schooling, our home, social and church lives, and I'm trying to write a book, for goodness' sake. Now is not the right time.
You're going to think me so heartless when I tell you her story. She's recently divorced after a long, broken marriage. Ohh, and she feels so much guilt. So little worth. She has nothing, but can't see everything is within her grasp. She needs guidance, support, I admit, and she's chosen me, Lord knows why, to help her through.
She's going to have to be patient. It's all I ask. Because I already have a novel-in-progress, and she'll just have to wait until that story's finished.
Then I'll write hers.
Why is it new fiction ideas dig in and plant roots when you're in no need of raw material?
Monday, November 9, 2009
As of late last week, I'll be allowing myself internet access only after meeting a word count of 1000 words each day. No e-mail, no Facebook, no blogs. Writing first.
Thursday, my first day, had me off to a good start with 1200 words. Friday saw 1900! The weekend was a busy bust like weekends often are, but today is a new day, a new week. (I should be launching into today's production soon after this post publishes.)
I'm excited, I'm hopeful, I'm ready to get this rough draft done. By Christmas.
It can be done, I think. Because words and me? We're likethis.
What do your goals look like for the next little bit?
Do you have a system for your writing, and how does it break down?
Friday, November 6, 2009
They're separate, but pieces of them overlap. Each is carried out by real parts of me.
Life in the Flesh
I am living, breathing, my body holds a spirit. I primp and present my physical self, nourish my person without regularly exercising it, drive an automatic SUV, read aloud, sing aloud, stir breakfast--and sometimes dinner--with my favorite wooden spatula, lose myself to folding laundry, loathe putting it away. I wince when the phone rings, but love to give hugs. My mind wanders while I'm in church, and I mutter ridiculous things to the family dog. I find solace and happiness and frustation and doubt in the act of writing, can't get enough kisses from my daughters, am never sated. This is real life. The one I've lived for thirty-one years, with emotion and experience and depth. Real time. Tangible existence.
I am a presence. With pictures, sometimes, but most often with words. My thoughts and essence are on display, whether through blog posts or online statuses. I give of myself through a filter, the filter of this internet that is not my physical location, just designed representation. It's me, too, but with time delay. With edits. Smooth, composed. Confident. I banter, I share, I feel, I learn and love. Virtually.
Life through Fiction
I am what my mind creates. My characters are extensions of me, their stories fill me. New experiences, lived vicariously. Papered emotions, felt as if real and raw. People as real to me as the Postmaster, my daughters' teachers, the person driving behind me, my best friend's mother, because they are real, in some other place, even if only by manuscript or in Word document. Entirely made up, but true, honest at the same time. I exist so that they can exist. And because they exist.
These three Jannas, they feel individual, so different, so distinct. But I reconcile one with the others. Aren't I all of them? My three lives. Defining one existence.
What about yours?
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Not only is it my birthday, it's fellow writer and friend Jody Hedlund's! We couldn't let the excitement of a twofer pass without celebration. And we want you to join us for a virtual birthday party!
You're invited to the comments section of this post, where cakes and decorations and excitement await. Bring your signature party recipes, silly games and special entertainment. Let's have fun!
If you don't know Jody, please visit her blog. She recently signed a three-book deal with Bethany House, which means you can both congratulate her and wish her a happy birthday. You'll enjoy her posts while you're there, too, for she's humble and forthright with her journey to publication.
Happy Birthday, Jody! And Happy Birthday, me! [This just in: It's Jenna's birthday, too! Three writers! Three Js! I never knew November 3rd could be so much fun.]
cake picture courtesy http://whinesisters.com/
Monday, November 2, 2009
It's National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo. Or NaNo, the four-letter word you can be certain will be spat from fiction writers' mouths all month.
Writing a 50,000-word novel in 30 days? I've yet to try it. I don't have the guts, the discipline, the time. (Any number of excuses, really. And some good reasons, too.)
I've been telling myself I'd really kick my WIP into gear instead of participating in NaNo. It's a good plan, but I've been stuck for a few weeks, and the mere promise of progress hasn't unstuck me.
The problem? My story is waiting for me to deal with the aftermath of an unexpected tragedy. (And by unexpected, I mean by me as much as by the characters.) This... thing... sort of happened, and I thought maybe it was a good turn of events, but now I'm unsure. Does it misalign the story? Will it affect the outcome I was after when I started? I think so. To both.
So I've come to this spot in the road. And a writer, at the fork, is to pick that which isn't quick and easy. And I wasn't going to, I just think the whole path may be wrong. I may have to backtrack just a bit. Find a new route, even. And then proceed.
It's a start to my November writing, anyway.
Have you ever tossed an idea, done a little backpeddling? How did you know it was the right move?
Good luck to all who are participating in NaNo 2009.
Come back tomorrow. Something special is happening...
Friday, October 30, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
I'm glad you're here.
I thought we could have a snack, too, while we talk. You won't be surprised I've baked brownies. But then I've got muffins, as well, cinnamon struesel (but from a box, nothing fancy). And banana walnut bread. (Misterwrites asked us to save him a slab.) You're welcome to your choice of drink, too. We have coffee, chai, the requisite milk, juice and water, or, um, kool-aid. The purple stuff.
Are you comfortable? Excellent.
So you may be wondering about my reason for having you here. Really, it's because I want to get to know you better, that's all. That's why I'm having you over.
This is pleasant, right? Just, uh, don't mind the toys I've pushed to the corner. Or the shelves I haven't dusted in... a long while. I did vacuum, but listen to me, that's beside the point.
Why don't you tell me something about yourself? Something I don't already know? I'm very curious, would like to know you better.
Would you care for another brownie, while you think?
Please, do. Tell me in the comments section, something I may not know. Or - if you're a follower who's never commented - tell me something, anything. I'm curious about you, too.
And then you're welcome to ask something of me. I can feel them, some of the questions I know you'll ask, so I'll just cut to those answers: Blue. Mexican. Reading. And only when I sleep with my mouth open. *wink*
I'll dedicate Friday's post to answering your questions.
Monday, October 26, 2009
I considered not posting at all, but that would feel too much like not brushing my teeth, or having the wrong size jeans, or like a giant zit had found my forehead. I just wouldn't be comfortable with it.
I'll tell you we spent the weekend away, in the midst of extended family, for a cousin's wedding. Logic has me thinking there's some content there to be found, about the various personalities in attendance, how well they convert to paper. Or the romance of the gorgeous bride and her tall, dashing groom; how fairy tale-perfect their story is. Or I could share a picture of my girls dancing in their princess dresses at the reception, and tell you how time rushed past me as I tried not to envision them at their own weddings. That I had the best salad ever at Applebee's, sweet with sauce, crisp with almonds and Asian noodles, perfect with hunks of fried chicken; that my husband's siblings, their families and ours took nearly twenty seats, and we rounded the tables with love and connection. How I nearly lost the whole weekend to one miserable migraine, but made it through, anyway, with the help of a teeny pill, even if while wearing a pained and tired face and struggling to make conversation, or that my littlest had a bad earache, and that I spent a mid-night's hour driving a downtown metro city in search of children's tylenol and ear drops, when what I really, truly, desperately wanted was sleep...
There's a story in everything, isn't there?
Do you look for them, the stories?
Tell me about one from your own weekend.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
My words, from Wendy Miller of All In a Day's Thought, were contentment, water, childhood, grasp, and art. I wanted to create fiction with them, and I hope you'll enjoy this vignette I've written.
People ask about my inspiration. Much like the attention of artist-hungry women, I’ve come to expect the question. What inspires you? And I have to steel myself before every show, bite the inside of my lip before I answer.
Of course, they pick up on the water theme woven throughout; it’s plain in every painting. But they assume it’s all borne of contentment, a man’s life spent on the lake. And they want to hear tell of creation spurred by deep, happy memory.
They’re right. That’s part of it, because I grew up at the water’s edge, and in its depths. It defined my childhood, my activity, the cool, smooth personality friends have long insisted is mine. It explains the fluid peace of my outer world. Fuels my art, too.
But what they don’t see, what I ensure is impossible for my audience to grasp, is the loss each piece represents. They’d never guess my work isn’t just from memory; it’s also in memoriam.
My brother’s initials are forever tucked away, whether carved into the fluff of a cloud, hidden beneath a boat stern, along the bushy tail of a treed squirrel. And in the twists and twirls of current, in the blue wisps of slight wave, I again and again feel the emotion of the day he died on the water we both loved.
Sometimes it’s too much. Other times, not enough. And I can’t stop, either way, because I’m driven. It is what inspires me.
It's what I can’t tell them, those people who ask.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Wendy Miller recently "gifted" me with five words and I'll be working them into a written piece of some kind for the next couple days. Come back Wednesday, when I'll post the finished product.
And Friday I'll talk about Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, which I finished reading over the weekend - and very much loved. I'll tell you what the book's about, and why it was an important book for me to read in regards to my novel-in-progress.
Now smile! It's only Monday. :)
Friday, October 16, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Please visit today (or any day, really) for their grand Open House. You can sign up for their newsletter, have a little looksee in all its nooks and crannies, find out about the writing they'll feature, and more! I know they'd love having you by.
Monday, October 12, 2009
It's an e-reader, the Kindle 2. It's small, sleek, easy to navigate, and I.love.it. More than I thought I would. In fact, I've had trouble picking through my stack of hard copy books (but I will not give them up, no I will not) since this came to live with me. It's awesome technology, and it's just plain fun.
Oh right, and this Viking I mentioned? He's hot. *ahem*
He's the work of Kristen Painter, who I met last spring. She's smart, sassy, confident, and she knows how to weave a yarn. Erm, yarn a tale. *sigh* She's a very good writer!
Hers was the first book I bought for my Kindle, because how cool is it that I could download it easy peasy, and throw a little support her way? (Uber cool, if you must know.) Anyway, All Fired Up was released September 1st by Samhain Publishing. Here's the book's summary:
Alrik Gunn knows from bitter experience that change isn't always for the better. From the woman who annihilated his Viking clan to the goddess who tricked him into centuries of slavery, betrayal has dogged his existence. The Goddess of Love is going to let him avenge his family, but for a price. As a Phoenix-a merchant of change-he must grant a human woman three chances to change her life.
When former Irish dancer Calleigh McCarthy tosses a carved-bird statue that belonged to her ex into a roaring bonfire, she unwittingly summons an honest-to-god Phoenix. A sexy, irresistible Viking who offers her an unbelievable bonus-three get-out-of-her-crappy-life-free cards. She'll take it, even if it means guarding her cautious heart against the dark pain behind Alrik's eyes.
Alrik has vowed never to let love sway him again, but Calleigh's innocence and kindness throw him off balance. Yet even as his need for revenge fades and his love for her grows, he is bound to let her make her choices without interfering.
One wrongly chosen word, and any chance for happiness-for either of them-will go up in flames.
What a fun story this was! Kristen's writing is flawless, filled with humor and heat. All Fired Up has stellar character development, perfect pacing and, well, a lovely hunk of man. Chivalrous, Viking man. I mean, whew!
I recommend it, the book.
And the Kindle.
But especially the Viking.
Friday, October 9, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Where? At Something She Wrote. On The Domestic Fringe, and across the blogosphere, too. Visit here for more details and linkage.
When? October 7th, 2009 - TODAY
Why? Because pink is pretty -- and it's the color of breast cancer awareness.
How? Spread the word, share the button, your link, step into your party shoes of pink. My family's dressed and ready.
Monday, October 5, 2009
But do we use them to share our writing?
Is it important to share not only the mechanics, the ins and outs of this craft, and our individual journeys, but to showcase our written voices?
How is anyone to know me as a writer if I don't share my voice?
Do you share yours?
Friday, October 2, 2009
Once upon a manuscript I wouldn't touch any of it, wouldn't go so deep. I thought I had to stick to light, fluffy, superficial. I thought I had to write about what's right, about what characters should do, how they should be.
But first of all, how cramped-in-a-box is that word right? And who am I to manipulate my characters? They live their own lives, individual of mine.
I'll be honest, this back-and-forth in my head is because I'm a Christian. I have a particular set of beliefs, and they shape who I am, personally. It's worth saying that extends to my writing. But I once believed it meant I had to stick to a certain kind of content; the heartwarming, the redemptive. Safe.
While there are some lines I won't cross, there are others I've discovered I'm willing to throw myself past. Why? Because writing doesn't have to be safe to be good, or filled with meaning, invoking. Stories are about what people - all of us - go through. The challenges, the uncertainty, the disappointment, loss, struggle. Little of it's pretty.
And is life?
It's from out of all that mess that the most feeling, the most redemption comes. It's when you feel most rooted to your beliefs, perhaps more heavily convicted.
That's what I've found, and it's what propels my writing.
Tell me, do you agree or disagree? And how about you, do you write safe? If you're not a writer, do you read safe?
For my initial look at this line of thinking, view a previous post, Christians Who Write.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Her fresh phrase lit my radar, pinged somewhere really close.
Writers are called to be unique with wordage. We are charged with the task of new expression; with saying in a different way, burst out laughing.
If she can do it, without even thinking, I can do it. And so can you. We can do it.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Wanna peek at mine?
The stack to the right is of those I've started reading. They are The Help by Kathryn Stockett (love it, flawless, will finish it first so it can return to the library), dwelling places by Vinita Hampton Wright (beautiful voice, excited to try her other titles), and Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer (want to finish the series, you know... and oh yes, Team Jacob).
Those on the left were purchased over the weekend. Brand new, under $2 a piece. (I made my husband drag me from the store, because I needed more books like a need a cracked tailbone.) I got Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt (RIP), Painted Dresses by Patricia Hickman, A Summer Affair by Elin Hilderbrand, and The Bondwoman's Narrative by Hannah Crafts. Each of their spines drew me in, as did their premises (save McCourt's, and his was the familiar name that did it).
Seriously, is there anything more appealing than a towering stack of books? (Well yes, but a towering stack of fudgy brownies has its own delicious benefits.)
Tell me, have you read any from my table? And what's yours look like?
Friday, September 25, 2009
What we knew was, family and friends, some we'd not seen in months, years, would descend, observe, feast. Emotion would run high, celebration would commence. Our intention carried the day.
What we didn't know, the years ahead and all they would hold. Argument and misunderstanding, sorrow and mistakes. Doubt and a will to give up, days it didn't make sense.
But there's more.
Love, laughter, shared blessings no one knows but we two. And babies, precious babies. Learning you can communicate, that maybe you're together for a reason bigger than comprehension. Different people, different personalities. You can be that person to one another.
Ten years ago today, when I married him, I didn't know how difficult a journey it would be. I may have thought twice, three times, had I.
Nor did I know the struggles would make us stronger, help us build a better team, a better family. And that today, a decade after, I'd be thankful I stuck around, loving him more, loving him better.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
You know, I don't normally post on Thursdays, but this is worth sharing...
It's National Punctuation Day!
It's fun. It's informative. And just a little bit nerdy.
Check the details here.
Photo found: http://www.kingmanstudios.com/images/art_scene/pop_art/Exclamation%20Point.png
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
I was kicking myself for not grabbing that paperback I passed before leaving home. It's a new author, a new voice; it could have been research, a passing of the time.
Kicking myself, wishing I'd taken my laptop - if I'd only known - since I'd had to up and go, mid-zone. I'd left my WIP hanging. We could have been hanging together.
So I sat there, waiting to be claimed. Wishing this and wishing that, but getting none of it.
Have you ever been stranded? For what did you wish?
Monday, September 21, 2009
I stood, still and in awe, eyes and heart engaged.
New releases. They were lined just so, how do you call it? Staggered. So you could peep a view of each cover, get that first impression. Each stood, bold and proud. They announced arrival, but moreso attainment of a writer's destination.
I wanted to turn to other patrons and shout, "Do you see these? Do you understand how beautiful, how important they are? Do you know what these represent?"
And when the head librarian passed by, asking if she could help with anything, I wanted to cry, "This is my goal, do you know? Do you feel it! One day you and I will stand here together, and my book will occupy this spot we see."
I felt it. It was powerful, for only moments.
I just can't explain.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
I have a friend who's obsessed with vampires, a la Twilight. She admits it, too, and her obsession has spread to any number of the new vampiric television shows, and all the novels she can, um, sink her teeth into.
Obsession as defined by merriam-webster.com : a persistent disturbing preoccupation with an often unreasonable idea or feeling; compelling motivation.
It dawned on me moments ago that I should own up to my own obsession. You know, writing.
Friday, September 18, 2009
I've learned I write with less narrative. My nature is to keep it at a minimum, to manipulate the words so that less narrative gives the more powerful effect I'm looking for. Because if I try to flesh things out, just for the sake of more, I lose the meaning and feel I was after.
Dialogue tips my scale the other way. I feel like so much of my story is told through characters' words. Details unfold, inflections and nuances hide. In longer works, I'm most comfortable in and around dialogue.
How is it for you? Is one heavier than the other?
Is there a "right" way, a perfect balance? Or, as with so many other aspects of writing, is it open to the writer's interpretation, the story, the voice?
Tell me what you think.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
I finally asked his opinion, ready for praise. [Insert ego here.]
"It's way too detailed. Reading it wore me out."
I admit I was surprised--that's not what I thought. And then a little bummed--because that's not what I thought. But I didn't argue, didn't get defensive. I considered his simple words, and came to decide I was okay with them.
Because I'd asked to know what he thought, and I needed to be a big girl about his honest (if blunt) feedback. And because my potential is not hinged on his sole offering.
But mainly? It was a lesson to me. That among the good critiques and supportive comments, there will be those less so. That there will be people who don't like my writing. And I have to accept that. That's the reality.
Have you had a similar dose of reality?
Monday, September 14, 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
Why south? you ask.
Because that's where love is.
And what's love?
Many things, actually, but it's first knowing there's a reason to go. Reason full of excitement and anticipation, and it gives way to need.
It's the journey, driving distant yet familiar roads; those that stretch out before you, and the ones back to your heart, too.
Love is the arrival; pulling up on memory from before, history, well-aware there is more where that came from.
It's the gathering of people you've known your entire life; people whose airs, mannerisms, noses reflect your own. Who have connection through blood, marriage, experience and name. It's hugs, laughter, music, food, reminiscence, games, pictures, stories and tears...
I sometimes think there's none greater.
So I'll be gone for a family reunion. I know I'll have a special weekend, and I hope you do, too.
*Remembering those lost 9/11/2001.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
You do wonders for my confidence. You inspire me greatly, and you flatter me.
But you're giving me a big head, and that just won't do.
So, to balance things out, could you maybe call me a name or somethin'? Pass an insult or criticism? Something to bring me back down after all your great comments?
Because I'm resolved to keeping my feet on the ground. I don't ever want to assume too much, or lose my appreciation, through any part of my journey, especially the further I get. Thanks and humility are incredibly important to me.
So I need you to stop bein' so stinkin' nice.
Monday, September 7, 2009
I raised mine, as many around me did that day. I was eager to show my hand, to claim the thing I love, the one that takes my time.
But seconds later, as my hand returned to my lap, guilt settled nearby.
Can a hobby be so profound? So deep-seated as writing?
How silly of me to mislabel it. A hobby.
It won't happen again.
If you'd allow me a little more time, I'd love you to check out my flash fiction piece at Joyful Online. So Much More Than Hair appears through September, and is company to several touching stories. Read down the list if you're inclined, I know you'll enjoy them. Thanks!
And laboring or not, have a great Labor Day.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Friday, September 4, 2009
At the start of your day, place any frozen beef roast in your slow cooker. Open a can of Ro-Tel and drown the meat with its juices, tomatoes and peppers. That's all, no water needed. Set to low and let simmer all day. You'll love the smell as it fills the house, I promise.
Later in the evening, thinly slice potatoes of your choice. (4-6 small ones work for my family of 4.) Toss into a glass baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil (to taste), and liberally sprinkle with minced onions, sea salt and fresh-cracked pepper (also to taste). Stir well to mix and evenly cover potatoes. Cover and bake at 400 degrees for an hour to an hour-and-a-half -- adding a Tbs butter and stirring halfway through. (Alter time or temp if necessary.) This is my new favorite potato dish, especially when some slices are browned and crisp. *mwah*
Prepare a green vegetable side, like asparagus. Trim ends and place stalks in glass dish. Season with something like McCormick's parmesan herb, add a few pats of butter, cover with foil and "steam" in oven alongside those potatoes. Bake 20 minutes, or until tender.
Serve with homemade cornbread. Just use your favorite recipe.
And perhaps follow up with a chocolate crisp and vanilla ice cream...
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
.1 Don't throw away plates until [the eater] says they are done.
.2 Don't hurt each other.
.3 Don't bug people.
.4 Don't lay on top of a truck.
.5 Hug people.
.6 Don't pick your nose.
.7 Don't slurp.
3. Don't pick up shoes.
4. Pick up toys in your room.
5. Pick up your house.
4. Pick up your Barbies.
5. Pick up your kitchen stuff.
3. Clean up any of your messes in the sink.
3. Always, always, always let your dog take a bath.
Rules worth living by, don't you think?
And here are my own:
Love one another.
Believe in yourself.
Be yourself, with no excuses.
Whatever your favorite thing, allow it often.
What house rules would you add?