Sunday, February 19, 2012

Tag, I'm It!

I've been tagged not once but twice this week. First, by RachelMaryBean at Writing On the Wall and also by Donna Weaver at Weaving A Tale or Two. That's what I get for trying to run away in my slippers.

The Rules:
1. You post the rules! Check
2. Answer the questions and then create eleven new questions to ask the people you've tagged.
3. Tag eleven some people and link to them.
4. Let them know you've tagged them.

First up - Rachel's List

1. What is one item on your bucket list? Spend a night in the Ice Hotel.

2.  Please share a goal you have accomplished. Still working on those.

3.  What's the next book onyour To be read list? Crossed by Ally Condie

4.  What's the last book you loved? My current read, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, before that Plain Kate by Erin Bow.

5.  What author would you love to meet? (Alive or dead is fine, it's a fantasy after all) J.K. Rowling

6.  If you could pick a name for yourself, what would it be? My married name is perfect for me

7.  What was your first pet? A schnauzer named Lucky

8.  Chocolate or caramel? Is there anything better than chocolate? If so, I haven't discovered it yet.

9.  Do you like to read about the past, present, or future? All of the above.

10. Where would be your dream vacation? A secluded, ocean-front cottage anywhere.

11. What did you have for dinner last night? roasted red pepper and pepperoni pizza and a glass of chardonnay

Second up - Donna's List (or How to torture your friend with mind boggling questions. These were hard, but very creative, Donna.)

1. If Abe Lincoln and George Washington got into a fight who'd win--and why? Oh dear. History and I don't get along. Um, Abe because he wore a taller hat?

2.  What was your favorite book in 2011. I wrote a post about my favorites here. If I had to choose one it would be Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins with Laini Taylor's, Daughter of Smoke and Bone a close second.

3.  If you had a magical snail that could grant wishes, what would you ask for? Three hours of me time every day.

4.  What would your last meal be if you were on death row? Okay, my first thought was, "What in the name of all things holy am I doing on death row???" Once I got past that: a tender, juicy steak, garlic mashed potatos, asparagus, two warm dinner rolls with butter and a couple of glasses of chardonnay. For dessert, a sampler of some of my favorite Italian pastry and a slice of chocolate truffle cake with a cup pot of Kona coffee.

5.  Who is your favorite, Bill or Ted? Why? Not sure. I've never seen the movie.

6.  What will your weapon of choice be for the coming zombie apocalypse? Why? A blindfold. I'm terrified of zombies. See post here.

7.  Who is your favorite literary stalker? I'm not sure I understand this question. Or maybe I haven't come across many fictional stalkers. Would Snape be considered a stalker. If so, Severus.

8.  If people were thrown in jail for bad habits, what would you be thrown in jail for? Eating too many sweets.

9.  What is the most distant place you've ever visited? Medjugorje, Yugoslavia

10. If a spaceship were to land outside your house right now, would you get in? If yes, where would you ask it to take you--and it could be anywhere you wanted to go. No way I'm getting on a spaceship voluntarily. Just sayin'.

11. Who is your favorite author? That's like asking me, who's your favorite child? Just can't answer it.

Now my questions for those I tag  Mwah, hah, hah, hah, *cough* hah!

1. What is your favorite shade of blue?
2. Morning or night person?
3. Name a book that made you cry.
4. What literary place, real or imaginary, would you like to visit and why?
5. Sweet or sour?
6. What would you do if you had a day all to yourself?
7. Do you write on the computer or longhand?
8. What was your favorite book as a child?
9. Name one possession that you couldn't live without.
10. How many states have you visited?
11. What music, if any, do you like to write to?

And now for the helpless victims:
Laura Josephsen @ Everything you didn't want to know about writing
nutschell @ The Writing Nut
Chris Phillips @ Slushpile Savant
Meredith @ Fairy Tales and Cappuccino

Tag! You're it! No pressure to play but if you'd like to, see rules at top of post.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What I Love...A Valentine's Day Post

 A long overdue thank you to Annalisa Crawford for the Liebster Award and a special thank you to Rachel Mary Bean for the Kreative Blogger Award and theVersatile Blogger Award. I appreciate the nod, ladies. Please go visit their blogs and say “Hi.” 

Instead of listing more facts about myself, I’ve decided on this Valentine’s Day to share some of the  things I love.

*My husband and my 4 kids.

*An early Saturday morning while everyone is still sleeping with a cup of coffee and the computer.

*That I have one child that will still greet me in the morning with a hug and sit on my lap in my arms for a couple of minutes before scampering off to watch Arthur or play with her stuffed animals.

*Reading. Anywhere, anytime.

*Sitting on my front steps after dinner with a glass of Chardonnay.

*Gazing at a starry sky.

*When the moon is full outside my front window at 5:30AM while I stumble downstairs to begin my day.

*Walking the beach searching for treasures: scalloped shells, sea glass, and smooth finger rubbing stones.

*The call from the library that informs me that one of my requested books has come in.

*Anything chocolate. Anything.

*My blogging buddies J

Thank you Annalisa!

Thank you Rachel Mary Bean!

Please share in the comments something you love! Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 13, 2012


Today I'm participating in the Origins Blogfest created by DL Hammons and co-sponsored by Alex J. Cavanaugh, Matt at the QQQE, Katie at Creepy Query Girl.

The topic: Tell us where your writing dreams began.

I’m not sure dreams had anything to do with it. That is to say, I didn’t dream of becoming an author as a child or even a teen. However, I’ve always had an active imagination and have always loved to write.

As a kid I could easily lose myself in my imagination, whether it was with a friend or by myself. Playing “house” (which took on various forms: family, famous rock star, animal hospital), creating scenarios with stuffed animals or dolls, creating comic strips and stories revolving around my favorite toys were my favorite forms of childhood play. I remember tap-tap-tapping on my mom’s manual typewriter, erasable typing paper, and the correcting pencil – rubber eraser on one end, brush on the other - to fix pesky typos. The adventures of Ellie and Marie were the first writings I received praise for at the ripe old age of 8 or 9. 

After that my 4th grade teacher, whom I adored, asked if she could submit my poem to Jack and Jill, a children’s publication. Of course I said, “Okay,” but soon got my first taste of rejection – a “thank you for submitting but we can’t accept your poem at this time” type of letter. I was heartbroken for about 5 minutes. What stuck was that someone looked past the quiet, shy girl and believed that something I wrote was good enough to send in to a magazine. I still have the pleasure of seeing that teacher occasionally when I visit the library. In 5th grade my essay on some forgotten topic (how awful that I can’t remember) won a citywide writing contest. I was embarrassed as all heck and couldn’t quite believe I won, but it made an impression. This was something I was good at.

Still, I never considered writing as a career. Writing a novel seemed beyond anything that I could ever accomplish. As a teen I wrote in diaries and journals, but I kept those to myself and honestly, they were reflective, not creative, except for the occasional poem. During my college years, it was common for my friends and I to exchange letters. These were the days before cell phones (our floor shared 1 pay phone in the hallway) and email, so we kept in touch by writing to each other. We’d share news, stories about college life, with a mix of heart and wit – great training ground for developing our own unique writing voice.

As an elementary teacher my love of children's literature grew in leaps and bounds. I loved reading and sharing Francis Hodgson Burnett, Roald Dahl, Beverly Cleary, among others with my classes. My biggest hope was that the kids would learn to love reading as much as I did.

Writing and reading of any kind took a back seat to raising a young family. It wasn’t until I discovered Harry Potter, read J.K. Rowling’s inspirational story, and joined a site devoted to discussing all things HP that I began to consider writing for children myself. With the encouragement of a close knit group of dear online friends I began testing my writing skills and researching the publishing world on the net.

Interest quickly turned to passion, an absolute love of expressing myself through the written word. I don’t know if I’ll ever be published, but the journey has been fantastic so far.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Reading, Writing, and Basketball (a.k.a. a perfect Saturday)

I can often tell when waking whether it’s going to be a good day, a stressful day, or simply ordinary. This morning I woke to the alarm; my husband had to work. Drifting in and out sleep while he got ready, I had a somewhat strange dream which made for a restless slumber...not to mention, I needed to use the bathroom. The dream lingered while I left my warm bed at 6:40AM, took care of business, and went downstairs. At first the dream threatened to disrupt the promise of a relaxing Saturday. However, the uneasiness soon dissolved as I bid goodbye to my husband, resolved to stay up. After all, I had some quiet time alone with a cup a coffee before the kids woke - a simple, rare pleasure.

This morning I took my coffee to my room where I read in bed for about an hour. Last night I started reading Erin Morgenstern’s, The Night Circus, a departure from what I usually read. As many of you may already know, this is an adult novel which involves magic and an intriguing cast of characters. I love everything about it so far, which makes reading more pleasurable, for sure, but hard to put down. I love when a book begs to be read and has my mind wandering back to it while I’m occupied with something else. My youngest eventually joined me, watching Pokemon while I read, then we went downstairs.

Reluctantly, I put my book aside so I could take advantage of my free morning and write. Granted, I only worked on blog posts – this one, my Origins post, and another for Valentine’s Day – but I’m writing. And the best part, it doesn’t feel like work. A good sign for this struggling writer.

Though I would have liked nothing more than to read and write my Saturday away, my youngest had a basketball game early this afternoon. We traveled with friends, as the game was a couple towns over, enjoying their company. The team is a mix of one first grader, and several 2nd and 3rd graders. We had about 10-12 players today. My daughter definitely has a competitive streak and loves to play. Today she scored her first 2 baskets in a game. Very exciting! The kids played their hearts out and it was so fun to watch.

The rest of my Saturday has involved alternating between reading, dozing, and writing. 

How did you spend your Saturday? Has anyone else read The Night Circus?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Phantom Cursor, A Blogfest, and Some Great Posts

A phantom curser! Whoa! That was weird. As I was typing, my cursor started floating to the top of the box by itself. Has that happened to anyone else before? My mug is filled with straight coffee, I swear. I'm not sure if I'm up to writing a ghost story. Anyway, back to the post at hand...

Today I want to direct you away from my blog for a couple of excellent and interesting blog posts. Do come back though because I'm going to break my "No Blogfests" rule next week and I'll tell you why below.

1. Kiersten White, author of Paranormalcy, Supernaturally (which I'm in the middle of reading), and to be released later this year, Endlessly, displayed her critique process with the first chapter of Paranormlcy. In this post she displays the first draft of a section of Paranormalcy and what she cut or changed to tighten her writing. I'm always fascinated with this process.

2. Kidlit agent, Mary Kole, wrote a wonderful craft post titled, The Promise of the Novel. THIS is the post that I've been waiting for. A flood of realization soaked through me as I realized that I can't move forward with this novel because I started it in the wrong place.

Origins Blogfest - February 13, 2012

I've decided to break my, "I don't participate in blogfests" rule. I'm not against them or anything. On the contrary, I love to read the responses when my blogging friends participate in them. For me it's all about time and committment. I don't have a regular blogging schedule and don't like to commit to too much on the web because it takes me from my own writing. I blog when I can and usually don't know ahead of time when that will be.

So why did I decided to break my no blogfests rule? Because I love the Origins topic: Tell us where your writing dreams began. I've always wanted to share where it all began for me and I love reading about other writers' journeys, whether they're published or unpublished. When did that urge to write begin and why? For many it was during childhood and for some it was a hidden desire just waiting for the right time to sprout.

The Origins Blogfest, the brainchild of DL Hammons from Cruising Altitude, takes place on February 13, 2012. If you'd like to participate, click the image on the right which will take you to DL's blog.

Have a great day, everyone!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Keep Going

A quick post tonight, friends. I've been playing catch up after a long week and a half of whipping my house into shape, a family party of 30 for my youngest daughter's birthday (my baby turned 8...sniff), battling a wicked head cold, and completing and sending college financial aid forms.

Writing? I think I remember a time when I used to have time to write.

Anyway, I wanted to contribute to the monthly Insecure Writers Support Group with a song I find encouraging when I start thinking, "Why the heck did I decide in the middle of my chaotic life that I wanted to write and publish books?" It's the biggest up hill climb I've ever undertaken, but I'm not out of breath yet.

For you, a song I discovered a couple of years ago on Upstart Crow's Literary's site. Frank Turner's, Photosynthesis. I hope you find it as inspirational as I do. Enjoy!