Friday, October 20, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things-October 20, 2017


It's Friday.  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa CainTonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

My boys got their school pictures back.  I may be biased, but I think they look handsome.



I got a short story I want to write outlined.  I set out to write it without an outline, but I felt like I was spinning my wheels and not getting anywhere.  I'm hoping that the outline, which I feel quite pleased with, will help me get it written.

The weather here has been gorgeous.  It's been in the 70's for the last few days, which is odd for where I live, but I plan to enjoy it while I can.  I know it can't last forever.

What would you like to celebrate?

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

WEP: Dark Places



It's time for more fun with Write . . . Edit . . . Publish.  Thank you Yolanda Renee and Denise Covey for making this possible.

It's October, so that means we get to have a spooky time with this month's theme of Dark Places.

Enjoy!

A Dark Man in a Dark Room 

The light bulb burned out days ago, but Ray didn’t bother with it.  A trip to the store would’ve involved interacting with people in the street, and his insides twisted at the thought.  He couldn’t risk temptation so close to home.
You could go out at night.  The convenience store down the road is open 24/7, the little voice in his mind whispered.  You’d be less likely to be caught if you slipped up.
Ray shook his head so violently the muscles in his neck twinged.  He couldn’t obey the impulse.  Going out would only end badly.  He’d already added light bulbs to his online shopping list, and the delivery service would bring them by the following morning.  He could survive another 12 hours or so in the lightless room.
The faint illumination cast by his laptop screen was enough to navigate the tiny studio apartment.  He hopped from website to website, reading articles that barely interested him.  He needed to keep his mind busy.
You know where you want to go, the voice hissed.  There are so many websites that could bring you pleasure.  No one needs to know.  Why restrain yourself?  Looking at images online won’t hurt anyone, will it?
Ray tried to push those inklings deep inside.  Maybe he’d eventually be able to bury them so deep they’d no longer plague him.  It seemed an impossible dream most of the time, but he continued to hope in the face of futility.
A sharp knock on the door made him jump.  He set his laptop on his musty comforter and slid off his bed.  His heart thumped loudly enough in his ears to mask the sounds of his socked feet on the hardwood floor as he crossed the room.
The delivery wasn’t due yet, and family members stopped dropping by for visits two decades ago.  The neighbors tended to give him no more than a hurried glance before sidestepping him in the hallway.  His wild eyes and unkempt hair were more than enough to guarantee such a reaction.
Maybe you should try being more approachable.  Aren’t you lonely?  Don’t you want to get close to someone?
Ray shivered as he reached for the doorknob.  He should have pretended he wasn’t home.  That was the only option that made sense, but the logical part of his brain was drowning.  He’d soon lose touch with it altogether.  Nevertheless, he pulled the door open.
“Hello, sir,” a young girl with blond hair and brown eyes said cheeffully.  She was slender and came up to his shoulder.  She couldn’t be any older than thirteen or fourteen.  A cardboard box rested in the crook of her arm.  “I’m selling candy bars to raise money for new marching band uniforms.  Each candy bar only costs $1, and they’re really delicious.”
This last part of her spiel sounded so enthusiastic that Ray knew she must have sampled one for herself.  He pictured her holding an unwrapped bar in her hands, the chocolate melting over her fingers, gooey and sweet.
He licked his lips, and finding his voice, replied, “I shouldn’t.”
The girl’s smile widened.  “Who says you shouldn’t?  Come on, it won’t hurt you too much to give in this one time, and it’s for such a good cause.”
Yeah, you heard her.  Give into the temptation.  One more time.  Remember how it made you feel before?  Those were the only times you ever felt good.  Let her help you feel good.
Ray felt like he was quaking beneath the surface.  He could shatter at any moment, and he couldn’t imagine how he looked to this girl who had no idea the type of monster she was dealing with.
Invite her in.  See that perfect skin?  You know what you want to do to her.
He did know.  He couldn’t help imagining it.  Running his hands over that creamy flesh.  Replacing his hands with a razor blade.  Dragging that blade along the skin, pressing just hard enough to create a valley in which it could rest.  Then pressing the extra little bit that would breach the skin.  Crimson liquid bubbling forth around the metal before cascading toward the floor.  Watching it pool around his feet before using it to paint a picture on his floorboards.
You could paint flowers.  Or other pretty girls to stare at.  All you have to do is invite her inside.  Say you need to get your money.  She won’t suspect anything.
Except he was at home, and other people may have seen this girl going door to door.  If she disappeared, people would come looking for her.
“All right.  I’ll buy one.”  He bit down on his lower lip as he reached into his pocket and pulled out the dollar.
Her face lit up.  “Thank you, sir.  I appreciate your help.”
When he accepted the candy bar, he purposely brushed his hand against hers.  The contact lasted only a moment, but something deep inside him roared to life.
His toes bumped against the shoebox stashed beneath his bed.  He froze in place, savoring the memories of how each of the photographs contained within came to be.  The torn flesh.  Subdued cries for help that went unheard.
If only he had a light bulb.  He’d have pulled them out and perused them for an hour or two, reliving the moments since he could make no new ones.
Except he could, in a way.  He closed his eyes and envisioned new scenes of gore and torment.  He thought up new ways to make it beautiful.  The room might’ve been dark, but nothing rivaled the dark recesses of his own mind.

Word Count: 938
FCA

Friday, October 13, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things-October 13, 2017



It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa CainTonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

My birthday was on Wednesday.  It was a low key day, but I'm cool with that.  I recently learned that Michael J. Nelson of MST3K and Rifftrax fame shares a birthday with me, which automatically makes the day that much more awesome.

The boys (this includes my husband) had a good time making homemade Halloween decorations.  Here are a few pictures of the results.  (Note: the ghost isn't homemade, but the kids still wanted their picture taken with it.)








Happy Friday the 13th!  My husband and I always celebrate the day since we met on a Friday the 13th.  We've since considered it a good luck day for us.

What would you like to celebrate?

Friday, October 6, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things-October 6, 2017



It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa CainTonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

This week has been a stressful one.  Zoe got a bad cold this week, so she's been really grouchy.  She's been getting better, though, so I'm grateful for that.  Unfortunately, she's passed her cold on to me, but it hasn't been too bad so far.

Even with the stress of caring for a sick baby, I've still managed to get some writing done.  It hasn't been a lot, but it's better than nothing.

My birthday is next Wednesday.  I don't have any fancy plans, but I am looking forward to the excuse to eat cake.  Bring forth the cake!


What would you like to celebrate?

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Insecure Writer's Support Group: October 2017



It's the first Wednesday of the month, and that means it's time to convene another meeting of The Insecure Writer's Support Group.  Our leader Alex J. Cavanaugh has assembled another great group of co-hosts: Olga Godim, Chemist Ken, Jennifer Hawes, and Tamara Narayan.

Be sure to visit the IWSG website!

The question for today is:  Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?

I think it's common for bits and pieces of ourselves to slip into our characters.  After all, they're born inside our heads.  We build them piece by piece, and the ways they behave are informed by our own experiences with humanity.

For example, I find myself writing characters telling jokes that I'd tell.  Or another character may share my love for reading.  I do try not to make them too much like me, though.  It would probably be boring if I denied myself the opportunity to look at the events of the story from the perspective of someone different from me.

Some authors may use their writing as a way to deal with a difficult event in their lives.  Perhaps in giving their protagonist a struggle similar to their own, the author can work through their own feelings.  I've done something like this before, though I never shared that story with anyone outside of a small group.  It felt a bit too personal to put out there.

Have you ever injected personal information into your characters?


Friday, September 29, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things-September 29, 2017



It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa CainTonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

It's been one of those weeks where I've been busy, but I don't feel like I've gotten a lot done.  I'm sure most of you can relate to that.  In my case, this failure to finish anything is largely due to the projects I've tackled this past week.  I'm working on two separate short stories, jumping between them as inspiration allows.  Doing this means that the work I've gotten done is spread out, and that makes it feel like I've accomplished less than I actually have.  I'm choosing to celebrate the fact that I've gotten some good writing done, even if I find myself feeling I should have done more.

I also did more outlining for my novel in progress.  I'm happy with the story I have in my head, at least so far.  I have a long way to go on it, of course.  Hopefully my enthusiasm for the project will keep me going.

I'm also celebrating the fact that October is almost here.  October means Halloween is almost here, and it's absolutely one of my favorite holidays!  My boys are already excited.  They can't wait to go trick-or-treating.  They've been making lots of homemade decorations and hanging them up around the house.  I may be biased, but I think they're pretty good artists.

What would you like to celebrate?

Friday, September 22, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things-September 22, 2017



It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa CainTonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

I submitted another story this week.  I have four out on submission right now, which is a record for me.  Granted, two of those submissions are super short, but I'm still proud of that accomplishment.  I've now made ten submissions so far this year, and I plan to make two more before the year ends.  This would be the first time I managed to make twelve submissions in a single year.  I really hope I pull it off.

My husband took the night off work.  Tonight is the homecoming game, and my boys have been begging their daddy to take them to the football game.  They're really excited about going.

Zoe is ten months old today.  I don't even know how that's possible.  I haven't lost as much pregnancy weight in that time as I'd have liked, but I'll choose not to focus on that for now.  That would just ruin my good mood.

What would you like to celebrate?

Friday, September 15, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things-September 15, 2017



It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain!  Tonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

I've finished the first draft of a new short story, and I'm hoping to finish editing it by the end of the day today. Fingers crossed that I don't succumb to procrastination.

Procrastination has been a problem this week since my husband and I have been re-watching Game of Thrones.  It hasn't been good for my productivity, but it's been too entertaining for me to care too much.

Zoe learned to wave.  It's so cute when she does it, too.  She's also getting more teeth.  Five in total have popped through now, and a sixth is visible just below the surface.  She bit my shoulder the other day, and I have to say, it really hurt.  She seemed to think it was funny.

What would you like to celebrate?




Friday, September 8, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things-September 8, 2017



It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain!  Tonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

I wasn't around last weekend because I traveled to Illinois with my husband and kids so we could visit family.  We left midday Thursday and got back home at 11:30 Monday night. The drive was also about 8 hours (could have been 6 but the kids kept having to use the restroom), so I was going stir crazy.  Still, we all made it there and back safely, and we had a great time seeing everyone.

As much fun as we had on our trip, I'm also celebrating being home again.  It's been good getting back into my regular routine and being able to relax a little.

I'm also happy that I've been able to get back into my normal writing routine.  I didn't write while we were gone, and I was worried my inspiration might dry up because of that, but nope.  That didn't happen.  I've been getting quite a bit done over the last few days.

What would you like to celebrate?

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Insecure Writer's Support Group: September 2017



It's the first Wednesday of the month!  That means it's time to convene another meeting of The Insecure Writer's Support Group.  Our leader Alex J. Cavanaugh has once again recruited a fine group of co-hosts: Tyrean Martinson, Tara Tyler, Raimey Gallant, and Beverly Stowe McClure.

Be sure to visit the IWSG website.  Not only is it a great source of support and information, information on the next IWSG Anthology Contest will be revealed.  You don't want to miss out!

As far as insecurities go, I always feel anxious when I have stories out on submission.  The second I hit send, I start to second guess myself.  I begin to wonder if the premise of the story is weak.  I worry that I might have an embarrassing misspelling.  I question whether I met all of the submission guidelines.  To get past these insecurities, I'm trying to focus on the feeling of accomplishment I get from finishing a story and sending it out.

I'm also concerned with getting back into the swing of things when it comes to writing.  We took a road trip out of state to visit family over the weekend.  We left early Thursday afternoon and got back late Monday night.  It was a lot of fun, but it shouldn't come as a surprise that I did little in the way of writing while we were gone.  I want to get back into a routine so I can still meet my goals for this month.  I think I can.  At least, I hope I can.

The question for this month is:  Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing?  For example, by trying a new genre you didn't think you'd be comfortable in?

I love the feeling of being surprised when I'm writing.  That's part of what makes writing so enjoyable.  When I start a new project, I like to have an idea of where it's going to go. That helps get me started.  I don't always stick to those plans, though, and sometimes those surprises make the story even stronger than before.

I've talked before about how important it is to try new genres and find out what you're really capable of (which can lead to many wonderful surprises), so I won't rehash that here. Instead I'd like to talk a little about the importance of looking at your past writings and comparing those to what you're currently writing.  When I've done this, I found myself absolutely stunned by how far I've come as a writer.

Don't get me wrong.  I still have a lot to learn, but looking at where I started shows me how much is possible when you keep writing and refuse to give up.  If you're ever feeling down about your writing, I suggest you pull out something you wrote years ago and compare it to something more recent. There's a good chance you'll be pleasantly surprised too.


Friday, September 1, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things-September 1, 2017



It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain!  Tonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

I'm actually writing this post a couple of days early.  By the time it goes live, I'll be in Illinois visiting family.  It's going to be a busy weekend with a lot of driving involved.  Hopefully it all goes well and the kids don't go stir crazy.

I submitted a short story this week.  It had to be in by a certain date, and I procrastinated so that I barely got it done in time. Nevertheless, it got finished, so that's reason enough to celebrate.

I'm looking forward to starting a new short story and getting some more work done on my new novel in the coming week. Hopefully it goes well.

What would you like to celebrate?

Friday, August 25, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things-August 25, 2017



It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain!  Tonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

The boys started back to school on Wednesday, and they seem to be having a great time with it so far.  Zoe has also been getting good naps in since her brothers are away during the day, leaving the house pretty quiet.

The big event of this week was the solar eclipse.  We drove down to Missouri for it, and boy was that an adventure. Weather forecasts called for a 30% chance of rain where we were planning to go, so of course it ended up raining like crazy.  Fortunately, we'd budgeted in enough time to travel further south to escape the storms.  It was an epic race to escape the cloud cover in time.

We eventually got to an area near I-70 where the clouds were thin and there was a visible blue patch of sky that looked like it might possibly be headed in our direction.  Since totality was about twenty minutes away at that point, it looked like our best bet.  We settled in a parking lot shared by a fireworks store and an adult book store (there were plenty of jokes forming in my head about that one) and set up our telescope. And as we'd hoped, just as totality began, the cloud cover cleared.

Since we had to drive further than anticipated, we didn't film nearly as much as I'd been hoping.  By the time everything was set up and ready to go, totality was underway.  Still, we did manage to get some of it recorded, and my husband edited our clips together into a short little video.

video

I'll say this about the experience.  No video or picture can do it justice.  During that moment of totality, there's a feeling in the atmosphere that you can't recreate.  The world suddenly goes dark.  Planets and stars are visible in the middle of the afternoon.  There's a chill in the air as the radiant heat from the sun vanishes.  And the corona shimmers and glows in a way that cameras can't seem to capture.  It's one of the most amazing events I've ever experienced, and I'm already making plans to see the solar eclipse in April 2024.

What would you like to celebrate?

Friday, August 18, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things-August 18, 2017




It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain!  Tonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

Zoe has more teeth coming in!  Only a couple of weeks after her bottom front teeth broke through, she now has the top front teeth visible just below the surface.  This has made her a tad irritable, but I can't blame her for that.

The novel I've started work on is taking some interesting turns.  The plot is growing and I may have a series on my hands now.  It's too soon to say what lies ahead, but I'm having a great time with it!  Even if the scope of this project is a little bit frightening.

The eclipse is on Monday!  Eek!  I'm looking forward to this so much.  I have a telescope, solar filter, and video camera so I can hopefully record the event.  Well, the crucial bits anyway. My laptop battery isn't good enough to capture the entire thing from start to finish, but as long as I get part of the lead up and totality, I'll be happy.  I just need the clouds to stay away.  If I do get good video of it like I'm hoping to, I'll share it with all of you.

What would you like to celebrate?

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

WEP: Reunions


It's time for Write Edit Publish with Yolanda Renee and Denise Covey.  This month's theme is reunions.  There are so many possibilities with this month's theme.  Let's begin!

Tips for Surviving a Class Reunion

#1-Don’t let Facebook intimidate you.
            In the era of social media, people share everything.  What they eat, how much they exercise, the job promotions they got, etc.  People want to share their successes with the world (who doesn’t?), but the ability to pick and choose what gets shared can make it appear as if someone’s life is perfect.  This is a lie.
            Think of it this way.  Do you share a photo of yourself first thing in the morning complete with bedhead and eye boogers?  No.  Do you share that video of you trying a complicated dance move, tripping over a railing, and falling butt-first into a rose bush?  Of course not!  You don’t need to.  Someone you know will do it for you unless you destroy the evidence!  But if you’re not sharing that stuff yourself, your old classmates probably aren’t either.  This doesn’t mean those moments of humiliation don’t exist.
            People lie and manipulate facts on the internet all the time.  Shocking, right?

#2-Bring a buffer.
            If you have a significant other or friend who went to a different school than you did, drag them along with you.  This will help keep any awkward moments from getting too bad.  If the class bully asks if you ever fully recovered from that atomic wedgie, introduce them to your buffer.  What if a classmate approaches you about hooking up with their sweetheart senior year?  (You didn’t know they were dating!  How could you when you were always at the tail end of the gossip train?)  “Hey, I’d like you to meet [insert buffer’s name here].”  At the very least, they likely won’t try to punch you through your significant other’s face.  And if they do, it’ll make them look bad in front of everyone else.
            The down side to this is your friend/significant other may learn some embarrassing details about your teenage life.  If they love you enough to tag along for this, they probably won’t be too merciless with this newly acquired information.

#3-Practice your introduction.
            These people knew who you were a long time ago.  You’ve presumably changed a lot since then.  Even if you’re the same inept weirdo you were in high school, you don’t need to leave your ex-classmates with that impression.  Think of it like a job interview.  It’s all about framing the things you’ve accomplished in the right way.  Are you a waitress?  Congratulations!  Now you’re a food delivery technician!  Do you clean toilets?  Now you’re a health and sanitation expert.  Your job may not be glamorous, but other people don’t need to know that.  Presentation is crucial.

#4-Have an exit strategy ready.
            Reunions may be a good chance to catch up with old friends.  They might also be the perfect chance for old dramas to rear their head and strike.  A casual conversation can turn to one of bitterness and contempt quickly, and you should be prepared for that.  Have your buffer fake a medical emergency.  Have a friend on standby ready to call with an excuse to leave.
            You could also decide to tell people what you really think of them and casually stroll out afterwards.  You are an adult and free to leave at any time, after all.  You may even look just a little bit badass while you do it.  Unless you trip over your own feet on the way out.  Which you will, let’s face it.  That’s how these things work.

#5-Remember that you never need to see these people again.
            At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how bad you mess up.  It doesn’t matter in the slightest what any of them think of you or of what you did with your life.  They may be a part of your past, but they don’t have to be a part of your future if you don’t want them to be.  The sooner you embrace this fact, the more fun you’ll have.
            Have a happy reunion everyone!

Word Count: 660 words
FCA

Friday, August 11, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things-August 11, 2017


It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain!  Tonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

School registration was this week, so now it's just a countdown until that first day of school.  I'm glad the paperwork is done, that's for sure.  I love writing, but I hate filling out stacks of paperwork.

The eclipse is coming up soon, and we're preparing to take a drive to Northern Missouri to watch it.  I cannot wait!  I'm the geek who has been looking forward to this event for at least four years.  I will not feel bad about that, either.

I'm having good luck with the novel I recently started.  I've written several scenes, and I'm happily outlining it so I have an idea of where the story is going.  I absolutely LOVE getting excited about writing projects!

What would you like to celebrate?

Friday, August 4, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things-August 4, 2017



It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain!  Tonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

I've spent part of this week submitting stories.  I already received a rejection, but I just turned around and submitted it somewhere else.  I'm determined not to let it get me down.

We finished buying school supplies for the boys, who return to school later this month.  One of them is excited, the other less so, but I'm sure they'll have fun once they head back.

I'm also celebrating the surprising nature of inspiration.  I have a WIP that's been sitting on the back burner for a little while.  I knew the beginning of it was lacking something, but I hadn't been able to come up with something that felt right. Then halfway through the week, I was relaxing with a cup of coffee when the idea smacked me upside the head.  I've since rewritten the beginning of this WIP and, while it still needs some polishing, I can say that it is much improved.

What would you like to celebrate?

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Insecure Writer's Support Group: August 2017



It's the first Wednesday of the month!  Let's convene another meeting of The Insecure Writer's Support Group!  Our esteemed leader Alex J. Cavanaugh started this group so writer's could seek out support and share our insecurities with one another.  The co-hosts for today are: Christine Rains, Dolorah @ Book Lover, Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Yvonne Ventresca, and LG Keltner!  That last one is me, by the way.

Be sure to visit the IWSG website!

The question for August 2nd, 2017 is: What are your pet peeves when reading/writing/editing?

Typos are a big thing for me when I'm reading.  When I'm editing, I expect the typos, and they don't bother me because I can easily fix them.  However, when I stumble across them in a published thing, I wince.  That's because I can't fix it, no matter how much I want to.  It's inevitable, though.  A stray typo is going to get through here or there.  Such is life.

I also hate it when words or phrases are overused.  If the writing gets too repetitive, it can trip readers up and detract from the experience.  I find issues like this in first drafts of my own stories, and I always try to fix it.  Sometimes I'll see what I can trim to help alleviate the problem.  I also love using my thesaurus. You don't want to go overboard on using over-the-top fancy language to describe something simple, but that doesn't mean you can't add a little variety by testing out a few synonyms.  If you use a deft hand, you can make your story sparkle.

Oh, and here's a bonus pet peeve that has to do with the outside world.  I absolutely can't stand it when I'm reading/writing/editing and people assume that I'm not busy with anything important.  My kids get a free pass at this since I need to take care of them, but anyone else may immediately find themselves on my bad side.

What are some of your pet peeves?


Friday, July 28, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things-July 28, 2017



It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain!  Tonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

I'm making good progress on a couple of short stories, and I'm looking forward to finishing them soon.  I have plans to submit both of them, and that prospect is both exciting and terrifying as always.

The bedroom switch is finished, and the boys love having a bigger room to share.  It seems like it's been a good move for everyone.

Zoe now has teeth!  A tooth on the bottom broke through a couple of days ago, and a second one is making its presence known.  She's been trying to gnaw on everything within reach. And since she army crawls with the best of them, so many things are within reach for her.  She's been giving me a work out this week!

What would you like to celebrate?

Friday, July 21, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things-July 21, 2017



It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain!  Tonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

We've been undergoing the grueling process of switching bedrooms.  Our two boys share a room, and as they get bigger and collect more toys, they're getting more and more crowded. Meanwhile, my husband and I have a large bedroom, but we only sleep in it and that's it.  Since the boys would make better use of the large space, we're trading with them.  It's amazing just how many things need moved, but we're getting close to being done.  They're definitely excited about the switch.

Zoe will be eight months old tomorrow.  She can move her walker around like a pro, sit on a blanket and play for long stretches of time, and she's kinda sorta almost crawling.  It's more of an army crawl, but she's impressively fast at it.  I definitely need to be careful what I leave within her reach. She's also teething, so she's a little cranky some days, but it's not too bad.

Writing is somehow going okay with everything else going on. I'll definitely celebrate that.

What would you like to celebrate?

Friday, July 14, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things-July 14, 2017



It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain!  Tonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

The Kickstarter for the 2018 Young Explorer's Adventure Guide just ended, and the project met it's funding goal. I'm so excited to be a part of this anthology, and I'm happy to see so many people working together to make it happen!

We had an adventure getting an old car to a junkyard yesterday. It had been sitting around for a while and desperately needed to be moved.  The goal was to drive it there, but it didn't work according to plan.  Things like to go awry when dealing with old, broken-down vehicles.  We did manage to get it all dealt with in the end, and no one was harmed in the process, so I'll count that as a win.

I'm looking forward to a simple, calm weekend.  The last two weekends have been crazy busy, and while they were fun, I'm grateful for the chance to relax.

What would you like to celebrate?

Friday, July 7, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things-July 7, 2017



It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain!  Tonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

The 4th of July holiday was a lot of fun.  Despite forecasts of possible rain both Monday and Tuesday, we had dry weather for the fireworks displays we planned to attend both nights. For Monday's display, we were treated to a lightning show in the distance.  It was pretty.  We also had fun firing off fireworks of our own.  The kids really enjoyed that part of things.

Yesterday was my husband's birthday.  Of course he still had to work, as many people do, but I'm planning on making a cake for him this weekend.

Speaking of this weekend, it's going to be a busy one.  We're having a town celebration, and the kids are going to be in the parade tomorrow morning.  They always love being in the parade, and they're also looking forward to all the activities that will be going on throughout the day.  They'll have me exhausted by the end of it, I'm sure, but it should make for a good day.

What would you like to celebrate?


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Insecure Writer's Support Group:July 2017


It's the first Wednesday of the month, and that means it's time to convene another meeting of The Insecure Writer's Support Group!  Alex J. Cavanaugh is the creator of this fine organization, and this month he's enlisted the help of Tamara Narayan, Pat Hatt, Patricia Lynne, Juneta Key, and Doreen McGettigan.

Be sure to check out the IWSG website!

I went through a bit of a writing slump over the last month, and I felt terrible about my lack of any kind of progress.  I never feel good about myself when I'm not writing, but I'm not sure if it's the guilt of not being productive or if something about the writing process naturally makes me happier.  It could, perhaps, be a combination of the two.

The good news is that I'm bringing myself out of it.  I made a recent submission, I'm making good progress on editing a story I'd like to send out soon, and I have an idea for the next story I'd like to write.  I'll count that as a victory.

And now for the July 5th Question.

What is one valuable lesson you've learned since you started writing?

There are a lot of lessons to be learned, and I'm sure I'll learn many more along the way.  One lesson I've been learning lately is to trust myself and my instincts.  This includes trusting both that I can write compelling stories and that I'm capable of getting better over time.

We all hear about what we shouldn't be doing as writers, but that doesn't make it any easier to figure out what we should be doing.  I think we've all felt insecure about stories we've written and whether they're any good.  We all want people to enjoy our work, and I know I've spent a lot of time second-guessing myself because of what I think other people might say about various writing choices I've made.  What will people think of the protagonist? Will people relate to this character? Will this POV do what I want it to do, or will it destroy the whole story?

We should ask ourselves questions like this, of course, but at the end of the day, we need to make a choice and trust ourselves to pull it off, even if it takes several attempts.  If we don't, we may get stuck in a perpetual loop of doubt and never finish anything.  Or we may get discouraged and give up altogether.

I realize I'll never write anything that everyone will love, and that's okay.  None of us can.  We'll always have people who dislike our work for whatever reason.  What we can do is trust ourselves to write stories that resonate with some people and be happy with our accomplishments.  We can learn to take criticism in a positive way and not let it destroy our trust in ourselves as writers.  We'll always have room to grow and get better, but that doesn't mean we're terrible or incompetent. Incompetence comes from an unwillingness to learn.  And the only way to learn is to keep writing.

None of this is easy, of course, but I'm slowly getting there.

What's a valuable lesson you've learned?