Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Beginning, Middle, and End Blogfest

Can I just say that blogfests are the best? I should really host my own sometime... anyway, I saw this one on a couple of blogs and I just had to join in. It is that fun.



For all the info hop on over to Kate Larkindale's blog.



Here is the beginning, middle, and end to Earth Song. And yes, the end is a cliffhanger. Let me know what you think...?



Beginning :



I could die if I am caught here; die on my own land.





Middle:

I close my eyes and see that I am surrounded by archers on all sides. If I do not move I will die.

It is not long enough for me to find my horse, but it is long enough for me to save my own life.



End:



It is time for our generation to stand; time for the magic to return and the tyranny to end. It is now or never.

Wednesday Update #4

Until September 10th the lovely and amazing Abby Flowers is holding a blog-fest called Kurious-Kids, and there are some fun prizes involved! Like so many of us, Abby was introduced to the power of poetry through Shell Silverstein. I'm a big a fan myself, and I would love to win "The Light in the Attic" for my kids.









One of many great things about being a mom is that I get to share all the books, games, and toys that I loved as a child with my children. Before my son was born my husband and I went to a local book store and bought every single Dr. Seuss book they had.



I love Seuss for so many reasons, but mostly I love him becasue they were the only books my father would read to me.



My dad is master of voice inflection, he memorized major poems like "The Rhyme of The Ancient Mariner" and he would practice his recitals on us. I still remember being six or seven and feeling chills as repeated the line "Water, water, everywhere and not a drop to drink."



Anyway, my dad would get so into Dr. Seuss, that for a long time I thought he was the author. He would go around saying the lines from the books every time we asked him questions and he holds the same type of humor Seuss does.



I'm not sure when I figured out that my dad wasn't Dr. Seuss, but I remember thinking that they had to at least be friends.



My favorite Seuss book, the one that I love to read to my kids is "Oh the Places You'll Go!"





The message is poignant and powerful, especially as writers. There have been so many times when I feel like I've ended up in 'a slump' and come down from that slump with unpleasant bump.



I love that the story doesn't end there, that life takes us through so many paths (and all too often to the waiting place) but in the end, the hard work is worth it.



"And will you succeed? Yes you will indeed! 98 & 3/4% guaranteed. Kid, you'll move mountains!"



That's what I want my children to know more than anything, that with hard work, any mountain can be moved.



What is your favorite children's book?





Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Kid History Episode 6

You may or not remember that I held a giveaway for the premier of Kid History episode 6. Thanks to John Roberts (one of the Kid History stars) I was able to go to this event and have tickets for the giveaway. I had a serious blast! I haven't laughed that hard in ages, my sides are still sore.



Yesterday they posted the new episode to their You Tube channel, and since not all of you could go, I thought I would share it here for your viewing pleasure. (Plus I'm in the video at the very end yelling Yellow Gwapes - although only I know where I am, mawhaha!) Have a great day all!





Monday, August 29, 2011

Plotting Tools

Back in High School I had this amazing English teacher, he was the person that believed in my writing enough to get me to this point. (For the full story click here) Anyway, he made us plot. He taught us the value of thinking ahead of time so that our writing would be conveyed clearly.



I enjoyed neatly outlining my little five paragraph papers and I tried to apply those techniques to writing a novel, but it didn't work for me. I still did free write sessions to get ideas before writing, but an outline felt too detailed. For me, it killed the fun of writing.



Looking back I regret that, I wish that I had come up with a big picture view so that I wasn't re-writing my book at this point. Lesson learned.



Thankfully, the online writing community has provided me with a wealth of new ways to look at outlining and plotting, so today I thought I would share them with you.



The first one is called The Eight Sequences, it actually refers to play writing, but it's a good model for a novel as well. I like this tool becasue you can do a broad outline, but still get a strong feel for the path your book is going to take. (I found this method on someone's blog, but I can't remember who -- so if it was you, give me a nudge)



The next tool is the Main Character Survey on Manon Eileen's blog. This is an in depth, psychological look at your character. I would suggest using it for all of you main players, becasue it is seriously eye opening.



Last, but not least, is 750 words. This handy little site was started as way for people to write private journal entries and pick apart their moods and the things they center their lives on. The reason it is so great for writers is becasue you can write parts of your book and pick apart your characters moods and thoughts. It's a great tool to get perspective, and the amount of stats really blew my mind. Everything is analyzed so well.



So, there you have it. I hope these sites help you as much as they've helped me, and if you have other resources I would love to hear them!

Friday, August 26, 2011

As if that's the way it's been all along

Welcome to another Life List club post, Today I have Sonia with me (yeah!) and I hope you'll check out my post over at Pam Hawley's blog.



Here's Sonia:



Growing up, I was always a storyteller. I started telling stories as soon as I could put a few sentences together. And the minute I could write them down, I put them on paper.

All the way up through high school, I wrote like mad. I wrote on anything I could get my hands on. Receipts, envelopes, backs of spent ticket books from my waitressing job, fliers, and my arm if I had to. I spent hours in front of the computer.





The words, although probably not spectacular, flowed.

And then they stopped. Not all at once but not a lingering death either. I started college and stopped listening to the stories in my head.



For fifteen years, I wrote nothing more creative than last-minute term papers, memos, and shopping lists. Although there was a occasional sputter of words and there were still ideas rattling around inside my head, I couldn't seem to turn on the flow any more.



I kicked myself in the mental rear a lot. If only I hadn't stopped. If only I'd kept writing. If only. If only. If only.



How easily those if-only's pile up. If only we'd kept eating right. Kept exercising. Hadn't stopped speaking up for ourselves. Hadn't stopped being ambitious. Saved more money. Worn sunscreen. Hadn't stopped writing.



All those if-onlys crowd around us, pointing their fingers. Taunting us. Reminding us how much harder it is to fix something than to maintain it. Harder than building something new sometimes.



Over the years I spent as a writing couch potato and after, when I finally started getting off my creative butt, I let the if-onlys bully me. Then I found a marvelous piece of advice in Victoria Lynn Schmidt's Book in a Month, to work "as if".



Working "as if" means that you keep writing--that you keep moving forward with your story--without stopping to rewrite every time you change your mind about a character, plot or setting detail. Instead, you take notes...[and] stay on task while still remembering changes you'll need to make later.



Keep moving forward as if you've already made the changes. As if you never stopped. As if that's the way it's been all along.



Fear, regret, and guilt are useful when they let you know you've strayed from your path or that you're about to take a new path. They put you on alert so you can be aware of danger or let you know how you got so far off track.



If-onlys are like the inner critic's voice popping up just as your story's taking shape. They steal the momentum. Derail the narrative. If you let them, they'll kill your story. If-onlys only hold you in the swamp of fear, regret and guilt so that you can't ever move on.



If-onlys leave you stranded at the foot of a mountain looking up, wondering how you'll even get to the top.



They're hoping you'll just give up and walk away.



Don't let them talk you into giving up.



The only time we can rewrite the past is when we're telling a story. We can rewrite to our heart's content, after we've finished the story. In life, we can't go back an erase our mistakes or keep ourselves from straying off the right path.



We can't change what we've done before but we can change what we do now. We can move forward as if we've already made the changes. As if we never stopped running or writing or eating healthy. Because we'll never get anywhere good if we stay stuck in the if-only swamp. We can't rewrite our history but we can keep going as if we already are who we want to be.



What if-only's have been holding you back? And what does "working as if" mean to you?


____________________________________________________________________________





Sonia G Medeiros is a writer of fantasy, science fiction, and horror. She's the author of more than a dozen short stories and flash fiction pieces, blogs at WordPress, and is working on her first novel, a dark fantasy. When she's not wandering along the tangled paths of her wild imagination, she wrangles home life with one fabulous husband, two amazing, homeschooled children, three dogs, one frog and two cats who battle each other for world domination

Just Visiting

I just wanted to let y'all know that I guest posting at Pam Hawley's blog today! So go check it out and have a great day!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wednesday Update #3



This week I am participating in Rachel Harrie's platform-building campaign. So if you're here for that, Welcome!



I feel kinda bad that my post on Monday was so dark, and everyone who to came to my blog got depressed, but I promise it's a lot of fun around here most of the time :)

















My writing is coming along slow and steady. I've updated my writing status bar to your right to show my progress on the re-write. That way you guys can poke me when I'm not doing anything.



That's pretty much it on the news front so I'll leave you all with one of my long-time favorite songs. It's one that never grows old to me.







What goals do you have this week?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Few Good Books

For the first time in a while I've gone through several books that I absolutely adored and devoured with a voracious hunger. These are the kind of books I want to write.



They are the kind that stick in your head. The ones where you wonder about the characters becasue you feel like they've become your friends. The ones that you want to read again, and again.



A part of me wants to horde them to myself, I want them to belong to me. I want to study them and dissect them and think of every possible every possible scenario that could happen in the character's future.



Another part, a bigger part, needs to talk about them. To tell someone so that I can lay them aside for a little bit and think about other things. Because these books are all-consuming.



So I'm going to share the books with you and give you a little blurb for each one. Then you can go read them and we can chat, then we will both be happy.







First Up is Divergent. I read this one becasue I saw it spreading across the blog-o-sphere like wildfire. Here's the blurb :

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her. (find the website here.)



Next is a tale on the opposite end of the spectrum, Anna and the French Kiss. Teen romance in Paris? Yes please:

Anna was looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. So she's less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris—until she meets √Čtienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, √Čtienne has it all . . . including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss? Stephanie Perkins keeps the romantic tension crackling and the attraction high in a debut guaranteed to make toes tingle and hearts melt. (find her website here)









Last, but certainly not least is YA book from my favorite adult author. Can I tell you how thrilled I was when I heard he was releasing a YA? Thrilled. Blurb time:

My name is Michael Vey, and the story I’m about to tell you is strange. Very strange. It’s my story.

To everyone at Meridian High School, Michael Vey is an ordinary fourteen-year-old. In fact, the only thing that seems to set him apart is the fact that he has Tourette’s syndrome. But Michael is anything but ordinary. Michael has special powers. Electric powers.



Michael thinks he's unique until he discovers that a cheerleader named Taylor also has special powers. With the help of Michael’s friend, Ostin, the three of them set out to discover how Michael and Taylor ended up this way, but their investigation brings them to the attention of a powerful group who wants to control the electric children – and through them the world. Michael will have to rely on his wits, powers, and friends if he’s to survive. (find it on goodreads here)



That's it for now folks, but I'm out of books to read. What do you recommend?



Monday, August 22, 2011

How does the world go on?





Have you ever had a moment where you feel like your heart has just stopped beating? I just had one of those.



You know when two people are just meant for each other from the moment they meet? My friends KJ & Macie where just like that. So it was no surprise when they got married. They had a beautiful little girl, and it was a storybook family.



Of course they had more love to give. When Macie found out she was expecting again everyone was so overjoyed. They are such good parents, I thought, I am so happy for them. Better news yet, it was a boy. Only the ultrasound didn't leave them with just that happy thought. The baby was small, really small.



They proceeded with caution and did everything they could. The baby stopped growing. They tested to see if the child was down syndrome or if he had other diseases. Nothing was conclusive.



When Macie went into labor three weeks before her due date they where anxious. It wasn't terribly early, but they knew the baby could have serious problems.



His birth weight was just two pounds, but his parents didn't care. He seemed to be healthy otherwise. Of course they would have to keep him in the NICU until his weight went up, but the outlook was hopeful.



They named him Kevin Jonathan after his father and called him little Johnny. After just a few weeks, it was clear the outlook wasn't as hopeful as first predicted. He would need Cataract surgery on both his eyes and when he got a little bigger he would need several operations on his heart.



They fought and struggled for seven months, he went through surgery after surgery. He wore glasses. He had constant infections. He never knew a life without a tube attached to him.



Finally, the day came. The breakthrough they had been waiting for. They where allowed to bring him home. I don't know everything that happened in that time, and now I wish I had been there for them. But at least they had him at home with them, if only for a little while.



This morning I found out Johnny died. My heart sank straight to my toes. After all this family had been through. After how hard they fought, to have it come to that -- there are no words.



I suddenly felt completely selfish. Just moments before I had gotten mad at my son becasue he wouldn't go to bed. How trivial! How base was that unpretentious thought? I felt, I feel, lower than scum.



It was moment where I wondered how anyone else was going through their everyday mundane lives. A child just died! Shouldn't the world stop for that? I wish I had all the answers. I wish I had the perfect thing to say to this family, but I don't. Today, I am out of answers.



Rest in peace, little Johnny.



Friday, August 19, 2011

Kid History - GIVEAWAY

Okay awesome readers, I normally don't blog twice in a day, but trust me, this news was worth it. Remember that HILARIOUS video I showed y'all on Wednesday? Well, here's your chance to see it on the big screen, along with the four other episodes and the premier of Episode 6!



I am going to giveaway two tickets to TWO lucky winners next Wednesday. The best part? I'll be there too ;)



The premier is being held on Saturday, August 27th at 7:00pm located at the Cottonwood High school in Murray, UT. So the contest is only open to those who live (or want to travel to) Utah. For all the details of the showing click here.



So here's the deal, it means so much to me that I am asking you guys to help me spread the word, and the more you spread the more likely you are to win!



You'll get one entry for following my blog THIS IS REQUIRED, each subsequent entry is given for passing the love along. When you've sufficiently plastered Cyber-Space, come on back and fill out the form below. Good Luck, and May the Force be With You!!



One more little blurb: There's going to be a meet and greet with the cast from 5:00 until the show starts at 7:00, then more meet and greet from 8:30 to 10:00 or so. T shirts and DVD's of the show on sale. Debut of Kid History 6 as well as episode 1 of a new series. We're going to show all of the episodes with behind the scenes and us telling the real stories behind each. Go to www.kidhistorytickets.com for tickets.




Find the Kid History (Bored shorts TV) YouTube page here.



Find their Facebook Page here.



Follow them on Twitter here.





This Giveaway is now Closed

Listen

What's that you say? You're looking for some new music to inspire? We'll you've come to the right place.



The band Temper Trap has been around for a while, but it took me some time to warm up to their music. Dougy Mandagi has a rather high voice for a man, but it's not feminine either. It's one of those voices that could go either way.



The first time I heard "Sweet Disposition" I was unimpressed, but the more I heard it, the more I couldn't get enough of it. Eventually I broke down and bought the album. And you know what? I love it. Take a listen or two and see of your opinion matches mine.







Is there a band you love, that you once hated?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wednesday Update #2

The biggest update I have is that I reached 300 followers! Wahoo! Thank you all so much for coming and visiting my little blog, it really means a lot to me.



I want to shower you all with everything you want, but all I have is virtual confetti. Feel free to throw it around liberally! I would do a giveaway, but I'm going to be doing one next month for the life list club (shhh, don't tell.)



Other than that I have nothing to update, no blog awards, no contests - it's a pretty slow week. So instead I thought I would post another one of the You Tube funnies that I so enjoy.







Anyone doing any fun writing things this week?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Writing and Marriage

Tomorrow will mark my eight year anniversary with my husband. It's crazy to think that I was a 19-year-old newlywed. Looking back, I know how insane it was. At the time I felt mature enough to handle a HUGE commitment like marriage, but now I realize that I was so young and naive. Luckily, I found the right man to go through life with.



Our marriage has been through so many trials, but in the end we've always stuck together, and I have confidence that we will be together forever. Why? Because we are both willing to put in the work that a marriage requires.



When I was 19 I had these skewed fairy-tale romance ideas about love. Cinderella was a subtle theme to my wedding (see the big poofy dress)







But I have learned that love isn't the only factor in creating a family. Marriage is about give and take. Sometimes you're going to be the strong one and you have carry the relationship, and other times you'll need your partner to support you.



In writing, it's the same. Sometime your characters let you flow through a scene with no issues and other times you have to carry the creative burden without much help.



I think we all sit down and feel as if we have a best-selling idea on our hands. We are like 19-year-old's with fantasies about love.



The difference is putting in the effort to work through it all.



Do you ever feel like giving up on your work? What do you do to keep pushing forward?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Have You Ever Lied About Your Goal Progress?

Hello faithful readers and welcome to another edition of the Life List Club. Since I'm super special and lucky I get to have Carrie with me again today! SQUEEE!! Her post is rockin' and I'm sure all of you will love it!



But first I must tell you all to hop over to my post on Lyn Midnight Against the Odds. It's pretty much the complete opposite of what Carrie's talking about so it will be nice for you guys to have two fun things to read.



Here's Carrie -



I was at a barbecue the other night when an acquaintance asked, "How's your novel coming?" I stared back blankly, sipped my drink and hoped they'd just go away. Finally I managed a, "It's OK." That was a big, fat lie. If I was telling the truth, what I really would have said was, "Terrible. I don't have a clue where my story is going next, and writing in the past scares the heck out of me." But I didn't. Instead I chose to lie.

Now on the scale of lies, mine might be considered a white lie. Rather than divulging the inner secrets of my writerly life, I let this person off easy by giving them an easy answer. Does anyone really want to hear about the hours I've spent banging my head against my keyboard over a single scene? Not likely. But, I still left the barbecue that night feeling awfully guilty about what I had said, and more importantly, wondering why I had told anyone I was writing a novel in the first place.

Telling People About Your Goals:

When I joined the Life List Club and set out on a year-long journey to complete some of my biggest life goals, I was so excited that I told everyone I knew (and even a few people I didn’t). I told my family, my friends and my co-workers that I was making a commitment to complete a list of fifteen goals, one of which was writing a novel. It felt great to talk about it, and I thought that telling people about my goals would be motivating and keep me accountable. Well, science says this isn't true. Check out this short video from Derek Sivers on why announcing your plans can make you less likely to accomplish them:







Now, at the risk of going against Derek and science, I think that telling people about your goals can be motivating, especially when you're writing a novel or working towards another giant-sized goal. The Life List Club was created for this exact reason: it’s a way to share your goals and keep yourself accountable. But, perhaps Derek does have a point when it comes to shouting your goals from the tree tops like I did. Maybe you shouldn't tell everyone and their dog about your goal, unless you're prepared to tell the truth about your progress.

Telling the Truth About Your Progress:

If you're going to tell people about your goals, I think you also need to be prepared to tell them the truth about your progress. Did you have a bad week and not hit your target number of words or pages? Tell the truth. Did you break down and eat a jumbo sized bag of chocolate almonds on Friday night? Fess up. Did you skip the gym three days in a row? Admit it. When you lie about your goal progress, you only hurt yourself. Thinking back to the person who asked me about how my novel was going at the barbeque, I now realize that I would have been better off telling the truth. By lying and saying that the novel was going well, I took the social pressure of admitting that things weren’t going well off of myself, thereby negating any benefit I would have gained from telling this person about my goal in the first place. Not to mention that I felt terrible for lying. If you’re going to tell people about your goals in an attempt to keep yourself accountable, I believe you have to be prepared to let them know when you’re not making the progress you hoped you would.

Do you agree? Should we be careful about whom we share our goals with? Do you tell people about your big goals? Have you ever lied about your progress?

____________________________________________________________________________________

Carrie Mumford is a writer and editor living in the wild Canadian West. She writes short stories and non-fiction articles, and is working on her first novel. When she’s not participating in word-related activities she can be found chipping away at her certificate in publishing, running, or trying to learn CSS. You can find her on her blog, her website, Twitter or Google Plus.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wednesday Update

Yup, I'm changing my updates to Wednesdays! The first bit of news is that I am participating in Blackbird in my Window's summer writing contest. The good news? You get to read part of my first chapter. Go have a look!

Second, in the past week I have received three awards and been tagged in a meme! Holy cow I feel so amazingly loved! I truly have the best readers EVER!

First up is the seriously cute blogger award from Cherie at Ready. Write. Go.

Oh! Now I want a puppy, tee hee!

Next, is the liebster blog award from my good friend, and next door neighbor, Krista at I Take The Pen

Liebster means friend in German, pretty cool huh?

Last, but not least, I won the flash fiction contest at Cheryl Ham's blog, check out my entry here.

It's so fun and flashy! I LOVE it!

Miss Cherie also tagged me in a meme! I've already answered some of the questions (you can find them here if you really want to know) So I'm only answering the ones I haven't before (it's my blog so I'm allowed ;)


Show us the cutest most adorable picture of your favorite animal.


How about the kind of puppy I want instead?

I just love Pugs little, squishy faces :)


You have five seconds to survive the Zombie Apocalypse. Choose one friend who would save your butt and tell us why you choose them.


Really? Isn't it obvious that I would choose my husband? He is pretty amazing with a gun ;)



Share a quote with us.

"Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did." - Newt Gingrich


I know you had trouble choosing just one, let's have another.


I, like Cherie, am not really a quote person. But I'll play nicely - "If one dream should fall and break into a thousand pieces, never be afraid to pick one of those pieces up and begin again." ~Flavia Weedn, Flavia and the Dream Maker, © Flavia.com


Using exactly 27 words tell us your life story.

Born and raised in the same city. Moved to college at 18. Met hubby, had two kids, and wrote stories every place in between. That's about it.

Please do not throw your hands up in the air. This is not a stick up.

Well sometimes I like to do the Hokey Pokey, is that so wrong??

All the dead rock legends live again. You're standing in a fifty mile long line for:

No one. I hate lines! I'll just watch the MTV special later.

Describe yourself using six words that start with the third letter of your middle name.

N - Nice. Nerd. Nocturnal. Neutral. Double Nerd. Nitid (okay I cheated and looked a word up)

What is your middle name? (This is for research purposes only. Your response will not affect your chances of employment.)

Look at my pen name, now take a wild guess.

Okay, now it's my turn to tag some of my closest blogger friends! You get the two awards on top and the meme. Now go! ( I know some of you already have these awards, but I'm that generous)

Christa @ Christa Writes

Violeta @ Lyn Midnight Against the Odds

Ava @ Writability

Angela @ The Starving Novelist

Catlin @ Musings of an ordinary mind

Krista @ The Jelly Beans of Writing

Sarah @ Empty White Pages

Donna @ Weaving a Tale or Two

Chantele @ My Writing Bug

Wahoo! Happy blogging :)