Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Static Electricity

Ever rub a baloon on top of your head? If you haven't, try it out, it's guaranteed to make you feel like a kid again (and you can zap someone afterwards, you're feeling kind of evil). Notice how it leaves your hair standing on its ends, almost Einstein like? That's what I liken a writer's brain to.
 <-- Your brain on writing

There's all these crazy ideas roaming around in your head, fighting to stand out from the others, leaving you feeling (rather than looking) like a crazy person. Each strand can be brilliant on its own, or can fizzle to nothing. I found something out, if you add and subtract a few strands here and there, you might make something AMAZING out of nothing. I had a few ideas that were just that, ideas. But there was nothing special about them, but I intertwined those 'blah' ideas (dull strands) and poof! You got some volume! As writers, we're kind of a hot mess of hair growing by the second, sort of like what happens to mine when any sort of humidity gets near it. But at times, that hot mess can be that gem you've been waiting for. Don't give up, add a few ideas together to see if they make any sort of coherent story and go from there. I've been known to mesh a couple of them together. If nothing else, you might get a good laugh out of it.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Back In Time

No, not like Will Smith in the newest MIB movie (which my 12 year old self can't wait to see), but like the opening up of an old manuscript you might have decided to put away for a while.

There's an old project that has been on my mind for some time. It's slowly gnawing away my unwillingness to go back into it. Not because I didn't love it, but because I have OTHER projects that I need to focus on right now. But it just won't go away. It's a beloved story that started in my head back when I was fifteen. I wrote about 40,000 words and then shifted my focus onto something else, something that was a bit more 'commercial'. I love this story, the way the characters come together in the most unexpected of ways. I think it might be time to stop being afraid and work on something for the love of it, not because it might give me a better chance of being published. I've put that dream on the back burner for now, and instead want to focus on strengthening my writing and doing what I love. Everything else can wait until later. I think I might be getting a hang of this patience thing. Maybe I'm growing up after all (um, not likely). What about you guys? Are there any stories you want to get back into? Lofty goals that aren't pushing at you anymore? Something that reminds you of your love for writing?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Five for Friday

1. I'm out of town...The hubs had a work thing and he dragged along his family (meaning me and the kids). The kids are LOVING the pool, even my 2 yo, who hates baths.

2. I finished Froi of the Exiles (sequel to Finnikin of the Rock) and boy was that ending a doozy. I am way too impatient for the last in the trilogy. I have less than a year to go (by like a month).

3. I started running again and it is so nice. For some reason I get some great ideas and scenes while I'm in the work-out zone.

4. My oldest has one more week of school and then it's Vacay time. He's not too happy about the idea of having no school for 2 1/2 months...I'm sure things will change as he gets older.

5. It's Memorial Day weekend here in the states. Do you guys have anything fun planned out? I'll be hanging with the kids and the hubs in Washington.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Vomit of the Hands

Someone once told my mother-in-law she has diarrhea of the mouth. I believe it was one of her elementary or middle school teachers. While this is true and often hilarious (sometimes it gets her into trouble) it made me thing of something writing related (of course!)

You're working on a scene and trying to find the perfect way to describe a room or a clever/ hilarious way to say 'I don't like you' (Here's what I came up with: I loathe you, you are repugnant, you make me want to punch you in the face) and you end up repeating yourself in many well written (more often just plain awful) ways, and you can't decide which you like best. Either you hate all of them, or you like a few of them a little too much and decide to work them ALL in, because the idea of cutting your cleverness out just tears you apart. This is, my friend, is what I like to refer to as vomit of the hands.

It's a disease all authors face. Especially during that painful first draft. And I've found that even the best of us tend to get redundant in published form. There are only so many ways of letting someone know how beautiful a boy or girl is. Seriously, I've noticed this A LOT when it comes to the description of love interests (yes, we get the male lead is chiseled with abs the even Captain America would envy, yes the girl is so beautiful she defies all laws of  humanity). I'm guilty doing this, there I admit it.

Just because it happens doesn't mean all hope is lost. We can beat this thing. Together. Let's lend support to one another, either by critiquing or beta reading. Tell someone when it's happening. They might deny deny deny, but sooner or later they'll realize that using the terms radiant and luminous within the same paragraph to describe a room is a bit repetitive. But most important of all, we need to learn to let go. Pick a word and cut the rest. Admitting you have a problem is the first step. I bid you good luck as you fight the good fight against this insidious disease.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Revisiting Issues That Shouldn't Be Issues

Where do you draw the line between mom and writer? It seems to be a struggle that has plauged many generations over. I often read articles where authors (women, not men) are asked how they manage their careers and families, like being able to do so is as mystical and unheard of as unicorns.'s a little frustrating. Should I feel guilty for finding time to write? Should I feel guilty when I'm doing innocuous things with my kids instead of writing?

Maybe we should just blur those lines and instead focus on all the things we're doing right. And stop asking female authors, who also happen to be mothers, that question.

Everyone has their own way of balancing their life. It can be a juggling act, or perhaps a calendar full of post- it notes carefully laying out the map of your life. Whatever it is, we shouldn't feel guilty about it. The fact is there isn't such a thing as mom slash writer. You're either one or the other, depending on what you're doing. You can't really shut off either part of you when you're a mom OR a dad. They sort of just blend together, but I don't let that interfere with what's happening right in front of me.When I'm at my son's t-ball game I'm a mom, when I'm sitting in front of a computer screen and typing away, I'm a writer. It's really that simple.

There's no magical formula to it. You just do what you gotta do to get things done, without causing permanent damage to your kiddos (which I may have already done by letting my oldest watch The Walking Dead with me a couple of times). No one is a perfect parent, finding one is most definitely like searching for those sparkly unicorns.

I love my kids, I love writing. That's where I'll leave it. My kids are happy, and my writing...well, I'm sure it could use some improvement, but I find time to do it. I don't think this issue will ever go away, especially for those that are members of the fairer sex, but at least I can make peace with how I deal with it.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Five for Friday

1. OMG, you guys, I'm totally buggin'. We're almost half way through the year. What the #$%&*$??? Time is quickly slipping away and I NEED to get better at prioritizing.

2. I rewatched Clueless recently, if you couldn't tell from number 1, and I was reminded of my love for Cher and Josh. Have you noticed that Paul Rudd never ages? He and Jason Bateman need to pass along their secret.

3. Writing wise I'm a little behind. There's just so much going on whether it's baby and kid stuff, family visiting. sleeping issues, life is out of control.

4. Reading wise, I'm in a healthy state. I'm right on track to achieve my goal of one book a week for the whole year. Woot woot! Not complaining.

5. Got lots of yard work to do tomorrow. We're having the 5 year olds 6th party here with all his friends and our yard needs to be in tip top shape.

Have a weekend filled with rays of sunshine!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I Want To Go To There

                                                         Please Please Please, I want to go!

In the infamous words of Liz Lemon, my food soul sister, I am doing a post about where I wish I had been earlier this month. No, it's not tropical or Italy (I wish!). I wanted to be at the LDStorymakers conference. The drive to Salt Lake is a few short hours and I know I could have made it...if it hadn't been for the whole baby thing. Quite frankly, walking around with a brand new baby who wants to nurse constantly isn't ideal. So, I'm putting it off until next year. By then said baby will be weaned and I'll be able to get away while the hubs watches the kids no problemo. I just need to make sure he knows what's up before I go zooming off in the car. I've always wanted to go to a writing conference and this is the one closest to me that I REALLY REALLY REALLY (picture a 5 yo begging for candy and making pouty faces) want to go.

Not only for the learning experience (all the workshops would be SO helpful...I have so much knowledge to gain from all the professionals), but I would also like to meet some of my fellow bloggers. You all are too cool for school ;). So that's my goal, I will go to the 2013 LDStorymakers conference, and I'm already giddy with excitment. What about you guys, what kind of experiences have you had at writing conferences? Where were they? And are they as awesome as everyone makes them out to be? And, set your calendars for next years conference. You can meet me and make comments about my height (or lack thereof) all you want and I won't even get mad. Seriously.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Book Review: Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

Finding a good epic fantasy nowadays is like trying to search for a four leaf clover. Okay...maybe that's a bit exaggerated. But really, there aren't many of them. It's like we've lost our love for them. Yes, there are plenty of adult fantasy novels, but for some reason the river runs dry in the YA selection. That's why I was very excited to pick up Finnikin of the Rock. I love finding a story set in a world so far from our own I don't even get how the author came up with it. Here's the blurb from Amazon:

Finnikin was only a child during the five days of the unspeakable, when the royal family of Lumatere were brutally murdered, and an imposter seized the throne. Now a curse binds all who remain inside Lumatere’s walls, and those who escaped roam the surrounding lands as exiles, persecuted and despairing, dying by the thousands in fever camps. In a narrative crackling with the tension of an imminent storm, Finnikin, now on the cusp of manhood, is compelled to join forces with an arrogant and enigmatic young novice named Evanjalin, who claims that her dark dreams will lead the exiles to a surviving royal child and a way to pierce the cursed barrier and regain the land of Lumatere. But Evanjalin’s unpredictable behavior suggests that she is not what she seems — and the startling truth will test Finnikin’s faith not only in her, but in all he knows to be true about himself and his destiny.

Okay, there's a big twist towards the end of the book that I figured out within the first ten pages, but despite not being at all surprised, I was still fully engrossed in the story. The world that Finnikin lives in is harsh, bloody, and painful. It's fully disturbing. And it felt real. Melina Marchetta did a great job of describing the atrocities the people of Lumatere endure. The disease and prejudice, it was cringe worthy. The romance in this book is fairly light, with the main focus on Finnikin's journey in trying to save Lumatere, and I didn't mind that at all. It was also great learning more about the history of Finnikin's world without a bunch of info dump. All in all it was enjoyable and I found myself wanting more. Which is good since there's a sequel: Froi of the Exiles. Now the character of Froi in Finnikin tries to do something I find unforgivable, so I'm curious to see how Melina will redeem him. So, if you're like me and have felt that emptiness in the pit of your stomach that can only be filled by an epic fantasy, then pick up Finnikin of the Rock.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Five for Friday

1. I missed my one year Blogaversary! Uh-oh...Well, happy anniversary to me!

2. I'll officially be back next week. Baby Girl 2 is finally sleeping well and I'm much more aware of things. I hated that feeling of going through the day in a daze, randomly falling asleep on the couch from sheer exhaustion, and feeding my tv addiction.

3. On the plus side, I got some serious reading done during my 'break'. Although, it might also be the reason I randomly fell asleep on the couch pretty much daily. Even if I was really into a book, I'd still end up with droopy eyelids.

4. The husband and I watched The Avengers last weekend and it was AWESOME. I love love loved it! But then again, I'm a HUGE super hero fan. I grew up collecting those cards with my faves on them. And now I way excited about The Dark Knight Rises, Prometheus, and Brave.

5. I wanted to wish all the mommies out there a Happy Mother's Day. I know I'm a couple days early, but I probably won't have time to blog it on Sunday since I'll be busy being pampered and worshipped and whatnot. Have a great weekend!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

For A Laugh

I read this and literally laughed out loud. Hope you get a kick out of it too. Click on the link: Query Shark.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Why I'm Loving Technology Today

When you have kids it's hard to find time to get away. At times I dread having to go to the store and runnimg various other errands. The idea of dragging around four grumpy little ones leaves me (and most parents out there) shaking in their boots.

The hardest part it not being able to browse the library. As soon as we walk in, I'm allowed a very limited amount of time to find something for myself. Five minutes tops. My kids make these faces the whole time as I look around for something interesting to read that say 'I'm so over this'. And on top of that, my youngest usually cries and whines until I take them all to the kids section. So yeah, library time is hard for a book lover with kids. Then I discovered something, online book reservations. This happened only recently (like a month ago) and I have no idea why I'm so late to the party. I can get onto my libraries website, browse various titles, and hold what I want. It's so easy. Instead of having to plan out every minute browsing, I can just go in and pick up what I want when it's available without all the hassle. And I can take my kids straight to their area and spend time with them there without feeling frustrated because I don't get time to pick out some titles for myself.

Anyway, I just thought this was super cool and amazing. It makes life simpler, and I'm totally embracing this sort of advancement. In fact, over the course of the last month I've read 12 books. It's pretty awesome. I'll come back later with another post for those books I highly enjoyed. Hope you guys are doing great. The baby is slowly starting to get on a schedule and I'm getting more and more resting time. I'll be back full-time to the blogging thing before you all know it. Meanwhile, good luck with your writing and querying and whatever else you may be doing at this time.