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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Happy Belated Captcha Craptcha Day!

A while back I read about Shelly's hate of the dreaded captcha. You know, those annoying little "words" to prove you are a human on websites? Yeah, those. I hate them too so I knew I had to be involved in her blog hop. However, I did not count on how busy I would actually be this week so I didn't get around to posting in time. But I am here now. If you want information about how to remove captcha from your blog visit Shelly here.

So, my husband got back from a year-long deployment 11 days ago. I left the kids with my parents and came down to meet him. At first it seemed like it would be really fun, kind of like a second honeymoon. Well, we were partly right. It has been fun. But I miss my kids and my husband still has to work and we have been running errands like crazy. I'm still just so glad he is back. Now I just can't wait until we are all together again under the same roof.

Part of what we have had to do is deal with this:

 
When a soldier arrives at a new duty station the Army issues a bunch of crap to them. Then when it is time to leave they have to find all that crap and turn it back in. So we have been going through bags and digging through our storage unit to find all the missing pieces. We have found most but we are still missing a few items (among them a pair of cold weather pants worth $350 - yowzer). The best thing about all these items is that they use their own kind of captcha system. They call these things horribly odd names with item numbers that don't make sense. So we get a 4-page list of items with odd names and item numbers and then we need to find all that stuff. Well the items aren't always marked and if they are they aren't marked the same as on the list. And then we have to clean it. And then we have to go stand in line for hours to turn it in (well he goes and stands in line for hours while I read and nap in the car).  It is fun stuff. And it has taken many days. And I'm sick of it. But we are almost done and then things will be better and I will have time to write and blog again.
 
Until then, just say no to the captcha.


 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Go Out and Vote...for Edenbrooke

Okay, my husband just got back from a year-long deployment so I'm not really back into the blogging world but I just wanted to get this out there. If you are American, go out and vote tomorrow. But for now let your voice be heard by voting for Edenbrooke on Goodreads. Go here to see what the author, Julianne Donaldson, has to say about her book and the reasons to vote.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Life Got in the Way

Blogging from my phone sucks. But that is what I have to do right now because my laptop is throwing blue screens at me and I am on the verge of throwing it out the window.

I just wanted y'all to known that I'm still alive. I had bronchitis, a daughter with a skin infection, other bad stuff that is not for public eyes, and a broken computer but I'm still alive. And I will be back with an amazing post next week.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Happy Birthday!

This is going to be a post of gift-giving and also asking for a birthday gift. I will start with the super exciting news of announcing the winner of my birthday celebration.

Drum roll, please....

Chantele Sedgwick - you are the winner! Woo-hoo! Either leave a comment or e-mail me with your choice of Amazon or Barnes and Noble and I will e-mail you an electronic gift certificate. I'm so happy for you.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now I'm going to ask all of you for a gift. As most of you know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In April of 2000 we lost my mother-in-law, Beth Nolan, to breast cancer. She was diagnosed in October of 1999 and passed away only six months later. At the time she was diagnosed my husband was deployed to Kosovo and my son was only four months old. My husband got back just a few weeks before she passed away and we were fortunate to be able to go see her before she got too sick. We were so glad that we got to see her before we lost her. However,  we are sad that our children will never get to know their grandma. She was an amazing woman who had ten children and a husband in the Air Force and she was so strong and there is rarely a day when I don't think about our loss. I don't want people to have to go through the same thing. Ever. So, for my birthday I am asking you to do me a favor. If you can spare the money, I would love it if you would donate to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Any amount can help them out. Thank you all so much!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Currently Reading

Have you entered to win the $35 gift card in celebration of my 35th birthday? You can enter here and you have until midnight EST tonight to enter.  
  • What are you currently reading? Do you recommend it?
  • The book that is currently on my Nook is Evie's Knight by Kimberly Krey. That link will take you to my post about the book last week. Yes, I would recommend this book. I am enjoying it. Unfortunately I haven't had as much time to read this week so I'm not as far along as I would have liked.

    The next book I will be reading is WINTER OF THE WORLD by Ken Follett. I have not started reading yet but I am so excited. This is the sequel to FALL OF GIANTS and is book two in the Century Trilogy. I read FALL OF GIANTS for a book club last year and I loved it. It is historical fiction and takes place during the time of World War I. History was not my favorite subject in school but I did well. This book made me realize how much history I did not know. I would go into bed at night and ask my husband, "Did you know that Germany...?" or any one of a million other questions and he would just look at me and say, "yeah" all matter-of-factly like it was common knowledge. Anyway, I was entertained reading the first book and I learned a lot of stuff that I should have known already apparently. I need to wait until I can devote my time because this book is 940 pages. So, here is the Goodreads info for WINTER OF THE WORLD:

    Winter of the World picks up right where the first book left off, as its five interrelated families—American, German, Russian, English, Welsh—enter a time of enormous social, political, and economic turmoil, beginning with the rise of the Third Reich, through the Spanish Civil War and the great dramas of World War II, up to the explosions of the American and Soviet atomic bombs.

    Carla von Ulrich, born of German and English parents, finds her life engulfed by the Nazi tide until she commits a deed of great courage and heartbreak. . . . American brothers Woody and Chuck Dewar, each with a secret, take separate paths to momentous events, one in Washington, the other in the bloody jungles of the Pacific. . . . English student Lloyd Williams discovers in the crucible of the Spanish Civil War that he must fight Communism just as hard as Fascism. . . . Daisy Peshkov, a driven American social climber, cares only for popularity and the fast set, until the war transforms her life, not just once but twice, while her cousin Volodya carves out a position in Soviet intelligence that will affect not only this war—but the war to come.

    These characters and many others find their lives inextricably entangled as their experiences illuminate the cataclysms that marked the century. From the drawing rooms of the rich to the blood and smoke of battle, their lives intertwine, propelling the reader into dramas of ever-increasing complexity.
     





    Wednesday, October 10, 2012

    Recent Favorites

    Have you entered to win the $35 gift card in celebration of my 35th birthday? You can enter here and you have until midnight EST Thursday to enter.

    I'm going to continue with my answers to the questions I asked of all of you. Today it is question #2. Enjoy

  • What is your favorite recent read?
  • There are two in this category also. It has been a couple months since I have read it but I L-O-V-E-D EDENBROOKE by Julianne Donaldson. I could not put this book down. Seriously. I nearly killed myself walking around while reading this book. It is so good. I love, love, love Philip. Here is the Goodreads synopsis:

     Marianne Daventry will do anything to escape the boredom of Bath and the amorous attentions of an unwanted suitor. So when an invitation arrives from her twin sister, Cecily, to join her at a sprawling country estate, she jumps at the chance. Thinking she’ll be able to relax and enjoy her beloved English countryside while her sister snags the handsome heir of Edenbrooke, Marianne finds that even the best laid plans can go awry.

    From a terrifying run-in with a highwayman to a seemingly harmless flirtation, Marianne finds herself embroiled in an unexpected adventure filled with enough romance and intrigue to keep her mind racing. Will she be able to rein in her traitorous heart, or will a mysterious stranger sweep her off her feet? Fate had something other than a relaxing summer in mind when it sent Marianne to Edenbrooke.





    The second is THE WITCH OF BLACKBIRD POND by Elizabeth George Speare. I had somehow missed reading this all through my years of school even though it is a Newberry Medal winner and it seems everybody else has read it. I actually read it for a Book Club last month and I loved it. It is really amazing to read historical fiction at all because I can't imagine the amount of research involved. But add to that the fact that this book was published in 1958 and it is astonishing! There was no such thing as Google when this book was written. One small detail that we, as readers, might just skim over, probably took her hours and hours of research to get right. Besides that I loved the story. I am a sucker for the bad boy type (although I married the complete opposite of the bad boy and I'm totally happy with him) so I loved Nat. And again this is a book about an orphan going to live with relatives. I tell you I have a thing for orphans. :) The storyline was great and I would really recommend this book. It is an easy read too - it took me between 4 and 5 hours to read.  Here is the Goodreads synopsis for this one.

    Orphaned Kit Tyler knows, as she gazes for the first time at the cold, bleak shores of Connecticut Colony, that her new home will never be like the shimmering Caribbean island she left behind. In her relatives' stern Puritan community, she feels like a tropical bird that has flown to the wrong part of the world, a bird that is now caged and lonely. The only place where Kit feels completely free is in the meadows, where she enjoys the company of the old Quaker woman known as the Witch of Blackbird Pond, and on occasion, her young sailor friend Nat. But when Kit's friendship with the "witch" is discovered, Kit is faced with suspicion, fear, and anger. She herself is accused of witchcraft!

    Tuesday, October 9, 2012

    Favorites

    First of all, have you entered to win the $35 gift card in celebration of my 35th birthday? You can enter here and you have until midnight EST Thursday to enter.

    Secondly (and finally - this really isn't a very long post), I am going to answer the same questions I asked of you in my contest post but I am going to answer one each day. Today is the first question.

  • What is your favorite book of all time?
  • Okay, I really have a lot of favorite books of all time. I am not the best at declaring a favorite anything or a best friend or anything that alienates anything. I tend to personify all things and I don't want to hurt any book's feelings. However, I will share a couple of my favorites with you.

    First is ANNE OF GREEN GABLES by L.M. Montgomery. I read this whole series when I was young but the original is the first "real book" I remember reading. This book instilled in me my love of reading and writing. My copy of the original had a dark green cover and the pages were so worn from me reading over and over and over. I wanted to be Anne Shirley. I loved (and still love) Gilbert. I'm sure you are all shocked that I fell in love with a fictional character. I wanted to create characters and worlds as real as those in this book.

    The second is also from my youth and it is THE SECRET GARDEN by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Holy smokes! This book made me want to be an orphan.  I love my parents but oh man I wanted to go live with a distant relative and find a sickly cousin who needed me to take him outside and heal him.  Once those thoughts passed I allowed myself to think that it would be great even just to have a secret garden. Even now in my wildest dreams I have a house with a huge yard and my own secret garden. Now though, instead of wanting to hide from my parents and siblings, I want to hide from my husband and kids. And I would have a reading nook and a writing nook. And I would spend warm fall afternoons out there. And I would write great books like ANNE OF GREEN GABLES and THE SECRET GARDEN.

    And by the way, I still watch the TV/movie adaptations of both of these at least once every couple years. I also like to read them both every few years.

    Monday, October 8, 2012

    35, 35, 33?

    Hey everybody. I have something exciting for y'all this week. My 35th birthday is this Friday so I am going to post every day from now until then so that I will hit my 35th post on my birthday. Plus I have 33 followers (that's close enough to 35, right?). The prize for all of you? A chance to win a $35 gift card to either Amazon or Barnes & Noble. You will be able to enter until midnight Thursday, October 11. I will announce the winner on Friday.

    What do you have to do to win? Fill out the Rafflecopter and then leave a comment on this post and answer one of these questions. (If Rafflecopter doesn't work for you mention it in your comment and I will enter you manually)
    • What is your favorite book of all time?
    • What is your favorite recent read?
    • What are you currently reading? Do you recommend it?
    You can spread the word about this contest too but it won't get  you any extra entries because that's just how I roll.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Monday, October 1, 2012

    Book Bomb: Evie's Knight by Kimberly Krey

    My friend Kim wrote a book. While at a retreat with Kim last month she read a steamy scene from her book (in her amazingly sexy, sultry voice) and it left me swooning for days. I have not read the whole book but let me tell you if it is even half as good as the portions I have heard it is an amazing read. Kim is trying to get the word out to buy her book TODAY. I know I will be buying this and starting to read tonight! The blurb is below, as well as a link to buy on Amazon and a link to Kim's website. Seriously, guys. Check it out. Amazing!
     
     
     In Evie's Knight, love doesn't simply hurt...it kills.
    EVIE always thought college life would be magical, but so far it's not what she hoped for. Her best friend has gone wild, her love life is void, and she misses her mom more than ever. But life for Evie is about to change. CALVIN KNIGHT, the very object of her fascination, is about to fall madly in love with her. Just one problem: Their love conjures a murderous woman from beyond the grave who wants Evie dead. The same demon who has haunted the Knight men for over four generations.
    Soon Calvin is forced to choose: Set Evie free and hope to evade the wrath of The Raven-haired Ghost, or use his newly gifted strengths to fight against her. If he chooses to fight and wins, Calvin will free the Knight men of this demonic witch. If he loses, Evie will become her next victim.
     
    Buy it for only $2.99 for the Kindle right here. And did you know you don't even need a Kindle to read a Kindle book? You can read it on an app on your smartphone or on your computer. Awesome, right? She also has a paperback version available for $10.99.
     
    Don't forget to check out Kim's blog.

    Monday, September 24, 2012

    Book Review: Not Your Average Fairy Tale

    I've decided that I want to do periodic book reviews on here. I have belonged to many book clubs in my day. At one point I even ran two different book clubs simultaneously. I haven't really found a book club where I'm currently living so I have decided to occasionally review a book or two on here. My debut book review is for my friend Chantele's book, "Not Your Average Fairy Tale" which just came out on August 1.

    Here is the blurb for this book: Armed with wings and a blue wand, being a fairy godmother should be easy ... unless your name is Ash, and you're a dude.

    Ash Summerland has it all–good looks, popularity, and the best grades at The Academy of Magical Beings. Ready to complete his last assignment in order to graduate, Ash is confident he will get the apprenticeship he wants. When he opens the letter from the Council, he is shocked to discover he has been assigned to apprentice Lady Shenelle, Keeper of Happy Endings. A.K.A. the head fairy godmother. Ash is forced to grant three wishes to a troubled human girl named Kendall, and ultimately give her a "happy ever after". But Kendall turns out to be more than he bargained for. Still grieving over her father's death, Kendall doesn't want anything to do with him. And worst of all, she doesn't believe in happy endings.
    I really enjoyed this book a lot. I generally do not enjoy books that switch character points of view but Chantele did a great job with it in this book and it added a lot to the tension. I liked both Ash and Kendall enough to care about each of them on their own and together which made me like knowing both of their thoughts.  The pacing was nice -- I never found myself getting bored. The romance was believable and engaging. I liked that the teenagers acted like teens and not like little adults. There were twists and turns throughout. It is clean enough that I would let my nearly 10-year-old daughter read this too.
     
    I also have a little bit of a crush on Ash.
     
    You can pick up her book at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

    Wednesday, September 19, 2012

    Extreme Makeover: WIP Edition

    This week we got some news that is drastically changing the plans we had for the next year and a half of our lives. My husband is in the Army we were supposed to be moving to Kansas for a year for some schooling. We just found out that will not be happening. That is all we are sure of right now. We don't know yet when we will be moving or where we will be moving. We just know that in the next six months we are moving somewhere. Fun, right? (Also - I said "moving" a lot in the last few sentences) I am a planner. I need details. I need to research schools, neighborhoods, military base info, housing, etc. Where is the nearest Costco? All the important details.

    When I get hit with something completely out of my control (like the Army saying "too bad - so sad") I like to take COMPLETE control of the things where I can determine the outcome. When I have a house large enough that I can actually re-arrange furniture, that is what I will always do. My current house doesn't have any options for change. This has made me take a look at my WIP. I am super focused on changes. I am changing character behaviors drastically for at least one character. I am debating changing from past tense first person to present tense first person. I'm not sure it is working though. Even when narrating to myself in my head I tend to think in past tense. Oh, that is one of my quirks I have not mentioned here; I narrate my life in my head. As in "she said with a laugh" or "I quickly walked to the door." Like, all the time. I even punctuate sentences in my head as I speak or others speak to me. Anyway, I am trying to take control of my WIP and my life.

    What about you? Do life changes make you change other things in your life? Do you have any odd quirks? Do you have a preference between past tense or present tense first person?



    P.S. I just finished a book yesterday that I did not enjoy much. The characters were annoying - the female especially was a complete pushover and weak overall. One thing that bugged me a lot though - on one page the character rushes through breakfast and on the very next page it says he is weak from not eating for days. Say what? I am so nervous I will make mistakes like that and it terrifies me.

    Monday, September 10, 2012

    Carrie Butler's Cover Reveal for Strength!

    Today I am honored to be able to help Carrie Butler reveal the cover for her New Adult paranormal romance, Strength. Carrie is a pioneer in the New Adult field, has mad graphic skills, and has an amazing blog (or two or three). I am looking forward to reading this book.
     
    I do want to share a part of her e-mail that she sent with the cover information because it made me laugh: "P.S. As you can see, the cover features a muscular man (to convey strength). If this makes you uncomfortable,..." The reason this made me laugh is that I am getting to put a picture of a shirtless, muscular man on my blog without fear of being sued. Hello! Yes, please.
     
     
    Cover Designer: Carrie Butler

    Cover Photographer: Yuri Arcurs

    Title: Strength
    Series: Mark of Nexus – Book 1
    Publisher: Sapphire Star Publishing   
    Category: New Adult (NA)
    Genre: Paranormal Romance (PNR)
    Release Date: March 07, 2013
     
    When college student Rena Collins finds herself nose-to-chest with the campus outcast, her rumor-laced notions are shattered. Handsome, considerate, and seemingly sane, Wallace Blake doesn’t look like he spends his nights alone, screaming and banging on the walls of his dorm room. Hell, he doesn’t look like he spends his nights alone, period.

    Too curious for her own good, Rena vows to uncover the truth behind Wallace’s madman reputation—and how two seconds of contact had left her with bruises. Of course, there are a few minor setbacks along the way: guilt, admiration, feelings of the warm and fuzzy variety…

    Not to mention the unwanted attention of Wallace's powerful, supernaturally-gifted family.

    They’re a bloodline divided by opposing ideals, two soon-to-be warring factions that live in secret among us. When Rena ends up caught in their crossfire, Wallace has no choice but to save her by using his powers. Now they’re really in trouble. With war on the horizon and Rena’s life in the balance, he needs to put some distance between them. But Rena won’t let go. If fighting is what it takes to prove her own strength and keep Wallace in her life, then that’s what she’ll do—even if it means risking a whole lot more than her heart.
    Where to find Carrie:
    WEBSITE  |  BLOG  |  SSP  |  TWITTER  |  FACEBOOK  |  GOODREADS  |  GOOGLE+ 
     
    Where to find Strength:
     
    Book Trailer:


     

    Tuesday, September 4, 2012

    This or That

    I have been super sick and in bed for the last week. This is good for me in that I got a lot of work done on my computer. The bad thing is my house looks like a tornado hit and I wasted a lot of time on my computer. I also think I slept more in the last week than I have in the last six months combined.

    Anyway, I was reading agent Michelle Wolfson's blog where she discussed an argument she and her husband had over a certain phrase. In this case it was "you've got another think coming" vs "you've got another thing coming." I have to admit, I have never in my life heard or read "you have another think coming." It has always been thing to me. It will probably remain thing for me. Although the arguments for think make sense it is still to hard for me to wrap my head around. It also looks like there is a pretty even split as to which term people use.

    This got me thinking about terms, phrases, words, etc. that may be different based on region or that people just don't understand. I have compiled a few of my favorites and I will share them with you right now (don't you feel lucky?).

    This one actually caused a debate in my family not too long ago. I have moved many times and all over the country because of my husband being in the Army. I have heard things different ways in different areas. I was trying to tell my brother about a house across town on the opposite corner and I said either caddy or kitty corner (I can't remember which I said) and he and my sister-in-law both said it was the other one (the one I didn't say). I had heard it both ways so I agreed but then I went home and did some research. It turns out this one is highly regional, with both being acceptable. However, what I found is that it originates from the French "quatre" which means four. So you are basically saying on the opposite of the four corners. Americans, not totally familiar with the French language (although seemingly fluent in French fries and French kissing), shortened it to a sound that they were more familiar with: caddy. In different regions they changed it to kitty. Interesting, no?

    Quick: soda or pop? This is so regional. Since I move around so much I eliminate any confusion by just saying soda pop or coke or carbonated beverage.

    I had a roommate who seriously asked on day, "Is it incognito, one word, or are you IN cognito?" This one makes me laugh still but there is obviously only one correct answer to this question. It is always one word.

    One of my biggest pet peeves in the English language is when people do not understand this simple phrase: "I could not/couldn't care less." It is not "I could care less." To say you could care less means that you really do care and you therefore could care less than you actually do. So I guess if you do care and want to say that you could be persuaded to care less than it would work. Generally though people mean that they care as little as humanly possible about a subject and could not care any less. Learn this one, people!

    Something I just discovered recently that totally shocked me: I KNOW I was taught to spell a certain word as d-i-l-e-m-n-a. I have spelled it that way my whole life. Then I tried to type it the other day and found that my autocorrect changed it to d-i-l-e-m-m-a. What the hell? I am a bit of a stickler in my spelling and I know I would not have spelled it incorrectly if I had been taught the proper spelling. I Googled this one and found that many people have had the same problem even though there is not, and never has been, a documented source stating dilemna is the proper spelling. Apparently there were just a bunch of rogue teachers through history who decided to create a bunch of snooty people going around arrogantly correcting people even though they were the ones who were actually wrong. This has been quite a dilemma for me as I try to unlearn 25 years of incorrect usage.

    What about you? Do you have any phrases that throw you off? How do you adjust for that in a manuscript?

    Monday, August 20, 2012

    Queen of Joy and Awesomeness

    For the last three days I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the "Writing Retreat of Joy and Awesomeness" with Ruth, Peggy, Jeigh, Suzi (Jeigh's mom), Kim, Sandy, and last, most definitely not least, the retreat coordinator extraordinaire, Katie. This was just a group of writing friends/bloggers who decided to get away from our families and focus on writing for three days in Park City. Let me tell you, it was freakin' fantastic! We had way too much fun, ate way too much food, stayed up way too late, spent way too much time in the lukewarm tub (aka hot tub), and learned way too much about one another. And I also wrote more in three days than I have in six months.  Alas, we have no photos to adorn this post because the only pictures I took I promised not to post (people in pajamas, and glasses, and no showers, etc.) and the other pictures are completely inappropriate for your gentle, uncorrupted eyes.

    While we were there we held writing sprints where we would take 30-45 minutes and all of us would just write like crazy. It was really fun to look around and see between six and eight people sitting in the room, each with a laptop, most with headphones in, just typing away like crazy. We don't have any photos of the sprints because none of us wanted to sacrifice the word count to take the time to take a picture. The winner of each sprint (in word count) won a prize. I don't mean to brag but I won every sprint. Oh, wait, I did mean to brag. What really did it for me was just letting go of my inner editor and letting my outer competitor take over. I am painfully competitive and I really, really wanted to win. Most of the time when I write I take forever because I want to make sure everything is perfect. These sprints allowed me to just get my story written and then I can go back and perfect it later. I really needed to learn that skill.

    At the end of the weekend we were to crown the Queen of Joy and Awesomeness. This title was for the person who wrote the most over the weekend. We had an awesome prize pack for the winner, including a tiara (seen below), blingy earrings and bracelet to match the tiara, a bedazzled t-shirt (also seen below), glittery eye shadow, royal chocolate, and flowers that the maintenance people gave us (long story).






    As of the night prior to the end of competition I was about 600 words behind the leader. So I stayed up super late to get in the lead before our final sprint of the competition. And I came out as the winner. I had my coronation ceremony after the completion and my daughter loves all my prizes. In three days I wrote 16017 words! Crazy, right? Before I left my WIP was at 8889 words and I now have 24906 words. I am so happy. I feel like I can finally get this story told. I came back motivated, revitalized and ready to go. I also made some friendships that will last a lifetime! I was truly amazed by the skill that each of these ladies possesses.

    If any of you ever have the opportunity to attend a writing retreat I would not hesitate at all. It was the best thing I could have ever done for my writing.



    Saturday, August 11, 2012

    Random Ramblings

    I am super tired. I didn't sleep at all last night and it is now 1:30am tonight so excuse anything that may not make sense (which will likely be this whole post). I'm also going to bullet point this because I'm too tired to form paragraphs and my thoughts are not cohesive at all.

    • I was watching the Olympics (shocking, I know) and became fascinated by rhythmic gymnastics. It is kind of crazy cool. I know I couldn't do it because I don't even get it. However, I was thinking while watching it how many people do you think got the tickets not knowing what rhythmic gymnastics really is? Like they just saw gymnastics and were all excited about what great seats they got. And then they showed up and saw what was happening and they were like, "what the...?"
    • The decathlon is insane. As if mastering one event isn't hard enough these people decide they need to master 10 different events. They all looked so tired by the final event.
    • I don't think Ina Garten and I would get along in real life. Her food looks amazing but she seems sort of pretentious. I don't think she would appreciate how often I serve our meals out of the pots I cooked them in (and often still on the stove). I also don't think she would appreciate how often our meals include the words "Mac 'n" in the title. 
    • I saw a commercial for Arctic Circle stating that it is "huckleberry days" or month or something. They had all kinds of huckleberry stuff including a shake. What is a huckleberry? What does it taste like? Anyone?
    • I like milk shakes a lot and now I want one. I haven't been feeling well and when I don't feel well I eat crappy food. I love junk food when I am sick. And milk shakes are great because I don't even have to chew them.
    Most important thought - I am super excited for my first year attending WriteOnCon.com. What a great idea - a writing conference you can attend from home. Check it out by following the link or clicking the widget over there -->.

    Wednesday, August 8, 2012

    Olympic Gold

    Just like everybody else in the world I have been enjoying the Olympics tremendously. If crying while watching the Olympics could be an Olympic event I would have many, many gold medals. It is so amazing to watch dreams coming true right in front of my very eyes (albeit through a camera lens). Watching the parents as their children excel is crazy. There are two things that have come to mind as I have watched hours upon hours of Olympic sports.

    1 - It is astonishing to me how the Olympics suddenly make people so judgemental. We are all so amazed at the talent and skill possessed by all these athletes until they mess up. Then suddenly we are saying things like how much they suck or we could do better than that. Or is that only my family? It is easy for me to be sitting on my couch snacking and berating an Olympian for failing (although really I am usually crying for them) but I am not the one that has spent my whole life training for this event. I haven't spent hours a day for the last 15 years training and then not being rewarded for that training. I can't even imagine the heartache that they must feel. However, getting to the Olympics is amazing! They have all beat out so many amazing athletes just to get there in the first place. That is more than billions of people have been able to do. That should be enough.

    So this made me think of how often we do this to authors too. I have read so many reviews by people that think that the author should have solved a love triangle differently (hello Edward-Bella-Jacob or Gale-Katniss-Peeta), or finished a conflict differently or blah, blah, blah. The point is that we aren't the ones who have spent hours every day for years developing these characters. Now that I have become serious about writing I truly understand that a writer loves their characters and they know their characters much better than we ever could hope to know them. We may not agree with the way the author did things but they are the ones that wrote the book, not us. It is not our decision. They are the ones who suffered rejection before getting published. If it fails, it is not our heartache, it is theirs. This is why I have made a personal decision to never leave a negative review of a book online (Goodreads, Amazon, my blog, etc.). I may tell friends and family to avoid a certain book but I will never publicly criticize an author's work.

    2 - I always wanted to compete in the Olympics. My problem - I am not skilled in any Olympic sport. I'm thinking of training in Badminton for 2016. Or growing between 6 inches and a foot and training really hard in volleyball. But that really is never going to happen. However, over the last few months I have realized that I can possibly succeed at another dream of mine - writing.

    I always loved writing while growing up but I never believed that I could really do anything with it. Then I got married and had kids and REALLY thought that I couldn't do anything with it. But I still had these stories floating around in my head. Sometimes I would write out the beginnings and give up and others I wouldn't even start. Then a while ago I found out that my sister-in-law was writing a book. I was so excited and I thought maybe I should start writing too. I didn't start right away. Then I went to my first writing conference and I was totally inspired. I don't even have to grow 6 inches to write a book. I just need to work hard. I really still don't know if I can ever be a published author but that is not my goal right now. I don't want to ever question whether or not I could have been published. I can't be published if I don't write the book. Just like I could never be an Olympian because I never trained in a sport. I couldn't just say "I'm going to be in the Olympics someday" and then not ever do anything about it. I can't say "I'm going to be a published author" and then not put any work in. What do I think will be published? My grocery lists?  For now, I'm training. I'm writing. I'm not focusing on the gold, I'm focusing on doing my best just to be an Olympic contender. I'm writing the best book I can write at this time, but even more importantly, I'm writing.

    Monday, July 30, 2012

    I Say Goodbye, I Say Hello

    So, I said goodbye to my husband again and now I have time to say hello to all of you. We had a good time while he was home but I am exhausted! I'm going to tell you all a secret. Lean in closer. R&R sucks.  Shh. Don't tell anyone. It was great to see my husband but let me explain what I mean.

    You know how when you are dating somebody and you are putting your best foot forward whenever you are around them so that they think you are awesome? Then you get married and you stop doing that (but in my case I am still pretty awesome). Well, R&R is pretty much a two week dating period but now you have real life thrown in. You have kids and bills and houses and cars and dogs and all that other stuff to worry about. I try to be nice and give him the attention he deserves but I still have to take care of a house and make his favorite meals and run errands and take care of the kids and all that jazz. And I felt guilty if I even looked at my computer, let alone actually wrote. And then for the first week he is adjusting to the time zone (that equals sleeping all day) and the second week everybody is just so darn sad because you know that you only have a week left. Then they leave again and you have to go through the whole process of adjusting to them being gone again.

    Anyway, he has been gone for a few days and we are adjusting again. There have been a lot of tears shed but overall we are all surviving. We are two-thirds of the way to the finish line and we can do it. And now that I haven't really worked on my WIP in almost a month I am super motivated and ready to get to it. I am also going to take advantage of some of these emotions to help me write some of the more complicated emotions in my story. And my next post won't be nearly as whiny.

    Wednesday, July 18, 2012

    On The Road

    Where we have been today:
    Fish Lake, Utah.

    Where my hubby taught my kids the fine art of skipping rocks.

    My son took a few tries but then mastered the skill and became more successful than I will ever be.

    My daughter after her first successful skip.


    Bryce Canyon, Utah.


    Where this mom, who is terrified of heights, nearly puked more than once and yelled at her kids about one billion times to get away from the edge and stay on the trail.






     Can you tell they are sick of pictures at this point?


    And now I am in bed at our motel listening to my husband and both kids snore in their beds. Be back to blogging soon.

    Thursday, July 12, 2012

    AWOL

    I get my husband home for 2 weeks  for R&R. I will be away from blogging land for the next couple weeks to enjoy my time with him and my kids. See you all again when he leaves.

    Monday, July 2, 2012

    What Kind of Writer/Reader Are You?

    I am an impatient person. If I ask my husband to do something for me I mean I want it done NOW. Not ten minutes from now, but right this instant. If he takes more than thirty seconds to respond I just do it myself in a huff instead. If I tell my kids it is time to go they had better be in the car in less than one minute. If I have a choice to order something online for $5 from a store but it won't get her for two weeks or pay $10 at Amazon.com and get it in two days (Amazon Prime rocks!) I am going to pay twice as much to have it in two days (a little secret -  I will often even pay the extra $3.99 for next day air). When I used to watch "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" I would get so frustrated when the contestants would answer a question with their whole life story. You know, "well, my 3rd grade teacher was named Mrs. Smith and she had a farm. So, the answer is C) 3, because Mrs. Smith liked the number 3." If I had been on that show this is how it would have gone:

    Regis: "1+2 =  A)2, B)1, C)3, or D)765"
    Me: "C, final answer. Next question."
    Regis: "Are you sure that is your final answer?"
    Me: "Yes, you idiot. Just ask the next freakin' question!"

    Is it really any surprise then that I am an impatient reader and writer? Not really. I have a very hard time reading overly detailed books. As an example, in "Eat, Pray, Love" I found myself skimming over whole chapters because all the author was doing was describing the country, or the food, or other details that I just did not care about. I want to know some details in a book. I do not want to know every fact that I could find by doing a Google search. Sometimes less is more.

    As a writer I find that I stick to the same rule. If it is a cultural, geographical, or any other fact that I feel my reader might need to know then I will include that fact. If it is not necessary or it doesn't move my story forward than I leave it out. That is why I have had to go back to my first two chapters and add a lot of detail that was missing the first time around. I have to slow myself down, read my story as somebody who doesn't know what details are coming in chapter 3, and write for people who might have more patience than myself.

    So, what kind of writer or reader are you? Are you impatient with little tolerance for details? Do you enjoy a leisurely pace that allows you to stop and smell the roses in you story? Do you like vivid, pages-long descriptions of locations? 

    Keep your responses short - I don't have the patience to read them. (Totally kidding!)

    Monday, June 25, 2012

    The Post That Shows My Age


    The other day while walking my sister-in-law and I were talking about some of our favorite 80s stars. We had our music interests, like Debbie Gibson and Tiffany (hello - my first cassette I ever bought). I can't remember her first cassette because it is late and my brain is dead.



    We talked about our crushes, like Johnny Depp and Kirk Cameron (I added Johnny Depp on my own - we didn't talk about him but I did love him then) and others that I also can't remember.




    This got me to thinking about writing in a way that dates our characters. I recently read a book that was written in the late 80s/early 90s. The author described the clothing the MC wore and it kind of pulled me out of the book for a moment. Not only that, she seemed to have no idea what kind of clothing men find attractive and the fact that these guys would jump on the MC and say she looked hot baffled me. I have found that over time I tend to not enjoy when authors describe clothing or fashion in detail because what they may think looks classy may look trashy to somebody else. It also makes it difficult for future generations to understand. Is there a teenage girl today who would understand the allure of wearing a flannel shirt, pegged jeans, crimped hair, etc.? I don't think so. Would they understand throwing on jeans and a shirt? Yes.

    Do you think adding clothing/fashion detail helps or hinders a story (other than in the historical category)?

    Friday, June 22, 2012

    Summertime and the Livin' is Easy?

    Oh, summertime. How you have destroyed all writing motivation. You bring promises of lazy days sitting in a hammock writing and instead you fill my days with motherly demands (do I really need to feed those kids every day?) and decent person-ly demands. You give me a house that does not clean itself, laundry that piles up even though I tell it not to, food that begs to be made (and eaten), a husband whose R&R (rest and relaxation - basically he gets to come home for 2 weeks during his deployment) schedule seems to be changing by the minute, and exercise that requires more willpower than I possess.

    So, what have I done instead of writing?
    • Spent some time with my kids (why can I not think of a specific event)
    • Spent some time with my family
    • Rearranged my living room
    • Bought a new laptop so that I can write more (because it is all my laptop's fault that I'm not currently writing) and so I don't have to share with my kids
    • Slept a lot
    • Read a lot
    • Swore a lot when I needed to cut something and EVERY pair of scissors I own was stuck together with freezer pop juice
    • Slept some more
    • Read some more
    • Celebrated my son's 13th birthday (and felt so very old)
    Now I am writing. I am making my goal public. I am going to work on my WIP a minimum of 30 minutes every day (ideally one to two hours). Thirty total minutes, not necessarily consecutive, but for sure completely focused.

    How do you keep your motivation up during the summer when playing sounds so fun?

    Tuesday, June 12, 2012

    Never Surrender


    To celebrate the release of her new book, SURRENDER, Elana Johnson is hosting a blogfest asking people to write about a time when they didn't surrender. Head on over to her blog to enter and check out everybody participating.


    I had several examples to choose from in my life but I decided to choose a challenge that was unique to me as an individual, not me as a wife or mom (although it was a challenge to my parents also). WARNING: This post is going to be very wordy.

    When I was twelve years old I got mononucleosis. To add insult to injury I didn't even get it from kissing anybody, I just got it. And I got it bad. I had a severe case with a lot of side effects. I would be able to go to school for one week and then stay home for one week, repeat, for about two months. I had to go for several ultrasounds because of severe pain (i.e. inflamed spleen). Finally I was better and I was ready to move on with my life. However, I was never really the same.

    I started getting sick all the time. I was exhausted with no real explanation. There were days when I struggled to even get out of bed. I started going to a lot of doctors to figure out what was happening to me. My primary care doctor told me that I was just depressed, it was all in my head, and put me on anti-depressants. Surprisingly enough, they did not work and I stopped taking them after a short time. For years I was told by that moron that it was all in my head (yeah, I'm bitter - I have a stronger word than moron in mind but I won't use it here). My parents began getting really worried when it got to a point where I couldn't even shower some days because I didn't have the strength to lift my arms over my head to shampoo my hair. During all this time though I kept playing high school volleyball, leading a social life, and getting good enough grades to get a scholarship to BYU.

    Finally I went to college (so, at this point I had been told that I was crazy for over four years) and there was a doctor at the health clinic there who specialized in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and I was diagnosed with that but I didn't fit all the symptoms of that either. A few months into college life I started fainting at random times and it got progressively worse. There were times when I was fainting more than five times a day. My parents used a lot of money taking me to doctor after doctor and homeopathic clinics trying to find anything that worked. At a homeopathic clinic in Las Vegas we discovered that chiropractic helped a lot. Eventually the doctor at BYU decided that my symptoms were not Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and sent me to a neurologist.

    The neurologist did some tests and decided to send me to a cardiologist. At first he told me I was just out of shape. Then he did a test where he discovered that I actually had something very wrong with the way my heart and brain communicate (or don't communicate). I eventually had to drop out of school because it is very hard to pass a class when you are passed out in a campus bathroom. I was told I would probably not be able to have children and I was scheduled to get a pacemaker.

    And then something happened. I met this guy. He made me super happy and I fell madly in love. I didn't get better but I got better enough with medication (and love) that I did not end up getting the pacemaker. I married that guy and I was able, after extremely difficult pregnancies,  to have two beautiful, amazing children. I still have some really bad days. I can go years without fainting now but then I go through cycles where I am fainting daily again. I have had to learn not to do too much on the days when I wake up feeling good. I don't take a single day of feeling good for granted because I never know how long that will last. I always wanted a lot of kids but I decided that I would rather be a decent mom to two children than a sick, crappy mom to six kids. Someday, if they find something to make me totally better my husband and I would consider adopting more children.

    When my kids are driving me insane I remind myself that I wasn't even supposed to be able to have them. They are such a blessing and I can't imagine what would have happened had I let my illness take over and not had them. I prayed a lot before having them and I KNEW I was supposed to have them. I did not surrender to doctors who told me I was crazy or that I couldn't have children (BTW, I love my cardiologist who told me that) or illness.

    Monday, June 11, 2012

    Word Play


    Once upon a time I had a sister-in-law (definitely not Ruth) and we will call her Sis. Sis was not a good cook and not a good housekeeper and she had one, maybe two, small children at the time. One day she and my mom were looking through a brochure of summer classes and they came across a class titled "Cooking for Kids." Thinking this was a great idea for Sis so that she could cook for her children they signed her up. Now this was over 20 years ago, so I can't remember all the details 100% but this is pretty close. I can't remember if she went to the class or how exactly the truth came about. However, it turns out this cooking class was a cooking class FOR kids. As in, it was full of a bunch of 8-12 year old kids and my 20-something sister-in-law.

    Humiliating? Yes.

    Hilarious? For sure.

    Helpful? Not at all.

    I'm sure that when the teacher titled her class she didn't ever think there would be any confusion about the use of a simple word like "for." Sometimes I know that I get caught up in what I want to say and I don't really think of how somebody outside my head might read my words. Just in case you are wondering, everything I say makes sense inside my head (also, I have an amazing singing voice in my head). I think we have all read something at some point in time and we thought to ourselves, "what the heck are they talking about?"

    So, what are some steps you take to make sure you don't have 20-year-old women showing up to your cooking class aimed at 8 to 12-year-old children (metaphorically speaking, of course)?

    Saturday, June 9, 2012

    I've Made My Decision



    I'm pretty certain that I will be going to the LDStorymakers Midwest Conference. Woo-hoo!

    Friday, June 8, 2012

    Make it stop!

    I can't turn my editing brain off. Ever. I try really hard to turn it off when I am writing and I am mostly successful. However, when I try to sleep I can't and I start thinking about where to move parts of my story and changing the eye color of a character (yes, that one bugged me for days before I did it). Or when I am "cleaning" my house I am thinking about mistakes I know are in my WIP. So then when I sit down to write the next time I have to make those changes first. I don't know what to do. I want to write more and edit less for the time being. How do you all do it? Any tips or tricks?

    Tuesday, June 5, 2012

    LDStorymakers Midwest Conference

    Is anybody here planning on going? The schedule can be found here. I haven't decided yet. I want to go but I don't know if I can leave my kids. However, it could be double duty for me since I will be moving to that area just a couple months after that and I could take some time to research the area. Also, there are some super low airfare options lately. Decisions, decisions...

    Monday, June 4, 2012

    Nerves

    Clipart Credit: clipartguide.com

    Today will be my first real test of confidence as a writer. So far I have been a writer only in that I have said I am a writer (and I have been secretly typing at my computer, pecking away at my WIP). However, this morning I am going to a writer's group, one that I have been to as an observer before, and today I am taking my first pages of my WIP! I am so nervous. The butterflies in my stomach have started a super summer party. This will be the first time since high school that anybody has seen my writing. I figure if I want to be published eventually I will have to show my work to somebody, right? Or is there a way to avoid this step of showing my work?

    Wednesday, May 30, 2012

    My Life's Playlist

    Image Source: FreeDigitalPhotos.net



    A fun activity that my brother and I (and my sister this last weekend) have participated in lately is sitting around on a lazy Sunday afternoon playing music from our playlists while the other guesses the song/artist. Our fun scale is seemingly very low. However, this activity got me thinking. Music is HUGE in my life. I have songs that make me think of my husband because they suck but he loves them. I have songs that make me miss my husband because they remind me of love. I have songs that remind me of growing up. I listen to music to clean. I listen to music to exercise. I listen to music to relax. I listen to music to fire me up for a tough day. In fact, I can't do many things without music (i.e. cleaning or exercising). As I go through the day and things happen to me I think of songs that would fit the situation. I make up songs to sing to my kids all the time and about everything. In fact, they hate when I start singing because it is usually several minutes (okay, hours) before I stop singing. When I read books I either listen to music or I think of songs that fit the book throughout reading.

    So I found it quite interesting when I realized that I wasn't listening to music when writing. While playing the above game with my brother I started hearing songs in my playlist that fit my book and the emotions I want to convey so well. I decided to start listening to music while writing. It made me very nervous because I thought I might get carried away in the songs and forget that I was supposed to be writing and not singing. What I discovered was music works for my writing like it does everything else in my life. It makes me more productive. I enjoy my time. I am able to write for a longer period of time. I am really loving adding music to this part of my life.

    I know that not everyone can listen to music when they write. Do you listen to music when you write? Is it just instrumental? I'm very curious to know what others are doing. 

    Thursday, May 24, 2012

    School's Out

    I just got the text from my son...school is officially out for summer. So I thought I would share what pops into my head every time I hear that school is out. Enjoy!

    Wednesday, May 23, 2012

    Have You Ever?

    Have you ever...

    ...looked at your computer screen/pad of paper and questioned your actual writing ability?

    ...read everything you have written and thought about scrapping the whole thing?

    ...questioned your abilities as a wife/mother/friend/sister/writer,etc.?

    ...panicked when you realized that your kids only had one more 1/2 day of school left?

    I have had a rough couple of days. I am going to be completely honest - life has pretty much sucked for me the last few days and this is probably going to turn into a pretty sad post. My son has struggled with social skills and self esteem his whole life. He was diagnosed last year (one week before his 12th birthday) with Aspergers Syndrome. This falls on the autism spectrum. He is very high functioning and very intelligent. His main difficulty is in the social skills area. A major problem with people with Aspergers is that they are so intelligent that they know something is not right and they become very depressed. Depression is a major issue for my son. He has been bullied for all of his school career. I'm not talking little bits of teasing - I am talking punched in the stomach, harassed, threatened with his life, etc (most of this at a crappy school where the administration did nothing - we transferred him to a different school after we found out). You add to that puberty, a deployed dad, a looming move, and middle school (need I say more?) and I have not had a very pleasant son lately. Which is hard because when he is happy he is one of the funniest and sweetest people ever! He had a pretty serious incident in school yesterday which put him into a tailspin. Because I am in his mom and I love him despite the fact that he drives me insane I go into a tailspin with worry for him when he gets like he has been. I don't sleep. I struggle with eating (either eating too much or not enough). I cry...a lot. I question every decision I make on his behalf and then I start questioning every decision I make in my life. I begin to feel like a huge failure because I haven't been able to protect my child from these feelings. Then I start to feel guilty because I am giving my son so much attention that my daughter is not getting enough. Then I have to decide whether or not I share this burden with my husband and add the stress to his life when there is really nothing he can do about it when he is thousands of miles away. Basically I get to a point where I want to crawl into bed and stay there for an undetermined length and not have to worry about a single thing. So I don't clean. I don't write. I don't cook. I don't live.

    So, why am I sharing this here? First of all I needed to get it all out. Secondly, I think I might have a point. Last night I was at this point. Stick a fork in me, I'm done. It was bad. I was lying on the couch watching TV and crying about everything when I looked at my laptop and decided to work on my book. I thought about skipping a few chapters to a point where my character is pretty close to where I was last night. However, I decided to stick to where I was in the story. A point when two people are first falling in love. And it made me happy. And I remembered my own life. I remembered falling in love. When I thought my husband was the sun, the moon, and the stars. When I thought that WE were so in love that nothing bad could ever bring us down. WE would be that one couple who beat the odds and never had anything bad happen to us. WE would never get to the point where doing the little things for each other was too hard.

    Then we got married. Then crap started happening in our life. But here is the thing - I still think my husband is the sun, the moon, and the stars. I still think that WE are so in love that we can get back up from anything that knocks us down. I still think that WE will be that one couple who, when bad stuff happens to us, we beat the odds, and we grow stronger. WE do some of the little things for each other but not all of it. One advantage to him being deployed 4 times is that we get to fall in love all over again every time he is gone and comes back. We miss each other. We remember how much we love each other and appreciate each other. I get butterflies in my stomach before I meet him at the airport and when we kiss for the first time. I have the advantage of being so close to the memory of falling in love and every time it is with the same person. When I thought of all of this I was able to add depth to my characters and make them have a true and deep love, not just an infatuated relationship built on looks (although good looks don't hurt either). I wrote about 1000 words last night and I think they are pretty darn good. And by writing I was able to get perspective back in my life.

    I was also able to send my husband an email and let him know what was going on without whining and letting him know the situation was resolved and he didn't need to worry.

    For my last have you ever question...I love my kids but summers freak me out! I do like sleeping in but I never know what to do with my kids to keep them entertained and I can't handle hearing "I'm bored."

    What do you do to entertain your kids during the summer so that you can stay refreshed and ready to write and so that you can keep loving them? (Keep in mind that my kids are almost 13 and 9)

    P.S. Sorry for the length of this post.

    Monday, May 21, 2012

    Rearranged

    This week has involved an awful lot of restlessness on my part. Fortunately I had plenty to do to fill my time.

    - I rearranged my blog (for both of my 2 followers). I couldn't find a header I liked so I made my own. I don't like it as much as one I made for a friend a while back (you can see it here) but I am going to stick with it for a while - at least until I get bored with it.

    - I rearranged my living room. For those who don't know, my living situation is very much less than ideal right now. We are renting my sister's very small home for a year until my husband returns from his latest deployment. We left a house that was between 2200-2400 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, laundry room, separate family and living rooms, 2 car garage, with storage galore and moved into a 2 bedroom, 1 bath, no garage, nor storage 600 (?) square foot home. It has been quite the lifestyle adjustment. I have a very near teenage boy (1 month away), a very pre-teen, already hormonal, 9-year-old girl and a dog who thinks she is still a puppy but is really quite large and takes up half the free space in the living room. The advantage to this living arrangement is that my parents live next door and my brother and sister-in-law, Ruth, and their family live just around the corner. Ruth is one of my best friends and I love their kids so this part is fun. The downside is that I can't stand to hear people breathe, or chew, or move. All of those actions happen far too often in my home. I hear/feel everything! This leads to not much time to actually think or write. My living room was very cluttered and it is where I spend most of my time so I decided to rearrange. It made such a big difference and I was able to write and clear my head. It also makes me much more relaxed because I don't walk in and feel like I am being consumed by a much-too-small house.

    - I rearranged my brain and my book. I spent several days not writing. I decided to add a bit to my very rough outline. It helped so much! Details that I had been questioning started to fall into place and I became refocused. I get very easily distracted and I have to refocus often.

    And just for fun I thought about my favorite reasons for deciding to write women's/contemporary romance. One of the top items on my list is imagining my male characters (who are all remarkably hot - please see note about my husband being deployed) and that wonderful feeling of falling in love. Ever since previews for The Lucky One came out (I haven't seen it yet because it hasn't come to our town) I have imagined Zac Efron as almost all of my male characters. When I see the previews of him with the girl I think to myself "She IS the lucky one!" And now that he is older it doesn't make me as much of a nasty old cougar for thinking he is smokin' hot (after all he is only 10 years younger than me)! Seriously, I miss my husband.

    Wednesday, May 16, 2012

    Accidentally in Love



    While writing this morning I came to two realizations. The first is that I finally have a clear image of my female character. I had no problem coming up with images for my male character(s) but I had a really hard time with my female. My story is written in 1st person since it is really her story to tell but I couldn't see who she was. I imagined her looking in the mirror and I didn't see details. I was getting really frustrated because I couldn't put the necessary detail into my book because I didn't know it. And then last night I had a dream. I knew my character. I knew what she looked like, how she acted, and even that her name was wrong! I woke up stunned. I loved her original name but then I knew that it wasn't her name. You know when you have kids and you just know their name? That is how I felt when I woke up. I had to jot it down because I was afraid I would forget by the time I could get to my computer. I am so happy now that I have clear direction. By the way, she is a little like Emma Stone and it has nothing at all to do with the fact that I have a little bit of a girl crush on Emma Stone.


    My second realization was that my character was slowly falling in love with the wrong guy! It just happened and it started freaking me out. And then I took some advice that I learned at LDStorymakers Conference and I asked myself, "what if...?" I realized that I am okay with her falling in love with the wrong guy. It works. It is who she belongs with and it makes her story more deep and true. I feel like I have leaped over two giant hurdles and I can move on with her story.

    Saturday, May 12, 2012

    Hello, My Name is Bob


    This post is going to allow you all to get to know me a little too well. It is a bit of a confession and a bit of a question (and it is really long). I have recently had the opportunity to discuss some "quirks" that I have that are sometimes mild and sometimes greatly interfere with my life. Many people who have known me for a while are already aware of, and mostly amused by, my tendencies. It is much like the movie, "What About Bob?" where I take baby steps all day every day to overcome my mental obstacles.

    I am doing well writing my book. I am writing and I am making forward progress. Where I am really struggling is with character development. The problem is this: I don't know normal. I am not normal. I have OCD. I don't know proper reactions to daily situations. There are things that bother me to a point that I require therapy that would not even cause a moment's hesitation to somebody else. There are things that bring me joy - they actually make me smile and make my heart happy - that other people don't even notice. I don't know if a character trait I am developing in my book is going to come across as too contrived even though it is really how I behave. Here are some examples.


    This is actually how I eat my M&Ms and Skittles. I line them up in rainbow order and I eat them down (in order) until they all have the same amount per row. Then I eat them in rainbow order. They just taste so much better that way. My real problem is when the last color in the rainbow order is a flavor I don't like because then I have to end with a bad taste in my mouth.


    Even numbers make me happy. They make me smile. Odd numbers make me mad (except for multiples of 5). If there is a sale on an item and it is 3 for $1, I will buy 6. I used to buy 2 separate egg cartons - one 12 pack and one 18 pack. Then if a recipe called for 3 eggs I could take an entire row from the 18 pack. If it called for 2 I would take one from the 12 pack. If it called for 1 egg I used the 12 pack and then threw one egg away so that the whole row would be gone. I couldn't handle one egg being left in a row. It made my head hurt. I can now survive with one egg carton but it still makes me need a calming breath when I open it and see one egg sitting in a row by itself.


    My wallet does not look like the above photo. My money is in order based on the denomination. And all my bills are right-side up and facing forward. How anybody could do anything else is really beyond me.

    I don't currently have much of a pantry but the above picture is what my dream pantry would look like. I seriously could just stare at this picture for hours. If I had a pantry like that I would probably sit in it for hours. I would pull a pillow in there and read or take a nap or hide from my family and be happy.



    I love for my closet to be color coordinated. This is how my closet looks (this picture is not my closet). I have my clothes in rainbow order and categorized as follows: short sleeve casual, short sleeve formal-ish, long sleeve casual, long sleeve formal-ish, etc. with each category in rainbow order and facing the same direction. My clothes either look like this or piled high in a laundry basket. You see, I'm also all or nothing. I'd rather do something perfect, actually better than perfect, or not do it at all. This is also a struggle for me with my writing but I am getting over it for now (we will see how I handle it once it is time for revisions). My husband hangs things up with hangers hanging backwards, short sleeve mixed with pants, civilian mixed with military, no rainbow order and no order at all. It drives me crazy! It is difficult for me to go in our closet and see the chaos that lives in there.

    My husband often asks me how our house can look like it does (read: it is a mess) when I claim to be a "perfectionist." It goes back to that all or nothing and OCD. I need it done my way, which is of course the right way, but I don't always have the time or energy to get it done right so I'll just leave it alone. Can a character in a book get by with such nonsense? Can I make it come across as cute and not near-divorce-causing-irrationality? Could my character actually meet somebody as wonderful as my husband - somebody who would put up with her crap and still love her? I don't really know. I am struggling to find that balance between making somebody I can relate to and understand and somebody others can love. Where is the line?