Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Brain Pain

So a couple days ago, I had to rush into the Instacare/Urgentcare doctor's office.

My brain felt like it was going to explode.

Hmmm, yeah, so that's what a migraine feels like. I am so against them.

The echo of the headache is still there, making productivity sort of difficult given my ADD-ness anyway. So I'll be back next week, hopefully brain pain-less.

Have a great rest of the week all!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Beginning at the End

Once upon a time . . .

In the beginning . . .

A long, long time ago . . .

Yesterday's quote = good lead in to current thoughts.

Round and round and round we go, where's the beginning? None of us know.

I'm in the midst of revising a finished wip right now, but have been on the Beginnings Carousel in regards to a couple other projects I'm working on.

I write as scenes appear in my head. This is a bit of a chaotic, A.D.D. sort of process, but my brain just doesn't work sequentially when applied to writing. I don't know why. I'm usually 2/3 of the way through before it becomes clear what should be on that first page.

How about you guys? Do you just KNOW what's supposed to be on that first page from the get go? Does it come to you later?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Quote of the Week

"The world is round and the place which may seem like the end
may also be the beginning."

Ivy Baker Priest

Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday Fun

Last Friday, that is.

Thanks to the lovely Elana and Suzette for organizing and hosting a fantabulous evening of writerly fun!

I had met a few of these folks before, a few others I only knew of from the interwebs. I had no idea so many of us lived so close together! But I also had a chance to get to know some new people -- all together, a fun and amazing group. Published authors, those just starting out, some wading through the slush piles and others cheering everyone on! I love having the opportunity to know so many people so close who get me.

With writing, some may say it is a very solitary activity, but yanno what? The friends I have made since I began writing again, and as I've been swimming through the process to publication have made it one of the most social things I've ever done!

So thanks to Al Gore (who we're toasting, btw) for coming up with this fantabulous idea of interwebbiness. Thanks to the lovely and gracious Suzette, for letting us raid your house and with the amazing Elana, organizing a shindig only to be topped by future such shindigs!

Oh, and if you're not following any of these peeps already, you really should be.

From Left to Right standing: LT Elliot, Mary Campbell, Nichole Giles, Alaina Evans, Elana Johnson, Angie Lofthouse, Carolyn Vawdrey, Michelle Argyle, Suzette Saxton, Windy Aphayrath (That’s ME!)

From Left to Right kneeling: Jenn Wilks, Tess Hilmo, Ali Cross, Natalie Whipple

Not pictured: Jaime Thieler, Kim Webb Reid, Danyelle Leafty, Jenn Johannson, Tiana Lei

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Waiting, Waiting, Waiting

With the start of the calendar year, enrollment has opened for the charter schools in our area. Kidlet is starting kindergarten next year, so I promptly applied based on the deadlines.

The public charter school system runs on a lottery system. Well, the first school we applied to had their lottery last Friday. They say to allow 7 days for notification if your child's name was drawn.

It's been 5 days. I've kept my email open all day everyday. I've gone into the school's system to check on the status of her application about 12 times. I've been waiting. Waiting. Waiting.

The worst part? Kidlet isn't waiting.

It's just ME!

She's blissfully unaware and only knows that she's going to get to go to school next year. Kindergarten. Big kid school. Woohoo. That's usually where the conversation ends.

So, yeah, waiting, hovering over email, checking and rechecking things. It's not just for the queriers or those with books on submission.

Now then, on this lovely snowy, slushy, wet and drizzly (at least in parts of Utah) day . . . what are you waiting for? Cookies to finish baking? The work day to be over? Beta readers to come back to you? Kidlets to FINALLY take a nap so you can get some writing done?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Filling the Empty Spaces

Over the past week or so, a few things happened:

1. The baby moved from a crib to a toddler bed. This came with a trip to IKEA (I heart IKEA, btw) which led to ...

2. A great deal on a new dresser (something I've been searching for, as our closet/current dresser situation is a bit lacking) which brings me to ...

3. A comment made by the husband: "I'll just use the old dresser and you can have the new dresser."

I don't have that much stuff. We initially had talked about giving our old dresser to the kidlets, but now . . . 6 giant drawers, after migrating my things from our current dresser over, I still have 4 completely empty drawers. What to do with the empty space??

You guys probably think I'm so totally random when I come up with this stuff, but . . .

When I come up with a new idea for a project, I usually have a couple major plot points, maybe something that could be the beginning, maybe an end. This would be the 2 drawers I've been able to fill in my new dresser. But like the other 4 - currently empty - drawers, I don't always know how to fill in the gaps between.

It appears I have to do some shopping, both in reality and in the current wips I'm working on. Shopping for new socks and new words.

I suppose it's off to the market for me. Anyone have a map to the nearest Word-Mart?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Quote of the Week

As the days pass, as with all events, tragic and not, new news begin to overshadow those which still need attention.

In light of all that has been going on around the devastating earthquake in Haiti and in combination of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day tomorrow, I thought this was a very fitting quote.

"An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity."

Martin Luther King, Jr.

For anyone interested in helping/donating to the earthquake cause, please visit the American Red Cross website and it will provide you with (legitimate) relief effort links.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Life Lessons Part 5: 38 - 45

Continued, Life Lessons according to Ms. Regina Brett, The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, OH.

38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.

41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

42. The best is yet to come.

43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

44. Yield.

45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

Hope everyone's had a great week and that something in all this has added to your day(s). And of course, Happy Friday!!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Life Lessons Part 4: 29 - 37

The continuation of Life Lessons, courtesy of Ms. Regina Brett, The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, OH.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.

35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood.

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Life Lessons Part 3: 20 - 28

Part 3 of Life Lessons, courtesy of Ms. Regina Brett, The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, OH.


20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?' (aka "10 years from now what difference will it make?

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone everything.

Fab Wednesday to you all!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Life Lessons Part 2: 10 - 19

Life lessons courtesy of Ms. Regina Brett, The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, OH Continued.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.

12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.

16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.

19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Life Lessons Part 1: 1 - 9

A while back I read an awesome list posted by one Ms. Regina Brett, 90 years old, of The Plain Dealer, one of the largest papers in Ohio.

It wasn't specifically a "writing" list, but it was one of those that really made me think. The list is pretty long, so I thought I'd break it up and share a few with you every week. It's really helped me put/keep things in perspective.

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.

8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

More to come tomorrow. Happy Monday!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Quote of the Week

"Live up to the best that is in you: Live noble lives,
as you all may, in whatever condition you may find yourselves."

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Friday, January 8, 2010

To Read

Or The Growing Mountain of Books on My Bedside Table that I WILL Read Before I Die.

Last year, about mid-March I decided I was going to read 100 books in 2009. In August, I re-vamped my goal a bit, seeing as I was already 1/4 into the year when I decided on this goal. So new, calendar adjusted goal: 75.

As of my last Recent Reads post, I made it to 34. That is so far short, I am embarrassed to admit it. Luckily, I know you guys are awesome and won't ridicule me. At least not too much.

I thought about why I didn't reach my goal. And not to make excuses, but I just think I wasn't being realistic. Firstly, TIME -- I hadn't counted on how much the day job and a home remodeling (still in progress, btw) would take over my life. Secondly, I reached a point where there was just nothing new I was dying to read.

I don't know about you, but for me, but I have to be in the mood to read certain books. But the mood never struck. So I read, but mostly just old books I'd finished eons ago, which I had defined as books that didn't count toward my 100, er, 75 goal.

So now, I've decided on a more practical goal. Based on what I accomplished last year in 3/4 of the year, I think it would be safe to say 50 is a good goal for me.

It helps that there are a few books I'm eagerly awaiting that come out this year, as well as the fact I've jumped on to participating in some ARC tours!

What about you guys? Aside from the writing goals, do you have reading goals too? Any books you're eagerly awaiting this year?

Have a great weekend and happy reading!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Lots of Questions

So LT Elliot sent me a shout out a while back … with a whole bunch of questions attached. There was way more thinking involved in answering these questions than I expected! I must be getting rusty in my old age or something.

I've been trying to limit the lengths of my posts, keep to the "above the fold" mentality, but I thought this one warranted the inches it takes up!

Anyway, hope you find some amusement and get to know me a little better.

1. What's the last thing you wrote? What's the first thing you wrote that you still have?
We’re talking real writing? ‘Cause I just scribbled a check out for the kidlet’s preschool a minute ago…

The last writerly thing … I’m currently in the midst of 3 different wips, 2 YA paranormals and 1 YA contemp fic that are all in the very wip stages (like I haven’t touched any for about 3 weeks and counting now).

The first thing I wrote that I still have- a MG/YA about a girl who was a secret rockstar. (I was 12.) Oh, and yeah, I know exactly what you’re thinking that sounds like.

2. Write poetry?
Not by choice.

3. Angsty poetry?
Angst I can do. Not so much the poetry part.

4. Favorite genre of writing?
YA Contemporary Fic … currently trying my hand at paranormal. We’ll see how it pans out.

5. Most annoying character you've ever created?
I don’t know… Have a couple I just dislike, but they aren’t so much annoying.

6. Best Plot you've ever created?
I’m sorta thinking my plot idea at 12 was good. You know, if only I’d gone to Disney first.

7. Coolest Plot twist you've ever created?
I don’t know if I have 1 specific example. Have whole series of sub-plots that I always find interesting after I go back to read.

8. How often do you get writer's block?
If we count specific instances, I’d say not often, it’s just the length of time it lingers can suck pretty majorly.

9. Write fan fiction?

10. Do you type or write by hand?
Both. By hand keeps me from going back to edit everything I typed last time. Helps me to keep moving on the story.

11. Do you save everything you write?

12. Do you ever go back to an idea after you've abandoned it?
I don’t think I ever truly abandon ideas… they just get filed away for future use. I can only have so many wips at any point, even I have to draw the line somewhere.

13. What's your favorite thing you've ever written?
I don’t have one. I know, lame answer, but I love all of them in their own special way. You know, sort of like family.

14. What's everyone else's favorite story that you've written?
You’d have to ask them. Seriously. I have no idea.

15. Ever written romance or angsty teen drama?
Angsty teen drama … ah, the story of my (writing) life. I LOVE it!! Emotions and decisions are so amplified during teenagerdom, there is never a loss for things to happen.

16. What's your favorite setting for your characters?
Currently it is a fictional set of towns that most of my recent projects have centered around.

17. How many writing projects are you working on right now?
Writing only? So I’m guessing this means new writing stuff, because I’m working on writing 3. Revising 2.

18. Have you ever won an award for your writing?
Unless the creative arts Reflections program in grade school counts, uh, nope.

19. What are your five favorite words?
None specifically. Just words I overuse in my rough drafts, but none of those are my favorites.

20. What character have you created that is most like yourself?

21. Where do you get ideas for your characters?
People I know. Places I’ve been. Commercials. Music. Random phrases. Anywhere. Everywhere.

22. Do you ever write based on your dreams?
Minimally. I don’t have anything entirely based on a dream, but a scene here or there sometimes.

23. Do you favor happy endings?
I simply favor closure. I’m usually good with an ending that stays true to a story. And sometimes an ending shouldn’t be happy to be authentic. As much as that sucks, sometimes it is the way it should be.

24. Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?
I’m generally pretty good about spelling and grammar as I go. I try to fix what the system catches as I go so I don’t have to worry about it later.

25. Does music help you write?
Yes. I’ve had whole manuscripts that came to me because of 1 line I heard in a song.

26. Quote something you've written. Whatever pops into your head.
“Standing just beyond the bar, I watch the old people dance for a bit before Mom appears beside me and hands me her drink. She and Dad head onto the dance floor.
I’ve gone from daughter to furniture—a side table, holding drinks.”

So it appears this is one of those lists that's been going around and I've seen it on a lot of blogs already, so I'm opting out of the "pick 3 bloggers to tag" because, well, the writerly community on here is actually a much smaller world than a lot of peeps realize and most of you have already been tagged! If you haven't, well, I guess it's your turn!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Food for Thought

I don't cook. Well, I can't cook very well, so generally, I opt out when there's an option. The husband recently changed shifts and I am now in a position where I have to cook dinner. Every night.

Did I mention I don't cook?

It's been a couple months now and pretty consistently, I've been making dinner on week nights. So far I haven't killed anyone. Great news, right? And no one's even gotten sick. Just a bonus on top of the no one dying thing. Sweet!

Why am I talking about this, you ask? Well, aside from my general randomness, as I was making dinner the other night I started thinking about how many books include meals. Homecooked or takeout, food's important. In one of my revision-state mss, there's a scene with some takeout, though the food isn't specifically described, one of my crit-buddies asked what was in my MC's takeout box.

Then I started thinking about how sometimes it is the most minor of details that I remember. It may not be completely pivotal, but how much does the "scent of those chocolate chip cookies wafting through the kitchen" ground your scene and make it just a little more real?

Off the top of my head, I can think clearly of at least 3 different scenes involving cooking where the scenes were vivid enough to stick in my head, despite how long ago I read the books.
  • City of Bones: Isabelle's making some funky fish soup when Clary brings Simon to the Institute.
  • This Lullaby: All the gourmet food is burnt on the BBQ when Remy introduces Dexter to her family.
  • Wicked Lovely: Seth and Aislinn are making spaghetti during a pretty important conversation.

So what's the menu like in your projects?
Because, yanno, breakfast (and lunch and dinner and mid-AM/PM snacks) is/are the most important meal(s) of the day. Oh, and a character's gotta eat!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Year Goodies!

Don't miss the chance to jump on over to Shooting Stars - Suzette & Bethany's blog. They're holding a "Wicked Awesome Prizes" Contest.
What can you win?

Hop on over there to find out!

The rules are easy and you've got until January 11 to get in on this, so scoot-scoot over there!!

Simple Words

It really isn't that hard if you don't think about it.
It's when you think about it that it gets hard.

So don't think.


Two words.
Nine letters.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Laundry Day Value

Okay, so on this first official business day of 2010, I get to head back to work by hopping a plane for a quick 2-day trip to San Jose. *sigh* Such is the life of being a writer with a day job.

I started this post several weeks ago, thinking ahead about the many many things I'd like to accomplish in 2010, but in the last few days, I've taken a step back from that. This week's quote totally had me thinking.

The beginning of each year, I always feel like there's this pressure to set the resolutions, goals to achieve. My problem with this? Well, honestly, if you look at it, there are things to be accomplished all the time. It just all depends on how you look at it.

At this point, I could make some profound statement and try to sound all New Year smarty pants, but you know, I just spent the last 7 hours bonding with our family's laundry.

Laundry is the bane of my existence. (In case any of you missed my tweet last night . . . er, I guess it was more this morning. That's right. I'm writing another post at 2 A.M.)

Tackling the laundry got me thinking. Firstly about how many of us would totally love to have a personal laundry assistant. Then about the year to come. So maybe this could be a bit profound?

As I mentioned - 7 hours today, spent on the laundry. Time I could've spent on other things. What other things?
  • Eating.
  • Reading.
  • Sleeping.
  • Revising.
  • Movie-ing (is that a word?).
  • Writing.
But if I didn't take this time to get the laundry stuff figured out, it'd never get done. Which lead me to the thought that's been bouncing around my head lately: You don't make time. You take time.

I know it sounds sort of cheesy. But it's true.

Yes, I could have taken the same 7 hours and gotten boatloads of writing/revising/reading done, but there's also value in ensuring my family is happy, healthy and wearing clean, Downy fresh clothes. Right? It's all about weighing priorities, but also making sure you're taking time for you too!

So there's my profound New Year wisdom for you: Take some time for you, but making sure everyone in the family's got clean underwear is also valuable.

You have any deep thoughts to share? Lay it on me!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Quote of the Week

"Try not to become a man of success, but a man of value."

Albert Einstein

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy 2010!

Just a quick note today to say:

I thought I'd give everyone (myself included) a few days before I put my thoughts on the new year into writing!

Have a great day/month/year!