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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My First Writers' Retreat

I just returned from my first-ever writers' retreat, and found it amazingly worthwhile.

In addition to getting some major plotting done (yes, I've been converted), I kicked out a grand total of 18,637 words in three days. That feels amazing!

Our retreat consisted of one giant, cabin-like mansion in the woods, several scrumptious, restaurant-worthy meals, eleven incredible-in-every-way writing chicks, and one exterminator turned hero of the day (long story).
It was such a great time. I'm so glad I went, and I'll definitely go again when the opportunity comes around.

So what about you? Ever been on a Writer's Retreat? Do you dream about going on one?
Ever encounter a sneaky little mouse in a houseful of women? Let's hear it.

Monday, June 27, 2011

I'm on We Do Write!

I have been interviewed by blogger, writer, and over all promoter-of-fellow-authors, Dorothy Dreyer!

 Dorothy uses her awesome blogspot to interview/discuss other writers she has met through social networking. Here's what she says about that:

"At this very moment, future best sellers are being written by people among us. It could be anyone.
It could be you.
I thought I'd take it upon myself to get to know them before they shoot off into stardom, and show my support during their climb."
How cool is that? Writers, this is someone you want to know. 
You can start getting to know her by checking out my interview. (Wow - great idea, right?)
Hope you have a super summer day. Come back tomorrow so we can chat about Writer's Retreats. 

Also, let me know what you think about Dorothy's rockin' blog. Or drop me a note if you've had the great pleasure of enjoying a Krispy Kreme lately; it's been far too long for me.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Thanks To My Fellow Bloggers

May you all experience a great level of Krispy Kreme sweetness in life!

Okay, so I received this lovely award from five fantastic bloggers, and now it's time to spread the sweet temptation along. A big thank you to Tasha, Jenna Cooper  , Travis, , and my good writing friend, Brenda Sills for the honor! Be sure to check out their awesome blogs by clicking on their names.

Now for the technicalities:

Rules of the The Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award (some rules varied but these were the most popular):
1. Copy and paste the award to your blog.

 2. Thank and link to the person(s) who nominated you.
Sweet appreciation to the five of you listed (and linked) above! I'm sincerely thankful for the delicious treat, and am now feeling inspired to whip up a fruit pizza for FHE tonight. 

3. Share seven random facts about yourself.
Seven sounds like a big number but I'll give it a go:

To start, before I married my wonderful husband, he was my best friend, and before that I dated his brother. Juicy, right? Not really. But it's kind of funny anyway.

Second, I love being a mom! I always look forward to summer because that's when I get the kids all to myself.

Okay, down to number three. I have two chihuahuas (Rocky and Adrian) that embarrass me with their obnoxious yapping every time somebody comes to the door. But somehow I manage to love them anyway. 

Four. I can really belch. Like a man. Just sayin'.

Five. I'm a total thrift store junky. Savers is at the top of my list. I rarely buy jeans unless they've been beautifully used, worn to perfection, and passed onto the local thrift store for my wearing pleasure. (Is that even a correct term?) 

Six. FOOD! I shouldn't even think to write about myself without the mention of it. I seriously love all food. In fact, I can't relate to picky eaters. At all. I feel sorry for them actually because I hate the idea of missing out on something delicious.

Last one. I backed into a gas pump once. It was during my teen years (of course) and I had a giant group of friends crammed into my dark brown Toyota Cressida (nicknamed Sexual Chocolate after SNL skit with Eddie Murphy). 

4th rule: Pass the award along to 5 deserving blogging buddies. Since I received the award from more than one source, I decided to list more than that. Each has a link to his or her blog, so be sure to check them out and show them some blogger-love. It's a great way to connect with fellow writers and even bump up your own following.
10. Angie
11. Deana
13. Dana
5. Contact those buddies to congratulate them.
Thanks again for The Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award; scrumptious!   

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Where Do You Find the Time?

Finding time to write can be tricky, especially when you're a parent.
I often sneak in a half hour here, or an hour there while the kids are at piano lessons or before they wake up. Now that it's summer, I have them at home with me all day, but I can always write during their designated reading time. I'll sometimes take the kids to the park, bring my lap top and let them play while I write. It's not the most serene environment, but it's something.

Of course,  there are those times when I'll sacrifice my much-needed beauty sleep for those long stretches of fast-typing, completely-in-the-zone, interruption-free writing.
And while I love having those great chunks of time, (I would never finish a book without them), I actually find I can make some pretty decent progress during those little snippets as well. Even if I have to stop right when I'm finally stepping into the character's head. Even if the scene is just beginning to unfold, revealing itself like a hidden mystery bursting into daylight. That's okay because I can muse on it while I go about my day.

When that happens, I'll type a quick summary of the scene, keep the emotions with me throughout a large part of the day, and, of course, take notes along the way of things I do not want to forget. If I fail to bring my notebook, the scribbles end up on random envelopes, crinkled receipts, or the back and or palm of my hand. The important thing, for me anyway, is that I stay with it. And I do it without sacrificing excess amounts of time. For me, it's better to keep the book in my head than skip the whole day all together.
Writing is important to me, but I wait all year for my kids to get out of school (school is such a time hog!), and I want to spend the summer with them once it's finally here.

What about you? Got a method that totally rocks? Have you found the perfect writer-parent balance? Well hurry and share it already; we want to hear!

Coming up sometime in the near future: my 'Query Tracker Premium Membership Giveaway!' Stay tuned for details.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Is Optimism Truly Key?

There are all sorts of books, articles, and theories that suggest we have more control over our circumstance than we realize.

I, for one, agree. I've seen it in action in my own life. Even with small, day-to-day tasks, a positive attitude goes a long way.

I'll be unable to blog next week, so I knew today's post would stick around for a while. And since I'm feeling exceptionally optimistic today, I thought I'd leave you some well-written quotes that go along with the theme. I hope that as you read them, the words will inspire you to feverishly pursue the goals you've set out to accomplish.

“I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”     
~ Jimmy Dean

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”
 ~ Maria Robinson

“If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought.”
~ Peace Pilgrim (AKA Mildred Lisette Norman)

Do you have any thoughts on the subject? How about a favorite quote? One that inspires you to chase the dream? Share it here and we'll love you forever. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Discovering Your Characters

So I've been reading a lot of your amazing blog posts, and have noticed a bit of a theme over the last week or so: getting into that main character's head.  This was not a problem for me with my first novel. I was there. In it all the way.

But my WIP is a little different. My main character (MC) went through some pretty traumatic, life-altering events early in her life. And though I'm not writing those events into the book, I needed to go through them with her in order to get a good sense of how her past has shaped her. This is what I've been working on.

Then while surfing blogs yesterday, I read someone's comment that really got me thinking. He said that he writes journal entries for the MC before going into the scenes. I stored this away as one of those, "Wow - good idea - I don't want to forget that" things and continued on with my day. (This is why I can't tell you whose blog it was on or who made the comment. Bummer.)

Anyway, later that day I gave it a try. I wrote a journal entry for my MC starting right around the time her life took a sudden twist (when she was about eleven years old). I was amazed at how quickly I connected with her then. In just a short amount of time, I was able to experience this tragedy with her - her fears, her pain, and her hopes for a better tomorrow. These aren't things that will go into the book. Many of the events that take place in these journal entries will never be revealed to the reader at all, but that's okay. We still need to know it in order to know these people better. Why they act the way they do. Why they might be afraid to speak up. Or perhaps why they overreact all the time. You'll figure that out along the way.

I encourage any of you to try this exercise if you're not feeling connected with your MC. For me, it's already making a world of difference.

So what about you? What helps you discover your characters? Don't get stingy on us now; we want to hear.

Art work above by larafairie.j