Sunday, March 28, 2010

Impact

Some people come into our lives without great circumstance. They are the types who are content to stand in the shadows rather than the spotlights. They would just as soon choose a corner table and visit with close friends than have the adoration of acquaintances spooned on them. If they are called to speak, they shy away. When they are asked to take credit for their good works they acknowledge the accolade with a nod and then quietly continue on with their work. Often (dare I say always?) these are the types who impact our lives the deepest.

My mother is this type.

She wears many hats, but here are just a few:

She is a teacher—a teacher who for fifteen years has chosen to teach at low income, bilingual schools so that she can make the most difference. She develops programs for the gifted children and ESL programs for Spanish-speaking children and parents. She comes up with Discovery clubs for the kids who always want to know the why and the more then tutors for free those that are plain falling behind. She loves what she does and she is good at what she does, though she does it one child at a time.

She is a mother. I am the oldest of five children and there have been few days in my life where I have not talked to her. Checking in to say hello and ending with, “I love you,” is a routine that developed since I moved away from home fifteen years ago. It’s the same with my brothers and sisters.

She is a wife and a friend. She and my dad have been inseparable since they were fifteen years old. She has many other friends too, though she is shy at making them at first.

She is a reader. For me reading was encouraged at a very young age. Because of her example, I learned to read young and never stopped reading. If my mother takes the time to sit still, there is a book in her hand.

She is a poet. I entertained the possibility of one day writing myself when I saw that my mother liked to craft words. She thought of writing kid’s books too, but what I read was her poetry. Perhaps that poetry has never left her high school journals or her yearly Christmas cards, but I learned to love the idea of being a writer from her hand. She was the doorway to the creative world I now embrace.

This is impact.

So many lives have been made richer but particularly mine because of this quiet woman. She makes everything better when she is around. And she’ll smack me for just putting this on my simple blog since she thinks she requires no praise. But she does. She needs to know how much I love her, admire her, and how many people have been affected by her. Because this week we found out that her ovarian cancer has relapsed. And all that’s left to fight it are clinical trials far away from home. So please, whatever your religion, pray for her. She might not need the extra prayers, but I need to know they are being offered in her behalf.

And not to take away from this post, but I wanted to say hello to all the new followers I came back to this week. I haven’t been over to your places yet (for the reason mentioned above) but I will. I’ll also be planning a Welcome 100 Follower’s Party too, very soon.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Allegory of the Acorn


Not everyone who visits this blog is a writer, I know that, but I’m pretty sure everyone that comes here creates something. They love to take some thing and shape it into a new thing. We engineer it. We mold it. We write it. We arrange it. We preserve it. We paint it. Something in our makeup craves creativity.

But to create something takes time. It takes effort. And that can get discouraging.

I know at least for me it’s been discouraging. Books in my head are nearly planned out, but still I must build them sentence by sentence on paper. And then once I’ve done that, I have to virtually rewrite it so that it sounds good and reads well. It becomes more complicated than that, but the point is that it’s discouraging when you want the darn thing written yesterday not several months or years from now.

Today I decided to celebrate my growth instead of how far I still need to go. (Yeah, I know, I’ve been in a celebratory mood lately.)


Here’s an inspiring thought:

Consider an acorn. It’s a small seed that gradually grows into a large and mighty tree. Its branches reach skyward, braving the heights other plants dare not go. Its roots dig deep and spread wide to support the massive trunk. It takes centuries for the tree to grow into its full expanse, but that doesn’t stop it from working at it each day. Each stage the oak tree is only as small as it ever will be. As a seed, as sprout, as a sapling, it’s constantly growing.

Now consider a sunflower. Sunflowers grow in disturbed areas, a primary succession plant that spreads rapidly with a shallow root system. The weed topples under any kind of duress and in a season or two it is replaced by longer-lived or more complex plants. A sunflower cannot aspire to be a tree; a sunflower cannot aspire to outlive its season. It can only shine in the short time it’s given.

My message: cultivate your craft. One day at a time. Whatever your endeavor, whether it’s writing or not, start as an acorn and take comfort in the fact that in this very moment, you are only as small as you’ll ever be. Your talent can only grow from here. And just like an oak tree, you’ll build the roots and the height to outlast the sunflowers that come and go.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Today,

I will celebrate.
I will celebrate that I have a house with things to make it messy,
that I have a waist, even after three kids (never mind the butt and thighs),
that that sun is shining and it's the perfect temperature outside.
I will celebrate that an agent said my partial was wonderful and that she'd love to read the rest. It is enough that she said so, even if nothing comes of it.
Today I will celebrate getting four people bathed, dressed, and out the door by eight o'clock.
Today I will celebrate my children's smiles and laughter, especially in the rush of morning.
Today I will remember that the little things are enough. And that I am enough.
And you are enough.
Happy Monday!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Awards for the first day of SPRING!

There's always a reason to celebrate awards! This time it's SPRING today!


Sunshine Award

Thanks to Abby Annis for this award! You rock the blogosphere.

1. I’ve been an obsessive recycler for the last fifteen years. To the point where every scrap of paper, plastic, aluminum, and glass must go into the proper bin.
2. I once had only 3-5% body fat, back when I was in great shape at 18, 19, and 20. (Backpacking fifteen miles every day all summer had its benefits.) Don’t ask me what I am now.
3. I love Thai and Indian food, especially if the dish involves coconut milk.
4. I know I'll miss the days I can’t push a jogging stroller around on my daily walks. I’ve become so accustomed to the weight in front of me, I’ll feel weird without it.
5. I get my best story ideas from the frequently detailed, vivid dreams I have. None about sparkling vampires yet, though.


Rules, should you choose to accept them:

1. Put the logo on your blog or within your post.
2. Pass the award to 5 bloggers.
3. Link the nominees within your post.
4. Let them know they received this award by commenting on their blog.
5. Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.
6. Share 5 things about yourself



From Me to You Award

Thanks to Myrna Foster for this one!

Rules:

1. Tell seven things about yourself.
2. Pass it on.



(I’m going to squeak by and continue the list from above.)

6. The day before high school graduation I decided to chop my long hair completely off to only about two inches in length. No, I was NOT drunk. But I did get asked that a few times that day. (Most people knew I didn’t drink.)

7. I threw up in a helicopter once chasing nesting peregrine falcons. I’d often been up in the air, and had never been sick before. I got teased a lot about my “puny girl stomach” by the guys I worked with, since before I’d been touted for my iron stomach. When they found out it was more morning sickness than motion sickness, they cut me a little slack. But just a little.

I bequeath these awards to the following awesome bloggers. Please choose which one you’d like:

Notquietawake
Shannon O'Donnell
Julie Dao
Just Jemi
Susan Fields
Joanne
L. T. Elliot
M. G. Higgins

Thanks for the awards, friends!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Search and Find Friday #3

Ahh! Where did this day go? It's Third Friday, that means it's SCAVENGER HUNT DAY.


Here's the low-down: I give you a hint about a post from one of my followers and you try and find it. The first one to get the right answer wins a $5 Barnes and Noble gift card. Remember if you are the person, you can't guess, though you may play next time.


So...

This person had a great post inspired by an equally great post written by another follower (okay, it was Elana). The topic was how do we, as individuals, measure success? The blogger thought so much about her comments on Elana's post that it sparked her own. Here's her personal list of things that define success to her: "When my children are thriving, Even when I can make every excuse to get out of it I exercise, A meal I've created comes out delicious, I'm told that I'm a good friend, Being married to my best friend, Completing a rough draft, Completing a final draft, Writing a good post, Reading a great book, Petting my cat, Being out on a beautiful sunny day, [and] Teaching." Anyway, I loved what both she and Elana had to say and you should visit their blogs. Really.


And if you can tell me who the second blogger is, I'll rocket that gift card to you!

Fire away! And happy Friday!


ETA: Suzette Saxton, guessed correctly--our mystery blogger is Theresa Milstein! Congrats, Suzy. Due to Barnes & Noble's uncooperativeness I'm going to have to change the prize, though, and you win a shiny new copy of Lindsey's Princess for Hire. In honor of Wednesday's interview. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Author Miniview: Lindsey Leavitt

In the slim chance you are in kidlit and haven't heard of Lindsey Leavitt, you're in for a special treat today! Lindsey was kind enough to answer a few burning questions for me. And of course I'm passing on her earth-shattering answers to you!

But I get ahead of myself, first let me tell you a little about her...

Lindsey is a tween and teen writer, a mother of three, and a self-proclaimed doughnut-inhaler. I first met Lindsey through her popular blog where her funny, natural voice really resonated with me. Since then she has had another baby (#3!) and has sold four books. Yeah, she pretty much leaps tall buildings in a single bound. Her first book, Princess for Hire, came out in the US with all its pinktastic glory on March 16th. (Translation: it's available to buy now!) Here’s a little about it:

When a flawlessly dressed woman steps out of an iridescent bubble and wants to know, like, now if you’d like to become a substitute princess, do you a) run, b) faint, c) say Yes! For Desi Bascomb, who’s been longing for a bit of glamour in her Idaho life, the choice is a definite C–that is, once she can stop pinching herself. Well, Desi soon discovers that subbing involves a lot more than wearing a tiara and waving at cameras. Like, what do you do when a bullying older sister puts you on a heinous crash diet? Or when the tribal villagers gather to watch you perform a ceremonial dance you don’t know? Or when a princess’s conflicted sweetheart shows up.

I know you are all as thrilled as I am to hear what Lindsey had to say so let's get to it:

Q1. First off, congrats on your debut book, Princess for Hire! So exciting. You’ve gone and done what thousands of people have only dreamed of doing. Have you sufficiently patted yourself on the back yet? No, wait… that’s not my question. Don’t answer. My real question is: at what point in the long road to publication did you actually think you could succeed, that you could make it into print?

Hold on. Let me just finish… there. Back patted. Or pat? Ugh, where is an editor when you need her?

So not long before I signed with my agent, I had an editor contact me on my blog and ask if I had anything to send her. I did, and she liked it and asked if I would mind revising the novel with her so she could take it to acquisitions. It came at a wonderful time, because just a few days before I’d sat my husband down and seriously discussed quitting. He wouldn’t let me, the big, lovable jerk. ☺

Two weeks later, a marked up manuscript showed up on my doorstep. It was bound together by a binder clip. Now, for those who have braved the pathway to publication can attest, it can get pretty expensive sending out manuscripts. You aren’t reimbursed at all for sealing up your dream in an envelope and shipping it out. And at some point, many writers get so hungry they would probably sell their soul to get published, or at least settle for no pay.
So when I got this manuscript that was edited for free, sent to me on the publisher’s dime, with A REAL LIFE NEW YORK PUBLISHER’S CLIP attached to it, I started to believe it could happen. I didn’t even end up with that editor, as wonderful as she was, but working with her for that brief amount of time was a huge turning point for me. And I still have that clip in my office.

Q2. Was there ever a point when it was the opposite, where you thought you couldn’t succeed in getting published? Dare to share the story?

Besides all the times I almost quit? Hmmm, it was pretty tough getting my second revision letter. I’d worked really hard the first go around, so it stung to get a LONGER letter the second time. I wondered if there was anything at all my editor actually liked about the story, and if there was a chance they could still change their mind and pull the plug.
But just like before the deal, or after the first book, or at any time on the journey, I wrote through it. That’s pretty much the answer for any publishing obstacle: Keep writing.


Q3. I know you love to blog, Lindsey, because your personal blog is one of my favorites (so entertaining!) and you co-moderate the debut Tenner’s one as well. Do you feel that blogging has helped you in your path to becoming an author? In what ways?

Like I said, I did have that stroke of luck where an editor contacted me and that was a nice confidence boost, knowing that they liked my bloggy ramblings enough to see if I had any chops writing fiction. But the biggest thing I’ve gotten out of blogging is it’s helped me figure out my voice. I started my blog in 2005, only a few months after I’d started to write seriously, so it was a great place to experiment. Plus, you don’t have to make up characters or anything, just be yourself and babble. For now, I’ve left a lot of those early entries up (despite how much they embarrass me), because I think it’s interesting to see how my writing style, even in a blog, has changed along the way.

Q4. And now for the hardest question yet: many of my readers are moms or are working full-time outside of writing. Can you give us some advice on how you manage to keep up this writing gig and mother three cute girls to boot?

Sometimes I don’t manage. There are days I look around my house and think WHERE IS THE BOMB AND WHEN DID IT DENTONATE? But the biggest trick I’ve had to figure out is how to be at peace with the chaos. To let one part of my life get a little messy in order to achieve something else. And to not feel guilty about it, because that’s something so many of us carry around when we do something just for us. It’s okay, ladies. I believe going after your dream teaches your kids to do the same thing and shows them that you are a person in addition to a driver, cook, maid, psychologist, dog groomer…

That said, when I accepted my first book deal, I also made the decision that I would rather fail at writing then fail as a mother and wife. Meaning, no matter how crazy this business got (and it can get CRAY-ZAY), I was not going to let it mix up my priorities. Sure, I’ll let the laundry slide, or leave my kids with family while I’m on book tour, but I never want being an author to overshadow the other aspects of who I am. It’s one piece of me, a very important piece, but it isn’t everything.

Q5. So we know about Desi, the main character in Princess for Hire, but now we want to know about her future love interests. Are we about to see that princes can out-sparkle vampires any day, even in a tween book?

Oh boy, do they ever. I am so stoked on the love interests I have going on in both book 1 and now book 2. Like I want to stop people on the street and tell them about these boys. I want to make cardboard cut-outs of them.

But I will not say more and let you read about them on your own. It is a tween novel, so there aren’t any immortal boys watching girls sleep. There might be a kiss. Plenty of crush action.

Q6. And finally: long-winded first drafter or a skeleton sketcher?

Sadly, long-winded first drafter. My life would be so much easier if I could outline, but I have to just get down a super-sloppy rough first before I can even begin to organize.

Thank you so much, Lindsey! Check out the first two chapters of Lindsey's debut on the Princess for Hire website. Then go an buy the book. Your inner princess will be gratified.

Monday, March 15, 2010

FEARLESS!

The CD changer is broken in my car, so I’ve been listening to a lot of radio stations lately. Taylor Swift’s Fearless came on the other day and got me thinking how much that song embodies the teen experience (in my mind at least).


As a teenager, I was fearless. I drove my car like that proverbial bat escaping the maw of hell. I took risks and called them adventures. I trusted strangers (especially boys) too much and expected to always escape unscathed. I don’t think I changed until I had my first kid at 26, to tell you the truth. (There’s a reason that Steve’s grandfather gifted me a book called How to Die in the Outdoors when I first knew him. He was terrified field work would make Steve a widower before 30.)

But I was emotionally insecure in a lot of ways. I didn’t trust my inner self, even if I trusted my outer body.

My characters are a lot like that, especially my new one, Jedda Hitler. She is trained as an assassin, whether she wants to be one or not. Yet inside, like most teens, she fears where she fits in, what people think of her. And not to talk about all that baggage of having a demon like Hitler as a grandfather!

The song made me want to channel my fearless teen characters more in my own life. I want to be fearless, to move forward with strength and conviction. Especially when it comes to working toward fulfilling my dreams and in raising my kids. Like my writing mantra I told you about, I don’t want to be limited by my own insecurities. I want to be FEARLESS. (Or at least in control of that fear.)

Qs4U:
1. What age do you wish you could channel?
2. Do you think teens have that fearless or invincible mentality? Do you think they’re physically fearless, but emotionally loaded with insecurities?

BTW, this is the version I like best of Taylor Swift’s song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptSjNWnzpjg

Friday, March 12, 2010

Apology

I want to apologize to you all for not being around the blogosphere. I haven't responded back to the thoughtful messages that have been left for me and haven't visited nearly as many of your blogs as I'd like. My excuses are normal excuses and I make no excuses for them:

1. My kids have needed me. We've had croup, cavities, and a nasty cold that have made my kids act nastier than the nastiest I've ever seen them act. Ever. Nasty.

2. I had another full request. Only this time it was for a hard copy, which out of all the ones I've had, this is the first request for oh you know, actual paper and a cover letter. It's been a revelation getting that together and has taken me longer than I anticipated. I mean, who knew a brand new printer would run out of ink just when you actually have something important to print? Or that in all the house I couldn't find TWO MORE PAGES of unscribbled, uncut, kid-mess-free computer paper to finish off the printing once I did track down new ink cartridges in my podunk town? I feel for all my writing forbearers who worked before email attachments to say the least.

3. We're headed out for Spring Break vacation today and I've been trying to get that ready. Huzzah for a lodge and an ATV!

While these are good things (okay, not the sickness, but the kids for sure), I've missed you! And my husband can laugh all he wants about my virtual friends, but I think it's wonderful to have you all with me on this... journey? obsession? (I'll stick with journey.)

In other news, stayed tuned on Wednesday for an interview with a super-secret author. I'll give you a hint: her tween novel comes out Tuesday, March 16th! Track that name down if you can.

Happy Friday to you all!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Giveaways, Agenty Blogs, and Award/Tags

Thanks to all those who had such flattering things to say about my offspring. I think they are pretty special, so I'll not argue with any of you. (And just to clarify, I don't think I clean my house much. In fact, the motto above my entertainment center says, "A clean house is the sign of a wasted life". Though I DO wish that I could use my computer to clean, like my daughter said. Ha, ha!)

As to the WIP word counts, I wish I were going faster, but... sick kids. I'll work through it, like we all do. In the meantime, there are a few things I wish to pass on:

1. GIVEAWAYS!

Elana, Bethany, and Suzette have a great follower contest going on. Books and a fabulous 40-page critique by Agent Suzie Townsend are to be had. Don't miss out. Sherrie at Write About Now has a book giveaway going on, stop by especially if you are a fan of Maggie Stiefvater (author of Shiver). Also watch for upcoming contests on Lisa and Laura's place and Shelley's. Am I missing some? I'm sure I did. Please leave a comment of other ones you know.

2. Agent(y) Blogs.

There are a few new blogging agents in town you should be aware of:

Marisa Corvisiero is an author, an attorney, and now an agent as well. Check out
Thoughts from a Literary Agent.

Kathleen Ortiz, an agent at Lowenstein Associates, has a beautiful need for a Never Ending Page Turner. Go, follow!

Ms. Book Sniper is a literary assistant who has her own personal assistant well-equipped to chomp down on bad queries. Go and follow her--she has great wit and wonderful taste in books. Chom does not. He'll eat anything.

Judith, a FinePrint Literary Intern, has an awesome new blog called I Eat Books Like You For Breakfast. (Great title, huh?!)

And just in case you haven't heard yet, Mark McVeigh has a shiny new blog too.


3. AWARDS.

Thanks to Jamie (who is Notquiteawake) and her sarcastically funny blog, Reality Faker, for giving me the Master award:


I'm to post SIX things I'm a master of :

1. I'm the master of learning. I love learning new things, I love expanding my horizons. I'd call myself a Renaissance gal, but I don't think I deserve that title so I'll call myself a Jackee of All Trades and a Master of None!

2. I'm master of making seriously adorable children. Proof in last post. However, I willingly admit that I am so, so, so done making those babies. (They take too long to cook.)

3. I'm a master of avoiding phone calls. My close friends and neighbors can attest to that. I rarely have phones turned on to get calls anyway. That makes it hard on the school nurse especially! And all those agents and editors constantly trying to get a hold of me... ha, ha.

4. I'm a master of starting craft projects and never finishing them. I have a whole closet (and then some) full of them.

5. I'm a master of weakened will power. It explains why I have never dieted and why I haven't lost my last 25 lbs of baby weight.

6. I'm a master of making friends. Keeping them might be another story....

I nominate the following six people for the award:

Brooke, my loving little sister

Bethany and Suzette, because I'm pretty sure it's the only award they don't have.

Bethany, my sister-in-law (I'd give it to my other sister-in-law Bethany too, but she's on a church mission right now. :))

Cindy R. Wilson (When she gets back from her blogging hiatus.)

Crystal Roget @ Crystal's Bookmark for being one of my first followers.

Danyelle @ Myth-takes because she is made of awesome stuff.

AND THEN LASTLY....

Julie Dao tagged me in a meme. (If you haven't, follow her at the Silver Lining because not only is she a beautiful writer, but her blog is beautiful both to the eye and ear. Often I visit just to have her background music playing.) Here goes my answers:

I like each season as it comes.
I like seeing my husband in a shirt and tie when he has an apron over top. (Because it means I'm going to get a great Sunday dinner I don't have to cook.)
I like walking in the morning sun.
I like watching animals and analyzing why they express the behaviors they do.
I like to crack open a fresh notebook and think of possibilities.
I like to lie on the trampoline and either stargaze or watch the clouds go by.
I like to garden.
I like to plan things (following through is another story).
I like French food. In theory.
I like shopping if I have money, despise it if not.
I like backpacking, Tai chi chuan, and "light" yoga.
I like traveling to see new places and revisit old ones.

I love the sounds of my children's laughter.

I hate when people touch my back.
I hate being judged unfairly.
I hate when people tell me things in nature aren't important. Intrinsic intergrity here, people!
I hate that both stay-at-home moms and working moms are censured.
I hate an unmade bed.
I hate facial hair. Women or men--though granted there are a few that look good with it. Men, that is.
I hate fingernails on chalkboards.
I hate being taken advantage of.
I (secretly) like bathing over showers.
I love the song of a Swainson's Thrush.


I tag THREE new people:

B. J. Anderson

Christine Danek

Carla Gade

Monday, March 8, 2010

In which I exploit the cuteness...


I'm trying to catch up on my word count for March Madness and the WIP-crankin' good times going on at Denise Jaden's, Laini Taylor's and Cuppa Jolie's blogs. (If you have a work in progress you are serious about, you should join up wth me!)

In the meantime, I interviewed my kids!

video

These things I learned from them:

1. The best book is their newest book (the ones they bought on Saturday).

2. The baby likes to eat books. (Okay, I already knew that.)

3. The oldest memorizes titles.

4. The Boy is crazy and can't hold still.

Oh, and...

5. Apparently I clean house more than I write, whch they're not sure I do anyway. :)

Enjoy!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Search and Find Friday #2

Hey! It's First Friday, that means it's time for another scavenger hunt. Here's the drill: I give you a hint about a post from one of my followers and you try and find it. The first one to get the right answer gets a copy of Gail Carson Levine's Fairest mailed to your doorstep (because #1 I love making my husband go to the UPS store for me and #2 I have a bookshelf in almost every room of the house and they're all over-flowing). Remember if you are the person, you can't guess, though you may play next time.

Here's the clue:

This follower has a remarkable talent for writing, illustrating, AND photography. Talk about the Renaissance gal! Her post today is an illustration of one gorgeous flower, in bell-shapes of green and pink.

So what do you think? Who is it?

Our next Search and Find Friday will be in two weeks, on Third Friday.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Hard-working Art

"Good ideas are common - what's uncommon are people who'll work hard enough to bring them about." ~Ashleigh Brilliant

The compulsion to create is strong in some people. Whether it's to be an artist, a writer, a poet, an engineer, or whatever. Something inside us innately wants to create and then share that creation with the world. Few people, however, actually act upon the urges to take an idea and see it through to completion. If you're like me, you have to fight the desire to a) talk about your idea so long that you waste all your energy on that and never get the darn things beyond the inception form or b) show it to the world before it's ready, before it's the best that it can be. Both of these end up damning the project from ever reaching its potential to become something beautiful.

I'm like this with art and with writing for sure.

Here are two examples:

1. I love to create mosaic tables. But they are time intensive and sometimes they don't get finished. One particularly large table has been sitting in my garage incomplete for FIVE years. (Good grief, has it really been that long?!) I call it the Tree of Life (cliche, I know):
2. I lost my steam on a particular beloved novel because I showed friends and critique partners too early. Sixty pages in I lost the voice of the story and had to set it aside. Here are the first three (rough) paragraphs on that book. (It's an amalgamation of several Lithuanian folktales and I call it Cottage by the Sea):

She was called dukte, daughter dearest, while her parents were still alive. Rarely did they call her Dalia, her given name. Mother and father, their smiles were ever on her, the flush of love and glitter of fondness in their cheeks and gracing their eyes. If her father was not smiling at his precious and only child with his mouth, the wrinkles around his eyes were not far from obliging. It could not be helped, who else had a daughter of red-gold hair and eyes the color of the sea? She was a jewel, a rare piece of amber, and if left to herself, would polish and glow into something grand, he was sure. He was a merchant, after all, and knew a good product when he saw one.

And so the indulged daughter was left to her seven year old self, to roam the nearby woods and gardens of their household, coming home with torn skirts and unplaited hair more than not. Still they would smile upon her disheveled frame. Then one day the smiles faded and her mother became confined to her bed. Dark shadows inhabited her father’s once-glittering eyes and the lines of laughter turned to ones of worry. Servants whispered in hushed tones, healers were called in, experts in blood-letting and the humors. Totems and songs to ward off doom were cast about in hopes of driving out evil spirits from the household.

And the smiles that once graced the child were no more. She found herself alone, unheeded, and haunting a soulless house. Often her wanderings would lead her to wait in the darkened steps below her mother’s room, a place where she could hear the murmur of the adult’s voices unnoticed.

So my questions to you are:


1. Do you leave great ideas unfinished, some never to come to fruition? If so, why?


2. What creations (other than writing, if you're a writer) do you like to make? (And I didn't ask about PROcreations, so don't list those. Get your heads out of the gutter, people. Ha, ha.)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Awards for a Monday Morning



Thanks to my beautiful blogging BFFs, I have some awards to collect! Thanks to Shannon, the Book Dreamer, and Susan, the Coffee Fiend, for the From Me to You Award and the Creative Writer Award (respectively). Both awards come with strings attached but hey! Of course that’s fine because it just means I have an excuse to rattle on about myself. So here goes:

Me to You: 7 things about me

1. I never liked chocolate until I was pregnant with my second child. Since then I crave it daily.
Which brings me to #2…
2. My favorite chocolate treat is a nightcap of Ovaltine. (I know! What am I, like five years old?! But it’s what I like…)
But lest you think I hang out with only small children all day…
3. I CAN have a mature palate occasionally. These chocolates are my favorite. Try them if you ever get a chance! Your tongue will thank you.
And tongues I can handle, but not…
4. Feet. I hate feet. I hate for people to touch mine, to touch others, and most especially to have feet touch EACH OTHER! *gag* It makes being married to me interesting.
Speaking of married…
5. The Real Mr. Darcy (a.k.a. my husband, Steve) wanted me to put on here that I laugh like Kitty on That 70s Show when I’m nervous. But he fails to mention that I only laugh like that when I’m covering for his social bluntness (a.k.a. asocial RUDENESS), which invariably puts me in awkward positions.
That brings me to #6:
6. I’m really not much of a social person myself but I love animals, manifested by my education, career path, and my repertoire of pets (10 chickens, 2 dogs, 1 rabbit, and a lizard).
It also explains why…
7. I live on three acres, have few neighbors, and have never lived in a city with a population larger than 75,000 people.


I WANT TO PASS THIS AWARD ON TO:

Kristi, the Glorious Foodie

Kristi, the newly published

Bekah, my crit buddy who Writes out of the Ordinary

MG Higgins, former Flagstaff resident and eclectist like me

Please post this award on your blogs and write 7 things about yourself.



Then there's the CREATIVE WRITER AWARD: Where I post 7 lies and a truth (only I cheated and posted 7 truths and a lie).

1. I have a serious fear of pressure cookers and public bathrooms and have reoccurring nightmares about both.
2. I love to play Chess and beat my husband at Simpson’s chess every time we play. (Well, almost every time.)
3. I would love to have a Little Person (e.g. a midget) be my BFF so that we could laugh and sing all day. Their voices are sweet and I have yet to meet one that is not sheer, awesome fun.
4. I once shot a Golden Eagle with a .22 rifle.
5. I've held newborn baby black bears and love how angelic they are when you tuck them into your warm coat.
6. Once I accidentally dropped a backpack 120 feet off a cliff into a raging river and had to race down the trail for a good 1/2 mile to catch it.
7. I read War and Peace for the first time when I was 14 and from then on developed a lifetime love for classic literature.
8. I moved eleven times before I was ten years old.

I WANT TO PASS THIS ONE ON TO: (Please post 7 lies and a truth to your blog along with the award. Or cheat like I did and post 7 truths and a lie.)

Anissa, who speaks Off the Record

Amie B., who loves chocolate as much as I do

Abby Annis, mother of three like me

Angie, who supermoms it up in her Writing Chair

(Yeah, I pretty much cheated and posted all "A" names.)

Happy Monday to all!