Missing Lily Release!

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Finally! The day has arrived! I’m so excited to have Missing Lily available for purchase on amazon and nook! It’s been crazy, and wonderful, and fun—and yes, stressful too—and now I’ve reached the finish line. *heaving a sigh of relief*

Now I get to wait and wonder and hope that everyone will enjoy it. If I was in the habit of biting my nails, I’d be doing that, but I’m not. So, instead I will twirl my hair in anticipation (cause that is one of my nervous habits—oh the useless information I will give out). In all seriousness, I do wonder what the response to Missing Lily will be in comparison to Just Ella. Hopefully my second novel will impress you and not let you down. 🙂 Continue reading

Playlist for Just Ella

If you click on the song title, it will take you to a youtube video of the song. (Sorry, a few of the videos have ads)Ache by James Carrington is THE SONG for Just Ella. I listened to it a lot when writing the book and think that the lyrics really lend themselves to Ella and Gavin’s story.

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Keep Breathing by Ingrid Michaelson feels like Chapter 11 to me. Continue reading

Tis the Season

I had a profound experience just now. I’ll admit, I’ve been having a tough time getting into the Christmas spirit. The whole idea of gifts and Santa has been wearing on me. I just don’t want to deal with it. I don’t want to shop (I hate shopping in the first place) and I’ve been sorely tempted to just tell my kids the truth about Santa. Needless to say, I’ve been trying and not quite succeeding in bringing the true spirit of Christ into the holiday. But then today, just two hours ago, I met Troy. Continue reading

A Few Lessons I’ve Learned from Reading and Writing

This was a post that I originally wrote for scribbleweed.com.

Exclamation Points: They tend to sneak into our writing where they don’t belong. I would suggest that they should only be used when a character is exclaiming something. Don’t fall into the trap of using them just to emphasize a point. If you wait to give a sentence some punch, use your words. The sentence itself needs to be strong enough to demonstrate its own importance.

In the movie Dan in Real Life, Dan’s second daughter is dramatic and passionate. If you’ve seen the movie, you remember her screaming at her father, “You are a murderer of LOVE!” It’s hilarious—a great moment in the movie and she’s a great side character. But would you want to read an entire book from her point of view? Probably not. If a narrative has an excess of exclamation points, it can bring to mind a teenage girl, jumping up and down and clutching her hands as she tries to contain her excitement. Continue reading

Stuck

That’s what I am. I’m stuck. I’ve been stuck for about three months now and it’s starting to make me a little crazy at times. At other times I completely forget about it and ignore the fact that I could and should be writing. Not that I haven’t tried, but each time I try to bust through my writers block, I manage to eek out a page or so after several hours of concentrated effort and then I go back to ignoring it. *pathetic sigh of defeat*

I’m sometimes tempted to blame it on the fact that I’m pregnant and it’s altered my brain chemistry. Anything to avoid the fact that I just don’t know what to write next.

I was reading a blog of one of my favorite writers and she posted about how she plots her novels. And I got really jealous, because she knows the entire plot of her novel before she starts it. Do you know how EASY it is for me to write something if I KNOW what’s going to happen? Give me a plot point and I can take off with it. It won’t be perfect or even good the first time around, but I can get it down on paper, no problem.

That’s not how my mind works though. I have such a hard time coming up with a plot because my characters have to tell me where to go. So first I have to write enough of my characters to get to know them and then I have to wait for them to decide what to do.

I never have multiple story lines running through my head at once, it’s just one set of characters trying to figure out how to live their lives. I love how that sounds insane. But that’s how my brain works. Right now I have the first 2/3 of the story written, and I have a couple chapters near the very end, but I don’t know what happened in between.

So if someone would just volunteer to plot a novel for me, that would be lovely. Any takers?

I am…

I am a writer.  This is not to say that I am a good writer.  I’m a passable writer and I’d go so far as to say that I’m better than average.  But I don’t know that I’m a good writer.  I hope I am, and I hope that some day I’ll be great, but as of right now: I am a writer.

So, hubby is reading a book called critical path cause his brother suggested it.  (He doesn’t take my book suggestions.  No worries, we just have very different taste in books.) And he shared this with me.  It’s included in the forward of the book and it is by E.E. Cummings.

A Poet’s Advice

e. e. cummings

A poet is somebody who feels, and who expresses his feelings through words.

This may sound easy. It isn’t.

A lot of people think or believe or know they feel—but that’s thinking or believing or knowing; not feeling. And poetry is feeling—not knowing or believing or thinking.

Almost anybody can learn to think or believe or know, but not a single human being can be taught to feel. Why? Because whenever you think or you believe or you know, you’re a lot of other people: but the moment you feel, you’re nobody-but-yourself.

To be nobody-but-yourself—in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else—means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.

As for expressing nobody-but-yourself in words, that means working just a little harder than anybody who isn’t a poet can possibly imagine. Why? Because nothing is quite as easy as using words like somebody else. We all of us do exactly this nearly all of the time—and whenever we do it, we are not poets.

If, at the end of your first ten or fifteen years of fighting and working and feeling, you find you’ve written one line of one poem, you’ll be very lucky indeed.

And so my advice to all young people who wish to become poets is: do something easy, like learning how to blow up the world—unless you’re not only willing, but glad, to feel and work and fight till you die.

Does this sound dismal? It isn’t.

It’s the most wonderful life on earth.

Or so I feel.

My husband read that to me and I was immediately struck by how true it was.  I realized that as I have been endeavoring to write a novel (yes, I’m writing a novel) there will be times when I’ve been reading, and since I tend to read books manically, I’m usually very immersed in a writer’s style while reading it.  During those times I’ll try writing a section of my book and I’ll think it’s good.  However, when I go back to it later, I realize that there is something wrong with it, but until I read this bit of advice, I didn’t know what it was.  Whether consciously or not, I’ll slip some of an authors style into my own writing if I’ve been immersed in their books.  And when I do that, I end up not liking it.

I have been doing a lot of rewrites lately.  I rewrote the entire introduction of my book because it just felt wrong.  I now realize that it felt wrong because I wrote it while reading Jane Eyre, and so it reads a little bit like Jane Eyre. And Charlotte Bronte, I am not.  The rewrite is much better.

I also realized that my favorite scene in the book is one that I’ve never rewritten or even tweaked.  I wrote it and it was right the first time, because it was me writing it, using my words.

It’s a useful realization and hopefully one that will assist me in my writing.  So thank you Mr. Cummings for being all smart.  And thank you, Hubs, for sharing.

 

Late Night Ramblings

It’s past midnight.  I almost never stay up this late anymore (and it’s not even that late).  Not since I got married.  But my Hubby is out of town, so I don’t want to go to bed.  In my teen years, I always stayed up late, like I was incapable of going to bed at a decent time.  It took me a long time to figure out why that was, even though I was plenty tired and there wasn’t really anything to keep me up.  I finally discovered that I didn’t like to end my day.  Because in high school and then in college, that meant that I had to deal with the next day.  I’m not sure why that was such a hard thing for me, but it was.  It’s not like my days were bad.  I liked my life.  I liked seminary, and my school friends and theatre.  In college I liked some of my classes and I enjoyed my days for the most part.  But I hated ending them.  Maybe that had something to do with having to deal with responsibility the next day, or just knowing that once I went to sleep, then I would have to try to wake up, and I was never good at that.  I’m still not.  But I don’t mind ending my days anymore, except days like this when I end them alone.  That’s only part of it though, I think that when I find myself alone, I tend to get sucked into the solitude.  I find myself in that…climate…I guess you could call it, and I don’t want to leave it.  Not that I necessarily like the silence around me but that it helps me to ponder.  I don’t ponder very much anymore, which makes me sad.  It’s actually quite a relief to sit down and write my thoughts out.  I used to do this constantly, in emails, in my journal, in my school folders, on scrap paper.

So, here I sit, in my solitude, and it’s like I can taste the atmosphere around me.  I can let it seep into my skin and into my being and allow it to melt and mix with my own feelings.  It’s nice to feel as though, not only do I occupy the space around me, but that I am a part of it.  I think that so much of myself I pour into my children, and it is a simplified version of myself.  Sometimes I forget to think complex thoughts, and I certainly forget to encourage complex thought.  When my hubby asks me to think through a decision with him, I have to really pull myself into gear so that I can do it.  I miss having profound thoughts.  I miss being satisfied with my written words.  I notice that most of my writing consists of very short sentences.  Probably another side affect of speaking to toddlers all day.  Everything is condensed and simplified, the least complicated answer I can give.

Not that this is anyones fault but my own.  Perhaps if I allowed myself more solitude, a couple minutes of meditation each day, I wouldn’t get so lost in my simplified world.

I recently reread some letters from my parents.  They were from a youth conference exercise.  My father mentioned meditation in his, perhaps I should pull it out again and try to take that advice.  Perhaps I should start writing in my journal again.  Ever since I started my family blog, I haven’t really touched my journal.  My family blog is a very complete journal of my life and more importantly my girls lives.  But I think that since I’m writing for an audience, I don’t use the same voice that I use in my journal.  I’m not as honest, as contemplative, as ponderful 🙂  Some people have the ability to work out their feelings in their heads.  I’m not one of those people.  The best way for me to work something out is for me to put it on paper (or on the screen).  Maybe I’ll start a separate private blog, or just a file on my computer for journaling my ponderings.  Because I really don’t think there are many of you who will have read this entire entry.  This does not surprise or offend me.  This was for me, this was me pondering because it’s good for me, it’s good to have a voice apart from the one that I use with my children.  It’s good for me to use and hear that voice.

It’s now past 1 in the morning.  So I will go to bed.