Friday, July 21, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things-July 21, 2017



It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain!  Tonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

We've been undergoing the grueling process of switching bedrooms.  Our two boys share a room, and as they get bigger and collect more toys, they're getting more and more crowded. Meanwhile, my husband and I have a large bedroom, but we only sleep in it and that's it.  Since the boys would make better use of the large space, we're trading with them.  It's amazing just how many things need moved, but we're getting close to being done.  They're definitely excited about the switch.

Zoe will be eight months old tomorrow.  She can move her walker around like a pro, sit on a blanket and play for long stretches of time, and she's kinda sorta almost crawling.  It's more of an army crawl, but she's impressively fast at it.  I definitely need to be careful what I leave within her reach. She's also teething, so she's a little cranky some days, but it's not too bad.

Writing is somehow going okay with everything else going on. I'll definitely celebrate that.

What would you like to celebrate?

Friday, July 14, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things-July 14, 2017



It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain!  Tonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

The Kickstarter for the 2018 Young Explorer's Adventure Guide just ended, and the project met it's funding goal. I'm so excited to be a part of this anthology, and I'm happy to see so many people working together to make it happen!

We had an adventure getting an old car to a junkyard yesterday. It had been sitting around for a while and desperately needed to be moved.  The goal was to drive it there, but it didn't work according to plan.  Things like to go awry when dealing with old, broken-down vehicles.  We did manage to get it all dealt with in the end, and no one was harmed in the process, so I'll count that as a win.

I'm looking forward to a simple, calm weekend.  The last two weekends have been crazy busy, and while they were fun, I'm grateful for the chance to relax.

What would you like to celebrate?

Friday, July 7, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things-July 7, 2017



It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain!  Tonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

The 4th of July holiday was a lot of fun.  Despite forecasts of possible rain both Monday and Tuesday, we had dry weather for the fireworks displays we planned to attend both nights. For Monday's display, we were treated to a lightning show in the distance.  It was pretty.  We also had fun firing off fireworks of our own.  The kids really enjoyed that part of things.

Yesterday was my husband's birthday.  Of course he still had to work, as many people do, but I'm planning on making a cake for him this weekend.

Speaking of this weekend, it's going to be a busy one.  We're having a town celebration, and the kids are going to be in the parade tomorrow morning.  They always love being in the parade, and they're also looking forward to all the activities that will be going on throughout the day.  They'll have me exhausted by the end of it, I'm sure, but it should make for a good day.

What would you like to celebrate?


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Insecure Writer's Support Group:July 2017


It's the first Wednesday of the month, and that means it's time to convene another meeting of The Insecure Writer's Support Group!  Alex J. Cavanaugh is the creator of this fine organization, and this month he's enlisted the help of Tamara Narayan, Pat Hatt, Patricia Lynne, Juneta Key, and Doreen McGettigan.

Be sure to check out the IWSG website!

I went through a bit of a writing slump over the last month, and I felt terrible about my lack of any kind of progress.  I never feel good about myself when I'm not writing, but I'm not sure if it's the guilt of not being productive or if something about the writing process naturally makes me happier.  It could, perhaps, be a combination of the two.

The good news is that I'm bringing myself out of it.  I made a recent submission, I'm making good progress on editing a story I'd like to send out soon, and I have an idea for the next story I'd like to write.  I'll count that as a victory.

And now for the July 5th Question.

What is one valuable lesson you've learned since you started writing?

There are a lot of lessons to be learned, and I'm sure I'll learn many more along the way.  One lesson I've been learning lately is to trust myself and my instincts.  This includes trusting both that I can write compelling stories and that I'm capable of getting better over time.

We all hear about what we shouldn't be doing as writers, but that doesn't make it any easier to figure out what we should be doing.  I think we've all felt insecure about stories we've written and whether they're any good.  We all want people to enjoy our work, and I know I've spent a lot of time second-guessing myself because of what I think other people might say about various writing choices I've made.  What will people think of the protagonist? Will people relate to this character? Will this POV do what I want it to do, or will it destroy the whole story?

We should ask ourselves questions like this, of course, but at the end of the day, we need to make a choice and trust ourselves to pull it off, even if it takes several attempts.  If we don't, we may get stuck in a perpetual loop of doubt and never finish anything.  Or we may get discouraged and give up altogether.

I realize I'll never write anything that everyone will love, and that's okay.  None of us can.  We'll always have people who dislike our work for whatever reason.  What we can do is trust ourselves to write stories that resonate with some people and be happy with our accomplishments.  We can learn to take criticism in a positive way and not let it destroy our trust in ourselves as writers.  We'll always have room to grow and get better, but that doesn't mean we're terrible or incompetent. Incompetence comes from an unwillingness to learn.  And the only way to learn is to keep writing.

None of this is easy, of course, but I'm slowly getting there.

What's a valuable lesson you've learned?


Friday, June 30, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things-June 30, 2017


It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain!  Tonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

The boys had a great time at my sister-in-law's wedding last weekend.  I might also be biased, but I think they look quite handsome all dressed up.  Zoe also looked adorable in her dress.  So did the bride, of course!

I had a productive morning on Tuesday.  While the boys had their library program and Zoe was playing with her toys, I wrote, edited, and submitted an entire story.  Yes, it was a flash fiction piece, but it still made me feel pretty accomplished.  That feeling gave me a creative boost for the rest of the day.

I'm making good progress on a short story I'd like to submit sometime soon.  I'm hoping to get that done in the next week or two.  With the 4th of July holiday next week, I can't say for sure whether that will happen, but I guess we'll see!

What would you like to celebrate?


Friday, June 23, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things-June 23, 2017



It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain!  Tonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

The Kickstarter campaign for the 2018 Young Explorer's Adventure Guide is going well.  I'm also going to be taking part in a Facebook author party that Dreaming Robot Press is hosting next week.  That should be a fun way to interact with people, and I'm looking forward to it.

I've been in a writing slump the last few weeks.  Many of you know how that goes.  Fortunately, I seem to be getting back into the swing of things, and that's done a lot to improve my mood.  I tend to get grumpy when writing isn't going well.

My husband's youngest sister is getting married this weekend, and the weather is supposed to be beautiful for the occasion. Lyle is also supposed to be a ring bearer, and he looks handsome in his outfit.

What would you like to celebrate?


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

WEP Challenge: Bridges



It's time once again for the WEP Challenge courtesy of Yolanda Renee and Denise Covey!

The theme this month is bridges.  I thought a lot about this one, but in the end, this story kind of flowed out of my fingers, taking twists and turns on its own.  It's always fun when that happens, isn't it?

Enjoy!


The Bridge to Home

Serafina leans forward, resting her forehead against the night-chilled steel support.  The water below slides beneath her feet in a rush, the moonlight occasionally catching upon poorly defined shapes she’s not certain she wants to see clearly.  She takes a deep breath, but it doesn’t seem to be enough to fill her lungs.  Not anymore.
The distinctive sound of footsteps on the ancient wood planks of the bridge fill the otherwise silent night.  Serafina doesn’t bother to turn to see who it is.  She doesn’t need to.  Only one other person knows to find her here.
“You’re not going to do it, are you?” Harley asks, her typically mellow voice tight with concern.   The wood groans as she settles beside Serafina.
Serafina doesn’t answer, because she honestly doesn’t know.  She’d have told her best friend if she did.  They’d never kept anything from each other before.
The silence stretches out, tugging on the air between them until it’s pulled so tight that it feels as if the night itself might snap from the tension.
“What if he was right?” Serafina finally asks.  “He seemed so sure, and they never found a body.  You’d think three years would have given them plenty of time to do that.”
“It also would have given Jax enough time to get in touch with you if he was still alive.”  Harley’s words don’t sound cruel, but they cut just the same.
Serafina pulls away from the hand Harley tries to latch around her wrist.  She can’t expect her to understand the sheer need thrumming through her veins.  “Jax was the only family I had left.  What else am I supposed to do?”  Their parents disappeared one night a decade prior without explanation.  Jax, who was eighteen at the time, took care of Serafina.  Just before she herself turned eighteen, he started telling her stories of merpeople and unseen underwater kingdoms.
“I need to go home,” he’d told her, his emerald eyes burning bright with what she feared was madness.
“But you are home.”  Serafina had tried in vain to convince him of that, but he couldn’t be swayed.
Harley sighs.  “Jax was a wonderful brother, okay, but he had problems.  You know that.  You told me all the stories.  And I get it.  Maybe you need to believe that he and your parents are still out there somewhere going about their lives and waiting for you to join them.  I can’t blame you for that, but if you do this, you’ll only end up killing yourself, and that won’t solve anything!”
Serafina stands up, Harley’s panicked words reminding her of the fateful night that Jax had brought her here to this bridge.  His fluffy brown hair had almost danced in the breeze, the moonlight reflecting off his bright eyes as he climbed over the railing.  Tears were streaking down Serafina’s cheeks, her nose running from all the crying she’d been doing in the car.  “Please, Jax, you can’t do this.  Don’t leave me!”
“You can come with me,” he’d insisted.  “We can go together.”
She felt so sure at the time that he was committing suicide in from of her, and distraught though she’d been, she wasn’t prepared to follow through with that.  She shook her head resolutely.  “No, I can’t, but I don’t know if I can stay here without you, either.”
Jax’s smile was soft and a little sad.  “You’ll be just fine, Fin.  Don’t doubt that.  You can come when you’re ready.  I’ll be waiting.”  Then he let go, and she looked on in horror as the angry water below swallowed him whole.
She’d been so sure at first that he died that night, but the years that followed ate away at that certainty, and the stories Jax told, ones he said that their parents passed on to him before they left, seeped into the holes until nothing but a need to see all of them again remained.
Harley is speaking in a rush behind her, but the words won’t reach her ears, as if Serafina is already under water and unreachable.  “Take care of yourself, Harley, and don’t worry about me.  I’ll be fine.”  Her voice is confident.  Strong in a way that it hasn’t been in a long time.  “I will miss you, though,” she adds after a moment.
Then she lets go.  The freefall lasts only a couple of seconds, but the lightness in her bones makes her spirit soar.  I’m coming home!
Dark shapes swirl just below her as her body pierces the water’s surface and sucks her under.

Word Count: 761
FCA

Friday, June 16, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things-June 16, 2017


It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain!  Tonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

I went to a Metallica concert last Friday, and it was awesome! The concert was outdoors, and it was a hot day, but we had a good breeze that kept us cool.  Other than the fact that bottles of water cost $7 (I knew it would be high but wow!), it was a great experience.  I'm definitely glad we went.

The kids started their library reading program this week. They enjoy it every year, and it gives them a chance to read and spend time with their friends.

The other big thing I'm celebrating this week is the latest anthology opportunity that's come my way.  I submitted a middle grade science fiction story months ago, and I was feeling a bit insecure about it.  After all, it was my first time writing a middle grade story.  When I got the news that it had been accepted for the 2018 Young Explorer's Adventure Guide, I was ecstatic!  What writer isn't happy to get news like that?


The publisher, Dreaming Robot Press, launched a Kickstarter campaign earlier this week to help cover publication costs. One of the main goals of this campaign is to supply copies of the books to libraries so lots of kids have the opportunity to read these stories.  I would appreciate it if some of you could help spread the word.

That's all I have to say for now.  What would you like to celebrate?


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

2018 Young Explorer's Adventure Guide-Kickstarter


Hey everyone!  I hope you all had a great weekend.

I'm here to let you all know about the latest anthology project I'm privileged to be a part of.  The 2018 Young Explorer's Adventure Guide is composed of 24 stories written for middle grade readers, though all are free to enjoy them.



The publisher, Dreaming Robot Press, just launched a Kickstarter campaign to help with publication costs.  One thing they aim to do is donate copies of the book to libraries, and the Kickstarter helps make that possible.

Please help me spread the word!  I want this campaign to be a success.  Here's a pre-written tweet for anyone who'd like to give this project a shout out.

Help support the #Kickstarter for the 2018 Young Explorer's Adventure Guide! #anthology #scifi @dreaming_robot https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/815743020/2018-young-explorers-adventure-guide-sf-anthology?token=27657a59

Thanks in advance for any help you can give!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things-June 9, 2017



It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain!  Tonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

Though my husband had our 10-year anniversary last week, we'll be celebrating it today.  The kids are all going to have a good day with their grandparents.  The boys are excited to go swimming with their cousins and to spend the night.  It'll be weird being without them, especially Zoe, since this will be the first night I've been away from her.  Hopefully everything goes smoothly.

So what are my husband and I planning to do with our child-free day?  We're going to a Metallica concert.  I haven't been to a concert since I was 19, and this is a fitting one for us to go to. After all, Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters" was the first song we danced to at our wedding.

What would you like to celebrate?


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Insecure Writer's Support Group-June 2017


It's the first Wednesday of the month, and that means it's time for another meeting of The Insecure Writer's Support Group. Our leader is the great Alex J. Cavanaugh.  This month's minion helpers are J.H. Moncrieff, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Jen Chandler, Megan Morgan, and Heather Gardner.

Be sure to check out the IWSG website!

This month's question is: Did you ever say "I quit"?  If so, what made you come back to writing?

I've never considered quitting writing entirely.  There have been days when I've been beyond frustrated and wanted to quit specific projects.  Sometimes I've even come to the conclusion that giving up on a project is the best course of action.  And there have been times when I've told myself "I should stop submitting my stories.  If they're getting rejected so often, why do I even bother?"  Fortunately, I never followed through with this thought.  I keep going because I've heard successful writers talk about all the rejections they accumulated before making it.  Persistence may indeed pay off.

And why do I keep writing even when I feel frustrated?  I love it.  It's that simple.  Even if I never got anything published, I know I would still write.  It's too much a part of who I am to ever give it up.

Have you ever been tempted to quit writing?  What keeps you going?


Friday, June 2, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things-June 2, 2017


It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain!  Tonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

Today the boys have their last day of school for this school year.  They're really excited, as I'm sure you can all imagine.

Today is also a pretty big day for my husband and me.  We got married ten years ago today.  It's crazy to think how quickly that time has gone.


A lot has changed in those ten years.  We've had three children.  Neither of us looks quite as young and trim as we do in our wedding photos, but we're still happy together.  I'll celebrate that any day.


What would you like to celebrate?


Friday, May 26, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things-May 26, 2017



It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain!  Tonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

I know I'm posting this a little late, but it's been a busy week. Not crazy like last week was.  Just busy.  I had appointments and errands to run that required a lot of driving, and my boys have t-ball, which means taking them to practices and games. I'm ready for some relaxation over the weekend.

And yay for a three day weekend!  I'm definitely happy about that.  The weather also looks like it's going to be pretty good for those three days, so I'm sure we'll be doing some outdoor activities as a family.

The kids are also excited because next week is their last week of school.  Bring on summertime!

What would you like to celebrate?


Friday, May 19, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things-May 19, 2017



It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain!  Tonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

Have you ever had one of those crazy weeks that leave you stunned, and not in a good way?  That was this past week. There were family feuds.  A family member had a rare and scary medical emergency.  (I don't want to share details for sake of privacy, but I can tell you that the person involved is okay and doing as well as can be expected.)  I am now celebrating the fact that life seems to be on an even keel again. At least for now.  I hope it stays that way.

The boys started T-ball this week.  They're very excited about this.  Zoe and I got to enjoy watching them practice.

My writing suffered slightly, which is to be expected with a week like we've had, but I'm getting back to it now.  I'll happily celebrate that.

What would you like to celebrate?


Friday, May 12, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things-May 12, 2017


It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain!  Tonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

The weather has been absolutely wonderful most of the week. We had some rain at one point, but the rest of the time it's been warm and sunny.  The boys have enjoyed playing outside.

Of course, all this outside play can get a little rough and tumble.  Last Saturday, Lyle was riding his bike and trying to show off for one of his classmates who lives across the street. This means he was going too fast and not paying attention. He ended up wiping out and landing face first on the sidewalk. He broke his glasses and split his forehead open right above one eye.  It was a bloody mess, and it resulted in a visit to the emergency room.  Fortunately, the doctor was able to glue it and Lyle was in and out of there quick.  The damage could have been so much worse.  And you know what he wanted to do first thing when he got back home?  He wanted to ride his bike again. That kid doesn't let anything get him down for long.

Lyle also turned six yesterday.  He got to take cupcakes to school to share with his classmates.  Kids grow up so fast.

Jude is happy because his class is going on a field trip to the zoo today.  The weather is supposed to be great all day, so that's something to celebrate.  I'm hoping he has a good time.

What would you like to celebrate?


Friday, May 5, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things-May 5, 2017


It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain!  Tonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

The weather here was cold and rainy for several days, but it's warming up and the sun is coming out again.  We took advantage by spending time at the park after the boys got out of school the last couple of days.

The boys had their spring concert at school last night.  They always love performing on stage, and they had a great time.

Writing continues to go reasonably well, and I'm pleased about that.  If I keep it up, I might actually achieve all the goals I set myself for the year.  Fingers crossed!

What would you like to celebrate?




Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Insecure Writer's Support Group: May 2017


It's the first Wednesday of the month, and that means it's time for another meeting of The Insecure Writer's Support Group! Our leader Alex J. Cavanaugh has recruited another wonderful group of minion co-hosts: Nancy Gideon, Tamara Narayan, Liesbet @ Roaming About, Michelle Wallace, and Feather Stone.

Be sure to check out the IWSG website!

Congratulations to the authors included in the newest IWSG anthology Hero Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life, which is now available.

I love the question for this month, so I'll jump right into it.

What is the weirdest/coolest thing you ever had to research for your story?

Oh man, I've done a lot of interesting internet searches over the years.  If any non-writers got a look at what some of them were, they'd likely be horrified.  Just last week, I did the search "how long does it take for a pool of blood to coagulate?" I did it for a story I'm writing right now.  I've also done searches about how long it takes for various poisons to kill an average adult.  Those don't sound too horrific, do they? :)

What weird or cool things have you had to research for your writing?


Sunday, April 30, 2017

Z is for Zoom



For this year’s A to Z Challenge, I’m writing drabbles based on words I got from a random word generator.  A drabble is a short piece of fiction of exactly 100 words.


Enjoy!

Zoom

Mike climbed into the Cosmix Model 27-B Racer and fastened the harness.  He’d been eyeing the sleek black and green hull of the ship for months, daydreaming about taking it out for a spin around the system.
He’d passed the flight test in a bulkier and far less attractive shuttle.  Now he was getting his chance.
Then he got his clearance.  He slid out of the shuttle bay, and the star-speckled blackness of space embraced him.  Mike accelerated, savoring the way his body sank back into the seat as he zoomed through the deep. 
He didn’t plot a course.  

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Y is for Yikes!



For this year’s A to Z Challenge, I’m writing drabbles based on words I got from a random word generator.  A drabble is a short piece of fiction of exactly 100 words.


Enjoy!

Yikes!

The world can be a strange place.  Estelle knew this already.  Still, none of her previous experiences prepared her for the sight that greeted her when she went to bed on a mild Saturday evening in April.
The room was dark, lit only by the moon.  She didn’t notice the hulking shadow in front of her bed until she smacked straight into the thing causing it.  The body was muscular and sticky.  Dozens of eyes glistened as they looked at her.
“Yikes!” she yelped.
Then the creature wailed too before leaping out the open window and dashing across the yard.

Friday, April 28, 2017

X is for X-Ray, An Anthology Review, and Celebrate the Small Things-April 28, 2017



For this year’s A to Z Challenge, I’m writing drabbles based on words I got from a random word generator.  A drabble is a short piece of fiction of exactly 100 words.


Enjoy!

X-Ray

Being a teenage mutant isn’t easy, though I could have had it worse.  My buddy Raymond has glowing skin.  He looks like a neon glow stick.  It sets him apart from everyone else, and his mutation isn’t useful for much unless you don’t have a flashlight.
I got x-ray vision.  As a hormonal teenager, I thought it was great at first.  Then it got difficult to look people in the eye.  I’ve also been accused of being a creep on numerous occasions. And slapped.
And don’t get me started on what I’ve accidentally seen my parents doing at home.  Yuck.



I received an ARC of the anthology Where Words Fail, Music Speaks in exchange for an honest review.  First, for those of you who aren't familiar with the project, I'll refresh your memory.


Where Words Fail, Music Speaks is a collection of short stories and poetry by writers from all walks of life.

Each story is based on the titles of 90s Britpop songs, including Come Back To What You Know, Bittersweet Symphony, Animal Nitrate, Disco 2000, and more.

Our list of authors is: Kyra Lennon, Clare Dugmore, Annalisa Crawford, Ker Dukey, Wesley Copeland, Robb Turburville, D H Sidebottom, Audrina Lane, M.B. Feeney, Karen Frances, S.J Warner, Scout Dawson, Kimberly Morgan, Maddie Wade, Rebeccalou Heronpontin, Andrea Coventry

All proceeds from the sales of this anthology will go to Clusterbusters.



And now for my review.

First of all, I love the premise of this anthology.  Music is a tremendous source of inspiration for many.  I also love that this is a charity anthology and the proceeds from its sale are going to such a great cause.  Kudos to all of the writers involved for coming together to make this happen.  You rock!

I love the sheer variety contained in this collection.  There's a wonderful mixture of poetry and short stories, all from great authors.  There was also a wide spectrum of human emotion showcased here.  There was love, there was heartbreak and loss.  There was also a lot of hope.  There were also some pieces that delved into the world of the bizarre.  Of course, I say this as a good thing.  I'm all for having a dose of the strange in my fiction.

This anthology is worth your time and money.  No matter your tastes, I think you'll find something here to love.





It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain!  Tonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

We had fun visiting good friends last weekend.  The weather was good, so the kids played outside together.  It was good to have some adult conversation while the kids were distracted.

My husband bought me a TARDIS coffee mug, and it just came in the mail yesterday.  It looks awesome!  I'm grateful that he does nice things like that for me.

Speaking of husbands doing nice things, he bought us tickets to the Metallica concert that's happening in Newton, IA on June 9th.  It's an anniversary gift since our 10 year anniversary is the week before that.  Considering the song "Nothing Else Matters" was the first song we danced to at our reception, this gift makes perfect sense.  It's going to be weird not having the kids for a night, but I'm excited about that.  I can hardly believe we've been married for almost 10 years already.

I submitted a short story this week.  That makes four submissions so far this year, or one per month.  I'm definitely proud of myself for that one.  It isn't easy to keep up the momentum, but I hope I can.

What would you like to celebrate?