Tag Archives: reading

Writing, Reading, and Racing…What a Week!

The Amazing Race has been a huge success. It’s been a joy to be a part of writers paying it forward. Those of us writing today know that this job is tough and full of rejection. The one thing that is a gift to us is that writers are so giving with each other. I’d like to thank Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi for organizing this and giving us all an opportunity to give back and have the opportunity to recieve help from other writers. It’s not like they have nothing else to do…just check out their site to see all the books they’ve put together for…you guessed it, writers. Thanks to all the writers who participated. It’s been great fun.

I’m still managing to write every day even if it’s just a few words (on days I teach). It’s keeping me more consistent and on a schedule. I have really missed that during the last year while we were in “transition”. Hopefully, real progress will happen from now on.

My reading has been off during the move. Instead of trying to read fiction which would get interrupted for constant furniture trips, I’ve been reading craft books. They never disappoint. I’m hoping to get back to some hot fiction soon. In the meantime, I’m doing a second read through of Noah Lukeman’s The First Five Pages. It’s reminding me of the reasons I liked it the first time. If you haven’t read it, you should.

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What’s Up Wednesday?

ButtonSmallNoBorderWhat’s Up Wednesday is a weekly meme, started by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk, which helps readers and writers touch base with blog friends to let them know what’s up. Join in by visiting their blogs and signing in on the widget.

What I’m Writing: I’m still deep in revisions of my YA and made good but not great progress this week. Unexpected interruptions prevented the forward momentum I hoped for. Still, I am on target to finish this thing by the goal date, barring a catastrophe.

What I’m Reading: Just about to finish The King by Steven James. As with all his books, I love it. Hoping to see the death of Richard Basque this time. He’s beginning to bore me. 🙂

ready set write button Status Update: My goal was 8-10 more chapters. I only made 5. Still, it’s progress and I’ll take it. 🙂

For this week, July 17 -23, I accept that life is beyond my control. I am hoping for those 8-10 chapters but my goal is another 5.

Good luck to all the writers setting goals for Ready. Set. WRITE! this week. Twitter hashtag #readysetwrite.

What are your writing goals this week?

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What’s Up, Wednesday

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What’s Up, Wednesday is a weekly meme which allows us to touch base with our blogger friends letting them know “what’s up”. If you want to join the fun, you can link up here.

It’s been a crazy week, and I’m amazed to find myself at Wednesday again. Totally excited to share the weekly update with you. I hope your writing went well.

Reading

I’ve been reading Enigma Black. It’s been a struggle for me. It begins with the main character as a teen and then progresses her forward into New Adult. It’s a cool premise, but it has moved slow for me. In the meantime, Steven James’ The King came out, and I jumped on it. I don’t bail on books so I’ll come back to Enigma but after a break.

Writing

The muse came roaring at me this week. In spite of working on the new house and other obligations, I managed 15 chapter rewrites. AND then went back and made subtle tweaks to those. (Can I ever leave anything alone? No.) This last thread that I’m weaving in is managing to come together. I am celebrating big time this week.

Next Goal

I set my goal last week with positive thoughts in mind, and it went well so I’m rolling with that again. 🙂 This week my goal is to complete rewrites of 8-10 more chapters. Phew! Getting brave…but I am seeing a deadline finally hitting. Yes!!

Have a great week! May the muse be with you!

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What’s Up, Wednesday?

ButtonSmallNoBorderWhat am I reading? (Yes, I’m avoiding writing for the moment) I’m reading Her Last Breath by Linda Carillo. I finished Heather Gudenkauf’s One Breath Away, and it was amazing. It looks like I have a thing for books with breath in the title, doesn’t it?

Now, about last week’s goal on the Ready. Set. Write Challenge… I’m happy to report that I completed the three chapter revisions that I needed to do this week in spite of an amazing number of interruptions. They were hard-fought for but completed, and it allows me to move on to the next section. YEAH!!! Phew.

My goal for this next week is more complicated. (Cause why not, right?) I want to complete three more chapter rewrites AND complete another section of my series bible. I completed a section this last week, and it wasn’t even on my goal list. 🙂 Yeah, me! We’re not going to think about all the company here this week or our boys coming this weekend…nope, not going there. I will get these things done even if it’s 2 a.m. Where there’s a will…

At the end of the week, I may look like this:

Maia

Maia

How did you do this week?

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Feed Me Blog Topics

Storm feeding

Storm feeding

Okay, so I’m having a rocky start to the new year. Accidents, snow storms, computer meltdowns, and interruptions of every variety have sent my ‘year of organization’ right down the tube. I am still giving it my best shot but realized today as I sat at my hubby’s physical therapy session that when I ‘organized’, I skipped a week on my blog calendar. This week. Hmm. No topic planned. That’s my topic.

Blog topics are a dilemma for most writers. I’ve learned a couple of things about this particular stress inducer.

  1. Plan ahead: This organization thing has really reduced my stress. However, I realize now that I need an editor since I left off a week.
  2. Read Blogs: Seriously, other writer’s blogs will inspire your passions, your angst, or at least your interest in topics that apply to your writing.
  3. Feed the writer: This is important. The inner writer is creative and requires constant feeding. This means reading fiction in the genre(s) you write. It means putting that computer aside and playing a game or games. Board games or outdoor games or even computer or android games can work. I have mystery games on my Kindle which keep me thinking like a mystery writer. (I can rationalize almost anything)
  4. Sleep: I’m a big advocate of naps. Write for four hours and sleep for no more than 90 minutes. You’ll wake a new person and get in a fresh set of pages.
  5. EXERCISE: I can’t advocate this enough. It’s not just about weight or health. It’s about keeping your mental acuity and sending the endorphins through your system which allow the artist in you to soar.

Of course, we could also just feed each other blog topics. Feel free to start here…in the comments. 🙂

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Do You Believe?

My mother is an intuitive. I would stop short of psychic, but she’s in touch with parts of the psyche the rest of us don’t normally tap. A totally creepy incident in my childhood that saved the lives of my brother and I convinced me she had one of those extra senses people talk about. But she doesn’t see the future or talk to dead people. Yet, with someone like her in the family, I grew up with a sense that there is much that we do not know or understand in this realm we exist in.

Last Wednesday my friend Shelly’s daughter, Kelsey, lost her battle with brain cancer. She was a daughter to me, and I have struggled with the loss. She even called me Mom #2, an honor I cherished. Through the months before her passing we talked about death, with me attempting to answer and allay her fears. I’ve never felt so inferior as during those discussions. While I have never questioned my faith, these last months have been difficult for me to understand or explain. How could God take away everyone in Shelly’s world? Her husband, then her son, and then her daughter? With those doubts, who was I to answer Kelsey’s questions?

Still, with prayer I muddled through. One of her biggest concerns at the end was for those she was leaving behind. I believe this is because she had experienced it so much in her young life. In just a few years, she had buried her dad, her brother, her uncle, her cousin, and her grandma. She wanted to know if I thought she could let everyone know she was “happy” when she got there, that she was with family and loved ones. What could I say? I told her I believed she would be with loved ones, and I hoped she could let us know. She told me then, and it was the first of several times, “Mom, if it’s at all possible, I’ll send you all a message letting you know.”

Fast forward to a week after Kelsey passed, and my phone buzzed. It was a text from her. I did a double take. Shelly had canceled Kelsey’s phone the day after she passed. So many horrors stories these days of technology being hacked upon the death of someone, it’s best to take care of those things immediately. Her number had already been reassigned. Still, how would that person have my number? The message had said, “who is this. sorry. new phone.” I replied by saying who I was and asking who she was. She didn’t answer that question. “I’m sorry. I don’t know you.” It didn’t make sense to me since she contacted me so I told her so. Her words set me back. “You sent me two texts, blank ones.”

I’m thinking my stupid phone is acting up when she says, “do you know anyone with the prefix ___” and my stomach drops two feet. It’s the prefix for Kelsey’s life long best friend. Seems she got two blank texts from her as well. Okay, one time? I can explain away. Twice, at the same time, exactly one week after her passing, is not a coincidence for me. It’s a message from another realm. Goosebumps erupted on my arms, and the ache in my heart eased at the thought that Kelsey, who lived to text and I think communicated this way 24/7, had found the best possible way to send us the message she promised. She had arrive safely in the arms of her loved ones.

What does this have to do with writing? Sometimes as writers, we allow the world we live in to limit our writing. We question whether a reader will believe this or that is “realistic”. What we need to worry about is whether it is organic. Did it naturally arise from the story? If it did, the reader will accept it as I did that message from Kelsey. I don’t need scientific proof. I merely needed what happened to have been the direct result of everything that came before. It did.

Kelsey was one of my beta readers. I’ll miss her thoughts, but I can get other beta readers. I can’t replace my daughter. She was one of a kind. Rest well, baby girl. Love you much!

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Feed the Wolves

I love quotes, proverbs, old sayings. As a teacher I used them. I had entire books of them. I love to find fiction books that begin with one. How does the quote connect with the text? It has me asking questions before I’ve even begun reading. A mini-mystery. So, when I stumbled upon this one on Facebook, my inner reader engaged. I’ve heard it before and it’s one of my favorites for a host of reasons.

An old Cherokee told his grandson, “My son, there is a battle between two wolves inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, inferiority, lies, & ego. The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy, & truth.” The boy thought about it, and asked, “Grandfather, which wolf wins?” The old man quietly replied, “The one you feed.”

Unfortunately, we all know humans are flawed and too often we feed the wrong wolf more than we should. In fiction that is what makes our characters raw and real. Recently, I saw Captain America. Nerd that I am, I enjoy the comic book heroes. As I watched it though, I thought about the nature of those super heroes. Granted super humans qualities and one flaw. Can you imagine humans with only one flaw? Or with multiple super traits?

When we create characters, we have to remember those inner wolves the Cherokee spoke of, and we need to feed the demon wolf more than once. Otherwise, we risk the super hero archetype of a character with merely one flaw. I love crusty characters so feeding that demon can be fun.

How do you feed your characters’ inner wolves?

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