Wednesday, June 6, 2018

IWSG - Words and Wine


It's the first Wednesday of the month and time for another meeting of IWSG (The Insecure Writer's Support Group). This is the brainchild of the awesome Alex J. Cavanaugh and, in his words, has the following purpose:

"To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!"

To find out more or join in, head on over here!

I, along with  Beverly Stowe McClure,Tyrean Martinson, and Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, are co-hosting this month. 

This month's question is (and answering is not obligatory). . .


What's harder for you to come up with, book titles or character names?


Every time I expected a child...

Huh, worded like that, it sounds like I had tons of kids! 

Restart!

A few months before each one of our four children were born, my husband and I headed out to a Gastst├Ąttethat's the German term for a quaint, more rustic type of restaurant, ordered something delicious (obviously), and drank a wine while jotting down all sorts of girls and boys names which we might want to bind to our future child for the rest of its life. In Germany, there are actually laws surrounding the names parents are allowed to give their children, so that does narrow down the list a bit. 

We weren't allowed to name our kids lovely things like Sunshine, Blue, Precious or anything else not fitting to a usual and acceptable name (either in English or German). 

I found it unfair, not that I'm the kind of person who would really name their kid Rainbow or anything. Still. . .

Luckily, character names don't fall under such regulations. Even in Germany.

In any case, after two wines, we always had narrowed down the list to two names—one for a boy, one for a girl (we always loved surprises).

And that was it. 

When naming my characters, I'd need at least a dozen glasses of wine. Some names fall from the sky right away. Others. . .  not so much. Let's just say that those name search sites and I have become very good friends. And yes, I would name a character Ice or Sunflower or Boat...hmmm...I better jot those down for future books.

Now, let's look at titles. These are an entirely different story. They drop into my lap like they were always intended to appear there. Often times, I even know the title before I have a real plot. 

And how many glasses of wine does it take to work out a plot. . .

Let's just say I've been blessed with a husband who enjoys making wine. Lots of it.


What about you? Are you a character name guru? Or are you a title genius?

Or do both leave you scratching your head???


I've been informed that not all comments are being posted or showing up below. If this is happening to you and you'd really like to say something, I can only suggested using a different browser (and hope it works). I've been fighting this problem for several months now, thought it was solved, but obviously, it's back to the drawing board!

Friday, June 1, 2018

Celebrate the Small Things!


Oh my! Talk about weeks flying by. This last one left me dizzy. . .or maybe it's the allergies.

Anyway, it's time to celebrate the small things!

So, what are we celebrating?

Anything. . .everything! Every week, things happen which put a smile on our faces. Although some are hard to forget, others are more passing moments. But it's these small things in life which can make all the difference.

Thanks to Lexa Cain and her co-host, L.G. Keltner from Writing Off the Edge, we can sit back for a second and remember these happy moments.

This week, I'm celebrating. . .

1) My aunt! One of my aunts passed away last week after suffering from an ever weakening heart and health. She was a wonderful woman, always pulling everyone together, and instantly there for anyone who needed her. Whenever I think of her, I can only smile. . .that's how wonderfully warm she was. She will be missed, and it was a joy to have known her.

2) A quick vacation! This last week was like a whirlwind. My oldest and I attended the funeral from Saturday to Sunday late afternoon (very quick car trip), and on Monday afternoon, my youngest two and I took off for a 3-day, spontaneous vacation. We discovered some very fun, interesting and amazing state parks around Farmington, MO.


Elephant Rock - This looks like some giant decided to drop boulders like marbles onto a gigantic, stone table top. It was simply amazing and odd at the same time. My little climber loved it. 



These two came from Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park. This was simply awesome. See those rocks? Well, there are tons of them in a river bed. The water flows between them in small areas of calm, sometimes rapids, mini-waterfalls and extremely deep ponds. It's like a natural waterpark and has been rated as a 'must-visit-as-soon-as-possible-again' by my kids. And me. This is definitely the place to go for fans of rock climbing, water, adventure and with a bit of dare-devil throw in.

3) Bigger chicken coop (and a very, hard-working son)! While repairing some rotting places on our coop, I mentioned to my oldest son (in passing) that I have always hoped to make the run (that's the fenced in area outside of the solid coop) bigger. The next morning, after heading to town, I returned to find him digging in new support poles and hammering away. Last night, we purchased the extra needed chicken-wire to finish it off, but it will be done by the end of today. Even if my chickens won't thank my son (oh, and they better not thank me with more eggs! I'm swimming in those as it is), I can't thank him enough.


What about you? What put a smile on your face this last week? Dive into a delicious slice of cheese cake? See a beautiful bird? Discover a pen in the back corner of your desk drawer?

What are you celebrating?

Friday, May 25, 2018

Celebrate the Small Things!


It's that time of the week again—time to celebrate! (I love celebrations, don't you?)

So, what are we celebrating?

Anything. . .everything! Every week, things happen which put a smile on our faces. Although some are hard to forget, others are more passing moments. But it's these small things in life which can make all the difference.

Thanks to Lexa Cain and her co-host, L.G. Keltner from Writing Off the Edge, we can sit back for a second and remember these happy moments.


This week, I'm celebrating. . .

1) Summer break! The kids are home, which means I don't have to set the alarm clock to 5:45 am every morning (the bus always picked them up at 6:30 am). That alone makes me smile ear to ear. But it also means we can take off whenever we want to where we want for the day—picnics, trips to the river, ice cream runs. It's wonderful freedom!!!

2) My oldest son pulled a 4.0 for his 5th college semester straight, which was huge news for him. He was sure he was getting a B in one of his classes, but the teacher must have been in a good mood because there was an 'A' on there when he received his grades. Happy surprise!

3) And my biggest news. . .something I haven't 'officially' announced yet. . .IS. . .

One of my books has found a home!!!


I signed a publishing contract for one of my middle grade stories—an urban fantasy with a lean toward Coraline and a ballet twist—this last week. The publisher, Dancing Lemur Press LLC, is one I've been following for several years, and I adore the books from their authors. It's exciting to be joining them, and I'm looking forward to everything to come. Anyway, I'll obviously be screaming about this one much more in the future, so beware!



And that sums it up for this last week!

What about you? What put a smile on your face these past days? Find a new flavor of ice cream? Enjoy a swim? Run into a friend somewhere?

What are you celebrating?




Friday, April 27, 2018

Celebrate the Small Things!

Hello! After neglecting my poor blog for a few weeks, I'm back again! What better way to start up than with this wonderful blog hop?

It's that time of the week again—time to celebrate! (I love celebrations, don't you?)

So, what are we celebrating?

Anything. . .everything! Every week, things happen which put a smile on our faces. Although some are hard to forget, others are more passing moments. But it's these small things in life which can make all the difference.

Thanks to Lexa Cain and her co-host, L.G. Keltner from Writing Off the Edge, we can sit back for a second and remember these happy moments.


I have tons to celebrate. . .

1) A break! I didn't mean to hide away for a while, and I'm not sure I have everything organized yet, but the break was necessary. Not intentional. I thought of everyone every single week. The down time was nice and hopefully, I can hit this with new energy.

2) My husband loves his new job! (and this is why my life need re-organizing) Okay, he's still in training, but I've never heard or seen him so excited about anything. (For those of you who don't know, he's hitting a 'boy' dream of his and has gone from business manager to trucker.) We're putting a big map on the wall, so we can keep track of where he is during the week. . .and he does keep moving. He's even already picked up a nick-name with his colleagues that he loves and will probably have painted on his truck when he gets his own in another month—'Doc'.

See that smile?

3) Birthdays! In our household, almost everyone has their birthday between late March and mid-April, which means a party a week. . .and TONS of cake. Now, it's time to burn off all of those extra calories.

4) Baby calves! We've had four in the last weeks. I love watching them romp around. . .so cute!



5) Flowers! Although the weather has been cool (which is not great for my pastures!), the flowers have managed to pop up beautifully. I'm hoping for warmer temperatures now, so that I can at least sit outside a little bit and enjoy them.


And that sums it pretty much up for now!

What about you? What put a smile on your face?
Was an irritating pothole on your way to work finally fixed?
Did you find some money hidden in the bottom of your pocket?
Was a cashier unexpectedly friendly at just the right moment?

What are you celebrating this week?






Wednesday, April 4, 2018

IWSG and Wacky Life Weather In Sight



It's time for another meeting of The Insecure Writer's Support Group, otherwise known as. . .

IWSG!!!

This is a place where writers come with all their doubts, fears, suggestions and words of encouragement, and was founded by none other than the amazing Alex Cavanaugh

If you want to learn more, head on over here. 

Alex's helpers this month are:  Olga Godim, Chemist Ken, Renee Scattergood, and Tamara Narayan!  Thanks guys for all that you do!


I still haven't gotten all of my 'technical difficulties' worked out (my inability to comment on Blogger posts or several followers to comment on mine), but so far, it appears to be a browser problem...Google Chrome just isn't always cooperating with Blogger. So, I'm going to have to switch browsers to comment (pain in the neck), and others. . .well, if you notice that your comment isn't showing up and you really want to comment, then it will take a switch of browsers for that moment.

As said. . .pain in the neck.

And now, it's time for this week's question:


When your writing life is a bit cloudy or filled with rain, what do you do to dig down and keep on writing? 

At the moment, my life isn't really filled with rain and clouds, but it is doing a weather flip-flop. My husband is living a boyish dream and heading into trucking for a few years before he hits retirement. (The Europeans don't have the huge semis like we do in America, so his little kid heart has always dreamed of cruising across American highways. . .he's dreaming of ice-trucking in Alaska too, but that's still in the future.)
So life is taking a drastic change, since the kids and I will be on our own most of the time. And that with a farm, which I'm not sure will work yet. In other words, I'm getting our house ready for sale this summer and planning on moving...no idea where yet...

Which is such a cool adventure of its own! Florida? Arizona? Oregon? Minnesota? Anywhere!

So, yeah. Keeping my head in writing isn't easy.

But I do it. Writing, like reading, is an escape to a different reality, where only the characters and their problems matter. Do I always feel like writing? Heavens no. But once I sit my backside down in that chair and force myself to concentrate for ten or so minutes, I find myself getting swept up into the other world. It's like getting out of bed on cold mornings. You don't want to do it. . .it hurts to do it. . .you're sure you can't do it. . .but rip off that blanket, get dressed, and suddenly, life's happening.


How do you get yourself to write on those rainy, stormy or simple weird weathery periods in life?

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Technical difficulties. . .


Hey, blogger friends and all my wonderful readers!
The last week, I've noticed that I'm increasingly unable to leave comments on other's blogs. I've tried using a different browser as well as logging in several times, but nothing seems to work. The comments are accepted as if they are normally going through, but they never appear.

Since I've been receiving complaints that several readers have no longer been able to post comments on my blog (Kidbits as well as Bookworm for Kids), I'm afraid something is up. This isn't affecting all readers, only some and I'm not sure why.

I hope I can have this problem solved soon. Until then, know I am reading others blogs and wanting to wish you all sorts of things. But the computer world is not letting me.

Bummer.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Celebrate the Small Things



It's that time of the week again—time to celebrate! (I love celebrations, don't you?)

So, what are we celebrating?

Anything. . .everything! Every week, things happen which put a smile on our faces. Although some are hard to forget, others are more passing moments. But it's these small things in life which can make all the difference.


Thanks to Lexa Cain and her co-host, L.G. Keltner from Writing Off the Edge, we can sit back for a second and remember these happy moments.

This week, I'm celebrating. . .


1) Survival of my in-laws! My parents-in-law were run over by a car, while walking past an alleyway. Both are around 80 years old, and we were extremely worried. Luckily, they got out of it with only a couple of broken bones, and only one was bad enough to have surgery. They are staying in the same hospital with their rooms only a couple doors apart. My mother-in-law, is already hopping around more than the doctors like, and my father-in-law is using the time to surf the internet on his tablet. In other words, we're glad it wasn't worse.

2) Starting a new MS! I sent my other MS off to the publisher. . .crossing fingers on that one. . .so it's time for a new story. Believe it or not, first drafts are not my favorite part of writing. I love the new characters, I love diving into their world and experiencing their adventure, but getting those words out one by one is always so hard. I think my inner editor is too picky.


3) My brother received a birthday dance from one of his baby goats! Baby goats are so fun to watch, and this one went into excitement pure on my brother's birthday. Luckily, his wife was quick to catch a snippet on her camera.




And there's still a giveaway running for a very wonderful, nighttime picture book with glistening golden stars AND it's signed by the author. Head on over here to take and peek and enter that.





What about you? What put a smile on your face this last week? See a shooting star? Find a freshly made pot of coffee at work? Buy a new pen?

What are you celebrating this week?

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

IWSG


It's time for another meeting of The Insecure Writer's Support Group, otherwise known as. . .

IWSG!!!

For anyone who might not know what this is, I see it as a type of Alcoholics Anonymous for writers. Not that we want to stop writing. . .oh no! But writing is hard on the psych. We are a strange group who is often misunderstood, frustrated, down, confused, or so euphoric, we hardly know what to do with ourselves. And here is where we come with all of those doubts, fears, suggestions and words of encouragement.

If you want to learn more, head on over here. 

Alex Cavanaugh's helpers this month are:  Mary Aalgaard,Bish Denham, Jennifer Hawes, Diane Burton, and Gwen Gardner! Thanks guys for all that you do!


This month I have not been able to reach all of my writing goals. I could blame it on my computer, which was on its death-bed for a few weeks, but I also wasn't in the swing of things. So, this month's question fits right in for me.

 How do you celebrate when you achieve a writing goal/ finish a story?

I take time off.
I sit back, enjoy a movie or a book. Or shut the laptop and stroll across my farm. My brain needs a little bit of time to reboot before diving into whatever I need to do next.

Oh, and I don't mind grabbing one shot of Bailey's or a whiskey and just smiling into space, enjoying the freeing feeling that completing something gives.


What about you? What do you do when you hit one of those writing goals or finish up edits or what-nots? Do you go bungee-jumping? Take a few hour nap? Put on those fancy shoes and hit the town?


How do you celebrate?


***

Now, for something completely different. . .

I reviewed a lovely board book over on Bookworm for Kids a couple of weeks ago, and after seeing it, the author, Deb Gruelle, was nice enough to offer a signed copy to me to give away! *squeal*


If you'd like to take a peek at my review, head on over here.

If you'd like to throw in your hat for a chance to win this beautiful book (and it is pretty with shining stars and everything), just say so below and leave your email address or Twitter name so I can get a hold of you.

The winner will be drawn at midnight on March 17th and be announced here on Kidbits as well as over on Bookworm for Kids on March 18th. The winner will also be contacted over email or Twitter (depending on what they leave in the comments) and has 48 hours to claim their prize.

Little print: The author is sponsoring this giveaway. The winner must be a resident of the U.S. and there is no possibility of a monetary or substitute prize. And who would want that anyway? The book is really a treat as it is.

Super little print: Even if you don't have a little child, I bet you know someone who does and would love the treat!

Friday, March 2, 2018

Celebrate the Small Things

It's that time of the week again—time to celebrate! (I love celebrations, don't you?)

So, what are we celebrating?

Anything. . .everything! Every week, things happen which put a smile on our faces. Although some are hard to forget, others are more passing moments. But it's these small things in life which can make all the difference.

Thanks to Lexa Cain and her co-host, L.G. Keltner from Writing Off the Edge, we can sit back for a second and remember these happy moments.

This week, I'm celebrating. . .

1) A new laptop! (This celebration is why I basically disappeared for over a week). Mine has been slowly dying and suffering for months now. First, a shift-key stops working, the fan overheats every now and then, the battery went out a long time ago (it's the 3rd one, and I knew my poor laptop was meeting its end so I didn't buy a new one), a few more keys fell out, and then my 'r' and 't' died along with several numbers two weeks ago. . .*sigh* A slow and painful death. I tried to clean it, but that wasn't the issue. So good-bye my friend! My wonderful son saw my pain and decided to give me an early birthday/Christmas present (for the next 2 years, I told him). So, here I am. . .back and typing again!

2) An award for my review blog Bookworm for Kids! I was ranked 32..33 or something like that and was SO honored and thrilled. I find it amazing that my little 'ole blog. . .which I do for sheer fun reasons with no aspirations. . .is winning so many awards. It's mind-boggling and definitely putting a smile on my face.

3) Done editing a story! Again! This manuscript has seen more edits than cows in my neighbor's pastures (which is quite a lot). But off to a new WIP now. . .greener pastures too?

4) Tons of rain and warmer temperatures! This is a 'farmer' celebration. We've had a long stretch of pretty dry weather. Months and months. This last week held 9 inches of rain, which was wonderful. Combined with the warming sun (around 55-60 degrees now), the grass is shooting up, and I'm having to feed less bales—something my elbows are happy about. Oh, and we got a baby calf, the first of several, I hope. I'm watching those moms out of my window everyday. They've got such huge stomachs that I wonder if they won't burst soon.


And what about you? What put a smile on your face this past week? Catch a ray of sunshine? Stay up all night reading a book? Smell a wonderful pizza?

What are you celebrating this week?



Friday, February 16, 2018

Celebrate the Small Things


It's that time of the week again—time to celebrate! (I love celebrations, don't you?)

So, what are we celebrating?

Anything. . .everything! Every week, things happen which put a smile on our faces. Although some are hard to forget, others are more passing moments. But it's these small things in life which can make all the difference.

Thanks to Lexa Cain and her co-host, L.G. Keltner from Writing Off the Edge, we can sit back for a second and remember these happy moments.

This week, I'm celebrating. . .

1) Bald eagles! Yesterday while feeding cows, there were two bald eagles darting between the tops of the trees. They were calling to each other, flying up and landing a few tree tops further away. I simply enjoyed watching them for a few minutes.

2) Valentine's Day crafting! Not me. My kids. There was a Valentine box competition at school and especially my youngest went all out. She found a video on youtube and made her own version with tons of pink puffiness, hearts and glitter. She's only 10, so it was quite the project for her. But that girl was determined. Unfortunately, she didn't win (the judges came when the kids weren't there so she couldn't show them what it did). But she didn't mind and was all smiles that she'd simply accomplished something like this.



3) Writing! I'm just going to celebrate this, although there's nothing really exciting to announce. But I've been editing, brainstorming and writing away. . .which is simply fun.


What about you? What put a smile on your face this last week? Getting some hints of Spring? Eat some chocolate? (You don't need Valentine's Day to do this. . .trust me. I'm a pro) Find a pair of rubber boots on sale?

What are you celebrating?