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Monday, June 30, 2014

Ready. Set. Write!

I'm late for this. I know. And I was SO looking forward to jumping right in, but my stupid computer had other ideas. (Silly thing.) Right now, it's week 4 of this fantastic summer writing group!

Ready. Set. WRITE! 

So, what is Ready. Set. WRITE! ? Well, it’s a summer writing intensive that provides an opportunity for us to cheer each other on wherever we’re at in our writing—planning, drafting, or revising. This year, your RSW hosts are Alison MillerKaty UppermanErin Funk, and Jaime Morrow.

Thanks you, girls!!!

Every Monday, we. . .

1.  Tell if we met last week's goals
2.  Set our goal(s) for this week
3. Share a favorite line from our story OR one word/phrase that sums up what we wrote/revised
4.  Mention the biggest challenge we faced this week (ex. finding time to write)
5.  Let the world know something we love about our WiP

Since this is my first week, I'm going to have to skip #1.

2)  5,000 more words to my WIP. Hopefully, more, but I'm trying to stay realistic.

3)  Meg glanced over at her little brother kneeling next to her on the window bench--one little push, that’s all it’d take, and he’d crash to the floor.

4)  Finding time to write. Definitely.

5) I'm in the beginning. The whole world is waiting to open up (although I have it all plotted out and know where it's going), and that's exciting.

And that's it! So what about you? Where's your writing at?

Friday, June 27, 2014

Celebrate the Small Things and Grammar Friday!

Yay! It's that time of week again! What time of week? The time when we are reminded by Vikki over at Viklit that it's the small things in life which really count. So, stop. Think back at all those tiny (or not so tiny) things this week, which simply made you smile.

I'm celebrating:

1) My computer works again!!! I was dragging my feet about buying a new one, and I'm so glad I did. The other night, my son sat down and figured out what was wrong with my laptop. And he fixed it. *happy dance*

2) Our first cutting (hay) is done and our hay barn is 1/3 full of big rounds (bales).  I thought it would be a great moment to make a new banner for FB + twitter (mine are always so boring). So my daughter grabbed a huge arm full of books, and we went photo shooting. Lol! I'm just glad my daughter didn't take a picture while I was jumping up onto the bale (so embarrassing.)

3) Fireflies are out.  We didn't have these where I grew up in Denver, and I was always so fascinated when we visited my grandparents (south of St. Louis) to find these amazing bugs flying around. I love sitting outside in the evening and watching them blink over the field.



Then, I want to mention that an awesome author personage I know--Donna Fasano--is having a Bye-Buy June sale on her book MOUNTAIN LAUREL over on Amazon for $0.99.


And now, it's time for another. . .


This week, since my brain is still fried from the loss of my computer (Yes, this was an emotional tragedy!), I'm going to hit something a little more simple and fun!

The last four weeks of Grammar Friday have covered semi-colons. And most of you should know by now that I'm quite the comma freak.

But why? Is punctuation really that important?

YES!!! GOSH, YES!!!  (Yes, I had to scream)

Here's a little joke I found, which really shows just how important punctuation is (and then I'll let your brains rest and soak some summer sun before I hit an awesome punctuation rule next week. Sound good?)

An English professor wrote a sentence on the board and asked the class to add the correct punctuation.

A woman without her man is nothing.

The males in the class wrote:

A woman, without her man, is nothing.

The females in the class wrote:

A woman: without her, man is nothing.


Anyway, what wonderful things are you celebrating this week? Did you get to enjoy a writing frenzy? What bugs/insects do you like? Have any great sentence examples where the punctuation makes a huge difference?

Friday, June 6, 2014

Celebrate the Small Things and Grammar Friday!

The super Vikki over at Viklit sponsors this weekly meme to help us remember that it's the small things in life that really make the difference. Head on over and sign up. Hop around because it's really a lot of fun. And who doesn't need that extra smile?

This week, I'm celebrating:

1) My cows finally seem to be on the mend from their bout of pink-eye. Yippee! I honestly was beginning to wonder if I was going to end up with a blind herd, but it looks like my girls (and pair of boys) are going to be able to see. (Let's not talk about the amount of herding, medication and care it took to get this far.)

2) Our swimming pool is up and running, so the kids will have some splash-time fun! My adoptive kids  (that's what I'm calling our neighbor boys now with a little sarcasm) joined my bunch yesterday evening for a full-swing pool blast.

3) Little green tomatoes are on my tomato plants. Will they make it all the way? We'll see. I'm hoping to have bushels of those delicious fruits/vegetables (I'm keeping this politically correct so as not to offend those tomatos) by the end of this summer.

4) My daughter has tons of fun picking wildflowers, so I have a small bouquet on my dining room table every meal. That's probably the best thing of all. I love having the pretty colors there.

I'm smiling now. And if you're not, close your eyes and think of those small things which really are wonderful in your own life. Feel the corners of your lips edging up? Good!

'Cause now it's time for another. . .


Okay, mates! We've covered three rules for those awesome semicolons the last three weeks, but we aren't done yet. There's one more. Yep, those semicolons are feisty little things. . .ummm. . .actually, they're not. Or are they?


This week's rule is:

A semicolon can be used between two independent clauses joined by a connecting word (such as and, but, or, etc.) when one or more commas appear in the first clause.

Okay, I honestly don't find this rule that much different than the first one (Semicolon to combine two independent clauses. . .here, if you've forgotten.) But it definitely helps to keep a clean house...uh...I mean sentence.


When I finish cleaning the floors, which should only take an hour, I'll sew the missing button on your shirt; and I promise to have it done by this evening. 

Looks a bit complicated, huh? Personally, I usually just drop that second independent clause into a sentence of it's own (it is independent), but sometimes, you might have the feeling that these two clauses just have to stick together; and this is how it can be done.

*takes a deep breath* You know those writing contests where you're only allowed to enter one sentence from your entire manuscript for judging, and you just have to get another sentence in to maintain some sort of sense? Well, this semicolon rule might be your saving grace!

So, what wonderful things have happened to you this last week? Remember something you've totally forgotten about? How long can you make one sentence? Have any favorite wildflowers?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

What's Up Wednesday and IWSG

The wonderful Jaime Morrow and Erin L. Funk sponsor this weekly meme to help us writerly people keep up with each other. Head on over and sign up. Believe it or not, it's a lot of fun.

What I'm Reading:

I wish I could say a lot. My pile is high, but I can't seem to get to anything outside the normal craziness of life this week.

What I'm Writing:

I got a chance to sit down with my younger daughter and tell her my latest MS story from beginning to end (of course, in simplified form), but this is always a milestone for me. When I can do this, it means that the story finally flows all the way through. In other words, it can be written from beginning to end. Time to hit those pages.
As for the rest of my writing life, see below.

What's Inspiring Me Right Now:

Honestly, at the moment, I can't say I feel horribly inspired. Things are going so crazy chaotic that I'm not even sure my head is sitting on my shoulders straight.

What Else I've Been Up To:

Farm life has me on my toes. Weeds are taking over my garden (yes, I'm fighting!), my goats are still battling that cold (although I think we're finally over the worst of it), and three of my calves have pink eye. I'm also getting a ton of visits from the 'local' farmer kids, who seem to enjoy hanging out with us. They're amazed that I bake cookies, we sit down together as a family for meal times and that us adults are willing to mess around with them and talk to them like normal human beings. Makes me really feel sad for their family life. Some of you might remember my goal of someday having a type of ranch for kids who simply need to get away? Well, I was joking with my husband that it's already happening in an odd sort of way - - definitely not the direction we were hoping to head in.

I'm really hoping to get a few quite, writing days in soon.

And now, it's time for the terrific brain-child of Alex J. Cavanaugh

This is a super-fantastic chance for us writers to get the support we need and give it to others. Yep, writing is a tolling journey and even us writers need a little love and care every now and then. Thanks, Alex!

This month I have a motto - everything in it's time.

If you happened to see Monday's post, then you already know my news: an agent has taken on one of my manuscripts. YAY!

But did it happen right away? Was it easy? The answer: no.  And the truth, this is also just another step up the long publication ladder - but I'm still celebrating it. I even went out to Dairy Queen for an ice cream. Lol! Yep, I live it up.

The idea for this story hit me over two years ago while pulling weeds in my garden. It took another half a year to get it worked out in my head. When I sat down, it poured out onto the paper within four weeks. Then I made a HUGE mistake. I let that little screaming, impatient man get the best of me and sent it out into the query trenches way too early. I got requests but they all came back with rejections saying the same thing.-- 'writing needs work'.

So I listened and headed back in for edits and revisions, added another 10,000 words to it and entered the first pages into a few contests.  See, lots of revisions, edits. . .not quick and easy. Writing takes time, a lot of it.

When I finally sent it out again, more requests rolled in. But that's when my 'real' life started turning upside-down. My hubs' company announced it would be down-sizing. . .sometime. . .probably. *sigh* They continued to say this repeatedly for a year before it happened. I did several more edits, but it took forever as in months and months. Then, one of the requesting agents said she was interested. Yippee! She wanted some changes on the first chapter first, which I did. She loved them and was going to take me on when. . .Presto!. . .she changed positions in the agency. The new children's book agent was unfortunately more interested in contemporary. They offered to review another manuscript I was working on when it was completed, but I was so caught up in preparing for our move half-way across the world, that I simply didn't have time to get it buffed up for them.

Life got hectic, and I laid my writing aside. Game over? No way!  Because that's when it happened.

Do you love your CP? Well, you should! They are the most valuable companions a writer could ever have.

While I was stranded on an internet-less farm in Nebraska, fighting to keep at least a small connection through occasional visits to McDonalds (they were one of the only places with a solid and free connection), it happened. I logged onto twitter and saw that only 20 mins. before, my CP had recommend my MS to an agent. Seriously, what are the chances that this would happen? I was amazed. And on top of it all, the agent wanted me to query her! So I scrambled like an idiot to get my stuff together and sent off some sort of half-decent query. (Two trips to McD's that day - oh, and it was over a 30 mile drive away from the farm. Talking about burning gas!)

The agent loved it and suggested some revisions. And it took off from there. Three rounds of revisions, the story is amazing (I love it!) and the agent offered representation.

So, see. It happens when it's supposed to happen. No matter how impossible it might seem or the situation is (seriously, I wasn't even looking for an agent at that time), when the time comes, it will happen.

Lol! Just don't let that stupid, tiny impatient man get the over-hand on you like he did on me. It's definitely not worth it.