Friday, September 28, 2007

Books, Books, Books

Originally posted on freewebs blog Nov. 1, 2006. updated notes in violet.


1. One book that changed your life: The Hero and the Crown, by Robin McKinley. My fifth grade teacher recommended it to me. Before that, I read mostly mysteries. This book really hooked me on fantasy and is one of the reasons I write fantasy today.

2. One book that you've read more than once: The Giver, by Lois Lowry. Every time I read it I'm affected emotionally. It's a reminder to be grateful for memories, diversity, and the beauty of color. The first time I read it was for school, but I got so into it that I finished it way ahead of schedule.

3. One book you'd want on a deserted island: The Book of Mormon. If I'm going to be alone on a deserted island, it would serve me well to grow closer to God.

4. One book that made you laugh: Skipping Christmas, by John Grisham. My husband and I read it together and had to put the book down a few times we were laughing so hard. Though I cried in that one as well.

5. One book that made you cry: Many books have made me cry. Hmm, to name just one – Bridge to Terabithia. There is a good reason that book won a Newberry Award. Tragic, moving, and a book I'd definitely recommend to everyone.

6. One book you wish you'd written: That's easy: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Nearly instantly famous worldwide, if someone hasn't read it then they at least know the name, and they made a movie off it as well. Who wouldn't want all that? updated: okay, I don't really want ALL that. there are downsides to the fame thing. tons of people buying your books, each with their own expectations, and you can't please everyone... and will your next book be as good as the first? fame means pressure! not that I know from experience... but have you seen the movie Misery? definitely represents the worst case scenario of being a famous writer

7. One book you wish had never been written: I can picture a vague scene from a book in mind, but I couldn't get more than a few chapters into it, let alone remember the title.

8. One book you're currently reading: Last night I finished reading Blood Pact by Tanya Huff. I had read one of her short stories in a fantasy anthology and immediately fell in love with her humor and writing style. The Blood Books have lived up to expectations and I have a hard time putting them down. updated: I have since read all the Blood Books. Still recommend them for good vampire stories and character growth throughout a series. Current read: just bought and started Spellbinder by Melanie Rawn. I've loved her other work, so hopefully I'll love this one as well, even though it's different than her previous books.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

thoughts on Windows Live Writer

I've been using Windows Live Writer for two weeks now. I'm getting used to the formatting - start new paragraphs in Normal or HTML view, as pressing enter does unexpected things in the other view modes. I'd like a font size change shortcut on the toolbar, but it is changeable under fonts under format. One thing that did throw me off is the Web Preview. It looks wrong. But I found out it's showing the IE version. I hadn't ever seen my blog through IE. Don't care for it honestly. Too many spaces. I much prefer the Firefox view. Once I figured out the difference it's not a problem.


I LOVE being able to compose and save drafts offline. My main problems come in trying to actually post an entry, as it doesn't want to connect very often, but that's my typical connectivity problem, NOT Windows Live Writer problem, and the reason I like having it saved offline.


I have yet to get a plugin to install. I've downloaded one, but it gave me an error "must have Windows Live Writer installed." Umm, I do have it installed, and that's where I got the link to the plugin page... Oh well. Maybe it's a version issue. What I want is a plugin for easy copy/paste from webpage (namely blog) or some sort of blog template. I copy/paste the previous week's Tuesday Tally to easily do the new one each week, moving goals from this to last week, etc. I may have to make my own template, save the HTML elsewhere.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Tuesday Tally - brought to you by Ubduk

Status of my novel

total words to date: 65,722

pages: 285

completed chapters: 12

Last week's goals:
  • finish last couple days of 100 day challenge - all done!
  • dig up the best posts of freewebs blog and cross post them here - posted one, have two more to share
  • finish current revisions for Mirror - done. Liz read it and had issues though. will wait for hubby to read it again before making more changes, but afraid she's right - most everything happens to the MC, she doesn't struggle much to solve things herself. Not sure how to fix the issue though. May not be something that can be fixed. I like Mirror, but I know The Blazing Princess is much better.  
  • finish chapter 13 - finishing last scene today, due to not writing yesterday
  • outline my first ever website mailing - I have a simple email planned. Now if only I can find which folder I saved it in... 

Goals for this week:

  • write up website mailing to send out Oct. 1 (visit my website to subscribe!)
  • finish chapter 13 and write three additional scenes 
  • send out more poetry

I received another rejection for a poem. And I have another batch that I'm about to give up on. Time to find a few more markets, get some more submissions out.


Remember how I mentioned entering the Writer Unboxed contest? The winner was announced today. My word Ubduk was listed as one of the honorable mentions. Here is the definition, and the rest of my entries:


Ubduk (n.) - monster that abducts your muse, leaving you with writer's block. Yesterday I was visited by Ubduk and got no writing done.

Haeva (n.) - a soft, tender term of endearment for a loved one. (Feyan word in my novel.) "Don't worry, haeva. You'll see me plenty once everything is over."

droolicious (adj.) - so delicious sounding or looking that it causes one to drool. I bought some Chocolate Chunk Macadamia nut cookies because they are so droolicious.

sexth-sense (n.) - a child's ability to always interrupt when his parents are getting naked. Our son exercised his sexth-sense, waking up from a deep sleep for no apparent reason other than to interrupt us.

Monday, September 24, 2007

20 Questions (well, make that a dozen)

Nikki tagged me with this meme.


1. What I was doing 10 years ago: Wow, I was only 14 ten years ago. That was ninth grade. I was drooling at boys from afar, unable to date yet but had "huge" crushes on a couple different boys. That's really all I wrote about in my journal... I was also doing less homework, caring less about school - didn't want to be the "smart girl" who "always has perfect grades" when everyone is comparing report cards. I didn't want people to think I was a snob, but apparently being smart and quiet gives that impression to some. Anyway, moving on to question two...


2. Five years ago: Freshly married (8 months), adjusting to living with my in-laws after both of us no longer had jobs, and doing a ton of cross-stitching.


3. One year ago: I was waiting for a new video card as mine went out, submitting lots of poetry, my son went through a developmental skills evaluation, and last October I started babysitting.


4. Yesterday: I wrote 1k plus words on my WIP. Yay! Also watched Broken Arrow (I love Christian Slater) while doing laundry, then that evening watched Wild Hogs with my hubby. We picked up the former on sale used, hadn't seen it since high school; good show. The latter was from Netflix, and was absolutely hilarious; laughed out loud a lot.


5. 5 snacks I enjoy: Almond Joy, roasted almonds, Reese's Pieces, Red Vines licorice, and golden delicious apples.


6. 5 things I would do if I suddenly had $100 million: Buy a house, hire a maid, travel (see #7), buy a grand piano, and give some to family.


7. 5 locations I would like to run away to: England, Hawaii, Egypt, New Zealand, and Venice.


8. 5 bad habits I have: procrastinating, forgetting about laundry, sucking on my teeth, running out to the garbage bin barefooted despite the weather or broken glass, and not planning dinner until everyone is hungry and asks "What's for dinner?".


9. 5 things I like doing: Reading books, watching movies, playing video games, reading blogs, and writing.


10: 5 TV shows I like: Heroes, Lost, Biggest Loser, Til Death, and Firefly.


11. 5 things I hate doing: cleaning, paying bills, changing diapers, cooking, and brainstorming ways to fix a broken story or scene.


12. 5 biggest joys of the moment: Hubby, son (B), progress on novel, sending B off to preschool, and completely immersing myself in a good book.


Alright, your turn. I tag Liz, and anyone else who wants to do this. You can link your entry here in the comments, or post it here if you don't have a blog or don't want a separate entry.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

100 Day Challenge - Complete!

Update: The 100 days are over! Yesterday was day 100. You can see my results below. I wrote a total of 40,677 words over the 100 days (4x the minimum 100 words daily would total). Almost 3/4 of that was toward my novel. I took the challenge in order to write more regularly on my WIP, and to that it was a success. I'm very happy with my accomplishment. I'm still going to try writing every day, but won't punish myself if I miss one occasionally. Did you take the challenge? How did you do?

Here I'll keep a running total of my writing count. The goal/challenge is 100 words every day for 100 days. First day was June 13. I'll update this every couple of days. (In case it's not obvious, first number is challenge day, second is number of words written that day.)

  1. 156
  2. 131
  3. 247
  4. 286
  5. 116
  6. sick day
  7. 103
  8. 105
  9. 358
  10. 133
  11. 143
  12. 212
  13. 474
  14. 428
  15. ? unknown actual count... tons of editing, a few new scenes, forgot to count... *blush*
  16. 154
  17. 160
  18. 166
  19. 220
  20. 510
  21. 378
  22. 194
  23. 539
  24. 513
  25. 129
  26. 182
  27. 528
  28. 879
  29. 1080
  30. 240
  31. 670
  32. 404
  33. 144
  34. 683
  35. 717
  36. 1285
  37. 387
  38. 300
  39. 636
  40. 842
  41. 509
  42. 335
  43. 211
  44. 607
  45. 360
  46. 696
  47. 602
  48. 550
  49. 619
  50. 666
  51. 518
  52. 593
  53. 511
  54. 517
  55. 151
  56. 528
  57. 522
  58. 638
  59. 220
  60. 345
  61. 139
  62. 272
  63. 646
  64. 514
  65. 138
  66. 504
  67. 150
  68. 117
  69. 592
  70. 141
  71. 1039
  72. 507
  73. 629
  74. 715
  75. 543
  76. 263
  77. 385
  78. 524
  79. 166
  80. 320
  81. 271
  82. 232
  83. 117
  84. 544
  85. 300
  86. 171
  87. 124
  88. 699
  89. 552
  90. 499
  91. 598
  92. 189
  93. 192
  94. 333
  95. 1246
  96. 677
  97. 103
  98. 648
  99. 140
  100. 250

* last updated September 22

Friday, September 21, 2007

Marian's thoughts*, 1st of Sleeping Moon, age 10

* this memory was never recorded on paper, as Marian did not know how to write. but these were her thoughts that day

Today is the first day of Sleeping Moon. It is also my birthday. To celebrate my ten years, Mother bought a cream cake from the baker. The plum frosting is tangy, but when my teeth break through the cake, the smooth, rich, butter cream floods into my mouth. My sister Terra and I eat slowly, as we only get to eat cream cake on birthdays. Father bought me a new dress from the fancy shops in Valadilene. The dark green is the prettiest I've seen, and there are actually bells sewn into the hem! What fun it will be to jingle when I dance at Winter Feast next month. Terra gave me my own brush. Flowers are carved into the wooden handle; it's so pretty.

Birthday celebrations will be over by dark, as tonight is winter solstice - longest night of the year. As the sun sets, we will light candles. They will remain until dawn or until they burn out. We can't speak at all the whole time the candles are lit. We're supposed to keep to ourselves. I will have much to be grateful for as I rest tonight.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

*pulls out hair*

Warning: long, ranting post with no breaks.

Today is a really sucky day. B (see new abbreviations on the sidebar) started off by not leaving P alone - pushing, hitting, pulling his face, etc. I tried warnings, firm admonitions, spankings, attempted time out where he wouldn't stay put in his room for even two minutes, and finally resorted to keeping P on my lap where he would be safe until B moved on to other things. At least he's not always like this, just goes through these moods. He wasn't mad this morning, just seemed to see how I would react. I don't know. Anyway, once the boys were playing nicely, they moved into B's room. They were making normal playing noises, I would hear an occasional slam and assumed it was B's wooden bench, as usual. Eventually they came back in here (Master Bedroom/media room) and B started watching a show. P got cranky, so I picked him up to put him down in the crib for a nap. I went into B's room and about cried. One or both boys (assuming B, as he's taller) had emptied the drawers of B's dresser, and the backs had been broken off two of three. His plastic table was pulled apart, but that's typical when P is here. P had taken all the outlet covers out (aren't those supposed to be uninteresting and child deterrent? why is he so fascinated in them?? just plain plastic covers). *gah* Then, of course, as I haul the two broken drawers over the gate so they can't play with them, I gouge my foot with a broken edge. No blood, but a lot of scraped skin. And now B is interrupting the finally quieted P by banging on his door!!! *cries* And this is a long babysitting day, too. Not even 11am and I watch him 'til about 4pm... Hopefully everyone will survive this day...

On a positive note, my husband bought me flowers on Tuesday. Beautiful cream and violet roses. Once P is sleeping safely, I'm going to go bask in their presence and eat a brownie. In need of comfort food.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Tuesday Tally - 10 weeks to deadline

Status of my novel

total words to date: 64,040
pages: 277
completed chapters: 12

Last week's goals:
  • keep working on 100 day challenge - still keeping on top of it
  • write W.W. newsletter - finished and mailed
  • fix at least one of the two major problems with Mirror - my story is now over 10k words... maybe after the additions I can do some trimming
  • write at least one scene in Emergence - just one, but hey, that was the goal!
  • decide what to do with freewebs blog - kinda-ish on this one. I've been putting off making a solid decision. for now, will start with related goal listed below...

Goals for this week:

  • finish last couple days of 100 day challenge
  • dig up the best posts of freewebs blog and cross post them here
  • finish current revisions for Mirror
  • finish chapter 13
  • outline my first ever website mailing (visit my website to subscribe!)
With just under ten weeks until my self-imposed deadline for novel completion, I wanted to have an estimate on the number of scenes I would need to write, as I could very possibly reach 90,000 words and not be at The End. So, I spent three hours on Saturday storyboarding the rest of my novel, scene by scene. Some are more fleshed out than others, and some may be completely different when I get there, or nonexistent, but I have a much better idea now. 33 scenes left to write and I'm done! My deadline is still looking manageable - about 2,500 words a week or just over 3 scenes a week. My current scenes average 800 words, so I should end about the same whether I go by words or scenes. Feel free to wish me luck, but I'm thinking this will be more work than luck. A good kind of work though. Much better bossing characters around (or in some cases them bossing you), than being bossed at a regular job (or bossing other people for that matter).

If you have any topics you'd like me to blog about, writing or otherwise, feel free to suggest them. If you'd rather not make a public comment, you can always email me at feywriter(at)hotmail(dot)com.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Poem and Goodbye to Authors

I really like this poem, but have no idea what magazine it would fit, so I share it here.

Defending the Keep

(written 03/18/07)

A wall was built in defense --

four walls enclosing a sand keep,

separating the king's knights

from the army men.

It took all morning for the young god

to complete the wall --

polished river pebbles sealed by glue:

five inches high, three inches wide,

each of the four sides measuring two feet long;

only the west wall incomplete in its height,

as the god was called away from his work.

Noon sun glinted off pink and gray surfaces;

the east side belonged to Egg --

placed as a watchman;

with painted face he looked back

into the shadows of his wall

at the knights positioned for any breach;

a noise drew his attention forward into the garden

where the enemy resided --

a spurt... and water began to spray from the ground,

making the smooth surface slick.

Egg dared not move until the barrage ended,

but the assault had just begun,

for a large furry intruder came,

whiskers twitching as she sniffed the musty stone...

with a swipe she topples Egg --

his wire legs finding no purchase on the wet wall,

he falls to crack upon the soldiers below;

the knights can do nothing to repair him,

only mourn his demise beneath the wall.

On a sad note, I just learned that Robert Jordan (James Oliver Rigney, Jr.) died yesterday afternoon. He was working on the final book of the Wheel of Time series. Hopefully his son or someone else will be able to finish it. Madeleine L'Engle, author of The Wrinkle in Time and over 60 other books, also died this month. It's sad to see these two legends gone.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Windows Live Writer

I'm typing this post using Windows Live Writer. It's still in beta, but has no known problems. It supports many blog services and knows your visual theme. It's neat seeing a preview as I type, without having to wait until I publish the post to see how it will look on my blog. I'll have to try uploading media and fiddling with the editing, see if this is really as easy as advertised.

This also allows me to do offline editing. No more worrying about my unreliable connection (such as now...). I'll let you know my verdict after using it for a week or so.

dragon figure

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Tuesday Tally and computer issues

Status of my novel

total words to date: 63,118
pages: 273
completed chapters: 12

Last week's goals:
  • keep working on 100 day challenge - almost done!
  • write Fantasy newsletter - got it turned in 3 days early
  • make revisions to last section of Mirror - made some, filled in some needed transition. not done with all major changes though.
  • write at least one scene in Emergence - finished the single scene today
  • make up new word (for contest) - made up three new words, and also entered a feyan word from my novel. will share them next week, after contest is over. though you can scroll down and see them in comments on contest

Goals for this week:

  • keep working on 100 day challenge
  • write W.W. newsletter
  • fix at least one of the two major problems left with Mirror
  • write at least one scene in Emergence
  • decide what to do with freewebs blog
Remember that new drive I got? Well, it wasn't entirely effective. For some reason it won't read audio files. That meant no playing music CDs and having to install games through my hubby's computer to get around the errors every time it got to a an audio file and couldn't read it. But I got Sims2 Bon Voyage expansion, and the disc wouldn't let me install it the roundabout way. So, we ordered me another new drive which arrived yesterday. Working great! The other one we'll keep as backup, as it does play games just fine once they were installed. I am completely cursed when it comes to computers. Anyway, my husband surprised me by getting me a new keyboard as well! The Dell one was very cheap. Now I have a nifty, high quality, Eclipse keyboard. I'd find a pic or something and link it, but my internet is being stupid again. *sigh*

*update - you can now see my nifty new keyboard by clicking on the link above

Monday, September 10, 2007

Growing Up - Poetry and Musings

The Inner Child
(written in 2000 or 2001, while senior in H.S., unsure of exact date)

A little child
so innocent and free
full of joy and love
uninhibited by those fears
that plague me
so trusting and naive
always forgiving
seeing beauty
in everyone and everything
self-confidently taking on life
bold and daring
risking her all
to capture a world

What happened to that child
within me?

How does one mature in life? Does each individual have a turning point, a coming of age, as happens in fiction? Or do some of us go on, unchanging? I know I'm physically an adult. I'm married, have born a child, and my metabolism isn't what it used to be. But in other ways I'm just as I was in high school. My emotions are still as close to the surface, full of "teenage" angst (minus the dating and school stresses); I can have awful, inexplainable mood swings, deep depressions, exhilarating highs, and all hard for me to communicate. If I'm upset, I still clam up. I think I'm so good at story dialogue because of all the conversations that have happened in my head but never came out of my mouth.

I'm a basket case of social anxiety. I'm also scared to death of driving, never had a license or even taken the road test. Do we ever grow out of our insecurities?

The closest I've come to living on my own was when I had disagreements with my parents and moved in with the family of a friend's friend. I helped pay rent, but wasn't really part of the household, and rarely there - more at other friend's houses, or occasionally even crashing back at my parents. That was my most independent stage. I walked, biked, bussed; kept to my own schedule; dated lots.

Am I any smarter now than five years ago? I don't think so. I still don't stand up for myself, deal with people well, or have an ounce of common sense. I'm a complete airhead. I need a sign that says Warning: Absentminded Writer. I've never finished continuing education. Never been to college, or even completed a degree online. Biggest reason I didn't keep working toward ECE degree? I panicked and got completely overwhelmed at all the interaction I'd have to do - visit preschools and daycares, do interviews, take notes, eventually do 200+ hours of internship. If I couldn't handle all that, how could I ever handle the job itself?

I don't think I can emotionally handle a career outside of creative writing. Just as I know I wouldn't be able to handle another child.

In case you've begun to wonder, no this is not a rant. Merely a... reflection on the state of my being. I can still say I want to be a writer when I grow up. 1) I don't feel grown up yet; 2) I'm not yet a published, paid, professional writer.

Then again, if growing up means losing your innocence, losing that child within yourself, then I grew up long, long ago.

Seeking that which is Lost
written March 23, 2007

I sit cross-legged on oaken floor
loosen my muscles from head to toe;
breathe in the fresh, clean air encompassing me,
eyes settling on a single pink flower
in the vine border of the cream wall before me;
outer vision blurs as I journey within.

Break down unsteady walls of insecurity.
Push through foggy layers of forgetfulness.
Swim through the ever-circling moat of procrastination.
Enter the well guarded keep of true self.
Seeking that which is lost.

In the bottomless dungeon? No...
there dwells my heart, held under lock and key.
In the gilded tower? No...
there reside my dreams, gazing at the stars.
I pass through the library,
smiling at my muse, crafting inspiration,
and finally find that which I sought
deep within the treasury, dwelling in memories.

I take her hand, this child in me,
coax her to stay by my side,
as I return to focus my eyes
on the painted wall before me.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Planned Post Postponed

I know I said I was going to write out my thoughts today, but it doesn't look like that is going to happen. All I'm in the mood to write at the moment is a huge rant, and trust me, you don't want that.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Tuesday Tally plus non-writing thoughts

Status of my novel

total words to date: 61,975
pages: 269
completed chapters: 12

Last week's goals:
  • keep working on 100 day challenge - almost missed a couple days, but I got the writing in
  • finish chapter 12 - Yay! Eight more to go. Tempted to skip ch. 13, I'm so excited for 14... but I'll use that anticipation to write me to it.
  • finish storyboarding ch. 13 - very sketchy, but done
  • plotboard Mirror - not as unbalanced as I thought, but pace needs fixing. made lots of notes

Goals for this week:

  • keep working on 100 day challenge
  • write Fantasy newsletter (due Monday, still need a topic!!)
  • make revisions to last section of Mirror
  • write at least one scene in Emergence
  • make up new word (for contest with uber prizes)
My son starts school tomorrow. He'll be going to preschool for two hours, twice a week. I'm really looking forward to having the time to myself. Not that it will be fully to myself. He has class in the morning, and Mondays I babysit, Wednesdays my husband works from home. Still, I look forward to a break from my son, especially now that he's only napping a couple days a week. We met his teacher last Friday. She seems very nice. The class is small, only eight children. I hope he communicates with the other kids and teacher. His vocabulary is up to a couple dozen words, but I have yet to hear him talk in front of someone other than family (with the exception of "hi" and "bye").

Exercising is going well. I did miss one day last week, but didn't let it stop my routine altogether. I knew if I missed a second day it would be easier to skip it the third... and so on. Still waiting for the boosts of energy, as working out has been completely wearing me out. Only been two weeks though.

My husband surprised me Saturday by taking me out to eat (that was my down day, not feeling good and didn't exercise). We walked to The Training Table across the street. My husband had eaten at one before, but it was a first for me. The setting was unique - no servers. There's a phone by each table/booth which you use to order, then it rings when your food is ready to be picked up at the counter. My first thought was the menu is a bit pricey for hamburgers, but they are specialty burgers. I got the Verde Smothered Burger - extremely messy, but so good. Definitely worth the price. Their specialty dipping sauce is hickory sauce and mayo, also surprisingly good. We'll have to go back some other time.

We've been watching a lot of movies from Netflix lately, especially with network TV mostly between shows right now. Bridge to Terabithia had me crying, but I read the book so knew what was coming. I was afraid the movie would deviate too much from the book, as the previews show all the fantasy aspects, but it's NOT a fantasy. It's about the imagination, and friendships. Thankfully they stayed true to the book. Great movie, but don't go watching it expecting another Narnia. It's more of a My Girl if you want to compare movies. Other movies we've seen are 300, Casino Royale, and DejaVu. All good. So far the only movie I've been disappointed with
lately was Pom Poko. It's from Studio Ghibli, who did The Cat Returns, Nausicaa, Howl's Moving Castle, etc., so I hoped for better. It was too crude and narrated for my liking. I got bored instead of drawn into the story.

I've had some other thoughts and emotions stewing, but that's enough for today. I'll let these stew some more, address them Thursday (hopefully more coherently than if I wrote them now).

Have you watched any movies lately you'd like to recommend?

Monday, September 3, 2007

Contest results and Poem

I got the judging results for my story, The Blazing Princess, in the Writers of the Future contest. I placed as a quarterfinalist, which means it was in the top 15% of all stories submitted. I don't win anything other than recognition, but I'm happy with the results for my first entry into a prestigious contest. :-) Now I'll look into places to submit my story to for publication. Any suggestions for where a retold fairy tale might find a home?

And my poem to share today:

George Experiences Pop Culture

Curious George is always striving
to be the next big thing,
the little monkey climbed on stage
and actually started to sing!

The crowd fell in love -
he was on the news!
He went on to perform
for a celebrity cruise.

But at the end of the week
he was tired of fame,
so he asked for a ride home
and the man in yellow came.