Getting Closer to #Row80

I’m getting excited to start up this new round of #Row80. I’m hoping it’ll help keep me accountable for my goals and blogging. I’ve wanted to get back into blogging for some time, but I’ve been too sleep deprived. Now I’m finally ready!

I have three stories I’m working on. Two of which are really close to submitting with agents. I’m not sure if I want to submit via email or wait for a conference to see them in person. Or both. I feel in person is better because you basically get to the front of their submission list line.

Do you ever feel like you have a million stories in you waiting to get out, but you’ve got to polish up what you’ve got or you’ll never get anywhere? I guess that’s why I’m more of a plotter, I can more or less write the story in outline form and then it’s ready to go at some point instead of just bouncing around in my head.

Another thing I’m interested in trying is flash fiction contests. I used to be hardcore about reading and writing short stories to bring up my novel game. Because you have to catch the audience’s attention so quickly, it helps you realize what is important and then you can eliminate a bit more fluff from your novel. Obviously it’s not exactly the same, but it helps substantially. I used to read a lot of Anton Chekhov, I may start doing that again.

And what about you guys? How many stories are you working on? Are you close to submitting to any agents or self-publishing? How have you gotten back into blogging or any activity after a long absence?

Whew! A Baby…

Welp, I did the thing. The thing all the ladies are doing—at least a lot of the ladies around me. I had a baby. And wow! That was hard. And crazy. Especially those first few months. I don’t know how you mommas of multiples do it. One seems like plenty of work to me.

So anyways, I’ve been out of the blogging loop for quite awhile, because the baby journey took up all of my time. But now baby is old enough to sleep decently, so I’m sleeping decently, which means I’m determined to come back. I know the next round of Row80 is coming up soon and I always loved participating in that.

Plus I’ve got some new writing projects on the horizon. Well, I guess they’re already here. Because I’ve already written them. And mostly edited them. So now I just need to work on polishing and eventually publishing them. You get what I’m saying. Well, you Russian bots do, cuz who’s kidding? Ain’t nobody reading the Lit and Scribbles now. But I do want to make cartoons. And forgive me if they get a little first-time mommish but that’s my vibe these days. Talk to you again soon! Or as they say in Russian, Пока тайная полиция снова не найдет нас!

Hook ‘Em and Hang ‘Em

Thanks again to everyone who came to my panel at the League of Utah Writers conference today. I hope you all make great beginnings and endings and get those books sold!

Here is a link to the PowerPoint I had up on the screen. Feel free to ask me any questions as you go along. Remember, odds are you’ve already written a great beginning line. You just may need to dig down in your paragraphs a little.

Hook ‘Em PowerPoint

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What’s Up Wednesday: Sep 5

Oh hi blog world!

So I’m a bit out of practice when it comes to this whole blogging thing. But here’s what I’ve been up to since we last spoke:

1. Still not dead. Yep, alive and kicking

2. I finished a major rewrite of a YA Thriller that takes place in Tokyo. My writer’s group’s frequent feedback was it wasn’t following enough of a thriller track and after some hard looks I had to agree with them. So I pondered and pondered for months. Part of my process is basic outlining, because then I know where the paths lead and if that’s the path I want to take or not. I feel like it’s a combo between plotting and pantsing.

It didn’t turn out exactly the way I had thought, which was fun. And I ended up creating a new character because of it, but I think it made sense. Plus I seem to have a habit of creating characters and then not really using them, but in this draft I brought an underutilized character to the forefront. I understand the appeal in imagining you can get it right the first time, but when you realize that writing is a journey and rewrites are going to happen if you want a good story, you sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride. Well, okay, most of it. There are those moments where you want to pull your hair out because the rewrite still needs some tweaks. But overall, worthwhile.

3. Finished a short article for a magazine. Another writer friend of mine said she thought it was the best thing I’d ever written. I’m going to submit it to the magazine this week and see what happens. Fingers crossed. And of course I’ll keep you updated.

4. The hubs and I are trying something called My Miracle Tea which is supposed to be like a major detoxifier. What does that mean? You get to poop, a lot. But it’s supposed to help with your liver and kidneys which, if too junked up, may contribute to stomach weight gain. We both feel like our stomachs could use a little extra help. I’ll let you know more about that as we go along. Why did I even get on this tea in the first place?

5. Foot zoning! It sounds like witch doctoring, but I feel like it’s legit. What is it? Someone gives you what is likely the most painful foot massage of your life and is able to tell you what’s going on in your body. I might still be skeptical of that much, except she knew stuff I hadn’t even mentioned. But to add to that, I also went to see a hormone specialist and they pointed out and recommended the same things.

Now granted, I’ve only been one time, so I can’t attest to the validity of all of it. But the friend who recommended me has personal stories of migraines going away after drinking teas this lady recommended, as well as discovering the lactose intolerance of a kid that doctors hadn’t pointed to. You can still skeptic away if you want, but I’m keeping an open mind after hearing and experiencing all of that. Besides, I’m more of the homeopathic mind when it comes to health these days.

That is NOT to say I think all pharma is bad. Some people really do need the medications they are on. Are we overprescribed in general? I think so. But does that mean all pharma is bad. Nope.

And that about covers it. I’m letting the rewrite of item 2 get cold before editing it. So in the meantime I’m kicking around another idea. I don’t know if you’d call it urban fantasy. Or steampunk futuristic, but it’s more of a middle grade story. And it’s weird. But I’m really liking it.

Okay, that’s what’s up with me? What’s up with you?

Not Dead!

Hello blog world! As it turns out I wasn’t face down in a ditch. Or dragged into the sewers with IT. Or blew a secret ninja mission and ended up in North Korean prison.

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Yeah, glad I’m not there.

No folks, I’m alive and kicking. But it has been a busy (glances at the last post entry date) uh, yikes, three years. Really?! Three years? Sheesh. Okay, so yeah, a lot going on.

What Have I Been Up To?

Welp, a lot, actually. Let’s see, 2015. Wasn’t the best of years. But it did end on a higher note. My sweet mom was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s in 2010. The decline was steady, but tolerable. But from about Christmas 2014 to June 2015 things really took a nosedive into bad.

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Mom in her twenties

I know there are a lot of strong feelings about this subject, but after she grew really bad we decided to put her in a care facility. I used to judge people who seemingly “dumped” relatives into facilities, but now I definitely don’t. It’s a painful decision, but often it can be the right one. My dad, as the caretaker, was looking worse and worse and his health instantly improved once we moved her. Plus, she didn’t look at him as the warden, but as her husband again.

From there things got progressively worse until she fell and broke her hip and it only took a few days from there until she passed. A line from Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events came to mind over the next several weeks:

If you have ever lost someone very important to you, then you already know how it feels; and if you haven’t, you cannot possibly imagine it.

How true that is. I’d lost friends and grandparents, but never someone seemingly before their time who was that close to me. The only thing that kept me going, and keeps me going, is knowing she’s not suffering. Do I wish she was still here? Absolutely! But would I bring her back in that state? Absolutely not. I can’t say after three years that it doesn’t still hurt, but it does get a little easier to bear.

Along with this I had a cyst I wasn’t sure whether it was cancerous (it wasn’t, thankfully), lost my job, and endured several months of unemployment.

BUT! My Dad and I were going to be the only ones around for Christmas and rather than sit at home missing my mom, we thought we’d do something amazing. We headed out to New York City. I’d been several times before. My dad went once when he was 18, but that was a looooong time ago, so some of the city felt new to him. And we had a blast. Plus the weather was unusually warm, so we didn’t have to trudge through the infamous New York slush.

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Rockefeller Plaza was PACKED! But worth it.

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