Friday, November 11, 2011

Looking Back To Move Ahead

 I didn’t write any words on Thursday because frankly, I was stuck.

 I had written to the point where my characters meet each other again after twenty years and a full life. The next section seemed too difficult, considering the fact that I didn’t have a firm grasp on my hero’s personality. 

I decided that I would have to go back and read the manuscript that I had written before. Using the search feature, I looked for his name: Caldwell. I found some interesting things. The man I had been calling Caldwell as his first name and had made up a last name because I didn’t believe I’d ever given him one in the first book, actually turned out to be named Brandon Caldwell. Except later in the book when he magically became Erich Caldwell.

That’s how it goes with NaNoWriMo – once I get going, I don’t like to stop, so many times I end up with different names, eye and hair colors changing, and a wide variety of symbols in place of things or places. @@@@find name of estate for this family or &&&& research foods that would have been served at a country dance, etc. You get the idea.

The most frustrating for me, is that by the time I get to 50,000 words, it is usually around Thanksgiving and I am ready to take a well deserved rest. I send in my manuscript to verify my word count and print off my award certificate. Then I put the story out of my head.

Unfortunately, 50,000 words is a little short for the stories I write. I naturally tend to wrap my stories up between 65,000 and 75,000 depending on the depth and layers in the plot. Which leads to the frustrating part. 

Several months after nano, I usually start thinking that I’d like to read that story that I wrote back in November.

So, I read, and I even amaze myself that clever words and well formed sentences and fully developed scenes have resulted from writing like a mad woman for thirty days. I live again through the character’s eyes, the story that came from my heart.

Then I get to the 50,000 mark and the story ends. At least the words end. The story does not.

I know at the time I was writing, I knew the planned ending, but months later, sometimes it’s hard to piece it together.

So, this year, I’m going to try to keep writing until I’ve finished the story even if it is an extra ten thousand words or more. I’ll be happy with 50,000, but I’ll be happier with a completed draft.

I just have to remember that Miranda deserves her HEA in this book, just as much as she did in the first one.

My goal for today was to pass the 20,000 mark and make that little stats line go above the goal line. I did that by writing 5230 words to get to 20,040.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Taking a Day to Think

Okay, this may seem crazy, but I took a day off yesterday. Right in the middle of NaNoWriMo, I took a day off and did absolutely no writing on my project.

Unfortunately, I didn't do it on purpose, and it didn't feel like a day off. What I did do was put it off and put it off and feel guilty until I just decided to go to bed without writing or blogging or reporting. Not good.

I woke up tired on Friday. And I stayed tired all day, which explains the paragraph above.

In the middle of the night, I had a dream that I was running through a campground full of Amish families having picnics. The dream dictionary says that the Amish represent my desire for a simpler life. Yes, that's true. The running represents my determination and motivation to succeed and signals that I will rise above and meet my goals. True again. And the picnic baskets indicate an opportunity to share my ideas and opinions with others. Well, of course it does?

I'm thinking I should have just stayed in bed all day yesterday and dreamed. It would have been more useful.

Anyway, I'm back to work. 2025 words today. Not quite 3000, but I am still a solid 1200 ahead of where I need to be for nano and my story is going well. I'm getting close to my first turning point and then the excitement really begins.

Until then . . . I'll to try to figure out how they got that meaning for a picnic basket . . .

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Word About Outlining

I'm a by the seat of my pants writer. I have a vague idea of where the story will go and I head toward the happily ever after (usually) and let whatever happens happen.

I think this might be why I haven't sold a book manuscript yet. That, and the fact that I haven't sent anything to an editor for quite some time. I'll just say, I'm working up to it.

Deep into the next scene in my book, I started thinking that I wasn't sure where I was going. Surrounded by ideas and  afraid some of them might be lost, I spent the rest of my nano time writing out my story in short form. I was able to work through the important turning points and motivations needed to make this a salable book.

I feel better about now going back and expanding each of those sections into scenes and chapters.

This outlining stuff isn't so bad. And I didn't use one roman numeral . . .

Today's count 2503.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Procrastination = Desperation

Ever noticed how many things you can find to do when you have something you're supposed to be doing, but are avoiding?

Laundry, filing, finances, dusting (I never dust), cooking, writing in my journal, spider solitaire, reading other people's posts, watching Modern Family, and on and on. These are just a few of the things I did today to avoid nanowrimo.

Why? Why do I sabotage myself when I'm supposed to be doing something I WANT to do?

It will take someone smarter than me and with some kind of degree to figure out that mystery . . .

At 8:30 p.m., desperation kicked in. I've made a commitment. I have to report to Nano before midnight. I have to report to ANWA. And She Writes. I need to post on two different blogs. I need to have something to report!

So, I resorted to a little trick I learned from the FlyLady. (Google her) Here's my trick. 15 minutes. That's it. 15 minutes.

I sit and think for a bit, getting the next scene in my head. I set my timer for 15 minutes, then I let the scene play out like a movie in my mind while I type what I see, until the timer goes off. As fast as I can type.

Sounds crazy, but it works. If I end in the middle of a scene, I might just record my word count, set the timer again and do another sprint. I did four in a row with these results: 483, 465, 427, and 417. That's 1792 words in an hour. I'm not sure I could do that normally. It's the urgency of racing the timer that gets me moving. (That and dialogue - lots of dialogue)

I've found that this works well, especially in the beginning of a book because long passages of characters talking and reacting to each other, is a great way for me to get to know them. Usually, I discover that, like me, my characters talk too much.

But that's another blog post.

I still have 7 more 15 minutes left before midnight. I think I'll try for at least a couple of more before I report.

I made my goal plus a little - a very little. 3001 words today. My total is now 5010. Wow. It's a good thing that regency family had twelve kids and I named them all ... Goodnight.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Story So Far . . .

A few years ago, I started NaNoWriMo with no idea what I was going to write. On Halloween night, I finally wrote out 30 life questions (heavy things about marriage, children, death, taxes, you know) on strips of paper, folded them and threw them in bowl. Each day, I read a question and then tried to write a 2000 word chapter from that prompt.

On the fifth day, I don't remember the question, but as I got into my story, I realized that this was the beginning of what would be my nano project. When I finished, I had my first regency romance, Miranda's Heart. And it wasn't a bad story, either. I let go of all of the things I needed to research and just put myself in Austen mode. It was probably the most fun, I've ever had writing a story.

My story took my hero Miranda through a broken romance, to meeting and befriending three brothers who moved in nearby. Through much fun and quite a bit of sorrow, she eventually marries the middle brother. Happily Ever After, right?
Well, I thought so, but this year, I again had no idea what to write. I'd just spent the last 5 months mostly on the couch, unable to write or even read much. After having my thyroid removed and along with it, the cancer it contained, I knew that my celebration had to be writing a book. But it had to be a fun book.

So, I hit on the idea of another regency. And so, the plot for Miranda's Daughter started to form in my brain.

Today, I got a late start, but finally during my writing group at the library, I started on the story. Unfortunately, I wrote the first book on my desk top computer - at home. Today, I was away from home and on my laptop (with lack of preparation) and did not remember the love interest's name, or even Miranda's last name or her husband's. After, the tenth time of typing in "what's his name" and giving up on finding a suitable name for his son (I just started calling him Reggie), I stopped at just over a thousand words.

Tonight, though, I was able to get a little more into the story and start seeing where it was going. The love interest's name is Caldwell and Reggie became Oliver. The conflict is developing nicely. I'm having fun.

My goal was 3000 words each day, but today I'm settling for 2009. It feels good to have my brain back and to be writing again. I'll catch you up on the story tomorrow.

Until then . . .

Monday, October 31, 2011


Here it is, October 31st, a very scary day for some of us . . . specifically, those of us who participate in Nanowrimo (which to those who don't know) is National Novel Writing Month.

Every year, writers (most, a bit crazy), in the month of November, starting at the hour of midnight, begin pounding out words at an average of 1,666 per day. At that rate, and by adding 20 more words somewhere along the way, we each write a 50,000 word book, in a month. All the frendzy ends at midnight on November 30th.

There are some secrets to success. First, a writer has to tie the internal editor to a pipe in the corner of the basement and write like every word is golden. And keep writing, day after day. The first days are easy -- the words flow, the story opens and blossoms and then the turning point and the exciting moment that changes the story . . . and then somewhere around the middle of the month, we stumble. Words escape us. Fear grips us. We can't plot to save our lives. We get behind in our word count and think we will never catch up.

But somehow, we do. Or at least many of us do. We fight on, through the pain, even if we spend paragraphs describing the ruffle on our characters sleeve or write insane dialogue that will never make it through the final edit of the book, but help us find hidden sides of our hero. Or maybe we just find barely concealed cracks in our own personalities. When you're in that deep, it's hard to tell what's sort of real and what's really real.

It's a couple of hours until midnight. I have a title for my story. That's about it. My hero doesn't have a name yet. I'm not much of an outliner, although I do have a bit of a plan, thanks to Larry Brooks. I have a vague idea where this regency romance is headed, but the fun will be the shady areas between here and there.

Scary? Yeah. Ghosts and goblins are nothing compared to beginning Nano.

At least I have bite sized chocolate trick or treats to get me through the month. But do I have enough? Let's see, if I start at twelve, write until five, and cover my hair with a hat, the Halloween candy should be on clearance by the time I get to Walmart. Sleep? Who needs sleep?

I'll be blogging about my adventures - here & on She Writes. Feel free to peek in occasionally and if I write something good, I might share it. And that just might be the scariest thing of all.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Chicken For dinner

I remember hearing a talk years ago where the speaker said that he couldn't do something he was asked to do because they were having chicken for dinner. Confused, the other person asked what that had to do with his request. The speaker responded, "One excuse is as good as another."

I don't know why I remember that, because, most of me doesn't agree with it. Maybe that's why it stuck.

So, here's my reason for missing 4 months of blogging. It will be for you to decide if it's a "chicken for dinner" excuse.

At the end of June, this year, I wrote a perfectly nice little post about Anne of Green Gables. My parents had just returned from PEI and brought me a statuette of Anne for my writing desk. I even included pictures!

Unfortunately, when I tried to post, Blogger was down. I tried the next morning before I was to leave for a family reunion in Idaho, still couldn't post, and decided to do it when I got back. (our reunion place did not have internet)

I had a lot of fun at the reunion, but after the six hour drive home and unloading the car, I fell into a deep fatigue. Actually, it was like I hit a wall with my energy. This is hard to understand if you've never experienced it.

I've been tired before - after carrying my 3-year old from one end of the National Mall in D.C., to the other for a whole day, yeah. And after 4 days of non stop Disney World activity, of course. But this was different.

My up and down, on and off health problems decided that they would no longer be ignored. I spent 90%  of the next 4 months on the couch. I can't even express how bad daytime television stinks and I was too tired to hold a book and couldn't stay awake to concentrate on one anyway.

I was lucky enough to find a great doctor, who figured out that my thyroid was going nuts. It took many tests  (I can never just be textbook, for some reason) but I was finally sent to a surgeon and two weeks ago had my thyroid removed. That's a story for another day, but I'll just say that I felt better immediately. I know, pain pills can do that to you, but, I could tell, even under their influence that I felt better.

A week later, a trip back to Billings for my post op appointment revealed that the pathologist had found a small amount of cancer cells in each lobe of the thyroid. My husband remarked later that I was awfully calm when the doctor told me I had cancer. I responded that it was because it was out of me. If they had found that out before the surgery, I would have been a basket case.

Another trip to Billings this week to meet with my endocrinologist assured me that I don't need to have any more treatment for the cancer, that they believe it was contained, and that I just need an ultrasound scan in a year. Good news!

So now, I'm off light duty, which means I can pour my own milk from a gallon jug, and unfortunately, lift laundry baskets, push vacuum cleaners, and drive. Oh well, it's been an interesting four months.

Just before the surgery, I had written in my journal that if I could have an improvement on 2 things, I would accept that as a great success. Those two things were the fatigue and the brain fog. If you've never experienced brain fog, imagine that your head is full of cotton balls and nothing can get through. You can't think clearly, remember anything, or make yourself do much.

So, my surgery was a success. The fatigue is gone. I'm tired off and on, because of healing or over doing it in a day (Disney style), but no debilitating fatigue. The brain fog is also gone. I actually finish sentences now. I can think clearly. My teenage son doesn't have to remind me that I need nouns to go with my verbs.

I have months to go while my medicine is adjusted, (You can't live without thyroid hormone) but I feel so much better and know that as the medicine takes effect, other symptoms will disappear. It's sort of like Christmas came early for me this year.

And to celebrate? I'm going to participate in Nanowrimo, starting November 1st. Writing a novel in 30 days is just what the doctor ordered. Well, what he doesn't know I attribute to him . . .

And if you think I'm a little crazy-then you'd be right. It was my thyroid they removed, after all, not my personality.

It's nice to be back and I'll be keeping you posted about my nano progress. I promise. No excuses!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

More Abe Lincoln

When I was writing about Lincoln last night, I had a memory of a poem that I had read when I was in grade school. I have it copied down somewhere and had the idea that it was written by a student, because it was published in one of those Weekly Reader type magazines that we used to get each week.
Since I didn't want to look for it, but I wanted to read it again, I decided to . . . that's right . . . Google it! I remembered the first line and was surprised that when I typed in "If Nancy Hanks" and the poem popped up.
It was written by Rosemary Benet and is called, Nancy Hanks. Even though it is simple, I remembered it all of these years and had fun reading it again. I hope you enjoy it, too.
If Nancy Hanks
Came back as a ghost,
Seeking news
Of what she loved most,
She'd ask first
"Where's my son?
What's happened to Abe?
What's he done?"
"Poor little Abe,
Left all alone
Except for Tom,
Who's a rolling stone;
He was only nine
The year I died.
I remember still
How hard he cried."
"Scraping along
In a little shack,
With hardly a shirt
To cover his back,
And a prairie wind
To blow him down,
Or pinching times
If he went to town."
"You wouldn't know
About my son?
Did he grow tall?
Did he have fun?
Did he learn to read?
Did he get to town?
Do you know his name?
Did he get on?"

Spiritual reading, wrote 500 words, 15 minutes in the sunshine (and it was really hot today), reporting - check.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Poet Abe Lincoln

I caught a little part of a PBS special about President Lincoln tonight. I haven't really studied his life, just what I learned in school, but in those few minutes, I learned something about Mr. Lincoln that I didn't know.

He wrote poetry.

The show told about how in 1844, he revisited his childhood home, where he had lost his mother to death, years before. Afterward, he penned a poem about it. I'm including the lines they repeated in the show, if you'd like to read all of it, plus others, go to Abe Lincoln poetry.

Near twenty years have passed away
Since here I bid farewell
To woods and fields, and scenes of play,
And playmates loved so well.

Where many were, but few remain
Of old familiar things;
But seeing them, to mind again
The lost and absent brings.

The friends I left that parting day,
How changed, as time has sped!
Young childhood grown, strong manhood gray,
And half of all are dead.

I hear the loved survivors tell
How nought from death could save,
Till every sound appears a knell,
And every spot a grave.

I range the fields with pensive tread,
And pace the hollow rooms,
And feel (companion of the dead)
I'm living in the tombs.

The show continued by saying that Lincoln didn't consider himself much of a poet - I would have to disagree. I believe Abe still mourned deeply for his mother, even after all of those years and that pain comes through in his poetry.

Mr. Lincoln found, that for the rest of his life, words would be important to him. Like so many others, maybe writing helped him through his bouts of depression. He's known for many things, so maybe his writing gets overlooked, but how many of us could not repeat at least a few of his famous words? (Fourscore and seven years ago . . .) What a legacy.

I'm inspired to do better when I read of people who struggled and overcame. In spite of how I may feel about his political life and decisions, as a fellow writer, I have great respect.

Thank you, Mr. President, you are one of us. (and if you are one of us - you know exactly what I'm talking about).

Goals accomplished: 500 words plus written, 15 minutes in the sunshine, read 15 minutes from Things As They Really Are by Neal Maxwell, reported. Check.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Is it 21 or 28?

How many days does it take to form a habit?

Some say 3 weeks, some say 4 . . .

I've been writing on this blog every day for 24 days - in between the two goals.

It may not seem like much, but to me, it is an accomplishment. I have trouble sticking to anything for very long. Not because I don't want to stick to things. I'm a great goal setter and list/plan maker. I'm even a good starter -
exercise, organization, spiritual goals, health goals, writing - I start with a bang and I go, go, go, go, half-go, quarter-go, miss, miss, miss, miss - give up. Then I flounder for awhile, until that bug hits me again, and I start making plans and setting goals again.

Why? I'm not sure. I haven't always been this way. In fact, I have accomplished great amounts of things at different times in my life - things that even amazed me. But not lately.

Lately, everything is a struggle. I think I've finally figured out why.

God has been trying to tell me something.

He's been trying to tell me to get to the doctor.

He's been trying to answer my prayers, by getting me the help my body needs.

I haven't been listening - but I'm listening now.

I'm going to use my sticking to goals as a bit of a barometer - to see if I'm getting better. As I undergo the treatments that I need to help me heal, how well I do the little things daily toward my goals, will be my gauge.

And I'm only choosing 3 goals - each of them rather small and easy to accomplish. The point is that I let myself  have little successes consistently for now. When I'm feeling better, I will go for bigger goals.

Yes, this goes against my nature - but my natural tendency hasn't worked as of late, so small and few is it - for now.

  1. I will write every day (beyond the blog and beyond my journal). I will write at least 500 words toward a "professional project" each day.
  2. I will spend 15 minutes in the sun. (Walking if possible, sitting on the porch, if not)
  3. I will spend 15 minutes reading/studying spiritual writing each day.
I'll report each day at the end of my blog - so I guess reporting is another goal.

I'm going to make a chart now - a very simple chart (I tend to overdo). I love charts . . .

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Light In The Wilderness

Have you ever read the first paragraph of a book and known that it was going to change your life?

I've had that experience several times and stand in awe of writers who can accomplish that with their words.

Three weeks ago, I was struggling - just feeling down - unmotivated - unfocused. As I do, so often when I feel like this, I opened the email I get each day from Meridian Magazine. It happened to be a Friday and one of the titles grabbed my attention - Light in the Wilderness: Explorations in the Spiritual Life by M. Catherine Thomas.

The first thing I read was a note from the editor - Maurine Proctor - introducing the serialization of this new book. Here's part of what she said, "When I read this book (and then reread it for the pure joy of it), I wanted to share it with everyone I knew, for its delicious and illuminating ideas were like a gift, stirring my ancient spirit"

When I read a review like that, I start to think that there must be something to this book. Then I read the first paragraph of the introduction which is a quote from Hugh Nibley:

"Have faith that there is more than you know; repent of all your present shallowness and silliness; wash off everything of this world in the waters of baptism, and be reborn . . . to a course of action requiring perpetual, progressive repentance . . . until you are full of grace and truth, which is nowhere in the foreseeable future . . . Then 'ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost' and get the guidance you need (Acts 2:37-38)."

I immediately felt gripped by these words and knew that I had to read them - and I have - about 8 or 10 times, because it is very vitamin rich stuff. It's like reading classic literature - it makes me think. I find myself stopping and studying one section, looking up the scriptures, and meditating on the deeper meaning. For someone like me who struggles with concentration, this is a big deal.

As I read on, I knew that I wanted to have this book and got online to order it. Before I could buy it, the thought came to me that I didn't need to buy the book - at least not at this point. What I needed to do was to savor each piece (published each Friday) a week at a time, so that I could really get the most out of it. So I'm studying the chapters each week and praying for help to absorb what I'm supposed to learn. It has been a great experience for me so far and when I click on Meridian and see a new installment, it's like getting a letter from someone I love.

If you're looking for a chance to stretch your spiritual muscles, or for a spiritual lift, or just to read some uplifting stories, check out this serialization. There have been 3 so far and each piece is a feast for the brain and the spirit. I hope it touches you like it has me.

Friday, June 24, 2011

"If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing."
                                                                                   Benjamin Franklin

Is it too late to do both?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Driver's Ed

My fifteen year old got his learner's permit today. It's funny, but I was actually more excited for him to get it than he was. I don't remember having that emotion with this huge step in his brothers' lives.

I'm the driver's ed teacher because I'm the laid back, patient one who will take the time to do it. It's been 15 years since I taught my oldest son and 12 since the second, but I don't remember pushing the issue. I also remember being more nervous with them.

Am I just older and calmer? Older yes, calmer, not really. It was just funny that I hardly had any nervous moments today in the 2 hours that we drove.

With the older boys, I took them to the rodeo grounds, which has a huge empty parking lot that makes a great place to drive, turn, park, and back up without hitting anything. It helped give them confidence before they got out on the road.

But it's the week before the 4th of July. In Cody Wyoming. Rodeo Capitol of the World. The Cody Stampede, July 1-4 are the biggest days of the year here. In other words, there are lots of tourists, and the rodeo grounds are not empty.

Next best thing - the church parking lot. It's maybe a quarter of the size, but still gives some good practice with turns and parking, while at the same time learning to avoid obstacles like the handcart and scout trailer stored near the storage building.

It worked well.

Soon he was ready to drive down the highway toward the next town to the east of us. Once you leave the houses a few miles out, there's pretty much nothing but wild horses and antelope along with the sagebrush for 50 miles.

He drove until we came to the turn off for a large oil field and we followed a windy paved road for an hour until we eventually came to the highway that led back to our house from the south. It was good practice, and we got to enjoy the abundant flowers blooming among the sagebrush and the beautiful mountains all around us. And the talking. The talking is always fun.

When we got home, Andre thanked me for making him get his license and saying how much he liked driving. He didn't know why he'd put it off so long.

I smiled and told him I was glad and that I'd had a good day.

But inside I was dreaming of the day I can send him to school or activities or the store on his own. When I can stay home and not have to slip my shoes on and off several times a day. When I don't make multiple trips into town to drop off and pick up. When he is more independent.

Wait. Maybe I'm not so anxious for that day . . . I think I'll miss those 7 minute talks that have become such an important part of our lives.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Movies I've Watched More Than 10 times

  • Pride & Prejudice (Firth - many more than 10, Knightly - about 10, Olivier 1)
  • Sense & Sensibility (You know which one)
  • Emma (Gwyneth Paltrow and Toni Collette)
  • Persuasion (Ciaran Hinds)
  • Lord of the Rings (extended version)
  • Castaway
  • Tremors (I know, I blame Kevin Bacon)
  • Groundhog Day 
  • Napoleon Dynamite (did I mention I have 3 sons & a husband with weird senses of humor?)
  • Titanic
  • The original Star Wars
  • Becoming Jane
  • You've Got Mail
  • Phantom of the Opera 
  • Sound of Music
  • Wizard of Oz
  • The Parent Trap (old and new)
  • Toy Story
  • The Incredibles (my favorite Pixar movie)
  • A Christmas Story (the male influence again)
  • Elf
  • A Wonderful Life
Destined to be watched over and over - Tangled
I wish I owned so I could watch over and over - All Anne of Green Gables ever made with Megan Follows

If I've only watched these 10 times - this comes to between 700 and 800 hours of watching movies. And I wonder where my time goes.

And now I feel the need to read a book.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Yes, Google is a verb

"Oh, my gosh!"
That's what my fifteen year old son said to me when he saw my Google search.
He laughed and shook his head.
We had been searching for plane tickets for him to visit his brother at Ft. Benning, Georgia. They were expensive, so I typed into Google, "Where the heck are the cheap plane tickets from Cody to Atlanta?"
He was right, it sent us to some scam looking site that probably attacked my computer with spyware. (nice try, but I'm protected!)

Seriously, though. I think asking what you want to know is a pretty good way to find out what you want to know. And Google seems to know a lot.

Sometimes my son and I entertain ourselves with the auto suggestion part of the search.
We just start the search with a question - Is, What, Why, Am I etc. Such as:

Is Mitt Romney . . .mormon, running for president, pro life, a Christian? Those are the answers - not really unexpected.

Why . . . was the berlin wall built, wyoming, is the sky blue

That surprised me - why wyoming is a top search - it's also the title of at least 2 different songs. Here's part of the lyrics from one by Eddie Holly:

When you say Why Wyoming
                                          Send you picture postcards
Just wouldn’t be the same
If you could be here with me in my wide open
You’d never ask me why again
Why Wyoming.

I've lived here all my life and it never occurred to me to ask, why Wyoming?

What is the . . .smallest country in the world, code of the west, difference between astronomy and astrology, proclamation of 1763, formula for calculating potential energy.

I started thinking that this could give me some good ideas for writing. I have a character who was raised on a ranch and has a dad who didn't talk much, but had a lot of wise sayings. When I looked at the code of the west, here's what I found:

If it's not yours, don't take it.
If it's not true, don't say it.
If it's not right, don't do it.

 ~Cowboy's word is his sacred bond~

~Bargains sealed with handshake are more binding than legal documents~

~be loyal~

~Demand square dealings~

~Be proud of your occupation~

~Lay down your life, if necessary, for the privilege of defending your outfit~

~Grant quick assistance to friends and strangers in need~

~Never tolerate cowards~

~Be cheerful~

~Endure hardships without complaining~

~Don't make excuses~

~Try to be better than the other fella~

~Never quit~

~Share anything you own with a fellow worker~

~Be generous with your life and money~

~Treat women like ladies~

~Never shoot an un-armed or un-warned man~

~Stealing and rustling are evil wrong doing~

There's a load of wisdom there - I especially like the last 2.
Then I found out that  Hop-a-long Cassidy had a code and Gene Autry and the Lone Ranger.
Here's a link if you're interested in more cowboy codes of honor. Roy Rogers and John Wayne probably had codes, too.

I've found some really good material for my character and learned some things about the area I write about. Just from asking - "what is the . . ."  and "why . . ."

Hmm, I wonder, if Roy Rogers, Hop-a-long, Gene Autry, the Lone Ranger and the Duke were forced to fight  each other - who would win, based on their individual codes of honor?

I just have to Google that . . .

Monday, June 20, 2011

Is It Just Me?

You know what I don't get?
David Letterman.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Wordle of my book titles

Saturday, June 18, 2011


"God himself chose to be called, simply, Father."
I believe this quote is attributed to Boyd K. Packer.

I just want to say thanks to the dads in my life.

Grandpa Lish (now passed) for his quiet strength, his help in time of crisis, and the shiny quarters whenever we said goodbye.

Grandpa Willford (now passed) for having the most fun place to play with my cousins, giving me farm experience, teaching me about rough characters who have a heart of gold, and for showing me how to sit on a one legged milking stool.

Dad for always caring and loving me, no matter what.

Grandpa Tom (father-in-law now passed) for giving me the opportunity to see and do some things that I never would have been able to do.

Jeff for being my best friend and the person I most like to spend time with. For teaching our boys good values and work ethic. For being a strong leader of our family.

My son Ian, first for just being you, second, for marrying Dani (a wise decision) and third, for being a good dad to Sunny. You're great.

My son Chris for making me laugh, for marrying Ann (a match made in heaven) and for being a good dad to Alicia. I salute you Sergeant!

And to my son Andre who I know will be a good dad someday because he's an awesome teenager. Yes, I said it, he's awesome and a teenager.

I love you all.
Happy Father's Day!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Author Websites

So, I was watching TV this evening, too tired to really think or do much and decided to look at some author websites, just to see what those who have already become professional writers are up to.

I was surprised. I checked out some of the really famous authors - I'm not going to name them, just trust me - they make a living with their little writing hobby! What surprised me was how simple their websites were. Beautiful, and pleasing to look at - really nice photos of the author, etc., but not all that showy or creative. (Ok, I admit it, I'm a visual person and I like interactive stuff.)

The twenty or so adult authors that I checked did what a website is supposed to do - told about the author and their books - they just didn't jump out and grab me.

Dan Brown's is the exception. His site is an adventure - and I liked it.

I decided to go to some YA authors sites, and as expected, they were a little more exciting - I'm sure because of who they are targeting. I have to admit that I've always liked JK Rowling's site because it looks like a messy desk and that's somehow comforting to me?

Kid's authors, for obvious reasons, have a lot of the stuff I like: animation, funny pictures, lots of stuff to explore. These are a few that I liked how they used animation:

Judy Blume                                       Shel Silverstein                                    Roald Dahl

Seth Godin, I think is kind of a marketing, non-fiction guy. What I liked about his site, is that you click on his bald head to read his blog - that's creative.

Then I decided to see how LDS authors stacked up. Of the ten or so I checked out, I found them professional and pleasing. I would rate them a little above the other adult sites I looked at. I don't know, maybe I'm biased.

Here's a couple that I liked, mostly because they made me laugh.

 Sarah Eden's site has a lot going on, which is cool, and the picture in the header is gorrrrgeous. (sorry, a little too much Haley Mills last weekend.) And the bruise on her chin with accompanying story today convinced me that I'm not the only one.

Tristi Pinkston also made me laugh because of the Friday funny 911 cat at the top. There's a ton of stuff on her site that could keep even my mind occupied for a good while.

I'm going to keep looking up sites when I'm at those moments between ideas. I love that when I read a good book, I can immediately go to the web and find out about the person who gave me the story.

 Have a great website? Any suggestions, please pass them along.

Before I close, here's one more site I stumbled on in my search. It spoke to me, and unfortunately probably reveals more about me than I want people to know.

a funny site

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Favorite Things

I watched Oprah yesterday - something I haven't done for years - and even though it was a rerun, I enjoyed it. The cast from The Sound of Music was reunited for the first time since the movie was made 45 years ago. It was a nice memory lane visit and was fun to see how the experience had affected each of them - especially the kids.

It made me think about some of my favorite things and two of them have surrounded me the last few weeks.

This has been a record year for lilacs. I think it's the combination of lots of rain and the cooler weather and the results have been amazing. Everywhere I drive around town, the bushes are loaded down with lilacs. Mostly the light purple ones, but some very dark ones, some reddish purple, and even a few white ones, but the light purple ones are my favorite. I've had a bouquet in my living room for the last few weeks and love catching the smell of them as I pass by. Lilacs - my favorite flower.

This is the time of year in Wyoming that we can hear meadowlarks singing. I'm lucky enough to live just out of town, and have lots of trees on my land. That means lots of birds - everything from tiny yellow finches to mountain bluebirds and it's fun to see all of them. But my favorite is the meadowlark. I remember studying about them in fourth grade when we were required to take Wyoming history. The meadowlark is our state bird, but I'd love these birds, even if they weren't.

They are unmistakable when you see them from the front because they have a bright yellow belly and a black V at their neck that looks like a collar. But their real value is their song. I love getting up early, opening the windows and listening for the clear, pure song. Many times they will sound very close, but it's because their song carries so well. If you stand still and listen, you can usually pinpoint where the bird is and he will be farther away than he sounds. See a picture and listen to the song here.

Yes, I like raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens, maybe not as much, but I do love lilacs and meadowlarks. They are a part of the best of Wyoming. And I love living in Wyoming!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Something Worth Saying

Tonight I'm pasting in a quote from an article published today in Meridian Magazine
The author is Larry Barkdull and the article is Some Observations on Art and Writing.

He talks about our innate talent - that spark of genius that each of us has and the responsibility we have to develop our talent. He discusses the responsibility we have to say something worth saying and taking responsibility for our gift. 

It made me think of what I write. Is it worthwhile? Does it serve a purpose? Can I say something worth saying, in a way that's different from the way everyone else would say it? It's a challenge. But a fun challenge.

Here's the quote:

"You and your talent are needed. Your gift is rare. Be humble enough to acknowledge the Source. Take the responsibility to develop your gift through hard work. Take the further responsibility to say something worthwhile. After all is said and done, be accountable. Pay the price to find out why you were given such an ability and learn what you are expected to do with it. You are in for a great ride!"

I think I'm paying the price right now - trying to find out why I was given my talent. I just wish a note would fall from heaven telling me what I'm expected to do with it . . .

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Music 2

Yesterday I wrote about my Batdorf & McLean CD and I've been thinking about that post since then. I was wondering why something like this speaks to my soul, when so much other music doesn't.

I love music. In church, during musical numbers, I close my eyes so I can concentrate completely on the music. When I attend the Nutcracker, I go for the music, more than the performance. The same with the Phantom of the Opera - it was the music I loved.

So, why don't I listen to popular music? I haven't missed American Idol since the 2nd season started - so it's not that I don't like this music - it's just that I don't buy it and listen to it. Here's why: The songs get stuck in my head. Seriously stuck.

Last week, I saw a Justin Bieber look alike on American's Got Talent. A line from the song she sang has been going around and around in my head since. It's so bad, that if I wake up in the night, those words are there and when I get up, etc. Anytime I'm not consciously thinking of something else, that tape is playing in my head.

What's wrong with that? A couple of weeks ago, I listened to one of my favorites, Natasha Bedingfield, while I exercised. For the next week I found myself singing "I'm single and I like it that way" over and over. Well, I'm neither single, nor do I want to go through any of the things that would make me that way, so even though I like the song, I didn't like the verse that stayed with me.

However, with Batdorf & McLean, I figure I'm generally safe. If I repeat "I will not be afraid" or "All that's wrong in your life, let it go" or "from the broken pieces of my life, you could see all I could be if I was whole . . ." I don't feel like I'm programming something negative into my brain by repetition.

Mostly, I think there's something different about music that invites the Spirit. It doesn't invade my mind. I can easily recall it when I want to and it makes me feel good every time, but it doesn't plant itself in there and refuse to go away.

I don't know - maybe I'm the only one that has this problem. All I know is that I'm more careful these days with the music I repeatedly listen to. It makes me kind of wish that Pyotr Tchaikovsky was still here writing music.

I'm just glad for the modern composers who write the songs that lift my soul.
I thank you all.

Monday, June 13, 2011


Last week when I took my husband to Billings for a doctor's appointment, we stopped in at the bookstore so he could look into freeze dried food (eeww). As I was looking around, casually trying to avoid tasting powdered pineapple, I stopped at the CD display. There on the front of one of the rows was my very, very favorite music recording ever.

I've had the cassette tape for a long time. One year, I drove my dad's truck to the family reunion in Idaho and lost my tape somewhere over the weekend. I went right out and bought another one - only to find the original in Dad's truck later. So, I have two cassette tapes of the same thing. I even remember looking for the CD one time and figured that this was a once and done deal.

This recording was the inspiration behind my Promise Ranch series of books. As I sat one day, listening to the sweet love songs, suddenly pieces of stories, characters, and situations started jumping together and I started writing them down. By the time the tape was over, I had titles, brief descriptions and main characters for six of the books in the series. See why I like this music so much?

Of course, years later, I actually got to see one of these performers at Time Out For Women and loved ever second of it.

So what is my new CD that has already been ripped and synced to my MP3 player where I've probably listened to it twelve times already? (lawn mowing just flew by today).

Batdorf & McLean - Don't You Know

Don't know why, but it just speaks to me. Unfortunately, when I went to look up the links for these two performers, I saw new music by each of them and songs I didn't know they had done together. So much for getting anymore writing done tonight . . .

Got just over my 2000 words for WOW today.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Amos or Aimless

Our speaker in church today talked about a horse he worked with years ago on a historic farm. The horse was easily distracted and had to be handled very precisely. He was a good work horse to train new employees on because if they didn't learn to use the reins just right, Amos would run circles around them.

The speaker discovered that when Amos was given a job - a heavy load to pull, he buckled down, focused, and turned into the excellent draft horse he was born to be.

I started wondering if I'm like Amos. When I have too much free time, I tend to get distracted and have the attitude that I have plenty of time. But when I have those weeks when I have a lot scheduled or I'm getting ready to go out of town and have a list, I tend to be more focused and get my goals accomplished.

I think I'll try out this theory this week. Since I'm committed to the ANWA Week of Writing starting tomorrow, that will give me the framework for my week. I have a couple of meetings and writing group, as well as regular duties around the house, but I'm going to try to focus better this week and see just how much I can get accomplished.

While I'm at it, I think I'll come up with a good reward for the end of the week - if I succeed at my goals.

Here's to a week of letting go of aimless . . .

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Could I be a hero?

I've been wondering about inner demons that our heroes are supposed to have. I know there are big things like painful pasts, addictions, or even crime. More often, it seems that a character has demons that may not be so big, but that are important to justifying their personalities.

So, I started thinking about my weaknesses and wondered if a hero could be a hero, if they had the weaknesses I see in myself. I'm not a bad person, and yeah, I'm probably harder on myself than I should be, but still, it made me wonder.  What kind of a hero would I make - as I am now?

I'm going to try to give my heroes more believable weaknesses. That way, maybe readers will relate better to them. And, while I'm at it, I think I'll take an in depth look at myself. (Sunday is a good day for that.)

What makes a hero? Always doing the right thing? Overcoming great obstacles? Carrying life's burdens with style and grace? Maybe it's all about a person's choices made in the moment.

And maybe I'm more heroic than I think. At least some of the time . . .

Continued working on Kelli's Promise.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Super 8

I read an article today that I was going to write about, but it's going to take a little time to put together, so instead of that, I'll give a little review of the new Spielberg/Abrams movie Super 8. I'll approach this from a writer's perspective - like I could look at it any other way.

First, go to the restroom and buy your treats before going in - you won't want to leave. There is no lull, no down time, nothing boring. There are even a couple of those moments that made me jump.

All in all it was fun and entertaining - I liked the group of misfit kids, and at my age, the small town setting and time (70s) were familiar. I thought it was well acted, though it had a little bit of that cheesy effect - which I think was on purpose. By that, I mean, it kind of had the same feel as E.T. or Goonies, although the special effects were better.

Drawbacks - with a PG-13 rating, it does have quite a bit of language (from the kids) and one very clear F-word from the token druggie. Although there is a brief scene of illegal drug use, the result is that the kids proclaim how bad drugs are.

We don't go to many movies, but husband, son and I all enjoyed it. Make sure you stay after the final scene though - some of the best footage is during the credits. (And get there early enough to catch the Harry Potter preview!)

I decided now that I'm in the habit of writing this blog each day (which is part of my promise to myself), I need to start reporting what writing I do on that day. This will be my way of keeping track, and encouraging myself.

I'm signed up for a WOW (week of writing) starting on Monday with my ANWA group. I've committed to 2000 words each day. I always like these weeks - I get lots done. Today, I worked on more moving some scenes around in Kelli's Promise. It's almost to the point that I think I'll be happy with it. So glad tomorrow is Saturday.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Welcome to my life

My fifteen year old son was excited this week that he would be able to get a lot of things done. He spent four days last week on a trek at Martin's Cove, did his Sunday duties, and thought this week, after working his 9-12 job in a doctor's office, he'd finally have some free time.

I've had similar thoughts."If I can just get through this project, or that event, I'll start over on Monday, etc., etc."

On Monday, my granddaughter was with us, so my son spent his afternoon making a boat, complete with a Lego motor that really worked. Tuesday, his cousins were here, just for the night, and on Wednesday, he was invited to go and try out a friend's new Rock Band game. Then today, a younger friend asked for his help learning how to put a video on You Tube. He did all of these things, had fun doing them, and helped some people, but his afternoons are gone and the stack of library books sits unopened by his bed and the planned projects are still just plans.

When he brought this to my attention today, I had no advice because I found myself thinking, "welcome to my life."  I didn't say that, because honestly, I haven't figured out why my life is this way.

"I'm going to write, no matter what."  "I'm going to get that chapter done today." But, how do I say "no, I can't track down that phone number for you" (even if I am the RS president) or "no, I can't feed the missionaries tomorrow night" (even if no one else will do it and the coordinator has already fed them twice this week) or "no, I can't drive you to your doctor's appointment" (even if you are on pain pills and a little loopy) and on and on. If I started making a list, I would be able to come up with at least 25 things that happened this week, that took my time, that were unexpected - and at least 20 of them, I don't know how I could have refused. (And not because they were good, like Godfather's pizza.)

I have to figure it out. There has to be a way to write and have a family and a life. I'm not even that attached to the life, but I'd like to keep the family.

I found that I couldn't handle a writing career while homeschooling, but those 8 years are past. I'm like my son, I should have all of this free time, now that I'm not spending several hours a day on school, but I seem to have less.

Some will say it is scheduling, learning to say no, really wanting to write. I haven't been able to make it work yet. So far, getting up at 3 a.m. to write, has been my solution. I'm not sure that's the answer, but until life changes, or I figure out how to change it, that's my option.

At least I get to enjoy the sunrise every morning and I can't find anything bad in that.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

One word


Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Note - I think I got the comment problem fixed. Thanks to those who tried to leave comments but got stuck going round and round. Sorry.

I have a best friend named Kelli. She's in the process of falling in love with a guy named Tio. So am I.

I don't know how I'm going to tell Kelli - or my husband.

Luckily, I don't have to because these are the two main characters of the novel I'm working on (Kelli's Promise). Don't worry Jeff, I only have eyes for you.

But really, if I don't fall for the hero, how can I expect my heroine to fall for him? And if she doesn't, there's no way my readers will.

 It's a funny thing - being a romance writer. And the most fun I've ever had.

Monday, June 6, 2011


The quality or condition of being dense; thickness; stupidity.
I'm not stupid, in fact I'm pretty smart. I did all the school stuff well and I'm still a good student - love to learn. What I don't understand is how a bright person can be so dense.

Example: I've been blogging here for several days and every day I've thought things like, "I can't believe they don't let you change the font," and "It would be nice to use italics here," or "a link to this website would be cool."

Perfectly good thoughts, right? Until last night when I looked at the top of the posting box to see all kinds of options for changing the way things look, adding links, videos, everything.

Why did it take me a week to see? My eyes are fine.  It must be a brain thing.

Does anyone have an explanation? Am I the only one?

Please make your answers short and blunt.

Otherwise, I might miss your point, completely . . .

Sunday, June 5, 2011


I don't usually do my regular writing on Sunday because, well, it's supposed to be a day of rest. I have to say that with the responsibilities I have right now - it isn't, but that's not the point.

I like to think of Sunday as a day of renewal, so as writing goes, I worked on my goals, caught up my gratitude journal, and checked out a few author websites.

I also sat outside for an hour, just enjoying spring in Wyoming and visiting with a neighbor.

I feel good, and any day I can say that, I have won. And I'm grateful.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Organic Writer

I've been thinking about the term Larry Brooks uses for the kind of writer I've been - organic. I like it better than "pantser". I became an organic writer because one day I decided that I could write a book. I didn't ask advice or read anything about it or even doubt myself. I just did it. Yeah, it was pretty disastrous, but I did get a personal reply from an editor at Harlequin. I didn't realize until years later how rare that is.

I learned some important things from that book. First - I could do it. I could sit down with an idea and carry it through to hea (happily ever after). Second - That I loved doing it. Third - I needed help before I did it again.

So started my quest to learn and absorb anything that would help me become a better writer. And it worked. I am better. I've written 1st drafts of  a dozen or so novels - (thank you nanowrimo).

I thought it would get easier. It hasn't.

Yes, that first draft comes flying out, and yes, my characters come alive and I have a great time spending the month of November with them, but after that what? After that, I let them sit, and I go back and read them, and I love them, but I know that they need to be revised and that the timing here isn't right and this conversation seems like it might be in the wrong place, and why did she do that? and would he ever do that? Then something comes up that takes me away from the manuscript for a day or two, I forget where I was, and either move on to a different story, or drown my sorrows in spider solitaire.

At least that's what I used to do.

I'm committing this year to a couple of things - no more computer games, write every day, and write my next three books using structure and at least some sort of outline. I figure 3 manuscripts will be enough to convince me that it is easier to start with a skeleton, than it is to try to insert the skeleton later. (Even though Temperance Brennan would probably find that scenario intriguing.)

 For now, I've got an organic manuscript that isn't quite where I want it to be. I'm hoping my commitment to write every day will get this story done and out to readers. Then I can start on the next one. And the next. Some days I think it would just be easier to open a new file and start writing the book all over again, now that I've discovered the story.

That's what it's all about after all - discovering the story. Whether through an outline, or through actually writing, until I know what I'm trying to say, I won't be able to say it the way I want.

What would a professional writer do? (I actually paused to scratch my forehead after I typed that).  I guess after I sign my first contract, I will just know these things, right?

I think I hear the sound of distant laughter . . .

Friday, June 3, 2011

Do reading and thinking count?

Today I spent 4 hours in the car and another 4 waiting in medical facilities while my husband underwent testing for a back problem. I ask you - how do they make those doctor's office chairs so comfy and accommodating?

I don't know who said that you should never go anywhere without two books - one to read and one to write in, but I live by that motto. I actually had six books in my bag, my Kelli's Promise notebook, my other journal, my goal journal, and my date book. (Yes, I have been a scout leader several times, thank you)

However, the two books I took to read blotted out the need for anything to write in. After finishing Courting Miss Lancaster, I paused, took a sip of water, and opened The Kiss of a Stranger. It is now 11:12 p.m. and I know I will not sleep until all is settled in the Cavratt household. And isn't Crispin the coolest name? Sarah M. Eden is a new favorite - hang the lack of sleep.

So, since I mentally plotted my own books as I drove to and from Billings, plus spent every spare moment in obvious research (I'm not sure how I'll fit the Ton or a pianoforte onto my Wyoming guest ranch, but I must try) I'm calling this my writing for today.

A duel - that's it. I'll include a duel . . .

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Scary Beginnings

No, you have not stumbled onto Stephen King's blog by mistake, it's just that this is my blog - my first blog - my first day of blogging, and to me, it's much scarier than an alien spaceship buried in the woods . . .

A month ago on the day before my birthday, I left for what would turn out to be one of the best trips of my life. Krista, Norma, Leah & I took off on Wednesday afternoon for the ldstorymaker's conference in Salt Lake. After a stay in Rock Springs, we drove into town the next morning, ate lunch, met our friend Sue, and  settled in for Boot Camp.

My romance group leader was Julie Bellon and at first I thought she was very tough, then I discovered that she was very good. Not only did she help calm my nerves, but because of her, I finally understand what a hook is and what it does for the first page of a story. Thank you Julie!

Since that day was my birthday, our group went to the Blue Lemon for dinner and then walked around temple square where the flowers looked and smelled wonderful. Even though we missed out on pie at the Lion House, it was a birthday to remember.

From the first moments of Sarah Eden's humor on Friday morning, to the last on Saturday afternoon, I loved every second of the conference. Because this is part of my record of the year I became a professional writer, I'm going to mention each class I went to, and the main thing I learned. If you're interested, okay, if not, maybe by the end of the year, I'll be better at holding your attention . . .

I started the morning right with Clint Johnson's class on Conflict and Mechanism of Story. I learned a couple of things from Clint - first, that sometimes really good things come from really bad things - like writing coming from debilitating insomnia, and second, how to take anything and make it into an interesting story. His method of increasing the stakes and getting us to help make the story more and more exciting, was like watching a master magician perform. Loved his class - and he's a nice guy, besides.

Jeff Savage & Deanne Blackhurst presented their class on creating a character bible. They taught me some valuable things about protagonists and what makes them the hero. Even, though I'm a fan, I very much enjoyed the jabs at Harry Potter, especially since I could have sworn JK Rowling was behind me, reacting to each zing. It was fun. My protags will know who they are from now on.

If I'm ever in a life and death crisis, I would like Dave Wolverton to be sent in to rescue me. His quiet voice is calming, yet authoritative and you just know he's got wisdom to spare. It's because of Dave that I decided to make this the year . . .He told me to get serious, and since this is life and death - I'm doing what he says.

Pause here for a mention of the food, entertainment, agents, publishers, authors, etc. that made the conference all that it was. If I'd won the do it yourself shrine kit, I'd have a pillow to bow down to you on. I bow to you anyway - what a great job! Oh, and best chocolate pie ever.

Little sleep - exhausted, but exhilarated - next day

I have lots of writing books - ask my friends - I mean, a lot of writing books. I now have the one that is going to get me a publishing contract. In Story Engineering - Mastering the 6 Core Competencies of Successful Writing, Larry Brooks writes, just like he talks, which I like. In his class, the thing that grabbed me was his 4 part story structure - even though I didn't understand it. His books were sold out of the bookstore, so I had to wait until I got home and ordered from Amazon . . . but it was worth it. I read it through, then went back to the specific story structure parts and know that this is what I have needed to make my stories publishable. When I get published, it will be Larry Brooks' fault.

Eric Johnson taught me not to trust anyone. If you were there, you know what I'm talking about. Oh, and he was very funny.

I had submitted a query letter ahead of time for the Killer Query class with Elana Johnson and she gave me great suggestions and comments on that. Thanks Elana. Unfortunately, I had a coughing fit at the beginning of her class and spent the rest of the afternoon roaming the halls. She was kind enough to send the presentation by email the next day and that was great.

Because I was lurking in the halls, I got a chance to peek in on Sarah Eden's romance class and got to share a Colin Firth moment with her. Ahh . . .

After several minutes of picturing that look Darcy gives Elizabeth when she jumps to Georgianna's rescue at the piano . . . I'm back.

The last class I got in on, and the reason I decided to write this blog, was Sara Megibow's Acquiring a Literary Agent. Wow. High octane stuff. Content from beginning to end. When Larry Brooks makes my book publishable, I want someone like Sara to sell it. She is awesome!

So, the only thing left I guess, is that on Sunday morning, we drove the 9 hours home, each of the four of us discussing our works in progress and brainstorming on them. Don't get me wrong, I love my family a ton, but this was my idea of a greeeeeaaaaaat Mother's Day.

The last month, I have spent a lot of time writing and reading (including Courting Miss Lancaster which Krista gave me for my birthday and that I'm loving) and planning for this year of my life. I don't plan to post my specific goals here, I have them in front of me at home, but they are rather huge. I will report on my progress as I go. I plan to blog most days, and if you've stuck with me this far, I promise, they won't usually be this long.

Thanks for stopping by . . .