Update from the Writing House

Good Morning and Happy Monday!

This week brought me back into working on the manuscript for The Bully’s Way, the second book in The Way Series. I figured if I have time to read another book for a review, then I should reading and working on my own.

I participated in my first National Novel Writing Month (NANOWRIMO) in November of 2015. It is a world wide online writing project where you commit to write 50,000 in 30 days. The goal is to have completed a manuscript for a novel by the end of the month. If you make the 50,000 word goal, you do what they call “win”. My “win” was I created The Bully’s Way.

So, last week I started my first read through of the manuscript since I originally wrote it. I learned a lot since then about editing and how my own writing quirks. I saw many of those quirks in this rough draft, and made the appropriate changes. With all that I have learned so far, I’ll be able to make this manuscript a cleaner read for my editor than the first one was. My increased knowledge about the editing process will not replace my editor though, just make things easier for her and make my writing better for me.

The other part of my work this week is the promotion of The Hard Way. I have been doing some reading about good places to market my book. Even with the number of people on social media, there is a lot of additional networking that needs to happen inside and outside social media. The other part of marketing success is a luck. any random answer or question can lead to making connections. You may be in a thread of one of your social media profiles about publishing and see someone who works with the audience you are writing for. Do you take a chance to ask that person a question? I’m the type of person who will ask, in a nice way of course, and let that person make the choice to help or not. You just never know where it will go if they say yes.

Networking is about putting yourself and your book out there.  I’m learning not to be afraid to ask. It is ok of the answer is no. Just need to keep trying and see what happens.

Enjoy your week. I will take this opportunity to plug my first book, The Hard Way.

Be sure to pick up your copy of The Hard Way! It is available on Amazon.com in both paperback and e-book.

The Hard Way Thumbnail

Here is the link! The Hard Way

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This week at the Writing House

Happy Monday!

Things are moving right along with The Hard Way’s journey to publish. I worked through the recent round of edits from my editor and started on the post editing read through. It is  so rewarding to watch the development of the book as it goes through the different rounds of editing. Having the punctuation right is just one part. Making sure the grammar works and the word choices are the right ones are other parts of the process. All of the work is put in to make their story the best reading experience it can be. That’s the ultimate goal of a writer, right?

I’m noticing even my writing for the blog has changed from things I’ve learned from the editing process. I’m more conscience of my over use of the word that and really, both are extra words which have their place in writing, but are not to be over used.

This week’s quote is a motivator for me to get things with my writing done. I’ve looked at it several times and feel the good vibe it puts out for me. There have been struggles to get through while trying to achieve my dream to publish a novel. But the end is near and I can see the light.

I just need to stay positive and not get frustrated. Need to work hard, which is how I always seem to do things in my life. And, get those things done. Finish the tasks I need to get done to get this story published. As long as I continue to persevere, it will pay off with a self published novel. Have a good writing week everyone!

And Happy Valentine’s Day! Hope all of you can enjoy the day with someone you love, if not a sweetheart, maybe a parent, grandparent or a child. Or a friend, someone who may need a little love shared with them. Hugs go a long way to making someone feel special, and make us feel good too.

National Novel Writing Month 2016

Guess what I’ll be doing in November! Nanowrimo!

Those of you in the novel writing world have probably heard of National Novel Writing Month. According to Wikipedia, it is an annual, Internet-based creative writing project that takes place during the month of November. NaNoWriMo challenges participants to write 50,000 words (their minimum number of words for a novel) from November 1 until the deadline at 11:59PM on November 30. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to get people writing and keep them motivated throughout the process.

It winds up being an average of 1667 words per day. You can do more or less depending on your schedule, but to win, you need to have 50,000 by the end of the day on November 30th. Last year I think I had my 50,000 on November 24th, a couple of days before Thanksgiving. But continued to write to finish the draft of the story.

I participated last year and won with approximately 63,000 words and a rough draft of the sequel to The Hard Way called The Bully’s Way. This year’s novel is called The Street’s Way, which will be the third book in this series. Same characters continuing their story lines. Be sure to look for these books coming soon.

If you are also participating in Nano and want another buddy, I am in as SelmaPVerde. It is a great motivator to get the draft done and a fun activity to participate in with other authors on their writing journies.

Moving Forward and Making Progress

After last week’s post, I felt pretty bummed out about how my writing has been going. I know that things have been really busy in my life lately, but when it comes to my writing, I felt like I was letting myself down.

When I was planning out what the subject of this week’s blog was going to be, it started to sound like more whining about how much time I don’t have to write. Obviously, this issue has been weighing on my mind a lot. Then I read the comments of another blogger who was having the same type of problem as me. Seeing that I wasn’t the only one, I decided to accept the issue I’m having with making time to write and just start making time to write.

I stopped, took a deep breath and thought about finding a small project I could start working on to get my brain back in the writing groove. I looked at the yet to be posted blogs for The Secret Pond and wondered what direction I could take it.

Over the weekend I read a post by a WordPress blogger that I follow, BeetleyPete. The post is called Archival neglect. It is about how we bloggers don’t seem to do much with our archived works. So, he decided to dust off some of his favorites, create links in his post and showcase them for his newer followers to see. Many of you weren’t following my blog when The Secret Pond was originally posted on BlogSpot. Only the prologue and first two chapters were posted previously. So, maybe I’ll rework these posts a little bit and repost them for you.

When I started this last year, it was hard to write the story in pieces on a weekly basis. As I reread through it yesterday,  I can see that it didn’t get the time and attention that it really needed trying to do it that way. I’ve learned a lot more about my craft since then, and I know that I can make it better.

So, here is the revised version of the Prologue of The Secret Pond. Originally published June 8, 2015.

The Secret Pond is inspired by the A to Z blogging challenge in May 2015 and the Morning Walk blog entry from June 9, 2015. This is the first installment.

Prologue

Abigail Watson lived in the carriage house at the Baxter’s country estate just outside of Superior, Wisconsin. She not only tutored Sally Baxter in her studies, she also helped Sally’s mom, Jean, with planning for the many events she hosted at their house. From teas, to lunches, and dinner parties, the house was always seemed to be a bustle of activity.

Sally’s parents were able to give her anything she wanted. But all she really wanted was a friend. Abigail was nice, but she seemed to be there more for her Mom than for her. Sally would ask Abigail to come and explore the grounds with her. She would always say she had too much to do. Just like her parents would say when she asked them.

Their school day was from 8:00 AM to noon Monday through Friday. They covered four subjects, English, History, Science and Math. English was fun and her favorite. Sally got to read stories and write about them. History was fun, she learned a lot about things that happened in our country. They were told through many stories written by the ones who experienced it. Science was o.k. She loved the earth science part and when they went outside to find insects and animals, but didn’t like having to learn about continental plates, weather patterns and theories. Math was the worst. Abigail just started teaching Sally about multiplication and division. Memorizing those math tables was just not working for her.

She seemed to get the best inspiration for her writing from the secret pond, probably because it got her away from the craziness of her house. The pond was located in the woods in the back part of their property. Sally loved to go there with her light green Dora the Explorer backpack, her stuffed bear, Clyde, her little yellow notebook and the pink Hello Kitty pen that actually wrote with pink ink. She loved to write stories about fairies and gardens.

The one thing that Abigail would do is let her read the stories she created in her favorite yellow notebook. Sally was so happy to have an audience for her stories. At the end of her school session, they would take time to let Sally read what she had written. As she shared her adventures with Abigail, Sally longed to have a friend just like Lila, the fairy who she wrote about in her stories.

Sally decided that she needed a companion. She was an only child living in a big house way out in the country, away from town. Her great-grandfather had done well in the shipping business. And the family continued to live in his house and off of the money made by his hard work. She was finding comfort in the imaginary friend she was creating through her writing. So, she changed Lila from a fairy in her stories into a girl, just like Triton did with Ariel in the movie The Little Mermaid.

They would go on adventures together in her stories and her imagination. One time Sally saw a movie with her Aunt Judy about a unicorn that lived in the woods that wound up saving the entire forest. Sally became inspired to write a story about how her and Lila met up with a unicorn.

She brought her books back to her bedroom after class. Looking out of her bedroom window, she saw the clouds building and the wind picking up. She grabbed her yellow rain slicker to keep warm and dry.

“Make sure you grab your yellow jacket, Lila,” Sally said, “we don’t want to get wet.”

And they headed out together to the pond.

This has been a lesson for me to make time for the things I want to do and not get so frustrated when I don’t. It is important to work towards the goals we set for ourselves and not let life get in the way as much as it does.

More Unfinished Buiness

I’ll begin his week’s post by introducing the treehouse image that I selected for it. This image will be used for the posts that update the status of my Writing House. This is the picture that came into my mind when I originally came up with the concept. I’m so glad that I found it for my blog. This clipart is free to use on public domain, but they ask to have a link back to their page. Here is the link. Treehouse Clip Art. I appreciate the sites out there that have clip art that you can just use. In return, I don’t mind giving credit where credit is due.

How did you like my book review last week?  I really enjoyed reading the book and writing the review. It was great to get some different material on my blog. It also provided a great opportunity to do research on what other authors in my genre are writing about and how they do it. I really like John Grisham’s writing in his adult novels, so reading his middle grade book for my first review was a bonus. I’m working on other middle grade and children’s book reviews for my blog, so keep an eye out for them on future Mondays.

We all have unfinished business and projects in our worlds. Projects we started and are just waiting to be finished. Sometimes we just can’t complete them when we start them. With out a firm set of directions, the path they are supposed to be on may take some time to reveal. Sometimes it isn’t about a lack of direction for the project, it may be just a lack of time or money that is holding our projects back.

Let’s see what is going on with projects in my Writing House.

> I continue to post blogs every Monday for the Monday Morning Blogs. Keeping up with that has kept me in the writing game over the summer while Sam and I are running our two kids to their travelling baseball games.

> I recently moved my blogspot posts over to my WordPress blog. I did it in response to a reference I made to one of those posts. I wanted to link those two posts together. After I moved and settled them in with my more recent posts, I came across six post drafts that I never finished. Most of them were part of a story I was creating and posting segments of each week. When I discovered draft posts it hit me, I have some unfinished business to deal with.

My plan is to check out what I posted so far. It might have a good base for a short story to write and submit. Or, I may need to continue to take it on the path it started on, since sections of it were published on the previous blog and the story may need to be completed for the reader.

> I’ve been reading and reviewing other middle grade and children’s books to get reviews done and put into the review format ahead of time. I am trying to make time for the big project in the house, editing The Hard Way.

I’ve been a little anxious about working on those edits for some reason.I want to work on them, but feel I’m not ready with the right type of time and energy to work on them. Do I feel this way because of the busy day to day life, or am I  procrastinating?

As I sat on the deck drinking chai yesterday morning, I thought about this very question. Working on those edits will be a big step forward for me and that project. My editor and I have to take our time and getting this book done right. It will be the foundation for the next two novels in my planned trilogy. The advice I have received from other authors is to just get started and take it in small bites. That way I won’t feel so overwhelmed and can start getting it done.

I think I will wait until the summer travelling baseball season is over. Then I will have more time available and maybe not feel so pressed. It is only two more weeks, so not too far off from now. I am afraid if I wait, something else will pop up that needs to be done and the writing gets pushed off again, to remain as another item on my unfinished business list.  My writing has been overrun by many things many times in my life. I need to accept that I’m not going to be able to control these things that come up in my life. I keep stressing myself out with trying to fix it and I may just have to find the patience to wait and the faith to know it will happen.

There is a time in life for everything. Just like my other writing ideas, it may not be their time yet.The perfectionist in me has to let go and be o.k. with just doing my best. My best is pretty good and it seems to be getting many things done so far. I need to take the advice of other authors. Just need to start working on those edits little by little. Have faith that it will get done and my goal to publish will come true. It just may take a little longer than planned. I guess that’s what they call being realistic.

A Girl writes Mentoring a Dream

Happy Father’s Day to all of those special men in your world. I hope they got treated to the special day they deserve for all they do for us.

Along with working on this blog, I enjoyed the day with the fathers that mean the most to me yesterday. They are some of the most supportive people in my writing journey. Watching how they raised and are raising their kids has provided inspiration in my writing about kids and families.

In my first blog post this month, I mentioned the foundations of my first WIP Mentoring a Dream. When I think back to that Memorial Day weekend twenty-two years ago, I remember the drive I made on a cloudy day to get to Duluth, Minnesota. I had no plan other than getting out of town for the weekend. I was going to let the agenda create itself. All I really knew is that I was going to stay at a Bed and Breakfast, something I had always wanted to do.

Going away that weekend was my chance to think about what was important to me. My job and my life were both at a plateau and I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do. At the time, I worked for a college that included flight training as part of its curriculum. Through that part of the college, we offered kids programs to promote flying as a career. In my writing that weekend, I realized I wanted to be a part of that program and share the passion that I have for flying with them.

I really enjoy being around kids. It is fun to see what they are thinking. While I was growing up, I wanted to be a teacher. I was turned away from it while I was in college because there were a surplus of teachers and no jobs available. I wound up getting an accounting degree and worked in a private college’s accounting department for years.

After I got back from my weekend, I wrote a short story about my experiences. That short story wound up jump starting my passion for creative writing again and made me want to write more. That was my inspiration to start the rough draft of what would become Mentoring a Dream.

Mentoring A Dream is an appropriate title for my first WIP. The story is about a woman who mentors a young girl in the world of aviation and ultimately learns something about herself along the way. Writing this manuscript helped me to realize my passion to help others get where they want to be. Finding ourselves through writing is a very common thing that happens. It is just another part of the Writing Journey.

Not only do I find passion in helping others, I am a natural problem solver. I use my creative thinking to find a way to make things happen. I see in myself as a person who wants others to be happy and I do everything in my power to help people get there, sometimes putting my own goals aside to make things happen for them. But the one thing that I need to remember is that I have quite a few of my own dreams to make happen. They are important too.

This year, with a little urging from Sam, I’m on the brink of making one of my dreams come true. With my constantly putting my dreams aside, it took me a long time to get to this point. As I am getting ready to work on the edits of my first to be published WIP, The Hard Way, I remember back to the day that I started this draft that I’m getting ready to edit. And now I’m taking the steps to get it published almost three and a half years later. Sometimes things happen when they are supposed to and they have to be waited for. I work really hard and do all the right things. Sometimes I think that will be enough for me to just get what I want when I want it. Not always the case.

It’s very exciting to see other authors that I have been getting to know in social media groups do the things that I want to do with my writing. I’ve been adding their books to my Goodreads list so I can start enjoying them as well. It is good motivation to keep working and get my project done, but it can also make the waiting even tougher. Now I understand the path they followed to get there. It can be a long one.

My hope for the books I write is that they make an impression on the younger reader. Not only for enjoyment of the book, but to help them make the hard life changing decisions they may face. Sometimes kids need to get information on their own and not be influenced by other kids their age that may not be making the best decisions. What a better way to do it than read it in a book with a character that they can relate to? I hope that the trilogy I’m currently writing for middle grade readers will do just that very thing.

Maybe one day Mentoring a Dream will come off of the shelf, be edited, and published. For now, it will remain the inspiration for my about to be published middle grade novel. There are many fond memories attached to it, but it will always be my first completed rough draft. And my first step in my dream to publish a novel.

Happy May Day!

I was just notified that May 1st was my one year anniversary with Word Press. My blog has been a great way for me to keep honing my craft of writing but has also helped me to build a following and meet some really interesting people along the way. Thanks to all of my current followers and those yet to join me on my writing journey. What a way to celebrate May Day!

One other very important thing that May Day brings to mind is my friend Laura’s birthday. Happy Birthday dear friend.

According to Wikipedia, not only is May 1st May Day, a celebration of spring, it is also International Workers’ Day. The celebration of May Day or “Spring Day” for the seasons goes back to pre Christian times. In early European pagan cultures, February 1st was seen as the start of spring while May 1st was the first day of summer. So May Day was initially seen as a celebration of the start of summer. Now a days, we’ve defined the first day of summer by the summer solstice, which this falls on June 20th. Back in those pre Christian times, the summer solstice was seen as midsummer. Maybe that was part of the back story to the title of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Some of the traditional spring celebrations start on May Day Eve and include many flowers and picnics. There’s also the tradition of placing baskets of flowers onto people’s door knobs, ringing their doorbell or knocking on their doors, and running away before they have the chance to answer. The recipient opens the door and finds a bunch of beautiful flowers, typically in a cone shaped holder. Now, there is another type of door bell ringing activity that has evolved from that called Ding-Dong-Ditch. It is the same idea, but with no flowers or gifts involved. Another traditional part of the celebration included a wooden pole that was usually constructed in a prominent place in town. It was decorated with streamers and flowers and a dance would be done around it as part of the festivities.

International Workers’ Day selected May 1st as their day of recognition in the late nineteenth century. This is an international celebration of labourers and the working class. May 1st was chosen to commemorate the Haymarket Affair in Chicago on May 4, 1886. Workers were on strike fighting for businesses to institute a mandatory eight hour work day. One of the demonstrators threw a bomb at the police and they started to shoot at the group. Four demonstrators were killed. Other May 1st protests occurred after this. For the anniversary of the Haymarket Affair in 1890, international protests were requested and there were the May Day riots in 1894. Since it shares the date with the European spring celebration, some people choose to celebrate International Workers’ Day on other dates that are significant to them. In America, this day is celebrated the first Monday in September and has been made into a holiday weekend, commemorating the end of summer and back to school for most kids.

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I’m happy to report things are moving along with my writing goals. I submitted my short story, Found in West Branch, for A Journey of Words on Friday. It is a book of short stories from many different authors. Hopefully it will be accepted for publication! It would be my first published piece in the fictional world. My Middle Grade manuscript, The Hard Way, is with my editor as we speak. We’ll see what she has to say about it. She did the editing for my short story and that was the first time I had an actual editor go through something I have written. I’ve had friends and other writers read what I’ve written. I even had my book club read The Hard Way before it went to the editor. With that valuable feedback from my readers, I’ve made my writing better. Sometimes that input has given me a different direction to consider for a story line to go too. Those inputs are important to consider, but may not be the best thing to do. They are decisions an author must make to make the story a good one, but also  keep it their own.

Reading through the edits from my editor was definitely a learning experience. She was able to give me copy editing changes and some ideas on how to word things differently. I wasn’t aware of the fact that it was going to lead to more work for me before I’d be able to submit. I thought it would come back polished and ready to send out.

She showed me things I do well and things I need to work on. Writing is a craft, and has to be practiced over and over to make it better. I knew there would be things that I needed to work on, it is good to know what some of them are now. My editor suggested a couple of books that may help me. One is Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browe & Dave King and the other is English Syntax by Dick Heaberlin. I’m looking forward to doing some studying with them while I wait for my manuscript to come back.

As I write this post, I realize how much I love to write. It has been a part of me since I started writing my thoughts and dreams in diaries growing up. Remember the ones with the little locks and keys? I still have a key chain with all of those keys on it. I’ll have to ask my Dad if I asked for the dairies or if my parents just tried giving me one as a gift and it caught on. It would be interesting to know, because it is part of what got the writing thing started in me.

Sometimes it is hard to get the time to write. I know that I’m not the only one that struggles with this. I read a blog today and he was showing his frustration over it. My day job is time and energy demanding and family things keep us moving. But, for something I love to do, I’m somehow able to get it done. Maybe it is in bits and pieces, but all of those small contributions seem to get the projects done. The hard work and dedication pays off when I’m able to submit the short story or get the Monday Morning Blog posted. It’s all a part of this writer’s journey.