Friday, March 28, 2014

Celebrate the Small Things and Do You Have Goals?

Celebrate the Small Things is a weekly hop hosted by the ever-encouraging Viklit of Scribblings of an Aspiring Writer!
I'm going to just go for a combo post here, and say that I'm celebrating the progress I've made for the "Do You Have Goals?" Blog Hop. And I'm going on vacation next week!!! And I'm almost ready for A to Z (with a plan for handling it during vacation for a short time each day).

Do You Have Goals? is a Big Dream blog hop hosted by Misha Gericke and Beth Fred. Writers are encouraged to dream up huge goals and then report their progress once a month.

My Big Dream goal is: to self-publish 2-3 books/novellas and some short works.

Progress so far:

1. Light Reflections, a small poetry book, out last month!

2. Champion in Flight, third draft steady but slow progress - the end is so close. I think I will make my March goal of finishing it completely by March 30th (Sunday afternoon)

3. Outlines, notes and various other concepts taking on more direction in my daily journal.

4. Short works published: "Robot Sonnet" in February, and "Green Planet" in March.

5. Subbed several items in January and February, but this month I just subbed just once with three poems from my Robot Sonnet group. For some reason the Robot in Robot Sonnet #1 has taken on a bit of a "character" and I keep writing sonnets for him. So far, I've been calling him Bard Robot in my head. I know, it's probably only funny to me. :) But who knows, maybe someone else out there likes a combo of Shakespeare, irony, and robots.

And as I type this up, I feel immeasurably better about the progress. This month has been challenging in some good ways, but for a bit I was feeling like my progress was null. Thanks to the reminder to write this post, I feel closer to reaching my goals.

Thank you, Misha and Beth for hosting this!

And for all the Big Dreamers out there, Way to Go!
Dream Big!
And then, build that foundation under those dream castles!
You can do it!

"If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them." - Henry David Thoreau

Friday, March 21, 2014

A to Z Reveal and Celebrate the Small Things!

This is my fourth year participating in  A to Z.
The first year, I focused my A to Z theme on blessings. The second year, I tried to give tools for a writer's toolbox and my posts fell apart in the latter half of the alphabet. Last year, I focused on fencing and swordplay terminology and that was fun. I pulled out my old saber and foil and jumped around the house, much to the surprise of my dogs and cat. :)

This year, I almost didn't A to Z because I felt I needed to focus on finishing the second book in The Champion Trilogy . . . and then, I had an idea to mix both projects: a glossary of the world of Aramatir, the setting of The Champion Trilogy.

When I started writing my posts, it felt too "me" orientated, so with each post, I've also added a world-building question or thought that I hope will be thought-provoking/creativity building for anyone reading my posts.

And my posts will be shorter than this one.

So, primary theme: World of Aramatir (Champion Trilogy) Glossary.
Secondary theme: World Building

What do you think? Is it an ok theme?

And what's your theme for A to Z this year?

This awesome weekly hop helps all of us to Celebrate the Small Things - the laundry that is folded, or the socks that were matched, a line written, a fun moment with friends, etc. And it's all hosted and managed by a brilliant lady named Viklit at Scribblings of an Aspiring Author
This week, I'm celebrating:
1. Hosting Marcy Hatch on Wednesday for a 1 Word Interview Challenge!
2. Seeing an early showing of Divergent last night with my entire family, some friends, and an audience of 90% teen and pre-teen girls. The movie stayed fairly close to the book except an early plot reveal that was unneeded and a Hollywooded fight scene.
3. Finishing and polishing a bit more of Champion in Flight. The end is near. I can see the light at the end of the revision tunnel. :)
4. Lots of laughter, especially last night and this morning. In the romantic scene of Divergent, some younger teen girls sighed and oohed, and then half the theater giggled, and then the rest of the theater snickered - not at the movie, but at those girlish giggles.
(So, if you prefer your romantic scenes serious, don't go see a movie in a theater packed with young teen girls)

Oh - and eNKSPOTy is hosting a rafflecopter giveaway of Champion in the Darkness today!

What are you celebrating this week?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

1 Word Interview with Marcy Hatch

Please welcome Marcy Hatch, author of West of Paradise, for the 1 Word Interview Challenge!

1. What's your current favorite word? 
How about a word I currently despise instead: trending - I am so sick of that word!!!

 2. In one word, what inspires you?
Other writers (okay, that's two words)

3. What's one word that describes your writing habits? 

4. What's one word that you wish you could get rid of in your writing?

5. What's one word that describes your writing desk? 

6. Share the best writing advice/tool/quote that helps you. (please limit to one sentence) 
Practice - because practice makes pretty good :)

7. What's your current project? (this is the one where you can write a bit more)
My current projects is a YA Paranormal called Peace and Forgiveness in which two high school students discover that one of them is an angel, one of them is a demon, and they are both being punished for something they don't remember - yet. And it isn't what you think.

West of Paradise blurb:

Katherine Kennedy has it all; she’s beautiful, she’s wealthy, and she’s engaged to the perfect man: Antonio D'Salvatore. There’s just one problem. She can’t marry him. Worse yet, she has no idea why. All she knows is there is suddenly nothing she wants, not Antonio, or any of the other hundred thousand things money can buy.

Jack McCabe comes home from the war with a pretty medal and a lot of ugly pictures in his head. He has little in the way of possessions, less in the way of wealth, nowhere to go and no one to go anywhere with. All he has is a vague sense of discontent, a restlessness that will not abate.

Separately, they are drawn to Paradise Tours on the privately owned Cristobel Island. There they meet Louis Cade, a man who offers them the unimaginable, something neither can quite believe until they actually find themselves over 125 years in the past, 1881 to be exact.

For Jack McCabe it’s the adventure he always dreamed of – until he meets a beautiful but deadly train robber. Katherine can't believe an ignorant bounty hunter has mistaken her for a criminal – until she sees the picture, which looks exactly like her.

Set in the old west, this is a tale of mistaken identity, romance, and murder.

Available for Amazon Kindle!
Please visit Marcy Hatch at her site MaineWords or at Unicorn Bell.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Help with Blurb Needed!

My cover artist would like my blurb ASAP, and I'm still not sure it's ready. Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below:

Clara won the battle for Septily, but her fight isn’t over.

A year after The Battle of Light and Dark, Clara feels trapped in Skycliff by the Allied Council. As she gathers the last pieces of information she needs to find the Healing Caves without the Allied Council’s permission, Clara is attacked. Covert Drinaii mercenaries, an uncomfortable ally, and the Allied Council aren’t going to stop Clara from her quest to heal her broken blade. As Champion of Aramatir, she must act.

Meanwhile, in the joint kingdoms of Rrysorria and Wylandria, the youngest and still cursed swan prince despairs of ever being whole again. In a moment of desperation, Liam unknowingly enters into a blood pact with a sorceress. If he doesn’t follow the call in his blood, he could die. If he does follow it, he could hurt everyone he loves.

Kalidess may have been defeated once, but the Dark Sisterhood has deeply rooted plans to control the world of Aramatir.

What do you think? Is it ready?

Friday, March 14, 2014

March Goals and Progress

1. Finish Champion in Flight 3rd Draft - 2 + 1 chapter. Where did the week go?

2. Bike 120+ miles. - 11 miles + 24 miles - Friday miles not logged yet. (hoping for 10-15 more)

3. Fast from fiction (except stuff for teaching), and from chocolate. - started Wednesday, so far so good. Lots of Bible reading going on.

4. Write in my journal every day - good.

5. Laugh often - could always do more here. :)

6. Keep working at Write 1 Sub 1 - I think I'm only going to sub one this month but I have a short story mostly written.

7. Prep all my A to Z posts in advance - have topic, outline, and 5 posts finished.

Celebrate the Small Things
A great weekly celebration hosted by Viklit!

1. Progress made on goals - slowly, but surely.

2. My youngest started kayaking with a racing team. She's only been to practice one day, she's not even in a racking kayak yet, and the coach has plans for her to race at nationals either this year or next. Wow. Just wow. (not meant as a brag, but more of an unexpected wow.) She's not dancing anymore, but she's putting all that poise and balance to use in the kayak.
This is a pic of her practicing paddle technique in slow-mo for the coach.

3. Skiing on Saturday evening and an awards banquet for ski and snowboard instructors that evening.
Here's a pic of my oldest daughter on her last day as a ski instructor:

4. It's been a good week. :) My parents returned from a month long road trip - this time in a car and not on a motorcycle, and I had some great conversations with friends and family. Life has been full and fully blessed.

At the same time, I've been praying for some friends who have had some health issues lately, and for my sister-in-law who has had some skin cancer and reconstructive surgery on her face. Plus, every time I pick up the newspaper, I see another reason to pray. There is so much hurt in the world. I hope we can all find a way to make it a better place. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Green Planet Thoughts

A friend of mine has adopted six kids and is considering adopting a seventh. She has eight kids total so far, ranging from four to twenty-one. Regularly, she sends up a cry of distress for orphans all over the world. I read one of her outcries one day, and then I read the news which was filled with concern over global warming.

The two ideas were mixed together in my head, and I wrote a poem. It's about orphans and child soldiers, and our obsession with saving . . . trees.

I'm not against saving trees. I've planted a number of them on Earth Day, and on other days. I've volunteered at animal shelters. I've picked up trash off my street and at public parks. I recycle and grew up recycling before it became an expected norm.

However, I don't think that any of those activities comes close to the life-empowering, world-changing, transformative action of adopting a child.

Saving a life is a far greater act than planting a tree.

It just is, and that feels obvious to me.

That's what my poem at Every Day Poets is about today. It's one of the harshest things I've written in a while. It's critical and I know it's going to bring a storm of criticism my way.

However, if you feel strongly about needing to save the life of a child, and for whatever reason you can't actually adopt or foster a child like I can't (my husband feels a need to serve God and community in other ways), I highly suggest checking out these options:

World Vision - child sponsorship and other giving opportunities. They have specific funds to fight against human trafficking and child soldiers.

Project AK-47 - the main emphasis of this group is to rescue and rehabilitate child soldiers.

Compassion International - child sponsorship and other giving opportunities.

Children of the Nations - food packaging and child sponsorship programs

Youth With a Mission (YWAM) -    ways to give financially to help and serve orphans and widows. They also have an adoption ministry.

I wish I could be like my friend and open my home to six more kids. Instead, I'm giving financially to organizations that I know have a good record of making a difference. I write letters to our sponsored child. I pray. I support others who adopt and foster kids.

And sometimes I write highly charged, angry poetry and hope that it stirs up ideas and not just anger.

Monday, March 10, 2014

National Wormhole Week and Escalation

It's National Wormhole Week!

Hosted by Stephen Tremp, (celebrating his upcoming release, Escalation) Alex J. Cavanaugh, and L.Diane Wolfe, Wormfest is here!

Rules are simple:
Name one thing where science advances mankind, and one where technology will go too far and set us back. They can be the same thing or different.

First idea: Hover-technology. You know, like they show in Back to the Future. I want one of those boards - except I probably would want one with training handlebars, or I might want one that I could lay on top of and "fly" like superman - a hover-boogie-board, surfing the air currents. I would probably look pretty ridiculous but it would be fun.

I'm not sure it advances mankind any, so . . .

 I'm going to go with what I had last year. I know . . . I should have been more imaginative, but I'm still super excited about new prosthetics and robotic technologies working together. I think the combination definitely is advancing mankind - for the disabled and the abled. Think about it - any exoskeleton device that can be used for prosthetic purposes could also be used as an exoskeleton suit for anyone - Robocop mixed with Real Steel with people inside. . . .and then of course, there's just robotics in general. and we all know the potential downfall there, right? Terminator, Matrix?

Maybe I just get excited about robotics because one of my daughters is interested in the field, and I get excited about prosthetic advances because I know at least three people with prosthetic aids - my dad, my brother-in-law, a friend, and another friend's daughter.

How do you imagine science advancing mankind? or setting us back?

And let's help Stephen Tremp celebrate his latest book Escalation!

Escalation Synopsis:

“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones” - Albert Einstein
In Escalation, the final installment to Stephen Tremp’s Breakthrough Trilogy, a seemingly innocent discovery in Einstein-Rosen Bridges, or wormholes, becomes a Pandora’s Box—opening doors to other unexpected and unpredictable realities such as parallel universes, time/space travel, and an evil hitchhiker from another dimension.

Chase Manhattan has survived attempts on his life from numerous sources in his effort to destroy the technology. But he is far from safe. Now Chase and his comrades must not only break world renowned physicist Professor Nicholas Fischer out of prison a second time, but also smuggle him across hostile borders in Europe and the Middle East to prevent events threatening to spiral into World War III.

At stake: an end to Western civilization as we know it. The result: an epic clash where science and the supernatural take center stage, vying for mankind’s destiny. The setting is global as the world divides into an East vs. West climactic battle. The action is swift, adrenaline-charged, and non-stop. Unending twists and turns will keep the reader turning pages and wanting more.

Together, Breakthrough, Opening, and Escalation follow the lives of the unlikely participants from innocence to a coming of age through sacrifice, betrayal, passion, lust, unconditional love, and hope. Escalation is an international thriller and will appeal to fans of modern-day science fiction, action, horror, and a bit of romance.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Goals and Celebrate the Small Things

March Goals and Progress

1. Finish Champion in Flight 3rd Draft - two more chapters down. More to go.

2. Bike 120+ miles. - Only 11 miles this week! Yikes! More biking on weekend planned.

3. Fast from fiction (except stuff for teaching), and from chocolate. - started Wednesday, so far so good.

4. Write in my journal every day - good.

5. Laugh often - could always do more here. :)

6. Keep working at Write 1 Sub 1 - yikes, haven't subbed this week. Tomorrow.

7. Prep all my A to Z posts in advance - have a topic and notes for all the letters.

Celebrate the Small Things
A great weekly celebration hosted by Viklit!

This week I'm celebrating that:

1. My oldest daughter choreographed a dance for a flash mob taking place on Saturday.
2. I discovered a topic I can do for A to Z that doesn't take away from finishing Champion in Flight and I'm finally signed up in the 1023rd spot. Wow.
3. I made progress made towards my goals.

What are you celebrating this week?

Next week: National Wormhole Week, Green Planet Thoughts, and Celebrate the Small Things!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

IWSG: Giving Up to Gain? What? And . . . a minor web error

IWSG: Giving Up to Gain? What?

During IWSG, I usually refrain from going "obvious" with my faith, but today is Ash Wednesday, and as I prepare to help with worship at my church tonight, I can't help but think about some of the practices associated with Lent and how they've helped my writing journey.

During Lent, many Christians give up something and focus on Jesus' time of temptation in the desert, or in the days leading to his death on the cross on the Passover, representing the perfect lamb slain for all of our sins for all time. It's a time for reflection and contemplation. Although Lent isn't mentioned in the Bible anywhere, fasting is mentioned several times, usually in mourning over brokenness in sin or in the context of prayer.

The first year I practiced fasting, I didn't fast from any kind of food. I fasted from fiction reading.
A conversation with a friend had led me to realize that while I had read some of my favorite fiction books not just once, or twice, but sometimes more than a dozen times, I hadn't read my Bible all the way through even one time, with the exception of a Children's Illustrated Bible I had as a kid.

So, I gave up fiction that Lent, and while it was extremely challenging for me, it was also freeing. I had time to pray. I had time to read the Bible (on my 7th reading this year). I had time to focus on faith.

On the Easter side of that experience, I started writing again. Fasting from fiction reading helped me not only have time for a deeper faith walk, it also helped me find creativity within.

I'm going to fast from fiction again this year, and I'm worried I won't be able to make it for 40 days, even with the special exceptions I've made for myself: I can read fiction that I'm teaching with for my lit classes at homeschool co-op, I can write fiction, and I can read short stories on Sundays - mini-Easters and not part of the Lenten 40 days.

Even if Lent isn't something you practice, have you ever given something up to gain?

And if you've ever wondered how they make the Ash stick to your forehead on Ash Wednesday, I'll let you in on the secret: olive oil mixed into the ash. And that's my part of worship tonight at my church - trying to get the mixture right so it doesn't dribble down everyone's foreheads.
In this way, everyone is anointed with oil and ashes. The ash represents the death of the tree of life aka Jesus for our sins, and the oil anoints us all as a part of the royal priesthood of believers. The ash also represents our mortality while the oil represents the eternity of life in Christ. It's all about undeserved, amazing grace.

And this post was inspired by Julie Luek's post: 40 Days of Contemplation.

And, has anyone had blogger install links to other websites in their title without permission - somehow some of the words in my title area are linking to other sites - I don't want this, and I'm not sure how to turn it off. Anyone know?