April 24, 2012

Spring Has Sprung

Well you don't see this very often. Me, posting twice in one day. So it must be important, right?

It is.

Very Important.

Spring has finally sprung in the Rockies!

This is how I know:

I found three crocuses this morning, in full bloom.
It's the first sign of Spring.
We might see one or two a year, but they don't last long, because the deer or squirrels get them.
And sometimes a freak snowstorm, but we won't talk about that right now. This is a cup half full kind of day.

The weather is awesome. The high for today is 75 degrees.

Cactus Joe went outside for the first time since last summer.

Our windows are open!

The aspen are starting to bud.

I'm wearing short sleeves and flip flops.
Okay not the flip flops. 
It's too hard to walk in the woods with flip flops.
But my point is that I could if I wanted to.

Koko and Tuffy are eating grass at the local salad bar.

And having a marking war with our resident fox.

We're watching for signs of bear.

They pounce on trees and pull them apart looking for grubs.

It's totally a peanut-butter-and-jelly,
iced-tea-with-bendy-straw kind of day.

How is your Spring coming along?

Ninja Giveaway!

Here's a fun and easy blogfest/giveaway. Alex J. Cavanaugh is celebrating reaching 1500 Followers! Can you believe it? I'm sure everyone knows him - he's all over the blogosphere. He's a perfect example of leading and following at the same time. He gives us loads of resources and awesome bloggers to check out. He replies and comments to all of his Ninja Followers. He does all this and writes books, too. I don't know how he does it all, but I guess that's why he's a Super Ninja!

He's giving away copies of his books, CassaStar and CassaFire to donate to the winner's choice of public or high school library, along with a selection of booksmarks. The winner gets bookmarks, too. I love this idea!

Here's what you do:

  • Be a Follower
  • Comment on his posts (once per day/post) 4/24 - 4/27 (worth one point)
  • Be the first commenter of the day (worth ten points)
  • Blog about the contest and leave the link on his site (ten more points)

The winner will be announced on Monday, April 30th, on the A-Z Challenges last day, which of course is the "Z" post.

April 23, 2012

The Power of Words

I'm still learning how important word choice is as a writer. Ever struggle for the proper word? Use a word that fits, but know it isn't the one you're looking for? Maybe it's a word you overuse way too much?

I must have used the word "look" in my manuscript about a million times! It's the go-to word for, um, er, uh, "look." But there's also glance, eye, ogle, gaze, glimpse, leer, view, observe, watch, scrutinize, stare. You get the picture. Even after going through the thesaurus for "look" synonyms, "look" almost always seems like the best choice.  Because I haven't found the word that fits yet, or the right/best way to say it.

This video says it all: 

Q:  What did you do to my sign?
A:  I wrote the same, but different words.

I'm not plugging this company, have never used this company or ever had contact with them. They are online content specialists, but look what they can do with the words!

I know the talent to finding the perfect words for telling a story will come with experience. But it really is fun to change something up and find how much better it sounds. When that happens, I know why I love to write!

Do you ever struggle with finding the right word and how to say it? Any tricks of the trade that work for you? Please share with the rest of us!

April 10, 2012

All Is Not Lost

I recently learned that plot structure requires a black moment, a moment where the protagonist realizes that all is lost. Pretty much everything worth losing is gone, whether it's a boyfriend, husband, job or friends. Whatever it is the character wants - zip, nil, nada.

Perhaps the best example of this is in the Wizard of Oz.  Throughout the whole movie, Dorothy tells anyone who will listen that she wants to go home. That is her goal. She survives the obstacles in her way, including the wicked witch of the west. She and her friends go through trial by fire and water and opium (poppies). Trees lob apples at them. Flying monkeys kidnap Dorothy and Toto. They were locked out of the Emerald City and barred from seeing the wizard. And after all that hard work, when what she wants is within reach, the balloon leaves without her and ALL IS LOST!

That is what was missing from my novel. I had to go back and figure out where and how to devastate my heroine. I found the perfect spot and wedged it in. Right when they faced the most danger, like Jafar to Aladdin, I yanked that metaphorical rug right out from under them (no characters were physically harmed in the yanking). Everything my heroine and her friends worked for was gone, over, kaput.

It made for a heartbreaking scene.

And a much more powerful scene. 

But my heroine returned stronger and the bonds of friendship were strenthened.

I'm so glad someone pointed this plot manipulation out to me. What a powerful tool!
And of course, Dorothy had the power all along to get what she wanted. 

But she had to go through the journey, following the yellow brick road, until she figured it out for herself.

Just like our characters.

Just like us.

It was quite an epiphany for me. Have you had any writerly epiphanies? What were they? 

April 4, 2012

Insecure Writer's S.G.: Editing Blues

Happy first Wednesday of April! It's that time once again to put myself out there to the world with the support of the Insecure Writer's Support Group behind me.

Thank you to Alex J. Cavanaugh for thinking of this brilliant idea and hosting for all of us insecure writers.

I love visiting writer's blog to see what they're up to. I'm really happy for their successses, progress, recognitions, new cover reveals and new book releases. I love to support them when I can, to post about their covers and new releases. Truly, I really enjoy it. I feel good knowing that I'm helping.

But I can't help but feel frustrated with what I consider my lack of progress. I finished the first draft of my novel last summer. Last summer! I was a writer who was afraid to write and made no progress whatsoever until someone said, "just get it down - perfection comes with the editing."

And so I zoomed through, "telling" my story, until I was finished. Since it is my first novel, I've learned a lot along the way. And now I wish I had slowed down a bit, paid more attention to everything: character personality/flaws, conflict, strong verbs, show don't tell, plot holes, description, setting. Even my first few edits didn't cover all this, because I didn't know how to edit! Well, I think I'm better at editing now.

But now I'm tired of editing and ready to be done! Ready to move on to the next project and to start getting more work out there, and more work done.

I've been reading recently that the successful writer has volume and variety. I've seen it firsthand from blogs that I follow.

I want that, too!

Here are some serious questions for you: How do some of you get so much done? How do you feel about editing? Does anyone else get the editing blues? How long does it take you to edit?

April 3, 2012

Springtime in the Rockies

Welcome to Springtime in the Rockies!

 After a week of gorgeous, 60 degree weather
 Mother Nature has to let us know who's in charge.

Koko thinks she's going for a walk.

But really, they're just taking out the trash.

While I work from the loft.

And wonder where this went.

And dreaming of this.....

April 2, 2012

Cover Reveal: To Ride A Puca

Check out this new cover reveal. Heather McCorkle has a new book coming out in May called To Ride A Puca. Isn't it gorgeous?!

Here is a bit about it: 

Invaders are coming to take what isn't theirs, again.

Neala wants to stand and fight for her homeland, but as one of the last druids, she may be standing alone.

Persecuted, hunted down, forced to live in obscurity, the druids have all but given up. Can the determination of a girl who has barely come into her power bring them together? Or, just when she finally finds her place among her kind, will they end up losing a homeland their very magic is tied to?

This novel is intended for mature teens and adults as it contains some difficult subject matter. To Ride A PĂșca is a much darker novel than Spruce Knoll, Heather's first novel in the Channeler series, so it will not be appropriate for some readers. It contains slavery, oppression and violent situations, and definitely falls under the dark YA catagory. But it is also about hope, love, and belonging.

Although not in the Channeler series, it is a stand alone Channeler novel featuring one of Eren's (from Spruce Knoll) ancestors.

To Ride A Puca releases this May!

To add this novel to your Goodreads lists click HERE. To pre-order a signed hardback (to ship at the end of May), click HERE.