Monthly Archives: July 2014

So short.

Today’s post is going to be so short. I am just about done with my readthru of the first draft of the sequel, and today is my last “work” day until my kids start school next month.  So I want to get stuff done! That is why I have a Venti Iced Coffee sitting next to me and Foster the People playing on Rdio. 

I want to hear from you. What are your favorite mysteries? Movies or books or real life. Comment and let me know.

Off to read.

I suck at balance and I’m okay with it

Elizabeth Gilbert and Kerry Miller at Talking Volumes

Elizabeth Gilbert and Kerry Miller at Talking Volumes

I still haven’t wikipediaed myself. But it is on my to-do list.

I realized while I was walking the dog this morning that, in about a month, I am going to add a full fourteen more hours to my work week. This revelation is beyond exciting.

Two weeks ago I went and saw Elizabeth Gilbert at a special summer session of Talking Volumes. One of the the things she said (okay, a lot of what she said, but I’m going to focus on this thing) really struck me, because it’s something I’ve been struggling with. This isn’t a direct quote, btw, but she said that “balance” is a myth that our society is selling women right now. At first I was like– NO! I’m working so hard for balance! It’s real! I’ll achieve it!

She was specifically talking about Body/Mind/Spirt balance, how you never “achieve” anything, because you’re always a work in progress. She touched just a bit on the career/family balance too, but it wasn’t her main point. It’s been a comforting thought to have in the back of my head the last few weeks.

I keep looking for ways to balance all of my different “professional” projects: multiple writing projects, a jewelry business, wanting to paint, and I’m failing. And I’m trying to find the perfect balance between my family, my profession, and just plain relaxation. I’m also failing there.

The thing about it though, is for the last week or so, I haven’t cared. I’ve been very focused on one particular writing project and really haven’t worked on anything else. When my kids are home, most of the time, I’m giving them my attention. Except for when I’m working on something else (possibly writing.) And, last night, I knew I should read, but instead, I went to the mall.

I don’t think the pursuit of balance is a bad thing, in fact, I think it keeps me moving in the right direction. It’s when it becomes one more thing to beat yourself up about that’s unhealthy. Maybe, in the fall, when the kids are in school, I’ll actually start painting and retaking all of my etsy photos and any of the eighteen million other things on my list. Or, maybe not. We’ll see what my priorities are.

BTW- I took that picture. I’m pretty proud of it. Just sayin’.

Writing Resources: Vol 1

I’m starting a new series on some of my favorite writing tools.

The first is: Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success

When I first started writing seriously a few years ago, I HATED the idea of outlining. HATED IT. I mean, I really, really didn’t like it. I wanted to let the writing flow out of me naturally.

And it did. Lots of it. Mostly it was short stories, scenes from my life that I wanted to fictionalize. Occasionally, it was good. So then I thought I could write a novel. I took those ideas and rewrote them as fiction and added some connections and: voila! a book.

I asked a few people to read it. They were sweet. Looking back at it now, I feel a bit bad for them. But they gave me the encouragement I needed to start another project. By my next project was…ambitious. I started writing it knowing the beginning and the end. But I had no idea how to get from point A to point B.

I’ve been listening to KM Weiland’s podcasts for a long time, and had read her blog posts about outlining. So I downloaded her book, went to a cafe, ordered a cookie and a coffee, and read. The entire first half.

Then, I was so pumped about the story, I called my husband and told him I needed more time. And I started the outline for Home.

I finished the book and the first draft of Home. While I worked on that (I’m actually still working on it!) I started working on the concept for Stealing the Ruby Slippers. You may have read that I completed the first draft in three weeks. If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you know that I’m working on the sequel right now. I am within two or three days of finishing the first draft.

First of all, let me say: these are first drafts. There is a TON of rewriting and editing. But getting the story out is the first step of getting the book done. And there is no way I could write that fast without an outline.

The other thing about outlining is: it’s easier than actually writing. So, if you’re thinking about writing but are afraid to start, do an outline!

I use the “mind-map” outline method to get all of the ideas out, then eventually move it into a linear outline to create chapters. I use SimpleMind so I can move things around, but it would be just as easy to use post-it notes.


Wikipediaing Myself

wikipediaThanks for being patient with the blog-schedule adjustment! This will be the new time: 9:00 CST on Tuesdays. Let’s make it a date.

So, I’m not going to lie. Marketing a first book, and a self-published first book at that, is hard. I think I’ve exhausted my friends & family audience, and now I’m working to get it out in front of other people. So, I’m thinking of creating a Wikipedia page for myself. Which seems completely and totally arrogant. So I’m working on getting over that.

I am also selling my triathlon bike. My last race was either in 2011, and that race was also the last time I rode the bike. I intended to do a race in 2012, but I sprained my ankle (surprise, surprise) and I actually had it serviced last year, fully intending to start racing again, and then we moved. I sprained my ankle again last week and realized, not only do I not have a desire to race anymore, but I physically can’t. You’d think it would be the running, but it’s actually the swimming that hurts my ankle the most. Swimming continues to hurt and cause swelling for months after each sprain for months after the injury, and I’ve finally decided to let someone else ride the bike. It’s so awesome. Plus, if I sell it, I have a better chance of talking Chris into letting me get a road bike 🙂

This week is week number two of my three weeks of nearly-full time writing. Lily and Austin are both in school until 2pm, so I have from 9:30-1:30 each day all to myself to write. I’m working diligently on the sequel to Stealing the Ruby Slippers and also creating a final draft of Home. It’s been awesome, and I can’t wait for the fall when they’re both in school and I can do this all the time.

Speaking of…time to go write. See you next week.

You think you don’t like research?

I think there are two types of people in the world: those that love research (me) and those that hate research (me.) Okay. So there is some crossover.

But I’ve been having a lot of fun with the first draft of Finding the Ruby Slippers, and a big part of it has been research. I’ve spoken with the President of the Minnesota Iron Mining Association, a really cool Geologist (btw, if I’m not supposed to capitalize everyone’s titles, sorry. And be happy I pay an editor for my books 🙂 and, yesterday, the DNR.

I also use a lot of websites in my research. Google and I are bestest friends. Today, like the amazing BF it is, Google gave me a picture of Brad pit with his shirt off. Because it knew that was the very best image for me to look at to describe a man’s six pack.

I can’t post the picture here because I don’t own it or have any right to it, but I did pin it on my Finding the Ruby Slippers research board on Pinterest. Check it out. And see if there is anything you can guess about the plot by what’s pinned. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Using Brad Pitt pictures as research

This picture has nothing to do with anything. But it's funny.

This picture has nothing to do with anything. But it’s funny. And I can’t legally put the picture of Brad Pitt here.

So somehow I got on this schedule where I’m blogging here and on Stealing the Ruby Slippers on the same day. Which, to be quite honest, is cutting into my writing/editing/painting/jewelry making time. So I’m switching it up a bit, I’ll be here on Tuesdays and there on Thursdays. (And here whenever I have something burning to type about.) I hope you don’t mind. To make up for the non-post this week, I’m linking to my Pinterest board where I’m tracking my research for the Ruby Slippers sequel. Today I had to write about a man with a six pack. So I googled “Man with Six Pack.” And I pinned my favorite…Brad Pitt…just in case I needed it for later. Enjoy.

I did a whole post about research here, if you want more information. Regardless, based on what’s the Pinterest Board, I’d love to hear what you think is coming in the next book.