Tuesday, September 6, 2011

MS150 Update

Okay, so because I have awesome friends, I've met and exceeded my MS150 goal. Because there's time, I think I'm going to increase my goal. This is a great cause guys, let's not stop just because we hit the minimum! New goal: $360 - that's $100 more with more chances to win a necklace/bracelet set made by me :)

The link to make a donation is in the previous post!
Thank you!

Riding in the MS150 - first time!

Hey guys! I need your help :D

Some of you know I'm riding the short MS150 ride on the 17th. It was a last minute decision leaving me with only two weeks to raise $200. Right now, I still need $190 to ride. Eek!
If you don't know what the MS150 is, it's a bike ride that spans two days and 150 miles. Participants can choose to do the whole ride (and those people are amazing) or, if they're new, like me, can choose to do less distance. Either way, each rider is tasked with raising funds for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) research. Personally, I can think of two women off the top of my head who deal with MS everyday of their lives. They're my friends, and this is one way I can help, but I can't do it alone.

I need you. Every little bit helps. If you'd like to make a difference, use this link to make a donation.

Also thinking about raffling off a necklace and bracelet set for each $25 donation you make, your name goes into the drawing. What do you think?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Got a Blog Award.

Wanna see?
Thank you Deirdra from A Story Book World!


I can't reply to a comment a couple posts ago. :( blogger keeps kicking me back to the google sign in page. It's crazy, because I'm already signed in...

Anyway, thank you Deirdra for your awesome comment! I'll be heading to your blog real soon!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Managing Time, Part 2

Yesterday went well. I'm very happy with it.
I divided the day into before dinner and after.

Before: I worked from 1-6, so five hours. I was five minutes short of working four of those hours. I like those numbers. I'm up and down multiple times, and had to go pick up a child from one of his activities. That means, that when I was working, I was working.

After dinner: I worked from 7-11pm. That's four hours. I worked three hours and 12 minutes of that. I took a break in there for a family walk. Again, pretty doggone happy.

To look at the day as a whole, I worked from 1-11pm. I worked a little over seven of those 10 hours, compared to the day a week or so back that showed me logging in in the morning, then logging out 12 hours later, but only having three actual hours to show for it.

I think, even just comparing these two days, the unplugging experiment is working, so I'll stick with it. Shortly, I'll be shutting down my email, and turning the wifi off on my iPod so I can concentrate better on the work in front of me.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Trying to Manage Time

The saying is true, time just slips away. Before I know it the day is gone. I look at the writing goals I've set for myself and realize I didn't get as much done as I'd hoped.

Our crit group leader has been encouraging us to keep track of our progress. One of the ladies even created an online place for that. It's a great idea. I flopped terribly with keeping the daily log on line. In my defense, I'm jumping between projects, and logging word count for edits is much harder because most of it is by hand right now. On the flip side, I need to keep track. I need to know how long it takes me to do something so my goal setting, and later, book commitments are accurate. Here's what's working for me.

A couple weeks ago, I started logging in start and stop times, which have turned into in and out times - they're easier to abbreviate with one letter- on the pages I'm editing. Here's what I found out one day.

I'd worked from about 11am to 11pm, with interruptions throughout the day, remember, I have four kids and it's summer vacation. I added up all the in and out times. In that 12 hour period, I got about 3 hours worth of work done. I don't like those numbers. If it feels like I've been working all day, I want more than three hours of work to show for it.

So, I think I need to try some things. Obviously there will be distractions, but I may be more easily distracted - oh shiny! - than others. I need to limit the distractions I can.

My first experiment to find what works, will be disabling things like email, and the wifi on my iPod (that could be tricky. I use the thesaurus app). The same goes for FB and text notifications. My phone will be on so the people who have my children can get a hold of me. So, if it's important, please call.

We'll see how this works. It might need some tweaking, but it's a start.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Facing Fear, Act Two

I got my critique back that I was worried about. Lots of good stuff. Lots to work on to make the story better. It was a great perspective. This friend has never read any of it, so it was all sorts of new to her.

I know she worries about hurting people's feelings. It's a tough job being in her shoes. She's trying to be helpful, but at the same time hoping she doesn't crush the budding writer's spirit.

Got some great comments from her (I'm keeping those emails forever), but my favorite was when she told me that she didn't take it easy on me. I will thank her for that for a long, long time. No one ever improved by taking the easy road.

Still scribbling all over book two, because I need the break, but I'll get back to those 75 pages soon :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Facing Fear

Today, I sent the 75 pages to a friend for the last crit before they go to the agent. I'm expecting this one to be my toughest critique. The friend is a fellow writer, and she's good. She's published and knows what it takes to make it into this world I'm trying to get into.
I value her opinion.
But at the same time, I'm nervous.
It's hard to put so much time into something, be exited about the results you worked so hard for, and then get a dismal critique back. I haven't gotten anything back yet, but I have to assume there will be plenty of work to do.
It's hard on the ego.

On the other hand, I don't feel I've got any business submitting these pages to an agent without doing EVERYTHING I can to make it the best it can be. That means letting go and letting my friend comb through it, then putting in the work that needs to be done after I get it back.

I've gotten better over the last year about receiving less than glowing feed back. I'm learning to take it professionally, and not personally. And honestly, I'd rather my friends - who want me to succeed - point out my weak spots than let an agent see them. Skipping over this step could equal lost opportunities. I don't want that.

So, cross your fingers for me!

Hmmm...Where'd it go?

I actually blogged something Sunday night, but it's not here. Must not have hit the right button. Oops!
I'm 26 pages from the end of this round of edits for Claimed.

I know that doesn't sound like a lot, but for me it is. I'm dissecting sentences and paragraphs, and comparing the new one to the previous ones looking for repetitive words, redundancy, passivity, weak verbs, gerunds, and most of all, showing instead of telling. All of this makes for a much more indulgent read in the end.

With this being my first attempt at writing a novel, it's taken a lot of time. The story's been reworked a number of times in an attempt to get it right. I'm still not sure I've got it there, but that's what I have crit partners for, and my local writers' group - HeRA. As I learn more, I try to apply it. Sometimes I'm surprised, because it's something I'm already doing. Other times, I need to tweak parts of the novel. And still other times, I have to redo something. I still feel I'm lacking in his POV and responses to what's going on, but there's so much that needs to be in her POV, because she's going to have the greatest reaction to it, or it affects her more.

Back in December the agent I'd submitted my first three chapters to asked me to revise and resubmit. She gave me direction on what those revisions should include, then asked not only for the first three chapters, but the first 75 pages.

Those pages are nearly ready to go. She told me to take my time and make it shine. I've tried my best.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Dreamweavers: Editing Rewards

The Dreamweavers: Editing Rewards: "Editing is usually said with a shudder among my writer friends. Although, I do have one that LOVES it. I don't judge, I love her anyway. I'..."

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Dreamweavers: Feel Like Blogging Today

The Dreamweavers: Feel Like Blogging Today: "So, I'm writing. I took about a week off. The voices were quiet after we had to say good-bye to my dog, Sirius Black. He died young, but liv..."

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Sirius Black
10/1/08 - 1/19/11
Rest in Peace big dog.
I tried to fit a lifetime of love
 into two short years.

Sirius Black

I wish I could figure out how to load a picture from my iPod to my blog. But I can't, and honestly, I don't care that much right now.

Today, I had to say good bye to one of my best friends. My dog, Sirius Black. He went in for exploratory surgery because of a lump on his side (see previous posts). They couldn't get him through surgery.

I was told that doc probably knew from the beginning, when they opened him, that it was a losing battle, but worked for an hour or more to try to change that outcome. He dreaded the phone call, and put it off as long as he could.

I knew when the kids said it was the vet's office, that something was wrong. It was too early for them to call me.

"I don't think I can save him."

I had just dropped the kids off from school. I gave them the choice to go back with me and say good bye. Carter stayed home, but the rest came with me.

They had Sirius cleaned up, and waiting for us. We were there when he left this world. All along the way, I gave the children choices. They could be there for everything, or just a few things. They did what they could.

I believe that heaven is full of animals. They're loyal and trustworthy. They love without condition. They are what we should all aspire to be. How could the gates not open for them?

There are reminders of him all over. He was here just this morning. He was playing with Zeus. He was nuzzling me. He chased squirrels from the yard. He has...he had a way of launching himself from the deck that was amazing. His ears were the softest I'd ever felt. His tail curled in an almost pug-like way.
He was amazing. He was adorable. He was well loved, and he was mine. He will be missed.

It's snowing hard here today. I tell myself the angels are crying for me as they welcome him home. He gets to see an old friend, Kenai. He gets to meet a new friend, Kodi. Kodi and Sirius will get along splendidly, and they can all play together now, I wish I could see it. I hope there's a ball.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Update on: What's Drowning Out the Voices?

Took my little guy to get his eyes checked today. The verdict: he needs glasses - and an eye patch.
One of his eyes is a little lazy, so he'll be training it by playing pirate. The doc said there were two lines my guy couldn't even see. Who knows what my little man's been missing?

He also needs glasses for reading, the eye muscles are weak and working really hard to focus. I have the same problem. When my eyes get too tired, the words blurr together: my eyes cross. His special reading class is at the end of the day. When we're working with him: end of the day. His eyes are shot, and he's working overtime to focus the words. No wonder he's having a hard time.


The cub needs glasses for distance. I asked the dr to explain the numbers. He said at 25 cents, 50c, or even 75c, you can get away without wearing the glasses for distance. He's sitting at 1.75 and 1.25. So, all the work they've done on the board. All the times the teacher has flashed a sight word in front of the kids, my boy may not have even known what he was looking at.

I'm not sure how to feel. Part of me wants to jump up and down because we may have found a stumbling block, and now we're going to blast it out of the way. Another part of me, the mean part, is yelling, telling me I should have done this sooner. Telling me I've made my kid struggle when he didn't need to. Either way, in the next couple weeks, my boy should be able to see better, distance and reading. Then watch out. He's gonna soar.

What's Drowning Out the Voices?

For me, writing is listening to the voices in my head. Lots of times I hear the conversation between the characters, and I race to get it all down.

But right now, worries are drowning out those voices, fogging up the scenes I might otherwise see.

Worry number one - my dog Sirius. If you go all the way back to the beginning of this blog, you can meet Sirius when he was six months old. He's nearly 2.5 now. He's a pretty miraculous dog, and we've got another hurdle. Last month, he developed what we thought was an abscess. We treated it as such. It took twice as long to heal, but it eventually did. Sirius has been healed up for less than a week, and the lump is back. It appears that something inside is draining, and filling some pocket.

Unfortunately, we don't know what that thing is. I was trying to raise money for the ultrasound the dr wanted, but it appears now, that they're going to have to go in. I'm sure the doc would love to not go in blind, but...
I guess you get the picture. This isn't going to be a cheap fix, and we don't even know what we're looking at yet.

This is the first dog I've ever had that's chosen me. He follows me everywhere. He comes when I call. He seeks me out for comfort, and he brings me comfort. I have more invested in him in the 2 years we've had him than any other dog we've had - and not just the monetary investment. There's more of my heart wrapped around his than any other pet I've had.

I worry about his health and comfort. And yes, about how I can afford to see to his care right now. Will he be okay? Will I have to say good bye after such a short time with him? Is he in pain? All of these things and more I worry over.

My second worry is my youngest. I put him second, not because he's less important than the  dog, but because his issue isn't as serious.
He's struggling in school with math and reading. Basic skills that he needs to have, and I don't know how to help him. He has improved since the beginning of the year, but something still seems off.
I'm getting his eyes checked. I'm going to make sure he can actually see the numbers and letters, but after that....who knows.
I've seen him reverse letters, seen him bring letter sounds from the middle of the word and place them at the beginning. Sometimes this can be normal, but it worries me. What if he has a specialized learning style? Sight words that he should have had in Kindergarten can still be a struggle for him. He can get one word today, then struggle with it tomorrow.

My oldest daughter had speech issues. We needed a speech therapist to unlock something in her brain that we just couldn't. The information was in her head, she just couldn't get it out. I feel like maybe my son's brain is locked, but instead of getting info out, we're having problems getting it in.

Here's what I know about my kiddo. He's smart. He catches on to how things work quicker than the other kids, then he uses it to his advantage. If he could do that with reading, he would.
The other thing I know about him; he's one of the sweetest kids you will EVER find. When he was only a few years old, he noticed a bigger boy had taken a toy from a smaller girl. My son came to her and gave her his toy.

I gave him pennies the other night when I cleaned out a drawer. He gave them to grandma and grandpa so they could buy stuff on their trip.
He wants to please us. He sees how excited we get when he reads something. What he's giving us is his best. If he could do more, he would, if for no other reason than to please us.

This brings me back to my worries for him. I hope they find something in a vision test that makes a difference for him. If not, then my mind wanders into learning disabilities, the first one being dyslexia. My other worries; is he going to be held back? Or fall behind. This kid can soar, I know it, but some thing's tethering him to the ground. I would hate for that tether to turn into low-self esteem, because that's the hardest rope to saw through. I worry for his future. He needs these skills.

I worry that, as a mother, I've missed something, or done something wrong, and that he's struggling because of it. I pace and pray, searching for the answers. He amazes me and he's stuck. I hate it.

So, my writing the last day or so, I'm not feeling it, the worry is a boulder, blocking out the voices. The scenes. I feel so muddled and mixed up, it's hard to see the big picture right now.

On the plus side, I've walked through worse, and come out the better for it. I'm sure this time will be no different. I just have to reach the other side.