Wednesday, November 23, 2011

On Books, Kindles, And Writing for NaNoWriMo

 NaNoWriMo Challenge day 23, and I am still doing ok in my life, Mt. Washmore has not taken over the house thanks to my Flylady routines and I even took a day to drive down the coast with my family and enjoy such lovely views as this lagoon.

After the rain, the school garden roses were lit by a beam that also created a rainbow.
clipping from Del Norte Triplicate

Teaching as a substitute is an off and on position, and I have been pretty busy this month at the schools but I have managed to luck into being there for some of the most wonderful activities,  as you can see in the newspaper clipping from the Del Norte triplicate, the middle school kids lay down or knelt on the grass in assigned colors of clothing and the photographer went up to the top of the fire truck ladder to create a living mosaic of an elk and to teach the kids about how sometimes you need distance to see the big picture and realize how important each person is in the long run.

And I was at the grade school when the Native American drumming, flute and hoop dancing assembly held the children enthralled.   I, as the teacher was equally fascinated by this display of talent from Minneapolis.
 I had never realized how much energy and playfulness and imagination went into the hoop dancing.

Along with writing, teaching, being a wife and Mom (and I am not even going to go into the energy needed to parent a 17 year old high school senior and an 18 year old with 2 dogs and a live in girlfriend)

I also worked on compiling a sampler of book snippets and blog posts and cover art from 15 authors, hoping that we could sell it on kindle and capture some attention for our individual writings while also raising a bit of money for the NaNoWriMo Young Writer's Project.
The contents of this collection are a group of book snippets, cover art and a couple blog posts, shared in the hopes that you will find books and stories that catch your eye and encourage you to try the longer books or other work by the same authors. Many of us share our writing
The weather has been stormy and the wind and rain at least have made me OK about spending every minute I can, at the keyboard, writing a book that the world may not know it needs, but does!

 and I have seen my books  on the new Kindle Fire now, which is really fun and thrilling and I am hoping some of you will agree and want to upload them to your own new toy, or your old Kindle is fine, I'm not picky that way.  :)
 Duffy Barkley has  and needs crutches but don't tell him "No" he can't do something

In book 2, Duffy goes to Guatemala to help a child, but gets pulled back into Uhrlin to seek a friend 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

The cabin we usually rent  on the beach

My Husband, two sons and I last Thanksgiving
     November brings a reminder that we should be counting us the things that we have in this life instead of thinking about the lack or the future lack of things we don't even need.  I know that there are a lot of political issues around the pilgrim and the "indian" thanksgiving stories which I was taught in grade school.  In fact, I was 10 before I met any of my Native American side of the family, at my great grandmother's funeral, when her Sioux relatives came to visit the branch of the family which had been mainly out of touch since she married a stage driver and left the Sioux people when she was only 17 (and she lived to be 98).  I know the divisiveness between the stories of friendship and neighborly harvest festivities, and the reality of war and genocide.  I had ancestors at Plymouth plantation as part of the Mayflower bunch and I had ancestors who would have been better off if the white people never set foot on this continent.  Yet I would not be here and who I am, proud to be an American, where in spite of the differences and the hatreds, there has been an amazing amount of support and connectiveness.  We are the land of mixed marriage and acceptance just as surely as we are the land of stubborn pride and the opinion that anyone else who is different is wrong because we are the best.
 So I choose to face the future that we will be giving to our children with optimism.  I choose to look at the stack of dirty dishes and give thanks because we have food.  I choose to admit that we have a history full of darkness but also to believe in a future filled with light.
 Most Thanksgivings I have rented a cabin on the beach and cooked a turkey with my family and any friends who chanced along.  This year we can't afford the cabin because our insurance wasn't sufficient to keep us from having some huge medical bills.  Still, we are healthy now, and together, and the turkey will taste just as good around the table we eat at on a daily basis.
 Life is hard many times, but worth celebrating and giving thanks for all the same.  There is a light in the darkness and warm hands to hold when it seems there is nothing else there to fill those hand,

Happy Thanksgiving, and may you find yourself surrounded by love and sheltered from some of the storms that come your way.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Writing Untamed in November. Why I love NaNoWriMo!

 I do many things, but I AM a writer.  In spite of the oft repeated advice that tells us that if we work at what we love, we will never feel like we have worked a day in our life, I know that to be false.  When people I know, commit to working at doing what they love, myself included - that very act of commitment turns a passionately loved hobby, into a responsibility and hence, a chore.  We may love it no less, in theory, but in reality there are many days when having to get up and put the nose to the grindstone only makes us feel overwhelmed and inadequate.

I married a college student who sang in school groups and acted in plays and had music playing over the stereo every minute that he was home. More than 20 years teaching music and drama has turned him into a man who values silence, rarely turns on music except for work and hasn't auditioned for a play in years.  He still loves music and drama but it is work.

The father of one of our son's friends, loved his hobby of woodworking, and turned his garage into a cabinet making shop.  Now he is in high demand, and under a deadline, and making what the person writing the check decides he will make.  He makes wine on the side and has fun gathering wild berries and apples from abandoned orchards.  I overheard someone suggest that he could sell his wines.  He cussed the very idea!  "I already turned one hobby into a job!  This I do for me!"

 Getting up every day and making myself write, and re-read and edit.  Making sure I am seen on facebook and twitter and Amazon.  Talking up not only my novels but those of other author's.  Trying to get in a few blogs to comment on and a few that I have written.  Making sure I have copies of my books on hand everywhere I go. All of those things are necessary and therefore not always a choice, or fun.
 I combat the monotony of daily plodding when November rolls around.  November is crazy already.  School is in full swing and Holidays require travel and family commitments beyond the norm.  Fall turns rainy here and I used to get depressed with the return of the rain.  Then I realized that the secret to combatting the dreariness and sense of overwhelmedness, was to do more.
 I signed up for National Novel Writing Month and agreed to write, A LOT, and edit not at all.  I agreed to play at what I poured onto the page and not care if it was good at all.  For NaNoWriMo, I agreed to unfreeze the mental blocks on my creativity and summon the muse and let the words gush forth unimpeded or censored and do a quick, and unedited rough draft and let the characters take me wherever they wanted to go.
 The words spring from the part of my unconscious mind that I barely sense just before drifting off to sleep.  This is the spring where flows all those wonderful ideas I sense just as I start to doze but can never remember in the morning.  Writing nearly 1700 words a day means you accept them all - well, except the contractions.  It means you don't take the time to reject anything, or question it, or think it all the way up to your conscious brain.
Then when December comes, I lock it away and forget it, sick of it by then.  I wash the mountain of Dishes by the computer and let my family back on the computer.  I go back to life, refreshed and happy with my commitment to writing.  I celebrate the holidays and know that before summer arrives I will be ready to pull out the manuscript and edit and keep or toss it - but right now, not one of these words is counting and it is still 40,000 words before I reach my Nov. 30th goal.

Take care!


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

And I Have a Winner!

 We Have a Winner!

And She is another Author on the Blog Adventure.

I had four comments and wrote the numbers one through four o post it notes and had my husband draw one and he pulled out #3.  So Karen Elliot wins a paperback set of Duffy Barkley's two novels.  I hope that you enjoy them Karen.

 Karen S. Elliott's blog

And I hope everyone Enjoyed the Trick Or Treat Blog Adventure

Have a Great November

And If you are in NaNoWriMo and trying to write a Novel in November
Write ON!