Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Next Big Thing _ Blog Hop

Due by Wednesday, December 5, 2012

but since I wanted to post today and let you know that Duffy Barkley is not a Dog is available for free on kindle through Dec. 2nd. I am jumping the gun and posting now .

 The Next Big Thing--Blog Hop

Thanks to  at and author of
 The Ninja Librarian for tagging me for this one!  She's answered the questions, and now it's my turn.  Then I'm supposed to tag five more writers to participate--so if you write and read this, brace yourself, as you may be next!

Mention the person who tagged you at the beginning of your post (check).
Answer the ten questions about your current WIP (work in progress) and/or new release on your blog (check).
Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them.  They're supposed to answer the questions next Wednesday, as I understand it. (See bottom of page).

The Questions:
1. What is the working title of your book?

I have two right now, A new release called Double Time On the Oregon Trail and a Work in Progress that I started for NaNoWriMo which is the third book in my Duffy Barkley Is Not a Dog series and is tentatively Titled The Third Charm but probably won't keep that title.

2.  Where did the idea come from for the book?

The original idea came from teaching special education students and seeing them get bullied and hearing about too many school shootings and loving Narnia and Oz and Wonderland type stories. It began while sharing storytelling on long family road trips with my sons and continued in my first experience with the rush of trying to write a novel in a month for NaNoWriMo.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

The Oregon Trail book required a lot of research and a lot of actually driving the route and is written at about a 4th/5th grade level since that is where they study it in schools.  Being me though, there had to be an element of magic to it, so I have two girls, traveling that route, but able to see each others journals and being 152 years apart. So I guess it is Juvenile historical fantasy fiction.

The Duffy Barkley Books, I call young adult, even though he is age 9 in the first and 11 in the second and 13 in the one I am writing. I have had readers from 8 to 73 tell me that hey love Duffy Barkley, but I have also had one tell me that she could;y read it because she cared about him so mush and his life is so harsh at the start of book one.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I have an issue with Duffy, I never really describe his appearance, except that he uses arm crutches and is tall and thin and wobbly from cerebral palsy. I describe others in his life but like the readers to be able to see him as they are.

The girls in the Oregon Trail book, I see as two 15 year olds, one part Sioux, but ordinary, no one flamboyant.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Two girls traveling the Oregon Trail 152 years apart, learn to face their own issues by reading about the other girl's in exchanging journals at times.

6.  If you plan to publish, will your book be self-published or published traditionally?

I am a strong believer in Indie Books and their future. My three books are self published and I believe that there is no reason to do the next one differently. Unless Scholastic decides to call :)

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your MS?

Oh goodness. The short little 30,000 word Oregon Trail story took 13 years. Lots of research and raising kids and losing my Dad to cancer and putting the manuscript away a lot while the idea percolated.  The Duffy Barkley one, November.

8.  What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I think I write like Angie Sage and her Septimus Heap books as far as my voice, or so I keep hearing - but the story line is more Narnia, Oz, Wrinkle in Time - drop someone from our world into another.

The Double Time books are longer and more complex than the Magic Treehouse series but I am hoping to continue with a similar goal of having a series of books that matches up with what kids at the 4th/5th/6th grade ages are studying.

9.  Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I was born to be a reader and a storyteller. There is very little else that I do which doesn't leave a nagging voice telling me that I should be doing something else.  When I look back through my old boxes from grade school I find the Books I wrote in second grade, looseleaf pages in shaky print illustrated with pencil and crayon and bound by yarn through the holes.  Only raising my children and being with those I love gives me as much completeness.

10.  What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?

Seeing what you would see if you held the medallion from Uhrlin and it showed you the strongest part of who you are. Finding out that friendship and real values transcend worlds and time.

Now to tag the other bloggers:  Jody Hedlund

Tag!  You're it!  Be sure to drop in on these folks in a week and see what they are up to.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

NaNoWriMo and NeWo

 My rubber duckies say I love you in sign language and I love November for the crazy, insane attempt to write 50,000 words along with the 300,000 people world wide who have given themselves permission to think that the world needs their story, and to write a quick and dirty first draft in 30 days.

I know there is insanity here, and November is by far one of the busiest months of my year, but there is vale in the fact that I can feel free to put down all the thought in my head and see where they go.

When I am writing this quickly, I enter a state that is very near sleep.  My brain slows down and drifts randomly as my fingers try to capture the images before they vanish, like those great ideas you only get just as you are starting to drift off to sleep.
 My oldest son is out on a crab boat working and has been gone for weeks while his blind dog lives with me. Ford is charming and barely past a year old, and likes to run everywhere, so crashes headfirst into chairs that are not pushed back under the table or the knees of people standing quietly.  He loves the she;; of my cat, and tries to find it, but the closer he gets, the more the smell fills the places where the cat has recently been and confuses him. Rocky has learned to sit motionless and soon Ford is down, bounding around to check other spots near-by.  "Where's the Cat?"  If he does get close enough that they bump, they both startle and then the cat aims a quick blow to the dog's nose.

My stories work like that. I know what I am chasing, and I think I know where it is, but then a strongly enticing smell lures me to another path, and sometimes it is clear and I follow it, and sometimes it leaves me with my head aching and my nose stinging from where I ran into a wall.
 I look for inspiration all around when I am trying to hit 50,000 words, and this old picture of my Mom and her cousins has served as the launching pad for many memories which have become slightly altered and find their way into the novel more as sensory details of the places and times than as the actual events of the story.
 Fall is here and glorious outdoors calls to me even as the calendar reminds me that the word count must be reached or else
 but reaching the word count of 50,000 gets harder on the old bones the closer I get to 50 myself.  Sitting at the computer too long in a story induced trance, I feel great.  Then I wake up, push back the chair and find that I have been crippled.  My hips and wrist and spine resist straightening. My hands are freezing cold and my feet don't really want to bear my weight as I hobble to the coffee pot.

That is when I feel the most gratitude for Jonathan Roche and his NeWo Program.
 No Excuses Workouts

 had helped me drop 40 pounds and gives e the necessary tools to know what I need to do every day to maintain my strength and increase my health.  I have learned his 15 secrets by heart, including get enough water and sleep and fit in movement every day even if it is only walking to the mailbox or stretching for six minutes.  He has made me celebrate the random acts of fitness like jogging in place while washing dishes or brushing my teeth, and parking far from the store so I get a brisk walk several times a day without ever thinking of it as a workout.  Hobbling is good for my novel, since Duffy Barkley is stiff and crippled by Cerebral Palsy, but Newo is good for me.