Friday, December 28, 2012

Fun Writing Tools


I don’t know about you, but I love finding fun and funky stuff, not to mention when it helps with my writing, so I thought I would share a few I found here with you before the new year arrives. J  A while back, I read on a newly self-published author’s site what different things got her through the writing process of her book. She listed several online critique groups, articles, and books, but she also shared a link to a particular site called the EditMinion. It sounded kind of funky so I had to check it out. As it turned out, the site was built as a sort of personalized editor. You enter a chunk of text and check the boxes above for what types of thing you want it to look for and it shows you where you’re particular bit of text could use some help in those areas. I’m not very good at explaining it, so I won’t go into too much detail, but if nothing else, check it out. I find I have a lot of trouble figuring out when I’ve lapsed into a passive voice and the EditMinion pinpoints that as one of the things it looks for.

Also by the same creator of the EditMinion, is a program called Write or Die. It sounded a little extreme to be sure, but after I tried it out, it turned out to be kind of cool. The purpose of the program is to teach you to avoid writer’s block by using negative reinforcement. You select a time and/or word limit for which to follow and type until you exceeded one or the other. If you sit idle long enough, depending on which version you’re using (you may set the forgiveness and annoyance less of the punishment), the screen may start turning redder and redder, or start emitting irritating sounds. The free online version, which is the version I tried, only turns the screen darker shades of red until you start typing again. There’s also a kamikaze mode which sounds scary. It will start to erase what you’ve already written if you aren’t careful. Yikes! He he. J

Either way, these two tools were kind of fun to play around with. Check them out and see what you think. Or if you have some cool funky tools, share them below in the comments.

EditMinion                              Write or Die
Happy New Year’s everyone!!! ^^ :D

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012!!!


Merry Christmas everyone!!! I hope Santa brought everyone lots of great gifts, but more so, I hope everyone enjoyed spending time with their friends, family, and loved ones. ^^ This time of year is wonderful for getting together and reflecting back on the past year to look back at what we did well this year and to also figure out how we can do better next year. For a lot of people, this season can be a hard time, because they don’t have any family or friends to share with. If you know anyone that gets kind of down around the holidays, I would encourage you to give them a smile, or better yet, a hug, and wish them Merry Christmas. J Most times, it’s the small things that make our days brighter, so have a wonderful Christmas, and pass on that Holiday Spirit! ^^ :D


Merry Christmas!!!
 

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Blogfest


Welcome to the Hobbit Blogfest! I know I haven’t been around the blogosphere very much lately and I do apologize for that. Life and the holidays have been keeping me very busy lately. I hope you’re all doing well and staying safe this holiday season. J
 

 

Answering these four questions will transport us on an unexpected journey:

What is your favorite hobbit characteristic/or the one that you think closely resembles you . . .? 

I love how happy hobbits are! They enjoy life and from the looks of things, they know how to throw a super awesome party!

If you could choose between a scrumptious second breakfast and a perilous unexpected journey – which would you prefer?

A perilous unexpected journey of course! What better place to find a good story to write about! J

Have you ever left behind something on a journey (expected or unexpected) and wished you could have it over and over again? (A pocket handkerchief?)

Oh yes! My toothbrush!

What is your Favorite part or quote from the book that you hope will be in the movie?

The dinner party scene! “Chip the cups and crack the plates! That’s what Bilbo Baggins hates!”

As a kid I grew up listening to my dad reading The Hobbit to my brother and I at bedtime and watching the 1977 cartoon version by Rankin/Bass. One of my favorite things about the movie was the music. Enjoy! ^^ J
 
A big thank to Tyrean and Mary for hosting this bloghop! You guys are awesome!
 For a list of all the participants please visit here.
 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Renaissance of Hetty Locklear Launch Party and Jousting Contest


Hear ye! Hear ye! Gentlemen and gentle ladies! Lads and lasses! Come and celebrate the release of Lady M.Pax's newest release and cheer on a noble knight in the jousting tournaments!



The Renaissance of Hetty Locklear

 

A New Adult Urban Fantasy, The Renaissance of Hetty Locklear is the first book in a new series. And it’s now out! The main character, Hetty, is a twenty-two-year-old, stumbling about in an effort to become a full-fledged adult. She struggles with self-esteem, weight, relationships, and making the transition between college and the real world.

 

 

Graduation from community college isn’t the magic elixir Hetty Locklear counts on for becoming an adult. Her parents, who work the Renaissance fair circuit, insist she spend part of the summer with them. Hetty doubts pretending to live in the Middle Ages will help her find her way.


 To make it worse, an entity haunts her at her dead-end job, warning her of a dangerous man she doesn’t know. The ghost leads her to a lover who has a lot of secrets. He pulls her farther into peril and into a strange, hidden world of genetic experimentation.


New Adult Urban Fantasy with a contemporary sci-fi twist. Mature content.

 

 

Available as an ebook at Amazon / Amazon UK / Smashwords / iTunes / Kobo

Visit www.mpaxauthor.com for more links.

 

 

M. Pax is celebrating her latest release with a jousting tournament and contest at www.mpaxauthor.com. Cheer for the knights to help them win the grand prize, and you’ll be put in a drawing to win an ebook copy of The Renaissance of Hetty Locklear. Five will be given away. Huzzah!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

November IWSG




Hey everybody! Today is the first Wednesday of November so it must be that time again! J Since my last IWSG post, which was my first IWSG post, I’ve been getting back into the heart of my writing bit by bit and it’s great! I’ve also been reading a lot more writing articles as well which is kind of great, and at the same time, not so great. I’ve found a lot of great tips and techniques, but the more tricks I learn, the less I focus on moving my manuscript forward to stop and do tons of edits. Editing is a good and necessary thing, but I’ve found I really don’t make any forward progress when I switch out of my actual writing mode. I guess if I were to boil it down to one question I could ask my fellow IWSGers, I guess I would probably ask how do you go about your editing? Do you write out a chapter at a time and edit what you have? Or do you write the entire manuscript and then go back and edit?

If you're interested in joining IWSG, Alex Cavanaugh is the wonderful host and you can find his website here.

Happy writing everyone! ^^ :D

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!!!


Happy Halloween Everybody! I hope you all had lots of Halloween fun whether you went Trick-or-Treating, had a super awesome costume party, or just hung out with family. ^^ J I spent the evening with my family playing poker with rolls of nickels and dimes. I didn’t win very much, but it was lots of fun anyways. :D Do you have any spook-tacular traditions for Halloween?

October has been a busy month, but I’ve been working on a free read to make available soon. I’m hoping to have it up in the next couple weeks so we’ll see! ^^ Are you ready for November? Don’t forget that November is National Novel Writing Month!

Happy Halloween!!! ^^ :D

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Look! Look! Look!


This week I was tagged by the lovely M.Pax for the look challenge! The rules: Count up the ‘LOOK’s in your current WIP and choose your favorite three. Then post the paragraphs around the word.

Dotted about the first two chapters of my WIP, I’ve used 50 looks. Ouch! Not toooo bad for out of 14,000 words, but that’s partly why it’s still a WIP. ^^;

            Reiva twirled out of his path and caught his tunic by the neck. With an abrupt jerk, she threw him forward and sent him flying. A loud crack split the air as Darret crashed into a stack of wine barrels. Red liquid fountained down as Reiva hooked her boot under Darret’s fallen gladius and flicked it into the air. She caught it and pitched it forward, sailing end over end. It stuck into the barrel just over Darret’s head. Dazed, he looked up into a fresh spray of wine that spilled down his soaking tunic.

             Stepping onto the street, faces turned towards them, taking in the blood and mouthing ceaseless questions. Reiva wanted to shrink so small they would never see her again. She felt their prying eyes like insects crawling over her skin, itching to dig under her shell and unravel her from the inside out. Looking at Talou, you might never know he was an object of such scrutiny. Glances slid off him like rain off a glass pane, but then again, he wasn’t the topic of their gossip.

             She had to remind herself to stay alert; she wasn’t out of danger just yet. Risking a glance around the cart, she surveyed the crowd. There weren’t any guards just yet, but they weren’t the only threat. Cool steady eyes met her gaze and knew she’d been spotted. She’d seen him in the city center, watching the crowds from a distance. He was a foreigner by the looks of him, but even a foreigner could benefit from the capture of a fugitive.

I’m still new in the blogosphere so instead of tagging 5 lovely people, I’m going to tag 3. Karen Elizabeth Brown, Heather at Reading, Writing andEverything In Between, and Susan Gourley/Kelley.
 
Have a great week everybody and happy writing! ^^ :D

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Insecure Writer's Support Group


I’ve been meaning to join the IWSG for a couple months now; ever since I discovered it really. J It’s so cool to be able to share the things that have sent me on writing ups and downs and know that not only am I not the first one to experience these things, but also that others have experienced it before too. Plus you get to hear all the awesome success stories from authors dealing with the same kinds of things and that they overcame them! How cool is that? ^^ :D

I’ve been coming off of a writing slump and have been working to sit down and write every day even if it’s in the ten minutes I have been before heading into work. It’s going alright so far, and I even got to sit down for a couple hours today and do some much needed editing from my critique group’s notes on my novel’s prologue.  Woohoo! It’s progress, even if it’s little by little. ^^ J
If you're interested in joining IWSG, Alex Cavanaugh is the wonderful host and you can find his website here.
Happy writing everyone! ^^ :D

Monday, September 24, 2012

First. Rejection. Ever! ^^ :D

I received my first rejection ever yesterday. And I’m happy about it! ^^ :D Weird right? When I sent out that first submission, I had no idea what kind of feedback I’d get. None. I told myself to put it in the mail and never think about it again until I received my SASE back. Now that I’ve got it back and I know it’s a rejection, I’m still a little disappointed they didn’t want it, but I know I’ve still won, because even though I’ve got to wait a little longer to be published, I still followed through and sent it in the first place. For me, that’s huge! It’s one thing to take classes that say do this, this, and this, but it’s totally different to take that step on your own and take the chance knowing you might fail. It’s scary! Now I feel like I can put that first notch in my lipstick case and strike out again. J I have...
*Experience!!!*

All thats left to do, aside from try again, is figure out what to do with my Rejection Letter! J Frame it???
Have you ever received a Rejection Letter? What did you do with yours? ^^ J

Monday, September 10, 2012

Jumping Back into the Blogosphere with Chocolate!


Welcome to my first ever Blog hop! You may have noticed I haven’t been around for a while and I do apologize for that. Life seems to catch up when you least expect it to and has a habit of turning you round and round until you don’t know which way you’re going. I’m just getting back on track now and I’ll be working on getting around to all those blog posts I missed while I was away.


In the meantime, M. Pax, Laura Eno, Brinda Berry, and Ciara Knight are hosting the What’s your Chocolate? Blog hop! To find a list of all the blogs involved, hop on over to M. Pax’s website and checkout all those fellow chocolate lover's blogs out there! ^^ J


So what’s my chocolate? Truffles. Creamy, delicious truffles. My grandma and grandpa used to always have Lindor ball truffles at their house when we came to visit as kids. The milk chocolate ones were my favorite. ^^ J There’s also a chocolate shop in town called Pegasus Gourmet Chocolate and they have delicious truffles that they make right there in the store. ^^

So what's your chocolate? Tell all about it in the comments below! ^^ J

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Liebster Blog Award

I did it! I sent off my very first submission to Cricket Magazine this week and I’m not going to lie. I’m terrified!!!!! I know everyone says there’s nothing to be afraid of, but every possible doubt ever had, has run through my head this week. What if I misspelled something? What if they don’t like my cover letter? What if they don’t like my story? Worse yet, what if they hate it?! For those that don’t know me very well, I’m a Worry Wart. If there is something to be worried about, rest assured, I am worrying about it! Therefore, I declare here and now, that to quell that voice in my head that says, you can’t, I will not speak another word related the Big Bad What if of Negativity! Or at least that is my goal. J And speaking of putting away that negativity, what better way to do so than to celebrate with my first ever Blog Award! Woohoo! ^^ J
In true Oscar fashion, I’d like to thank Karen Elizabeth Brown for awarding me with the Liebster Blog Award! If you don’t know Karen, she is the wonderful author of the newly released novella, Medieval Muse. It is available as a free read on Smashwords so if you haven’t gotten a chance to check it yet, head on over and check it out!
This award works in groups of 11. The first part I get to tell you 11 things about myself that you wouldn’t normally know by reading my blog, and then I’ll answer 11 questions the lovely Karen passed on for me to answer. Last, but certainly not least, I will award 11 other lovely people with this award and ask them 11 questions to answer on their blogs! Sounds fun, no? ^^ J
So here are 11 things that you may not know about me:
1.       I love wood working. When I was in High School, I needed an extra class to fill out my schedule so they put me in woodshop with a total of two other girls. I don’t think I’ve ever loved another class more, except maybe Japanese. That was pretty awesome too. I made all kinds of things that actually looked cool when they were finished like that wavy Bud Vase there.      Cool, huh? J
2.      I play the violin. I picked it up in the sixth grade because my brother did, and I always did what my big brother did because he was just cool like that. J I’ve been out of practice lately, but I have to admit sometimes I really want to just bust it out and play along with groups like Escala and Bond. Those gals can really play!
3.      I hate spiders. And other creepy crawly bugs. Praying mantises are really cool. But I hate spiders.
4.      Before I decided I wanted to really be a writer, I was dead set on becoming a big time Hollywood director. One of my best friends wanted to do the same thing and we were both going to go to LA Film School and blow Hollywood away with our awesome talent. >:D Unfortunately I changed my mind in the last couple months before graduating and did not become a big Hollywood star. My friend however is still chasing that dream, and is currently taking classes at a film school in Portland. I’m super proud of her and even though I won’t be joining her in the directing world, I still hope that someday I can write a super awesome script and we’ll still blow Hollywood away with our awesome talent. ;)
5.      I love videogames. Some of my favorites are the Final Fantasy Series (X, X-2, XII, and XIII),
      Harvest Moon, and Rune Factory. I grew up watching my big brother play all kinds of videogames and so we are both big videogame fans. Except I have a hard time playing anything war related or something without a good storyline. If it doesn’t have a good storyline I like, I don’t play it.

6.     
One of the book series that’s had the biggest impact on my writing are the Beka Cooper books by Tamora Pierce.
      Most Medieval or Middle Ages books focus on the nobility with a character that is most likely a noble, a princess, or some other high up position that we’ve read about a million other times before. Not a bad thing. Just overdone. In Beka’s books, we see the everyday people, how they live, survive, and struggle. For some reason I had never really stopped to seriously think about them. Sure I thought about them in passing, but not really thought about them. Now the book I’m    working on is immersed in the everyday streets of a bustling city, far away from the castle. Okay the castle does come in later, but it’s not a huge part of the book just yet. ;)
7.      When I was a kid during the summer, I would stay up until 6 a.m. reading stacks of library books. Sometimes when I heard my dad getting ready for work, I’d pretend to be asleep until he left, then go back to reading. Those were good days. J
8.      Another thing I picked up from my brother was Poi. It is Hawaiian fire dancing and it is
 
amazing to watch. I’m not very good at it, but my brother is. He also practices more. Hehe ^^ J Because I’m terrible at describing it and a picture is worth a thousand words, I found a video that shows you what it essentially looks like. It’s pretty cool. :D

9.      I collect fairy figurines. Every year, my family and I go to the coast and I make sure to bring at least one to add to my collection.
10.  I am working on my green thumb. I enjoy gardening, but I have to admit, my plant skills are still a work in progress. I have one of those upside down tomato planters, but thanks to Bambi and her friends, I’ve had to start over on the tomatoes…and all the    other outside plants as well. *Glares at Bambi*
11.  I enjoy photography. I took a class in high school and so every now and again I use my super awesome photography skills to capture nature and hopefully create a beautiful piece of art. J
Here are the 11 questions Karen asked to answer on the blog:
  1. What kind of music inspires you when you write?
I love to listen to a variety of music, but when I write, the music has to be lyric-less. Otherwise, I find classical, Celtic, and videogame soundtracks pretty inspirational. J 
  1. What is your favorite holiday?
Christmas ^^ J
  1. Barefoot or sandals?
Barefoot when walking on sand. Sandals everywhere else. :]
  1. What are your goals for writing this year?
I would like to finish the novel I’m currently working on now and then hopefully publish a few short stories and/or novellas along the way.
  1. What are you reading right now?
Right now I am reading a library copy of Hood by Stephen R. Lawhead. It is a rendition of Robin Hood, which I must confess, I have never actually read. It’s like all the classics that people have known about for years, but never actually read. Now I can say, yes, I have read a version of Robin Hood. ;) And I would definitely recommend it.
  1. Do you outline before you write? If not, do you have some other preparation for your story?
Hehe. I struggle with outlining. I try to outline, but it never comes out right. So I make a vague outline, which then gets rearranged and changed a dozen times as I work on the story itself. The best way I’ve found to go about a type of outlining, for me, is to write down events that I know need to happen and fill in the blanks as I go along.
  1. Who or what is your special muse?
That’s a tough one. I would probably have to say… Well...books, sometimes videogames if you can believe it (Final Fantasy especially. Gotta love those chocobos! J), and movies. I love movies. ^^ :]
  1. Do you have a special place to go to get inspired?
I actually don’t. But I should.
  1. Do you prefer to write during the day or at night? Do you have a schedule?
I try to write during the afternoon because I normally work early mornings, but I’m very much a night owl. I could stay up all night if I wanted. Sometimes I do. >:]
  1. Favorite author(s)?
  1. Beef, chicken, fish or tofu?
Chicken for the win!!! >:D
Now comes the part where I pass the Liebster Award on to 11 other lovely people! Unfortunately as I am still very new to the blogging world, I don’t really know 11 other bloggers yet. L However I would like to leave it open that if you would like to take the 11 Question and Answer challenge, post it on your blog and leave a link to it in the comments.
For those that decide to try it, here are your 11 questions:
1.      What are your top five favorite books?
2.      Do you have any special/odd talents? What’s one of them?
3.      Paperback, hardcover, or eBooks?
4.      What’s the name of your first pet? If you’ve never had a pet, what would you name one if you did?
5.      Where is your dream destination, you’d absolutely love to go to?
6.      What was your favorite subject in school?
7.      What is your favorite movie, actor or actress, and TV show? If you don’t have a favorite TV show, pick another movie. J
8.      What’s your favorite way to travel?
9.      Favorite music group?
10.  Paper or Plastic?
11.  If you had a million dollars, what would you do with it?
Have a great weekend! ^^ :D

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Why ask why?


If you’ve ever spent a good amount of time around a young child, you’ve probably heard the infamous question, “Why?”
Why is the sky blue? Why can’t I touch that? Why can’t I have chocolate now?
Young children ask these kinds of questions a lot. Why? Because they’re learning about the world around them and they want to know more about it. So what does this have to do with writing? Surprisingly, quite a lot actually, especially if you’re working on a story that involves a lot of world building, or is set in an alternate reality. Just like a young child learning about their own world, your readers are being introduced into a completely new world and they want to know more about it.

What really does happen when you touch that? Perhaps you have a giant pink flower that grows close to the ground and when you touch it, you become paralyzed! Well why do you become paralyzed? Is it because the flower is a carnivorous plant and now that you’re stuck to it like glue, it’s going to slowly digest you? Or perhaps it’s because the flower is actually a conscious being and it’s so terribly lonely that it’s willing to imprison you for the rest of eternity just so it isn't so alone.
Another factor, though maybe not as relevant to consider, is why does this flower grow so low to the ground instead of way up in the sky? Does it not like catching birds? Perhaps they don’t taste good or they are just terrible conversationalists with all that screeching and squawking. You could even go as far as to say why is it pink? Or why doesn’t it talk if its conscious? Before you know it, this flower has a backstory and its name is Lila. She was one of five seed pods, but now she’s cursed never to speak again, so her conversations are all one sided with the poor victims she’s ensnared along the way.
Remember though, that you only want to share what’s actually relevant to the story, so since she can’t tell you she had siblings, you should probably just leave them off the page for now and share about them later in a short story or in the extra features you post on your website for those die hard fans that can’t get enough of your stories. ;)

One of the most important places to ask “Why?” is in your character development. This will really help not only define who these people we’re reading about are, but also why they are that way, and how they are likely to act/react because of this. For example, there are two slaves in a medieval market place. Both are young women and they are both sold to a wealthy slave owner. One slave girl—let’s call her Rosa—is delighted, but the other girl—Cora, is terrified. Your first question should be, “Why?” Why is Rosa delighted, and Cora nearly sick to her stomach with worry? The answer lies in their backstory. Perhaps Rosa used to come from a farming family and she knows that if she can win her new master’s trust, she can escape at just the right time back to her family’s farm and hide there until it’s safe to travel further away, where no one will suspect she’s a runaway slave. That seems like a perfectly reasonable reason to be happy about the sale, but what about Cora? Cora has lived a very different life and where Rosa sees a potential escape possibility, Cora sees a potential for punishment. Why? Maybe when she was a girl, she tried to steal her father’s horse to sneak away and meet a boy she thought she was in love with, but she got caught and her father beat her for it. She never entertained another rebellious thought again and so where one girl sees a window of opportunity, all Cora really sees is a potential to get beaten or maybe even sold into a worse situation.
Why does one character choose one thing versus something else? Only you can answer that question but remember to also ask what motivates them? Why does it motivate them? Why is that important? If you can't answer these questions, then you might need to go back and take a closer look at their backstories. These are all questions that will help you get to the bottom of that character that you just couldn’t quite figure out and before you know it, your characters just might be writing that story for you! J

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Medieval Muse Launch Party!!!

Another wonderful author is making her debut today! I am proud to be able to present Karen Elizabeth Brown's new e-book Medieval Muse!


Medieval Muse

By Karen Elizabeth Brown


What happens when Victoria Budroix receives a cameo that promises to give her the desires of her heart? Since she doesn’t know what that would be, a trip to medieval times, intrigue, threat of war and an overbearing lord are on the list for her to choose from. Or could it be meeting her one true love?

Sir William of Conrad has escorted a stranger home to be under his protection. He discovers this woman speaks her own mind and melts his heart. He faces his father’s outrage and a broken alliance with the neighboring clan by falling in love.

Medieval Muse is available as a free read from Smashwords.com.





Karen Elizabeth Brown’s passion for writing is what fills her entire life with exhilarating inspiration. She spends her days writing, doing research and studying about the subjects of her stories.
When she’s not writing, she enjoys music and reading, especially medieval fantasy. Born in Southern California, she migrated to Southern Oregon in 1974 where she now resides in the Rogue Valley with her family and friends. Find out more about the author at her official website:

Saturday, July 28, 2012

I like to Move it Move it!


A lot of different writers write for a lot of different reasons. To entertain, educate, and to make a statement are just a few. I remember really enjoying writing in school and making up all sorts of dark and twisting tales to entertain my friends during lunch. We each had our own stories, but characters and concepts often spilled into each other’s pieces as we wowed (is that even a word?) each other with strange and unpredictable plot twists.

Nowadays, I still enjoy writing, but I find my reasons for writing have multiplied. Have you ever finished a book and found yourself motivated to take on the evils of the world and make everything right? I have. And it’s something I hope to replicate in my writing.  Maybe not in every piece I write, but someday I want to inspire someone to get up, use their voice, and take a stand. There are a lot of things wrong in our world and as individuals a lot of us feel helpless as the tides of time and life erode our wills to do anything about it. Change doesn’t always have to be a big, grand production either. Most times it isn’t. Sometimes is can be as simple as a smile or a short line on a page. The tiniest things we say and do every day are the things that form the foundations of the big and grand.

Of course I still enjoy writing just because I can, but sometimes it would be nice to know someone took something important away from having read my book. :)
So tell me, why do you write?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Stopover at the Backworld's Edge


The Backworlds Book 2 is Out!



The sequel to The Backworlds is now available. Craze and his friends continue their adventures in Stopover at the Backworlds’ Edge. See what role chocolate plays in the galaxy this time.



The interstellar portal opens, bringing in a ship that should no longer exist. A battleship spoiling for a fight, yet the war with Earth ended two generations ago. The vessel drops off a Water-breather, a type of Backworlder thought to be extinct. She claims one of Craze’s friends is a traitor who summoned the enemy to Pardeep Station. A betrayal worse than his father’s, if Craze lives to worry about it.





Available for all ereaders from:




iTunes and Kobo will be available shortly.



If you haven’t read The Backworlds yet, it’s available as a free read from many outlets. See HERE for links. [http://mpaxauthor.com/the-backworlds-series/backworlds-the/]





Inspiring the words M. Pax writes, Mary spends her summers as a star guide at Pine Mountain Observatory in stunning Central Oregon where she lives with the husband unit and two loving cats. She write science fiction mostly and has a slight obsession with Jane Austen. Mary blogs at http://www.mpaxauthor.com/blog/

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Oh my...

This morning I rolled out of bed and mosied into the kitchen only to stop, glance back into the living room, blink a couple times, then nearly shriek! I love my cats, but I DO NOT love the presents they bring me. My dear sweet Tazzy, who just recently learned how to use the dog door, seems to have come into the idea that she needs to either earn her room and board, or she simply wants to show me she's thinking of me because, this morning I found, neatly set out on the rug for me, a dead baby mouse. Not only that, but while I was writing at the kitchen bar counter last Wednesday, she brought home a live bird. Luckily I was able to catch the it before it flew into too many windows and release it outside where it will hopefully become a little more wary of cats. It kinda made me feel like a modern day Snow White though, cradling the poor thing out to safety. Hehe. J At least now it's safe.
Speaking of Wednesday, I had my first official critique with my new critique group in Bend. It went great and we even had a little of everything to look at too, which was really nice. ^^ There's some great writers in our group and I can't wait to see what they bring next time! Speaking of writing, I should be getting back to mine. I hope everyone is having a great weekend and staying cool with these toasty temperatures here in Oregon. Until next time! ^^ J

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Vacations and Happy 4th of July!!!

Vacations are very nice, but sometimes so is coming home. After 5 days at the coast, it was kind of nice to come home and relax before getting back to day to day life and what better to be home just in time for the 4th of July! J Last Thursday after three hours in the car we arrived at my aunt and uncle’s beach house for our family reunion and headed straight to Mo’s. On Friday we enjoyed cheese cube samples and ice cream at the Tillamook Cheese Factory. If you’ve ever been curious about how they make and package cheese, I’d highly recommend you take a trip down there. They have a viewing area in which you can watch the factory employees cure, package, and box up the cheese. It’s pretty educational for anyone interested in learning about cheese. J


The next afternoon my brother, future sister-in-law, and I headed out to Netard Beach and tried our hand at clamming for the first time. We actually turned out to be pretty successful! ^^ We pulled up 24 Purple Varnish clams and 6 ghost shrimp. The shrimp didn’t have much to them, but the clams were absolutely delicious and tasted fresher than any store bought clams I’ve ever eaten. Digging through all that sand though made my arm awfully sore, which didn’t help at 4:30 a.m. the next morning when my step dad, brother, and I stumbled, bleary-eyed out of bed and headed to down to Tradewinds Charters in Depot Bay and boarded the Amigo to go deep sea fishing. With a crew of fourteen we set out passing three fat and sassy seals basking on the rocks, enjoying a comfortable life of ease. Maybe twenty minutes out, we dropped 10 crab pots, one of which I got to throw out personally, and headed out to catch some monster fish. All in all we reeled in about 10 fish. ^^ I pulled up four; three were sea bass and the other a tiny fish I didn’t catch the name of. For bottom fishing it was actually pretty quiet and when the wind started to pick up, the fish stopped biting.
What we didn’t catch in fish, we hauled up in crab. Altogether the total tallied up to 70 keepers (you can only keep males that are over a certain measurement). From there we headed back to the bay and disembarked. They cleaned the fish and cooked the crab right there by the docks were seagulls and seals gathered around in hopes of catching a stray morsel. Once we got back to the beach house, I took a good looong nap hehe. ^^
The whole weekend stayed pretty overcast with quite a bit of rain here and there, but the sun did make a nice little appearance on Sunday afternoon for the tail end of our fishing trip. Now I'm home much to the relief of my two cats, although they aren't very happy at the moment with all the fireworks going off.

I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July and set off plenty of fireworks!!! Now it's time for me to go to bed. It's waaay past my bedtime. ^^ J

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Save The Lemmings! Cover Reveal by Kai Strand

As an author, one of my biggest dreams is to someday get published, but in the meantime, I'd like to shine the spotlight on a great friend and amazing author already seeing her dreams come true and congratulate her on the cover release of her upcoming book Save the Lemmings! :)


When Natalie’s Texty-Talky invention makes her an overnight sensation, the media digs until they find a way to smear her goody-goody image. When her best friends start believing what they read, Natalie’s sunny spirit is pushed to its limits. How will Natalie stop the lies and win her friends back? And who will SAVE THE LEMMINGS?


Kai Strand is the author of the children's book The Weaver. You can find her at her website here or on her blog here.

Strands of Thought - Children's Author, Kai Strand: Cover Reveal - Save The Lemmings by ME: Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce to you Natalie Isabelle Cailean Edwards. The N.I.C.E. girl who doesn’t always finish last – though ...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Tips and Tricks when Self Editing

Do you ever get bogged down when editing? Find it all a little overwhelming? Try a few of these tips and tricks and see if editing your piece becomes a little simpler. :) Grab a pen and paper, as well as a copy of your story (or even article!) and lets get started!

To make things easier, start with just the first page of your manuscript. Go through each sentence and tally up how many words are in each one. I'd recommend recording the numbers at the end of each sentence, but it doesn't really matter where you write them down so long as you know where it is and can reference it easily. Do you have multiple sentences one right after another that are almost the same length? Try shortening or breaking them into two different sentences! Make sure you like the way they flow, but still be sure that you get some variation in there. :)

Next look at the first three words of each sentence. Do you notice any patterns? You want to avoid starting too many sentences the same way or else you'll sound like a broken record! If you find you've started two sentences that are next to each other with "I" then maybe try rewriting one so that it starts with something else. The goal is to make sure you aren't repeating a lot of the same sentence openings or, if you can, not repeating any at all.

Lastly, take your piece for a spin and read it out loud. How does it sound? Does it flow well? Does the dialogue sound natural? If you have a tape recorder, record yourself reading and listen to the playback. I don't recommend videoing though, only because you really want to listen to the words, not think about how funny it is to be watching yourself and asking, "Does my hair really stick up like that?" ;) Ask a good friend you trust to read it back to you and see how it sounds coming from someone who hasn't read it a million times. ;D

Did any of these tips help you? Have any tips you'd like to add? Share them in the comments below! ^^ :)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Maps

I like maps. :) Not the kind that tells you where North Street and South Street cross, but book maps that usually show you the winding streets of a perilous city or where a kingdom sits nestled against a gargantuan mountainside. It seems like I'm forever making maps that are attached to one story or another. They help me, for lack of a better word, map out the story and world my characters live in. The map below is the one in which my current novel is set. For now it's mostly a rough map, but I plan to add to it as I fully flesh out my story world. ^^ :)


When I do finally get published, I hope you'll find a much prettier version just inside the cover of my book. ^^ :)

Do you have any habits that help you flesh out your story world? :)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Adventures in Short Stories

Yesterday as I was editing and reediting the first chapter of my novel, I started to become a little bogged down and decided to step back and think about some long term goals. A novel, depending on the speed at which you write, can be a long endeavor! You have multiple chapters to fill, plenty of characters to flesh out, and after all that, you have editing. For a beginning writer like myself, it started to look like a rather daunting task! Working through my writing course with the Institute of Children's Literature I mostly wrote short stories. The whole time I kept thinking to myself, I don't like short stories. How can you become invested in a story that's only five pages long? Where's the build up? The plot? The adventure? The romance? I was simply not interested in such short works of fiction.

Now that I've been able to seriously commit to a full length novel, I'm beginning to see the value in short stories. When you've been working at the computer, hammering out all those little details, a short story is like a nice little breather. You can step away from that big daunting project, focus on something a little simpler, and just enjoy a shorter, less complicated piece of fiction. That's why I've decided to revive my first assignment for the Institute and make a true blue effort to get it published! ^^ :)

Strange Medicine, is a short story about two twins who go on a journey in New York to find a cure for their mother's sickness. After countless doctors have tried and failed to help, all seems lost until Tansy hears in her mother's whispering delirium, the name of a single doctor. Doctor Skiff. When Tansy and her brother Brett raid their mother's address book all they find are three words: Skiff Central Park. And so their adventure begins...

I heard somewhere that if you make a goal, you should either write it down somewhere you can see it or tell someone about it so why not do both? :) Getting Strange Medicine published is mine. What's yours? :)