Wednesday, December 4, 2013

In the Zone

   
            Writing is interesting.  I know, duh, of course it’s interesting or nobody would do it.  What I mean is you have all these ideas popping into your brain and you have to attempt to pick out one or two that, if you’re lucky, will morph into a story.  Hopefully a good one. 

Writing is one of the most interesting and satisfying things I have ever attempted.  It's also difficult, exasperating, and all consuming, but I love it and can't wait to sit down in front of my computer and put my ideas to paper. 

            I am, as stated previously (several times in fact), working on Visions of Mortality, #2 in the Visions series, but I've been hijacked by a story that I have to get out of my brain before I can get back to Larita, Shelby, and friends. 

Tentatively entitled The Whispering of Trees, this narrative is the story of Aggie, a happy sixteen-year-old living in the small town of Barrow Alaska, whose life is shattered when something unspeakable happens to her not long after her sixteenth birthday.  She gives in to despair, thinking herself incapable of surviving the life-altering consequences, until an unexpected source of love and understanding encourages her to dig deep and discover untapped reserves of courage.

I will keep you posted on my progress and to those readers who liked Visions of You (thank you!) and are patiently awaiting Visions of Mortality, please bear with me, I’m typing as fast as I can.    

Friday, September 27, 2013

Visions of Mortality

I’m seventeen and I’m dead.
I think I’ve been dead for about two years.  It’s hard to tell because the passage of time is different here.  My friends and family have grown older, taller in some cases, and don’t cry for me as much as they did in the beginning.  I’m pretty sure that my friend Shelby is nineteen now, but it’s easy for me to lose track of birthdays.  I’ll have to ask her the next time we talk.  

Monday, July 15, 2013

Still working on it...

Hi! 

I'm still working on #2, Visions of Mortality.  It's been a bit of a struggle...I have been unable to decide who's telling the story, Shelby or Larita.  I've now decided that VOM will be told from Larita's point of view.  So, I had to change everything.  What a drag, but now that's done and I can continue.

 Most writers recommend that you keep writing and not edit till you're finished with the narrative but, unfortunately for me, I have a real problem doing that.  I always edit during writing.  I can't seem to stop myself from going back and changing things on the fly.  Oh well.  On with the show! 

Friday, May 10, 2013

First Novel Wins International Award!


I am thrilled to announce that my first book, a novel entitled Visions of You, has won an award at the 2013 Paris Book Festival!

When I opened my email and saw the winner’s list announcement, I thought, “Eh, why even bother to look?  I’m sure my name isn’t listed.”

Well, I couldn’t stand it so I looked anyway.  My next thought was, “Holy crap!”  There it was - number five on the honorable mentions list in the young adult category.  This may not seem like a big deal to some, but ask any writer and he/she will tell you, it's a big deal!     

Thank you to the Paris Book Festival for the nod of approval, it inspires me to keep going and a huge thank you to my sisters, mom, and the friends who read my first drafts and encouraged me to keep writing.  I love you guys!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Spring!?

    
Well, I think...I hope spring has sprung, at least here in north Idaho.

The croci (I looked it up and croci is a proper plural, plus it’s cuter than crocuses) are blooming and groups of yellow daffodils are blazing around town like spots of earthbound sunshine.  The trees are just beginning to leaf out.  I love the way they’re bare one day then a day or two later fresh new leaves suddenly pop out.

Maybe I’m weird (my family would probably agree), but spring makes me think of fresh laundry hanging outside in the warm sunshine, flapping gently in a warm summer breeze. 

When I was a kid growing up in Alaska, we didn’t have a clothes dryer so Mom had to hang our laundry out to dry.  In winter she hung it inside on lines Dad strung in the utility room.  In the spring she hauled it all outside to hang on the sturdy lines in the back yard; sometimes so early in the spring that the wet fabric would freeze before the sun warmed the air enough for it to dry.  We used to joke about Mom freeze-drying our clothes.

One of the first things I asked my husband for after we moved here was a clothesline.  He may have thought I was crazy, but he made one for me.          

                                                                    Summer Colors

I love the excuse to be in the great outdoors, but I think the real reason I like to hang my laundry outside is because not only does the fresh, sweet smell and the crisp feel of sun-and-breeze-dried fabric remind me of summer and my childhood, to me they represent the comforts of home and the importance of family. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

How to Train a Man to Train a Dog (Among Other Things)

            “Raaar, rraaaRr, woof, arf, arf, RAARRF!”
“Good Lord!  What the...”  I jerk the earbuds out of my ears interrupting a rollicking Bob Marley song. 
            It’s 9:00 A.M. and I’m huffing and puffing and sweating my way through a workout on my elliptical and jamming to my favorite tunes when, through my supposedly sound-deadening (and expensive) earbuds, I’m yanked back to reality by the shrill sounds of our eleven-year-old Cattle Dog, Sydney, scrabbling down the hallway, through the workout room and screeching to a halt by the door to the garage with our other dog, a two-year-old Chihuahua named Pippin, hot on her heels and just as earsplitting.
My husband ambles down the hall after them and strolls to the door to let them out.  He’s muttering, “Be quiet you two.  Pippin shut up.  Quiet Sydney.”
I can scarcely hear his voice above the din of the dogs and (as usual) our sweet, spoiled pooches are paying no attention whatsoever to their dad. 
“Quiet!” I bellow.
Immediate silence.  For a minute.
Three pairs of eyes, two brown, one blue, focus on my sweaty face. 
“Why is it so hard for you to control these dogs?” I ask for the billionth time while glaring into the blue eyes belonging to my husband.  “Is it really that hard?”
This is, of course, a rhetorical question, which he doesn’t even attempt to answer while opening the door and releasing them, screeching again, into the garage.  He glares at me and closes the door, which really doesn’t help much.  It sounds like Baskerville Hounds are slavering on the other side.   
“Why are they so obnoxious for you and so not for me?”
“Well...” he begins squaring his shoulders in preparation for the lecture he knows is forthcoming.  After all, it’s not like he hasn’t heard it before.
I interrupt in my best “teacher voice”, “All you have to do is make them sit and be quiet before you let them out.  I’ve told you that at least...”
“A million times,” he finishes for me as he opens the door and steps into the lair of the hellhounds.  The noise volume rises painfully and then mutes a bit again as he slams the door behind him. 
“Well,” I sniff, a little peeved now.  Climbing off the elliptical, I must set him straight.  Really, I do know better.  He won’t listen and we’ll end up in a fight.  But, I can’t stop myself.  After all, I’ve watched Victoria Stillwell enough times to be the resident dog training expert and I just want to help. 
After eighteen years, you’d think I would’ve learned, but I think maybe if I tell him just one more time...
“You know,” I begin, stepping through the door and raising my voice to be heard over the doggy din, “if you’d keep the door closed until they’re quiet and then tell them they’re good before you open it, they’d learn that if they bark, you won’t let them out.”
 “The door is closed,” he replies.
“What?”
“It’s closed.”
I’ve lost all semblance of patience by now, so I holler louder, “Don’t be so obtuse, I know it is now, I mean before you let them out.” 
“Why don’t you just tell me how to live?” He shouts back.
“What do you mean by that, why can’t you ever just listen?”
“Because you think I don’t do anything right.”
“I’m just trying to help.”
“SHUT UP!”  We yell in unison at the dogs.  They fall silent and look at us, shiny gold haloes hovering above their pointed ears.
“Pippin started it,” he says, placing himself on the level of a five-year-old.
“Nuh-uhn, Sydney always starts it, and she’s getting worse.”  I’m now four years old complete with hands-on-hips.  I might as well stick my tongue out too.
“Well, your dog taught Sydney.”
“What?”
“Tango taught Sydney to bark...”
“Tango’s been gone for nine years.  What’s she got to do with anything?” I sputter.
Sydney learned it from her...”
“All Cattle Dogs bark.” 
“Well, she’s quiet now.”
“What?"
Indeed she was.  In fact both dogs were now lying quietly on the floor, watching us and waiting for us to be quiet so they could go outside.
“See,” he grins, “I know how to train a dog.”
 “You’re such a boob,” I try to remain stern, but can’t help smiling too.
“Good dogs.” 
Wagging their innocent tails, they run to the outside door.    

Thursday, January 3, 2013

New blog subject

Hi All,

Happy New Year!

I know, I know, it's been awhile...again!  I've been working at my paying job a lot (too much) and trying to fit in writing time and have (again) been remiss in keeping up with my blog.  Please don't give up on me.

I'm still working on my two novels, "Visions of Mortality" and "Eight Degrees" as well as working at the hospital and taking an online class, "Writing for Children".  Am I stretching myself too thin?  NAH!  I just need to prioritize, which I'm actually pretty good at...with the exception of this blog!  With your patience and my persistence, I can do it.     

The other day I was explaining to my husband that training a dog (as with most other things in life) is a matter of patience and persistence.  This occurred while our 11 year old Australian Cattle dog was raising an earsplitting ruckus, barking and tearing down the hallway in an attempt to go somewhere...anywhere, and hubby was letting her (for the millionth time) get away with being an out-of-control cattle dog.  If any of you have ever had one, you know of what I speak.  They're one of the best, most loyal, smartest pooches ever bred, but by golly, they can be a handful!  Anyway, I said to him, "You know it would be nice if someone could come up with a way to train a man to train a dog," and voila!, my new blog topic was born!

So tomorrow will be my first installment of "How to Train a Man to Train a Dog."  I hope you will read and enjoy.  If you do, please tell your friends.

Thank you for sticking with me.
Enjoy reading!  :~)
C.Y.B.