This is my new obsession! I used the Project Life app to make these scrapbook pages. You can use the photos on your phone or in your Dropbox. Once you get the hang of it, it’s super fast and easy to make a cute page! I love being able to have something productive to do while I’m waiting in the car or at the doctor’s office.
The other day my neighbor told me that her friend calls her sewing machine the “Halloween Machine” because that was the only time she ever used it. I use mine a little more than once a year, but sometimes it doesn’t feel like much more. The Halloween machine has been very busy over the last month, and I’m happy to report that I didn’t use any patterns this year, but made all my own instead.
Happy Halloween from Darth (no masks were allowed at the carnival where this picture was taken), Qui Gon Jinn, Elsa, and Anna.
Motherhood: glamour, beauty, and pure simplicity. Right? For a funny take on parenting that uses pictures from ads and magazine articles, take a look at “It’s Like They Know Us.”
I am loving that Weird Al is making a comeback! I’m not sure how he looks exactly the same as twenty-five years ago, but I’m happy he’s still doing his parodies. “Word Crimes” is a new favorite. I’ll admit that my grammar isn’t perfect. I do try to re-learn all those rules from seventh grade English class and use them properly. The only rule I ignore outright is good vs. well. I have tried for the past fifteen years to say, “I’m well,” instead of, “I’m good,” but I always feel so stiff and snobby when I say that. I know I should overcome the peer pressure and just say it properly, but then all my insecurities of seventh grade come rushing back. If you need to brush up on your grammar a little bit, go watch “Word Crimes” here. Then when you’re done, you’ll need to laugh some more, so go watch “White and Nerdy” here. Then you might need to go to the bathroom first (so you don’t pee your pants), and then come back and watch this. Don’t you love Donny Osmond?
I took the opportunity to re-read “Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown with @thesocialbookclub. I read “The Gifts of Imperfection” by the same author two years ago, and it was a life changing book for me! I love Brene Brown. She is amazing! If you haven’t read anything by her, I highly recommend either of these books.
I also love the quote by Teddy Roosevelt which is where her title came from. We have read it to our kids on several occasions. I’ve always wanted to do a poster of it for our 16×20 frame in our living room, which I like to switch out occasionally. I thought I’d take this opportunity to calligraph the quote in a poster. (You can get it printed at Costco for $6). To download the poster, click here. Be sure to check out @thesocialbookclub on instagram.
How did I start writing? If you look at the checkered past of my English classes, you would find me an unlikely candidate for becoming a writer. Even for becoming a wannabe writer. In junior high and high school I was bounced around between remedial English class and honors English class. I don’t know why, but I always ended up on one end of the spectrum or the other. I never took AP English. It never even occurred to me to try. I had one particular teacher my junior year in high school who disliked me. The feeling was mutual. Due to that experience, I felt that I was quite terrible at English. I had convinced myself of this fact and as a result I didn’t take freshman English in college until I was a junior! I completed the minimum English requirements for graduation.
Fast forward a few (ahem!) years, and I found that I actually was a decent writer, and I really loved doing it too! I started getting comments from family and friends about my blog, editorial articles written to the newspaper, and even comments on my family newsletter for our annual Christmas card! Maybe I wasn’t such a poor writer after all. I decided to write a novel, and I did. I completed it, then sent it off to my family and friends to have them read it. They all told me they loved it, but they also gave me constructive criticism. I worked some more and then sent it out to agents. I received rejection after rejection after rejection. I was heartbroken. I stopped writing for about a year, telling myself that I guess I was wrong. I was not a good writer after all. The truth is, I didn’t really know anything about structuring a novel or creating a character. I had lots of ideas bouncing around in my head, and lots of stories to tell. But, let’s face it family and friends, that first attempt was not good, no matter how kind you were to read and critique it. It was truly terrible! I’ve read a lot of books on writing since then. I’ve learned a lot of things. I’ve nursed my broken heart. I’m ready to really give it a go again. All I’m lacking now is time. Sigh.
One of the things I have loved the most about this writing journey is the people I’ve met along the way! One of my first connections was Amy, who was re-introduced to me by a mutual friend (we met once our twice in college through this same friend, but only in passing). Amy is wonderful. She is an amazing writer. She works really hard. She writes beautifully crafted articles for her blog, for newspapers, and for other blogs. She also writes novels that are so good you can’t put them down. Amy has been monumental in my journey as a writer. She is always ready to encourage me and discuss the publishing world with me. And she is always there to proof my work, no matter how big or small it is. You should definitely visit her blog.
Melinda Joy is someone I “met” a few months ago in an online watercolor class we were both taking. (I say met, but I really mean that I kind of stalked her and, thankfully, she was not too creeped out.) It turned out that Melinda and I had a lot in common – what a fun connection we made! She’s a grad student widow right now, and they have two children. She has a lot to take care of amid chasing her dreams! She writes middle grade fiction, and you can check out her short stories on Amazon here and here.
Ginger is someone I just recently met on the internet. Ginger is one of those people you just want to be friends with. Plus, she is an awesome writer! I’m currently enjoying her first book, “Spark.” You can get it on Amazon here.
Now, I’ll share my answers to the three questions for this blog hop:
1. What am I working on? I’m currently finishing up a children’s picture book. I expect to be submitting this to slush piles across America beginning next week! Once I’ve completed that, I will resume work on several unfinished projects (I always have at least a few going on at the same time). These include a women’s historical fiction novel about a Mayan princess, a YA novel where a Santa Cruz surfer girl who becomes a mermaid, a middle grade novel about a boy who trains a bald eagle, and a collection of short stories about women in different circumstances called “One Fine Day in Rome”.
2. Why do I write what I write? I guess I haven’t really figured out my favorite audience. As you can see from my list above, I’m still writing a bit of everything. In most cases, though, my stories contain something out of the ordinary. If they aren’t set in a fictional place and time, at least they contain something mystical, miraculous, or faith-based. There are two reasons for this. First, I believe in a lot of things that can’t necessarily be seen or described by science or by ordinary life. Second, I have a hard time crafting a story that is set in everyday life that is interesting. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of people can do it beautifully. I just don’t seem to be one of those people.
3. What is my writing process? This is the part where I tell you that I wake up at four o’clock every morning, write for an hour, go run 5 miles rain or shine, then write for another hour. All before my kids wake up and I start the day. Hahahahaha! I wish! But no, that is not how my writing process goes. With four kids (one of which rarely sleeps through the night), that just isn’t what my life looks like right now. However, to make any headway, it’s very important for me to write every day. I find that when I do that, my subconscious is always thinking about my story and coming up with ways to solve problems; my characters speak to me, and I see a lot of things in the world around me that can be incorporated into my story. I’ve tried just about every method for writing. I have countless notebooks with a chapter or two and a list of characters, or even just a passage here and there. Add to that 3×5 cards and notes jotted on receipts, and it is a great big disorganized mess. What works best for me is to type in Word on the computer, but sitting down at the computer for an hour a day is not always possible. When I’m out and about, I write in a notebook I keep in my purse or I write in Evernote on my phone using a bluetooth keyboard like this one. I find it’s very important to write something down as soon as it comes to my mind. It’s amazing to me how fleeting these thoughts and passages are. Sometimes they’re gone before I can even grab a pen. Definitely, consistency is key for me. Something I’m lacking terribly right now.
Thanks for letting me share a little bit about my writing life with you! Be sure to check out the blogs of my writing friends!