Thursday, January 29, 2015

Just Write Thursdays

One of my favorite author/bloggers, Lynn Viehl, has initiated an encouraging challenge that I would like to accept – Just Write Thursdays. Check out her original post at

As her title suggests, the goal of Just Write Thursdays is to just write something, anything and (if you want) post it on your blog for sharing. This is exactly the inspiration I need today, as I have been putting off writing to work on other projects.

Here is today’s Just Write assignment:

Tree Pose

The mountain meadow is crusted yellow from a winter hibernation. Naked trees reach their hopeful bud-tipped branches towards the fierce, azure sky.

She stands in the center, searching for balance.

Bare toes spread wide to root into seemingly dead grass. Legs braced, chest high, gaze fixed. She is the mountain. Unmoving. Unmoved.  

The morning breeze caresses her face, and she breathes it in. Her eyes track the swaying of the trees as she shifts. One foot grounded, the other foot free to brace against her own leg. Her roots and trunk are formed. She exhales her gaze to the ground. 

The wind nudges her, bringing the scent of crisp leaves and a hint of old snow. She tastes the air, raising her arms to the open ceiling of the meadow. She has branches, but she is not the tree. Her gaze is fixed, her balance stiff. 

Trees sway against each other in the wind. The wind unbalances her. Her foot returns to the ground.

She waits. The breeze strokes her ears. The trees whisper. She clears her mind and listens. The trees surround her, asking her to join them in the breeze. 

She breathes in and closes her eyes. Her roots grow deep and her trunk strong as her branches seek the sun. Fellow trees send her messages on the breeze and she leans in to receive them.

 She sways, and she does not fall. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Ready. Set. Revise.

I've been steadily revising my first draft of Through the Woods (That Book I Wrote During NaNoWriMo). When I wrote the first draft, I left myself notes and reminders in the comments section for things I knew I would have to come back to and edit.

Some of these notes are just place-markers for major changes, like “From this point on, the cat is a girl not a boy. Make sure the cat gets turned into a girl from here back.”

But some of the notes are major [facepalm] moments that made me laugh out loud reading them. Here are a few of my favorites – I did edit the comments a bit so that my mom won’t shoot me for putting curse words on my blog. Love you Mama!
  • Oh crap – remember that Sam’s feet are all bandaged up? I think you forgot that in the creek scene. Also, she needs dry clothes like bad
  • Fix this; Sam doesn't have dry clothes.
  • Don’t forget that her feet are all f***ed up
  • Just realized I forgot to write that cat into the last couple of scenes. Got back and add the little critter.
  • This is lame. Fix it.
  • Dude. Did you forget that she has a sprained wrist and has her arm in a sling after this? Yes you did. Fix that shit.
  • Wait…. Is this what we named it? Check on that.
  • No really, fix this shit. 

I think I’m most entertained by how I started referring to myself in the plural by the end of the book. We have a lot of fun revising.

Friday, January 9, 2015

That Book I Wrote During NaNoWriMo

I've had a couple of people ask me what my novel is about. I've hesitated to post too much about it so far because I wasn't sure how much would change during the writing process. Indeed, one of my main characters did not care for how I was writing him, and I've already had to rewrite all of his scenes to keep him happy.

But now I have the meat of my first draft done and I’m halfway through my first round of revisions, so I suppose it’s time to share what this novel is all about.

My working title for this novel is Through the Woods. It’s a love story between a strong-willed outdoorsy woman and a gadget loving city guy. That city guy is the character who made me re-write all of his scenes. Apparently, he’s pretty strong-willed himself, more than I had initially realized at least.

Photo credit story will take them on an adventure through Pisgah National Forest, a corner of the Appalachian Mountains in Western North Carolina. What begins as a simple group backpacking trip led by our heroine and her burly brother will become a journey of new discoveries, recovery from deep emotional injuries, and (spoiler alert) a Search & Rescue Mission to save a lost hiker.

To keep things from getting too heavy, our heroine brings along her spunky hiking cat, and I provide the promise of a happy ending. It is a romance after all.

Feel free to post comments about what you think of Through the Woods. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be continuing my revisions and I’ll post some blurbs about each character along with a few scenes. Feedback is always welcome. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Book Review: Angel Food by Brittany Tuttle

Having just finished reading Angel Food, I can’t wait to read it again. The story is a journey which reveals its fullness to you, the reader, bit by tantalizing bit. The seemingly endless road-trip of the Camper siblings is never boring, although the characters in the plot may argue with me on that point.

Angel Food exposes the purest love between two people, a brother and sister. While there is a bevy of entertaining characters in this tale, it is the emotional journey of these two siblings that completely enraptured me. They encapsulate everything that it means to be human – even while one of them is decidedly not.

From the Back Cover:

Anson, River, and Isidore Camper have spent their lives traveling the country in an Airstream, on the run from the angels who have been trying to kill Isidore since the day she was born. On their own since a Gabriel killed their father, Anson has his hands full keeping River off his old drug habit and stopping Isidore from destroying the world with her strange abilities. Isidore just wants to have a good time before she dies--and make sure no other family members are taken out with her.

When the truth about their father's death comes to light, the Camper siblings set out to find answers about their family, dodging Isidore's stalkers, state troopers, accusations of polygamy--and yes, angels--along their way. Their journey leads them from posh seaside Los Angeles through the wilds of the American Southwest, finally culminating in an Oklahoma showdown between good and evil. The only trick is deciding which is which. Angel Food is a riveting tale that spins between humor and tragedy.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Writing Goals for 2015

The Drive to Utah. A 3 Day Epic.
Before I go into my goals for 2015, I should probably recap what was accomplished in 2014. I did not start 2014 expecting to work on my writing as major chunk of my daily life. Instead, I started the year off with goals of buying a house (done!), running an insane distance (done!), and some other non-writing related stuff.

But then Derek and I received this great opportunity in Utah and everything changed. We rented out our newly purchased house, gave teary-eyed hugs to loved ones left back East, and set out on a new adventure. With Derek’s new job, we realized we could still break even with me just working part-time and wham-mo, I was suddenly gifted with enough time to really pursue this whole writing thing.

So, it was around October that I set my 2014 writing goal to participate in NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month. In the month of November I met that goal with 50,000 words written, creating a whole plot with fun characters and my very first ever completed novel. Whoa.

Now, it’s time for me to take my next steps. My hope is that in 2015 I will grow my writing skills, build up my writing portfolio, and ideally get some stuff published. So, without further ado, here are my Writing Goals for 2015.

1. Revise my 2014 NaNoWriMo Novel and submit it for publication. This is going to require a little help from my friends who have offered to pre-read it for me (you guys rock!!)

2. Draft up and submit at least one article per month for publication in a magazine, website (like, or blog besides my own. While my biggest dream is to write novels, I know they are a time consuming process which may never fully pay off. Articles will offer me a shorter turn-around time on feedback, helping me to hone my craft more aggressively. Maybe I’ll even get paid.

3. Create one blog post per week. Some of these may be book reviews or otherwise writing related, but let’s face it, some of these will probably just be verbal vomit about my life. I’ll try to keep that to a minimum :)

Derek and me, climbing in Utah
4. Write 1,000 words per week for my next novel (or failing that, go all in for NaNoWriMo 2015 and have another writing frenzy like last year (okay, yeah, I’m gonna do NaNo again))

5. Write one gear review per month. Similar to Goal #2, gear reviews will help me practice another style of writing. Additionally, they will be a fun way to combine my interests in writing with my interests in outdoor adventures. My gear reviews are going to be posted in the blog I write with Derek, Rock. River. Run. Feel free to jump over and check it out.

I’m definitely looking forward to an exciting New Year. Wishing you the best of luck with any goals you have set for yourself!