Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Ready for a Challenge?

Just hours away at midnight on November 1st, novelists from around the world will press their pen to the paper taking the challenge to write a 50,000 word novel.  Are you up for it?  Then check out all the fun at www.nanowrimo.org to find out how you can be involved. 

There, you’ll find forums, pep talks, and even a store filled with fun stuff for writers.  Remember that little book by Sara Gruen that we recently found its way to the screen?  #1 New York Times Bestseller–Water for Elephants? Yep.  Those words began during NANOWRIMO, along with many other now published novels.

So, hope you take the challenge.  You never know just what’s beyond the next penned word.

Bookstores and Paperbacks

Bookstore in Florence, Italy

Image via Wikipedia

Every single day–no exaggeration, here–I read someone’s thoughts on ebooks vs. paperbacks.

And with Borders officially announcing plucking up the FOR SALE sign to file bankruptcy, bookstores seem destined for doom.

But I disagree.  My problem with these big bookstore chains has nothing to do with Nooks and Kindles or even Amazon. 

In fact, it’s the opposite.  I long for hands-on browsing where I can ask for help or recommendations from BOOKish people .  You know, people who actually READ.  Not some teen running the register who can only recommend The Lincoln Lawyer and Water for Elephants well, because, he’s just seen the movies. 

Once upon a time I fell in love with a bookstore.  A small locally owned spot where I was greeted by the owner who knew every book in stock and could place his finger on just the book I was looking for. 

His passion for the written word filled the cluttered room and lured me in–I left with an armload of books I had never even heard of before.

Sure I love the convenience of Amazon– and ebooks are most convenient and readily available.  But I still need the paper.  Curled up in bed with my son, turning the picture book page.  Staying up way too late to turn one more page–even hugging those unforgettables close when the last page is done. 

I sit at a computer all day.  My kids look at tiny screens playing video games for way too long already.  Sometimes, we need the paper.  The feel of the books between our hands.

Are bookstores and paperbacks doomed to be replaced by techno gadgets?  I think there’s room for them all.

Pencil Me In!

"Classic" size Franklin Planner w Mo...

Image via Wikipedia

Thanks to my teaching background I’m a stickler for schedules.–show up one minute late to pick up your kiddies from the library and you’ve shifted the entire school day.

Writing from home where I’m only accountable to ME has greatly increased this need for a plan.   

That’s why I keep a planner.  I have one of those large daily/monthly planners for students–yes, I like to write in longhand–where I have plenty of room to fill my day with everything from dentist appointments and paying the bills, to writing to word counts and visiting the local library.

My planner keeps me:

accountable–at the end of the day/week I look back to celebrate accomplishments and make changes for new attempts the following day/week.

motivated–writing alone, day after day, can be frustrating.  I jot down small goals along the way to keep me going as I head toward the big goal–a finished manuscript.

prioritized–if not for the planner, I’d drown in a heap of work– I can easily become consumed by thoughts and new ideas.  Knowing that I’ve planned out plenty of work time throughout the week, I’m able to take more time to relax and enjoy the other things in life–LIVING– so that when I do sit down to write I’m able to breathe real life onto the page. 

For me, I like things neat and tidy.  The planner provides a little of that to my hectic life.  Does my schedule always work?  No way!  In fact, most days are left with something to push forward to the next. 

But I have a plan.  I’ve set goals, decided on the best way to accomplish each, and scheduled time to make attempts at reaching toward them.  And little by little, I make my way toward the finish line.

What’s up with the chickens?

The Red Wheelbarrow

Image by CEThompson via Flickr

My husband and I met in high school.  Just as now, back then I loved English class, great classic literature, and poetry.  He loved numbers–yuck.  Trying to persuade him to see the light, I would read beautiful phrases in hopes something would spark an interest.  But each time he’d only reply with–What’s up with the chickens and a wheelbarrow?

He missed the point entirely.  You see, William Carlos Williams stated it clearly in the poem “The Red Wheelbarrow” when he wrote–so much depends upon. . .

The point is not realism, but reality itself.  As writers, we must view the world as the protagonist–experiencing smells, sounds, and sights as only he can. 

For me, the smell of brewing coffee evokes comfort.  For someone else who feels trapped in a job running the register at a coffee shop counter, that same smell could evoke entirely different emotions.

Think about the current scene you’re writing.  Rather than just a description of the scene, how does your character experience the details?  Does seeing the lace curtain blowing over the opened window bring peace? fear? guilt? 

Our fictional world can only become believable through our character’s reality. 

The Red Wheelbarrow

so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow
glazed with rain
water
beside the white
chickens. —William Carlos Williams, 1923

A Day Apart

 My friends from the Write2Ignite Conference would like to share with us another opportunity for fellow writers.  This time it’s all about REVISIONS.

The Write 2 Ignite Conference presents:

A Day Apart

July 30, 2011

First Baptist Church of Indian Trail 

(off Hwy 74 near Charlotte, North Carolina)

A day set apart to revise and polish manuscripts with fellow writers and the Write2Ignite team.

The cost is $45 and includes: lunch, handouts, and other supplies.

For more information and an online registration form, check out  Write2Ignite

 

Blueberries: The Berry Best

Back to our favourite blueberry picking spot, ...

Image via Wikipedia

July is National Blueberry Month and for good reason.

1st–Blueberries are native to North America  produced in 35 states.

1st–July is peak season, keeping the prices for blueberries at their lowest.

2nd–Peak season also means plump, juicy, and peaking in nutritional value.

Known as a “superfood,” blueberries are among the highest in antioxidants, high in fiber,  and packed with vitamins to fight against cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other health-related issues.

Here’s a yummy low-fat recipe for a quick and easy blueberry shake:

Blueberry Yogurt Shake

1 banana

1 cup fresh/frozen blueberries–I like to use frozen for this one.

2 cups low-fat yogurt

1/2 cup orange juice

Blend together and you have a tasty breakfast that’s filling AND MORE than enough for another glass later.

For more great recipes, visit The US Highbush Blueberry Council.

2011 Christy Awards

Looking for a great summer read?  Choose from this year’s Christy Award winners.

The Christy Award is a prestigious award given to honor and promote excellence in Christian fiction.  Here are the winners for 2011:

Contemporary RomanceSworn to Protect by DiAnn Mills

Contemporary SeriesThe Reluctant Prophet by Nancy Rue*

Historical RomanceThe Girl in the Gatehouse by Julie Klassen

SuspenseThe Bishop by Steven James

Contemporary StandaloneAlmost Heaven by Chris Fabry

VisionaryTo Darkness Fled by Jill Williamson

First NovelHeartless by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

Young AdultMotorcycles, Sushi, and One Strange Book by Nancy Rue*

HistoricalWhile We’re Far Apart by Lynn Austin

*Nancy Rue became the first author to ever win 2 Christy Awards in the same year.

Congratulations to all the winners!  Visit your local library or bookstore to find these great reads.