Monday, June 30, 2014

School Shooting, what would you do? a mock shooting training

I screamed, wrestled, and wailed and they arrested me

The school is on lock-down, there has been a shooting. I received the text from the school where my kids attend. With pounding heart in my mouth, trembling and legs like weakened noodles (I had a hard time running!), I pulled in behind the cop after seeing a father with a bat approach him. I searched my car for a formidable weapon, but came up empty.

After wedging my car behind the officer who blocked the road, I jumped out and dashed past him, but he caught me. The school seemed abandoned and eerily quiet--so quiet I could only think of one thing: To. Get. In!

I was the crazed parent, my time of arrival at 10:17, June 28th. My four kids were participants with given assignments at different parts of the school building. As we lined up for the authorities to give us our designated roles, I noticed the makeup artists dabbing kids with blood-red paint and black and dark brown--the color of wounds that killed.

My 17 year old (yo) needed to act out as a panicked student, and my 14 yo to hide quietly in a corner. I watched the group of kids follow the leaders into the school along with my two younger children for them to set the stage.

Excitement literally hung in the air and my wild mind recalled the many shootings I have broken over these past several years. It would not be difficult to act the assigned part of a crazed parent. It was so easy to act the exact role they wanted from me ...

Monday, June 23, 2014

Celebrate the Small Things #bloghop! #CTST

Welcome to VikLit and Celebrating the Small Things! I am loving the hoppers' posts so far, so full of breathtaking joy. It's refreshing! I have included the list below this post.
Enjoy. :D

Here's mine:

In a world full of fast paced craziness, I find that stopping once in a while is really important to catch my breath! As I write this, my mind is frantically combing what I have done! Yikes, I am bad. I know I love to listen to my 15 month old baby laugh and play. I love to hear my kids chattering, their sounds filling the air. I enjoy sitting on my porch as I stare off into the mountains.

One thing that I remember that I have been doing is going for walks. A few times I have actually stopped by the old elementary school where they have swings--yes, swings! Such a rarity these days--and swing facing the mountains. It's so stunningly green and I love to stare at the clouds changing color as the sun sets.

Another thing is writing! Oh, writing is my first love of simple things.

Writing this article has made me realize that I need to enjoy the simple things a bit more often. I am too busy. :(

What simple joys do you find yourself doing?

Monday, June 16, 2014

Method to My Madness in Writing--er, I mean, My Writing Process BLOG HOP!

Victoria Adams, for some crazy reason, has chosen me to share my writing process as part of her bloghop, isn't she awesome? She is a wonderful friend and  I love her writing process, you should drop by and say hi!

To be honest with you, I've been dreading to write about my writing process. I'm not a procrastinator, but I have squandered these past two weeks wondering how I would begin such a task. And now, here I am!

As with anything great, my writing starts with thought. I keep my imagination well-oiled and pay attention to details that are all around. If I'm going for a walk and happen by a burnt down building, I imagine dark creatures living there. A breathtaking sunset could inspire a high fantasy plot involving dragons or unicorns. A phrase from the scriptures or a book, even someone speaking could strike up wonders. (I never dismiss dreams, either!)

Once my brain gathers information--or I just refer to my book of ideas, I jot down a rough summary. Even a first chapter idea to get the juices flowing. More often than not, I am a pantser writer. My characters jump to life, or, I love the cliche, they hit the ground running! On rare occasions, I get stumped and suffer writers block. Oh, I hate writers block! Once that happens, I put my story aside and try to figure out what it is that is stumping me. Many times it's because I am not giving myself permission to accept an idea. It is a mental conflict that I must work though. Prayer is one of my biggest sources of my writing process and it helps me sort through all the bugs!

Sometimes my blocks derive from plot problems. I love bouncing ideas around with writing palz--even my teen-aged kids. They are ripe with ideas. Once I detangle myself from these things, I tackle my book with every whit of passion I possess. How my husband gets lost in his favorite television show, or my son in his epic book, so it is with me in my writing! Unfortunately, my time is so sparse, I must be ready to write when it spontaneously arrives! Yep, having a 14 month old babykins will easily do that to me. I once pushed myself very hard and wrote a 50K novel in two weeks! As you can tell, babykins was not around at that time.

I just love how the characters sprout choices of their own, how the story unfolds. I do my very best to keep from editing as I write. My mantra is: You have permission to have inconsistencies, misspellings, editing flaws, whatever, for the first draft. Okay, if something really bothers me, I will go back and fix it!Once I'm done writing, I go back and edit it -or- put it aside to let it fester as I move on to my next book. After some time has gone by--maybe a few weeks or months--I will get back to that book and edit.

The IMPORTANT thing about that is many times I lose the "feel" of that book and even what I need to edit, so I create an "editing notes" file with my thoughts as to what I think needs fixing.

For example, in my Musketeer's Daughter I have finished about a month ago, my notes say this:
>king or KING (proper grammar usage)
>His Majesty the King (again, proper name usage)
>make home consistent with *wealthy* Gabriel--remember he's not genteel poverty like I 1st started out
>character & costume consistency
>look up French words every time you see this: (f)

If I don't have notes like that to jog my memory, I'd have to reread my story straight through just to remember what exactly it was I needed to do! Yikes!

Once I have gone through it a few times, I hope (ha! More like pray) that I could find willing victims to beta read my stuff. << that part is the most challenging ever! Because we are naturally hermatoids living in our writerly caves, it's not easy, at least for me.

Viola! Welcome to my condensed version to my Method of Madness in Writing!

Is there stuff you do differently? What shortcuts help you? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Welcome my next victims for the fantastical BLOGHOP! They will dare to share their Writing Process as well next week!

Heather McCubbin began writing stories on the back of scrap of paper at the age of 13, then filing them away, while also resisting peer pressure to avoid death defying stunts off her swing-set. Now that she is an adult and owns a laptop, there are many MS Word folders filled with stories. And she has retired  from jumping off swing-sets.

Her first story "Shadows of Promise," published 2011, was included in the anthology "Transcendent: Tales of the Paranormal'. Currently, she has a YA Mystery?Romance story being reviewed for publishing and is working on a fantasy novel with a long-time friend all while beginning a new job of reviewing for "Books Make Me Happy Reviews".

In addition to writing, editing, reviewing and  reading, she enjoys traveling, board games, volunteering in school PTA and Marching Band all while fostering cats/kittens. A native Marylander, she supports Redskins, Capitals and Orioles. She now resides outside of Boston with her family, her dog and a 20-pound cat.

Megan Elizabeth Morales is a female who love Star Trek, is a Netflix Junkie and loves Comic-Con. She's a bit of a dreamer, isn't she? One day when she was eight years old, she just started writing, and she's never stopped since.

Willow Scot: As a young girl I wrote my first Novel, "The Snow Monster". Although it never was read by another living soul, I was hooked. Ever since I have written in just about every Genre. I am currently looking for representation for my picture book "Ooey, Gooey, Stinky, Muck!". My current project is a Historical Romance Novel, "My Enemy, My Love".

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

#IWSG Bigger Than Life ...

What a wonderful way to share your support with fellow writers! Click on the badge above to START!

We all know as authors we must make our characters bigger than life, otherwise, the story is bland. A person's real life would be considered boring if you shadowed him/her all the time. I noticed that I have been trying to make myself bigger than life as a public figure. You know, to create interest? Aren't authors supposed to be exciting, interesting, fun? Just like celebrities.


Ever since I was first published a few years ago, I have always worked hard to keep up a certain image. To please. But it becomes burdensome, having to think of the world as a whole in perspective of an author. This applies to my blog, my facebook, twitter, everything social network. Even at writers conferences when I present.

This is a state of being, you know? You can't let your guard down as you walk down the aisle of the grocery store as you might have a few of your signed books in your satchel in the event you strike up a conversation with a to-be fan.

I am just who I am, I just want to be myself without having to sound like a self-proclaimed person who is constantly wearing down the public hawking their wares with over exaggerated enthusiasm. *Shiver*

What about you, what do you think an author should be? Am I over-thinking this?