Monday, March 2, 2015

Writer Recharge 2015: Wrap Up


It's hard to believe that February is behind us. I'm sad to see it go, especially since that means the end of Writer Recharge. A big thank you to Sara Biren, Katy UppermanElodie NowodazkijAlison Miller, and Liz Parker for putting this together! This has been great challenge for me to help find some balance in the goals that I set out for myself. I know now what I would like to do, what I need to do, and what to expect for myself. I'm proud of the progress that I have made over the past month and will continue on with furthering my goals.

Intro Post | Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 |


My #WriterRecharge Wrap-Up
  • WRITE/REVISE 
    • Complete revision of Follow the Moon
    • Work on finding the "voice" for Prairie Dust
    • Write a critique letter for next revision project
      • I didn't end up doing this. The closest I did was putting the draft on my Nook. I realized working on three projects at once was too much for me. Lesson learned!
    • Complete revision on short story
      • I sent this to my critique partners and the comments they gave me helped my heart when moving on to my WIP. I don't know what I will do with this story, but so happy I wrote it. 

  • READ/REREAD 
    • Work on Course Weeks 2-5 in The Artist's Way
    • Read one adult book
      • I did leave the book unfinished since I didn't like the voice, but I count that. 
    • Find a new comic book to read (besides Spider-Gwen)
      • Silk! Young Avengers! I also need to finish Runaways. 
    • Finish library loans and begin reading books on nightstand
      • I still have three library books to go. 

  • STRETCH 
    • Hiking! The local SCBWI chapter is doing them every other week, so I want to also hike on the weeks in between. 
      • I completed my fifth hike this year. Alternating between being with a group and going on my own has been a great experience I'm planning to keep on doing. 
  • SELF 
    • I completed the PopSugar Plank Challenge today so I decided to work on my push-ups next by doing them in steps
      • I'm on Phase Three (knee push-ups) so I'm on my way! I can feel the burn. 
    • Find a walking challenge that works.
      • I found Neila Ray's workout website so I'm going to fit more challenges into my work-out. Her walking challenge is perfect for me. We are getting rain here so I haven't been able to start it yet, but watch out March! 
  • CONNECT
    • Since this is Parks and Recreation's last season, I have something for Galentine's Day this year for my best gal friends. 
      • It was so great hearing the reactions from my friends when they received them in the mail. And did I mention that I'm so sad the series is over?
  • FUN
    • It's my birthday month so I don't see this being a problem, however, I'm really excited to pick up the first issue of Spider-Gwen on February 25th. I'm doing the costume for Comic-Con in July (my husband has a Spider-Man costume) so I'll get started on getting that together.  
      • I bought the shoes for my costume and have finally figured out some ways to get it together. We have a month to get this and his Miles Morales costume together for WorldCon. I'm excited and nervous! 
Looking at what I've done over the past month, it's definitely easy to see where I need to improve for March. I'm looking forward to the challenges ahead. Thank you to the Writer Recharge team for putting this together! I look forward to seeing what you all do throughout 2015!

Natasha

Monday, February 23, 2015

Writer Recharge 2015: Update #3


It's that time again where I get to update on my writer goals for this month. I can't believe there is barely a week left in February! Here's how this week went.

My #WriterRecharge Goals
  • WRITE/REVISE 
    • Complete revision of Follow the Moon
      • I have no finished this revision yet and it's driving me crazy. This is my main priority this week. I put the latest revision on my Nook and we'll see how this goes! I feel like I'm SO CLOSE! 
    • Work on finding the "voice" for Prairie Dust
      • I found it! I found it! I read through different scenes that I wrote and there it was! I even doubled my word count. 
    • Write a critique letter for next revision project
      • I also have this on my Nook so I'm going to do this. We'll see how this goes. 
    • Complete revision on short story
      • I sent the second half to my critique group and got their comments back. In the past five years, their comments had never touched me quite like these. I've been struggling so much so maybe that has something to do with it! 
  • READ/REREAD 
    • Work on Course Weeks 2-5 in The Artist's Way
      • I'm on Week 5! I can't recommend this book enough and I'm not even halfway through it. 
    • Read one adult book
      • I did... and left it unfinished. It was by one of my favorite authors and it was a departure from what she usually writes. I couldn't get into it. Does that count? I'm doing my best to get through library books and there are no other adults ones in the pile. 
    • Find a new comic book to read (besides Spider-Gwen)
      • A friend recommended Young Avengers to me so I'll start that this week!
    • Finish library loans and begin reading books on nightstand
      • I'm so close!
  • STRETCH 
    • Hiking! I went with my local SCBWI group this week on a five mile hike near my house. It was a little overcast, but that kept it cool!
  • SELF
    • I'm on the second part of my push-up challenge and I'm noticing a difference in my arms! 
  • FUN
    • My costume for Spider-Gwen is coming along. I did research on it this past week and now I need to start purchasing items. My husband is working on his Miles Morales mask so we'll be doing my soon. He's testing out different materials for the eyes so we can see. 
Over the past few weeks, I've learned what I make a priority and what I don't. This week that is one of my silent goals is to make sure that I don't let things get in the way. It's so easy to do!

Good luck to my fellow Rechargers! 

Natasha

Monday, February 16, 2015

Writer Recharge 2015: Update #2

Over halfway through February already! That means my birthday has passed and I'm starting fresh, in some ways. The day after my birthday is always the weirdest day of the year for me. It's like my whole body and mind crashes with the question "Where do I go from here?"and my stomach responds with going into knots. Then, I take a deep breath, and jump back into the world with more determination than before.Today is that day. First, let's look at last week. 


My #WriterRecharge Goals

  • WRITE/REVISE 
    • Still working on my revision for Follow the Moon. I'm pretty happy with how it's turning out since I'm touching a chapter that I haven't in a while. Maybe that's saying something?
    • I didn't get to work on anything else! I have to change that this week. 
  • READ/REREAD 
    • I'm a little behind on The Artist's Way, but going to catch up over the past few days. I really like doing my morning pages, but the busy weekend got in the way.
    • I read Sisters by Raina Telgemeier and and issue of manga Spider-Man that my husband suggested. My Nook was dead when I went to read this weekend, but I want to start Black Widow's latest series. 
    • I have two weeks to get through five books. I can totally do this, right?
  • STRETCH 
    • My husband had Friday off so he went hiking with me in the canyon preserve by our house. It was hot that day so we went early in the morning, but we got three miles in! 
  • SELF 
    • I'm up to 45 standing push-ups. I want to feel a bit more burn before I head to the next step.
    • I haven't come up with a walking challenge quite yet. I'm mostly utilizing technology to help motivate me. So far, I use my Android watch in various ways like setting a timer for writing, and then I have to go walk. I also use the timer to buzz at me after a half hour or how long I want to walk so I'm not looking at my phone all the time. My watch keeps track of my steps, and I'm improving, so that seems to be working. I'm also using MyTracks to keep track of my paths, distance, and progress.  It sounds complicated, but really, it's working!
  • CONNECT
    • I achieved this goal! This three day weekend was the best since on the 13th I celebrated my gal pals, on the 14th I spoiled my husband, and the 15th was my birthday.

      I sent out Galentine's to my friends all over the place. It's fun posting on people's walls, but I sent out actual Galentine's and stickers. My friends were so appreciative when they received them!

      I also planned Valentine's Day this year for my husband. I don't play video games as much anymore so we did that, bought a ton of his favorite comics, and ate Cali burritos at our favorite vegan place. He has done so much for me lately that I think he deserved it. He told me that the best part was that I like doing those things with him--- and that's totally true! 

  • FUN
    • I have my shoes for my Spider-Gwen costume! Joey and I went all over trying to find items for both of our costumes (he wants to do a Miles Spider-Man next). I'm still trying to figure out exactly on how to construct it so I'll have to do more research on that this week. 

Overall, this has been a great week! We also went to the Marvel Experience with friends earlier in the week for my birthday. You train to become a SHIELD agent by smashing things like the Hulk, climbing like Spider-Man, and going through a small laser maze like Black Widow. I was pretty impressed by the special effects and would love for them to put something like this in Disney. They also didn't use the movie versions of the characters so they incorporated She-Hulk, The Vision, and Iron Fist. That was pretty cool! 

This week will be busy, as well, but I'm determined to get a lot done. The big two things I want to square away is the revisions on Follow the Moon and my short story. I don't think that will be a problem since I have my critique group meeting this week and they will demand the second half of the short story. 

Good luck to you fellow Rechargers! 

Natasha

Monday, February 9, 2015

Writer Recharge 2015: Update #1

It's hard to believe we're already into the second week of Writer Recharge. I'm pretty happy with how things are going so far, but know there is more to do!

My #WriterRecharge Goals
  • WRITE/REVISE 
    • Complete revision of Follow the Moon <--- halfway through
  • STRETCH 
    • Hiking! The local SCBWI chapter is doing them every other week, so I want to also hike on the weeks in between.  <--- Went on the weekly hike at Lake Poway. It was so pretty!
During a hike at Lake Poway 
  • SELF 
    • I completed the PopSugar Plank Challenge today so I decided to work on my push-ups next by doing them in steps.  <----- Working on it! Still on step 1. 
    • Find a walking challenge that works.  <---- I walked five times last week.
    • CONNECT
      • Since this is Parks and Recreation's last season, I have something for Galentine's Day this year for my best gal friends. <--- Printed and working on getting them sent out this week!
    • FUN
      • It's my birthday month so I don't see this being a problem, however, I'm really excited to pick up the first issue of Spider-Gwen on February 25th. I'm doing the costume for Comic-Con in July (my husband has a Spider-Man costume) so I'll get started on getting that together.  <-----Bought the shoes today! 
    It's not too late! Join us for Writer Recharge! 
    Head over to Sara’s blog to link your Goals post. 

    Monday, February 2, 2015

    Writer Recharge 2015

    It’s February, which means it’s time for Writer Recharge (and my birthday)! 
    Once again hosted by Alison Miller, Liz ParkerElodie Nowodazkij, Sara Biren, and Katy Upperman, Writer Recharge is your chance for a four-week jump start in the middle of a cold, dreary winter. Set goals for yourself, check in once a week, and connect with other recharging writers.
    How Writer Recharge Works
    • First week of February: Post your goals for the month on your blog, website, or Twitter. Use the hashtag #WriterRecharge. Link your blog post on Sara’s blog.
    • Every Monday in February: Update your progress via your blog or twitter. Link your blog posts on our Monday posts.
    • Throughout the month: Use the hashtag to connect with other writers, have writing parties, and cheer one another on!
    • Friday, February 27: Post your final update via your blog or twitter.
    • Anyone who uses the hashtag or links their blog posts will be entered to win a fabulous prize package at the end of the month.
    This year, they’ve come up with a few categories you might want to consider when making your goals. You can choose a goal (or goals) for one or some or all:
    • WRITE/REVISE – Choose writing goals for the month.
    • READ/REREAD – Read a book that’s been on your TBR forever or reread something that had a great impact on you.
    • STRETCH - Do something outside your comfort zone, from reading a genre you typically avoid to trying a new food or rock climbing when you’re afraid of heights – that kind of thing.
    • SELF - Do something good for your mind or your body.
    • CONNECT - Find a way to make a difference in someone’s life. Make a connection, via social media or in person. Initiate twitter writing parties, have a real-life write-in with writers in your town, or offer to critique or beta read someone’s work.
    • FUN - Make a goal to do something super fun and exciting that you can look forward to.
    Writer Recharge sq
    My #WriterRecharge Goals
    • WRITE/REVISE 
      • Complete revision of Follow the Moon
      • Work on finding the "voice" for Prairie Dust
      • Write a critique letter for next revision project
      • Complete revision on short story
    • READ/REREAD 
      • Work on Course Weeks 2-5 in The Artist's Way
      • Read one adult book
      • Find a new comic book to read (besides Spider-Gwen)
      • Finish library loans and begin reading books on nightstand
    • STRETCH 
      • Hiking! The local SCBWI chapter is doing them every other week, so I want to also hike on the weeks in between. 
    • SELF 
      • I completed the PopSugar Plank Challenge today so I decided to work on my push-ups next by doing them in steps
      • Find a walking challenge that works.
    • CONNECT
      • Since this is Parks and Recreation's last season, I have something for Galentine's Day this year for my best gal friends. 
    • FUN
      • It's my birthday month so I don't see this being a problem, however, I'm really excited to pick up the first issue of Spider-Gwen on February 25th. I'm doing the costume for Comic-Con in July (my husband has a Spider-Man costume) so I'll get started on getting that together.  
    Join us for this year’s Writer Recharge! 
    Head over to Sara’s blog to link your Goals post. 

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

    Very Inspiring Blogger Award


    I've been nominated by the talented Emily Skrutskie, member of Team Briggs and our very own Captain America,  for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Emily's book, THE ABYSS SURROUNDS US, will be out in 2016 so be sure to check it out. 

    Part of the award is to share seven facts about myself and to nominate three other folk to do the same. Let's do this!

    1. While growing up, I was woken up by the brightness of the Northern Lights outside my north-facing bedroom window. I put on my glasses, and since it was winter, I sat on my desk to take them in. That's one of the things I do miss about living in the middle of nowhere North Dakota.



    2. One of my favorite days was going to Stonehenge for a sunrise visit where we went to the stones touched them. We didn't have anything else planned afterwards, but this lovely couple suggested we go to Glastonbury. At sunset, we hiked up to the top of the Tor, in the area otherwise known as Avalon.


    3. The same day as Stonehenge and Glastonbury was also one of the reasons why my husband Joey and I became vegetarian. During the trip, the British kept asking if we wanted vegetarian options. While in Glastonbury, we ended up eating at a vegetarian cafe called Blue Note Cafe. The food was so good, a week after we arrived home, we made the choice and never turned back. After six years, we are now fully vegan. 

    4. Every day in Japan, Joey and I ended up seeing a cat somewhere. My favorite cat sighting? At least ten cats hanging out in the grass at the beginning of the Philosopher's Path. One ended up falling asleep in my husband's lap. Kitties are at the top of my favorite things (that doesn't include people).



    5. I was knighted on the 30th anniversary of Star Wars at Celebration IV in the convention center while there was a bomb scare. I was surrounded by Jedi Masters, including Yoda. And, yes, I totally have a costume with a kick butt lightsaber. 

    6. My alma mater, Minnesota State University Moorhead, is block away from Prairie Home Cemetery, which is where Garrison Keillor got the name for his NPR show. I had no idea about the NPR show until I moved to Fargo.

    7. I started reading the Outlander series when I was fifteen years old. I found a first edition paperback in a used bookstore. Last year at San Diego Comic Con, the author Diana Gabaldon was kind enough to sign it for me at the Outlander show premiere. It's one of those strange moments where I knew that I was right where I was supposed to be. 


    Now here's to the nominations!

    1. Kaye- critique partner, a true Queen, a magical girl if I've ever met one.
    2. Amparo- critique partner, Dragon Tamer, my partner in eating waffles and cupcakes.
    3. Alice- Fellow geek girl with killer outfits and a kickass blog you should read. 

    Saturday, November 1, 2014

    Pitch Wars Blog Hop: Why I Wrote My Book

    This post is part of the Pitch Wars blog hop for mentors and alternates to talk about why they wrote their book. This is mine. Thanks to my mentor, Elizabeth Briggs, for picking me as her new alternate. 

    In my heart, there's always been a soft spot for fantasy stories. It was easy to sit down to devour them, or take the time to dedicate myself to larger texts. The stories that I wrote were inspired by these, and maybe copycats in some ways, but it was the love that drove me. There was magic. Lots and lots of magic in those words.
    One of my influences is Spirited Away from Studio Ghibli. 
    It wasn't until I read more than one fairy tale retelling of Cinderella that I knew that I wanted something different. There were plenty of tales to choose from, but for some reason, I wanted something new. I thought about the cultures that interested me. This was also the time that I was really starting to fall even deeper in love with the work of Hayao Miyazaki, a well-known artist, writer, and director of Studio Ghibli movies in Japan. I sat down one night in front of the computer to find very few Japanese stories, but the ones I read sparked something in me. I also wanted a story about family, one pieced together by love and not blood. This is the type of family that I married into, and I know there are other families like it out there.

    This was in 2010. I bought my first e-reader around the same time and I used Google Books to do what research I could with books from the early 1900s. I lived in North Dakota at the time and there wasn't one book in the whole state that could help me. Now, there are plenty of books that I could order. Something changed in this time. I don't know what it was, but I'm thankful.

    This book was a real challenge for me since it was a culture I wasn't really familiar with. I traveled to Japan two months after the major earthquake in 2011. I researched every few months in case something new came up. It's fantasy so I could play a little bit with my own world, but I wanted authenticity. I wrote the story in first person, and decided to change to third person since I felt that gave it a fantastical voice that I wanted.

    FOLLOW THE MOON exists because I love fantasy, the lovely country of Japan, the beauty of Miyazaki's work, the power of family, and my longing for a voice similar, yet unlike, my own. To give myself, and others, the excuse to look beyond the stories we all known so well and expand beyond our comfort zone. I know that this book did that for myself and I'm proud of the work I've done to get it where it is today.

    A big thank you to Carleen Karnovic for putting this blog hope together. Check out the other book inspiration posts below.

    Carleen Karanovic: HOPE ON A FEATHER


    Tracie Martin: WILD IS THE WIND