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Showing posts from 2015

Things are Happening: In the Every Day

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A few weeks ago, I had a great visit and walk with my friend Elle in La Jolla. Afterwards, I needed to cool off so I decided to put my feet into the ocean. I wasn't sure at first about doing it while I leaned over the fence, taking in the waves. It wasn't the first time I've done this. The only thing holding me back from putting my feet in was myself, and that wasn't enough. No one was on Shell Beach. Why not take the time? I grabbed my spare sandals I kept in the trunk and headed down. 

The water felt amazing after this 95-100 degree weather. A couple joined me, and I had a lovely visit with the wife. She told me that when she saw I was in the water, it inspired them to do it too. One by one, more people wandered down until there was 10-15 of us on the small beach.


The last year held its ups and downs. I'm making the effort to tell myself, "Everything will work out." Between querying agents and the path to adoption at the same time, I've had to adjust…

Things are Happening: North Dakota Trip and Adoption Announcement

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It's hard to believe that summer has passed and we're heading into fall. Over the past two weeks, this massive tree over our home in San Diego has been shedding its leaves. They are all over our backyard, and even though we share space with three other carports, the leaves love our space. I picked up that large pile yesterday. Crickets were living in the leaves, and they were jumping everywhere.

I grew up in the Midwest in a yard surrounded by trees. A few pile of leaves doesn't bother me much. When I was a teenager, it took me six hours by myself to rake up our front yard. This doesn't include transporting all the leaves away. This was before we had MP3 players and cell phones. We had a cassette player plugged into the garage that I cranked up to full blast (I lived in the middle of nowhere) and went to work. My cats were helpers so I might have gotten distracted a little bit while throwing them into the piles. The air was crisp, and I had to wear a sweater and gloves…

Spring Writing Bootcamp 2015 Wrap Up

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It's hard to believe that the Spring Writing Bootcamp is over! The last two months have gone by and left quite an impression on me in ways I didn't know possible. But first I want to give a shout-out to the YA Buccaneers for putting on this challenge and to my team members, Heidi Sinnett and AM Hughes! Be sure to keep an eye out for them in the book world.



Let's see how I did in my goals in the past two months!


Goals 1) Write 50,000 words in my current WIP, Prairie Dust. Overall, I wrote about 16,000 words. How did I think I was ready for this book? I wrote about how this is my first contemporary so I've come across a few challenges like actually having to write a young adult within the perimeters of our world and not one I made up, realizing I was writing some scenes in the wrong weather, and dealing with how geekdom is seen over the past ten years. Is it weird that I find writing fantasy novels so much easier? 
I was also distracted by a secret project where I had to fit …

Spring Writing Bootcamp Check-In #7 (and Faith)

Word Count Update
I've been working on A Secret Project for the past two weeks. I sent off the first draft of it today and hope to have the final version completed by the end of the month. I can't say much else, but I'm counting this! It's one of the hardest things I've ever written. 

In regards to the WIP, I was distracted again. This seems to be a pattern. I did manage to get several scenes together and have a better idea of where the story is taking me. I think I'm going to restate that a new goal of reaching 20,000 words by the end of the Bootcamp and actually is more realistic from past experience. (What was I thinking?) However, this genre is completely new to me and it's proving to be a bigger challenge than I first imagined. (When is writing ever simple?)

Other things
I decided to unplug more from the internet this. I've realized that I've been busier than I'm used to and I needed time to recharge my inner introvert. I think it's so impo…

Spring Writing Bootcamp Check-In #6

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Word Count Update
It's slowly coming along! I've fixed the timeline issue to get things back on track! I have the book split up into the different months of the schoolyear and broken up into scenes instead of chapters for the time being. That was really helpful when I was writing about that snowstorm too early.



Last week, I put together the synopses of the three projects I've written and need revision. I added a short writing sample and sent it off to my critique partners to get their opinions. It was pretty apparent to all of us, after looking at everything, what I will work on next. It's also the reason why I've decided with no uncertainty that first person isn't the right voice for me. How do I know this? One of those novels is written in first person. Like one of my partners pointed out, everything is there. It just doesn't seem to move. It's disappointing, since I've actually worked on that most recently, but sometimes you have to let things go…

Spring Writing Bootcamp Check-In #5 (and Free Comic Book Day!)

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Word Count Update
I'm really happy with my progress in the past week. This is the first time a book I'm writing isn't progressing in chronological order. I created an outline of the school year for my characters and realized I was writing about snow in October. Yes, snow can happen in North Dakota that time of the year, but that wasn't what I wanted. I finished up those "snow scenes" and backtracked to homecoming and Halloween. It's funny how these characters are working against me! This book is character-driven so I'm at their mercy. Please be gentle, my loves!

I wrote at my local library this week and there were so many words! It would be ideal for me to write this book there since it worked out so well. The bad news is my back and hip didn't like the chair that I sat in. I haven't felt like that in quite some time! I have a bad back so I need to be careful where I sit (my local Barnes and Noble and their bench seating works best for me). Ther…

Spring Writing Bootcamp Check-In #4

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This week wasn't like the past three weeks. It was nice taking in the quiet of work days. My favorites are always hanging out at my local Barnes and Noble cafe (the benches are great for my back) or at a local library. The thoughts of what needs to be clean or figuring out how to work with a cat in my arms keep me distracted from my tasks. I've always been like that since college. I loved hanging out at the library with the large windows, the warm corners of the student union, or the local bookstore where I could browse books during breaks. 

Sometimes, you can't ignore what works and makes you happy.




Word Count Update
I've reached 10,000 words and I have been working out some of the kinks while they come along. For example, I went to my old high school's website where I found the classes and requirements. They haven't changed much, but my main characters would take classes I didn't have any interest in doing or didn't have time. It was fun to figure out ho…

Spring Writing Bootcamp Check In #3 (and Star Wars Celebration)

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Word Count Update
This was our third week of All The Things! However, I did manage to get a good start to my word count. I drafted three different scenes, and am working on another right now. When I said last week about needing a fixed point in time for my novel, this little revelation helped move things along. My newest challenge? I keep flipping between first and third person narrative. I haven't decided on which one works best and I've decided to wait until this weekend to sit down with my words to get a feel on how to move forward. I can fix those other pages later and I don't want to interrupt where I'm going so far.



YA Buccaneers challenge this week Our goal is to write at least 100 words a day. I did skip Monday since I needed a "day off" after our long weekend. I have managed to squeeze in about 1500 words this week, so not too bad so far!
Star Wars Celebration
Eight years ago was the last time that I attended Star Wars Celebration. Since the announcement …

Spring Writing Bootcamp Check In #2 (and YALLWEST)

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Word Count Update
Over the past week, I have gotten a small start to my word count (about 1500 words). This is my first experience writing a contemporary. I'm coming to realize it will come with its own bit of challenges that I haven't anticipated while writing genre fiction. It wasn't until I was writing to a friend that I knew I needed to focus on a specific time period. Geek culture is a major part of the plot so I need a fixed point in time to move that plot along. 

Now that I have this figured out, let's see how this word count will progress. 


YA Buccaneers challenge this week
Share random facts about your main character (MC). 

1) Her favorite part of her retail job is taping up packages of socks so she can avoid customers. She doesn't question why people tear open packages to look at them (all the time). 
2) She draws fan art and it too afraid to post it online.
3) People never suspect her of anything. 

YALLWEST
My husband Joey and I drove up to Santa Monica on Saturd…

Spring Writing Bootcamp Check In #1 (and WonderCon)

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April is a crazy month for me on the weekend for a lot of fun reasons. I'm not sure how this will help my progress over the next three weeks, but we shall see!

This past weekend we attended WonderCon in Anaheim, California. We went last year and it has become one of my new favorites. My husband Joey and I have been preparing my Spider-Gwen costume for the past month so it was really fun to finally premiere it.


The first thing we did when arriving at the con was volunteer for the (future) Hollywood Sci Fi Museum, that hopes to open in 2016. We donated to their Kickstarter and attended a fan event with them. We dressed up as Spider-Gwen and Spider-Man to help attract people in stopping by. While volunteering, I was asked to assist at the table for Billy West, the voice actor (Futurama!). It was surreal experience having my picture taken at times while helping out with his fans and hearing his stories.

Above, there's a video of us in costume at the two minute mark that was a bit …

Spring Writing Bootcamp 2015: The Goals

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I had a great time earlier this year doing the Writer Recharge. April has many fun things ahead, but I didn't want to get too distracted from my writing tasks. This year, I'm writing three month goals and after going through my January through March goals, I wondered how can I jumpstart my writing?

First, better daily habits. Second, doing another fun challenge.
This morning, on Twitter, I saw tweets on the YA Buccaneers 2015 Spring Writing Boot Camp that will run from April 1st to May 31st. I set my goals and join in the fun with the others who signed up. And the best part? There will be a schedule of writing sprints, weekly challenges, and hanging out with other cool writers. 


I'm doing my best to not use social media as much over the next month so that's the hardest part for me. Except, it's a good test in using Twitter in ways that's helpful for my writing. 
I'm a little nervous about writing my goals since I tend to give myself more than I expect. If I…

Happy Gwensday: Third Update on Spider-Gwen costume

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If you haven't read the first two updates, you can find them here and here.

This is the final post of the Spider-Gwen costume since it's complete! (We do have the mask to do next, but I'll do a bonus post before Comic-Con in July.) This is what I'll be wearing to WonderCon 2015.

We left off last week with all the black part of the costume being sewn onto the white. This week, we'll show you the progression of sewing and lining the colored portions on the arms and hood.

We used different references to decide on what kind of shapes we wanted. There are plenty of variations so you will have to decide on works for you. We also kept in mind how we wanted it to look not only on the front, but the back. 
Here's what we decided to do from the back angle. 
 The front. You can see the chalk lines that we used before using the blue puffy paint. 
 Chalked up version of the hood.
The hood is complete! 
 And here's the finished product with the wig I found from Amazon.
S…

Happy Gwensday: Second Update on Spider-Gwen costume

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We've completed the second week of work on the Spider-Gwen costume. Things are really coming together and it's hard to contain the excitement when we complete each step. And if you have already, be sure to check out the first post.

The biggest accomplishment was completing the black parts on the costume. The front is pretty straight forward so lining it up with fabric tape and pins before sewing. The back, on the other hand, was trying to figure out what type of design we want. Sadly, the comic artists aren't always consistent, which is expected.

The biggest thing when sewing is making sure you use the right kind of fabric tape. We picked up some at Walgreen's and it turned out it actually supposed to be used instead of sewing. It might be expensive, but good sewing tape is worth it! We found it at our local sewing store, but most sewing places should have it one hand.


I forgot about two things in my last post, which are my gloves and wig. My mother is known to collect…

Happy Gwensday: First Update on Spider-Gwen costume

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The second issue of Spider-Gwen is out today! It's fitting that my first post falls on an actual Gwensday. Since the first appearance of Spider-Gwen, I've wanted her costume.
It also doesn't help when my husband handmade one of these:


Joey's goal is to make a new Spider-Man costume for himself. Last year was Peter Parker, but this year is Miles Morales for himself and Spider-Gwen for me. I was a little nervous about this since, you know, spandex is involved. Joey insisted that we could look into other options. 

Materials
Skechers GoWalk shoes (comfortable shoes is a must for me!)One white hoodieTwo pairs of black yoga pants (one for extra fabric, one size up for women)One yard of purple-ish cotton spandex (found locally)One bottle of puffy paint (matched to shoes)
We started with the blank canvas of the white hoodie and the black yoga pants. Yoga pants don't need any changes. And the nice thing about the yoga pants I found? There is a little pocket in the waistline …

Writer Recharge 2015: Wrap Up

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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/REVISEComplete revision of Follow the MoonWork on finding the "voice" for Prairie DustWrite a critique letter for next revision projectI 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 storyI sent this to my critique …

Writer Recharge 2015: Update #3

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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/REVISEComplete revision of Follow the MoonI 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 DustI 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 projectI also have this on my Nook so I'm going to do this. We'll see how this goes. Complete revision on short storyI 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 …