Friday, July 21, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things-July 21, 2017

It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain!  Tonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

We've been undergoing the grueling process of switching bedrooms.  Our two boys share a room, and as they get bigger and collect more toys, they're getting more and more crowded. Meanwhile, my husband and I have a large bedroom, but we only sleep in it and that's it.  Since the boys would make better use of the large space, we're trading with them.  It's amazing just how many things need moved, but we're getting close to being done.  They're definitely excited about the switch.

Zoe will be eight months old tomorrow.  She can move her walker around like a pro, sit on a blanket and play for long stretches of time, and she's kinda sorta almost crawling.  It's more of an army crawl, but she's impressively fast at it.  I definitely need to be careful what I leave within her reach. She's also teething, so she's a little cranky some days, but it's not too bad.

Writing is somehow going okay with everything else going on. I'll definitely celebrate that.

What would you like to celebrate?

Friday, July 14, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things-July 14, 2017

It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain!  Tonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

The Kickstarter for the 2018 Young Explorer's Adventure Guide just ended, and the project met it's funding goal. I'm so excited to be a part of this anthology, and I'm happy to see so many people working together to make it happen!

We had an adventure getting an old car to a junkyard yesterday. It had been sitting around for a while and desperately needed to be moved.  The goal was to drive it there, but it didn't work according to plan.  Things like to go awry when dealing with old, broken-down vehicles.  We did manage to get it all dealt with in the end, and no one was harmed in the process, so I'll count that as a win.

I'm looking forward to a simple, calm weekend.  The last two weekends have been crazy busy, and while they were fun, I'm grateful for the chance to relax.

What would you like to celebrate?

Friday, July 7, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things-July 7, 2017

It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain!  Tonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

The 4th of July holiday was a lot of fun.  Despite forecasts of possible rain both Monday and Tuesday, we had dry weather for the fireworks displays we planned to attend both nights. For Monday's display, we were treated to a lightning show in the distance.  It was pretty.  We also had fun firing off fireworks of our own.  The kids really enjoyed that part of things.

Yesterday was my husband's birthday.  Of course he still had to work, as many people do, but I'm planning on making a cake for him this weekend.

Speaking of this weekend, it's going to be a busy one.  We're having a town celebration, and the kids are going to be in the parade tomorrow morning.  They always love being in the parade, and they're also looking forward to all the activities that will be going on throughout the day.  They'll have me exhausted by the end of it, I'm sure, but it should make for a good day.

What would you like to celebrate?

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Insecure Writer's Support Group:July 2017

It's the first Wednesday of the month, and that means it's time to convene another meeting of The Insecure Writer's Support Group!  Alex J. Cavanaugh is the creator of this fine organization, and this month he's enlisted the help of Tamara Narayan, Pat Hatt, Patricia Lynne, Juneta Key, and Doreen McGettigan.

Be sure to check out the IWSG website!

I went through a bit of a writing slump over the last month, and I felt terrible about my lack of any kind of progress.  I never feel good about myself when I'm not writing, but I'm not sure if it's the guilt of not being productive or if something about the writing process naturally makes me happier.  It could, perhaps, be a combination of the two.

The good news is that I'm bringing myself out of it.  I made a recent submission, I'm making good progress on editing a story I'd like to send out soon, and I have an idea for the next story I'd like to write.  I'll count that as a victory.

And now for the July 5th Question.

What is one valuable lesson you've learned since you started writing?

There are a lot of lessons to be learned, and I'm sure I'll learn many more along the way.  One lesson I've been learning lately is to trust myself and my instincts.  This includes trusting both that I can write compelling stories and that I'm capable of getting better over time.

We all hear about what we shouldn't be doing as writers, but that doesn't make it any easier to figure out what we should be doing.  I think we've all felt insecure about stories we've written and whether they're any good.  We all want people to enjoy our work, and I know I've spent a lot of time second-guessing myself because of what I think other people might say about various writing choices I've made.  What will people think of the protagonist? Will people relate to this character? Will this POV do what I want it to do, or will it destroy the whole story?

We should ask ourselves questions like this, of course, but at the end of the day, we need to make a choice and trust ourselves to pull it off, even if it takes several attempts.  If we don't, we may get stuck in a perpetual loop of doubt and never finish anything.  Or we may get discouraged and give up altogether.

I realize I'll never write anything that everyone will love, and that's okay.  None of us can.  We'll always have people who dislike our work for whatever reason.  What we can do is trust ourselves to write stories that resonate with some people and be happy with our accomplishments.  We can learn to take criticism in a positive way and not let it destroy our trust in ourselves as writers.  We'll always have room to grow and get better, but that doesn't mean we're terrible or incompetent. Incompetence comes from an unwillingness to learn.  And the only way to learn is to keep writing.

None of this is easy, of course, but I'm slowly getting there.

What's a valuable lesson you've learned?

Friday, June 30, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things-June 30, 2017

It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain!  Tonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

The boys had a great time at my sister-in-law's wedding last weekend.  I might also be biased, but I think they look quite handsome all dressed up.  Zoe also looked adorable in her dress.  So did the bride, of course!

I had a productive morning on Tuesday.  While the boys had their library program and Zoe was playing with her toys, I wrote, edited, and submitted an entire story.  Yes, it was a flash fiction piece, but it still made me feel pretty accomplished.  That feeling gave me a creative boost for the rest of the day.

I'm making good progress on a short story I'd like to submit sometime soon.  I'm hoping to get that done in the next week or two.  With the 4th of July holiday next week, I can't say for sure whether that will happen, but I guess we'll see!

What would you like to celebrate?

Friday, June 23, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things-June 23, 2017

It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain!  Tonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

The Kickstarter campaign for the 2018 Young Explorer's Adventure Guide is going well.  I'm also going to be taking part in a Facebook author party that Dreaming Robot Press is hosting next week.  That should be a fun way to interact with people, and I'm looking forward to it.

I've been in a writing slump the last few weeks.  Many of you know how that goes.  Fortunately, I seem to be getting back into the swing of things, and that's done a lot to improve my mood.  I tend to get grumpy when writing isn't going well.

My husband's youngest sister is getting married this weekend, and the weather is supposed to be beautiful for the occasion. Lyle is also supposed to be a ring bearer, and he looks handsome in his outfit.

What would you like to celebrate?

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

WEP Challenge: Bridges

It's time once again for the WEP Challenge courtesy of Yolanda Renee and Denise Covey!

The theme this month is bridges.  I thought a lot about this one, but in the end, this story kind of flowed out of my fingers, taking twists and turns on its own.  It's always fun when that happens, isn't it?


The Bridge to Home

Serafina leans forward, resting her forehead against the night-chilled steel support.  The water below slides beneath her feet in a rush, the moonlight occasionally catching upon poorly defined shapes she’s not certain she wants to see clearly.  She takes a deep breath, but it doesn’t seem to be enough to fill her lungs.  Not anymore.
The distinctive sound of footsteps on the ancient wood planks of the bridge fill the otherwise silent night.  Serafina doesn’t bother to turn to see who it is.  She doesn’t need to.  Only one other person knows to find her here.
“You’re not going to do it, are you?” Harley asks, her typically mellow voice tight with concern.   The wood groans as she settles beside Serafina.
Serafina doesn’t answer, because she honestly doesn’t know.  She’d have told her best friend if she did.  They’d never kept anything from each other before.
The silence stretches out, tugging on the air between them until it’s pulled so tight that it feels as if the night itself might snap from the tension.
“What if he was right?” Serafina finally asks.  “He seemed so sure, and they never found a body.  You’d think three years would have given them plenty of time to do that.”
“It also would have given Jax enough time to get in touch with you if he was still alive.”  Harley’s words don’t sound cruel, but they cut just the same.
Serafina pulls away from the hand Harley tries to latch around her wrist.  She can’t expect her to understand the sheer need thrumming through her veins.  “Jax was the only family I had left.  What else am I supposed to do?”  Their parents disappeared one night a decade prior without explanation.  Jax, who was eighteen at the time, took care of Serafina.  Just before she herself turned eighteen, he started telling her stories of merpeople and unseen underwater kingdoms.
“I need to go home,” he’d told her, his emerald eyes burning bright with what she feared was madness.
“But you are home.”  Serafina had tried in vain to convince him of that, but he couldn’t be swayed.
Harley sighs.  “Jax was a wonderful brother, okay, but he had problems.  You know that.  You told me all the stories.  And I get it.  Maybe you need to believe that he and your parents are still out there somewhere going about their lives and waiting for you to join them.  I can’t blame you for that, but if you do this, you’ll only end up killing yourself, and that won’t solve anything!”
Serafina stands up, Harley’s panicked words reminding her of the fateful night that Jax had brought her here to this bridge.  His fluffy brown hair had almost danced in the breeze, the moonlight reflecting off his bright eyes as he climbed over the railing.  Tears were streaking down Serafina’s cheeks, her nose running from all the crying she’d been doing in the car.  “Please, Jax, you can’t do this.  Don’t leave me!”
“You can come with me,” he’d insisted.  “We can go together.”
She felt so sure at the time that he was committing suicide in from of her, and distraught though she’d been, she wasn’t prepared to follow through with that.  She shook her head resolutely.  “No, I can’t, but I don’t know if I can stay here without you, either.”
Jax’s smile was soft and a little sad.  “You’ll be just fine, Fin.  Don’t doubt that.  You can come when you’re ready.  I’ll be waiting.”  Then he let go, and she looked on in horror as the angry water below swallowed him whole.
She’d been so sure at first that he died that night, but the years that followed ate away at that certainty, and the stories Jax told, ones he said that their parents passed on to him before they left, seeped into the holes until nothing but a need to see all of them again remained.
Harley is speaking in a rush behind her, but the words won’t reach her ears, as if Serafina is already under water and unreachable.  “Take care of yourself, Harley, and don’t worry about me.  I’ll be fine.”  Her voice is confident.  Strong in a way that it hasn’t been in a long time.  “I will miss you, though,” she adds after a moment.
Then she lets go.  The freefall lasts only a couple of seconds, but the lightness in her bones makes her spirit soar.  I’m coming home!
Dark shapes swirl just below her as her body pierces the water’s surface and sucks her under.

Word Count: 761