Sunday, October 2, 2011

Wisdom from YA

I often share bits of wisdom I've read, but I don't think I've ever shared something from a young adult novel. Until now.

It's not that a lot of YA lit doesn't have meaningful things to say; it does. But I think what I'm about to share with you is so timeless, so beyond age and race and gender, that it warrants sharing with you.

In the end, it's something I know we all already know, deep down. It's something we all feel, I think, but we're afraid to admit it. As adults, we are still so bogged down by this, we can't look left or right without having it pushed into our faces.

So, here it is, from An Na's novel The Fold.

"'It's hard to feel all right about yourself when everything around you is saying that you have to look a certain way, act and love a certain way. Or buy this product or take this pill and it will make you better. Make you happy. It's all bull. The amazing and hard fact is that there is no magic pill or procedure or anything. What might make you happy one minute might not make you happy the next. What is beautiful now won't be later. Everything is always changing. You have to know what is true to you. Know who you are and what matters the most to you in here,' Helen said and pointed to her heart."

I know, right? And some people think YA is fluff. Someday, maybe I'll grow up and be able to take this wisdom into my own life.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I had this song written just for you...

(Okay, if I had tons of money and a time-machine to take me back to over three years ago, I would have paid Anna Nalick to write this song for you. Yes, I love you all that much.)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

And her name is....


And since three people said Veronica, I put the names in a (virtual) pot and drew out Alyosha's name. Alyosha, email me at with your address and I'll send out your copy of WHAT HAPPENED TO GOODBYE.

Thanks for your help, everyone! Stay tuned, because I'm going to have you help me rename another character soon and another book will be given away.

Won't it be cool when I can send out my own books as giveaways?!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hey, Is She Reading My Mind?

I have thought the same, exact things Gabrielle talks about in this video. I think I've even mentioned them on the blog. It's like she's reading my mind?! Or I'm not the only one thinking like this...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Yummy, pretty things in my Etsy shop

Is it wrong to covet things in your own Etsy store...?

These dyed howlite beads remind me of Sixlets. Mmm, yummy.

A bracelet full of miracles! (Okay, milagros, which is Spanish for miracles.)

Great balls of felt! A charm bracelet made of felted wool beads.

Excuse me, but is that a garden on your arm?!

Shine, my dear. Shine.

...If so, I don't want to be right.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Magic Garden

A Gardens Secret
Originally uploaded by

"A Book is like a magic garden hidden in your pocket."
--Chinese Proverb

Helping THINGS Find Their Purpose

My family jokingly (I think) calls me a hoarder. I am not a hoarder. I merely save things until their true purpose, their calling, has been found.

For example:


This styrofoam helped keep some precious purchase safe until it arrived at my house (not that I remember which purchase that was). I knew it had not yet fulfilled its dharma.

Poor shorties

The top of this shelf is the perfect place to put some handmade softies I've bought as well as my Spirit in Flight doll. But it is too deep. *sigh* This is so sad.

Everyone's Happy

With a few swipes of my craft knife, the styrofoam fits perfectly in the niche of my shelf and my shorties have a perfect perch. Everyone is happy!

Including me.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

New Blogs from Old Friends

Both Nicole and Amy Jo have new blogs chronicling their new adventures. Take a few minutes to check them out. And have a lovely evening.

Sweatin' and Clickin' (Nicole's new blog)

The Balancing Act (Amy's new blog)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What Makes Me Happy Wednesday

A few of the things that have made me smile this past week:


These funny little guys.


My first ever roast beef! (1/2 gone before I thought to take a picture)


Pretty bits of 2 special projects I've been working on.


A beaded chain I'm making for a special project for myself. :)


Happy Hour with a Cherry-Vanilla Diet Dr. Pepper, peanut butter M&Ms, and Pegasus by Robin McKinley.


Baby (okay, 3-year old) playing in the water.

How about you? What's made you happy this week? Post it in the comments OR write your own blogpost and leave a link in the comments.

Let's share the happy!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Name Not Ending in "y" Contest

I have a problem. Too many characters in my WiP have names ending in a hard "e" (Merci, Conchi, Lily). So I'm going to have a contest. YOU will re-name my character, Lily.

In the comments, post your suggestion for a girl's name. You can even post your own name, but be forewarned that the girl is a mean girl. She says nasty things about people and people say nasty things about her.

If I choose your name, not only will you be helping me write the book, you'll also win a signed copy of Sarah Dessen's What Happened to Goodbye. Contest is open until Sunday, August 21st 7:00 PM.

Woohoo! This is going to be fun.

Grow Up

Growing Up Sandhill...

"It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are."

--e.e. cummings

Sunday, August 7, 2011


So, my first residency at Vermont College was pretty amazing. Here, I count the reasons why. (Along with pictures of the campus and the surrounding area, not in any particular order.)
Montpelier, VT

1. Vermont is gorgeous. Did you know this? It's green everywhere and everyone has gardens that I would kill to have.

Montpelier, VT
2. The Writing for Children and Young Adults program is capped at 100 people. In my semester, there were 26 people. 26? I looked around there the first day we all met together and thought, "Hey! There are only 26 first semester students, and I'm one of them! How did that happen?" And then it occurred to me: I must be pretty good. Holy boost to my morale, Batman!

3. To go along with number 2, since they cap the program at 100, that means that the other people in the program are good writers too. I just kept looking around, wondering whose book would be published next.

Garden behind Dewey Hall Vermont College
4. The faculty. Hello! I'm hearing lectures from and am in workshops with best-selling and award-winning authors. And they're so friendly and so helpful and they really want their students to succeed.

5. Remember how I was worried about my roommate? Yeah, I so didn't need to worry about that. She's an incredible person. And we ate chocolate together.

6. Vermont cleared up my cough! Seriously.

Things you find in the wall Montpelier, VT

So, that's my summer residency adventure. How have your adventures been coming along?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

My (Irrational?) Fears About VCFA

As I get just days away from jetting off to Vermont, my fears and anxieties about going to Vermont College and about the MFA residency experience are increasing.

Here are some of them in no particular order of seriousness (*note* I'm posting these fears as a kind of writing exercise/therapy session; please don't feel like you have to comment and tell me that my fears are unfounded. I know most of them probably are, but I feel like putting them in writing will help me to deal with them.):

  • Everyone else will be better writers than I am and they'll wonder why I'm even there.

  • My roommate won't like me.

  • I'll have to hang out by myself the entire time.

  • My teachers will won't like my writing/my genre.

  • Everyone else will be really skinny and won't want to eat Ben & Jerry's ice cream with me.

  • My shuttle doesn't show up and I have no way to get from Burlington to Montpelier.

  • My luggage gets lost and I end up wearing the same outfit the entire time I'm there.

That being written, I'm so excited to go. I'm excited to go to New England for the first time, to learn from authors who are publishing right now, to become a better writer. And hopefully to make new writing friends.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Live the Questions

Everywhere questions

"Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves. Do not seek the answers, which cannot be given to you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions."

--Rainer Maria Rilke

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What I Learned About Life from WIFYR 2011 Part 2

Wow. A week went by at light speed. That's what summer is like. Warp speed, Mr. Worf. And then the school year seems like some kind of Groundhog Day where nothing ever moves forward.

Well, here's some more of what I learned about Life From WIFYR (Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers) 2011.

The first day I went to breakout sessions with Emily Wing Smith and Claudia Mills. Emily's was "Surviving and Thriving as a Pre-published Author" while Claudia's was "Defeating Your Demons."

Here's a few of the things I learned about life from these lovely ladies.

1. Appreciating the journey: Emily Wing Smith told us that this time (our pre-published time) is special in our careers as writers. This is a time when we are FREE TO WRITE. For me, and for so many others, not just writers, we just want to hurry up and get there! We want to get to that time in our lives that we see as perfect, and so we don't appreciate the fact that, right now, we're doing the thing that we really love to do and not worrying so much about the business of it.

We need to learn to deal with the roadblocks to appreciating what we have. Emily said these things are Jealousy, Discouragement, and Impatience. Think about these roadblocks: What is your dream, your perfect life? Where are you right now on that journey? Are these three things holding you back or getting in your way? If you said "no", would you please hurry up and develop an online course explaining how you've overcome these things, so I can take it and become just like you? :)

2. "Who do you think you are? You're not a _____________." Claudia Mills had us shout out our "demons," the things that hold us back. And then she quickly defeated those demons with her vorpal sword (snicker snack!). I loved this breakout, because every single demon the other people in the room had, I have too. One that really resonated with me was, "Who do you think you are? You're not a writer!"

I have the hardest time telling people that I'm a writer and an artist. I don't feel like a writer or an artist (although writers and artists would probably tell me that they just feel like normal people...and I am always amazed that the writers and artists I admire are NORMAL PEOPLE! Seriously, Amy can vouch for that. I always get nervous when I'm about to meet an author, and everytime I leave saying, "Wow. She's normal!").

Claudia's weapon for this demon? She said that if we write, and keep at it, then we are writers. Each of us has stories that no one else has. Isn't that true for all of us? Each of us has a song inside us that no one else can sing or a floral arrangement that no one else can create or a poem that no one else can pen. What if we chose to believe this demon? Then the world would never have what only we can give it.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Work+Talent=Dreams Come True


"Work is the miracle by which talent is brought to the surface and dreams become reality."

--Gordon B. Hinckley

Saturday, June 18, 2011

What I Learned About Life from WIFYR 2011 Part 1

Well, my friends, yesterday was the last day of the 2011 Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers conference. It was an exciting ride of a week. Seriously. Even as I'm sitting still, my shadow self is doing somersaults and backflips and then breaks into the salsa with herself as partner (my shadow self is much more coordinated than I am).

Carol brought together an amazing group of teachers who have already influenced my writing (for good and not for eeevil) and my life. And, in my usual way, I am going to share what I learned about life while learning about writing. This is Part 1 in my new series: What I Learned About Life from WIFYR 2011.

First, I was in the boot camp morning workshop with the fabulous A.E. Cannon (otherwise known as Ann) (otherwise known as Amazing!)as our drill sargeant. The first morning, Ann shared with us some of her own writing mistakes. Here are a couple:

1. Be in scene: Great advice for writing; fantastic advice for life. So many times, I'm focusing on the past, what I did wrong, what I could have done instead of what I did do, and, of course, the WHAT IF? is always looming over my head. Or I am thinking about my future: what I'll do when I'm a published author, who I'll invite over to my house for a tea party if I ever get my house cleaned, how will I react in this or that kind of situation. While focusing on the past or the future, I am not
in scene.

Being in scene,to me, means that we are enjoying the ride we are on in this moment. This doesn't meant that we don't make goals for ourselves or that we don't learn from our past mistakes, but that we don't spend so much time focusing on those things that we forget the joy and excitement of living our lives!

2. Don't wait for the right time in your life: For me, this is directly related to writing, because for so long, I waited for the time to write. After I came home from my mission, I started my Master's and teacher certification program, I got married, I started teaching, I started having children, I kept teaching, and all the while, I wanted to write, but I didn't have time.

Two years ago, when I met Ann for the first time during a summer institute of the Central Utah Writing Project, she told us that if we wanted to write, we had to make time for it. It was like a Homer Simpson "d'oh!" moment for me. Of course! If I wanted to be a writer, if I wanted a writing life, then I had to make time to write. And so I did. And I'm so grateful that I did.

Yeah, my house might be a little bit messier (it was never that clean anyway) and my two older children have learned to make their own PBJ sandwiches and chicken nuggets (a useful skill for boys of any age), but I am writing! I am doing the thing that feeds my soul.

You might not be interested in a writing life, but, probably, you have something you long to do. Are you doing it? If not, why not? Can you let something else go so that you can _____________ (insert soul-feeding activity here)?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Oops! Change to date and time of the Satin Flower Bracelet Class

So, my mom pointed out to me the other day that the original date and time of the Satin Flower Bracelet class is right smack during our family reunion.

Here's the new date and time:

Wednesday, June 29, 2011 at 6:30 PM.

Click here to learn more about the class and how to register.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Satin Flower Bracelet Workshop

Here it is. My first craft class. We will make fun and easy satin flower bracelets with fleece bands.

Your $15 class fee includes:

Instruction by moi.
All supplies for one bracelet: satin, fleece, button, snap, thread, needles, candle
Printed directions

Satin Flower  #1

You need to bring:
A good pair of scissors for cutting fabric

Class is limited to 10 participants and will take place in West Valley City, UT on Wednesday, June 29 at 6:30 PM.

Satin flower bracelet #2

Extra flower bracelet supplies can be purchased for $5 each.

To register, please email me at

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

In Love...with Writing

Originally uploaded by jjpacres

"What you have to be is in love. With writing. Not with ideas about what to write; not with daydreams about what you're going to do when you're successful. You have to be in love with writing itself, with the solitary and satisfying act of sitting down and watching something you hold in your head and your heart quietly transform itself into words on a page." --Elizabeth Berg

Magic in my backyard

A year and a half ago, I was daydreaming about Port Townsend, wishing I could move there. I think I even looked up houses and jobs up there. I wanted the magic back in my life, the magic I've felt when I've spent when I've visited the Pacific Northwest.

It was during those moments of longing that I wrote this.

Magic in my Backyard

It's here--no, it isn't
But I want it to be here
I want the magic to be at my disposal
all the time
Not just when I go for a visit.

I don't want to visit the magic
Go on vacation to experience it.
I want to have it with me here,
all the time.

Last week, I decided I wanted to find that magic. So my boys and I wnet for a nature walk in our backyard. It's kind of a jungle out there; we haven't done anything with it yet this year. These are the pictures we took as we discovered the magic in our backyard.

Beautiful flowers (the first two are actually weeds, but aren't they pretty?)

Nature walk 1

Nature walk 2

Nature walk 4

Incredible, amazing, fabulous creatures (also known as my children)

Nature walk 5

Nature walk 6

Nature walk 7

This summer, I'm going to look for the magic that's in my own yard and in my own city. What about you?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Camping in your living room

My kids love when I let them get out their sleeping bags and "camp" in the family room. Almost always, they end up in their own beds before morning, but they can barely contain their joy when I tell them that, yes, they can have a campout in the family room.

In those moments, I am the best mom ever!

I remember the times when my mom let us sleep outside on the trampoline. We only did it once or twice, but we were so excited when we did. We were having an adventure. And it took place within the safe confines of our yard and a few dozen steps from a flushing toilet.

Since my last post, more than one person has pointed out to me that I am at the start of my own adventure. Amy, just this morning, reminded me that, just because I'm not moving or quitting my job, doesn't mean that I'm not on the verge of something new and exciting. And my MOM commented on my last post reminding me of that same adventure as I start at Vermont College in July.

That forced me to look at my life and really see my new adventure, my new "Once upon a time" as Nicole likes to call it. So, maybe I'm not camping in some awesome place like Yellowstone or, I don't know, Hawaii. But I am going to have an awesome time while I camp in my own backyard (or, actually, on my bed with the door shut and locked, a sign that says, "Mom at work. Do not disturb," taped to the door) and going on a couple of sleepovers (across the country).

Maybe I'll get myself an Indiana Jones-style hat to remind myself that I, too, am having an adventure.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Left Behind

Originally uploaded by lightpainter

So, the Rapture has come and gone and I'm still here.

Okay, so are the rest of you. I think...

This spring has been a season of changes. My BFF Amy and I have taught next door to one another for 8 years. The wall between our classroom has a hole so big in it that we can pass notes, and occassionally candy, back and forth. And we IM each other constantly during the school day. We go to writing conferences together. She's my crit partner, my beta reader, and my writing group.

And now she's quitting teaching to follow her lifelong dream and go to law school.

My cousin Nicole and I are soul sisters. When we were younger, her dad joked that God knew that we would drive each other crazy if we were real sisters, so He made us cousins instead. Nicole gets me, more than any other person. And we're both trying to break out of our cocoons and become the people we know we're meant to be. When I talk to Nicole (which is not frequent enough) about how I'm feeling, about my desire for something different, about my fear of change, she KNOWS.

And she's moving from around the corner and across the street to Arizona.

I'm uber-excited for both of them! I can't wait to see where their journeys lead them, to watch them live their dreams, to become the people they're meant to be.

But I'm feeling like I'm being left behind. Much like the Rapture, the people I love the most are going to someplace better, and I'm stuck here, taking care of their pets.

Am I green with envy? Maybe I am a pale shade of sage, because I want to be going as well. No, I don't want to go to law school and I don't want to move to Arizona, but I do want to be moving forward, making big (yet scary) changes. But I'm not. Come fall, I'll still be teaching in the same room I've been in for years. I'll be living in the same valley where I've spent most of my life.

Here's the thing: I have the feeling that I haven't learned when I'm meant to learn and that's why I'm not making big, sweeping changes in my life. I just wish the Universe would tell me what it is I'm meant to learn, so I can study really hard, pass the test, and move on.

More likely, I know, is that I'm on my adventure already, but that it's a slower, more meandering kind of adventure that requires lots of little steps instead of huge strides.

I'd just like a map, you know, so I can see where I'm going, and how far along the path I already am.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Artfest 2011

Home from Artfest. I didn't take many pictures this time, but here are a few. Maybe you'll go next year?

I enjoyed eating my lunch on this picnic table, overlooking the water.

Working on my mixed-media prayer flags in Karen Michel's class.

Port Townsend from the ferry waiting area.

Tulip fields in Skagit Valley.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Welcome to the Daydream Cafe! (part 2)

J AND M CAFE, SEATTLE Originally uploaded by ldh57

Welcome to the Daydream Cafe! It's good to see you again!


Do you need a moment with the menu?

No, I know exactly what I want.

[Pulls out pad and pen.] Great! What would you like?

I've been daydreaming about the artist who'll write the music for the film version of my unpublished novel. Kind of like Simon and Garfunkel and The Graduate?

Ah, dreaming big today!

Yeah. Is that okay?

Of course! It's your daydream. So, who were you thinking about?

This is kind of embarrassing, but I've daydreaming about P!nk writing entirely original songs for my book.

Hey! Don't be embarrassed. There's nothing wrong with dreaming big.

Okay, then. I'll take the soundtrack by P!nk. And that will be all for today.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Welcome to the Daydream Cafe!

Acera Café, París Originally uploaded by pasalolaraj

Welcome to the Daydream Cafe! I'm your server. Care to hear about our special?

Yes, please.

Today's special consists of a heaping serving of the authors who are going to blurb your currently unpublished novel. We have quite a selection to choose from today.

Someone told me you had Robin McKinley on the menu; is she still available?

The author of Beauty and The Hero and the Crown and The Blue Sword?

Yes, and Sunshine too.

You're in luck! I believe there is only one more Robin McKinley back in the Daydream kitchen. She's been a popular one today.

Excellent! I'll take her then with a side serving of Kristin Cashore.

Nice choice! Would you like a Stephanie Meyer for dessert?

Mmm, not today, thanks. Maybe for the next novel.

Okay, we'll have that right up for you then!


Saturday, April 2, 2011

All my ducks in a row for Artfest 2011

Just a few more days and I'll be off to Port Townsend, Washington for my 3rd year in a row. The little duckies with Shrinky Dink charms with this year's logo are my trades. They make me smile, and I hope they make others smile as well.

I've even made the piece above for the gallery this year. You dan't see it, but the little hearts are dangling on the nails. It makes me smile as well.

Oh, and I totally forgot to post yesterday that it was my 3 year blog birthday. Look for a bloggeriffic giveaway coming after I get home from Washington.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Good News Can Sabotage You Too

This is only my 3rd post this month. I'd been doing so well. I was so proud of myself. My head was teeming with awesome ideas for blogposts. I was in the groove. A post with a picture and a quote at the beginning of the week, a post with...something else during the week.

And my writing? Holy cow! I was on fire. I was writing almost every single night. I had over 100 pages revised in Cinder Thief.

And then, I realized I didn't like my story anymore. It wasn't the story I set out to write, and yet I'd written an entire first draft and 100 pages of a second draft. So I started over.

And then I got the really awesome news about being accepted into Vermont College. And, for some reason, that stopped my progress in its tracks. I don't know why. Maybe because it felt just too good to be true, I spent more time thinking about that instead of my writing. Or maybe I'm afraid of success.

Does that sound odd? To be afraid of success? To see that what you want is right around the corner and so you decide to make a detour instead, avoiding what you've always wanted?

I've done this before. I've let myself give up on something because I was afraid. So, maybe there's a pattern for it in my life.

However, there have been so many other things I've been afraid of and I wanted to quit, but for some reason I didn't. There was a time when I was working towards my teaching certification that I almost threw in the towel and said, "Forget it." But something kept me from doing that.

Now, I need to find that something again and start writing again. Because if I stop writing, it won't matter that I got into that program (since, you know, it's a writing program).

The world I'm contemplating for myself is scary, but it's also exciting. It will be hard, but it will be worth it.

Friday, March 11, 2011

To the Teacher in Miami...

Dear Miami 2nd-grade teacher,

I read about what happened, and I'm appalled. Appalled! I'm appalled that this is what the media is focusing on instead of what the real issue is: that a child was talking in class and that a parent, instead of getting upset at her child for his bad behavior, she is lashing out at you in a very public way.

I'm a teacher, but I'm also a parent, and I can tell you, that if I found out that my child had been talking out in class, my child would be the one who got into trouble. In fact, my child did get in trouble for talking while the teacher was talking, and I didn't contact the evening news to tell them about it. Instead, he was grounded from his video games. And we haven't had any problems since then.

I wish, now, that the reporters who've spent time talking to this mom, encouraging her to tell her story, would now give you a chance to tell your story. The story of how you have 25 2nd graders in your class, some of them with learning disabilities, some of them who don't speak English as their first language, some who come to school hungry, and some who just had a bad night at home the day before.

I wish the media would interview the parents of students whose lives you've touched. The kids who struggled with reading. The kids who just needed a little bit of extra attention from you. The kids who love and adore you and who love learning because of the time (paid and unpaid) that you spend preparing lessons.

My hope is that you can continue on being the best teacher you can be, and that you are receiving the positive attention you most undoubtedly deserve even if it's not in the public eye.


A fellow teacher

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

So, I'm going here....

I received an unexpected call last Tuesday from the program director for the MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts.
The faculty liked my writing. They accepted my application into the program.
I'm going to Vermont in July.
Some feelings:
Extremely grateful.
But afraid.
There are so many things I want to say, but I'm going to leave them for another day. (Hey, that rhymed. Maybe that's why they accepted me into the program...)

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Wildest Edge of Edges

"If you take any activity, any art, any discipline, any skill--take it and push it as far as it will go, push it beyond where it has ever been before, push it to the wildest edge of edges, then you force it into the realm of magic." --Tom Robbins

Tuesday, February 15, 2011



Here's my new favorite question to ask people:

What would you do if you could do anything and didn't have to worry about paying the mortgage or buying food for your family?

Now, I'm not a therapist or a life coach or a self-help guru (although the last two sound like awesome jobs!), but I believe our individual answers to that question can be revealing. And I think that we need to try and get as close as possible to living ouranswer. Whether we take baby steps or Bigfoot steps doesn't matter as much as taking those steps.

So, now I ask you the same question: What would you do if you could do anything you wanted to do? If you're not ready to answer that question here in the blogworld, answer it in your journal. Then, if you have a couple of extra minutes, what steps are you taking (or are you going to take) to live your answer?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy V-Day, Muse! I love you!

For Valentine's Day this year, I've decided to send flowers to my muse. Why? Because she's awesome!

Last night, after what had pretty much been a week-long writing dry spell (my fault, not hers), I opened up Word and started writing a scene I've had in my head for a while for Cinder Thief. It wasn't in order of what I've been doing and, like a lot of my revision has been, wasn't even in the first draft. But it's been rattling around in there, and I decided yesterday it had to get down on paper. Or in an electronic file as it were. Four pages done. Woot!

Then, I still had all of this...writing energy. I was unstoppable, so I didn't stop. I opened up Un-Merci-ful, which I haven't looked at since I started revising Cinder Thief in December and revised a scene (which really was writing almost an entirely new scene). It was awesome! Full of...awesome! Four and a half pages of awesome. Woot woot!

So, after that, I really should have gone to bed, you know, because I had to get up and go to work and all. But being unstoppable as I was, I opened up the Maui romance, which I haven't looked at since October. Yeah, it was pretty much genius. I figured out the whole problem that the two characters were having, discovered that there was legal basis for an annulment for such a problem, and wrote 5 1/2 pages of genius. Woot woot woot!

Really, I'm not tooting my own horn here. I'm here to toot my muse's horn.

Thank you, Muse, for being so awesome. What would I do without you? Enjoy the flowers and have a lovely Valentine's Day.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Find Peace

Originally uploaded by VonMurr

"There is no need to go to India or anywhere else to find peace. You will find that deep place of silence right in your room, your garden or even your bathtub." --Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Writer Packrat (Or how cleaning out my studio is like revision)

I have a room in my house that I call my "studio." Others might call it a craft room (or a "crap" room), but I call it my studio.

In my studio, I have a desk for making art. I have a sewing machine all set up on its very own table. I even have a writing desk. Do you know where I write? On my bed. Why don't I use my desk?

I can't even get to it.

I also can't use my art desk or my sewing machine. *hangs head in disgust*

I do mixed-media art. What does that mean? That means that I have my fingers in many different kinds of art supplies. Some people wouldn't even consider what I have in there an "art supply." (Why do you have all of the bubble wrap you've ever got in the mail in here? You use these shelf liners for what? What are these empty envelopes that come in your bills doing stacked up on the floor?)

The problem: I keep everything because one day I might need it for something in my art. That strip of scrapbook paper that you'd throw away? Yeah, I'd keep that. That fluffy romance that you read once and you're ready to send it to the thrift store? I could use it to make a cool pendant. That broken necklace that you'll never wear again? Hmm, let me see that...

Last week, as I attempted to make sense of the national disaster that is my studio, I came to the realization that cleaning out my studio is much like trying to revise my writing.

The problem: Sometimes I write something that I really, really love in the first draft. And then others really, really love it too. I feel like I have to keep it. Other people liked it! Why would I toss that line of dialogue or that description?

Because the story no longer needs it.

But it's still so hard to get rid of. I've had to learn that I can't keep it simply because I like it; I have to stay true to my story, and the story has grown up, changed. I can't tie it down with bits and pieces it no longer needs.

It's hard to let those favorite bits go, but, in the end, the story is the most important thing.

Now if I could just learn to do that in my studio...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Scariest Moment

Originally uploaded by iwouldstay

"The scariest moment is always just before you start." --Stephen King