Monday, January 31, 2011

My House? It's Full of Miracles!

There's a story in the Bible about a widow who was so poor she only had a handful of meal and a bit of oil which she was going to use to make a final meal for her and her son. The prophet Elijah asks her to make him a little cake with the meal and oil and then to make one for her and her son after she'd finished. She did so and her barrel of meal and her cruse of oil remained full.

In my house, we have a similar miracle. But instead of a barrel of meal, I have a sink full of dishes. It seems that I do dishes, and the next minute Voila!, the sink is full again!

And I don't have a cruse full of oil, but I have a pile of laundry that seems to never end. I get it in the machine, fold it, put it in my children's drawers, and the following morning Voila!, there are no clean socks in the sock drawer; they're all in the laundry.

So, you see, my house is full of miracles. :)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

One Rule and Giveaway Winner!

Originally uploaded by

"I have distilled the rules and come up with one, just one, I feel can fit all of us: You should find what works best for you." --Susan Power

Here's a quick update on the winner of the Word of the Year giveaway. I used to choose the winner and the banner goes to....Teri Ann! Her word for the year is "fearless."

Thanks to everyone who entered. And Teri Ann, please email me with your snailmail address so I can make your banner and send it to you. :)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Let Go (part deux)

Let Go & Let GOD!

"We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us." --Joseph Campbell (one of my heroes)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Reading to put me in the "write" frame of mind

I've often talked to my creative writing students (high school and adult) about how I have certain music for different WiPs. For my last NaNoNovel, my playlist has lots of Sarah McLachlan, Jewel, and other artists of that kind.

For the WiP I'm currently revising, CinderThief, I'm listening exclusively to Celtic music sung by women.

For my urban fantasy, only music by Evanescence will do.

But I didn't realized until today how much what I'm reading will affect what I'm writing. For instance, this week the final book in Karen Moning's Fever series came out, and I've been totally focused on it. In fact, when I'd turn on my computer to write, I'd be able to get a couple of sentences done before Mac and Jericho Barrons drew me back into the world of a Dublin gone completely mad. (Lots of bad, scary faeries. Very scary.)

I was having such a hard time writing, not just because I had a severe case of book drain (all of my faculties were being divereted to Shadowfever and I had nothing left for anything else), but because what I was reading was so different from the world I'm trying to create in CinderThief.

I finished Shadowfever yesterday and I wanted to work on the urban fantasy or, better yet, find a new urban fantasy series and allow myself to get sucked into that. (Which, by the way, if you know of any other great urban fantasies, will you give me a heads up? Thanks.)

But I refrained and started to read a book I already had on my Kindle: The Healer's Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson. It's a lovely romance that takes place in 13th century Saxony...different place but same time as my novel. And reading it has helped bring me back to the "write" frame of mind to work on CinderThief. Which means that I'm having fun and I know where I'm going with it.

So, what about you? What do you have to do to get yourself to the place you need to be to create?

Monday, January 17, 2011


Originally uploaded by SHLAY

"I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart's affection and the truth of the imagination." --John Keats

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Courage: The word for 2011 (Oh, and a giveaway!)

"You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do."
--Eleanor Roosevelt

I've already told you my big, fun, scary writing goal for the year and it's a thing that is going to require me to have a lot of courage. So I've made that my word for 2011: Courage.

I thought about making fearless my word for the year, but then I realized that there is no way I'm going to be able to get through this year without some fear. Maybe a lot of fear. Yeah. There's going to be fear. So this can't be my fearless year.

However, having courage and looking fear in the face, as Mrs. Roosevelt stated, doing the thing I think I cannot do, that's what my year is really about.


Here's what I'd like from you (if you're so inclined): In the comment box, write what your word of the year is. Just your one word. And next week, I'll draw one of your words at random and I will make you a banner like the one at the top of this post. Easy-peasy, right?

Oh! Wait! After you've commented here, go to Amy Jo's blog and wish her a happy bloggiversary and enter into her giveaway for a $15 Amazon gift card. Ooh, books....*drool*

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Best Laid Plans OR How $700 in New Tires Is Like Writing

I have four lovely new tires.

$700 tires.

It was not my plan to buy four new tires today. It was my plan to buy some new tires in the future as in, well, not today.

However, one of my tires had a different plan and blew yesterday.


And the tires for my new car...they're much more than the tires for the old car were. So, not only did I not plan on purchasing these lovely new tires today, but I spent much, much more than I'd thought I would. I mean, for that much, they should be studded with diamonds. Or cubic zirconia at least.

However, now I won't die if I'm on the freeway and my tire goes out during rush hour traffic. And these tires should last for a long, long time, especially if I make sure to get them rotated and check the air in them. And those are good things.

Same thing happens when I'm writing. I'm going along, driving down the revising street, thinking that I know where I'm going with the story ('cause I've already written it once before) and BAM! It hits me.

I hate what I'm writing. It isn't working out and the characters are doing stupid stuff and I just want to shut off my computer and hide in my hole forever and ever. Maybe I'll come out for chocolate, but that's it!

But, after awhile, if I just keep at it (and avoid Twitter as much as possible), even if I keep going back where I started and start over in an entirely different way, it all works out, and it does so beautifully. One might say that it even shines. Like cubic zirconia.

Hey, diamonds come later. I'm okay with that.

So, I guess what I'm saying is this: Keep hanging in there. Yeah, your book or your art or your life might be a big ball of suck right now, but it will get better. And when it does, you'll be happy that you didn't give up.

Okay, I think I just pep talked myself into a better mood. Go figure.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Let Go
Originally uploaded by buen·ʌv·entura

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined." --Thoreau

Saturday, January 8, 2011


I've been working on a project all day that I wanted to share with you for this post...but it's not done. It will probably make it's debut next week.

So, for today, I'm going to do a post that I've been thinking about for a long time. Last summer I read Everyday Grace by Marianne Williamson, and it reaffirmed my belief that the only thing that will save us is love.

War won't.

Politics won't.

Money won't.

Only love. Nothing will change in this world until we forget ourselves and start caring about others.

With that, I'd like to share with you a few quotes from Marianne about love.

"People deserve love not because of what they do, but because of who they are."

"The only way to achieve an exciting life is to be willing to be excited and exciting. The only way to achieve an excellent life is to be willing to be excellent. The only way to achieve love is to be willing to be more loving. Who and what we decide to be, in each and every moment, is reflected back to us in worldly forms."

"When we realized our mission is to love and forgive, we realized that every situation is an opportunity to do so."

"Forgiveness is our decision to see the love that is real in all of us, despite whatever appearances to the contrary there are."

And one last one:

"Everything should be interpreted as love or as a call for love. When someone has not shown us their love, our power lies in knowing they would have, had they known how. They are not wrong so much as they are wounded, and our role is not to judge them but to heal them."

That's just a handful of the wisdom of love that Marianne shares in Everyday Grace.

I have to admit that it's very difficult for me to love everyone in my life. There are some people whom I don't even like. So, in reality, this post is a reminder to myself that I need to remember to love more and to let anger go.

Thanks for letting me ramble on. Now go and enjoy the rest of your weekend. :)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Finish up already, Andria!

Yesterday, I read a tweet from an agent I follow and it said, "Andria, I want your book. Would you finish up already so I can sell it for you?!"

Okay, it didn't say that. But she is looking for a book that is exactly what The Silver Wheel is or will be when I'm done revising it. So, the next time you see me loitering online, say, "Get off Twitter/Facebook/Blogger and finish up that book already, Andria!"


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Calling of the Muse

Over the break, I bought Judy Reeves' book A Writer's Book of Days. The following is a short inspiration from the introduction of that book:

"My grandmother used to tell me that when we're born God puts His big thumbprint in the middle of our forehead and says, "You're a musician," "You're a baker," "You make pottery," and so on. To some of us, He says, "You, you're a writer." Those of us who were marked as writers (or as musicians or painters or dancers) but have pushed aside the calling of the Muse might as well surrender and do the thing we're meant to do. Otherwise, that longing inside our hearts will never be stilled."

My Muse, bless her heart, keeps yelling at me to write and to create (not that those two things are necessarily exclusive. I mean, to write, we must create).

So, tell me, what's the thumbprint on your forehead?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Big, Fun, Scary 2011

Alright. I admit it. I am totally looking forward to 2011.

2010 was good. It had a lot of downs (which resulted in more crazy bread eating than I'd like to admit), but it had a surprising number of ups.

For example "ups":
  • TSH came home from Afghanistan safe and sound.
  • I went back to my new favorite town, Port Townsend, WA, with my mom for my 2nd Artfest.
  • I started teaching creative writing for community ed. in January and it blossomed into something I never would have imagined possible. In just a year!
  • I went to Maui with my BFF and swam with sea turtle. Oh, and I started writing the Maui romance. Wait for it...I promise, it's going to be good.
  • I started and finished the rough draft of my YA historical-fantasy-adventure novel and started on revisions.
  • I went to 2 writing conferences this year (both with my BFF) and I spent 4 fabulous days with Sara Zarr at WIFYR (which I'm going to again this year! Yay!) and was complimented on my glasses at the Heart of the West conference by Victorial Dahl (who writes really awesome and pretty hot historical and contemporary romances).
  • Oh! I met (and kind of stalked, but not scary stalking) Bree Despain and she gave Amy and I ARCs of The Lost Saint.
  • I didn't get into grad school (which started the entire eating entirely too much crazy bread episodes), but it really was for the best because TSH just barely found a job in December.

See! So many good things and there are probably more that I'll think of as soon as I click "Publish Post."

But, as I said, I am so super-excited about 2011. And why? Because I have a plan, Stan! Okay, more of a goal, but still, it's a biggy for me. It's big. And fun. And scary. Come over here and I'll whisper it to you.

Ha! No I'm not. I'm going to shout it!


Was that a little too loud? I'm sorry. It's just that I am so excited about it!

I have other goals too, like finishing my NaNoNovel before too long and writing the first draft of my dystopian novel. But the submitting goal...that's huge and scary! And I'm so excited! (I know; I've probably used far too many exclamation points in this post, but I'm so excited!)

So...what about you, my friends? What are your big plans for 2011? Come on. I know you have at least one. You can tell me.