Thursday, November 16, 2017

Operation Christmas Child

You guys! It's time to pack shoeboxes!
Ahem, let me back up a little. 
Operation Christmas Child is a program by Samaritan's Purse. People fill shoeboxes for kids and then Samaritan delivers them to children around the world, as well as sharing the gospel with each child. 

I used to pack a shoe box every year for Bible Club when I was little. It was like, the highlight of my year. Then we moved away from that church and I got too old for Bible Club, and shoeboxes went by the wayside. 

But now I'm a fairly strong mildly independent woman and I can pack a shoebox without Bible Club. 

This week is the big collection week. They collect all year round, but this week churches all over open up as donation centers and this batch of boxes will go out for Christmas. 

So I got Jarod on board with it and we went to the store. Henry was a big help, eating the tags off things and testing out all the items to be sure they worked. I drew the line at the toothbrush. If he'd had his way, there'd be no wrapping paper left. 

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling

I'll admit, my eyes were bigger than my shoebox there were just so many cute things! We decided to pack our box for a little girl, age 5-9. 
We had hair accessories, a baby doll, pencils, crayons, notebooks. There was lip balm, toothbrushes, hairbrushes, pencil sharpeners, bracelets and an adorable pink purse. I found this kitty stocking hatnwith gloves that had to go, and some fun colorful socks....

Like I said, my eyes were definitely bigger than the box. 
But, in the words of Rerun Vanpelt, "make em fit. If they don't fit, we make em fit."
I'm hoping the workers at Samaritan share that same vision. I repacked that box three times and got it taped up, only to find I had left out the toy baby owl and our note with pictures. 

Of course I cut the box open and repacked again. That owl had to fit in there. It was adorable. 

And you know what? We succeeded. We've got a tracking number on ou package, so we'll get to find out what country it goes to! I'm literally so excited right now, I can't even wait. 

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Beautiful Books 2

It's time for the second leg of the Beautiful Books linkup, hosted by the lovelies mentioned up there in the picture.
Beautiful Books is designed with NaNoWriMo in mind but you don't have to be doing NaNo to take part.
Since I finished my Snow White retelling (and sent it off today) this post will just focus on  my NaNo novel, The Guns.
Here are the questions:
Overall, how is your mental state, and how is your novel going?
My mental state is good, as far as writing goes. As far as life goes, I'm finding I have a lot in common with Cruella Deville. Never thought that would happen.
But no, I'm pretty tickled with how the novel is going. I know it's gonna need some work when its through, but that's ok. I'm getting it written. Very rapidly, I might add.
What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)?
Cole studied the faded map in his hands. It was thin and flimsy, and most of the lines were rubbed away with age. He hadn’t encountered a town since yesterday, but couldn’t be certain if that meant there weren’t any, or if he’d just missed them. According to what he could see on the map, Cody should be the next stop. He’d left behind the skeletal remains of Thermopolis’ waterparks, the sulfur from the hot springs clinging to everything. Cody should be next. He just hoped he hadn’t missed it. Mitch’s directions had been vague at best. Of course, it had been more than twenty years since he’d been near the place, so even the landmarks he could remember might have long since vanished. But Cole knew which highway he was on. Or, he thought he did anyway. It should take him right into Cody. And then what?
Who’s your current favourite character in your novel?
Calgary, my feisty saloon gal. But Cole is a close second. He just needs developed a little better and I'll be madly in love.
What do you love about your novel so far?
The blend of wild west and modern style gangs. Its so fun to play with.
Have you made any hilarious typos or other mistakes?
If I have I haven't noticed them yet. I'm not looking back until it's finished. Check with me in December.
What is your favourite to write: beginning, middle, or end — and why?
Middle. Because you can just go with it. Beginnings have to hook you, and endings have to tie all the strings. Middles get to ramble a bit.
What are your writing habits? Is there a specific snack you eat? Do you listen to music? What time of day do you write best? Feel free to show us a picture of your writing space!
I get up and do chores, then wait for Henry to take his midmorning nap, at which point I set up the laptop in the kitchen and write between 1-2 thousand words. Then I leave the laptop on all day and write as time permits. Sometimes I play my instruments only playlist in the background. Something about the Braveheart soundtrack really helps the word count. Snacks? I've been eating a lot of deer jerky and summer sausage, and drinking coffee. Lots of coffee. But I was doing that before nano, so not sure if that counts. You are not getting a picture of my kitchen counter right now.
How private are you about your novel while you’re writing? Do you need a cheer squad or do you work alone (like, ahem, Batman)?
I'm somewhere in the middle? I don't like blast it out to the world on say, Facebook. But Skye from Ink Castles, and my sisters get to hear about it and will be able to read it later on, and Jarod gets to hear a bit, though I keep him somewhat in the dark cuz right now my thoughts are all muddled and he might laugh.
What keeps you writing even when it’s hard?
The fame and glory that comes with NaNo. Basically I'm stubborn. I decided to do it, therefor I must, or die trying.
What are your top 3 pieces of writing advice?
To paraphrase, Go after inspiration with a stick.
Readers have to use their imaginations too. Don't spell it all out for them.
Just Do It.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

NaNo Day Four

Hello everyone!
 For those of you doing NaNoWriMo, sorry to distract you. Get back to writing. 
For those of you not doing NaNo, glad you could join us. 

All this to say, I did it. I finished my second Snow White retelling and had about two days to come up with character names and a plot line for my Young Guns NaNo story, which is now titled simply The Guns. 

So far so good! There's a few mild hiccups that I'll want to go back and fix, but that will wait till December. Right now I just want to get the thing written. 

Henry is cutting a tooth (I can see it finally!) So he's not been very happy, and has wanted lots of snuggle time, so 90% of my writing happens in the morning before he wakes up, or during his naps. But, it's working out alright so far, cuz I've managed to write over the daily needed count, and now have 12559 words. So I'll have a little wiggle room on those days where I only get like 500 words wrote. 

I'm liking the plot, and have come up with a few twists that I hadn't originally planned on. Cole was a bit troublesome the first two chapters, as he's supposed to be a tough guy, and it just wasn't happening. He was getting rather annoying. But, I fixed it in this last chapter, and I'll tweak those first two after I'm finished. 

Calgary is a total pistol and I think she's one of the few girl characters I've written that I actually like. (Have I ever mentioned I'm not fond of most of my girl main characters? Secondary is fine, but those main ones....grrrr) 

I'm putting my honeymoon to  good use, as we spent two days in Cody. So all my pictures and such are coming in handy. I mean, Henry thinks we put it to good use anyway, but on a writing level....

I'm kind of a bad nano because the night before I stayed up till midnight watching horror movies, and then slept in. I have had like, one cup of coffee, and I've spent an awful lot of time checking Facebook because the PBR Built Ford Tough championship is in Vegas this week, and my boy JB Mauney who tore all for rotocufs in his shoulder and had it reconstructed and is now full of screws and pins four months ago DECIDED THAT HES ABLE TO RIDE BULLS AND HES GONNA TRY FOR HIS THIRD WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP. I mean, I love it, but if I was his woman I would smack him. He was supposed to heal for at least six months. Preferably a yar. But anyway, I don't have cable to watch it, so I gotta check the updates on Facebook. He rode his first bull! 

Ahem. Moving on.
Here's a few snippets for your enjoyment! 

His mom would scold him for talking to the boy rough. She'd say that a kind word turns away wrath, and to treat folks like he wanted treated. Most the time he agreed with her, but something about this town made him think the people here wouldn't recognize a kind word if it kicked them in the teeth. 

"Wolf Bloods?" He tipped his head. 
"Another gang." She frowned. "But they're not your big concern." 
"Right. These Guns who apparently plan to kill me on sight are."
"At least you're learning."  She nodded. 

His two encounters hadn't yielded him much info other than the unanimous consensus that he was going to get killed by a Gun, and to not look for the man he's come here looking for. 

The owner of the motel was a sticky older woman who looked like she could hunt bear with a stick. When she demanded to know what he had to trade, he was real careful to offer something substantial. 

Friday, November 3, 2017

Trick or Treat Indeed

So, I love Halloween. 
Like, I'm not quite fanatical, but I love Halloween. Since I've been married my sister's come to my house and we eat way too much, and watch scary movies way too late. 

So this year I dressed little Henry up as a flippin adorable scarecrow, and then did myself up. (I'm the person I wanted to be when I was 17, I case you're wondering) And we went to my grandmas houses. 

I...I mean, Henry, got two pieces of candy, and they were delicious. 

Then the minions came over, and we had pizza, and root beer floats, and they made chocolate cookies which were the bomb. 

We watched Case 39, which I hadn't seen in years, but it was just as freaky as I remembered it, and then we watched House at the End of the Street. I've seen it probably ten times and it still gives me the creeps. Why'd they have to use one of my old actor crushes to be a psycho? 

I also went a little all out and carved pumpkins, and hung cobwebs and candles and danger tape on everything. 

What did you do??

Friday, October 27, 2017

Six Months 0.o

My little guy is not so little anymore. He turned a big sixth months old on the 12th. 

He's currently eating all sorts of wonderful fruits and veggies. He hates peas, but has no qualms with eating bugs. 

He crawls, sits, stands, and claps like a pro. 

He won't stack blocks but he loves to knock them down. 

He's worse than a cat when it comes to getting into my writing. 

He loves books, pumpkins, and one lumpy potato in particular. 

He sleeps all night long (most of the time) in his very own room. 

He loves his dog, cat, and baby calves.

He's in the 67th percentile for height and weight. And wearing 12 month clothes, what??

He's pretty much the happiest, cutest baby on the planet, if I do say so myself.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

October footnotes

Is that time again, lovelies.
Time for a prompt, and a quote, followed by my mindless rambling.
Oddly enough, this months prompt inspired very little rambling. It-
Well, here it is, first of all.

A Quotation from a Poem

This one made me really excited, I'll admit. First off, when I was younger, I HATED poetry. With a bloody passion. I just couldn't see the point in it. The thing was, I WANTED to like it. All the good book characters were always spouting off bits of poetic nonsense. I should like it. So I quite literally forced myself to read poetry. Which in turn led me to discovering that I can actually write poetry fairly decently. And you know what? I still hate most of it, and find it generally pointless. 
EXCEPT for a select few lucky verses that I'm particularly fond of, and that actually hold some meaning. 

The first poem I thought of is by Emily Dickinson, and the only line I know is I heard a fly buzz when I died. There's a whole lot more to the poem, but I don't care for it much. The first line was quite enough for the morbidly enfatuated junior high me. When she died did she hear a fly? Or did she hear a fly and then die? Makes you wonder a little bit every time you hear one of the pesky critters. 

I also like the one that says Do not go gently into that dark night, rage rage against the dying of the light. I should know who wrote it, a man I believe, but my data is almost out and I'm too lazy to look up the actual poem. I like it though, mostly because I love the word rage, but also because it's kind of my life's motto, or one of many at least. 

But the one I decided to officially quote today is Emily Dickinson's I'm nobody. 

It reads as follows:

I'm nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there's a pair of us — don't tell!
They'd banish us, you know.

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

I love this poem because it adds a bit of flare to the mundane. There's lots of supposed nobody's in the world. Those people who didn't make the best seller list, or get the role, or write the hit single. Those people who just do their job, mostly faceless, day by day. They're not glamorous, they just are. 
But apparently, they're special. If it's worth being banished over, there's definitely something of interest there. (By the way, the original published version is the way to go, I don't know why they had to mess it up in the transcript version)

As for myself, I rather fancy the idea of being banished. 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Beautiful Books, Month 1

Hello lovelies!

It's that time of the year where people start gearing up for Nanowrimo, or national novel writing month, in other words, November when crazy people try to write a fifty thousand word book in one month.

As such, Beautiful People turns into Beautiful Books, and we tell you about what we are writing for nano, or else what we are writing in general if we're not quite on full nano level of crazy.

I personally know I'm that crazy, because I've done it before and won it, but have failed since then, and haven't actually tried the last couple years. I'm tempted though. So very tempted.

So for this set of questions I'll tell you about two stories. The one I'm actually writing right now, and the one I'm debating starting up in November. Alright?

The story I'm currently writing is called Code White, a snow white retelling I'm desperately trying to finish in time for the Rooglewood Press contest. (Yes, I want to submit two)

The second is a little tidbit that is currently titled Young Guns, but that will have to change, obviously

But anyway, on to the questions.

What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?
Code White: The contest ultimately, but this picture also played a key role 
As for how long I've had the idea? About three months. 

Now Young Guns was actually inspired by the Eye of the Tiger song. Don't ask how. I was just driving home from work with it playing (because I'm cool like that) and this image of cowboy gangsters popped into my head. I've had this idea for at least a year, maybe longer. I cringe to even say that because for as old as it is, it's severely under developed. 

Describe what your novel is about!

Code White is a futuristic retelling of Snow White, but the huntsman is actually an undercover agent for a neighboring country sent to win Snowe over to their side and overthrow the wicked stepmothers rule. 

Young Guns is is about a post apocalyptic town in Wyoming where you're in a gang if you're going to stay alive. One old guy controls the biggest gang around and holds the town. Everyone's afraid of him but follows him because he's like the only one his age around, so if he managed to survive the fallout he must know something. Young guns picks up when a new guy comes to town without a gang and challenges everything the old man says....also, none of them have names yet. And I think there's a girl. 

What is your book’s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!

Code White

Young Guns 

Introduce us to each of your characters!

We'll start with the easy ones. 

Snowe is princess of Kingdom Sepratum. My notes say she's sixteen. I guess I forgot to mention that in the story. Note to self. When she's in her natural look, she's got black hair, pale skin, and green eyes. She typically likes to stick to this basic look and just accentuate it, with things like sparkling eye lenses, lip colors, and metallic highlights. Her father died several years back, she never knew her mother, and she now lives with her step mother queen Centra. She's a tough sort, not overly prone to whining, but she doesn't let people get away with much either. 

Vax is my huntsman character. He's seventeen, likes to spike his hair, and he can't manage much of a beard so he grows a gotee. He wears too much eyeliner, and has lots of tattoos and he thinks he's God's gift to the world. Very sassy, but he is hiding a chip on his shoulder beneath the devilish grin. 

And John, because I can't help it. He's one of my dwarf characters and partmof the team of Americans sent into Kingdom sepratum to get Snowe. He's old. Like, seriously old. We're talking like sixty years old, just short of being alive during the second civil war. He's half crazy, and a red blooded hot headed American, though he was not actually alive to see the original. He likes to act like he knows all about the good old days and he drives everyone nuts referencing things none of the others have ever heard of. Did I mention he wears a stuffed fox on his hat?

In Young Guns things get a bit more tricky. I've kicked around at least fifty names by now and can't seem to decide on any. 

One of the main characters is a younger guy, somewhere in his twenties. I think his name starts with a C. Maybe Cole or something. Anyway, his dad was one of the old timers who survived the fallout, and who originally came from the settlement in Cody Wyoming. He died some years back, but he passed on a secret to Cole? And he's set out to expose it. He's very task oriented, doesn't get distracted by much, a very good fast draw, and has absolutely no idea how to have a good time. 

The second main character is a girl who's in her late teens. So far her name is Calgary but we'll see. She lives in Cody and is one of the saloon girls for the gang boss. She's fiesty, and a dang good shot if you make her mad. 

And the villain, has no name, but he's an old timer and basically stays in power by reputation and an army of young guns who can whip his enemies for him, beause he's actually too washed up to do so. He's built his empire around the idea that he's got some secret knowledge to survive the world they live in, and that there's no where else to go if the people cross his wishes. Which kind of backfires when possibly Cole marches into town from the place that was supposedly uninhabitable. 

How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)

Well for code white I did some research on the terrain and climate of Massachusetts. Not to mention Pinterest. I needed lots of futuristic technology ideas. I also looked through hundreds of pictures from Paris Fashion week.

For Young Guns, I mostly listen to music.
Eye of the tiger
Undefeated by skillet
Money and fame
Hard love
Great night
By needtobreathe have all been crucial story development songs

What are you most looking forward to about this novel?

For Code White, the end! Not because I hate it, I just want to get it done. But also getting to introduce John more. He's hilarious in my imagination. 

For Young Guns, I'm really looking forward to developing the story, and finding out more about the characters. Plus gun fights. 

List 3 things about your novel’s setting.

Code white takes place in what used to be Massachusetts. Most of the story so far has taken place in a bunker under a tree. Fashion is a large part of the setting. 

Young guns, think old West reenactment town. 

It's in the pretty part of Wyoming, near Cody.
There doesn't appear to be any civilizations anywhere else. 

What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?

Um, Snowe is a very reluctant accomplice I guess you'd say, but ultimately her goal is to make her people happy, and Queen Centra poses a rather obnoxious threat to that goal. 

Young Guns, the main character is the boy, who really needs a dang name, but his goal is to tell the townspeople the truth, about their own town, and about what else is out there. The big gang Lord old guy is in the way of that goal. 

How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?

Snowe turns into a leader, as opposed to the beginning where she's a bit naive and too sassy and entitled for her own good. 

I don't know how HE changes (that's his new name) . I'll figure it out. I feel like part of it involves opening up to people, letting loose a bit and relaxing, living beyond revenge. 

What are your book’s themes? How do you readers to feel when the story is over?

I'm very very bad at either writing themes or identifying them if I accidentally did write a theme. I think truth plays a big role in both of them. For Snowe, it would be so much easier to bury her nose in a story screen and pretend all was well, but that's not in her people's best interest. Also, she discovers a lot of truth about the world, and being open minded and letting some of your preconditioned beliefs down when looking at a new situation. 

Young guns should also have an unhealthy dosage of revenge in there somewhere.