Tuesday, February 28, 2012

30 Goals By My 30th Birthday

The husband of a blogger friend(Morgan Shamy) put together a list of 30 things to do 30 times each for his 30th birthday. I like the idea, but have personalized it for myself. I have created a list of 30 goals I would like to accomplish by my 30th birthday on September 28th, 2012. Keep in mind that these are in no particular order and include goals that I set for myself in January of this year. If I have already accomplished them, they are in BOLD.

  1. Finish writing Book 1
  2. Write first third of Book 2's 1st draft
  3. Submit Book 1 to an agent or editor
  4. Write 30 emails of gratitude
  5. Participate in a 5K for a worthy cause-Hot Mamas Run in September
  6. Read at least 1/2 if not entire Christian Bible
  7. Volunteer at my church
  8. Tithe at least $10 each Sunday at church, if not more
  9. Reach 100 followers or more on my blog
  10. Reach 5,000 pageviews on my blog
  11. Sign up for (2) platform building campaigns
  12. Reach 200 members in my writing group
  13. Volunteer to Shepherd at OWFI
  14. Explain Lent to my 5 year old and encourage each member of my family to sacrifice something for it
  15. Read 30 new books
  16. Select one "important" author who I missed in school, and read something they wrote
  17. Make up 30 stories with my son
  18. Get together with my 2 childhood besties, Jamae and Brandy, and their children for the first time.
  19. Write and submit a short story
  20. Attempt to write a poem
  21. Do something new (update: The hubs and I bought a business...definitely new!)
  22. Don't let others take advantage of me (update: doing better so far)
  23. Tell my husband I love him every day
  24. Skydive (update: scheduled for Sept. 22nd)
  25. Go on a date at a drive-in movie with my husband
  26. Lose 10 lbs.
  27. Take a girls trip somewhere! (update: scheduled for Oct. 12-14 Woot!)
  28. Go horseback riding with my son and husband
  29. Go kayaking with my husband (update: water was too low due to lack of rain)
  30. Thank God for my life every single day
None of these things are impossible or too expensive. They are all doable if I apply myself to checking them off. I will try to remember to post a midway progress report in May as well as a final progress report on my birthday.

Do you have a milestone birthday coming up? Have you set yourself a goal for that milestone? I'd love to hear about it.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Doubt

After a fabulous hour spent praising God, I find myself revived and ready to conquer another week of writing and revising on my WIP. By Sunday morning, each week, I find that I need the uplifting atmosphere, music, and fellow Christians coming together to worship God, that church gives me. Sure, I pray and read my bible during the week, but there is just something about joining others in praise that eliminates the self-doubts I experience from time to time as a writer as well as in other aspects of my life.

Doubt is part of human nature. It is what the devil, dark forces, evil uses to exploit our weaknesses. This weakness of human nature is seen even in the not-so-human characters in my WIP. In honor of celebrating the refreshed feeling I experience each week by praising God at church, I thought I'd share a brief scene from my WIP. It seems humans aren't the only beings that struggle with faith, hope, and duty.

 Here, Ailith beseeches Ruark to accept that what he has been taught is wrong, that the light god does still live and there is hope for their dying world if he will only believe and accept his part in prophecy.

***
“The light was destroyed a thousand years ago, we are abandoned.” Ruark said, face void of emotion.
            Angry tears trailed down her face at his words. Did he not understand that his decision would affect their world? She wanted to use the power coursing through her to shake him until he saw reason.
Rain began to fall and the wind funnel tore through the main building of the slave market. Lightning and thunder filled the sky, reflecting the emotions roiling inside her. People cowered and covered their heads.
            “Your mother begged you for one thing. Would you dishonor her memory? Will you not even consider her request?”
            “I think about her words every day. The dark god used Namur to destroy the Light when it destroyed our people. I want to believe, but how do we free something that I can see no longer exists?”
            The magic their merging caused begin to wane. Darkness approached. With the last of her power, she sent the wind funnel towards the darkness.
            “Ruark, without you our lands are doomed. Surely it is worth the chance that they are wrong. You must find hope and strength within yourself. You must have faith.”
            Dark power swallowed the funnel like a beast devouring its meal. 

***

I hope you enjoyed a small piece of Ailith and Ruark's struggle. As a Christian, I identify with Ailith's frustration. Her faith is strong. She holds no doubt in her god, but helping others find that faith is difficult. Like my made up world, I feel like signs are everywhere that if we do not change, it will die around us. And while the religion in my fantasy novel is not Christian in any way, I feel like it still parallels some of the same issues we have today. I hope that while my book is providing my readers with an enjoyable epic adventure, it will also make my readers think about real issues with their own faith.

Do you have an issue that you are addressing with your ability to tell story? I hope you will share it with me. I love to look for those issues when I pick up a new book.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Because I Have A Dream

A dream has come true for a fellow blogger, Facebook, and campaign friend, Jessica Therrien. Her first book, Oppression, is published and for sale. As I congratulate her, I also find myself wistful. She was me not so long ago. I can only imagine her giddiness at this so long dreamed of accomplishment. And her nervousness as she obsessively watches the sales statistics.

The closer I get to having my WIP finished and ready to submit, the more nervous I get. Questions circle around in my head like a never-ending carousel. How many times will I be rejected before I finally meet that agent and then editor that will like my work? How long will it take? Is my WIP even good enough?

Though I tell myself to quit being ridiculous, the doubts continue.

Then I see someone like me succeed. And I know...It will happen! Maybe not the first submission, or the tenth, but eventually, like my friend Jessica, I will be published. I won't quit writing, revising, and studying this wonderful craft. Like Mr. King once said, "I have a dream."

Congratulations, Jessica. I look forward to reading your book that's waiting on my Kindle. I hope your success motivates others like me to keep dreaming and, most importantly...to keep writing.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Campaigner Challenge #1



Today I get to participate in Challenge #1 of Rachael Harrie's 4th Writer's Platform Building Campaign. I am so excited. Here is the challenge and then my response to it:

Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “Shadows crept across the wall”. These five words will be included in the word count. 
If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), do one or more of these:
  • end the story with the words: "everything faded." (also included in the word count)
  • include the word "orange" in the story
  • write in the same genre you normally write
  • make your story 200 words exactly!

I decided to use the characters from my current work-in-progress. I did it in exactly 200 words in my genre using both the beginning and end sentence. Enjoy.


Elusive Escape
by Sabrina A. Fish

Shadows crept along the wall, inky filaments of death reaching for her. Crouching next to Deitric, Lara clenched her sweating hands as the shadows separated from the darkness to became two guards with spiked helms and long steel swords. Walking within touching distance of her small group, frozen dirt crunched under their boots as they moved past. The breeze from their passing ruffled her hair, the scent of their unwashed bodies wrinkling her nose.  A nudge from her rescuer and she sprinted on cold bare feet for the next grouping of shadows, heart hammering inside her chest.
Not daring to hope, she studied the gate. Freedom taunted her.  A hand touched her shoulder.
                Ruark whispered in her ear. “Stay. I will take care of the guards and then signal.”
Glancing over her shoulder, Lara narrowed her eyes with suspicion. Did she trust him? Not really. But what choice did she have. She nodded. He glanced once at Deitric and then ran in a low crouch for the gate, disappearing into its shadows.
Stomach clenching, she waited. Would he betray her? Was this another of the dark one’s tricks? Movement sounded behind her. Ruark’s low voice whispered, “Forgive me.” Everything faded.

If you liked this, I hope you'll like my entry, #14 here

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Whew!

Feeling a little over-extended today. I know, I know. I do this to myself...but still. I might have accidentally scheduled lunch and bought tickets to a musical for my grandma's birthday on Saturday, completely forgetting that my writer's club meeting is on Saturday and I had planned to lunch with them after. Luckily, lunch with Gram isn't until noon, so I can go sit with my group and have a tea until I need to travel the few blocks to the Museum Cafe to have lunch with my Gram. Whew!

Then I forgot until yesterday that I am supposed to meet with my critique group on Sunday. I still need to read and critique my four group member's chapters. Thank goodness they are all good writers and it isn't hard to fly through their material.

The agenda for Saturday's meeting needs to be typed, ink to print certificates out for the raffle needs to be bought, fliers need to be taken to a nearby college advertising our group, AND I still need to get an update on my writing group's shirt/book bag order. Somewhere in there I plan to work on my own WIP. Oh, AND my 5 year old has the flu. *sad face*

Did I mention that I might have over-extended myself  this week? *grin*

Don't be fooled. I love every second of my busy life. Everything will get done, as always, I just needed to take a moment and vent to my blog followers. Thank you for lending your ear(or should I say, eyes?). I am going to continue checking things off my list and dream about someday being a famous author who can afford to hire a personal assistant. *laughs*




Wednesday, February 15, 2012

New Look!

I gave my blog a facelift! What do you think?



On facebook, a friend pointed me to Cute n Cool Blog Stuff. Itkupilli has the cutest designs for backgrounds, buttons, and banners. To add icing to the cake, she posts a few for other bloggers to use for free. If you like the shabby chic style of my blog's new look, go check her out. 

Don't forget to let me know what you think about my blog's new look!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I've been tagged!

I logged on this afternoon to find that I've been tagged by a fellow campaigner to answer 11 questions and then tag others with 11 of my own questions.



Ah, Hildred, How I wanted to bang my head on the computer when I saw that you tagged me to answer these questions AND then make up my own. I always go blank when trying to come up with my own random questions like this. I do, however, appreciate the shout out. *grin* Your answers to your own set of questions cracked me up by the way!

1. What is the single most annoying trope that makes you want to claw your eyes out?


I actually annoy myself with one that I have to repeatedly edit OVER and OVER. I have no idea why, but to me anything evil is associated with being cold, icy, frigid, etc. When I first started writing, I would use it TOO much, for example:  Now, though I don't use it as much, it still finds its way into my writing on occasion. And I groan each time. I have no idea why.


2. If you could alter history and claim credit for any book ever written, what would it be?

Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn Trilogy - Love it!

3. How many kids were in your HS graduating class? (or are in your class right now, if you're still in school)

7-2 girls and 5 boys...yes, I am serious.

4. If you were guaranteed massive success either way, would you rather traditionally publish or self-publish?

Traditional. I just feel like it is more validation to not only have fans love your work, but also have other professionals in your field love it too.

5. What's the most you've ever paid for an article of clothing...for yourself?

$100 for a pair of jeans *sheepish grin*

6. Singer, Model, or Actress - who you gonna be?

Singer- if only my voice weren't just 'good' but had that something 'special' to it.

7. Chef, Driver, or Maid - who you gonna hire?

Chef- maybe then I'd eat consistently healthier and keep that dumb 10 lbs off my short self.

8. Bath or shower?

bath...with bubbles, a large glass of wine, the iPod in the dock, and a book

9. You're scheduling for a delivery to your house during normal business hours. What time do you request, and why?

10:30am. I am home from the gym and won't have scheduled my next activity for another hour.

10. Could you survive a whole year or more in a traditional Japanese apartment? (for the record, the one in the video is 10x nicer than mine, although mine is technically larger. Yay.)

I am married and have a 5 year old. His toys, alone, would fill the entire space. So no.

11. Favorite Pokemon. And you can't cop out with "i dunno Pokemon" because here's a link, pick the cutest one!

I like Ponyta. However, I have never watched Pokemon, so this selection is based on the fact that I love unicorns and the fact that the description said it can change into Rapidash, which is pretty cool.

Below is a list of blog friends tagged for the next round, as well as their questions.

1. Morgan Shamy
2. Cortney Pearson
3. Angela Christina Archer
4. Erin York
5. Scary Mommy
6. Lynda R. Young
7. Bess Weatherby
8. Kaylie Austen
9. Vicki Orians
10. Sylvia van Bruggen
11. C.M. Brown

Here are your questions:

1. I had a crazy vivid and disturbing dream last night, SO what is the craziest, weirdest dream you've ever had?
2. Name 1 thing in nature you find most beautiful. (I want a good description).
3. What is the thing that you are most proud of?
4. What is the oddest date you've ever been on?
5. Do you dance crazy when no one is looking? For a specific reason? (I do my own happy dance when something goes my way, or I am excited. *grin*)
6. I carry socks in my purse with me when I wear sandals because I do NOT like walking in bare feet at someone else's house. How about you?
7. Did you have an imaginary friend as a kid?
8. Have you named a child after a character from a novel, short story, or poem you've written?
9. My husband drives me crazy by making up his own words to songs. Do you do this or are you like me and stick to the perfectly good lyrics of the song?
10. In honor of the last argument I had with my hubbie, think about the last time you were really angry. Describe it.
11. Did you find this random collection of questions amusing or annoying?

Ta-Da. I hope you all enjoy my questions. If you are visiting my blog and do not see your name on the list, please feel free to answer them on your blog anyway and tag me so I know to come look at your answers.

Happy Valentines.


Monday, February 13, 2012

A Simple Love Story


Studying the faded picture on the cover of the book, Sara inhaled the unique smell of aged paper and leather that permeated every nook and cranny of her grandmother’s library. She relished the rough texture of the cover under her fingers as she traced the two girls sitting atop a lion. The odd half human/ half goat creatures holding branches to frame the children and lion had caught her attention as she perused the shelves of books. Opening the cover to find the first page, Sara lost herself in the magical world of Narnia created by C. S. Lewis. As the adventures of the four siblings progressed, a small flame flared to life.

Sara fell in love.

 Worlds opened up within her. A passion was born. Her life would never be the same. With one book, a desire for a future of creating with words bloomed insider her.

As writers, this simple love story may seem familiar. The book that triggered your own love of words may be different, but the event is the same. Reading a book led us down the path we now find ourselves walking. A book triggered in us a desire to create our own worlds with words. As Valentine’s Day approaches, perhaps you will remember not only your significant other, but also the book that created in you a love for words and sent you walking the path of the writer. 

For me, the book that made me love reading was C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia and the book that made me want to write was Book 3 of Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn Trilogy, The Hero of Ages

What book kindled in you that flame that turned into the burning desire to write your own novel? I'd love to hear your story.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Wet Laundry Left in the Washer Kind of Obsession

Mom called today. As soon as I heard her voice practically sing "hello", I cringed in guilt. The guilt became even heavier as she continued to say, "I looked in my phone and realized the last time I spoke to you was on the 1st, so I thought I'd call and see how you were doing."

Sorry, Mom!

I used to be a master at juggling a zillion different obligations. Running my mommy group, being a mom, being a wife, being a good friend, calling my mom, sister, and gram, cleaning my house, grocery shopping and other errands, paying bills, balancing the check book, etc, etc, etc. Since I started writing? Let's just say, I am preoccupied. *grin* I know my writer friends understand.

Now I find myself thinking about my characters rather than calling my mother. I play in my made up world and forget about that load of wet laundry sitting in the washer. I sit before my computer, brainstorming how I can improve this or that scene, rather than getting out to meet my girlfriends for lunch. I don't intend to be like this, I just can't help myself.

I am consumed with a passion that I cannot believe I missed out on for so long.

The closer my very first WIP gets to being finished, the more I find myself focusing solely on it and blocking out any outside distractions. Thank goodness my beautiful 5 year old son is so incredibly intelligent. He knows to get my attention when  I am writing, he must physically put his hands on my face and turn my head until I meet his eyes. *guilty cringe* I haven't lost all sense though. To control this obsessive tendency, I allow myself a strict 5 hour window of writing time during the day ending no later than 5pm. If I cheat and get up in the middle of the night to get in a few more hours, well everyone else is asleep and cannot see me, now can they. *yawn* *laughs*

I owe my husband a huge thank you for all of the support he gives me by keeping my son occupied, helping with the dishes, and listening to me go on and on about this or that aspect of my story. He is amazing and I thank God for that blue dress that caught his attention 6.5 years ago. I love you, babe.

Do you struggle with balancing your obsession with writing and your daily life? Is the obsession winning, or like me, have you managed to set and follow some rules to keep things balanced? I truly hope you have an amazing support system in your significant other, parents, and friends as I do. Mine laugh at me, roll their eyes, and continue to love me, despite my obsession.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Writer's Platform Building Campaign

I decided to try a new adventure(as if I needed another one, righ?!). I joined Rachel Harrie 's Writer's Platform Building Campaign. I learned about it through a friend and cannot wait to meet others who are like me, i.e. new writer, blogger, social bug, etc.

It is always nice to make friends with others who understand the mad journey your on and that is my main goal, though being able to help others newer than me as some of my mentors have helped me would be even better!

This is Rachel Harrie's 4th Campaign and I cannot wait to participate in a challenge or two, and possibly win a prize.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Plot versus Character by Jeff Gerke

This last year and a half has been full of new lessons learned. When I began to write this first novel of mine, it did not take me long to realize that I needed some type of reference book to help me out. I graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a BA in Political Science. In case you weren't aware, this degree does not provide you with the things you need to know in order to write an amazing fantasy novel. *grin* An academic paper on socialism versus democracy, not a problem.

So I began to search around. In an old issue of Writer's Digest Magazine donated by one of the generous members of my writing group, I discovered a section called the Writer's Digest Shop. In it was a list of recommended reference books they thought every writer should have for 'Novel Success'. So I went to my local Barnes and Noble and I bought one.

I chose Plot versus Character by Jeff Gerke and I have not been disappointed. 

In the writing world, one of the biggest debates that exists is the answer to the question, What's more important to a story? Plot or Characters? Your literary writers will argue that character-based novels are absolutely most essential, while your mainstream(commercial) writers will argue more for plot-based novels. Are either wrong?

Mr. Gerke ascertains in his book that the best fiction is rich in both. In fact, in the introduction of the book he says, "For fiction to be strong, it must include both engaging story and intriguing people. You must be utterly convinced of this or there's no point in you reading further."

Since I didn't have an opinion either way, having no idea whatsoever if I was a 'plot' writer or a 'character' writer, I continued on. It was a good decision. I now know what they mean when my friends say, "You write like a guy."

 I am a plot-first novelist. 

And it's true. When I first got the idea to write, I knew immediately that I wanted to write fantasy. I love to read this genre. Without having any idea where to start, I drew a map. In other words I created my world, decided on the landscape, the different types of peoples, and what their major issues were. I knew why my world was about to implode before I ever knew what characters were going to keep it from happening. Despite this, his book still taught me things about my plot I hadn't considered. For instance, the ticking time bomb. Yeah, I knew my world was going to end if the main character didn't stop it, but I didn't think about how that was going to affect my world throughout the book. What an amazing thing, adding in a time bomb and so easy once the idea was presented. I love developing a plot. For me it is easy.

Developing a well rounded character? Not my thing. But thanks, to Mr. Gurke's onion model for character building as well as workshops to help me better understand how to apply what he says to my work, I now have characters that seem real rather than just cardboard stand alone's with no personality. I learned how to give each character its own basic personality, history, specific mannerisms, and a character arc. 

How fortunate that I picked up that back-issue of Writer's Digest Magazine. How fortunate that this book happened to be highlighted. If you are a new writer or even an experienced one, check out Jeff Gerke's Plot versus Character. You won't be sorry.


A friend posted this short video clip on his Facebook page in honor of Superbowl Sunday. While I am looking forward to the game, I did not think of the Superbowl when I watched it. I thought of my journey as a writer and aspiring author. When the arduous process that is completing a novel begins to get us down, reminders like Yoda's lesson here to Luke Skywalker can remind us not to give in to a 'cannot be done' attitude.


Do. Or do not. There is no try. ~Yoda, Star Wars, Episode V


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Found this and thought I'd share it with my blog followers. Someday I will use this as an excuse to travel the world. I want to see each one of these beautiful books stores. 
So lovely.

The 20 Most Beautiful Bookstores In The World


This one is one of my favorites. It is the Librería El Ateneo Grand Splendid in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  


Which one did you like the best? Leave a comment and let me know.