Sabbatical Adventures begin . . .

Sabbatical Adventures begin . . .

Friday, October 23, 2015

Rewriting and Voting!

Yes, novel re-writes are hard!  What do I scrap?  What do I keep?  How do I re-arrange? How much do I lean on my editor's input?  Do I go a different direction?

In the middle of my rewrite process, I recently read an article by Steven Gillis that was bluntly advocating that the 'art' of writing is in the 'rewriting'.  I'd not thought much about what good 'writing' entailed, until I wrote a novel. I understood 'cut and paste' but not the intricate rearrangement of chapters and chapters of thought!

Mr. Gillis went on to say that when he taught a university creative writing class that his class assignment was to write a single story.  The class would then use the entire semester to do rewrite after rewrite!  His article inspired me in my own rewriting process not only in page by page editing, but chapter by chapter finishing.

I have been living with my novel for quite some time now, on and off since 2010 when the premise caught my attention.  It sometimes feels like I will be a 'one novel' author!  I am at the point I want to get loose from this first novel and start on my second, but . . . details need to match, the story needs to flow, yet have intrigue. I am still hoping that all this process will lead, at some point, to the conviction that the work is indeed finished. What a day that will be!

In the meantime, can you take my survey in the right sidebar? It will relieve my mind of one detail, at least for a while.  I want your opinion of a possible title to my work.  I would appreciate your input!

Please . . .
Vote Now! 

P.S. Thanks to all who voted, my novel has a title!  

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Sensory Autumn

Autumn, being my favorite season is easy to write about!  My favorite Etsy team has a monthly challenge and this month it says:  Fall is in full swing by the time October rolls around.  Create something that reminds you of Fall through your senses--visually by smell or by touch.  If you prefer, write a post that celebrates the sensory appeal of autumn.

I love when mornings begin to turn crisp with a slight chill in the air.  I open my patio door and step out, just to breathe in the brisk atmosphere. Overcast skies don't dampen my spirits!

Across the parking lot, I see the frost atop the next building, quietly laying there unnoticed by the building occupants comfy within. I see tiny foot prints across the roof marring the frost layer; birds have been hunting their morning's fare, hopping from the rooftop to the pine tree and back again.

After my steaming coffee is finished, I don my warm jacket and sturdy shoes, setting out for a morning walk, down the parking lot toward the green space.

Covered in colorful leaves, I almost cannot see the trail beginning, but I have been here often.  The crunch under my feet marks the beginning of the path. Down the incline, closer to the watershed, I begin to hear the rustle and peep of a chickadee in the trees. I look up and wonder how many of them I can spot this morning.  Are they scurrying to fill their larders for winter or scrambling for the morning meal? I wonder.

I enjoy the end of a flourishing summer season, the wind-down of all the garden bounty!  At the end of my walk, I am inspired to decorate my table, to bring the outdoors inside my small space--grateful for the colors of autumn and the anticipation of the holidays!

Note:  this post was done for  a Blogging Business Artisans challenge.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Writer's Encouragment!

I've been on a bit of a break--with my writing--and was recently encouraged by another writer's twitter post that I randomly happened to see.  It was like a refreshing rain.

 All it said was:

"I've been on a long break but today I get back to work.  And it feels so good!"  @JessicaB_writer

It was a simple statement.  Factual but poignant for my life.  What it said to me was:

1)  She had no regrets about her break.  Writers beat themselves up about breaks, or what they call "writer's block".

2)  In the 'here and now', today she was getting back to it!  Not tomorrow, not next week, nor when she finally got a "round tuit."

3)  And to prompt everyone who read the post, she added her feelings!  "It feels so good!"

Who wouldn't feel encouraged by this short tweet?  I did!  I told her so.  Thanks Jessica!  Thanks for a simple statement!  I needed it.  Now, back 'tuit'!  Chapter 4 revision, here I come!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Gather ye rose buds . . .

. . . while ye may!  Otherwise, you might miss something wonderful!  It's summer, the flowers are blooming, the bees are buzzing and the blue jay is visiting my deck!

Lantana, Banana Red

Yes, the height of summer brings lots of things, but it is especially time to get outside for a picnic, dip in the pool or river, or just a nice evening stroll.  I tend to stay indoors because it is hot. I am reminding myself with this post that I must gather goodness while it is here!

(Without an evening forest stroll, I would have missed the delicate lavender in these weed blossoms! Beautiful!)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

burdened beyond hope?

Yesterday, I really felt discouraged. I couldn't make myself do anything, just sat on the couch and read a book. If I didn't read, I would cry. I knew that I should get off the couch and do something!  I just couldn't.  I knew enough to know that I could fall into depression and stay there awhile, but I was striving hard not to!  What do you do when life hands you discouragements?

Sometimes the discouragement gets blown out of proportion, and begins to take on a life of its own. I started down that road, thinking that it must of been something that I had done, years ago, that caused this disagreeable action now.  But I knew better.  This discouragement was not one that I chose, someone else chose it, and it wasn't what I had done that caused it.  People have a free will of their own! Regardless of who made the choice, it still hurts!  It hurts me, it hurts them.

Why am I telling you this?  I don't know.  Hopefully when you are handed discouragements--things that you never expected--you will think clearer than I did yesterday.  Don't give in to it.  Pop back up with hope like the psalmist of old:

Why am I discouraged?
Why so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise him again — 
my Savior and my God! 
Ps 43:5 NLT

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Throwback Thursday - Vacation

When I was a girl--a long, long time ago--my dad would take us on a vacation every year. That's me with my mom and sister!  We looked forward to our two week summer vacation.  Every night for weeks, it seemed to this little girl with tons of vacation anticipation, Dad poured over maps and travel journals before we went. I loved those vacations, but I will not go into them here in this format, (actually I am writing about my life in a legacy book for my children--you can read about our vacations in there, someday).

Regardless of our long vacations, I think my favorites were the mini-vacations we took several times on summer weekends to Sequoia National Park in the southern Sierra Nevada. The park was only a little over an hour from our home, so it afforded us a quick jaunt to get there and set up our campsite for our weekend trips.

My sister and I played in the river, (that's me peering into the water, either looking for fish or getting a drink---I don't know!) We hiked with mom and dad, tried fishing with a hook on a string, collected branches with curly moss on them, and in general marveled at the big trees.

I think I was a little "miffed" in this picture, again, I don't know! :) The trees were standing like this one, the General Sherman, and toppled like this one my mom is standing in front of:

I think these weekends set a love of nature deep in the soul of this 'up-to-this-time' city girl. I have never been the same since.  In my thirties, we lived in the mountains of the Sierra Nevada for several years, raising our family; and I swear, you will never get the country life (mountain life) out of this girl again!

If you would like information on the park, I'm sure it is readily available on the internet and I will not duplicate it here.  But what you cannot get elsewhere on the internet is a little girl's experience in Sequoia National Park--my favorite vacation place!  So, I thought you might enjoy some "throwback Thursday" photos of my years in the park.

Sometimes we camped out and sometimes we rented small sleeping cabins, and we even visited in winter!
The old homestead corral at Crescent Meadow 
Would love to go back, sometime soon! 
 Love Sequoia Park!
P.S.  this is a Challenge Post for my favorite Etsy Team, the Blogging Business Artisans!  See other posts about vacations here.   

Monday, July 20, 2015

Respect of Culture

Just thinking . . . what does it feel like to lose your culture?

I recently did a series on a native Alaskan culture and their art of totem poles (in my other blog  I learned, while in Alaska, and with some additional research that the native peoples preserve their culture through a verbal telling of their history.  The tribe elders tell the stories to the young ones.  The people tell their stories whenever they can.  One man said that even small gifts have great meaning through the story behind the gift. He tells the story when anyone asks about the gift, honoring the giver.   He was very clear that was his culture.  The people also carve their stories in totem poles, since the poles tell the story of their history.  They hold great parties for many guests when they finally set up a pole, sharing the totem's story in song and dance; they are a respectful and hospitable people.  Even the young understand who they are.

But it wasn't always that way for these native peoples.  Early in the twentieth century, strangers came from afar.  They set up their own culture and demanded that the native peoples go by their rules. Natives were beaten and ostracized when they spoke their own language, instead of the new language.  Young people were not allowed to go to school unless they spoke the new language.  Their totem poles were burned.  Many natives lost their culture, learned the new language or moved away adopting a new culture.  Recently, a new people came to their land who are helping them restore their identity, their unique culture.

That is their story, what is yours?  Are you from a culture that is shrinking?  Are you from a culture that was persecuted or has your family ever lived in hiding?  This seems, many times, to be a pattern for some people groups.  In this county, the USA, many native peoples and immigrants have been displaced, eliminated, stomped down and assimilated.  In other lands, these same tactics were used to eliminate people groups.  Why does this have to be?  Why do we have to despise those whose culture is different than ours or those of different religions, and different persuasions.  People are human beings, just like you and I are.  They deserve respect, we don't have to agree with them, but respecting them as people with their own culture is better than the bullying and put downs, don't you think?

I say, not just tolerance, but respect is needed!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Story Prompt?

On our recent vacation,  we took a cruise in Alaska.  We were watching iceburgs float by from our balcony, when we saw this one.  

Look more closely . . . as we did.

Looks like a seal had a fish meal on the iceberg!  
Using this as a photo prompt,
what story could you come up with????

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Love Chocolate?

How about a flower that is chocolate colored?
Alaskan native plant:  Chocolate Lily (AKA Indian Rice)

We saw these in the coastal areas of Alaska, They are a perennial herb, called Fritillaria camschatcensis that have bronze-to-brown flowers in spring. The stems reach 16 inches, commonly used as food for native peoples.  Bulbs have many small bulblets – resembling rice grains – surrounding the main bulb, thus the name Indian Rice.

Just thought you might enjoy an interesting flower fact today :)

Monday, June 22, 2015

I thought I was not a writer!

When I was a little girl in elementary school, (thought you might enjoy seeing how I used to look!)

I distinctly remember that I could not write stories, nor could I spell.  I had long since decided that I could not write by the time I left 6th grade!

When it came to creative writing,  I remember sitting at my small desk in either 3rd or 4th grade, we had been asked to write a story.  Spending most of the allotted time agonizing for ideas, and thinking about what to write, (Sometimes I still have this problem!  You too?)  I would look everywhere around the room to see something that would hopefully spark an idea.  After wasting all my time, I would turn in a paper with, maybe, one line written on it.

As it turns out, it was discovered that I am dyslexic.  It manifested most in my reading.  Everything would get turned around in my brain, and I would read "saw" as "was" etc.   Reading slowly trying to discern what I was seeing,  I never really finished a book.   Mostly I "improvised" on every book report that I was required to do, reading a little of the front and middle and then reading the ending to get by.  I still experience a reversal of letters when I type fast, I have to check my writing carefully. Thank heaven for spell check!

Today, I write constantly, although I can't say that my mind is always full of stories, but I have acquired a system whereby the stories do flow, once I start.  That's the way it happened, with my first novel, it sort of 'flowed' from my mind and, nearly, wrote itself!  ;) (Of course you know, that is an over exaggeration, since writing is mostly hard work and discipline!)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Little Stones

From time to time, in my blogging, you will find the title "Small Stones."  These are short written passages -- "a polished moment of paying proper attention" -- not really poetry, but succinct thoughts that convey a single thought. It was originally the brain child of Fiona of River of Small Stones, to give credit where credit is due. Although I am not an advocate for her cause, nor do the views expressed by her blog coincide with my views, but I participate, because I love the exercise of choosing something each day, connecting to the world around me, and taking the opportunity to write about it.  I may not publish it, but it is a great discipline for writers and good practice.   

(BTW---I originally started writing these in my other blog, and after a while started putting a picture with them, as I love photography too! If you visit there, click on the Small Stones tab at the top of the home page for previously published 'stones'.) 

Now, you can follow my little babbling brook of words over the little stones entries here in this blog from now on. I am re-naming them 'Little Stones'.  They will be interspersed with my other posts, and after I have a few, you could always type "Little Stones" in the search box to find them.  The first one in this blog:

Traveling seaward
over the waves,
I see blue 
transformed to white.

Mind wandering,
as peace floods,
My heart transported
I am calm - lp

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

3 Things Reading Novels Can Teach About Writing

I am always looking for something to help me with my writing, aren't you?

I am at an in-between time, finished my first novel, and waiting for my editors to finish their first read before re-writes begin.  What do I do?  I read!  I read novels.  I read novels by authors that I love, and novels by authors I am not familiar with. I am learning all the time from what I am reading!

 3 things that you can learn from other authors 

1)  Learn style!
Study the style of your favorite authors.  What draws you to them!  I would venture to say that it is not just the type of book, i.e. mystery, romance, Amish stories, historical.  I think that you will find it is usually the way that the author puts their sentences together.  I know, it seems almost too simple, but as Strunk and White say in their classic book about writing, The Elements of Style:

A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. " 

Favorite authors--Check the sentence structure, what do you like about it? What do you do differently?
New authors--what errors do you see?  Is there a refreshing new style?  Is that why they won an award?

2)  Use of descriptive wording
Not just the descriptive words that explain a setting, but use of descriptive verbs. I marvel at choices of adjectives and adverbs used in various books.
" . . .instead of . . . harboring hope in their hearts."  J. Kirkpatrick, A Mending at the Edge, using "harboring" instead of "having". 

" . . . giving Arnie a pitiful little wave as he opened the door . . ."  F. Peretti, in Illusion, describing an attitude of the heart through a descriptive gesture. 

Which words does the author use that you never thought of using? Is that what you like about his/her writing?

3)  Repetitive story?
Some books are produced for commercial value only.  The same plot format is used in a series of books, with "the names have been changed to protect the innocent" as it was always said in the old Dragnet television series.  I recently I read a series of books by the same author that not only used a similar plot for each one, but also repeated the thoughts of the characters over and over.  (That series will remain unnamed.)

As writers and bloggers, we can learn valuable lessons from reading.  May I say that reading is a part of our craft!  We must read to learn, not only to read but to notice what it is that we like and make those habits our own! 

What have you learned lately, from a novel?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sunday Thought

Today's homily made me stop and think . . . maybe it will be helpful to you too.

The speaker, F. Healey, said that our influence is like a small piece of foil--the small piece of foil being the essence of yourself.  He said that where ever we go, we leave an impression.  He said that whatever impression is on our "foil" is left with the people we meet.  "Whatever we are impressed with affects the impression that we leave on others."

I hope the impression that I leave on others conveys that I care about them.  I hope that it leaves people uplifted and encouraged.  

Linda W.--look what I am impressed with today! :)

What are you impressed with?  What influences you?  
Culture? Music? People? Love? God?
What are you passing along to those around you?  
Are you multiplying anger, depression, or frustration?
Deserves a little thinking time, don't ya think?

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Reconnect with Nature!

Our forests--and roadsides, actually--are filled with blackberry bushes.  Many people here regard them as weeds, but I love them!  We go berry picking in late July or August and fill our baskets! This is what they look like now (First week in May photo).  I rinse them, then freeze them on a cookie sheet--one single layer.  When they are frozen solid, I dump them into plastic freezer bags to store in the freezer until use!  Can't wait!

Linking today with:
Reconnect with Nature

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mama loves WORDS!

Recently my daughter and I went to an adjacent state to visit my mother who lives with her cat, Phantom.  My daughter and I cleaned grandmother's house and enjoyed spending time with her.  We laughed until we cried, telling stories of times past and relishing the company of visiting long-lost relatives. In the down times, grandma participated in her beloved past time: WORDS!

G'Ma, the daily crossword puzzle with Phantom

G'ma playing her FlipWords game

And we played Scrabble!  Guess who seems to always win?!  Oh, and here's her favorite picture of her cat:

Happy Mother's Day, MOM!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

unplugged . . . again :)

As my header description says, I have 'unplugged' from 

several things over the last year or so . . . . 

and I did it again last week!  Getting away from the computer, 

all the tech devices and out of our apartment is 

good for the soul, provides rest, needed solitude

and creates inspiration.  

The rest, for me, helps with authenticity.  

Our lives are so 'data full', we do not have time to

sort out our thoughts finding who we are  . . .


Being authentic is a process of being who we are 

and who we were made to be, not 

who someone else thinks that we are.  

If we don't have quiet times to contemplate, 

we may not be able to sort out 

encroaching thoughts from 

the bona fide 'you' thoughts. 

I encourage everyone 

to get outside, seek solitude 

at least occasionally! 


"Real silence, real stillness . . . comes only as the sober consequence of spiritual stillness."  Bonhoeffer from Life Together

Linking today with:
Reconnect with Nature 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Writing Schedule

Although I am between projects---well, actually finishing up the details of one book and starting research for another---you might think that I do not write in this in-between time.  Not so!  I look upon my writing as my job.  I write everyday, whether it is a blog post, a section of a family legacy book that I am working on, or on my current book project.

I have always heard that writers should write everyday.  Recently I read in a magazine about a daily writing schedule, so thought I would write down my own schedule.

  9:00 am   Wake up, breakfast, read emails and news
10:00 am   Write
   Noon      Fix and eat lunch
  1:00 pm   Chores and errands if any or Write/read blogs/do research/go for a walk
  4:00 pm   Begin dinner prep
  5:00 pm   Dinner
  6:00 pm   TV news and relaxation
  7:00 pm   Write/read books/ TV or movies
10:00 pm    Bed time prep and read in bed
11:30 pm    lights out!

Note:  Notice how many times "write" or "read" is listed in my schedule!

Whether I rise at a different time, or go to sleep much later than 11:30  (because I am reading a great book!) my basic schedule stays the same.  It is my job to write and it must command much of my day!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Writing Exercise

One's writing craft should be exercised much the same as one's body -- Both are health giving exercises.

If there is nothing else to write,  I write 'little stones'.  What are 'little stones'?

Little Stones keep my writing skills succinct and honed.  Writing them challenge me to not have extra words getting one thought down in just a few words.  Not really a poem nor prose, just a micro thought on one point or thing.

Here is one that I have previously written, which, by-the-way, is indicative of the tone of my new book.

          Living in crowded conditions brings a need for 
          order and restrictions--on you and me. 
          Rather than forfeit independence, 
          I'd druther have space.

Note:  You can read further about it here.  Small stones were originally published in my other blog.  (There is a tab at the top of the home page marked: Small Stones.)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Prologue Quotes

When one is putting together a book, all types of formats are considered. I had to formulate a design and devise my plan, especially if I end up self-publishing.  What size will be finished book be?  How does this affect the total pages?  How long should the chapters be? Will there be quotes to head up each chapter, as some books are presented.  Will there be simply chapter breaks or internal breaks from scene to scene or character to character?  Or will the book flow as one long chronological story?  What about a prologue and an epilogue?  How will these decisions effect the outcome of the finished work?  How will they enhance the readers experience?

One tiny decision in my book was to add two quotes to the preceding page of the prologue.  (When the physical book is open, it would be on the left with the prologue beginning on the right hand side). I have called this page the 'prologue facing page'.  I don't know if that is the technical name or not, but it is how I distinguish it!  Here are two quotes from that page of my novel:

Don't be afraid your life will end;
be afraid it will never begin. 

--Grace Hansen

If anyone builds on this foundation
using gold, silver, costly stones, 
wood, hay or straw, 
their work will be shown for what it is . . .
it will be brought to light 

---I Cor. 3:12-13  NIV

This 'prologue facing page' will be mostly white space with just these two quotes.
Thought you might need a teaser!  :)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

road trip . . .

 . . . taking a road trip with my daughter to Cali!

               Going to visit my mom and aunt . . .

                                                                                  . . . be back soon!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Great Grandma!

Although, I am known as great-grandma to two great-grandsons in Missouri, which I have not seen in person (FB is great for "seeing" them),  I have just been blessed with a new great-grandson #3 in my area!

baby boy, Kelly Lee 
I know, I am too young to be a great grandma!  

Monday, April 6, 2015

The Writing Process and my UFO Box

Since I finished the first draft of my novel, what am I up to now?  Many of my readers are interested in my writing process.

While my first draft is out to test readers,  I've moved on to begin research for my second novel. There was a lengthy time, actually two weeks that felt lengthy, between finishing and moving on.  I experienced a 'letdown' period that I want to tell you about.

The process of writing is exciting, pulling every bit of my creativity from my being.  When I reach the end of a project, I experience a lull;  I suppose it's a drop in the creative adrenaline flow.  I didn't know what to do with myself, although I did have another idea for a new novel in my mind--but not ready to begin.  I didn't feel like doing anything creative, i.e. sewing, embroidery, watercolor, even photography.  So I spent quite a bit of time reading.  I actually read two novels and a novella before I was ready to begin my own creative process again, although still not ready to write.

I was tired of reading, so I pulled out my UFO box--unfinished objects (mostly because they feel like UFO's!)--or unfinished projects, as sewers call them.  I spent some time finishing a vest and an apron from the box.  Actually the velvet quilted vest material had been in the box for well over ten years.

I also looked at a couple of unfinished quilts, but decided not to start again on them, too much time involved to finish them!  All the while -- I was thinking on the next book premise.  

Now, first part of the writing process has begun -- researching the family tree, heritage and ancestors of a family name that will be the basis from which my next book springs.  I'm already getting excited again, the adrenaline is starting to flow . . . and . . . I whittled down the contents of my UFO box! 

 So energized!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Tiptoe thru the Tulips

Today I spent some time with some friends for a tea party!  We also went to the Wooden Shoe tulip farm for a romp thru the tulips!  All I can say is:  Beautiful!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Relative and Friend Authors! Yay!

WOW! Got some good news today:  my niece and a friend both are getting their novels published!  Yay!  The friend has been writing steadily for nine years, has had some short stories published.  Her agent called:  "Are you sitting down?"   She was informed that two of her novels were sold, with a promise of the third in the series to be picked up when it is finished!  I am so happy for her! Here's the link, although the book won't be available for a while:

WOW  #2  Then I went to a family function and my daughter said to me, "Mom, did you know that cousin Lois has just announced that her first fiction novel was just picked up to be published in January 2016?"  No, I didn't know that!! Yay again!!  My niece has been writing non-fiction educational books for young readers for some time now.  I didn't know that either! Again so happy for her! It's available on Amazon for pre-order.  Paper Wishes by Lois Sepahban for ages 9-12.

WOW #3  But you wanna know what the best news is, (for me that is) I just finished my first draft of my first novel!!  Yay! and Double Yay!!!   I have no promise of being published yet but I am working on it. I am so happy for me, and I am still hoping!!!!  This is fun! (Love being happy and saying Yay!)

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Writing Room Floor

Re-Writes!  Lots of paper on the floor around my desk!  Just part of the process . . . . I like a clean hard copy while I am working.