Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sticky Note: Our Deepest Fear

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

----from A Return to Love, by Marianne Williamson.

And here's a great post you might like to check out:
What is Success - Chip MacGregor

Monday, July 26, 2010

Where I am

Where can you find me in my quest to finish my novel by September 15th? . . . Writing to distraction, of course.

I've written 15,000 new words in the past few weeks and I've crossed the half-way mark in my novel. That puts me in the southwest at a stagecoach relay station somewhere between Del Norte and Lake City, right after a runaway stage scene.  And after a few "non-kiss" scenes, I just wrote the first kiss!

As I write, submit my new chapters for critique, edit, revise, and write some more I still have other responsibilities that include: working a 12 hr/wk job, some freelance website work, facilitating my church's email prayer chain, creating marketing materials for a women's conference in the fall (check), and coordinating my writers group's conference coming up in August. I wouldn't have planned it this way, but sometimes things just come at you all at once and you just have to punt.

Needless to say, things around me at home are piling up. Although my family is being very patient, encouraging, and helpful. But, my three men in the house all work full-time, plus. So, life is what it is right now. Oh, well. I am grateful they regularly make meals - thank goodness, since they want to eat!

So beneath the mountains of laundry, the dirty dishes, and unmade beds is an exhausted author in distress, having one of the most remarkable times of her life!

P.S. Please tell that maid in the picture that she can stop over at my house any time.

Where are you right now? Enjoying your summer I hope!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Taste of the Familiar

As I've been working on my story, I've been scattering bits of food on the pages. Not crumbs, but some delicious treats to help evoke sweet reminisces of familiar tastes. It's important to use all the senses judiciously while writing a novel. Just think about the times you've been reading and someone bit into a luscious dessert, especially one that is one of your favorites!

I've been under the weather for a few days, but my appetite is returning so I thought I'd share with you a little "taste" of some of the online resources I've found for historical recipes - an essential ingredient for infusing authenticity.

Did you know...

That in rural homes in the 19th century, apple, and other fruit pies were often served for breakfast, and considered a good hearty beginning for a hard day's work?

That 2 spoonfuls of rose water, a widely available flavoring before vanilla took over in the mid 19th century?

Some real life resources that I'm blessed to have are old cookbooks that belonged to my great-grandmother, grandmother, and great-aunt. I've some special memories of home baked Molasses Cookies and more. So I'll leave you with a special treat - my great-grandmother's "19th Century Gingerbread" recipe.

Mrs. Jennie Walton

1/2 c. sugar
1 c. molasses
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. soda (baking soda)

Beat first 4 ingredients until they foam then add:

1 c. cold water
1/2 c. melted shortening (cooking oil as substitute)
2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt

Bake in greased and floured pan about 1/2 hour at 375 dgrees.

I've made this delicious recipe many times and it is wonderful served warm with fresh whipped cream.

Do you enjoy writing about food?  Reading about food?
Do you have any heirloom recipes? Please feel free to share!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Westward Ho!

It's done. Well, almost. My proposal submission for The Shadow Catcher's Daughter, my southwestern novel, is on its way to the acquisitions editor. Hopefully, she'll like what she sees! 

I spent almost a week straight, very long days, getting my first three chapters, long chapter-by-chapter synopsis (7 pages), and author bio completed. And now I'm utterly exhausted!  One of my partners suggested I reward myself.  I was able to go down for a visit to my parents with my son, Brandon.  Although my Stepdad was very ill, it was good to be there to offer some encouragement.  We got sandwiches at the best deli in Maine -The Good Life Market, went out for an ice cream at The Mosquitoe (I got Moose Tracks), and Brandon and I took a little swim in the lake at sundown.

My parents were thrilled that I brought my proposal with me so they could read the finished version of it.  My "Dad" is my advisor on life in the west, and as often as time allows, Mom is my copy editor. She's had that role my entire life. It's so funny, my husband and sons are reading my synopsis, too! They are all so excited for me, and that in and of itself is priceless.

Writing the synopsis was such a good experience for this Pantser; though I was bewildered by the thought at first - how could I summarize a story that I hadn't even written yet? Now that I have it all down (not that I didn't have the big picture in mind all along) I can flesh the story out. I feel more confident about my ideas, where before I had so many questions and not certain I was taking the correct route - a two fold issue for me since the plot features an expedition.  I always enjoy books where the characters travel, but I never realized how difficult it would be to get it right - the synopsis works like a map.

Now I'm on a schedule to get my manuscript completed by September 15th, at a rate of about 5,000 words per week. Two chapters a week should do it. I already have a good chunk of it done anyway. I can't tell you how supportive my partners/writing mentors are. I'm very excited about the project, it has such a fascinating setting. And I hope the editor agrees. 

Thank you all so very much for your encouragement and prayers!!

Have you ever written a chapter-by-chapter synopsis? Do you usually write a general synopsis or an outline before you begin to writer?Are you a Pantser or a Plotter?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sticky Note: Writing Apprenticeships

"Her writing was exquisite— so sure, so well-developed."
- Wendy Lawton, Books 'n Such Literary Agency

Literary Agent Wendy Lawton commented on my writing friend Lori Benton's ability on her lblog. To read more of this inspiring post, get to know Lori, and see Wendy's advice to aspiring authors check out her post on writing apprenticeships.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Sticky Notes: Deadlines

“Goals are dreams with deadlines.”
—  Diana Scharf-Hunt

You probably won't see me until next week sometime as my own is looming.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Celebrating 1776

I hope you all are celebrating the freedoms we have as a country as we commemorate July 4, 1776.  One of these being the freedom of speech and the ability to write without censor. Sometimes I shutter at the the things that are allowed to be in print, yet by that same freedom I am allowed to write and read what I will. And where would we be had the Declaration of Independence been not penned?

Did you know that the legal separation of the American colonies from Great Britain actually occurred on July 2nd?

In a letter to his wife, Abigail, John Adams wrote:
"The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more."
Adams was correct about the celebration, although the day chosen as the anniversary, as we know, is July 4th which after debating and revising the Declaration of Independence,  the congress approved it.