Friday, September 30, 2016

Do You Have Goals?


Many thanks to Misha and Beth for hosting this hop!!!

It's been a whirlwind month - although more focused than last month. Last month, I had five things happening at once. This month, I had two things happening, slightly overlapped. 

1. School started. This means that I started teaching three classes at a local home-school co-operative, and my oldest started her second year of a dual credit program at a nearby community college as a senior in high school while my youngest started a combo of online, home, tutored, and public school classes (a little wild for scheduling, but the perfect fit for her). 

2. My kids competed at the Olympic Hopes Regatta in Szeged, Hungary. And I, with the help of some other parents, managed to take a super-fast trip to Amsterdam, Budapest, and Szeged. I put out a few facebook posts via instagam on my phone, but connectivity was spotty throughout the whole trip. I came home to over 40 e-mails from students, three rejection e-mails for short stories, and some other e-mails that I still need to tackle. I also received an ARC in the mail. (It has been fun to read, but I'm still working on the review.)

Words Written: 21,000 (mostly before I left.)

Miles Walked: 47 (over half of this happened on the trip)

Miles Biked: 0 - yikes!

(Short Stuff) Story, poem, and article status: 3 rejections, 1 "on hold for one more month" e-mail, and 18 pending response.

Marketing - none, except a slightly slower automated twitter feed. Sales are down, but more paperbacks sold than normal. 

W.I.P. Novel - complete change of direction and topic. I'm playing with an idea based on King Belos the Blind of Hungary and Queen Helena, his wife (originally from Poland). These two royals don't have mega-statues in any of the big tourist spots that I visited, but I happened across them in a strange cross-referencing kind of way and an idea sparked. (I just have to see if it's going to light an actual bonfire that lights up a full novel.) Or, I might write a story about a girl at the girl's school that was the first group to use the Castle in Budapest. Or, I might change direction . . . again.

Pics from the trip - because you expected them, right?
Picture of the Parliament Building on the Blue Danube in Budapest.
Pic taken from Castle Hill.

Picture of St. Matyas Church on Castle Hill in Budapest.
This is the most beautiful church I have ever visited and I've seen St. Paul's Cathedral, Notre Dame, and the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. - St. Matyas Church is worth a visit if you are ever in Central Europe.

The Labyringth of Catacombs under Castle Hill is extensive. In the tourist-friendly portion, there is an exhibit on Dracula - because this is where the historical Dracula was imprisoned and tortured. His grave, or at least a representation of it, is down there, too. 
The steam is natural because Budapest is home to many hot springs.
They have a section that is without lights to give visitors the full effect. My friends and I were bad and turned on our cell-phones so we didn't stumble down any wells (there were two with grates over them) or run into walls.



My youngest daughter's K4 team boat (in blue). The girl in the front is the daughter of a girl I played soccer with in elementary school - we didn't make the connection until we were in Budapest. (Seriously wild. small world stuff.)

2016 OHR Team USA with a camera running low on battery power.
Awesome athletes and coaches.


My oldest daughter, sick with a bad cold, had the courage to go out and race 1000m when many other female canoeists from several teams declined that distance. 
She had her worst time ever, took 9th place, and earned a point for Team USA at the regatta.
I am proud of her for having the courage to go out and race, even in tough circumstances, against girls whose arms were bigger than her legs.




My youngest didn't make any "final" races but raced hard in her heats and semi-finals. She always has her eyes on the finish line, no matter the distance.
We came home, she rested one day, and then started doing body weight workouts the second day home. She's hoping to qualify and compete at the 2017 Olympic Hopes Regatta, which may be in Romania, Bulgaria, or the Czech Republic.

Biggest news for Team USA at the 2016 Olympic Hopes Regatta: two young women took a bronze medal in a C2 (two person canoe) for the 500m distance. 
This is huge. The USA doesn't usually medal at this event.

Our results by the numbers can be found here: "Ghizila and Crocker Win Bronze."
My kids both get mentioned by name in there, so it's kind of cool. :)




Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/local/community/gateway/g-sports/article104974701.html#storylink=cpy









Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Karen Lange's 5 Reasons to Write Nonfiction - with Comments!

Please welcome Karen Lange today!
My utmost apologies for having the comment area turned off when this post originally went live.

Five Reasons to Write Nonfiction
By Karen Lange
Merriam Webster defines nonfiction as “writing that is about facts or real events: all writing that is not fiction”.
I think it is important for writers to write nonfiction because we’ve been given a gift, an opportunity to share and affect change through our words.
Here are my top five reasons why nonfiction writing is important.
  1. To Share Stories: The Interview  
An interview helps readers get to know a person on a deeper level. William Zinsser said, Nothing so animates writing as someone telling what he thinks or what he does-in his own words.” I agree. A firsthand account is an excellent primary source that adds great value to our work. The writer gets to share an authentic story and the reader comes away informed, entertained, and enriched.
  1. To Share Events: The News Story
Where would we be without good journalists? Someone has to keep the public up to date on what’s happening. Journalistic writing offers a medium for news presented in a thoughtful, organized, and engaging way.
  1. To Instruct: The How-to Article
How many times have you searched Google to find out how to do something? What would we do without articles like “How to Clean a Tile Shower” or “How to Train Your New Puppy”? This type of article informs and equips, providing a valuable service for readers.
  1. To Educate: The Essay
Essays come in many forms, such as comparison, persuasive, and narrative. Using a topic or question, they make a point by research, analysis, and personal interpretation. They educate readers on topics from scientific and political to entertainment and humanitarian issues. The essay provides an opportunity to express info and opinions in a unique and creative way.
  1. To Encourage: The Inspirational Piece
Through inspiring words we can encourage, soothe, and urge readers to pursue dreams. You never know what simple bits of wisdom and truth might stick with a reader, urging them to be better and kinder versions of themselves. Whether quotes on a blog post or a topical article saying, “I’ve been there, too,” uplifting words are timely and welcome.  
Nonfiction writing is a great tool that enables us to make a difference. What will you do with it today?
Happy writing,
Karen :)
Karen Lange is a freelance writer, editor, blogger, online writing instructor at the coffeehouseforwriters.com, and the author of two books for homeschool parents. Her articles have been featured in print and online publications. She's a big fan of dark chocolate, historical fiction, and ice hockey. Visit Karen at her blog, karenelange.blogspot.com
Find Karen

Twitter – @KLELange

Tyrean: My favorite of these is the interview, but I also like the Why kind of how-to articles! :)
Thank you, Karen!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Bridge Troll? And Do Not Comment This Week!

I've named this picture: The Bridge Troll
I'm not sure it's really accurate, as this dude seems king of like he's longing for something, and is fairly peaceful with flocks of birds on his shoulders. However, he is hanging at the edge of a bridge over a canal in Amsterdam so I couldn't think of another name for him.
He might show up in one of my stories someday.
(BTW - I only had 4 hours in Amsterdam so any sights I saw were thoroughly un-researched and happenstance - I plan to look up this statue when I get home.)

I'm currently traveling. Please do not comment on my blog.*
I'm actually going to turn off that feature until I return.
I really can't return visit at this point.
Also, I'm not really e-mailing either.

I'm in Budapest. 
I never imagined I would say that in my life.
But, there it is.

And, on Friday my daughters race in an Olympic Hopes Regatta.
Again, not something I imagined I would ever say.

I'm thankful for these positives; these amazing joys!

And, I must say, please don't plan on trolling me anytime soon. I've seen a disturbing trend of that lately. It's so sad. 
Let's do this instead:

"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds." Hebrews 10:24 

*btw - if you are kind and concerned about my reveal that I'm not at home - don't worry. My husband, who I miss deeply, stayed behind.. I'm saving most of my limited date and texts for him. My kids and my travel buddies get the rest. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Between Two Fires


Praise from Bestselling Authors for Between Two Fires
“A spirited ride through a turbulent slice of Welsh history!” – Paula Brackston, NYT Bestselling author of The Witch’s Daughter
“A fast-paced read that has a wonderfully visual style and some memorable characters. Mark Noce combines Welsh history with a touch of folkloric magic in this promising debut novel. Lady Branwen is a strong and engaging narrator and the turbulent setting of early medieval Wales makes a fine backdrop for an action-packed story.” – Juliet Marillier, Bestselling author of Daughter of the Forest and Wolfskin

Synopsis of Between Two Fires
Saxon barbarians threaten to destroy medieval Wales. Lady Branwen becomes Wales’ last hope to unite their divided kingdoms when her father betroths her to a powerful Welsh warlord, the Hammer King.
But this fledgling alliance is fraught with enemies from within and without as Branwen herself becomes the target of assassinations and courtly intrigue. A young woman in a world of fierce warriors, she seeks to assert her own authority and preserve Wales against the barbarians. But when she falls for a young hedge knight named Artagan her world threatens to tear itself apart. Caught between her duty to her people and her love of a man she cannot have, Branwen must choose whether to preserve her royal marriage or to follow her heart. Somehow she must save her people and remain true to herself, before Saxon invaders and a mysterious traitor try to destroy her.

Places to Order Between Two Fires
Release Date: August 23, 2016

Bio
Mark Noce writes historical fiction with a passion, and eagerly reads everything from fantasy to literature. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, he’s an avid traveler and backpacker, particularly in Europe and North America. He earned his BA and MA from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, where he also met his beautiful wife. By day, he works as a Technical Writer, having spent much of his career at places like Google and Facebook. In addition to writing novels, he also writes short fiction online. When not reading or writing, he’s probably listening to U2, sailing his dad’s boat, or gardening with his family.
His debut novel, Between Two Fires, is being published by Thomas Dunne Books (an imprint of St. Martin's Press and Macmillan). It is the first in a series of historical fiction novels set in medieval Wales.

Social Media Links 





My short review: Branwen is caught between two fires, between two men, between the love of her family and the love of her entire people. She is tested, betrayed, sold into marriage like a prized calf, but she grows from an innocent young woman to an amazing healer who cares for her people with genuine love and concern that they can't help but notice. The historical world-building is believable  and brilliant, as Mark Noce works within the realities of the way women were treated in history and yet manages to create a strong heroine worthy of her people's admiration and respect. The characters, even the "secondary" characters, were fully realized and Branwen's heartache and growth as a character feel like truth. Excellent writing and excellent to read!

News from me: tomorrow, my daughters board a plane with other Team USA athletes and their coaches to travel to Hungary for the Olympic Hopes Regatta. Many thanks to those who supported their Go Fund Me campaigns!!! International competition is expensive and this may not be the only one . . . or it might be. We don't know. 

With that thought, I scrounged, wiggled, and crunched numbers so I could join a small contingent of parents going to watch our kids. This made me feel a bit odd with the Go Fund Me stuff going on, but I'm trying to go on my writing and home-school class teaching money . . . which is not in the activity/athletic budget. My husband is staying home and I'm going to miss him dearly. 

Anyway, please visit with Mark (I'll be here for a few days to check in), and please pray for safe travels for Team USA and for me. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

#IWSG: Writing, Life


Founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh and supported by an amazing team of writers (incuding Alex)!

The question this month: How do you find time to write in your busy day?

I have my usual routines but sometimes they get lost.


Last month, my kids qualified for Team USA for the Olympic Hopes Regatta in Hungary (which happens this month), one of them went on a mission trip to Peru, my dog got really sick (he's better now), I got sick (I'm better now, too), my oldest put her shoulder out of its socket at practice and had it put back into place four days later, I celebrated my 20th anniversary and my 45th birthday, and I gave the message one Sunday when our Pastor was out of town. (And, regular life chugged along, too.) I felt like I was on some kind of wild roller coaster with extra loops.

So, how do I make time to write? 

I keep track of my writing word count in the back pages of my journal each day and that inspires me to get some words down each day. Sometimes, I write "7" and sometimes I write "2,200." It really varies, but I try to get something down. (And, during the wildest moments, the count is: 0)

I have more than one project going at the same time. For some, this would be crazy talk. For me, when I get stuck on one project, I hit my head against it for a while, and then switch projects to keep writing.

Lately I've been trying the Pomodoro technique - 25 minutes of work at a time. I write for 25. And, then I go run around and do other things, and come back for another 25 minutes. And, that's it.


How do you find time to write?


NEWS

Baby Moo's Great Escape is coming out on September 8th!
Baby Moo has a dream. He wants to travel the world and sing on the stage of the Sydney Opera House! While he loves his home at Sunrise Sanctuary, it hasn’t been the same since a piglet named Nathan showed up and stole all the attention away from Moo. Jealous of the new baby, Moo decides now is the time to make his escape and pursue his dream.
But the world outside the sanctuary gates is not quite the fun and exciting place Moo imagined, and he quickly finds himself in big trouble. Moo's friends Missy the dog and Ruthie the cat rush to help him, and land in some trouble of their own.
Lost and frightened, Moo and his friends must rely on each other to find their way back home. Will they ever see Sunrise again?


Release date: September 8, 2016 from Native Ink Press
Links:


Julie Flanders will donate $1 to Sunrise Sanctuary, home to Baby Moo and numerous other rescued animals, for each copy sold in September.
Tweet:

Baby Moo's Great Escape by @JulesFlanders is here! $1 will be donated to @sunrise_ohio for each copy sold in Sept.  http://tinyurl.com/gpuomwm




Mark Noce's new book, Between Two Fires, is out! I would say more, but there will be a guest post here next week all about it.
*I'm currently reading it, and it rocks!

Amazon/ Amazon Kindle/ Barnes & Noble/ Barnes & Noble Nook/ iTunes/ IndieBound/ Thomas Dunne Books












Stephanie Faris is currently launching two new books in her Piper Morgan series. Piper Morgan is a delightful character who moves to a new town excited for an adventure. She is determined to have fun, be brave and make new friends.








My second and third year of writing curriculum is out. It's meant for 8th through 10th grade students, and it's something that I've used in my home-school co-operative classes. The focus is writing, but there are a few literature-based lessons in these, too, as I've tried to change with the times and prepare students for the new SAT essay focused on analysis.

For more information and the big blurbs, go here:
They are only in paperback at this time.



And, don't worry about the quality. It's all been proofed and tested by two to three years of home-school co-operative students. They had the handouts, and then the work-in-progress books from a private print-run. Finally, this year they have books.