Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wise and Beautiful Editors Who Say NO?

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Ok, I admit it, I don't like getting rejection letters when I get them. Who does?

However, I have learned from experience that sometimes NO is actually the best answer.

Did I just say that?

NO is the right answer to my work that I've shed sweat over?

Yes, sometimes NO is the right answer.


Because sometimes even though I think my writing that I've submitted is polished, finished, wonderful, etc. it really isn't. And I can't always see that when I'm excited about it.

After I've gotten over the stinging sadness of rejection that comes no matter how much I steel myself for it, I often go back and read through both the letter and my work. You know what I find?

That often the editor had good reason to say NO. Sad, but true. When I can get distant enough from my work, I can see where I may have submitted it to the wrong market, or that I didn't really convey my thoughts with my words well enough for the editor to see my vision.

There are even moments when editors have said YES, when I reealize later that I wish they had said NO.

For example:

In college I had a poem published that had two foul words in it and took a harsh, painful look at the depths of fear. If I had exchanged those two words for others, I think the poem could have had the same hard impact, but with less confusion over my subject matter, and with less fall out from friends and acquaintances. People I knew actually refused to speak to me after that poem was published. And I understood. I had crossed a line. I wished the editor had said NO. I had a few poems published in the school newspaper after that and then I stopped submitting my work for years. I didn't actually know if I wanted to be published without any editorial stopguards.

Editors who say NO can actually save our reputations as writers.

It's something I try to keep in mind when that sting of rejection hits.

What do you think? Do Editors save us from ourselves sometimes? Are they wise when they say NO?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Praise for Prayers

Praise God for all your prayers these last few days!

 My mom went home from the hospital last night, and plans to jump right back into life with both feet. All of her tests came back "clean" except for her blood pressure. She hasn't had a history of high blood pressure before, but she's on medication for that now. Her heart rate is normally fairly low because at age 70 she's more athletic than most people I know (including me). She walks 2-3 miles a day, swims, lifts weights, and does extreme gardening.

Her heart was tested in all the ways that a heart can be tested by a medical team, and they came to the conclusion that although a heart rate between 38-45 is low even for her, her "normal" heart rate of 52-54 makes her lower heart rate less of an issue. Once upon a time, she weighed 225 pounds (height 5'3"), but she lost all that and trained for a half marathon about ten years ago, so her heart is "lean and trim" according to the docs.

Although she had some scary moments at the hospital with chest pains, extreme headaches, shortness of breath, and dizziness, she also made all the docs, nurses, technicians, and physical therapists smile and laugh. With her blood pressure down, she's back to her normal cheerful self and ready for action.

So why the chest pains? That's still somewhat of a mystery, but she does have mild emphysema from 20 years of smoking (she started as a teen and stopped at age 35). . .and that's the closest thing the docs seem to be able to find for a cause, along with her blood pressure.

So, again, thank you for all your prayers and kind words these last few days!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Usual to Unusual in Sixty Seconds: Take time to Hug Someone You Love Now!

Today started like any normal morning.

I posted a pantser Friday post. I visited a few blogs. I wrote.

A little later I was breathing hard trying to change clothes, forgoing a shower for a speedy trip to the hospital. I wasn't breathing hard because of any physcial reason, but because I was barely keeping back fear and panic.

My mom was being taken by ambulance from her doctor's office to the hospital with a low heart rate (between 39-44), pain in her chest, and high blood pressure (165). My dad had stopped by my house on his way to pick up his cell phone at his house next door . . .which he forgot again while gathering some clothes for my mom.

In the emergency room my mom seemed in high spirits, happy but a little worried. The EMT thought she might just be fine. The docs and nurses said . . ."we'll see" and started a round of testing.

We sat with her for two hours, and then my girls and I went home to gather her stuff, get our homeschool lessons, get my dad's cell-phone and head back to the hospital. My kids did all their lessons in the emergency room today. I read the Bible out loud to my mom, sent out requests for prayer, and spent a lot of time in conversation with my dad.

The results at the end of the day: my mom gets to stay overnight for continued testing, my kids and I are exhausted in the way that only high stress followed by long hours of waiting can make someone, and my dad and I had a much needed keeping up.

You see, even though my parents live next door and I'm an only child, we kind of take each other for granted. We don't gather for long conversations often because we see each other nearly every day. I don't think I've sat and talked with my Dad for more than fifteen minutes in months. He's the kind of guy who takes some warming up to get into "real" conversation . . .you know, something more involved than a weather report.

So, please hug your loved ones today, spend some time with them, enjoy the moments of goodness. Pray for each other, be kind and encouraging. Love yourself. Know that God loves you and you are His masterpiece, made especially to be you.

Happy Memorial Day early.
I'll be back next Wednesday. I have a lot of people to hug.

And if you don't have anyone to pray for lately (seems like we all have a list actually), please pray for my mom, Kathleen, my friend Susan who was in a head on collision on Monday, a boy named Josh with cystic fibrosis, a man named Jon J. (not my hubby John) who has some unsolved medical issues, my Dad's lab test results, a little girl named Jessica with several health needs . . .and anyone you love. (and maybe anyone you dislike too)

Forgetful, but Thankful, Friday

I thought I had a post pre-written for today. Where is it? hmm. Not certain. I moved a couple of other posts back a few days so that today was free for . . .what?

I honestly forget.

So, in honor of my original blogger status as a post pantster, I think I'll just go with what's on my heart at the moment:


image found here

The sun is shining bright, the sky is a perfect blue, the dappled sunlight and shadow on the trees outside my window makes my heart sing, and I am thankful for my family, my friends, my blog buddies, my wonderful life, for people who care enough to make a difference for others, for organizations made of individuals who give life to the lifeless and hope to the hopeless. I'm thankful for my writing, and for all the great books there are to read. I'm thankful for life. I'm thankful for my savior, Jesus. I'm thankful for love.

What are you thankful for today?

And do you plan out every one of your blog posts, or do you post by the seat of your pants?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Critiques and a Launch Party for Closed Hearts!

So, I'm in the midst of my 4th revision. My characters and plot-line are finally feeling right to me but I've re-written my first chapter at least seven times and it's changed every time. I've gotten to the point where I can't even see my first page with any kind of clarity.

So, when I found two offers for free first page critiques, I wanted to shout out in thankfulness. By participating in the Oh, Those High School Dances Blog Hop, I earned a first page critique by Emily at Get Busy Writing and then I discovered that Carol at Artzicarol Ramblings gives away free first page cirtiques all the time (I just somehow missed that on her sidebar right under her picture). So, thanks to these two ladies, I'm seeing my first page with clear vision.

If you would like to see Carol's critique of my awkward first page and help me out by pointing out anything you think needs to change, I would greatly appreciate it. Just visit ArtziCarol Ramblings today.

Closed Hearts Launch Party

Susan Kay Quinn's second book of the Mindjack Trilogy is officially out today!!! Woohoo!

My daughters and I were eagerly waiting with anticipation for this book, and it did not disappoint.

What? I've read it already? Well . . .since I've been lurking around Amazon for this book, I discovered that I could have it delivered to my kindle a few days early, and we've been having an all out readathon in our house, as my kids and I wrestle over my kindle for the right to read this book. The bad part is . . .we've all finished it, and now want the third book . . . and now we have to wait again. No worries. We'll just reread Open Minds and Closed Hearts again in our wait time.

And yes, they are that good, and no, I can't really give details because I'm afraid I'll spill spoilers all over this post. Hmm. What can I say without giving up much?

Kira is a compelling character with flaws, and new, exciting abilities who must struggle to keep those she loves safe and find her place in a world of people who either fear her abilities, or want to use them for their own purposes.

Book Two of the Mindjack Trilogy by
Susan Kay Quinn

When you control minds, only your heart can be used against you.
Eight months ago, Kira Moore revealed to the mindreading world that mindjackers like herself were hidden in their midst. Now she wonders if telling the truth was the right choice after all. As wild rumors spread, a powerful anti-jacker politician capitalizes on mindreaders' fears and strips jackers of their rights. While some jackers flee to Jackertown--a slum rife with jackworkers who trade mind control favors for cash--Kira and her family hide from the readers who fear her and jackers who hate her. But when a jacker Clan member makes Kira's boyfriend Raf collapse in her arms, Kira is forced to save the people she loves by facing the thing she fears most: FBI agent Kestrel and his experimental torture chamber for jackers.
Check out Susan Kaye Quinn's blog for more information on the awesome launch party, and for rafflecopter prizes!!!

Oh, and if you missed my entry for the Flash Fiction Blogfest, check it out here or just scroll down to my last post.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Flash Fiction Blogfest: Lighting Flashed!

Last year in May, Cherie Reich hosted a Flash Fiction Blogfest. She enjoyed it so much, she decided to host it again this year.

Here are the rules:

1. Entries must begin with the two words: Lightning flashed.

2. Entries must be 300 words or less and be in prose. I'm not versed enough in poetry verse to judge it properly.

3. Entries must be posted on your blog between May 21 - 23.

4. You must sign up in the linky on her site.

On May 25, she will announce the six finalists and open voting through May 28th.
On May 29th, Cherie's third year blogversary, she will announce the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners as well as a random winner selected from the participants list. All ties will be broken by

Now what are the prizes?
First place - $25 gift card from Amazon
Second place - $20 gift card from Amazon
Third place - $15 gift card from Amazon
Random prize - $10 gift card from Amazon

My entry: Captain Wrath Goes Camping

                Lightning flashed. Captain Wrath, aka Douglas Cranton, cursed loudly to satisfy his paying passengers, and then stumped over to his tent. Galaxy Cruise Lines had decided in their universal wisdom to add an overnight excursion to the Western Edge tours. In addition to the garish costume, foul makeup and other discomforts lavished on Douglas by his employers, the whole Smuggler’s Cove Excursion on the newly synthed Looter’s Island had nearly forced Doug to break his employee contract.
                Thankfully, Doug had wrangled a few perks out of management, like his Captain’s tent placed on the best campsite under a large canopy tree. In rotten weather like this, he could slip into the large tent and hope that the company didn’t spring any surprise excursion adventures upon him.
                A shrill scream interrupted his momentary hope.
Doug drew his pistol-blasters and threw open the tent flap. The lanterns in the camp were all out, and only the wind driven rain greeted him. With the moon hidden behind the thick clouds, he couldn’t see anything.
                Doug stepped away from his tent, not wanting the light to make him a target. In the shadows of the canopy tree, he listened carefully for sounds of his crew. A silky murmur emanated from the tree behind him, and slender hands ran down his back.
                “What the devil!” Doug shouted, jumping away from the hands.
                A beautiful Dryadarian barely covered in brown bark smiled seductively at him. “Don’t you want to have a little fun, Captain Wrath? Your passengers are all taken care of . . .
                With a flick of his thumb, Doug changed the cartridge in his pistol, and shot her with universal sleeping gas.
                She crumpled to the ground, and he stepped into the dense foliage.
Time to rescue his passengers again.
author note: I had so much fun with Captain Wrath for a previous blog challenge, that I decided to use him again. If you want to read my original Captain Wrath story, go here: The Identity Crisis of Captain Wrath
100 Days of Revision, Day 21
Had a bit of slow down this weekend - my Sundays have been incredibly fun and busy lately, but I'm back into it today. This process isn't quite what I had planned for it to be; I'm spending a few hours at it on some days, and short bits of time on it on other days, but I'm trying to keep this in the forefront of my writing time.

Friday, May 18, 2012

RAOK and a simple poem

To commemorate the release of their book The Emotion Thesaurus, Becca and Angela at The Bookshelf Muse are hosting a Random Act Of Kindness BLITZ. There are industry giveaways, and cool prizes, but I think the best part of this Blitz is simply the act of sharing kindness. Kindness rocks!!!

Think about the writers and bloggers who have kindly shared their wisdom, thoughts, enthusiasm, and encouragement with you.

Think about the writers and bloggers who are newer to this whole blogging world.

Think about a post you've read that made your day, or a tweet you heard that made you want to reach out and encourage someone else.

Then . . . spring a Random Act of Kindness on those bloggers. Write a post, share the love. Encourage, give thanks!

For starters, I would like to say that if you are reading this, consider yourself a recipient of RAOK from me and if I could link you all, I would.

However, there a few bloggers that I'm going to highlight, just because they've stood out to me in some way:

Karen Lange at Write Now has shared kindness, wisdom, and encouragement with me from the beginning days of my blog. I really appreciate her, and give thanks for her.

Alex J. Cavanaugh walks the walk every day with encouragement and kindness. He gives shout outs for new bloggers and new authors every day.

Angela Brown is a blogger I met recently through A to Z, and I think her writing is stellar, and her kindness is obvious in all her posts.

Tara Tyler at Tara Tyler Talks and Unicorn Bell makes me laugh, inspires me with her fun posts, and always gives an encouraging word when she stops by a blog.

Laurel at Laurel's Leaves writes beautiful, thought-provoking posts.

Carol at Artzicarol Ramblings gives helpful insights into writing and editing.

Emily at Get Busy Writing makes my day with fun, and thoughtful posts on writing and life.

Angie at Notes from the Writing Chair has been an encouragement to me many times, and she is currently touring her book!

Susan Kaye Quinn is an awesome resource for writing encouragement and a look at the whole portfolio of the writing industry: indie, big pub, and small pubs. Plus, her new book, Closed Hearts is being released 5/23!!!

Between Burgers and Writing by Jeffrey Beesler is the BEST post I've read all week. Really. It is an awesome tribute to burgers and writing. You MUST read it. And I just randomly found it.

I could go on, and on, blogland is full of amazing, kind, encouraging bloggers!

100 Days of Revision, Day 18 Update
Writing is awesome!!! Revision is awesome too! I'm really getting my WIP whipped into shape, and although I still have major work to do, and I've made some mistakes in my revision process (you'll see my overworked first page at Artzicarol Ramblings next week), I'm still excited and feeling good about revision this time around. I'm also taking some time to scout out publishers, and agents, and research indie publishing too. It's an exciting time.

Changes in my Upcoming Posts (there's a lot going on)
Flash Fiction Blogfest on Monday (the same as before)
Critique at Artzicarol, and Closed Hearts Celebration for Susan Kaye Quinn (new Wednesday)
Wise and Beautiful Editors Who Say No? (moved to Monday)
Wise and Beautiful Editors Who Say Yes (same on Wednesday)

Oh, and I planned a poem today (previously on my facebook page in a moment of whimsy)


standing on my deck
 with my eyes closed, I can
almost imagine

 I'm standing
in the midst of
a waterfall

 the sound of rain on leaves all
around is almost the same

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Most Beautiful Words and the Hardest Words

Some of the the most beautiful words to find in the morning lurking in my inbox:
“Dear Tyrean Martinson,
Congratulations! We are happy to tell you that we have decided to publish your story/poem . . .”

Some of the hardest words to find in the morning lurking in my inbox:
“Dear Tyrean,
Thank you for your submission.

Unfortunately it has not been successful on this occasion and we will not be using it.”

The question is:  do I let words like these affect my writing, or my day?

Well . . . yes, I do. I can’t seem to help it. The best words fill me with a sense of elation and excitement, happiness, giddiness, the desire to shout from the rooftops, or at least from a facebook post. I carry the words around with me all day, and rejoice over them, again and again.

The worst words are the ones I try to shrug off and say don’t matter. Or I try to tell myself they don’t matter with things like . . . “Oh, well, I didn’t really work on that story that long, or that much. I didn’t really expect it to make it. So it’s all right. No big deal. Another day, another story, I can submit something again soon.” But still, lurking in the back of my mind is . . . “They didn’t like my writing. Does my writing suck? Is my writing good enough? Should I have spent more time on that piece? How much time is enough? If I can’t sell a short story, will I be able to sell my novel?

Thankfully I received these two letters in reverse order, with the rejection letter first - one week ago, and the acceptance letter second, yesterday. So, for the moment, I'm flying on elation and excitement, and these words keep looping in my head:

“Congratulations! We are happy to tell you that we have decided to publish your story/poem . . .”
I love, love, love those words.
The moral of my story is: I wouldn’t receive those wonderful, glorious, beautiful acceptance letter words if I didn’t keep submitting my work time after time, month after month, determined to find a market for my poetry and short stories.
I have to write, revise, and submit my work on the days that I find success.
I have to write, revise, and submit my work on the days that I find rejection.
I have to write, revise, and submit when my inbox is full of chatty letters and advertisements and I’m still waiting to hear back from publications.
Write, revise, submit. Repeat x infinity.

News in Blogland

RAOK - Becca and Angela at The Bookshelf Muse are hosting Random Acts of Kindness this week. Check it out to celebrate kindness in the bloggy world. Two Kindness Gurus I want to highlight for just a moment today: Karen Lange at Karen Lange, and Alex J. Cavanaugh. These two bloggers have encouraged me and many others. (more about them and their rockin' kindness on Friday)

Flash Fiction Blogfest - Cherie Reich is hosting her second annual Flash Fiction Blogfest on Monday!
Upcoming Posts :
Poetry and Thankfulness (Friday)
Flash Fiction Blogfest (Monday)
Wise and Beautiful Editors Who Say NO? (Wednesday)
Memorial Day Post (Monday the 28th)
Wise and Beautiful Editors Who Say YES! (Wednesday the 30th)

100 Days of Revision Day 16 Update

I've made changes, and keep making them, but I am very happy with my novel at the moment. I know it's not perfect, but I'm loving my characters right now, and revision is going slowly but well. Yesterday I think I only worked on four paragraphs, but I think I fixed some character issues . . .so it's good. Today maybe I'll get through 1,000 words or so . . .I hope.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Today is the First Loves Blogfest! Your first movie, first music (song/band,) first book, and first person. Four loves, one blogfest! This blogfest is brought to us by Super Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh

First Movie - Do I have to choose? It's a tie for me. The first two movies I remember seeing on screen, and I loved both of them.

Peter Pan - I loved the idea of flying out of my bedroom window and off to Neverland. I also had an totally unrealistic crush on Peter.

Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope Poster Star Wars - Loved this movie from the opening moments to the very end, and for all the time from then until now. It's a classic. The princess gets to blast her way to safety, instead of fainting (I'm so thankful for that role model), Han is a loveable scoundrel, Luke is the perfect wannabe hero longing for adventure. And, you guessed it, at age 5 and 3/4 I had a crush on Luke Skywalker too. I turned six that summer, and I begged my parents to see it just one more time. (and yes, as my husband says, I have a memory like an elephant - of course, I wonder, do elephants really remember all that well?)

First Song/Band - this category is even harder for me! Do we count "The Bare Necessities" that I played relentlessly over and over on a tiny record player as a kid, and then the Peter Pan soundtrack? or do we fast forward to my first crushing on Rick Springfield, and the Duran Duran drummer? Not sure. I also really liked "Oh, What A Beautiful Morning" from Oklahoma for singing around the house from age 10 until, well, now - once I'm actually awake in the morning, I love to make fun of the even later risers - I mean, who gets up after me - other than my kids. I don't have favorite types of music, I just have favorite songs, and musicians.

First Book - I'm just going to give you a list: Where the Wild Things Are - the most awesome book of my early childhood (and it goes with the whole Peter Pan flying off to adventure thing), The Hungry Caterpillar (also very early childhood and I loved the artwork), my first Children's Bible, and a Nursery Rhyme book, the OZ books, then all the Narnia books, the Hobbit, a bunch of Xanth novels that I don't like much anymore, and Ender's Game.

First person - ooh, hot water here. My hubster got mildly, and mostly teasingly, green over my "Oh, Those High School Dances" post last week.

Hmm.  If Peter Pan and Luke Skywalker don't count, I would have to say, a boy name Ricky who lived down the street from me in kindergarten . . .and then he moved away and gave me his favorite shirt, which I wore until it fell apart. I think that was the height over our romance. No kindergarten kisses or anything like that. I also had a crush on a guy six years older than me near that time . . . can you imagine a 5 year old chasing after an 11 year old? Crazy. He politely and nicely told me that I was too young for him - after I sneak attacked and tried to kiss him.

Anyway, after those two experiences, I kept my crushes to myself until . . .late high school. Literally, I didn't tell more than one or two people about the guys that I crushed on until way later, because I didn't really want them to know. I was too shy, and didn't want my heart broken again . . . which is hysterically funny now . . . I don't think my kindergarten heartbreaks were really as serious as I thought they were.

So, who were your first loves?

And if you want to know more about The First Loves Blogfest, go check out Alex J. Cavanaugh's blog.

100 Days of Revision, Day 14 Update
Yesterday I only managed to wade through 300 words because my Mother's Day was too awesome . . .well, that's my excuse anyway. Today I haven't had a chance yet . . .and won't until my kids are in dance class tonight. I will make progress today, of some kind, I just don't know how much yet.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Thankfulness for Life!

In the last five weeks, I've been caught up in specific blog challenges, fests, hops, and a wonderful guest post by Karen Lange. I'm thankful for all the wonderful hosts of those challenges, fests, and hops, and I'm thankful for Karen's gracious wisdom about blogging.

Meanwhile in the non-cyber world, life is barrelling along at a breakneck pace, and I feel like I'm bursting with thankfulness for life!

So I thought I would share a few bits of that with all of you with some pictures.

In our homeschooling life, my oldest daughter and my husband have been joyfully creating different experiments for her homeschool co-op Backyard Ballistics class. Their most recent creation for that class was a carbide cannon, but I have pictures of one that they made earlier: the potato gun.

This photo was taken in the last week of March, when my daughter had just undergone minor foot surgery (see note at bottom), so that's why she has a sock over one foot (it's actually over a big bandage) and a crutch on the ground next to her.

My youngest daughter has been building all our own science experiments with very little help (she doesn't want it). This last week, she built her own balance. We have one but she wanted to build her own from her science kit.

With a small group of homeschool friends we went out this last Tuesday and celebrated a particularly low tide in our area. These were just a few of our discoveries:

Plus, five girls, one boy, and three moms managed to bring home a few buckets of sand in our shoes.

And in our dance life, my youngest got her first full pointe shoes (slightly different than demi-pointe)

My oldest is up for her first pair of full pointe shoes, but her feet have this tendency to grow in May, so we are going to wait through the month and see if her feet get a size bigger in the next thirty days. We inevitably buy her new shoes the week before the June recital. Soft shoes like ballet slippers, and jazz shoes just stretch. Tap shoes and pointe shoes don't.  Their ballet teacher simply said to move from demi-pointe to pointe when they needed new shoes . . .so she has to wait.

*Her foot surgery involved removing what the foot doctor thought was a wart, but turned out to be a small bit of metal or glass cocooned in protective skin tissue. She recovered enought to ski in one week, and recovered enough to dance in two weeks, although her foot doctor just said last week that she is fully recovered.

Day 11 of 100 Days of Revision Update
Aagh. I'm about 1,000 words behind my goal today. And the last bit of revision still left me with an extremely awkward conversation . . .need to fix it, but I need to move on and fix the rest of the mess too. There is only so much rewriting a scene can take before it just shatters into meaningless bits.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Oh, Those High School Dances!

Oh, Those High School Dances! Blog Hop is the brainchild of hosts Kelly and Emily, and looked like too much fun not to join.
Here are the rules for participation:
1. Post pictures of your high school dances. (Make sure you tell us which one is you if they're group pictures.)
2. Share with us your funniest high school dance story.
3. That's it!

There are three categories to win prizes.

The three categories are:
1. Best Dressed
2. Funniest Dance Story
3. Cutest Couple

A little heads up before you dive into the photos here: I had a hate/love relationship with high school. There were moments I hated, and moments I loved. One of the many reasons I homeschool my kids is to protect them from the seriously painfully boring moments of public school, and from the trials of bullying (which I feel is a byproduct of public school's "lord of the flies" social system).

However, I loved school dances. Not because I often had dates. I usually didn't. I went to all the "non-formal" dances with my friends, and even sometimes all by myself - usually I ran into someone I knew who I could hang out with. I just liked to jump up and down to music. Seriously. I was that nerdy kid who stood right next to the speakers, and danced all night long and considered the slow songs to be a perfect opportunity to take a restroom break. When I did want to dance during a slow song, I asked guys to dance with me. Some of them said no. Some said yes. But I didn't wait for them. If I had, I wouldn't have danced. Sorry, for you guys out there, but some of you are too slow, or too picky in your dance partners. 

 A few weeks before my senior year Homecoming, sulking because the first guy I asked said no, I was stopped in the hallway by my friend Gabe, who was determined to break me from my poutiness. She knew that a mutual friend of ours, and a guy that I had always admired but was "just friends" with, had also been rejected by the one he had asked. So, Gabe pulled me along the hallway until we met up with Tor, and said something along the lines of, "Tor, Tyrean has something to ask you about Homecoming." (I did? Oh...) and I can't remember what I actually said, but it was a pretty bad invitation, in the midst of which I realized I was actually nervous and his answer mattered. (Maybe I liked him more than I previously thought?)

His answer, "Yes, but I'm not renting a tux," with a mischevious smile.

(Hmm, what did he mean by that? )

No matter, I was giddily happy, and when the night arrived, I was nervous. Very nervous. I went to pick him up (yes, I did the driving), his dad sat me down on the couch and proceeded to ask me questions. His dad happened to be the assistant football coach at our high school, taught martial arts, and was generally intimidating even on his nicest days. I was terrified. "Oh, yes, I'll have him home by midnight," I promised. Then his mom came in and rescued me with a laugh, and welcoming smile, chiding her husband for bothering me.

Then Tor came into the room, and wow, he looked sharp and handsome!

He didn't rent his tux, he owned one! (passed down to him from his grandfather)

And I'm not going to get into the details of the evening after that, but I will say it was the best date I had in high school. Tor and I didn't become an item, mainly because I was completely clueless, but we did have one wonderful evening. (and it wasn't the best date of my life, just high school - added for the sake of my green hubster)

Plus, we had an awesome group of friends to hang out with for most of the evening. Please note that the two girls in red weren't dating each other, but they had dresses and no dates, so they came along for the fun (the rest of us wouldn't let them stay home that night and feel sad). Oh, and yes, I'm really short, and I generally had tall friends.

So, next up, Senior Prom. Again, I asked someone, and again I was rejected. There were four other guys I almost asked, but didn't . . . including Tor. (long story of somehwat painful cluelessness there) But my friend Gabe, the same who induced me to ask Tor to Homecoming, told me in no uncertain terms that I would be going to our Senior Prom, no matter what. It turned out that our friends, Trina (in the white dress) and Liza (in the black dress that you really can't see here) both had guys stand them up at the last minute. Seriously, guys who said they would go, and then backed out! The nerve!) Anyway, Gabe and her date Greg (who I knew well since he was one of my neighborhood friends), shared their evening with the three dateless amigoes, and for that I will always be very, very thankful. You see, even though I had a rebellious streak, I couldn't see going to the Senior Prom all by myself. I just felt that would be too hard, even if I did already have tickets. (I was determined to go, even if I was scared of going alone.)

Part of my high school counter culture rebellion included wearing my black high tops everywhere, with everything during my senior year. Why? Because I liked them, and no one else did. I know that in the 80's they were featured in magazines, but trust me when I say that at my small town hick high school, girls did not wear high tops with dresses. Well, except for this girl.

Yes, I had a super bad perm, and I look pretty dorky, but I still love this picture. I love my beautiful friends, and my shoes, and the attitude I had that night. I was going to have fun, no matter what. And I did. I had an awesome time. I danced until the dj packed up his gear. Two guys that seemed far out of my league danced with me because they liked my shoes. When a couple of people verbally harassed me (yes, I was insulted and bullied at every high school event) I laughed at them. I couldn't believe they thought they could hurt my joy.

Even on Monday morning, at school, when a girl walked up to me and streamed obscenities at me and then proceeded to tell me that I ruined her senior prom with my shoes, I couldn't help but smile.

For me, going to Senior Prom, in those shoes, with my awesome friends, made me feel like I had conquered all that was bad in high school. I felt invincible.

Day 9 of 100 days of Revision Update
I admit it. I got up late and scoured my house for pictures for this blogest, and I haven't done any revision today. Aaah! However, yesterday I had met my word count revision goal, and I know I can do the same today. It just might not be until tonight when my kids are in dance class. I did do something I hadn't planned though - I changed the first three chapters (again). However, I managed to do it in a way that will coincide with chapter four pretty nicely. From here on out, it's just polish time.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Reflections, Backworlds, Robot Haiku, and Blog Blessings

A to Z Reflections

I tried to be organized, and some of my pre-written posts were good, some of my seat of the pants posts were better, and sometimes I just had foot-in-mouth (or is that toes on the typewriter/keyboard) moments for both posts and comments. I thought I would have time to visit more posts, but I made sure that I stuck with 10 minimum a day, and although I didn’t get out to visit that many, I made some new, good friends – blogging buddies that I hope will be lasting blog buddy friendships for a long, long time.

There were amazing posts out there. I loved so many, but there were a few that had me completely hooked:
L.G. Smith’s travel posts that start with American Abroad
Angela Brown’s Abby and Basil story which starts here:  Abby and Basil

 Alex J. Cavanaugh's Shout Out Posts - who doesn’t love the encouragement of the Ninja Captain? 


M Pax is celebrating her book launch of The Backworlds.  Today her guest post can be found at Frances Pauli's blog Speculative Fiction.  M Pax is a scifi lover, with an awesome job at Pine Mountain Observatory where she works as a docent in the summer. Her blog, Wistful Nebulae is a great place to hang out and find both science facts, and the joys and challenges of writing science fiction. So go and join in on the celebration!

The Backworlds After the war with Earth, bioengineered humans scatter across the
Backworlds. Competition is fierce and pickings are scant. Scant enough
that Craze’s father decides to hoard his fortune by destroying his son.
Cut off from family and friends, with little money, and even less
knowledge of the worlds beyond his own, Craze heads into an uncertain
future. Boarding the transport to Elstwhere, he vows to make his father
regret this day

Robot Haiku

Today's the last day to enter Nate Wilson's Robot Haiku Contest! Go check it out!

Blog Blessings

These are posts that blessed me over the weekend – they hit me in the gut with thought-provoking words, or lifted my soul with inspiration, or gave me a practical bit of advice to grab onto as a lifeline. Check them out and enjoy!
 Crossing the Line by Marion Jensen

When a Man Loves a Woman by Tamika Eason

 Are your children acting crazy? Maybe they need more of you - by Sarah Mae

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Guest Post by Karen Lange!!!

Please welcome Karen Lange, guest blogger from Write Now and great blogging friend, encourager, and writer.

The Great Blogging Adventure

By Karen Lange

To me, blogging is an adventure; there are ups, downs, and everything in between. Each portion of the endeavor offers valuable, hands on experience and helps stretch our skills.  It adds wonderful dimension to a writer’s life. We gain new friends, connections, resources, info, and writing opportunities.

I’m thankful for all I’ve learned on my blogging journey. While I don’t claim to be an expert, I have discovered a few things that boost blog success.  

1)      Be authentic. The more I write, the more Oscar Wilde’s words ring true. He said, “Be yourself, everyone else is taken.” Many writers stress over developing their writing voice. While voice is an important element, I think that it’s been over emphasized and writers get stressed about it. It’s important to relax, be yourself, and write. In doing so, our genuine voice emerges. 

2)      Pay it forward. When I started my blog three years ago, one goal was to help other writers. I didn’t profess to know everything; I just wanted to share what I’d learned. I’ve been blessed with help from wonderful, supportive friends, and wanted to pass that encouragement along. I began by offering tips and links in hopes that someone could use them on their writing journey.

3)      Don’t take unpleasant comments or loss of followers personally.  Your blog won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s okay. In a recent interview, author Ann Gabhart said, “Rejection is not fatal.” She was referring to submissions, but this applies to blogging too. Step back, take a deep breath, and objectively select any constructive elements. Pruning, when appropriate, hurts, but is necessary for growth.

4)      Confront challenges head on. Some think that the writer’s life is all roses and sunshine, but the reality is that it takes time and effort. Hours of thinking, reading, learning, research, writing, revising, and editing are the norm. It’s easy to get discouraged and quit. If we feel called to write, though, then we must press through the hard places. When I am stuck for ideas or a project isn’t flowing right, I pray. I also consult friends who help brainstorm, read drafts, or offer encouragement.  

5)      Interact with other writers. No man is a blog island. Writing friends, local and/or online, provide Inspiration, info, and encouragement. The writing life is solitary, so friends provide valuable feedback and help us keep a balanced perspective. Join a writer’s group or forum, visit and comment on other blogs, or take a writing class. Sometimes it is difficult for an introverted writer to reach out, but the people in the writing community are amazing, and a great source of support. It’s worth the effort!

 What have you learned on your blogging adventure?

Karen Lange is a writer, blogger, and online writing instructor at the Coffeehouse for Writers.  Her articles have appeared in parenting, educational, and writing publications. Visit her blog at

Photo credit: Stock Exchange
Write Now

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

IWSG and Day 2 of 100 Days of Revision

Many thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh, the super ninja captain of the Insecure Writer's Support Group!

The reality is, many of us, would not have the encouraging support group of blog followers we have, if it were not for the amazing efforts of Alex, and those like him . . .like Arlee Bird and his fantastic team from the A to Z Challenge. They aren't just blog hosts, they are super encouraging blog buddies and supporters of their fellow writers. I know A to Z is done, but I am still feeling incredible thankful for their efforts.

Another blogger that I am thankful for is Karen Lange from Write Now. One of my first followers, and one of the first encouagers I met in the blogging world, I am super excited to have her guest post tomorrow. Please stop by and see what she has to say about the Great Blogging Adventure!

The reality is we all need encouragement. Although we may have some romantic idea of a starving novelist in a garret room with just a small slit of a window writing the world's best novel on an old typewriter, or with pen on scattered sheets of scrap paper, the reality is, we need each other. We need encouragement, feedback, and support.

So I highly encourage you to go and be an encouragement to your fellow writers with IWSG, or through your blog!!! and I highly encourage you to keep writing, keep revising, keep building a foundation under your dreams!

And for fun, check out Nate Wilson's Robot Haiku Contest!

100 Days of Revision Update
What is 100 Days of Revision? It's my personal goal to finish revising The Crystal Sword, and have it ready to go out into the world of beta readers, and query letters.
I started May 1st, and I'll finish on August 8th.
I'm not going to post every day on my progress, but when I post, I'll include my progress so far.

Day 2 Progress: 1,600 words in, and I've revised the first three scenes at least three times. I think they are "worthy" enough to be put aside, so I can move on to chapter 2 or . . .possibly skip to the end. I feel like I need to get my bookends in place before I can straighten and polish the vast middle.