Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Power of UP

by Marsha Ward

Did you ever stop to think how versatile a word is the simple two-letter "up?"

There is the direction, of course: up and down. We can't do without that. However, the power is in combination, when you put "up" together with another word or two. Here's a list I've come up with (heh heh).

come up (sunrise)
come up (command to ascend--come up here)
come up with (approach something or someone)
come up with (a list or a solution)
come up behind
catch up (to someone)
catch up (an object)
up early (arise in the morning)
bring up
clean up
hurry up
scoop up
get up
look up
pull up (pants)
pull up (a horse)
leap up
pick up
snatch up
stand up
straighten up
hop up
fly up
wake up
pack up
draw up (your knees)
draw up (a contract)
up and take off (leave)
ride up
heal up
mix up
throw up (vomit)
throw up to (confront)
crawl up
make up (compose)
make up (your mind)
make up (time)
hold up
put up (animals)
put up with (endure)
lock up
end up (conclusion of event)
move up
climb up
coop up
keep up (remain together)
keep up (uh, any number of things)
wake up
turn up (appear)
turned up (nose)
flare up (temper or fire)
bunch up
take up (a position)
take up (a collection)
take up with (associate with a person)
hitch up (a team)

Well, you get the idea. Who knew two letters had such versatility and power?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Hurry up and Wait ....

I'm waiting again ... waiting to hear back from a publisher about my newest novel. It's exciting, tense and long. Okay, so it's only been a few days, but I find I must keep myself busy so as not to dwell, but I want this one.

I've browsed the publisher's website and marveled at the bestselling authors there and I'd really like to be one of them. Doable, right?

So I'm sure some of you have read or seen The Secret? You've heard of the law of attraction? If you have a spare minute today, could you visualize an acceptance? How about a nice advance:)?

Seriously, I feel good about this one.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Losing Focus

During the first part of this month, I was very focused on my current work in progress. I thought about my characters as soon as I woke up in the morning and kept them in my mind all day long. I'm serious--all day long. Each night, after my kids were in bed, I was ready to unload all my day's thinking onto the computer. I was ready to write, aching to write. As long as I woke up with my characters, I knew I would be aching to write that night.

From August 6th to August 14th, I wrote 10,784 words. I was really focused on my story and needed to write. Unfortunately, I've lost my focus a bit. I haven't written since August 14th. On August 15th, I woke up and they weren't there in my mind. My characters had left me. I didn't find myself thinking about them all day long like I had the days prior. I guess they went on vacation. I haven't found myself thinking about them, so focused on them since. I don't feel the ache to write, drawn to the computer the first free moment I get.

Right now, I don't feel like writing. I hope to get my focus back soon. I hope that I wake up thinking about them soon. I need my focus back. Hopefully, once school starts on Monday, I can get my focus back and start writing again. The kids will be back to a decent bedtime- 8:30, and I can get to writing earlier in the night.

I hate losing my focus. Focus, please come back. I miss you. I need you.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Verbs of the New Millenium

by Elodia Strain

So, I’ve been thinking about how if my seventh-grade self were plopped into a modern middle school she would have no earthly clue what was going on. Case in point, the following conversation featuring a ton of “verbs of the new millennium”:

“So I friended you on MySpace.”
“Hold on, I’m texting my boyfriend.”
“Did you tell him I burned that new Nelly song?”
“No. But I did tell him you Netflixed every episode of The Office known to man.”
“It’s my favorite show! Did he download those pictures of Nikki?”
“Yes. And he said he Googled you too and found a picture of you and the swim team.”
“Ugg! I wish I could have Photoshopped my thighs in that picture.”
“Don’t worry, he says he’s only gonna blog about it a few times this week.”
“If he does, I’m so going to erase all those episodes of Deal or No Deal he TiVo’d at my house!”
“He said that wasn’t him, it was your dad! But don’t erase them…just in case.”
“Uh huh.”

Middle-school me would have a seriously spinning head after that conversation!

It’s absolutely crazy to me how the technological revolution has added a whole slew of words—verbs, nouns, adjectives—to the English language.

Have any you’d like to add to the little list I started above? Post them in the comments. Let’s see how many we can come up with!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

And Now, For Something Mundane

by Marsha Ward

Robyn has thrilled you with tales of dust and four-wheeling and the great outdoors. I'm going for something a bit closer to home: bedding.

I love the crisp, clean smell of freshly laundered sheets on a bed. I don't particularly like the physical struggle to put them on, but the results is always satisfying.

This summer I decided to splurge on new sheets. I didn't buy the most expensive ones, but got some of the "better" class: coral and green fitted sheets and pillow cases, and white flats. New pillows, too, to replace the flattened ones that made my neck ache.

After I attended a writer's retreat where I took the white flats as bedding, I decided to keep them in a bag with a pillow, and here's why. I frequently crash at a friend's house in the Valley, and if I bring my own bedding, I won't make extra work for her. She is so gracious as it is, that I don't want to add to her burdens, especially as she recovers from a knee injury.

That left me with two fitted sheets and no tops. But lo and behold! I already had a spiffy print set with the colors coral and green. I put on the coral bottom and used the print top, and they look quite nice together. I'm sure I'll find other top sheets as I go so the numbers match. But in my household, one set on the bed and one in the closet is probably more than sufficient. Except when I want the flannels for winter!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

4-Wheelers and Bryce Canyon, Almost ...

I live 100 miles from Bryce canyon, if you take the back roads ... and by back roads I mean the ones that are better suited to 4-wheelers than cars. I found this out last weekend when we threw sleeping bags on the racks and headed out with a bunch of friends.

Eleven ATVs later, one rear-ending, one head-on and a roll-over, we made it. Well, we didn't actually make it to the canyon, but we did find the campground with the hot tub and swimming pool where we'd sleep under the stars, the one bursting with tourists who spoke every language but English.

Water is a beautiful thing after eating dust for 100 miles and bouncing over the seat from too many jumps (can there be too many?). Relaxation ... Dinner ... Campfire ... and rain at 4 a.m. ...

We headed out after breakfast, looping around the same trails over and over as we searched for the one that would take us home (don't look at me, I wasn't the navigator). Several scenic overlooks and a complete avoidance of Bryce Canyon, and we found it, The Great Western Trail.

The way back was beautiful, especially the race between us and Ryan ... we had him, for a minute (have I ever mentioned my desire to drive race cars?), then he passed us like we were sitting still. I should mention that he drove an 800 and we were double on a 350.

Soon we were pulling into the driveway with raccoon-eyes from our sunglasses. We learned another interesting fact ... It's a lot farther ride from Bryce to home, 125 miles to be exact (or was it the extra trails that made it longer?).

All in all it was a fun ride with great times and fabulous friends, dust and all!

Monday, August 18, 2008

J. Scott Savage Twisted Trivia (and Anti-Review)

By Tamra Norton

*Disclaimer: I neglected to approve any of this biographictional information by J. Scott Savage because I was afraid he wouldn't approve. He hates it when family secrets are revealed, but some things just need to be told.

Very few people in the blogosphere know this little tidbit of information, but J. Scott Savage is, in fact, my fraternal twin brother. Here we are at the wee age of 6 months. Scotty (as I've always called him) is the one with the constipated expression--a dilemma that has plagued my twin for life, poor guy. I'm the inquisitive looking one.

Scotty and I were raised in the vast regions of Northern California in a little log cabin surrounded by a Buffalo preserve. Our parents, Zeeke and Penelope Diuguid (pronounced Doo-Good) were the environmentally conscious, thrill-seeking type, so our lives were never dull or wasteful. Even though we are twins, our birthdays are one day apart. Scotty was born January 31st at 11:57 p.m. and I popped out a mere 4 minutes later at 12:01 am, on February 1st. Up until the age of 17 (when Scotty ran off to become a Mouseketeer--something I never forgave him for) we always shared a chocolate-chip cookie cake at midnight with two candles--one pink, and one blue.

Even though Scotty and I are fraternal twins, he's a year older than me. This happened during what Dad calls the Diuguid Space Exploration Debacle. Scotty (always into mischief) neglected to secure his deep-space, sleep module properly (or so he says. I think he snuck out to grab some Pop-Tarts for the ride. Whatever!) so when the rest of us woke a year later from our deep sleep to land at the space station, not only were all the Pop Tarts gone, but so was half of our food supply. During this solitary space time, Scotty fashioned his hair into dreadlocks, penned tattoos of wildlife on his arms with magic markers, and insisted on wearing gold foil stars on his earlobes. He was a restless teenager, and I had to wonder some days if he wasn't going to break our poor mother's heart.

At the age of 22, shortly after he returned from his Himalayan exploration with a group of Bulgarian refugees, Scotty, always a free spirit and definitely the independent and slightly disgruntled type, decided to change his name, once again, breaking our mother's heart. Fed up and embarrassed by always having to pronounce our last name to people, and hearing the response, "Serious?" Scotty legally became J. Scott Savage. And honestly, the name does better suit my brother's uncultivated nature. People are simply drawn to his primeval/salt-of-the-earth/bad-boy/All-American persona. He's a complete package!

After spending so much time traveling the face of the earth as well as space, it's no wonder Scotty came up with the premise to Farworld. Even though he gave us so much grief in the early years, Mom, Dad and I are so proud of him! Way to go, Bro! Stay tuned next week for a full Farworld review. And in the meantime, whoever can guess the correct information in this blog first gets their own autographed copy!

Hint: There are at least 4 full truths and 2 half truths (if you can stretch the imagination) to this biographictional tale.


So I posted the little ditty above about my twin brother, J. Scott Savage, two weeks ago, with the promise to post my review of Farworld soon. Well, "soon" is finally here (a little later than I thought), but I wanted to share with the world how fun, exciting, and wicked sick (in the very best way) I thought this book was (and not just because my "brother" wrote it).

Now I'll be completely honest--really, I WILL this time! I'm an Anti-Reviewer. I hated writing summaries of other people's books while I was in school, I hate writing a synopsis today of my own books, and I hate reading summaries of ANY book! I don't even read the back cover of a book because I don't want ANY PART OF THE STORY given away. Period. For me, it's all about recommendations and a freaking awesome cover. With the two hand in hand, I'll buy just about any book.

Well, you can see the freaking awesome cover to Farworld just above and to the right, and with all my heart (twin or NOT), I recommend this book to readers of every age. This ain't just a kid's book, though I know my crew of fantasy-freak kiddos are gonna love it as much as I do. J. Scott Savage has a way of forcing the reader to rip through the pages at warp speed because you HAVE to find out what happens next, and you want to know yesterday! Scott is the master of cliffhanger chapters, I'll warn you now.

This is a book the whole family can enjoy together. I give it a 5 snake rating! And if you want a free copy, find the truths and half-truths above in the J. Scott Savage Twisted Trivia contest and I promise that someone will be picked for a free copy by the end of next week.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Writing Again

By Marcia Mickelson

So, I took a few weeks off from writing. I watched a few movies. I read Stephenie Meyer's Breaking Dawn. (Go to my blog if you'd like to read my review.)

Now, I'm back to writing mode. It feels good to be off editing mode and back to writing mode. I have 38,352 words written in my work in progress. So far, I don't like my working title. It needs a little work.

It feels good to be back to writing. And, I'm working on a fairly new project. I started it in April during Book In A Month and am so happy to pick it back up. I've been working on old stuff for so long. It feels good to be working on something new.

I'm trying to write at least 1,000 words a day. So far, the month has gone okay. Thanks to Tristi Pinkston for once again sponsoring a BIAM for August. I hope to actually add to the word count this time. Last BIAM, I used for editing and my word count diminished rather than increased.

Once school starts, I think I'll be more successful because the kids' bedtime gets more regular. I would love to have this thing finished by October. Then, it's back to editing mode. Yuck. I don't like editing.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Confessions of a Blogging Slacker

by Elodia Strain

Well, I’ve been so busy lately that, I admit it: I’ve been quite the blogging slacker. So I thought maybe I’d write about a few of the cool, fun, (and a couple just plain crazy) things that have been going on.

Here’s what I’ve been up to…

1) Taking a trip to Texas where I experienced a cricket jumping on me in my sleep, watching my father-in-law taking a shovel to a snake, and learning to drive a truck.
2) Playing with my niece. You seriously wouldn't believe how brilliant and imaginative this kid is. And I’d forgotten how much fun paper dolls and art projects were!
3) Finding a good recipe for chewy homemade granola bars. Thank you Recipe Zaar!
4) Searching for a gradual self-tanner with no parabens. And finally finding one. Coppertone Gradual Tan!
5) Making sure my younger sister had a beautiful wedding. And she did! During a trip to Utah to visit me, she found her dress; we searched for announcements, a baker, and a veil online, and ended up finding all of them; and then when the day came, I was with her in the temple, and I will never forget what it was like to have her take hold of my hand with tears in her eyes and say, “Thank you for being here with me.”
6) Having my first ever Aveda massage. Worth every penny.
7) Reading some fun books (The Hopeless Romantic’s Handbook had a title I couldn’t resist) and watching some fun movies (Lucky Seven was a pleasant surprise.)
8) Working like mad to finish writing my current WIP.
9) And finally, thinking about how blessed I am to have been able to do all of them!

Take care blog readers. And stay tuned for next week’s: Verbs of the New Millennium
Here’s a teaser: Ten years ago, if a guy had walked up to me and said, “Hey, I Googled you yesterday,” I would have seriously considered slapping him. But not today....

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

My (Un)Eventful Life

by Marsha Ward

Sometimes I think I lead a rather boring life. While friends of mine travel to exotic locales to do research for their next novel, I sit home in the midst of a forest of pines and oaks, dinking around on my computer and paying for home repairs.

Then I reflect, and find that my life isn't so boring after all. My forest is very lovely, and I am the envy of many people because I can live here the year around.

I've been to several writers' gatherings this year:

  • ANWA's Writers Conference in March
  • LDStorymakers' Writers Conference in March
  • Western Writers of America's Convention in June
  • ANWA's Arizona Retreat in July
I attended my grandson's baptism and a family party last month.

Sadly, I've traveled to several funerals this year.

I get to meet wonderful writers to interview on my blog, Writer in the Pines.

I can write novels that touch readers' hearts.

I have friends in many places, including close to home and far away.

I have a family that loves me.

I get to give service to many of them, and to several worthy organizations.

I have books to read, music to listen to, and movies to watch.

Okay, not a boring life after all.

Monday, August 4, 2008

When September Ends it'll be Brown Eyed Girl

So I'm officially a bass player ... I'm learning at least. That's got to count for something. It's something I wasn't sure about at first, but I find it's addictive and strangely therapeutic.

So I took the plunge a few months ago and bought a four-stringed electric bass guitar and amp. It fit nicely with all the other loud instruments in my basement. Now I'm playing ... music ... really. I went through a book of bass lessons and have spoken to several bass players. I considered lessons from a real live person, but he moved before we set them up ... so I'm teaching myself, which is fairly common where bass playing is concerned, or so I've heard.

So I learned an easy one to begin with, Wonderful Tonight. I moved on from there to Sweet Home Alabama, which I'm still trying to get down; and to Rocky Mountain Way. Fun, fun, fun.

Now that I've mastered When September ends, my favorite to date, I'm working on my first song with a real bass solo, Brown Eyed Girl.

I'll be jamming in no time! Watch out, Roy, here I come!

Breaking Dawn

By Marcia Mickelson

(No Spoilers)

I pre-ordered my copy of Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer from Amazon a few weeks ago. I was expecting to receive it on Saturday, but when I checked the tracking number from UPS, it said the book would be arriving on Tuesday. No, sorry. I want it Saturday. Isn't that the whole point of pre-ordering? Well, I couldn't wait. I'm a little bit mad at Amazon. I know someone who also pre-ordered it, and she received hers on Saturday like promised. I don't know why I didn't get mine.

I went to Barnes & Noble to pick up a copy, thinking I would just return the Amazon copy once it gets here. Barnes & Noble was sold out. Thankfully, there were copies left at HEB (a chain of Texas grocery stores). I know, I know. It seems lame to buy it even though it's on its way, but I really didn't want to wait. I want to finish it soon so I can read everyone else's reviews. It's getting a lot of bad reviews on Amazon. So far, there are over 245 1-star reviews. Ouch. I haven't read any of them yet. I'm waiting.

So, I've been reading all weekend and about halfway through so far. When I'm done, I'll probably post a review on my blog.