Strawberry Cake

  
I was born on this day twenty-four years ago, in the heat of summer, new like a strawberry. Washed by the sun, my soul wanders in the journey clean as the white whipped cream that one licks off sticky fingers that ended up too tantalized to refuse a covert bite. Sweetness sinks into my bones as I note how pleasant, how effortless love can be when it is selfless and without harshness. It grows in the sun, nourished by the vine, plump and juicy by the ripening time. I wish I were as perfect as the strawberry that I roll over my tongue. If only words of compassion would continually spring forth from my lips as easily as the tart flooding of my senses. The season is winding down and the days will become shorter. August will be only a memory by then. I want to be as refreshing to my fellow travelers as the strawberry cake was that carefree day. 

Post Wrimo

I need to formulate a plan for all of the editing I need to do now that the summer Wrimo sessions are ending. There’s so much advice among authors regarding the editing process… what’s a writer to follow? Those of you who have your strategies in place have my admiration and applause, but perhaps you’re new to the multi novel editing process like me. Some writers like to edit a project without even touching anything else. Others alternate between projects or even mix it up between finishing writing one while editing a second. I’m not sure what will work for me, but since I tentatively plan to start a new novel on November, it would be great to tie up as many of my loose ends as I can before that time. The best approach seems to be one of abandon, to dive into whatever method you think may work for you and giving yourself freedom to change later on. 

Are you someone who likes to focus on a singular thing? Maybe the one edit at a time will work for you. I have never had much success in this category because once I’m done with a Wrimo I have exhausted my capability to look at one thing at a time. But maybe you’re the opposite way. 

Do you find yourself multitasking more often than not, as I do every day? I think I’ll start with finishing one project while editing another. And if I don’t get it all done by November, that’s cool. I need to remind myself that some progress is better than no progress, and if I have made any part of my writing better, that’s the purpose of my mission, even if I don’t finish it by a certain date. A dear friend of mine, author Rebecca Odum, tells me that she likes editing because it makes the book better. I’ve adopted this philosophy and dread edit times less than I did before. I want to go back and see what I can do better in my second look at what I’ve created in a delightful frenzy of thirty days. 

I’ll embark on this process in the next few days, and I hope your experience will be a good one no matter what part of the writing journey is ahead for you. 

Encouragement

I don’t know about you, but sometimes it’s hard to be good to ourselves. It’s easy to be kind to others because we see the need and want to encourage. But today I ask you this: are you encouraging yourself? There can be all too many negative forces in our lives… other people, our own perfectionism, just a day where things didn’t go as we had hoped or planned. That’s the time that we need to be our own friend as much as we befriend others. So please read the graphic below to yourself because you deserve it! 

  

Waiting For Sadie 

I’m eagerly awaiting news from the local animal shelter when a gray tabby female is available. I had a jellicle cat named June for fourteen years and she developed kidney disease about a year ago. Her disease progressed rapidly and she passed away on December 26. I’m to the point where I’m ready for another cat and feel like a child counting down the days to Christmas until a Sadie cat is available. I’m naming her after my favorite band, called Sadie And The Hotheads, fronted by Elizabeth McGovern of Downton Abbey. All my cats have been named after musicians: Mick Fleetwood and June Christy have inspired the other names. I’m keeping a careful eye on the  shelter site! I really love the fact that this particular shelter is a no kill shelter. It’s funded and maintained by a local couple who have done so much good for the town. 

Here is a picture of what I imagine Sadie to look like: 

  
I hope she comes soon! 

My Quiet Space

  
I’ve always loved reading. Even before my conscious memories begin, I loved books so much that my mom taught me to read at age two because I was so fascinated with stories. I’d follow along and recognize the words, so my world has always consisted of letters forming words. When I learned Spanish in college, it was the closest I’ve come to understanding how it must feel to not be able to read until one purposefully learns what letters form words and what they mean. 

Above is a picture of one of my favorite devices, my kindle. I purchased it three years ago and began utilizing the internet resources, but since having an iPad that does all the same things, I’ve made the kindle my offline sanctuary just for reading. No email. No text. No google. Just books.

My kindle started out being offline because I didn’t want to have to constantly charge it because of the toll wireless takes on the battery, but now I leave wifi off so I can have the closest experience to reading paper books. I’ve always been an avid collector of books and had to concern myself with shelf space, so the kindle is wonderful with keeping so many volumes in one book size package. I miss it when I have to plug it in because I’m so used to having it on my bedside table at night and close at hand in the day. I also adore my cover, a black and white damask that I don’t ever want to trade. I’d even forsake a bigger screen because I want all my future devices to fit inside this lovely cover. Having such convenience in a wireless free zone has certainly boosted my motivation to read and has boosted my goodreads goal! What motivates you to read? A quiet space? A good story? The smell of ink on pages? The august smell of wisdom in the library stacks?  I think it’s probably different for everyone. 

Happy Sunday! Visual Inspiration…

I don’t know about you, but I enjoy finding creative inspiration more or less anywhere. One thing I enjoy in particular is browsing through online ads that appear in Sunday newspapers. I’ve stopped getting a paper because of my commitment to reducing my paper usage, but I love to read online. Target is a particular favorite. The interior designer in me goes crazy when I see all of the back to college items because I imagine what I would do with all of them. It also helps me visualize my characters’ homes and how they might choose to decorate their surroundings. 

This factor became especially important in my second novel length WIP called Keeping Light, which is set on different planets deep in space but features teenage to early 20s characters who have a dustinct style of their own. My protagonist, Abby, was easy to design because I based some of her taste on my own at that age, but with others I needed to turn to visual inspiration. Her best friend has a more extroverted personality to whom animal prints and bold colors were suited. 

Sometime I’d like to make a storyboard like designers use to showcase the materials for a certain room for a similar purpose, only show the rooms my characters will inhabit. 

A month of blogging? Why not!

I’m quite inspired today by my writer friend, J. R. Biery, in her quest to blog each day. As is often the case for my unconventional ways, I want to start today and not wait for a new month. 

I just finished two wrimos, the fabulous JuNoWriMo and July Camp NaNoWriMo, back to back with a combined total of 75,000 words. Now is the aftermath stage of having two drafts to finish and edit, along with my April Camp NaNoWriMo draft to edit. I hope I can get all of this finished by November, but I’ll still charge ahead into NaNoWriMo regardless of my progress on other things. 

This week I’ve taken a vacation from writing and am slowly emerging from the time-off cocoon. I’ve really enjoyed my week, though, watching films like Woman In Gold and Imitation Game, reading and knitting. I just started knitting in late April but I’ve gotten comfortable with it and enjoy making scarves. It’s a great time to clear my mind and get story ideas. Another idea I’m pondering is selling scarves online. I made a few for family and friends and everyone has encouraged me to start selling them. I’ll post a few pictures and would love feedback from readers. 

  
  

After NaNoWriMo…

The¬†excitement of writing two projects for a cumulative forty eight days is over and I’m treating myself to a well deserved vacation. It’s been nice to have a little time off to catch up on reading, correspondence, my knitting projects and sleep! Now comes the phase on which I almost always find myself after a wrimo; the need to finish! Neither my June or July projects have reached their conclusions and the characters have so much more to say and do! I like to begin the editing process at this point, not only to save myself time but to familiarize myself with the story again. When I’m writing a specific world count of two to five thousand words a day, depending on the project, I don’t have time to go back and read what I’ve written. Getting familiar with my plots and characters after such a fun but hectic time is a non negotiable for me. So after I’m done winding down, that’s the unique type of editing phase that could possibly lady up to the beginning of the next wrimo in November! I enjoy it but find it grueling at the same time, but no story has ever come to life without it!

Where Did June Go? Onto July Camp NaNoWriMo…

I must say that JuNoWriMo was the most unique and rewarding wrimo in which I have ever participated. The Facebook group where all of the action happens has a little over three hundred members and a community so close knit that it feels like family. When midnight struck last night, I was a little sad that the month of June was over despite the fact that today has meant the beginning of a whole new writing adventure at Camp NaNo. I am so grateful to Becca J. Campbell for creating and facilitating last month’s wonderful wrimo! The group stays open all year, which is a great blessing because I would hate to not talk to my new friends until next year. Instead, we can form critique groups and encourage each other with our projects year round. Becca is an accomplished science fiction/fantasy author who has wonderful books available on Amazon. You can access her website here.

My July project is a short story about a young woman named Nora who is abducted by a strange scientific organization that, among other things, implants her with the memories and consciousness of a teenage girl named Allie, whom the organization accidentally killed in an experiment gone wrong. Now Nora, who always relied upon her solitude to get through life, is never alone because Allie experiences whatever Nora is doing, thinking or feeling. I have currently titled it Alone

If you want to join the July session of Camp NaNo, you can register today as it’s certainly not too late to join! Word count goals are flexible, anywhere from 10,000-50,000 or beyond, as some of my brave friends have chosen! My own word count goal for the month is 25,000 as my project is not as long as usual. I feel very blessed to be in a cabin with some of the wonderful friends I made last month. Come join the fun!