Category Archives: blogging

Sisterhood of blogging

I received a lovely award from Marsha Lee a couple of days ago, and as I’m not in a noveling mood this morning, instead I’ll post a little something related to this award, and why exactly I’m not working on the WIP.

I’m still plugged in, almost another 5K accumulated yesterday.  There are about two chapters left, three days in 2012 in which to write them.  This is the last Saturday of the year, but it’s sort of late-ish, for me, to start writing   It’s eight thirty, and by now I’m already a thousand words into a chapter.  Such a creature of habit, oh my goodness yes.  But I slept in, which was a treat, and sometimes I just know.  I know when to write, when to back off.   When to blog too; I’ve been blogging since 2005.

For nine months, my eldest daughter lived in the Midwest with my husband’s sister and family, experiencing a year of American high school.  At the time, we had no idea we would be coming back to America, just assumed that daughter, and her siblings, would return to The States for university.  We took a home leave in summer of 2004, leaving our not quite sixteen-year-old behind.  It was hard, but my heart was strengthened by the fact that we would see her again at Christmas.

The days and weeks ticked past, then in December she came home, and we reveled in her presence.  She was born going on forty, an old soul, but when we said goodbye, again my heart was soothed; my brother was getting married in May, and she would meet us in California for the wedding, then be home again in June.  But by spring, weekly letters seemed thin on the ground.  Phone calls were arranged so the six-hour time difference wasn’t a bother, still, we missed her, she missed us.  In March, she wrote me an email describing this thing called blogging.  Quickly I wrapped my head around it, and by the time we saw her in May, a family blog was well underway.

I still post on that blog, a rich history of our last two years in Britain, as well as the days coming back to America.  I keep track of all my books there, some sort of time capsule for my most beloved.  I started blogging about writing in August 2007, right after signing a contract with a small publishing company to publish my first novel.  Needing a change, I moved to WordPress in July of this year.  So Marsha’s award warms my heart, as blogging has been a part of my life for ages.

I’d like to bestow this award to all who have stopped by; consider yourselves tagged, if you so desire, and if you do, tell me how you got into blogging.  Here are ten things about me, as per the award instructions.

1. What is your favourite colour?  Blue, just about any shade, except those very dark.

2. Your favourite animal?  Hummingbirds, and Buttercup the basset.

3. Your favourite non-alcoholic drink?  TEA!

4. Facebook or Twitter?  Neither.

5. Your favourite pattern?  Does denim count?

6. Do you prefer getting or giving presents?  Giving, although with Christmas just past, if I don’t have to shop for a bit, that would be lovely.

7. Your favourite number?  Don’t really have one.

8. Your favourite day of the week?  Sunday, for some very silly reasons; breakfast at Los Gatos with my husband and of course football.

9. Your favourite flower?  Roses most definitely, especially the fragrant ones.

10. What is your passion?  Christ, my husband, the kids, writing/publishing, tea, music, blogging, singing, sending cards, road trips, indoor and outdoor gardening, observing the ocean, watching sport, photography.

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Blogging and me

So a week ago, on computer-crash day, I received a lovely blogging award from Sonya Loveday, but in the course of blown motherboards, I’m just now getting around to noting her kindness.  It’s been a busy week, adjusting to the new machine, watching my San Francisco Giants reach The World Series, then take a 2-0 lead into this weekend’s spate of games.  I had a road trip yesterday, during which time I pondered what I’ll start writing next week, also mulling over ancient ideas that live vicariously through playlists.  I sang a lot, didn’t worry about traffic, then came home to sport heaven.  Now it’s Friday morning, time to talk about…

Blogging.  The Beautiful Blogger award asks to reveal seven things about myself, so instead of harping on baseball (which I could do all day), I’ll note a few details about this other side of the craft.  A sometimes exposing side, in the daily hoo-haa.  Again thanks to Sonya for this honor, and I’d love to pass it along to all who stop this way.

1. I started blogging in 2005, strictly for family.  Our eldest was living in the Midwest with my husband’s sister and clan to experience a year of American high school.  Two years later that same girl would introduce me to NaNo, but first she set Blogger at my feet as a way to know what was happening in Yorkshire.  My life was never the same.

2. After my first novel, Drop The Gauntlet, was accepted by a small publishing house, I was encouraged to start a blog to better market my book.  I had to smile, as I’d been blogging for over two years, but I began a new site, specifically to chart my road as a writer.  I chuckle now, thinking of all that path has entailed, but it started on 23 August 2007 right here.

3. As I’m a prolific author, at times I’m also a long-winded blogger.  Many posts ramble for ages, for which I can only say if you’re looking for shorter entries, I might not be your cup of tea.

4. I don’t write posts beforehand.  What you see is what I write, although I do preview it a few times to make sure I’ve not left sentences uncapitalized.

5. After Drop The Gauntlet was published, I started a blog specifically for that book.  I can’t recall why, but it became a habit; now every book I write has its own blog, mostly to chart the word count, as I’m a little obsessed with keeping track.  But it’s also a great place to unwind, sometimes expunging the writing in more writing, which also sounds a little odd.  I’m an odd blogger, can’t help it.

6. I also charted two specific years of writing that were extremely wordy.  In addition to this site, I’m also chronicling a year of indie publishing.  Yes, I really like to blog.

7. I moved from Blogger to WordPress in July 2012; after my daughter’s wedding this past summer, I felt a break was necessary, wanting to distance my personal life from the work.  That break lasted about… two weeks.  I just love to blog.  I can’t explain why, other than I love to write, and not just fiction.  My daughter brought NaNo to my attention not due to novels I’d tried to create, but journals that I kept on and off over the years.  Blogging extends that format, and maybe prepared me for NaNo.  She realized I just wouldn’t shut up!

I don’t expect the world to change from all my blah-blah’ing.  But the technology is here, and I’m capable.  I can say these things, either in my novels or right now, at this moment.  Well, in a few moments, after I’ve cleaned up the typing and confirmed sentences start with capital letters.  But this is me as a writer, also a wife, mum, sport fanatic, blogging fanatic too.  This is my little corner of the web.  Thanks for taking the time to stop in!

Caught behind the bars

Right now, in the grand scheme, I’m prepping the next novel in the pubbing queue.  Giddy excitement swirls with slight exhaustion, but as I drink the morning tea, my immediate task is this blog entry, warming up the brain so when I reach for that novel, I’ll be ready to absorb the remaining chapters.  I can’t just jump right into the work; I need tea, sometimes a tune or two (“Sixteen Tons” by Tennessee Ernie Ford at the moment), a glimpse at the hummingbirds, swooping around the feeder.   This has been my routine for over five years, although the h’birds have only been a part of it since 2010.  I started my first novel in Britain, for NaNoWriMo 2006, but for all intents, the writing really began here in California, in Silicon Valley.  I started blogging about writing five years ago, as if the eleven years I lived in Yorkshire had no bearing on this gig.

But that would be so wrong.

I wrote back there, journals and letters, I love writing letters!  Actually, I love writing cards; I have boxes of them, and postcards too, piled all over the place.  My husband used to collect stamps, so we order various designs, but I have to scold when he puts the cool ones on bills.  PG&E doesn’t deserve Gregory Peck or The Incredibles.  I still send snail mail; postcards to nieces and a nephew and my godchild, nice cards to my daughter and other loved ones.  I love writing cards, but I adore affixing stamps.  My husband asked if I missed the old types, but no, I prefer adhesives.  I still have to lick envelopes.

I have always loved to write, but my wildest dream was to craft novels.  Letters and copious journal entries served their purpose, keeping the dream alive.  In November 2006, I started my first NaNovel, and never looked back.  I just finished a Camp NaNo tale, and am gearing up for the full monty in two months.  There is nothing better than writing a book alongside several thousand others all over the world, a huge virtual write-in for thirty days breaking the solitude that lasts the other three hundred thirty-five days a year.

Writing is an isolated task, not even the hummingbirds catching my full attention.  Yesterday I noted the above picture on my screen saver; our last English house was set along a fairly quiet village road.  I didn’t recall that shot, spent a good twenty minutes trying to find it.  We took tons of pictures in the UK; digital photography made it easy to snap without serious thought.  Maybe we were also trying to capture those moments, aware our English adventure wouldn’t last forever.  Eleven years was a long time, but now we’ve lived in California for over five, many books written in the meantime, heaps of cards sent and goodness knows how many blog entries posted!   I’m not the type to get lost in the past, but while frantically searching through folders of our British years, I wondered if that picture was a fluke.  How had it landed on my screen saver, from when was it taken?  Finally I located it, from 2006, in June, on the first.  On 1 June 2006, I had no idea about NaNo, that I would start a book that autumn, or that in a year, I wouldn’t live in Yorkshire.  All I knew were those bars, that house, fresh asparagus.  Our across the street neighbors grew asparagus, and my youngest helped prepare it for sale.

It seems idyllic, a day from my past easily forgotten, except for the pictures that stir so many memories, and not so small wonder for what has happened since.  Since 2006, I’ve written a plethora of drafts, published nine of them.  I’ve moved back to my home state, my eldest has gotten married.  I feed hummingbirds, which I had never even seen before!  Yet I am drawn back to that shot, those iron bars, that British summer’s day; I had recently turned forty, wasn’t sure what that new decade would hold.  It’s been wondrous, it’s been hectic.  It’s been day after day of the little and large, and quite wordy.  This morning, it’s rather blog-filled and reminiscent-heavy, also hummingbird-laden.  And it’s just another moment.  In a minute, it too will be gone.

Blogging, Olympics, and Doctor Who

Two weeks ago the Olympics began, and as a former resident of Yorkshire, England, I watched the opening ceremonies with more than a touch of pride.  Danny Boyle pulled off a British extravaganza, Team GB has excelled, and while I don’t when I’ll get back to my second home, one day it will occur.  Several cuppas will be enjoyed in the process.

I started blogging in the UK; my eldest was in America, doing a year of high school, living with my husband’s sister’s family.  My daughter wanted updates from our northern English village, introduced me to Blogger, and I’ve been poking around blogs ever since.  Switching to WordPress during the Opening Ceremonies, I followed the excitement while adding posts and pages.  I like WordPress; building my website was far more easy than I imagined.  I will always recall trying to sort some techie detail while going between the LA Times, the BBC, and the NY Times, wondering just how was everything going to fall into place; the blog, Britain’s shine on a world stage.  So far, it’s all been pretty fantastic.

Now, as the Olympics wind down, the blogging well in hand, another topic tugs on my heart; Doctor Who will start up again, maybe by the end of the month.  We began our foray into Who-dom when my husband took our eldest to Manchester for her SAT’s.  We didn’t know all of us would be coming back to America, but she was, for university.  They watched the Ninth Doctor in Manchester, then brought him to our village, where Doctor Who took firm residence.  We lugged him back with us in plots and Daleks; my eldest has a Dalek in the guise of a now empty bubble bath container, and the sign for the newlyweds’ parking spot at the reception contained a Tardis and book of spoilers amid wedding rings and other pertinent info, like Parking Reserved, the big date, etc, etc.  It’s been a funny summer, what with her wedding, little writing (although it’s going well now, and will be attended to as soon as I wrap this up), Olympics, new blogging site, new website too.  And now, as it comes to a close, there’s Doctor Who.

Many songs from previous series’ soundtracks inspire my writing, I’ve felt the blessed hand of exquisite drama fall on my shoulder after watching more than a few episodes.  The writing is so often spot-on, a perfect blend of sci-fi and the heart.  Plenty of heart, as The Doctor has two.  It’s been a summer of heart-wrenching moments, from watching my eldest say I do, to the inspired and magical effort of all Olympians, but especially those of the host nation.  I am a Californian first, then firmly set in northern English soil.  Cut me and I bleed Yorkshire tea.

Big things will occur in Series 7; Amy and Rory will depart, a new companion revealed, great music from Murray Gold and the National Orchestra of Wales to absorb.  I probably won’t blog much about Doctor Who, unless I come here raving about the top-notch scripts or the fate of Mr and Mrs Pond.  But I wanted to note, as the Olympics herald their last medals, as I feel quite at home here on WordPress, just a little of what makes my heart sing.  Blogging, as I just can’t stay away from it.  Sport, which even at its darkest moments revives the soul with athletic grace and stamina.  And of course, The Doctor.  He doesn’t use a gun, often doesn’t have a plan.  But somehow, usually the best occurs.

And when it doesn’t, those two hearts ache more than we humans could ever know.

Now it’s late

This has been a long day; I rose at five a.m., am still conscious at eight fifty-four p.m.  In the meantime, I’ve written the second chapter of Splitting the Sky, edited a couple of chapters of the last Alvin’s Farm novel, um…  What else did I do today?  Chatted with my kids, sat in the sun while eating a bagel, watered plants, savored a crit partner’s astute comments, oh I know!  I imported my year of publishing blog to WordPress.  That’s how comfortable I’ve become with this site, that in the space of less than a week, I’ve sorted this website and blog, and imported two others.  One is about Splitting the Sky.  The other was started last December tracking one year in indie publishing.  I think it looks okay, or maybe it’s just so late that my brain’s fried and tomorrow is another day.

Good thing I had a leaded cuppa at two this afternoon.  I was gonna need it…

Yeah, I like it here

So, after a day spent doing all sorts of faffing about, I think WordPress will be my new website/blogging home.  Going to play around with it some more, but in autumn, I’ll make the big announcement.  In the meantime, by stealth I’ll come here, noting what needs to be shaken loose.  Not sure what I’ll do about Blogger, but blogging in general is too ingrained, yet doesn’t have to be so lengthy.  Plenty of other things to occupy my time.