Tag Archives: blogging

More about the new normal….

I’m in the process of changing this website’s appearance; something hit me this morning, not sure what, but instead of hopping right into the shower, I started perusing new website themes.  I chalk it up to all the improv quilting, and other basic but fundamental changes in my life these days.

So if you come visiting the site, and find a vastly altered vista, I have issued a warning….

In the meantime, here’s a hint of the latest quilt-on-the-make.  I cut the orange squares a little too small, but will scatter them within the project.  It’s a floating squares sort of thing, although not as floaty as I would like. But for my first no-ruler attempt, I’m fairly pleased with the results.  And I’m still working on that little improv quilt; it simply needs the binding attached, but amid a new-found sewing scheme, I’ve not changed the presser foot back to the walking foot.  Or that yesterday I read four chapters of The Hawk, deciding to hasten Part Two’s conclusion by one chapter.  It would better serve the beginning of Part Three, which I might get around to poking at this morning.

Once I finish this post, change the site’s theme, take a shower, drink some coffee, although maybe not in that order.  The new normal seems busier than the old normal.  A lot more floaty and grandchild-filled too….

Keeping an eye on Grandmaster Z yesterday; he has a keen interest in quilting....

Keeping an eye on Grandmaster Z yesterday; he has a keen interest in quilting, or at least in bright colours.

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Another wonderful Friday

My husband is off work today; he works a 9/80 schedule, so every other Friday he doesn’t go to work.  Not often does that interfere with my day; usually he has something going on, but today was free and clear.  We went to breakfast, then returned home to an expected sunny, warm day.  Yet, I wasn’t feeling motivated to write; I am such a creature of habit that as I started the kettle, noting it was already after eight a.m., I’d be taking today off too.

The WIP is coming right along, in a slightly unusual way; I’ve been tinkering, which I never do.  I just write, no inner editor in the road.  But this novel, which began on a complete whim, which I have done in the past, well this novel has been chock-ful of plot since day two.  I eliminated the info dump, cutting and pasting the overwhelming but necessary paragraphs into other documents.  Normally I’d leave all that superfluous description, but as I told my husband this morning, it’s like I have too much plot in my head for what was going to be a simply story.  Instead of scribbling these notes onto paper, I’m letting them bubble in my head, but trying to keep a lid on them.  So far it works, but maybe I need a day to not think about it.

I’ll do laundry instead.

A hummingbird just flitted into view, stole a few sips, then buzzed away; it’s that kind of Friday, where the only way to tell it’s not full-blown spring is by the bare trees and spindly grapevine along the back fence.  I’ll hang clothes on the line, as if it’s late May.  And as if to scatter more spring-like joy on the day, I’ll note some awards that were recently bestowed upon the blog: Kristi at Dressed To Quill proffered the Versatile Blogger, while Chelsea Brown at The Jenny Mac Book Blog presented the Very Inspiring Blogger and the Beautiful Blogger.  My heart was so warmed by their kindnesses!

Versatile Blogger Award

One of the reasons I blog is in part to get off my chest all the writing-related hoo haa that I encounter just about every day.  Even when I don’t write, I’m still thinking about writing, or blogging about it.  A few projects are stewing at the moment, including that idea that was a little scary, but maybe not so frightening after all. Blogging about these issues tears down those walls that would otherwise keep a novel from being written.

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

Another reason I blog is to give back to anyone willing to dip their toes into these often rambling posts; be it about writing or whatever else I feel needs discourse, well here it is.  Take from it whatever you can use.

Beautiful Blogger Award

Lastly I blog because I’m a writer at heart, and if I’m not feeling up to banging out some sturm und drang, at least I can come here and let my fingers dance along the keyboard.  Speaking solely for myself, this writer seeks to communicate, even if I spend a lot of time staring at a monitor.  Blogging offers an instantaneous method of reaching out, well, as soon as I clean up the post and proof it.  But it’s not like crafting a novel which sits silently for ages, all that blah-blahing held deep in my PC’s hard drive, and pretty tightly wound within my head.  Over his eggs, ham, and country potatoes, my husband poked at my writing brain this morning; usually we don’t talk about it much, mostly because all my melodrama makes him break out in a rash.  But this morning we were eating at a place he really likes, one that I sort of tolerate (mostly because they don’t have waffles, and I REALLY AM a creature of habit).  Maybe he was feeling like making an overture, or perhaps he was simply curious; would I ever write another screenplay?  (I wrote one years ago, but the formatting isn’t something I want to relearn.)  Talking about the writing with him was lovely; it doesn’t happen often.  Most often I come here to share the third biggest part of my life.

After my faith and my husband, all I am is a writer.  And a blogger morphs into that; I tried to quit last summer after my daughter’s wedding.  I lasted all of about two weeks.

Why am I so compelled, and that’s really what it is; I am driven to record some section of this authorial journey.  Is it the need to display my heart?  Is it the journaler in me, desiring to leave more than a trail of bread crumbs as I blindly forge ahead?  Whatever it is, here I am, writing another post, and giving great thanks to those who like what they have read.  Kristi and Chelsea, ta cheers thanks loves!

Now, just a little business before this is all said and done: Chelsea’s awards came with no rules, bless her heart.  Kristi asked for seven interesting (or not) things about me. In no particular order, here they are…

1. I used to be a licensed hairdresser.  I stopped paying for the licence renewal after moving to Colorado and having my third child, assuming I would never again dwell in California, hah!

2. Just recently I quit adding sugar to my lattes.  The ease of that transition has surprised me, as I have always had coffee with some type of sweetener.  So far, I’m coping quite well.

3. Even more recently I’ve attempted getting over 7,000 steps daily.  That too has come along well, although maybe not as easily as sipping unsweetened java.  Dragging my butt outta the chair is definitely a challenge.

4. I have been so out of the loop with sports since the Super Bowl that I only learned about 49ers’ quarterback Alex Smith being signed by Kansas City because of an email from my husband.  Yes, I’m still bruised by that loss. (Football, what’s that?)

5. I’m still not that adept with my smartphone, but I sure like all the bells and whistles, even if don’t use 75% of them.

6. I like to say I’m not the techie sort, but if nothing else, indie publishing has put that statement on ice.

7. Someday I might not write novels.  But I will probably still be blogging…

Having a look round

Dianne Gray tagged me in a very intriguing fashion; to find the word look in one of my manuscripts, then plop it and the surrounding paragraphs here.  So, off I go for a little looking…  Oh, too many great puns not to pop that in!

Rae smiled.  She would turn sixty-seven at the end of the month and over the years Lexi had gotten into the habit of sending chocolates and a book in early August, then bringing flowers when she, Ricky, and the kids came to the annual barbecue.  Rae would have eaten the candy by then and have finished the novel, which she would give back to her daughter, both women appreciating a good mystery.  Rae loved Agatha Christie, but would read most who-dun-its.

“Just set it by my bed Chelse.  I know what it is, bless that girl’s heart.”  Rae would share those chocolates with Tommie later that night.  Then she heard a foot tapping and stared at the man in her dining room.  “So Andy, what?”

He wasn’t looking at her, instead facing where Chelsea had gone.

That was from my latest book, The Farm at Sam & Jenny’s.  If you feel like participating, please do so, and leave me a note, so I can have a look.  (Hee hee…)

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…