Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

Had a fun party at Lynnea's. Here's the fam...

Friday, October 28, 2011

Scarefest Blog Hop 2011

halloween scarefest badge

My Entry is an Excerpt from Damnation

            Our car veers to the left, hitting a patch of ice. The rear bumper spins forward then a semi slams against the passenger side of our car. Bright lights strain against the windows that crumble away. My vision blurs on impact—like a 3-D movie without glasses. My arms have a bright shadow ringing them. Cara, my best friend, is in the passenger seat. As my head snaps back I catch a glimpse of her aura too.  At that moment, her soul releases and whispers away, even before we roll. Her aura blows out—sixteen is too young to die. 
            As the car stumbles to the side, a boulder juts through my window, blasting glass shards against my cheek, neck, shoulder, chest. Momentum pulls the car to a slant, then leaves it on the crushed corner and roof, resting in the stream at the edge of the highway. The metal creaks and moans.
            That’s when David’s soul leaves, easing out as he hangs limply toward me from his seat belt. His blood swirls through the water that puddles in the roof. The keys in the ignition rock back and forth, tapping against the steering column and each other. Click, click. Then nothing. Only the smell of hot tires and gasoline rides along my shallow breath and jabs the back of my throat.
            My soul hovers, still tacked to a faint pulse, watching my body as if the car were no more solid than my spirit. Blonde curls fall in tangles, clinging to the bloody gash in my forehead. It’s odd not to feel the pain with so much of me bleeding and bent, the steering wheel pressing into my chest, and the bone of my left leg piercing my jeans.
            A man skids down the slope beside our overturned car, his face a grimace as he kneels beside the window near the back seat. His hands hit the ground and he topples, leaning his face on his forearms. Sobbing.
            Time gasps and in the next moment red, blue and white lights skitter against the rocky canyon wall and slide across the ice and snow around us. Police and EMTs arrive. I glimpse their faces—intense. They want to save us.
            Too late.
            I’m dying over there. But it seems okay. So, I watch and wait to be released.
            At first, I notice the darkness far off but encircling me at its nucleus, like a bubble slowly shrinking. My sight turns back to the car. Cara and David’s bodies are wrapped in that hazy cellophane. Mine will be soon.
            The car lurches. My soul crushes back into my body. Tight. Confined. Reanimating each cell. Air rushes my burning lungs. A cry rises from my voice. Every break and bruise asserts its reality into my brain. Life scorches through me, enlivening each fracture and tear.
            No! Don’t. I’m leaving this life. Feelings of home tug at me from both directions. Home, here, this cold place against the home my spirit craves. A tiny voice inside me whispers, “I want to go.”
            Hands pull and turn my body, dragging me away from the wreck. Coppery blood fills my mouth and heaves across my lips as my body shakes rebelliously. My right leg thrashes against the ground, shocking the nerves up my hips and spine. Heavy hands push against me. I continue to rip inside, great crevasses of pain wedge through my gut. Every movement—it’s impossible to contain the agony—burning cold and hot.
            In a final retch, my soul rips away, and the bubble collapses, sealing me in nothing. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011


What am I reading now?  So Silver Bright (Lisa Mantchev)

Annnd. . . what do I think so far? This is the third book in the series. I've enjoyed the first two so much that I snagged this copy the day it hit the bookstore. Then I loaned it out to be read by others, but now it's my turn.


This past Saturday, I interviewed Tristi Pinkston for iWriteNetwork BlogTalkRadio. She talked about the importance of creating, managing and intensifying conflict in our stories.

Here are a few things I gleaned form  her words that I can apply to my writing immediately:

Set up conflicts in scenes by creating a twist. Start with details that match the opposite of what you are going to hit the reader with so when you switch to the emotion you want to give impact to. The example she used was of a character walking alone on a beautiful, summer night. Maybe crickets are chirping. The character might notice the stars or a welcome breeze. Then the crickets stop. The character suddenly realizes how alone and vulnerable they are. They notice a twig snap. . .

•After you've written a first draft, return to scenes to make word choice adjustments that will match the conflict and mood.

Align the character gestures with conflict and mood. Instead of using a common word--walked--use one that carries emotion with it--slid, roamed, staggered. . .

And possibly the most important tip she gave is:
Conflict--it's all about the emotional reveals and emotional connections in every scene.
To listen to her interview go to
Click on BlogTalkRadio
Then click on Tristi's interview.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

After Obsession

What am I reading now? 
After Obsession 
(Carrie Jones and Steven E. Wedel)

Annnd. . . what do I think so far? How desperate might a grieving teen go to find her missing dad? Carrie Jones is the same author that wrote Need, Captivate, and Entice (which didn't end and I'm having a hard time waiting patiently for book 4.) This story follows Aimee and Alan, and begins with the very thing most teens would deny at all costs--they're freaks--both of them. And not just that, but when weird things start going on in their small Maine community, there's no way to hide it.

The winner of my 100th Blog Post Party is

Still another prize up for grabs:

Click here for my give-away on the October Blog Hop.  You can click on this witchy-picture to see all the blogs participating in the blog hop. Today's the last day to sign up for the give-aways!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Spooky Ceiling

Here's the last wreath we made.

We also decorated the ceiling. The whole thing (living room, dining room and kitchen) is covered in cobwebs.

Tomorrow I'll return to my regular blog posts. 
Thanks for dropping by!

Two Chances to win:

1) Scroll down to the blog post on 10-8-11 (or click here) to put your name in a drawing for the prize package celebrating my 100th blog post.

2) Second chance to win: Click here for my give-away on the October Blog Hop.  You can click on this witchy-picture to see all the blogs participating in the blog hop.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

October Blog Hop

Trick or Treat?


Welcome to the October Blog Hop, where you can visit new blogs, enter to win prizes, and have a great time!

At the bottom of this post, you'll see a list of participating blogs. Just click on each link, check out the prize, and follow the easy instructions to enter. You can enter on each blog, so it's possible to win multiple times. It's frighteningly easy.

On this blog, you can win a $20 Amazon (US) gift card!

To enter, all you need to do is:

1. Become a follower of my blog.

2. Leave a comment on this post and tell me why you'd like to win this prize. If your e-mail address isn't visible through your Blogger profile, please also leave it with the comment so I can notify you if you win. You can enter until midnight MST on Saturday night, October 15th.

That's it! You are now entered. Now please go visit all my friends on the list below. It's almost like trick or treating!

October Blog Hop Participants

1. Tristi Pinkston
2. I Am a Reader, Not a Writer
3. Bonnie Harris
4. Michael D. Young
5. Misty Moncur
6. Debbie Davis
7. Mandi Tucker Slack
8. Mary Ann Dennis
9. Deanna Henderson
10. Laura Bastian
11. Kristy Tate
12. Kristy Wilson
13. Jennifer Debenham
14. Jenny Moore
15. Elizabeth Hughes
16. J. Lloyd Morgan
17. Close Encounters with the Night Kind
18. Billy Boulden
19. Scott Bryan
20. Maria Hoagland
21. Shirley Bahlmann
22. Shelly Brown
23. Marcy Howes
24. Lynnea Mortensen
25. Jaclyn M. Hawkes
26. Diane Stringam Tolley
27. Gail Zuniga
28. Betsy Love
29. iWriteNetwork
30. Canda's InkBlast
31. Stacy Coles

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tulle Halloween Wreaths

We (Lynnea, Deanna and I) also made these wreaths. So cute and so easy. Cut 4-inch wide tulle into 1 yard long strips. Fold in half lengthwise and tie around the form.

Come back and see the last one on Friday. Oh and a bonus. You'll get a sneak peek at Lynnea's ceiling. Yes, it is taking her all month to decorate for her party.

Scroll down to the post on Oct. 8th and sign up for my drawing on Oct. 15th.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Boa Halloween Wreath

Monday, Wednesday and Friday this week I'm posting pics of the Halloween wreathes we, Deanna, Lynnea and I made for Lynnea's big bash later this month. She's putting these cute wreaths on all the bedroom doors. On Saturday, I'll be back to my regular blog posts.

Boa Halloween Wreath

Don't you love this?

And this?

Here's what you do to make them.

 Wrap, if needed.

And glue.

Still a few more days to sign up for my 100th Post Party. See the post on 10-08-11 to sign up for a chance at the prize package.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

100th Blog Post Party!

What am I reading now?  The Outer Edge of Heaven (Jaclyn Hawkes)
Annd. . . what do I think so far?  I was caught immediately by the dysfunctional family she moves to (runs away to or hides out in) Montana to work for. She's kind of a nanny for everyone. Her life is being dictated by her parents (who she'll marry, what she'll do in college), but she needs to figure out what she wants, really wants, and if she has the courage to do it.
     Yes, there's a guy who is her best friend, another who is gorgeous--oh, wait two--and one who is creepy, off the hook creepy! This one's a clean romance and a great weekend read.

BloG ParTy--100 posts today!
Last October I decided to start a blog, and a year later I'm celebrating my 100th post.
This one.
Thanks for being friends and following my posts about all of the things that make me, me: books I'm reading, what I'm learning about writing, family stuff, and some great original recipes.

So here's a prize just for being here. Leave a comment if you'd like to be in the drawing.

By the way--that's a signed copy of Princess Diaries,
with a DVD of 27 dresses and fingernail polish to match
in a polka-dotty gift bag.

(Yes, it's breast cancer awareness month. So, think pink and support the medical community's efforts to save the boobies.)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Remember These?

What am I reading now?  Vanish (Sophie Jordan)

Annnd. . .  what do I think so far? This is the second book to Firelight. She's a member of a community that has been keeping a secret for generations--they're dragons (no that's not weird--everyone they know is) that shape shift between a human form and the dragon form. Jacinda breaks the biggest rule and reveals her true nature in front of humans. (Not a spoiler--it's in the first chapter.) Yes, there are two hot guys who are in love with her, and I have my opinions about how it should turn out. *coughCassiancough* Makes me nervous that it won't though.

Kiddie Calamari

This is a quick, fun lunch for the kiddos.

Split the hot dog and boil it with the macaroni. Remove them as you make the cheese sauce then place back on top to serve.

PaRTy    SatUrDay    On    mY    BloG

It will be my 100th post!
Come back for a chance to win a pretty pink prize package.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Exploring Theme

What am I reading now?  Fragile Eternity (Melissa Marr)
Annnd. . . what do I think so far?  This is the third book in the series of (I think) 5. I enjoyed the first book Wicked Lovely.

If the first one was dark urban fantasy (which it is) then the second one (Ink Exchange) took a turn into an abyss. I didn't really enjoy it and ended out skipping a lot as I read, but I was assured that it would turn out okay and that I'd enjoy the rest of the series if I got through that one. (What is it about 2nd books?)

Okay, on to the third. Be warned, the series explores evil, faerie-style evil, and how it messes with mortal lives. The plots are interesting, the characters are memorable, the story is well written.

Making my Stories Stronger through Theme

I'm new to the writing novels thing. I began my first novel, Newbie, on Labor Day in 2009.

"What's it about?" you ask.

The housing market is crashing, and Sophie’s life is crashing with it. At twenty-four, her successful real estate career evaporates. She’s broke, can’t find a job or pay her bills. If something doesn’t come through soon, she will have to move home with her mother. Oh, and apparently her “boyfriend” is just a boy and a friend. All this leaves Sophie wondering how her successful lifestyle became so fragile.

"But what's it about?"

Here's what I'm just beginning to explore through my writing. When I read stories, I read about characters and plot to understand something much more universal--THEME. If I were more clear on this from the onset my description of Newbie would have included some different information, and my writing would have been better in that manuscript.  Second try at answering that question. . .

Sophie accepts a job in her fall-back career—teaching six-year-olds.  She hopes it’s temporary. After all, how long can a tanking economy last anyway? The best part of the new job is Liam, another employee at Rio Grande Elementary. The worst part of the new job is, well, teaching.  

She thinks she's making a monetary decision. What Sophie begins to realize is that the career choices she makes sets her on a path in life, adjusting her priorities, how she wants to see the world and who she will ultimately become. 

"Oh. I had a time like that in my life. It seemed hard at the time, but it turned out to be something really good."

Theme ties a story to the universal human experience. The audience connects with the theme and the scenes become more evidence for the universal truth.

PaRTy    SatUrDaY   8th    On    mY    BloG
Ya'll come back!