Tag Archives: writing

50/50 Word Challenge Part 2

Yikes! We were having so much fun over Christmas, I’m a little late getting this in.

I had a hard time choosing, finally I settled on this beginning by SJB Writing

The Sparkler

The diamond sparkled as much as the lights on the Christmas tree, but less than lights in his eyes. “Marry me,” he murmured, pressing his lips against her shoulder.

She held her breath, then closed her eyes so as not to see the hurt in his. “I’m sorry. I can’t.”

Here is my ending:

He stood silently in front of her. She peeked at him from beneath her lashes. Her heart tugged at the sight of his slack jaw and slumped shoulders. A smile teased the corner of her mouth and his eyebrow raised.

Mischief laced her words. “I can’t because you’re not kneeling.”


Filed under 100 Word Challenge, Writing

100 Word Challenge – 50/50

Yay! Another 100 word challenge!

This week is quite unique and fun – it’s a

50/50 challenge.

The theme is

“The Season”

Here’s the idea:

you write 50 words now (the beginning) then go read the others and choose one to finish. When you’ve chosen you write a 50 word ending to their 50 word beginning.

Pretty cool!

Here’s mine….

“Season’s Greetings”

Jenna sighed as the doorbell rang. The last time she’d seen him she was a fifteen-year-old klutz with a crush. The sound of male voices and laughter drew her to the door. She smiled at his stunned expression and didn’t notice the puddle of melted snow on the wood floor.

Well, there you go!

Go HERE to read the others.


Filed under 100 Word Challenge, Writing

100 Word Challenge – Christmas Carols (la la la)

so, Limebird Writers issued a challenge, which they snagged from Julia’s Place (not me, another Julia – I like her already!)

The challenge?

to rewrite (using 100 or less words) a Christmas Carol making it be about Christmas dinner. Julia specifically stated (that is so weird saying my own name, I feel like I’m talking in the third person, ha ha – oh wait I am… oh never mind)

” I want you to choose a favourite carol and re-write it with the theme of a Christmas Dinner. You have to tell your readers which carol it is and they have to be able to sing your version back to themselves. That means the right tempo and beat.”

Anyway, it sounded FUN, so I HAD to do it.

I chose “It’s Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas”.

Problem is

it’s a LONG song

so I planned on just doing the first Refrain.

After I did that, I had less than 100 words and I thought the patter would be quite challenging and I had to give it a try.

By then I was at 104 words. I could have left you all to repeat the refrain, but what’s the fun in that? and since I was over the 100 word limit ANYWAY I dove in and finished it off.

So, I broke the rules.

but I promise to do better in the future 😀

(if you’re a real stickler on the 100 words thing, just quit reading after the first refrain and you’re good. 😀 )

“It’s Beginning to Smell a lot Like Christmas”




It’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas

Oven is aglow

Take a peek at the ham and then,

Whistling once again,

You snitch a cookie quick so mom won’t know.


It’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas

And the hour is late

All the yummiest things to eat

Are pulling you to your seat

But you’ll have to wait.




A slice of strawberry pie and some rolls make you sigh as you wish the meal would begin

Warm Christmas cake and the punch make you ache as the drool de-sce-ends your chin.

Then fin’ly mother gives the call for you-u to dig in.




It’s beginning to taste a lot like Christmas.

Joy in every bite

Eat some mashed potatoes and ham

Slather some bread with jam

And get so full that all your jeans are tight.


It’s beginning to taste a lot like Christmas

Food and punch galore

But the thing that will taste the best

Is the late afternoon rest

Passed out on the floor.

Now, it’s YOUR turn!

(Let me know if you do it, because I want to read it!)

Go HERE to read others – and you can add your own link to the list if you want 😀


Filed under 100 Word Challenge, Music, Writing

I Be Versatile!

We interrupt our regularly scheduled broadcast to bring you the following special announcement: (it makes up for one of the missed days during my after NaNoWriMo coma)

I’ve been nominated for the

Versatile Blogger Award!


Tres cool!

Thanks to Limebird Writers for the lovely nomination and award.

(p.s. my favorite color is green and I love limes 😀 )

This is pretty cool and I had a definite “ah shucks” corny smile moment.

So…..  here’s what happens… (ie the rules… there has to be rules :-D)

1. Thank the award-giver and link back to them in your post. Yup! Got that one!

2. Share 7 things about yourself.   – Got that one too – it’s down below – read on, read on…

3. Pass this award along to 15  recently discovered blogs you enjoy reading.  – This is the tricky part. I have 6 kids, a husband, a cat, books to write, a house to clean and I can hardly keep up with my friends blogs let alone discover new ones (how lame am I?). Not to mention that my most recent discovery of a cool blog was the one who gave me the award in the first place! Limebird Writers really is awesome. But, I promise to do my best – they may not be super recent discoveries though. Though I would have a fabulous blog to award if she would hurry up and get to writing it (hint, hint, Betsy, hint, hint :-p )

4. Contact your chosen bloggers to let them know about the award.

So, 7 things about me:

1. I am ashamed to admit I gave some of my really good friends the birdie – yup – horrible, I know – what??? no, of course not THAT birdie, what do you take me for? I have this little green bird fingerpuppet… (actually it’s my kids, but I found it in my pocket while talking with friends at our Christmas party and so I stuck it on my finger, (no not THAT finger) and … well lets just say we LAUGHED a LOT

2. I like to sing show tunes in my kitchen and dance while cooking/cleaning

3. I tell myself stories in my head to put myself to sleep at night – which is why there’s a notebook at the side of my bed, because often it is the story I am currently working on and my characters clue me in on important events right as I’m nodding off. Rather rude of them, really, but I suppose it’s the only time they get me to themselves – ha ha

4. I am married to the man of my dreams and have six amazing kids who are no where near angelic, but that’s okay, I love them that way and it makes for better stories and blog posts.

5. I like to smell books.  No really… (and other crazy schemes too)

6. I used to be able to stick my feet behind my head ( until my sister told me they’d get stuck that way) I can’t do it anymore – I just tried – but I can at least touch my heals to the top back portion of my head.

7. I am only 99/100 of a whole person. The other 1/100 was eaten by my dog – or just became fertilizer. I curse lawnmowers.

Okay – now that you’ve suffered through that bit – here are a few of the blogs I enjoy reading. I tried to choose some of the newer ones, but a few oldies but goodies snuck in there anyway… (in no particular order – of course – I’m not going to play favorites, guys)

1. The Ear Wax Tastes Likes Crayons blog (the title says it all, really)

2. Nostalgic Nana

3. Zoo Keeping

4. The Other Foote

5. ANWA Blog (American Night Writers Association)

6. Keeping up with the Joneses

7. This Little Miggy Stayed Home

8. Simply, Me

9. Feather Sky

10. April’s World

(erm, I at least made it to 10. How about, I dedicate myself to finding 5 new blogs I enjoy?  I think I’ll peruse Limebird Writers’ list – it look very fun 😀 Besides, 15 is an awful lot…)

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Filed under Blogging, Humor

If I were good at what I do, I’d have some kind of title here

I was sitting at Paneras writing madly, trying to finish of my 50 K words for NaNoWriMo, when Paul and Jacob stopped in on their way home from the doctor.

Dot has been sick for a while.


Fever and yucky feeling since Sunday late afternoon/evening.

So I hauled her into the doctor today.

They stuck a stick up her nose.

And said


(and not the chimney variety)

Ugh. I am supposed to be the good mom. The one who ALWAYS gets the flu vaccinations done.

Apparantly NOT.  (guess I have to settle for being human, dangit. *snaps fingers*)

In my defense ever since we got back from D.C. everyone has been sick at one point or another.

Anyway, now we get to keep an eye on the fam. At least Robert got his flue shot (I wasn’t completely negligent).

The only kid she was worried about was Jacob, so we made an appt. to get him checked and some preventative stuff started this evening.

After all that was discussed she listened to Dot breathe and declared


Poor thing. She was sent home with antibiotics and an inhaler. She’s missed the entire week of school, and I assume she’ll miss the rest.

So, back to Jacob.

I was writing when Paul and Jacob popped in.

Double ear infection,” Paul said in lieu of a greeting.

“What?” I was a little baffled.  “Appendicitis. See, I can do it too!” (Actually, I didn’t say that last bit, but I should have, because it would have been funny, so let’s pretend I did.)

“Jacob has a double ear infection.”

What kind of mom am I that doesn’t notice if her kid not only has one ear infection, but two?! I know it’s NaNoWriMo month, but I’m not that out of it, I promise!

“He never complained about his ears.” I felt a little defensive.

“I know. The doctor asked him if his ears hurt.”

“What did he say?”


I chuckled. Only Jacob could have a double ear infection and not let it bother him. So now I have a second kid on antibiotics and tamaflu or some oddly named med that is supposed to help him not catch the flu or something.

I don’t know for sure.

I wasn’t there.

I was writing.

And finishing


50 K words


and sanity returned to the house…

or at the very least…

clean clothes.

(laundry suffers during November – NaNoWriMo takes hostages.)


Filed under Children, Dot, Every Day Life, Jacob, Parenting, Writing

A Plea From my Turkey

(as written by Dot)

Dear the *Family,

Please do not eat me for Thanksgiving. I have three reasons why you should not eat me.

One is because ham tastes much better than turkey.

Two is because I am cute and adorable.

Three is because if you eat me I can’t be your pet and I am very helpful and responsible.

So why don’t you go get a





rather than a small, scrawny, adorable, helpful and responsible turkey. I’ll even change the dirty diapers. I will also babysit the kids, but that will only happen if you



The Turkey

*She had our last name here, but I took it out for blogging.

The only other things I  changed were the color, sizing, and separation – though the final “do not eat me” was original to her letter.


Filed under Children, Dot, Writing

a snippet of my latest

Nothing is quite as intimidating as….


It’s there, empty waiting. You can fill it with something great (or a little less than great). It holds all the potential of untold stories, unsaid regrets, proclamations of love and friendship. You name it, it’s all there waiting somewhere.

When I open a new document to start a new book, I stare at the page for a while. It’s a little scary.

It’s white



What if I mess it up?

and then I remember, that’s what editing is for.

November is NaNoWriMo  (National Novel Writing Month). I know I’ve mentioned it before. Probably numerous times. So far I am on track with my word count. My editing on my other book (I originally thought I’d do both at the same time) is a little behind, however. I didn’t intend to do NaNo this year. But I had an idea and after it rolled around in my brain for a bit I found myself staring at a blank page.

And I jumped.

This came out (see prologue below). It’s not great. It’s not polished (this is a 1st draft after all). But it intrigued and surprised me, and I decided

I want to read this story.

So now, I’m writing it.

It’s been fun to see where it takes me, and I’m excited to see where I end up. I get a little writing intoxicated. It’s hard to put down the book sometimes – which is why I try to only write when the kids are in bed. I think the amazing thing about writing is that it comes from me. It’s something I created. I get a little in awe of that. And what is really neat, is to see my kids start to love writing too. That part is awesome. Probably the most awesome.


I love the ocean. The scent of it, the sound of it, the frothy feel of it, even the tang of salt on my lips. My dad often teased me that mermaids left me on the doorstep. That story ended the day after my fifth birthday when my panicked parents found me at dawn asleep on the beach waiting for the mermaids to claim me. After that we moved to a landlocked state in the middle of the corn belt. I wasn’t even lucky enough to end up near one of the great lakes. Mom was convinced the family curse had found me.

Mother claimed my love for the ocean came because of my great grandfather, Ezekiel Horn. He was captain of the Grey Lady which was lost at sea when he was thirty-seven leaving his wife and six children to fend for themselves. She said the sea cursed our family for his nefarious deeds which is why, until now, we never moved back to the ocean. It took all her fingers and toes to count the family members who died a watery death. And now, I need one of my father’s to count them all. Mom died when I was thirteen, a freak accident plunged her car into a river.

Father doesn’t believe in curses, which is why, when his dream job offer came along he jumped at it, even though it was in the tiny town of Newport, Oregon. I wasn’t thrilled about the move, but a chance to be by the ocean excited me. I never thought the move would force me to face my own watery death. Perhaps I should have believed in curses after all.

*(In general I hate prologues, so imagine my astonishment when I realized I had written one. I was both mortified and intrigued. I suppose prologues aren’t so bad after all… as long as they’re short. ha ha 🙂 )

Oh – and posting this was REALLY scary. I get a little nervous sticking my writing out there for everyone to read. Blog posts are one thing, but books (especially when you aren’t published) are entirely different. I mean, what if it stinks? ha ha. Anyway, to all those who hold back like me – listen to my husband’s very sage advice:

“Post It.”

Take a deep breath, and take the plunge.

No adventures are ever gained if you refuse to step out the door.


Filed under Writing

My Journey in Writing

Yesterday marked my

six year

anniversary of blogging. I had no idea it had been such a long time!

It also marked the anniversary of my return to


I have always loved to write.

In an old worn out binder I have a collection of poems I wrote at the age of 7. Apparantly at that age I was fascinated with  repetition. The poem that sat on the fridge the longest – or somewhere anyway – went like this:

I had a little pony that could hop hop hop

I had a little pony that could run run run

I had a pony that could walk walk walk

And on the way I said Stop, Stop, Stop!

Not exactly a masterpiece – but the writing bug bit.

Around the time I turned 11,  my mom and I were bashing about Oregon  and I wrote a lengthy poem about my stuffed animals Randy Raccoon and Olivia Octopus (I think it was Olivia Octupus anyway – or was it Ollie?) and all the adventures they had. But that seems to have lost itself over the years.

In middle school I wound up with the most amazing teacher ever for Language Arts, Ms. Mac. She was hard, but she was awesome. She was the first one, besides my parents of course, who pushed and encouraged me in writing.

One creative writing assignment after another flew at me and I gobbled them up. At the time I fancied myself a bit of an artist and so illustrated most of my stories. I still have copies of them. They make me chuckle now and my kids will get a kick out of them.

Dad let me type a number of them up on the old typwriter. I felt SO important being able to use a typewriter for my stories.  Of course, when Dad didn’t need the computer, I used that too. At the time, though, I liked the click click click of the typwriter – and it made me feel very “Jessica Fletcher” esque (Murder She Wrote was one of my Grandma’s and Mom’s favorite shows).

In highschool I wrote more poetry than I did stories, though I wrote a few here and there. Usually I was too consumed with the next research paper and reading book after book after book.

My guilty pleasure of college was a creative writing class and I still remember the shocked feeling when my teacher thought my writing was good.

After college came a mission and family and writing sort of slipped away.

Until six years ago when a group of Ricks College friends co-erced me into blogging.  It was SO fun. We all blogged pretty much every day then, and I met a number of new amazing friends too – some I’ve met in person and some I have yet to meet.

The more I wrote, the more I remembered my love of it. I started with poems – they were short and easy to accomplish. A book sounded so daunting. I had never written anything longer than a short children’s story.

But, everywhere I went in the writing community I kept hearing about NaNoWriMo. What was that?? I found out it stood for National Novel Writing Month. 50k words in a month sounded like A LOT, but in 2007 I decided to try it. Who knew, maybe I’d find out I could write a book like I wanted to after all.

Well, I wrote a book, and two more since then. They’re not published, but I’m querying. My rejection pile is stacking up nicely. Most of the time I don’t care about the rejections- it’s the writing I love, being published would be a fun added bonus. Ok, it would be downright amazing, but I never started writing to be published. In fact, I never thought it possible and had no intention of even trying until some friends convinced me otherwise. It’s been a great learning experience along the way.

So, NaNoWriMo is here again and I’m writing another book. I’m editing my old book too though, so I don’t know if I’ll make the 50K this time around.

I have to give a huge

thank you

to my parents, teachers and friends through the years who kept me going and got me started again. And most of all to my husband for his never ending support and being my biggest cheerleader and fan. You guys are all awesome.


I have a book to write!


Filed under Blogging, Personal History, Writing

I blinked and over three months rushed by

I hadn’t planned a hiatus from blogging. It just happened. A lot happened that wasn’t planned this summer. Doesn’t it always? And now we are a week away from kids starting school and Autumn will set in. Robert is nearly one and I’m sure if I blink again he’ll be two, and all the others will be older and taller. So, no more blinking for a while, they’re growing up too fast as it is.

Summer has been wonderful, and I’ll do a fabulous summer post with pictures of the little people and all our activities… later.

My hiatus has not been from the world of writing. Just blogging and I am so excited about the ideas rolling around in my head and things being accomplished.

I am up to 40 rejections on my YA novel, The Heart of the Castle. Yay! And it really is yay. I figure I can’t complain until I hit triple digits, and since I take joy in the writing, getting published is just a bonus.  It’s been a while since I’ve read it though, and I thought I might do a reread this fall and see where I can tighten it, etc.  I’m happy ,too, that I’ve had a few manuscript (partial and full) requests. Even though they’ve come back as a no, it’s still encouraging.

I also finished cleaning up Belinda and the Beastly Neighbor (my middle grade book) and started to query it, but in the last couple weeks something amazing has happened and it is on hold and it’s about ready to morph into something totally different.  A while ago I had a little conversation with myself. It went something like this:



“Belinda would make a great middle grade mystery.”

“Ha! It’s done. Completed. Polished. I like it.”

“Ummm. It would make a GREAT middle grade mystery. It could be a series.”

“Too many rewrites. Go away.”

And myself left me in peace. Until a couple weeks ago.


“You again?”

“Yep, we’re kinda attached.”

“True. What do you want now?”

“It’s about that Belinda book idea. The mystery.”

“Oh. Again?”

“Yup. Maybe you should listen.”

I sighed. “Ok. Listening.”

“The ghost of Nancy Drew.”

“Oh puhlease. Really?”

“Yeah, really.”

And, with that,  I began to listen to my crazy thoughts as they took shape. The more I looked the more I realized that all the plot lines for a mystery were there, they just needed to be tweaked and encouraged. The idea morphed and morphed and morphed some more. In my head Belinda wound up meeting Nancy in the attic of an old house. She was real! She had been a detective in the twenties before the first book was written. Belinda was shocked. The author of course changed her name in the books – but she looked exactly like her character. Her real name? Miss Eugenia Potts.  She helps Belinda solve her mysteries and Belinda in turn helps uncover the mystery of who murdered her.

One major problem….  copyright. In a bold stroke I wrote a letter to Simon & Schuster’s rights department, told them about my brilliant idea and asked about copyright issues. I’m looking forward to hearing back from them. Chances are I won’t be able to use Nancy. But, the ideas are still there, and ,Nancy or not, Miss Eugenia Potts is going to be the ghost who helps Belinda solve her mysteries. I am excited  to get editing – but I’m waiting until I hear back so I know whether of not to work with Nancy.

While I wait on that, I am happily editing my second YA book – which still remains untitled. I have slogged through the first 100 and so pages and have lots more. But, I am slogging happily, turning my rough NaNoWriMo mess into a readable first draft. My characters are developing some great motivations and we’re having some pretty nifty conversations – at least they tend to argue amongst themselves rather than pestering me, like “self” does.

I’ve also been working a little on a new book, which keeps warping into something different. My brain has been rivaling our summer of thunderstorms. I have enough to do without throwing myself full force into something new.

Finally, for my birthday I got the best present ever, which was the 2011 Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market. Now I can keep upping that YA rejection count and hopefully it will come to an end sometime.

To all you who are writing, querying, and writing some more – hang in there and take joy in the journey! And all the rest of you – I’ll post something non-writing soon. I promise! 🙂

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Filed under Writing

A song for Gladys

The other day I was asked to accompany two sisters singing a song for the ward talent show.

So I look at the title and it says “Jar of Hearts”. I immediately think of my book, The Heart of the Castle, based on Bluebeard. The further into the song we went, the more I had to chuckle and laugh – it fit SO well! Any of you who read and edited the book for me will get a good chuckle out of it – I can explain it further to the rest… or you can just wait to read the book yourself someday – but it could be a VERY long time before it ever gets out there.

So, my book has a theme song! ha ha! My main character, Gladys, is thrilled. Someday, if I ever get published, and if it’s ever turned into a movie (which I don’t know if I’d really want anyway) this would make be perfect. In the meantime, I’ll let it play at the back of my mind as I watch the movie in my head.


Filed under Music, Writing