So we found a place….

I’m pretty embarassed to admit that we’ve lived up here for almost 5 years, and it’s the first time we’ve gone to the fish hatchery.

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Especially when you realize it’s about a ten minute drive from the house. But we went yesterday: me, the boyo, and the boyo’s dad. The concrete fish runs were almost all empty. but still had a few with fish (if you check the website, they tell you the best time to come for the hatchery itself). Even some that were jumping up out of the water, tasting sunshine.  Cute little buggers. We went down to the river from the hatchery, and it was ok.

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The boy was so happy! But I was not. While  yes, we had some fun, the boyo’s father tends to rush through things. He went through the Monterey Bay Aquarium in 30 minutes flat.

Think about that for a minute. Because it took the boyo and I hours to make our way through the Aquarium.

So.

Today is Mother’s Day.

Mommy came up with a plan. 10 minutes down the road + picnic lunch + spare clothes & shoes… and we had ourselves a river day! And oh my… I’ve never been here before…

But I have dreamt of this place.

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And oh, look! A rare Wynwords Sighting!

Things I loved: Shallow enough to wade, however there are life vests available for kids (for free!) right before you walk down to the shore. This is a launch site (canoe/rafts/inner-tubes), but everyone was friendly. We took a group photo of about 5 canoes, and they got the one of me and my boyo. The water is C-O-L-D, but you know, in the August heat? We’re gonna love it. I also love the quiet— I could hear hawks crying out, the river itself… and my boyo’s laughter.

We ended up spending about 3 hours at the river, just that one spot. We explored a little bit, got very very wet, and had a blast. Best decision I’ve made in a long time. And since it’s free (Free! No Admission!), I had money for some homemade fudge in Clements.

So. That was the first half of Mother’s Day. The rest of it did not go so well, with a family emergency. But those first few, precious hours… I want to go back and grab them in both fists, never letting go.

Ta, my lovelies! I have some things I’m working on, I’ll let you know when I have more details :)

#Postmark of #Envy

I may have mentioned before that I really enjoy writing letters. They are a lot like this blog, conversational style. Every week I send out cards to two of my aunties, who live on the east coast (Hi Aunt Mary! Hi, Aunt Lee!). I started simply because I never wanted to say “I wish I had…” I have a friend that I write to once a week, and that one’s fun. He gets everything in  his letters, the good, the bad, the ugly temper tantrums. There are a few people in the rotation that they get a card whenever I feel the need to send one to them .

One day I went through a whole book of stamps.

I was also a little bit bored. If I’m not working on a project, or reading a book that has sucked me down the rabbit hole, then I write cards. I write them in my car before going in to work. I write them on my breaks, my lunch.

I’m very particular, too. I prefer cards that are blank inside, with nice sturdy envelopes. The pictures vary– simply because I’m eclectic. But the messages themselves do not. They all say, each and every one, I am here. I care.

So.

When I first got back to work after surgery, I was talking to one of my customers. Keep in mind that I’ve talked with many of these people for almost 8 years. We have a relationship, even if it’s only over the phone. They ask about the princeling. I ask about grandkids, the wife, whatever…. Anyways, I had been off for 2 months with my surgery. This customer asked how I was, I let him know I was much better…. and then he told me how he had lost 3 or 4 people in his family over that 2 month period.

My heart broke.

And my pen flew. I wrote a quick, one line note. And had everyone else sign it. We sent it, and it meant the world to him. I’ve since sent them to about 5 or so other customers— ones that I enjoy talking to, or whose story resonates with me. I don’t do it always, simply because I don’t always have the cards with me. but I always care.

That’s why I send cards religiously to my Aunties. They know without a doubt that I care. Emails are great for a quick fix. Facebook is wonderful to share pictures and memes. But to show you care?

From me, it will always have the postmark on it.

Why Not #Journalism?

I met some wonderful people today (**waves**), and in talking about writing the question came up. “Have you ever thought of writing for a newspaper?”

Ummm. No. Not really.

Why not?

Mostly because I’m not trained in it. I do enjoy writing essays, human interest things. Lord knows I have an opinion hehehehe. But with my writing, I’ve always kept my “writing”  mostly fiction. In speaking with Dad, I tried to figure out why. Why? Why! One immediate reason is the way my whole family is filled with storytellers—- but I’m the only one who cops to its being fiction. My grandfather told my brother & I whoppers that we swallowed whole while asking for more stories. My dad is fond of saying he was a cabin boy on Noah’s Ark. And that he swam across a frozen river, and walked uphill both ways to get to school as a boy. I really don’t want to tell you how old I was before I actually listened to that one and figured it out.

For myself, I love talking to people and learning their stories. If I ever was going to do any kind of journalism, I think it would have to be human interest / good news. Or travel life hacks (I learn a lot from Linda Deaver!). I don’t have a “nose” for breaking a news story I don’t think. Now, if you want me to tell someone’s story… I can do that! Or, as I said, offer my opinion or an essay on something.

But straight news? I don’t know. I’ve done so much writing for other outlets: how to articles, essays, short stories, flyers, newsletters…. that I guess it would just be a new form to learn. Not sure any newspaper would want to coach me through that learning curve tho.

Anyways, my lovelies, I hope you have a wonderful night! What kind of writing have you not tried yet? Why not?

Getting the Words Down

When you first start writing a story, do you start where you as a writer need to start? Or do you try out first lines/paragraphs until you get it just right? I just finished 6 handwritten pages, and I know that it will all be backstory. The character that is the focus of that chapter isn’t a main POV character— but what happens to her is what sets the whole shebang going.

I needed to know what happened to her, what set everything in motion before I could start the rest. And still, I’m stuck. I know where I need to go, but I’m trying to figure out whether to open it up with the drunken knight or the scared little boy. These two characters are the ones that will change the most within the story— but I’m still probably going to start with the drunk. Simply because it’ll be fun :)

I’ve struggled with this one. Partially because I almost always have written female main characters. This will be a leap for me. My last big leap was a modern paranormal in first person. All in one shot! I think I’m at the point where I want to not only enjoy writing, but also stretch a little when I do it. The paranormal needs a lot of work before I send it out again, and I’m debating writing more on it….

But for now, I want to go back to magic and mayhem and horses and knights who are a bit broken. And the POV’s will be mail, and also…probably not quite the same tone as I normally use.

How do you stretch yourself as a writer? Do you change up POV, genre, style?

Foreshadow like a boss: Shonda Rhimes & Grey’s Anatomy

I love Grey’s Anatomy. I have been religiously watching it since I was pregnant with the princeling. I think Bailey and I went through labor kind of around the same time :) Every Thursday night, without fail, I am watching it. My friends know not to call me. My son doesn’t talk to me.

I cried during last night’s episode. Sobbed so hard the princeling came into the room to make sure mommy was ok. Once I had processed it, I still didn’t go to sleep until 11:30 or so…. I kept turning the episode over and over in my  mind. And the writer woke up in me, and I realized what a boss Shonda Rhimes has become. Because that was some beautiful foreshadowing.

Stay with me while I take you through it— and please don’t go all fangirl, beating me up because I don’t have the episodes/scenes in the proper order. My DVR took a crap last Thursday and I LOST THIS SEASON! Dang it! OK, here we go.

1. Not only did Derek leave… It didn’t crush Meredith. As a matter of fact….

2. The Streak: Meredith starts a surgical winning streak as soon as he leaves. She is able to more fully become the person, the surgeon, she wants to be. Is it hard? You betcha! Being a single parent, or in a long distance family situation, is never easy. But she goes on that streak, and the part that annoys her about it? It started the day he left.

3. I can live without you… but I don’t want to”. After Derek’s coming back and telling her how he can’t live without her… this is her response. And really… I cheered for her. I got goose bumps, just like when Christina told her she was the sun. Not Derek.

4. The scene of Meredith and Amelia, talking about the non-relationship. Amelia basically tells Meredith “Until you’ve held the love of your life as he lies dying, you don’t get to judge me.” I watched that scene and cringed, thinking… if anything happens, Amelia is going to be destroyed.

5. When a phone call comes, saying Derek never makes his appointment, Bailey tells Meredith that she can panic at 5pm. Not a minute before, and not in the Operating Room. We watch, with Meredith, as the time ticks away. At the very end of that episode, there are emergency lights reflected in her windows.

And then last night, I sobbed along with multitudes of fan girls, as Meredith told Derek to go, and he breathed his last.

But unlike the others, as soon as the sobbing stopped, I started thinking. Writers pay attention here. Shonda Rhimes just killed off a beloved character. There will be fall out with fans, but within the STORY ITSELF, it was set up to make perfect and utter sense.

It could have gone either way. He could have survived, but that’s not what the story needed at this time. If Meredith, the title character in the series, is going to grow, something had to give. I get that. Really, I do. I killed off a main character in one of my books. It sucks when we have to do that. But it’s what serves the story.

Meredith and Derek could have gone along happily ever after. The problem is, that’s where the story stops traditionally. No one wants to read about Cinderella shopping for dresses all day. Or Beauty spending the day in Beasts library, eating cookies and reading books. They also don’t want to watch too much of it on television, either.

Our characters have to grow. And sometimes, in order for one character to rise to the occasion, we have to rip everything away from them. Meredith had already lost her “person”, as Christinia is a world away. And now her husband has left her, too, albeit through death.

Meredith is about to go through the fire.

And that’s what good fiction is about. But if you’re going to mess with characters in a series, you need to foreshadow like a boss. Like Shonda, in fact. We might not like where it went, but it didn’t come out of nowhere. The audience was prepared.

Now, it’s going to be a wild ride to see where Meredith goes from here.

#Lifehappens

Wow, it has been a while. Last we spoke, I was gearing up for a shot at Nano Camp, and boy howdy did I get derailed. First, I was sicker than a dog, which happened to bring to light another problem (silver linings), got that all taken care of. Then…

My dad got hurt. He hurt his back, actually broke something between L1-L2. Which I think is his butt. I’m sure one of you will tell me which it is. My dad is 89, and the boy and I live with him & his wife. So I’ve been stepping up, doing more cooking and cleaning, shopping, etc etc.

And actually, yesterday I pulled the boy child in the kitchen with me and started teaching him to cook. He loved it! And he is so impressed with our skills he wants to open a restaurant (not sure that one will fly, as we use premade sauces LOL). But the change in the boy child is dramatic. He is helping to clean— started washing pots before we even started cooking. Taking out the garbage with no complaints. Making his own drink this morning. All signs that he’s growing up, growing into himself. I like it.

My writing, tho, it has suffered. I haven’t been writing very much at all, although I did discover twitter! Kept seeing the hashtag #amwriting and it’s makes me feel … well, guilty. Like I should be using the hashtag #notwriting #lostmymuse #lostmymind. I need to get on that. I can feel the need, itching to get out. It’s just under the skin, begging to be released. I’ll let you know how that goes.

I have some other things that are starting to pop along nicely. As soon as I can, I’ll let you in on the secret too!

Ta my lovelies! Talk to you soon!

Be blogged 101

Originally posted on The Bingergread Cottage:

ALL BLOGGERS – FEEL FREE TO SHARE, COPY, EXTRACT AND USE THIS

I should probably have written this some time ago because, while there is a load of info out there on “How to Blog” I can’t find very much on “Being Blogged”. By that I mean giving an interview.

This is insane. There are a lot of us who specialise in giving space, especially to authors, as a free gift. Why don’t we tell them how to do it?

Why should they do it? It is a free means of reaching a lot of people without inundating social media with spam which is time-consuming and can put off potential readers if you over-do it. Take this blog as an example – there are over 3K followers plus it is automatically shared on FB, Twitter, Linked-in, Google+ and various other networks. Work it out for yourself how much you’d have…

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