Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all fantasy lovers of the world…ok and to every other mother as well. Its a special mother’s day for me because I’m officially calling my second novel, Soul of the Firestorm, complete. Its a good feeling to have that piece of work wrapped up, and you wouldn’t believe the ideas that are already pumping for book three. Usually I would take a couple months off before starting anymore writing, but I think an exception will have to be made since there’s so much crowding my brain right now. We all know how often I go through long streaks of brain blockage. Best not to tempt fate.

So all of you mothers out there enjoy your special day and for those of you who have been waiting for book two…be watching Amazon Kindle for it to show up this week!

Finding Inspiration

Ahhhhh….*sigh of relaxation*

Its been far too long since I managed to post anything here, and I’m glad the lapse in productivity is over! I don’t really have anything along the lines of a grand blog post for you today, but i just want to say…yeay, I finished the first draft of my second book!! Yes, I’m still plodding along with the novels even though I don’t have a professional publisher yet, but I don’t see anything wrong with keeping my content flowing.

Lately I seem to have rediscovered my muse. Inspiration is almost overabundant and some days I don’t have the time to get all my ideas written down and saved. I feel like I need to clone myself or invent a device to digitally store every thought I have as they come to me for later review. I think the main source for this overflowing of ideas is the fact that I’ve been trying to get more in touch with one of my idols, J.R.R. Tolkien. I went and saw The Hobbit with my boyfriend when it came out and suddenly had a renewed desire to reread those stories and dig deeper in. Of course, there is the problem of a certain rule I have. I try not to let myself do any reading when I’m working on a book of my own. I must say though that in the last month I’ve come very close to revoking that rule. Still, to get my Tolkien fix I’ve been listening to discussion podcasts at work. I discovered an very interesting man named Cory Olson (aka the Tolkien Professor) and I’ve pretty much gobbled my way through every podcast he has posted. If you love Tolkien and you want to dig deeper into the fabric of his works, I highly recommend listening to the Tolkien Professor podcasts. I learned so much and its just really stimulated my creativity.

Any who, that’s all I have for now. I will try and get a “real” blog article posted in the next few days. I owe you all after neglecting you for so long! ;)

So Now I’m 30

The big day came and went rather uneventfully. I awoke quietly and lay in bed assessing everything, expecting something to feel different. I didn’t feel any older and, surprisingly, I wasn’t monstrously depressed that one more year ticked down on my doomsday clock. It was just another day and I got up and lived it as such, though since it’s me we’re talking about, I did a lot of thinking. Now, don’t take this as some sort of morbid or overly serious assessment of my mortality, but I did spend a lot of time thinking about what I’d done with the thirty years I’d managed not to get hit by a bus or struck down by the bubonic plague. I’ve been far from home, seen exotic sights, strolled moonlit French beaches, and run through Central Park at 2am. I sang in Carnegie Hall and on the Warroad mini-theater stage and you might be surprised which place was more fun. I’ve been married, divorced, pregnant, in love, broken hearted, depressed, gloriously and ridiculously silly, and simply normal and mundane. There are plenty of little fun highlights in there and I like to think that I seize opportunities to make memories, but I’m not sure I’ve done anything with a great deal of purpose. I only think about the purpose aspect because of a boy named Adam who was a very dear friend.
I tend to think about Adam randomly throughout the year, but I always have him on my mind on my birthday and on Christmas. Adam and I spent the tenth grade together in a little Minnesota town called Lewiston. One year, that’s all I got there and my family was moving again. Before the move was my 17th birthday and Adam new how much I like to fish so he invited me to come trout fishing in the streams by his house. I was excited for the whole month leading up to my birthday. I had my license and a fishing outfit, even a special hat. When I got out to his house we fished for about an hour before he suggested we switch to a different stream. As we passed his garage to cross the road, all the friends I made that year came running out yelling, “Surprise!” The entire fishing expedition was a ruse to cover for a surprise birthday party. It was interesting to me that Adam was the one to throw that party, since until that moment I wouldn’t have labeled him as one of the closest of my new friends.
After that Adam and I stayed in touch through email and I was always asking his advice. He was one of those bouncy, smiling people so full of light and energy that it spreads to the whole room when they walk in. I loved tapping into that energy and listening to him joke. For two years after I moved we stayed friends and when I got engaged before graduation, it was Adam I called with a special request. I had several female friends that I was very close to, but there was something very special about Adam and I asked him to be my Man of Honor in the wedding. He proudly accepted.
Off to college I went, keeping busy with classes and wedding plans, and hardly talking to Adam at all, but secure in the knowledge that in the spring he would be standing beside me on my wedding day. Then a couple days after Christmas my mom called my fiancé and I with the devastating news that Adam had been killed in a car crash along with his sister.
Since that day there’s been a rather large and empty hole where all the happiness Adam brought to the world used to be. Every year after Christmas I cringe a little when the phone rings and on my birthday I think about the best day anyone ever gave me. Someone like that, who seems to have so much to offer, should be destined to fulfill some amazing purpose. Could he really have been done already? What would he have done with another year? Where would he be if he was turning 30? I like to think that we all have something we’re supposed to accomplish before we kick it and head off to whatever is next, but I suppose that’s more than a bit idealistic. I see this over and over though, and honestly it’s beginning to piss me off. People with the potential to do anything dying before they even get a chance to try. An amazing teacher with the ability to change the lives of her students crippled in a car accident, never to teach again. Sometimes I think the universe has a vendetta against the people who would make it a better place. In an ideal world, those of us left behind would step up to fill the shoes of the friends who get struck down, but we’re not all made the same way. I personally don’t have grand plans for making the world a better place. The best I think I’ll ever do is to be a nice and helpful person, but honestly that would go an awfully long way if everyone could grasp that mindset. As for my purpose, who knows? I’ve made it to 30, and I’m hoping to at least double that (barring those buses and pesky plaugues). I like to think my purpose is the future and making it there, continuing on as I have, maybe getting a bit bolder along the way. A purpose of the future in that maybe I’m just an example for Cole, or for my future grandkids and they’ll hear stories about me and it will make them want to do something big, like cure cancer, travel to Mars, or solve world hunger. Who knows, but I just like looking at Cole and thinking that somehow, he’s why I’m still around.

So I Wrote This Book…

Ten years, that’s how long it took from the first time I started having little ideas about my novel to get where I am today. The novel is completed, its available as an eBook, and in less than a week it will be available for purchase in paperback form on Amazon.com. All these things I’ve basically done on my own, with the very welcomed help of a few key friends. I’m part of what I’ve realized is a rather popular self-publishing trend. It has its good points and bad, but over all I’m hoping I’ve made a good choice that will be a step towards gaining the notice of the public and of publishers.
At first I was a bit reluctant to self-publish. Would I still be able to get picked up by a big publisher? Would anyone take me seriously? Would anyone ever bother to read the book? Then after I agreed to put the book up for sale on Amazon, strictly for the Kindle. I advertised a little bit, but I think deep down I still felt a bit ashamed that my long struggled over baby was posted on the internet instead of entering my first publishing deal. Still, it’s hard to be patient when you can only send your manuscript to one publisher at a time and they take anywhere from three months to a year to get back to you on whether or not they accept your work. I only went through two publishers before I realized that I could probably spend years and write a dozen more books before I got the first one picked up. Suddenly self-publishing seemed less like something I should be embarrassed of and more like a brilliant way of advertising myself along with all the months long waiting.
It’s my first novel. I have no expectations of hitting it big right off the bat, but I’m quickly becoming more realistic about what my commitment needs to be in respect towards putting myself out there. Blogging, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, websites, flyers, advertising…none of which my naive mind planned on the day I wrote the last word of Birth of the Flame and prepared to send it to a publisher. Now here I am trying to blog as often as I can and posting it to Facebook, Twitter, and Stumbleupon. I’m Tweeting whenever I can think of something new to say about the book, the paperback launch, or even just the writing I’m working on right now. I have to invite the attention of thousands of people I don’t know in the hopes that just the right one takes an interest in me.
There are so many aspiring authors, artists and musicians out there and it’s great that we have all these tools at our disposal to introduce ourselves to the world. To all my fellows who plan to claw their way out of obscurity and into the brilliant light of the public eye, I wish you good luck.

Trek vs. Wars

Scott and I painted our bedroom this past weekend.  Nothing special, I’m sure you’re thinking.  People paint all the time, especially us since we’ve hit the kitchen, bathroom, and Cole’s room so far since we moved in.  Still, most people (adults anyway) won’t tell you that the just got done painting their bedroom to look like outer space.  That’s right…outer space.  Scott decided that since I was determining the décor of most of the house, he would get to pick the painting scheme of the bedroom.  At first, he simply said we would be painting it black, which worried me a bit.  Then, he moved in the explanation of how he wanted to feel like he was sleeping in outer space.  We would paint the walls and ceiling black then litter them with silver specks for stars.  From there I got the brilliant idea (please note the sarcasm) to paint some galaxies and nebulas in his star field.  The sarcasm comes solely from the fact that I was only creating more work for myself because a.)Scott doesn’t like to paint to begin with and b.) I’m the artist so anything beyond whipping silver paint at the walls for starts left me on my own.

The black took most of the day then we blew off some steam dancing around with our paint brushes and throwing paint at the walls for a blood spatter effect that, in the end, resembled stars in the night sky.  After that I was left alone with my cans of spray paint and some vague notions of how I’d get those cans to obey my artistic will.

While I pondered, Scott returned with his tablet to show me a few things he’d found on thinkgeek.com that he thought might look cool in the bedroom.  The first one was a light that would project the Star Wars galaxy onto the walls and ceiling.  I quickly pointing out that this would be silly since we already made our own stars.  He moved on to the next piece, a Deathstar wall cling.  I was beginning to sense a pattern.

Now, just because I said the Lego Millenium Falcon at Walmart looked awesome doesn’t mean I’m letting you paste a Deathstar on the ceiling.  NO.  The truth is when I think of the beauty of the outer space I tend to lean more towards Star Trek.  I still love Star Wars, but for some reason, all my favorite parts in those movies happen on the ground, not in space.  Go figure.  Every time I look around the bedroom I hear the voice of Leonard Nimoy saying, “Space, the final frontier.”

So, when Scott came in the room a little later I was looking at the ceiling.  Its made up of paneled squares so when we painted it black it left white lines that we initially intended to paint in.  Intended to buuuuttt….

“Scott, can we leave the lines in the ceiling?  It makes it look like we’re either going into or coming out of the holo-deck.”

“Sure, we can keep the lines.”

And the Trekkie wins.

23 Days And Counting

I always said I wouldn’t make a big deal out of turning 30.  Its not that old.  I plan on living a long and full life, kicking it at around 95, so 30 is only 1/3 of the way there.  Still, in 23 days I will hit that milestone and the closer I get the more this tiny tendril of panic twists its way into my stomach.  I can’t quite put my finger on why its bothering me so much more than I thought it would.  Is it regrets of my misspent 20s?  There is a failed marriage in there, some job hopping, and not a lot of things a 20-something is expected to be doing.  At least not until the last few years.  Perhaps that’s the issue right there.  I spent most of my twenties living like a thirty something and now that I’m finally having some fun I don’t want to hit an age when I’m expected to give it up.  I definitely don’t want to go from “Oh she’s so responsible for her age” to “Why doesn’t she act her age”.

Now, there are plenty of reasons for me to be feeling good about myself, and be feeling young.  I finished my first novel and I’m working on putting it out there to the whole world.   I’m in a house of my own, fixing it up and filling it with fun, bright colors and freshness.  I’m working out and dieting, having an easier time losing weight than I ever have in my life.  I’m dating an extremely wonderful and intelligent younger man.  Wait…ok so a some of that (maybe most of that) might actually be highlighting the whole getting older thing, but they should still be helping me FEEL young.  Scott does make me feel young and happy, even when he’s being a brat and telling me I’m old…like the other night…

We went out for dinner and drinks to celebrate starting the paperback campaign for Birth of the Flame and apparently I asked him the same question a couple times.  Mr. smarty pants decided to tell me I was getting old and senile.  Well, the waitress came to take our drink orders and I asked for a glass of wine.  Guess who got carded.  HA!!! TAKE THAT!!.  Not so old after all.

Photo Session

So I don’t take pictures of myself very often and I tend to avoid other people’s cameras as well, but it occurred to me that using a photo that is roughly two years old for all my website  purposes might not be that wise.  So today I broke down and allowed my sister Ginger to bring her fairly awesome camera over and take a very head shots for me to work with.  It was sort of payment for me watching her munchkin all day.  :)  As though watching my adorable niece is much of a chore!  Anyway, as you see throughout the post I’m sharing some of the pictures she took, including one of Anya (my niece) and myself.  Cute little cheeseball, isn’t she? 


So yesterday I sent wee Cole off with his grandparents for a visit…a 5…week…visit.  He’s been gone for long stretches like this before when he was younger and I was still in college, but its been quite a while.  I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about it.  At this moment I’m still in the that “WOOHOO FREEEEEDDDOOOOOMMMMMMM” phase where the world is a wonderful and new place that I haven’t gotten to visit in a while because babysitters are hard to come by.  Bar?  What’s a bar?  Movies?  Don’t you just watch those on Blu-ray at home?  Dancing…HA!!!!  Here I am with so many options.  Still, I know it won’t take me long to move into the “OMG my baby isn’t with me and I miss him something could happen to him and I’m notthereomgtheworldiscomgingtoandendHELPHELPHELP” phase.  So I’ve been preparing extensively for the last week.  Scott doesn’t quite understand why I have a five week To-Do list, but when I start crying because I miss Cole some where around day 8.254…then he’ll know because he’ll be able to grab the list and say, “Hey babe, you wanted to weed the begonias today, get 2,000 words written on Soul of the Firestorm, and then relax in a hot bubble bath with a trashy romance novel”.  Ta-da, the five week To-Do list saves the day.

Now me and my separation anxiety aren’t really the point of this little snippet, its the fact that I still can’t get over what Cole said to me when I told him that I managed to arrange to  his extended visit.  This whole thing started out as a bit of a joke.  Cole was grinding on my nerves at some point or another and I turned to my dad and asked him if he wanted to take him for the summer.  My dad (ever ready to steal his fishy buddy away for weeks at a time) just said “sure”.  Cole of course went bonkers over the idea of spending the summer fishing, riding four wheeler, playing in the sand box, being back with his play house, getting to see his other fishing buddy Jeff, on and on and on and on and I’m thinking oh god what have I done.  Still, he always goes for a couple weeks here and there so I figured it couldn’t hurt to try and swing a longer visit than usual.  It was just a matter of arranging something with his daycare because frankly I didn’t feel like paying full price when he’s not there using the service.  I know, I know, I’m a stingy person.  BUT…some negotiating with my AMAZING daycare provider and voila Cole is spending five weeks with his grandparents while I only have to pay the part time fee. (Normally I have to pay the full time as soon as summer hits.)

Thinking Cole will be over joyed I go to him and say, “Guess what, buddy, you get to spend 5 weeks at grandma and grandpa’s house!”

He looks at me, frowning, and says, “What do you mean I only get to spend five weeks!?”

Dear sweet lord, grant me patience.

Time Changes…EVERYTHING 3-21-2012

So I don’t quite have a line of thinking similar to the old blogs at the moment, but considering the changes in my life since I wrote the last entry.

For five months I’ve been dating a wonderful guy named Scott who Cole and I both adore.  He and his sweet German Shepherd, Karra, now live with us.  To accomodate for the growing family, we moved into a cute little house that we’ve been enjoying  repainting it one room at a time.  Along with Scott and Karra came two ferrets, Newton and Delgado.  (That’s right blog readers!!  I finally got those ferrets.)

Once in the house Scott and I decided that Cole would enjoy getting a kitten for Christmas.  (Are you all calculating how amazing Scott must be that he got me to agree with a cat…and I even like her?)  Enter Snowflake, an adorable grey Siamese who loves to curl up in our laps and purr loudly.  She also loves to hear herself meow.

THEN last month I found out that our local human society was “over stocked” on cats.  So the three of us went to see if any of the cats would fit out home.  That was when we met Swiffer.  Now after falling in love with Snowflake, I didn’t think it was statistically possible to find another cat that I would like this much AND who would like me in return.  Apparantly I was wrong.  Swiffer, while still a bit skittish of our happy puppy Karra, is affectionate, cuddly, loves to have his ears scratched, and is a magician at getting his collar off.

So my oh my how things have changed.  I found a nice guy.  We have ferrets to play with.  …..I learned to love cats.  Most importantly I have a nice pile of new stories to talk about.

It should be fun!