Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My first interview!

And what a fun interview it was. Head over to Sarah M. Eden’s site on Friday and check it out. Then stick around to see all the other wonderful things about Sarah.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Defining success

According to Dictionary dot com:


/səkˈsɛs/ [suhk-ses]
1. the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors.

For example: My daughter’s 16th birthday party was a big success.

2. the attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like.

For example: I succeeded in being admitted to the creative writing concentration at my college.

3. a successful performance or achievement: The play was an instant success.

For example: My attempts at DDR Max at my 16 year old birthday party was not a success; however, being cheered on by a roomful of teenagers was.

4. a person or thing that is successful.

For example: My son was a big success at DDR Max (and did not rub it in his mother’s face).

5. Outcome.

For example: You’re reading number five so I succeeded in holding your interest till the end of this post. Thanks for playing along.

So, what successes have YOU celebrated this week?


1 Comment

Shelli says:
Cute! I like to remind my husband to celebrate the little successes and not wait for the big ones. Sounds like a fun evening for all!

Saturday, November 13, 2010


This last week was a trying one for me, and yet through it all I had immense support and help from writing friends, family, and even a professor or two.  It's amazing the power people have to uplift one another.  That's why I spend so much time on Twitter, connect with buddies during NaNoWriMo and love commenting on people's blogs.  Not only do I get to let them know how much I appreciate them, but I get the chance to share my own thoughts and remind myself just how good life is and how many experiences I've had.

I was insanely optimistic as a child. I mean, so much so that people would sometimes get mad at me. They'd ask me why I was so happy all the time, but I couldn't really explain it. Only that I was. Each day in life was filled with new opportunities, and each day was one that I could let go of what happened in the previous one.

I remember when I first entered the writing world seriously and how disillusioned I was.  I thought writers were in competition with each other, because of course each one wants you to buy THEIR book.  I kept surmising how incredible it was that they were so supportive of one another; going so far as to encourage the purchasing of one another's books.

I thought, "Wow. I guess that's one way to do it.  Encourage people to buy someone's book and in return they'll plug yours."  It's important to keep in mind that while I was having this skewed sense of the publishing world I had been going through a difficult time of life.  One in which I was working out through my writing.  I was down. A little disheartened by life, and had lost a bit of that smile I was so admired for in my youth.

Writing brought me great joy, but the lessons I learned from others brought me even more. I got to know other writers, joined groups, and found a world of immense validation and understanding.  People weren't plugging one another's books just for sales or out of expectation.  It's because they each loved writing and loved EACH OTHER.

No way.

It was like awesomeness in it's most...well, awesome form.  I found courage I didn't know I had, and met fantastic people with a true understanding of what writing is and what it can do.  That we're not in competition with each other, only with ourselves.  Like I said....awesome. What a great opportunity for writers to use the power of their words to offer support for one another!

Just last week I was recording a passage in Spanish and when I was through my husband commented, "Wow. You're really good."  I thought I was going to float away.  He'd only heard me speak Spanish in little snippets before, but for some reason this longer segment allowed both of us to see how far I had come in the language.  I felt rejuvenated. Alive. I wanted to learn even more. Study even harder.  Write a book in Spanish!!! I felt like I could take on the world.

All because he offered a word of love and encouragement. Which begs the question: Have you ever helped someone take on the world? Given them hope? How do YOU do it in the writing world?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sonnets--Not just for Shakespeare anymore

So I decided to write a Sonnet this week. Well, it was for an assignment, and one that I took on with very little enthusiasm. That is, until I found my muse.

I don't know who Shakespeare was writing to, because without a muse there is no way he could have written such beautiful poetry and expressed such impassioned sentiments. If he didn't write them for someone specific then I can't wait to take a class on him in the Spring and find out how he did it. Really.

Meanwhile I found my muse. Guess who it is? husband.

After 20 years of marriage I'm even more in love with the guy, so it was no problem to write one if he was my intended audience.  That being said, I think EVERYONE deserves to have a sonnet written about them. Or at least recited to them. You'd be surprised at the results.

For example, about a year ago my husband came home from work and took me by the hand, reciting the most beautiful sonnet I think Shakespeare ever wrote. And that's not just because it's our favorite. It was the fact that my husband had memorized it that day, wanting to have something to share with me when he got home from work. Something that told me he was thinking about me and wanted to do something to express his love.

This is coming from someone who has done numerous things over the years, including filling our entire house with flowers so that no matter what room I went into...there were flowers. My kids still talk about that day.

But alas, the other night I was sitting in our room and pondering over my assignment, wondering how on earth I would compose something just as beautiful. I shared my concern with my husband who was stretched out on the bed reading a book and listened to him chuckle at my dilemma. "It doesn't have to be Shakespeare, hon. In fact, why don't you make it funny?"

"No way. Sonnets are not supposed to be funny."

"Then write one for me."

I looked at his long legs and crooked smile, and instantly began composing. Oh my goodness. After 20 years I discovered that I can still make my husband blush and have begun to wonder if I've picked the wrong genre to dabble in. :) I turned in my sonnet with the hope that my professor has a strong constitution.

So what about you? Ever written a sonnet? Would you like to? If not, do you at least have a favorite?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Lost and Found

Did you miss me?  I did. That is to say I've been a little bogged down in roles this last month.  Mother. Wife. Writer. Student. I feel like such a mix of people sometimes I have a hard time keeping track of who I am.

Of course, I'm all things wrapped into one...and sometimes I just have to take turns at which one I focus on.  It's been a struggle...especially seeing as how motherhood always takes a front row seat.  Yes, my husband is a huge help in being the other parental authority and my kids are a big support when it comes to the house (especially since they're the ones messing it up). And yes, my blog's a little wanting, though you have to admit the book trailers rock!  :)

But I keep reminding myself that it's all worth it.  That juggling multiple roles in life is real. It's the stuff books are made of.  Conflict. Characters. Resolution.  I AM my own novel in action...and by golly it's going to have a happy ending! even though right now I'm in the conflict stage.

It was during a particularly down moment yesterday that I found myself on Twitter. Folks, that place can be a time stealer, but it can also be a place for support...relief...answers. A simple tweet among hundreds popped up while I was on, and I found my way to the blog Women on Writing. (Thank you Elizabeth for getting me there!)

The topic was geared to writers, but for me it was so much more. I saw what the author was saying and realized that it also applied to my life as a Mom, student and wife...not just as a writer.  And I found new hope. "Make a list," she said.  A pros and cons list.  All the reasons for doing something, and then all the reasons to give it up.  Wow.  I mean, you wouldn't think a list like that could help, but I'm here to tell you it did.  Just THINKING about making a list was enough to remind me of who I am. What I was doing. And that it would ALL be worth it in the end.  ALL of it.  So what that I'm busy. I'm doing things that will bring me immense joy in the end. And possibly others.

In fact, I had someone in class the other day tell me that they appreciated one of my poems because they truly felt my grief and she could understand what I was going through (in the poem). I spent last night cuddled up next to my husband and children during a movie, and it didn't matter at all that I had homework to do. Today I'll be studying hard, but the house is already clean so there's actually time. Really. There's time for it all, folks. Maybe not all at once, and maybe it means being patient with all my writing goals, but it's worth it. WORTH IT!

Do you feel it? Do you know it for yourself? I challenge you to find out and see what a difference it makes in your life. In your writing. And who knows...maybe what you learn will be shared on Twitter one day and change someone else's life.  You never know.

That is, unless you dair to find out.  :)  Good luck!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Eight Questions

So, yeah...I’ve been tagged in a game that goes like this, I answer a series of questions with entertaining comments. Then I tag others who do the same on their blogs. Warning: these answers will probably tell you more than you wanted to know about me. Or everything you did in which case I can't be held personally responsible for. You've been warned.
Still reading? Okay then. Enjoy. :)
1. If you could have any superpower, what would you have? Why?

The need for no sleep. Maybe then I could stay caught up on everything.

2. Who is your style icon?

The 80's. My husband and kids are still trying to find a cure.

3. What is your favorite quote?
"Whatever you are, be a good one."

4. What is the best compliment you’ve ever received?

" treat your children like you would an adult. Like...with respect."

5. What playlist/cd is in your CD player/iPod right now?

I have a 64 gig ipod that's almost full....but the playlist I left off on was Contemporary English: Magical Realism lectures. (Bruno Mars helps keep me sane in between lectures though)

6. Are you a night owl or a morning person?

I'm a writer AND a mom. So I'm a morning, daytime and night time person. But mornings are definitely my most creative times to write.

7. Do you prefer dogs or cats?

Uh....if I need to actually answer this one, then you're not viewing these answers on my blog. :)

8. What is the meaning behind your blog name

I was always a sucker for a dare and....yeah I haven't changed much. Although I tend to be a little smarter about which ones I accept these days. :)

I tag Tamara, Roni Griffin, and A. Grey. Looking forward to the juicy gossip...I mean hearing more about these great writers!

Have to versus Want to

I have three literature classes this fall. On top of beginning spanish and my creative writing course. So after the first week of school when one of my teachers went on medical leave I had mixed feelings. One less course meant a little less stress, but it also meant taking the course during another semester.

Fortunately they found a quick replacement for her to continue the class. Unfortunately with the new teacher came a new syllabus. And a new set of books.

I was just beginning to like the old (week old that is) ones, having already begun working my way through them. Not my normal reading either mind you, (which of course is the beauty of taking such classes...teaching you to appreciate books you wouldn't normally pick up) and alas I found myself in a bit of a quandry.

Return all my books we weren't using or keep them and continue reading the one I was currently on and enjoying. It didn't help knowing that my husband used to read such books like Don Quixote and Count of Monte Cristo for FUN growing up. As well, he was a science nerd (his words not mine--and by the way...they make a lot of money when they grow up), so not the usual past time one would expect. But he and I were made from a similar mold there. We developed a love for reading early.

So I had a choice. Keep the book I was enjoying, or return it and borrow a different copy from the library or used book store just to see how it ends (keep in mind some of these books are rather expensive in the first place). I chose to return it. Because of course I had a whole new list of books to purchase.

Of course I did this after I did a mad fast read through it to the end so I could get a sense of closure for the character I was so worried about. I miss not being able to take my time though.

What about you? Would you or have you continue(d) to read a book the teacher assigned and then didn't require you to finish? What kind of book was it? Was it worth it?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Cookies and Writing

Are you ready for a mouth watering post? I am, and I've only written about ten words so far. Just thinking about cookies will do that to a person though.

So I've been thinking a lot about writing lately. (When am I not.) The components, voice and construction of taking a tantalizing thought and turning it into something I can hold in my hands; almost taste, it's so sweet and satisfying. Just like cookies.

So here's my recipe for writing...I mean making cookies...I mean...well, okay here we go. (And yes, the picture is of a real batch of cookies made in this very house. D2 made them. I taught her how. Just like I'm doing with her very own book.)

  • This is the beginning. I want a cookie. I want it bad. Bad enough to make it myself because the store is too far away and mine will taste better than someone else's anyway. Or at least different. And different is good.

So what kind will I make? aka Genre

  • There is a vast variety to choose from, with some people choosing to enjoy only one type to exclusion of all others. Others find themselves sampling a vast variety, sometimes one on top of the other. :o) What I choose to write is going to appeal to some, but maybe not all. Maybe nobody but myself. And that's okay, too.

Ingredients vs Components

  • The ingredients for a cookie differ as widely as the content of one's novel, but there's a few basics you need to have for each one. Beginning. Middle. End. Flour. Eggs. Salt. Or is it chocolate, oatmeal and butter? Anyway, for fantasy you need something uh...fantastical. A Myth, a beast or two, or something other worldly that makes you rethink the realm you currently live in. And then makes you want to hide. Or embrace it. Or whatever. Romance? That's chocolate all the way baby. If it's got lots of chocolate it's a romance. If it's a new type of cookie it might take people a while to delve in. But when they do and enjoy it? They'll rave endlessly and you'll have more people wanting a sample than you know what to do with!

Construction versus Style

  • My mom made cookies by hand. I use a mixer. Our cookies each came out a little different, yet people still enjoyed them equally as well. If you asked two people to write about the exact same topic and even gave them a recipe (plot, characters, timeline), their cookies would not come out the same. That's called style. Each person has their own, and it changes the dynamics of a story big time! Some like the cake-like texture of my mom's version. Others love the creamier, softer stuff made by my electric mixer. I've even noticed that they TASTE different when they're done. Weird. But true. Sometimes style makes all the difference in the world.

  • My chocolate chip cookies bake at 375 degrees for 11 minutes (on the nose). The sugar cookies bake at 400 for 8 minutes. The drop cookies don't even require an oven! Of course if my husband is baking the cookies he might leave them in a little longer depending on how how crispy he wants them to be (as in, "I want some dunking cookies tonight.") Talk about too many hands in the cookie pot. But alas, this too is like writing and is not all bad. Agents, editors and publishers will also want a say in the book's final product, so of course the time it's going to take a lot of work and patience to get a book from start to finish.

Finished product

Worth it. Enough said

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Guess my Poem

I haven’t written poetry since high school. Don’t know why. Because as I find myself studying it for a class I can’t help but find myself enjoying it once again. Like today.
The object was to take an abstract word and write about it…without giving away the title. I even tried free verse (not my normal style), but alas my heart wanted rhythm and rhyme. So how did I do? Can anyone guess what I wrote about? It’s okay if you don’t…especially if the poem makes you think of something else in your life and gain an appreciation for it.
So without further ado I offer you up my latest assignment:
[??????] by Karen Adair
The floor meets my knees with my hands folded tight, praising God for the day and to have survived through the night.
Warm bodies asleep, and a soft hum in the air, I lift my eyes towards heaven and know that she’s there.
The washer is broke, but it can be fixed. And the dryer still works—a measure of bliss. The children are fighting, but at least they are mine, their voices so sweet the rest of the time.
Cards and flowers, friends so dear; all but one and that’s why they’re here. Music and singing—a peaceful recount—of childhood memories all tuckered out.
They lowered the casket with my mom’s body inside, but I still have my Dad who will stay by my side.
So on bended knee I sing praises above, for her life and mine and the trials of love.
Life, family, faith and time. Time with my mother. Moments divine. Time to grow up and time to live. Time to die and rest from my sins.
I rise for the day and praise God for the night; that without I knew I could not see the light.


  • Valerie Ipson says:
    Gratitude. Tender Mercies. Hope. Any of those?
    • Karen Adair says:
      HURRAH!!! Valerie guessed it. It was your first one Valerie. I was reflecting on gratitude and noticed how often we express it for all our blessings, but then how those blessings are sometimes disguised as trials. As well, that I should express gratitude at the little things the Lord has blessed me with, instead of always dwelling on what I don’t have. A lot of this realization came of course with the death of my mom, so this was a rather difficult word to tackle. :) It was interesting though that Shelli first thought of consolation, because when we have difficult trials, sometimes all we can do is feel a small measure of peace…which inevitably grows to gratitude with love and maturity. :) Thanks for reading it everyone!!!
  • How about “On Bended Knee” or “Love Testimony?”
  • Valerie Ipson says:
    A little light bulb went off when you said in your comment that many of our blessings are disguised as trials. It always bugged me a bit when people would express thanks for their trials, that just seemed to go against the grain for me. But the reality is, like you said, trials bring forth blessings and we are so grateful for them. Thanks for sharing your poem!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Yeah, that's me. Obsessed. Well at least when it comes to a certain dog. Snoopy to be exact. So I thought I might take a moment to explain my obsession. At least for those who might be wondering why on earth it's all over my site. All over my twitter. In my house for that matter.

It started with my glass snoopy "bank" which I spent my youth filling with money (and then emptying). Currently it's filled with pennies and sits prominently on my end table. Don't know why I have it filled with pennies. That's just where pennies go. And everyone in my house knows it. Maybe it's because it makes my clear glass snoopy look brown. Seems about right considering the real life version I own(tri-color).

So yeah, I love Snoopy. Especially the high flying "ACE" who is constantly after the Red Baron. That dog just never gives up. I love it!

You know what's even better? How they're just the cutest dogs on the face of the planet. Okay, granted there are lots of cute dogs out there, but for me? It's a beagle. Something about those eyes and ears just speaks "LOVE ME!"

So a few years back when we decided to get a dog, what did I name my beagle? Nope. Not snoopy. Why? Well for one, our dog is a girl. And two, I always loved the name Megan. Don't ask me why I never named one of our girls Megan. I guess it just didn't fit.

Until now. Actually her pedigree name is much longer, but I won't bore you with that. :)

Needless to say, I love my dog. Look at that face? Can you blame me?

So what about you? What are you obsessed with?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Self-Portraits on our MC's


I love them. Truly I do. But when I want to get to know them better, how do I go about it? Talk to them? Interview them?

"Hi, my name's Karen. I have seven children. And a dog."

Okay, that works. But what does that really tell you about me? My name and that I either love children or merely enjoy gaining lots of weight every year or so and then trying to get it all off again. (Yeah, right.) You can see I have a dog, but does that mean I'm happy about it? (I am, btw. She's a beagle--hence my obsession with Snoopy)

But you can see that there's more telling than showing in my intro, and surely not enough information to get a true picture of who I am. How I would react to a given situation. What sort of things annoy me. Are our characters facing the same difficulty in our story? Are we merely telling people about them or are we painting an accurate picture of who they really are? If not, how do we go about doing so?

First off, we need to know our characters. Truly know them. There are many ways to go about doing this, but here is one technique I learned recently that you can use to understand them better.

We're going to make two lists.

List ten things that describe your character, that if you were to change or eliminate that one thing they would no longer be the same person.
  • For example: "I am a mother with seven children." If you were to take away any one of those seven children, or all of them, I would no longer be a mother (in the same way). In fact, I would probably fall apart, but I digress.
  • Another example: "I have faith in God." Now I guarantee that if you took away my faith I would totally change as a person. I wouldn't act the same, pray the same (or at all), and my goals in life would change dramatically. So my faith is an integral part of me.

List ten things that describe your character that if you were to take them away or change it wouldn't truly change them as a person.
  • "I love popcorn." Okay, so maybe some of you would die or fall apart if you didn't get your daily or weekly fix. But can you honestly say that it would change your personality that much? Probably not.
  • "I eat chocolate for breakfast." I must really be hungry this morning to be using food as my examples. But the fact remains that if I didn't have chocolate for breakfast, I would probably find something else to eat. And in this case that's probably a good idea. :) I don't think it would redefine me though. Not like one's faith, or status as a mother.
I really enjoyed this concept; understanding that there are distinct things that make up an individual. And that by listing them, sometimes you can get a better idea of who that person truly is. You may never understand them fully, but you can use their traits, likes, dislikes, to paint a vivid picture of them and then use your story to build around them. In fact, you may find that you can add more life to your plot because of this information.

I mean, hey. What if taking away someone's popcorn truly resulted in a mental breakdown. And why on earth would that happen? that sort of thinking has the makings of a marvelous mystery. Maybe it's time to continue my list. :)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Top Ten

Top Five things I WON’T miss when school begins:
  1. The deluge of cups and food all over the kitchen counters.
  2. Tripping over endless toys throughout the day.
  3. Excessive noise which prevents me from reading and writing effectively.
  4. Endless video games which adds to the excessive noise.
  5. Late night movies which yeah…adds to the excessive noise.
Top Five things I WILL miss when school begins:
  1. Having everyone make their own food–even though it destroys the kitchen.
  2. Watching my children play with each other and all the “new” toys they find buried within the toy closet.
  3. All the noise that keeps me company during the day and reminds me of why I’m a mom.
  4. Playing video games with my kids, and watching their smug faces when they beat me–fair and square.
  5. The freedom of getting up when I want to after staying up with the kids all night to watch a late night movie.
*sigh* Six more days until all our roles change, and my kids are a little less like kids and a little more like tiny adults. And me right along with them. My kids are already rooting me on, so maybe we can all find a way to keep each other sane for the next 180+ days. Wish us luck!

1 Comment

Shelli says:
I’ve got the same kind of ambivalent feelings going on. I’m excited for the kids to be out for the summer…and then I’m excited to have them go back in the fall. Let’s just say that I might be ready for a little me time!
Good luck with the new school year, for all of you!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A post of EPIC proportion!

Okay, the last few days have been pretty epic with the WriteOnCon conference going on, but that's not the epic I'm talking about (yet). I'm talking about the book!

See, my son's a gamer. Well, so are my girls, but they're not the ones who gave me the book to read. "Epic?" I asked him. "I like the title, but what's it about?" He answered, "Think Guild Wars."

Ahhhh. That I've heard of. In fact, I have my own character. Does that make me cool? My family thinks so. It's pretty hot, actually. The character that is. The don't have time to both play and write (doesn't stop my husband from using my character--hmmm, should I be jealous?). Anyway, somehow Conor Kostick managed it. He's the author of the book Epic, which I had the privilege to just finish reading.

And what a read it was. Think Hunger Games. Haven't read it? Then think social climbing in a world where there's only one controlling entity that determines how, what and when you get things. Food, clothing, work, you name it. The whole society is run by Epic, a virtual game that determines your ranking in the real world based on what you do in the game. Earn a thousand bezant in the game? Spend it in real life.

The game was created to alleviate violence and allow people to work out their differences in the game. And for the most part it worked. Only a few random acts slipped through, and those people were thus exiled. Just like the main character's father. But he had a good reason, and it's one that compels our hero to join forces to end the game. Before it can end his own life.

Intrigued yet? I was, and I had long since stopped playing the game. But I love the cooperation it fosters in my children as they team up together and help each other out, because the death of one in the game usually results in the death of another. Just like in the book. So, as a mother I loved it. As a past gamer?


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Why we need contests

I won.

4th place, that is, and you can bet that I've been flying high ever since I found out. I mean, I ran my heart out in high school and hardly won a race. This month alone I've won three different contests. And this one takes the cake!

Thank you Roni and Julie and all the wonderful sponsors who participated. You made a lot of people happy!

So what did I do to celebrate? Eat chocolate? Throw a party? No...I sat down to write. Before my luck ran out. Well...

Yes. You guessed it. *sigh* But at least it waited until bedtime. That way I could sleep off my disappointment and let night wash away my fears. Because, hey! I won a contest!

So what happened that burst my bubble so fast? I tried to write a query.

Yes, that's right. I was so excited about winning that I decided to do something hard. And then promptly failed. But that's okay. There's a reason they teach classes on these things, and why writers seem to dread them so much. I mean it's hard enough to write the book let alone shorten it down to a page. If I wanted to tell my story in so few of words I would have made it a short story instead. But alas, I wrote a book. A very LARGE book. Several in fact.

And one day I will see them in print. Other than in my own house, that is. And that is why I woke up this morning and started again. Just like I do everyday. I told myself I could do it. That it was worth it. That my only problem was that I was eager to share my story. My WHOLE story.

So I pulled out my pen. Pulled out my paper. And pulled out my pain, my protagonist's pain, and then what's the problem? Then smiled. I know her pain, and it's a lot like my own. And I know that just as I solved her dilemma so she'll help me solve mine. And together we'll see the light of day.

Just like I felt yesterday when I won. Ahhhh, the power of winning. So here's the deal. We need more contests. Me included. Only this time I'll be the one giving stuff away. Very soon. Because if there's one thing I learned is that we need hope. We need each other. And we need contests to help us remember that writing is fun! Exciting! And full of prizes...even if it's not full of good queries. But hey, maybe someday I'll have one of those too. You never know.

And neither will you unless...yes, you guessed it...unless you dair to try!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Contest alert!

Yes! It's a contest! Only, I'm not the one sponsoring it. This contest comes to you from Fiction Groupie! A fantastic resource for writers and aspiring authors. And just who is Fiction Groupie? What? You've never heard of them. That's okay, that's why I'm here.

Roni Griffin. She's the one you want. She's heading up a contest that proves to not only get you moving on the social network, but reward you with a chance to win one of many possible prizes. Check it out:

  • Hannah Moskowitz's Break
  • Lisa Desrocher's Personal Demons (ARC)
  • A query or first five pages critique from Fine Print Lit's intern, Gemma Cooper
  • A query or first five pages critique from Janet Reid's assistant, Meredith Barnes
  • A query or first five pages critique from agent Suzie Townsend
  • A query or first five pages critique from editor Brendan Deneen
So what are you waiting for? Head on over to to find out how to enter. Or click on the sidebar to follow the link.

Good luck to all of you!

A writer's nightmare

I stumbled out of bed, saw my husband off to work and plopped myself down in my usual morning spot. My computer. I booted up, checked email, sent a few replies and then logged into Google Reader. Ooooooo, look at all the pretty updated blogs.
Familiar, yet annoying screen comes up. “We’re sorry. That site has been blocked. Listed under blogs.”
What the–
Since when are blogs on our firewall’s block list? I mean, yes occasionally we’ll get in there to block something we don’t want the children on, or when we think they’re spending too much time on a particular area and need a gentle reminder. But me? The Mom? The writer? Who’s been at my system I wonder. I rubbed my eyes and tried again, thinking that maybe I hadn’t yet fully woken up. Surely the system didn’t just tell me all my favorites sites were blocked.
*click* Yup. No go. And what’s this? My social networking is blocked as well? AND you tube? *grrr* That explains my nonworking tweetdeck this morning as well. *opens firewall settings and clicks on six different buttons that didn’t used to be clicked*
Part of me is wondering if the site had gone wonky, the other part wonders if it’s a joke from my husband telling me I’ve spent too much time on it. Maybe But he knows full well that I can change the settings back if I want to, so I guess I’m just dreaming, or maybe having a nightmare. Maybe I should go back to bed and try again later. Like in 3 minutes when the network reboots with my “newly” clicked changes.
This begs the question though. How do our families feel about our writing? Is it a love/hate relationship? Or does your spouse or child push you onto the computer and tell you to write! Write! Write!
On the bright side the gravatars on my site starting working after all these months. Must have been something I clicked.

1 Comment

Jolene says:
Children are resigned. Though they’re used to their mother working on some kind of project or another. My husband LOVES it, but I know that at the end of the week, when I’ve spent nearly every night with my laptop on my lap, he’s ready for it to disappear for a day or two.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Children are an inspiration

Funny thing happened yesterday.
Yes, so funny it took me until today to write about it. But I was busy. You’ll see why.
So there I was minding my own business (yeah, right I have seven children and a dog–and had two little friends over as well) and was suddenly hit with an epiphany. Well, the epiphany came after a bit of thought, but it came all the same. I was contemplating my reason for writing (partly because of a conversation on twitter that annoyed me) and had a conversation with the Lord.
Why am I writing?
I mean, I love writing…the creativity…the stories…the things I learn when I write and read. But it takes so much darn time away from my family. And I wonder if the world even cares. Cares if I write. Cares about kids…
Your kids care.
The thought was like a warm bucket of water. I was hit with it, but it felt…nice.
You’re not writing for the world. You’re writing because you enjoy it. You’ve written a story with the older ones. Now what about the younger?
I took me a minute to digest my thoughts, and my conclusion was this. I had been collaborating on a number of stories with different children, almost naturally, according to their interests and affinity for certain genres. Oldest son helps with my spy book. Oldest daughter “owns” my country book. Second oldest daughter likes fantasy and had begged me to write one. So I did. I even thought about dedicating each book to said child, but I didn’t want to leave anyone out.
So the solution apparently was for me to write one for each one of them. Okay, DUH, write for my children. Even if the world never sees my books, my CHILDREN will. We will have forged a bond (binding if you will) that will live forever in our memories and even on our shelves. Even if it’s only in a 3 ring binder. And let’s face it…I love my children enough to write them each a story. Even the little ones.
The feeling was overwhelming. Yes. Write for your children.
So I opened myself up yesterday to discover what my next child’s story would be…and there it was! Just like that! I couldn’t write fast enough…my thoughts the same whirlwind of motion and E-motion. Yes, I start back to school in three weeks, but that doesn’t matter. My stories are for them. For life. For our time together. Each moment I spend writing “their” story means I’m thinking about them. And each time we talk about “our” book they know I’m focused on them.
So what about you? Why do you write?
I know I’ve asked this before, but since our lives are constantly changing, it’s possible that our reason for doing things will change as well. And in today’s busy and morally questionable world it’s important to evaluate what we do, why we do it, and who we’re doing it for.
And at least for me, I know the answer to all the above. And it feels write. I mean, right. Right?
Right. So I’ll write.


  • Jolene says:
    I write for the same reason I read. I love it and I love being in a different world than my own for a little while. Best of luck with your new story. I really think that the ones that just “come” end up being the best.
  • Monique says:
    I write because the past wants it’s story told again. There are new ears to listen.
  • Shelli says:
    I write because I was meant to write, and because it has given meaning to my life when CFS stripped everything else away.
    I’d love to write a book with my oldest daughter; we’ve talked about it before. Now we just need to find a topic we can both be passionate about.
  • Wendy Jones says:
    I write to keep my sanity, to keep my craziness, to keep in touch, to keep out-of-touch. I like your answer, though, too–I write for my kids. I write because I feel like I need to leave my mark somehow, and this seems to be one of the ways I’m able to do it. I write because I like re-living my life and living someone else’s.
    Why do I write? Lots of reasons, apparently . . .

Taking the Plunge

My daughter came home from band camp yesterday exhausted and feeling a little worse for wear. Yes, she was happy. Yes, she worked hard. But boy was she pooped. And they call band kids, geeks!


Who's stupid idea was that anyway? I mean, you ought to see the arms on my kids. And their legs? I could roll out pizza dough with those calves. Seriously, folks. So maybe it's just that they're buff AND can play cool music. Yeah, that must be it.

Anyway, I overheard D2 telling D1 about the pool party her section had a couple weeks ago, where she was feeling a little less than buff. I mean, at 5' 2" in an 8 ft deep pool, who wouldn't feel a little intimidated? But her friends were encouraging, supportive, and challenged her to let go of the edge and join in the fun. "Sink or swim!" they called, egging her on. Well, kids are really good at issuing dares, so in she went.

And proceeded to tread water. The entire time. Gotta love those buff marching legs.

After I got done laughing along I got to thinking about how not only was that so typical of life, but of writing as well. At least for me. I have desire, hope, and a longing to join in the fun. But I'm scared. Feel in over my head. And all my friends are telling me to go for it. To take the plunge. Sink or swim. There's no in between.

But there is. And my daughter just proved it.

Writing isn't a do or die. A sink or swim. Caught in a cage with a shark circling around you. Unless you're querying Janet Reid, of course. No, writing is a process. A love of words. A dive into the pool of ideas that is right there waiting for you to enjoy. And treading is allowed. Encouraged even.

But reading, writing, twittering, blogging...all those things designed to keep your mind active and help you in pursuing your publishing goals are also the things that can eventually wear you down. Make you feel tired, frustrated, but worried that if you stop you'll sink. Disappear off the radar and no one will even notice.

My advice? Get a friend. Get a group. People that will keep you in check as well as offer you encouragement and support. And keep in mind that we're not meant to tread water forever. Eventually we'd burn out. That you don't have to be writing 24/7 and querying twice as much.

I mean, some days my kids come home from marching band and just crash. They've worked hard, toed the line, and now they simply need a break. A chance to let their bodies recover, and quite frankly build their muscles.

Did you know that? That while you're resting your body you're actually building muscles?

I've experienced that in running as well. That every now and again I take a break, go a little slower. Let my body recover and then feel stronger for it. In swimming you can float. In writing you can engage in a retreat...a bath...or some other way to give your mind a chance to rest and recoup its strength. Then, when you're ready you may find yourself a little more prepared to dive in once again. To take the plunge, go a little deeper, and have a renewed sense of self to keep working on your dream.

So how do you do it? How do you keep from getting burnt out? What secrets do you have for navigating the waters of writing while keeping a hold on the rest of life?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Don't worry...I've got your back.

Hahahahahahaha. My brother read my previous post while we were chatting online and he asked who he needed to come beat up before he got to the part where it said my "oven". We spent the next little while laughing and rehashing old stories where a threat to one family member meant a threat to all.

I should probably mention that there are 11 of us. Kids that is. We're a formidable presence wherever we go, not to mention our dedication to one another. And don't even get me started on my parents' abilities to defend their children. My Mom had a retort that would leave you speechless and Dad...well, let's just say that my history teacher never doubted my word again. In fact, I don't think he spoke to me for the rest of the year. (That was a good thing.)

And me? Well, I still remember the boy in PE who watched me coming down the field during soccer and yelled, "Look out, here she comes!"

Ha ha ha. I guess those ghastly tank tops we wore in track weren't so bad after all. Turns out they were great at revealing my shot-putting biceps and adding more "weight" to my threats.

So it goes without saying that we have a pretty solid reputation as a family. In a good way, of course. Unless you're the one making threats against us,that is. And the people we count as our friends? Yeah, we're there for you too, guys.

Another plus to the large family is always having your own personal cheering section. And that alone has the means to take the fear out of a lot of life's challenge. Even now.

My sister is the reason I'm writing again, and I'm forever grateful to her for her loving support and endless encouragement. Not to mention her degree in English that makes her the perfect sounding board and grammatical editor.

I think we all have it in us to be someone's answer to a prayer. As writers, as friends, as strangers who respond when the call for help comes. There's no end to what we can do, but do we must. Stand up for what's right and defend the just cause.

Call me determined, call me a tom-boy, call me whatever you want. Just make sure it's nice or my family is going to come pound your face. Seriously. My oven is shaking in it's wall socket right now. :)

So what about you? Do you have a family member or friend who is always there to help? Or are you the one people always count on to answer the call and come to their aid?

Yeah...that's what I thought. So go on. Make a difference. If you dair...

Friday, July 30, 2010

Friends who lie

I've been lied to. Again.

For years now I have endured a tenuous relationship with someone who claims to be my friend. Eager to help me out, though often gets me into even hotter water.

The first lie was annoying. The second was a little frustrating. The third made me look at my husband and wonder how we had acquired such an annoying acquaintance. Meanwhile I wasn't quiet. My friend and I had words. I tried to fix the problem. I was determined that either we fix it or dissolve the relationship.

Yesterday I was about to call it quits. It's lie made my daughter late for a party. Now, let me tell you this, anyone that knows me knows it's all about my kids. They're my life. My joy. They rock so much more than my friends and are so much more important to me. So when a friend betrays my family?

I get ticked!

All the way to the party I was griping about my friend, and my daughter and I talked about whether or not it was worth it. The friendship, not the griping. I felt totally justified to gripe. Alas, we came to a conclusion. Either accept the friend for the lies and learn to work around them, or let 'em go. Let my friend go? Could I do that? Was that the best way to work out a relationship? Or should I work a little harder and try and change my friend. Again.

I knew what would happen. I'd only be betrayed again. But we'd been together so long and my friend really did offer me an immense amount of help. From time to time. In fact, I never notice a problem with our relationship until I need it the most.  I rely too much on it and forget that it lies from time to time. So who is my friend, that I would put up with such nonsense?

My oven.

Yes. My oven lies to me. Often. The first time I realized the clock was slow I got annoyed. The second time was a little more frustrating because I was telling my kids the time and they kept correcting me. Of course I realized the error and blamed the oven. It still made me look bad though. Incompetent somehow. And then yesterday it made us late for a band party/rehearsal. Bad. Very bad. I got really frustrated that I couldn't rely on a digital clock to keep time for me. A DIGITAL CLOCK folks. Aren't those things supposed to be

The countdown for cooking seems to work fine, so it isn't until I forget that the actual time on it runs 10 minutes slower than all the other clocks in the house that I get frustrated. Aargh. It did get us to thinking though about how the same thing applies to friends and relationships. If we find out that we're being lied to over and over again, do we end the relationship? Replace our friend? Or should we try to fix the problem and work things out. After all, they have so many other good qualities or we wouldn't have stayed with them for so long.

So what do you think? Stay or go? The friend, not the oven. I've already decided to keep the oven. For now.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I've still got time

I love that line from the movie The Incredibles. The superhero is totally late to his own wedding because he's so busy fighting crime. Yes, while he is making the world a safer place for his future family, he's putting it in jeopardy at the same time. I mean, if the guy can't leave work to make it to the most important day of his life then what hope is there he'll ever make it home on time for dinner.

Anyway, I'm not here to talk about work related difficulties and how awesomely cool the hero really is. I mean, face it folks...after leaving his hero status behind he puts up with the most horrendous job in order to continue providing a safe and secure environment for his family.

Now THAT'S the kind of superhero I'm talking about. And yeah, I have one of those.

I get to write because I'm married to a superhero. Seems appropriate since I'm such a dare devil, huh? And yeah, he's pulled my butt out of the fire more than once. And yes I have the scars to prove it. Want to see? Uh...wait...forget I said that. But really, which one of us wouldn't do the same for someone we love. I have. Oh you better believe our marriage is give and take. Together we're more singed than that bag of microwave popcorn I once burned. (It was the microwave's fault, I swear.)

But honestly, there's this little thing called time that often steals away our dreams and makes life a little more troublesome for us all. Unless of course you're using it wisely. Which I don't always do. Today that changes.

I've decided that I'll dedicate one hour to each thing on my list today. ONE HOUR. The kids are the only exception. They always are. They get whatever time they need. But with an hour do you know what I can do? I can not only GIVE myself an hour for things I had been cheated out of, but at the same time give myself a limit so that I don't steal time from something else.

Ironic, isn't it? That limiting myself would give me more time. But alas, it is true. I spend far too much time on the internet and not enough on my French homework. C'est la vie!

If you want to see how I'm going to use my time then check out my Dair to Dream page. It's chocked full of all the dreams I have that stand even the remotest chance of getting checked off. And even a few that seem impossible, but I'm going for anyway.

How about you? Do you have some dreams of your own? I'd love to hear them. That way we can root each other on. And who knows...maybe we'll each find something new we can add to our own list.

That is, if you dair.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Truth or Dair?

Yes. I know I spelled it wrong. But that's what happens when you spend your life living on the edge and feel utterly compelled to answer every challenge you're ever issued (which of course only perpetuates the whole living on the edge deal). And if you're still in doubt, you can talk to my husband. He's responsible for me taking on a lot of those dares. Especially the one that involves my name. Of course by now I'm convinced it was meant to be.

I was born a risk taker, surrounded myself with others like me (can't help the family I was born into), and then married the biggest one of all. Hey, he'd have to be to marry me, wouldn't he? Nah...he agrees that it wasn't really a risk for either one of us. You at first sight and all that jazz. Risk be hanged.

Having kids was another no brainer, although some have still questioned my sanity at having so many. Until they meet them, of course. My kids rock! I mean, I think kids in general are awesome, but I'm convinced that I was blessed with some of the best.

Which is probably why I feel so driven to write for them. Their struggles, their joys, the way they light up the room with a box of matches and a little...nevermind. That story is best left in the vault of my mind...and my nose. Whew.

But...there's still plenty of other stories I'm willing to share. One of which is so close to being finished I can practically taste it. Mmmmm...the sweat, the tears, a little chocolate--wait, I was talking about what I could taste, right? Not the first few chapters of my book. Hahahaha. I guess you'll just have to read it to find out.

That is, if you dair.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Treasure Tuesday--Le Chausette Rose

Today’s edition is brought to you by guest authors Kjersten Adair and best friend Courtney Guidry, who were no doubt inspired by the huge pile of laundry on my couch and today’s Treasure Tuesday prompt. Hope you enjoy their debut story!


“Hey, Mom, have you seen my other shoe?”

Mom glanced up from her book. “What?”

“My shoe. I’m going out with some friends. We talked about this, Mom.”

“Right…uh..I think it’s in the laundry room.”

“Thanks!” Isabelle turned around and ran straight into her older brother. She glared at him. “Oscar, what are you doing?”

“It’s called ’standing’ genius. Not that it matters to you. I thought your life didn’t revolve around mine.”

“It doesn’t.” Isabelle rolled her eyes. “So move.”

“Make me.”

Isabelle did, by shoving him into the laundry basket in the hall. She made her way into the laundry room, ignoring the string of four letter words coming from behind her. She quickly found her shoe and was just starting to turn around when she heard her brother issue a few other choice words.

“Hey, what’s this?”

Isabelle turned to find Oscar amongst the overturned basket and holding up a pink sock and a bright smile on his face.

“Found it,” he said, jumping up from the scattered mess of clothes and making off with his prize.

Isabelle recognized it immediately. “Hey! Isn’t that my fuzzy pink sock?”

Oscar laughed and kept walking. “Ha! No. This is mine. It’s been missing for ages.”

Isabelle ran after her brother and snatched the sock from his hand.”

“Moooooom!” Oscar yelled.

Their mom barely glanced up. “Quit arguing.”

Isabelle quickly headed for her room, annoyed, but sock in hand. Suddenly it was gone, and she turned to find Oscar standing right behind her. “Give it back!” she said trying to grab it, but Oscar moved it away every time she was within reach. Finally she got so annoyed she raised her fist and punched him straight in the face.

He staggered back and Isabelle took the opportunity to snatch the sock away; leaving Oscar on the floor clutching his eye. Isabelle went to put her reclaimed sock back in its proper place, but stopped short when she heard the doorbell ring. “Crud,” she thought. “I’d better hurry. I don’t want to keep them waiting.” She quickly grabbed her purse and threw the sock in her dresser drawer, pausing briefly as something else caught her attention. She dropped her purse and pushed aside the socks to better find the object of her distraction.

Underneath the rest of her white and blue socks were her long lost pair of soft, pink fuzzy socks.


Next week’s prompt: You wake suddenly to find yourself in a dark room with a single shining light focused on you.

Pay it Forward

Not the movie, although I wholly believe in the incredible power we have to change lives. Especially as writers. I’m talking about the Circle of Friends Award and the From Me to You Award.

And who do I have to thank for my recent “win” (although the real win comes in the privilege in knowing her)?
Shelli Proffitt Howells. Shelli is writer extraordinaire, sounding block, and invaluable friend that I have had the enviable pleasure of knowing. Of course you can get to know her too if you visit her blog A*Musings. She has a wealth of knowledge and encouragement waiting for you, so go check her out!
As the rules go, it is my turn to pass along the two awards to five more bloggers, link back to the giver of the award, and awardees know you’ve given them the award. Shelli, had you not chosen me I would have sent these to you first (although I guess I wouldn’t even have them to give you if you hadn’t chosen me first–which just tells you how awesome she is folks!)
The others I have chosen have likewise been stalwart and supportive in my efforts to join the writing community, and have finally convinced me that I am a writer.
Liz Adair at Liz Sez
Tanya Parker Mills at Fiction that Bridges Cultures
Wendy Jones at The Ear Wax Tastes Like Crayon
Joan Sowards at Haunts Haven
Aprilynne Pike at Apparently!
Thanks again to Shelli and all those who have given me so much help along the way.
P.S. Until I get published hopefully this acknowledgment will suffice.


  • Shelli says:
    You know it is well deserved! Thanks for your kind words; see, that’s why I chose you — you always know just what to say to make me feel good. Now I get to go take a peek at the other blogs you’ve chosen.
  • Thanks for the mention and honor, Karen! You’ve been a real help, as well. Writers need to stick together.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Treasure Tuesday--What's that smell?

Sarah crawled out of bed, ignoring the cold floor as she pulled her tattered blanket and stuffed giraffe along towards the door. Sam had sent her back to bed more than once, but it wasn’t just the noise keeping her up anymore. There was a strange smell tickling her nose and making the tiny hairs on her arms stand on edge.

Her feet were silent as they found the top of the stairs, her nose wrinkling up even more now that she was out in the open. She moved cautiously down the stairs, the smell growing stronger as she went. Sam caught sight of her halfway down and jumped off the couch quickly, the look of embarrassment on his face almost as much as the anxiousness.

“Sarah,” he groaned, shooing her up the stairs. “Why can’t you just stay in bed? I mean it’s bad enough I’ve got to babysit, but–”
“But I smell smoke,” she said, wrinkling her nose up again.
“What?” He whipped his head towards the downstairs and took a deep breath, his eyes widening in recognition. He pushed Sarah the rest of the way to her room and then ran down the stairs, yelling to his friends the entire time.

Sarah stood in her doorway pushing her giraffe against her nose, attempting to block the smell while consoling her favorite stuffed friend. She could hear the windows being wrenched open and some of the kids running outside. The smell was getting stronger now, and no matter which way she turned she found it was the same. Her head flipped around at the sound of the pipes coming to life, the quaint but old house allowing just as much noise as draft to creep in.

Her parents never ran the hose during the winter, but there was no mistaking that familiar sound. She pulled her blanket around her face, wrapping both nose and animal up tight. Her parent’s voices soon added to the many others, and sounding even more upset than her brother Sam’s.

Sarah crept back into bed, but was only there a few minutes before her mother came in to check on her.

“Am I in trouble?” Sarah asked, hiding her giraffe so that at least one person wouldn’t get yelled at tonight. “I know I got out of bed, but–”

“No!” her mother exclaimed, taking Sarah in her arms and hugging her close to her chest. Sarah smiled as relief spread through her body, knowing her giraffe was safely secure beneath the blankets. Her mother always hugged her too tight. In fact, she was struggling even now to breathe when she noticed the air wasn’t quite so smelly anymore. “You didn’t do anything wrong,” her mother assured her. “In fact, you did something right. Your brother was too busy with his friends to notice the smell, and there was a spark from the fireplace that caught the roof on fire. I don’t know what would have happened if you hadn’t been here to warn him. He’s very grateful. We all are.”

Her mother tucked her back in and kissed her forehead, offering another one to her giraffe which he accepted gratefully. Her mother’s kisses were always soft.

Sarah had almost drifted off when a light knock sounded at her door and Sam poked his head inside. “Sarah? I just wanted to say I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have gotten upset, but when….well….when my friends act like you’re cooler than me I guess I get a little jealous. Next time my friends are over, would you like to hang out with us?”

Sarah smiled and held her giraffe out to Sam. “Can Sam come to?”
“Your giraffe’s name is Sam?”
“Yes. He’s my very best friend. Just like you.”
“Love you too, Sarah.”

Next week’s prompt: A pink sock comes through the wash and sends the whole house into a hissy fit.

1 Comment

Shelli says:

Awww, that was such a sweet story! I enjoyed it. Have you thought of submitting to The Friend? This would be a great story to try your hand at getting it published.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tough Love

Six years.

It only took six years for our tree to grow.

And it all began with: one stick, lots of sun, even more water, and lots of love (well, as much love as you can give a stick). For six years we’ve watched our sweet little apple tree blossom and grow. And blossom and grow. And grow. And grow. And lean. And um….lean further, each hurricane passing through beating a little harder against our poor struggling stick. One that refused to be righted, but still hung on. And 5 1/2 years later it was still a stick; but with a bunch of other ones attached and holding a token amount of leaves. But…

No apples.

Frustrating, you ask? Um….very. So much so that we had finally given it up for lost and decided to start over. That is, we tried. First we stood alongside the poor decrepit tree and asked, “Why? Why hadn’t it grown. Hadn’t we done our part? Taken care of it? Nurtured it the best we could? Even given it some friends to hang out with and encourage it’s growth?” But alas, it had refused to give fruit. Disappointed and more than a little upset we still could not bring ourselves to cut it down. So we took the last course known to experienced parents.

We threatened it.

Yes, that’s right. We stood in the yard and gave the tree an ultimatum. If it couldn’t get its act together by the next spring it would have to go. Making way for a tree that would serve its intended purpose. I mean, this tree was struggling so badly it couldn’t even give us some decent shade.

That’s when we witnessed a miracle. While we were grieving the loss of a beloved family member our tree grew. And grew. And grew. We watched the blossoms arrive…then explode…followed quickly by fruit. We would run outside each new day and marvel that amidst the struggle of death, we were witnessing life!

Was it actually happening? Yes. Our beautiful stick had finally decided to become a tree. An honest to goodness, bushel full of apples producing tree. They’re as big as our fists now and are almost ready to harvest. Not to mention the beautiful branches that are so gorgeous that they served as the background for my daughter’s photo shoot.

As I marveled at the transformation I was reminded of the importance of talking to plants. Talking though, not yelling. But then I realized that the same thing applied to parenting, and that sometimes a little time and the occasional tough love is just what the doctor would order. And he has, in our home, many times. And the results have been remarkably the same. Watching our children blossom and grow into their full potential as we patiently nurture, instruct, and on occasion call them to repentance. Reminding them of their divine potential and how they’re not living up to it.

There are even times when I have seen a parent make the hardest choice of all and set their children free. But without that push, they would never find the courage to stretch themselves and discover what they’re truly capable of.

So the tree lives. And we have apples. And in relation to parenting, we’ve been thus blessed with the knowledge that with a little patience and prodding, there’s always hope. But hope that may need a little tough love to help it along.
Our beautiful…leaning…tree.


  • Shelli says:
    I have a beautiful, huge butterfly bush that likewise toppled over. I probably should have gotten rid of it already, but I can’t give up the butterflies and hummingbirds that love it no matter what. So I keep telling the landscapers to cut a little here, a little there, trying to get it to at least look kinda normal. I should let go of my perfectionism and just let it be.
    Great analogy to parenting, especially for parents of teens. Boy, that’s tough! I’ll let you know in a few years if mine end up producing fruit.
  • I think more importantly though, as parents we need to allow kids to make mistakes along the way, even if they’re big ones. Often times we try to fix the mistake before it happens but how does that teach the child how to work through a problem they’ve created? When we allow them to make those mistakes when the time comes to set them “free,” they will be better equiped to deal with the real world and the mistakes that come with being human.
  • Barbara Butler says:
    July 17, 2010 at 6:14 am
    The tree is beautiful, the story is right on, grow apples, grow! I love fruit trees, and you are correct, this is a lesson learned on tough love. Not having any children, I feel I should not give you any advice. However, I adopt every kid around that will give me a smile and a hug, and if it came to that, tough love would be what I would use. Not being related to the children in my ward, I still become a little tough with them if it proves necessary. And you know what? These same kids seem to really like me.
    From a childless grandma.
    barbara b
    Karen says: You’re so right Barbara. All of us have the potential to make a difference in the lives of others. It just takes a little bit of time and love. Thanks for sharing!

  • Susan G. Haws says:
    Nice analogy. On the straight plant talk it makes you wonder if I should be more firm instead of pleading to make my plants thrive.
  • Jolene says:
    Love your leaning tree. Gotta have something with character.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Treasure Tuesday and the Merciful Witch

“You can’t!”

“I must. There is no other way.”

“You could leave. Run away. I won’t follow you, I promise.”

“Promise? But you also promised to destroy me. So which am I to believe?”

“I–I changed my mind. Please. I was wrong to accuse you. Surely you believe in forgiveness. Please have mercy.”

“Hmmmm. Mercy. Such a rare thing these days. Everyone is so concerned for their own well-being; in acquiring more. Rising over one another. It’s despicable. Why can’t we all just live in peace?”

“Peace? You turned my father into stone.”

“Because he called me a witch. Of course I am, so perhaps my actions were a little harsh. But he wasn’t merely referring to my powers. It was my disposition he despised. But you’re right. Mercy is a far better course and I suppose you did not personally do me any harm. Very well. I will not destroy you, but I cannot have you following me either. Therefore I shall simply turn you into an animal. Any animal you wish. You may live in peace and perhaps gain a better appreciation for creatures who are different than yourself.”

“You can’t–”

“Please stop telling me I can’t, when clearly I can. What you mean to say is that you wish me not to, just as I wish your father would have simply allowed me to dwell in peace. Instead he hunted me down and forced me to renounce myself or be destroyed. What is it about being different that is so appalling to other people?”

“They fear what they do not understand.”

“Well said, which is why I am giving you a second chance. Now choose.”

“Any animal you say? Then I choose a horse, so I can carry you away and be your friend. For truly you are lonely and have not been treated well.”

“My! What a delightful creature you truly are. Perhaps there is some good in you yet. Come. Carry me away. And perhaps in time, you will heal my lonely heart and convince me to set you free.”


I hope you enjoyed this latest installment, where I experimented in story telling using nothing but dialogue. :) And a little moral thrown in for good measure.

Next week’s prompt: You wake up in the middle of the night to a strange smell and feel compelled to seek it out.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Winter Wonderland Take Two

Another day, another piece of furniture that came with styrofoam. This time the winter wonderland adventure was sanctioned. And though I got a picture, it wasn’t half as messy as the first episode. Maybe I’ll give it a couple of days and see if they can do a better job. Because right now it looks more like icebergs instead of snow.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Treasure Tuesday--A dark but beautiful scene

The room was dark and the air a stifling mix of dust and sweat, but I wouldn’t have traded anything to be here. In fact, I had paid to be here considering the ticket, the taxi and the hotel I was staying in during acting camp. It was a glorious week of lines and pines, weeping and peeping…which I suspected was the cause for landing me in the mess I was in right now.

“So how long do you think it’ll take for them to miss us?” Logan asked.

I didn’t know what hurt worse. My arm when we fell through the trap door and got stuck, or the fact that Logan sounded so eager to get out of here. We had been practicing a scene. A love scene of all things, when the floor beneath us gave way and we fell through the stage. I suspected foul play even though it had collapsed twice already during the week when it was clear no one was by the switch. The set was as decrepit as it was cool, AND a perfect opportunity to pull a prank. They had been happening all week, though were usually a little less dangerous. Hair gel in place of toothpaste. Cellophane on the toilet seat. Logan and Lance had been trading off pranks all week, and this time I had gotten caught in the middle.

Not that I minded too much seeing as who I was currently stuck with, though my arm had seen better days. Logan was awesome in every possible way. Dashing and charming, with more than a few muscles–though they had failed to pry the hatch open once we fell through. I wasn’t much help.

“How’s your arm,” Logan asked, and I heard a shuffling sound and then a hand reach out for my arm.

I tried to keep my voice steady. “It’s fine. You don’t have to–” He put his hand against my shoulder and pushed gently.

“Liar. No wonder you’re here. You need all the acting classes you can get, Deb.”

“As much as you need a lesson in humility.”

He laughed. “Who needs to act when the truth is so much fun.”

“You’re telling me you enjoyed getting tossed through the stage and trapped with all the bugs? At least it’s dark so I don’t have to see what’s crawling up my leg right now.”

To his credit, Logan ran his hand down my leg and tried to brush aside whatever creature was trying to befriend me, making some very unsettling noises. “How can you be so calm?” he barked as I heard him brushing his own legs. Just to be sure.

“Good acting,” I said, taking a deep breath. I had been holding it ever since the bug first attached itself to my leg, but I didn’t want Logan to think he had been trapped with a complete baby.

“Huh. Well, congratulations,” he said, and I could hear the admiration in his voice. “Maybe there is a thing or two you could teach the rest of us. Like the scene you were just helping me with? Why don’t we finish what we started while we wait for someone to find us.”

“It could take all night.”

“Practicing or someone finding us?” he asked.

“Yes,” I smiled.

“Hmm. I like the sound of it either way,” he said and slid the hand at my shoulder around my back. “So where were we.”

“You were proclaiming your undying love although it sounded more like you were dying than proclaiming.”

“Well, let’s see if I can’t get it right this time.”

It took two hours for someone to come and get us. By then, Logan had perfected his art.

Oh, yeah. I wouldn’t have traded this scene for anything.


Next week: Tell me about your first kiss. Perfect? Not so good? Good, but perfect because it was still a kiss? Do tell…



  • Shelli says:

    Oh, I’m so late getting around to reading this! So sorry, I had a bad weekend that drifted into a bad week… it happens.

    I love the YA voice in this piece. I like the contrast of good news/bad news. I can see how they would take advantage of the situation and how it would be a story, a great memory forever. Very nice!

  • Karen says:

    Thanks Shelli! I love writing YA, and um…yeah it would be kind of a cool memory, wouldn’t it. Not like this has ever happened to me or anything. Really it didn’t. :) But there were other “advantageous situations” in my life. But good luck sorting out which of my pieces are based on dreams and which ones, reality. Maybe I should hold a contest to see if people can figure out which is which. Hmmmmm….

Monday, June 28, 2010

What publishing and chocolate have in common

I was reading Rachelle Gardner’s blog today and something she said about what’s hot right now in the publishing world struck me so profoundly I decided to make it the source of my own blog entry this morning. She said “… you should realize that decisions to focus on hot genres aren’t based on what publishers think people want to read. It’s not a guess. It’s based on what’s actually selling.”

I thought about this long and hard and realized that perhaps there’s a reason why the “hot” genre stays hot for so long and why publishers get caught in the current trends in the first place. It’s not just that the economy is making publishers skiddish of new and upcoming authors, titles, and concepts, but that they’re caught in a vicious circle perpetuated by both themselves and the consumer.

Publishers are indeed interested in selling what’s hot but perhaps the reason that they stay so hot is because that’s all that’s being offered. I mean when you look around at the teen books, what choice do they have when the gluttony of books are all paranormal? And read they must! The book world itself is feeding an unending frenzy, because until the teenagers decide they’ve had enough of what’s “available” and stop buying any books…period… the current books being sold will continue to be popular. I’m not saying they aren’t and that I haven’t read a few myself, but it’s kind of like this:
Candy factories used to make delicious scrumptious candies and have salesmen take them from door to door and get orders for them. They were expensive, but oh what a treat. Then someone realized that they could make more money if they simply put them in stores.

From there, others found ways to make them even less expensive but taste just as good and call them candy bars. Now even kids could afford them and they could be packaged to last longer. The expensive candies became less in demand because the candy bars were taking away their business and forcing them to cut back on their availability. Over time the were only a few select stores carrying delicate treats (like See’s) making it harder for us to indulge. That’s all well and good, because I do like candy bars, but I still love See’s candy (as do my kids). I also know that I would buy more if there were more stores around. But there aren’t more stores because no one’s buying. But no one’s buying because there aren’t more stores around. Hmmmm….see what I mean?

All the talk about e-books makes me a little hopeful and yet still invariably wary. Yes, I can see how it would certainly broaden readership and help the overall book industry, but for me it’s kind of like ordering a box of chocolates through the mail. I can’t sample the chocolate before I buy it, so I’m taking a risk that the taste of the book—I mean chocolate—will be to my liking. And if it isn’t? Well, I can’t exactly turn around and offer it to someone else the same way I would a printed book.

So, what to do? Do I follow the trend so I can be published, hoping that I can then use my name and connections to bring the book out that I REALLY wanted to write? Or do I hunker down and wait for the small audience that will one day grace my store and enjoy the delicacy I have to offer.

I applaud the publishers that are taking risks on new authors, new titles, and working to expand the genre for readers of all ages. But I also look forward to the day when blood, gore, and magic aren’t the major sources our teens have in order to find something exciting to lose themselves in. I mean, personally if my child is looking for someone to emulate, I would rather not have it be a vampire or a werewolf, or even a wizard…which I guess is why I’m writing the story that I am. Yes, those things are fun, but then you’ve heard the saying, ‘too much of a good thing?’ Personally I’m there, and am now looking forward to finding that salesman (or woman) out there who will be willing to help me (and others like me) sell books of varying topics, and in a way that makes them available to everyone in the package that they want.

So what about you? What are your reasons for writing? What are your intentions? Do you love writing enough to have only a few select readers? And do you even care if you get paid? Or are you writing to please the current trend because it’s all about creativity and hey, you need to support your habit.



  • Debra Erfert says:
    I don’t like vampires, and I can’t stand werewolves, and I’m glad they weren’t the rage while I was growing up. Interesting questions you asked, Karen. They kind of knocked me aside my head; got me thinking about why I am writing. I guess, yes, I love to write, and yes, yes, I want to get paid for doing what I love. Someday I hope to see all my efforts come to fruition, and basically prove to my husband that I haven’t wasted all my time at the computer with my head in the clouds when he wants me to be at my drawing table producing art that has immediate monetary rewards.
  • Shelli says:
    I have a feeling that there is a revolution coming in the publishing world. Our technology explosion demands it. I can only think that expanding options will mean that there are more chances for us to get our book, the way we wrote it, into the hands of people who crave just that thing. I write what I write with a strange faith that it will all work out somehow in the end.
  • Karen says:
    Both of you are right. My own husband is SO supportive, but I can see him question my vigor at times (read: hours spent at the computer). And though I love taking my book wherever I go, I’ve read more than my fair share via my computer. Big changes ahead all around and my hope is that they work in my favor. ALL our favors. :)