Friday, March 30, 2012

Back from Break and Excited for the A-Z Challenge!

I'm back from my blogging break, and can't wait to get started on the A-Z in April Challenge this Sunday. I can't believe it's April 1st already!

My break turned out to be exactly what I needed, and I managed to finish a second draft of my WIP. I did a lot of revising and fleshing out of the characters and situations, and ended up adding more than 11,000 words to my original word count. I feel 100 times better about the story than I did when I wrote my Insecure Writer's Support Group post back at the beginning of the month, and it feels great to be able to say that. Now I am putting the new draft aside for a while and letting it sit before I attack it again for more revisions and editing later.

I also was thrilled to get some paid freelance assignments this month that I really enjoyed doing, so March was a very productive month for me. But, I definitely missed interacting with everyone here in the blogosphere, so I'm looking forward to getting back to blogging and jumping right in with the A-Z Challenge.

Last year I didn't have a theme for my A-Z posts so I decided to change it up this time and write my posts around a specific theme. I'm going to expand on the idea behind my Travels With Clancy project, which is to find the beauty in my own backyard, and write an A-Z of Cincinnati for this year's challenge. I'm writing about landmarks, historical sites, parks and nature preserves, and just general things of interest to me in this area.

If you're new to the challenge and haven't signed up yet, it's not too late to participate! Just visit the sign-up page here and add your blog to the list. 

I'm looking forward to catching up with everyone, and reading all the A-Z posts as we go through April. I hope everyone has a great weekend ahead, and I'll see you on Sunday for the letter A! :)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Cherie Reich's Birthday Bash

I'm still taking my blogging break that I mentioned yesterday, but I just wanted to write a short post to wish my buddy Cherie Reich a very Happy Birthday, and to help spread the word about her birthday give-away.

Cherie is celebrating her 30th birthday by offering her new book Defying Gravity free on Kindle for today only. I read Cherie's Once Upon a December Nightmare last year and it was a great read, and I've no doubt her new book will be just as good.

Defying Gravity is the first book in a trilogy so this is a wonderful chance to get started on what is sure to be a great series. For free!

Help Cherie celebrate her big day, and the start of a new decade, by joining the party here.

Now I really am going to take a blogging break. ;) See you all for the A-Z in April!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Insecurity in Dreams?

It's time for the March meeting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group and, as always, I want to send a huge thank you to Alex J. Cavanaugh for hosting the group. If you haven't already checked out Alex's new book, CassaFire, I highly recommend it.

The timing of this month's group couldn't be better for me, as I've been really struggling with my own personal insecurity hag while working on editing and revising the first draft of my WIP. It's not enough that the hag has disrupted my waking hours, she has now even invaded my dreams.

Recently I had a dream where I was at my sister's house, and she had just read my first draft. She sat down on her couch with a very serious expression and told me that she was sorry, but my story was the worst thing she'd ever read and it was all she could do to stay awake reading it. I was taken aback and told her she didn't have to be quite so harsh, and she said she felt she had to be brutally honest so I accepted my failures and didn't humiliate myself any further. She kept going on that I needed to just stop right now and be done with it. Basically, she was Simon Cowell, and I was a pitiful tone-deaf singer struggling through an audition.

My sister was offended by the dream, as she wondered why I would turn her into such a nasty hag in my subconscious. It was actually a bit funny, as my sister has always been very supportive and one of my biggest cheerleaders, and even if she didn't like my work I know she would never cut me down like she did in this dream.

But the dream was obviously a representation of the anxiety I have been struggling with since starting on my revisions. Have you ever had your insecurity take over your dreams? I can't deny I hope this is one dream I won't have again.

At any rate, I'm trying to shut out the insecurities both when I'm awake and when I'm asleep and just continue on with the writing.

To that end, I don't think I'll be blogging for the rest of the month, as I really want to focus on my revisions and see if I can come up with a second draft that works for me. I also need to start writing my posts for the A-Z Challenge. I've had my topics in mind since January and planned to get everything started back then but, as is my habit, I've managed to put everything off until the last minute again. So I think I am going to step back from blogging for the rest of March and come back strong for the Challenge.

Speaking of, if you haven't signed up for the A-Z in April Challenge yet, I can't recommend it enough! I can say without hesitation that signing up for last year's Challenge was the best blogging decision I've made. Check out the A-Z site for all the details and sign-up info.

Thanks again to Alex for hosting today's group, and I hope everyone is coming out on the winning end of your battles with insecurity.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Catching Up

I haven't been blogging much in the past few weeks since I started editing and revising my WIP and found the task to be more overwhelming than I expected. Yikes! I knew the job was going to be difficult, but I admit I am pulling my hair out more than I anticipated.

During this time I was tagged by three great bloggers, Annalisa Crawford, Nutschell of The Writing Nut, and The Armchair Squid, and I want to catch up now and say thank you so much to all three of them for thinking of me!

Each tag came with 10 questions, but I worried I would bore everyone to death if I answered all 30 of them, so I thought I would just take 5 from each and post my answers to 15 questions. Hopefully that won't be too long! The first 5 are from Armchair, the second 5 from Nutschell, and the last 5 are from Annalisa. It was fun to think of answers to all of these. 

1. What is your dream vacation?

I'd love to drive around and explore the western United States, seeing the Rocky Mountains, visiting national parks like Yellowstone and Zion, going back to the Grand Canyon, and ending up in my favorite city I've ever visited, San Francisco. I love what I've seen of the West, and would love to have all the time in the world to explore more of it.

2. Tell us one thing you want to do but don't dare do it.

I really want to learn to swim. I tried more than once as a child, but was very afraid of the water. Now I'm chicken to take lessons as an adult.

3. What's your biggest phobia?

I'm very uncomfortable in elevators and I hate to be in tightly enclosed spaces.

4. Name three blessings in your life.

1. I had a happy childhood and am fortunate to have a close and loving family. As I've grown older I've learned what a blessing that is. 2. I am in good health, knock on wood. 3. I have discovered this amazing opportunity to transform my life through writing, and so far it has been one of the biggest blessings of my life.

5. What is your favorite quote?

I have several, but if I had to pick just one I think it would be this:  

It is never too late to be what you might have been ~ George Eliot

6.  What’s your ultimate caffeine source?

Coffee, coffee, and more coffee.


7. Favorite music source? (Radio, Pandora, Spotify, CD, Ipod, etc)

My Ipod is one of my favorite toys I've ever owned. I can't live without it.  

8. Favorite Writing book?

Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott

9. Favorite TV show?

I'm a total tv junkie so it's nearly impossible for me to pick just one, but of the shows on the air right now I'd say Game of Thrones is my favorite. I can't wait for it to return next month. 

10. Harry Potter or Twilight?

Harry all the way. I totally love the Harry Potter series, and I'm not a Twilight fan, so this one was easy. 

11. Which book, that you're supposed to love, do you actually hate?

Pride and Prejudice. I know it's almost considered blasphemous, but I don't enjoy Jane Austen. Flame away, I can take it. :D

12. Can you remember your first teacher?

Yes. My kindergarten teacher was Mrs. Phillips. At the time I thought she was old, but I think now she was probably only about 22. Perspectives change a great deal!

13. In which order should Star Wars be watched: IV, V, VI, I, II, III or I, II, III, IV, V, VI?

I confess I've never seen I or II. I did see III and didn't care for it. So I am just going to say IV, V, VI. 

14. Which fictional character would you like to be for a day?

Sookie Stackhouse. I don't even like the character, but having Eric Northman drooling over me would be a nice way to spend the day. :D

Eric Northman

15. Do you still have your first teddy bear? (I do.)

I do, too, and it is a very beat up and dearly loved Winnie the Pooh.

So those are my 15 questions and answers. I hope I haven't put everyone to sleep! Thanks again to Armchair, Nutschell, and Annalisa for tagging me. If you're not already familiar with their blogs, I highly recommend all 3 of them.

Now back to revising and pulling out what remains of my hair. ;)