Friday, February 24, 2017

Words of Welcome Transforming Neighborhoods

This week's post is dedicated to Pigasister Victoria's husband Austin! This winter, Austin used one simple sentence (in three languages) to give his entire neighborhood a makeover, and the message of welcome is spreading all over the capital city area--and communities elsewhere in the United States.


Austin and another member of our church, Mary Elaine, have teamed up to get hundreds of these signs printed, and they are selling them at the church during coffee hour. Already, we've heard many stories of people jogging or walking in the neighborhood, turning a corner, and seeing rows of these colorful signs speaking words of welcome to them in their language of origin and moving them to tears. These signs are crossing political divides, uniting political conservatives and liberals who wish to break the silence on our shared support for our local refugees and college town immigrants who contribute so much to our lives and our cities--and who are simply human beings worthy of living in peace among us, regardless of the political climate.

You can read more about Austin's sign campaign in the news here, and if you are not living in the Lansing area, you can order your own yard sign online here.

Friday, February 17, 2017

#AmTripping on Fever, Dextrowhatever, and Virtual... Trips

I was going to send query letters this week, but fortunately I was stricken by an outrageous case of the influenza. (Yes, I got a flu shot. No, I don't take whatever magic supplements you sell. Get off my lawn.) I say "fortunately" because I have awoken several times, drenched in sweat, confused and frightened and suddenly aware of a continuity error in one of my book chapters that needs to be fixed before I send it out. I've been writing them down so I can check them in my lucid moments, and these realizations are true. Apparently my subconscious mind works better when I'm unconscious and crazeballs. So, silver lining.

On an unrelated note, this is my family, dressed the way they like to appear when they sneak up on me in the dark.


I've been passing most of my time in bed, watching YouTube travelogues and documentaries about archaeological sites. I notice the people who make these things apparently do not watch other people's documentaries or travelogues before they make theirs. How strange. I have become enlightened with some priceless wisdom that, like any high person, I feel compelled to document and post on the internet. So here you go.


Things I Learned on YouTube This Week


1. Your grandmother's top-secret, never-before-revealed recipe is cheating on you in at least four other countries.

2. If the Bedouin guy tells you that you are the first cameraman ever to be allowed onto this archaeological site, he might be assuming you will feel too self-important to Google whether you are being punked and there is footage of the site on YouTube taken as far back as the 1950s. P.S. That Bedouin guy has a phone. He is probably watching you on YouTube right now and laughing at how much excitement you are expressing at this historic moment.

3. In every war/disaster zone deemed "uninhabitable," from Chernobyl to the Kalahari Desert, if you look hard enough, you will find a ferocious old woman and a goat.

Friday, February 10, 2017

#AmWriting a New Summary for a Revised Grove of Thorismud

The Grove of Thorismud has been rerewitten and revised a couple of times--stripped of 6,000 unnecessary words and filled out again with clearer character motivations and inner journeys, thanks to a good deal of beta help from my Pigasister Christina Mitchell.

Next, I wrote a new book summary for a new round of query letters. I've drafted up the following, which I am running by members of my writers' association while I decide which agents to contact:

Rosemary is an insomniac teen with a cutting habit who accidentally ends her mother’s reign of peace by setting off a hundred-year sleeping curse. She awakens to find that the next ruling dynasty of her small forest kingdom has also fallen, and the valley has been invaded by eaters of human flesh. 

Two aspiring heroes converge upon the valley to take the throne: Johann Farmer and Bellynda, a nomadic wolf huntress. Bellynda wins the race to power by freeing the crown prince Gustav from a spell that had transformed him into a beast. She marries Gustav and claims the valley as the promised land of her people.

Queen Bellynda shows mercy to Johann, who is a relative of King Gustav, by giving him the post of bishop and allowing him to promote his peaceful faith among the tribal barbarians and nomads of the valley. But Johann is not satisfied to take orders from a foreign woman, and he finds himself disappointed with his new wife Rosemary as well.

Rosemary adores Johann and believes that she has achieved her girlhood fantasy of marrying for true love, but her frustrated husband begins to treat her with escalating cruelty. She finds her only source of comfort and protection in an intimate friendship with his rival, Queen Bellynda.
As the two households form complicated alliances and intrigues, the queen plays a dangerous game, encouraging an attraction between Rosemary and Bellynda’s own husband, King Gustav. Torn between loyalty to her husband and her queen, Rosemary must fight a lifetime of repression and learn to follow her own heart.