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Showing posts from July, 2010

Fantasy Blog Hop

Are you a fantasy writer or reader? Check out this blog hop hosted by Tessa Conte of Tessa's Blurb!

There will be an opportunity to sign up and join the meeting and greeting when the weekly topic matches your area of expertise or interest.

Here is a mocked up "cover" of my fantasy WIP, Briars and Black Hellebore, courtesy of Microsoft Office fonts and clip art. Hehe.

So what genre is your WIP? Are you a fellow fantasy writer? If you happen to be working on a fairy tale- or folklore-based narrative or anything set in medieval times before the Crusades, please introduce yourself so I'll be sure not to miss your blog!

Notes from Underground contest reminder

The deadline for the Notes from Underground contest at the Literary Lab is in just three weeks! This is an opportunity to see your work in print, as part of an anthology that will be produced POD. Check out the button in my sidebar for a link.

The application consists of five pages of free form writing! You could spend a lot of time on it, or you could submit something you've already written as a "writing sample," or you could whip something out in an hour like I did.

Yeah, that's right! I'm easing back into the writing "zone" after a First Trimester of Pregnancy break from creative writing.

Now the only thing getting in my way is my long nails... but I won't cut them yet! By golly, I am going to get all the benefits I can out of these prenatal vitamins. I'll just have to get used to that icky sound of nails scratching on the keyboard.

Nesting Already?

My second trimester feels so much better than my first. No nausea, fewer aches and pains, the end of the extreme exhaustion. However, those fabled "superpowers" have yet to kick in after 14 weeks. What has kicked in (already!!) seems to be my nesting instinct.

Before I got pregnant, writing was SO much more appealing to me than housework. I rationalized not doing laundry for two months straight so I could reach a writing goal. I let the dishes pile up until (gasp) the men in the house washed them. I admit, I was not always a very good part-time housewife. I wasn't terrible--it never got the the point of biohazard or small animals getting lost in piles of junk--but still, I'm no Martha Stewart. I had to push myself to sweep the floor, and I couldn't wait to sit down at my writing desk.

Now that my energy has returned, it's the reverse! When I sit down to write, I think to myself, "I could be wiping out the cupboards right now." Seriously, wiping th…

What has talking to your child taught you?

Pregnancy update: Baby G can HEAR already! At this stage of development, the ear bones and nerves are connected, and the little nugget is learning to recognize and respond to sounds. Such as my voice and Mr. G's.

Because I read this in my pregnancy book, I now imagine talking to Baby G all the time. Sometimes I picture Baby G as a toddler and, as I go about my day, I wonder what Baby G would ask me--and what I would say--about everything going on.

Coincidentally, this time also happens to be when I am supposed to be delving back into my manuscript rewrites. I also have one or two smaller writing side projects I want to do.

But it's difficult to start again. I feel confused, uncertain about the direction of my writing and what I want to say, exactly.

Sometimes I imagine explaining what I'm writing to Baby G. Sometimes this helps. Summarizing my ideas in three-year-old language is amazingly clarifying. It forces me to think much deeper about certain subjects than I normall…

Cinnamon for the Roses

It's funny how my internet research on healthful, organic living (for me and Baby G) and on medieval times (for my novel) often overlap. I wouldn't want to live in the "dark ages," but ironically, there was plenty of wisdom and knowledge around at that time that is often overlooked in modern times.

Like the medicinal and gardening uses for various essential oils, herbs, and spices.

Today, I checked online to confirm what I had heard about the antifungal properties of cinnamon. Turns out cinnamon is a good antifungal, as well as a good antibacterial and antiviral agent.

This is great news for me, because the roses in front of my house look like hell this summer. The poor things! It's been blazing hot this year. Usually I enjoy the heat, but pregnant, I cannot handle it. On most days I can't be outside for more than five minutes at a time, which means that my gardens have been sorely neglected. I was able to harvest a basketful of potatoes and garlic this aft…

Pregnancy Writing Boost: Dreams and Creativity

I have noticed that my dreams have been more vivid than usual lately, and I remember them more often without trying. That is, without dream journaling or doing any other conscious practice to cultivate dream memory.

Research suggests that remembered dreams and creativity are linked, so I feel that now is a perfect time to restart my writing routine. I plan to spend Saturday getting back into the groove by working on my novel and an "application" to participate in the Notes from Underground project (see sidebar).

Another crazy thing about pregnant dreaming? I have now had three remembered dreams about my future child. In my first trimester, I dreamed of a little boy with dark hair and eyes like my husband. I was convinced that I was having a boy.
Now, in my second trimester, I have had two remembered dreams of having a little girl with blonde pigtails. In the last one, I dreamed of giving birth to her in the Yellow Room at my house that will be the baby room.

Who will it be??

Laughing through Pregnancy and Revisions

Second trimester: I am now ready to get serious about my novel again, as the months of exhaustion and nausea have passed. My writing schedule will begin again this weekend, when I will finish my rewrite of Chapters 1-6 (Part I) and try to have it sent to beta readers by the end of the month. I've already peeked at it and felt a wave of malaise at how much work obviously needs to be done--so obvious after letting it sit for three months.

The second trimester is also when I start to get so big that I really, really can't wear a lot of my clothes, not even if I leave them unzipped and throw a belt on top.

On Sunday we had a "yay, I'm pregnant but feeling better" cookout for my family and some friends, and I gave away some of my clothes that will not fit me again for, oh, a year or two, if ever. I also worked on finishing up my pregnant muumuu dress that Mrs. Waxx has helped me sew, which has an adjustable waist and bust.

Sadly, no one nabbed my "up North wood…

Six Languages in Six Months

In preparation for Baby G, Mr. G and I have embarked upon a "Six Languages in Six Months" crash course for ourselves. We want our child to learn multiple languages at a tender age, when the brain is most spongy and absorbent to the nuances of language, so we thought we would brush up on our Romances and Germanics. It may be turn out to be more useful for our kid to learn Chinese, but hey, we need to start somewhere. And besides, we fantasize about moving to Europe one day...

Learning foreign languages is also a great way to excite my own brain about language in general. To hear familiar ideas expressed differently, to sample exotic flavors of thought, to become acutely aware of tone, phonetic sound, and layers of meaning--all these things enrich my use of English. I know a little bit of a few languages, but I am only fluent in English. I suppose I could still become fluent in something else (my brain feeling not entirely crusty and dried up at 27), but even if I don't, i…

Short Story: Dear Hideo

What do you get when you combine the longing of ancient Japanese love poetry with the geeky snark of an American teenager? I thought I would find out by writing a short story in letter form. It was part of a series of "letters to the loved and lost" I wrote for a writing group prompt. One was about a frenemy intentionally "lost," one was about a childhood friend who died, and one was about teenage first love waxing on, waxing off. I submitted the last one, "Dear Hideo," to Michelle Davidson Argyle's Short Story Contest--and won second place! The story that won third place was incredible, so I feel very honored. And I can't wait to read the first place winner on Monday! Check out The Innocent Flower to read the three winning stories and find links to some of the honorable mentions.

Seriously, click here and read! What do you think?

Hidden Treasure

You know that feeling you get when you find $20 in the laundry? Finding stuff you didn't even realize you'd been missing is great fun. I had TWO of those experiences yesterday, one gustatory and one literary.

The credit for the first find goes to Mr. G. (Mr. G has been, himself, one of those hidden treasures, if you will, but that's another story.)

We have a row of scraggly trees at the back edge of our yard, surrounded by weeds, brush piles, and thistles. It's mosquito heaven and skunks like to root around in the undergrowth, so I never go back there.

But Mr. G did! After mowing the lawn, something caught his eye, and he climbed back there to discover... a whole patch of blackberry bushes and a mulberry tree! It seems that alongside our walnut tree that produces 50+ gallons a year, we can be assured that we'd survive a famine--even if my veggie garden were a complete failure.

We braved the mosquitoes and harvested some berries, supplemented by the wild strawber…

Tampons Take Your Virginity: A Catholic Girl's Memoir by Marie Simas

And now for some creative nonfiction! Marie Simas' new book, Tampons Take Your Virginity: A Catholic Girl's Memoir, is set to be published this month in paper and digital formats.

Click here for Marie's author website.

And click here to see MY comment on her "Lurid Gossip" page! Yes! If you're too lazy to click, here's what I said about her stories:
I feel you, fellow Catholic schoolgirl. I remember asking similar questions as a small child and my mom screaming, "Who TOLD you that?" As if no child could come up with those heretical--and not at all patently obvious--thoughts on her own. As if children were empty vessels to be filled to the brim with bullshit so knowledge (which, of course, is shown to be evil in the Creation story) and curiosity (which is what Satan uses to tempt) cannot enter the innocent mind.
So beware, folks, this book is not for the pure and innocent mind. It is for anyone raised Catholic, especially those of us who found The…