2018, Here I Come

I realized it has been too long since I posted. Not since November. *sigh* But that’s December for you. Always way too busy. It doesn’t help I’m bad at blogging. I struggle to figure out something worthy of being blogged about. I don’t want to bore my readers with mundane stuff.

But you’re getting mundane today. Because that’s all I can think to write about, and it might help to share how my life has been going since 2018 started 4 days ago.

New Year’s Day started off with me being gone on a vacation with my family about 5 hours away from home. Which, was a really good vacation despite the cold weather…until the morning of our last day when my cousin called to let us know he’d stopped by my parents’ house and my horse had gotten out.

Not a good feeling. At all. When horses get out of their pasture, they tend to go all wild horse and run all over the place. They can run for miles, get hit by a car, take hours to be rounded up again. It isn’t a good thing when a horse gets loose. It’s even worse when you’re 5 hours away and can do nothing about it but listen to your dad’s end of the conversation and try to think of something that would help. We were all out of horse grain, but thankfully I had left plenty of the horse’s favorite apple-flavored treats.

Apparently my horse and my brother’s dog (who has a dog run next to the horse pasture) got a little bored sometime in the middle of the night or early morning and between the two of them they managed to tear down a section of fence large enough for the horse to get through.

Thankfully Shadow, my horse, hadn’t gone far, and it appeared he spent most of his time outside the pasture trying to get back into it, but was too scared to go past the dog’s run.

And now my cousin, a virtual stranger to the horse, had to try to get the horse back into the pasture with only a bucket of horse treats.

But this is where it is a good thing I have the laziest, fattest, most homebody of a horse ever. A virtual stranger opens his gate and offers him treats and what does my horse do? Trot right in the pasture to eat the offered treats, that’s what. Getting back into his nice, safe pasture was all he really wanted anyway.

All in all, I only had to panic a few minutes about my horse being out without me being there to make sure he got safely in the pasture.

The next day on my way to my first day back to work after my vacation my truck blew a tire and left me temporarily stranded along side of a busy freeway in 10 degree temperatures and several inches of slush. And when I say blew a tire, I mean the entire side wall was gone and parts of the tire were literally down to the rim. It looked like something out of NASCAR. Thankfully, I kept control of my truck and didn’t spin out into a wall like they tend to do after blown tires in racing.

I wish I could say I remember the feeling of the tire blowing more clearly than I do. If I got the life experience out of it, I should be able to call it book research, except that I mostly write fantasy set in more medieval times and the feeling of a blown tire wouldn’t be all that helpful in that sort of book. Not that blowing a tire and getting stranded along the freeway is necessarily a life experience I wanted to check off my bucket list, but I guess I did anyway.

Note to all of those dealing with cold temperatures: if you’ve been gone for a week of vacation and you have a tire that already is leaking air and then the temperatures drop 40 degrees while you are gone, it can cause issues like really low tire pressure which cause further issues like blown tires. Little life lesson: make sure you check the tire pressures.

Another Little Life Lesson: the jack included in a car is junk. I can change a tire by myself with a proper jack and air wrench in my dad’s barn, but alongside the road with a worthless jack was a bit more challenging. My dad and uncle helped me out at different points throughout the day to get the wrecked tire off, bring the rim to the tire place at the next exit, get to work, leave work once the new tire was ready, go back to my stranded car, and get the new tire on (my spare tire is one of those under the truck sort of spares that are completely worthless on an older vehicle like mine because they become rusted in place and impossible to get off when you are stuck alongside the road).

So that was the first two days of the year for me. Hopefully the rest of this year isn’t so stressful and crazy.

On another note, my vacation gave me time to do some mild editing, and I think I’m finally getting sort of excited about sharing this next book with you. I keep wanting to share snippets and titles and blurbs with you guys, but I’m not letting myself yet. I want to put together the cover and a cover reveal to really make those things have an impact.

But I guess I will share this. One of the pictures I’m using as an inspiration for this current book:

blue-ridge-2809942_1920

How has your 2018 been so far?

Goals for the New Year

Antique pen and inkwell

This is a time of year for looking back at the past year of goals and looking toward new goals. After the holidays punctuate the end of the year in celebration, its time to get back to business. Back to the grind and the hard work that it takes to achieve goals.

This past year, I wrote 3 books and edited 3 books. I sent out 11 query letters and received 11 rejections. I finally established a writing routine and stuck to it for over nine months. I started this blog. All goals checked off a list.

This year, I have a new list of goals. I’d like to write 4 books and edit 3 books. I’d like to improve this blog by making it more reader friendly. I have other goals that I can’t reveal quite yet, but they’re exciting.

The long list of goals can be overwhelming. Shoulders can sag under the weight of goals needing to be checked off lists upon lists. Even exciting goals can be wearisome if they seem too big.

But they needn’t be too big. Yes, I have goals, but I must ultimately bow to God’s will. His will for my life trumps all my goals.

I hope, as you set out on your goals, that you are sustained as you tackle them this year.

Looking forward into this new year of blogging, what would you as readers like to see in this blog? More book reviews? More posts on writing? Other things?

Things to be Thankful For

Snoopy Thanksgiving

By now, you’ve probably read plenty of blog posts about thanksgiving and what people are thankful for. This is a good time of year to pause, look back, and reflect, and I guess this blog post isn’t going to be any different.

I could go on and on about how I’m thankful for nice clothes, a car, my family, etc. Those are all good things to be thankful for, and I am thankful for them. But here I would like to focus on five writing related things that I’m thankful for this year:

1. I’m thankful I wasn’t published this year. That sounds like a strange thing to be thankful for, but I’ve learned so much that I wouldn’t have learnedĀ if publication had come when I’d thought it would.

2. I’m thankful for the community of writers that I’ve discovered. This year, I commented on a few authors’ blogs and discovered that published writers are people too. I’m so thankful for Nadine Brandes, Angie Brashear, Gillian Bronte Adams, Jill Williamson, and other authors who have replied to my comments and encouraged me even though they have never met me in person. I still squeal in excitement when I see an author replied to one of my emails or my comments.

3. I’m thankful for my critique partners, whether they are ones I just met this year or friends I’ve had since high school. You all are so amazing, and I wouldn’t know how to write without your encouragement every step of the way.

4. I’m thankful for Go Teen Writers even though I’m no longer a teen writer. I’ve met so many unpublished, young authors through that blog, and I look forward to getting to know everyone there better next year. The community there is wonderful.

5. Finally, I’m thankful for you, my readers. I don’t even have a book published, but I have 49 likes on my Facebook page and 74 followers on my blog. I never would have thought that possible when I started this blog a few months ago! Thank you so much!

Book Two Blues

Maybe more experienced writers have less trouble with this. Perhaps practice makes it easier. I’m not sure. But in my experience so far, book two in the series I’m working on has been much harder to write than book one. While I became stuck a couple of times in book one, the scenes pushed to be written. When I arrived at the climax, I could barely concentrate that whole week with the urge to write nonstop.

Book two has been a completely different writing experience altogether. From the first word, I have had to work to get the words to come. My word count has slowed to a crawl because I spend twice as much time laboring over the words than I did on book one. I am currently at the climax and all I can do is stare at the page unable to force a word to come out.

Part of the trouble is that book two is more intense than book one. In book one, I introduced the characters and began their character and physical journeys. They were pushed, but not with the amount of difficulties I throw at them in book two. At times, the scenes became so intense I had to stop writing because I was beginning to get sick to my stomach or cry along with the characters. I had to walk away for a while to catch my breath.

I don’t have a lot of experience writing sequels. I wrote several sequels years ago, back before I knew much about writing and they were never longer than about 30k words. This current sequel is the first full-length sequel I’ve ever tackled.

Do more experienced writers struggle with writing book two? Have any of you experienced the same feeling with book two?

Claim the Name

For years, I told everyone who asked that I was going to be a writer someday. They would smile, nod, and tell me that was a good dream for the future in a tone of voice that let me know that it wasn’t going to happen for a long time. That was okay. I was content with writing for fun. I rarely finished anything, but it was fun to toy around with the ideas.

I went off to college. I learned how to write lots of short stories, and I told myself that I didn’t have time to write anything longer. That was okay. I was going to be a writer someday. Eventually.

Then, I graduated. I wanted to launch my writing career as I had been envisioning for four years…and realized that I had nothing to work with. I had some ideas, some half-finished projects, but nothing to use to seek publication. In fact, I knew nothing about publishing. I didn’t even have my own blog.

Somewhere along the way, I had believed my own words. I was going to be a writer someday. Not now.

It was my excuse for not writing. Not being disciplined. Not researching the world of publishing.

It was time for a title change.

I began to tell people that I am a writer. After all, publication doesn’t make a person a writer. The act of writing does. I gave myself a writing schedule. I blog-stalked my favorite authors. I learned. I wrote.

That was a year ago. I have now finished three manuscripts and I’m working on a fourth. I’m launching this blog, and I hope to continue to reach out and make connections with my fellow writers, both published and pre-published.

I wouldn’t trade my years of being a someday writer. I did a lot of practice writing in those years that will never make it off my computer, but the practice brought me to where I am. I couldn’t claim the name of writer until I was ready.

Now I am still learning patience. Publication is still a ways off, and it’s tough to lean on God’s timing instead of mine.

What about you? Are you still calling yourself a someday writer?