Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Christmas Season

Santa Baby
Christmas Card 2013

Made these at the Western Washington Scrapbook Retreat last November. A single ply card with library sleeve on the back where I inserted a small note and kids' school pictures. 

Merry Christmas out there!

Friday, September 27, 2013

SCBWI Western WA Illustrator Exhibit

Lunch Break

Get ready for the open house, family style, on Sunday, October 27th, 2:00 - 5:00 pm. Kids get to create with the artists and see the 67 framed illustrations that represent the local SCBWI Western WA chapter.
I'll be there with "Made My Bed", matted, framed, and ready to go.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Paying Homage to the Community Cookbook

Sorry to those who have gifted me community cookbooks in the past. I don't use cookbooks that don't show color pictures of the food, and I don't trust the instructions that people write themselves. It's me, not you. 

I cleaned all spiral-bound cookbooks off my shelf, but instead of throwing them out, they're in my collage bin. They're calling for a new life, and they got it. Ice cream thank-you cards! I tore out a few dessert pages and spritzed them with Tsukineko Walnut Ink then cut them into cone shapes. I added a highlight and some crosshatch with some pastel pencils for added detail and texture.

Happy Day Ice Cream Cone
Thank You Card

Okay, fun's over. Party food has been put away, people have come and gone, and the house is quiet. The cards were made and sent, and now it's time to get back to work.

"Write without pay until somebody offers pay. If nobody offers within three years, the candidate may look upon this circumstance with the most implicit confidence as the sign that sawing wood is what he was intended for." ~ Mark Twain

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Chosen One

The Western WA chapter of SCBWI has an opportunity this winter to show artwork at the Washington State Convention Center. I entered five illustrations to be considered, and Made My Bed was chosen. I need to have it matted and framed by October.

I'm looking forward to seeing the final exhibit. There are some very talented artists in this area.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Second Place!

There were nearly 900 entries for the PNWA Literary Contest this year. Nine finalists were chosen in my division for childrens picture and chapter books. I took second place with my first chapter book in my unpublished C.L.O.U.D. series!

I was so excited to get the phone call this afternoon! I would have done a happy dance, but I was driving back, in stop-and-go traffic, after my 2-week vacation in Oregon. It took me five and a half hours to get home instead of the customary four.

Horrible traffic be was a sweet ride!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Done...But Not Quite.

I did it!

Today, I validated my word count with Camp NaNaWriMo. I typed 15,745 for the month of July, meeting my self-inflicted goal of 13,000 words. Goals were met, but expectations were still a little shy. I envisioned a complete final draft and a rough start on the next story's outline.

Word Count Goals Met
Camp NaNoWriMo

But alas, I'm done with my word count, but not done with my story. I'm about four pages from the end; the story closure still needs to be firmed up. 

Funny, how different stumbling blocks happen at different points for different stories! Book One I wrote in sections, rearranged those sections, then went back and agonized over the first chapter, over and over. Book two seemed easy, I wrote an outline, followed the outline and now it's ready for editing. This book, book three, started off easy. I wrote the first seven chapters chronologically - good stuff, too! - then, realized it was going nowhere. I rewrote the first half again...and again. I tried an outline, rewrote, re-outlined, stared into space, meditated and stewed...for months. I tried dreaming about it and forgetting about it. I went to an SCBWI conference and during the sessions, I thought more about it.

Then I had an epiphany! 

I had to rethink where my story was starting, the inciting incident, what my character wanted, and figure out why the story was important for that character right then and there. Back to the beginning.

After much noodling and the convergence with Camp NaNoWriMo, I powered through. Now...four pages from the end and I'm still wondering how to wrap it up. So close to being done...but not quite.

How will Book four work out? Where will the challenge be in that story?

Only writing the words will tell.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

WOTGo for Camp NaNo

Writing On The Go (WOTGo) while participating in Camp NaNoWriMo has been fun! Writing outside has its perks...fresh air, beautiful 360 degree views, and loads of inspiration, meditation, and relaxation. But I guess that all depends on the local.

First, I used our new play structure to do some editing. Nice shade, perfect place to keep the kids occupied, and a flat writing surface. It worked for me!

 New Play Structure at Home
Picnic Table/ New Writing Office behind the climbing wall

Editing Desk

My Outdoor Office!
Complete with Children

Next writing stop was during our camping trip at Crow Butte. Man, it was a scorcher! It hovered around 96 degrees, complete with rattlesnake warnings, and no cell phone coverage unless you hiked up a dry, desert hill. Wouldn't you know, I could receive my credit card didn't go through to reserve a hotel room in August and my cat was diagnosed with kidney failure while having a kennel stay...But I couldn't make calls. So I had to hike up the hill, keeping an eye out for snakes to make a couple important phone calls. 

Writing inspiration!

Crow Butte Camping Trip
Outdoor Office with my pooch.

Cell Phone Coverage
In the Hills

Conference Room
"I'm frying my brains out in rattlesnake country."

Writing Prompts
Campground Treasures

Today, we're back in Dallesport (The Dalles area) and are enduring the 100 degree heat by having a covered kiddie pool. Once again, kids are kept entertained, I'm kept cool, and I've got a cup of coffee by my side. I'm not that big of a coffee die-hard, but some times writing requires the or cold.

Covered Swimming Pool at the Ready!
Office in Dallesport

Now I must say adieu. It's time to dunk my head.

I'm melting...

Friday, July 12, 2013

Opportunity Knocks

Dog fed, bags loaded, kids at the ready. What am I forgetting?

With car keys in one hand and the doorknob in the other - road trip! - I had a flash of memory. An email I received from SCBWI WWA regarding an opportunity to exhibit my artwork at the Washington State Convention Center for October - December of this year.

No fees, no hoops...just send five jpegs of my best work for consideration. Now I'm an hour late for that road trip, but at least I got  those images sent. When opportunity knocks, one better do something about it.

Here's what I sent:

The Hedgehog Prince: Just One Kiss
Digital Collage

The Hedgehog Prince: Yuck!
Digital Collage

Made My Bed
Digital Collage

Super Phil: Rocket Boots
Digital Collage

Cat's Cradle
Multimedia Collage

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Camp NaNoWriMo Coming Up!

I've done it! I'm signed up for 13k words for the month of July. My goal is to finish Book Three in my 4-part Chapter/Middle Grade series and start on Book Four.

I've got two out-of-state family reunions to attend and camping trips to prepare for. BUT, at 420 words a day, I'll drag my laptop along and get serious about my task.

Camp NaNoWriMo questions:

Q. Things I never thought I'd find myself researching are...
A.  Hoarding!

Q. What is my goal for this July NaNoWriMo?
A. 13K total, 420 - 500 words per day.

Q. What are my self-imposed contraints for my writing?
A. Stay on topic - dealing with anger and step-dads!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

More Great News from PNWA

Part of the PNWA Literary Contest process included two critiques by the finalist judges. I forgot about that until I received a surprise in the mail this past weekend. I read and re-read the reviewers' comments, and I'm pretty sure I glowed.

Each judge gave me 49 out of 50 points!

It's just the kind of pat-on-the-back I needed to move forward. I've read editing books and made all the edits that I can. I've had multiple eyes reviewing and critiquing my manuscript. I've labored and worried; I'm finally ready to move on.

Yesterday, I created my query letter, and today, I sent my baby out into the world. I've reviewed several agents and made a list.

Sending it out and finally letting it go...a weird and wonderful feeling. I've done my best, and now, it's time to focus on editing book #2 and finishing the rough draft for book #3.

Camp NaNoWriMo couldn't  have come at a better time. Here comes July!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

PNWA Finalist! Whoot!

I'm excited to announce that I'm a finalist for the Children's Picture Book and Chapter Book Division of the PNWA Literary Contest. I got the email late last night:

Congratulations! You're entry is a finalist in the 2013 Pacific Northwest Writers Association Literary Contest. 
You should be very proud, as PNWA’s contest is extremely competitive. We have received entries from the USA, Australia, Canada, Europe, and the U.K.
First and second place winners will be invited to a special reception with agents and editors following the Award Celebration.  
The Award Celebration is a key part of our annual conference. Our annual conference takes place July 25 – 28, 2013, at the Seattle Hilton Airport and Conference Center.   
Congratulations again and good luck!

Just in time to add this baby to my query letter! You know, that paragraph where you're supposed to write about your published work, credentials as a writer, and awards received. Well...I've always had to gloss over that...but now, NOW, I can say I'm a finalist.

"You don't understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let's face it." ~ Marlon Brando, On the Waterfront (1954)

Wattpad Book Cover

I can't say I truly "get" the world of Wattpad...but a friend and critique partner shares her work on the sight. She wanted a cover done for her book, Renazzle, and I offered up my services. It's a cute dragon story aimed at Middle Grade readers. If you're on Wattpad, look it enjoy!

Below are the three book covers...Beth thought version 2, white on black, would show up best in its small format, 256x400.

Book Cover - Version 1 and 2

Book Cover - Version 3

Pink Dragon - original inspiration
Paper collage with digital elements

Friday, May 10, 2013

ARC winner!

Yippee! I am very excited to have won an advanced copy of Own the Wind by Kristen Ashley through Goodreads. I am a huge Ashley fan. She writes gritty romances with unique story lines and characters AND started as a self-published author. Even with bad editing, her stories always proved a good read.

Now, I believe she has an editor and has republished her work. Own the Wind is her latest story in a series about a motorcycle club called Chaos. This is the second book to Motorcycle Man.

When the UPS man dropped off the book yesterday, I felt like a dog at the dinner table. Treats! My daughter was so excited for me, that she ran downstairs to draw me an award. It's a gold medal with her initial and mine...and a picture of an open book. What a sweet heart.

Advanced Reading Copy - Own the Wind by Kristen Ashley

Here is my first critique without even opening the book:

Just looking at the cover, my husband asked me, "Is the guy supposed to be a poseur?" I told him the hero was probably a tough biker dude. Husband said, "No tough biker dude would wear shoes like that." I studied the cover a little closer and have to agree! Pants are not worn or frayed enough and the boots are not scuffed. I like the cover layout though. I'm looking forward to cracking this baby open.

Right now I am reading manuscripts by two of my writing buddies. I'll peel back the covers on Ashley's latest hopefully next week.

Looking forward to it.