Sunday, November 30, 2014

NaNoWriMo Winner!

Wrote 50,109 Words

What a slog! I kissed the timeline bar five times the entire month, meaning I was on track just that many times. The other twenty-five days I was thousands of words behind. Even though I had an outline figured out, I couldn't seem to follow it. My characters had other ideas, and I quickly lost sight of where I was going. There were many times where I thought, I'm not going to be able to catch up. I'm not going to be able to do this thing, to win.

But I'm too competitive. I could not NOT put the words on paper and fail. I had to put something down and that is the beauty of NaNoWriMo. I developed character's insights, I started my story from various points, I put them in weird situations to see how they'd act. I changed their motives and rewrote scenes, slapping it all down into a 50,109 word mess.

But there it is, a big mess that's been created and explored, and now, I can pick at it with my mental ax and see the best route to take. This pile of words will give me something to work with over the next eleven months while I revise, revise, revise.

It's a big pile, but damn! It feels good to win :)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Art in Tacoma's WA State History Museum


My illustration, Blue Heron Fishing, was selected to hang in the SCBWI's Illustrator Exhibit at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma. I was prepared to send my digital version, but at the last minute changed my mind and contacted my brother, the owner of the original collage. I made this traditional collage for his 40th birthday present several years ago, and he was gracious enough to let me borrow it back.

Washington State History Museum of Tacoma

Museum Patrons

Blue Heron Fishing

Tacoma's down town is a beautiful place and the museum was educational and fun. I enjoyed seeing the other artist's work. The SCBWI illustrators are a talented lot!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

At the WWSR

Ford Worden

Birthday Cards

Christmas Cards

I have a plethora of supplies spilling out of my closet that barely gets touched but once a year, usually around the time of the Western Washington Scrapbook Retreat (WWSR). I have reams of patterned paper, glue in various shapes and forms (dots, liquid, paste, stick, and tape), cards, envelopes, paints, embellishments, ribbons, tools, and lots of upcycle items like cardboard, fabric swatches, recipes, packaging, book pages, name it. A plethora.

In the excitement of packing for the retreat, I'd usually make a special trip to one of the major crafting stores to peruse the latest and greatest and to drop a couple Jackson's on more stuff.

This year, I changed my game plan. Instead of shopping retail, I opted to shop in my own supplies, and make do. Operation: Deplete Stash. I'm happy to report that I enjoyed the process. I didn't come away with twenty to thirty cards that were all the same, instead I came away with a variety.

Friday, November 07, 2014

From the Art Docent: the Color Wheel

I'm the art docent for a first grade class and my first project was to teach the students about primary and secondary colors. Each student had a paper plate with dabs of blue, yellow, and red poster paint, a paint brush, paper towel, a cup of water, and a line picture of a turkey, since it was nearing Thanksgiving break.

I had labeled the turkey feathers with the color's name, so the students could follow along and make the turkey into a color wheel. We first painted the corresponding feathers with the primary colors, then mixed those to fill in the secondary colors.

Turkey Color Wheel

At the end, I told the kids to stir up all the colors on their plate to make the color fun, right? It was fun, but the exercise didn't have the desired effect. Most of the kids were coming up with some variation of purple instead of brown for the turkey's body. If I do this assignment again, I'd have the kids bring in even dabs of the primary colors to the center of their palettes. They could mix them in the center and keep adding the color(s) they needed evenly for a nice, solid brown. Once that was accomplished, then they kids could mix their entire palette to make some muddy color of their choice.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

NaNoWriMo in Progress...

A Plotter and a Basher sits here.

This weekend I'll have a new office and new views to inspire my latest NaNoWriMo work in progress. I can tippy-tap on the keyboard while surrounded by the creative energy of others. It's the Western Washington Scrapbook Retreat weekend in Fort Worden! Bring on the rain! Bring on that creative zen!

I'll be plugging out my daily goals of 1,667 words per day, while making a stash of birthday cards, Christmas cards, and organizing one of the card swaps. Pure fun.

So what is the craziest thing I'm researching for my latest Young Adult Romance? Motorcycle Clubs. I've read Ralph "Sonny" Barger's memoir, Hell's Angels, watched a documentary on the History Channel, checked out the first three episodes of Sons Of Anarchy (does it get better?), and I am currently reading No Angel by ATF agent Jay Dobyns. I found a forum online called Ask a 'Real Life' Biker (Questions About Club Life) that was interesting and helpful.

I needed information on lingo, what size motorcycle would a young girl be able to handle, what distance can a rider do in a day, club life, and legit business options for the club to make money.

While I'm pondering plot points and character arcs and beefy-necked biker dudes, I'll be cutting out cupcake shapes and making sweet cards with my gal pals. I love the dichotomy. Wish me luck on my word's always a tough grind.
"Tellers of stories with ink on paper have been either Swoopers or Bashers. Swoopers write a story quickly, higgledy-piggledy, crinkum-crankum, any which way. Then they go over it again painstakingly, fixing everything that is just plain awful or doesn’t work. Bashers go one sentence at a time, getting it exactly right before they go on to the next one. When they’re done they’re done.” ~Kurt Vonnegut

Monday, October 27, 2014

November = National Novel Writing Month

Last year, I wrote 50,000 words and won my first NaNoWriMo. Then, I took a revisions class and joined a writer's critique group and worked that puppy over for 11 straight months. Just now, one week away from the next NaNoWriMo event, I have completed my first Young Adult novel at 255 pages and not quite 67,000 words. Get ready agents, 'cuz here I come!

Hip! Hip!

Today, with my butt in my hot-pink, bungee office chair, I'm dreaming about my next novel. I have one week to get my characters, plot, and an outline in order so that I can write the days away, starting on November first.

But, come on...first things first! According to the NaNoWriMo website, authors have a 60% more likely chance of winning if they create a cover for their story. I believe it. Because now that I've worked up a's more real to me. It's a real story, and I need to tell it.

Get ready! Riding with the Hides Of Hell: A Love Story is getting cooked up, right now.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

July Camp NaNoWriMo Coming Up!

I need to pad my skeletal young adult romance story, the one I wrote for last November's NaNoWriMo. 50,000 words is not nearly enough and after the completion of my revisions class, I know where I need to go and what needs to get done. It will be a month of new writing woven together with mass editing. 

With Independence Day and two weeks out of town visiting family (I haven't seen my brother and his family for 11 years!) I've got my work cut out for me, but at the same time, I'm looking forward to the challenge.

Camp NaNoWriMo questions:

Q. Things I never thought I'd find myself researching are...
A.  Badgers, online gaming lingo, and native PNW plants.

Q. What is my goal for this July NaNoWriMo?
A. 25K total, 800 - 825 words per day.

Q. What are my self-imposed constraints for my writing?
A. Be mindful of each character's unique voice and motivations. Delve into the plot layers. Cherish the moments that need to be remembered.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Emerald City Opener Contest

I just entered my latest work, a Young Adult romance, in the Greater Seattle Romance Writers of America - Emerald City Opener Contest. Here are the details for those interested and writing in the romance genre:

* Due date is May 31st
* Entry fee is $20 for non-members, $12 for GSRWA members
* First 7-pages only
* Final judge for YA is Kathleen Rushall of Marsal Lyon Agency
* Big prize: $20 Amazon gift card...(obviously, I didn't enter for the money!)

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Cloud Covers

1 Pink Tent, 2 Tent Undone, 3 Forgotten Tent, 4 Two Tents

I'm gearing up for Camp NaNoWriMo for the month of April by wrapping up my children's chapter book C.L.O.U.D. series with the final book, number four.

The Camp NaNoWriMo website has a place to put a small cover, advertising your work-in-progress. Naturally, I couldn't do just one...that would be lopsided. So I spent the morning working on the covers for all four books.

April starts in two days; I need to figure out my game plan.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Raining Dirty Gumballs

Raining Gumballs
"Too much of a good thing can be wonderful!"

Raining Gumballs - detail

I can't even believe how long this collage sat in my studio in pieces. I had the idea, but I just couldn't get it to look it squatted on one desk, then the other, constantly moving around and always in the way. Inevitable the letters would blow off and I'd crawl around looking for them...


I finally decided that the gumball machine was too big for the canvas and cut it down. Wow! Making a decision and following through made all the difference in the world. Months and months of staring at this pile then - pow! - the pieces flew into place. It felt good to get things glued down.

This illustration is for my kid's room...where there are two gumball machines on her shelf. When I asked her what she thought, she asked, "Why are the gumballs dirty?"

The other family members hadn't realized the gumballs were raining down or that the white circles were supposed to be clouds. Bubbles, yes...clouds, no.

Dirty gumballs, indeed. Like it or lump it, kid. It's going on the wall.