Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A Hat Trick

I'm in Montana with my folks, visiting my grandma in the nursing home, helping out on our acreage, getting my "rural" on...when I received some very good news!

Working on my farmer's tan.

I got an email today from one of my writing friends that said, "Did you see that you're listed as a finalist in YA, too? Hat trick."

Neat Wheat

Here's Google's definition of a hat trick: three successes of the same kind, especially consecutive ones within a limited period. This I already know from reading one of my all time favorite hockey romances: Rachel Gibson's See Jane Score.

Now, I've pulled my own hat trick.

No hats...just new boots.

Back in June, PNWA contacted me with exciting news, letting me know my work is a finalist for the middle grade unpublished category and that Dealing with Blue is a finalist for the Nancy Pearl Book Award.

Today, I've just learned that Will's story (book #2 in the chute) is a finalist in the PNWA Literary Contest for the young adult category. I'm so excited! Especially since PNWA never contacted me regarding this one. 

Wanna dance, Tilly Bean?

The end of July is the PNWA conference where the winners will be announced. Can't wait!

"In order to kick ass you must first lift your foot." ~ Jen Sincero

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Cool Photo Bomb

While driving down a muddy road, I hailed the driver to pull over ("Hey, Dad. Stop the car.") so I could snap some weed pictures. The thistle plant is ugly but the blooms are beautiful.

Musk Thistle

Wonderful contrasts...brilliant spirals of hot pink against muted greens. Soft fringes against coarse bristles. Flat and orderly petals...then gnarly, twisted leaves.

Soft Fringed Bloom

I wanted to zoom in close to show the soft, fuzzy center when a bee showed up and bombed my image. The wings were crystal clear! Lucky shot.

Bee Bomb!

"The moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. It is not that we seize them, but that they seize us." ~ Ashley Montagu

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Goodreads Giveaway Ends on Father's Day!

One happy family for under a buck? Sounds like a screaming good deal to me. My daughter made this card for her dad, "fauther" dearest, and it was too cute not to share. Happy father's day to all the great dads out there! Mine included. Love you, man. 

One Happy Family Only 3 Cents!

As a matter of fact, the Goodreads Giveaway for Dealing with Blue ends on Father's Day. Don't forget to sign up for a chance to win a free copy...and a bookmark, too. 'Cause I'm sweet like that.


"My father didn't tell me how to live; he lived and let me watch him do it." ~ Author Unknown

Monday, June 13, 2016

Fabulous Five: Books on Writing Characters

My How-to Library
"There's more where that came from."

I'm sticking with my Renewing Creative Energy theme and moving down the list to "Learning." I read a lot of books on the craft of writing and always manage to pick up a nugget of wisdom that makes the whole book worthwhile. Below are my favorites on the topic of writing, but with the focus on building and exploring characters.

Writer's Guide to Character Traits by Linda N. Edelstein, Ph.D.
Written by a psychologist who digs deep into the human psyche. It's on my shelf.

The Plot Thickens by Noah Lukeman
The first 80 pages offer an excellent guide to exploring characters, inside and out. It's on my shelf.

Tarot for Writers by Corinne Kenner
I have the book, The Mythic Tarot, along with the accompanying cards illustrated by Tricia Newell. A beautiful deck from my childhood. When I'm stuck, I find it helpful to pull random cards and try to conjure up character stories. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. But, it's one more way to slay the dragon. A library check out.

How to Write Great Characters: The Key to Your Hero's Growth and Transformation by David Wisehart
I found this information on the author's blog and have found the Enneagram Personality Model to be the most useful for getting under the skin of my characters and understanding their motivations and fears. Read the blog.

Please Understand Me by David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates
Has detailed information about the sixteen personality types for a quick insight into what your characters like and who they would be attracted to...to types of jobs and interests. It's on my shelf.

Other ways I get inspired for character creation is to surf on Pinterest for people pictures. I've created a file called "Characters" and sometimes I'll print them off and pin them to my board. Seeing the faces/expressions will give me a sense of who the character is and what they like.

Also, when all else fails, there are always horoscope websites to peruse.

"You must learn to be three people at once: writer, character, and reader." ~ Nancy Kress

Friday, June 10, 2016

Renewing Creative Energy

Back in 2006, I made a list of ways to renew creative energy, and after reviewing it, I thought it would be interesting to check a couple off as I find my "next story" zen.

The first point on the list mentions seeing things differently, as in "Pay attention to details and see the big picture." The second, says: see different things, like travel or take a walk.

Boom! Done.

Have Suitcase, Will Travel

I packed my bag and went to Suncadia near Cle Elum, WA for a couple days and had a wonderful time with the kids and the dogs while the poor hubby attended a work-related retreat there. We hardly saw him. While he was slogging through corporate geek-talk, the rest of us were swimming, hiking, ordering food in, sleeping, and JPR (just plain relaxing).

Hiking up to Suncadia Lodge
1000 Step Trail - The Big Picture

1000 steps with no back legs?
The Little Picture (Poor Grasshopper)

Grasshopper's Buddy, Mr. Pill Bug

Little Things

Milk Weed
Seeing the Details

Milk Weed
The Bigger Picture

Dog Dreams for Tango

Tilly Bean, Hogging the Covers

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Goodreads Giveaway!

Book #2, Will's story, is written and in the hands of my beta readers before it gets shuffled off to the copy editors next week! It's such a wonderful feeling of accomplishment after a year and seven months of molding the rough idea into a smoothed out story. To celebrate book #2 making its way out into the world, I'm giving away three free copies of book #1, a Nancy Pearl Book Award finalist!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Dealing with Blue by Stacia Leigh

Dealing with Blue

by Stacia Leigh

Giveaway ends June 19, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

"Reading gives us someplace to go
when we have to stay where we are." ~ Author Unknown

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Wonder Under

I was tinkering around with my manuscript while soaking up some Vitamin D outside and sipping on an iced tea. Tango, who is never far from my side and usually on my lap, had his teeth out on display. Look at that face! What a cute little (big) underbite. Adorbs.

Loving Life!

Wonder Underbite

"A smile is the prettiest thing you can wear." ~ Author Unknown

Friday, June 03, 2016

Face to Face

I learned on Facebook that putting coconut oil into coffee is a thing. I like coconut, and I like coffee, so why not? After adding a dollop and stirring, I took a sip. Then a face appeared. It said, "Don't do that again." 


It's a lot like glossing your lips while drinking black coffee. The first part is a mixture of strange and curious, the second part just plain bitter. I'll stick with my fat of choice, half and half, and a smidgen of honey.

"Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
in a most delightful way." ~ Julie Andrews in Mary Poppins 

Thursday, June 02, 2016


1.) Current Project - I'm still working through some edits on Will's story, then it's off to a couple readers (Hi...Mom? It's me.) before being shipped off to the copy editors. Still on target...gotta like that.

2.) Current Dream - I want to finish my chapter book series. Edits, revisions, rewrites. The whole bit. Very soon I'll swap hats...ready, set, illustrate! Haven't done that in a long while.

3.) Current Book - My reading pile includes Cinder by Marissa Meyer (young adult), Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (middle grade), and Stuart Little by E.B. White (chapter book).

4.) Current Photo - I took this today while walking down my driveway:

"Tiny Lanterns"
Salal Blooms

5.) Current Quote - "Respond to every call that excites your spirit." ~ Rumi

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Whoot! Exciting News!

In two days, I've received two sweet emails from PNWA. The first email went a little something like this:

"You nailed it! You're awesome! We're proud of you! Great job! Great story! Great everything!"

Okay...all that was roaring through my head while the real email was very calm and polite sounding. Apparently my middle grade story (for ages 7-12), the third in my series, is a finalist for the unpublished literary contest.
"Congratulations! You are a finalist in the 2016 Pacific Northwest Writers Association Literary Contest. You should be very proud as PNWA received close to a thousand contest entries from all around the world.  An agent or editor will be selecting the first, second and third place winners in each category."

It was a bittersweet moment because my baby, my second young adult romance (Will's story) didn't make the cut in it's category. Sniff...sniff.

Then, WHAMO!

The second email came today announcing Dealing with Blue as a finalist for the published contest, the Nancy Pearl Book Award. OMG! No more sniffing. I'm one in five, and even if I don't place, getting this far means a lot to me.

Time to celebrate.

PNWA Nancy Pearl Book Award
2016 Finalist

"The only failure is quitting. Everything else is just gathering information."