Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Lessons from Draft 3

A few weeks ago I sent out my current draft to my critique partners. I've been getting snippets of feedback trickling in and yesterday one of my critique partners and I sat down to talk about my wip. Here is what I know from talking with my critique partners.
1. The people who have read it so far actually care about and connect with my main character.
2. I have writing strengths and weaknesses.
3. There was humor in my book and serious parts in my wip and people got it.
4. Ideas for new scenes.
5. I have room to develop other characters.

Looking at my work I can see the flaws. I can see the areas that need work. But I'm also really excited. A couple years ago I made the decision to quit working two jobs and focus on my writing. I figured there would always be time for me find a second part time job later but that I really wanted to see if I could make it as a writer. Since I make my living in the arts having only one job has meant making some sacrifices. Knowing that my wip has legs (even if they are wobbly fawn-like legs right now) makes me feel like I made the right choice.

I'm excited to begin the revision process.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday Fives- Procrastination Nation

This week Paper Hangover ask the question
What are FIVE of your most distracting (procrastination-worthy) things (habits, websites, etc.) on the internet?

1. Facebook- I love connecting with friends and family on facebook. I do try to limit myself. I don't want to wake up one day and think that my novel isn't done because I was too busy keeping up on the lives of friends from high school.

2. Blogs- I love blogging but I also love reading and commenting on other people's blogs. In my mind reading and commenting is part of being a good blogger. Sometimes even if I don't have a blog post for the day I will still try to go and read/comment on other blogs.

3. Gmail- I check my email.

4. Twitter- I recently got a Twitter account. I did so despite knowing it could be a distraction from writing but I like connecting with other writers on Twitter.

5. Swagbucks- I've been thinking of making a sign that says "Will work for Amazon gift cards". I heard about this site from Emily's Reading Room. Basically the site rewards points for things you probably already do on the internet-search, buying groupons, using coupons, playing games- and you can trade those points in for prizes, like Amazon gift cards.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Happy Birthday Bob Dylan

I live in Minnesota. Bob Dylan is one of our favorite people to hail from Minnesota.
This is one of my favorite covers of It Ain't Me Babe. From A Nod to Bob celebrating Bob's 60th birthday.

And then there's this song. Bob sketched out as Rock Me Mama but Old Crow Medicine Show used the chorus in the song Wagon Wheel

Monday, May 23, 2011


Yesterday afternoon a tornado touched down in North Minneapolis and some surrounding suburbs.

Thankfully I live in South Minneapolis so while I heard the sirens I did not hear that freight train sound and the sky wasn't green where I live.

Myth: Tornados don't happen in cities.
Actually they do. Last year a tornado touched down in South Minneapolis.

Many of my friends call North Minneapolis home. Today those friends are picking up pieces of neighbors houses out of their lawns. Removing trees that have fallen onto roofs.

North Minneapolis isn't a wealthy part of the city. Many of the people who live there struggle to overcome the issues facing their neighborhood. Recovery from this is another stumbling block they will have to face.

I know there were storms in other parts of the country yesterday as well and people are still recovering from past storms.

Consider making a donation to a chapter of The American Red Cross serving an area affected by storms.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday Fives- The five things I can't live without.

Paper Hangover asks the question

What are FIVE things you can't live without when you're writing or revising?

1. Tea. I started drinking coffee at the ripe old age of 14. Now coffee makes me jittery so I drink tea. My favorite tea is from The Tea Source. My favorites are Earl Grey, Green Tea with Mango and Green Tea with Pomegranate.

2. Almond Butter. My current fave is Justin's Maple Almond butter. I usually start my writing day with an apple and almond butter. For a treat I like Justin's Chocolate Hazelnut butter on a gluten free waffle.

3. Music. I like to listen to music when I write. I also like to make playlists for projects I'm working on.

4. My Kindle. Um this is my new favorite revision tool. I send my Kindle my manuscript then I can read it anywhere. On the light rail, backstage, at the airport, on a trip, on the elliptical. Being able to read my manuscript anywhere I want without having to lug around a binder full of paper has helped my revision process. Also when I'm stuck I can read. Sometimes when I'm writing/ revising I get stuck. But watching TV or checking facebook can lead to major time suckage. Reading keeps my head in the writing game.

5. My writing group. I could try to write without them but our meetings keep me motivated. Being able to report at our weekly check in that I had a successful week helps me. It pushes me to write because I don't want to be the writer who is bringing us down. I believe that success is contagious. Seeing one of my writing partners finish her recent draft helped me push through and finish my third draft.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

reading pays off

A few weeks ago I was biking to work on a cold day and I found a phone. It was one of those smart phone things like an iPhone but not an iPhone.

You know I like Veronica Mars, Nancy Drew, and Trixie Belden so it should be no surprise that I picked the phone up off the bike path/sidewalk. I looked at the lightrail station platform to see if anyone matched a smart phone with a pink cover but since there was only a group of guys going to a Twins game I took the phone to work.

I called T-mobile. They were little help. Why can our phones/technology track our every move but can't get us back to our lost items.
While I was on the phone with t-mobile someone called the phone so I called them back to tell them the phone was at the lost and found at my job.
Then on my dinner break I saw a craigslist lost and found post that fit the description of the phone. So I told the poster that the phone was at the lost and found at my job.

The people were so happy and thankful they sent me an email telling me what an awesome person I was and they wanted to thank me and what did I want. I pretty much said I was glad to be one of the good people in the world and that I didn't need anything really but that I did like amazon. I didn't hear anything else but I stopped by work the other day for a friends b-day and there was an amazon gift card in my mailbox. Now I can fill my Kindle with more awesome like Possession by Elana Johnson.

The moral of this story is reading pays off. Having awesome book heroines has given me the skills to reunite smart phones with their owners.

How has reading paid off for you?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What's in a name?

I think one of the most fun things about writing is naming things. We get to name our characters, the streets they live on, their family members and their pets.
While I have a niece and nephew I don't have my own kids so I really enjoy naming my characters.

Have you ever had this happen?

A few years ago I participated in my first NaNoWriMo. My MC was named Chloe. I didn't really talk about my story because I'm one of those protective people when it comes to my writing. Anyway seven months after NaNoWriMo wrapped up my niece was born. Her name is Chloe. I never talked about my story with my sister so I always thought this was a cool coincidence. I haven't done anything else with this story but I like to think if I worked on it again I would keep the name of the mc the same.

In my current wip, which I've been working on for a couple years now, my mc is named Hannah. Recently my dad got remarried to a woman who has a daughter named Hannia. Now Hannah and Hannia don't sound exactly the same but it was a little weird for me to write the name of my new step sister and have it be so close to my mc's name.

Has this happened to you? You settle on the perfect name for your MC only to have a family member come along with the same name? What do you do?

Monday, May 16, 2011

swimming with dolphins and catching pelicans

I am back from my vacation in Cabo San Lucas.

Wow. Cabo is about as different from Minnesota as possible. Here everything is sort of green, except for December-March when it is white/gray. There everything is tan except for the ocean which is blue.
In Minnesota we fish through a hole dug in the ice so trying to fish in Cabo on the rolling ocean waves was quite an experience. I didn't catch any fish but I did catch a pelican and for a little while we were moving through a school of dolphins in hopes of catching some tuna. I guess tuna follows the dolphins.

I was hoping to Stand Up Paddle Board in Cabo but it seemed too wavy for me. The last time I attempted to SUP was at Madeline Island on a day when there were 15-20 knot winds and choppy waters. I'm still going to try to master the SUP but I think I'll do this on Lake of the Isles where it is fairly calm. The sea kayak ended up being the right choice for the day.

The coolest thing I did on my trip was swim with a dolphin. At Cabo Adventures they have all sorts of tourist things like an America's Cup New Zealand boat race, a zip line adventure, whale watching, camel safari, scuba diving, snorkeling and swimming with dolphins.

I love dolphins and have always wanted to do something like this. I also love swimming.

While on vacation I also read some books. My dad's apartment has a deck and in the afternoon the deck is nice and shaded so you can sit there and read and listen to the rotation of pop music from the bar below. This is actually the perfect afternoon activity because it is really hot in Mexico.

I have always said my dad's life is a little like a Jimmy Buffet song. Needless to say I was rather entertained by the fact that for the time I was there he was nursing a bruised heel. He got this injury on a recent walk when his sandal broke. I pointed out how very Margaritaville that was. I think this was lost on him because I had to then remind him of the lyric- I blew out my flip flop/stepped on a pop top/ bruised my heel/ had to cruise on back home.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


I'm going on vacation. Not sure if I'll be updating my blog on vacation. I don't usually bring my laptop when I travel, unless I'm going to visit my sister. This is because I'm wimpy and I'm on vacation.

Now I'm off to paint my nails Cozumelted in the Sun before going to sleep so I can wake up at O'dark thirty to catch my flight. Believe it or not there was an earlier flight but that wasn't going to happen.

Friday, May 06, 2011


My story "Emma Leads the Pack" is in the May 2011 issue of Stories for Children Magazine

This is the second story that I've had published by Stories for Children Magazine.

SFC took a hiatus for about a year but they are starting back up. Check out the site for more details on their publishing schedule as well as a list of possible themes for issues.

In the past readers were able to read the current month's issue online but this time around SFC is a paying market. Which means that issues are no longer free. Here is a link to download the May 2011 issue. They have back issues available there too.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

What I'm Reading- Jenna and Jonah's Fauxmance

I got this book because I'd seen reviews of it on people's blogs but also because it was $1.84 on the Kindle. I'm always looking for affordable books for my Kindle.

This book was so funny and sweet and it was so totally my type of book.
The book follows stars of a teen sitcom Charlie(Jenna) and Fielding/Aaron(Jonah). The show is in trouble and the romance is exposed as a fake. The two characters end up staring in a production of Much Ado About Nothing at Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Charlie loves this play and it has been her dream to play Beatrice forever but she isn't sure she can act on stage or only on her tv sitcom.

Here is what I loved about this book.
- Much Ado About Nothing- The theater I work at is doing this show in the fall. I imagine that there will be many school groups coming to see the show. I think this would be a fun read for anyone who has a performance of Much Ado About Nothing in their future.
-Shakespeare- Shakespeare is all about mistaken identities and masks and disguises. This book is very true to that as the characters find out who they are in the layers of all the parts they play.
-Oregon Shakespeare Festival- I've had friends work here. I kept asking one of my coworkers if things were true. Do they really have dessert at midnight on Wednesdays and Sundays? Do you really live in a rustic little cabin?
-Theater- I love books about theater.

What are you reading?

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

May and Tonys

May is here! Today there is sun and it actually feels like May. There were these funny flakes in the sky the last couple days but apparently The May Day Parade was successful in bringing the sun even if it didn't arrive on May Day.

I didn't post an a to z reflection yesterday but I had a wonderful time. It was a fun challenge. Thank you to the hosts and to everyone who visited, commented on or followed my blog.

What else is here? Tony award nominations!
This year I'm super excited about the nominations because I had the honor of working on shows and with people who went on to be nominated.
I worked on The Scottsboro Boys when it was in Minneapolis for its pre-Broadway run. I was sad to see that it closed earlier than scheduled last winter because I think this is a story that needs to be told and heard. It is a show that challenges the audience. They are hoping to bring it back. I hope they do. Disney and Hollywood seem to have taken over Broadway and I want to see shows like this survive.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Joshua Henry, Colman Domingo and Forrest McClendon. These men are amazing and I hope they win.

I also got to work on the play Brief Encounter from Kneehigh Theater when it was in Minneapolis. If you live across the pond or are planning to go across the pond be sure to check out their shows. Hannah Yelland was nominated for her role as a Leading Actress in a Play for her role in Brief Encounter. Congrats to her. You go girl.

Anyway I'm proud that shows I worked on got nominated and people I worked with got nominated. I'm proud to work at a theater that brings these plays to their audiences.