Shout Out!

Writing tends to be a solitary activity. At least, the idealistic picture of a writer has him hunched over his desk punching away at the keyboard all by himself. This has some truth to it insofar as the writer needs to get the story on paper. If he wants to go beyond that – to improve, to publish, to promote – the solitary picture dissolves.

Maybe that’s why in the blogging world, it’s common to share other’s blogs. To post about other blogs you’ve liked or found value in. I’m always surprised and blessed by those who share my stuff, but I realized I’ve been stingy with my own support.

With that in mind, there are two ladies I’d love to share with you today. These two have been reading my blog since the first year, I believe, that I started posting, and they’re wonderful writers in their own right.

Kat's The Lily Cafe The Lily Cafe – Kat’s a talented writer. Her blog isn’t just a place for writing, however. On top of the story she’s posting each week (at the moment it’s Queen of the Garden Girls, which is a spin on Beauty and the Beast), she also posts about baking, motherhood, book reviews, and every once in a while her husband throws in a topic too. It’s a fun mix that changes from time to time but at the heart of it is a sweet woman who tells things like she sees them.

 

Naomi Lastrucci's The Silver QueenNaomi Lastrucci – Naomi’s also a skilled writer and she loves dragons. (Girl after my own fantasy-loving heart!) This being said, she has two books out with dragon stories, The Silver Queen and Other Dragon Tales and Not All Dragons Breath Fire. She’s also currently working on her next book, The Lunar Dragon, which is a sequel to The Silver Queen. You can find more on Instagram where sometimes Naomi shares fun sneak peaks of her current work-in-progress.

Thanks for stopping by this week =) If you have a moment, give these two ladies a hello and check out their writing!

Blessings,

Jennifer

 

What Do You See?

Mug of Cider - Set Up Adventure Story

I’m watching it fitfully try to snow outside while I sit at my desk and drink a mug of aromatic peppermint tea. In the background, the dryer’s humming, and the cat’s howling from the stairs because the full standard poodle we’re dog sitting is staring at him from the bottom step. Eventually, my cat will figure out how to sneak past the poodle, probably because the poor dog can’t see anything with his unruly topknot, and the cat will make his way to my lap while I’m writing.

It is incredibly easy to complain about anything and everything in life. I could gripe about the cold weather, or the laundry, or perhaps the echo of my cat’s discontent. I could bemoan the work load sitting on my desk or the need to keep a closer eye on the poodle than I would on my own dog because the poodle has a habit of eating shoes when he’s not in the same room as a person.

Now, I confess, any one of the above complaints has come out of my mouth at one time or another.

SleepAfter the last several weeks of disconnecting, of simply being, all of them seem rather hallow. They reflect a skewed perspective on my life. I’m sure you see where this is going. We see memes on Facebook all the time that encourage us to be thankful. We naturally complain, so to be thankful, I believe we need to be intentional about how we look at things, how we think about them or speak them aloud.

Instead of the cold weather, I’m enjoying the warm mug of tea and the beauty of the frost covering my windowsill.

The hum of the dryer reminds me I have enough clothes to make a full load of laundry…plus, I have a washer and dryer in which to clean those clothes.

My cat’s howl makes me smile. This might be one of the things I complain about the least. The Writing Sidekick has a huge personality and he daily tells me about it.

I have a desk, at home, where I get to work daily on my writing. If the pile of work on it reaches the ceiling, that just means I’m doing something right in the job of my dreams.

The giant poodle sitting at the bottom of the stairs is a friend’s dog. This friend takes care of the cats when my husband and I go on vacation, so I don’t think the Sidekick can yowl too loudly about the poodle being around. Plus, this is a reflection of having good friends.

In a few days, when this post goes live, it’ll be Thanksgiving for those of us in the United States. I figure this is a good day to start a habit of thankfulness as I get back to the blogging world.

If you sit back and look at life around you, what beauty, joy, and goodness do you see?

Blessings and Happy Thanksgiving,

Jennifer

Quiet the Noise

Writing Sidekick

The phone’s ringing.

Facebook’s sending out notifications.

Email’s pinging.

The television’s talking.

Even the gas pump plays advertisements as you fill up your car.

Ugh. Unless you make an intentional choice to shut it all down, you can’t escape the constant demand for attention.

One night a week, my husband and I make that intentional choice. We turn everything off, including the lights, make ourselves some tea, light the oil lanterns, and sit in the quiet as we discuss whatever comes to mind.

It’s a glorious, calming bubble of time in which the anxiety in my brain dissipates to insubstantial smoke and dreams become vivid again.

I’d like to capture that calm for a slightly longer period of time. So for the next few weeks, I’m stepping back from technology. Although it’s unlikely I can shut everything off and still function in our world (I can’t do anything about the advertisements at the gas pumps), I intend to stay away from the forms of technology I do have control over. No Facebook or email, no blog or instagram. You get the picture.

All this to say, if you leave a comment or post a blog, I’m not ignoring you out of spite. I’m just universally ignoring the ping from my phone…or actually, my phone won’t be pinging at all.

I’ll return toward the end of November, I promise =) Thank you to all my readers for your amazing support!

Blessings,

Jennifer

False Summit

False Summit

In Colorado, there’s this thing that people do. It’s called hiking 14ers. Let me explain. The Rocky Mountains run through the state and gift it, if you will, with more than fifty peaks over 14,000 feet. (There are over 500 13ers, but we won’t even go there today.)

So you see, there are these towering peaks in the backyard and it’s almost expected that you’ve hiked some of those giants, especially if you’re a native. Some people even hike all of them, but now I’m getting off topic.

I’ve hiked maybe a half dozen 14ers. If you have too, then you might be familiar with the term ‘false summit.’ If you’re not, picture this, you wake up before the sun is even a hint in the sky and start down the trail toward the mountain. As the sun rises and you leave the tree line behind, you see this domed shape up ahead. Although your lungs burn and your legs ache, you smile because you can see the top.

Over the next hour, you keep glancing at that towering dome, just picturing the view from the top. When you give one last push against the altitude to summit, a sinking feeling starts to build in your belly because, as you crest the crown of the dome, it’s not the tallest thing around. In fact, on the far side of it is a narrow ridge and at the other end of that ridge is what, in reality, is the 14,000 foot summit.

This is a false summit. It’s all you can see until you top it and so you think you’re about there, but when you actually reach that spot, you realize there’s another hours’ worth of hiking ahead to reach the destination.

Why do I tell you all this? Because I’m on that false summit with Quaking Soul. I’ve pushed to edit it and make it the best I could. After seeing the final personal edit, it felt finished. But now the beta comments are back and I see the ridge connecting my latest draft to the rest of the mountain.

There’s a lot of work ahead and it’d be super easy to get discouraged, but I’ve found in climbing mountains and in writing, that this is one of the most exciting times of the process as well. This is where you start to climb above everything else and the magnificent expanse of the world rolls out before you with the crystal clarity of thin air. This is where the story truly starts to shine with those jewels that only existed in the writer’s head when she began.

It’d be easy to crest that false summit and turn around thinking, ‘This isn’t worth it.’ But oh boy is it worth it! For me right now, it’s time to press on to edit again. Whatever it is for you, I encourage you to do the same.

On a side note, I do have an adventure for this coming month set up. So I’ll see you next week to go exploring =)

Blessings,

Jennifer

Beta comments edit setup

Set up to start editing from Beta comments. I have some amazing Beta readers!

I’m Alive!

Quaking Soul Manuscript

Hello Dear Readers!

I’m checking in to let you know I’m still alive after my hiatus for book editing.

Here’s my progress report. This last week, I finished my personal edit on Quaking Soul. It took almost 3 weeks longer than I’d planned, but as someone told me recently, most everything takes longer than you think it should. Such is life. Plus, I do believe the extra time did the book good and not harm.

Now the book is out to beta readers. This is both exciting and terrifying. I’d much rather these amazing readers find the issues in the story than a reader down the road after the book’s been published, but hearing feedback can be heart wrenching. This is my book-baby. I’ve labored over it with sweat and tears! Now tear it apart and tell me what’s glaringly wrong with it! (I will now be donning my thick-skin in order to survive this ordeal.)

In the mean time, while I wait for beta reader feedback, I will be working on other book stuff such as the back blurb for the book and cover design. Although difficult in its own way, these things are not as mind intensive as editing. What that means for the blog? I’ll be posting a new adventure next week.

So thank you for your patience! I’ll see you next week for a whole new adventure story.

Blessings,

Jennifer

Sloth Slow Progress

Sloth in Tree

“Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”

– C. Northcote Parkinson

This quote is also, apparently, known as Parkinson’s Law. That might be apt. At least in my writing life, this rings with a lot of truth. I’ve found if a task doesn’t have a deadline, particularly a large task, then it drags on, getting done in drips and dribbles.

Water DropEarlier in the year, I let you know I’m working on editing my novel, Quaking Soul. I gave myself a large amount of time for this, thinking that a couple of pages a day should be more than doable. I had a deadline, but it was far enough out to feel vague. Now, as I look back since that post, I can see the drips and dribbles of progress on that goal. These drips and dribbles were much smaller than a couple pages a day.

SlothAnyway, sloth slow progress equals stress in my brain. Some people thrive off procrastination. Not me. I’m the odd duck who used to get the school paper done in the first week it was assigned even though we were given two months to write the darn thing.

With all this in mind, I’m putting a more pressing deadline on the Quaking Soul edit. This will affect the time I have for other writing, however. I dislike not keeping a regular schedule here on the blog because it messes with my OCD. But there’s a balance between the OCD and the stress of sloth progress.

Gah. It’s a pendulum. For now, the pendulum is swinging toward getting editing done. My goal is within the next two months. After that, I promise, I’ll come back with more adventures. There’s one already outlined =)

Until then, I wish you all an amazing, adventurous spring.

Blessings,

Jennifer

The Eye Published!

Z Publishing Science Fiction and Fantasy Colorado

Traditional publishing takes for-ev-er! Those novels you so love from popular authors can take up to two years to produce even if the author writes the book in six months. Because of this, my brain has come to expect long wait times. If I’ve submitted a story, I move on to my next piece while I wait because it could be months to hear from a publication, if I hear back at all. It’s not uncommon if a story is not accepted for the publication to simply not respond. A lack of response is a ‘No,’ but you have to wait the allotted amount of time to know if they’re simply not responding or if they’re taking their time.

Anyway, all of this is to say, Z Publications moves really fast for a publishing house. A couple weeks ago I let you know they accepted my short story, The Eye, for one of their 2019 publications. At the time, I didn’t have a date of publication to share. I figured it would be in the fall at the earliest.

Last week, I received an email letting me know my expectation was waaaaaay off. Z Publication’s short story anthology, America’s Emerging Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers: Colorado, has now been published! EEEEK. If I’d known if would come out this soon, I’d have waited to share in the first place, but that’s now in the past.

You can find links to the anthology on Amazon and on Z Publication’s website below if you’re interested.

Thank you as always for sharing in this adventure with me!

Blessings,

Jennifer

America’s Emerging Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers: Colorado (Amazon)

America’s Emerging Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers: Colorado (Z Publishing House)