Saturday, February 10, 2018

Gust Post Link

As promised, here is the link to my guest post at The Left-Handed Typist.
You should totally go check it out. Abigayle was great to work with.
 
In the meantime, I am going to get a tall glass of water and go curl into a ball with a migraine.
 
They've been plaguing my existence for the last two weeks now, and I keep getting thwarted at every turn trying to get to the chiropractor for help.
 
I've been awake for twenty three minutes now and I already have one.
Looks like it's going to be a fun day.
 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Melancholy


First off, before I get started on the dismal stuff, I have a few announcements.

Today, Wednesday the 7th, I will be doing a guest post with Julia Witmer about ways to find inspiration.

Then, on Saturday the 10th, I'll be doing one with Abigayle at The Left-Handed Typist about ways to write a meaningful villain.

I'll post the link again on Saturday, but I wanted to let you know ahead of time in case I don't get to it right away.

Now, moving on to the depths of despair.

 

I've always liked this picture.

 First of all it intrigues me. It also makes me really sad for him. Because I'm certain his country used to exist, and it was great. Now it’s gone though, and no one remembers it.

But he does.

He remembers every glorious moment, still fresh in his mind, no matter how much time has passed, or how many other people forgot that there was once such a place.

 

I feel like that sometimes.

 Well, minus the top hat.

 I feel like I had a whole 'nother...nother...I literally just realized that the phrase "a whole nother" is not actually correct, and now I'm trying to remember what the proper word is.....another! 


 

 Let’s try this again.

I feel like I had another life before, and now it’s gone and no one else remembers it. I was struck with this mood a couple days ago whilst browsing Facebook.

You know, Jarod really might be on to something when he says it’s terrible.

I came across a picture of an old friend of mine. He doesn't post very often, so it’s always kind of a surprise when he comes across my feed, because I tend to forget he even has Facebook.

I looked at that picture, and I missed him.

 

 It just came on me so sudden, and I really couldn't even begin to explain why. This boy was my best friend through most of middle school, and junior high. We never were a couple, or even had a crush on each other. I didn't miss him like that. But it took me out for a whole day. I didn't know what to do. I couldn't exactly call Jarod and tell him I was depressed because I missed a boy I used to know. Even if we were ever only friends.

 

I tried to figure out what made me so sad about seeing that picture, and finally figured it out. It was a comparison shot. One picture was him as a little boy, the boy I used to know, and the other was him in his military uniform. I missed him because he didn't exist anymore. The boy I knew has changed, so much, and is now basically a stranger with some shared memories. That's what made me sad.

It's not to say that the person he is now is bad. Not at all. He's doing really well as a soldier, and he's proud of his country, and it’s great. So I'm not saying he's turned into something wrong. But he's just different. And I guess he has been for a long time.

He started as a smiley little boy who wanted his own dog so desperately, and would do anything to get on a horse, who gradually turned into a boy who saved all of his money to buy traps and a hunting dog, to a boy who climbed on bucking bulls for fun and bought pickups that were dangerously loud. He went from a boy I talked to on the phone or in person every single week, to a boy that went off to high school with other girls who weren't looking to be just friends. I changed too. It's hard to have a boy who's your friend, when you're in high school and you're expected to have a boyfriend. I understood. I never held it against him. I hope he didn't hold it against me. But it still hurts, even when you understand.

 

Now we're both all grown up and I can't actually remember when the last time I talked to him was. He's halfway across the country, and I'm here and married with the cutest little guy. I can't say I regret that those days are over, because I wouldn't trade the life I have now for all the childhood friendships in the world, but it's still kind of sad to remember all the fun times, because you know those aren't going to happen again, and maybe they didn't mean as much to the people you did them with, as they did to you. And you just go on being the king or queen of your own little country, and the world keeps turning around.

 

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Best of Friends

 
This post could be more aptly titled: The Value of Great Non Judgmental Friends When You’re an Angry Little Troll.
 
But that would have been too long.
 
First of all, I very much am an angry little troll, and I do have fantastic friends who don’t judge. They’re great to have.
 
There you go, end of the post.
 
No, but seriously. Yesterday was an off day for me, and I still haven’t entirely got it out of my system. It all started on Monday, to be honest, when I saw the announcement on Facebook that someone I thought I’d never have to see again was coming back to my town. (This is why my husband says Facebook sucks. I can’t exactly argue in times like these.) Seeing that post rankled with me, but I wasn’t exactly in troll mode yet. I talked to my buddy Michaela on Snapchat that day, and we didn’t even have to talk about the bubbling hostility brewing in me. We talked about life, and babies, and I felt instantly better and made it through the day.
Enter Monday night.
I dreampt that I encountered that person in Walmart, and they started trying to visit with me, and said we should hang out. To which I responded:
I’ve forgiven you enough to not kill you on sight, but we are never going to hang out again.
Charming, am I right?
Which led to said dream character asking what they’d done to me, and me reading them a riot act on what indeed, and resulted in them throwing a punch and me taking them down, tearing out their hair extensions, and being arrested by Walmart personnel.
…..
I woke up from that furious.
I know it was a dream, but it was so close to reality I couldn’t shake it.
Then I started going over our budget for January and preparing February’s and a few things from that were being a thorn in my side, as is usually the case with money. It just runs through your fingers like water, no matter how hard you try to grip it.
Then the dear husband came home at noon and casually mentioned a few things that have been ongoing with his work for a long time now, and that was the tipping point.
I turned into a troll.
I managed to keep my cool on it until he was out of the house, because he can’t handle his dearly beloved transforming into a hideous wart infested creature before his eyes.
At which point I hopped on the Marco Polo app. If you don’t know, it’s a video chat app that lets you record a video as long as you want and send it to someone. Like snapchat without the time limits, and no typing. It’s great because you can just get all your words out with no interruptions. I literally probably ranted into that screen for an hour, and sent it to my friend Victoria.

She responded pretty fast, and didn’t tell me I was being a troll. She told me she got it, and a few of the ways she could relate, and that sometimes she turns into a troll too (Ok, she didn’t use those words, but).  It was lovely, and the conversation was able to shift to Valentine’s Day and more pleasant topics.
After that I was feeling much better, but still a little cantankerous. There were still a few stubborn warts that hadn’t faded.
So I texted my doppleganger Lana. She’s the tall Minnesotan version of me, or I’m the short Nebraskan version of her, we haven’t quite decided, but we essentially think with the same mind.
When I text Lana a rant session, my phone literally converts it to a document to send to her.
She loves it, which is good, because I don’t think it will ever stop.
She called me a little later and after saying hello, asked if I’d wanted to kill anyone lately.
“Every day,” I said reverently. “But I’ve refrained all year.”
“I am so proud of you.”
And then the conversation took off, and we talked about everything under the sun, from meal planning, the similarities between how we treat her dog and my son, and being adults.
We came to the conclusion that it’s a strange thing how it seems like minute ago we were fourteen years old and hated everyone, listening to our screamo music, and wearing strange outfits, to now.
For the record, we still hate mostly everyone, but I have a husband and child, and she’s moved to a completely different state and has her own house.
Yet we still feel like fourteen year olds.
We’ve now scheduled weekly phone rant sessions, so we don’t drain our batteries down so bad, trying to recap everything that’s happened in the months since we’ve talked.
All of this pointless rant to say that my friends are the best. They let me vent to them and be insane, and get worked up about a dream, and they didn’t say I was being irrational. They waited until I was in a stable frame of mind before they told me to just trust God and pray about it. (Great advice, but ill received when I’m in troll mode)
My dear sweet son was up until one this morning, so it’s incredibly likely I’ll be making the rounds with these wonderful friends at some point today, because when I’m this tired, the troll king reigns supreme.
I know I should technically be the troll queen, but there are no dazzling images of that. Who wants to look at that?
 
And I mean, lets be honest, who doesn’t like a little Jareth now and then? Even if he is technically a goblin, not a troll.
 
The moral of the story? I don’t know. Facebook is bad.  Dreams aren’t real. If you’re gonna be a troll, at least get some friends who know to feed you crackers till you come down. You won’t regret it.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Bad Boy Snippets

 
Hello all!
 
I've had a pretty busy week, writing wise. The cows started calving, so Jarod has been getting up at 5:30 in the morning to go check them, so I've been getting up with him, and I've developed a pretty good schedule.
 
In the morning, I work on revising The Guns. I've made it to chapter four so far, and it's going good, I think. Things are definitely starting to fall together.
 
Henry usually wakes up about eight (except today. He slept till eleven. Wow), so I work on it till seven thirty, when I go do the outside chores. Once Henry wakes up I'll start my normal day and do laundry, dishes, etc. Whatever needs done housework wise, play with and read to him, and all that fun stuff.
 
He typically takes a nap at ten in the morning, so then I pull up my Bad Boy story, and work on it till its time to make dinner. (Sometimes I work on it while making dinner, depending on what manner of food stuffs might end up spilled on my laptop)
 
Jarod comes home and we eat, and then Henry wakes up and we continue doing whatever needs done around the house, and then around three he takes another nap, so I work on my 1868 story.
 
It's all coming along splendidly. The schedule makes me work on all of them equally, but I can jump to a different story for awhile if I start to get burnt out on one, or have to spend some time brainstorming a bit, I can do that while folding laundry.
 
And I'm loving these stories.
 
I thought I'd share some snippets with you, for the fun of it. They're all from Bad Boy, since I've posted Gun snippets before, and I haven't got far enough into the story to have really rewritten anything drastically enough to post more.
I like the premise of the 1868 story, but its the shortest one so far, and I'm still trying to figure out who my characters really are and whatnot, so there's nothing terribly exciting going on yet. Maybe later.
 
So, here you are.
 
Bad Boy Snippets:
 
Stopping in the shadow of an empty warehouse, Brass pulled the parchment from his pocket and allowed himself to read it.
                King Bursett calls recent string of fires, “work of a common criminal.” Orders Dukes to get control of their provinces.
                Below the headline it droned on about Princess Tamille traveling to meet with her betrothed Prince of Ellillion, and the dry winter Khassan had suffered, with speculation about how spring would go and what type of crops would come of it.
                Brass read the first line again and crumpled the paper in his fist, shoving it in his pocket and stalking out onto the packed street.
                A common criminal, was he? King Bursett would pay for those words. He would eat every one of them.
                                                                                                                                     
 
          The Gold Rudder was a tavern on the far north west corner of the Spills, almost to the edge of town. Behind it, was nothing but a splay of barren rocky ground and the cliffs that dropped to the Plannack Sea below. Tattered curtains hung in the open windows, blowing in the breeze. The door was on its hinges, but just barely, and he could see through the roof in one place. It was anything but golden.
                                                                                                                                    
He studied the guards as they moved around the camp, helping to set everything up. They wore swords, but beyond that they didn’t seem incredibly defensible. He wouldn’t call them lenient in their duties, but he’d only seen two of them actually stop and survey the area. They clearly weren’t expecting much trouble. Most of the time they would be right, but the king really should know better. He’d insulted Brass after all.
                                                                                                                                  
She jerked her hands away and tried to brush the leaves from her thin nightgown. “Cad.” She hissed, glaring at him.
She was brave, he’d give her that. Not her smartest feature. “That’s not very nice. I’m not insulting you.” He folded his arms.
“Nice!” She laughed. “You’ve kidnapped me in my nightgown, and just threatened to kill me. What do you call that?”
“I’d say generous.” He shrugged and gathered up the reigns again. “I could have actually killed you. Your father is solely to blame for this entire incident, so you can take it up with him if you ever get back. As for the nightgown,” he tipped his head, “it could have been worse. You could have been born into a family that couldn’t afford nightgowns. Or I could have kidnapped you while bathing. Then where would you be?”
                                                                                                                                  
“You’ll never get away with this you know.” Her voice went low. “My father will find you. I’m betrothed to Prince Rulan of Ellillian. You’ll hang for this.”
Brass jerked the horse to a halt and she nearly pitched forward off his neck. “One more rule. Keep your yammering to yourself, or I’ll gag you again.”
He dug his heels into the horse, not waiting for her response. “And, incidentally, there’s a long line of people who want to see me hanged. Your father and dearly beloved will have to get in line.”
He felt her body stiffen, but she refrained from talking, which was a relief. Now, if she could just do that all the way to Bannock Town.
                                                                                                                                
“Now, I’m going to untie your hands, and you’re going to change into these clothes. We’re more likely to encounter travelers from here on, and we don’t want to offend the locals with that vulgar display of skin.” He eyed her bare shoulders.
She jutted her chin out at him, anger smoldering in her dark eyes. “I am not changing in front of you.”
“Then by all means, change behind me.” He tucked the clothes under his arm and tugged her hands toward him, picking at the knots.
She sucked in a deep breath. “Do you want money? All you have to do is say so. My father will pay for my safe return. I have two kingdoms at my disposal.”
“I’ve got plenty of money.” He tugged her hands free and handed her the shirt. “Don’t think you can outrun me.”
She crossed her arms over her chest and he grinned, turning his back on her. He waited, listening to her ragged breathing. There was no sound of fabric brushing over her hair. He rolled his eyes. Foolish girl. She was actually going to try it.
                                                                                                                            

Monday, January 22, 2018

Snow Prep Editing

 
Hi guys!
 
We got snow last night! Like, a lot of snow. The flat spots are about 12 inches deep. The drifts are considerably taller.


 
 
I spent yesterday getting everything ready: filled water jugs, bought milk and bread, and filled the bathtub.
 
I had been gone all day Saturday, so I figured I'd better do some catch up on the pile of dishes and laundry. No one wants to be out of power AND have nothing to eat off of or wear.
 
Church ended up being cancelled, so I was able to get the hatches battened down.
 
So I spent the rest of the day working on The Guns story. I printed it off about a week ago. (My printer was NOT happy about that, and I'm now out of ink) and I've been reading through it in my spare time, marking anything that is worded funny, needs changing, or just generally sucked.
 
And let me tell you, there's a lot of it that just generally sucks. Thank God I was writing in blue ink instead of red, otherwise I think I would have lost heart and threw the whole thing in the wood stove.
 
But, yesterday, I finished the read through part of it, and came to the conclusion that the story is very much worth saving, and that I can in fact do it, so I fired up the laptop and started implementing my notes.
 
Know what my note on the very first page said?
 
This entire opening scene is boring.
 
Ouch. Not the way I wanted to start out. So I set to brainstorming how I could make it hit home faster, cut to the action, raise the stakes right away.
 
It took several hours, I'm not gonna lie. I got desperate and made coffee and cookies in the middle there somewhere. I searched Pinterest, because I realized I had no solid grasp of what half the characters looked like.
 
And I did it! I broke through! It will probably need some more tweaking when I do the second read through, but I'm confident that the opening scene I came up with is much better than the original. I kept the original story and am doing the edits all in a separate document, so if I cut something I want back later, I'll have both versions.
 
I slaved away at it. I had bursts of pure genius.
 
Jarod came home in the evening and I was so excited to tell him the groundbreaking steps I'd taken that day.
 
I'd made it all the way to halfway through the second page.
 

Saturday, January 13, 2018

My Urban Elf


Hello everyone! 

I'm sure you've all heard me talk about the fantastic Miriam Neal on here before. She's the author of Monster, and Paper Crowns, and one of my top three bloggers. (She's right there with Pioneer Woman, guys. It's kind of a big deal) 
She's also one of those amazing people that accepts friend requests on Facebook. 
It turns out, besides being a master of snark and whimsy, a sorceress with words, a very complex theologian, and the possessor of a fabulous fashion sense, she's also a first rate artist. 

She's always drawing and painting things. She does character commissions for people, as well as draws her own characters, not to mention anyone/thing else that strikes her fancy. And she's dang good. 

She's awesome and sells them all too, and at pretty reasonable rates in my opinion. She puts a lot of work into those suckers. 

It's been my lifelong (or five year, whenever I started stalking her) dream to own a Mirriam Neal original. 

And now friends, I have done it. 

Behold, the urban elf.


When she put him up on Facebook I instantly fell in love. I always love her artwork but he was different.

He was The One. 

I had to have him. 

Mirriam was a doll and we worked out a deal, and he arrived in the mail today, and I've never been happier. 
....
Ok, TECHNICALLY I was happier when I got married and had Henry, but you get my point. 

I'm so excited to have him. Jarod totally does not get it. 

Now I just need to decide where to put him. Awesome as he is, he doesn't exactly match my cozy farmhouse vibe I've got going on here. 

I'm planning on building a library in the basement though. Maybe I'll hang him in there. Maybe I'll commission Mirriam to do several pieces for my library. It's quite possible I'm going to go broke. But who cares?  

I just feel like he needs a story written about him. 
Oh the possibilities.

Disclaimer: I did in fact use Mirriam's pictures of him from her Facebook, because she has a scanner and it picked up the details much better than my phone camera would. 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Bleeding



I'm not bleeding 
I'm giving in 
My soul is empty 
A hollow din

Fought so hard 
It's all for naught
It's the end 
That's all I've got 

Broken, beaten 
Caving in 
You wanted to crack me
Ok you win 

Was all for you 
Wanted what's best 
Some things just 
Can't stand the test 

There's nothing left
I cannot be
The same old picture 
That once was me 

Fractured heart 
On broken glass
Maybe someday 
This ache will pass 

Betrayed, pushed out, 
Left alone 
You can't bleed
When you're stripped to bone