Monday, November 12, 2012

A-C-C-O-U-N-T-A-B-I-L-I-T-Y

I'm having one of those mornings where I really don't know what to write about. After having a six-week lapse in blog posts in September & October, I'm hesitant to just let myself have a week off. Having a self-made deadline is both good and bad... I can give myself a pass--oh, you've had so much going on, take the week off!--or I can hold myself accountable, which is, admittedly, much more difficult.

I find I give myself a pass a lot... and with so much going on, it's no wonder. But, I need to stop doing it. I made a commitment to write a blog post once a week, by Monday, a few years ago. Most of that time, I've done pretty well... Lately, not so much.

Sure, a lot of my brain power right now is being taken up with debating the merits of a non-malignant bone marrow transplant with my son. What's left has been shifted into writing a project that really shouldn't be getting written right now. Out of all that time, I have 30 minutes or 45 to write a blog post, but when I'm sapped, who wants that?

Despite what's going on, though, I made a commitment. If I were to have a book deal, I'm sure my editor wouldn't say something like, "Oh, Liberty, we know you've got a lot going on right now. Just get us your manuscript anytime you wish. We'll still be here."

Yeah, fat chance of that one happening.

I'd be out of a contract and have a bad name in the industry faster than you could whistle Dixie.

And, on the publishing front, if you follow my Facebook page, you know I did hear back from the agent who asked for my partial. "Too dark for a cozy" is about what it amounts to. So, in addition to writing this novel which really shouldn't be getting on the page right now and weighing the benefits of a BMT on my son with the negatives, I've got to make sense of what to do next.

One of my critters thinks my novel's not ready... which I can sort of see... but what to do with it? Still, I have this agent, a fairly well-respected agent as near as I can tell, who expressed that I have some good writing. What do I do with that?

I'm not sure I'm willing to let things calm down enough to give myself breathing room to contemplate it. I need to keep moving forward, even if it's millimeter by millimeter, rather than by leaps and bounds. I'm not willing to come to a standstill (which I sort of feel I'm at now), or, worse, move backwards.

Which is why I do feel like I need to keep blogging--to keep my brain active, and not let myself fall behind.

Maybe it won't make a lick of difference, but for now, I need that accountability.

And, it may not hurt to have a place to vent.

Until next time,

Monday, November 05, 2012

Always with the Questions...

"What do you write?"

My husband and I were in a doctor's appointment with a doctor who may potentially perform our son's bone marrow transplant. He had asked me if I would be the primary caregiver while in the hospital. "Yes," I reply. "I'm a stay at home mom and a writer."

That's when I got THE QUESTION.

I've gotten it over the years, so the reply has started to just roll off my tongue.

"Murder mysteries, book reviews, and the occasional sci-fi," I say with a smile.

The doctor and transplant coordinator laugh, and the doctor says, "Well maybe while you are here, you will get an idea on something to write!"

Sadly, I thought later on as we left for the parking garage, he's probably not far from the truth, especially given my propensity for hating doctors and hospitals in general, and this situation in particular. And, I tend to have a running list in my head of things that will be useful down the road where stories are concerned.

But, then, you never know where that one little detail may come in handly. So, it's good to stay on your toes.

So, will a scenario with a murdered doctor in a children's hospital come up in my writing? You never know... Most of the time, I don't always know where my brain is headed. :)

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By the way, if you're in the United States, don't forget to vote tomorrow. And, if you're a Republican, a new law passed by Congress gives you the right to vote twice, three times if you're in Chicago. ;) j/k

Until next time,

Liberty

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

It's NaNo Time!

Every year in November, crazies like me participate in National Novel Writing Month.

The challenge: to write 50,000 words (a short novel) in 30 days.

I won't be participating again this year, but it's a challenge that is well worth the effort.

Ever wanted to write that novel but didn't know where to start? Try NaNo. You write about 1,700 words a day and, Voila! You have yourself a first draft.

While NaNoWriMo.org has all the information you need, plus goal-setting applications, be sure to check out what's going on in your area. Quite often, people will be getting together at coffee shops, libraries, bookstores, or churches to write together.

How hard is it? That depends on you. I was able to do NaNo in less than 30 days three years ago. But, I've been writing for a while now. If you're consistent with it, you can get it done. And, even if you don't win the 50,000 word medal, it's still a great exercise to get your creative juices flowing.

So, are you participating in NaNo? If so, have you done it before?

Good luck to all the NaNoers!

Until next time,

Liberty

Monday, September 17, 2012

How High Can You Jump?

So, things are moving a little faster than anticipated.  Last week, I stated we hoped to go out of town soon for my son's treatment. Within TWO HOURS of posting last week's blog, I had a call from the hospital. "Can you come see us next week?"

Next WEEK? Are you KIDDING ME? Do you realize we live 2,000 miles away????

It's really amazing how things can come together in just a few days with less than 10 days warning. People have stepped up to help us out, which has been the biggest blessing of all. I've been truly stunned and humbled by the assistance we've received. It's made a stressful time less-so.

Photo by Vox EFX
I'm a little anxious about the trip... mostly because I've read too many horror stories about the TSA, so the thought of going through security with 2 strong-willed kids, and a headstrong momma (me), I'm a bit afraid something will happen that will make the news.

Seeing the doctors, being on the plane, that doesn't bother me. Being subjected to something that in my mind is a direct violation of my 4th Amendment rights (that's the one about illegal search and seizures, folks) puts me on edge. Heck, with my background, I should be scared of being on an airplane. My dad has worked for one of the airplane manufacturers for most of my life in the department that fixes crashed airplanes, so I've seen more crash photos than the average person. (I am also more than aware that the most dangerous place for a plane is on the ground--not in the air. More damage is done by stupid ground people than pilots that have been drinking too much. Maybe sometime, I'll tell you my favorite story that my dad repeated to me, about a "crash" on the ground...)

Really, I'm glad that we're going out now rather than later. Waiting makes me nervous. But, it does make me concerned that they felt so strongly about his case that they felt the need to get us in this soon. Maybe it's not as serious as I'm fearing, maybe they're just being pro-active. (Please, please, please let this be the case!) Still, I'll be glad when we're back on the ground in good ol' Kansas City...

Until next time,

Liberty

P.S.: I've received a lot of questions about how people can support us during this time. Prayers are always welcome! But, additionally, if you're between 18 & 44 and in generally good health, you can get tested to become a potential donor. Search for a donor drive at this link, request a test kit here, and maybe even consider hosting a donor drive! Marrow.org has additional information, just surf the site and see what's there! Also, if you know a woman about to have a baby, urge her to donate her umbilical cord blood for use in transplants (and for research.) -- LS

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Life Goes On

Life goes on.

This is the lesson I got in the last week.

I also got this lesson: don't count your chickens before they hatch.

What am I talking about? Is my son's health okay? What's going on?

Well, here's the long and the short of it: life continues happening even in the midst of trials. And it can make it completely crazy, but it can also give you bright spots during the times you're in the deepest, darkest canyon.

Take for example what's happened in the last few weeks. If you read one of my last blog posts, you know my son's been marked for a bone marrow transplant. Not the most fun thing, especially when the two-year survival rate for someone with SDS is somewhere between 45 and 60%, depending on what method and drugs are used to prep for transplant. For this reason, my husband and I decided to get a second opinion, since we want to be absolutely sure that this is the road we'll go down.

Which led to a flurry of activity, and ended with me having a lengthy conversation with one of the doctors who is probably in the top three in the nation, if not the world, with experience with Shwachman Diamond kids. Of course, we can't stay in Kansas City to get our second opinion. After speaking with this doctor, which I'm going to call Dr. S (because her name is too long and difficult to pronounce!), it was decided we'll be heading out of town, we know not when, for that second opinion. Hopefully, sometime in the next few weeks to a couple of months.

So, while we're waiting on the answers, we find out our daughter is NOT a match for her brother, which means we have to go to the national registries. Mixed feelings about that. Glad she doesn't have to go through that, but at the same time, now we don't know whether he'll have a match.

Enter: a bright spot.

You know how a few weeks ago, I said I was giving up on "Homebody"? That I'd decided it was time to tell it goodbye, thanks for the memories, all that? (Here comes the "don't count your chickens" part.) Yeah, I may have spoken too soon.

With everything going on, I hadn't checked my business e-mail in 6 weeks or so. Last week, I decided I'd better do that because I *thought* I may have a short story out somewhere and probably should see if I'd received any mail on that.

Well, I didn't have anything out on my short.

But, I did have a reply from an agent I'd sent "Homebody" to back in--get this--February. FEBRUARY! This was a query only agent, which means I didn't send anything to them besides a letter. I saw their e-mail in my spam box, and thought, "Oh, here's another rejection." But I opened it anyway.

First, there was an apology for the long time in getting back to me. But then I read these words: I'd look at the first 75 pages and synopsis after 8/20 if you don't have an agent.

Did I read that right? I got a request for a partial?

HOW COOL IS THAT?!

So, the day I actually read this, I went around the rest of the day with a stupid grin on my face, unable to do anything. After that, it's been a mad rush--is everything ready? I did some changes to the opening scene--does it read okay? And about that synopsis, I never was happy with it, so let's rewrite that on the fly.

And, I have to admit: I haven't sent in anything yet. But, I'm close to doing it. Hopefully later today. I'm nervous, excited, and at the same time, if this is meant to be, let it happen. Maybe I wrote off this book too soon. If not, maybe I'll get some decent feedback, and perhaps, the agent would be willing to look at another project when I've got them done. We'll have to see.

Funny thing is, I looked at the day they sent the e-mail. It was the day before my son's biopsies. I find that kind of meaningful, but that's just me.


In closing, I thought I'd share something that proved especially meaningful last night. My husband and I have seen "The Fellowship of the Ring" dozens of times. We saw it in the theater when we were dating. But, we hadn't watched it in a while due to the demands of parenting. Watching an episode or two of "Castle" or "Stargate" in the evenings is all we have time or energy for, let alone a 3 hour movie!

Near the closing of the movie, Frodo says, "I wish the ring had never come to me."
Gandalf replies, and I'm paraphrasing, "So do all who live in perilous times."

While I wouldn't say my life is perilous, at least not at the moment, it hit me. I could really get Frodo in that instant. Since we found out our boy has SDS, I've prayed, "Don't let him need a BMT. Don't let him have cancer. I can handle diabetes, but please don't let him ever have to face cancer treatment." Not much different than Frodo's lament.

Oh well. I have a request for a partial, and while it doesn't make my troubles go away, it does make them a lot more bearable.

Life certainly goes on.

Until next time,

Liberty

Monday, August 27, 2012

Topsy-Turvy

The last ten days have been anything but normal. And, the news TMOTH and I got last week has definitely turned our world on its ear.

Our son is headed for bone marrow transplant.

When I got the news a week ago, I fell apart. My world has been rocked. How could this bubbly, hyperactive, absolutely most adorable little boy in the world need such a risky procedure?

But, at this point, he does. We've got a lot of steps to go through before the ultimate decision will be made. And, we have to find a donor--it's not certain any of his immediate family will be a match. The likelihood is 25% for his sister, and 2% for both TMOTH and me--29% chance that one of the three of us will match.

The dust is just starting to settle and I can think straight again after getting the call last Tuesday. But most of my energy is being spent trying to figure out what's next, and looking down the road to the next few stages of treatment. Still hoping that when we go in to do another biopsy prior to transplant that the numbers have changed and we can hold off. I'd rather deal with biopsies every 3, 6, or 12 months than transplant.

I don't know what this means for my blog, or even my writing in general. I know I'll need to write to deal with the stress. And it seems like I've had three major things happen in just the last few weeks: first, deciding it was time to say goodbye to "Homebody" and move on; second, a personal decision to work on something I'd been struggling with for a long time; now, this. All in a matter of just a few weeks.

I'll check in when I can, try to post as I'm inspired or led... and this blog may turn into more of a journal of our journey, at least for a while.

Thank you, loyal readers, for any prayer you happen to send my family's direction.



PS: If you should feel so led, please consider becoming a marrow donor. It's an easy, painless process to get on the registry (although there is a small fee unless it's associated with a donor drive). Please check out Marrow.org for more information. -- LS

Monday, August 13, 2012

Growing On Up: 5 Lessons on Writing Learned in the Garden

I started a garden this year.

It was sort of a last minute thing, and I really didn't prepare like I should have, but despite it all, it's been fun to see my plants grow... a few taller than TMOTH and myself (and TMOTH is 6'4"/1.93 meters tall!!)

My garden at the beginning of  the year

My previous gardening experiences have left much to be desired. I grew up with a large garden in our backyard, where my mom would (sometimes) plant a ton of tomatoes, and occasionally other things like corn, peppers, and melons. But, since I married TMOTH, I've mostly had a black thumb. I can't start seeds to save me, and many plants I've bought at the store die.

This year, I was actually successful (at least up to now!) Eight tomato plants, five sweet pepper plants, and one lonely chili pepper plant. Oh, and an ever-expanding patch of oregano.

Of course, my water bill has been going up thanks to the huge drought Kansas is in... *sigh*

TMOTH was adamant--he wasn't going to tend to my garden for me. I have a tendency to not go outside at ALL when it gets hot. So, having a small garden seemed reasonable.

And, I'm kind of glad I started small.

So far as I write this, my city has had 20 days in excess of 100° Fahrenheit. We've had less than 4" of rain since June 1, 2012. Normally, we'd have had about three times that by now. I've had to be out pretty much every day to water, occasionally twice, or my plants start wilting.
Homegrown, home-canned tomato sauce

Because of the extreme heat, I've forgone any trips of any lengths of time. My plants would be dead or close to it, I fear, if left for four days (and yes, I know I should get a water timer, but that hasn't happened yet.)

Of course, all this has led to some fruitful results. I've picked a few peppers so far, but even more tomatoes. And, I'm flexing my canning muscles. So far, I've canned my own tomato sauce, and am hoping to soon have enough tomatoes again I can do my own salsa, too.

In the midst of it all, I've learned quite a few lessons, some that I can translate into writing lessons.
  1. Plan Ahead -- My decision to do a garden was made hastily. If I'd started working on it earlier, I could have had much more space cleared, and hence, more plants/more produce. As a writing lesson, this is translated to outlining. I'm not a firm believer in outlining, but it's growing on me. Especially given this experience.

  2. Give Me Space -- You can probably see that my first picture, I had things planted kind of close. I was ill prepared for how well my plants would grow, since my previous attempts at growing tomatoes and the like had produced straggly-looking plants. Writing lesson: don't jump right into editing. Let your writing sit for a while.

  3. A Mariana's Peace Tomato from my garden -- not a Roma!
  4. Do Your Research... or Not -- I bought 8 tomato plants from a local grower. I'd been adamant--I wanted Roma Tomatoes, the kind best suited for canning sauce. The grower told me she'd give me some Roma's, but she also had a different kind of Roma called a Mariana's Peace. So, I bought four of each. Well, the Roma's grew like I knew they should, but when the Mariana's Peace started to get big, I knew I'd been sold a bill of goods. These weren't Roma's, but beefsteaks! After I'd harvested quite a few of the tomatoes, I researched them--something I should have done right off the bat. However, I was pleased to learn they're an heirloom variety, have a lot of meat to them, great flavor, and seem to have mixed well with the Roma's. Writing lesson: I'm not huge on research, never really have been. Being a pantser, I rely on intuitive or stored knowledge, occasionally a blog by Lee Lofland, Wikipedia searches, or my small writer's reference library in my bedroom/office. Really have to stop doing that. I've had to rewrite more scenes because I later learn of major inaccuracies. Which is why I'm contemplating asking a couple of my legislator friends to allowing me to shadow them come January--despite the fact I've been a legislative intern twice--since I've got two new ideas for novels that would involve a legislative setting. I need to be a bit more disciplined about research.

  5. Deal With Your Circumstances -- I had no idea I was going to deal with a drought like we'd had. Even though I follow Gary Lezak who came up with the LRC (Lezak's Recurring Cycle) which is a weather theory I believe has a great deal of scientific merit, I didn't see us having a drought as extreme as we've had. I figured it'd be hot--we had a mild winter, more rain than snow, and I think I was wearing shorts as early as February. So I was prepared for the heat. But, I've had to be out every day, usually in temps nearing 100°, and that's not something I'm used to. I actually hate the heat. But because I saw my little tomatoes growing, and had visions of maybe supplementing our food sources in a significant manner, I was out there, watering, tending, trimming, and harvesting, even if I was tired, hot, sweaty, or sick. Writing Lesson: Your circumstances are your circumstances. Deal with them as best as you can. If your schedule is unpredictable, fit in 10 minutes of writing between appointments.

  6. My tomatoes quickly became overgrown.
  7. Learn From Your Mistakes --  I desperately needed to have about twice as much space for my tomatoes as I ended up having. I can access them only from the perimeter, otherwise, I have to crane my neck and sometimes reach in blind to find my ripe red fruit. Next year will be different. Come fall, probably in October, I plan to Round-Up a significant part of the yard (probably much to our landlord's chagrin!) and add compost to all our areas that I'm clearing after a couple of weeks of killing off the weeds and crabgrass. I hope to have twice as many tomato plants next year, maybe even three times as many, spread over at least four times the amount of space. Writing Lesson: As I detailed in last week's post, I made the hard choice to give up on my project "Homebody". It was a tough decision, but one that needed to happen. While I'd hesitate to call "Homebody" a mistake, I definitely learned from it. Maybe I'll detail some of the lessons learned in a future blog post.



Question for you: What lessons have you learned about writing from your outside activities?

Until next time,

Monday, August 06, 2012

Tough Decisions, or, I'm Not a Quitter--Honest!

Being a writer means making lots of choices. Why did Uncle Melvin kill off Cousin Carl? How will Detective Haskins discover the killer? Why did Sarah run off with Luigi? And on and on...

One of the toughest things about being a writer is knowing when to quit. Not necessarily for the day, but when is the story done. Or when it's not done, and there's nothing you can do at this point in your life to make it done.

by Astroboy_71
I'm facing one of those times right now.

For the last 6 1/2 years, I've been working on a novel project. It's had a lot of names, but right now, it's "Homebody". This novel predates my children being born, and the two main characters actually predate my marriage.

Over the last year or so, I've struggled with the book. I'm on like the 7th draft or some crazy thing, and I keep feeling like I'm circling around when it could be considered done, but just not quite there. Those who have read it say the same thing. But I can't figure out what's wrong with it, not now at least. For a while, I thought it was done: I submitted it to agents, and have received a few nice, even encouraging replies, but nothing that would have me thinking I'm almost there.

In a last-ditch effort, I asked Texas Momma (aka Linda Yezak) to take a look at it this spring. Between all her battles, she read a few chapters, but life happened and she had to return it, mostly unread, but with a few very helpful suggestions.

Then, last week, I got that niggling feeling again, like it was time to let it go.

I've had that feeling off and on for a while. I'm not sure why, but after it came back stronger than ever, I decided I'd e-mail Texas Momma about it. Even though I asked, I wasn't quite prepared for the blunt reply:
"Give up on Homebody. Save the personalities for another book, if you'd like, but I'd quit on it."
My stomach clenched reading those words. This book has become so much a part of my identity the last several years. How can I just give it up? It's almost like abandoning one of my children at the grocery store.

One thing you should learn early on as a writer is to kill your darlings. In other words, that turn of phrase you think is so clever, or that scene that you love but doesn't necessarily fit with the rest of the book. Perhaps it's the same way with this book--it's become my darling in many ways.

When I first started it, I was a completely different person than I am today. I had different goals, different aspirations, different worries. And, writing... and rewriting Homebody was cathartic in many ways. In the past six years, I've started work on several other projects, most of which I've finished, one or two I haven't for whatever reason--my creative juices ran out, I lost interest, etc.

Homebody wasn't the first novel I wrote. No, that disgraceful thing happened back in my teens. I pray it never again sees the light of day. A couple more came in between, both before and after a hiatus in my last semester of college into the first year of married life. Perhaps Homebody is that transition for me--the one I needed to get out, but isn't yet worthy of being published. Perhaps the next one or two books I've got on my plate will be it. I hope so.

For now, I must say goodbye to this story. Thank you for helping me grow as a writer. I'm sorry I had to use you to do it, that you never reached your full potential, that I wasn't the writer you needed me to be. Just know that even though you will remain on my flash drive, and I may never open you again, you've been valuable. I will always have fond memories of writing you.

As for my characters, Amanda O'Flannigan and Richard "Rick" Pierce, I think they'll be around again. Almost as soon as I made the decision that it was time to cut it loose, I got a new idea which would be perfectly suited (I think) for them. And, Homebody definitely allowed me to come up with a great deal of back-story for these two. I hope it comes to fruition, mostly because I love both of these characters dearly. I'm not quite ready to quit on them, even if I have to quit on one of their stories.

For the time being, I'm going to get back to work on "Reprisal". I'm mid-way through the 3rd draft, and it's lingered far too long as I've had two children, done NaNo, and tried to get that OTHER book done. I'll try to post monthly reports, even if they're brief, on how that's going. Once I've completed the 3rd draft, I'm going to go back to my 2009 NaNo project, "Beyond Dead". It's very short--just barely over the 50K minimum to win NaNo, and ideally I'd prefer it around 80K. That's a lot of words to add! But, one thing at a time.

If you're a writer, how do you gauge when it's time to cut a story loose permanently and stop working on it? Have you ever had to do it? Did you mourn for the story and/or characters as I feel I'm doing a bit of now?

Happy trails,


Monday, July 30, 2012

How to Devour Books Without Really Trying

Anyone who knows me knows I go through phases where I do things. I've been this way as long as I can remember.

By Bob AuBuchon
In the last 10 years or so, my activities usually have a revolution over the course of a year or so which include intensive times of writing/editing, reading, and some sort of craft (primarily crochet, but sewing and candle making have taken that spot as well.)

I'm in a weird spot right now where I'm actively pursuing all three activities with almost equal vigor.

And, I have my friend Juliet to thank for that.

A couple months ago, probably the last time I was physically at my local critique group, Juliet as well as one of the other ladies asked if I'd read a certain author. I'm like, "Who?" I'd never heard of Craig Johnson. They were going on and on about the books, then the fact the books were being made into a TV show on cable and how well it was done.

Well, Juliet insisted I read the first book, The Cold Dish. I'd hoped to have it from my library before going out of town a couple weeks later. (Didn't happen--apparently, they're very popular right now, probably because of the TV show!) It took me about 4 - 6 weeks to get it...

... and I couldn't put it, or its sequels down.

Really.

I've read the first 5 books of the series in the last 6 - 7 weeks, have yet to watch the TV show online (I don't have a working TV for broadcast or cable, so only catch stuff on Hulu when it's available). And, on top of that, I've started reading other books again. Like Robert B. Parker, Lisa Gardner, and I have a stack on my nightstand that includes Kathy Reichs and Diane Mott Davidson.

Going back to my opening statement, I get into grooves where I'm only pursuing one task. Writing and editing had really taken over my life for the first 5 - 6 months of the year. This usually means I won't read any books whatsoever--not even writing help books--except review books for CCBR. The longest non-children's item I may read is a news article or a lengthy blog.

But the last two months have been wonderful... I've been writing actively, and reading when I'm not writing, then about 2 weeks ago, added in a craft project--crocheting a cotton afghan for my son (it's going to be a belated birthday present.)

All because of Craig Johnson.

And Juliet of course.

If you write, do you find you can do all of your other interests in close proximity with each other? Or, do you usually divide up your time whether intentionally or inadvertently so you write during the course of a few days/weeks/months and do other things in a different time frame?


Until next time,


P.S., are you on GoodReads? If so, feel free to connect with me! LS

Monday, July 23, 2012

Two Years... and Counting...

Two years ago, my house was blessed to have the most precious (and I'm not biased in any way) little boy come into our home. His labor and delivery were brief (2 hours of labor, 3 minutes for delivery).

And when I saw him for the first time, I was stunned he was a boy (I'd really thought we were having a girl.) But, I thought he was perfect in every way.

I still cling to that thought every now and then. Now, I know he's not perfect (he's got the ornery streak to prove it!) And, I know he'll never be the same as other little boys--not just because God made him different, but because of what's different about him at a cellular level.

When I was growing up, I can't remember having birthday parties. Sure, I had a girlfriend over most every birthday, or went to spend the week of my birthday (which strangely almost always fell over spring break) at my grandparent's house in the Ozark's of Missouri. But, I never really had parties that I can remember.

Alexander
With Alexander, we don't know how many years we're going to get with him. He may grow up, have a family, and get to raise his own children, see his grandchildren.

I pray this is the case.

But, I also am all too aware that every birthday he has may be his last one. And, as a mother, this chokes me up. As I'm writing this, I'm crying, even though I can hear him and his sister in the next room, playing.

You see, his condition, Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome (SDS), puts him at a high risk of developing leukemia. I've talked about that before. Right now, until he has his next biopsy next month, we know he's at an even more elevated risk.

And, should it come to it, and he requires a bone marrow transplant, I know he's got but a 50/50 shot. We saw it with another SDS family just in the last few weeks. Their son had a transplant, and sadly passed away a few days later. He wasn't much older than our little guy.

It scares me, more than I thought anything ever could.

So, on Saturday over the weekend, Alexander turned two. And, we celebrated, as we expect we'll be doing not just with him next year, but with his older sister when she turns four in October.

While both of them can drive me nuts, and some days I wonder if it's really worth it, something in the back of my mind reminds me that all of our days are numbered. Only God knows how many days we get. And even though writing my stories are important to me, blogging and social networking are fun and even important tools as I try to get the engine going on my writing career, there's things more important.

Until next time,

Liberty

P.S. -- I should have mentioned this when it posted, but I guest blogged over on Linda Yezak's site about 10 days ago. Should you get a chance, go check it out.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Six Things I Learned From Looney Tunes

Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck were a core part of my growing up years, just as much as Nancy Drew was.

And, thanks to the magic of VHS tapes (yes, I sadly still own one of these machines), my kids are getting to know the Looney Tunes as well. For some reason, they have an affinity for Elmer Fudd... why, I'm not sure. But, c'est la vie.

As we've been rewatching cartoons that I've probably seen (and enjoyed) hundreds of times, I've come to the realization there's several important lessons you can learn from Porky, Wylie, Bugs, and the rest of the gang.

  • Know what hunting season it is.
    This could be crucial to your survival. Elmer Fudd was constantly being told it was duck season or rabbit season. Daffy Duck always wanted to trick poor Mr. Fudd into getting Bugs, and would take down the rabbit season signs.


  • When in doubt, ask the game warden.
    This should go without saying, but poor Mr. Fudd would've had a lot less headaches if he would have just asked a game warden! Of course, there was that one cartoon, where Bugs shows up dressed as a game warden, and Elmer laments, "Oh, Mr. Game Warden, I hope you can help me. I been told I can shoot wabbits and goats and pigeons and mongooses and dirty skunks and ducks. Could you tell me what season it weawy is?", to which Bugs replies, "Why certainly my boy! It's baseball season!!"


  • Pay attention to your words.
    Bugs Bunny was notorious for switching up during an argument over what hunting season it was. Bugs: "Duck Season!" Daffy: "
    Rabbit Season!" Bugs: "Rabbit season!" Daffy: "Duck! Fire!"

    Good way to get your beak blown off.


  • Everyone has an agenda.
    Daffy Duck liked to take advantage of a situation. Whether it was finding a cave full of treasure, or trying to trick Elmer Fudd into shooting Bugs Bunny, if it involved personal gain, he would do it.


  • Know when to declare war.
    Bugs Bunny, in my favorite cartoons featuring him, tended to be an innocent bystander... but in many ways, he wasn't. When faced with a cantankerous opera singer in "Long Haired Hare", he twice brushed off the singer's need for no other music first as the singer being a music and rabbit hater. When faced a third time by the singer's unpleasantness, he declares, "Of course you realize this means war."


  • Know when to give up.
    Wylie Coyote and the Roadrunner have many, many instances of knowing when to give up by Wylie Coyote. But my favorite instance is when Wylie and Bugs are going at each other in a battle of wits. After many attempts involving countless ACME products to get Bugs which always backfire, Wylie finally shows up at Bugs' "door" and states, "Allow me to introduce myself: my name is Mud."

So, tell me, do you have a favorite "lesson" from the Looney Tunes? Or from any cartoon for that matter?


Until next time,

Monday, June 25, 2012

Self-observation

In the last few weeks, I've made some realizations about myself that I'm not proud to admit--in fact, I haven't even told them to my husband yet.

I definitely lack self-motivation. A lot.

Now, if I'm in a time crunch, or my family's stomach's depend on it, I can get things done.

But, even my writing suffers because of my lack of self-motivation. Probably why I've been working on my novel for six years, another for more than four. Sure, it's difficult to get things done when you're a stay-at-home mom. But, I know many women who run rings around me. (I also know many women who are amazed that I get the amount of writing done I do... they just don't see what other areas suffer because of it.)

I've noticed this mostly because I've been working on a time-sensitive project haphazardly (non-writing related) since May. In theory, if I had 2 - 4 uninterrupted hours to work on it a day, I'd have it done by now. Yeah, that hasn't happened. In fact, the more I don't work on it, the less I don't want to work on it... and I feel like a failure because of it.

And, it's not like I'm over-committed. It's definitely not that. It's the fact that I can't motivate myself, and to a lesser extent, I can be very poor at time management. My husband instinctively knows what part of the problem is: this little thing called a laptop with an internet connection. Which is also why I've started staying off of the computer on Sundays, and a good part of Saturdays. Still, being off the computer just means I'll distract myself with other things... reading a book, baking bread when I don't really need to, etc. Not that these things are bad, just not necessarily important.

I'm sure I'm not the only one out there who lacks this important skill. Maybe you've been struggling with it, and maybe you can offer some tips. To-do lists, for me, sometimes help, but not always. I'm more apt to ignore it than anything. For instance, I had a to-do list of 4 things for the weekend. I got two done. Oh brother.

Anyway...

Until next time,



Monday, June 11, 2012

Little Things

Eep! I haven't blogged in a month?! Bad Liberty, BAD LIBERTY!

I'd love to tell you it was because it was some calamitous event, but sadly, it was my own blank mind. Monday would roll around, and sometime, I'd say, "Oh, crap! I forgot to blog again!!" Too much going on. Oh well. :)

_____________________


John Wayne as G.W. McLintock and Maureen O'Hara as Katherine McLintock
My kids LOVE to watch the John Wayne movie, McLintock. Recently, when I was listening in while cleaning (and Facebooking), I heard one of the scenes early on, when G.W. McLintock (Wayne) and Katherine (Maureen O'Hara) meet for the first time [in the movie]. Katherine spits at G.W. that she always hated the name Rebecca--the name of their daughter. And, there's really no explanation given for this.

Which got me wondering--was the explanation for it just something left on the cutting room floor, or something more simple--something meant to illustrate character/personality?

I'd like to say it was the former, but if memory serves, Wayne produced this movie with his own company, so had a lot of control over the content. But, if you recognize the time the story is to have taken place--late 1800s or very early 1900s--it may actually say more about G.W. than about Katherine. Men at the time would've had a lot more power over naming of children at the time (or at least, that's what I'm guessing.) Now, women have more power in that area, but I know many couples who discuss the name at length until they come up with something they both agree on (case in point, TMOTH and me. It took us 24 hours POST BIRTH for our daughter and 36 hours post on our son to come up with names. It wasn't like we didn't have some warning we were having a baby, either. We'd known since at least 6 weeks along, if not earlier, that we'd be having a baby!)

If my theory is correct--and G.W. named their daughter Rebecca in spite of Katherine--this is a great lesson for writers on a multitude of topics: backstory, characterization, how a man treats his wife, etc. G.W. didn't care whether his wife liked the name or not, and being the cattle baron, town-owning character that he is, I doubt Katherine's thoughts on the matter would've swayed him at all. Might explain why they're estranged through most of the movie.

Can you think of other instances in movies or books where something made you wonder about the character or backstory and the writer never followed up on it? What story is it, and what's your conclusion?

Until next time (hopefully a lot sooner than it was the LAST time!),



Monday, May 14, 2012

Mind Ramblings

I realized last week on Monday mid-day that I didn't do a post. And, for the life of me, I couldn't figure out what to talk about.

So, I stared at my computer, decided to ignore it, then for the next couple of days, felt guilty about it...

*sigh*

So here I am, not really sure what to write about still. I hate days like this.

The problem is, I have a lot to say. My opinions are wide and varied.

But, sometimes, I feel that since I'm a writer from home, and a stay-at-home mom to boot, I don't have much to say.

And, that's where I'm at now.

Maybe I should just talk about how much I loved "The Avengers". That's a trending topic. :) My husband and I went to see it opening day--in 3D no less--and loved it. Especially the scene at the end of the movie credits where NO ONE SAYS A WORD.

Four words: Joss. Whedon. Is. Brilliant.

I don't know for sure if I'd ever seen anything by Mr. Whedon prior to being coerced into seeing "Firefly" and "Serenity" last year. But, I think I'm a fan now. Between the misfits on "Serenity" and all my favorite super heroes (especially Tony Stark), I honestly can say I love his work. Yeah, I probably need to go see some of his other stuff. That'll come. I'll get obsessive before too much longer, and cherry-pick from his listing on IMDB.com what to borrow from the library near me.

In the meantime, if anyone has any suggested viewing selections of Whedon's previous work, post them here. ;)

And, Oh! Did you see the "Castle" finale? I'll be rewatching that one again over the summer... probably several times (along with the two prior to it, especially the one with Adam Baldwin.) I was thinking this morning as I got up how much a young Nathan Fillion (from Firefly era) would've made a great choice to play the role of Rick in my novel "Homebody". Now, he'd actually probably be a good choice for Mark from my project "Beyond Dead"... at least then, he'd actually be able to play a real cop!

Until next time,

Monday, April 30, 2012

The Sickies Have Got Me!

I apologize for not having a blog post the last couple weeks...

I am currently going into week # 2 (actually midway through it) of being sick. While I can edit, creating two sentences together that belong together is still a bit a problem.

So, instead of a blog post from me, I'm going to urge you to go over to Chila Woychik's blog and check out a couple of her recent posts. From today, How to Discuss a Controversial Topic in 7 Easy Steps, and from last week, Why Writing Mainstream or Crossover Books Pegs You as a Serious Writer.

I'm going to go enjoy my cough medicine and try to get some more editing done (the one productive thing I can actually think about). Hopefully, I'll be back next week when my lungs aren't going berserk for no apparent reason.

Until next time...

Monday, April 16, 2012

Craziness

It's been a bit of a crazy couple weeks.

First, we found out that I'd been published--yea! :)

Then, our little guy came down with a mysterious ailment that we're still not 100% sure what it was--acted fine, but ho-boy, was his skin broke out! Every day for about a week, I was on the phone to one or more doctors offices.

In the middle of this, our daughter came down with a 102° fever for some inexplicable reason. Ugh...

A friend called that day... said another friend of ours has stomach cancer which has spread...

Five hours after that, I learn an old friend of my mom's had passed away, someone I've known for the better part of my life, and still run into his wife and daughters periodically.

And, if that weren't enough, my grandfather, who is 91, went into the hospital with pneumonia.

Ay-yi-yi.

I'm not writing this as a woe-is-me piece. Just venting.

But, it's been a long couple of weeks.

Texas Momma has been encouraging me to work on my novel to tweak it up a bit, so I managed to get a bit of that worked on. Actually made it to my favorite coffeehouse to do so! And, I bit the bullet and asked Texas Momma if she'd look at the whole novel... Hopefully in the near future, that'll happen.

I had hoped things had calmed down, but oh no... The tornadoes in Kansas this weekend? Damaged the facility where my dad works. Haven't heard when he'll be able to go back, but the pictures coming out of Wichita are kinda scary--thank God no one was hurt! I can't count how many times I've been in that area, and to see some of the pictures... really tugs.

God has kept me sane the last few weeks, just barely. (It's been a tough job!) Probably what's been most helpful is the fact I've been reading in II Samuel and I Chronicles about the trials of David the last few weeks. If he could get through all kinds of junk happening, so can I. Sure, I don't have to slay a giant, or stay on the run from my father-in-law who wants to kill me, but I can keep things together because God's with me. He's in control.

And, that's what's most important.


Until next time,

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Published!!!

I'm thrilled to announce that "Family Reunions Are Murder" has officially been published at Over My Dead Body.

Please read, enjoy, and come back here and let me know what you think!!!


Until next time,

Liberty

Monday, April 02, 2012

A Punch In the Gut

Everyone needs a punch in the gut once in a while. Whether it's physical or mental, something that brings you back to reality is never a bad thing.

I got my own slap in the face last week. I was lamenting (okay, I was whining) to a writer friend that even though I'd "improved" my query, and done some tweaking to my first pages of my novel, that I was still only getting form rejections to the agents I was sending to.

She offered to take a look at my query (both old and newly revised) as well as my first five pages.

Now, this writer friend is kinda like my Texas momma, and I've told her so on several occasions. We laugh and joke, and I know without a doubt that if we ever have the chance to meet, after the initial awkwardness, we'd have the same relationship offline as we do on.

So when the first line of her reply was, "Get out the rifle, you're gonna wanna shoot me", my heart sank.

What do you mean my story isn't ready yet? Really? I've been querying and making a fool of myself--again?

Basically, in all my editing, I've managed to leave some B.I.G. beginner errors in my novel... which is probably why I'm not getting any nibbles.

Seeing as my TX Momma is published, and works as an editorial assist to a small press AND her lit agent, I'm inclined to take her advice.

So, here's to hunkering down--again--and doing another MAJOR pass on "Homebody"... and hopefully, I'll get it right this time.


Until next time,


Liberty

Monday, March 19, 2012

News!

We have some news!

Last week was the source of some good news... and some bad news...

But, we like good news here. So, I'll just share the good news today. The bad news... it can wait. Besides, it's not horrible, life-altering news, it's just the kind we don't like very well. ;)

Ahem.

As many of you know, I decided to join the Team PYP challenge back in July. (Sadly, I've learned that Mrs. Woychik will not be continuing Team PYP into next year, and has shortened this year from a full year to 9 months... :( ) Anyway. I've been working on my myriad of projects for this and other duties, and I'm starting to see some success.

A week or so ago, in Miss Snark's First Victim Secret Agent contest, the Secret Agent told me she'd probably read beyond the first 250 words if my story were in her slush. (Pssst! It is! I submitted to her during the contest, not knowing it was her!) So, that was encouraging.

But, the best news of all came on St. Patrick's Day.

Now, I'm not superstitious or anything... and while I'm Irish, let's just say my roots to Colonial America are fresher than those that lead to the Emerald Isle.

But, St. Patrick's Day evening, I'm doing what every young writer does incessantly--checking their e-mail. I didn't think I'd have anything, but lo-and-behold, there's something new in my inbox. (I keep a separate e-mail account for all things writerly, just so I don't lose things of importance.)

I click on it.

It opens up, slowly. (Yeah, thinking about leaving Yahoo! after all the issues I'm having, but I digress.)

"We would be pleased to include your story "Family Reunions Are Murder" in OMDB!"

How about them apples?! OMDB! is short for "Over My Dead Body!" and is an online magazine for, you guessed it, murder-related stories. I don't know when I'll be published--yet!--but I'm sure it'll be relatively soon. I'll be sure to let everyone know when it's up. :)

Until next time,

Monday, March 12, 2012

Jitters

I've been feeling more than a little jittery lately.

And, no, it's not from heavy amounts of caffeine, although I'm weaning off of it again after a bad spurt over the winter of needing it in high amounts.

No, these jitters are nerves for writing.

See, I'm in-between projects right now. I've got "Homebody" which I'm still tweaking, even though I'm sending it out to agents. And, I've got "Reprisal" (the new name for "Cora's Song") which I'm contemplating all the changes that need to be made to make it publishable. (Not that it's not now, it's just gotten a little lengthy, and needs a bit of trimming and consolidating and poking to make sure I've got all the holes in the plot tied together well.) And, I've got one more project ready for editing... and two I'd like to be writing.

But, I'm trying to prioritize, and actually get things ready to go rather than writing, writing, writing and never editing, editing, editing.

Sigh.

Hence, the jitters. With the fact that I'm feeling just a little closer to my publishing dreams right now, it's making me twist into a little ball of nerves.

Which does nothing for any other aspect of my life except make me antsy. I mean, surely, the kids can deal without mommy for a while during the day, right? (Not that they do--it just leaves me feeling that way sometimes.) Surely, TMOTH can understand that I've got to get work done (Yeah, not so much.) And the dog... well, the dog and I go on lots of walks these days which is starting to give me time to think about all the changes to be done to "Reprisal". After too many walks where I'm chasing the kids or hollering to my 3yo to hurry up, these near-silent walks with the dog are ones where I'm having to retrain my brain to think about my plots again.

Anyway, maybe, along with fewer amounts of caffeine, I'll be easing the jitters soon.

And, in the meantime, you can check out and see whether my entry over at Miss Snark's First Victim made the agent's cut this month. "Homebody" was entry #1 last week over there, and today, I'll find out whether I won or not.

Until next time,

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Rare Diseases Day

Tomorrow, February 29th, is the 5th Annual Rare Diseases Awareness Day.

One year ago, I'd never heard about Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome.

Today, I live with its effects every day, and see its challenges in the face of my son.

Please help raise awareness. It's not just cancer and obesity that creates health challenges. Rare disease--like SDS--together are just as common as cancer, obesity, and heart disease. But because the individual diseases affect only a handful of people around the world, you never hear about them--and few people fund research simply because they don't know about them.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Results?

Hello, dear readers!

This will be brief, as I've got a lot on my mind, and just want to let you know about the things that happened last week.

First, wasn't Jeannie Campbell's couch time with my character awesome? I really, really, really appreciate her! Now, it's off to work on that project. :) Third Draft, here I come!

Second, the contest.

Well, I didn't make the cut. But, as I said on my Facebook page, that's okay. About two weeks ago, it came to be that a newly published author agreed to do a first few chapters critique of my story, and we found a bunch of problems, which I'm working on. Nothing insurmountable, but between that and some critiques I'd sought out on my pitch, it was for the best. Upward and onward!

And, the biopsy.

It went well. From start to finish, it lasted maybe 10 minutes (from what we were told), but sedating him and waking up made it about an hour total. A little nerve-wracking, but it's done with. Now, we're just waiting on results, which we're hoping for today or tomorrow.

It's been rather hectic this weekend, hence the brevity of this post.

Until next time,

Liberty

Monday, February 20, 2012

Hectic

When did life get so hectic? I mean, really?

Between the fact that I've been spending a ton of waking hours working on writing projects, it seems everything else has been pushed to the wayside, up to and including normal housewife duties. TMOTH often asks what I managed to get done in any given day, and I give him a blank stare. How can I say that most of what I did involved editing, writing, outlining, etc.?

Oh well.

This week probably won't be much different. However, there is one thing this week that'll get me away from the computer.

First, two writing-related things happen this week.

The fabulous Jeannie Campbell, AKA, The Character Therapist, is going to have my male lead in my next publishable novel on the couch. I'm so excited! Back in October, she had Tamryn, my female lead, on the couch, so I'm really interested to see what she says about the hero and how they'll interact together. Bridger's couch time is slated for tomorrow, so be sure to check it out.

Thursday is to be the latest day at which I'll learn whether Homebody made the first cut for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest. I'm hopeful, but I don't know what kind of competition I'm up against, either. Well, I take that back. I do know TWO of the novelists I'm up against--two of the members of my local critique group have also submitted. This part of the contest is all about pitch, which I'm a bit more confident about than the actual novel, just for the simple fact that I've had some recent critiques from a new critter that have already drastically revamped the first few chapters of the story. Oh boy.

And, finally, Friday... our little boy has his bone marrow biopsy, provided he doesn't get sick. He gave TMOTH and me a cold in the last week, so hopefully, we don't give it back!

I don't know if I'll give an update until next Monday about any of this, but we'll see.

Until next time,

Liberty

Monday, February 13, 2012

Am I Ready?

Well, I've missed the last week or so blogging... And, I really have no excuse. I've been here. I've been at the computer. But things went Ca-ray-zy! I swear! (Of course, when in my life have I not described it as crazy?)

This is going to be more of a writing update than anything... After submitting to the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest two weeks ago, the contest closed early, which was a little nerve-wracking.... especially when I started going over the manuscript in question, and started catching little tweak-y things (including a missing punctuation mark late in the last chapters.)

But, this means I'm doing something I'm still not 100% sure I'm ready for (mentally--the book is ready) and that's submitting to agents.

On Friday, I sent out 10 queries with the appropriate items requested by each agent (and I don't think ANY of the requests were the same!) Saturday morning, I got a rejection--yeah, that was FAST. I was disappointed since it's from an agent I admire and follow on Twitter, and it was a standard form rejection. But, I could chalk that one up to not being exactly what she's looking for, or maybe she's full-up on mystery writers right now.

So, now Number 11 went out late Saturday morning/early Saturday afternoon. I figure I'll try 20 - 25 agents, see what happens, and continue to tweak as I go through the process.

It'd be nice if I make the first cut on the Amazon contest, which I'll know probably in about 10 days.

Ten days. Wow. I don't know if I'll be able to sleep in that time!

Of course, I will, but if I get as wound up as I've been lately right before bed, it'll be difficult (which is also why this post may be a bit disjointed--my insomnia has been acting up and I actually had to medicate last night.)

In the meantime, I'm just going to keep doing what I've been doing. I'll finish up the pass on my manuscript in case I get that coveted partial--or full!--request, and I'll continue work on my cross-genre novels (which I think pretty much describes the projects with the working titles of Cora's Song, Beyond Dead, and its sequel, Dead Before Arrival.)

I still have my work cut out for me.

Until next time,

Monday, January 30, 2012

Operation: Enter a Contest

It's 11:30 PM, and I just realized that yet again I missed blogging today. Ay-yi-yi! What's wrong with me?!

Well, I'll tell you what's wrong with me.

The last two weeks, I've been on THE MISSION.

Yeah, you writers should know what I'm talking about. THE MISSION, which I chose to accept, was to whip my almost-ready novel into shape and submit it to -- GASP! -- a CONTEST.

Gulp!

I'll have you know that today, Monday the 30th, I hit the "upload" button for probably the last time... and it's gone on its way to the great reviewers at the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest. (And I'm not lying when I say the reviewers are great--one of judges this year is Donald Maass--THE Donald Maass. You know, the one who has written so many great books on the craft of writing, the one who has his own literary agency?! W-O-W.)

For those who don't know, the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest is a fairly big deal. There may be contests bigger. I'm not sure, to be honest. This was the first time I've every thought about sending in any of my work to a contest--and I got pushed into it by a friend from the great state to the south of mine. And, I know I don't have an awesomely-high chance of winning. They're accepting up to 5,000 entries. The first cut takes that number down to 1,000 (I'll know if I make the cut just before my son's BMB next month.) The second goes further still--to 250.

That means I have a 1 in 20 shot to making it through to the 2nd round. If I make it that far--heck, even if I make the first cut--I'll be pleased. Quarterfinals are the top 50--a 1 in 100 shot. Yeah, if I get that far, you can pretty much guarantee my heart will stop. ;)

Anyway, this is starting to digress, and I apologize... it's just I've never really done anything like this before! Sure, I've sent my work in to a handful of agents... sadly, I was ill-prepared, and did it a little too prematurely. Now, I think I may be ready, and I'm getting all jittery about the possibilities and options. Am I really ready? Really??? Do I get this thing out to agents' inboxes, or do I wait and see if I pass the first cut or not?

There are too many questions... Ugh!

Of course, the lateness of this post probably doesn't help... The more I think about it, the more uncertain I become.

Oh well. I'm sure I'll feel different in the morning.

Until next time,

Liberty

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Beyondaries!

The magnificent Chila Woychik, who has appeared here more than once, has been busy, starting a new e-zine through Port Yonder Press.


The first issue was released yesterday, and will be quarterly. Make way for Beyondaries! :) I haven't had a chance to explore it fully, but there will be articles of interest to writers and non-writers alike... including the quarterly results of the Team PYP short stories!

I should point out that my name is somewhere in the issue... can you find it? ;)

Back next week with who knows what... it'll be fun!

Until next time,

Liberty

Monday, January 23, 2012

Non-stereotypical

You know you're an odd duck when your husband asks you when the Super Bowl is...

Such is life in my house. I am far more interested in football than my husband, although he seems to "get" the game more than I do.

Last night, we were eating dinner, and TMOTH looked at me (while I was stuffing my mouth with pizza) and said, "The Super Bowl is next week?"

I held up two fingers, and after I swallowed, told him, "Two weeks, Honey."

After thinking about it for a bit, it made me think about how much of the time, the characters I read about are a bit stereotypical. Sure, there's some exceptions, but most of the time, the girls are the shopping-freaks, and the guys can't understand anything else when anything with a ball is on the TV.

As a writer, I hope my characters are never cookie-cutters cut-outs. The main character in one of my projects absolutely HATES shopping, and is very likely to show up somewhere wearing a Kansas City Chiefs jersey (whether it's appropriate or not.) The hero in the same story is as comfortable cooking alongside his girl (the main character) as he is taking his car apart and changing its oil.

If you're a writer, do you find you rely on stereotypes of the genders a bit too much? If so, is there a legitimate reason you do?

If you're a reader, do you notice when characters are stereotypes?


Until next time,



P.S.--I drafted this last night... while I was watching the Giants/49ers go into overtime...

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Plea From the Dog

Me and Mom
My name is Tucker. I am a 3--almost 4--year old Chocolate Labrador Retriever. I live with my mom, Liberty, and TMOTH. I have commandeered Mom's computer to beg for your help (and I am really good at begging.)

You have to stop Mom's obsession with this thing called "writing". It is really getting in the way of my quality dog time. When I first came to Mom's house, everything was confusing, and I did not know how completely obsessed she is with this activity.

First, it was writing a book. That was fine. She would sometimes stay up late while writing this book. This was nice because she would, if she remembered, be up to let me out to go chase opossums and other night-time animals I don't get to see in the daytime. I sure do love to chase them squirrels and rabbits... just wish I could catch one...

But, Mom has now decided this thing called a book needs to go into a contest. If that weren't enough, she is now writing these things called "reviews" and "short stories". I'm not really sure what these are, just that they are starting to encroach on my well-deserved walks. After all, I am the dog. I need these sorts of things. And, if Mom were to take me for my walks, she might not be so concerned about the size of jeans she is (or isn't) fitting into these days.

If that isn't enough for you to help me, maybe this will be. I sometimes hear Mom talking to herself. I think she's talking to me--after all, she using the word "bones" a lot--but when I come to see where the bones are, she barely notices I am there! I know I heard her right. Then she's started talking a lot about getting an "agent" and making lots of "queries". I'm not sure what these are, either, but they sound like a big problem if I'm going to get my dinner on time one of these days. Too many times, Mom can't remember whether she fed me or not. (That's why the kids give me scraps--to make sure I keep up my strength. Someone has to get the word out about Mom!)

Won't you help me? You may know how to talk to Mom about her addiction. I've tried, but apparently, Mom cannot understand me. I will keep you posted on my progress.

--Tucker the Labrador

Monday, January 09, 2012

It's Coming!

... and I don't necessarily mean in a good way!

Since my son was diagnosed with Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome, we've known one of these days, he'd be having a bone marrow biopsy (BMB).

Well, it's official. He'll have one late next month.

This has left a lot of our family and friends with lots of questions, some of which we don't know how to answer (and are fumbling around trying to at least sound somewhat intelligent when we respond.) Why does he have to have a BMB? Will he have to have it multiple times? Will he be sedated? How long will he be in the hospital? What are they looking for?

I asked my online support group about it, and they pointed me to these two resources:

Bone Marrow Biopsy and Aspiration
Bone Marrow Biopsy Day

Am I glad I asked! I think both resources answer more questions than even I'd thought to ask. :)

Probably our next biggest question is how long it'll take to get the biopsy results--TMOTH has asked this, and I told him I had no idea, but we'd probably have results by Easter--let's hope sooner!

More on health: our son's doing better, and it's been 2 weeks since he's had a CBC (Complete Blood Count) run. We go back tomorrow for another CBC. We're watching his hemoglobin slowly rise, and I'm hopeful it's closer to the normal range. As an aside, our son isn't the only person I've learned of in the last few days with low hemoglobin levels--a friend's child was down to 6 last week (never heard for sure if the child had a transfusion or not) and a member of TMOTH's family also had their hemoglobin drop and had to have a transfusion. At least I can understand the worry when it happens now!

Next week, I'm going to try to get back to a post on writing or some such thing. Maybe an update on those resolutions I wrote about a few weeks ago. (Hint: I've lost some weight, but have no clue why! I'm not exercising like I know I should be...)

Until next time,

Liberty

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

It's the New Year! Will You Join Me...?

Monday has come and gone... and Monday morning, I had NO clue what to write about. Today, I think I do.

I've decided I'm going to do whatever I can to read through the Bible in a year or less. (So far, the "less" part seems probable.) Using my handy-dandy Bible app from YouVersion.com, I've selected a Bible-reading plan, in my case, the Chronological version.

Photo by RudraMel
I've been using YouVersion for a while on my Android smartphone. Instead of taking my Bible with me to church, I've been using this handy (and free!) app. I can switch versions at will (a good thing when our pastor switches from NIV to NLT to ESV in the span of five minutes.) And, I can get a daily reminder to read my Bible that day.

The year is still new. Will you join me and commit to reading the Bible in a year? I've never done this before, and could use the support, encouragement, and accountability. You can join me at YouVersion--I'm user Righter1.

Have you ever tried to read the Bible through in a year--or less? Were you successful? Do you have any tips to stay firm on your commitment?

Until next time,

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