Friday, October 26, 2018

My Celery Carrot Soup! (for inflammation and sensitive stomachs)

Eeek! Two blog posts from me in the same week? The same year? What madness is this?:-)
Okay, well I might as well preamble a little before we get down to my awesome soup recipe (or just skip this and scroll down)! So why am *I* of all people writing a recipe? I'm one of the worst cooks in the world, so why would I do this? Because this soup is absolutely delicious! And more importantly, it's gentle on most sensitive stomachs!

And I know what it's like to have a sensitive stomach....

 These last three-ish years have been pretty rough. I kept getting food poisoning over and over again. Then my body decided it was intolerant to nearly all foods. Pain would strike as soon as food hit my stomach. Or sometimes it would wait until many hours later. It was consistently inconsistent. Some foods made me throw up. Some foods made me race for the bathroom! Some made my intestines cramp to the point it felt like a scary hybrid baby alien from Aliens mixed with Edward Scissor-Hands was trying to claw its way out of my intestines. I couldn't sleep because of the pain. My gallbladder felt like it was being stabbed! And my GI tract must have been Swiss cheese my colon was filling with so much blood. I would only start to feel better many, many hours after my last meal...just in time to be hungry again.;A; SIGH.
It was, in short, terrible. I took some tests and they think I have Crohn's Disease, but I don't actually know for sure. Whatever it is though, it made me put my whole life on hold, because the pain was all I could think about. I've been feeling so much better now, I forget how bad off I was even just last year! And I really shouldn't minimize it. I don't want to forget, because if I do, I'll get careless, and I could find myself back in that awful place again! I really want to get to the point where I stop being aware of my internal organs again. How awesome would that be?

So anyway, during the worst of it, I started cutting out food that triggered symptoms. And cutting out more...and more...and more things.  I cut out so much I was actually writing poetry about how much I missed food! That's pretty sad, right? I was down to eating nothing but white bread, potatoes, coconut, white rice, hummus, and carrot soup! And I somehow still gained 20 lbs!!;A;

BUT  I now know that the bread and the potatoes were probably actually making my GI inflammation FAR WORSE! So as scary as it was to cut out the few foods that didn't cause me to roll around on the floor screaming that, "there are glass shards and pine cones in my guts!"  I DID JUST THAT! I got rid of those foods, and this recipe is one of the things I started eating to try to heal my insides!

So again, why am I writing a recipe down? Because I returned home to New Orleans after a 2 year absence and I was horrified to find out that 4 of my friends I visited were also suffering from the same symptoms! I'm really concerned that we were exposed to something, but no one seems to have answers. Most of us don't even know what we have. Anyway, I am writing this down because one of those awesome friends in particular is going through a terrible, terrible time! I really hope she finds some foods she can eat and starts feeling better! <3

Why I think this soup is good for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (or whatever we all have):

1: the veggies are pureed, so easier to digest! 2: CELERY is anti-inflammatory! And the seasoning is, too! Cayenne pepper and turmeric powder both have anti-inflammatory properties, so I add a LOT of those! 3: I was nervous going back to brown rice (I was a huge brown rice eater before it started hurting my stomach and I switched to white), but brown seems to be fine now, and it's so filling--unlike white rice! When you can't eat a lot of foods, it's important to find something that keeps you from getting hungry again right away!

NOTE: If anyone has some better ideas, or notes on nutrition, please let me know! I AM NO EXPERT!

NOTE: I would NOT add PEAS most of the time, since they mess with my hormones if I get too much of them! Lentils are better and very filling!

NOTE: I used to add onions, but I think they might be a trigger, and they seem to give a lot of people problems, so I cut them out. I also cut out potatoes, but....... I admit, I still add them in sometimes even though my doctor says they are a huge NO! She said sweet potatoes are fine however, but I just don't think they taste as good in this. But sweet potatoes are supposed to be okay for IBD.

ENOUGH WITH THE BORING TALK! On to the one recipe I have! :-)


Tana's Awesome Celery Carrot Cayenne Anti-Inflammation Happy Happy Tum Tum Simple Veggie Vegan Soup! (TM) 

(Just kidding about the TM!)

You can mix it up, but this is how I've been making it recently! Whatever you do though, if you have a sensitive stomach, avoid onions, tomatoes, and potatoes! If you're stomach is fine, go nuts and add whatever else you want!

Here are my ingredients! This makes one huge pot!
1 whole Celery plant! 
3-4 LARGE Carrots (or equivalent),
3-4 cloves Garlic
1 cup Brown Rice
1 cup mixed Lentils (any colors) with (optional) Split Peas (or just add another cup of brown rice). Do not overuse peas.

Seasonings I use:
Cayenne Pepper, Salt, Turmeric Powder, Black Pepper, Chili Powder, Paprika.

One Celery plant! 3-4 LARGE Carrots (or equivalent), 3-4 cloves Garlic, Brown Rice, Lentils/Split Peas (optional)

STEP 1: 
Pre-soak RICE and LENTILS/peas (at least 1 hour, but I think you can soak overnight).
Rinse until they stop foaming and water is clear.

After soaking, rinse until they stop foaming and water turns clear..

While RICE and LENTILS are soaking, wash and peel veggies (carrots/celery/garlic)!

Wash veggies and peel!

STE 3: 
Put veggies in blender or better yet, a Vita-Mix and puree into a nice baby food consistency!

Put veggies in blender or Vita-Mix and puree! Add to large pot!

Add VEGGIES and RICE/LENTILS into a big pot and commence seasoning!

Add spices to taste!

I didn't measure my seasoning, but I mostly use CAYENNE PEPPER, TURMERIC (both of which are helpful for fighting inflammation-- which is what causes a lot of GI pain), and SALT.
I also use some BLACK PEPPER, CHILI POWDER, and PAPRIKA. Sorry, I'm not exact. But season to taste! I'm from New Orleans, so I really like to pour in the spice!:-)

Lots of Cayenne, Turmeric, and Salt, with some Black Pepper, Chili Powder, and Paprika

STEP 6: 

There is no photo of this! Oops!

STEP 7: 
Put timer on for about 15-20 mins so you remember to check on it, cover with a cracked lid so steam can escape, and cook over medium-low heat
CHECK ON IT! Make sure it doesn't boil over!
Once it starts boiling (it takes about 20 minutes usually for mine to boil--thus the timer!), simmer boil over low heat for about 1 HOUR, stirring occasionally to keep it from burning on the bottom. Continue to add water to it when the water boils off.
Add water  (and keep adding it whenever it cooks off) and cook (with the lid cracked, occasionally stirring) over medium-low heat for about an hour after it starts to boil.

Check to see if RICE and LENTILS (and potatoes if you don't have GI issues and can eat those) are cooked.and relatively soft!

When rice and peas are soft, it's done!

Hurray! It's done! Serve it up, and season again if you need to! I usually add extra SALT, CAYENNE, and YELLOW MUSTARD to each individual bowl! You can also add more water to each bowl as necessary. I add a lot to mine because it feels even easier on my stomach.

Not the best picture, but mmmm, it tastes good!

Friday, October 19, 2018

Interview with Tasha Gray @ Fast or Write!

Alrighty! It has been a while since I've posted on here, but I can't think of a better reason to break out the old blog, than to post this interview where I grilled my poor friend Tasha (at Fast or Write) about her writing!

For those of you who don't know, Tasha is a short story fiend! She will take any premise submitted to her and turn it into an amazing short story with unworldly speed! She really loves collaborations, so if you have an idea, go shoot it to her on her website: 
Fast or Write (or on FB or Twitter under the same name), where you can submit your prompts or ideas to her, or even order a short story custom made--or a short story box with goodies relating to the stories to send to a friend! They are a total experiance that will make the mailboxes of your choice very happy (Check out my review of one here!)!

So, we've established that Tasha loves collaborations, and this month she is collaborating with me! October is a month of art! There is #Inktober, #Drawlloween and #Drawtober! It is basically a month for pushing yourself to create something.  Tasha challenged me to do 31 drawings so she could write stories off of each one! She interviewed
 me about that here!
Now on to the good stuff, where I interview her
*Clears throat and tries to act professional!*

Let's start with an easy one! How long have you been writing?
Forever? I remember my first written piece was in elementary school and was an edge of your seat poem about a fat cat who sat on a mat (spoiler: he eventually went to heaven at the age of eleven).

We went to the school library every week and one day I saw a poster of Newbery award winning books (most of which I had read). This poster had these little pictures of people and when I asked the librarian who they were, she told me they were the authors. It never dawned on me that REAL PEOPLE wrote books and I wanted to write my own. I mostly wrote simple things I threw away, though I did win an award at school for a poem I wrote about a marsh. I attempted my first novel in middle school. It was never finished and was a sci-fi inspired by The Giver by Lois Lowry.

What inspires you most?
Tasha: …to write stories or in real life? Stories are impossible to nail down. A recent one was inspired by a BuzzFeed story. I literally never know where or when a story idea will get me.
In real life, I’m so inspired by people who do kind and good things without thinking because it means there is still hope for humanity. I also love people who are unapologetically themselves. They have every reason to give up or have failed multiple times but they just keep doing whatever it is they need to get to their goals. I am not those people but I want to be.

What are some of your favorite prompts?
Tasha: I love the weird prompts that don’t seem to make any sense because they always get my brain going! If it confuses you, then it’s probably a great prompt for me!
Since I never know what will create a story, I don’t know that I have list of favorites. I have some very good prompts I haven’t been able to write about yet but I will not give up on them! If anyone has submitted a prompt that I haven’t produced a story on, trust me, I have them…I have them ALL.
I also love working from your art though I’m always terrified to do so! I worry you’ll hate where I took your pieces! It’s still so much fun because you created something unique and I get to create my own thing that may or may not be anything like your original thought process.

(I LOVE EVERYTHING YOU CREATE OFF OF MY DRAWINGS! I am constantly amazed how you come up with things!)
What is your favorite story you’ve written?
Tasha: Yikes…I don’t know. I a terrible critic of my own work so when I think of a short story or novel I’ve written, I almost feel embarrassed that I wrote it. My ‘favorite’ is always the one I’m about to work on since it still has exciting possibilities. We always long for and idealize what we don’t have, don’t we? This is why humans are forever disappointed when we get what we want.

Who is your favorite character you’ve made? What are they like, and what makes you love them?
Tasha: Mac has been the most fun to write because he’s my first main character who’s not a good guy and he doesn’t try to be. 

What is your writing process like?
I really don’t have one. Since the TBI, my writing has been spotty at best, which is why I ask for prompts and why I haven’t been attempting novels. Normally I stare at a prompt until I find the hook then I sort of spill words onto the screen and smoosh them until I can hold up my finger painting in the hopes one of you will coo over it, pat me on the head and offer me a juice box and cookies.
You deserve all the cookies! All of them! Can you tell us what your desk/writer space looks like? Can we see?
I share this space with the infamous podcaster Dragons in Genesis. It was his grandfather’s rolltop desk. He got it from his grandmother as a surprise for me because he knew I’d ALWAYS wanted one. The majestically deranged left side is mine.
The funny part is very little of my writing takes place at that desk. I’m a couch writer for the most part, though I often do my note-taking at the desk or will write longhand there.

You also knit! What’s your favorite part of that?
Tasha: To be finished, which incidentally is my favorite part of writing! I owe so much to knitting! It’s the reason you guys are being flooded with stories!
I started knitting several years ago because I was involved in a work accident that left me with a mild TBI (traumatic brain injury). Once I recovered, I found my memory was shot, I couldn’t multitask properly and the old ones help me if my blood sugar dropped or I was overly tired because I couldn’t say words in the correct order. The worst part was I simply lost my ability to write creatively. My what-if machine had ground to a halt.
Since writing is a ‘higher brain function’ the doctor told me I may never be able to do it again. That played havoc with my depression since I defined myself as a writer. It was what made me special and was even how I met my partner! How could I NOT be a writer?!

I tried everything to get back into writing, but I just couldn’t do it. That’s when I picked up a pair of knitting needles and griped for over a year until I figured out how to do it without making the finished project look too bad.
The best part is that knitting helped me heal from the TBI. My memory started improving and multitasking because a tiny bit easier. The more I knit, the better I became. I’ll never be how I was before, but I’m better.
It was one day I randomly got a writing idea. I was nervous to try because I didn’t know if I could take another disappointment. I wrote a poem. It wasn’t great, but I could tell that old muscle was flexing. I still have issues with writing some days but I’m definitely a writer again thanks to knitting!

What’s your favorite project you’ve worked on?
Tasha: With knitting? It’s hard to say since I always find fault in just about everything I do. I keep believing I could do it better if I had a chance. I just like making things that might make someone happy. If they are happy with the project, then so am I!

You do a story a month project people can sign up for. The Secret Short Story Society! Can you tell us more about it? I loved unboxing it! I love how the items included tied into the story!
Tasha: I want to say it came about because I wanted to share my stories. Really it came about because I wanted to give my friends gifts, print my writing in ‘serious’ way and maybe make a little money. That last part doesn’t work because I charge whatever the materials cost me…so that was a wash!
The S4 is a monthly printed story along with at least one surprise that goes along with the story in some way. These stories will not be put on the website because they are SECRET! It also gives me a chance to play around with ideas and characters without stress because I’m not crafting them for the public at large.
The first issue ‘Comfort’ came with a handmade comfort/voodoo doll. After all the trouble I went through making those dang things, I think I may buy my extras but you never know! I really hope it takes off because I have such FUN creating them!

Who is your favorite writer/author?
Tasha: The closest I can come to favorites would be Agatha Christie and Dorothy Parker. First, I just love their work and have always wished I could write like both.  Both had difficult lives but kept writing. I had always harbored a secret wish to be a great crime writer like Christie or a hilarious accurate poet like Parker. I am neither of these spectacular ladies, but one can always hope, right?
Octavia Butler was my heroine for sci-fi. I’m always blown away by how much feeling and…I can’t even describe it. She’s an experience that I love to go back to. She should be required reading in all literature classes.
Ray Bradbury is high up on the list too. I love how his work is so human even though he often writes about technology and how we interact with it.

I learned about twist endings from reading Ambrose Bierce. Horror was mostly Poe though he and Doyle taught me more about detective fiction (still think Christie was #1). I grew up reading Lovecraft but he’s…problematic now that I’m an adult.

What’s your favorite book?
…nope. Not even going to try to break this down because it’s impossible.

Do any writers influence you? 
Tasha: How can they not?! Now that I’m an adult, I can see more of the writer’s as people instead of just their stories. I’ve been inspired by female (Margaret Atwood), POC (N.K. Jemisin, Dr. Nnedi Okorafor, Silvia Moreno-Garcia) and LGTBQ+ (Charlie Jane Anders) writers since they are so underrepresented in our literary culture but THEY KEEP WRITING because they’re writers and their voices matter. Those who say they don’t care about the author, just the story, don’t realize that the books that are being pushed by big publishers and stores aren’t necessarily the best out there in that genre. You have to care or our literary landscape will never change.

What is next for you? What projects are you excited about for next year? Are you already planning some?

Tasha: Yeesh. I’m not certain. I’m always working on something but since I have so many projects in different mediums, I’m never sure where I’m going next.

Ideally, I’d like to make writing my only job and income but that takes a lot of work and some luck. I’m in the process of cleaning up one of my novels, potentially for self-publication though I would love to find a publisher or agent to take me on. Since I write in varied genres, I’m never sure how to present myself.

In 2019 I hope to work more on tightening my writing enough that the public will pay me to read it. The work in progress for Drawlloween will take me on a different course than I’ve taken before but I think will be a fun project. I’m also looking into gathering some of my short stories to clean up and submit to various magazines. I’m always so hesitant to send my work out but I’m trying to get over that.

My biggest wish for 2019 is to get a wider readership for the website and possibly more people on board for the monthly Secret Short Story Society. If all else fails, maybe I’ll just focus on filling up our Etsy site with more handmade goodies! THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS!!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

BETA Readers Wanted!

Hello, all! So if there is one thing I've learned about writing so far, it's that writing is hard. Like really hard. Like steroid abs hard. If there are two things I've learned about writing, it's that writing is hard, and it's really hard to do without help. That's where you come in!

I NEED you!
It seems like every month or so I think to myself, "This is it! This time my manuscript is perfect!" But I am always wrong...except maybe this time. I don't know. You be the judge!

But complaining is easy!
If you are reading this, you must be somewhat interested in being a BETA reader--either that, or I begged or bribed you into considering it! Since I have a few of you targets in mind, I figured I would write this gif filled guide to answer some questions you might have.

So what is a BETA reader, you ask? Well, let me break it down for you!

Oh yeah! Breaking it down!

The Ultimate(ish) Q and A for BETA Reading! 
(If you can think of other questions, leave them in the comments!)

1: What is a BETA Reader?
A BETA Reader is someone who test drives a book before the author tries to publish it. Consider yourself a test audience, whose opinions will help shape the work before it moves on to a bigger stage. All you have to do is read, and give your honest opinion on as much (or as little) of the book as you want!

I am a BETA Reader!

2: What do I get for BETA Reading?
Well, you will get to be one of the first people in the universe to have read a particular book! That's kind of cool, right?

I personally might throw in some real bribes though!

3: Does Feedback have to be Detailed?
NOPE! Recreational books are supposed to be entertaining. This shouldn't be work for you. You just have to read, and have an opinion! Your feedback can be as detailed, or as vague as you like. Any feedback is good feedback.

Eh, I got bored on page 3 and quit!

4: Should Feedback be Nice and Sugar-Coated?
It depends on the author. But in my personal case NOPE! Constructive criticism is invaluable. Telling me what you don't like is the best way for me to make my book better! You are helping me. I'm not going to complain. The path to publication is filled with rejection, so writers have to have thick skin. You can't hurt my feelings... and in the off chance that's a lie, there is always chocolate to improve my mood!:)

Cake is the kind of sugar-coating I like best.

5: What if I don't Want to (or Can't) Finish the Book/Pages an Author Sent to Me?
That is A-OK! Just tell the author where you stopped, and why! Did life get in the way, or was it something about the book? Did the action get too slow? The book boring? Did you really hate a certain character? Just tell it like it is!

Rules and Requirements for BETA Reading!

1: Must like to read! 
This is virtually the only must! If you don't enjoy reading, then you won't enjoy BETA reading either.

2: Should like books in the same genre!
If you aren't interested in the genre you are asked to BETA for, you probably won't enjoy the author's book either. Your opinions would still be valuable, but your time is also valuable. Make sure the book is a good fit for you!

Like your momma said, "Honesty is the best policy!" In this case, it's the whole point!

Help me exorcise my book's demons! 
Exorcizamus te, omnis immundus spiritus, omnis satanica potestas, omnis incursio infernalis adversarii, omnis congregatio et secta diabolica, ergo draco maledicte, ut ecclesiam tuam secura, tibi facias libertate servire, te rogamus, audi nos!

4: Do Not Share BETA Materials with Third Parties.
With self publishing so available these days, having your manuscript stolen does happen. I've know people who have had their work copy/pasted and sold as ebooks by thieving thieves!:-(
An author wouldn't ask you to BETA if they didn't trust you, but things get complicated if an author loses control over how many sources have their manuscripts. So if you DO want to share the author's materials, please make sure to get the author's permission first. :-)


So that concludes my guide! Hopefully it was informative enough to help you make the best decision for me and other authors for you! Thank you for considering to read! If you have more questions, please leave them in the comments! If you wanted more gifs, tell me in the comments! Thank you!

I swear I won't be pushy!

BONUS: Rules and Requirements for Authors with BETA Readers!

1: Be Patient.
Be patient! 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Unspoken VW Code

Well, the Volkswagen Family Reunion is next weekend, and I was going to to make some spiffy decals for Herbie (a totally original name for my white '72 Super Beetle), but on way to the art store to get supplies for said decals (and for some art commissions too!) a texting teenager smashed my decal dreams, as well as my poor car. Herb is 42-years-old and has never been in a wreck before now as far as I know.

Anyway, as I heal my achy body and await the verdict on Herbie, I will write down some of the unspoken rules collectively adhered to by Volkswagen owners. My mom passed Herbie on to me about six years ago, and in that time I have learned much of the unspoken code, but I am sure there is still much more for me to learn. If I've missed anything in my list, please let me know in the comments!

ASIDE: Surprisingly, it is hard to find animated VW .gifs (I must make some I guess), so I apologize for the static appearance of this post!

The proud coat of arms of the VW brother/sisterhood!

The Unspoken Rules of owning an older VW model:

1: You must always wave, or otherwise acknowledge another VW driver

2: You must be more enthusiastic if they are driving the same type of car as you (example: 2 buses passing, or 2 bugs).

3: If you come to a stop near a VW of the same type, you must roll down your windows, and make small talk until the light forces you to leave.

4: If you happen to talk to another VW owner, you must start the conversation with: "What year?"

5. If you meet someone who owns a similar car, you must compare lists of recent repairs to see how many are the same.

6: If you are talking to a Super Beetle owner you must ask if they have experienced the "Super Beetle Shake".

7: If you see a VW in a parking lot you MUST park as near to it as possible. Since VW drivers prefer to stay away from the fray, there is usually a space adjacent.

8: If you are about to leave a parking lot, and you notice another VW has parked next to you, you must leave a love note on their windshield.

9:You must wave at children who wave at you (as long as it is safe to do so, and your attention on the road is uncompromised).

10: If a New Bug owner waves at you, you must wave at them, and encourage them, for they will be joining your ranks eventually. If they ignore you, it is alright to ignore them. They must not want to be true Beetle owners.

11: You must have fun driving your VW at all times!

Well, that's all for my list at the moment! Being a part of the club and owning an old VW really is a fun experience. One that I hope to continue for many years. Please keep your fingers crossed for my Herbie!

I'm adding this picture because it is the most glorious thing I have ever seen!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Blog Tour: My Writing Process

Today I’m posting my first ever blog tour post, and since I’m out of town, I had to figure out how to schedule posts. WHICH I DID! Go, me! EDIT: My scheduled post didn't work, and now this post is a day late, so BAD ME! Anyway, this blog tour is all about individual writing processes. Pretty cool, right? My friend Holli posted hers last week, so first things first. I will tell you a bit about her, then you go check out her blog, okay?  Okay!

Holli is a novelist, a world traveling journalist, a kick-butt kickboxing writer, and an all around cool person. You will love her, and her writing style, so go check out her writing process here: A Life Less Ordinary

I was also tagged by my wonderful fairy friend Kathleen about a month ago, but I didn’t see it! *Hangs head in shame.* It's pretty impossible not to love her, so check out her wonderfully whimsical blog here: Finding Faeries

Okay! On to the questions!

Yes, I do have an amazing Gryffindor scarf!

What am I working on?

I am still tightening up the writing in LOGIN (which is my excuse for not sending out any more queries just yet!). Hopefully my debut, LOGIN is a YA speculative fiction in which children are manufactured and purchased like commodities in an internet addicted future.

Editing feels like a never ending process, but I know the story gets better with each pass, so I guess I will keep going through! Aside from that, I'm working on RESTART, which is the sequel to LOGIN! I haven't worked on it in a few months, but I'm really excited to finish that story, and complete the journeys of those particular characters.

The Dead and the Dying is a YA Paranormal. It was my NaNoWriMo project, and although I didn't get very far in it during NaNo, I'm going to finish fleshing out ideas so I can get back to work on it. It's about a ghost who haunts the Hotel De'Tour in the New Orleans French Quarter, and finds someone worth un-dying for.

Simulated Silence is my newest project, and I am really excited about it! I've had a blank spell for months this winter--the cold-weather blues, or maybe I was just concentrating more on my owl shop? Whatever it was, it lasted a long time, and I was beginning to think I'd never be able to write again. ...Is that a violin I hear?  Anywho, the idea for Simulated Silence came to me a couple of weeks ago, and I was able to bang out the first chapter pretty quickly, and ideas keep coming to me about it. It will be a YA spec-fic, that blends together science fiction fantasy (like: The Matrix, Inception, .hack//, and Sword Art Online), and current affairs. I'm still deciding on characters, names, and trying to come up with a basic structure to follow. 

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I've been an artist for as long as I can remember (linklink!), and I'm also a huge fan of graphic novels. I think that translates into my writing. The artist in me likes to first and foremost approach stories as a visual progression through scenes, rather than relying so heavily on dialogue or narration.

Why do I write what I do?

I write YA because I love reading YA. Original answer? No. But everyone says that because it's true. YA is amazing. I don't think anyone really escapes those awkward teenage years (especially us writers! *wink*), so the situations our YA heroes/heroines find themselves in, are easy to empathize with, and relate to. That aside, there are just so many good ideas in YA!

How does your writing process work? 

I have to admit, I'm a sporadic writer. I can't get myself to write all the time, but when I'm inspired, or motivated, or an idea hits me, I can't be stopped.

I'm a discovery writer. Once I get an idea that jolts me, or a specific picture stuck in my head, I just go with it. I write a chapter or two based on that idea, then I brainstorm and try to come up with some building blocks for the world of the story, for the characters,  where the story will go, and what it will actually be about. I always have a vague idea of how I want the story to end, but it changes as I go along; characters I thought would be important slip out of the story, while others appear from nowhere; old ideas are forgotten, or new ones take their places.

Discovery writing is a very strange thing. I always get the feeling that I'm not really the one in control; that my characters only find out about their next task at the same time I do. It's a very weird feeling, seeing twists come out of my keyboard, and not knowing they were going to be there. I'm sure my writing friends know what I'm talking about. I feel like I'm just an observer in the process!

I'm a discovery writer, but I'm trying to awaken the outliner that must exist somewhere deep within me. I want to be a better writer, and although I doubt I will ever be a complete outliner, I really want to work on plotting out the endings to my books. The best piece of advice I ever stumbled upon was from Brandon Sanderson's online class videos ( I'm going to paraphrase, but basically he said that: "discovery writers know how to end each chapter with an explosion, and make it interesting, but plotters know how to end their books well."

So, as much as I love the journey of discovery writing, I'm trying to incorporate more planning, to make sure the overall endings are more satisfying.

The End!=)

See what I mean about planning out the endings?
Was that really a satisfying ending to this post?

Okay, well, that's the end of my first blog tour! I hope any visitors enjoyed their stay here! Make sure you check out the ladies I tagged. Their posts go up next week.

NEXT WEEK: May 19th Posts!

Rachel Scott: Rachel is an amazing person, and I am so lucky to have gotten to be her friend. I love her like my cat loves naps. ...Oh, should I be talking about her writing? Well, Rachel is just leaping into the query trenches for her first series, a YA historical fantasy that takes place in ancient Rome! Already sounds cool, right? She is also writing a steamy YA romance based off of her time as a lifeguard. She has a Pinterest board for that particular project, which is awesome to check out (if you love shirtless guys and puppies)!

Debey : Debey is a writer of fairy tales, which you can find here! Her 3 stories all connect to one another, so you're going to have to read all three! They are constantly going on sale too! Debey also writes MG, with some really neat ideas for contemporary boys! What little boy doesn't want to read about video games?

Folks who already did this tour!

Rena Olsen: Follow her on Twitter (that's how we met!) @OriginallyRena. She is totally original, and absolutely hilarious! She is one of the coolest people I've never met, and she is also the CP who whipped the beginning of LOGIN into shape (I'm sure she will find some errors in this post too! ";;;"). She writes just about anything you could ever imagine being interested in: from Above Eden (a  beautifully written YA sci-fi with some totally cool concepts)--to Remembering Diana, about a woman rescued from a human trafficking ring, trying to overcome stockholm syndrome to remember who she once was. Rena is like a kindly ice-cream vendor. You don't need to pick just one flavor. She will give you a scoop of everything!

FiFi the Ninja: An amazing ninja writer I met on Twitter! I will update this once I'm back in town! =-)

Paula: Paula is a super talented fellow Louisianian who also runs a blog for the fictional high school in which her debut science fiction series takes place. Check it out for her characters' views on the latest gossip! Paula has a very humorous voice, and she loves exclamation marks! So you are going to laugh, and be excited at the same time! You are going to love checking her work out!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Blogger hates me, and BEEKEEPER EGGLET!=)

Okay, so I have a lot to post on lately, but I never feel like it, since Blogger hates me like Voldemort hates Boys Who Live. I have more issues with Blogger, than old Zoobooks in my closet (and I have a lot of old Zoobooks!), but the thing that's been bugging me the most? 


 I keep trying to add blogs to my "reading list" but Blogger won't let me. Worse than that, Blogger DELETED all the blogs I WAS following, and it won't let me re-add them. I feel like a total jerk, since a lot of the blogs I was following were contest runners' blogs, and I owe them follows for all they've done (not to mention I like to read their posts!)! Ugh. To everyone I was following, I'm sorry! I don't know how to get it to work again. It's all so frustrating. I'm thinking I should switch to WordPress? I'm never going to really get into the blogging if Blogger keeps being a jerk. =-(

Blogger pictured above.

Any opinions on WordPress?

Any advice on HOW to get the follow thing to work again on Blogger? I don't appear to have anything blocking or messing with it.=-(

Not cool, Blogger. Not cool!

Beekeeper Egglet!

To end on something that makes it look like this post isn't just a complaint about Blogger, here is the newest Egglet from my shop! If you followed along with the giveaway contest (which you should have done! There were literally, dozens of awesome puns going on at Fairies & Finds!), you will have noticed that BEEKEEPER Egglet came in second behind the Mad Hatter!
Luckily, someone awesome ordered him anyway, so I got to make him in spite of him losing the contest!=)
I have more pictures, but I need to edit them. He has cute, drippy honey feather ears!=-)

2nd place? I don't think so!
Oh! I have another fun thing to post about too! I'm doing an illustration for a REUTS fairytale compilation! I am so excited to be working on the story I picked (it is amazing), and to be comparing sketches with other artists--oh yeah, and about GETTING PUBLISHED! AHHH!! I need to make a different post about that though, when I have images edited and blogs to tag (which is much that Blogger won't let me have a blog list....)!=-/


Thursday, March 13, 2014

"What is the Use of a Book Without Pictures" in NYC!!!!

Today is my unbirthday! 
Well, it is almost my birthday (Again! How does this keep happening?), which means it is almost the anniversary of the first query letter I sent... which means I need to hurry and send out more queries before my birthday, so I don't feel bad that I sent out less queries in a whole year, than most writers sent out in an afternoon! 
I did enter every contest I could, but I guess I dilly-dallied a lot on the query front? Ah, well, as Lewis Carroll would say: "I can't go back to yesterday, because I was a different person then." I will just have to try and do better this coming year.  :-)

"Dilly-Dallying" pictured above.
Anywho! Enough with the "lack of query sending" guilt! On to what I wanted to talk about!

Okay, so I might have mentioned before that I have a slight obsession with "Alice in Wonderland"...and that might have been lie. Yes, it was definitely a lie.
I don't have a slight obsession, I have a huge obsession with "Alice in Wonderland"! (See "portfolio" for madness references.)

"Alice" is just such a great story, and I love it for many reasons (which I will not bore you with here). 

Anyway, so a few years ago, I was contacted about a super cool project called: "What is the Use of a Book without Pictures?" which, as you might have guessed, was/is an "Alice in Wonderland" project.

The premise of the project was to replace every single paragraph of "Alice" with a full page illustration, and to do so in as many styles as possible. As you might have guessed, I was immediately intrigued by the idea, and leapt right in! It's an international collaboration, and there are hundreds of participating artists! The photo below shows some of the artwork from the project.

All artwork (c) respective owners.

Anyway, I did five illustrations for the project, and after flipping through the digital albums a thousand times, I sort of forgot about it. Now, as it turns out, WITUOABWP is getting its own website, a possible print form, and it will be shown this April at the Lewis Carroll Society Spring Conference in New York City!

I'm not sure if any of my illustrations will be shown in the presentation, but I am still super excited! If you are in New York City late April, please consider stopping by the conference! Here is some of the event info from Facebook!
If you click "Event Photos," one of my drawings is # 4! "Alice Crying.";-)