Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My Word Count and My BMI

It's been a while since I've done a post about writing, so here goes. For the past month, thanks to my husband going to a couple of camps, I've written a ton. After I'd finished my first book, Persuasion, I couldn't believe that I could have as much fun with any other novel. Well, I guess my books are like my children because I love this one as much as I loved the last one. I'm now writing the final chapters, and I'm totally in love with the characters. I cannot stop writing.

Last year, when I started along the path to publication, I didn't think I had a lot to learn about writing. (Yeah, I'm humble like that sometimes.) Little did I know. Once I got published, started going to conferences, and read a lot of the reviews of my book, I decided I still have a lot to learn. My voice is about the same as it was last year, but I've tweaked a lot of little things. And I am still learning.

The only bad part about writing so much is that my weight has been creeping up all month. I don't know how other writers do it because most of them write more than I do and still stay skinny. Obviously they aren't sitting at the computer with a box of chocolates. Not that I'm doing that . . . although I've downed a lot of Chocolate Cheerios lately. I love those things. Maybe if I did some jumping jacks instead of reaching for the cereal. Hmmm.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Doing Hard Things

It seems like there are two types of people: those who decide that if it's not easy they're not going to do it and those who like to challenge themselves by doing hard things. My teenage sons generally fall into the first category. They prefer to take the easy road and play a video game along the way.

It's a good thing my boys have scout leaders. The scoutmaster came up with an idea to hike 20 miles then bike 30 miles in 12 hours. That's why my husband and our two oldest sons spent last Saturday hiking and biking. (They did 20 + miles on foot and 15 on bike.) I was so proud of them all for sticking it out.

Back in the eighties and nineties when I was growing up, adults used to teach us about self-esteem by having us list all our good qualities. But I'm now sure that passing a driver's test, getting a good grade in a difficult class, finishing a 5K, or completing an Eagle project will build confidence faster than a list of qualities.

Braden Bell wrote a blog post last week about his attempt to write a novel. He compared his experience to the Bible story of Peter walking on water. Peter, in his excitement, rushed out to walk on the water, then realizing what was actually happening, he started to sink. Like Peter, those of us who try to do hard things often come face to face with our imperfection. As Braden notes, people often criticize Peter's lack of faith instead of applauding the faith it took to step out of the boat.

I'm lucky to have friends and family members who are positive about our attempts to accomplish hard things. When my kids were younger, I was all about them avoiding failure. (Yes, I'm a little type A.) But I've learned to let go of my fears a little. It's a good thing.

Monday, June 4, 2012

No Manure in The Secret Sister's Club

If you know me, you know I'm not a farm girl. I'm all for drinking milk, but milking a cow is a little too intimate for me. The same goes for collecting eggs from the chickens. That's why reading books is so great. We can enjoy all the wonderful things about farming without stepping in manure or being chased by an angry rooster. (You can tell I speak from experience, can't you?)

Last month, I met Monique Bucheger, who writes the Ginnie West Adventures. She gave me her book, The Secret Sisters Club to review. It's a middle grade reader about a 12-year-old girl named Ginnie. Ginnie lives on a farm with her widowed father, her twin brother, and some extended family members. She's the quintessential tomboy, who loves to ride her horse.

The plot revolves around Ginnie's plan to get her father together with her best friend's mother. Complications arise when Ginnie realizes that even though she wants a sister, she doesn't want a new mother. In an attempt to get to know her real mother, who died when she was three, Ginnie starts to read her mother's journals. This is one part that I think a lot of middle grade girls will love. The journal entries are just revealing enough to fascinate middle grade readers while still remaining pretty tame by adult standards.

Monique does a great job with Ginnie's character. I could tell she's had a lot of experience with middle-grade girls. Even though Ginnie's a tomboy, she is all girl, meaning she's got some major drama going on. I think a lot of girls will relate to her. At the same time, parents will be thankful that Ginnie still maintains a healthy respect for her father and other authority figures (most of the time at least.)