I Love Star Wars

I suppose this is the time to confess that I am a Star Wars fangirl. I love all of it: the movies (okay, some more than others, obviously), the books, the comics, the TOYS. Oh man, the toys! In the picture below you see one of my all-time favorite machines: the glorious AT-AT Imperial Walker. This particular one, named Frostbite, is from the LEGO Mini Line (isn’t he cute??). I also own a full-size Walker named Avalanche, and a plush one named Snowball (the AT-ATs in The Empire Strikes Back were part of General Maximilian Veers’s Blizzard Force). 

So yeah. I’m a bit of a fan of George Lucas and his amazing sci-fi/fantasy space opera. My hubby and I have a big Millennium Falcon hanging on our office wall above my desk. Star Wars Funko Pops intermingle with Star Wars action figures. Slave One sits proudly on one of our shelves in the office. My favorite character, you ask? That old chip-off-the-Jango, Boba Fett, ever since his appearance in The Empire Strikes Back. 

Being a fangirl gives me the right to not like everything. I don’t like The Phantom Menace. I’m not a big fan of Rogue One. But Star Wars is such an epic, sweeping story that even given those parts of it I don’t much like, it still topples every other fandom for me. I’m also a Browncoat, Whovian, superhero fan, and proud of it. But ask me for my favorite, the one fandom I couldn’t live without, and Star Wars would win every single time. 

I’m excited for The Last Jedi. I expect good things. We are seeing it Sunday afternoon, so I’ve had to tell others not to give spoilers away. I want to see Rey decide to experiment with the Dark side of the Force. I want to see more of Kylo Ren’s personal conflictions. But most of all?

I want to see those behemoth AT-M6s pounding across the battleground. Why? I am an Empire girl, and my dream job in the Star Wars universe would be an AT-AT driver.

Have a great and blessed weekend, and as always,  MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU!

Lift Gets Launch Date

You know your dream of having your book published is getting real when a book store agrees to hold your launch party. The Book Nook & Java Shop in Montague, MI, has graciously agreed to host Lift’s party, and I couldn’t be happier! I’m already working on giveaways and promotional items for it.

I hope to see you there on April 21st. 

Lift Off!

So just a quick announcement: Lift has been completely edited, and emailed to my publisher. After she reads it, I may have to make some more edits, but even so – Lift has left the desk! It has been a huge undertaking. 

Writing a book is largely a lonely endeavor. It’s just you, some notes, and a blinking cursor. Lift was started in August 2016 and completed in February 2017. It then sat for six or seven weeks before I began the initial edits. My husband, Ryan, was a huge help in the final editing round. He caught things that I hadn’t noticed. 

Now Lift begins the next part of its journey. I am beyond excited to work with K. R. Conway of Wicked Whale Publishing, and to see where this writing venture takes me. 

The Haunting Hour 

Happy Halloween! How has your day been? If you’re here in West Michigan, you’re probably stalking your weather apps to see how bad it will be while trick or treating tonight. Me? My two kids are too old for that now, so we’ll be home, watching the Flash on the CW and waiting to pass out candy.

While I know Halloween has fallen from favor with some groups, I have always enjoyed it. I work in a library, and this morning I was honestly hoping for a little haunted house action. Sigh. I got nothing, save the normal creepy sounds eminating from our roof. But it’s still a fun day.

So here’s wishing you a happy haunted night, full of candy and maybe a little mayhem.

The Author Life…or Something Like That

It’s beautiful outside today. It’s 71 degrees (according to my weather app on my Android), and there’s a breeze playing through the trees outside my window. The trees are starting to change, finally. With all the rain and wind we got here in west Michigan last week, I wasn’t sure there’d be any leaves left.

Tonight is the last home football game, and last game period for the Shelby Tigers. They fought valiantly, but without much avail this year. The highlight of the home games was the Shelby Marching Tigers, the high school marching band my son plays trumpet in. I guess maybe my opinion is swayed, being a band mom. The football team really did try hard this year.

My niece and I attended the Breathe writing conference back on October 6th, and it was amazing. I got to sit in on sessions led by two very talented women, Rachel McMillan (her Canadian accent is so COOL!) and Cynthia Beach, who led a great session on writing settings. B (my niece) and I decided we definitely want to attend the whole conference next year. It’s already in my Google calendar.

So what about actual writing? Well, I’ve been editing Lift, my YA contemporary fantasy novel coming from Wicked Whale Publishing in 2018. I’m finding out that being a pantser-type writer means quite a bit of revision. I’m also writing Tilt, the second in The Flying Ponies series.

Life does get in the way, though, of that thing we writers like to do: write. We’ve had doctor’s appointments this week and upcoming doctor and dentist appointments in the next two weeks. We’re going to Cedar Point amusement park with my husband’s brothers and their families next weekend, where I’m hoping to snag some selfies with the Muller “Haunted Cavalry Horse” carousel horse that resides in the park’s Frontier Town Museum. We’ve also got the Shelby Marching Tigers’ Spectacular next Friday night, where the marching band plays in the high school auditorium. It is quite a sight!

Throw in high school and middle school conferences, youth group activities, those pesky TV shows my hubby and I can’t live without, the books we’re trying to read, a health concern for me, and a myriad of other things (have I mentioned our two horses and two Dachshunds?!), and it’s a wonder I get any writing or editing done at all. I’m very new to this author life, and while loving it to death, I do struggle with finding time for everything. Because it’s all good stuff. Great stuff, actually, when it has to do with my family and animals.

What do you do to find time? To make time? I have a pretty pink soft cover notebook that’s quite large, and that’s what I make my writing plans in every week. I try to stick to the schedule I lay out. Sometimes I do really well, and other times, well, not so much. This week, I know without checking my planner, I didn’t do so hot. But at least I have a reference for what I really need to be working on. I put stickers and shiny sticky gemstones in it to flash it up a little. Hopefully this next week I’ll manage to follow my plans a little better.

So onward to the last football game of the season. And onward with this crazy author life!

 

Continuing to Learn 

My niece and I are attending the 2017 Breathe Conference tomorrow, October 6. It will be our first time there, and our first time going to a conference together. We’re excited, a little nervous, and ready to learn. 

It will be interesting to be with so many other writers. Writing is a solitary action. Most of us are introverts. I know I prefer small groups to large ones, but sometimes getting out of my comfort zone is good. Getting to talk writing with so many other people will be an amazing experience. 

Continuing to learn about the craft of writing is important. I cut my teeth writing reams and reams of fan fiction. Writing for those fandoms helped me learn what to do and not do. I learned (hopefully) how to deal with unflattering reviews. But not everything can be gleaned from just writing.  Going to conferences and seminars teaches you new ideas, builds your confidence, and lets you mingle with others who “get” you. 

I will post this weekend after the conference and let you know how it went. Have a blessed night, and a wonderful Friday. 

Welcome to Author Life

It’s official, folks: I have signed my first book contract. I signed with Wicked Whale Publishing, and it’s amazing owner, K. R. Conway.

I found Ms. Conway through the website, Netgalley, when I was given an ARC of the first book in her series, Undertow. After devouring the YA fantasy in a few days, I put my review on Goodreads and also sent her a message, telling her how much I had enjoyed it.

This began a back and forth conversation that has continued, on and off, for around three years. After finishing Lift, I chose to publish independently. Ms. Conway’s small press, Wicked Whale, puts out wonderful books, and I decided to publish Lift with her.

Signing this first contract was surreal. I honestly wasn’t sure I would get this far. But thanks to very supportive family and friends, it happened. I am hoping Lift will be available by mid-winter.

I look forward to sharing my first YA fantasy novel with the world. The prequel to Lift, entitled Whirl, is available for free here, under The Flying Ponies page.

I hope every one of you has a blessed weekend. wp-image--2046665310

Finding Inspiration at the Mall

I survived girls’ weekend! It was a great two days of watching romantic movies, shopping, and eating junk food. On Sunday, we ventured to the Traverse City Mall, which houses a beautiful carousel. I took the pictures you see here to use as inspiration for my Flying Ponies series.

I love seeing the carousel animals; they remind me of a lost time that America will never see again. I believe this carousel sports fiberglass animals rather than wood, but their beautiful colors and intricate designs also represent my own childhood memories of riding flying ponies around and around.

I think when you’re writing, it’s a good idea to find images related to the story that inspire you. I am a visual person; seeing actual carousels help me focus on writing about my fictional one. And, I enjoy learning about them, too. I hope to next year make it down to Sandusky, Ohio, to the Merry Go Round Museum, to visit their restored carousels.

What inspires you when you write? What images have you used for your stories?

Have a blessed night, and please enjoy the carousel pictures.

Girls’ Weekend!Or, Showing Off the Smash Book

I’m headed north this weekend with my daughter and mother-in-law to meet up with my two sister-in-laws and two nieces for a weekend of chick/superhero flicks, junk food, antiquing, used book and second-hand clothing stores. Let the party begin!

I’m also excited to show my oldest niece my smash book for my YA fantasy series. What’s a smash book? The easiest way to explain it is it’s a scrap book for your book. I have pictures of my castles, ruling families, assassins, soldiers, places, and other things pertinent to the series. It’s been a lot of fun, and a fair amount of work. That’s been good for me, though, because my muse needed a break after finishing the first novel in the Three Destinies trilogy and editing, for the fourth time, the first in the Flying Ponies duology.

But the coolest thing about showing off the smash book to my niece? She is already a huge fan of my books set in Pentallia, the world I created. She’s my first reader of my books and short stories, and she’s an aspiring writer as well. And let me tell you all – the girl’s got talent! Her superhero stories are terrific. I think Marvel should just hire her now. She’s always enthusiastic about my work, and it’s awesome having someone to talk writing with.

So while I’m happy to go larking about second-hand stores, searching for new treasures, I’m equally happy to share more of my world with my first, and biggest, fan.