Saturday, September 15, 2012

Edit and Polish of Pitch Polish Blog Hop Entry for GUTGAA

     It has been an amazing week for me as I have been about exploring other blogs and learning so much from fellow authors. I appreciate each person that stopped by my blog and attempted to decipher my original entry in the Pitch Polish Contest.
     I have been busy this week with many new volunteer opportunities that I have been able to explore due to the slow down in production at my day job. It has been a welcomed change of pace.
     I have also started an exciting new project that was suggested to me by my husband's cousin. I am going to try to adapt my storybook into a stage play for a children's theater group. It has been a great way for me to expand the original story and really explore all the main characters and supporting characters in the story. I am again excited about the story and the process.
     The exercise of exploration also instilled in me a desire to work at my original entry and give it a good going over. So.

The Mystery at Half Moon Lake
Chapter Book/mystery ages 6-10
30,000 Words

Leah is glad it is summer break. Time to sit back and read the mystery/adventure novels she loves so much. Reading will be the highlight of her summer. When the phone rings, that all changes. Suddenly Leah has to hurry and pack as she is invited by her best friend Becca's family to stay with them in the family cottage up at Half Moon Lake. What starts off as a relaxing trip becomes an exploration into the past history of the lake and its early settlers. Leah and Becca will have to rely on each other and their brothers to solve the mystery that haunts the cottage at Half Moon Lake.

Beginning of First Chapter:

Leah sleepily wondered what she might do today as she chased the last fruity flake in her bowl of pinkish tinted milk. It was her day to clean the bathroom she shared with her messy brother. she would rather clean the chicken coup. Maybe Noah would trade with her. He didn't like the chickens. Leah loved to gather the warm eggs and place them carefully in the basket. Her girls would come running, clucking their greetings. Thinking of the chickens running always made Leah laugh out loud.

"What?" asked Noah as he stuffed the last of his toast in his mouth.
"Nothing. I was just thinking," Leah answered, still giggling.
"Why? We're not in school. My brain's on break. I don't have to think any more," said Noah.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Check out Lynne's Story

     Well, the end of my blog writing schedule is upon me. I made a goal to write a blog post for every day I was off of work for this last layoff period, along with some other writing goals. As I will be gone over the weekend-and not have any internet access, I needed to do three blog posts today.
      I want to feature a friend of mine's short story today. She has entered her piece in a short story contest. She has been a great encouragement to me while I have been chasing my writing dreams-and I want to offer that same encouragement to her.

     Please follow the link that I have posted below-to her story-there will be a brownish colored task bar at the top of the story feed-and in that bar will be a place to enter your email address---please do that-then follow the direction of the email they send you-it will direct you to confirm your email address-and then when you do-you can follow the link back to the story-and at the bottom of the page you will then have the option to vote a thumbs up for the story and also like it for Facebook.

My Entry for the Pitch Polish Blog Hop-GUTGAA

Terri . Rowe

Mystery at Half Moon Lake

Chapter book/Mystery

132 Words

     Books were my earliest friends. My family moved often when I was a child and the school and local libraries were my sanctuary. It was while tucked away in a cubicle there that I discovered the first loves of my life while reading The Three Investigators Mystery Series.
     My story is a mystery that is reminiscent of the classic old tales, yet set in a current time frame. There is an emphasis on family, friendship, working together all wound around a well told story. The adventure of the Mystery at Half Moon Lake follows Leah and her friend Becca as they vacation with Becca's family at Becca's grandmother's cottage on Half Moon Lake.
     Historical fact will be tied in with story as the girls and Becca's younger brothers try to figure out what is behind the strange events that are disturbing the peace at this tranquil lake shore community.

                                                            The Mystery at Half Moon Lake

     Leah was wondering what she might do once she was finished with her cereal. She had been dawdling. It was her day to clean the bathroom she shared with her brother. It was her least favorite chore. She preferred going out to the chicken coop out back and collecting eggs. She also liked to pour out the feed in the containers for the chickens and give them fresh water. She loved to watch them as they ran to greet her. One of her favorite things in the world was watching them run. The thought made her laugh.
     “What?” asked her brother Noah.
     “Nothing. I was just thinking,” answered Leah.
    “Why? We’re not in school any more. My brain’s on break. I don’t have to think any more,” said Noah.

Better Late then Never- GUTGAA

     So, I am so very new to the world and ways of blogging. It is exciting and frightening to me as I learn and explore this new to me medium. I have had so much fabulous help along the way. My fellow bloggers are a helpful and generous bunch of people. I am so fortunate to be part of this great online community.
     I made a discover this week about a blog hopping event, Gearing Up To Get An Agent, that has been organized by Deana Barnhart. Happily, I am just squeaking in under the deadline for signing up. I will be out of range of the internet for most of my weekend up North, but highly anticipate my return Sunday night so I can begin my blogging journey of exploration.
     As a means of introducing ourselves to our fellow bloggers-as a meet and greet event, we have a series of questions to address. They are as follows, with my brief answers:

-Where do you write? I am either at my laptop in the living room or the pc in our "office."

-Quick. Go to your writing space, sit down and look to your left. What is the first thing you see?  Directly to my left, my cat Simon is wedged between me and the arm of the chair I am sitting in as I am on the laptop in the living room right now. On the tray stand next to beyond him-there are two notebooks, a pen, and to television remotes.

-Favorite time to write?  Early morning or late at night.

-Drink of choice while writing? Water.

-When writing , do you listen to music or do you need complete silence? I prefer silence.

-What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it?  The storybook I had published was based on an incident with my nephew. Most of my stories are influenced by real events and people in my everyday life.

-What's your most valuable writing tip? Write. Even when you don't feel like, sit down and write.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Chasing a Dream

     I have been working diligently this week on strengthening my discipline as a writer. For me, that means writing even when I am not in the mood or particularly inspired. It means trying to work past the excuses that I have relied on for so many years to explain why I am not living my dreams, why I chronically lack vision.
     I have discovered that the best way for me personally to pursue adhering to a writing regime is to be constantly working on multiple projects. That means that so far this week, I have pursued my blog, the novel for my mother, a story for a friends daughter, research for my newest screenplay, and researching for a presentation I may or may not have to do at work. That all depends how the job situation shakes out in the next few weeks.
     The project for my work has to do with a presentation on leadership. My report will focus on a woman scientist that was a leader in her field s well as a visionary for humanity. In reading on the characteristics of a leader, I discovered a quote from Thomas Edison that I have grown quite fond of, "Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up."
     This really spoke to my heart. I was at that point last year. I was at a personal crossroads in the spring of 2011. It was then that I prayed, humbled myself, and re-doubled and re-committed my efforts to the pursuit of my writing dreams.
     Last year became one of my most fulfilling as a writer. I may not be making a living as a writer yet, but I am finally connecting with other writers and my audiences. It has been a time of enormous success for me. And it would never have happened if I had given up. And after years of chasing my dream, there was no real reason to think that my circumstances were going to change. What had to change was me, my view of my dream, and my commitment level to my dream. It was also a matter of bringing my faith into the context of the pursuit of my dream, to add strength and discipline to my hopes and fears.
     I share this tidbit because I really want to encourage everyone else as they try to determine what their valuable dreams are and how they can work to make them come true, to better themselves and their communities. I am hoping the best for you. I am cheering for you and rooting for you. Know that I am on your side.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Grateful for What I Fear

     You know what I am really thankful for? Dentists. Now, anyone who knows me will scratch their head and say, "Really?" They would be saying this because I am absolutely, unreasonably, borderline nutty, phobic afraid of going to the dentist. However, I am more afraid of tooth decay and disease than I am of going to the dentist, so I go faithfully for my teeth cleaning every six months.
     I was fortunate that my parents were able to send me to the dentist regularly when I was a child, so for me, it is a habit. I have to go to the dentist to be happy. Even though I am frightened to the point of barely being able to squeak above a whisper while I am there.
     It didn't help that I had issues with my teeth when I was really young. It turns out that one of the side effects of being a preemie is that often, when your baby teeth finally come in, they don't have enough enamel on them. When my small molars broke through the gums, they needed fillings put in right away. Happily, my adult teeth were much heartier when they came through and as I am devoted to brushing and flossing, my teeth are pretty happy overall. But every now and then, my tiny world gets rocked.
     I went in last Wednesday and was feeling confident even though it was again time for x-rays. I wasn't feeling any pain and as I said earlier-I am devout when it comes to the day to day up keep of my teeth.
     Everything seemed fine. My hygienist merrily cleaned and picked along my gum line, banishing all excess tartar build up. She polished, swished, rinsed, and dried as if all was right in the world. She was gone for a bit retrieving the x-rays and had called the dentist to come to my room for a look see. She had begun to fill my little take home package with a new brush, a tiny tin of loss, and two wee tubes of toothpaste. And then my jovial dentist walked in, and still-all seemed to be okay.
     And then he said, "well, you're not going to like this," which is truly understated. I already didn't like it, whatever it might be. I was already squirming and trying to eye my escape route. It was truly no big deal, for an ordinary person, one that isn't afraid of the dentist. I had two old fillings, as in they are probably 30 years old, that had pieces that broke off and the tooth below was starting to decay. An easy fix. But the soonest we could schedule an appointment-was a week later-today.
     I am also glad that my dentist is so very patient. He doesn't ever say a word. He knows I am afraid and never belittles that fact. He doesn't say a word as I silently try to control my shivering. I know I could do myself harm, but it is really a struggle to not shake. He is also generous with the pain medication and fast and efficient. It always reminds me a bit of one of my favorite books from my childhood-where a little character is all afraid about this bad thing that will happen at the end of the book and pleads and begs for you to quit turning pages. I would do that to, if I could, plead and beg to not have the fillings fixed, and then, suddenly, after only a few moments, it is all done.
     I am truly grateful for the dentist. Really, for the hygienist and everyone else that works there. I am amazed at what they do, day in and day out, and how they are able to help such a wide variety of patients, including really cowardly ones like me.
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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Telling Our Stories

     Story telling has always been an important part of my life. It has been a way of communication that has been important to our family traditions for as long as I can remember. When you hear the stories, as a child, of how various members of your family connected, you learn to appreciate them and you learn how you fit into the story of your own life. I have always been blessed by the fact that all the people in my life love to talk and share about life events through the telling of their stories.
     In fact, this concept of the importance of story telling to our ability to form our own identities and our community identities has been an interest of mine for years. I even wrote several essays about it for school and turned those essays into articles that I shopped around for publication.
     I have yet to find a publisher, but feel so strongly about the ideas that I just want to share them with all of you. In around 500 words I was able to tie my core beliefs in with some societal concepts to emphasize my passion for telling our stories.

Telling Our Stories

    I believe taking the time to tell our stories and listening to the stories of others is one way to create a sense of community. It is through the sharing of stories that valuable connections are made. Our stories connect us to our personal pasts and cultural history. Our stories are also our bridge into the futures that we will and won’t be seeing one day.
    In the past, the story tellers of a society were revered. They were the keepers of a community’s legends and lessons. They were the honored advisers to the community’s leaders. The stories they told were for entertainment as well as education.
   I think that in this day of instant technologies we still need to take the time to make connection with our family members, co-workers, and friends by exchanging our stories.
   At one of my former places of employment, conversation of the production line was discouraged.. Our purpose was to quickly build quality parts for shipment. One day I could tell my co-worker was upset. I asked if something happened. She said she was about to celebrate her daughter’s fourth birthday. It seemed odd this would be upsetting to her. I asked if her daughter was well. She told me that her daughter was fine.The she shared with me that when she was four her mother had to make the choice to send her to this country with her grandparents. She was thankful that she was here and her grandparents had raised her as their own daughter but now, as her child was turning four, she wondered if she would have been able to make the same sacrifice.
    It is not often that I am moved to tears at work. This is one example to me that everyone we encounter has an amazing story we can learn from if we take the time to listen.
   My uncle was our family historian. He made the past relevant for us as we grew up. My grandparents died before I was two. My uncle made them real for me by the stories he told. He created a sense of family. The stories were able to bridge gaps created over time by illness, old age, and death.
    My uncle passed away in May of 2008. It had been hard to adjust to his absence. I yearned to hear one more story. My aunt came to visit in September of that year and said she had a gift for me, a piece of paper. She explained that my uncle had taken a class when they moved to Las Vegas fourteen years earlier. It was his way to meet people in the community.
In the concise one page reflection my uncle told the story of my grandfather’s life and death, details that were new to me. I learned new facts about my grandfather's early life working down in Alabama and new insights about my uncle’s thoughts and feelings when caring for my grandfather when he was dying.
    Death could not reduce the power of our story to connect us. My heart’s desire was fulfilled with one last story.

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Story Tellers

     Last evening was quite adventuresome for me. We took a lovely drive up to a small inland lake where my cousin has a cottage. We were planning on being able to go out for a ride on his boat and have some burgers on the grill. An altogether pleasant way to spend some time on the long Labor Day Holiday weekend.
     Anyone who knows me, knows I tend to be a bit of a cowardly thing. I have been known to be so frightened by a kiddie roller coaster, that I can barely walk once I disembark from the ride. If there happens to be a bat fluttering around in our garage, my husband now knows that it is useless to ask for my help. When called upon for assistance in removing the bat, I bravely walked out into the garage and said, "I don't deal with spiders, what makes you think I'll deal with a bat?" As the bat dive bombed me, I hastily retreated back into the house, figuring I could call for help if necessary.
    Anyone who knows me also knows I also tend to trip, fall, and spill in large and awkward ways whenever I go to gatherings. One of my mother's favorite stories has to do with a family reunion we went to when I was 8. She had packed multiple changes of clothes along with the potato salad she was to bring. My grandfather questioned the necessity of all the extra shoes, shirts, and pant. He grumbled as he pointed out that we weren't babies any more. After the picnic lunch, I wandered around a pond with all the other little cousins. And I was the only one that tripped, fell in the cold waters, and was completely soaked. As my mother triumphantly pulled a towel out to dry me, before changing my outfit, she said, "This is why I pack all those clothes."
     So, I had my bathing suit on under my clothes, not because I expected to go in the water, but because I figured if anyone would fall out of the boat, it might be me and I best be in a suit and have a change of clothes along. When my cousin offered up the idea that anyone of us could ride the tube behind their boat, I shivered at the idea and shook my head. My little second cousin asked if I had a swim suit along. I said, "Yes. But I didn't actually mean to be in the water." My cousin said I should try it, I would like it.
     My brother was enthused. He was already putting on a life jacket. I was busy scanning the images in my mind, of me having my arms ripped out of their sockets, of me flying off the tube and slamming into a tree on shore, and one of me flinging off the tube into the path of another boat. And then I said, "Okay. I'll go."
     And my family, being quite clever, got me into a life jacket right away and said,"Ladies first" so I didn't have time to think to much or change my mind.
     And then, once I was finally situated on the tube, the most amazing thing happened. I had an absolutely fabulous time. Skimming over the water, bumping along in the wake of the boat, gliding past all the activities that happened on shore, and bumping into my brother's tube next to me as we flew into a turn turned out to be magnificent. My arms were stronger than I suspected. I could hold on for dear life and have fun, all at the same time.
     I actually went out on two rides around the lake on the tube. Then we went around for a leisurely boat ride as the sun was setting, and then it was time for some of the best grilled burgers I have ever eaten. After we finished our meal, my cousin led the way out back to where they have one of the biggest fire pits I have ever seen. Consequently, he built one of the largest fires I have ever seen. We all gathered around the fire to make smores and started to tell stories.
     My cousin told us about times he spend with our grandfather, the one I never knew since he passed away before I was born. He told us about fishing with him and what his cottage had been like. We talked about one of the haunted mansions that is in a local resort community and our experiences there. We talked about amusement parks, Halloween costumes we have known, and just an assortment of other things.
     As our words flowed back and forth around the fire, you could really feel the communal sense of family growing among us. It reminded me of my belief that everyone has a story to tell and that everyone I meet has a story worth listening to as well. It reminded me how the sharing of our stories is what helps bind us together in a community-across the barriers of time and distance. I am glad to have these moments to add to my family chapters of my story.


Saturday, September 1, 2012

It Never Gets Old!

     I am thinking ahead towards tomorrow. I am doing tomorrow's post today, partly because I try to keep some semblance of the Sabbath and partly because I want to get the information out in enough time for anyone that may want to purchase some of the great children's storybooks that are on sale through MeeGenius-the publishing group that published my storybook.
     I want to share several of the titles that are listed in this great sale-from my fellow authors that have books produced by MeeGenius. I also just wanted to put that sentence in print. It never gets old. It will never get old. I will never tire of being able to say, "my fellow authors." This has been one of the greatest priviledge's that I have had since my little storybook earned a contract through MeeGenius' Author Challenge Contest back in March. And yes-my little storybook was published very near to my birthday-thus making it one of the best presents ever. I never get tired of saying that either.
     In honor of the Labor Day Weekend Holiday and in honor of all the kids going back to school, MeeGenius is running a fabulous sale. Fifteen great titles are on sale for around 33% off. I am always happy when there is a promotion that aims to make reading materials available to as many children as possible. These books have great story contents and also have great read along features and fabulous graphics, all are a  real pleasure to read! Please check this out when you have a moment.


Antonio's Dream

Chicken Boy: The Amazing Adventures of a Super Hero with Autism

I'm Not Afraid of Anything

The Big Fuzzy Coat

The Reluctant Caterpillar

The Loud Little Lady

Herbster Readers: The Most Unbelievable First Day Of School

Jungle Orchestra

Beethoven's Monster
Pajama Girl

Floppity Phillip Flaut

 And--last---but certainly not least-in my eyes---my little storybook. :)

 Green Goo

You Never Know

     You never know how your day will go. My trip out to the beach yesterday was splendid, however. It was even better than I anticipated. I was able to make the drive out to the State Park in less then 15 minutes. The sand was still early morning cool as I trekked to the shore. The gulls were all sleeping. There were only three young men in the water and they had surf boards, which I wish I had and knew how to use. The waves were really spectacular, frothing and foaming as they crashed and roiled to shore.
     I gave up the notion of swimming and happily dove amongst the churning waves, floating and bobbing as best as I could. I also saw an interesting thing after I came ashore to dry off in the slowly warming sun. At fist I thought the man that had arrived was simply trying to fly a kite. It was rather larger than I expected, but soon it became clear why that was. He was using that to catch the wind, so that he could hop on a board and was rapidly pulled out on the Big Lake. It was rather thrilling to watch.
     It is definitely something I hope to try one day. It was also something I had never particularly heard of before. You just never know when or where you might learn something new. I like that life is like that.