Dec 4, 2011

Es dos nicht eine O Tannenbaum?

Isn't this pretty. No, it doesn't lean like the Tower of Pisa. The photographer is tilted. Always has been a little to the right :).

This is the season for bright colors, carolers, cards, and Christmas Trees. It is also the reason to review what you've done. Who you've helped and maybe those you've hurt who need to be remembered and reassured that you are sorry.

I like to put up the decorations. I do not care for the holiday. I have very little memories from Christmas' past except those that involve my daughter, and now my grandchildren. To me, it tends to be a let down and depression sneaks up and I spend the week between Christmas and New Years doing what oodles of other people are doing...mental evaluations. Is That All There Is?

This year-I've put a kibosh on Christmas music. I started hearing it before Halloween even had a chance to be thought about, let alone celebrated. Isn't that sad. So, the 'season's songs' are nada at the Anderson's. But, have no fear, there is a Christmas Tree this year and (shhh) Candles in the yard :)

Nov 27, 2011

Thanksgiving Day and the Next, the Next...

It's day four- after Thanksgiving and I open the door to the refrigerator. What shall we eat. Seriously? Turkey...again. Please...give me food. A nice juicy hamburger. Throw some cheese on that. A fattening order of fries, no more mashed potatoes or yams for another month, I pray. And the pie, oh my. I'll be pulling out the next waist size, I cry.

But over it is and another month of NANO is coming to an end. Yeah...I proud to claim, I've accomplished my goal and I've won. Again.

December is the month to repair the 'editor in the closet' novellas that I wrote in November. December is the month that I get to wonder just what the heck I was thinking. And who is this character...where did he come from? Why in the world would she do that? And again, I must repeat my all time favorite...What in the world was I thinking about when I wrote that?

Welcome Christmas, colors of bright red and greens lights, the snow (we hope) that covers the yards, and the bright decorations that bring the season to life. Trees in the windows, a wreath on the door, smiles from neighbors as you pass on the street. It's the friendliest winter holiday.

Oct 17, 2011

Scott and I had been thinking about replacing our French doors from the dinning room to the deck. The outside of the door was looking pretty hammered. I shopped around (Yikes) and finally we decided to go with Pella Windows and Doors. The representative came out and measured the door, we went through pretty pictures and decided to go with a Basic Door and Storm Door. I really wanted to be able to open my door
 and still keep the flies, wasps, bees, and other obnoxious pests out. We ordered it, and promptly fell over with shock. Holly Tomorrow, it was very expensive. When I say expensive, I mean kiss a few thousand dollars adios
It didn't help that the door we had was odd sized and a contractor would need to redo the wall around the door. Charming, yes? least I got new paneling on the back of the house. I had 'accidentally' melted ours when I moved the barbecue closer to the house. Hey, I know better now. Will it ever happen again? Lets go with...hope not!
Gritting teeth, we ordered our new door on the 17 of August. They were to install it on the 3rd of October. W e l l that didn't happen. Oh they started to insert the door. Came back the next day to put up new siding, came back two weeks later to sheet rock, mud and put frame around the door. So, on October 14th, it was done. Whew.
Kelsey and I spent Saturday repainting the walls of the dinning room. I am happy to say, all is done and the room is gorgeous. I love having my door opened and the storm door closed. It let's the light in.

Sep 11, 2011

Red, White and Blue - 9/11/2011

You arrive at work, you park your car. Beside your desk, no worries at all. Then, because of an enemy, your life comes to an end, now every 9/11...we'll remember you again.

American Airlines flight 11 hit the North Tower of the Worlds Trade Center
United Airlines flight 175 hit the South Tower of the Worlds Trade Center
American Airlines flight 77 hits the Pentagon
United Airlines flight 93 was brought down by American passengers fight against the al-Qaeda terrorist militants that tried to hijack their plane on route to the US Capital.

In a few short hours, nearly 3000 innocent citizens of the US died because of al-Qaeda.

And now our boys are dying in the War On Terrorism - You Can Run, But You Can't Hide as America shows her pride.


Jul 24, 2011

Did You Know I Didn't Know?

I've been learning all sorts of things that I did not realize I didn't know lately. Mouthful, qui? Qui. And, isn't it a blessing that I have a grandchild that sees fit to teach me?

Sir Teagolicious and I went shopping the other day. What an experience. It is a blessing that he was there. I once believed I could shop, Silly Grandma. My minuscule knowledge was laughable. Now I know...

1st Item: If you don need a lot of stuff, you should use a basket. The carts are for lots of stuff.
2nd, Don't get in the way of the cart. They really hurt the back of your feet. Nodin cried for a long time when Callum run over him.
3rd, You have to check every egg, Grandma. Cause if one's broke, it's no good.
and 4th, If you have too much stuff, don't go to this man, he gets real mad and gives you bad looks. Dad does it sometimes and mom yells at him.

I'm constantly amazed at the amount of information my grandkids teach me. How I ever thought I could get through my days without them, I don't know.

Teag is helping me learn Smiths. I can't wait to see what chain of stores Nodin helps me with!

My good health and great family memories go with you.

Jul 4, 2011

The first four letters in Firecracker

Isn't it pretty. It's fire- exploding - In the air. 25, 50 feet above your head. And, as we've been taught, what goes up, will come down, in a rain And what does fire do? Burn. Interesting.

The Higher Ups in Utah, have extended our laws regarding the shooting off of fireworks. Instead of only permitting the discharge of fireworks 3 days before and 3 days after the Summer Holidays (July 4th and July 24th) we have extended those dates to June 26 through July 26th because those 7 days in a row of consent concern for aggressive and long burning fires to break out due to fireworks isn't heart squeezing enough. We want 30 days during the hottest and driest days on the desert to stir up the making of mountain and valley fires. Yes, when you add fire to dry desert tundra, it burns. Go figure.

Heaven forbid should we wait until the Fourth of July to evacuate families from their homes because the hills are alive with burning sage brush. No, lets do it at the end of June instead. How many square miles did a couple of teenagers with the brains on a gnat (yes, one) burn this year. Charred black, dead and ugly. Killing animals along its way. Oh, that's right, it's still burning. So, Today let me say. Happy Fourth of July. For the Land that was fought to be Free is burning before our very eyes.

Jun 19, 2011

A little early for Thanksgiving, but yesterday, the Mohacs stopped by for dinner. Not all were happy. (Ya think!)

Happy Father's Day

I think that it should be said that there are certain things that make a 'father' and making a child isn't one of them.
That being said; let me say; Happy Father's Day to:
The father who holds his child's hand as they walk across the street.
The father who sits for hours at a time and watches the child on the play ground, each and every time that his son/daughter shouts out, "watch me, daddy," and he does with a gentle, caring smile on his face.
The father who rocks his sniffling child and assures him/her that the pain will go away.
The father that hugs his son/daughter and promises he'll keep them safe, no matter what.
The father that carries his son/daughter across the puddle of water or through the mud.
The queasy father who holds his son/daughter as the doctor stitches up the wound.
The athletic father who pushes his son/daughter's wheelchair across the field, proudly.
The father who carries his son on his shoulders, hold his daughter's hand in the fold of his arm as he walks her down the aisle to marry a man he doesn't understand.
But most of all, I want to wish a huge Happy Father's Day to the father that his son/daughter rushes to the front door and flings themselves into his arms the moment he gets home because they've waited all day for him to return. That's the father that deserves this happy recognition day!
To my husband, who's daughter wishes to say, "Yep, my dad deserves a Happy Father's Day.

May 30, 2011

A Visit With Sir Callum Scott Gressman

This is what a visit with my grandson Callum

looks like... That's right, real conversationalist.
I picked him up from his house because, and here's the selling point, he would love to visit with his grandparents over the weekend. He says he enjoys doing stuff with us. What a little tease. He gets in the car and immediately changes my radio stations. According to him, mine are lame. I will admit to enjoying the Gold-n oldies every now and then. Elvis has been gone so long that this child's mother was born the year the gyrating pelvis was laid to rest. He thinks my music is long gone and over with. Really? Well...FYI - I've seen more movement in "The one foot in the grave" Keith Richard and Mick Jagger, than I have in this child at times.
We then proceed to discuss the problems with the world. ie, a specific u-tube commercial that is the greatest. "You have to see this, grandma. It is brilliant." I suffer as a cat head with a pop tart body and a rainbow flying out from its rear end plays on and on and on. "It's funny, right?"  Callum's cracking up and rolling on the floor, I just look at him and smile... Oh, yeah, that's cool. And this kid is going to take care of me in my older I pray for some rather quick change.
Convinced I'm not all that interested in seeing all the wonderful and humorous commercials that are out there right now, my grandson disappeared upstairs. He did show himself with words of starvation a couple of hours later. And, his grandfather made him go to bed at a reasonable hour. I had already popped in to remind him that I was willing to visit, share a movie, a cup of hot chocolate, a game of cards...anything, but he was busy on the computer. "Give me a few more minutes, Grandma. I'll be down in a minute."
The following morning, I mean at noon, when he woke up and finished off two bowls of cereal and a bag of Cheetos I delivered him to his home. He gave me a huge smile, hugged me and (show of emotion...sniffle) gave me a kiss before hopping out of my van with a, "Thanks, grandma. I had a blast."
What a tease.  And one I'll probably be picking up again this weekend. Isn't he just the cutest?

May 27, 2011

Query - What's In A Word

Boogerbutt, scrud, and dag-na-bit. Those are words, right? Yet, they lighten right up with 'spell check.' Even shows up with one of those, vicious little pointer fingers going back and, no, no. But when I type in the most horrendous, nastiest, scum at the bottom of the pond, word in the world, query - nothing. No lights, not bright red lines, nothing. Good to Go, wouldn't you know?  But, in my heart, that diminutive word causes pauses in my pumper. Terror in my ticker.
Why am I whining about it? Cause I have to write one. Yep, I forgot all about slapping one of those puppies together for good'old Ante Up. And now, I have to.
Yet, nowhere in this house is there a crash cart available. My nucleus is critical and there isn't a flippin' thing I can do about it. Well...except write one.
At critique today, Krissee wears this sweet little smile and says "GMC, Doree.  GMC."
So, I think okay... I'll get my crowbar. No? Okay, Gobble more chocolate. No? Guzzle my Cola. Grasp Moon Crystals? Grab my crotch? Not bloody likely. So, I smile back at her while other shorter more meaningful words are dancing in my head. Nothing close to GMC, but closer to shi....never mind.  And she, oh so sweetly, says...Goal, Motivation and Conflict. That's all you need. Find Max's GMC, write it down and you're done.
Yeah, well I didn't see her offering to do it. I thought a writers life was a team. A circle of collaborators, if you will. But instead, I find myself alone...very alone. The words are gone, if they were ever there. My brain cells, like a liquid alien poured over my backyard fence and now, I sit before my computer and write my blog.
Got one line done. Anyone else have any other brilliant ideas? Huh, anyone. Just shout it out :) Or, write it down. I'll be collecting them as soon as I find enough pennies to cover what I owe the other guy for on the first line.
And so, the life of this writer continues on... (thump....................thump.............)

May 15, 2011

Fourth at Four

Our fourth grandchild is four today? This sweet little redhead is anything but docile. He can wrestle with the best of them and almost always wins. Of course, being the fourth means that if he cries, others are in a bucket load of trouble. "don't mess with the baby" is his title words.

Unfortunately - this darling little man has a heart-stopping addiction: fruit snacks. This child begins his daily whine for them promptly upon waking and continues until his eyes are closed at night. It's quite the heroin fix for this action-filled, constant in motion cu-tie who celebrates his fourth big boy birthday today.  Happy Birthday, Nodin.

Mar 27, 2011

Save, and Save Again

When will I join the world and learn? 

Right after you've lost not 100, 200 or even 1,000 words. But, after a whole chapter has been lost, gone bye bye, is now floating out into the wide world of never to be seen again land.

While I was visiting with my sister, I decided to spend a few precious hours writing the next chapter to my YA. After I was done I decided to copy it and paste it into a composed e-mail that I sent to myself. (No, I did not save it. Why? Because I was being so smart and using the brain I was sitting on.) The next morning, I was locked out of my e-mail account because it was hacked.

So, what becomes of the e-mail I sent to myself? Good question. I should have taken the time to send it to my drop-box and then back it up on a flash drive. But, I didn't. (Why? because that would have been the non-butt thinking thing to do).

So, I have finally learned my lesson. And what is that? That it is hard to remember the words that you wrote in the chapter yesterday. That, what might have been flowing like a smooth stream down a spring runoff the day before, is simply a pocket full of missing memories the next day. 

Thus, I shall ALWAYS back up my work. I will use a flash drive and every other man made savior that I can get my little paws on. Join me, won't you.


Mar 11, 2011

I Can Still Remember the Days We Communicated in .... English!

OMG, IMHO, I wish that we could speak in the old fashion, everyone knows what the #@%^& you are talking about, English language.

I am old, therefore, I have been taught how to spell out, add vowels and pronounced everyone letter as I read. This new age of get your point across in five lets or less is wigged out. Yes, that's right, I said wigged out. It's like taking a head sweating, nauseating test every time I try and decipher it.

Acronyms are hard enough. Let's evaluate what I mean. NCIS: Navel Criminal Investigation Services or No, Can't. Infant sleeping.  CSI: Crime Scene Investigations or  Career Suicide Idiot, FLA, Family Leave Act or Four Letter Acronym, FBI: Federal Bureau of Investigations or F***ing Brilliant Idea. FNG Federal Networking Group or Freaking Nice Guy, and IMHO: International Medical Health Organization or In My Humble Opinion. The list goes on and on and on and.... You get the idea.

When I receive a text, I almost need some sort of a text dictionary, a fill-in-the-blank guide, if you will.
After working in the medical field, I am lost at SOB. No, I don't mean son of a bitch, I mean short of breath. LOL doesn't mean laugh out loud, it means loss of life. Talk about a major misrepresentation.  Hello!

Deoxyglucose or Don't go, gee - so close. I was reading something my grand-daughter was texting and had to ask the eleven-year-old what she just said. Was I close? No. POS. I figured it was Piece of sh**. Nope, try Parent over shoulder. Excuse me!  Not even close.

Yes, I am old and I do find this new form of communication confusing. But, as a member of the YA writing world...I'm learning.
I really miss the days of telephone communication. I can still picture the days of yor. Dial, (yeah that's how old I am), ring and speak...

Let's face it. It's me, Doree. Just your normal PICNIC: problem in chair, not in computer.

Until Later :-)

Feb 15, 2011

Atlanta Guest, Darlene Buchholz and Annie Oortman, the Grammar Divas

The Grammar Divas graciously treated us to a 'Grammar' workshop on the 5th of February. The all day workshop at the SLC Library was awesome. And not just enjoyed by URWA members, we had several writers from the Utah League of Writers join us as well. Yeah!

The audience questions seemed to be about what the editor wanted and what the writer wrote. Do you follow each 'suggestion' because the editor said to, or do you 'the writer' get to decide. Its our voice, right? This is our story and we should be able to write it our way.

Sometimes it is a Grammar problem that needs fixed and sometimes it is simply the editors preference. So, as a writer, we need to weigh our options. If it fixes the line or paragraph, then you take it and say, 'whew, thanks, sounds a bucket load better.' But, if it changes the 'author's voice' then the author has to decide. There are so many ways to repair a sentence that doesn't touch the voice at all. And, it could be a simple thing as removing the 'fat' or unnecessary words from the sentence, that will tighten it up while never changing the meaning at all.

My editing is going to remove an awful lot of 'fat' which means word count, which means broadening the telling but bundles. Gee, guess Dani has some more adventures to experience. So, off I go to better my book :-)  With a great big thank you to Darlene and Annie.

Lisa Williams, me, Darlene Buchholz and Annie Oortman with 'the bear' in Park City, Utah 2-6-2011

Jan 27, 2011

Okay, So Let Me Get This Straight!

Does anyone ever say to you, "Huh? I don't get it?
Maybe you see confusion printed across their faces as well! 
I hear you, I just don't get it. I've read it, but....
Kids love to have their parents read to them. Why, because they might use different voices for all the characters, even act out a incident or two. This way, children could comprehend what the writer was saying.

As a writer, we should make it self-explanatory. I'm an adult, I don't want my kid to have to tell me what I just read.

So...Plotting your story becomes essential to your audience. Each event should show progression. Like in Science class, if you do this, this follows. If I read this happening, then....

MaryAnne shivered as her toe made initial contact with the icy water. Each step was excruciating but she would make it. The last thing she wanted Lane to think was that she was a wimp. The idea of a hot shower weaved in and out of her thoughts. Standing below the pulsing spray and letting it remove any chill that linger. Heaven would be the quick disappearance of goosebumps, and replacing it with a warm blanket of heat. The tail fin of a great shark sliced through the water. I'm sorry - say what!!!! How did she get a shark in her shower?

Get me out of the shower and show me the lake or the ocean, or whatever the large body of water is, that would house a great white shark. Toss in a few lines of dialogue, something. I like to read a book that takes me from 'what a shame' to 'way to go' one step at a time.

Plotting out your story allows you to chronologically lay out your chapters with conflict and follow through with your resolution. Study books on our craft. Make it so that as you imerse yourself into a book that you aren't pulled out wondering, "how in the hell did we get there?"

Plot & Structure, James Scott Bell
Conflict, Action & Suspense, William Noble
GMC, Donna Dixon
Plot, Ansen Dibell.

Jan 23, 2011

Does Your Character Have Character?

Does your character have Character?

When you read a story, do you walk away with the feeling that you know the character? Is she the little girl next door, or the high school Cheerleader that you envy? I finished reading a book yesterday (YA, As You Wish) and came away from it remembering a friend of mine from when I lived in Missouri as a Junior High Student. It was such a great feeling to take a walk though my memories. I applaud the author. She did what I, as a writer, strive for; that character that you can relate to or remember.

My grandson (pictured here in his grandfathers glasses and baseball cap) is a little character. His teachers tell his mother that this little four year-old is cute. He always has a funny story or says something funny that makes his teachers laugh. He gives them a reason to 'remember him.' Your characters should do the same.

From the DunMiller's Mansion series, I introduce a teen (fifteen) that has been pulled away from her childhood friends into a whole new set of kids, a new house and a new world (according to her - foreign but still a member of the fifty states) She tends to be a snot. She is rude to her mother, (teens always find someone else to blame) she refers to her brother as 'squid' and pond scum,' and just plain hates her new life. I had a judge tell me that she didn't like my character because she was unlikeable. That she was too snotty and hard on her mother. Yeah! My character showed her true innards, blemishes and all, because, realistically (and I do know this firsthand) girls are fighting the 'need to be in' phase of their life and dramatic changes are hard to understand. Sure, it really brought my score down, but at least my character came across the way I wanted her to. 

The judge said that teenagers weren't like that. Say what! Every teen I've ever met, including the one I raised has their 'bitchy' moments. It's call 'woe is me,' I hate my life, why doesn't such and such like me, and then you can add a little puberty in for shading, and you've got a 'real teenager'. If you know of a sweet easy going teenager, I know a judge who will be right there with you. Please, be realistic, take a look at your niece, or the high school wantabe popular girl, I've just described a little bit about her.

Your characters should come across as the boy-next-door, but not perfect. The kid you used to play ball with. You visualize him, name him and give him quirks. i.e., constantly eating, heavy use of inappropriate words, always tossing a baseball into the air, socks that are different colors. Something that sets him a part from the tall, dark and cute category, but makes him that kid that you look for in everyone after you've finished reading the book. Barbie doesn't exist - she's a plastic doll; don't make your cheerleader the same. I'm sure there's someone in the school that the little sweetheart speaks poorly about, even while smiling.

Give your Character - character!

Observation is the invention of characters.