Friday, August 30, 2013

Fun Fictional Friday: Spotlighting Author, Connie Peck, her book THE BLACK PONY, and Girls & Horses

I'm excited to introduce you to my friend, fellow SCBWI member, and author, Connie Peck!


Connie's been writing stories since she was a child, and recently, she's published her first novel. THE BLACK PONY. It's the first book in a series called the Black Pony Adventures. 

Midnight is a highly skilled playday pony who specializes in the training of young riders. He thinks quite highly of himself and is offended at being left behind by his riders who favor their larger and faster horses. He escapes, but his adventures turn out to be deadly. He has wandered into an alfalfa field and has contracted a case of colic. Without intervention he will die.

When Annie finds Midnight the magic happens. Annie draws from the horsemanship lessons she remembers from her beloved grandfather to nurse the pony back to health and in return she discovers that she not only has 'the touch' but she has a telepathic connection with Midnight. Come ride with Annie and Midnight in their adventures.

Please visit Connie's website and blog. Give her a follow. If you have anyone in your family who adores horses, consider gifting them the story of Midnight and Annie. It's available in print and on Kindle. Also Connie's running a cool illustration contest for her books!


And Midnight's tail doesn't end there! The Black Pony Adventures continue in a second and third book.

Congratulations, Connie!
***



There's something about the bond between a girl and her horse. My daughter had the pleasure of spending most of her childhood with Jacky Bar Blue. Jessica lost her mare last fall. Jacky was 37 and lived a long, happy life. She definitely left hoof prints on my daughter's heart.


My daughter Jessica and her mare, Jacky Bar Blue

I think Templeton Thompson and her song Girls & Horses
says it all...



Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Writerly Wednesday: Yeah, I know it's only Tuesday

However, I've got a full day tomorrow. Headed to monthly SCBWI meet-up. It's my favorite day of the month! Lots of fellowship with writerly folk. Tomorrow we're having Picture Book Potpourri. Yay! A mash-up of everything picture booky. 

I decided to post my Writerly Wed. post early. :)

One of the best things about writing and hanging out with other writers is helping them announce their exciting news. Two of the blogosphere's sweetest gals, Angela Brown and Gwen Gardner are revealing their newest covers today, and I get to announce it!! I had the pleasure of reading the first books by each of these two, and they were awesome!



Angela and Gwen make up P.I.P. aka Partners in ParanormYA. Give them a follow. :)

I'm so excited; I don't know which one to post first. Okay, flipping penny... heads - Angela, tails - Gwen... and we've got a tails!

First, Gwen's fun YA mystery...


An Angel Among Us

Paranormal happenings at the Eady household are the norm. Recently, things have become downright peculiar. Childish giggles at odd hours of the night lead Indigo Eady to her little cousin, Bryan, a guileless cherub spirit, complete with Spider Man pajamas and a set of faux angel wings. The problem is that Bryan died nearly three years ago in a hit and run that killed him and his mum. The driver was never found.  Now the gang must solve the mystery of his death in order to send him back to heaven.  But where to start when the trail is three years cold?
Indigo Eady


Indigo Eady is not clumsy. At least, that’s what she keeps telling everyone. Can she help that the overactive spirit community of Sabrina Shores causes her psychic abilities to short-circuit? It’s unfortunate that her cute friend Badger is often on the receiving end of her mishaps. At times, she is positively hazardous to his health. Even so, sparks fly in more than one direction.











Then we have Angela's sizzling YA...

Abby and Basil: New love reaches new heights as they finally give in to their lust and desire for each other.
Q: Consumed by the Devourer within and his base need to claim Abby as his own.

The crave: What it all boils down to. A crave for souls. A crave to keep love intact beyond betrayals. A crave for a second chance. A crave for power and The Fall of mankind.

“Love can conquer all” is put to the test and salvation may be impossible when it’s “ashes, ashes…they all fall down.”






Your covers look fabulous ladies! Congrats!!

Monday, August 26, 2013

August #WipMadness Week Four: Today is Where Your Book Begins

It is. Really. Keep reading. :)

Good morning, lovely people! Can you believe it's the end of August? Where did the month go? I've enjoyed hosting #WipMadness this month and talking about nurturing our creativity.

*Don't forget to check in on Twitter with the #WipMadness hashtag to find out who the September host will be. :D

I don't know about y'all, but after August, I'm calm, focused, balanced, and refreshed. I've pampered my writer's soul in ways I've always dreamed of, this month. I hope you feel some sense of balance and rejuvenation as well.

There's only one thing to do from this point on. It's the heart of what we are as writers. It's what we do. It's the physical act of what #WipMadness is all about. 


It's time to get busy, folks! There's no time like the present. Our stories won't write themselves. Pull a chair up to the computer. Break out a notebook. Sit in your big comfy chair with your laptop. All you have to do is write. Fill the blank page before you. And as Natasha Bedingfield so wisely sings, "Today is where your book begins." 

I'm so thrilled to be in the beginning stages of a brand new picture book project! (#amwriting while the other one is in the hands of my fabulous agent.) I adore the exhilarating rush of drafting the first words. Developing quirky,yet lovable characters. I love the challenge of creating fun & fresh verbs, chosing spots to mix in a bit of alliteration and similes. For me, those are the joys of writing a PB. 

In the comment section, tell us what you're working on. Do you have a new project? If so, what are you most excited about? Read any fantastic books recently? I'd love to hear all your news! 

Have a WIP-tabulous week, y'all~

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Writerly Wednesday: Creepy Vacation Inspiration

Alien in Roswell, NM
I have a thing for the creepy. Ghosts, goblins, aliens, monsters, and the unknown are all up my dark alley. It doesn't matter where I go, I'm always on the hunt for a spooky story, or maybe the spookies hunt me!

Aliens, the abducting-experimental-invasion type are my ultimate fear.


Making friends
What do you do when you're faced with your biggest fear? Smile and be friendly. Maybe it'll leave you alone, unscathed, and with both feet on the ground.

While in Roswell, we visited the International UFO Museum and Research Center, where we learned all about the historical and controversial 1947 alleged alien incident outside of Roswell, NM. CREEPY.

My sister-in-law and daughter also surprised me with a ghost tour of old town Albuquerque. The tour was rich in history. I remained untouched until the very end of the tour. We visited a tiny, adobe-style chapel built by a nun in the 1800's. It was there, where the entire time the guide told us the story of the chapel, something touched me numerous (over 20) times. Now, if it were bugs, surely I would've had an infestation. The interesting thing were the photos afterwards. The first one was of the cool Tree of Life painted on the floor. 




Notice the white anomalies I circled in the photos. As I noticed them in the photo, I made mention of it out loud. Each picture after, begin to distort, even though I stood in the same spot, only moving the camera.

I was the last one in the chapel, everyone else outside listening to the last of the story. I received a big thump on my left forearm, causing me to shriek, yet I refused to leave.

The chapel was never locked and intended to be used by anyone, of any religion, including religions such as Kabbalism and Paganism.


I proceeded to snap two more photos before I left. As you can see, they didn't want their picture taken.





There are several stories whirling in my head from the trip. Now, that all the vacation laundry is done, I just need to unwind, sit, and write.

Have a writerly week, y'all!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Week 3 #WipMadness Check In

Welcome to week 3, Wipsters! During August, I'm featuring posts about caring for the creative. I'm still in New Mexico and won't be home until Monday evening, but I didn't forget about y'all!

This week, rejuvenate yourself. Do something fun, out of the ordinary. Something to spark your creativity, get your artistic wheels spinning. Julia Cameron talks about the "artist's date". These dates can be a kick start for a new project, a reward for completing a project, or just a method of nurturing your creative side.

Once a week would be ideal for our date, but most of us are too busy for weekly. Maybe you could shoot for monthly. It could be something as simple as a walk in nature or something as luxurious as a weekend getaway.

I just spent the last four days in the lovely and enchanting Albuquerque and Santa Fe areas of New Mexico. Culture, art, nature, shopping, relaxing, and fabulous food were a few of the highlights on the trip. I'm refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to pounce on finishing up one project and starting on another.

I hope everyone has a productive week! What do you do to jump start the creativity? Ideas welcome. :)

Whip up something great!!



Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Writerly Wednesday: The Writer's Life After Landing an Agent...

Is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! A walk in the park. A dreamy day lounging on the beach. A quiet evening sipping hot tea. A relaxing and rejuvenating soak in the hot springs of New Mexico. A piece of mouthwatering chocolate cake.

Only one of those above is true. The first. I cannot begin to explain how super it is to have someone like Kathleen Rushall in my corner. Coaching me. Challenging me. Supporting me. Most importantly, she refuses to allow me to give up. In May, after my picture book had been passed over by a few publishing houses, I whined my story was dead, which is hilarious given my main character, whose identity is still a secret. But she called me on the phone and gave me a verbal shake of the shoulders. We're not giving up yet. Let's brainstorm...

A good agent will coach, challenge, and support.

A Super Agent will pick you up off the floor, encourage you to dust off, instruct you to bandage your scraped knees, and assist you with taking the baby steps in walking the long road to publishing.

Since Kathleen and I formed our client / agent relationship, I've had many comments such as, "Well, now since you have an agent, life is smooth sailing." and "At least you're a huge step above the rest of us." Yes, it's a gigantic relief to have an agent, but life isn't smooth sailing, folks.

I've worked harder in the past eight months, than I ever have on one project. I've rewritten my picture book more times than I can count. A 500-word document can be rewritten 500 times. At least. I've bitten my nails to nubs, pulled out hair, drooled on the keyboard from delirium, read my ms to the birds outside so many times, even they can recite it by heart, and I've eaten way too many Skittles. 

I got word yesterday one of my Kat-Club sister clients sold her book to Disney-Hyperion. Marci and I are Twitter buddies, but we're more than that. We've recently exchanged phone numbers and emails. I'm beginning to feel a real sister-writerly bond with her. Where some people would be envious, I'm grinning ear to ear. Congrats to Marci & Super Agent Kathleen xoxo!!!

Do I want a book deal, too? You're darn-tootin' I do. Although a deal isn't going to land in my lap. I have to do the work. I'm in the trenches, like the rest of you. 

Is the writerly life easier because I have an agent? No. I still sweat, as does my agent. We still cry. Fret. Wish. Hope. I still have to bang away at the keyboard. Edit. Rewrite. Delete. Add. Revise. Only to repeat.

Is the writerly life sweeter because I have an agent? Yes. Having an agent is like excited birds chirping in the trees above my head. The energizing rush of the waves on the ocean. Hot tea soothing my rejected heart. The rejuvenating mineral springs refreshing my writerly soul. The fluffy, sweet icing on a slice of chocolate cake.

I've been debating this post for months now, but after Marci's news, I grew eager to share my thoughts with y'all. This writerly life with an agent is serious stuff, people. I treasure each and every moment, good and bad. It's tough, but in the end, it'll be well worth the wait, and the work.

***
Forgive me for the lengthy post, I had a lot on my mind. Thanks for listening. :-) I'm flying to New Mexico tomorrow for an extended girl's weekend with my sister-in laws, and one of my daughters. My blog visiting and commenting may not be until early next week. ~Have a writerly weekend, y'all.

Monday, August 12, 2013

August #WipMadness Check In Week 2: Balancing the Creative

Greetings, Wipsters! I hope you're ready for more caring for the creative tips. Throughout August, I'll be featuring yoga poses you can use to nurture your creativity. This week, let's chat about balance. 

We must find balance. When our lives become unmanageable, it's usually ourselves or our writing which ends up getting the short end of the stick. Balance is the key.

In yoga, balance is vital. It's the same for the writer's life. 

Tree Pose (Vrksasana)


Tree Pose 1
Stand with feet hips width apart. Shift your weight to the right foot. Think of your anchor foot as a table, having four legs. Bring the left foot against the right foot, big toe pointed down, as shown in image 1. 

Bring palms together in front of your heart.


Tree Pose 2
If you're balanced, then reach down and clasp the left foot with your hand and draw it up. Plant the sole of left foot in the center of inner right thigh. Press the thigh against the foot. Make sure hips and pelvis are in neutral, meaning that one side is not popped out. Bring hands back to the heart. As in image 2. 

Now find a focal point in front of you and balance. Try to hold the position for 30 seconds to one minute. Switch legs. You may feel a slight burn in your anchor leg's calf area. Yes, this is normal. You're strengthening your thighs, calves, ankles, and spine. :)


Tree Pose 3 
(Sorry for not smiling. 
I was in deep thought!)
If you find balancing is easy, you can challenge yourself. Bring your raised foot in half lotus and lift your arms up overhead. This will require a bit more focus and balance. See image 3.

Practice Tree Pose once a day. Remember to breathe deeply while in posture. Elongate the spine. Point the crown of the head towards to sky. Enjoy the quiet moment. Find your inner balance.

Imagine your writing life is like your Tree Pose. All the areas need balance. Too much social media will result in too much play, not enough work. Too much butt-in-chair may result in complete burn out. The same goes for our Tree Pose. If we lean too far forward, backward, or to either side, it's likely we'll tumble out of posture.

Balance. Be the tree.

Hope all of your writerly projects are coming along this month. Have a fabulous week, Wipsters!







Wednesday, August 7, 2013

August IWSG

Are you a real writer? Really? 
Comic courtesy of http://inkygirl.com/wwfc/
Simple answer: If you write, you're a writer. Children's author, Kate DiCamillo in an interview recalls a college professor saying she should go to grad school because she had a way with words. She ran out and purchased several black turtlenecks so she could look like a writer. *giggling* But, we've all been there, haven't we? In this interview, Ms. DiCamillo expresses her fears of being a writer. I think what I enjoyed most was her honesty. 



Phenomenal interview. In all seriousness, folks, it's okay for you to say the words. I am a writer. Now, get your butt in the chair and write. If it helps to run out and buy up all the black turtlenecks in your county, then by all means, do so. Whatever it takes.


Okay, IWSG members, let's all say it together. 
WE ARE WRITERS. 

The Insecure Writers Support Group (IWSG) is the brainchild of author, Alex J. Cavanaugh. It's a group of writers from all over the world who come together on the first Wednesday of the month to express our fears of writing and / or offer encouragement to others. A huge thank you to his co-hosts this month; M. PaxKaren Walker, and Melissa Maygrove. If you'd like to participate, you can join by signing up at the IWSG link above. 

It's okay to say, I'm a writer and I'm insecure. You're certainly not going to lose your next book contract because you're honest with the world.

Go. Be writerly, y'all~ 



Monday, August 5, 2013

August #WipMadness Check In Week 1: Cradle Your Creative

Since April's wild #WipMadness ride, many of us have been running in high gear. Writing. Revising. Repeating. Day in and day out. What happens if we spend our creative energy and forget to replenish it? Our brains turn into goo. Can we write with gooey brains? Well, sort of. What appears on the page may not be pretty. Most likely we'll work so darned hard at producing something worthwhile, other areas in our lives will suffer. The worst, our health. Draining one's energy and not restoring it, does NOT do the body good. 

What can you do?

Get down on the floor.

No, you don't have to give me 20.

We're going to cradle our creatives. That's right. If we need to toss ourselves around a bit, throw a tantrum, go ahead. 

Finished?

Okay. Pull yourself together. Literally. Sit on your knees. Spread the knees (about hips / chest distance apart), but keep your toes close together. Now fold over, resting the chest down through the knees. 

 For some this may be difficult; you may have to roll up a towel and place it between your rear end and heels. You can use rolled blankets or pillows to prop the body for a deeper, restorative pose. Now, settle in. This is what we yogis call Child's Pose. To relax in the posture, you may either bring your hands under your head to rest or you can wrap them around along sides of your legs. Rest.






Cradle your creative. Breathe deeply. Restore yourself. Take five minutes at the end of each day and do Child's Pose. Feel the goo disappear. You'll be amazed.

#WipMadness peeps, I hope you join me next Monday for more on rejuvenating the creative in you. May you all have a fabulous week! Write & rest on, my friends. ~Candi

Friday, August 2, 2013

Fun Fictional Friday: Caring for the Creative

I know. I'm behind in my posts. I'm lacking in my blog visits. My social media check-ins are pathetic, at best. I'm sure we've all be there. Got a lot going on here. In the past two weeks, I've had a monumental shift in my life. The dreaded part-time day job is no longer. *squeals* *rolls around floor* *breaks into giddy hysterics* You're now looking at the new yoga instructor for this gorgeous ranch resort. My first week was this week and my head is spinning with the excitement of it all. Okay, I'll get on with it already...xoxo, my friends.

***



Caring for the creative. Writers (creatives in general) tend to spend our energy and neglect to recover it. We empty the creative well and forget to replenish the source. Author and artist Julia Cameron wrote a three-book series called The Artist's Way about caring for the creative. Writers have to fill the well or it'll dry up. How long can a vehicle run on fumes? 

Here are a few ways to give your creative soul a boost:

  • Expose yourself to new art. Visit an art museum. Attend an orchestra. Read out of your genre.
  • Surround yourself with artsy folk. Creativity is infectious.
  • Get out. Meet people. Strike up a conversation with someone on a bus ride.
  • Sit still for 10 minutes a day. Meditate. Banish the brain banter.
  • Think of creativity as a muscle, exercise it.
  • As author of THE ARTIST'S WAY Julia Cameron says, "Fill the creative well."
  • Do some yoga. It's about self, being present and aware, and listening to your body.
  • Take a walk in the woods or park, alone. Listen to nature around you. It's soul cleansing.
  • Laugh often. Psychology Today says, "Laughter is the best medicine. It improves your job performance, especially if your work depends on creativity and solving complex problems."
  • Think you should adopt the motto: No rest for the writer? Baloney. Take a break. 
  • Take a shower. Seriously. It's what the experts say. Something about lather-rinse-repeat. Read more about this on the NPR link below.
  • Avoid the "monkey mind" or put your plot bunnies in a cage. Feed & water them, but only let them out to hop around when YOU are ready, one at a time. Remember: You are the master of the funny farm. See video on the Sacred Muse link below for more about the "monkey mind".  

Sources 


*** 
~Have a writerly weekend y'all! Go. Write. Create. :-)

Note: For the next four weeks, I'll be posting on Mondays as the host for #WipMadness. Feel free to jump in and comment. Who knows, you may even fall in <3 with the group and join us. We're quite <3able peeps! 

My regular blog posts will feature only on Wednesdays during the month of August.