Rabid Sports Fan

I have a confession this morning. You know those insane sports fans who lose it at the umpires/referees/officials? The ones who are cringe worthy and should keep their big, fat mouths shut? That was me last night.

rabies

I should’ve shut up and kept updating my friend on my phone. But my brain had other ideas. And it was too late when I realized that I looked like a raging idiot. Why couldn’t I edit myself?

 

There was certainly no love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, or gentleness. Self-control?

right

This morning, I’m dealing with a few issues.

  1. I’m embarrassed that I was a rabid moron.
  2. Thankfully, the season is over, so I have no more opportunities to transform into another idiot.
  3. I still believe the referee made terrible calls.
  4. …but that doesn’t excuse my actions.

 

I’m not looking for sympathy here. Just telling you all that recognizing one’s idiocy on a public blog helps keep my humility in check. It’s like letting you be a part of my face palm moment. And I have loads of them.

 

Maybe you do too. Feel free to blabber away or head slap me. 😉


2017 WCCW, Part Deux

So you already know that I volunteered at WCCW 2017 and had a blast. This post tells a lil’ bit about what I experienced.

Happiness – I was able to reconnect with several friends I had previously met at Mount Hermon. Two people especially important to me are John Vonhof and Sarah Sundin.

John runs the manuscript retrieval at Mount Hermon. He’s the guy with the MASSIVE line after the first lunch (or dinner), as writers jockey for position to finally get their hands on the submissions they turned in for critiques or editor consideration. Both he and Joanne Bischof were the two who kept me from leaving Mount Hermon that first year, after a particular encounter. But that is a skeleton in my closet (as Tosca says) that I learned from.

It was a delight to visit with John at WCCW. He is a genuine person who cares about other authors. He has a brilliant podcast, where he interviews other writers, Writers & Authors on Fire. You should hop on over—you won’t regret it!

Sarah Sundin was my mentor at Mount Hermon last year. There I was, the lowly contemporary YA author in a class of historical romance authors, and she took my sarcasm in stride. God placed her directly in my path as my teacher and friend. And while I’m not sure if historical romance will be on my plate in the future, her award-winning books still teach me when I reread them. Plus, she’s just fabulous! I TOTALLY spaced and didn’t get a picture with her.

And my happiness section would NOT be complete without Cathy Elliott. She is a leader at my local writers group and was the WCCW Coaching and Critique Director. She’s also been a dear friend, my consummate cheerleader for nearly three years. I was so happy/relieved/excited to see her after a meeting with a critique staff member. To know Cathy is to be blessed.

Exhaustion – Anyone who says they aren’t tired after a conference is a LLPOF (liar, liar, pants on fire). Beside the physical aspect of going from class to sessions and meals, there is an entire mental side. Yup—you go mental. Think of yourself standing on a pretty beach, with blue skies and white puffy clouds. You see the wave of information coming and it’s what you can’t wait to experience it all. Suddenly, you’re gasping for air, sand in places you never thought possible, because the wave was a tsunami. But it’s the best kind of exhaustion.

And I was a numbskull and drove 3 ½ hours home on Friday afternoon for Thing 1’s homecoming because I wouldn’t miss it for the world. Yeah…arriving back at 1:30 a.m. for 6:15 alarm isn’t the best decision. But I’m only young in my head once!

Humiliation – You go to a conference to learn. There are amazing teachers and fantastic speakers, people who are much farther in the author journey than where I am now.

Hey, readers, I’m not published yet. Yes, I’ve won a couple of contests and awards, but I’m still on this road to becoming “A Real Author.” So when another author shared that they were published the first go-round or that it (insert chipper voice) “only took a couple of tries,” I felt like the bottom of my favorite shoes.

Triumph – But in the same breath as humiliation, I know that I am a writer. Tosca Lee taught me that I can say “crappy” and “suck” because I am leveraging what I’m good at—sarcastic YA in the CBA market. She showed me to learn from the skeletons that I keep hidden from readers and to divorce my ego.

I hunted Michelle Ule down and we briefly met face to face for the first time in two years. Next time, Michelle, I’ll weasel in more time.

Kathi Lipp (who I stalked, and then we were interrupted like 9 million times…or three) struck a chord deep within me during her marketing class when she commented that writing realistic fiction is hard. Brought tears to my eyes. This is me—this is what I’m writing. And while I may not corner the market in clutter-free living (please never visit my house, Kathi), I’m going to try and position myself to be the best sarcastic YA writer in the CBA realm. Gonna chase that hashtag dream and maybe I’ll be on the first page of a Google search someday!

Guess what?! WCCW will be back in 2019. It’s two days of your writerly life. I’m planning on going again, with Rosemary. We like driving around Pleasanton, debating fictional worlds, and she doesn’t judge my caffeine intake. Maybe Susy Flory will let me fling around again, delivering name tags. Perhaps I’ll point the staff meeting location to Karen Ball with confidence this time.

Or maybe I’ll see some of you! And good luck to the noobs trying to keep all of the Cathy/Kathi/Kathy’s straight!


2017 WCCW Conference, Act 1

A few days ago, I was happily ensconced (yes, I use that word) at Crosswinds Church in Pleasanton, California with my friend Rosemary. It was dreary and cold outside, spitting raindrops, but the covered patio was toasty from the overhead heaters. Actually, I was inside and the attendees were outside, looking at me through the glass garage doors. So began both of my two days at the 2017 West Coast Christian Writers Conference (WCCW).

 

When I signed up back in December, I’d also volunteered to help at the registration table. That kind of stuff is my jam: alphabetizing name tags, sorting alphabetized stations, and handing out alphabetized stuff. Noticing a pattern here? You’d never guess it from my home, but I like organization. I pack in full outfits only after I’ve set the entire outfit out on the bed. Everything jumbled in my purse is there in a certain order or pocket. Please … for the love of my sanity, don’t move stuff from the pockets to be helpful.

abc

Imagine my surprise when, instead of blissfully trotting through the alphabet, I was making signs with Sharpies, running name tags to staff members (and trying to get those ready while they were praying), and then greeting people the second day.

 

Note: I don’t greet. Let me rephrase that: I’m not a natural greeter. Walmart would fire me. I’m naturally suspicious and only give sidearm hugs to people I don’t know… if I’m forced to.

 

Here’s the thing: I loved running around like a chicken with its head cut off (sidebar: this does happen due to nerves, folks). I pointed out the bathroom locations. Told Karen Ball the wrong place for the staff meeting (still embarrassed about that!). Tracked down lost lunch stickers. Even in stack-heeled boots, I believe I burned more calories in those two days than in the entire month of February. And getting asked TWICE if I was Rosemary’s sister was stinking fabulous!

wccw1

Stayed tuned for Part Deux of my WCCW report, where I’ll dive in a bit deeper. My thigh muscles are still recovering.


Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

AH!!!! My brain just imploded, then exploded. After I cleaned up the mess, I read the blurb again. Cue the

heavy breathing

What is so amazing and wonderful? Let me show you the bit from Wikipedia:

“On September 14, 2015, it was reported a new film was in development by Walt Disney Pictures. The film will take place 20 years after the first, featuring a standalone narrative based on the remaining seven books in the series. Rob Marshall has been hired to direct, while John DeLuca and Marc Platt will serve as producers.

On April 25, 2016, Disney confirmed that Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda will star in the sequel as Mary Poppins and Jack, a street lamplighter, respectively. It was announced on May 31, 2016, that the film will be titled Mary Poppins Returns and take place in Depression-era London, 20 years after the original film. It is set to be released on December 25, 2018. The cast will also include Meryl Streep as Mary’s cousin Topsy, Ben Whishaw as Michael Banks, Emily Mortimer as Jane Banks, and Colin Firth as William Weatherall Wilkins, the president of Fidelity Fiduciary Bank. Dick Van Dyke has confirmed he will appear in a cameo role for the film. In December 2016, it was announced that Angela Lansbury had joined the cast in an unspecified role.

Filming is expected to begin on January 31st, 2017.”

squee-pin

THAT WAS TUESDAY!!!!!

You know that I’m not a particular fan of remakes. But I am hoping this sequel is every bit as extravagant as the original. Please, please, please have Julie Andrews as a cameo!!! I’ll be the one crying when she’s on screen.

mary


My Smallish Journey

Let me take you on a smallish journey.

 

“Write a book,” they said.

 

“It’ll be easy,” they said.

 

Crazy thing is, that “they” are right. It is simple to pull up a word processor and tippity-tap out sentences and ideas. I alone am the master of my domain, from sarcastic teenage responses to editing out cliché descriptions.

 

The part that “they” don’t know about is everything else. Writing articles, blog posts, and a book while working a full-time job, a weekend job, being a mom-taxi, Sunday School teacher, and fill-in-the-blank is draining. My writing suffers. And when my characters won’t behave in my mind and keep me up until midnight, tinkering with ideas, the other parts of my life demand coffee.

coffee

But…

 

That woe-is-me paragraph above is nothing compared to the feeling of finishing a chapter of the book I’m working on. Or the sentence that makes me cry while I’m writing it. Reading a critique from a partner that forces me to look at a section harder, to edit and be honest. I love writing bits that make me laugh, imagining Thing 1’s face because I borrowed directly from our conversations.

 

The thing is that writing is hard. There’s grammar, syntax, plot, blah, blah, blah. Edits and critiques that give me whiplash.

adore

I look at drivers in cars and wonder why he is staring into the distance. Or why the sad, deflated balloon landed against my fence. Did it blow down from a birthday party? A baby shower for a couple who finally is expecting after years of infertility? Was it released to remember someone’s dad, grandpa or sister?

 

This is why I love writing the stories in my head. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, I stay up way past my bedtime. But, if you happen to be up way past your bedtime, shoot me a message on FB. I may be up too.


A Peculiar Review

This is Scarlet. She has a mustache. Her magical powers include pretending to read or laying down in front of my books while I’m reading. She is also a natural model.

scarlet.jpg

So I’m a bit tardy to the party with this book review. It’s already been made into a movie and released to DVD/BluRay.

notsorry

I borrowed Thing 1’s copy of “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” last week. Scarlet also decided to peruse. She liked the pictures, albeit creepy, the best. I’d seen the trailer for the movie, aimed towards middle school-high school (in my opinion) and decided it was right up my alley.

 

When Jacob discovers clues to a mystery that stretches across time, he finds Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. But the danger deepens after he gets to know the residents and learns about their special powers.” – IMDB

 

Lo and behold, I thought it was…okay. Don’t throw rotten fruit at me. It wasn’t the POV (point of view) or the setting. The forward movement and not-so-subtle “this is the bad guy” weren’t bad either. My sticker shock was the swearing. Yes, I know people talk like this, but I didn’t expect it in a book geared towards younger readers (the New York Times best seller list for children’s chapter books).

Prude-Kitty

If you want to lend it to a 10-12 year old, it’s easy enough to read, but just keep in mind that there are some colorful words along the way. Gratefully, not more than a handful. But when you’re expecting none, a handful is a bunch. In all honesty, I didn’t look at the pictures very much because I didn’t want nightmares.


Jenae’s Blog Post

A friend told me last night, “So Sarah, you haven’t done a new blog. I’ve been looking.”  Here you go, Jenae. Hold me accountable. Whatever.

Everyone over the various versions of the creeping crud? It made its rounds through my house, myself included, complete with a fever that made me see things. Good times. Also made for some interesting Kim Carnes impersonations.

Bette Davis Eyes

I’m headed to WCCW next month with Rosemary. A few of my friends from my local writers group are going too. Shenanigans will happen! *whispers* I’ll make them happen…

Applied my room discount to the 2017 Realm Makers hotel reservation. I’m overly excited to meet a few of my friends in person, like De (Deanna Fugett, really, but I’m lazy and she gets one syllable).
Racked up another rejection. Changed my nose ring. Moved forward, them backwards and forward again on the book cover. Made some inquiries on stuff.

It’s all a bunch of busy nothingness.

A month of not posting and I have nothing new to report. I’m a bore!

My New Years resolution was to never make any. So far, I’m doing well.

A bunch of writers on Facebook are picking words to inspire them for the year ahead. The first thing in my mind was “push.” Then, I thought that it could be contrived into potty talk. The only other word was “shenanigans.” I can do that! I can even inspire others to bouts of nonsense.
normal

Stick around. Next up will be my review of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. And a picture of my cat. Then Sherlock, because the drought is over and we are headed for another.


Sitting in a doctor’s office this morning, I was grateful. Deposited for a check-up, I wasn’t waiting for results that may hurdle me into panic or despair. Sure, the hideous mauve gown was less-than-fashionable and freezing, but, I’d soon be on my way back to my life bubble: planning Thing 1’s birthday, fixing a reservation date that I’ve already screwed up twice, and lining up a snack bar schedule.

 

I get so busy doing my own things during this season, that I often forget compassion.

compassion

(thanks pandawhale.com)

I miss telling someone “Merry Christmas” because I’m checking emails on my phone. Presents are bought with a checklist, instead of love and thoughtfulness (hey, at least I admit it). I put off visiting family to finish chores.

Sometimes, I forget to see the blessings: my kids’ joy when we take five minutes to look at Christmas lights. Taking the baby steps towards indie, but watching my submissions to the traditional side. Or finding an amazing graphics artist to design my logo and cover–who has an even better sense of humor. Here’s a tiny glimpse of said logo:

oc

(I did say tiny…)

If you are busy, write your to-do lists. But take time to send an email to an old friend. Mail a present and tell a bell ringer or someone holding the door, “Thank you!”

Thanks for stopping by my blog today. I appreciate each of you. Now, I need to go hunt down a basketball schedule for my kid…

Continue reading

Speling Rools

When I was in fourth grade, I entered into a spelling bee at the mall where both of my parents worked, while Dad was studying to become a pastor. We kids spent lots of time on both stories, down passages where Dad walked security checks and tottering on ice skates at the indoor rink. But this contest was my big day, because I was a great speller.

 

It was down to three of us. I can’t even tell you if the other two were a girl and a boy or a monkey and a horse, but I was first up in the round. My sisters and brother were there, standing to the right, with my parents. The judge gave me the word: chocolate.

 

And I biffed it. “C-O-C-O-L-A-T-E. Chocolate.”

 

Immediately, my sister Kate’s face told me it was wrong. She tried to cheer me up by giving me a way to remember how to spell it: “I always remember it as Cho Co Late.” I was so mad that she was telling me afterwards, when I didn’t need the advice. I’d already lost.

 

That silly spelling bee and loss thrust my brain into becoming a top-notch speller. I scoffed as a high schooler when I found a package of “encildadas” in the freezer that Mom had made. I even pointed it out to her, making sure to slowly say each syllable of “enchilada” to her.

 

When Thing 2 was a wee thing, she had a funny way of saying certain things. “I want to hold you,” meant that she wanted to be picked up. Until she was eight, she asked for han-gur-burs. She had no interest in reading, while Thing 1 took to books like a fish to water. Thing 2 didn’t want to read, didn’t want to write and just wanted to have friends. Well, I didn’t want to be the overbearing Mom, so we had her in reading programs. Surely, it would be fixed.

 

It wasn’t.

 

Thing 2 has dyslexia (just like my mom). I’m still learning how to teach her methods, along with her teachers, on how to learn to spell and read. She makes notes like this:

 

explain

BUT…God has given Thing 2 a gift. I may not understand why she cannot read and spell well, but I know that her heart is enormous:

 

dino

My lesson for the day? Don’t judge a person by their spelling or grammar rules. God has given them a different gift. Even Thomas Edison’s teacher told his mother that he was defective…and he was just dyslexic.


In Other News…

Remember my big deal post?

more

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I talked myself out of pursuing the path God put in front of me for my writing. I caved into suggestions. But guess what? I’m better for it! It was a road I needed to explore to become a better writer.

 

Now, this path is leading right back to where I started. God let me run around this swerving back road only to point out the obvious to me. Just like the sign my mom thought was so funny:

 

mother

 (isn’t my mom so cute?)

Now for the announcement: after spinning my wheels in the traditional publishing arena, I’m thrilled to announce that I’m headed to indie publishing! (That means I’m doing it myself)

fangirl

Ironically, this was my plan two years ago. But I wasn’t ready. Along the way, I went to Mount Hermon and met friends, agents and editors. I joined ACFW and have a fantastic critique group.

 

And I found my voice. I let go of fighting sarcasm and wrapped it into a book that I love!

breakfast

So stay tuned! I’ve applied for a EIN and a business name. Then…you’ll meet Victoria Grace, The Jerkface.


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