Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Xmas Comes Early!

It's an early Xmas!  I came home from work today, walked from the garage into the kitchen and THIS HAPPENED!

Yes!  That is a real manual typewriter!  I've been wanting one for a while, within out tight budget, but never really took time to look around.  Turns out my awesome wife has been looking at a few antique places nearby for over a year.  And guess what?  She found one!  Today!  It needs a good cleaning, and some new ribbon, but otherwise, it works PERFECTLY!  Even better, the ribbon is supposed to come tomorrow!  So, for now, I just enjoy playing with this beauty, waiting impatiently for the ribbon to come, then I'll give it a thorough cleaning, add tape, paper and creativity.

For the details, it's a 1960's Olympia De Luxe SM9 Portable typewriter.  Apparently it was the cat's meow of manual typewriters just before electric ones came out.  I also found a scan of an original user's manual on an Xavier University public database on-line!  I believe I may be using this for when I write my Lune Poetry book for self-publishing instead of the digital Hanx Writer I have been using once in a while for instagram posts.

Create on dreamers!!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

NaNoWriMo Reflection

To start off, here were my goals:

1. 100 Lune poems

2. Complete my Halloween Egg chapter book (early or MG, not sure where it'll end up...).

3. Write 10,000 words for the Epic Fantasy story, to begin when I'm done with number 2.

How did I do?

1. 100 Lune poems-CHECK!  I ended up with 112 for the month.

2. HE story? Nope, not even close.  I did write about 700 words more, but really didn't take the plot anywhere (but necessary words).

I fell stuck with this story and I'm not sure where to go with it.  I do have a set of beats for the story, but I'm at a point where I'm lost and can't figure out where to get to the next beat.  Maybe I should just move to the next beat, then go back and fill in.

3.  Well, I was going to work on 3 when I completed w.  That didn't happen, so neither did the 10,000 word goal.  I did get back into the story a bit, and did write a few hundred more words to finish off a scene I'd left open since I last worked on it 18 months or so ago.

I did some editing to a self-published story I have out (that I'm going to rerelease over my winter break) in the past month as well.

4.  There was no goal 4, but something came up and I went with it.  I came up with an idea for a book to self-publish, had a goal in mind for what I'd need to hit for it, and I'm 80% there.

So, overall did I hit my goals?  No.  But I did exceed one, and start one that wasn't on the list that I'm excited about, so isn't that what writing is all about?  Freedom of your own expression?  Well, maybe I did "win" NaNoWriMo.

How did you do?

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

NaNoWriMo Goals

Yup!  It's that time of year!  I'd already written down my goals, and also posted them on a writing site, 12x12 to help with accountability, but I need to put it out to even more people.  Or, really, for myself, to self-reflect on what I want this month, and for my writing in general.

I know it's a couple days in, but so far, so good.

Without further ado, my goals:

1. 100 Lune poems

2. Complete my Halloween Egg chapter book (early or MG, not sure where it'll end up...).

3. Write 10,000 words for the Epic Fantasy story, to begin when I'm done with number 2.

To get ready, I'd begun a separate Scrivener file for the Lune poems, and written down 38 over the past few weeks or so, including some I'd already had on my Hanx Writer files in my phone.  I also have a sub file of lines that come to me to work with.

For the epic fantasy, I wend back and skimmed through the beginning chapter, and read through the second chapter.  Then I transcribed the writing into the Scrivener file, and even wrote a couple hundred more words.  I also went over the beats I had written out for the major story line to help with remembering where I wanted to go.  It had been over a year since I wrote anything for this story.

And for Halloween Egg, I read over everything I had written, and the notes and beats as well.  I have a lot to transcribe for this story as I only have the first few hundred words typed, but it'll be worth it.

So, here I am, done with day 2, except for this blog.

I have written eight Lune poems, and almost 1,000 words for Halloween Egg. The story really hadn't advanced a whole lot, so I have a feeling it'll be a long story. Either that, or I'll be slashing a lot when I edit- guess that depends on what I want with the story when I'm done!

Nothing on 3 yet, since I won't do that until I'm done with 2.

I won't be back on here for a couple more weeks to provide another update, to hold myself accountable for my goals, and my dreams.

To all you NaNoWriMo peeps: GOOD LUCK!  Happy Writing!!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Walking and running to clear my head

Exercise has always been there to help clear my head.  I'm a long way away from my sub 20 5ks and 20+ mile runs for fun, but anytime I can get out, I always come back motivated to do anything- EVEN LAUNDRY!

Today was one of those days.  I've been trying to intentionally go out for a walk/run to cover anywhere from 1.5-2 miles on the weekends.  During the week, with school, I walk about a 5k a day (I keep track on my phone), and I use a stand for my computer, so even when not walking, I'm standing at my desk more than I used to.

I managed to get two sets of .25 miles running mixed in with walking for a 1.92 total (those ungounded numbers used to drive me nuts!).  My knee was barking at me quite a bit, but I pushed through the pain.

Pushing through the pain is a lot like pushing through writer's block. It may hurt, there may be some struggle, but no real damage is being least I hope. The knee (and hip) are a long story, but I won't get into that.  Once the pain begins, the block hits back, you have to make a conscience decision to keep going.  The pain comes and goes, and you keep putting one foot in front of the other.  The block obstructs your view of your goal, your plot, but you have to keep typing away, putting one word in front of the other. Eventually, you can continue on with your run/ walk, and get back to that point of enjoyment. When writing, if you can keep putting one word down in front of the other, you may advance the plot enough to get you through it, and get you to a point of fluidity.

Well, that paragraph had nothing to do with my title.  More squirrels playing with the marbles in my head.

I find that as I move, no matter the form, my thoughts ramble on, like a brain dump in a journal, or as I do on Pages on my iPad.  I hit a point where an idea for a poem came to me, just a couple lines, and I typed them into a message to myself as I walked.

Once I got home, ate and drank some water, I felt very refreshed.  I made an adjustment to the faucet I put in a few weeks ago, did a couple loads of laundry, took care of the dishes, played with the cat and cleaned myself up.

What do you do to clear your head?

Oh! Here's Bandit, the newest member of our family.  Like Kona, he's a One By One cat.  Very chatty, very sweet.  We're all still getting adjusted to each other, but it's going really well :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

IPad Pro Writing Set-Up

I was at the point where I needed to get a new laptop.  I was going to go
with a Macbook Air for it's lightness.  My old Macbook Pro was the oldest computer in the house, the battery was lasting only about 20 minutes, and it was just going slower and slower.  One day my wife suggested looking into an iPad Pro and a keyboard.  I was hesitant at first, mostly because of my love of Scrivener.  Was it available for ios (YES!), would it be easy to synchronize with my laptop turned desktop (YES)?

Well, as you can guess, since the answer was yes to both of those questions, I dove right in ordered one.  I also ordered a Logitech keyboard/ case that amazingly hooks up to the iPad via three little connector dots.  Between the and two (case and iPad) it weighs about as much as my old laptop, but for portability, size (smaller in size than my olde lapt opt), and size of the screen (the screen is bigger than I was going to get on a new laptop) AND the fact that writing was going to be just fine on the new digital device, make this, for me, the superior buy.  The battery capacity was just about the same as the Macbook I was going to get.

This is actually the third post I've written on the iPad.  There are some issues with blogger and images that I encountered, but I'll eventually look up a fix for that (hopefully there is one!).  I can get the images in fine via cut and paste, just resizing and moving it around are more difficult.

Scrivener has been awesome once I figured out what I thought was a glitch, but happened only andbecause I had a double of a file.  I won't get into it in too much detail as I may do a total Scrivener post detailing my love for the program and how it works, and how I use it.

So, the iPad has helped rekindle my writing spree, as well as taking the month off from writing. Now I'm working on getting organized for a successful NaNoWriMo!

Monday, October 17, 2016

The Love of the Lune

So, where was I...Oh!  Lunes!  I love lune poetry.  It's such a simple format.  Three words on the first line, five on the second line, and three for the third line. Sounds simple, but it really makes you think about your word choice; it makes you delve deep into your inner thesaurus.  It'll help with wording for picture book manuscripts, too...or vice versa...

The lunes are going well. I got another one added to the file today.  I think I'm at 12/365.  I should go number them now while I remember...and I'm back.  I got distracted by rating Spotify, too.  Yeah, the Lunes.  They're gonna be my next self published book.  I only have 353 left!!!  Woooo!!  Lune A Day...365 Days of Lunes....A Year in the Life of a Lune (ooooh....I like that). I'll go add that to the title now...Done!  I love having this iPad.  I may have to turn this into a post!!  Oh, I'll do that next!!

Yeah, so, this post originated in my Brain Toilet file on Pages on my iPad for my brain dumping, but I like it. Oh, my new iPad will be a post, too, as I got it for writing!!!  Sorry, my ADD is really kicking in at the moment. In fact, I'm using it right now, though I think I have to work on things for being able to effectively write posts on Blogger- any tips?  Let me know!!!!

Oh geez, there I go again...squirrel!

I seem to hear something, or think of that first, powerful three word line, and things flow from there.  It's almost like an association game for me: "What do you think of when you hear...?" And the rest of the Lune slowly comes to me.  I'm going to work on getting at least one done per day.  I had many on my old iPhone on the Hanx writer Ap, but unfortunately, I lost them all then I upgraded my phone- they didn't transfer over with the Ap itself.  I think I lost about 15-20 of them.  I think I'll be able to have them done before a year is up as I don't plan on writing just one per day- of course I may have days where I don't write any.

Do you have a form of writing that you love to write whether you have thoughts of publishing it or not?  Originally I hadn't thought about publishing it at all, but I'm really excited about it now!!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Kona, and Writing

First off, Kona.  Every morning when I wake up, he wakes up and greets me.  He'll rub against my
leg and I'll lean down to kiss him on the head, and many times, he'll return the kiss.  Then I sit for breakfast on my chair along with my coffee and a book.  He'll then curl up on my lap with me.  It's the same when I get home from work, and the same when I sit back down at night.  He has such a personality, whether he's chirping at birds (And using different chirps!), yelling at Jane as she tries to get him off her laptop, or when he's sniffing the air at the window.  He was an amazing cat, a great buddy to have.

Earlier this week, he stopped eating.  He wouldn't get up at all of his spot on a chair.  We took him to the vet, fearing the worse, and got that news.  He had a tumor near his rear legs that was too large to operate on.  We thought he was just slowing down at first, not eating or playing as much.  But Sunday and Monday he hadn't eaten at all.  We had to put him to sleep.  I drove home and got C and M, so they could say good-bye.  Jane and I stayed in the room with him until the end.  The shot only took seconds to take effect- he really was near the end, but at least his last day or two wasn't going to end with him in pain.  He was about 16, and though it feels like we had him all 16 years, we only had him for 5.  And it was a wonderful five years.  We rescued him from a shelter, but he rescued us; he completed our family, and now his loss has left a huge gap.  Every morning, I expect to see him coming to greet me, to say good morning; and every afternoon, when I get home from work, I want to see him again.  

It's been a lonely four days, but we're all healing.  
We spent a lot of time watching the short videos
we'd posted to Instagram, looking at the goofy pictures of him we'd all taken over the years.

So the title is a bit misleading.  I hadn't expected to write this much about Kona, but I guess I needed to.  I'd spoken these words to others, but hadn't written it down.  There won't be anything about writing, like I thought I'd do.

We know we're going to eventually get another rescue, and as much as we'd like to RIGHT NOW, we know it would just be looking for something to help comfort us.  We know we'll wait for a while, to give us time to properly grieve his loss.  He deserves no less.

Kona, here's to you.  Cheers, Kitten Pants!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Self-Imposed Exile From Writing

After listening to Elizabeth Gilbert's podcast (Big Magic) with Neil Gaiman, I decided her advice for a writer to take a month off was what I needed.

My brain had been feeling very addled, confused about what I wanted to focus on, unable to focus on a single project, at a loss for a project I've spent a lot of time on that I was feeling  done with, not wanting to write at all, etc, etc, etc.

I didn't take a full month.  It ended up being about three weeks- shortly after my last post, I guess (the author she was helping out didn't make it a month either).  During that time, I had a lot of the same thoughts going through my head and I even had myself doubting if I even wanted to write anymore, feeling like it had run its course in my life.

But I knew that it wasn't really a wanting to quit, just a frustration over my work.  I have too many stories floating around in my head that I want to put onto paper.

That was part of the problem.  Too many stories I want to write, and they gnaw at my soul, begging, demanding to be released. I've got picture books, early to middle grade chapter books, books for adults ranging from epic fantasy to a historical fiction/romance, and poetry as well.  Within those genres are so many ideas.  Even writing this down I'me feeling overwhelmed.  I have a trusty journal that I jot ideas and stuff in, but I feel even that journal is ready to explode.

Journal in question (sorry it's upside down,
but not enough to correct it).
God, another thing to do just popped in my head, so here it comes.  Tonight at my daughter's keeper practice, I'm going to bring that journal and take out all my ideas from it and put it in a separate journal as that journal has writing, class notes, finances for self-published books, etc in it.  I need a set idea journal.  I need to write it all down; organize it with sticky tabs.  Sorry, if I didn't write it now, I'd forget it in 2 minutes.

So, what did I do today?  I took the story that I love, and have spent time on, had critiqued by critique groups, 12x12, and even paid an editor for help, and, after submitting it to about 35-40 agents, and getting one ask for a rewrite (but heard nothing after the rewrite), I decided it was time to submit it to magazines.  I submitted it to one, but will research more.  I also made massive revisions on the first two chapters of an early chapter book and turned it into one chapter that was more age appropriate; I'd had it geared more for middle grade.

Geez- my brain is back on the previous paragraph (just thought I'd let you all know).

So, that's it- I think.  Happy Writing!!!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

STAR FALL by Kim Briggs Cover Reveal

Today I’m super excited to celebrate the cover reveal for Starr Fall, Book One, the Young Adult Romance Series by Kim Briggs releasing November 4, 2016 from Inkspell Publishing.
And heeerrrrreeeeee’s Starr Fall!!

Starr Fall
Book One of the Starr Fall Series
By Kim Briggs
Release date: November 4, 2016
Publisher: Inkspell Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-939590-94-7

Pre-Order Buy Links:

About the Book:
On the run from the Organization, Starr never planned on falling in love.
Starr Bishop’s the complete package. A perfect smile, brains to match, and a winning attitude. Boys want to date her and girls want to be her. She’s the type of girl you want to hate, if only she wasn’t so damn likable. But don’t worry, she’s not interested in your boyfriend. Boys are one complication she can live without.
When the Organization decides she’s not only the model student but the ideal assassin, Starr’ll need a lot more than high test scores and extracurricular involvement to get herself out of that commitment.
Dark, moody, and dead sexy Christian Evergood is the last person she’d expect—or even want— to come to her rescue. From opposite ends of Webster Highs social hierarchy, their lives collide in one electrifying moment. Christian isnt the Goth loner he pretends to be, hes a part Cherokee, All-American boy who wants to be a hero, Starrs hero. Christian makes Starr forget that the Organization is after her, but nothing will stop the Organization from collecting their top recruit.
By the way, the spot for junior class president just became available.

Starr Fall by Kim Briggs Book Excerpts 

“I didn’t tell you about my aunt,” he smiles.
“Is she a secret agent? Because that would really be convenient.”
“No, but almost as good, she’s a doctor. She works from time to time in hospitals, but her true passion is Doctors without Borders. She stayed home most of the summer and fall, but she’s not as happy in the states as she is in the field. A month ago, I finally convinced her I would be fine on my own.”
“So, let me guess. She’s on assignment?” I eye him warily.
“You got it. Darfur to be exact.”
“How long?” He turns to me. A crooked smile crosses his face. “Months and months.”
I almost get lost in his smile, but I catch myself. I can’t get distracted. “No.”
“No?” he says, “What do you mean ‘no’?
“I mean that you are not risking your life for me. Enough people are,” I gulp, “dead because of me. I will not put your life in harm’s way.”
“Too late,” he replies.
“No, it isn’t. Drop me off on the road, and I’ll figure this thing out.”
“No? What do you mean no? Drop me off on the side of the road. I’ll be fine. I’ve survived this long, haven’t I?” I shout as I sit up in my seat. I tick off everything I’ve done over the past four days. “I escaped the test site, swam Lake Ontario, and have managed to hide out without getting caught. I am doing a damn good job of going underground.”
“No, you aren’t,” he says.
I could spit fireballs at him. “What do you care? I thought you were, and I quote, ‘done helping people.’”
He pulls over to the side of the road and puts the car in park. His expression gives no hint to his mood. “Because of this,” he says and locks his fingers in mine. Electrical currents surge through them. The wall I’ve kept up for days and days crashes down as I lose what control I had left. The thread is broken.

Escaping test sites? Swimming LAKE ONTARIO? She doesn't sound quite like your everyday high schooler.  I guess we'll just have to pre-order STAR FALL, and read it when it's released, to find out how Starr did those things and how she's going to get away (and what exactly went on at the test site?).

About the Author

Kim once smashed into a tree while skiing. The accident led to a concussion, a cracked sternum, temporary notoriety as a sixth grader returned from the dead, and the realization that fictionalized accounts are way more interesting than just slipping on the ice.

An unhealthy obsession with conspiracy theories combined with a love of travel and happily ever afters led Kim to write her YA novel, Starr Fall, where a secret organization decides Starr Bishop would make the ideal assassin. While in hiding, Starr meets dark, moody, and dead sexy Christian Evergood. Cue the swoon worthy music. But it’s not all happily ever afters for Kim, her NA novel, And Then He, explores the dark and scary corners of the human psyche. Following a night of innocent flirting with a handsome stranger, Tiffani finds herself in the midst of a nightmare she can’t escape. And Then He is available now through Amazon and other major book retailers. Starr Fall will debut November 2016 with Inkspell Publishing.

When she’s not doing something writerly, Kim can be found jumping into snow drifts with her three kids, husband, and dog. She’s careful to avoid trees.

Giveaway Details
To celebrate Starr Fall’s cover release, Kim wants to give away some swag. Let’s look at the cover again…

One lucky winner will receive a bag of Starr Fall swag including bookmarks, all the fixings for s’mores (once you read the book, you’ll know why), and this…

See that little metal tag? It says “Me to We.” Cool huh? You know what else is cool, the purchase of the bracelet bought one month of clean water to a child in a community overseas. Starr’s all about water and making an impact. Kim is too, and she can’t wait to give this bracelet to one lucky recipient. All you need to do is pre-order Starr Fall, then email a copy of the proof of purchase (a screenshot works) to KimBriggsAuthor @ (Don’t forget to remove the spaces;) 

Winner will be announced on Kim’s Website Monday, October 3, 2016.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Time for school!

Time to help guide kids into a love of reading and writing (or increase it if they already are!).

Write with a pen?  Yes you can!  Pick your own journal, write about what every you want, what ever inspires you.

Need ideas?  Check out the back bulletin board!  I've got a noun chart- pick two, combine them and write a story about that (watch out- here comes Ninja Toilet!).


How about the monthly journal prompt calendar- pick form today, or any day this month!

No, ok, well, there's The Hat.  It's your last option before I give you a topic (discourages avoiding writing all together during a free writing time- we do have curriculum writing time, too). There's a ton of prompts in it.  Just pick one out...BUT whichever one you choose, that's it.  If you don't like it, you have to get one from me.


I love good books.  I have a huge library in my class.  At the end of the year, I do weed out the old, much loved books that need to be retired, or the ones no one has read in a few years.  I buy more over the summer to replace, and add some fresh ink.

I look for books that will interest the kids, hold their attention (and mine!!), that they'll want as soon as I'm done.

Silent reading, partner reading?  Yeah, we have the curriculum books they must read, but during a free choice time, they can read what ever book they want.  I don't discourage, but do help when asked.

I always keep a book of mine (or my kindle) on my desk next to my journal(s).  They need to see that I practice what I preach!  I don't have the time to always read and write with them, but I'll take it when I can.

So, back to school for me!

Enjoy :)

Monday, August 15, 2016

Patience, Humility, and Honor

(This is also on my little used running blog)

This post, has nothing to do with writing, except for everything.

My daughter plays for two soccer teams: the local town and a travel team. She's been playing for the travel team for two years, now at the beginning of the third.

Some history of their accomplishments as it's important to what happened on Sunday, August 15th.

The team is, I believe, three years old. Maddie's first year she split time between goalie (her love) and field player. During that first Fall season, the team went, I believe, 1-8. The average score was approximately a 6-0 loss. I think they scored four or five goals all season. It was hard watching my daughter, and the other goalie, get pummeled game after game. They played in two tournaments, with results averaging the same, except for one- this one is important to the story to come. They went 0-3, having lost 8-1 and 17-0 on the first day. That first day, they not only had NO subs in the heat, they also only had 7 players instead of 8 for a full team. The 17-0 team, as you can guess, NEVER let up. The girls on the other team were laughing, as were the parents, pushing their daughters to score more. The girls were, obviously, down for a few minutes, but came around fast, and went back to laughing and giggling. They were only 9 at the time. The 8-1 game, the coach pulled a player after the first half, then restricted his team to a certain number of passes, even then only a couple girls were allowed to shoot. At one point, his girls started laughing. He did not like it at all. He laid into them and told them if they laughed again, they were done for the tournament. he pointed out to them that we were playing down one player and had not given up no matter the score.

We trust the process- it's not about wins, it's about player development.

Then came the Spring season- tournaments and the state cup games. For the state cup, they only had 7 players- yup, for each of the three games, played on separate weekends, they were down a player. They only had two subs all season at the most, but had a couple players leave the team over the winter. Each of those games, the opposing team played one player down for the second half. My daughter's coach taught them to play the game as two halves. They lost each of the first halves, but tied or won the second half of each game going by this philosophy- even with the other team having subs. They played with hear, they played with courage. And man, was their conditioning AWESOME! By the Spring season, Maddie was also their only goalie. Not because the other goalie left, but because the coaches considered her their best option.

They had one tournament cancelled because of a lack of players, and another where they did well: they went 1-1-1! They were so excited- they played extremely well together, and seemed to have turned a corner as a team.

Trust the process, their 9 and it's not about the wins, it's about player development.

Until the Fall season started last year. The preseason tournament was the same as the year before- going 0-3 and having none of the games be even slightly competitive. The second tournament was another 1-1-1 and they were a win away- the tie, if it'd been a win, they would've made it to the finals! The girls were disappointed they didn't make it, but they were so giddy about playing well together and having fun (I tell Maddie before every game, "Play hard, have fun" and always will.)

Trust the process. They're growing. It's not about wins, it's about player development. They're improving, we can see it.

The season was the same as last year's Fall. They were 1-8 and got blown out in most of the game. The average score was about 6-1, which was an improvement on last year, though at a lower level within their league (4/5 instead of 3/5). Maddie was still the only goalie, and there were times we wanted her pulled as some games she was facing 25-30+ shots a game. This was when we really realized who good she was becoming. When you have an opposing coach who, after an 8-0 drubbing, makes a point to come up and talk to us about how good she is, and when you have players tell her, and parents of other teams, you realize how good she is. We really didn't know- we're not soccer people- well, we weren't at the time, but have quickly become that.

That Fall 2015 she also began to take the losses harder, often teary eyed after when she got back to the car. It was hard to watch. We talked about the good things, what she did well, never focusing on the results. She's a fighter, always has been, always will be. She still loves being a keeper, still wants to be the best.

Trust the process. Wins don't matter, player development does. They're 10.

The winter came and went, many girls missing many practices for other sports, which the coach is OK with- winter and Spring are times to grow athletically, participate in other sports. Maddie tried Girls on the Run, Basketball, Teeball, Softball, even played a couple Baseball games for her older brother's team (tiny but mighty got a couple hits in her few game career :) ).

Now for the Spring. My wife and I are talking about whether we want her to continue with her travel team. We sign her back up for the town team (she took a year off from them) as we wanted her playing and practicing with them when she could since they'll be playing together in MS and HS, and the girl's HS program has a tradition of excellence.

We know to trust the process, but it's been hard watching her get pummeled; watching her punts go right at her teammates only to have them not even field it and have the other team come right back at her on breakaway after breakaway- one, two, three on just Maddie over and over. We were concerned for her safety. We got her a concussion headband because of her fearlessness; because of how she'll charge out at just the right moment and pounce on the ball with opponents barreling in.

Trust the process.

Spring tournaments before the State Cup season starts. We look at the rankings of teams they're going to play (yes, they start ranking them regionally, state and nationally at this age). The teams they're playing are ranked higher than them in both tournaments, some by A LOT. When your team is ranked in the thousands nationally and you're facing teams in the top 200, you worry.

Trust. It's a process.

Both tournaments went the same...but not the same as in the past. BOTH tournaments, the girls showed A TON of growth. BOTH tournaments they went into the third game at 2-0 and playing for a shot at the finals! Both times, they played their hearts out, both times they fell short by 1 and 2 goals. The process is showing growth. The coaches talk about how proud they are of them, how much they've grown, how much fight they've shown. The second tournament, they were down 2-1 with a few seconds left when the opponent broke away from their side down field towards Maddie. It didn't matter overall to the score, this was the last of the game. But it mattered to them. The three closest girls (and they weren't that close) charged down field to stop their opponent and Maddie, realizing this was it, charged from her goalie position right away. Maddie met her opponent outside of the goalie area and performed a perfect slide tackle, stopping her opponent, getting the ball away and passing it off to her teammates who'd charged in. They ended up getting a shot at tying the game, but fell short by just a couple feet to end the game.

It was amazing to watch. This was the hardest loss they'd had so far, even harder than the 17-0 nothing game.

Unfortunately the schedule for the state cup games came out. These girls who showed so much promise, who'd grown so much got screwed by the people who schedule the state cup. As I said above, they played in tier 4/5, even then their coach had to fight to get them to 4/5 as they were originally slated for the bottom 5/5 group. The state cup schedulers PUT THEM IN THE TOP GROUP! They were going to be playing three games against TIER 1 TEAMS! As you can imagine we were all pissed- parents, coaches, overall team organizers. And, as you can imaging, NONE of the games were competitive. Each game went to 6-0 quickly, and the other coaches wouldn't let their teams shoot at that point unless we scored (I think they scored one goal) then they could score to get a 6 goal lead since that's the max that would count in the goal differential. It was heartbreaking. The girls were not happy, obviously. They did have one tournament left, and it went nothing like the previous ones in the beginning of the season. They were placed in a group with top tier and tier 2 teams and got pummeled- except for one game. The most competitive game they played was against a team right around 100 in the country (compared to their 1500 or so). This game ended in a 4-1 loss, but Maddie was on fire. She made save after save, the parents of the other team in awe of her play (proud parent moments continue...).

Trust the process.

The 2016 Fall brings new age grouping- by birth year rather than July to July. teams were split in half. We lucked out, we "only" lost two players, but we miss them greatly already. But we gained three girls who fit right in.

Three weeks ago we found out they were playing in a tournament on short notice as the team organizer asked us to join in. We did. My wife and I, honestly, were expecting more of the same losing because of the short notice, and knowing they were teams we hadn't beaten before.

But trust the process.

The first game found them down 3-1 early, but they fought hard, scoring two goals late to tie 3-3. The team now has another goalie. For the first time in a year and a half, my daughter played half in goal, and the second half on the field as a sub. She did ok :) The next game they dominated. They seemed to do everything right, they played great, they played with fire. They won 4-0! Mads was in goal the entire game because of the match up of the new goalie and a specific player on the other team we needed her to defend.

The next game is the main reason for this long post. When we saw the other team take the field, it brought back all these memories that the parents talked about of the past 2-3 years. The other team was playing with no subs, and short a player. Our coach offered them our new goalie, but their coach said no. The coach remembers what it's like playing a player down. Our girls remembered, too, especially Maddie. At 1-0-1 at this point, we needed a shut out win in order for a chance to win the tournament. After going up 6-0, our team, for once, took a player off the field, then took Maddie out of goal (I don't think the other team got a shot on goal), and our girls were given increasingly difficult passing and shooting options. Maddie was put in as the only forward, with four midfielder and two defenders (plus the goalie). The players were not allowed to shoot unless they crossed the ball in with their left foot. Maddie had a couple chances in front of the goal, but she would quickly get two defenders on her to prevent her from getting a shot off. As you can guess, playing primarily in goal, Maddie has NEVER scored a goal on any team at any level. The parents and I thought it seemed like he set it up so she could finally score, and we really wanted her too. This is important to the story. So, the girls were given even more restrictions- they now had to, after brining it up, pass it back to a defender, who had to pass it to the other defender, then up for a cross to try to get it to Maddie. She never did score, and they game ended 6-0, still with no shots on goal. We felt for the other team. We knew what it was like, our girls new what it was like.

It turns out, the team they were tied with for first won their game 5-0. Maddie's team WON THE TOURNAMENT by a 1 goal differential! They are champs! They did it! It was amazing. They were dancing after they found out, hugging, jumping up and down laughing, like 11 year old girls should. We're so proud of them and how they played. They showed a lot in terms of on field skill, communication, passing, shooting, dribbling, making moves, decision making, etc.

Trust the process.

We talked with Maddie after the game, thinking she'd be excited about the chances she had, and maybe disappointed in not scoring.

Remember all those games mentioned above? The heartaches, the many times they were trampled, the many times they played down a player or with no subs?

Maddie said, "I didn't want to score. It wouldn't be right. It wouldn't have felt right to score on a team down a player, as tired as they were. I want to score my first goal when it's even, not like that." As we talked more about what she said, she remembered all those games, all those times the other teams never let up on them.

Trust the process. They're always learning, about life, about soccer. Trust.

Saturday, July 23, 2016


It seems my slump has left the building.  I'm not sure what it was.  It may have been finally taking a significant amount of time for myself, thanks to my daughter's four hour a day soccer camp that was about an hour away- just far enough away to not merit driving back home.  So, two of the days I spent at Starbucks, another day at a local book store/coffee shop and the fourth day at a local donut shop (I didn't eat any- and their coffee sucked) and then a local library afterwards.  

It wasn't just those four days.  It's only Saturday now, but I wrote and revised yesterday and today as well.  Over the past six days, I've written two picture book manuscripts, revised an 8700 word early chapter book, revised a query letter for a picture book that needed a lot of help, and wrote a query letter for the CB MS that I revised.  I also helped a writing friend with editing the first ten pages of her middle grade chapter book, and gave advice in an on-line writing forum to a few query letters.  All of that combined with massive packing and hauling boxes and various other items to the UNIT storage pod in preparation for our move on WEDNESDAY!!!

Here's an update on my 2016 goals:

1. Get an agent (simple enough :) ) NOPE
2. Said agent sells a manuscript to a publisher (for me in case you weren't sure...also, simple enough ;) ) NOPE
3. Write at least one picture book manuscript each month (ok, that's an easy one...I didn't say they had to be good, did I?) Easy?  Oooops...I didn't write one in June
4. Revise at least one PB MS each month (yeah, easy, too...but how about major changes? See 5) Still doing this one!!!
5. Make major revisions to my top 5 PB MSs: still: 0/5
6. Finish 2-3 middle grade novels: Still nope (0-2/3).
7. Revise 1 middle grade novel YES!  Well, the one I had in mind was an early chapter book.  

6 and 7 really should be early chapter books, not middle grade.  And yes, there's a big difference!!!

I hope you've all been productive as well!!  Happy writing!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

An Ode To the Last Teacher Day of School

Yesterday, the last teacher day, a day without students, is always the worst day of the year.  I posted about it on instagram, but decided to turn it into an etheree (not sure why an etheree, I just kinda felt like it).  I hope this conveys the emotion well enough :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Feeling the Itch...

I've been feeling the itch to write fantasy again!  I know which story I want to work on, again, and may also work on another story that would be a second in a self published series.  I took the first down since I wanted to focus on children's books and these are DEFINITELY NOT for kids :)  I plan on reworking it so they are published under a pseudonym.  
Time to edit...

And I really want to revise an early chapter book and see about sending it out, if I feel it's send out worthy, that is.  I've gone over bits here and there, but really want to give it a good run through for a couple different things- basic line edit, and also a timeline.  Then go into what works and what doesn't work, what to trash, and what to save.

So, am I feeling like I'm getting back into a groove?  Into the writing and editing mode?  Well, for now, I'd say yes!

Hopefully it'll last!  I'm looking forward to time at the beach to get some things done (9 days till the beach!!).

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Almost Summer!!

This is something most kids and most teachers are thankful for:

The arrival of summer!

And I am, definitely, one of them.  Summer really is a time to recharge, to get rid of or change what didn't work, and create things that (hopefully) will work for the next year, attend meetings, write curriculum, move your classroom (for those, like me, who are moving to a new grade level or just a new room), and work another job. Oh!  Also getting ready for a NEW ELA curriculum!  And since I'm moving grade levels, new math, science, social studies, health...And also move- we're doing that, too.  It took nine months, but we finally sold our house!

For me, three jobs.  Writing (which doesn't pay a whole lot at all), my Teachers Pay Teachers store (which pays even less), and tutoring (which buys beer and Starbucks).

I still have two weeks left, but my kids are done in two days (lucky).

I'm hoping the summer will also recharge my writing.  It's really been non-existent for about a year, if not a bit more.  I've been writing a new MS, and some minor editing, but nothing consistent.  With that in mind, here are my goals from back in December:

1. Get an agent (simple enough :) ) NOPE
2. Said agent sells a manuscript to a publisher (for me in case you weren't sure...also, simple enough ;) ) NOPE
3. Write at least one picture book manuscript each month (ok, that's an easy one...I didn't say they had to be good, did I?) SO FAR SO GOOD
4. Revise at least one PB MS each month (yeah, easy, too...but how about major changes? See 5) YUPPERS!
5. Make major revisions to my top 5 PB MSs 0/5
6. Finish 2-3 middle grade novels NADA
7. Revise 1 middle grade novel Nuh-uh

So, overall, not so good.  That's why I'm so looking forward to the summer

Saturday, April 9, 2016

The Journey Continues...

I've been writing on and off for the past couple months, and revising even less.  I posted my year goals back in January.  I've been able to keep up with two of them (revise and write a PB manuscript each month), and am still working on the others.  I've been submitting to agents, and have avoided making major revisions to my top five manuscripts.  I have been getting critiques from RYS, but haven't applied them, yet.  I also haven't worked on any middle grade books- but I thought about them...does that count?

I'm getting more and more excited for the SCBWI Eastern PA event coming up at the end of this month!  I plan on getting the hell out of my comfort zone and actually talking and chatting, and enjoying the late night festivities.  I do need a character costume idea for the Friday night costume party...

I signed up for the agent critique, as well as having part of a story read in First Pages.  I'm both nervous and excited for both!!!

I also have this going on in a week:

I'll be there at 3:10 for about an hour!

Also, I added a couple new things to my Teachers Pay Teachers store!  Slowly, but surely it'll continue to grow...

That's it for now!  

Happy Writing!!!

Monday, January 25, 2016

2016 Goals

Yeah, that accountability post a month ago?  The last one on here I wrote?  Yup!  Didn't happen :)  That's not me at all- not that I don't want to be accountable, the whole idea isn't me.

So, onto my goals for 2016:

1. Get an agent (simple enough :) )
2. Said agent sells a manuscript to a publisher (for me in case you weren't sure...also, simple enough ;) )
3. Write at least one picture book manuscript each month (ok, that's an easy one...I didn't say they had to be good, did I?)
4. Revise at least one PB MS each month (yeah, easy, too...but how about major changes?  See 5)
5. Make major revisions to my top 5 PB MSs
6. Finish 2-3 middle grade novels
7. Revise 1 middle grade novel

That's it...not to hard :)

Oh, I already took care of goals three and four for January!

You'll see this image again...someday :)