Sunday, July 24, 2016

Pioneer Christmas by Taffy Lovell

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 Pioneer Christmas

Ma, where will we be for Christmas this year?
In the Salt Lake Valley.
Will we get there before Christmas?
I hope so, little one.
But isn’t it Christmas right now?
No, dear, not yet.
But there is so much snow.
I know. Come along.
But my feet hurt.
Let me see them. I have a little material. Let me wrap them up.
Will we get Christmas dinner when we get to the Valley?
Grandma will have dinner ready for us.
 I’m hungry now.
We all are. I have a little shoe leather left. Chew it as we walk.
Ma, will Pa be home for Christmas?
No, love, he can’t be with us anymore.
Where is he?
We buried him in Martin’s Cove.
Will we see him again, Ma?
Yes.
Will he be sad to miss Christmas?
I think he will be sad to not be with us. Do you know who was born on Christmas?
Jesus?
Yes.  And His Mother and Father loved him very much.
Did He grow big like me?
Yes He did. And one day Jesus had to leave His family even when He didn’t want to leave.
Just like Pa.
And just like Jesus, Pa is in Heaven.
Pa gets to spend Christmas with Jesus?
Yes he does.
Then Pa gets to have the best Christmas.
I think you’re right.
I still wish Pa was with us, pulling me in the handcart.
Do you want to get in the handcart now?
May I? The rocks are hurting my feet now.
Let me put you in with sister.
Sister is so cold, Ma.
Wrap your arms around her and hold her close.
Will she spend Christmas with Pa?
I would miss her terribly if she did, dear.
Ma? Can you hear the singing?
It must be the other Saints singing.
I can’t see no other handcarts. Didn’t angels sing when Jesus was born?
Yes.
Ma, I think the angels are singing for us tonight so we are not alone.
I believe you are right, little one.


This is an original poem I wrote after we went on a pioneer trek through Martin's Cover, over Rocky Ridge and stopped in Rock Creek, where fifteen pioneers--men, women and children--were ubried in a mass grave.


Monday, July 18, 2016

Trying to increase my daily word count and not hate my summertime writing

I'm struggling with my writing right now and I'm going to blame it on the summer. I love having my kids home! I love our backyard sleepovers and movie marathons and barbecues. It's just hard to find motivation when other things are going on. or MAYBE I hate the ending of the book and need to rewrite it but I'm not sure how so that probably means I need to go back and see where the story took a wrong turn and then I need to revise it or take out the offending chapters. pantpantpant. UGH.


I just read a book about increasing word count that I really enjoyed. I mostly read the first part and skimmed the second (it dealt with plotting a novel but I'm not ready to write a new story yet).

2K to 10K: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love by Rachel Aaron

These are the three ideas I took away from the book:

1. Everyday before you open the word doc of your story, take 5 minutes to write out what you're going to write for the day.

*This is actually what I decided to start doing before I read this book.

2. After writing your 5 minutes, see how you feel. If you're excited about the scene, write it! If you're not, rework it until you are excited. No more boring scenes in your story.

*I can get behind this idea, obviously! Here's to trying something new.

3. Everyday keep a record of your writing. Make a note of the time you start, time you stop, how many words and where you wrote. The author keeps these stats in excel and tracks when her most productive times and places for word count is.

*I love this idea. I also found an app that helps a little bit with that too. It's called writeometer.

I'm hoping these ideas help me get some words written this summer. I get hangry (what would a cross between not writing and frustrated be??) when I haven't written for a few days. I need to write something everyday, even a blog post helps.


What do you do to get excited about writing? Or finding the time? Is your writing schedule different in the summer vs. during school?






Friday, July 1, 2016

7 Summer Reads To Get You Through July

 It's officially July and it's hot, hot, hot outside (and I might have to live at the pool) and time for another roundup of summer reading. Take a look at the list and tell me in the comments your favorite summer read!



BEAUTY and the CLOCKWORK BEAST
 by Nancy Campbell Allen

Jane Eyre meets Beauty and the Beast.

When Lucy Pickett arrives at Blackwell Manor to tend to her ailing cousin, Kate, she finds more than she bargained for. A restless ghost roams the hallways, werewolves have been reported in the area, and vampires lurk across the Scottish border. Lord Miles himself is clearly hiding a secret.


Opening line:
 "It had never been proven that Lord Blackwell had killed his wife, but then the man in question hadn't actually denied it, either."

Oh my. I loved this book more than I thought I would! Because a twist on Beauty and the Beast with a twist of steampunk? I wasn't sure. But yes. I loved it.






UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN
by Rene Collins

Cassandra craves drama and adventure, so the last thing she wants is to spend her summer marooned with her mother and stepfather in a snooty Massachusetts shore town. But when a dreamy stranger shows up on their private beach claiming it's his own—and that the year is 1925—she is swept into a mystery a hundred years in the making.


Opening line:
"The beach is empty."

Beach, time traveling, and romance. What more is there?








THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN ME IS YOU
by Lily Anderson


Trixie Watson has two very important goals for senior year: to finally save enough to buy the set of Doctor Who figurines at the local comic books store, and to place third in her class and knock Ben West--and his horrendous new mustache that he spent all summer growing--down to number four.

Opening line:
"Ben West spent summer vacation growing a handlebar mustache."



Any book that gets me to sit still and reading-not skim-is worth a shout out.

The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You is funny, nerdy, witty, cute, smart, geeky, well-paced...ETC.







LADY HELEN FINDS HER SONG
 by Jennifer Moore


 Spring 1813The exotic splendors of India are legendary, and the colorful sights of her new home in Calcutta immediately captivate eighteen-year-old Lady Helen Poulter. It is in this vibrant, bustling city that she finds a kindred soul in Captain Michael Rhodes, an Englishman whose lifelong love of India runs deep. Their friendship quickly grows, yet despite their undeniable connection, she could never think of Captain Rhodes as more than a dear friend.

Opening line:
"Lady Helen Poulter stood on the deck of the ship,  her gloved fingers tapping on the rail, playing invisible keys in a melody that only she could hear."

 So now I want to go to India and eat exotic food and have a pet monkey. Thanks a lot Ms. Moore! 



The Wrath & Dawn
by Renee Ahdieh 


 One Life to One Dawn.

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning.
Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she'd imagined him to be.


Opening line:
"It would not be a welcome dawn."

 This book is a twist on A Thousand and One Nights that I couldn't put down!





WILLOWKEEP 
by Julie Daines


Charlotte Darby’s ship is sinking. Penniless and alone, she is struggling to care for herself and her young sister in the harsh seaport town of Kingston upon Hull. When a solicitor from London brings news that she is the heir to a vast estate in Kent, it seems her days of rough seas are over. Willowkeep is prosperous and grand, far too much for a shipping merchant’s daughter to manage, and she quickly comes to rely on the help of Henry Morland, the estate’s kind and handsome steward.

Opening line:
""Twelve thousand a year?" Charlotte stared at the letter in her hand."

 Henry and Charlotte. What better named pair? I loved reading their story!




THE GIRL FROM EVERYWHERE
by Heidi Heilig


Nix has spent her entire life aboard her father’s ship, sailing across the centuries, across the world, across myth and imagination.

As long as her father has a map for it, he can sail to any time, any place, real or imagined: nineteenth-century China, the land from One Thousand and One Nights, a mythic version of Africa. Along the way they have found crewmates and friends, and even a disarming thief who could come to mean much more to Nix.

But the end to it all looms closer every day.


Opening line:
"It was the kind of August day that hinted at monsoons, and the year was 1774, though not for very much longer."

 
A time-traveling pirate ship.
A crazy, smart main character named Nix.
An Aladdin-type love interest.
Maps to the future, past and make believe.
Hawaii.

What could be better than a story with ALL of the above elements?? This girl can write!