Monday, April 29, 2013

Fave Things

Time for a list of my fave things right now!

Food: Red Lobster’s Cheddar Bay Biscuits! Did you know you can pick them up and take them home?! You can get 6 for $1.99 or 12 for $2.99! Secret of the month1

Music: the band One Republic, specifically their song ‘Good Life’

Books: Sherlock Academy: The Baker Street Underground. Last book to date, and I’m reading through it to prep for Book 5. I have to say it’s my favorite of my whole series.

TV: We’re watching Project Runway reruns on Hulu. Watching Season 9 and I forgot how fun it is!

Movies: I’m obsessed with Wes Anderson right now. Loved his most recent Moonrise Kingdom and I hear he’s filming a new movie as we speak!

Color: sea foam green. It’s catching my eye everywhere!

Game: Star Wars Angry Birds. It’s too funny. As a Star Wars fan, I totally appreciate it.

Moment: rocking my little two-year before bed and agreeing to his request to “Seeeiinnngg, Mama!” I sing.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Once Upon a Time...

The opening line to any book is very important. It has to grab your attention, give you a peek at the story, give you a taste of the writer’s style, and be somewhat memorable. I attended a workshop back in February that was all about the first page of a story, and more specifically the importance of the right opening line. Here are a few opening lines of some of my favorite books:

If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book. –A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning

On the 24th of February, 1815, the watch-tower of Notre-Dame de la Guarde signaled the arrival of the three-master Pharaon.—The Count of Monte Cristo

In a city called Stonetown, near a port called Stonetown Harbor, a boy named Reynie Mulderoon was preparing to take an important test. –The Mysterious Benedict Society

Charles Lenox sat in the study of his town house in Hampden Lane—that small, shop-lines street just off Grosvenor Place where he had passed most of his adult life—and sifted through the papers that had accumulated upon his desk, as they would, inevitably, when one became a member of Parliament. –A Death in the Small Hours

The tired old carriage, pulled by two tired old horses, rumbled onto the wharf, its creaky wheels bumpety-bumping on the uneven planks, waking Peter from his restless slumber. –Peter and the Starcatchers

For a long time after that summer, the four Penderwick sisters still talked of Arundel. –The Penderwicks

Now, for those of you who know anything about blind children, you are aware that they make the very best thieves. –Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes

Toby Turnkettle was an orphan, but not an orphan in the usual sense, for you see, his parents had not died—they had simply stopped living life, which is entirely different altogether.  –The Almost-True Adventures of Toby Turnkettle (hee hee)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Catching Up

Sorry I’ve been out of touch this past week. I was busy celebrating my birthday but also dealing with a sick kid. Here’s what my life’s been about lately:

Cough medicine, naps, Sherlock Academy, dessert with candles, Star Wars Angry Birds, Project Runway reruns, writing critiques, nail polish, Red Lobster’s Cheddar biscuits, doctor check-up, humidifier, Monopoly Deal card game, weaning, skirts, cutting hair….

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Birthday Trip

I've been a little MIA this week because of my birthday. We took a little trip to Disneyland for the big day!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Forever 31

Tomorrow is my birthday. I’ll be 31. I know I’m a grown-up. I have a husband, a child, own a house, drive a car, have a job. I do grown-up things like cook, clean house, do laundry, make bank deposits, schedule well-baby checkups, count calories, and track my cycle.

But I don’t always feel like a grown-up. I still love Disneyland, I read children’s books, I do crafting projects, I make believe my little plush mouse is real which makes West giggle, I get excited for Christmas, I call my mom when I’m sick, I wear Converse shoes, I have a secret closet under the stairs, and I believe Neverland exists….at least in my imagination.

Age is just a number, right? Bring it on 31!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Growth Chart

Right now I’m reading through my own Sherlock Academy series. Whenever I’m writing the next book, I take time to go back and read my previous books. I do this for a few reasons: to get a sense of where my characters and story are coming from, to remind myself of any little details I may have forgotten, and to be sure my series is maintaining cohesion.

One thing I’ve been struck with as I’m reading Book 1 is how much I’ve grown as a writer. I wrote Book 1 almost 6 years ago. In those 6 years I’ve found my voice as a writer, I’ve grown braver in taking risks with my writing, and have gotten a clearer view on story and plot. It’s exciting.

I’ve noticed the same thing about myself as a mom. Westly just turned two. Looking back on the last two years of motherhood, I’m encouraged to see how much I’ve grown. I’ve found my confidence as a mom, I’ve grown braver in my capabilities of mothering, and have gotten a clearer view on raising a child.
But with both writing and parenting, there is always more to learn. Both are life-long processes of growing, improving, learning from mistakes, trying new things, and expressing my creativity.

It’s the best!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Celebrity Crush

One of my current favorite authors is Charles Finch, author of a mystery series featuring a detective set in Victorian England—can’t go wrong! He has six books out and is scheduled to release his seventh this November. His writing is smart, heartfelt, and very British. I’m a huge fan.
I thought my life could not be more complete when I found his Facebook page and became his friend.  Based on his posts and comments to other friends on his page, I found him down to earth and very honest. I left a comment or two.
Then I thought my heart would stop when he responded to my comments! I am definitely star-struck. I have already started having daydreams of meeting him someday. He lives in Oxford, so there is yet another great excuse to go back to England! Sigh…..

In case you're interested, here are the titles of his books in chronological order:

A Beautiful Blue Death
The September Society
The Fleet Street Murders
A Stranger in Mayfair
A Burial at Sea
A Death in the Small Hours

Monday, April 8, 2013

What Makes Your Heart Beat?

Whenever I’m driving around town running errands, I listen to the Mix radio station, which plays everything from Tom Jones from the 70s to Mumford and Sons. One of the Dj’s is John Tesh. He always has helpful tips for life, facts on health, and reports on trends. He calls it Intelligence for Your Life. I love it, I’m not gonna lie. The other day he gave tips on identifying your passion. Here are three things to ask yourself to find your passion:
Which books do you gravitate to in the book store?
What would you do for free?
What could you talk endlessly about at a party?
Here were my answers: the children’s section, write a book, writing stories. It was  very affirming to me. I have found my passion!

Friday, April 5, 2013

It's That Time of Year Again

Tomorrow my dear little boy Westly turns two. This last year has been very fun, and finally more restful! This last year he finally started sleeping through the night, and taking nice long naps each day. He has learned to walk, talk, climb, color, paint, use scissors, feed himself, get in his car seat by himself, play a harmonica, give hugs and kisses, kick and throw a ball, maneuver my iPod, have opinions, make choices, and further melt my heart.
I can’t remember life before him, and I can’t imagine each day without him there following me around, calling “Mama!”, and delighting me with his budding personality. Being a mom has become such a natural part of my identity that I sometimes take it for granted. I have tried to be more mindful of this blessing in my life. When I hold him close and squeeze him tight, I send a ‘thank you’ up to God for him. When I securely hold his small hand in mine, I whisper a prayer of protection over his life. When I watch him rejoice and laugh along with him, I daydream about who he will become and the great things he will do with his time here on earth.
Happy Birthday, my little Doodle, so dear to my heart. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Sharing My Passion

Yesterday I was invited to speak at our local library for National Children's Book Day. I talked to kids about Sherlock Academy and being a writer. Then I sold and signed books. The local paper showed up and did a little interview and snapped some pictures. It was a great afternoon!

Monday, April 1, 2013

In Light of Easter

Fair Trade

Lord, did You know who I was,
A nobody, a sinner, a stain?
“I knew.”

Jesus, did You see who You were,
The Messiah, perfect, God?
“I saw.”

Lord, did You count the cost,
Of suffering, of trauma, of pain?
“I counted.”

Jesus, did You realize my crimes,
Against Him, the law, and You?
“I realized.”

Lord, do You admit I deserve,
The punishment, the flogging, the cross?
“I do.”

Then Jesus, is it really a fair trade,
Your life for mine and theirs?
“I Am.”