Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Found a new blog to follow...

The Meaning of Things is inspiring. http://www.john-themeaningofthings.blogspot.com/

Wordsmith is a lovely site, and Christian based. This post welcomes some of the Desert Breeze authors: http://www.thewordsmithjournal.com/desert-breeze-publishing.html

And they have a contest to win a Kindle through March 15th: http://www.thewordsmithjournal.com/win-a-kindle.html

I like my Kindle. Many of the ebooks are less expensive, and sometimes they're offered free at Amazon. It gives me a chance to try a new author, without buyers remorse. I've already found one I like. I've acquired several books I've wanted for a long time, but they were only available in an e-format. I'm liking the lightness of my Kindle as well.

Well, the writing is slow, but coming along again, as I rework the chapter. Tackling it chapter by chapter, it's somehow easier to cut material and simply paste it at the end of what's there. It can be moved again, but it's a relief to not have to simply cut it. I'll make more progress, tomorrow, as I cut a lot, and added quite a bit of new material. Interesting how each book is so different from any other, even in the process of telling the story.

Happy Leap Day!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Facebook...

I've added a link in several places on this site, where you can find my author FaceBook page.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Laurel-Hawkes/354810187882740

When my characters hunt me down, they'll hunt me down there first.

I have so much to learn. Blessedly, I have time to learn.

Desert Rose had their monthly meeting this evening, and it was inspiring and rejuvenating. I sat in on the table topic and learned about the annual conference offered through the Virginia G. Piper Center at ASU. The short speech was on using humor in writing. The main speaker was on copyrighting. Protect Your Writing by Maria Crimi Speth. I'd have never made it this far without the encouragement and support I've found among these amazing people.

Update on those chapters I'd talked about cutting: I didn't. I did do some re-writing. I moved another chapter, today, and realized it needed a change in the point of view, so tomorrow I'll tackle re-writing the whole chapter.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Moving forward....

Steph interviews Melanie Atkins, over at Desert Breeze Publishing. http://desertbreezepublishing.blogspot.com/2012/02/author-spotlight-q-with-melanie-atkins.html I always enjoy learning about other writers' process and inspiration.

Linda shared in insightful post on the War of Words. Well done, and well worth taking a few minutes to read. http://makenwords.blogspot.com/2012/02/weaponry-of-words.html

I love trying debut authors. Here's an interview with Jude Urbanski: http://enjoyingthewritingcraft.blogspot.com/2012/02/giveaway-joy-restored-by-jude-urbanski.html


Another debut author is June Foster: http://lighthouse-academy.blogspot.com/2012/02/interview-with-june-foster.html

I tried. I really tried to cut three chapters. I couldn't do it. There was too much information. I did do some re-writing, and I'm much happier with the chapters. I also started a new document, and I'm moving the chapters one by one. I can't move on until I'm happy with the chapter I'm working on. With moving the story a chapter at a time, I can't worry about word count, because most of the story is in another document. This means I'm concentrating on simply making the chapter the best possible chapter. I have an outline of the rest of the chapters, but it's easier to focus on a little at a time.

On one of my other manuscripts, I wrote most of it from the end to the beginning. I thought I'd try it with this one, but it simply didn't work. After fighting with finding a way to make it work, taking one chapter at a time seems to be doing the trick. It feels good to be making progress again.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Sigh... don't mean to be out of touch...

My back is giving me kitten fits. It does from time to time. Concentrating on anything but the most frivolous of things becomes next to impossible, not for more than five minutes or so.

I'm cutting a lot more, like three chapters. It's painful. I like the material, but it's taking too long for my hero and heroine to start interacting more than on the surface. What I need to do is take about four chapters and rearrange them. Shuffle and move things around.

There have been several interesting posts I've wanted to explore. Maybe this weekend.

It's warm, really warm. I'm not ready for summer!

If you aren't comfortable friending me on FaceBook, I now have an author page, with the option to simply Like. Right now it's mostly an attempt to become accustomed to this gigantic leap I've decided to take.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Laurel-Hawkes/354810187882740

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

New blog to follow...

It looks like one I'll be keeping my eye on. http://livingwiththemuse.blogspot.com/

Need this blog about writing blurbs: http://kystorywriter.blogspot.com/p/write-killer-blurb.html

I've discovered Tuesday Tales, and enjoy it. A group of authors in varying genres share partials or short stories. They even let you know ahead of time what you're in for, so to speak. http://tuesdaytales1.blogspot.com/

I need more time.

Editing is picking up again. At this point, I'm cutting material, the stuff slowing down the story to start. My hero and heroine didn't meet until chapter ten, in the original draft. Now, I've moved it up to chapter four.

I've some reading I can't put off, so I'm working it in as well. Now quite well yet, but improving. Thanks God.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Desert Dream Writers' Conference 2012 reminder....

If you only attend one conference this year, Desert Dreams is the one.

Why? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flYALSZdmDk&feature=youtu.be

Register at http://www.desertroserwa.org

Not much writing being done, as I'm sick from something I ate. Not food poisoning, but food allergy. Food poisoning is over in 24 hours. Food allergy takes days to work out of my system. Lucky me. Live and learn. Using the time to read and think through what I want to do with the book I'm currently working on.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Forgiveness...

I love FaceBook. It connects me to people I probably would not have met otherwise. They bring inspiration and smiles into my life.

This link was posted over at FaceBook. http://marshill.com/2012/02/15/9-things-forgiveness-is-not I was amazed by the comprehensiveness and clarity.

"Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief." Mark 9:24

Friday, February 17, 2012

Link to post on eReaders...

Debra Parmley presents a nice overall review of eReaders: http://debraparmley.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=22%3Aso-you-want-to-buy-your-first-ebook&Itemid=1

This is a fun interview: http://romanticnovelistsassociationblog.blogspot.com/2012/02/interview-with-paula-martin.html

Laurie Schnebly Campbell is sharing a lesson on Motivation over at Seekerville. Well worth the read: http://seekerville.blogspot.com/2012/02/mastering-motivation-by-laurie-schnebly.html

Finally, the chapter is cut down to size. I didn't anticipate how much anxiety it would cause, but it's done now, and I'm happy with the first two chapters. On to editing chapter three.

I have so much to learn.

Conferences in April, and another in June, are arranged.

I tend to be the type of person once a decision is made, then I believe in following through as soon as possible. Dawdling isn't my style...

Okay, I have to laugh at myself now. I want to color my hair. There's enough gray in my hair to be annoying. I grayed prematurely. Lucky me. Even so, I'm still sitting on the fence about WHEN to do it. Granted, expense is a serious consideration. However, I'm also honest enough to admit it isn't the only consideration. My skin is unbelievably sensitive. I've been warned it may burn. Not thrilled by the thought. Really not thrilled by the thought. A part of me worries my reaction may be... bad. I'm struggling to screw my courage to the sticking place. I don't even know what would help me work through whatever it is holding me back.

On the positive side, I've created a Pinterest board for hair styles for me, which is more than I've ever done before. A step in the positive direction. I'm also practicing with different hairstyles and makeup.

Wearing perfume is another one of those things I try to remember, but more often than not I don't. One more thing to practice.

Perhaps the stress I've been feeling is all the changes I'm making. I know I'm worth it... the truth: I'm trying to grasp the concept I'm worth it. It requires leaving behind old nicknames and images, familiarity.

Placing a trembling hand in God's, and trusting Him to lead me forward.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Link to Diary of a Marine's final Flight home....

My friend Scott, who has worked in the airline industry for years, shared this, and I checked for it on Snopes but found nothing even remotely like it, so at this point we're taking it as truth. He also had a little more information to add, but I'll put it at the end.

I don't re post very many updates from people but as an airline guy this brought back many memories of bringing soldiers off of aircraft on their way to their resting place. I don't know where my cousin Robin got it from but thank you for posting it.

He writes: My lead flight attendant came to me and said, "We have an H.R. On this flight." (H.R. Stands for human remains.) "Are they military?" I asked.
'Yes', she said.
'Is there an escort?' I asked.
'Yes, I already assigned him a seat'.
'Would you please tell him to come to the flight deck. You can board him early," I said.

A short while later, a young army sergeant entered the flight deck. He was the image of the perfectly dressed soldier. He introduced himself and I asked him about his soldier. The escorts of these fallen soldiers talk about them as if they are still alive and still with us.

'My soldier is on his way back to Virginia ,' he said. He proceeded to answer my questions, but offered no words.

I asked him if there was anything I could do for him and he said no. I told him that he had the toughest job in the military and that I appreciated the work that he does for the families of our fallen soldiers. The first officer and I got up out of our seats to shake his hand. He left the flight deck to find his seat.

We completed our preflight checks, pushed back and performed an uneventful departure. About 30 minutes into our flight I received a call from the lead flight attendant in the cabin. 'I just found out the family of the soldier we are carrying, is on board', she said. She then proceeded to tell me that the father, mother, wife and 2-year old daughter were escorting their son, husband, and father home. The family was upset because they were unable to see the container that the soldier was in before we left We were on our way to a major hub at which the family was going to wait four hours for the connecting flight home to Virginia .

The father of the soldier told the flight attendant that knowing his son was below him in the cargo compartment and being unable to see him was too much for him and the family to bear. He had asked the flight attendant if there was anything that could be done to allow them to see him upon our arrival. The family wanted to be outside by the cargo door to watch the soldier being taken off the airplane. I could hear the desperation in the flight attendants voice when she asked me if there was anything I could do. 'I'm on it', I said. I told her that I would get back to her.

Airborne communication with my company normally occurs in the form of e-mail like messages. I decided to bypass this system and contact my flight dispatcher directly on a secondary radio. There is a radio operator in the operations control center who connects you to the telephone of the dispatcher. I was in direct contact with the dispatcher. I explained the situation I had on board with the family and what it was the family wanted. He said he understood and that he would get back to me.

Two hours went by and I had not heard from the dispatcher. We were going to get busy soon and I needed to know what to tell the family. I sent a text message asking for an update. I saved the return message from the dispatcher and the following is the text:

'Captain, sorry it has taken so long to get back to you. There is policy on this now and I had to check on a few things. Upon your arrival a dedicated escort team will meet the aircraft.

The team will escort the family to the ramp and plane side. A van will be used to load the remains with a secondary van for the family. The family will be taken to their departure area and escorted into the terminal where the remains can be seen on the ramp. It is a private area for the family only. When the connecting aircraft arrives, the family will be escorted onto the ramp and plane side to watch the remains being loaded for the final leg home. Captain, most of us here in flight control are veterans.. Please pass our condolences on to the family. Thanks.'

I sent a message back telling flight control thanks for a good job. I printed out the message and gave it to the lead flight attendant to pass on to the father. The lead flight attendant was very thankful and told me, 'You have no idea how much this will mean to them.'

Things started getting busy for the descent, approach and landing. After landing, we cleared the runway and taxied to the ramp area. The ramp is huge with 15 gates on either side of the alleyway. It is always a busy area with aircraft maneuvering every which way to enter and exit. When we entered the ramp and checked in with the ramp controller, we were told that all traffic was being held for us.

'There is a team in place to meet the aircraft', we were told. It looked like it was all coming together, then I realized that once we turned the seat belt sign off, everyone would stand up at once and delay the family from getting off the airplane. As we approached our gate, I asked the copilot to tell the ramp controller we were going to stop short of the gate to make an announcement to the passengers. He did that and the ramp controller said, 'Take your time.'

I stopped the aircraft and set the parking brake. I pushed the public address button and said, 'Ladies and gentleman, this is your Captain speaking I have stopped short of our gate to make a special announcement. We have a passenger on board who deserves our honor and respect. His Name is Private XXXXXX, a soldier who recently lost his life. Private XXXXXX is under your feet in the cargo hold. Escorting him today is Army Sergeant XXXXXXX. Al so, on board are his father, mother, wife, and daughter. Your entire flight crew is asking for all passengers to remain in their seats to allow the family to exit the aircraft first. Thank you.'

We continued the turn to the gate, came to a stop and started our shutdown procedures. A couple of minutes later I opened the cockpit door. I found the two forward flight attendants crying, something you just do not see. I was told that after we came to a stop, every passenger on the aircraft stayed in their seats, waiting for the family to exit the aircraft.

When the family got up and gathered their things, a passenger slowly started to clap his hands. Moments later more passengers joined in and soon the entire aircraft was clapping.

Words of 'God Bless You', I'm sorry, thank you, be proud, and other kind words were uttered to the family as they made their way down the aisle and out of the airplane.

They were escorted down to the ramp to finally be with their loved one.

Many of the passengers disembarking thanked me for the announcement I had made. They were just words, I told them, I could say them over and over again, but nothing I say will bring back that brave soldier.

Scott: The thing this story leaves out though I'm sure is the reception the soldier and family undoubtedly received when they got down to the ramp. I would venture having seen way too many of these that almost every ramp, ops, prov, and customer service person went out on the ramp. Additionally I would bet that the airport fire service staff and LEO's also showed up. It's one thing consistent through out the industry all carriers that I have been involved with show deep respect and honor for our fallen heroes.

Me: I did my homework, and found out the account is true, though it is told from the escort's point of view. Here's the link:

http://www.truthorfiction.com/rumors/l/last-flight.htm

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A new day....

Inspirational post by Jessica R. Patchhttp://www.jessicarpatch.blogspot.com/2012/02/protect-yourself.html

JoAnn's book sounds intriguing, so does June's. It's fun seeing authors share space. http://junefoster.blogspot.com/

Shaunna is interviewing Donna Hatch, today. I know Donna from my Desert Rose chapter. I've also read her books, and enjoy them. http://shaunnagonzales.blogspot.com/

I took a complete break from Luck In Love. I did the necessary cutting, last night. I also outlined each chapter in a single sentence. It helps me track POV. I spent today working on the initial mandatory edits for Hidden Possibilities.

All one can do is take one day at a time. It will come no quicker, nor slow even a little. There are some other responsibilities requiring my attention, so diving into it. I'll tackle Luck In Love again, tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Cutting...

It is always gut wrenching deleting material from a story, especially material you like. After my first reader finished Luck In Love, she gave me several suggestions. I've followed through on all, but one. A scene early on slows the story down, but I love it. Even so, she's right. It slows it down, too much. So today, I sit here struggling to cut the scene to a manageable size. It's going to require a lot of cutting. I thought I could combine it with an earlier chapter, but it detracts from the earlier chapter. So, I'm adding what's left to the next chapter. It makes more sense, but it's still a fight with myself to do it. Today's goal: Cut the scene, rewrite the chapter if I have to, but make the changes necessary. I'll move on, tomorrow. I won't force myself to keep working on the story, tonight.

So many great blogs to read, so little time. Even so, I still go through them every day and pick and choose ones to read. There's always something new to learn or something inspiring to find. A treasure hunt.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Where does the time go?

I read this post, a few days ago, about writing like a professional: http://www.naomimusch.com/apps/blog/show/12240437 I'm looking forward to part two.

Awesome blog about verbs. Posting here for an easy reference for me. http://www.anovelwritingsite.com/2012/02/writing-lesson-3-22_verbs-that-leap-love-or-lose/

Nikon Sniper's tribute to the military: http://nikonsniper.blogspot.com/2012/02/hymn-to-fallen.html

I'm editing Luck In Love, and falling in love with Luck all over again.

Friday, February 10, 2012

God bless his family...

Rest in Peace Jeffrey Zaslow, killed in a car accident, today.

http://news.yahoo.com/detroit-area-author-zaslow-killed-car-accident-003711889.html

I had heard the news earlier, today, but didn't appreciate the implication until I read the article for myself. He was the co-author of The Last Lecture, by Randy Pausch. It was a life changing book. I wanted to live more like Randy. I was able to pull the book off my shelf, where I keep it in easy reach, and where I see it every day, next to my book The Warrior Elite by Dick Couch. I see them every day, as I work, reminding me to be brave and live life to the fullest.

A little about me: Being brave is actually something I'm pretty good at doing. I remember taking a self-improvement class in college, and one of the books assigned was Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. I did, on a regular basis. Even so, I've lived in fear my whole life. There are so many things I've done in my life, most of which were accompanied by gut-wrenching fear. What if something went wrong? What if I failed? What if I was wrong?

I've been beaten down often enough to accept failure with a certain measure of grace. In truth, it felt like a normal state of affairs. To be honest, I've been more afraid of success.

These are habits I'm endeavoring to break. Not easy. Anything worth having or doing is worth working for, every day. Thank God, He has blessed me with friends who are supportive, and He brings books into my life with the message I need to hear at the right moment.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Promotional items needed for...

We need to get more goodies in for the goody bags. We can also use some more books to fill the bags, as well as those big ticket items we need for the raffle. If you could please post this on your other loops, on your FB page, on your blogs, etc. We welcome donations from anyone - doesn't have to be book related. We've had lotions, soaps, candles, dinners, music, etc.

Phoenix Desert Rose Chapter of RWA will host Desert Dreams Conference April 27 - 29, 2012 in Scottsdale, Arizona. Allison Brennan and Bob Mayer are keynotes with a special presentation by Martha Alderson, the Plot Whisperer and a two-hour workshop by novelist Brenda Novak. Friday opening speaker is YA author Tom Leveen. Workshops offered all three days.

We are looking for promotional items for attendee goody bags. In addition, we welcome larger items for door prizes and our literacy raffle and copies of books are always welcome.

All those who contribute will appear on the Desert Rose website with a link to your website and will also appear in the bound conference program. We are expecting 250 people and need the items by April 1, 2012.

Send items to:

Desert Dreams Conference
36148 W. Vera Cruz Dr.
Maricopa, AZ 85138

If you have questions, contact desertdreams@desertroserwa.org. For
conference information and/or registration, visit www.desertroserwa.org.

Thanks!

Susan Lanier

2012 Desert Dreams Conference Coordinator

April 27 - 29, 2012

www.desertroserwa.org

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Desert Dreams Writers' Conference 2012 Whoohoo...

I'm going!! I'm so excited, and nervous. It's my first writers' conference.

http://desertdreamswritersconference.blogspot.com/

Donna Hatch, one of my Desert Rose sisters and a mentor, is having a birthday party at her blog. http://donnahatch.blogspot.com/

SOS Aloha is an amazing review site, and today they have Kathryne Kennedy, another one of my Desert Rose sisters. http://sosaloha.blogspot.com/

I wanted to post the links early enough for anyone visiting to go have some fun. Now, it's back to editing Luck In Love.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Moving on...

I hate adding a new entry because it moves Jimmy down the page.

This blog, by Toni Noel, features excerpts from three of her books, and there are covers with Jimmy. :-) http://www.deepintheheartromance.com/search/label/Toni%20Noel I now have three more books on my wish list.

Vijaya Schartz shares her experience at The Chocolate Affaire: http://romancingscifi.blogspot.com/

I needed a little peace in the day, and Nan offered it at her blog: http://morningglorylights.blogspot.com/

Editing has started for Luck In Love. There is nothing quite like waking up knowing how the beginning needs to be changed, and it's so much better than what's currently written.

Mark, of Mark's Grace has decided he and Jimmy have a lot in common. It's always easier to write a character if they are pictured clearly in your head.

I finally worked up the courage to tell my parents what I'm doing. Long story. Someday, I'll tell it, but not today.

Back to work.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Following up Saturday...

Some of my blogs are planned weeks in advance, especially at my other blogs. Sunday's post caught me by surprise:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSrAJsWvEIc&feature=related Susan Boyle's addition.

All I want to do is share the stories in my heart in the hopes one person will be touched and lifted, the way various authors have touched and lifted me as they have shared their stories.

Every day I wonder if I have what it takes to truly be an author. I have the stories, and I have the skill, but it's more than stories and skills.

I'm not particularly good a relating to people sometimes. I'm awkward and self-conscious, aware of my shortcomings and failings.

Then I take my worries to God, sometimes in a simple heartfelt plea, and God sends me a message. First an encouraging comment from Marsha, and then a little more. Les Mis is my all-time favorite musical. I saw it on the London stage during the first year, before it came to America. I identify with Éponine on several levels. Susan Boyle still inspires me.

Thank you, God, for being aware of me.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Chocolate Affaire, Jimmy Thomas, and me...



The man is definitely hero worthy. I'd heard about gentle strength, and he personifies it. He was also respectful and considerate, which means more than I can say. His kindness and good humor created a sense of approachability and fun. He is aware of those around him while focusing on the person with whom he is interacting. Some of the heroes in my books look like Jimmy, some don't. I want them all to feel like Jimmy, protective, with a subtle leashed power, and lovable.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Chocolate Affaire...

Today, I attended the Glendale Chocolate Affaire with my sister. We do a lot of fun things together, and I look forward to doing this one again.

I attended Deena Remiel's workshop on self-promotion. She is amazing!

Jimmy Thomas, the model and owner of Romance Novel Covers.com, was also there to take pictures with anyone who wanted one. A truly gorgeous man, from the inside out.

What did I learn?

I am more terrified than I ever imagined.

More questions than I could possibly answer have flown through my mind.

From birth, I was taught I was worthless. I'm struggling to unlearn the brutal lessons. Some days, I do well. Other days, I slip into the old beliefs.

The one time I always feel right with God is when I'm writing, so I'm going to post this (me admitting being Christian isn't easy), and delve into today's assignment for myself (me clinging to hope).

Friday, February 3, 2012

Friday! Made it!

Desert Breeze Publishing is spotlighting Nancy Kay's Deadly Revenge: http://desertbreezepublishing.blogspot.com/ An excerpt has been included, today, and this is definitely on my TBR list, as soon as I buy myself a Kindle for Valentine's Day.

What caught my attention was her talk of taking care of her horse. I miss it. Some of the post did warrant the squeamish warning she offered, but I marshaled on. I'd been reading about Navy SEALs. Ick, but worth the read. http://sandrasookoo.wordpress.com/

Lynette has a special interview with Mary Louise Marion who has written When I Died What I Learned in Heaven http://lynetteendicott.blogspot.com/ She knows about hands. :-)

FINALLY!! I finished my editing. Brutal. It isn't due for a few months, so I'll let it sit, and then do another read through before sending it on. What a relief to have it done. Time to move on to the next one.

I also finished reading The Warrior Elite by Dick Couch. I am such a wimp. God bless 'em.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Happy Groundhog Day!

Fun post on literary verses reader adoration: http://leigh-covington.blogspot.com/

Awesome YouTube presentation promoting Desert Dreams Conference: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flYALSZdmDk Created by Kris Tualla.

Day 10 of my cold, and I am so ready for it to be over. I'm tired of feeling brainless. Having more than one thought at a time makes my head feel overfull, or maybe that was the snack I ate, too late at night and too much. Ugh.

Dear God, today is one of those days when I'm saying, "YOU STARTED IT!"

Now, I'm going to crawl into bed, and hope I feel better, tomorrow. I'm tired of feeling out of it and out of sorts. I want to go back to my happy work schedule, instead of feeling like I can't make sense of two words in a row.

I have managed to accomplish a few things, by the grace of God. I'm so glad He puts up with me even when I'm crabby. Thanks, God.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Desert Breeze releases....

It's the 1st of February. I'm trying a lot of new things. At Desert Breeze, the new releases are out. If you'd like to take a look, here's the link:

http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/StoreFront.bok

Desert Dreams Writers' Conference 2012...

Want your book to stand out from the crowd? The plot whisperer can help!
Desert Dreams Writers' Conference http://www.desertroserwa.org