Can We Guess Your Character’s Age?

UPDATE  – I placed second! I’m SO excited for my edit by Gabriela Lessa, such a great learning opportunity!

Brenda Drake is running a very fun blog contest, and while I didn’t find out about it in time to participate in the critiquing/blog roll portion, I did enter the first 250 words of WHAT EVIE SAW and found out today that I’m a semi-finalist! The idea was to see if the judges (and other blog readers) could guess your main character’s age based only on the first 250 words, and I’m SO happy to find out they could! The idea of writing a first person voice for a character Evie’s age kept me up at night more than few times before (and after) I started this story.

Since I didn’t get my butt in gear in time for the blog tour part of the contest, I decided to post it now. Feel free to guess on Evie’s age if you’d like!

I didn’t mean to eavesdrop.

The wind was blowing, and I`d gotten chilled from the walk home from
school, so I’d taken my book into the parlor and curled up in the patch of
sunlight on the hardwood floor, up against the back of the big leather
chair that had been Father’s. The sun was so warm that by the time the
door opened, I was nearly asleep.

“Please, come in and have a seat.” Della was using her grown up voice, and
it made me start awake.

“Thank you.” The voice was deep and male and familiar, but my sleepy brain
couldn’t place it. Father’s chair moved behind me.

The door opened again. “I brought you young people some tea.” Mrs. Rich
announced in her formal, housekeeper voice. I heard the tray placed on the
table, and Mrs. Rich’s footsteps as she left.

Tea cups rattled as Della poured tea. She must be nervous; usually she was
more careful. “Cream or sugar, Mr. Jamison?”

I froze. My mind raced as I tried to think of an incident that would bring
Mr. Jamison to our house after school. Nothing had happened out of the
ordinary today – yesterday I’d taken Martha Rose’s new hat, just to teach
her a lesson, but Mr. Jamison had spied me and made me give it back
straight away.

“Just a little cream, please, Miss Harrison.” He didn’t sound upset about
anything. He’d talked to Aunt Tess last time he’d come, after I’d slugged
James O’Neil for his smart mouth. My legs ached from being bent for too
long, but I didn’t dare move them and have my skirts rustle.

The winners will be announced in the next few days … I’ve already gotten a lot of value out of the contest, but I’d sure love to win one of those professional edits, too! 😉

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Posted by on December 12, 2011 in writing


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Everything You Need To Know Before You Write Your First Novel.

Lately I’ve seen a plethora of blog posts on this subject. “10 Things You Should Know Before Writing Your First Novel”,  “5 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Writing My First Novel”, “16 1/2 Things You Better Learn Before Writing Your First Novel”.

The articles range from helpful and informative to downright snarky, and I disagree with them all.

I am so grateful that I knew nothing at all when I wrote my first novel. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on November 7, 2011 in writing


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Preparing for NaNoWriMo

Ah, November … there’s a chill in the air, and aspiring novelists everywhere spend the month hunched over their keyboards, visions of best-seller lists dancing in their heads.

NaNoWriMo – that’s National Novel Writing Month, for the uninitiated – is an online challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Last year was my first time participating in NaNoWriMo, and I wear my ‘winner’ t-shirt with pride.

This year for Nano, I’m planning a story that’s a little different from anything I’ve written before. It’s first person, for one thing, which has me worrying about getting the voice right, and avoiding ‘telling’ when I should be ‘showing’. It’s also more of a character driven story, rather than the plot driven stories I’m more comfortable with.

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Posted by on October 28, 2011 in writing


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Focus … or Obsession? Local History Edition.

I tend to dive wholeheartedly into anything that interests me.  I watch whole seasons of my favorite TV shows at once. I discover a new author I like, and read their whole backlist. If I start writing a new story, I pretty much do nothing else until it’s done.

My friend Stacy says it’s an admirable quality. My brother calls me OCD. He likes cite the time when I was typing away during the previews at the movie theater as evidence to support his theory.

Right now, my thoughts and spare time is wrapped up with the cabin.

In 1908, John Alfke, his wife and their young son homesteaded the quarter section of land where I currently live.  I don’t know a lot about Mr. Alfke, but I do know that he knew how to build a house. The cabin he built for his family is still standing. They moved into the town of Cochrane in 1921, but not before their two younger sons were born in the cabin. Mr. Alfke sold it to John Ward, who then sold to Evan Jones in 1918.

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Posted by on October 23, 2011 in history


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A Different Kind of Distraction

There are lots of things that distract me from my work in progress. Television, internet, the great book I’m reading and my new kitty who insists that IT’S TIME TO PET LUCY NOW all make the list.  Yesterday, I spent two hours looking at Star Trek items on Etsy searching for a mug that says, “Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.”  The night before I started researching underwear in the 1880’s (which was totally legitimate writing work) and then ended up at Western Emporium getting way too excited about this dress that I don’t need, would never wear, and can’t afford. But look how pretty!

As shiny and fun as those distractions are, there’s another kind I’ve discovered that needs to be carefully managed if I’m ever going to finish a story. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on September 20, 2011 in writing


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From The Depths My Old Truck

This past January I got a new (to me) vehicle. A new (to me) vehicle with four wheel drive, which meant that I cheerfully left my much loved but two wheel drive truck parked in the snowbank where it was stuck for the remainder of the winter, planning to clean it up and sell it once it had melted out.

It’s now September.

(Yes, I know it’s been 9 months, thank you for noticing. If there was a Procrastination Olympics I’d be the favorite for the gold medal.)

In addition to my mad procrastination skillz, I am a notorious packrat, but the randomness of the items I unearthed in the backseat of my truck impressed even me.

The following is a partial list. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on September 16, 2011 in Uncategorized, writing


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If I Could Have A Super Power …

If this picture doesn't spread a little happiness, I don't know will ...

I have a friend who likes to ask abstract questions like, “Who would you cast a the characters in the movie version of your books?”or “What super power would you choose?”

I am not good at these questions.

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Posted by on September 14, 2011 in reading, writing


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