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Moo’s New Friend is released!

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The fourth Moo Family book, Moo’s New Friend, was finally released! I was excited and scared, since this children’s book touches on a very sensitive subject for many. I had the help of Sasha Moo’s real-life Mommy in writing and vetting it, so it is as accurate as we’re able to make it. Since there are so few books for children with different needs, Sasha Moo’s Mommy was definitely happy to help.

The book was initially on pre-order a few weeks before its July 4th, 2015 release date. All pre-order proceeds were donated to the Make-A-Wish foundation. Thanks to the Make-A-Wish foundation, Sasha Moo and her family were able to have a magical family adventure all together. No matter what the future brings for Sasha Moo, that memorable trip was made more special by everyone from Make-A-Wish to the employees at the magical place.

There are future plans for Sasha Moo to have her own series. Sasha Moo has a lot of friends who have similar stories. She wants their voices to be heard, too. You can find out more about LGS and Epilepsy on the LGS Wikipedia page, however the best resource for parents and family of LGS-sufferers is a good support group or forum.

You can click here to find out where to order your own copy of Moo’s New Friend. Please note the pre-order donation option is no longer available.

The Author’s Creed (and ego)

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Thou shalt not steal stories from others!

That’s one of the creeds every good author lives by. It encompasses story suggestions from friends, fans, and critics. It covers anything you share with the author to proof read or test read.
Don’t get me wrong, though. Original thought isn’t so much hard to come by, as it is thought of already. I’ve always imagined a planet (I call mine Planet Laura) filled with everything and everyone ever dreamed about or imagined. Maybe there’s a huge solar system filled with these Creator Muses. It’d certainly make sense, since so many people who’ve never met or conversed come up with the similar ideas all the time.
Some authors might rationalize themselves into believing they came up with something, but to be honest, everything around us feeds our muse. Beautiful artistry, people living out their lives, and people acting way outside of their pigeon holes. I’ve read books that triggered ideas for completely unrelated stories. It’s how our minds work!
My muse changes shape and form all the time. It switches between different modes, depending on my Libra balance at the time. I’ve gone from drawing everything in my head to voraciously reading for weeks straight. I call these two extremes Creating mode and Consuming mode, respectively. I have it on good authority that many creators do a huge amount of consuming!
The main triggers for flipping between the two modes seems to directly relate to how full the Muse is. The strangest things can feed it, but it always munches whatever passes its way. Nomnom ideas, slurp people stories, crunch on dreams. Music is a great switch flipper for me, but it can make consume mode switch on, too!
In short, there’s an oft-written Author’s Creed that is mostly made up of three parts:
  • Ego will not allow theft. 
  • Muse compatibility will not allow theft. 
  • Copyright law will not allow theft. 

So… Authors don’t know what to do with your ideas, but may be able to help you do something with them!

We love to hear ideas, and are generally glad to lend a hand with your own creative journey. You have a muse, too, so stretch out your creative wings any way you can!
Bedtime-Moo-Cover-and-Title

It’s Bedtime, Moo! available in paperback now!

It’s Bedtime, Moo! available in paperback now! published on No Comments on It’s Bedtime, Moo! available in paperback now!

My daughter has already made the proof we received of “It’s Bedtime, Moo!” quite dog-eared from reading it over and over and over. She has mastered “her” parts, specifically “YAY! DUCKY!” and “BRUSHA BRUSHA BRUSHA.”

Considering she was part of the inspiration for the book, that’s totally cool with me!

The proof was quickly approved once she let us glance at it long enough to determine that the important bits weren’t lopped off. Our copy came out quite well! You can now purchase it on Amazon (as well as Createspace). It should be available online at other bookstores in the coming days.

Pick up your copy on:
Amazon
Createspace
Barnes & Noble

Here’s the book in action:

Deia and the first Moo book, ‘It’s Bedtime, Moo!’

Consistent Blogging

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I’ve never been able to do things consistently for any length of time. I’ll get bored, find excuses, or some awesome new game will come out. I remember the first time I discovered other people brushed their teeth multiple times a day. The tenacity! People could do the same thing multiple times a day? I was almost in High School, and discovered inadvertently that people who DIDN’T brush their teeth had atrocious breath. It’s almost rude, if you think about it, to talk to someone for who-knows-how-long without even considering how rank you smell every time you open your mouth. I’ve always been a talker, so it was imperative that I correct any potential oversight on my part. For years I carried gum and mints around, and if any talking started, I’d whip out some gum (and share) or pop a mint. A larger change was brushing my teeth more often. As was mentioned before, repetition gets monotonous! I had recently learned of a “new” technique for memorization: repeat something a minimum of 26 times, and you were sure to remember. Now I didn’t think brushing my teeth 26 times in a day would be particularly healthy. Bleeding gums just don’t strike me as particularly beneficial. I did, however, set myself a goal of 26 DAYS. Surprisingly it didn’t take more than a week to get my tooth-brushing all those times a day habitual. To this day, I don’t feel particularly clean if I don’t brush my teeth before leaving the house. I still carry around a tin of mints, but gum chewing seems too horse-chewing-ish, so I stay away from it if I can.

A fellow writer set a goal of one blog a week (minimum) and wound up with a few extra blogs on top of that for the past year. I’m shocked if I write two in one month. It isn’t really that I rationalize and procrastinate my week away, but more along the lines of really not having anything to blog about. At one point I considered writing short stories instead of regaling people with boring personal tales. My brother-in-law managed to convince me against that, particularly in light of future publishing capability. That is actually one of the reasons I’ve opted for the more claw-your-way-up Indie Author route. I don’t have to answer to a contract from a publishing house, so I can write wherever I want. I think blogs are the acceptable way for writers to get words out without having a contract breathing down their neck. You get this sense of freedom for the length of the blog entry. It doesn’t even matter if someone ever reads it, because the writer can go back and re-read something and say “Hey! That’s not a bad idea. I can turn that into a chapter!”

I actually forget a lot of what happens day-to-day if I don’t note it somewhere. I rely quite heavily on the written word, verifying and double-checking my memories when things don’t quite match up. I’m one of those (seriously annoying) people who is lucky to remember what they’ve just said. It’s much easier to hold a conversation with me via text, E-Mail or IM than verbally, mainly because of that memory thing. It’s like my brain has to fart out these thoughts, after which it can let them disappear into the ether without bothering to store them. Don’t ask me “What?” because I’ll say “huh?” and we’ll wind up in a never-ending state of confusion. Just pretend I said something deeply profound and necessary, and feel the resonation deep in your soul.

So, setting a 26 day goal of blogging every day isn’t a bad idea. I rely heavily on Google Calendar (I LOVE GOOGLE! I don’t like the blogger platform though, don’t take it personally) so I’m as-I-type-this simultaneously adding it to my calendar (I can’t remember much but I do awesome at multi-tasking, go figure). At lunch-time sharp every day for the next 26 days, I will write a blog! I’ll set a minimum wordcount of…hey, that’s a good idea for a blog! “What is an acceptable minimum wordcount for a blog entry?” Right, I’ll go research that and get back to you tomorrow. Sweet!

NaNoWriMo, Life, Nephew’s Book

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First things first! My nephew wrote a book a few years ago and it’s finally all published! It was actually published a while ago, but I haven’t updated since it went on sale, so I’m mentioning it now. You can get it on createspace here: Daddy is Tired – Createspace, or on Amazon here: Daddy is Tired – Amazon. The story was written by my Brother-in-Law‘s son, it’s published by Plasma Spyglass Press, and the art is done by http://artkitty.net (me!). All proceeds go to a very smart almost-7-year-old (his birthday is in a few weeks) for his education. We keep requesting sequels, so maybe there’ll be another one soon! 🙂

Now, as you should all know, November is NaNoWriMo month. The goal of the project is to write an entire book in a month. Not necessarily an OMG PERFECT BOOK, just a draft, but a COMPLETED draft. It’s ~50,000 words written over the course of the entire month (no cheating by writing it in October!), ultimately turning into a polished edited version (in the proceeding months). For many folks it’s their first finished work, done in a supportive group setting, and gets them to think in a more authorly manner. Just FYI – authors make up words like “authorly” all the time. I’m actually half serious in that statement: how do you think the dictionary got so big?

Now, RE: Life; my daughter is almost a year old! Time sure has flown from those late months of pregnancy to a year-old grouchy baby girl (she’s pouting at me as I type because she really wants to help me type). She’s almost 11 months old and already taking a few tentative steps between the table and Daddy’s knee.

My elbow has been absolutely fantastic since the surgery. It required a few months of patience and stretches to get it to the same flexibility it was at four years ago. My left arm still bends further back (that arm actually bends back further than the “normal” straight), but my right arm’s as straight as arms normally get. I still have some trouble when I bend it, but it loosens up pretty quickly.

I’ve been using http://yarny.me to write while preparing for NaNoWriMo to begin. So far I’m enjoying the site very much. It’s got the same features as yWriter, but all web-based, so if you don’t have Internet you can’t write. They are working on an Android version, which I’ll probably get a Premium account to use so I can write on my phone.

As far as Meryl’s story, I’m at 18k words. Still around 8k words on Sara’s story. In the meantime I’m pondering storylines that will fit a 50k word limit (hah, like 10k words is easy…yea right!).

Is anybody else going to participate in NaNoWriMo? What genres are you considering?

Character Interviews

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I’ve read that doing character interviews can help you flesh out your characters, and get better acquainted with them. Using Google Forms, I setup a list of questions. Here’s the list I came up with:

What is your character’s name?
Describe your eyes
Describe your hair
What are some distinguishing characteristics?
Describe your body
What is your biggest fear?
What makes you happiest?
How do you react when someone is mean?
How do you react when someone is nice?
If someone needed help, would you help them?
You see someone harming an animal. What do you do?
What would you do with extra money?
Who are your mortal enemies?
Who are your best friends?
When you are all alone, what do you think about?
Describe your home.
What kind of car do you drive?
Where do you go shopping?
Describe your workout, swimming, formal, casual and regular clothes.
What do you do for a living?
Do you have any pets? If so, how did you meet?
Who is/was your greatest influence and why?
What were your parents like?
Where did you grow up?
Do you have siblings? If so, describe your relationship with them.
Describe your first love/relationship.
Have you ever done something you regreted? What was it?
What were your favorite activities as a child?
What are your embarrassing childhood memories?
What were you like in school?
Did you have any accidents or incidents in your childhood? Describe.
If you could tell your child self one thing, what would it be?
What are your goals?
How do you see your life in 10 years? 20 years? 30 years?
How long do you think you will live, and how do you think you will die?
Do you want children? How many?
What would you do if your life 180’d?
Your crush asks you out. What do you do?
Your boss gives you an impossible task. How do you handle it?
A friend or relative needs your help. What do you do?
An acquaintance asks you to do something. Do you?
Your life is suddenly spiraling downward. Do you ask anyone for help? Who?
Your life is looking up. Who do you celebrate with? How?
Favorite color
Favorite food
Favorite drink
Favorite friend/relative
Favorite hobby
Favorite hangout
Favorite activity
Favorite outfit
Favorite communication method
Favorite transportation

These are rated on a scale of 1-5, where 1 = Opposite and 5 = Always.
What role do you play in your relationships? [Faithful/Loyal]
What role do you play in your relationships? [Gentle]
What role do you play in your relationships? [Attentive]
What role do you play in your relationships? [Take-charge]
What role do you play in your relationships? [Affable]
What role do you play in your relationships? [Gentle/Motherly]
What role do you play in your relationships? [Funny]
What role do you play in your relationships? [Amiable]
What role do you play in your relationships? [Logical]
What role do you play in your relationships? [Encouraging]
What role do you play in your relationships? [Sarcastic]
What role do you play in your relationships? [Narcissistic]
What role do you play in your relationships? [Mischievous]
What role do you play in your relationships? [Malicious]
What role do you play in your relationships? [Bored]
What role do you play in your relationships? [Brave]
What role do you play in your relationships? [Calm]
What role do you play in your relationships? [Naive]
What role do you play in your relationships? [Giving]
What role do you play in your relationships? [Impolite]

So far the questions have really helped me get a good understanding of my characters. I’ve interviewed Meryl Bennett from “The Undragoning of Meryl Bennett” and Sara from “Sara Flynn, At Your Service.” Since the answers give hints to the plot-line, they aren’t going to be published. Maybe a basic-stat type Q/A can be posted once they’re parsed, though.

Do any of you use Character Interviews?

Reminiscing

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It’s interesting how families tend to do things simultaneously with no collaboration. My mother in law and her siblings often have similar things happen, such as purchasing the same new computer, buying a car on the same day, etc. My brother in law found a box of high school papers the same day I found an old folder on my computer filled with old writings. It brought to mind many other stories I’d written as a teen, including one about a girl named Lila. Lila was a transplant to the States from Holland. I’d just found out that Holland was built on water, and as a child I’d read a lot of older books that were set in Holland. I can’t remember their names, but they frequently contained iceskating and whatnot. Lila was raised similarly to myself (parallels!) and was dealing with her new life with a familiar religion to support her. At the time I was very religious, but in my present condition I’m very much anti-religion. She was a naive, caring girl who was trying to fit into a new society, but was learning how to fit in using her old system. One particular part I recall was when Lila went to a fifth-hand thrift store and found books on etiquette. She read that a man should always start her car and help put ice in her icebox. Little things like that made up most of the stories, along with a not-so-secret crush on another member of the church she went to. Poor fellow — he thought she was beautiful and nice, but she seemed like a twit! They were all written in notebooks, however, and I have no idea where those wound up. Ahh, the Internet age! If only I’d typed them out when I got my first computer. If anything, they would be highly anecdotal. The drawing here is of Lila, done around 1999/2000. Dad had just gotten me my first tablet (a serial Aiptek) and it came with ArtDabbler. This was one of the first drawings done with it.

One thing I’ve learned from all of this: scan in those things your kids bring home! You don’t have to keep them in a box collecting dust; they can be stored on your computer. Just don’t forget to back up!!

Writers and Editors

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One of my favorite sayings is “Every great author has a great editor.” This is true for so many of my personal favorites. If you’ve ever added an author on a social network, you may notice their grammar and spelling are rarely on par with the quality of their books. My brother in law has one of the best imaginations I’ve seen (almost as good as Katie MacAlister’s) and has some of the worst grammar I’ve ever encountered. I truly believe that we would not have such a wonderful bounty of books if it weren’t for those out there who can see a spelling or punctuation error a mile away. We should have an Editor Day to thank these people, particularly since they are only on best seller lists by proxy (or if they also happen to be writers).
Thank you, dear Editors!

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