31 August 2011

Writer's Platform-Building Campaign

A New Challenge & Networking Campaign...

Visiting around this week, I discovered a new challenge The Third Writers Platform Building Campaign at Jamila Jamison's page!  Stopping by Rach Writes, I found all the information I needed and joined up!

What is the Campaign?
Basically, the Campaign is a way to link those of us in the writing community together with the aim of helping to build our online platforms. The Campaigners are all bloggers in a similar position, who genuinely want to pay it forward, make connections and friends within the writing community, and help build each others' online platforms while at the same time building theirs.
I can't wait to see where this takes me! ~ Nadja

Saying Goodbye To August 2011

Returning to 'real-life'...

Sadly, my vacation has come to an end.  It was glorious!  I spent a week visiting my family and friends.  We sipped coffee, shared breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.  We rocked out at my brother's house.  My brother-in-law had a jam session with my oldest son.  My niece sang beautifully.  My sister and I joined her for a song, too.  (my niece didn't really need us at all...ha!)  My husband (he did manage to get two days of vacation) and I were able to meet a great many of my parent's friends at a 'bike-night' they attend weekly.  Believe me!  My husband was so happy to show off his new motorcycle.  I even managed to hang on over the highway we had to traverse to get there!  It was, dare I say it, fun!

  Now we are once again at home, and while I had a fabulous time, it feels fantastic to be back in my own realm!  My poor Zutchka was beside himself with joy at our return!  He had companionship while I was away, but he missed us terribly.  (Especially his boys!)

It's time for ROW80 check in.  As a matter of fact, it's the last check in for August!  Where did this month go?  I seem to recall the beginning of the month, and now, here we are at its end...  I feel a bit 'salty' about this.  It means that fall is surely around the corner. (fall is not the problem...it's what comes after fall)  Even on the final nights of my fabulous family vacation, the chill of Indian summer nights hinted at the passing of sweet summer.  Sigh.

Fall is my favorite season of the year.  (summer is a close, very close, second)  I love the bright blue skies and the feel of denim and sweaters.  The air is crisp and clean smelling.  It's invigorating!  I find comfort in the warm sun of the afternoon but cherish the cool nights for sitting around our fire pit and climbing under my neglected blankets.  Good sleeping weather!  That's good for my spirits. 

This week holds much excitement in store.  I will begin uploading my novel, Claiming The Prize, for publishing!  I am going to sneak in a last reading...just for peace of mind.  I'm feeling a bit like I'm preparing for a big exam.  Mostly nervous.  If you've been reading my posts through this endeavor, you understand by now that I'm no computer whiz.  In fact, I'm not anywhere close.  We'll say it's going to be a learning experience...

What is your biggest apprehension in the writing/publishing process?

The biggest fear I have is messing up in a cosmic/permanent/computer crashing way that will end up with my novel floating somewhere in cyber-space never to be retrieved again.  I, of course, would sit here - mouth agape - (after the cursing ceases) and then perhaps even cry.  Ha!  I'm saying my prayers that this never comes to pass, but just in case, I purchased some zip drives and copied my book.  Better safe than sorry...extremely sorry.  My sister thinks I should video record myself as I sit at the desk and work.  She believes we could have an uproarious laughing session after I successfully publish.  She may be on to something. 

I'm glad to be back!  I hope everyone is having a spectacular week, too! ~ Nadja

24 August 2011

Ich Habe Lirlaub!!

...Or in other words...I'm on vacation!

  So, I forgot to mention that I'm having a vacation!  I've missed two ROW80 check-ins, and I'll miss another one...maybe two.  (Depends on what time I get in - Oy!)  I figured to get in some rest and relaxation before school starts up, and I get to work on publishing. 

I've got a fabulous family bash to attend, complete with tents, tables, food galore, and a live band! Hhhmm...perhaps there will be a performance with the fab-4 sisters....and maybe even an encore by the fab-4 brothers... There are so many of us, we need a wide open space to gather together for an end of summer blowout!  Unfortunately, my poor husband will miss it, as his job is not so forgiving as mine is...(smiles like a Cheshire cat at my 'flexible schedule')

Anyway, I'll see you all on the other side ~ Nadja

22 August 2011

A Final 'Go-Over' For Claiming The Prize...

Last Minute Hype...In My Mind, That Is...

First of all, I want to give a huge shout-out to my beta readers.  YOU ALL ARE TERRIFIC!  My first novel had good bones, but your thoughts and insight helped bring the story to life.  Thank you.

I completed my final chapter of edits yesterday.  Today, I begin the final read-through before tackling the process of uploading my baby for publishing.  It's been a full year since I started writing Claiming The Prize, and what a year it's been!  Writing a novel is something I'd always thought about doing.  With a bit of encouragement from family and friends, that dream has now become reality.  I almost can't believe it. 

I have learned so much about myself during this endeavor.  I can bring a story to completion.  Just because I produce drivel upon a page one day doesn't mean that the next day I won't produce something brilliant.  Support and encouragement are absolutely necessary to my writing.  I enjoy researching.  When the going gets tough, I take it in stride and keep plugging away.  I learn so much as I go on.

Thank you to everyone who has commented, emailed, and listened to me on the phone as I attempted to figure out where I was going with this story.  Thank you to everyone from A Round Of Words In 80 Days.  I've met some wonderful fellow writers through this challenge, and joining in has been an invaluable aid in setting and achieving my goals.  To my 'inner-circle' ~ thanks for being here to see Claiming The Prize through to the end with me.

Now...Back to Work.  My publish date is nearly here! ~ Nadja


17 August 2011

Checking In ~ 17 August, 2011

Oh!  It's So Sparkly & Shiny..........

A full six chapters are completely edited in Claiming The Prize!  Hmmmm, that only leaves fifteen to go...  There's a 'do-able' amount of work to be done in the time frame I've set.  Admittedly, (blushes) I am the queen of the comma splice.  I love commas!  It's a sickness...
Stacey, you're terrific!  You may buy (or sew) a giant, comma shaped pillow and smack me with it when we meet up.

Alright.  Here's how my goals are matching up. 
I have edited all week.  Afternoons, evenings, nights...I was plunked in my chair before the computer screen. 
...Oh, wait.  That's all I've accomplished!  Ha!

I haven't done much else.    This is how I feel about all this editing!

It's short and sweet this Wednesday.  ROW80 check-ins here.....Click to see what every one's been up to the first half of the week. ~ Nadja

14 August 2011

Knowing Your Story By Heart......

Sixteen Days.......And Counting ! (Backwards, That Is....)

Another week of summer has slipped away, and I hope to read that my Round Of Words in 80 Days friends have had a terrific one - whether because of a new idea, continued success in 750words, or disciplined adherence to exercise.  It's great to read about so many different goals that shape us all as people as well as writers.

I joined in the exercise this week, walking around a nearby lake on a fabulous trail with friends, and I enjoyed it so much that I plan to do it again tomorrow!


These are great images, right?  My boys named the section in the second image, "The Great Wall Of Scranton" with the help of my friend.  It's been a goal meeting week in our household!  My oldest son met his goals of working out in the gym five days this week after taking a few weeks off due to a hand injury.  (It did allow him time for some long awaited summer fun, too.)  My husband also had a momentous week, reaching a goal he's been working toward for quite a long time - he's finally ready to buy the motorcycle he's been wanting.  And I'm approaching a non-ROW80 related goal.  I have chosen a mattress I think I can sleep on for ten years or so......  This may seem trivial to some, but I've tried out countless mattresses, unable to decide if I think they're comfortable enough to take home.  And it's a decision I've got to make, as we'll buy our sons new mattresses at the same time in the hopes of a heavy-duty discount.  Of course, this means replacing pillows, bedding, moving the furniture to clean the dust bunnies from behind, and setting it all up before school starts......Whew! 

In a couple weeks, I'll travel to visit my large family.  I can't wait to see my brothers and sisters, my parents, and my great aunt - who is like a grandmother to me - and who turned 92 on 08 August!  My sister and I were discussing this week all the changes she's seen in her life, and it's amazing.  She has lived through the roaring 20's, the Great Depression, seen the automobile morph into what is is today, World War II, The Cold War, The Korean War, Vietnam, The first and second Gulf Wars, 9/11, The War On Terror, seen air travel become commonplace, and watched technology transform the world.  She worked for Mellon Bank, retiring in the 1980's after decades of service.  She's traveled across the United States and also been abroad.  That's a lot of living.  Happy Birthday, Auntie!

Fourth Reading Of The Novel.........

Claiming The Prize  continues to consume my time.  I'm more than half-way through my fourth reading, and I'm convinced that I'm nearing the place where I'll be able to recite it by heart!  Ha!  My tabulations - yes, I'm a math geek who loves manipulating numbers - say that I've read over 316,000 words so far in this process.  Jeepers!  That's a whole lot of words!  And I'm not done yet..........

I was reading around this week and came across an interview with Danielle Steel, one of my favorite romance authors.  She was asked if she ever reads her novels after they're published, and Danielle answered with a resounding NO!  I think I understand why.  She reads her novel at least six times before the publish date.  And that's only after two years of edits.  Wow. 

I'm liking the flow of the story after my 'adjustments' and finding fewer things to 'tinker-with'.  It's progress.  I have only one more critique to wait on, and I have high hopes that there will be only a few issues that need attention.  Here's to a short wait, and minor adjustments......(I'm ready to clink the glass already!  But I've got just over two weeks to wait..... And polish....)

Stop by Julius Cicero's Blog for a sneak peek at the first chapter of his latest WIP.  It made me want to read more.  His characters came across well, and I liked the humor he inserted into the chow-scene.  I'm sure I want to meet Dr. Sherwood in real life. 

The Girdle of Melian posted some medieval poetry about writing.  Poetry lovers will enjoy stopping by there. 

The Brazen Broads blog is beginning a new project sure to please the die-hard fans of that classic, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.  Stop by to add your favorite spin-off novels from that favorite.  (Or to recommend staying away from others.....Ha!)  I think I'll watch the movie today......my eyes are protesting at the thought of reading any more.

Have a great day, and best wishes for a productive upcoming week.  ~ Nadja

10 August 2011

Exciting Times......

The Twenty Day Countdown To P-Day........... (Publish-Day)

Yes!  It is officially countdown time.  I'm excited and nauseous, giddy and terrified, eager and apprehensive.  I'm running the gamut of emotions here.  I was awake until two-thirty this morning, reading away, and so - my post is quite late!  I actually slept in until ten-thirty!  I couldn't help it....my faithful 'hund', Zutchka, curled up with me, and we slept lazily after my husband made his way to work.  I love those lazy mornings when there's nothing pressing me to rise and shine.  I've never been a morning person anyway.........

I've completed through chapter 14 on this third read-through, and how different this third go-over is!  I'm still finding a few errors, but we're looking better and better!  Maybe the fourth or fifth time will be the charm.
I sent a copy of Claiming The Prize out to another beta reader (who has been a beta before for others), and I have another reader asking to beta for me. 
What criteria do you have for selecting betas? 
Each of these women have something to offer in the way of skill, experience, and reader opinion, and it made me wonder what other authors look for in a beta reader. 

I've only written a few pages in Her Dark Baron, leaving me STILL in chapter seven.  But with the final days leading up to my publish date, I've decided to suspend all goals on other projects and focus my attention on the novel.  I want it to be the best it can be, and to ensure that, I'm devoting these twenty days completely to my first little egg.....awwwwww.    It's such an exciting time..............

Wish me luck and stop around fellow Round Of Words pages.  Have a fantastic week everyone! ~ Nadja

07 August 2011

Just a Note......


Is anyone else having an issue with Blogger today?  I cannot comment with my user profile through my Google account.  It keeps asking me to log in ...even though I AM logged in.  Sigh.  I was able to comment on non-Blogger pages.  Grrr.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by today through ROW80.  Hopefully tomorrow (or later on) things will be back to normal.  With my luck, I've clicked on something unknowingly, and will just as unknowingly un-click it.  As long as it all comes out in the wash, I'm good. 

Summer Indulgence

( Those Of A Less Creative Breed Might Call It Slacking.....)

But who's listening to them?

This week continued at a breakneck pace.  My boys all had physicals for the year, and oh,yes, there were forms to be signed for school.  (Can one institution possibly need this much paperwork for a child who has just been cleared as 'perfectly healthy' by a doctor??  Who takes no medications?  Who has zero health problems?  Apparently so.....but it makes you wonder.)  My boys are on the 'smaller-ish' size.  But as my doctor so succinctly stated - smaller doesn't mean un-healthy.

I bring this up because I actually had someone say something to me about my eight year old.  First of all, I'd like to say that I think that took some nerve!  I certainly don't mind when I'm talking to someone and they comment on my boys' sizes.  Because let's face it, when your kids are smaller it is noticed. (And I'm sure this holds true if your kids are big for their age, too.)  But usually, the person means no harm; they're just pointing out the obvious.  But sometimes, people cross a line that enters the rude department.  My eight year old son is just over 50  inches tall and weighs about 50 pounds.  I get it!  He's skinny!!  He hovers in the thirtieth percentile for height, and in the twentieth percentile for weight.  I've definitely seen smaller kids.  My six year old gets a little closer to 'average' on the charts, but it seems he's always being compared, too.  So please bear with me a minute while I scream......."Small doesn't mean malnourished!  It means small!"
 - okay, I feel better, thanks for sticking with me this far - ;}

Anyway, this week also kicked off the back-to-school- school-shopping-extravaganza!  I managed to buy everyone pants and shorts - see above to understand just how taxing this can be - ( slim fit pants and adjustable waistbands may be one of the most ingenious ideas of the modern world....really.)  And I didn't break the bank.  Backpacks, lunch bags, pencils, paper - all checked off my list.  It felt like good progress.

We also attended our friends' annual Hawaiian luau party yesterday.  Unfortunately, it rained  - no maybe down poured is a better way to describe it - all day!  But being the resilient crowd we were, we made the best of it.  All the kids cut holes in garbage bags and took advantage of the slope to the backyard, creating a surprisingly quick moving 'slip-n-slide', and once the yard filled with huge puddles of water younger kids began taking a running dive into the mud-fest.  This only encouraged the adults to follow suit.
The D.J. played, the rain fell in buckets, we enjoyed great food, made new friends - it was a blast!

Alright, Alright....I'm Getting To The Goals Now.....

I've completed the second read through in Claiming The Prize and begun the third.  I've made excellent progress.  Things are moving along much better than I expected, and I'm very satisfied.  I also picked up a new beta reader.  I haven't sent her anything yet, but it's great to have another reader ready to offer insight. 

I've visited around so many fellow ROW80 pages this week that I exceeded my goals twice over.  (I've just been a little social butterfly all around this week.......sheesh!)

But...I've written only one page in Her Dark Baron.  It's not that I don't want to write, but that when I've finished putting in my hours on the editing, I'm burned out.  I tanked on this goal.  But maybe this week will be better.  Let's hope anyway. 

I'm off to church!  I'll be visiting around this afternoon, too.  I hope everyone is having a great weekend ~ Nadja

03 August 2011

Rounding To The Home Stretch.......

Good Things Come To Those Who........

Add your word here.......

Happy Wednesday to all Round Of Words in 80 Days members! 

  Blast From The Past.......Er, I Mean...The Midwest.....
Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life. Mark Twain

Hope you've all had a great start to the week.  I sure have! 
This weekend, our great and sorely missed friends came in from Iowa for a visit.  With our three boys, and their four boys, we made a testosterone laced group!  Kathy can absolutely appreciate my situation - being the only female in a house filled with males. 
We celebrated her son's fifth birthday with a picnic and swimming adventure on Sunday, and then gathered with the group of friends we all shared on Monday for a cookout, playing games and enjoying coffee late into the evening as scads of children reveled in wild abandon.  It was such a fun time!  They are on their way home now, and I miss them already.  Kathy, one of the best friends I've known, is an adventurer at heart.  I suppose that's why we made fast friends.  We met under odd circumstances, delivering our second sons on the same day and within ten minutes of one another.  (What a crazy morning that was!)  But it wasn't until a year later that we became close.  Since then, we've worked on political campaigns, been a part of planting a church, taken a girls-only vacation to the Big Apple, added sons to our families, and cried on each other's shoulders. (We're planning another adventure to Montreal....but first she's got to get moved to South Carolina.....yeah, she's a busy lady)  You don't get many friendships like that in a lifetime.  Have a safe trip home, my friend.
Editing ....The All Encompassing Endeavor....
My books are like water; those of the great geniuses are wine. (Fortunately) everybody drinks water.
Mark Twain
I've edited through chapter sixteen in Claiming The Prize - at least in the second read-through.  There will be more.....Oh Boy!  I've changed a few scenes, taking some description and revealing it through conversation between the characters.  I'd love to take credit for the idea, but it came through critiques I've gotten back, so no can do. 
Don't say the old lady screamed. Bring her on and let her scream.
Mark Twain
On a more disturbing note, I've got a dilemma....a conundrum....a sticky widget....Okay, okay, I'll stop there.  I've received two opposing views on one particular subject.  Description.  I happen to enjoy description - to a certain extent.  For example, I've never been able to fully appreciate Tolkien, (please don't boo or hiss at me.....I know..I speak about a master) as I find his descriptions 'overmuch'.  But I thoroughly enjoy the writings that help me see in my mind's eye the characters and the settings in which they are placed.  One reader would like more from me, and another would like less.  I'm thinking that this comes down to personal preference.  But my own personal preference is such an individual, unique beast.....it can be my most trusted advisor, or the angry cat whose tail I've just tramped on..........  
Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.
C. S. Lewis
Where Does This Leave A First Time Author?
We are what we believe we are.
C. S. Lewis

Exactly where a first time - or longtime - author should be.  Learning.  Doing.  Experiencing.  Growing.  We've got to remember that while we must strive to be the best we can be today, we are a work in progress.  We take in what we can from those who've gone through the process before us, and we use it to better ourselves.  We make our own tough decisions.  We'll live to tell about it - and be better writers for it.  How else can one learn, but by doing?   
It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.
C. S. Lewis
~ Nadja