Listen to my Story: Sojourner McConnell

woman

Once you have been on this planet as long as I have been,

After you have encountered the harshness and the beauty I have seen.

Collect your thoughts and embrace the visions of what you’ve learned,

Share the moments you captured, the dreams for which you’ve yearned.

Tell your story loud, clear, and honest, tell it often, tell it true.

Spread your knowledge, your wisdom, to anyone that will listen to you.

Preparing for NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo begins in a little over 15 days and I am scrambling to get my reviews posted. The slowest part is getting all the fabulous books I have scheduled read. I read pretty fast, but I still am struggling.  Of course, if you know me by now, you know that when I struggle to complete a project, I blog.  Not the most productive way to handle a deadline, but it is how I roll.

So my calendar is packed with books and review dates when I catch a cold that settles in my head. Oh yes, I am talking about a massive eye pressing sinus  headache for 5 days.  5 days without reading a book.  As you can imagine, that puts me way behind schedule.  So I have been scurrying about with a book on the computer, one of the Kindle, and a paperback in my hand.   I am catching up so I have not lost faith in my trusty calendar.

Yet I am rolling around several ideas as to how I want to NaNo this year. I have begun the sequel to The Path of the Child. I am 3 chapters in. I guess less than 10,000 words. So I can set those to one side and concentrate on adding an additional 50,000 words through the course of November.

nano

Another potential plan is to write 2 smaller books that are my secret projects I mentioned recently.  I am only afraid there are not 50,000 words between them.

Idea three. Start fresh with no plan, like I have done with the past 3 NaNoWriNo years.

I am not sure if I work on all three project, will I become unfocused? Will I miss my goal? If I start something new, what will happen to That Path to the Past?

All relevant questions that I am asking myself.  Of course, I know I will still have reading time, but I will not have a calendar packed with a review or two a day like October and September were.

I am curious as to your ideas, input, and thoughts, on my dilemma. I know I will be participating, I will be striving for 50,000 words. I am just not sure what to work on. Any feedback will be listened to and appreciated. I

Any and all  feedback will be listened to and appreciated. Help a girl out?

Write ideas, comments, and feedback below.   If you play along and help this girl out, I would be so appreciative. Wanna be a buddy? I am on NaNoWriMo site as Vicki Goodwin.

Struggling with Cover Concept

How is it that I can write a book, rewrite it and make it 30% longer and more in-depth, yet I can’t come to grips with my cover art. I want it to capture the essence of my book. I do not want it to look like a dog and pony story. I want it to look like what it is. A romantic comedy that happens to share the love of dogs and working with horses.

After three months of thinking, pondering, searching through pictures, I am no closer to deciding on my cover.  Is it always so hard? Was I just blessed with the concept for my first book so easily? It came to my mind and I knew exactly what I wanted to show on the cover. This time, not so much.

Oh! This struggle is real. It is almost painful. My brain hurts and it is making me unable to focus on the other two books I have in progress.

Any helpful tips from others that have faced a similar dilemma?

I need a gif of a person pulling out their hair right here.  Instead, I will simply post this along with a picture of my pups that might be on the cover if it didn’t make it look like it is just a dog story, when in my mind, it is so much more.

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My goodness, aren’t they pretty! 

Now, I’ll bet, everyone can see why I ended up with such a bland cover on my first book before I reissued it. Help a girl out in the comments below, please?

 

The Difference a Day Makes by Sojourner McConnell

Pushing the window up the teenage girl watched as her cat strolled in as calm and proper as you please. Carrie brushed her hand down the tawny cats back and gently pat the end of his tail.  The cat leaned forward and brushed his nose against Carrie’s face before jumping off the sill and crossing the room.

Carrie lowered the window and went back to her bed. Now she should be able to concentrate on the book she was reading without the cat mouthing “meow” at the window.  Buster the cat had always been such a drama queen of a cat. He would stand just out of reach and mouth “meow” as if he were too weak from hunger to ask for food.

Carrie had owned the cat for the last four years and they were so bonded that Carrie felt that he knew all her secret feelings and fears that she told no one else about.  In fact Carrie had sung secret songs to Buster soft enough that he alone could hear. Carrie was always sharing her deepest innermost secrets and feelings with the green eyed companion.

Busters climbed across the dresser and over to the night stand where he batted at the pen that was lying beside her journal. The lamp s circle of light gave Buster a place to warm himself under the bulb. He always laid on this night stand and watched as Carrie carefully noted her days events and creative ideas that she remembered from the day.

Carrie had started writing in her journal at the start of ninth grade when her literature teacher had suggested it.  That was two years ago and now it was just part of her daily schedule.  She could not sleep well if she didn’t at least try before sleeping.  Tonight was no different and she began to jot down her feelings about the family outing.

Today had started as most weekend mornings did, with pancakes and chocolate milk.  She hated milk so her mother accommodated her with the chocolaty treat in order to keep the peace.  Carrie had been so stubborn in her dislike over milk that she and her mother had come almost to blows. Not a good way to start the day, so they came to a compromise, chocolate for peace. It seemed to be working well for everyone.

Once the breakfast treat was past the family jumped into the SUV and headed to the local pool.  Mom had packed the SUV early this morning and so there were floats for the little ones and lots of soda and snacks in the cooler for them all.

Dad and Mom stayed close to the twins, since they were only five years old and allowed Carrie to hang out in the deeper end of the pool without too much interference.  She knew how to swim and besides, she mostly hung around on the edge of the pool with her legs dangling is so that she could see and be seen by her friends as they entered the enclosed pool area.  Carrie knew the moment Trenton entered the pool’s eight foot gate. It is like radar when he is close. She can feel him before she ever sees him.

She wasn’t sure if he felt the same, I mean he never spoke to her or acknowledged her in any over the top way. He sometimes slid a little smile that only she could see. It was enough for her to know that he was interested, even if only a little.  That was enough for her.

Carrie pushed the sunglasses down to her nose and felt comfortable that her eyes were now covered well enough by the dark tint that she could freely watch him as long as she did not turn her head too much. So her eyes cut to the left and watched him as he strode past her and planted himself somewhat near her and dangled his feet in the water right at the seven foot marker.

If he had wanted to he could have reached out and touched her with his fingertips.  He did not seem to want to at this moment Carrie realized.  He seemed content to sit close without speaking to her or acknowledging her overtly.

Carrie acted cool about the near contact and stared down at the water so that he couldn’t see her watch him out of the corner of her sunglasses. That would have been so embarrassing, if he had noticed her peeking over at him like that.  So she stared into the water and pretended that she could not see his handsome face reflected there in front of her.  As she watched the image would ripple in and out of focus and she squinted to make it clearer.  She smiled.  No one knew what she could see.

Suddenly she was looking at his profile, shimmering in the water. He was looking at her. Directly with his head turned at a right angle against his shoulders, he was looking at her.

She felt her face become warm and hoped that he would think she was just getting too much sun. She did not want him to know she was blushing.  She fought with herself not to look up at him, but she failed.

She could not resist turning her own face toward him. She wasn’t made of stone, who could resist that?  She fought to keep the silly grin that was threatening to appear at bay. He didn’t need to see that too.  She needed some secrets. She couldn’t be an open book to him.  But no matter what she told herself, she could feel that grin splitting apart her lips and growing into a full blown smile.

Gah, Carrie…really? Stop this!  Look cool, look casual.

Blinking once, twice and then a third time before widening her eyes and looking directly into those green eyes of his, she acknowledged his glaze.

She did not say a word; she only looked at him, breathing slow and steady waiting to see what he had to say to her.  She waited to see why he had turned so blatantly toward her, in public no less.

“Hi Carrie, Are you going in today? Or just sitting on the edge?”

Carrie blushed, she knew she did, she could feel the heat of her cheeks flaming. Swallowing hard she bit her bottom lip and said, “ I am going to go in later, right now I am just enjoying the sun on my back. Are you going in?”

Carrie felt that was a good response. She mentally congratulated herself for her cool calm demeanor.  She looked at his mouth as she saw that he was about to speak. She licked her lips as she waited for him to respond.

“I am going in, I just wanted to know if you would hold my watch if you were not swimming today.  I will stick it in a locker instead.” He laughed then said, “I am just kidding, I was wondering if you wanted to swim with me. I have wanted to ask you for a while, just didn’t have the nerve.”

Carrie started laughing, first out of shock then out of genuine humor at his behavior.  He was funny, she knew that already.  What she did not know was that he was shy about girls and now he wanted to hang out with her.

She stood up and walked down to the steps and waded into the pool.  Trenton stood and followed her stepping into the shallow water at the same time.   Slowly they waded into the deeper area before Carrie dipped under the water getting acclimated to the chilly water.  Trenton dipped down beside her and started swimming toward the deeper end.  She followed doing an underwater crawl until they both came to a halt at the ten foot mark.  There they held onto the side and began to talk.

For the next three hours they told each other about their families, pets and school histories. Both had been hesitant to start but after they started they had plenty to say to each other over those hours.  When Carrie’s Mom called her to come get a drink, snack and some more sun block, she asked Trenton to join her.  He surprised her by accepting. He again surprised her by being comfortable and friendly with her parents and little sisters.

At the picnic table they both pulled out their phones and exchanged numbers so that they could continue to talk in text.

As she was writing about this in her journal, she realized this was the first time a guy had shown such interest in her, and she really liked it.  It made her feel special. She never expected today to go like this in a million years and now that it had, she wanted more days just like this one.

As Carrie  closed her journal for the night,  she heard the little ping from her phone. She looked over and was thrilled to see that it was a text from Trenton.

Yes, she was going to have more days just like today, and she couldn’t wait.

 

 

 

 

 

July 1, 2016 Starts Camp NaNoWriMo

CNW_Participant

Today is the day to face the question I have been weighing in my mind. Did I want to make myself stop feeling sorry about losing my muse and get back to writing.  I think she would have wanted me to.  My little muse always liked to stand with her front feet on my right arm as I type away at the computer waiting for time to tell me to get to bed.  So this is my first NaNoWriMo with a broken heart, a missing muse and no timekeeper.

But I did it. I got up as soon as I realized it was officially July 1, 2016 and I opened the Camp NaNoWriMo page and wrote a message to my cabin mates about my expectations and plans. Then I progressed to my writing app and started writing. My mind free to write anything it wanted. No pressure to have a certain genre in mind or a set character in place.

I admit I am a pantser. I write for the moment and let it build around me. Sometimes I like where it goes, sometimes it is tripe. When it is tripe, I try to figure what made it such and plow on. That’s the fun part of Camp NaNoWriMo, you focus on your word count. You keep the bad and edit it, or trash it in August.

So here I sit at 3:34 am already  1392 words in, with a goal of 1613 per day to finish my 50,000 words on schedule.  The mantra going through my head, “I can do this, I can do this. I am going to have fun, I can do this!”

Beau is sleeping next to me. He only goes to bed when I do, so he is probably going to be droopy and red eyed this month. I am sure he will be silently wondering why I, “the grown up in the group” have to  be told when to go to bed.  He may have already been wondering that for a couple of weeks now. I am going to see if he steps up to the plate and becomes the timekeeper around here or if we just get to run amok with constant insomnia and not a sleeping pill in sight.

So today, I am off to the races with a little bit of a mean spirited story that allows me to say snarky things through my characters mouth.  It is just four pages long at this point. I will decide later if it is tripe or if it is worth finishing. right now it is just fun.

For now, I just need to focus on those extra 221 words I need before I can call it a day, and only 18 more hours left of the Camp NaNoWriMo word count day in which to do it.

“I can do this, I can do this. I am going to have fun, I can do this!”

 

Beau Adjusting

Beau

Beau is confused.  He has been waiting for his sister, Arrow, to come home from wherever it was that we went last Tuesday. He looks at me with distrusting eyes every time I lead him outside. He did witness me take her out of the house last week and return alone and sad.  He watches me unblinking as he performs his potty ritual outside then runs back to my leg and stands directly under my hand.  He raises his head so that I can touch him with my fingertips.  Only then does he relax and re-enter the house.

This has been a sad week for Beau and I . We have been graced with the presence of one of the cats that typically sleeps outside and alone. The large yellow cat,  Mufasa, has taken to sleeping in the bed with  me in the exact spot that Arrow always slept. Mufasa purrs until I fall asleep while Beau snuggles on the other side of me in his usual spot. The only change at night is that Beau who is not a snuggler, has decided that we must sleep back to back as long as possible. Not the usual quick nap on the bed before removing himself to the cooler floor and crate.

When I look into those deep brown eyes so deep that it is difficult to differentiate the pupil from the cornea.  His gaze is unwavering and he stays right beside me. That is until I pour out his cup of food.  Not the usual two cups that he always shared with Arrow, but half of the usual amount. Yet, Beau only eats half. He saves the other half for his missing sister.

He sits down  and waits. He waits there on the little rug giving her a chance to come eat her fill. He has been doing this for a month while she was unable to eat solid food.  He eventually goes back and finishes the food. He is logical after all.

The best information I can find online says that a dog usually only grieves for about two weeks.  I hope that is true. I can not stand the thought of my Beau being broken hearted for a long time.

There are three children that live here with Beau and I.  They have taken to playing with him more than usual. They are aware that he is missing the lively girl that even when sick would still play with her duck and with her much loved brother.

Arrow was the Alpha in this pack of ours. She made up all the game rules in the silly games she and Beau played. She made the rules in her fetch game which meant that she did not drop the duck, if you wanted her to fetch it, then you had to wrestle it away from her. Arrow announced when it was time to go outside and when it was time to come back inside.  She set the 10:00 bedtime for us all. Arrow was the one that came into the computer room later in the night to remind me that I was off schedule.  Yes, Arrow was the Alpha and now we are pack leaderless. It is truly a time for adjustment.

Her duck the most prized possession, sits untouched beside the crate. Beau will not even look at it. It is like a monument to our girl. All that we have left of her are the pictures and her duck. It has almost been a week, I am hoping for a happier less depressed Beau in the near future.  Not that we will stop missing her, she was too unique and important to be forgotten. All I can hope for is for it to be less painful to think and remember her, for both Beau and I in the near future.   I thought I would share Beau’s progress and perhaps it would ease this emptiness that still exists in my heart.

Sleeping (2)
Beau and Arrow as babies. Always together. Always best friends. 

 

A-Z PE Challenge Day 13 (M)

This challenge is to post a different blog daily starting with a letter a day from A to Z.

Today we are celebrating the majestic letter M!

The Blog dejour is:

Coffee, Chocolate & Writing with Cats

With all those C’s you are probably wondering how this is a M page, well the creator of this blog is Millie Schmidt. She has the cutest blog on writing, writers block, cats and chocolate. Can it get any better?  Check it out and you will see that it is a great blog.

Millie comes from Australia and she takes the regular helpfulness to the next stage by incorporating her cat into the mix.  Want to see a great blog post? Then check out The nine stages of writing your novel – with cats.  It is amazing and amazingly cute.

It is obvious that she enjoys her coffee before she sits down to write as her blog is energetic and fun.  This is how she expresses herself on writing and being a published author.

By day I work as a WHS Officer, at night I dream about being a published author (and sometimes fit in writing too haha).

 

Enjoy your special letter day today. Millie Schmidt.  Today is all about you!


About the A-Z PE challenge.

This is a fun way to showcase blogs that you like and people that you want to know better. Come join us on the 26 day challenge!

This challenge was created by gapawa.

He came up with the A-Z People Edition challenge and it is an awesome idea. If you want to join in the fun, then just join in.There is no set date or month. Just 26 days of your choosing. Here is the link to the instructional blog you can visit

Here is a Quote from his blog explaining his motivation for this fun challenge.

” This is the people edition! So on the first day you find someone who’s screen name starts with A and you check out their blog. The idea is that you read through some of their posts, introduce yourself and give them some feedback. Then, write your post of the day and publish it, describing who the person is and your experience finding and interacting with them, what you thought of their posts. What you came away with. I think it could be fun:)”