Monday, April 21, 2014

Rag Quilts!




Pinterest. Are you on Pinterest? I browse the pictures of food and crafts and decor, and while I'm wowed and often times inspired, I also know that a lot of what I see is beyond both my budget and my capabilities. Still, it's fun to see what's out there.

This past week, a lovely friend of mine, Kelly Prosch, introduced me to rag quilts by posting a tutorial on her Facebook page. I quickly went to Pinterest to see some other examples of rag quilts. It's so counter-intuitive, and yet brilliant!

I was intrigued. I had never heard of this kind of a quilt. I have done some quilting before. I made a Red Cross Signature Quilt embroidered with all the names of the Dodge County MN World War One Veterans. (You can find out more about that project by reading some of my blog posts on the subject by clicking HERE.) And I like quilting, as much as I've done of it.

And I've had a hankering to make some baby quilts. Smaller projects, fun fabrics, relaxing work. And here is a great pattern/plan that I can do. :)

I'm psyched to get started! :)

Here's the tutorial I liked the best from Pinterest. Click on over and see how to make these cool quilts.
http://quiltingintherain.blogspot.com/2011/02/rag-quilt.html

So, have you heard of a rag quilt done in this fashion before?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Words Make Us Feel



Words make us feel. As a word-lover, the thrill of a beautifully composed sentence, stanza, verse, satisfies something deep in my soul. This weekend, I was watching an episode of the tv show Numb3rs, and at the end, one of the characters quoted a few lines from the poem below. I had to look it up again and read it again and savor once more the beautiful picture painted by Siegfried Sassoon in his 1918 poem The Death Bed.

I especially love the last two stanzas. 

Would that I had this same power of words.


34. The Death-Bed 


HE drowsed and was aware of silence heaped
Round him, unshaken as the steadfast walls;
Aqueous like floating rays of amber light,
Soaring and quivering in the wings of sleep
Silence and safety; and his mortal shore
Lipped by the inward, moonless waves of death.

Someone was holding water to his mouth.
He swallowed, unresisting; moaned and dropped
Through crimson gloom to darkness; and forgot
The opiate throb and ache that was his wound.
Water—calm, sliding green above the weir.
Water—a sky-lit alley for his boat,
Bird-voiced, and bordered with reflected flower
And shaken hues of summer; drifting down,
He dipped contented oars, and sighed, and slept.

Night, with a gust of wind, was in the ward,
Blowing the curtain to a glimmering curve.
Night. He was blind; he could not see the stars
Glinting among the wraiths of wandering cloud;
Queer blots of colour, purple, scarlet, green,
Flickered and faded in his drowning eyes.
Rain—he could hear it rustling through the dark;
Fragrance and passionless music woven as one;
Warm rain on drooping roses; pattering showers
That soak the woods; not the harsh rain that sweeps
Behind the thunder, but a trickling peace,
Gently and slowly washing life away.
    .    .    .    .
He stirred, shifting his body; then the pain
Leapt like a prowling beast, and gripped and tore
His groping dreams with grinding claws and fangs.
But someone was beside him; soon he lay
Shuddering because that evil thing had passed.
And death, who’d stepped toward him, paused and stared.

Light many lamps and gather round his bed.
Lend him your eyes, warm blood, and will to live.
Speak to him; rouse him; you may save him yet.
He’s young; he hated War; how should he die
When cruel old campaigners win safe through?

But death replied: ‘I choose him.’So he went,
And there was silence in the summer night;
Silence and safety; and the veils of sleep.
Then, far away, the thudding of the guns.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Running on Empty



One of the things we've taught our kids as they became drivers is that in Minnesota, especially in the winter, they need to keep the gas tank full. When the gauge gets near the half-full mark, head to the gas station.

This works great with the gas tank. There are dozens of gas stations in our city. A fill up is not far away.

But what about when your energy tank, or your creativity tank, or your spiritual tank is running low? It's not like you can pull up to a Sinclair station and fill up your energy tank. (Wouldn't that be nice?)

Here are a few things that I do to recharge the batteries:


  1. Get some sleep. I operate best when I manage my sleep time.
  2. Read a good book. Remind myself of the beauty of language, and how much I love words.
  3. Alone time. I enjoy being with people, but I need time to be alone, time spent in my head, in order to be 'right.'
  4. Remind myself to be grateful. Gratitude lifts the spirits.
How about you? What do you do to recharge your batteries?

Today I'm guest blogging at http://seekerville.blogspot.com/  Please stop on by and join the conversation! 

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Blowing off the Dust


In honor of spring, I'm doing a little cleaning up around here on the blog, sprucing things up to begin posting again. The hiatus was needed and enjoyed, but I'm ready to get back into the swing of blogging. 

It's been a long winter of a lot of writing, though at the moment, I've nothing to report re any more contracts. I've got manuscripts in with various publishers, and lots of story ideas brewing, but for the moment I can only write and wait.

In other news, I've been asked to be a contributing blogger over at Coffee Cups & Camisoles, the place for Historical Romance, Friendship, Book Reviews, Devotionals, and Coffee. (They're allowing me entrance even though I don't drink coffee. I'll bring tea for those of you who don't care to imbibe the java.) You can find Coffee Cups & Camisoles at http://coffeecupsandcamisoles.blogspot.com/ I'll be posting on Wednesdays and the occasional Throwback Thursdays. I hope you'll hop on over there tomorrow for my first post. 

As for here, the goal is to post on Mondays. 

For today, since it's April, and I'm dreaming of spring and green and new flowers, I'd love to know your favorite color or kind of flower.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

We have a winner!

The winner of a copy of The Unlikely Debut of Ellie Sweet is.........



MIME! 


Congratulations. Stephanie should be contacting you shortly!


Thanks to all of you who left a comment.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Making the Most of Writing Friends and Mentors with Guest Blogger Stephanie Morrill.

Today, I'm welcoming Stephanie Morrill, my friend and writing buddy, to the blog. We've known each other for...hmm...has it been seven years now? I know it was before she had kids (and now she has two) and before either of us was published (and now we've both jumped into the 'published' group,) and well before I knew anything about anything in the writing world (though there's so much more that I don't know) Anyway...We met at a writer's conference, and she was so sweet and nice, and we've been friends ever since. 

So, without further ado from me...though there will be some at the end of the post.... Here's Stephanie!

When Erica asked me to post about writing friends and mentors, it seemed really fitting to me that I write this post for On The Write Path. Erica was my first writing friend, the first person I exchanged critiques with, and the first writer I knew personally who started a blog. I've learned a lot from her!

I recently discovered the Chinese proverb, "If you want to find out about the road ahead, then ask about it from those coming back." While I feel it applies to all areas of my life, today I want to focus on how we learn about the road ahead when it comes to writing.

1. Books and blogs. 

I'm a big believer in learning from writing books and writing blogs. (I have one of each - Go Teen Writers: How To Turn Your First Draft Into a Published Book, which I co-wrote with Jill Williamson, and www.GoTeenWriters.com which is a blog that seeks to encourage and empower teen writers.) I have lots of writing books that feel like old friends, that I've highlighted and underlined and dog eared. And I subscribe to many writing blogs that teach and nourish me.

Everyone is different in their beliefs of the best writing books. While Bird by Bird is one of my favorites, others find it highly offensive. Or I love Stephen King's On Writing ... but he's Stephen King. He's earned the right to get away with certain things that won't fly for me.

2. Writing friends.

It's been my experience with writing friends that I usually befriend those who are at my level, slightly behind me, or slightly ahead. It seems like school, almost, where you come up in classes. Many of my friends signed their first contract or had their first book come out within a year of my debut.

A great test for writing friends is evaluating how they treat you when things are GOOD. I had writer friends who commiserated and groaned and shook their fists alongside me when rejections came...but who were not nearly as emphatic in their joy when I received The Call.

I would also advise that you don't limit yourself to people who write in your genre. While it's wonderful to be friends with people who understand the quirks of what you write, it's not the most important thing in a writing friendship. There's often fewer feelings of competition when you write one genre and your friend writes a different one. When I signed my contract, it was my friends who also wrote contemporary YA who seemed to have the least enthusiasm for my accomplishment.

3. Writing mentors.

These are people who are several steps ahead of you. I've never had an official mentor, but I do have several well-established authors who I've made connections with and who I feel comfortable emailing when I have a question or two.

Make sure you're smart about who you follow and rely on. A good mentor is someone who cares about you. In the words of John Maxwell, "Selfish people will assist you only insofar as it advances their own agendas. Good mentors provide friendship and support, unselfishly working to help you reach your potential."

In my Ellie Sweet series, which follows a teen writer as she chases her dream of being published, Ellie struggles to figure out who is a friend and who is a fake. Writing those scenes made me pause to pray that I would be a good mentor and friend to the writers around me, that I'll check my own agenda at the door when I'm offering my help. As many have done for me along the way!

Stephanie Morrill is a twenty-something living in Overland Park, Kansas with her husband and two kids. Her only talents are reading, writing, and drinking coffee, so career options were somewhat limited. Fortunately, she discovered a passion for young adult novels and has been writing them ever since. Stephanie is the author of The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series and is currently working on other young adult projects. She enjoys encouraging and teaching teen writers on her blog www.GoTeenWriters.com. To connect with Stephanie and read samples of her books, check out www.StephanieMorrill.com. 



So, here's the 'further ado' from me at the end of the post. Stephanie is celebrating the release of her newest novel, The Unlikely Debut of Ellie Sweet. This is the sequel to the totally adorable The Revised Live of Ellie Sweet that came out last spring. Here's what I had to say about Stephanie's latest release:

"Stephanie Morrill is a master at creating characters with complex emotions and motivations, a talent which makes her stories realistic and yet unpredictable. The cast leaps off the pages and into the imagination effortlessly. I love reading books where I feel I live every scene with the main characters, and I certainly felt that way about THE UNLIKELY DEBUT OF ELLIE SWEET." 
- Erica Vetsch, author of Sagebrush Knights 

And here's a bit about the newest Ellie Sweet novel:

For once, Ellie Sweet has it all together. Her hair now curls instead of fuzzes, she’s tamed the former bad-boy, Chase Cervantes (she has, right?), and her debut novel will hit shelves in less than a year. Even her ex-friends are leaving her alone. Well, except for Palmer Davis, but it can’t be helped that he works at her grandmother’s nursing home. 

Life should feel perfect. And yet, it’s not that easy. Ellie’s editor loves her, but the rest of the publishing biz? Not so much. And they’re not shy about sharing their distrust over Ellie’s unlikely debut. 

Ellie has always been able to escape reality in the pages of her novel, but with the stress of major edits and rocky relationships, her words dry up. In fiction, everything always comes together, but in real life, it seems to Ellie that hard work isn’t always enough, the people you love can’t always be trusted, and the dream-come-true of publishing her book could be the biggest mistake she’s made yet.

Here's the link to Stephanie's amazon.com author page where you can find ALL her wonderful books: http://www.amazon.com/Stephanie-Morrill/e/B001U7OP94/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

THIS JUST IN! Stephanie is graciously giving away a copy of The Unlikely Debut of Ellie Sweet to one lucky commentor. Leave a comment and a way for me to get a hold of you and we'll draw a name on Friday of this week! 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Friday Five


It's almost November! Can you feel the excitement in the air? If you know a writer who is gearing up for NaNoWriMo, then you've probably encountered the roller coaster of emotions this crazy, month-long challenge brings.

At the moment, I'm gearing up for NaNoWriMo, which stands for National Novel Writing Month. November, the time of year when tens of thousands of word-slingers put on their writing hats, crack their knuckles, and attempt to write FIFTY-THOUSAND words in a single month.

It's crazy, exhilarating, daunting, sapping, thrilling, and so many more things!

I can't start NaNo without some preparations and knowing what I'm going to write, so I spend the last couple of weeks of October getting ready. So I thought today's Friday Five would be:

Five things I'm doing to prep for NaNo:

1. Creating Characters. Figuring out what personality types they are and how they will react in certain situations.

2. Plotting. Post it notes, Goals, Motivations, Conflicts, Black Moments, Look-In-The-Mirror moments, etc.

3. Updating my profile on the NaNo site and logging into my local group to see when they'll be having write-ins and activities.

4. Finding writer-friends who are also attempting NaNo to buddy with so we can encourage one another.

5. Daydreaming about this new story, becoming familiar with the fictional landscape so I will know where I'm at when I open the document each day.

How about you? Do you NaNo? If you do, buddy me! My user handle on the Nanowrimo.org site is: ericavetsch