Monthly Archives: September 2009

The Personal Side of Writing Research

When I used to research topics for my natural history programs at nature centers, I used the library.  So cumbersome compared to internet search engines.  And … impersonal.  Take today’s google adventure for Conifer Curse.  In my WIP Fern must take on the beekeeping for the Meadows.  Believe it or not, I have done beekeeping, back in high school when my parents moved during my senior year and I lived with my 4-H leader for six months at her orchard.  I helped with the beekeeping, mainly holding the smoker and really dousing the colony into a stupor so I didn’t get stung.  

But of course, this was back in ancient times and I don’t remember everything with clarity, so I plugged in honey harvesting and came across a fantastic blog:  After I watched many of Linda’s detailed how-to videos and slide shows, and admired her award-winning wax block (I had forgotten wax would be another ‘bee’ product that the Meadows can produce to support Emerald Isle.) I decided to bookmark the site on the most recent date.

That’s when things got personal.  Yesterday Linda and three of her beekeeping friends lost seven of their hives at a community garden to flooding in Atlanta, GA.  I feel so bad, for them and for the helpless bees.  This is not the kind of feeling one would get researching a topic in a book.  I mean, I’ve been in Linda’s kitchen, in her backyard, seen her grandson crushing honeycomb.  All this morning.  I really appreciate all the work she’s gone to in sharing via her blog what she’s learned in the last four years.  So to see her photos of the flood and down in the water-filled basin the little marks on them that indicate where the hives used to be … well, you get the picture.  

Yes, tooling around on the internet takes you to some research sites fast, but it also allows you to touch the lives of some very interesting people.

100 words for 100 days

Along with starting writing a new novel, I started a new challenge – for myself.  Though I am a fairly consistent writer, I have read the best way to maintain your flow is to write every day.  I never seem to be able to do this, so I joined a yahoo group called Club100writers.  The challenge is to write at least 100 words every day for 100 days.  The writer posts daily totals to the group.

Right now I’m one of the only newbies.  I started Conifer Curse on Monday, and started Club 100 the same day.  I posted Day 6 today.  Other writers are in the 50’s and 30’s.  There don’t seem to be too many people currently working toward the goal.  It’s hard to start a new habit.  I nearly forgot because it’s Saturday and I was away most of the day.  Thank goodness for yahoo digests cropping up in my inbox.  And I didn’t want to start again.

Perhaps you’d like to join?

Hooray, another final!

This weekend I received the exciting news that my other YA manuscript, Seaside Sorcery, finalled in the 2009 Indiana’s Golden Opportunity contest.  I entered this contest sponsored by the Indiana Romance Writers of America back in June during my flurry of contest entries.  Along with the other finalists in the YA category, my entry is being judged by an agent and the results will be back October 15th.  I’m breathing a sigh of relief that I’ve just finished polishing the manuscript (yet again) and my critique partner says she has time to review the whole story.

So … with both my YA stories doing well in the contests, I’m (overly optimistically, I’m sure) starting to work on a third set in the same Sapaksa world.  I have many story ideas, which I make notes on in my moleskin, but it’s so hard to decide which to dive into next.  I’m pretty linear when it comes to writing.  I pick one, get totally immersed and write until I’m done.

The chosen story is Conifer Curse, which features Fern and Beri from Meadow Magic, and a new character from the Sapkasa city of Bonterra in Ireland.  I have a brief description of the story under Young Adult Books.

Willow has two new pieces of art that show off her placid nature. Thanks to Skaera for her lovely golden-haired headshot, and to Sikurri for the young witch with full wings. Love how she’s flooding the flower with magical energy.

I’m happy to say today I submitted the story in which Willow appears, Wildflowers and Winged Boys, to a contest that’s open only for manuscripts that have finalled in another contest. The competition will be stiffer for this one, but I’m looking forward to seeing how it does.

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