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Meet 2012 Golden Heart Finalist Lorenda Christensen

Today we’re welcoming Lorenda Christensen, Golden Heart Finalist in Paranormal Romance.

A native Oklahoman, Lorenda and her family traded one Indian Territory for another when they packed their bags and moved to Bangalore, India for a two year work project. When she’s not learning to fold a saree or sampling the local cuisine, she’s busy writing about fantasy worlds, both urban and medieval. Her Golden Heart finalist manuscript, NEVER DEAL WITH DRAGONS, is about a dragon-infested, post World War III earth, and a fluent dragonspeaker secretary trying to ensure the continued existence of human civilization. When Myrna’s old flame shows up with the news of a possible war between the two biggest dragon kingdoms, and her company refuses to get involved, Myrna drops her file folder and signs up for the cause. Besides, who else but a secretary has the skills to simultaneously calm two angry dragon lords, disarm bombs, walk in four-inch heels, and avoid falling back into bed with a darkly handsome ex-boyfriend?

You can learn more about Lorenda and her work by visiting her website www.lorendac.com or chatting about random subjects on Twitter @Lorendac.

If you want to know what life is like for an American expat in India, visit her family blog. (http://blog.jl2t.com)

 Take it away, Lorenda!

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I’m a homeschooling mom. With our move to India and my oldest child finishing up preschool, I, with the help of some “real” teachers in the family, put together a plan to keep my son on track with his education until we moved back to the United States and re-matriculated.

The plan was good, but I didn’t factor in one important detail. My oldest child is (gasp!) not particularly fond of reading. Which is a big problem, since that’s basically what the kindergarten curriculum consists of. After several attempts to hold his attention without success, I decided to pull out the magic cure-all for my six year old’s boredom.

Movies.

And since I’m a sneaky mom-cum-schoolteacher, I was careful to pick a very specific movie. Any guesses on the film? I’ll give you a hint: there’s a good reason I’m writing about this here on the Rubies.

Drumroll, please…

I chose The Wizard of Oz. An old favorite of mine, I felt like The Wizard of Oz was a perfect choice because A: I brought it with us to India and B: I had a copy of the book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. We made a deal. I’d read the book to him over several weeks (with him helping on the “easy” words), and after I finished, we would watch the movie.

And I was right – he loved both the book and the movie (even though he was confused at why the story was different). But – and there’s always a “but” with kids – my youngest was not so fond of the film.

It scared him. Badly. The flying monkeys? Not a problem. He thought they were kind of funny. (I remember them being SCARY when I was his age.) The oddly dressed munchkins? Nope. He wants to be a member of the Lollipop Guild. For my four year old son, the scariest part of the movie was Dorothy’s trip into the haunted forest and the possibility of confrontation with “Lions, and Tigers, and Bears, Oh My!” I tried to tell him that the Cowardly Lion was the only lion in the movie, and the tigers and bears weren’t even in the movie, but to a four year old mind, his imagined fear was greater than the reality.

How many times do we do this to ourselves as authors? Worry so much about the lions and tigers and bears that we forget to experience the joy of living in a fantasy world? I know I do. Self-imposed deadlines, word counts, and the constant fear of massive revisions become my lions and tigers and bears, and keep me from taking chances with my plot or characters. I stifle my muse with the stress of tight deadlines. To keep my daily or weekly word count on track, I try to fix scenes that aren’t working, instead of deleting them like I should. I’ll wrestle for days with something that should be in the trash, only to toss it after all my hair is lying on the floor because I’ve pulled it from my scalp. Instead of exploring that spark of creativity, I viciously force myself to write the story according to my outline, because it will save me time during revisions (Or so I think).

Some of these problems can’t be avoided. Deadlines must be met. The plot needs to make sense. And the word count has to fall within general ranges (especially for category novels). But I think sometimes we focus so much on the imagining the “monsters” that may appear that we fail to fully walk down that “yellow brick road” with our imaginations and tell not just a good story, but a great one.

Oh yes, ladies and gentlemen, in real life I really talk in hokey metaphors like the above. Give me a break, I’m a mom of two preschoolers. Gotta make this stuff interesting.

For my youngest son, a trip to the Bannerghetta Zoo and a look at real “lions and tigers and bears” helped soothe the fears of the unknown or imagined monsters. For me, adding a “free writing day” where I get to write whatever I want, regardless of whether I think I can use it later has done wonders for my productivity on “work days.”

 

 

So what about you? Do you have any specific things that stress you as a writer or dampen your joy of creating? How do you harness your imagination to focus on the positive side of writing? Do you too speak in hokey metaphors when confronted with blog posts or small children?

Oh, and how do you feel about small baby monkeys?

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Leave a comment today and be entered in a random drawing for one of two $10 gift cards to the online bookstore of your choice (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, etc.  Lorenda’s in India, so it will have to be done online).

69 responses to “Meet 2012 Golden Heart Finalist Lorenda Christensen”

  1. Elisa Beatty says:

    Welcome, Lorenda! We’re delighted to have you here…and delighted (of course, being the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood) to hear you’re fueling your child’s love of reading with the Oz books!! (My seven-year-old loves them…we read a chapter a night at bedtime, and we’re almost through Tik-Tok of Oz. I think that means we have about six books left.)

    It sounds like you’re living an amazing life–lots of fuel for paranormal inspiration!!

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    • Thank you Elisa! I’m excited to be here! So you like the Oz books? I’ve never read anything but the Wonderful Wizard. I’ll have to check out the others. We’re a chapter a night at bedtime family too.

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      • Elisa Beatty says:

        I believe there are something like 14 of them (the ones actually written by Frank Oz.) We have the hardcovers with all the beautiful illustrations, mostly by John Neill.

        The stories are very sweet and creative, and it’s a very safe world–which my tender-hearted little guy really needs. (I was reading my daughter Harry Potter by that age, but that would scare the pants off my son.)

        There was one volume in which the Wizard mentions that people in the rest of the world have invented airplanes, and that someone might fly across the deadly desert and conquer Oz, and my son got terribly upset….until Glinda said she’d put a charm around Oz to keep airplanes out. Then he was happy again.

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        • Elise Hayes says:

          Hmm…I’ve been looking for another book series for my elementary aged daughter–I think I’ll try these! Thanks, Elisa and Lorenda!

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  2. Kat Cantrell says:

    Hi Lorenda! I’m struggling to get my youngest to read (he’s almost six). He’s just not interested and I’m definitely going to try the movie trick!

    As for writer stress, I’m afraid all of it does that to me and I don’t know how to make it stop. 🙂 I’m a stress-ball by nature. The joy of writing for me is when I have that finished product and I can read over it, knowing it’s good. So I have to convince myself I *will* get there and just keep plugging away.

    Your blurb sounds wonderful! I can’t wait to read it.

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    • Hi Kat! I shouldn’t say my practice of a break day has actually cured me of the stress – I’m a stress-ball as well. (It’s my accountant side coming out. Everything. Must. Be. In. Order.) I keep telling myself it’s a good thing – because the stress sometimes pushes me to actually finish.

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      • Kat Cantrell says:

        How funny – we’re exactly alike! I’m a reformed accounting type and stress (aka deadlines) is the only thing that gets me to stop analyzing everything to death and just do it. Options paralyze me which is why I like writing category. I get to start with some guidelines. 🙂

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    • Have you tried the “How to Train Your Dragon” series by Cressida Cowell? My boys love those. Lots of young boy humor and silly sketches. But beneath all that, Hiccup is just a really great character who always saves the day using his smarts and not his brawn (like the other Vikings). And there’s the movie (which is nothing like the books, but still a lot of fun). 🙂

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  3. Hi Lorenda! I’m in awe of parents who homeschool. I don’t know how you do it all. 🙂

    I find that the time when I am least stressed is when I am happily writing in my cave. The things that stress me are all the extenal factors that conspire to keep me out of my cave–life, you know?

    Honestly, I’m not a fan of monkeys of any size–but that’s just me. 🙂

    I can’t wait to read NEVER DEAL WITH DRAGONS, It sounds like a hoot. 🙂

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    • Hi Susan! I’m in awe too! I would never make it as a homeschool teacher long-term. The only thing that made me even consider it is the end term was clearly defined.

      My brother-in-law was home schooled for much of his elementary years, and I can only imagine how difficult that would be for the parent. My boys are 6 and 4, so NO ALGEBRA!

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      • It’s only as hard as you make it. Seriously. I’m doing pre-algebra with my son right now, and it’s kind of fun. It’s not like i have to remember all that stuff; we look at Khan Academy online (free! and really good!) and watch Steve Demme on DVD (Math-U-See).

        I’ve been homeschooling my now-14-year-old for three years now and I’m pretty sure we’ll keep going through high school. I love the freedom of it. As does he, naturally. He’s a creative kid, and school was stifling for him.

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        • Quadratic equation = huge meltdown for me.

          Luckily my husband has a degree in electrical engineering. As part of his degree, he was required to take so many math classes that one more would have earned him a minor in Math. So if all else fails, I’ve told DH that I’ll handle Reading, Business, Social Studies, and the Life Sciences – but he has to do Math and Chemistry.

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  4. Congratulations on your final!

    I love small baby monkeys! I’m currently standing in front of my laptop with one asleep in a carrier on my tummy. He’s a human primate, but nonetheless cute. 😉

    Motherhood is so all-consuming that I find it sapping my creativity. I’m amazed that you’re able to manage homeschooling a little one while writing. When do you find the time?

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    • Aww – I love babies. Mine are too grown up for my back to handle carrying them for long. To be honest, a lot of the home school curriculum is online. We use several different websites for phonics and math, and I sit with him while he does the worksheets. It helps that his preschool teacher did a great job with the building blocks, and he picks things up really quickly. We only school for about 2.5-3 hours a day.

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  5. Congratulations on your final, Lorenda! Gosh, homeschooling and monkeys! My son refused to learn to read, but loved to be read to, so one day, while I was cooking dinner, I told him a story and he wrote it down in pictures. Later we ‘typed’ it up together (ahem).When he started learning to write and made all his d’s and b’s backwards, we figured out he was dyslexic. Reading still doesn’t come easy to him, but he’s one heck of a poetry writer!

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    • I’m convinced I have the math version of dyslexia, so I can’t imagine how frustrating it would be with reading. And wait to go on finding a way to make it fun. I totally see the draw of home school, because you really can tailor the learning to their interests. It just makes me even more impressed with public school teachers, to teach 20+ at the same time. Whew!

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  6. I met an old man when I took a group of students on a trip to Orlando Florida to work with Habitat for Humanity. He and I sat on a rock bench and watched children play in the courtyard of a church that was helping sponsor us.

    My son, back home in OK, wasn’t even a year old. The old man, who volunteered to read to the children each week, told me to always read books to children that were above their level and to start reading chapter books early. To make them look forward to the next day’s reading.

    Turned out that old man had sold most of his property to Disney World to create the theme park. A pretty smart old man. I listened to him.

    His advice worked with my son (now almost 19), but how does it apply to my writing? He would have told me to push the envelope–to do more that is expected of me. I guess his message was similar to that of my favorite song as a teenager, “Dream the Impossible Dream.” (Yes, I’m that old)

    I am just finishing up my first novel and I have a play being performed in Tulsa theater this summer. The future is bright as long as I continue to push that envelope and dream that dream!

    Thanks for the inspiration, Lorenda!

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    • My mother read to my sister and I when we were very small. Years later in high school, I decided to re-read The Scarlet Pimpernel because I had fond memories of the story when my mom read it to us.

      Oops. Turns out there’s a ton of French phrases in there I could not even begin to translate – my mom took French in college.

      I settled for The Chronicles of Narnia instead.

      Congrats on pushing to the end of your novel!

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  7. Elise Hayes says:

    Lorenda,

    Wow, what adventures you’re having! (as a mother, as an expat, and as a writer–congrats on the GH final!).

    I tried word count goals for a while, but that didn’t work for me when I was revising, because–as you point out–I might end up cutting more words than I kept while revising! So now I go with time targets: I have to work on my project x number of minutes, or hours…depending on the shape of my life at that moment in time. It got rid of a lot of the stress being produced by the word count method, at least for me!

    I reckon you won’t be heading to California in July, given the sheer distance between India and Anaheim. Is that right?

    And I *love* your title!

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    • Hi Elise! Actually I will be at Nationals this year! I made a deal with my husband that he’d fly me over if I made the finals. This is my first finished novel and my first entry to the GH, so we never in our wildest dreams thought it would actually happen.

      So now we’re poor, but mommy’s happy!

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  8. Magdalen says:

    Hi, Lorenda — Great blog post. Like others here, I’m impressed you can write and homeschool. Seems like homeschooling and being a mom are two full time jobs all by themselves.

    My mother (who was an amateur actress) read The Rose & the Ring to me…when I was in my late 20s! And I’ve found that reading books aloud to my husband in the car is a great way for the time, and the miles, to fly by. I love to read out loud. LOL

    Congrats on Never Deal With Dragons — and I can’t wait to meet you in Anaheim.

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    • Hi Magdalen! There’s no way I could read to my husband in the car. For starters, I get terribly car sick. But mostly he’d laugh too hard and kill us.

      Despite my mother’s toil, I learned most of my vocabulary from context while reading. So I totally rock the Reader’s Digest word quizzes but I can’t pronounce anything aloud. My reading is best when it stays in my head. 🙂

      Looking forward to Anaheim as well!

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  9. Terri Osburn says:

    OMG! This is cuteness overload!! Look at the pretty tigers!! I think Kiddo and I need to hit the zoo this weekend. It’s been too long.

    Goodness do I have fears. Too many to count. But I’ve faced down many fears before by talking myself down and pushing through. So that’s my dealing method now as well.

    I remember the first time I went live on the radio for FIVE hours a day. Felt sick every day for the first few months and had constant nightmares about dead air. (Weird, I know.) But after a while it became second nature and I realized I was good at it. Then it became fun. I keep telling myself writing is the same way. It’s fun and I CAN do it.

    Hopefully the “second nature” thing will kick in soon.

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    • I’m totally with you on that hope! I can’t imagine being on the radio. I can’t even stand hearing myself in family videos. I’m always trying to figure out who the fat lady with the hideous southern accent is! So I’m terribly impressed with your skill.

      I’m trying to look at writing as just one of those things you have to practice until it feels natural. Fake it until you make it! Plus, authors have the added benefit of getting a couple of tries before “showing off” in public.

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  10. robena grant says:

    Lovely post, Lorenda, and congrats! again on the GH final. It’s great that you read to the kids, I always did that with my two and it fostered in them a love for books.
    Your book sounds great.

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    • Hi Robena – Congrats to you too! I loved when my mother read to me, and I’m completely convinced that’s why I love reading (and writing) now.

      Thanks for stopping by, and I hope to see you in Anaheim!

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  11. Hope Ramsay says:

    My daughter hated reading, and it turned out she had a reason to. She had a visual processing problem that made it very hard for her to recognize letters (in addition to perceiving depth). It took several years of phonics and visual therapy to get her up to grade level. During those fretful years, we discovered that Susan might not be able to recognize letters, but she had a gift for seeing light and color. Maybe her brain compensated, but she really had a gift for seeing things in a different way.

    When she was in 3rd grade — about the time she had recovered to grade level. She participated in the Reading is Fundamental poster contest. Her poster won top honors at her elementary school and was sent off to the national competition, where she came in second. Her prize (in addition to boxes and boxes of wonderful children’s books she received) was a trip to the Library of Congress where she met many well-known authors.

    Today my daughter has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in photography and she’s working on a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing. She has had several short stories published. She’s an avid reader of mostly literary fiction. She had a job in public relations.

    So, sometimes, when God closes a door He opens a window.

    And I think baby Monkeys are adorable.

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    • Hope, you must be one proud mother! I am constantly amazed at how the human brain works, and I always love to hear about those brave people who take things that others see as a problem and turn it into something unique.

      I’m so jealous of her photography talent! Point and click is the only option I can handle (the husband took the photos above), and people who can see the finished product through a tiny lens are impressive!

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  12. Vivi Andrews says:

    I love a woman who talks in metaphor. 🙂

    I need my deadlines and loose outlines, I feel like they give me the chance to play because I’m not afraid of screwing up if I have that structure to fall back on. I guess my lions and tigers and bears would be expectations and “the market” and… okay I don’t have a third one. But those are my worries – the things that can hold me back as a writer. Trying to fit a book into what I think is expected of it, to write to the nebulous Market. The more I can release that need to box myself in with imagined restrictions of what I think the world wants of me, the better my writing gets.

    Great post and congrats on the final, Lorenda!

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    • Hi Vivi! Ain’t that the truth? I sometimes wish that I’d never stumbled upon those many publishing blogs and just written my entire book without an eye toward publication. And then I remind myself that while the book may have been more “unique”, it certainly wouldn’t have been different in the good sense!

      I just try to remember that there’s no one who can accurately predict “the market” and I just need to concentrate on writing the best book possible. Period.

      Note the key word: try 🙂

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  13. Kay Hudson says:

    Lorenda, the first thing I downloaded to my brand-new Kindle last year was a file with all fourteen or fifteen of the Oz books written by L. Frank Baum. When I was young I had them all on paper (of course–when I was young there was no other kind of book!), and I also collected most of the later books written by other people (a look through Amazon suggests some are still being written). Another series your children might like are the Doctor Dolittle books by Hugh Lofting. (Not much in common with the movies by the same name.)

    Looking forward to seeing you in Anaheim!

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    • Excellent! They’re on Kindle! I practically sleep with my Kindle because I had to leave most of my paperbacks stateside. (For some reason the husband frowned upon shipping eight suitcases of books all the way to India. Hmmm…)

      Thanks Kay. I will be buying them all shortly.

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  14. I only freeze up when I worry about the future, about what will happen to the manuscript. If it’ll find a home or, if I self publish it, if it’ll find an audience. When I’m working with the words and the characters and let outside concerns fade, I’m fine.

    BTW, I posted a comment to a comment up above, but in case it got lost in the shuffle: I homeschool too. Three years in and no signs of stopping. My kid is 14. In truth, it’s easier than dealing with homework! That was always a dreadful headache, because I had to help him through work he hated and that I didn’t believe was beneficial. These days, if it’s not the right fit, we change things around.

    It’s been great for him. His creativity has blossomed, and his social skills have improved tremendously.

    Love your book blurb. Anyone who can walk easily on four inch heels can certainly straighten dragons out!

    (And I was terrified of the flying monkeys when I was really small. Not the lions and tigers and bears, though. That’s a sign of a vivid imagination, which I consider a good thing in the long run. 🙂 )

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    • Hey Talia! I bow to the patience and confidence that is yours! Homeschooling a 14 year old? Pretty sure I’d have a stroke trying to do that.

      Luckily I haven’t reached the “what do I do with this manuscript” stage yet. My GH manuscript was my first completed, so I’m currently writing my second. I told my husband that my goal is at least a book per year, and once I get four written, that’s when I’ll decide what to do with them.

      That’s not saying I’m not querying – I’m just not expecting much from the process. I’d like to get a little more practice under my belt before I jump off the self-pub ledge. Until I’m more confident in my work, I’m not brave enough to stick it out there without someone else’s input first!

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      • We’re pretty relaxed, eclectic homeschoolers, so it’s mostly not stressful. Well, except when I say, “Okay, let’s get started” and he makes himself scarce. But he doesn’t get his computer till we’re done, so I know he’ll come back eventually. Heh.

        Your GH manuscript was the first full length book you wrote? Wow. That’s impressive!

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  15. “Self-imposed deadlines, word counts, and the constant fear of massive revisions become my lions and tigers and bears, and keep me from taking chances with my plot or characters. I stifle my muse with the stress of tight deadlines.”

    Good lord! It’s like you were speaking directly to my writer’s soul!! I’m currently trying to find my work-around for the above…

    As for our kids being readers, I’m lucky in that my son inherited my love of reading — which was mostly a self-motivated obsession when I was a child. (Right, Elisa? I don’t remember Mom or Dad having the time to read to us much past age 4 or so.) I can’t tell you the number of times I was scolded for sitting up late at night with a flashlight under the covers. In fact, I still do this every night, but now it’s a Kindle Fire and the flashlight lives in the drawer.

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    • I’ve jokingly told my husband I should write a manuscript about a wanna-be author collapsing under the stress of writing. Because you know what they say?

      Write what you know! 🙂

      But I’m afraid the book would be received much like my stress fits are here at home – furrowed brows and confused glances.

      Oh, and my husband rues the day he bought me my Kindle. It’s the touch version, but he got one of the little cases that has a built-in light. And now he mumbles about always having to sleep with the light on.

      What can I say? It’s his fault for moving me to India where I don’t have a normal, get up at 6AM job anymore. I can afford to read all night. My kids are still young enough to nap! (And so am I)

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    • Elisa Beatty says:

      I remember you reading all of Dickens in, like, middle school.

      I don’t remember our parents reading to us all that much (except for Mom reading the Iliad and the Odyssey and Aesop’s fables and a variety of Greek myths), but I remember Dad telling us stories he made up at bedtime.

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  16. Wonderful post. 🙂 Let’s see, my “lions and tigers and bears” tend to be the seeming paradox of simultaneous self-imposed deadlines and procrastination. My process seems to be to work out how long I think a draft of a manuscript should reasonably take me (or so I think), and then for some reason, procrastinating the actual writing until I come to a crunch-time date (i.e. start now and scrabble to finish “on time”). I haven’t quite figured out how to break that cycle yet, but I’m trying!

    Looking forward to Anaheim!

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    • You’re singing my song! I do have word count goals, and I track them in an excel spreadsheet. The problem is, at the beginning of that novel, at 500 or 1000 words per day, I get really excited about how quickly I could write this thing!

      And then life steps in – and like someone mentioned above, edits cut more than you replace them with. I’ve tried to tell myself to just double the word-count timeline, and that’s my real deadline.

      But then I have to WRITE like I’m going to meet the “perfect world” date or my bad side whispers “you’ve got twice as much time”

      Sigh. 🙂

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  17. Diana Layne says:

    Hi, Lorenda, what a fascinating life! I homeschool too but under vastly different circumstances. 🙂 Congratulations on your final!

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    • Hi Diana – thank you! I was shocked and very very happy about the final.

      I went into the homeschool deal with the acceptance that my oldest will be a little behind when we return. Schools in India are actually almost a year ahead of the US academically, and that’s why we homeschool. I was afraid the stress of a new home, new country, and phonics would be too much.

      Luckily the school district we live in while in Oklahoma has a great set of teachers, and it’s a very small school, so they can afford to spend that extra time. We’re also trying to save some money just in case we need to get him a tutor when we’re back.

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  18. Tammy Baumann says:

    Hi Lorenda,
    Great post! Your book sounds wonderful, can’t wait until its pub’d so I can read it!

    My son didn’t take to reading either, but I found bribery to be my greatest friend. Once we found subjects he liked, I offered little ‘incentives’ to make his reading goals. Funny, but the ‘rewards’ he loved best were things like, ‘if you read all ten pages, then we’ll have a contest to see who can slide the furthest across the wood floor in our socks.’ And yeah, sometimes I even let him win. ;0)

    He’s in grad school now, working toward his master’s in Biology and was up for dinner the other night. We were chatting in the kitchen while I was making dinner, and I slid across the floor to grab something from the fridge. He got a horrified look on his face and said, “Mom! Don’t do that. What if you break a hip or something?”

    Needless to say, the young man got a wet dish towel in the face!

    Looking forward to seeing you this summer!

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  19. LOL – I love when my little guys ask me to play with them, and then look confused when mommy has to explain she’s “too big” to do that. I’m not an enormous person, but those tiny kiddo chairs are NOT safe for adults.

    But it’s so cool to see just how accepting children can be. It doesn’t even register that mom is way too big to fit into that tiny tunnel.

    I look forward to the day that I jump from “playmate” to “way to old to walk on my own” in their eyes.

    I’m pretty handy with a dishtowel myself!

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  20. AJ Larrieu says:

    The “constant fear of massive revisions” is definitely my tiger. Great post! I love the idea of a “free writing day.” I’m going to try that next time I get stuck.

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    • Hi, AJ. Yes, the free writing day has really helped me to remember the fun of writing. It also gives me a mini-break during revisions, when I’m more apt to read over mistakes because I’ve looked at it 100 days in a row. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  21. The “free writing day” is a great idea. I’ll have to try that. I’m guilty of fearing the lions and tigers right now on my current WIP. I’m thinking about all the ways it *could* go wrong instead of just writing the darn thing. Thanks for the reminder! And congrats on your final!

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    • I’m beginning to realize I have a cycle: Extreme excitement when I get to STOP working on the finished manuscript and play with a shiny new story, then mild annoyance when the story in my head doesn’t make as much sense on paper. Then comes the despair when I question why I thought I could write in the first place, then the pep-talk “you’ve come this far, can’t stop now, and excitement again when I’ve typed THE END. And then sadness when I realize I must start on revisions. 🙂 It’s crazy, and I hate it. (But I love it too!)

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  22. Congrats, Lorenda!

    A dystopian fantasy. Now that’s not something I’ve seen before. It sounds like something that should catch the eye of some editor who’s looking for something different. Good luck!

    Hope to meet you in Anamheim!

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    • Hi Laurie – I certainly hope so! My husband is a serious techie, and once I asked him the general question “what are you thinking about” after a particularly long silence while driving.

      His response? “Liquid hard drives” He then proceeded to discuss in great detail how biomaterial could be used to transfer electrical signals…

      But later, all I could think was that would make a great paranormal romance. And that’s how the idea started.

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  23. jean maxwell says:

    Lorenda,
    This blog of the Ruby Sisterhood is fantastic. You were destined to be a Golden Heart finalist–can I slip in winner. Your first two chapters suspended my usual world and offered a trip to the land of imagination. It is excellent, especially for a first book.

    My lions, tiger, etc. is POV. I may now have it but have not mastered all the options.

    Flying monkeys are fun to watch at St. Louis Zoo. Now extremely large snakes are not good for my life expectancy.

    As a nonparent you’d think I’ve never done homeschooling. In this area of the country far too many students have no mastery of basic subjects and no help when they drop out. I’ve tutored.
    I worked with my pre-kindergarten great nephew who wouldn’t be allowed to enter kindergarten if he didn’t learn some basics.
    He had been trained for his mother to totally care for his basic needs was love. When I made him pick out his clothes, dress himself, and buckle his seatbelt he suffered a major meltdown. By the end of our time together he could take care of his toilet, brush his teeth, say and print the alphabet, say and write his numbers, count to 100, and had mastered colors. He quickly learned to read as he, his baby sister, and I spent three hours on skills daily. I made sure they were active outdoors for balance. They rarely saw T.V. or played electronic games. We did karoki(sp) with their dad a night or two which they loved.

    This summer we are planning to do some heavy classics for guys about ten years old. Hope he enjoys Mark Twain.

    Since I got to his sister younger, she potty trained in our first two days together when she turned three, finally. She liked dressing herself and has an eye for color, fashion, and her style. She thrives on reading and sports.
    I’d like to say we read all the classics but we have covered some classics. Fairy tales fables, Johnny Appleseed, Ichabod Crane in the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, some mystery, history, Egypt, and a little Dora the Explorer. The summer library programs are wonderful. The little ‘givemes’ they hand out thrill the kids whether a magnet or a free ice cream.

    Your boys are lucky to have two caring and creative parents. They should grow up well balanced and well traveled.

    Enjoy your first RWA conference and may you win a Golden Heart. jean

    0

    • Where were you when I was trying to potty-train my youngest? 🙂 It was well after his fourth birthday before he decided he wanted out of diapers.

      Thanks for stopping by Jean!

      0

  24. Rita Henuber says:

    Congrats Lorenda welcome to the GH family. When I become stressed I read or listen to a really good book. Watch a movie or take a walk on the beach. Or, have a few adult beverages.
    Best of luck to you.

    0

    • Yes, sometimes I have a hard time getting to my books – because there are so many great ones out there that are already written.

      I haven’t tried taking a walk – I’ll definitely add it to the list.

      0

  25. Jan Nash says:

    Hi Lorenda, fabulous post! Kudos to you for home schooling. I guess my writing “bear” would be getting those initial scenes on the page. Once I have something to work with, I soar!

    0

    • Ha – that is awesome. I’m actually exactly backwards. I have no issues getting the first three or so scenes on paper. It’s the entire rest of the manuscript I have to power through!

      I have a folder full of false starts on my hard drive, just waiting until I decide to knuckle down.

      Thanks for saying hello, Jan!

      0

  26. Love metaphors, Lorenda!

    I, too, had three children who didn’t like to read! I couldn’t believe it. I wanted to return them to the hospital! (How could these be my children???) ha! But the good news is that they eventually DID learn to love to read, it just took them ages. My oldest fell in love in his sophomore English class (once they analyzed literature out loud for the first time). My second — a daughter — fell in love the year Twilight came out and it hit her at exactly the right age. And my youngest … well, word’s still out on him, but I have high hopes the reading bug will bite him someday! (He’s 12 now.)

    Anyway, best of fun taking your kids through the joys of books! (“The Magic Treehouse” series got us through those earliest days — all three did like those.)

    Can’t wait to meet you in Anaheim.

    P.S. Your blog about life in India is terrific!

    0

    • I’m imagining the scene.

      “Um, excuse me, sir. I’m afraid there’s been a mistake. This,” she said, pointing to the peacefully sleeping toddler, “cannot be my child. He doesn’t like to read! Can you believe it?”

      0

  27. Meg Kassel says:

    “To keep my daily or weekly word count on track, I try to fix scenes that aren’t working, instead of deleting them like I should.” This is too close to home! I’m guilty of doing that, too.

    Thank you for the fun and interesting post. I hope to meet you in at Nationals 🙂

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    • Yes, I’m so excited about nationals. I told my husband I was seriously considering creating some trading cards with the photos of all the people I hope to meet at Nationals.

      One set for the GH ladies I’ve recently “met”, and another for all my favorite authors.

      He informed me that I was sounding slightly stalker-like.

      (But I still hope to meet you at Nationals. Don’t worry, I’m not one of those dangerous stalkers.)

      0

  28. Elisa Beatty says:

    Thanks so much for being with us today, Lorenda!

    I’ve used random.org to pick the two winner of your bookstore e-gift certificates: Kathleen Bittner Roth and
    Tammy Baumann.

    I’ll get you their email addresses, and you can contact them to arrange to get them their prizes.

    Looking forward to meeting you in Anaheim!

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  29. Marni Folsom says:

    I’m late, I’m late, I’m late! But I still wanted to say: Great post, Lorenda. I love the premise of your book and the humor promised on Myrna’s part– can’t wait to see it on shelves!

    I started homeschooling my preschooler a few months ago in conjunction with a part-time co-op preschool I formed with three other mothers in my area. Our “preschool staff” is comprised of a literacy specialist, a brain trauma specialist (who worked to re-matriculate kids into the public school system following their recovery from traumatic accidents), a former preschool teacher…and me. Can you guess who’s in charge of Arts & Crafts? 😉 I can get a bit overwhelmed when everyone starts talking methodology and pedagogy, but I’m trying to soak it all up for possible influence on our homeschool experience. In the meantime, we’re just trying to make learning fun around here!

    On the writing end, I use free-writing days to jump start the creative juices when I’ve been away from my laptop for too long. It’s mostly just a heckuva lotta’ fun, but sometimes, if the stars align and I’ve pleased all the writing gods, it ends up being part of a scene in my WIP.

    Can’t wait to meet you at Nationals!

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  30. Everett says:

    Have you ever thought about creating an e-book or guest authoring on other blogs?
    I have a blog based on the same ideas you discuss and would really like to have you share some stories/information. I know my viewers would
    value your work. If you are even remotely interested,
    feel free to send me an e-mail.

    0

  31. Antje says:

    Hello i am kavin, its my first occasion to commenting anywhere,
    when i read this post i thought i could also create
    comment due to this brilliant piece of writing.

    0

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