a dozen things i’d tell my younger self

14 Oct
Ronald and me, circa 2010, Thailand

Thailand, 2008

1. Go ahead. Hang up on those telemarketers.

2. Don’t sweat the mess. Keeping a tidy house is not how you want to be spending you time, trust me. Did someone see it? Don’t sweat that either. IT’S FINE. So you’re not going to be remembered for how orderly you were. So what?

3. The world is a wildly confusing place. Form your opinions, but don’t expect to be right all the time.

4. Don’t rush your plans. Think slowly and carefully about where you’re going with your life. At the same time…

5. Make decisions! Yeah, you’re going to make bad ones, but picking a path and walking down it is better than being in limbo all the time.

6. Mistakes are great. Mistakes are the best teachers.

7. Rejection will help to refine your art and transform you into a badass. Don’t shy away from it.

8. Let the kids flip the pancakes, even though they suck at it.

9. Wake up early. You actually like it. No joke.

10. This is not a perfect little world so drop the perfect little facade. Things getting real? Well, get real with them. Don’t be embarrassed for you or anyone else. You’re not putting on a play. Besides, if you were putting on a play then you’d need all of that emotional and awkwardย  and messed up stuff or else it’d just be boring.

11. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

12. Persistence is key. Forget about easy. Easy gets you nothing.

Anyone else feeling any of these? I missed a lot. Anything you would add?



notebook love

29 Sep

WIN_20140929_183406 (2)

I just gave this composition notebook a facelift for my fellow writer & father, Tom Demma.

SHHH! Don’t tell him about it. He’s making the long haul up to Minnesota from Florida right now. It’s a gift. My hope is that he won’t check my blog while on the road. He wouldn’t, right? I mean, who does that?

I love working in composition books and on legal pads and have quite a collection going. Getting away from the computer can really help un-stick my brain when it starts getting sticky. Which happens often. They’re also easy to take places. When I’m sitting in the car waiting for my hubs to get out of a store I can pull one out and jot down a scene or slew of ideas.

Anyway, I’m looking for another quote so I can make one of these for a certain writer in my life (you know who you are). Composition books for everyone!

Isn’t Adelveiss getting so big? She’s the cutest Itty-Bitty around ๐Ÿ™‚


diy the-sky-is-the-limit shirt

3 Jul

WIN_20140701_130610 (2)

This is not a diy blog, but this is a diy post.

Readers, ye be warned.

The bad thing about Pinterest is it brings all kinds of things to my attention that I don’t currently have and that I immediately want. Like a shirt that pretty much sums up my soul with the words “COFFEE, BOOKS, & RAIN”. The good thing about Pinterest is that it sometimes gives me hacks for how I can get these things FOR CHEAP.

I made that shirt up there, and I’m going to tell you how. But I hate those diy posts that have to make things complicated and that give you a picture of every single step to have to scroll past, so there will be none of that. I’m just going to tell you how to do it. Quickly and simply. With words.

Because I’m assuming you have a life you’d like to get back to.

Okay, here goes:

Get your shirt, a bleach pen (they can be found in the smelly chemical isle of your local store), and an idea. Masking tape is optional, as is white vinegar. You should also have something flat to shove up inside your shirt to stop the bleach from getting on the back. Stick that thing in. Make sure that the shirt is flat. If you want, take some masking tape and tape yourself a little border. That’s what I did to keep my words in a nice square. Now go to town with that bleach pen all over your shirt. It comes out like a gel so it’s pretty easy to figure out. When you’re done, let it sit for around 15 minutes. Different colored shirts are going to require more or less time. It’s not rocket science. Just wing it. Rinse in cold water and soak in white vinegar if you have it. I’ve heard it helps to stop the bleach. Then wash it in a load of lights.

Presto! It looks great! You’re one of the cool kids on the block!

Okay, over and out.



cssw :: logline

23 Jun

When villagers threaten to put them in the mission in town, Crow and her band of orphaned girls must work harder than ever to keep their home in the Spirit Woods. But the haunted forest lets a group of no-good boys invade, and a white bear is stalking the camp, causing the girls to wonder if the home they’re fighting so hard to save will keep them… or kill them.



Loglines suck to write. It’s a struggle to decide which points to show and which to leave out. For example, the girls are facing more problems in the woods than just boys and bears. For starters, a lack of supplies. But a bear that is white and also stalking seems a bit more exciting than a lack of salt and horse feed, so in I put it while the supply issue wasn’t mentioned.

I think fantasy is particularly difficult to have to sum up. You create an entire world over the space of hundreds of pages, and to try and squeeze it down into something that doesn’t sound utterly ridiculous is tricky. When people ask me what my novel is about, I become something akin to a train wreck.

Need an example?

“Well, there are these girls, and they live in this forest that is haunted, only it’s not really haunted so much as it is just… alive. And, well, they start having all these problems, and there’s this bear that keeps leaving them piles of teeth- like… animal teeth, you know?- and… and…”

It’s never pretty. I need to work on my talking skills, you guys.

Anyway, I don’t know how I feel about my new logline. I’m going to let it sit and take another look at it in a week or so.

Here is the blog post I used to help me form it.

Next up will be an elevator pitch ๐Ÿ™‚

Okay, now I have to know something: when people ask you what your story is about, do you nail it or flub it?


a nook for a writer

20 Jun

I’ve had so many ideas for blog post circling around in my head -researching for novels, interests and how to priorities them, new book finds- but right now is not the blogging season for me. Adelveiss turned three-months-old yesterday. Enough said, I think.

When the time comes, I’ll have lots of content worked up. Until them, check out what I’m working on now.

I give you, my writing nook:


It is, in fact, a closet under the stairs which makes me feel an awful lot like Harry Potter (!). Trim still needs to go up in all those places where the walls meets, and my husband hasn’t put in all the shelves that will go up the stairs, but it’s coming together so well. Add a lamp and a rug, and it will be dreamy.

Many fine books will be written from this closet. I can feel it.

I’ll post progress photos as I take them!



i hope you’re scared

24 Apr


Remember my post about doing things scared? You know – the one that talked about how when you’re doing something and you’re scared you need to just , well, do it scared?

I’ve been thinking about that post a lot lately.

Because writing can be scarey. And I can’t seem to stop myself from writing.

I’ve been back at it since Adelveiss arrived, sending out queries for CSSW and jumping into the next project because it helps to settle my nerves. The truth is, I love querying. I missed it while I worked on CSSW, and I’m happy to be back at it, even if it does freak me out. Sometimes it feels good to be freaked out! It feels… hopeful. Like anything could happen.

And my next project is ridiculously fun, though altogether different from CSSW.

Anyway, I wanted to assure you guys that I am scared.

And I wanted to tell you –

I hope you’re a little scared too. In the very best of ways.




oh, baby – it’s time to slow down

31 Mar

I had a baby 12 days ago, and today is my husband’s first day back at work. This means several things:

  • I’m wildly in love with a new, little person.
  • My kids are doing significantly less math.
  • My home is a mess.

I’m completely fine with these three things. Look at this face and try and tell me that a sink full of dishes is a big deal…

IMGP0096 (2) IMGP0141 (3)

This is Adelveiss Leigh Burns. Her first name is inspired by the edelweiss flower and is the result of me watching The Sound of Music during early pregnancy. This, of course, is her song:

Her middle name is also my mother’s middle name. A beautiful name now shared by two beautiful ladies ๐Ÿ™‚

I want my babies to slow me down, slow me way down, and Adel has been doing just that. The determined writer who spent the winter waking up at 5:30 and milked each hour of the day for more writing time is now in hibernation, replaced by a mama bear more interested in the quality of her milk supply than the number of her word count. I’m catching up on reading and going over flawed story aspects as well as potential fixes, but they circle in the far back of my mind, and I only let my attention drift there when all else has gone quiet.

Wake up time has been moved to 9 AM, the to-do list has been abandoned, and my expectations have been… significantly adjusted.

Here is all I want out of today:

  • Make some food
  • Make homemade play dough with the “big” kids
  • Love my family and myself well
  • Bless God

Dishes and toilets and word counts don’t make the list; they will soon enough because babies grow too quickly, but not yet.