Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Beware of the Two-Edged Sword that is Find and Replace!

For anyone out there in Cyberland with less experience than me using this wonderful tool (my kids are laughing, "not likely"). I have used this tool for about three years and haven't run across this problem before. I got lazy. This can be a handy tool if used correctly. I have used it to replace character names when I change my mind, or if I get historical details wrong, I can make corrections, etc. BUT, in my current wip, I used 'Pa' to refer to my hero's father and decided to change it to 'Da' for a wee bit of accent. Find and replace went beyond the call of duty and found every -pa- inside of other words as well, changing pain into Dain, and compare into comDare. I should've put 'pa' in the find box and searched one at a time, but I clicked on replace all. If I was a quick thinker I could've clicked on undo and fixed it, but alas, I am not (though I have always wanted to be). After trying this with two other words I finally learned my lesson. I put 'about' in the find box and went to search each instance of that word. I don't know what I clicked on, but every 'about' in my entire book was deleted. So, "be ye warned, lest ye create more werk fer yersef than ye save!"

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

The Secret is one of my favorite books. It is simply written and easy to understand. As far as religion goes, it is rather generic so it can fit all denominations. In my mind, it fits well with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It explains the whys of gospel principles. I have always felt that the Lord does not need our obedience and gratitude. He asks us to obey and to be grateful so He can continue to bless our lives.
I am, by nature, more negative than positive. This book helped me to see that I can change my focus and attract more good things into my life. Don't get me wrong, I still have an occasional pity party, but they are less frequent. This last year, I wanted to work closer to home. I was transferred to a hospital 5 minutes away. I also really wanted to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. My company, at that time, paid for me to work for 1 week in Florida. I had a 3 hour drive, but I got there, and spent very little of my own money. I would like to work from home, I also had that experience. I wanted to be able to write full time from home, and I'm enjoying that experience now. Besides continued good health for me and my loved ones, I would like to have my house paid off. I am learning to be grateful in advance. I have a wonderful life! My only problem with this book is that I keep lending it out and it never finds its way back home.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd


Posted by Cherie M.
I recently read the book "The Secret Life of Bees" by Sue Monk Kidd. Before reading this book, I had not heard of anything written by Ms. Kidd. The only reason I read this book is because I was in Costco a few weeks ago and was looking at the books. I saw the cover and recognized several actresses on the front that I really like (Queen Latifah, Dakota Fanning, and Jennifer Hudson). That caught my attention. So I picked it up to see what it was about. Very briefly, it’s about a white 14 year old girl, Lily, in 1964 South Carolina whose mother died when she was 4. She is raised by an abusive father and a black nanny, Rosaleen. Circumstances lead to Lily and Rosaleen leaving and ending up in another town in a home where 3 black sisters live who raise bees.
Under normal circumstances, after reading the description, I doubt I would have purchased the book. It sounded somewhat depressing to me. But because of the movie ( released in October 2008), and the three actresses I really enjoy, I decided to buy it. My only regret is that I didn’t stumble upon this gem of a story sooner.
The first chapter just grabbed hold of my imagination. The description of Lily’s initial encounter with bees was unbelievable. Ms. Kidd’s writing style is so rich; you have no trouble imagining what is happening in the story. She doesn’t over describe people or situations, it’s her choice of words and how she arranges them. You can feel the physical pain, sense the heat of the summer, experience the joy when it unexpectedly happens.
My heart ached so often for young Lily as she struggled to deal with the circumstances of her mother’s death and her unknowing search for loving family and friends. How I would love to have the wisdom of August (one of the three black sisters). The culmination of the book is so fulfilling. It doesn’t end with the nice fairytale ending, but how it needed to end.
At the conclusion, I felt so satisfied. It was if I had just eaten the perfect meal; great appetizer, a nice, warm entree and finishing with just a little bit of something sweet. Not too much of any one thing, just perfectly gratified and grateful for reading the book.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Relics of the Past

I'd like to share with you treasures I found. This is a pen and mechanical pencil set manufactured by Kreko, popular in the 1930's. Rumor has it that the barrels are made from polished tortoise shell. It is marbelized but the material is actually unknown. Plastics were not big yet. The pen and pencil measure a dainty 3 1/2 inches. The pocket knife is about 2 1/2 inches. The fountain pen has a gold Peter Pan nib (too early for cartridges). The set is in near perfect condition. This set is not really valuable except to me. What makes them valuable to me is that it belonged to my grandmother who died when I was 18 months old. I imagine to myself that she treasured this set, probably given to her by someone very dear. I have a lot of treasures of my grandmother; dish towels she embroidered, pillow cases she embellished, and doilies she crocheted. My son and my husband recently refinished this dish cupboard that belonged to that same grandmother. The bottom doors pulled out into bins. These things give me the feeling of knowing her. This is, perhaps, the main reason I enjoy history and antiques so much. They give me the comforting feel and flavor of those who went before.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Outlining

Speaking of productivity and lists--I found this on one of the author blogs I follow. It is a page of J. K. Rowling's outline for The Order of the Phoenix. Notice how she organizes her chapters with a time frame and how she keeps track of the different story lines. This is a great help. I outlined one of my wip this way and it really helped me to see what was going on in different lines in the same time frame. It also showed me, much to my dismay, all of the gaping holes in my plot that I have yet to deal with. Thanks to Margot Hovley for sharing this with us at the American Fork Arts Council Writer's Workshop.
www.margothovley.com/2010/10/12/plotting-one-good-way/jkrowlingpage/

Productivity

     I struggle with productivity. I've posted about ways to save time and multitask, but when it gets right down to it--I'm holding myself back. So far my efforts have been based on the amount of time spent. I decided to set my daily goals as tasks accomplished instead of time spent. Some days it may take more time to acheive the goal and other days I may finish early.
     I have a writing journal where I track my progress. In the past, I've used several different authors' suggestions on how to set it up. I found with some suggestions it took me as much time to write down the list of ten items, and how I felt about it as it did to actually do the list. I simplified my daily tracking journal into the following outline:

1--date, day, time
2--goal(s) for the day (be realistic here)
3--evaluate (did you finish?)
4--goal(s) for tomorrow

     Don't stress over whether you finish or not. Just add that on to the goal for tomorrow. This helps me remember what I need to focus on and where I got to.
     As far as the rest of my life goes, my 'to do' list is divided into four columns.  My column headers are Family, Church, Personal, Work. This helps me keep track of all my responsibilities at a glance.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sunday Morning Papers


I read Mosiah chapter 18 this morning. Alma preaches and baptizes in the Waters of Mormon. I was impressed by the courage of those people who listened to Alma, were converted, and baptized knowing they put the lives of their families in danger. If the King became aware they would be hunted down. I thought of my own conversion. I've never had that type of opposition. Would I be that brave? For some, opposition makes them bolder, more daring. For example, the Catholic Church prospered more in the latter end of 16th century England when it was illegal to practice Catholicism. At one point, the English government and the Church of England extended an olive branch, an offer of reconciliation, agree to disagree of sorts, and live in peace. The officials of the Catholic church turned down this offer because they noticed a sharp increase in their membership during the times of greatest opposition. Part of me can't help but wonder if anything is all that important until we are told we can't have it. Sometimes I don't give an item a second thought until someone says I can't have or can't do. Then it becomes all important. I think I finally realize why opposition is so necessary. I have always complained about it, but apparently it is what motivates mortal beings into action. (Actually written in February to my other blog)