Critique Matters

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Hello!

Today I have been working on a novel that I had abandoned. For what reason, I don’t know. I probably got off on another creative adventure. Shocking, huh!

So, here’s what’s on my mind. I’d like to revisit this novel. I haven’t really fully edited it yet, but, I’d like to take an honest approach to getting it published. I know I have work to do and have reached out to groups for some honest critiques, but I thought I’d give my readers a chance at it first.

Let’s be honest, you would be my audience, right? Or maybe intrigued enough to read through this first page and tell me three things:

~ Does it capture your attention enough to turn the page?

~ Are the characters, this far, likable?

~ Should I trash it and try again?

Please leave comments or feel free to email me at Debbuckingham (at) yahoo (dot) com. I always enjoy hearing from my readers.

Thank you! Write On!

Deb


All Lacy Parker wanted was a little breathing room and the only place she could find it was in her bathtub. Even though the bubbles were flat and the water was getting cold, Lacy took this time to reflect on her complicated life, especially the last few months concerning Dawson’s infidelity. The four years they spent married was rocky, some would say . . .  insane.

Dawson was frantically packing for his tour to Iraq; a tour that would hopefully prove more successful on his return.

The letter sat unopened on the kitchen table.  A promise of a new tomorrow felt deep within Lacy’s heart as she heard the front door slam.

“Dawson . . .” Lacy howled louder. “Dawson.” Tears ran down her face leaving track marks through her makeup, only to realize he may not return.

Lacy sank further into her cold water, tears of anger welled up inside. A goodbye would have been nice.

“Hey . . . Lacy,” Dawson’s voice took up the silence, “You here?”

How didn’t he know where she was? Maybe he thought she went outside.

“Yea, Dawson, I’m up here.” Lacy jumped from the tub and wrapped an oversized towel around her thin frame; long blond tendrils lay wet against her shoulders. The knock on the bathroom door indicated Dawson was there.  She opened the door wide enough for him to walk in. Her towel fell to the tile floor as Dawson wrapped his strong tattooed arms around her.

Inspiration from a quiet place

Nighttime is quiet, other than the low hum of the diffuser, which large amounts of steam escape through the pin-like hole on the top. Drops of eucalyptus oil swirl around inside.

I’m awake, too miserable to sleep. The coughs come quickly, yet profusely. I look across the room, dimly lit by the one lamp on the table. My reader sits awaiting that next page to turn. My knitting sits beside it.

It’s 3:00 am, the clock tells me. Far from time to get up. I twist my neck to the side, take in a deep breathe. Ouch. Will this night ever end? Eventually, I hope to sleep. In the meantime, it’s me, my thoughts and my iPad.

Ever have those sleepless nights where it’s your own worries, a cold, or other ailment that keeps you awake? It’s probably the best time to reflect. Take a moment to think of all the things that inspire you. Clearly, it’s the quiet house that makes your mind go crazy, your thoughts to run wild.

I rally around those thoughts, and wonder what next year wil look like for my design business. My writing. What inspiring thoughts can I have that will be effective in creating the inspiration for the (master) plan.

Do you know what I mean?

I can feel the cough subsiding, the essential oils doing their thing. My eyes are getting tired, but now my mind is moving.

2016 feels like the year to up the anti with my business. Create another facet to the ever popular Dishcloth Diva, me. Reaching into the vaults, or my computer archives and pulling out those patterns I love so much and recreating them. Repurposing them, if you will. Inspiring to be that next superstar in the fiber industry.

Oh wait! I am!

Or maybe writing that next novel, memoir, or industry type of book. Spinning tales of my yarn business, how/why it’s led me to where I am.

Sigh…it’s time to close the iPad, turn off the lamp and attempt to get some sleep. It feels like a good time to say, thanks for being my loyal fan, my reader, or however you have come to me. I appreciate you. I know we all have inspirations. For me, apparently, they come in the middle of the night.

Night all!

Deb

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Why Knitting and Crochet are the new Yoga

It’s been said, that knitting has many health benefits. Really?!

Yep, it does. I want to cover 5 reasons people knit or crochet…

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  1. Knitting can be used as a form of therapy. If you have ever gone through depression, you know that doing something outside the box can help. Knitting or crochet can motivate you to connect with the world outside your four walls. It builds confidence and self esteem. Depression is real. Just setting aside 1o minutes a day to relax and knit/crochet, you will feel like a new person. Here’s an article for you to read. 
  2. Knitting/Crochet is extremely relaxing; a great stress reliever, anxiety reducer. There’s been much study done on muscular relaxation and how it has a direct correlation to a relaxation response. It can decrease heart rate, muscular tension and blood pressure. It’s a Zen-like activity. Ask me how I know! I’ve found that knitting has improved my overall health. Here’s an interesting article on just this topic.
  3. Knitting/Crochet connects people through belonging to groups with like-minded individuals. Here’s a link to a great article on the Lion Brand Website.
  4. Knitting/Crochet can help reduce the risk of dementia/Alzheimers. Yet, another article for you to read. 
  5. Knitting/Crochet just plain makes people happy. If you knit or crochet, you know exactly what I’m talking about. My husband will be the first to say, Deb, go knit. It’s where your happy place is. And, OH! How true that is.

I recommend you sit back and take a look at this amazing craft. Not only will you have fun, but you will knit/crochet yourself into a healthier, happier life. Knitting IS the new Yoga.

As I always say,

Knit On!2b779-greenbeanie_preview

Deb

Growing Through the Seasons

Would you agree that growing takes you to that next level?

Absolutely!

Would you (also) agree that if you don’t, you could lose site of what your ultimate goal is/was?

Absolutely!

Why, you ask, am I asking these questions?

Because we all go through this one time or another. It’s the ever changing seasons of life. I believe in the process. I believe there are four seasons. I believe that the dreaded winter precedes beautiful spring. I believe there’s a time and place for everything. I also believe when you feel “stuck”, it’s the opportunity to grow.

There’s more to just winter, spring, summer and fall. There’s the ever changing reflection that takes place within us. You must take personal responsibility. What is it that makes you tick? You can’t change the season, but you can change yourself. Time will pass and seasons come and go, but it’s the changing within ourselves that pulls us up and out and allows us the opportunity to grow.

Yes, I am there. I’m in the sweet spot of my life; the place I feel there IS that next step. I’m an entrepreneur. I’m a knitting designer. I’m an author. I’m a writer. I love to photograph “things”. I love what comes next…

Growth!

What season are you in? What makes you tick? I feel that knowledge is power, and when faced with the decision to grow, it’s important to have ammunition.

So, as I always say,

Write On!

Deb

And So On…

Summer has finally come to a close. The months where the temps are too hot, the bugs too buggy, and the only solace you get is sitting in your air conditioned home.

Do you get the sense summers aren’t my favorite?

Right?!

Fall is upon us. The months where the leaves are changing their reds, oranges, and yellows, the bugs have long gone, and the temps are more than perfect.

My favorite time of year.

It’s also the time I’m inspired to do something new, or new(er).

Writing (again).

My summer was filled with knitting pattern design, working with (knitting) magazines to firm up the release of my new patterns, keeping up with my Etsy shop and answering knitters questions. Busy, but blissful.

What am I up to now, you ask?

A writing contest. Harlequins, You Think You can Write, contest. Romance writers like me send in their first chapter to be judged by over 50 judges in their extensive lines at Harlequein. The winner will be chosen in November to win a 2 book contract among other goodies.

I’m in!! All the way!

After completing NaNoWriMo (refer to earlier posts), I had a complete novel that I believed to NOT suck. After editing (and you also know if you’ve been following that I edited along the way–that’s how I roll), I feel this piece is ready for the eyes of one fantastic editor.

Wish me luck! Submissions begin next week, September 22nd.

I’ll keep you informed!

Write On!

Deb

NaNoWriMo Day 26

Wow! is all I can say. The fact that I can’t wait to get the next chapter written even though my story is character driven and Morgan drives the plot, well, it’s a thrill.

I spent a couple hours at Starbucks this afternoon, sipping on coffee and water and writing the next chapter. Yes, I’m still behind, but slowly creeping up. I’ve been able to write 2 chapters a day to catch up before Thanksgiving Day hits. That’s an average of about 3500 words a day. Now, why didn’t I manage to stay on target with only 1667 words a day. How much easier would that have been?

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I must make it difficult, I think. 

Nah…It’s all good. 

I have really enjoyed the writing process. I must confess. Just last Wednesday, my husband looked at me and said, “I have to tell you something, and you may not be happy with me. You will finish this NaNoWriMo. You will. I need you to feel this sense of accomplishment. You need to feel this sense of accomplishement. You started this to get your writing mojo back. You can do this. So write.”

Or something to that extent. That’s what I heard him say, anyway. 

So…I write. And write. And write.

I’m listening to Nora Jones and typing away at my craft table in my basement where I just finished the 2nd chapter for the day. I’ve written 41,854 words since November 1st. I WILL have 50,000 by Saturday. That’s ONLY 8,146 words to go.

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Check out the meter. We are almost done. Well, I am anyway.

Are you?? Are you?

So, as I always say,

Write On!

Deb

 

NaNoWriMo Day 24

I know. I know. I haven’t posted anything in about a week. Life happens, right? 🙂

The release of my second (knitting) book happened on Friday, but I spent much of that week cleaning things up with it. *squee* Too excited.

My 50,000 word novel WILL get finished. I promise you that! I have the ambition this year to finish, a well written novel, at that. I’ve done much editing, despite what they say should happen. I’ve taken a few days off, despite what should have happened, yet I will finish. And on time. I have never EVER got this far in 30 days. Huge accomplishment for me!

Winner! Needs to be the word come Sarurday night.

I’ve been writing 2 chapters a day for the last 2 days, and will do that until I’m caught up. I have left Thursday, Thanksgiving, to only 1 chapter. I have to cook the meal and my family will be here to eat it. 

I find I write well in a coffee shop for the first chapter, then pack up to come home. I knit for awhile, then finish up the next chapter for the day at my dining room table. 

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How are you doing? I mean, really. I would love you to leave a comment so I know I’m not alone in this.

Word Count Accomplished: 33,459 (words remaining 16,541)

So, as I always say, 

Write On!

Deb

 

 

 

NaNoWriMo Day 7

One week down! 3 more to go!

WooHoo!

I’m really kinda diggin’ this writing stuff. After one week, 7 days, of consistent writing, my mojo is coming back. Or should we say, IS back!

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I am finding that writing in the evening seems to be my thing. I used to think that mid morning, through lunch, to early afternoon was when my writing mojo kicked in.

I’m truly just excited that it has kicked in.

Today was busy with finalizing (seriously finalizing) my second knitting book. With that behind me (though book signings and promo things now ahead), I can concentrate on getting through November and NaNo.

How about you? How are you doing after 1 week of writing?

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Word Count Accomplished!

Words completed to date: 11,748 (38,252 words remaining)

Yes, I’ve verified the word count on my NaNoWriMo page. Have you?

Keep writing friends!

You fail only if you stop writing.

– Ray Bradbury

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Music playing on my Ipod: None. The hum of of customers in the cafe ring in my ear

Beverage of choice: Hot Green tea

Place I chose to write: Barnes and Noble Cafe

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So, as I say, my friends,

Write On!

Deb

NaNoWriMo Day 6

Sigh…

Writing every day is something I’m really beginning to enjoy. Though, I’m finding that having to do book edits, fill Etsy orders, errands, etc…It’s challenging at times.

I won’t quit! I’m almost 7 days in (tomorrow). That makes it 1/5 of the word count completed.

How about you? Have you found that writing is becoming more of a habit than “Oh, my gosh, I HAVE to write yet today and it’s already 8:00 PM.”

No? Good!

That’s the one thing I was hoping to gain from this. The other thing that I’m finding kind of cool is that when you do write everyday, you remember more of the story, so having to go back and read it because you haven’t visited it in over a week…well, ‘nuf said, right?

I started out at a fantastic coffee shop, Wesley Owens, where I ate some lunch and wrote just a bit. Only a bit. My brain wasn’t engaging very well, so I packed up (after only about 300 words) and went shopping. Hobby Lobby to buy yarn, which then turned into Christmas decorations.

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Word count accomplished!

Words completed to date: 10,113 (39,887 words remaining)

Yes, I’ve verified the word count on my NaNoWriMo page. Have You?

Keep on writing! Don’t give up. I’m not!

Don’t give up.
There are too many nay-sayers out there who will try to discourage you.
Don’t listen to them.
The only one who can make you give up is yourself.
– Sidney Sheldon

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Music playing on my Ipod: Nora Jones

Beverage(s) of choice: Carmel flavored iced tea at Wesley Owens. Iced Coffee at home

Place(s) I chose to write: Wesley Owens this morning. My desk in my loft this evening.

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So (my friends), as I always say,

Write On!

Deb

 

 

 

NaNoWriMo Day 5

Day 5!

Fantastic feeling, huh? Are you able to keep consistent with the word count of 1667?

I am!

Not that it was easy today. You see, this post is at almost 8:00 pm. That means I just finished. It truly was a horrible, no good day. It started with a sleepless night.

I couldn’t get to the coffee pot quick enough this morning. Forget the 9 oz Keurig cup! I was going for the 20 oz Starbucks cup. I made enough in my coffee maker to fill it, and with some remaining in case that didn’t do the trick.

You know, sometimes when my day starts out that way (and it doesn’t happen often, really), I do Pilates. It helps to calm me. I had so much to do today, and things I need to do.

In walks (a good) distraction: a phone call from my daughter, who’s a teacher, saying my granddaughter wasn’t having a good day herself and could use a bit of grandma love. Armed with Subway, I headed off to school to spend lunchtime with my precious Jasmine.

Back home, I open up my email to find a list of to-dos from my publisher asking me to fix this and check that for my book release later this month. Annoyed, but excited, I proceeded.

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Fast forward: Word Count Accomplished!
Words completed to date: 8361 (41,639 words remaining)

FYI…I learned a valuable lesson last night. Copy and paste your story into “check word count” on your NaNo page. I did and it calculated 6685 last night. My app calculated 6700. Just a good thing to know going forward.

Keep writing. The path is long, but it’s about the journey.  The payoff is a sense of accomplishment and a “win” for you! Let’s do this.

Are you in all the way with me? It’s not going to be easy, but it will be worth it!!

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Music playing on my Ipod: Nora Jones

Beverage of Choice: Orange Mango Juice

Place I chose to write: My dining room table

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So, as I always say,

Write On!

Deb