2017 Something New: Glome’s Valley and Return to Glome’s Valley

     The forests of Oklahoma are magical and is the setting for a Peter Pan-type Oklahoma fairytale, Glome’s Valley and the soon-to-be-released Return to Glome’s Valley.

When Ethan came to Heavener, Oklahoma he didn’t believe in ghosts, fairies, or smelly trolls.  He never had a sword fight and never helped rescue a princess.  But there was a first time for everything.

He was sure he would be bored on this trip and missed his friends back home, but he quickly made new ones.

While his father tried to solve the mysteries surrounding the Heavener Runestone, Ethan was solving his own mysteries and exploring the valleys in the area where his dad  worked.

The Festival of the Full Moon was right around the corner and Ethan and his new friends had to rescue Hilda from her flowery prison before the trolls came for her.

But Loki also worked his magic and Ethan’s father might have to summon Thor’s help with the app on his phone that converts ancient Futhark into English.

Check out Glome’s Valley on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, in paperback or e-published.  It is also available at the Heavener Runestone Park gift shop.

Return to Glome’s Valley will be released this summer. Keep an eye out for the cover reveal coming soon!

 

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Small Pleasures from the Garden

Ilove this Shannon! I may try to make some.

lifeongreenheronpond

In late May Dan and I had just returned from a road trip visiting siblings across Iowa and Wisconsin. These two states boast some of the most lush, organized and pristine countrysides I recollect ever seeing.  The farms and fields in both Wisconsin and Iowa are impeccable or so it appears to occupants of speeding vehicles. This vehicular observer watched the undulating green, the orderly rows of crops, farm implements, houses and barns with great amazement.  Kansas lands rarely boast as great an order or green due to our frequent winds, blast furnace summers and “dip down past zero” winters.  I think it is the extremes that spell the difference here.  However, since we have returned to Kansas and the June calendar says Summer, the strong winds have been sporadic and leisurely rain showers have caught us unawares; making the days more temperate- giving the illusion of a soft warm…

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2017 Something New: Garlic

             A few years ago, a nice lady gave me some garlic to plant.  I knew nothing about it, but I had a small budding herb garden and I found a place to put it.  It was early fall and she said to plant it now and I should be able to use it in the spring.

            Believe it or not, it came up!

            By mid-summer it was it was dead – or so I thought.  Like I said, I knew nothing about garlic so I was completely surprised when it reappeared in the fall.  What was I supposed to do with this stuff?  She had it growing outside the house and it covered one side of a shed waist high.  I had a small plant or two and no ideas. 

            I dug up one plant to see what I had, looking for the traditional globe with cloves inside –  it looked like a green onion.  I put it back in the ground, apologized, and gave it water.

            This year they are back and began to curl and put out a seed pod.  This top was what I was given to plant.  I found out they are a head of tiny garlic grains that can be used whole and unpeeled in place of minced garlic. http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/gardening/advice/a18057/growing-garlic-460709/

            I still have not harvested the garlic and let it dry like I should.        

            In my tiny herb garden, I have Rosemary, Lavender, Dill, Chives, Garlic and enough basil to take care of the county.  It comes up from seed dropped the year before, even in the cracks of the concrete.  If I had some tomatoes, I could make a killer spaghetti sauce. 

            Anyone have any tomatoes in the Enid area?

 

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2017 Something New: Characters You Can’t Kill

    I saw the newest Pirates of the Caribbean – Dead Men Tell No Tales yesterday.  I’ve always loved these movies brought to life from a ride at Disney Land.  The writers knew they had a goldmine before they even started.  And they took the idea and made it better.  They created unforgettable characters. 

Capt. Jack Sparrow is a loveable, disgusting, drunk who never runs out of luck.  He makes the stories – and Johnny Depp takes the character and makes it huge.  But before Johnny Depp, there was the writer who created this creature. 

I marveled at the creativity behind this character.  What made him so adorable and enduring? Why do we root for the underdog, the womanizer, pirate, and man-without-a-bath?  Could it be that we identify with him?  Or could it be that we tend to believe that underdogs put forth more effort than top-dogs, or use all available resources to their advantage? Underdogs are not expected to win and that is what makes them extraordinary.

Jack Sparrow certainly uses all available resources to his advantage.  Remember the chase round and round the water wheel, his meeting with the Kraken face to face, or the guillotine in the latest movie?

Creating a memorable character takes exaggeration.  Of all the things you know about the character you’ve created, what one or two things can you exaggerate to make it larger than life?  Because that is your goal. Jack Sparrow drinks more than most people’s liver could accommodate and still he can run from the bad guys when most of us would be sleeping it off.

What are your character’s goals in life?  Jack Sparrow had only one goal in life – to captain the Black Pearl – alive or dead.  He had no connections to anyone, no family, no responsibilities to anyone but himself.  He was free to do whatever he pleased and he pleased to be drunk and a pirate.

Creating an underdog is more fun than a hero – unless your underdog is the hero.  As an underdog, he can bumble his way through life making mistakes that would stop most mortal men.  Maybe you could make your hero clumsy, ugly, or wretched in some way  so that other characters don’t expect much from him.  But they will be surprised.

I’m on a quest to create a marvelous unforgettable character in my current WIP.  I still have not achieved that goal.  But much like an underdog, I will eventually get the job done, because I have resources. 

What’s your latest WIP?

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2017 Something New: Working Through the Writing Process

    #amwriting and with that, #amconfused.

I began a new novel lately that I based on three short stories I’d written earlier.  So cool, I thought!  Half of it is already done for me. This will be great. Hah! As all writers know, writing comes from the heart and is an expression of your artistic view of the world.  You can’t rush art.

And I had to start all over again on the fabulous idea I had.

First of all, it didn’t follow the rules of story structure with all the abstract characters.  The short stories were good but they didn’t meld into one big novel.  How could I get these characters to all go after one common goal – and then there was the new protagonist.

My story was all over the place.  I had to write and rewrite making sure my main character was in charge.  What if . . ., no that won’t work.  Okay, then if . . . I outlined.  I broke my story into three acts.  I wrote out the internal and external conflict of my protagonist and made sure I had one antagonist – not a whole platoon of them. She couldn’t fight the world and win.

Finally, I had to admit that the three short stories had to just be characterizations and back story.  I couldn’t use the short stories as the basis of this novel.  The basis was the new main character and her blending with the others.    

So, I took out the short stories – keeping them handy just in case – and began again.  This time I concentrated on the main character’s struggles and making sure her stakes were high enough to keep her going toward a main goal.  Then the short story characters could come in to help now and then. 

The answer to my problem was – you can’t take shortcuts.  You must begin at the beginning and, like eating an elephant, you do it one bite at a time.

I’m back on track now and beginning some work with my critique group.  They are the backbone of all my writing and if they had seen the mess I made in the beginning, they’d still be laughing. 

#amwriting and no longer confused.

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The Importance of June 1st!

This is great, Shannon! I need to get busy!

lifeongreenheronpond

I have debated as to whether share this post today or on some later June date so as to not make anyone feel the least bit guilty about June 1st, as I am inclined to.  It merely has to do with my mom (this is not a diatribe) and is only an observation of a day and a saying.

calendar June 2 This 1995 Calendar works great this year…

My mother died during my son’s infancy and I remember how much I longed to chat with her through the various stages of that early “momhood”.  It was not to be, so I began to think about how I could “hear” her voice through the memories of her laughter, her wisdom, wit and her sayings.  There are many but today I will focus on her saying about June 1st.  “If you don’t get things done on June 1st, they will not get done!”

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2017 Something New: The Road Most Traveled

    I’ve been off the grid lately and running up and down the roads from northern Oklahoma to southern Texas and back again more than a few times.

I traveled to OWFI in Oklahoma City earlier this month and barely returned home in time to start again heading south down the road to Texas. 

We met some cousins in Fredericksburg, TX, enjoyed a wonderful WWII museum, shopped, drank too much wine, and ate too much food.  It was a great week.

Last weekend it was Gainesville, TX.  It is becoming a ghost town.  The huge outlet mall off I-35 is empty.  (I had thoughts of a dystopian story winding around in my brain when I looked at it.) We attempted to visit a lavender fest that was full up and sold out.  We failed.  It hailed on my car in the parking lot during the night and I won $15 in a casino. We had a good time. 

I think I’m home for the summer now.  Lots of editing awaiting my return and some friends that need my help on a few things. The weeds in the flower bed are very healthy. I have lots to do. 

I love traveling, but I think I need to space it out a little better.  My suitcase has been in the bedroom for a month in various stages of packing.  Time to put it up for a while.

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