Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday Favorite: Growing Lollipops

I'm not much of a gardener, but even I didn't mess this one up.

Plant jelly beans the day before Easter.

And just look at what blooms on Easter morning!

Monday, April 14, 2014

My Writing Process Blog Tour

Sunshine makes me want to go on vacation.  (Not that there's any sunshine today, but there was last week.) So, with the sun shining, I agreed when Kristin Nador (of Kristin Nador Writes Anywhere)  invited me along on her My Writing Process Blog Tour.  

Hey, I’ll take any vacation—even a virtual one.  Would you like to join me?

Taking a break at a writing retreat
Before going on a trip, there’s always paperwork. So, here's where I earn it.

What am I working on?

Picture books.  I've written a couple of novels and was well into another, when I decided to take a detour. It feels good to travel off the beaten path for a change.

How does my work differ from other of its genre? 

Whether it's novels or picture books, I like to write about possibilities in a world where what you think you see isn't always what you get. I play with the idea of "Okay, it's not real, but why not...are you sure?"

Why do I write what I do?

I write about "the magic of everyday life" on my blog. Most of my YA work has fantastical elements with hints of magic in our regular world, which lends itself nicely to picture books. Recently, I decided to practice the “write what you know” adage.  We devour picture books in this house.  We have stacks and shelves of them. In my former life as a high school teacher, I felt that I had never really left high school. Now,  I'm living and breathing picture books.  Everywhere I turn, I see magical possibilities through the sparkling enthusiasm of my children as well as their intense, face covering drama.  Children see the world as a magical place full of possibilities, and I like the idea we share that perspective. I enjoy parallel worlds where something isn't quite what it seems.   That explains childhood pretty well.

I enjoy writing novels, but labyrinthine plot lines require large chunks of time from me.  With picture books, I can work on a single big idea. Writers go into the world to gather ideas and feed their creativity. I just have to listen to the kids' stream of consciousness chatter. I've heard of writers doing drugs to have creative injections. I have psychedelic creativity padding into my bedroom at 5:58 AM whispering, " Mom.  Mom.  I wanna tell you a story."

How does your writing process work? 

Give me tea (preferably one with bergamot), a baked good, and either a computer or journal, and I'll write. I envy people who churn out novels while chaos surrounds them. That's a challenge, but I'll take what I can get.   Still, a nice, three hour chunk is ideal. It allows me to revisit my most recent writing adventures, experience more and then review them. It's a nice vacation from life into my imaginary world. However, I usually get an hour.  I work best when I get time on a consistent basis so my brain can play with problems and possibilities for the characters before I return to the computer and write it down. I love that feeling of living my writing life in my head while I'm doing something mundane like folding laundry.

Thanks for your interest in my writing process. Mark your itinerary for next Monday when each of the following authors will tell you about her process.

Sonia Gensler is the award-winning author of THE REVENANT (2011) and THE DARK BETWEEN (2013), both from Alfred A. Knopf. She blogs a little about writing, but more often about reading, travel, TV and movies over at

Gayleen Rabakukk enjoys creating stories that explore the mysteries of days gone by, both real and imagined. Find her online at

Stephanie Clinton is a mommy blogger who writes about family, food, and all that goes with it (including the hard stuff) over at Hugs, Kisses, and Snot. She will also be featured in Oklahoma City's 2014 Listen to Your Mother Show.

Happy travels!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday Favorite: It's in the eye of the beholder

Me: (wiping at a smudge) What on earth is this yucky gunk on your face?
Alexandra: (batting her eyes) It's a beauty mark.
Placing sprinkles on bananas and peanut butter

She sleeps in a tiara, wears a tutu with sweatpants, and fights with her brother over whether her imaginary jewelry makes rainbows or not.

Perspective is a magical thing.  If one looks from the wrong angle, life can be pretty dirty and ugly. I want to borrow my daughter's viewpoint. Maybe she wears a lot of bandaids because she gets scraped up along the way, but she embraces her pretty bandages as accessories. If she can turn a chocolate covered scrape under her eye into a beauty mark, then what else can transform with the right attitude?

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Pregnant Pauses #1

Each time I attempt this series, my mind turns into marshmallow goo folding into itself. My thoughts become those wispy clouds that disappear on second glance, perhaps never consisting of any substance and existing only in my imagination.  My heart...well, my heart hurts because it doesn't want to remember.

I suppose it makes sense that my brain turns off when asked to recall our struggle with infertility.  It was an emotional experience in which I simultaneously battled my body and the cosmos. Answers, logic, and reason never applied.

"I don't think you can ever get pregnant," the doctors said.

"Genetic abnormality is the only explanation for the miscarriage," the doctors said.

"Circumstances were ideal for the transfer. We don't know why it didn't work," the doctors said.

Every menstrual period was an exclamation point on the end of our painful infertility sentence, rudely interrupting our hope.

Like many couples, we kept the secret for a long time, but last year, I shared it with anyone who was interested. You can click the video below to watch Step Right Up to the Game of Love.

Listen to Your Mother OKC

This February, on the LTYM blog, I committed to a monthly post about infertility so that other women will know they aren't alone.  This post is the first one.

I almost didn't follow through.  However,  three women in the last couple of months have reached out to me with their struggles.  After all that's happened, I still believe in signs. And I think these women were nudging me to be vocal for all of those who are searching the internet for someone else who might understand the crushing, painful, exhausting confusion of infertility.

My purpose is to give strength to those who are Parents-in-Waiting.  You are not alone.  Your story is unique. Each journey is your own.  However, the desire to count ten tiny, perfect fingers and ten tiny, perfect toes is a common one.  Check back with me each month as I share part of my journey.  I'll be brave for you because I know you are mustering bravery, too.