Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Manuscript Research and Character Development

I recently got some feedback from some beta readers, "Your protagonist is too boring."

This is the last thing that anyone would want to hear. It may or may not be a difficult thing to change - but it is vitally important.  A unique character is crucial in manuscript progression. At first I loathed my beta readers and almost deleted them from my list. Well not really, but it was an initial reaction.

We all want beta readers to be honest and helpful. In this case, they were both. So, I sat down and thought about how would I bring depth to my character. I thought of two things; difficult moral choice and interesting hobby. Of course, I could have gone with a dozen other things, but this is where I felt that intrigue and depth could be accomplished.

For Difficult Moral Choice I easily chose Abstaining from Alcohol. In our society, this is a difficult thing to do. But, I felt that I could make the character interesting by setting down a rule. He wouldn't drink alcohol.  Then later he would explain why.  It happened to be a college acquaintance that died from alcohol toxicity.  Then during the story he breaks his own rule.  I needed to research the level of alcohol in the body that could potentially kill someone if they weren't used to drinking. It was a great addition to my character and his depth. We also need to relate to the character - even its only minimally.

The second issue was harder to find - an Interesting Hobby.  I chose a History of the Aborigines. Turns out, my character did a medical mission to Africa and became interested in the native indigenous in the region. He was given masks from the locals and voila another interesting aspect. I spent hours reviewing paintings, masks, descriptions, and others to make my character better.

In the end, I am so happy that my beta reader suggested some of the changes. It took some time researching and incorporating these changes but it really wasn't all that hard and I learned something new.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Writing Contest and NaNoWriMo

As much as I wanted to participate this year in NaNoWriMo - its a no go.  This is always a great time of year to write without restrictions. But alas, an early family Thanksgiving and a rigorous medical conference in California meant that within 10 days - we drove over 5,000 miles.  It was a lot of in the car, out of the car, sleep where you could fun.  Not sure that I would want to do that again.

On the first half of the trip I was able to edit a friend of mine's 1st chapter.  The second half I edited chapters 2-5.  I also was able to work out a synopsis for my medical mystery.  Just yesterday I entered a competition that I love - Pikes Peak Writing Contest.

Just under 400 people entered next year's contest and many attend a conference held in Colorado Springs. The 2012 conference is already scheduled and I am already picking through the literary agents and who to stalk  ;).

The contest is 1250 word synopsis and the first 4,000 words of the manuscript. The friend who I edited for is also entering the contest. The unique and amazing part of this contest is the feedback that you get. This is really the key for me. It tells me if one, my writing is getting better and two - if the story makes sense.

I am hoping to finish editing my medical mystery by the end of the year. [or sooner] I can't wait until I can get back to work on my fantasy project. It really needs a revamping and I am getting more and more excited to start. I really love writing and I want to love getting published - but that is a long way off.  So to everybody that is half way done with NaNoWriMo - good luck!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Fall in Michigan - wish we could have visited.

My Mom recently sent these photos from Michigan. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to visit them this year. I guess its time to start planning for next year. It would be great to get in some fishing.  Michigan is an interesting place, my parents have retired there. My Dad grew up an hour or more from where they are now living. I could never call it home, but it is a fun place to visit.




Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Goal Reached - WIP - 1st draft completed.

Certainly one of the better feelings is when you finish the first draft of a manuscript. This is only the second time I've experienced it. My first manuscript took 14 months to finish, another 12+ months to edit and it is currently with some professional editors.  I decided not to sit on my duff and wait impatiently as it was being worked on. So, I started my second book in that series and started writing a medical mystery at the same time.  Read this link - Writing Two Stories at Once.  Initially, I would work on one book one day and switch to the other story the next.  It worked well, at least at first.

Soon I became so excited about my medical mystery that it took over my writing life. A mind of its own I'll tell you!  Last night, I finished the first draft.  It took me just under 4 months to finish this book and today I'll start the dreaded editing process. I've learned so much since my first book - which was overwritten by over 115,000 words.  OUCH!! My goal for this book was 6 months to write 80,000 words.  I finished 2 months early. What a great feeling.

I've been asked so many time, "Is your book perfect."  What a crazy question.  The answer is of course, YES. But perfection doesn't mean that it is ready or that it will stay the same. It is perfect for the first draft. This is a lame way to answer the question - but really what else would I say.  The most important thing at this times is that it satisfies my expectation - it's the first round and it is finished.

I had to add this picture, this gun....or injector is at the center of my book.  I love this picture and all the possibilities.

My writing is vastly improving the more I do it. It is a work in progress as is everything else in my life. The moment I become content, that's when I've failed.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Potential New Requirement of Welfare...A Urine Sample

The welfare system may changing - but for better or worse still remains to be seen.


Proposals in almost twenty-five states have shed light on drug testing requirements in order to receive benefits like unemployment assistance, job training, public housing, welfare, food stamps and more.

The concerns by the proponents are that some of the governmental assistance are being misused while others decry this as an attempt at signaling out the poor. States that have already passed such requirements include: Arizona, India, Florida, and Missouri.

At the federal level, Senator David Vitter, a Louisiana Republican, has introduced the Drug Free Families Act of 2011, which would require all 50 states to drug-test welfare applicants.
In Florida, those people receiving cash assistance have had to pay for their own drug tests for the last few months. Enrollment in cash assistance has decreased dramatically. Many argue that the poor are being targeted unfairly has lead to such a decrease, while others praise the new tactics as just and fair. The cost of drug testing is around $40 dollars and the state of Florida has insisted that it will reimburse those who pass. If you fail - you're disqualified for a year. Payments already being sent to children can still continue through another person, like a grandparent.
“Working people today work very hard to make ends meet, and it just doesn't seem fair to them that their tax dollars go to support illegal things,” said Ellen Brandom, a Republican state representative in Missouri.

So far, most proposals for change have failed to win the support needed. This is believed to be the result of concerns about the legality of such proposals.

Kimberley Davis, the director of social services for Operation Breakthrough, said the legislation sent a bad message. “All this does is perpetuate the stereotype that low-income people are lazy, shiftless drug addicts and if all they did was pick themselves up from the bootstraps then the country wouldn't be in the mess it’s in,” Ms. Davis said. Operation Breakthrough provides day care services in Kansas City to low-income women.

Several studies that date back a decade or more indicate that drug use is not solely seen in the poor. In 1996, a report from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism found that there is no significant difference in the rate of illegal-drug use by welfare applicants and other people. Another study found that 70% of illegal-drug users between the age of 18 and 49 are employed full time.

The certainty is that many of these new policies will end up in court to see if indeed they are legal or a constitutional violation. For the time being, a few states will continue to require drug testing for welfare programs. One must ask if this is really a bad thing in the end?

Does this concern you or do you agree. Give us your feedback in the comment section.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2090871,00.html#ixzz1aUKa2mMl

Friday, October 7, 2011

Book Academy

Yesterday, I had a fantastic time at the UVU book academy in Orem Utah.  This is the second year that I've been able to attend. And just like last year, it was awesome. Simply the best thing about the conference is the fantastic staff that teach, instruct, participate, and excite the writers who attend.  This year it was Dan Wells who was the keynote speaker.  His books are right up my alley - because his themes match my day job at the prison. He did a great job in talking about finding writing ideas from our daily lives.

Classes were even better. Mainly because in almost all cases, it was a hands on experience. We talked or thought about things that could actively pertain to our writing. Whether it was plot formats, query letters, or editing.  I was especially fond of a class on mystery.  It really broke down some of the things that are needed to sustain a mystery. Since this is my latest writing adventure, I really found this class to be helpful.

My most needed class is the Query letter. Its funny, I took the same class last year and got five times more out of it this year.  I hadn't yet finished my first draft last year. At the time, it was my first introduction to the query letter.  Since then, I've written four, all for my first fantasy ms.  This time, I could move along with them and inspect my query letter. It really helped me to look at it differently.

Writing conferences are always a chance to mix words with other writing talents and especially learn about some exciting changes and success of writing friends and twitter friends.  It was a great time - now I need to put into place what I learn.  Well....back to writing the query letter!!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

WIP: Medical Mystery

It must be said that I love writing and this new medical mystery is not an exception. Its funny though, half the time I want to put the name of my protagonist of my first novel when I am writing. The two characters are so far apart, it is probably just because I spent so much time writing and working on my first project.

The mystery is so much different than fantasy. The topic moves quicker, from subject to subject, adding in new clues and characters. It really means working hard on making sure that every word, sentence, and scene has a reason to be written.

Another huge difference is the increased need for outlining scenes and planning character development. My first manuscript morphed into its own shape, but this one is different. I ran into a scene last week that really needed to be planned. I knew that it was an important junction of the story - going from confusion and taking a single small clue and running with it. But I also added another level of confusion back into the story. This was tricky and fun to write. Not sure what it will mean in the long run.

I've been working on this book for eight weeks now and I am over 50% finished. It has gone quick, yet, I was hoping to be further along. The story is pretty much out there, now it is time to solve and wrap everything up. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

One Person Dies Every Seven Seconds From Diabetes.

It is estimated that one person dies every seven second from diabetes and things continue to get worse. Health officials reported today that an estimated 366 million persons worldwide now suffer from diabetes. The estimated numbers were released in Lisbon, Portugal during the European meeting that had associations with more than 160 countries. Almost 5 million people die each year from this chronic condition.


The International Diabetes Federation have reportedly called for systematic and concrete guidelines to stop this epidemic. In addition, they are signaling a need for this topic to be covered at the United Nations meeting next week.

Type I diabetes largely affect children and young adults. These individuals are unable to make insulin, which is produced from the pancreas pancreas. Type II diabetes is much more common and is often closely affected by obesity. Type II can be described as a decrease in the amount of insulin [Relative Insulin Deficiency] and a difficulty to have the insulin entering the cells [Insulin Resistance].

Complications of Diabetes:

1.) Eye complications

- Retinopathy - a disorder of the retina.
- Loss of eye sight
- Cataracts - 60% more likely to get cataract when diabetic
- Glaucoma - 40% more like to get glaucoma when diabetic

2.) Foot Complications

- Callous, skin changes, Neuropathy, ulcers, and other problems
- Poor circulation and amputations can be seen.

3.) Skin changes

- Increased fungal, bacterial, rashes and other skin changes can be seen.

4.) Heart Disease

- HA1c checks blood sugar - should be monitored and maintained
- Increased Lipids [Cholesterol and Triglycerides need to be maintained.]

5.) Hypertension

6.) Depression and Stress

7.) Ketoacidosis

- Ketones produced when body burns fat instead of glucose
- When a dangerously high levels are seen - can lead to stroke and death.

8.) Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic Nonketotic Syndrome (HHNS)

- Elevated blood sugar levels rise dangerously - rare but serious condition

9.) Neuropathy (Nerve Damage)

10.) Kidney Disease (Nephropathy)

- High blood sugar can overwork the kidneys, causing them to stop working properly.

11.) Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)
- Blood vessels in the legs are narrowed or blocked by fatty deposits and blood flow to your feet and legs decreases.
- Increased risk for heart attack and stroke

12.) Stroke

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

New Help in the Diagnosis of Ovarian Cancer

Research is looking into the distinct possibility that there may be a tumor marker in the blood of those with ovarian cancer . Early diagnosis of this cancer can be very difficult. As it advances it becomes harder and harder to treat. New research hopes the answers are in the blood.

The research is taking place in Chicago at the Rush University Medical Center. Initial research was intriguing though additional studies are required before anything is certain.

Antibodies, found on the surface of ovarian cancer cells, were found in the blood of most of the women with ovarian cancer. These antibodies were also found with women who had previously known ovarian problems - but not necessarily cancer. Women with normal ovarian function and no ovarian cancer were found to not have this antibody.

Typical treatment of ovarian cancer is to removed the uterus completely. This is usually done because the cancer is in an advanced stage. Single ovary removal along with the fallopian tubes can also be seen. Following surgery chemotherapy is a possibility. Radiation is rarely used as a treatment.

If the cancer is diagnosed early - the fiver year survival is very high. If not, the survival rate is far lower.

This post was first seen at:  www.iahealth.net/diagnosis-of-ovarian-cancer-may-get-easier-with-a-blood-test

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A must is a must!

I would feel horrible if I didn't talk about the ongoing writeoncon. It is all taking place on line. Some of the topics for today have been really exciting. If you haven't yet taken the time - here is the link - http://writeoncon.com/

There are certainly a few more things tonight and then a full day's schedule tomorrow. The great things are that some of the ideas or concepts dig deep into personal preferences of many of the agents and writers putting on their portion. Some of the classes are live - you can ask your question and get a fast response.
Tonight there is an exciting panel of professionals - this is a live event and worth checking out.

And don't worry - if you can't make it live - just check out some of the things written on the website or forum. It looks fantastic

Monday, August 8, 2011

A Second Chance

I recently found a blog article about a Summer Writing Contest. I love contests because it gives us the opportunity to get some feedback and criticism of our writing.

Take a moment to read about the contest here:  http://blackbirdinmywindow.blogspot.com/2011/08/summer-writing-contest.html

I am especially excited to get a second chance at a literary agent that said no to my query letter.  Lauren Ruth from BookEnds will be judging the contest. I've read through my first query letter and felt that I didn't do as well as I wanted. I've been rejected a few times and I am excited to try again with a new query letter.

In the meantime - I get a chance, a second chance, to make a first impression. So, if you are looking for a chance to get involved in a contest in the next few days, certainly take a look at 's blog for directions on how to enter the contest and good luck.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Medical Mystery

I wrote last week that I was starting to write two stories at once.  I am really excited about it. As mentioned, I am concentrating on writing the second book of my fantasy series while I am querying the first manuscript. I am just starting to get some feedback and I am excited.

I am also excited to start writing another genre.  I have a background in medical - I am a physician assistant and work at a prison. It is an exciting thing to do.  But this also gives me a chance to write something closer to what I know and love.  I am hoping to find something that can be done long term. I mean, the story with be finished with this book, but I want my character to have several stories. It would be something similar to Myron Bolitar from Harlan Coben. I think he does a fantastic job at that series.

My story is more of an amateur sleuth with a Medical student. He will have some help though from an outside source but the "detective" work for his patient will be mostly him. So far, my running title is IMMACULATE CONCEPTION. It is exciting and I have just finished chapter 2.

The real question so far will be which one will get my attention. I try not writing on both books in the same day. I guess I'll switch back and forth depending on the day.  It is exciting!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

This would be a bad day!

Some days I get run over and feel exactly like this. What in your day makes you feel this way? What do you do to get past this feeling? Hopefully you literally don't have a horn stabbed into your throat!!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Writing Two Stories at Once.

I read a myth that you should stay writing in the same genre during your career. This is probably to stop anyone from writing on a topic that they don't understand or aren't familiar with. I understand it to some degree. But, since I haven't found a genre that I am proficient at, I guess that the myth doesn't yet apply to me. I finished writing my first manuscript a year ago or so. I spent several months on edits and rewrites. I am currently querying that manuscript.

Once I started the process of querying, I began writing again. And it has been fantastic. The problem is that I have two stories vying for a spot in my head. The first one is the second book of my first manuscript.  It's genre is fantasy - like the first.  Can I say that I love fantasy.  The other story in my head is more of an amateur sleuth medical story. I also have a huge passion in medical and I currently work in the medical field. Mysteries are always fun to read....so why not try to write one.

The real difficulty is that some days, I feel like writing fantasy and other days, I can't wait to write about my medical mystery. And so rather than fighting the urge, I am embracing it.  The funny thing is that I am not bored with either story.  I am just excited about writing two stories at once.  I plan to continue this practice as long as possible. I do look forward to an agent calling and forcing me back on tract, but until then....write on!

Please comment if you've ever tried this.  Tell me if it worked for you or was too hard to keep the stories and POV separate.

Here's a great look at writing two stories at once by Katie Ganshert - http://katieganshert.blogspot.com/2009/03/two-stories-at-once.html

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Needing some Chocolate

I really loved my last visit to Boston. I had a blast. One of the best places that we went was the Lindt chocolate store. I really need some chocolate today.  My wife seems to need chocolate daily.  Who can blame her when it is Lindt chocolate. Chocolate always seems to make writing go a little bit better and a little smoother. Oh well...I will have to find a substitute chocolate bar today.   Too bad I can't make it back to Boston!  SO I will leave you a picture of the store.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

C-Section Study Recently Completed

In a recent stdy it was determined that 1/3 of all births are done through a C-Section. An interesting blog post by InterActive Health

Let's take a closer look at the data from the most recent study:
19 out of 50 states were studied
Florida (38.6%), New Jersey (38%) , and Texas (35.9%), had the highest rates.
Utah (22.4%), Wisconsin (25.1%), and Colorado (27.3%)  had the lowest rates.
Study was done by HealthGrades - this website allows a user to search and rate their physician.
From 2002 - 2009 C-section occurrence raised from 27% to 34%
A separate study from the Centers for Disease Control put the number at 32% in 2007

Take a closer look at the original blog post at: 
1/3 of all births are done through a C-Section.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Oh writing how I missed thee.

After finishing my first manuscript I felt a sense of accomplishment. I knew I had an arduous task of editing. I never expected it would be so time consuming and all encompassing.  It took eight months to really get through the editing process. My manuscript isn't perfect but I needed to move to the next step of querying. This process has been so strange almost foreign in comparison to everything else that I have done. I sent out a dozen or more queries and I am unpatiently awaiting the responses.

I have considered sending out another round of queries but I am concerned about my overall effectiveness of my query letter. I am continuously reading and tweaking my query letter. It seems that because this is my first query letter, I am probably thinking that it is better than it really is. That could be a huge problem.

The only thing that I knew, was that I couldn't sit and do nothing. I considered my options and decided to begin book 2 of my series. I am querying the first book and now it is time to start working on the next book. I really struggled in finding the correct spot to restart my story. It took a surprisingly long time to come up with it. I am pretty satisfied with where I am starting. I began writing last week and really forgot how much I love the pure aspect of writing.  It's really blissful.

The area I love most is attempting to put this story that is in my head onto a blank piece of paper. That blank paper was empty and now...just days later, the first chapter of my second book is done. I am 4,000 words finished for the first chapter. I am wondering if I should do things quite differently than the first book.  I decided to edit the first chapter instead of writing and writing and writing. I initially thought that quality would arrive in the editing stage.  During my first draft, that might have hurt me more than I realized.

But I am back to writing and hoping that the first book snags me an agent, but regardless, I love writing!!  So far, book 2 is called SHATTERED.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Goodbye Prologue

After much deliberation and the help of my most recent conference - I am putting to rest my prologue.  As a reader, I love prologues - if done well.  They really can grab my attention and throw me into the story.  The problem as a writer - it has to be perfect.  Mine was far from perfect.


My real problem was that I have two stories wrapped around each other. I was trying to start my manuscript with my secondary story and my prologue introduce that second story.  Therefore, the prologue didn't have anything to do with the story itself.   The prologue often give a back story that helps the story move.  I've heard many editors say that if a prologue is done - they will skip it immediately - read the story and then read the prologue.  If the prologue teaches them something that they had missed in the story - then they would consider keeping it.

My change wasn't hard at all.  If you can imagine - my manuscript has 51 chapters. 41 chapters are devoted to my main story and 10 chapters are devoted to the secondary story.  Truth be told though - the secondary story is really just a single long chapter. My former prologue was the first chapter of 10 I just mentioned. My change consisted of taking the prologue and moving it to chapter 5 of my story.  From there - every 5-7 chapters I would add another piece of the puzzle. It was a fun way of doing it. In the end, I kept the chapter - because it is helpful in the overall story.

What are your feelings, as a reader, about prologues.  If you are a writer...does your idea of a prologue change?

This blog post was originally seen at Earth's Divide - my book blog

Friday, June 24, 2011

Page Numbers or Word Count - Which is more important?

Through my many discussions into the progression of my book writing process, a question continues to resurface. How many pages is your book? Initially this concern or idea was something that was important to me. I guess I wanted to feel like I was accomplishing something. I tried hard to remember exactly how many pages I'd written. In the end - the first draft - with double spacing was over a thousand pages.

But as a reader and a writer - what does that really mean.  As I have started editing - I've realized that page count means relatively little.  Changing the font size, the font type - single vs double can all change the actual page count drastically.  I started reading author, agent, and publisher blogs and word count is by far more important.

I learned about the importance of daily writing, keeping a constant schedule and trying to write every day. I set myself a word count daily goal of 2,000. This seemed like a good number. Though as I continued to write I only reached this goal half the time of the days that I found time to write. Some days I surpassed this number.  In future writing - I may do a weekly word count.  As my life sits, I am unable to write daily - at least on any book project I may have.  But I do write...in other ways.

Word count is often dependent on the type of book you are writing. You surely wouldn't want a childrens' book to be in the 100,000 word range and you wouldn't want a fantasy book in the 20,000 word range.

I was always unable to answer the word count question because I hadn't taken the time to combine the 25+ different and individual chapters, each being divide into their own document. That changed today. I finally was able to combine everything, with some power and finesse into a complete first draft, word count.

Drum roll please........I finished my first draft of my first novel at 245,000 words. 

I immediately was shocked because I didn't know the actual count until I combined everything at the end.  This really scared me because word count is so important.  I knew immediately that my manuscript was substantially too long. 

I began editing with a vengeance and the number changed dramatically.  I cut out over 100,000 words - which is another person's manuscript. I have now gone through 9 rounds of editing.  From a massive cut and slash - to improving conversation and scene cutting.  I've cut 100,000 words but other senctences have been rearranged and scenes improved in order to tighten up the writing.  It is a process that unfortunately has taken almost 8 months.  

Now, I need to move to the next step - which is the query letter.  I am just beginning this process.  I still have page count in the back of my mind - because I am still asked about it on a daily basis.  But the real key - is word count.  My genre is Epic Fantasy instead of just fantasy for this same reason - Epic Fantasy allows a larger word count. This suites me just fine...I hope. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Check out this Jaundice

Recently I saw a patient with a serious case of jaundice. It was a new thing and had worsened in the last four days. It was pretty impressive. His chronic condition that causes the jaundice has been an issue over the last few years. Therefore, the symptom of jaundice came from a chronic issue. Jaundice can be caused by several things including hepatitis, liver failure, pancreatitis, and several other issues.

It is the result of elevated bilirubin in the body.

The picture attached of course, isn't my patient. Guess what was the worst symptom that he was having???

ITCHING - It was horrendous.

To learn more about jaundice - Follow this link to InterActive Health- Jaundice

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Importance of a Query Letter



The Query letter is one of the more crazy things in publishing. I mean - right up there with your pitch. It's so crazy that most writers hate it...or so I've been told. The problem is - as crazy as it seems ....it's vitally important to do and to do it well. But when we get rejected - it can be painful. We need to find a solution to avoid getting rejected.

I believe there is an art to Query letters - and a formula. Stick to the formula and you are playing it safe. Add some splashing colors and you could drown out your canvas or make it glorious. Break all the rules and you will usually implode - unless you shine above the others.

The funny thing is that the query letter is written so differently than the actual story. But almost no one will even read your story if you don't knock the query letter out of the stadium.

I just finished my 9th round of editing. It is time to move on. The next logical step is the query letter. I think that I've written it 10 different ways and I can't get a handle on which one is better or worse. I've read a ton of other query letters and some of the ones that succeeded - I didn't like and some that failed - I loved. It's all a matter of opinion and what gets you on a certain day.

It's important to be honest and make your query letter yours. Research as much as possible and read as many as possible but in the end - write what you need but do it well.

What really seemed to hit me is that the final ingredient in a query letter - must be a dash of luck!

Originally seen at EarthsDivide

Monday, June 13, 2011

Trip to the Northwest

Lauren, me and the kids had an amazing trip to the Northwest. It was a good 14-16 hour drive. We were also very fortunate to have Atina [Lauren's Mom] with us as well. We set out to see the U2 concert in Seattle and ended up having a blast and seeing much more that we could have ever thought possible. Who would have guessed that on the second day of our drive we would have hit an inch of snow in early June. An hour later - the temperature had increased 30 degrees as we made our way into Portland.




We also came to one of the three huge dams on the Columbia river - one picture shows how they get barges and other ships from one side of the dam to the other.  Check out the raging water below.




One of the prettiest spots on the trip was at Multnomah Falls.  This was a huge waterfall that allows you to get so close.  You can even walk to a landing closer to the falls. The kids loved this waterfall and the beautiful trees.





The Pride and Joy of our trip.  The U2 concert was fantastic. It was easily the best day of our trip.  We'll maybe not so easy since we had a ton of fun.  The U2 concert was held outside and over 70,000 people came. Lauren and I would not have enjoyed it as much if two of our favorite people hadn't joined us in the fun. Thanks Laura and Eric for coming down from Alaska. We did of course have to spend almost two hours in lines to get a T-shirt and a program.



The day after the U2 concert - We hit a ballgame and watched the Mariners beat the Rays.  Who knew that garlic fries could taste so good. 




Seattle was a blast - from The space needle - to the Aquarium - to the new Avatar Exibit - What a blast!!  We did leave the kids in Portland with Lauren's Mom during our trip to Seattle. - Thanks Kathi and family!!!








Our last spot was Seaside Oregon.  How I love the beach.  The kids and I spent hours walking the beach - looking for sea shells and catching a crab, some sea anemones, and tons of starfish and hermit crabs. Why don't I live closer to a beach???







Saturday, May 28, 2011

A really neat online contest.


I happened to be reviewing some posts when I came across a Shelly Watters post about an online contest. It is an agent judged contest of the first 250 words. Also included is the Title and Genre. One of the best aspects of this contest is that for 3 days, we can have other critique our work, then revise and submit for the final entry. It seems like a fantastic way to get your work read and get feedback from others in your same spot.

Today is day 1 of the contest - rather the first day you can critique others and in turn have yours critiqued. In a few days - the real contest begins.

If you feel so inclined to give some feedback yourself - follow this link! The Devil's Gate.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

10 Things I've Learned on my Path to Become a Writer



My name is Logan and I would love to be an author!!! ["Good luck," comes a shout from the audience]

I have learned that positive self advice can never hurt as I am often bombarded by self-doubt and even fear. It has been a long time since I have felt fear in something that I've wanted to do.

One thing that I'm really afraid of, is heights. I didn't know that I was until I was high above a canyon. The same for writing a book. My fear is not the actual writing, but that moment, when I let myself think about it, allowing someone else to look at something that has become so personal. I can imagine that this is a common feeling among beginners.

Writing a book has been much more difficult than I would have ever expected. I've been working on it for almost 18 months now. I've learned so much, not only on writing, but editing, grammar, literary agents, and publishing. I hope to learn much more on a more personal and intimate level of each of these things.


The Drum roll please:
10 Things I have learned since I started writing my manuscript

1.) I suk at spelling and grammar

2.) When you think you're done - you are usually not - give it time - then attack it one more time.

3.) Twitter has been somewhat helpful - [Yes, even I was surprised]

4.) Editing is where the battle is won....or lost.

5.) Writing Critiques/groups or friends are worth their weight....in gold.

6.) Conferences can push you like nothing else. You also get a chance to step out of your comfort.

7.) My favorite thing about writing is the unexpected turns that writing allows and even necessitates.

8.) Characters become a part of you

9.) Plot and storyline seem to be what separates a good story from an average one.

10.) I am surprised how much I doubt myself. If I can't have confidence in me, who else will!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Name the Deformity to Ear



Type of deformity of the outer ear.

Take a look and in the comment section - give us your thoughts.

Check back later this week for a complete description.

We will also discuss prevention and treatment.

As seen at Interactive Health

 

This is Cauliflower Ear

Is an Ear complication also called: hematoma auris, traumatic auricular hematoma.

The external portion of the ear suffers an injury, blood clot or other cause for a collection of fluid to occur under the perichondrium.

The cartilage of the ear, separates from the perichondrium causing a fibrious tissues to develop.

This is pictured above - the thickening of the tissues is caused by the fibrious tissue.

The external ear resembles a cauliflower - and so it is named.

Hematoma is the accumulation of blood in a certain area.

 

Commonly seen:

1.) Wrestlers

2.) Fighters

3.) Kick boxers or Martial Artists

4.) Rugby players

 

Can be prevented or limited by Headgear - that protects the ears.

If untreated, can be painful and deformity and even hearing loss.

 

Treatment:

1.) Antibiotics - when necessary.

2.) Draining - when necessary

3.) Tension or Compression dressing - placed around ears by a medical provider to limit the separation of the cartilage