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Showing posts from March, 2015

Music: Light Up The Sky - The Afters

Introducing the Caves: Glow worms

This post will be brief but awesome.
Did you know that there are little insects that glow (like lightning bugs/fireflies) underground in caves?
Well, there are.

     They use a chemical process called bioluminescense, just like lightning bugs do.  See them?  They are clustered - hundreds of them - along the ceiling of this cave over the water.

My imagination is spinning with possibilities...

Yes, there will be glow worms in my story.

Creating Relationship Charts for Your Story

I invented a chart last week to track my character's relationships.  It was awesome and really helped me with my story.  Here's what I did:

     I made myself a chart with columns and rows.  Each column was titled with the name of a character or group of characters.  For Droben's chart, the columns are titled: Calene, Petura, girlfriend, lords, commoners, rebels.  They are the people who Droben interacts with most in my story, and I want to mark how he sees his relationship with them.

     Here is part of Droben's relationship chart:

Calene Petura Girlfriend Lords Commoners Rebels Irritated with controlling brother Amused by greenhorn Loves her (and others) He can handle them. Some have very real complaints.  Should be respected but not allowed to rule you.  Treat with respect and they will follow you Bah!  Bunch of talk. Feels that they are at peace Eager to teach Irritated with her

Irritated with controlling brother Wanting acceptance by her (Repeat cycle man…

Introducing the Caves: The Water Scenes

Today is going to be a fun day.  We are going to look at water scenes deep underground.

There are several places in the Wheston caves that have still or running water.  Amos visits a few of them in his first few days in Wheston.

If you were wondering last week where the water (for the rock formations) comes from, well, here it is.

And it's just so gorgeous...

As you can see, in some places the ceiling vaults high above the water, and in other places it hovers low.

In places where the water flows near the surface, you may have bits of sunlight trickling down.

But in other places, you are obviously deep underground.

So, there you have it!  Water scenes from deep underground -- things like Amos might have seen in his years of caving.
Again, you cannot make up a more fantastic world than this one.

Join me next Friday so I can show you a unique creature that proves useful in Wheston caves.

And, just for fun, I will leave you with one more cool water picture:

Spying on the Grade Above You and Recipe for Good Surprise-Building

Katie leaned her head against her locker and groaned.
     "Really? Your horse bucked you off?  Right in front of the judges?" Hannah stuffed her books into her locker.
     Katie nodded, rubbing her headed against the locker.  "I'm thinking about including 'my personal experience in aerodynamics' in my spring science project."
    "Wait!  There's a spring science project?" Hannah slammed her locker door shut.  "How come I don't know about a spring science project and you do?"
     Katie swiveled her head to one side, maintaining contact with the locker, and grinned at her friend.  "Because I have an older sister and you don't."
     "And she was in Mr. Goven's science class last year."

     I dropped in on Anne Elisabeth Stengl's blog on Saturday to see if she had posted any word of the F.E.R. progress.  I want to know what the winners are doing now.  Call it…

March Chatterbox: Superstition

I am linking up with Rachel Heffington's Chatterbox Event.  You can see this month's Chatterbox post on her blog: 

"Amos says that Wheston has a legend about you."  Grayun lowered himself onto a seat and breathed in the aroma of Hilma's herb room.

"The people of Wheston are fools."  Hilma crinkled her lips in scorn as she held a leaf over her fireball and watched the tips curl and blacken.

"No doubt the story has grown over the years."

"No doubt.  Such is the nature of legends."  Hilma carried her scorched leaf to the table.  With the precision of an artist, she touched the burnt tip with her forefinger.  It instantly powdered in a dusting of ash on the table.  "People know pieces of the whole; and they make up what they do not know, spreading the imaginary parts mixed into the truth as though they were one and the same.  Then, as each tries to outdo the previou…

Butterfly Questions

Interesting title -- perhaps I should explain.  You all, I presume, know Anne-girl...and if you don't, you should immediately skip over to her blog at and get to know her right away.  Anne's blog has been my favorite for a long time.  I don't know why.  I just like it so much.  Her stories have meat to them...and adventure...and not too much mushy stuff.

     Sooo...anyway, she started talking about book butterflies...which are like plot bunnies...only not exactly.  Plot bunnies and book butterflies can look alike, but it seems to me they have a subtle difference.  Here is how I explain it:
Plot bunnies are stories ideas that bounce into your head while you are working hard on your WIP.  Their goal is to distract you from your goals -- giving you a grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side-of-the-fence complex.  They make your current goal look stale and boring by comparison...but if you follow them you find that they lead you nowhere.…

Introducing the Caves: Cool Rock Formations

Amos is fascinated by the rock formations that he finds in Wheston caves.  What do I mean by rock formations?
In caves you will find rock formations that have a certain flow to them, almost like running water that was frozen in time.

Is it really from water?

Yes, some of them are.  Water seeps into the cave and then evaporates, leaving trace minerals.  More water seeps in, runs down over the path that the last water took, and then evaporates and leaves another mineral deposit.  Over time, you have a formation of minerals left behind by the water.

They are kind of like icicles, except the formation is caused by the evaporation of water instead of the freezing of water.

It sounds simple.  And yet the process is complex enough to create a vast variety of shapes and formations.

...Some of which I have no idea how they work.  But I definitely think they are cool, and they are an integral part of the landscape in a cave.
One more cool fact: in some caves, these mineral deposits are st…

An Even Dozen

Hi, I am just popping in this evening to REJOICE!!!  I now have a dozen followers on this blog and I am very happy about it.  :D  Thank you, everybody, for being here!  You make my day!

The King or the People

Jill, on Go Teen Writers, was talking this week about the unpredictability involved in "making it big."  You can write flawlessly and still never be a well-known author.  Maybe you didn't find the right publisher.  Maybe you didn't pick the hot topic of the year.  There's a certain elusiveness in fame that has nothing to do with the skill of the writer.

      Her topic tied into one that I have been thinking about lately.  What makes a great leader?  We've all seen the stories...and, on a smaller scale, we've seen it in real life. 

The dynamic leader
The band of men who swear allegiance to him, willing to follow him to their deaths if need be.
It's an inspiring story.  But what makes that leader?  Is it his own charisma?  People cannot help but rally to his cause?  Perhaps he has the skill of the Pied Piper, no?
Or is it the people?  Are they the ones who decide what cause they will rally to defend and what man they feel comfortable following?…

Introducing the Caves: Scenes from Deep Underground

A lot of The Caver's Kiss is set underground.  I don't know if any of you have ever explored big caves, but they are beautiful.  I remember touring one cave and wishing I could live down there.
     I would love to take you all with me into a cave so you could see how amazing they are.  Since I can't, I am doing the next best thing and showing you pictures.
    These are pictures from pinterest.  And while none of them were taken in Wheston caves (because no one has ever taken a camera down there), they should give you an idea of some of the things you might see.
     So join me for a little spelunking!

The Wheston caves have mostly sandy or reddish colored walls.

Some of the tunnels that Amos worked through were pretty tight spaces.

But, at other times, the cave would widen into a large room.

Again, look at these formations and imagine exploring them for yourself.

/\ If you lived here, where would you put your bedroom?  Or your kitchen?  How about the pantry? \/


Beautiful People: Hilma

Hi, I am once again participating in Beautiful People, hosted by Sky and Cait.  This month, I am featuring The Caver's Kiss for the second time.  As you may remember, last month BP landed on the same day that I concocted the idea for TCK.  So here I am today with my now-1-month-old story.  :)

Hilma is Ally's godmother.  She is a cross, grumpy old woman who loves Ally with all her heart.  She also is a woman who blames herself for what she considers "an-hundred-years-worth of disasters."
What is her secret desire?  To keep Ally safe with her.What is the best and brightest moment she experiences during the story?  Whenever Ally is happy or whenever Ally is loving her as a daughter would.What are the emotional places your character is afraid to go to?  Hilma doesn't want to visit her regrets or her losses.  Amos's arrival forces Hilma to face her old regrets and threatens her with another loss.  She reacts with anger to hide her fear and a cornere…

You Gave Me A Good Attitude

Remember this post?  I talked about the way your attitude affects your writing. Well, it's true. And this time, you guys had a big impact on me. I was looking at TCK and trying to figure out why I liked it so much.  Was my confidence level stronger?  Or was the book better? I think the answer is yes, to both.  When I first thought of this story, I posted in Beautiful People.  Then you guys spoke up, expressing interest.  I started writing, feeling like I had a story with potential.  And because I felt good about it, the story flowed more easily...which made for a better tale and a more confident author. So... ...thanks, guys.

An Early March Update

Hello, friends!
     I'm popping in to give you guys a quick update on my doings.

     Broken Clouds went to a stand-still when I suddenly realized my ending needed some adjustments.  Granted, I am no where near the ending...but the ending is something I write towards.  I drop hints as I go.  So I need to know where I'm going to end up.  Some cool ideas occured to me (to fix my ending) so I gave Broken Clouds a break while I let them simmer.  I will be starting it up again soon...probably this week.

     TCK is going underground...meaning I probably won't post much about it for a month or two.  Maybe some supporting pictures, but not much else.  Sometimes a story needs a little secrecy while it is being edited.
     However, if you are interested in reading it for me and giving me some feedback, leave a comment below.  I won't publish your comment, but it will help me get in touch with you.  I would love to have a few people read it and give me an honest critique (tha…