Thursday, February 1, 2018

Back to square... 6.



Book #6 ... you'd think this part would get easier, but it ABSOLUTELY DOES NOT. It doesn't matter that I already have the world, the characters, the cultures. I still stare at that blank page and have a mini panic attack. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

Because. It is HARD going from a tight plot and polished manuscript to vague ideas and scribbles. REALLY hard. For me, anyway. I've just conquered Everest, and now I have to climb it again. Immediately.

And yet.

I keep coming back. It's like some form of Stockholm Syndrome. 

And then I remember Dory.

Image result for just keep swimming animated gif


... except I look more like Marlin, presently. On my couch. With a pen, a notebook. Music and Pinterest. And loads of coffee. 

And see...?? I'm procrastinating!! I should be brainstorming an outline, and here I am. 

Anyway! Since I'm here, I'll update you guys on the writings. My head's been buried in rewrites (THANK YOU VERY MUCH, you relentless brilliant alphas and betas). I was in Gaia for SO LONG; it's taken a lot of tweaking to get this new world JUST RIGHT.  It's very different than Gaia. So. It's taken time to write Gaia OUT of it, and let it stand on its own two feet.

I'm happy to report that it's finally standing tall. In the shadows. Like an assassin.

I don't have an exact timeline for you at the moment, HOWEVER. Know that I'm still working diligently forward and pressing on to the sequel! I'd love to hear how some of you go about the creative process and defeat the giants of self-doubt that love to squash us before we begin. I fight mine by sheer determination. And coffee. But mostly, it's YOUR belief in my stories that keeps me going-- especially when my inner critic starts yelling. 

XO

B


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Camping with Toddlers: A How-Not-To Guide.



HELLLLLLOOOOOOO!!

I hath forsaken this blog for quite some time, and all I can say for myself is #life. My hope is to slowly revive it from its state of withering frailty into something a bit more colorful. Unlike the flowers NOT blooming in my yard because of the week of 110' heat we just endured.

Seriously. That was just mean.

I know it's normal for the desert, BUT WE DON'T LIVE IN THE DESERT. We moved OUT of it for this very reason!

Anyway. Back to the topic at hand: Camping.

(No cringing!! Camping is not a four letter word!!)

I happen to love camping.

I mean, would you look at that campsite view!

I love being outside in general, really. Particularly in the mountains. The woodsmoke and pine. Poking at glowing embers. The dark sky and the countless stars. Shutting off the world, and just... being.

Ben and I used to camp a lot, but, well, the addition of children stifled that a bit. Plus, living in the desert for four years, camping just didn't have the same lure for me. I like to camp near (1) trees and (2) streams and (3) mountains.

Yeeeeeeaaaaah.

I'm a spoiled California girl, what can I say?

So, now that we're back by the good ol' Sierras, and the boys are a little bit more... independent (i.e. I was PRETTY sure Brennan wouldn't spend the entire time eating dirt, which, thankfully, he didn't), we thought we'd give it a go. We went with some good friends of ours, with a big group from church. It was awesome for all sorts of reasons, but one of those reasons, which happens to be more important to me NOW than it ever was before, is food prep. A few in our church DID IT ALL! (they should be sainted.)

Cooking is the only snag for me with camping, because #dishes. I HATE DOING THEM. And who wants to deal with cooking and dishes after a day of wrestling with dirty toddlers, who are whiny and overtired because they're too excited to fall asleep at night, and then the dang crows laugh you awake at 5 AM?

Yeah, not feeling the cooking, people... (side note: a prime example on importance of commas.)

Having the cooking handled made ALLLLLLL the difference. We were able to just... enjoy the day, drink the coffee, see the sights. And in Yosemite, there are PLENTY.

We took the boys on a few hikes. I tried to keep my expectations realistic (No, Barbara, your boys are *still* probably too young to hike Half Dome... No, you can't do Cloud's Rest, either... Yes, sixteen miles is too much for a three and four year old). But three miles? WE CAN DO THREE MILES.

I bribed them with Werther's and Skittles and Twizzlers to keep them moving when ALL! THEY! WANTED! TO! DO! WAS! STOP!

It was really important to me that we hiked the Mist Trail to Vernal Fall (read: THEY WERE GOING TO DO IT EVEN IF I HAD TO DRAG THEM BY THEIR EARS). I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Mist Trail, because you're hiking up steps carved directly into the rock, right alongside a waterfall, whilst getting HOSED. It is SO COOL and SO HUGE and SO POWERFUL (like everything in Yosemite). Really, I think that's part of the reason I love being in the mountains. Nothing makes me appreciate God's power more than seeing the magnificent landscape He's created. Yosemite is awe-inspiring.

The drought has kept Vernal Fall to a sad trickle for too many years, and there was nothing remotely misty about the Mist Trail. The name was almost a mockery. But this year - a year of 170% snowpack - it MORE than earned its name. Ben ended up having to carry Brennan on the uphills, but I'm happy to report that the boys made it - 3+ miles! - and we were all properly soaked by the end!

VERNAL FALL: It's hard to see just how WET everything is, but that is all spray! If you look closely, you can see people in ponchos, upper right.


Another side trip I've always wanted to do, but we've never before stayed in Yosemite long enough to do it, was Glacier Point. It's got incredible views of Half Dome and the Valley. I mean, it's kind of impossible to appreciate the sight of Half Dome when you're STANDING ON TOP OF IT. (There's a metaphor in there somewhere...)

Someone told us to try Sentinel Dome, which is a "short" hike off the road to Glacier Point, so we did that instead.

I have learned that words like "short" have a different meaning when you have toddlers.

The boys weren't enthused about a second day in a row of hiking. (No one wanted to hold my hand by the end of it. I can't blame them. I only walk at one pace. It's hereditary.)

Me and Brennan


My boys shed their share of tears, and I ran out of candy too soon, but they made it. THE VIEWS, though! So worth it! Hopefully, when they're older, they'll agree with me...



There ARE showers in the Valley, for those of you who MUST. SHOWER. At $5 per person, they're pretty pricey. The Yosemite Lodge pool was offering a free swim, so we opted for that instead. Plus! Views of Yosemite Falls while you're swimming! ...Except right before we left, someone pooped in the pool (eeeeeeeeeeeewwww), so we ended up having to shower anyway.

Like I said: I LOVE camping, and camping with the kiddos is a completely new experience. Before, when Ben and I would camp, it was more for the purpose of hiking. Pushing ourselves physically, conquering some new height, reaching a vantage we had to earn.

That's changed, obviously. It's HAD to, but I find myself loving the other parts. The simpler parts. Just getting the boys outside, letting them play in a stream for hours, helping them explore the incredible world God's made, and teaching them things like how to roast a marshmallow (and try not to get stressed by all the STICKY.) Being together WITHOUT the daily chaos and noise. WITHOUT all the things that demand our attention. Remembering what's important. (like sleep, haha)

Inside our ten-person tent, aka The Taj.

Speaking of important, when I asked Brahm what his favorite part about the trip was, he quickly replied with, "Wyatt and Everett!" (his friends)

Sometimes I feel like my four year old has a better grasp on priorities than I do.

Where the Wild Things are...
Briana, and a cup of liquid sanity.






I'll end with this: After four days and three nights of camping, I tucked Brahm into his own bed and asked:

Me: Did you like sleeping in the sleeping bag in the tent?
Brahm: *thinking* *nods* Yeah, but... *hesitates* There are so many people in the tent. I like sleeping in my bed. There are not so many people in my bed.

I hear ya, kid. No matter where you go or what you do, it's ALWAYS good to be home.

I'd LOVE to hear YOUR camping stories!!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Guest Post: When Rating out of Ten Just Ain’t Good Enough: A Harry Potter Scale of Emotion.


By Kelly St. Clare

There are ocassions where 100%, 10 out of 10, or heck - just putting a number on something - isn’t enough to describe what you feel…Especially if you happen to be a Harry Potter fan. After many sleepless nights, I have taken it upon myself to rectify this pertinent, yet catastrophic issue by creating the emotion scale below. I hope it helps you to express those feels more adequately.

1) When your heartbreak is between one and Dobby dying.



2) When the degree of pain is equivalent to possession by Voldemort.



3) When your luck blows past 10 out of 10 and becomes Felix Felicis out of Felix Felicis.



4) When you lay down the law somewhere between Hagrid and Umbridge.



5) When your relief is at ‘Finding-Ravenclaw’s-Damn-Diadem’ percent.



6) When you love someone between zero and Romione.



7) When you get a promotion at work, and your life = butterbeer.



8) When you’re Cho Chang obsessed with your crush.


9) When your surprise reaches level: I didn’t put my name in the triwizard cup.



10) And when you “just can’t even - because Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.”


  
Kelly St. Clare is the YA Fantasy Author of The Tainted Accords. She has an unhealthy obsession with Harry Potter.
If you enjoyed this blog, check out 5 Things Every Bookworm Loves to Hate.

You can check out her novels here.

Friday, May 1, 2015

HEIR OF PENDEL is Out NOW!

The fourth and final book in my Pandoran Series, Heir of Pendel, is out today!



You can purchase and read the ebook now HERE.

OR for those of you who prefer holding a physical book in your hands, you can purchase the paperback HERE.

Amazon hasn't linked the links yet, but that should happen in the next couple of days.

It's very bittersweet drawing this series to a close. I'm going to miss so many of these characters (Thad). They've been with me through a lot of life and change, and I'm sad to part ways with them. I suppose they're never really gone, but I will miss our daily chats - er arguments. (SIDE NOTE: Imaginary friends don't succumb to death threats. In fact, death threats just enable them to be more unruly.)

And so many of you have been so supportive and enthusiastic with each and every installment. I can't thank you enough. That support gave me the courage and determination to keep fighting. Now, it gives me the courage to keep going. And I am. So whilst you are reading this last installment, I shall get back to working on my next series. :D

Happy Reading, Everyone!

XO
B

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Launch Party for Heir of Pendel!

Hey, everyone!

As promised, here's the info for Heir of Pendel's launch party *happy dance*:

(1) WHERE - ONLINE! Join us on Facebook HERE (make sure to actually click "join" to join the event)

(2) WHEN - Thursday, APRIL 30th @ 5-7PM PST. Yes, that's the night before Heir of Pendel is released.

(3) WHAT TO BRING - You! For those of you who weren't at the last one, know that all you have to do is be online/on the event page during the WHEN. That way, you won't miss the fun Q&As, contests, and giveaways posts.

See you there...can't wait!
Barbara

Sunday, March 15, 2015

A Little Bit of Books, a Little Bit of Life...

It's a sad day when you log on to blogger and realize YOU HAVEN'T SPOKEN TO IT IN THREE MONTHS.

O.o

I put my head down to work, work, work, paused to look up and it was MARCH. HOW. Anyway, I suppose the plus side of not speaking to blogger for three months is that there are LOTS of things to share! On to those things...

1.  Heir of Pendel is scheduled for release MAY 1, 2015, and you can pre-order her HERE!

How do I feel? About like this...

 

I can't believe it, guys. Seriously. After seven years of being in Gaia, I'm about to say farewell to her. It's very bittersweet. Drawing things to a close has been both satisfying and...sad. These characters have been with me through so many huge life changes (ie a new job, a new career, a move to another state, the addition of TWO BABIES...), and it feels very strange closing this particular chapter (no pun intended). It also feels very symbolic. Because we're about to move again, back to northern California. Which brings me to point...

2.  Handsome Hubs is graduating dental school this May!

My loves.
I am so, SO proud of him, and very excited to start this new chapter. Me, incessant heat, an environmental palate of sepia tones, and prickly things don't gel. That being said, I'm VERY sad to be moving away from my dearest friend, Jenny. While I know modern technology allows for things like FaceTime, nothing beats those last minute outings (or in-ings, as we would have it). I'm dreading having to retrain my brain that she will not, in fact, be able to come over in ten minutes. :-(

3.  In light of the closing of this "phase" and the beginning of a new one, it would only make sense for me to start working on a new project. AND I AM! I'm switching gears with this one; it's a YA scifi. I'm picking at my science roots, and I'm having so much fun exploring a host of new characters and settings. I'm also really enjoying the fact that I can take my time. Once you publish a book in a series, it's like the clock is always ticking for the next book. They're not just YOUR friends anymore. You have to SHARE them, and other people have opinions and expectations of them, too. Which is great - don't get me wrong! But it's also nice not having some of that added pressure right now. Still, I don't "relax" very well (what does that word mean, anyway?), and will probably have some news on the scifi front by fall. AFTER we're all moved and settled.

IN THE MEANTIME.

4.  I'm giving away THREE, signed ARC copies of Heir of Pendel next month. If you're interested, make sure you're on my email list (*SIGN UP HERE) for the link to the Rafflecopter, which I'll be sending out in a week or so. Also...

5.  On HoP's release day, we'll be having an online launch party (WOOO!), where more books and swag will be given away. I'll give you the specs once I know them. Stay tuned!

6.  That same Handsome Hubs was in another hilarious parody video with some fellow friends/dentalschoolmates. ENJOY!...

PlaqueStreetBoys: I Have a Cavity (I Want It That Way Parody)



And here's a pic of some of the Order of the Phoenix gals (including me), post Color Run...

(From left to right: me, Lauren, Jenny, and Erin)
It was a warm one, but we survived. Not sure about our lungs, though. (If you're wondering about Order of the Phoenix, it's the name of our book club. Yes, we had Harry Potter paraphernalia glued to our tutus. Yes, we know we're dorks.)

Hope you guys are having a fabulous weekend!...I'm going to get back to writing now...

XO
B

Monday, December 29, 2014

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

So, I'm a little late for the first and very...punctual for the latter. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, nonetheless! Ours was very nice and quiet. We stayed local this year, and opted NOT to make the 13 hour drive to northern California with two babies and a dog, tempting as it was. Can't believe it's our last Christmas in the desert!

Anyway, a few updates on the literary front. First, is that Heir of Pendel, book four in my Pandoran series, has a cover (and I LOVE IT). Some of you have already seen it, but for those who haven't, HERE SHE BE:



Second, is that I have OFFICIALLY handed her guts (aka the story) to my crit partners and betas! No one could be more excited about this than I am, because I get to take the month of January OFF. After working on this story almost every day for a year (and having a baby in the middle of that year), I am definitely looking forward to a respite, short as it is.

I'm right on track to having HoP out in May. When the pre-order is available, I'll let you all know. Right now, HoP comes in at just under 200K words, which is roughly DOUBLE the length of Gaia's Secret. So. Hope you're happy. :D

And now I shall occupy myself with some reading and video games (specifically Kingdoms of Amalur and Dragon Age: Inquisition - MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ME!!!), and then probably pay some much-needed attention to my very patient and loving husband (who I believe is a superhero in disguise).

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

P.S. I listen to a lot of music while drafting each story, because music brings me more inspiration than anything else. If there was a piece that could signify the end of HoP, it would be this:

Hans Zimmer - Time

Hans Zimmer is my fave. I listen to him the most.

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