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Monday, October 31, 2011

A Halloween Tale

Okay, what I'm about to tell you didn't happen on Halloween.  It actually took place during the summer when I was 9 or 10 years old.  But I'd like to share it anyway since today is the day of ghosts, gouls, and all things scary. 

My sister and I, along with a friend, used to attempt to perform seances.  I loved ghost stories and enjoyed playing near houses that were supposedly haunted, so the idea of calling up a ghost was exciting to me.  I know, morbid right? That being said, I didn't actually believe seances would work.  But we attempted them anyway just for fun.

One day we were inside a pop-up camper which belonged to my friend's parents.  We had a screen window open on one end and the door was shut.  With a burning candle placed at the center of the small table, we joined hands and tried to call upon a ghost.  Nothing happened.  No surprise there.  My friend and sister then went inside the house to get something while I stayed in the camper.  I stared out the window, not expecting to see anything.  I was curious when a large image passed by the window.  The image was more like a light, a large orange light.  Doesn't really sound spooky does it? I watched it go by, not sure what to think.  Keeping my eye on the window, I tried to figure out what it could be.  Then it went by again, heading the same direction it had before.  Now here it was the middle of the day, sun shining bright, and a large orange "presence" was passing the window.  (Someone once asked me if there was something outside catching the sunlight.  The person thought maybe I was watching a reflection of something.  But this wasn't a reflection.  It was in the air itself.  It wasn't shining against the window or coming through the window and landing across the surface of the floor or wall.)  So this light went by a few times, and then a smaller light went by one time.  I was convinced there was a spirit, whether good or bad I had no idea, circling the camper.  I sat motionless until long after the images stopped.  And needless to say, I haven't tried a seance since.  As far as I'm concerned, something was out there.  And you can't convince me otherwise.

Of course, now that I'm older and a Christian, I wouldn't dare try anything like that.  I believe in angels, and I also believe in demons.  And playing around with seances or ouja boards and the like, in my opinion, is asking for trouble.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Glad To Beta

Last week I finished beta reading something for a fellow writer.  It was just what I needed, but I didn't realize it until I turned my focus back to my own story.  As you all know, I've been editing my novel for quite some time now.  And as close as I am to my story, it's hard for me to look at it objectively.  I can't just do a critique on it the same way I would on someone else's work.  And whenever I take a break from my story, I don't really take a break.  In other words, I might not write or edit anything, but I still focus all my thoughts on it. 

So after deciding to expand on a certain element in my story, I needed another break.  It's taken up tons of my time to get the word count down to a reasonable amount, and this decision was going to force me to add more words.  Not knowing where to start had me frozen, even though I didn't think it would take much to change it up.  About that time, a fellow writer made a request for a beta.  I jumped at the opportunity.  And I am glad I did!

I read the story submitted to me before offering my critique.  Then I went back to my story.  Without getting worked up about how to start, I started on page one and began reading.  Errors I had never seen before jumped out at me.  Why? Because I'd gotten used to watching for them in the story I was beta-ing.  Critiquing somebody else's work helped me to see my errors, which is always a good thing.  And not only that, it really cleared my head.  My over thinking about my novel had become my stumbling block.  Now that block is gone, and over the weekend I sailed through a third of my 113K word manuscript.  I tweaked here and there, added a bit in a few places, and removed unnecessary narrative/dialogue/etc.  And it's reading much better. 

Sometimes the editing process can be draining.  And for me, it's seldom fun, although it is necessary.  Thankfully, after putting all my focus on somebody else's work, my excitement for my story has been renewed.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Who will be the next president?

We are just over a year from the next presidential election, and I am cringing at the potential answer to that question.  Will Obama be re-elected? Or will he be replaced by a Republican? I don't know, and after last night's Republican debate I have no idea who should be the next Republican candidate.

I have blogged before about the fact that I am a Christian.  I have no reason to keep that a secret.  And I freely admit that being a Christian influences the decisions I make every day.  If I were ever to be elected for a political office, my Christian background would influence my decisions and actions.  Surely that would be true for any one else who claims a religions background.  In fact, if someone is truly a Christian, Mormon, Muslim, or whatever, how can that person's religious background not be an inlfuence?

I bring this up because I am shocked by something Mitt Romney said during last night's debate.  He basically stated that a candidate's religion should not be a factor when people decide who to vote for.  (A copy of the exact quote can be found HERE ~ It's from a CNN article, and the quote is toward the bottom.) 

My head is still spinning! So per Romney's statement, my decision to vote for him, or not to, should not be influenced by the fact that he's a Mormon.  Well I can guarnatee this: A candidate's religious affiliation definitely is something I consider while deciding how to cast my vote.  According to Romney, people who allow a candidate's religion to determine how those people vote are straying from the intention of the Constitution.  What? Has he read the Constitution? Does he know anything about our Founding Fathers? The men who wrote our Constiution were influenced by their religious affiliation.  There can be no doubt about that! Does the Constitution guarantee that every person has the right to freely worship as they see fit? Absolutely.  But I don't think our Founding Fathers would agree that people should not let a candidate's religion determine how they cast their votes.

Quite frankly, I am apalled and disheartened.  So who will I vote for? Not Romney!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I Love Books

I have a confession: I love books.  Some day I hope to have a large library filled with books.  There is an antique shop I go to occasionally, and I always have to go to the rows of books and run my fingers over them.  The older they are, the more I love to look at them.  Often I've been tempted to purchase a few, but I never do.  One thing I don't want is a room filled with books I've never read.  If I don't think I'll read them, I won't purchase them.  I bring this up because I've been noticing more and more people with their Kindles or whatever other electronic reading device they prefer.  Someone recently asked me if I would want one.  I didn't even have to think about it.  No way! I enjoy the experience of reading books too much.  Holding a book and looking at the artwork on the cover is part of the reading experience for me.  I enjoy browsing the bookstore too.  It wouldn't be the same for me if I was using a Kindle. 

I realize there are benefits to electronic reading devices.  For instance, they don't take up as much room as a pile of books.  Additionally, there would be no need to go to a bookstore to make a purchase, which would save time and gas.  But I just can't do it.  I can't swap all my books for one device.  And I think if I did have one, it would be too easy for me to download every story I want to read, and then I would never be caught up.

So, as they say: to each their own.  Some people love their devices.  Some people love their books.  Some people may love both.  Feel free to leave a comment to let me know which group you're in.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Passing of Time

It's October!'d that happen? Not that I mind.  Autumn is my favorite time of the year, and I have been anticipating the season due to the insanely high heat we had this past Summer.  I am ready for bonfires, apple cider, changing leaves, pumpkins, etc. 

Last month was crazy busy, but it was a good busy.  My husband and I just celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary.  Yay! We went to Chicago for a few days and have now returned to reality.  That means I can refocus on my writing. 

I'm ready for another round of editing and am chomping at the bit to get my story done.  I'm so close...but I'm just not there yet.  One of these days I will be, though!

So, it's a short post today, but that's okay.  I'll have much more to say soon!