Nanowrimo Day Five–Word Count 11,059

Today I didn’t get much writing done because I had to drive out to Monument Valley to observe a student teacher. It’s a three-hour drive each way, so by the time I got home I was exhausted. I played with Oscar for awhile, put him to bed, ate dinner, and almost fell asleep at 9:00 with no writing under my belt at all.

Then Oscar woke up.

By the time I nursed him and got him settled down and back to sleep I was wide awake. So I decided to come downstairs and write. I couldn’t get the strange landscapes I saw on my drive today out of my head, so I decided to incorporate them into my novel. Anyway, this part of Arizona is the perfect setting for one of my characters.

So what do I do while driving? I listen to a wonderful podcast by Mur Lafferty called I Should Be Writing.  Not only is it fun to listen to and filled with great advice and references to resources, but it also gives me the motivation and the kick in the pants I need to keep writing. I am still on track with my word count, and even a little ahead, which means I am probably about to get the flu.

Nanowrimo Day Four–Word Count 9185

I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I was a little girl. I’ve always loved reading and telling stories, but I have never realized my dream of writing a novel. I have participated in NaNoWriMo for years, but I have never “won” or met my goal. This time around, no matter how tired I am each night, I am excited to sit down and write. I’ve figured out why. This time around, I’m not trying to win, I’m not trying to meet a goal, and I’m not even trying to write a novel.

I’m telling a story.

Nanowrimo Day Three–Word Count 7097

I had my doubts today. After taking care of Oscar and trying to grade papers all morning, I didn’t get any writing done. However, I have found that once he goes to bed the story just wants to flow out of me, and again I am ahead of my word count goal.

Writing 50,000 words in thirty days requires putting down a minimum of 1,667 words each day. To give myself a little bit of a cushion in the beginning, I’ve set a goal of 2,000 words each day. Since by the end of the third day I am over 7,000 words, I’m right on track and a little ahead. I don’t anticipate maintaining this pace, but I’m having fun while it lasts.

I am currently finished with chapter one and well into chapter two. I’ve received some requests to release another excerpt (or three!) so I’m toying with the idea of posting a completed chapter each week. Let me know in the comments if you’d be interested. You can read the first excerpt here.

Blog Book Giveaway!

I love books about writing and blogging, but some are more helpful than others. One of my favorites is The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging. This book not only covers the basics of blogging, but also delves into the fascinating history of The Huffington Post blog. The book is packed with useful information and resources, as well as essays on blogging from Nora Ephron, Larry David, Al Franken, and Steve Martin (among others).

Now I want you to have a copy! This is my very first giveaway, and this is not a sponsored giveaway. Enter to win below and a winner will be chosen randomly on Friday at 12:30 P.M. Mountain Time.

To enter (open to North American residents only):

1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me why you love to blog. Your comment should link to your blog or website.

2. Follow me on Twitter or let me know if you already do: @alittlesandy

3. Tweet the following: Enter to win The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging! @alittlesandy Blog Book Giveaway <a href="
<input id=”gwProxy” type=”hidden”>

Perfect Moment Monday–A New Hat!

There is nothing like going to the mailbox and finding a nice, fat package among the bills and junk mail. Earlier this week I got this wonderful knit pumpkin hat from Kristin over at Dragondreamer’s Lair. She made it herself and I was lucky enough to win it as part of her blogoversary giveaway. She knit it herself; isn’t it wonderful? What made this perfect moment even more perfect was the fact that it actually fit my head. If you don’t already know this about me, I have an enormous head. I can count on one hand the number of hats that I have found in my lifetime that actually fit my head. Of course, I do have a bit more luck with knit hats, but they usually squeeze my head. This one fits beautifully and is warm and comfortable. Thanks Kristin!

I Capture Perfect Moments.

For more perfect moments, visit Lori

Nanowrimo Day One–Word Count 2742

Today I managed to achieve, and surpass, my goal of writing 2,000 words. I was proud of myself until I looked at the NaNoWriMo website and saw that some people have already written 10,000 words. In one day! That’s a lot of typing.

National Novel Writing Month is a thirty day writing marathon that invites participants to write 50,000 words in thirty days, during the month of November. That’s about 1,700 words each day. Although this is actually a reasonable goal (it takes me about two hours to write that much) I have never been able to complete 50,000 words. This is the year!

My novel is called The Fortune Teller’s Daughter. You can read an excerpt below.

The Fortune Teller’s Daughter





/* Style Definitions */
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
font-family:”Times New Roman”;

They come from all
over, the young and old, the superstitious and the conservative alike. They
part the old blue curtains that Meg made for me, the ones with the moons and
the stars that I thought were all wrong, but that turned out to be perfect.
They sit at my little wooden table and hold out their hand. I am a student of
hands; I know the deep groove that cuts along the palm, separating the thumb
from its sisters. Some hands have barely any lines at all, as if that person
doesn’t exist; their touch upon the world is so light. Other hands are crossed
with caverns and crevices and scars, telling not one story but many, of a life
filled with joy and adventure and tragedy.

I am sometimes
surprised by my customers. Of course, the bored housewives always come, hoping
for something more from their future. Lovers come looking for evidence that
their love has been written into the stars. Young women come hoping to find out
they will either get married or get pregnant. But also, sometimes, a working class
man with calloused hands, dirt driven into the corners by years of backbreaking
work. Yesterday I had a Baptist minister, looking for help with his
congregation. I also get the elderly, looking not to their future but to their

I think some of
them come simply because I hold their hand. I am, of course, only doing my job,
but my hands are warm and I am gentle, and I look carefully into their eyes and
try to tell them what they want to hear, that everything will turn out ok, and
that they are in control of their fate.

What moved me to
finally tell my story was a woman who came looking for her son. She asked for
the cards, and as I unwrapped them from their piece of silk and slapped them
down one at a time on the table she pulled at a loose thread on her sleeve. She
would not meet my eye. Finally, when she heard my silence as I studied the
cards she looked up and said, “I know that you can find people, because you’ve
done it before.”

Oscar’s First Halloween

I had high hopes for this Halloween, Oscar’s first. Having a baby has renewed my sense of excitement about the holidays; normally I am something of a scrooge. This Halloween I imagined finding the perfect costume for Oscar, getting a professional portrait done, carving a pumpkin, baking cookies, and drinking hot cider. Ha! Old habits die hard, and as usual, I waited until the last minute. Who knew that grocery stores actually run out of pumpkins?

I was disappointed in the selection of costumes for children. I imagined something like comfy pajamas with cute ears and tails. Instead, I found an array of cheap plastic crap. Most of costumes (even the ones labeled for 6-12 month infants) looked huge and ill-fitting. Even if they were the right size, I don’t think I would put that garbage on my son. I may change my mind when he’s five and begging to be Captain Jack Sparrow, but right now I have slightly higher standards. Unfortunately, high standards require time, and I ran out of that.

I finally decided to make his costume, but since I have neither a sewing machine nor sewing skills, this required some quick thinking and a little imagination. I finally had a eureka moment when I was standing in the middle of Target looking at miniature black sweat pants. A kitty! Black sweats, ears, whiskers. How hard could it be? So I bought the sweats and went to Michael’s for some black felt and black cardboard. Using an old headband, black and white felt, cardboard, and a stapler, I made his ears. Then Darin drew on his nose and whiskers using an eyeliner pencil.

Doesn’t Oscar make a cute kitty?

Finally, I dressed myself in black and made a hat using cardboard and tape. I added a broom I found at the Dollar Store and…

A witch and her familiar!

Oscar managed to stay in his costume for about half an hour, to the delight of our handful of trick-or-treaters. Then I put him to bed, put my feet up, and ate a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.

It wasn’t quite the perfect Halloween I imagined, but there’s always next year!