Monday, December 21, 2009
You follow my blog, but you might not follow me on Twitter. Are we Facebook friends? No? How about my website, have you seen it? Thanks to Suzette, you can see all of my on-line haunts on one page and with one click, you can link to everything Amanda Bonilla ;)
If you're not a member of QueryTracker yet, I strongly suggest you join. It is HANDS DOWN the best site for querying writers. I attribute all of my successes to the relationships I've formed since joining. Once you're a member click on "My Stuff" and "Edit My Profile". From there you can enter your blog, website, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc, etc... Whew! That's a lot of networking!
The new feature also allows you to connect with other writers based on your likes. You can add "Pen Pals" which is the equivalent of "friending" someone or "following" them. Click HERE to learn more.
Thanks Suzette and Patrick for helping all of us aspiring authors out! You're the best!
Friday, December 18, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
What is the silliest thing from a book or short story you've written, and why? It can be a line or a paragraph or a whole page. Anything that you look back at and go, "Say what?"
Well, not to sound like a broken record, but I was a young mom. The first things I wrote were short stories starring my then 2 year-old daughter and my sister. Okay, before you read... 1) my daughter was a pretty sharp cookie when she was little 2) no child was abused in the writing of this story ;) 3) She was probably throwing a fit of some kind when I wrote the story. Get ready for an eighteen year-old mom's attempt at entertaining her child:
Once upon a time, in a kingdom often referred to as the Bad Lands, lived a young girl named Jacquelyn. She was the baddest of the bad and deemed ruler of the Bad Lands by the residents therein.
One day a young peasant girl named Mandy the Meek was mindlessly skipping through a patch of weeds. Little did she know that this certain patch of weeds was the pride and love of Queen Jacquelyn. Mandy, was simple of mind, had no idea that anyone would care a snit about an old patch of worthless stinky weeds, and skipped through them with carefree abandon.
From the window of her lofty palace, Queen Jacquelyn espied the young and silly Mandy girl doing a dance upon her most prized and favorite weeds. This sent the wicked Queen into a fury not seen often by the residents of the Bad Lands. She flew from her tower with the speed of a 747 and swept down upon the simple young girl with an agility that frightened the lookers on. The villagers cringed with guilt as they they witnessed the harsh tirade of the Queen and covered their ears at the screeching sound. One cowardly villager though, slunk away with a heavy heart.
Without a moment to spare the villager ran as fast as his stubby legs could carry him to the land of water, where he would find Niki Pickle, protector of all simple-minded fools. The villager told Niki Pickle of the evil Jacquelyn and her abuse of the Mandy girl. Niki immediately jumped astride her great steed and rode into the Bad Lands to once again do good for those who could not help themselves.
Niki Pickle arrived not a moment too soon, for Jacquelyn was spitting insults at the Mandy girl so fast that Mandy was crumpled in a pile of mush on the ground. Niki Pickle grabbed her staff of truth from her steed and proceeded to knock Jacquelyn in the head. One knock, and the staff of truth turned the wicked Queen into a good and righteous creature, never to do evil again. She still grew weeds, but it didn't bother her to have them skipped upon any longer. The villagers were so happy, that they awarded Niki Pickle with a lifetime supply of Spicy Mandarin Chicken, which kept Niki Pickle forever fed and happy.
Hope you enjoyed my silliest writing moment. Check out Rebecca's post before mine, and Sandra's tomorrow for more cringe-worthy stories!
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
But I finished high school. I grew up beside my child, and I pursued what I loved whether I was concscious of it or not. I still have the micro-cassett recorder I bought fifteen years ago, to record ideas that came to me while I was driving. I have boxes of short stories, a fun way to pass the time, leading me toward the path I would inevitably take. I've stored the three-ring binder, full of asperations and purple prose, to remind me of how much I've grown. And I have the battle scars, visible only to me, proof of my determination to succeed.
I love the worlds I create like I love my children. I cherish the stories like I cherish my marriage. And I sit down at this keyboard day after day, thankful for each keystroke, each request, each rejection. I'm thankful for the friends I've made, the writers who feel what I feel every day.
I'm thankful for the words.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Check out Lisa and Laura Write. In celebration of their publishing contract for their debut novel: A Kate Lowry Mystery: THE HAUNTING OF PEMBERLY BROWN, they're giving away a Kindle to one of their lucky blog followers. If you don't follow these ladies, check out their blog, they're going to be HUGE.
Over at Fangs, Fur, and Fey, in celebration of their thrid anniversary, you can email them for a chance to win a Kindle as well. Check out this site. Pretty cool.
The blog community is full of generosity this fall! I don't know about you--but I'd be pretty damn thankful for a Kindle!
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
How do you create a wonderfully dramatic story? Are there any questions you ask yourself, or specific things you keep in mind to ensure that you have the level of tension necessary to propell the story forward?
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
What are the primary fears that drive your characters? Do they battle aliens or gangsters or monsters? Or do they battle unreconciled issues in their lives? Which do you prefer writing about? What do you fear?
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Just when I thought my world was slowing down enough for me to focus on being a serious blogger (quit laughing Suzanne!) I was sucked into NaNo. Though I succumed to the peer pressure, I couldn't be more grateful. I am blessed to have a friend who pushes--in a good way--and she gave me the shove that I needed.
When I wrapped up the novel that I currently have out on submission I felt sated. Confident even. I had fallen in love with this project and was proud of my growth as a writer. The response to my queries was proof that I was becoming something more than I was but with that bliss came something altogether more frightening.
I think I'd lost some of my drive. Think of finishing your favorite meal. You've cleaned your plate, licked it even. You follow it up with the perfect dessert. You're full. Are you thinking about eating again any time soon? No way. That's how my project made me feel. Full. Content. It was literary triptophan for my soul. In my contentment, the idea of pursuing a new project soured on my pallet. I didn't have the fire to dive right back in. Like tomorrow's dinner recipe, a new story idea failed to spark.
Days became weeks and weeks, months. "I'm waiting to hear back on my subs," I told myself. "I have a sequel planned. I'll work on that when the time's right." Not until recently did the absence of my muse start to bother me. My excuses turned to worry, "Maybe I'm a one trick pony." "Maybe I won't have another idea to run with." "Maybe I'm done."
And at just the right moment, Suzanne decided to push. "Do NaNo with me!" she exclaimed with contagious enthusiasm. "I have an idea for a new story."
I was reluctant. I told her my idea fountain had run dry and rather than offer condolences for my drought, she talked me through it, helped me brainstorm and jumpstarted my beleagured creativity. Inspiration struck and I was once again full of passion, ready for a new recipe. I was hungry.
So here I come NaNo. I'm so sorry neglected blog and blog readers. I'll try to be a good poster between shiny new words. I'll keep you updated. See you on the other side of November!
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
I want to start off by saying that I officially hate being last. I'm the last link in the chain started by Sandra and this round's topic left me feeling like a very small fish in an ocean-sized pond.
The question for this round:
What kind of journeys do your characters make? What effects do they have on the characters and the plot? Also, if you wish, please tell us about one of your personal journeys and how it changed you.
As I read the posts before me I gulped down a golf ball sized knot. I'm as organic as it comes as far as my writing's concerned. Armed with nothing but a high school diploma and a decent grasp of grammar and the written word, I've always felt like I was a natural writer rather than trained at--well--anything. Ask my crit partners and they'll tell you, sometimes I need some leading.
Though my characters experience some sort of emotional journey, the journeys that they tend to take are physical. My characters actually experience a physical transformation by the end of the book. In my first book, Aura, the main character develops a super-human ability that by the end of the book changes her physically. She does, however, become a stronger woman emotionally as a result of the physical transformation and the journey she had to take to accept that change in her.
In my current "love" and novel that I have out on submission, the main character changes into a completely different creature by the end of the book, but during the course of her transformation she softens up emotionally, becoming a more caring person by the time her journey ends.
As I sit here, chiding myself for not being smarter, not being a better plotter, not being an outliner and a novel writing/character developing genius, I realize that I use the physical journey as a catalyst for the emotional journey. I also know that that there's probably something metaphorical about all of that, but as my brain is fried from a daunting volleyball season, it hurts too much to think about that. ;)
My own personal journey began with an extreme physical transformation. Pregnancy at 16 was not something my body was prepared for, let alone my psyche. I walked the high school halls, hyper-aware of my changed physical state while I showed emotional composure, never letting on that I knew I was different in any way, shape or form. But I was. My life was changing with each day and each growing inch. Flutters graduated to kicks while I graduated from student-without-a-care to soon-to-be-mom, responsible for another life. And with the birth of my daughter, that physical transformation brought about a permanent change emotionally. I had to grow up to a certain extent. I had to reassess my priorities. I would never again be that smiling, seemingly perky girl, who was good at sounding like she didn't have a clue.
I had become--me.
Check out Kate's post before mine, and please feel free to share your own personal or literary journeys with me. I love a dusty road!
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Do you choose WHAT you do because of WHO you are? Or is who you are determined by what you do?
First of all, I'm not embarrassed to say that I do believe in fate. I think that everyone has a path laid out before them and they are subconsciously pulled in the direction they need to go. As for me, I believe that I am meant to write because I am by nature a story teller. I've always had a more than vivid imagination and I am also a self-proclaimed drama queen. I'm a daydreamer and fantasizer and often find my mind wandering while I play out mini scenes and scenarios; pieces of stories (or short stories) while I'm driving, doing dishes, folding clothes.....
I think that because of who I am: a daydreamer, I could have followed the path of theater, or art or music. But, my life took twists and turns that took me away from drama. I can't draw or sculpt or paint. I don't dance anymore. I don't play an instrument and my singing is probably just above average. So, I have come to the conclusion that I was meant to be a writer because it is the artistic outlet that I excel in.
Now, I suppose there are those who would say that I have nurtured this artistic talent one way or another and it has nothing whatsoever to do with my nature or "fate". But I wasn't nurtured in an artistic household. Neither of my parents are artistic per se. I have loved music, art, dance, the written word for as long as I can remember, with no coaxing, or outside influence from anyone. I honestly believe that I was born this way. I was born to create, and I was led to writing. I didn't choose it. It chose me.
I could go all philosophic and address the choices we make. Do we make these choice by free will, or are we pre-destined to make these choices? Everything happens for a reason. Do we lead the way, or are we led? Every event in my life, from my love of old musicals at age 6 to my pregnancy at age 16 led to my writing. If I hadn't been pregnant, I wouldn't have immersed myself in books. If I hadn't developed that love of reading, I wouldn't have been prompted to write. This was not the path I would have chosen voluntarily, but it is the path that was laid out before me.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Well, it hasn't given me an agent or a publishing contract..... yet. But I've had a rather emotional couple of weeks and times like these cause me to do a lot more thinking than I usually do, and let me tell you--that's a lot of thinking.
I had to do something last weekend that was really hard for me. I spoke at my grandma's funeral. We were pretty close, and I'd helped to take care of her during the last few years when her health had declined rapidly. She was an amazing woman. Strong, forward thinking, a modern woman for her generation. She inspired a matriarchal family and no one, (not even my grandpa) complained.
When the pastor asked my mother about the eulogy, she didn't know how to answer him. She didn't want to read it, but who would? "I'll do it," I answered. "I'll read it."
Relief washed over her features. "Thanks Mandy," she said. And I know she meant it in a very real, very deep way.
I wrote the eulogy, certainly I could read it. But as the week wore on, I wondered if I could really do it. I gave myself many a pep talk, and as the moment approached I talked to myself out loud in a low murmur, "You can do this. You can do this."
I did it. I read it and then some. My voice didn't crack, I only shed a tear or two. I can't tell you how that made me feel. I can't tell you how that made my family feel. I wondered all day and the next where I found the strength to do what I did. I can't even speak in front of a school assembly or public hearing without a quavering voice and sweaty palms. Just last year, addressing the parents of my volleyball team sent me into a state of near shock and mental shut-down. So how in the hell did I get this done?
Writing. Writing has given me the gift of strength. Strength I didn't know I had; strength that was hidden away so deep that it would never surface. Writing has empowered me in a way that nothing else has.
I am a different person than the woman I was last year. I AM stronger. I AM more confident. I AM more comfortable in my own skin. It just solidifies my belief that writing is what I'm meant to be doing. I may never land an agent. I may never see my book bound in cardboard with a shiny dust cover. But I know that despite all of that, I'll keep writing, because writing has given me an invaluable gift. It's given me a piece of myself that I didn't know existed.
Friday, September 4, 2009
I consider myself an artistic person. I have a deep and reverent love for all things creative and I think that my ineptitude in the previously mentioned departments is the reason why I write. I was talking to one of my dear friends the other day about this emotional roller-coaster of a journey we're on and she said... "Let's be the ones who see this to the end. Let's not be the ones who quit after a few months or a few years..." Of course, I agreed right away. But why? Why was I so quick to agree? Why was there no pause, no moment of thought to weigh the pros and cons of what I was about to agree to? Why such faith in my response?
Dancing really does speak to my soul. When music and body movement come together to convey an emotion, an idea, a story, my chest swells with emotion. I cry. Literally. I think that dance is one of the most beautiful things in the world. I dance in my kitchen, I wiggle in my car seat, I sway and move without even knowing that I do it. I feel the same way about writing. It sort-of plugs the hole that nothing else in my life can fill. If you asked my family, they might say that writing is the only love of my life, but that's simply not true. After not writing for so many years, I guess you could say I'm in that teenage stage. You know the one, the first-boyfriend stage where he's all you think about, he consumes your thoughts and all of your time. Sort of like a new love. Writing isn't the only thing that makes me feel whole, but it's the creative outlet that I need to make me feel like I'm following a path, that the ebb and flow of my life is right where it's supposed to be. That I'm where I'm supposed to be.
Writing is my art. The keyboard is my paintbrush and my fingers are my legs moving to the beat. The words are my lump of clay and pallet of color. The white screen is my canvas. I won't ever have an exhibit in the Louvre, and American Idol can count me out next season. I'll watch the dancers from the audience and the play-dough can just be what I squeeze to relieve stress. My pencil sketches notes rather than still-life and even though my words haven't found the public stage yet, I'm going to see this to the end. I won't be the one who quits.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Kate started the chain this round, and she really threw me a curve ball here. The question she posed was running a loop in my head when I woke up at 3am this morning. Wow, I'm really going to have to use my brain !
What writing rules/advice - whether it was a matter of cannot or will not - have you broken?
I think I may have broken them all at one point or another and I have to say that I think everyone should break the rules at least once as well. Now, I'm not encouraging sloppy writing or disregarding the guidelines that everyone pretty much follows. But what I am saying is that you learn from your mistakes and if you don't break the rules, you won't know to follow them later.
Like Kate, I've written run-on sentences that were small paragraphs and no matter how many times I read them--they sounded just fine to me. I've thrown caution to the wind and infused my sentences with as many "ly" words as I could type, thinking that rather than violating a huge rule, I was spicing up an otherwise bland sentence. I've told and not shown, opting to shrink a large chunk of narrative into a Reader's Digest-sized bite of information. And I've violated POV so many times, I'm sure my crit partners were banging their foreheads against their keyboard.
But by breaking the rules, I became a better writer. I learned how to craft my run-ons into more manageable sentences. I've discovered that the occasional "ly" adverb is okay, as long as every sentence doesn't end in one. I know now that telling is fine in certain circumstances and the reader does not need to be led by the hand through every--little--detail. And I've discovered that violating the POV..... okay, it's NEVER alright to violate the POV, but like I said, breaking the rules taught me some valuable lessons.
My first novel is FULL of broken rules, and has been revised more times than I can count and is about to go back to the "crit pool". But what I learned from all those broken rules helped me with my new WIP and the result was a cleaner, tighter chunk of writing that needed less critique, less revision, and less work.
It's like I tell my volleyball team-- "This is how we learn." By making mistakes, violating rules, we become better players. We learn what does and does not work for our team and individual players. It's how we hone our skills and excute those skills to the best of our ability. And by testing the waters, the players know when it's okay to break form and go for the emergency dump. Or never, never under any circumstances, recieve a serve with one arm.
I say break the rules at least once! And then, once you've learned your lesson, you can decide whether you should break them again. Check out Sandra's post tomorrow to find out what rules she does... or doesn't break!
Thursday, August 27, 2009
I've been furiously polishing my finished MS, which was something that I didn't think would have to be done for a while. But thanks to my crit partners (Suzanne and Michael) as well as Mary, Elana and Suzette, I was able to crank out what I feel is my best work ever. I've sent the MS to the requesting agent, and now the waiting game begins.
Also, volleyball season started two weeks ago. I'm the varsity coach and therefore in charge of the program so I've been in the trenches, preparing for our season and the school year. It's taking a lot of my time.
School starts Monday, and the pace will finally slow. Then I can take a deep breath, dive into a new project and finally blog again! Yay!
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award.
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award.
4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting. (see below)
5. Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers.
6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they have been nominated.
Let's see... I'm pretty open about all of the crazy things that make up Mandy, but I'll try to think of something new...
1. My family has owned the property my house sits on for over 100 years. In fact, my house sits on an old barn site where my great-grandfather boarded horses for a local Native American tribe.
2. I rolled my mom's car down an embankment when I was 15. My boyfriend (now husband) was in the car with me. Nothing solidifies a relationship like matching neck braces!
3. I am a high-school volleyball coach. I spend three months a year, knee-deep in teenage girls and the rest of the year recuperating.
4. I've lived ten miles from a ski resort my entire life, but didn't learn how to ski until I was in my twenties. I learned with my daughter. She went on to be a junior ski racer, I went on to watch!
5. My favorite physical activity is swimming. We have a cabin by the lake and I've been swimming since I was about five. I could swim all day.
6. I don't drive in the city. Period. Unless I'm by myself with no other alternative. I'm a small-town girl all the way and if I'm headed to a city, I hand over the wheel.
7. I tried to write my first novel at eighteen. It was a historical romance and I still have it. I got about half way through before I talked myself out of finishing it. But I like to look at it every now and then to remind myself that writing is all I've ever wanted to do.
There you have it, seven interesting (or not so interesting) things about Amanda Bonilla. Check out my fellow bloggers who I've passed this award on to and learn some interesting things about them! Abby Annis, Annie Louden, Lynnette Labelle, Cole Gibsen, Windy Aphayrath, Christine Fonseca and Melissa Ann Long. Check out these fantastic bloggers and learn something interesting about each of them!
Thursday, August 13, 2009
First of all, I’d like to thank the other blog chain members for inviting me to their group. I’m so excited to be a part of this!!
I’m the last writer in the chain this round, but be sure to check out Kate’s post before mine.
Terri asked the question,
Do you focus on one project at a time, or do you have many irons in the fire at any given moment?
I am obsessive in my single-mindedness. I’m a hobby freak and when I find something new I usually throw myself into said project head first. I’ve made jewelry, soaps and lotions; I’ve even knitted beanies (skull caps). And when I was involved in those projects, that’s pretty much all I did.
Writing was the only on and off hobby I’ve ever had. That is until last April. When I finally sat down, determined to write an entire novel, my previous obsessions were left in the dust. Laundry stayed dirty, dishes piled up in the sink, the world dissolved around me and my laptop became my universe. It’s a little better now than it was, but I have to work at peeling myself away.
The same goes with a writing project. Once I’ve committed to the story, that’s all I work on. New ideas don’t even occur to me while I’m focused on a WIP. It tends to leave me with a bit of downtime between novels, but if an idea were to grip me mid-project, I’d probably spontaneously combust. I don’t even sleep well while I’m working because I wake up in the middle of the night with entire character conversations playing out in my mind. Multi-tasking writing projects present me with the possibility that I might confuse the narrative voice, causing characters from different stories to bleed into one another. It’s hard enough to assign personality traits to each character in a book, let alone divide my creative energy between more than one story.
I wish I was a better multi-tasker, and I KNOW that my family wishes I was. I’ve written a couple of short stories and then there’s the occasional blog entry, but even those are things I have to force myself to do while I’m actively engrossed in a WIP. I’m taking baby steps toward allowing my mind to wander. The benefit would be less down-time between projects or at the very least a new one would be queued up by the time I finish a current one. But I have faced the fact that I am OCD about writing, and I’m okay with it!
How about you? Do you see a single story through to the end, or is your WIP folder packed to overflowing with the beginnings of your new obsession? Let me know.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
This was basically my husband's tag line for me this past weekend. It's not that funny. Not even mildly amusing. But since he only talked that way around our friends, I'll forgive him.
His twenty year high school reunion was held Friday and Saturday. We met up with some close friends who we see outside of the every ten years required by reunion law and the first thing his good buddy's wife said when she saw me was, "I heard you're on the internet.... writing books or something?"
Ouch. Thanks, dear. You're a champ. "I'm not on the internet...." I said, a little put out, "but I am writing books."
Face red, check. Pulse quickening, check. Heart pounding, oh yeah. Embarrassment kicking in, you betcha.
For some reason, he tells EVERYONE that I'm writing. I tell NO ONE. I don't know if it's because he's secretly proud of me, or that he's looking for a segue to complain about the fact that I'm having a love-affair with my computer (because that's what seems to be at the top of his gripe list). And at the same time, I don't know why I'm so embarrassed to shout to the world, "Yeah--that's right--I'm writing, so what?!?!"
I really dreaded that aspect of this reunion. People asking what I was up to and me trying to decide if I wanted to blow them off.... "I'm still coaching, blah, blah, blah". Or if I really wanted to spill the beans..."Well, I'm glad you asked. I've been writing for the last year and a half." I decided to go with conversation number one.
It's not that I'm not happy with what I'm doing as a writer. I am. I feel like I've finally, really followed through with something and found my true calling. But I guess it's my lack of success that keeps my mouth clamped shut. I know that I'm not doing too bad. I've had a few requests for partials in the last year, and a request for a full or two. That's further than a lot of people get. I guess its my nagging self doubt, rearing its ugly head yet again.
Two things happened, though to really snap me out of it. First, said wife answered me with, "I tried to sit down and write a book once, I got to page five and quit." That sentence led to a conversation about writing and she knew her stuff! Face, back to normal. Pulse, slowing. Heart, no longer pounding. Embarrassment, gone. The second thing that happened occurred while I was talking with one of my few "local" friends who knows all about my writing. We were catching up on the phone and she told me that she was going to have a stab at finally writing on her blog, and not just updating her family's goings on. "I'm so proud of you," she said. "It's really brave to put your stuff out there to let people read it."
Wow, I guess it is. I usually kind of pooh-pooh that comment off when someone says it, but this time, I really considered it. It is very, very hard to expose your soul like that. And writers put their souls into every word they write. Writing is so personal, so solitary, a little lonely at times, and by showing others our work, we give them a glimpse of what that loneliness produces. I'm glad that I can plunk that secret part of me down on the computer screen and have the guts to hit send over and over as I share my work with agents in the hope that someday I'll get to share my work on a much larger scale. I guess it is a little brave, and when I hit "send", I'm certainly not embarrassed or ashamed.
I think everyone decided that ten years was too long to get together and so the next reunion is slated for five. My own twenty year reunion is in three and I can't wait for people to ask me what I'm up to. "My name's Mandy, and I'm a writer."
Monday, August 3, 2009
I have been a die-hard fan of Shakespeare since I was a little kid. As I look back on it now, I find it a little strange. But, I grew up on old movies, elaborate musicals and so on, so I suppose it stands to reason that Shakespeare's plays would appeal to me. The Festival has been in business for about 20 or so years give or take. I remember being twelve years old and reading the fliers advertising Romeo and Juliet and wishing I could go more than anything.
Well, twenty three years isn't too long to wait... ;)
The company has a permanent home with a lovely and simple outdoor stage nestled among trees and green grass. We had great seats in the third row, lawn seats, and we bought a picnic dinner and lounged in our low-backed chairs. When the play started I was like a kid again, smiling through the entire play, surely looking like an idiot!
The actors were wonderful, the costumes beautiful, the comedy perfectly timed. I glanced to my husband out of the corner of my eye once or twice and noticed that he was smiling, but not laughing himself to tears like I was. I kept asking him, "are you having a good time?" and he would say, "Yes!" Then I asked him, "do you like the play?" and he would answer, "uh-huh." Okay, I know there were a million other things he'd rather be doing, but I was happy as a clam and he gets serious brownie points for thinking of me.
When Feste closed the show, singing, "But that's all one, our play is done, and we'll strive to please you every day..." tears spang to my eyes. It's over?!?! So soon?!?! The lights went dark and the crickets sang and I smiled so big I thought my face would break. Curtain call came with the return of the stage lights and I stood and clapped so long and hard that my hands hurt. WOW. What a great experience. Better than going to the ballet last Christmas, better than any concert I've ever been too... it was the best night ever!
And hubby.... if you want to give me the same thing next year, (wink, wink) that would be fine with me!
Friday, July 31, 2009
So congrats to Extraordinary Ordinariness, MJ Caraway, Novelcrafter, Elana Johnson, Author, Mary Lindsey's Weblog and Gumbo Writer, the recipients of my "Humane Award". Keep up the Good work gang!
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
I'm going to take a break from "The Keyboard" today to jump aboard my soap box. There's an issue brewing too close to home for me right now and it's sapping most of my creative energy.
Where to begin....
I live in a VERY rural area. In fact, the picture in this blog is the view from my front patio. I have great respect, reverence and love for the open fields and quiet setting that is being threatened by a developer who is proposing a PRIVATE AIRPORT and exclusive fly-in community ONE MILE from my home!
I've been to two Planning and Zoning meetings, with another coming up in a couple of weeks. I've heard the developer's attorney talk in so many circles that I'm dizzy. I've heard the property owner (a VERY old and VERY rich rancher) yell and scream at the top of his lungs that if we (his neighbors) stand in the way of this development that he'll sue us all, and I've heard the speeches of teary-eyed residents just like me, begging the Planning and Zoning Commission to re-think this project.
As I drive past the wet-lands that serve as a home to Sandhill Cranes, Blue Herons and Curlews, I wonder--will they come back once ground is broken? As I watch the herd of elk that have crossed this property for years meander through the grass, I wonder--where will they graze after the backhoes and dumptrucks come? As I sit outside and listen to the sounds of nature, I wonder--how much longer do I have before those sounds are drown out by the whoosing engines of a corporate jet? It makes me sick.
A noise expert spoke on behalf of the developer last night and assured the P&Z Commission that most of the noise from the airport would occur at 65 decibles near my home (which according to his chart is pretty damn loud). He told my daughter that the current decible rating for our area is at about 40. He also assured the commission that those occurences are classified by the FAA as "single occurences and not a continuous assualt" and then in the same breath proclaimed that these "single occurences" will OCCUR approximately 50 times during the 15 hours of daily operation. If I'm doing my math correctly, that figures out to about 3.5 OCCURENCES per hour. I don't know about you, but that sounds pretty constant to me.
I feel so helpless against the "Big Money" that I'm up against. The David and Goliath implications of this fight are exhausting and emotionally draining. My neighbors (some 300 rural community members will be directly affected) are all trying their hardest to fight the good fight. Lawyers have been commissioned, consultants have been hired, and bulk mailings are going out at personal expense. I'm proud to belong to a group of people that are so dedicated to coming together to fight against something so large and oppressive in comparison to our little group. I'm glad that people are still willing to stand up against greed and big money.
I'm going to have the opportunity to make a presentation at our next planning and zoning meeting. I'm speaking on behalf of my family's land trust and therefore I'm allowed more time to speak than a single home-owner. I've got A LOT of research to do and a killer speech to write. I want my five minutes to make a sixty minute impact. I'm so nervous--I hate speaking in public. But I've got to do what I can and not lay down and allow my way of life to be steam-rolled by an elitist development. I'm particularly interested in population numbers for Sandhill Cranes, Curlews (which I believe were on the threatened list a while back) and Herons for the Valley County, Idaho area. I'll be hitting the books hard, so to speak, and if anyone out there in the blogging community has any information that might help, I'd be eternally grateful.
Like I said, if I don't at least try to do something, that lovely picture at the top left corner will have a sleek corporate jet in it next year.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
If you're lucky enough to live in an area where huckleberries grow wild, you'll know what I mean. Locals covet their secret picking spots and wouldn't dare reveal their locations come threat of torture or death! Pickers go out in a frenzy, picking their little hearts out until their knees creak, backs ache, and fingers are dyed purple. Then comes the mad dash to clean and freeze said berries because.... well, because you never know when they're going to come back.
I am very, very fortunate in that I don't have to travel far to find a good picking spot. Huckleberry bushes (or brush) grows wild on my family's property and a quick jaunt on the four-wheeler delivers us to opitmum picking locations. I know, I should hike it all, but it's a twelve minute ride, so if I dragged my 35-year-old butt along those trails, I might not ever get there.
The ride is nice and as I look around I am so thankful for the beautiful land that is my legacy. The scenery is idylic and as close to perfect as you can get. Aspens and all variety of pines grow in thick clusters and ring meadows. Tall grass sits alongside pink, purple and red wildflowers. Birds sing, squirells chatter and the wind rushes through the branches that toss shadows on the grass below where the sunlight filters through. I can't tell you how standing out in that forest makes me feel.
When I was a kid, my Aunt Nancy used to take me, my sister and my cousins out on forest excursions. We would pack a lunch and set out, plowing through the tall grass, building forts alongside enormous boulders with fallen trees and branches. We played so many fantastic games. We were fairies, forest animals, orphans on the run. We ran, walked, skipped and sat. We breathed in the clean air and played in the streams. It is the foundation for all of my writing.
My husband can pick twice as many berries as I can. But the number of berries in my bucket is pale in comparison to the beauty all around me. I haven't written, edited, cleaned my house or done a stitch of laundry in three days. But I have been inspired by the scent of water, pine sap, wilting clover and--oh yeah, huckleberries.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
One: I HATE confrontation. In fact, I hate it so much that to avoid it I will sometimes agree to do something I shouldn't or agree with someone I would rather disagree with.
Two: I was a teen mom! I know, it's scandalous. My daughter was born when I was sixteen. But, I finished high school and I honestly feel that I am one of the few success stories. I do not bow to teen-pregnancy statistics.
Three: I am deathy afraid of spiders. Any shape, size, color. When I was two, I had night terrors and my mom says that they were ALL about spiders. *shiver*
Four: I love musicals. Old, black and white, newer color, I love them all! My all time fav is My Fair Lady. I have a crush on Audrey Hepburn. I wish I could've been her. She was fabulous.
Five: I've only been drunk a handful of times my entire life (all of them over the age of 21) and I've never used drugs. I attribute that to the fact that I used up all of my wild-child opportunities with the teen pregnancy thing. That, and I'm a control freak and have to be in control of my faculties at all times!
Six: I drive like a fiend. I've got a pretty illustrious history of speeding tickets and the one luxury item I would buy myself is a fast car like a Porsche or a Lamborghini so I could really tear up the highway!
Seven: I am extremely shy. Sometimes it comes off as unfriendly or when I was younger "stuck up". I'm not a joiner and I never attend any function without a wing-man. But once you get to know me, you'll have a hard time shutting me up. :)
Eight: I love animals. I own a LOT of pets. And all of my pets have a "buddy" because I believe that EVERYTHING needs a companion. I own two dogs, two cats, two bunnies, two geese, two ducks and a few chickens. (organic eggs!) I despise people who mistreat or are cruel to animals and I make sure that our outside birds have heat during the winter!
Nine: I am a highschool volleyball coach. It's something that I really love doing and if you were to ask me to name one thing that I do very well, I would say "I was a great volleyball player". I'm usually too shy to toot my own horn, but on that subject I will.
Ten: Like Suzanne, I have a potty mouth. I can't help it. I flavor my speech with profantity but thankfully I've learned how to curb it around certain people and certain situations. But, it's part of who I am and if I didn't throw in a @#$%^&*( now and then, I wouldn't be me!
So there it is, ten things about Amanda (Mandy) Bonilla that you didn't know. Or maybe you did. Let me know more about you! Send me a comment stating one thing about yourself that I might not know. :)
Friday, July 17, 2009
Alright.... I was a little off my game, but I played along. He crafted a short story from my two sentences providing the middle to my beginning and ending. It's a great exercise to boost your creativity not to mention improving your short game. His story was so far from what I was thinking when I plucked those sentences down. But that's the fun part. Here's his story based on my two sentences.
She finally felt it, a reason, a good excuse to finally quit being such a doormat and do something about it.
Anna Lucia returned to her boss's office. She had only a minute or two before he would return from the parking garage. The package looked perfect, the cream-colored paper crisp, the silver bow fluffy. But this was the last anniversary present she would wrap for him. She wondered if his wife would notice someone else's handiwork next year.
Probably not, that cold bitch. He deserved so much better. Or maybe not.
Anna Lucia peeked down the long hallway but didn't see him. If he stepped into view she would have at most twenty seconds. She looked at the pretty package. Oh, what the hell. Why not?
She peeled the tape with her fingernail and unfolded the paper. Five years of marriage. Four years of sleeping with his admin behind his wife's back. And for Anna Lucia, no sign of commitment.
She peeked into the hallway again, and he rounded the corner. She drew back into the room, knowing the race was on. Nineteen seconds at most. She hiked her skirt and slipped off her panties. After stuffing them into the box, she refolded the paper, re-affixed the tape, and fluffed the bow.
He entered the office. "Wow, it's beautiful," He clutched the box and patted her ass before heading out the door. "See you on Monday."
"I hope you and your wife have a wonderful anniversary," she said, intending never to return.
Walking from the room, she smiled.
Give this fun exercise a try with your own friends or crit partners. Keep it going! Shoot me a comment and I'll link your partner short story from the blog!
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
I still have a previous novel out on submission so this book will have to sit and stew until I've heard back from a couple of people. Then there's further revisions and critiques. No matter how anxious I am, I have to face the fact that I can't send this book out for a long time. I've tried twice to work on my query, but that's a slow and tedious process because I absolutely hate writing queries. And to those of you who love to write them (Elana), WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU? ;)
So what to do? Well, the answer came to me (again) by way of my friend Suzanne who I've asked to write a poem for the intro. She agreed on the condition that I write a history of the creatures that I've made up for my novel. What a great idea!
Making up the many fantasy species for this book was harder than I'd thought it would be. I did a lot of research, looked up some old folk legends, and used some old stories to lay down my ground work. I knew what my characters strengths and weakness would be, assigned characteristics and so on, but beyond that, the many players had no history to back up their existence.
Laying down a difinitive history is giving a true identity to my characters. Their lineage isn't important to the book, but it is important to me. Plus, its a great exercise in character development, to know who begat whom and how he or she came about, etc, etc. I get to really flex my creative mucscles by constructing family trees, feuds and marriages. Plus, in the long run the history that I'm writing could lead to future projects and a reference companion to those projects.
I have to admit that when I don't have something to write I kind of feel lost. I wander around my house like there's something I've forgotten to do and I plunk down in front of my computer, staring at the blank screen with my fingers poised and ready for no reason.
I hate the interim. Thanks Suzanne for giving my fingers something to do!
Let me know what you do in your "in between time". Do you immediately start a new project, work on revisions, write your query or synopsis? Or do you simply wander aimlessly in circles around your laptop?
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Monday, June 1, 2009
Monday, May 25, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Friday, May 1, 2009
Her friends and family were seated. The groom and his best man waited with bright and expectant faces at the end of the long corridor that might as well lead to the execution chamber as a happy future. What would he think of her after this moment? Would he be sickened, repulsed, frightened? She fought against another round of nausea.
The organ music piped its first ghastly notes. Looking down at the dead flowers one last time, she pushed her right foot in front of her and forced the left to meet it. Again and again, her feet separated and met to the cadence of the wedding march, and she knew a hundred miles had passed before she finally met Jace face to face in front of the minister.
His quizzical gaze meandered first from the dead calla lilies to settle on her soft blue eyes. He titled his head to the side, a silent question, and waited for her response.
Sascha’s lids fluttered. She pulled from the very core of her being, and the heat flowed through her, drawing from her center, racing like liquid fire through her veins and pooling at the tips of her fingers. She felt the transfer of energy, as familiar as taking a breath and allowed the heat to pour from her body into the stems of the crinkled and lifeless lilies.
As if infused with air, the withered stems expanded, becoming solid and bright green. Dried leaves unfolded and the pathetic brown blooms stood tall, as if taking in a great breath, and erupted into a shock of yellow showered with morning dew. The living bouquet banished every trace of death, quivering in the bride’s clutched fists.
She looked to the brilliant blooms and her bridegroom followed suit, his round brown eyes taking in every detail. He looked up to see a single tear blaze a path down her cheek. Gripping her hand, he brought it to his lips and bestowed a tender kiss. Without warning, he snatched the flowers from her, blowing gently into the blooms which withered again from the touch of his breath.
A smile as bright as the rising sun dawned on her beautiful face. They turned to face the minister.
“Dearly beloved,” his voice rang out, “we are gathered here today…”