Sally

Sally

About Me

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California, United States
I'm a wife, mom, mom-in-law, grandma, and writer. To read more, visit www.sally-john.com. :)

Monday, February 28, 2011

Days 166 - 167


Saturday – Sunday, February 26 – 27, 2011. . .
            THE WRITING. . .The folks popped in now and then. I took notes.
            THE DETAILS. . .What a treat! Went to see one of my favorite authors/teachers Richard Rohr; he spoke at a church not far from here about “father wounds,” a point of struggle my characters often encounter.
            Once again Real Life and Fiction intersect.
            Watched the Academy Awards. This is a tradition from my childhood when movie stars were a big deal to me, my sister, and our mom.  =)  What I love about it now is watching people recognized for their achievements. It’s such a special moment in time. I guess seeing them happy makes me happy. 

Day 165


Friday, February 25, 2011. . .
            THE WRITING. . .Caught myself wanting to explain/describe every jot and tittle of what’s going on in the daily life of my Protagonist. Sigh.
Reminder to self:  This does not move the plot forward!
Two things contribute to this penchant:  1) I live with these people; I need to know what they are up to day and night.  2) Often when I read fiction I find myself asking something like, “But why or how did they get here; and what about her handbag or her coat that was back in this other scene and is unaccounted for??”
Reminder to self: Read the above reminder.
THE DETAILS. . .Walks. Precious time with unexpected visitor.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Day 164


Thursday, February 24, 2011. . .
            THE WRITING. . .Another emotional day with the folks.  =)
            I exchanged emails with a friend who is my go-to woman for all things Marine. Her husband is in the Corps. She and I met online years ago when I was researching something military (for Just to See You Smile, I think?).
            Sometimes information offered on websites require already knowing what is being discussed. ;)  She explains things. Thank you, thank you, KF!
            THE DETAILS. . .This evening we went to a “house blessing,” a wonderful old practice of gathering in a home and praying for God’s presence to dwell there.
            A QUOTE. . . “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches on the soul.” ~Emily Dickinson

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Day 163


Wednesday, February 23, 2011. . .
            THE WRITING. . .An emotional day with Protagonist and her teenage daughter and her mother.  =(  Had to just sit back and cry a couple of times.
            THE DETAILS. . .I’m sure there were some.  =)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Day 162

Tuesday, February 22, 2011. . .
            THE WRITING. . .Yes.  =)
            “Indulge your imagination in every possible flight.” ~Jane Austen.  This is the approach to writing fiction, to let the story carry you along rather than the internal editor who wants to perfect now.
            THE DETAILS. . .A bike ride. A young girl riding in a car that slowed for me said through her open window, “I love your bike.”  =)  It’s the pink and the daisies that attracts the fluffy feminine side.
            Confession: I put away Christmas odds and ends. Yes, they were still shoved into a closet willy-nilly.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Day 161


Monday, February 21, 2011. . .
            THE WRITING. . .I’m having fun with the Facebook author page; chose a winner today of the Valentine’s Day drawing for a free copy of Desert Gift. =) Look forward to doing more before its May release.
            Fiction-wise... Some rewriting/editing before sliding on into new territory. Needed a hint about a new character about to enter the picture. Also this is a good avenue for re-entry after days away.
            THE DETAILS. . .Today is my eldest Granddaughter’s HALF DAY. She is now 9 ½. Aww. I sent her a card and jewelry. We started celebrating “half days” when our January 7th-born Son was little. In the hubbub of Christmas and New Year’s (not to mention his dad’s birthday and our anniversary), his birthday was a yawner with everyone all celebrated out by then. So one July 7th I made him a birthday cake.  Of course the tradition continued with our Daughter and then the granddaughters. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Days 159 - 160

Saturday – Sunday, February 19 – 20, 2011. . .
            THE DETAILS. . .Reading, talking, biking, church, walking between rain showers, grocery shopping. 

Day 158


Friday, February 18, 2011. . .
            THE WRITING and THE DETAILS. . .A blend today. My Guy and I went down to the annual Writer’s Symposium at Point Loma Nazarene University to for a conversation/interview with Rob Bell. He’s a pastor out of Michigan and author (his best known book is Velvet Elvis).
I adore listening to authors talk about their work and how they work. The “hows,” spoken in an auditorium packed with other writers, always affirm that my lifestyle – steeped in imagination and words and solitariness – is not all that odd.
Bell’s is a fresh voice that challenges us to see the sacred in ordinary moments, to see the holy in others, and to live accordingly.

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Desk with a View

View from my desk

Story board with notes for SIDE ROADS #3, a gift from friends who like Levenger products as much as I do, to replace my original one lost in the fire.

Me on left and my Sister, 1956. Aren't we cute? The stories in SIDE ROADS SERIES all include a sister relationship. I keep this photo up to remind me of the bond I cherish with my sis.

Okay this is a biggie to share because it's very personal. These are the people I live with day in and day out. You'll meet them in SIDE ROADS #3 in 2012.

Reading Otter, a gift twice over from one of my brothers and sis-in-law. They gave me the original (lost in fire)             and this guy.

All-time favorite of the Grands, enjoying chocolate mousse.
If I need a smile...

A new paperweight, gift from a friend who brought it back from Taiwan.

Some of my newly organized reference books.

Day 157


Thursday, February 17, 2011. . .
            THE WRITING. . .Lost-in-story day. Characters spoke much and misheard much because of their own diseased self-talk. Fallout will be difficult for them. I’ll probably cry.
            THE DETAILS. . .So many layers to peel away before I could function in “real” life. =) Don’t think I quite made it. Digging through Scriptures with Home Group friends, I missed a few strands of thought. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Day 156


Wednesday, February 16, 2011. . .
            THE WRITING. . .The Protagonist’s husband surprised me today. I should have known; this part of his inner landscape was hinted at in his opening scene, but I have not been paying attention. It appeared, directed at his wife this time, and intense.
            Challenges: to keep conflict in the story, to handle it loosely, to allow it to have its life-changing impact for good or for bad, to resolve it without using coincidences or pat formulas or clich├ęs.
            THE DETAILS. . .Organized a few things, clothes closet and books – a brain-resting and creative activity resulting in a pleasant order. My reference books are now in one place…Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey; Roget’s super big Thesaurus; Flip Dictionary, The Chicago Manual of Style. Webster remains atop the desk, next to the printer.
            Ah, music worship service at church tonight, a definite soul-nurturing activity.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Day 155


Tuesday, February 15, 2011. . .
            THE WRITING. . .Marketing-related correspondence.
            THE DETAILS. . .The hair and tight muscles could wait no longer. It was a haircut-massage-this&that kind of day. I thought about calling it a spa-pampering type day, but getting a knot worked out of a shoulder is not pleasant and the short cut was simply so I need think less about hair. =)  Still, these things will help to clear my head; they’re like taking a vitamin for the creative juices.
             But not for the other mental processes. Internet frustrations abound while trying to figure out how to find something on the MHS 1969 website (old newspaper clippings [one of those things long gone from my possession] which will undoubtedly include stories about My Guy playing high school football or basketball.  Several others responded as I did and several others offered solutions so it will work out.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Day 154


Monday, February 14, 2011. . .
            THE WRITING. . .Research is an ongoing thing for me. While I do as much as I can before the writing begins, invariably questions crop up along the way. I’m always shooting off emails to people, especially Son (what kind of tree is this in Oregon?), Daughter-in-Law (what would my 15-year old say when she’s ticked off?), Daughter (what is my teenager reading in English class?), Son-in-Law (it’s February; what sports is this guy watching on tv?).
Today I am grateful for my young Lawyer Friend. Early on she helped and now I’m into shooting off emails to her. How exactly is a lawsuit filed? =)
A gentle shove today against the Protagonist. It’s all going to come down crashing this week.
It’s Facebook Day, time for a weekly post somehow related to the release of Desert Gift. All by myself I came up with a Valentine’s Day/marriage / Desert Gift – related question. So proud of myself. Ha, ha. 
The replies so far have been absolutely delightful.  Check them out at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sally-John-Books/355413061473.  
THE DETAILS. . .It’s Valentine’s Day and it’s a Monday.  ;)  My Guy grilled a yummy steak; my salad was great.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Days 152 - 153


Saturday – Sunday, February 12 – 13, 2011. . .
            THE WRITING. . .A friend talked about her new IPad and it was an “oh rats I have some tweaking to do” moment for me.
My Protagonist has a smart phone (I think that’s a generic term for those things that make emailing possible and easy from anywhere). I do not have a smart phone. I do not think as one who has a smart phone thinks.
I am reminded of how quickly contemporary fiction becomes dated. Cell phones were not common in my early books. They change a landscape which now shifts faster than ever.
I am also reminded of my grandmother who was intrigued with tacos (she pronounced it with a short a, “takkos”). On most levels, her adventurous spirit embraced the new. My attitude needs a tweak.  =)  I fuss at trying to turn on the television; I really fuss at the complicated procedures necessary to get to a particular show.
THE DETAILS. . .Some soul-nurturing activities. . .Church. My Guy and I worked with plants and a latticework, totally remaking the deck (with little yard, this is a big deal). Old friends came for dinner; I put Dijon and tarragon on the salmon, stuffed the squash blossoms with goat cheese.
We received news that My Guy’s elderly aunt passed away on Sunday, in the Midwest. In this life she was so in love with God that I smile imagining her complete joy at their face-to-face meeting, when – as Margaret Becker sings it – she “fell into Love’s embrace.” Bless you, Aunt Betty. 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Day 151


Friday, February 11, 2011. . .
            THE WRITING. . .Solid day. Protagonist at the entrance of her “inmost cave” (Christopher Vogler, The Hero’s Journey). She senses something is afoot.
            Also wrote an outline, listing scenes/nuances/issues that will take me from here to the end of the book. Some are reminders of original concepts, some are brand new twists.
A very good place to end the week on.
THE DETAILS. . .In need of a brain break; My Guy had perfect solution for last night. We walked down to theater and saw From Prada to Nada, a simple and sweet story (a version of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility), lots of Los Angeles, romance, family and sisterly relationships.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Day 150


Thursday, February 10, 2011. . .
            THE WRITING. . .Okay I did it. Protagonist and Husband are into Strained Territory. In one of my summaries (oh how many get written along the way!) for this series I state that the Side Roads Series stories are about a marriage that goes through a season that will either make it or break it.
            I try to use a light touch. In classic literature we linger with the characters in their Dark Hour. Note to self: You are not writing classic literature.
            THE DETAILS. . .I took a 30-minute break after the above-mentioned scene and popped over to the drugstore and post office to buy and mail Valentine cards to my Grands and my youngest Niece.
            I was still “in the zone” and should’ve biked instead of driven. I sat for a time at a four-way stop thinking it was a two-way. Bless those drivers who did not honk at me. Then I took an unnecessarily long route home because my brain was having difficulty paying attention to traffic.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Day 149


Wednesday, February 9, 2011. . .
            THE WRITING. . .Finished the interview questions. Interesting how sometimes a question similar to one asked in the past now gets a different answer from me.  =)  It reminds me of what Steve Brown (a long-time favorite teacher out of Florida; everything I ever wanted to know about GRACE I learned from him) (by the way that is hyperbole) (a highlight was getting to shake his hand at a conference) …
Anyway, he wrote in one of his books something along the lines of hesitating to declare a thought because most likely five years or so down the road he would not agree with it or see things in the quite same way.
Ah, the danger in interviews and blogging. It’s there in print forever. It’s almost as bad as teaching your kids something when they’re growing up and then when they’re adults having to go back and say you’re sorry because it screwed them up.
If we are not growing then we are dead. So this is life.
I totally backed off at the end of the writing day and did not push my married couple into the dark space they needed to go. Ew. That will be edited.
It reminds me of killing off Vic in In a Heartbeat. In writing the sequel, I could not let a dog die. My editor was as happy as I was.
THE DETAILS. . .The line blurs here between writing and details. My Guy and I watched (recorded from Tuesday) a new NCIS. Nice script! Very creative. A stranger enters the story, she knows all about everyone. Viewers get to revisit the regulars’ pasts and gain insight into every one of them. Surprise ending (well, for me since I wasn’t trying to figure things out).

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Day 148


Tuesday, February 8, 2011. . .
            THE WRITING. . .Caught up in the rhythm of the lives of make-believe people.
            Began working on an interview, answering fun questions sent via email for a bookseller. Desert Gift is the main topic (thanks to Tyndale’s marketing people for hooking us up). The story seems so long ago. I have to put on my thinking cap to remember details. Some questions are about writing. My favorite subject or what?
            The interview will be posted online.
            THE DETAILS. . .An omelette. Bless his heart. A walk at some point, in between scenes.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Day 147


Monday, February 7, 2011. . .
            THE WRITING. . .Things are heating up for our protagonist. Naturally she is resisting, putting up barriers between herself and everyone else, hurting only herself in the process. She needs to be pushed over the edge.  And that is coming.  Heh, heh, heh.
            THE DETAILS. . .Another omelette.  =)
            Music and quotes keep me encouraged. I go back to favorites time and again, and am always alert for new ones that hit me like a skipped heartbeat.
For years and years Margaret Becker’s words and voice have been speaking to a deep place within me. I go perfectly still when I listen to Find Me or Just Come In or Look Me in the Eye. And those are just for starters. She is a wealth of really really really good stuff.  (Thanks to a friend in a writing group, 1990?, who said "my teenage son listens to this.")
            Here’s a new (for me) quote from Richard Rohr: “God does not love us if we change. God loves us so that we can change.”  Amen.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Days 145 - 146


Saturday and Sunday, February 5 - 6, 2011. . .
            THE WRITING. . .At church during the congregation’s responsive reading of Psalm 27, verse 10 pushed the breath from me. I could read no more. I just stood there letting it wash over and through me. This is where my protagonist is. Totally. This is bottom line stuff for this point in the story.
            =)
            I wrote notes during the sermon, but not about the sermon.
            THE DETAILS. . .Movie date. . .we saw The Company Men. IMHO, well done. Characters change. It’s a hard story, an honest look at today.

Day 144


Friday, February 4, 2011. . .
            THE WRITING. . .A new character introduced herself today in response to a thought: who is my Padre Miguel (Ransomed Dreams), my Agnes (Desert Gift)?  This is a wise mentor sort of character who comes alongside to point out a thing or two to the protagonist. We discussed her name for a bit and finally settled on one with some help from my “name your baby” book that boasts 100,000 names. ;-)
She came along quite naturally with a story thread I had not yet thought to explore. It was an “oh wow” moment as well as one of “duh.”
            THE DETAILS. . .Received another yummy omelette at my desk this morning. Mm. Yes I am spoiled by him.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Day 143


Thursday, February 3, 2011. . .
            THE WRITING. . .For friends in the San Diego area, here’s a link to the Library’s Local Authors Exhibit. Fun to see the wide range of book topics. Fun to read local.  =)

http://sandiego.communityguides.com/content.php?pid=143020&sid=1264513#Author%20I-L 


            Enjoying some mentoring online. New-ish writers encourage me to look back at my journey, always a cause for thanksgiving to the Author of Imagination.
            THE DETAILS. . .Girl time.  =)  Lunch with in-law friends to celebrate a retirement and an out-of-towner’s visit. . . Home Group and lingering over the Word.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Day 142

Wednesday, February 2, 2011. . .
            THE WRITING. . .Yes. It started with middle-of-the-night composing and went all day.
            Began a new novel this week by John Lescroart, a favorite of mine. Not to recommend his books to readers of my books who only like my kind of books, but I like his stuff, his style. I like his recurring characters.  I pick up pacing from him as if by osmosis; am reminded of the necessity of conflict, tension. Legal/cop/mystery/suspense reveal to me why readers turn pages.
            The website crashed.  =(  But My Guy knows people.  =)  Specifically a young woman who watches over us non-techies and comes to our rescue at times like these. (Bless you, Nicole.)  It will be up soon and then Desert Gift can be posted on it.
THE DETAILS. . .I’m sure there were some. Oh, My Guy fixed breakfast for me!  =)  A delicious omelette with bacon, red peppers, mozzarella cheese. Mmm. He mostly only grills or spreads peanut butter on toast but I have to say he knows how to cook a perfect omelette.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Day 141


Tuesday, February 1, 2011. . .
            THE WRITING. . .Full-on make believe.
            Signed up online to enter Ransomed Dreams in the Inspirational National Choice Contest.  =)  Now I need to mail four copies to the woman in charge. Times like these I want an assistant to dig (and organize while she’s at it) through boxes in the garage, get the copies, pack them up, address the label, take the box to the post office…  But I don’t have to do it today. But I better write it down on the to-do list that is currently buried on the desk.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Day 140


Monday, January 31, 2011. . .
THE WRITING. . . =)  The desk is a mess. Despite the orderly arrangement and convenience of .docx files, I need to see some notes on paper, actually on several papers all at once. Also there is something organic about the touch of paper and pencil and the act of moving a pencil across paper. It provides a connection.
A full writing day drains me of energy to work with my email change-of-address for readers. Some have been contacted, some not. It seems I can do only a small number at a time, else I am perceived as a spammer. Let me put it right here: if you would like to email me about anything whether or not you’ve read a book of mine, the address is sallyjohn.readers@yahoo.com.
THE DETAILS. . .I have a heavy heart for a 25-year old friend, who is back in the hospital for respiratory treatments, a regular thing for her due to cystic fibrosis. She designed my website.  =)  Thank you for saying a prayer for Kristen and her family.