Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July 31st Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

July 31st, and I made it through alive! Still doing the happy dance over here. Although I hit the 50K at five-fifteen yesterday, I still plan on writing all day today and then posting my numbers then. Corporate Blues is still not finished, so the more I do, the closer it will be to being complete, because after today, I’m going to be working exclusively on the piece for the other author. I want to have it back in her hands by Friday, Monday the latest.

My next three weeks are going to be so packed full of things that need to get done, I am going to need another vacation come September. My car needs to be registered and inspected, plus the maintenance light came on so it needs its oil changed too; the girls need to get their hair cut and eye doctor appointments; we have to arrange “play dates” with all the folks who want to see my daughter before she leaves for college, who can’t make it to her going away picnic on the 21st, which I also need to plan; we need to do a Costco run to get all the last mega supplies for college, Motrin, Lactaid, Cold Medicine, etc.; pack for vacation, leave at 3 am to go on vacation, come home and wash clothes from vacation, then repack and head to college; and there’s a concert today and another beach trip on Monday; and finally, both the car and the house need to be cleaned. Jimminies, I need a nap just from writing it all out!

Thank God I didn’t try to squeeze the book signing in there as well! With all that, there might not be daily writing challenges, but I will make every effort to get something up. This would be a REALLY great time for suggestions from the readers. I would welcome the help!

OK, I’ve got to get this show on the road. I need to pick up my niece at 8:30 to bring her to work because her mom has a doctor’s appointment. It’s funny, because tonight I have to pick up my nephew from work because my sister-in-law is running in twelve different directions at once as usual, and she can’t juggle enough to be able to get him by nine. I don’t know how she does all that she does. She has three very active kids, is a troop leader, heads up various committees, plus I’m sure several other things I don’t know about. If you look at her wall calendar, you cannot see an inch of free space. Every day has multiple things written on it. God bless her, I couldn't keep up the pace she does, that's for sure!

See, I get distracted by shiny objects easily. On to the challenges. Have a great day y’all!


Your Last Challenge was:


I don’t think I will ever get used to this. It’s not even nine o’clock and there isn’t a soul around. This is a town where they literally roll up their sidewalks at night. You would think I would see a pizza delivery guy or even someone else walking a dog like I am, but no. It will be just like every other night, like I’m walking through a ghost town.

I guess it is kind of nice, peaceful really. Gives me time to think and unwind at the end of the day. It’s just so strange though. There hasn’t been any real crime in this town in, well, forever. Believe me, I checked before moving here. The police blotter section in the local paper has stories like ‘The Emery’s cat got stuck in the drain pipe – Found cold and wet, but now home safe with his family’ or ‘Police intervened when an argument erupted after Tommy Griffin’s dog was caught relieving himself on Mr. Peterson’s prized petunias – Tommy was remorseful and offered to mow Mr. Peterson’s lawn as compensation’. And it’s not like I moved to an area where the average age is a hundred and two; sure there are some older folks, but there a people my age, young families, teenagers, little kids. If I was taking this walk at six o’clock instead of nine o’clock, I would be tripping over people. I just don’t understand, and I’d feel real silly asking if that’s just the way things are around here.


Not 100% sure where that story was going, but things just seemed a little too perfect, didn’t they?


Your Next Challenge is:


Did I really just see that?


You have 10 minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

July 30th Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

The sun’s not even up yet, but I am. I guess knowing my NaNoWriMo deadline is fast approaching and I still have almost 3,700 words to go was playing through my brain. Whatever, I had almost five hours of sleep. If I get tired later (ie: when the girls wake up and I can’t write any more), I’ll take a nap.

Remember I told you writing on the beach was almost impossible because of the glare? Well, this time I did a little redneck engineering and I was able to get 900 words done yesterday. I didn’t exactly hit my goal, but it was literally ten times better than my last beach writing attempt.

I could not locate our beach umbrella, so I had to figure out how to jerry rig a regular rain umbrella to my chair. No, I did not use duct tape, although it was tempting. I used a bungee cord. Between that and a conveniently located sign on the beach, I was able to create enough shade so I could see the screen.

Now if I could have figured out a way to muzzle the two old sisters who were seated near me, I would have been in business. I am a visual writer, I write what I see. Basically, I stare ahead and “watch” a scene unfold before my eyes. I tip my head to better “hear” what the people are saying. I may frown when I don’t like what they are doing, or smile when they are. There have been many a time where I either laughed or cried with my characters as well. The sisters were right in my line of vision, and their Ralph and Alice routine was quite a distraction. Also, probably because I was staring ahead, they thought I should be involved in their conversation. So between them and the ninety year old men parading around in speedos turning my stomach, I didn’t get a whole lot done. So today, it’s nose to the grindstone!

Sorry, I got all flustered yesterday when I realized how late I was running and I forgot to tell you one thing that happened at the balloon festival. Right in front of where I had parked, there were two tent set up. These two open sided tents housed a bride, a groom, their wedding party and guests. Apparently, they were supposed to be having the ceremony up in one of the balloons. I guess Mother Nature took offense at not being on their guest list, so she crashed the wedding. I felt SO bad for the couple.

Rain on your wedding is supposed to be good luck. The tears from the sky that day, will be that many less tears you will cry during your lives together. From the amount of rain we got Sunday, several generations of this couple’s lineage will never shed a tear!


Your Last Challenge was:

Write a story containing these three words (blame my daughter): Taco, Cactus, Goldfish


Our van was packed to the gills, and we were ready to leave. The last two things my daughter brought to the car were the cactus, which she named Paco, she got from her nutty friend as a graduation present and her new goldfish, Taco; both of which she was planning holding for the entire six hour drive.

The first round of tears already happened when she needed to say goodbye to her cat. After we promised her that if she ever moved from the dorm and into a campus apartment, we would bring Mikey to stay with her, the tears stemmed a little, but then she said goodbye to her sister’s cat. By the time she got to our dog, Colby, she was a blubbering mess again. I was surprised, because she had held it together fairly well the previous evening when we had her going away dinner. There were only a few tears while saying goodbye to her human contacts. I guess my daughter is a much better actress than I ever gave her credit for.


Yeah, I know. I’m practically jinxing myself, but this is probably how the scene will play out in three weeks. On the bright side, we’ll only be transporting the cactus up to college, and he’ll fit nicely into a cup holder for the trip. We convinced my daughter there actually were pet stores in Vermont and she did not need to transport a fish the entire way, so we will be getting her a goldfish when we arrive on Thursday.

OK, I’m off to camp. Please say a little prayer that I have a productive day. This is crazy, I was so far ahead of schedule, but unforeseen thing popped up, and now I’m scrambling to make deadline. UGH! Really glad I didn’t put my goal as 85K!


Your Next Challenge is:



You have 10 minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.

Monday, July 29, 2013

July 29th

Hi, it’s Christina –

That’s it, I give up! It has got to be a sign that I am not meant to go to the Balloon Festival. We were caught in a monsoon!


After the concert, which was pretty dang good, I headed back to the van to get rid of my chair. My hubby, our friend and her boyfriend, his son, her sons and my daughter were about five minutes behind me. (We had the better parking spot, so we took all the chairs, blankets and coolers.) Anyway, when I see the group coming, I hop out of the van and start taking the chairs they were carrying over the fence so they wouldn’t have to carry them all the way around, and I toss them in the trunk. As I’m doing this it starts to rain a little.

My girlfriend, no longer burdened with a chair, has made it to my van. It starts raining a little harder. That’s when everyone decides they are going to take refuge in my van until the storm passes. I have fifteen chairs, two coolers, all the bags filled with the free-bees they give you at the festival, plus the bags of snacks we brought from home; and now eight people are expected to ride out the storm in the van as well. YIKES!



We decide the chairs have been wet before, they can get wet again, and it was perfectly fine for coolers to be out in the rain, so we pull everything water safe out of the trunk. Now it’s raining hard. Our crew starts running to the car. One by one they make it. At this point, it’s pouring and everyone is soaked to the bone.

I do a head count; two in the front, three in the middle (it’s a two-seater with a consul between the seats), and three in the trunk. I’m short one kid! My youngest daughter did not make it back. Apparently she had gone off with her cousin to find a friend. I manage to get a hold of her, her and her cousin are taking shelter under one of the tents. My sister-in-law and two of her kids are under another tent, and my in-laws have safely made it to a third tent. The family is riding out the storm in four separate locations. My concern is for the fourteen and thirteen year old who have no adult with them.

I want to go and find them, but they can’t tell me exactly where they are, and the rain is coming down in sheets. My baby’s out there cold and wet and scared; I’m starting to panic. She was fine. Cold and wet, yes, but much more annoyed than scared. She was going to stay put until the rain let up.

Forty-five minutes or so later, the rain lets up considerably. They all find each other and make it back to the bus that gets them to their car. We, on the other hand, are blocked in by, not one, but two balloon trucks which are stuck rim deep in the mud. There were cars and trucks stuck all over the lot where we were parked, everyone waiting for the backhoe to come around and pull them out. We decide to take a chance and see if we can get out. I make everyone pile out of the car so it has less weight. We survey the area to find a small patch of higher ground. That was the spot my husband was to shoot for; he was not to stop until he reached it. The rest of us would walk to the van and get in there. With my hubby’s fancy maneuvering and all hands on van to push the second wheels started to spin, he was able to reach the Promised Land.

Getting our friends back to where their car was parked was another ordeal but half an hour later, we managed to get them safely to their car. Another Balloon Festival weather disaster, another time the balloon launch gets cancelled; yeah, I’m really thinking I’m not supposed to go to these things.

Oh goodness, I just saw the time. We are supposed to be leaving for the beach in less than an hour and I don’t have anything done yet. Bye, have a great day. We’ll do the writing challenges tomorrow.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

July 28th Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

Today is Balloon Festival day and I’m excited. Hopefully the weather holds off. I can deal with clouds, but if it actually rains, it’s going to be miserable. My days of standing in the rain to watch a concert are LONG gone! Can’t recall being happy about it even when I was a teenager. Big & Rich are known to put on a great show, so maybe it will be worth it. My hubby scored a parking pass, so we’ll be able to pack a cooler for easy access to food and we’ll be able to leave our chairs in the car and just go get them before the concert starts instead of having to carry them around all day, which will be nice.


It’s funny, every time we go to the Balloon Festival; there is some kind of extreme weather. I remember the summer of ’95, it was so hot and my daughter was just an infant in the stroller, I kept wetting down dribble diapers and laying them over her to try to keep her cool. It was miserable. I went with friends and we got separated. I couldn’t find them for hours or I would have gotten the baby out of the oppressive heat.

The last time we went, we were there helping out my nephews’ boy scout troop’s food stand (yes, I wrote that correctly, I had two nephews in the same troop). The day was going great, but then a wicked storm blew through. Tents were knocked over, people were hurt by flying debris, it was scary. There is nowhere to hide out in the middle of a huge field. I’m definitely saying a prayer before we leave so that we don’t run into anything too terrible today.

I only have 5,400 words to go for NaNoWriMo, but I don’t know how many I’ll actually get down today before we have to leave. I still have sandwiches to make, and snacks and drinks to pack. OK, enough chatting or I won’t get any words down. Have a great day!

Your Last Challenge was:

The fair’s in town.


It’s that time of year again, the annual town fair. This was always a major event for our sleepy little town, and although it still draws a crowd, it’s nothing like it used to be.

Originally the fair was held at a local Catholic Church’s field. There was a pie eating contests, funnel cake and all the other things you would find at a country fair. There was always someone you knew flipping burgers or handing you a Ping-Pong ball to throw into a fish bowl to win a goldfish. You knew the kids who were singing in the band and you were there to cheer them on at their first paying gig. I think they got twenty bucks and a free burger and soda. The church ladies had a baked goods stand where you could get the most wonderful chocolate chip cookies or a brownie for a quarter, and the biggest draw at the dunking booth was when one of the most loved priests, Father Stan, was sitting on the platform.

When we outgrew the church field, the fair was moved to the fire company field in the center of town. The dunking booth and the funnel cakes followed, but the rides got bigger and there were more commercial games. Our town fair had turned into the town carnival, complete with carnies and all, but for one week out of the year, it was still the place to be. It was the place to meet up with friends who you hadn’t seen since school let out in June. Later it was the place to see friends you hadn’t seen since graduation.

Eventually we outgrew the firehouse as well and now the town fair is held in the local Lowes parking lot. It’s funny, now we have all this room, but the appeal of the fair just isn’t there anymore. Everything is commercial now, the rides, the games and even the food. Occasionally you bump into a familiar face, but it doesn’t happen often. It’s sad really. Perhaps we should think about going back to the way things used to be when the fair was at the church.

Your Next Challenge is:


Write a story containing these three words (blame my daughter): Taco, Cactus, Goldfish


You have 10 minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

July 27th Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

Happy Saturday morning y’all. If you happen to live in my part of the country, you woke to the most glorious day. The sun is shining, there isn’t a cloud in the sky, there is no humidity and there is even a tiny nip in the air. I think it’s about 65 right now. I always think it’s funny. When it hits 65 in March or April, it’s down-right balmy, and now 65 is a little chilly. What silly creatures we are.

The hip got better and I was able to write yesterday. I have about 7,000 words to go and four days to do it. That’s 1,750 a day. As soon as I stopped stressing Corporate Blues wouldn’t be done at 50K and my real goal was 85K, I started feeling much better. Who cares if it isn’t done. The challenge wasn’t to complete an entire book, it was to get 50K words done in a month, and I can do it, no sweat. I am kind of hoping to tell the NY publisher who is calling me on August 20th that it was finished though. Hopefully I will be able to.

So, did you figure out where the picture from yesterday’s challenge was taken? You’ll get to find out in my challenge response, but that doesn’t mean that is where the photo should have taken you. It may have inspired something completely different, Nova Scotia, a vacation memory, into the past or future, or perhaps to another planet. I’d wish you would post so I can see where it did take you.

Your Last Challenge was:



I pressed my face to the glass, stared out of the plane’s tiny window as  tears trickled down my cheeks. The sense of coming home overwhelmed me. I know it’s silly and unfathomable to most, considering I wasn’t born here and I had only visited once before, but Ireland calls to me like a siren to a weary sailor. The feeling that this is where I belong makes me give serious consideration to the possibility of previous lives. Why else would this foreign country feel so much like home to me? A feeling, if I was being honest, I never really felt in my “real” home.

I’ve often tried to discuss Ireland, but if the person has not visited Ireland before, it is an exercise in futility. They don’t believe that it actually shimmers when you see it from the air or the green is so green it hurts your eyes, like a blue, blue sky in the summer. They don’t understand walking through the ruins of a five hundred year old crofter’s cottage and still being able to feel the families who had once lived there, around you.


I honestly could go on about Ireland for hours, because I do love it so and it really does feel like home to me, but alas, I only had ten minutes to write. I will be participating in the official NaNoWriMo in November (it’s going to be a neat trick with the holiday, but you’ve already guessed I was a glutton for punishment), and I will be writing a story which takes place in Northern Ireland. The best way to describe the story would be a modern fairytale romance, completely different from the other stories I’ve written. Stay tuned, I’m sure I’ll tell you more about it in the months to come and I may even ask for help with the title.

OK, off to camp. I have a lot of writing to do before the house wakes up. Have a great day!


Your Next Challenge is:


The fair’s in town.


You have 10 minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.

Friday, July 26, 2013

July 26th Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

Call me a wimp, but I PGed the scene and kept writing. It works. For some reason, hot and steamy didn’t fit, but who knows, it may change during rewrites. Still have 8,500 words to go in the next five days. Then the polishing, editing and rewriting begins, but I think I’ll give it a rest for a week before I start the process. I still have to finish editing the other book and get it back to its author.

Today may end up being a wash though, because again, I have a house full of kids, sleeping on every available surface. Pretty soon they are going to be waking up, making noise, wanting food, etc. My one saving grace is going to be, my daughter has a date with her grandmother at eleven, which means all these kids will be gone then.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to write then. I’m having difficulty now writing this blog. I guess it may have to do with this crazy weather change, but I’m in a lot of pain right now, and having trouble focusing. My hip feels like it’s been pulled out of its socket. Now I’m just waiting for the Motrin to kick in and take the edge off. This whole getting old thing is for the birds!

Your Last Challenge was:


I hadn’t planned on running for President


I hadn’t planned on running for President, but here I am. It started out innocently enough, just a rant on my blog, over the idiocy of our local school board. I could not believe how folks with no common sense what-so-ever could become elected officials. I received more comments to my blog than any of my other posts had done in the past. One reader wrote, well if you could change things what would you do, and I responded. This continued for several weeks, more questions, more responses. My audience grew from a humble 335 to over 335,000. The questions kept flooding in and I answered as many as I could with complete unfiltered honesty. The next thing I knew, there was a reporter at my door asking me questions about the upcoming election. When I told him I had no idea what he was talking about, he generously explained, I was a write in on the ballot.


Your Next Challenge is:



You have 10 minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

July 22nd Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

I get up at an ungodly hour so I can have at least three hours of peace and quiet to write, with only one small interruption when my husband leaves for work. The plan usually works well, but today may prove to be a challenge. My oldest daughter had a friend sleep over last night, and her friend’s phone was buzzing already at quarter to seven. UGH, really? I am behind on my writing…I don’t have time for this! I really don’t want to have to start waking up at four in the morning so I can write, but I will if I have to.

There are a bunch of things we need to get done around here before my daughter leaves for college. When the girls split into two rooms, they cleaned their old room by bringing every stitch of fabric (clothes, linens, etc.) down to the basement. This week, I want to get EVERYTHING washed, sorted (what is being kept, handed down, donated), and put away.

When that is done, we are going to paint my youngest daughter’s room. She wants to do one wall in the chalkboard paint. I was resisting, but then I asked myself why? It’s only paint. It can be changed. For the first time ever, she has her very own room, and she should make it hers. My older daughter is a little miffed because I won’t let her paint her new room, but it was painted a few years ago, and it’s the color I want as my office, which is what the room is going to be when she moves out in a few years. I can’t see going crazy trying to cover the navy paint with a pastel color only to make it navy again. She’s only going to be in the room for three months out of the year, she can deal, but I do feel a little bad, because this is the kid who rarely asks for anything.

We also have another beach day scheduled as well as a get together with friends so they can say goodbye to my daughter before she leaves, and this all needs to be done by August 9th, because we leave for OBX on the 10th. Oh yeah, I also only have nine days left to finish my Camp NaNo writing and finish editing the book for the other author.

Anybody got a pair of roller skates I can borrow? LOL.

Well, it sounds like the girls fell asleep again, so maybe, just maybe, I can get some writing in this morning. So, on to the challenges then off to camp.

What did you wish for? I really wish you guys would post your responses instead of just telling me you are doing them. I’d love to read what you have written!!


Your Last Challenge was:

If I had three wishes… 


If I had three wishes, what would they be?

Would I wish for peace and harmony?

Would my wish be selfish or for another?

Would I wish everyone was treated like a brother?

Would I wish no mom would cry?

Would I wish no parent would see their baby die?

Would my wish be serious: end all disease?

Would my wish be frivolous: rid the world of fleas?

Would I wish to end famine, genocide and war?

Oh what would I use my wishes for?

Well, it doesn’t look like anyone is granting wishes today…

So I think I will do the next best thing and pray.


Your Next Challenge is:



You have 10 minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.