Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Family, Whine and Cheese

“Next time you whine I expect you to serve it properly!”

At least so says my Mother-in-law to my son. I can’t blame her. Brendan is stuck in that wonderful whining phase. Just about every request he makes is in that petulant whining tone that drive parents crazy. The only thing that tops it off more is the crying at every little thing that doesn’t go his way.

The pasta falls off his plate as he mixes it with catsup vigorously. “Whaaaa”

The cherry on his ice cream Sunday falls down the side. “Whaaa”

The PJs I pull out for him to put on aren’t the one he wanted. “Whaaaa.”

I think you get the idea. We’re working on getting him to use his words. He’s got plenty of them. He uses them with Fiona enough, or when he’s stalling bedtime by telling you about his day. Fiona did the same thing when she was his age. Thankfully, she grew out of the phase right before he went into it. Unfortunately, there was barely a pause from one going out until the other went in.

However, before you get the utterly wrong idea about our kids, they are great. As I said, Fiona’s grown out of the whining. She’ll still burst into tears when she doesn’t get her way, or if she thinks you’re mad, or misunderstood her. That would be a trait inherited from me, at least, the being sensitive to criticism.

Brendan is just frustrated that daycare hasn’t moved him up to the next class yet. He’s definitely ready, though he won’t be four until October. My suspicion is that his attitude will drastically improve once he’s in the new class and learning new things. Last year, when he was ready to move up but hadn’t yet, his good behavior took a dive at daycare. So at least this time he’s not taking it out on his friends, but on us at home.
That’s the way it is for parents isn’t it? Everyone tells us how well behaved our children are and all the awesome things they can do. Then my husband and I look at each other and wonder, “Are they talking about the same kids we know and love?” I do have to say they can be very well behaved (like right now cooperating in using what used to be my computer). Having them twenty-two months apart was a huge stress in the beginning, but they do play so well together, most of the time.

Still I can’t wait until they can serve me whine properly; in twenty years. And how will I expect my whine? Why with cheese, crackers, fruit and chocolate of course!

:} Cathryn Leigh
(Can you believe I managed to write that in 30 minutes while the kids were still up?)
Preposterous! *grin*

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Running a Prose Competition

I think it is appropriate this Tuesday to talk about the Prose Competition I’m running on Protagonize. That’s right, on top of all my editing, motherly duties and work I am coordinating a Prose Competition, the Summer Prose Competition of 2001 (SPC2011).

I spent this spring coming up with contest rules and details, leaving the challenges for last. First, I had to create the questionnaire so that I could pair people up. After all Protagonize was created to be a collaborative site, so what better way to celebrate, than to have people collaborate? *smile* The questions were fairly basic, focusing on genres people love to read and write as well as some basic writing styles (like point of view and amount of planning). Pairing people up was h-a-r-d, hard! There were a few who had stellar compatibility, but I tried for a middle road. I wanted the teams to have a somewhat even footing. I’m just glad I gave myself a few days to analyze the results. Not to mention there were only fourteen contestants.

I did finally create my challenges too, finalizing them when my contestants were filling out those questionnaires. Nothing like a little last minute prep, eh? *grin* I’m really happy with them. Two story prompts and six criteria for each. The first Challenge is already posted to Protagonize and submitted to the Seasonal Prose Competition Group (Read tab). On Friday they will be complete short stories.

So far no one has complained about their partner, though I’ve caused some mass confusion by not clearly stating what I meant by Peer Reviews. My four Judges seem to be getting along well, too. Of course, this could all change when I post the standings tomorrow afternoon.

Wish me luck!

:} Cathryn Leigh

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Unearthing a Trilogy

Well on the plus side, my editing went really well this weekend. At least I thought it went well until I just realized I only edited two more chapters. Make that three chapters, which equals a week’s worth of posting on Protagonize. So I take that back. I editing did go well this weekend.

Speaking of my current project, Phoenix Triumphant, have I given you direct links yet? Ah, I see two weeks ago I gave on to it. But that’s the third book in a trilogy. Yes, I said trilogy. A story that was just warm fuzzy romance fantasy blossomed into a bit more the moment I started posting it to Protagonize. Why?

Well that’s the funny thing about stories. When you start delving more deeply into the world, you begin to find things you had no idea was there. I like Stephen King’s analogy in his book “On Writing” (which came highly recommended and I add my own high recommendation to it). He said something along the lines of stories are like dinosaur bones and writers are the archeologists who dig them up carefully to expose the full skeleton.

Sarah & Jason, the original title of the story that blossomed into The Phoenixes of Vervell Trilogy, started out, as I said above, as romance. It was your basic two imaginary friend turn out to be real and somehow the boundary that’s kept them apart is shattered/crossed by their love for each other and they get married (after somehow convincing his family it’s okay) and live happily ever after.

Bleck, huh? Okay I admit, writing sappy romance is my guilty pleasure. Even more so if I bring it back to high school. Thankfully, when I started editing the original story in order to post it on Protagonize, things started coming out a little differently. Now Sarah’s Phoenix could still use a lot of work, especially after the underlying plot came out and bit me in Phoenix Rising, but it ends very differently from the original Sarah & Jason, all five ways. Yes, I have a habit of taking alternate paths. Heck, I have a habit of taking a theme (see end of the paragraph above) and writing five different stories using it. *grin*

So anyway, back to Vervell. I think the most fun part of this journey has been the discovery process. Like that dinosaur Stephen King mentions, I’ve been carefully excavating the culture and history of Vervell. I’ve discovered what their clothing looks like (for the most part), their take on religion, and that their Gods really do exist. The Great-Grand Pairents (aka the gods) apparently also have a sense of humor, but they are claiming their names are NOT Adam and Eve, though some of their priest/priestess pairs have come from the Christian Bible (like Mary and Joseph). And I can’t forget the few Knights and wives whose names are connected to King Arthur’s Knights of the Round table...

What? I’m telling you the Gods named them, not me. I mean, who am I to argue with the Gods of Vervell, Azure and the Areni Plains. I’m just the archeologist, I mean author.

*giggles and grins*
:} Elorithryn
I mean Cathryn Leigh
He, he! {:

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Return to Routine

Well here it is Tuesday night time for another Blog entry. Not really sure what to write. I’m currently steeling back into a normal routine after having nearly two weeks of house guests. Boy that put a strain on my sanity. It was rough playing hostess for our 2nd annual Blow up Carroll County party, but the party goers seemed to make do.

No we don’t actually blow up Carroll County, but we do light off a bunch of ground based fireworks. Well the boys do. I just sit back with the kids and watch. My husband and his father made a trip into Pennsylvania to go to the firework warehouse. They got a really cool one called the Star Spangled Banner (I think). Anyway it was wicked worthy of being the finale (even though it wasn’t).

Amazingly enough I also managed to get in some edit time. My mother-in-law and I went off to Panara Bread to sip drinks and just not be around the kids and hubbies and, especially in her case, her mother. My husband’s Nana just moved in with his parents and so his mother has yet to fully adjust to having a third person living her house. I can totally understand where she is coming from.

Other than that it’s been fairly tame around here. I have a tap dance lesson tomorrow that I’m excited about. I never got a chance to practice, like I wanted to, but I’ve been running through parts of it mentally. We just don’t have a good floor for tapping. *pout*

And the kids, they are growing like weeds. Fiona (age 5.5) is now 47.25 inches (1.5 inches more than in March of this year. Brendan (age 3.5) is 42.75 inches (2.5 inches more than in March!). Yes, someday I will again be the shortest person in my family.

And so ends my rambling for the evening. *grin* Time to join in another teen role play and meet more people on Protagonize. *giggles*

:} Cathryn Leigh