Picture Pick FriYAY: Indian Creek & Moab, Utah

Looking back on these pictures I miss the Jurassic feel of the desert. I miss being on the road, the excitement and freedom of the adventure.

I’m glad I was able to make this journey before starting the adventure of a career/family life. I’m excited to take my family to see the South West one day.

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Have a great weekend.

-Miles

Favorite First Sentences

The first sentence is (arguably) the most important sentence in a book. Here are some of my favorites. I scoured my bookshelves and found the most intense, descriptive, catchy sentences I could find.

The Call of the Wild by Jack London. 1903.

“Buck did not read the newspapers, or he would have known that trouble was brewing, not alone for himself, but for every tidewater dog, strong of muscle and with warm, long hair, from Puget Sound to San Diego.”

A Passage to India by E.M. Forster. 1924

“Except for the Marabar Caveand they are twenty miles offthe city of Chandrapore presents nothing extraordinary.”

A Map of the World by Jane Hamilton. 1994.

“I used to think if you fell from grace it was more likely than not the result of one stupendous error, or else an unfortunate accident.”

Sassafrass, Cypress & Indigo by Ntozake Shange. 1982.

“Where there is a woman there is magic.”

Charlotte’s Web. 1952.

“Where’s Papa going with that ax?”

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet A. Jacobs. 1857.

“I was born a slave; but I never knew it till six years of happy childhood had passed away.”

The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai. 2006.

“All day, the colors had been those of dusk, mist moving like a water creature across the great flanks of mountains possessed of ocean shadows and depths.”

Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo. 2000.

“My name is Indiana Opal Buloni, and last summer my daddy, the preacher, sent me to the store for a box of macaroni-and-cheese, some white rice, and two tomatoes and I came back with a dog.”

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———-

It’s a lot of pressure to follow-up after those incredible intro sentences, but I thought it would be fun to share the first sentence from the YA novel I am writing.

Not By Blood by Rachel McKee

“When the ferry that carried Brian Colt smacked into the arrival dock, his past collided with the future.”

Do you have a first sentence from a manuscript that you would like to share? How about a favorite first sentence that sticks out in your mind? Please comment below.

-Rachel McKee

Guest Post Questionnaire – M. Miles

A few weeks ago, three of my favorite bloggers agreed to form a writing panel for today’s post. I asked them to respond to five quotes about a writer’s identity, and in their responses, they produced some smashing quotes of their own.

via Writers Respond to Famous Quotes — M. Miles

I had so much fun participating in M. Miles’ questionnaire. I’m honored that I was asked to join the discussion.

Perhaps you are familiar with the other guest bloggers: Paul from WindBlownWords and Kristin Twardowski. If not, check them out today.

Have a great weekend!

-Rachel McKee

Picture Pick FriYAY: Spring is Coming

Happy FriYAY everyone!

I’ve been craving Spring. My yard has been doormat with a layer of frost for the last few months. I’m yearning for some flowers.

I decided to walk around the yard and capture some evidence that Spring is coming. I added the pine tree because I never noticed how much I like it until today. I never really paid any attention to it and we have been here for four years.

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Are you ready for spring too?

-Rachel McKee

 

 

Selective Editing

I thought I would give everyone an update on my novel-writing progress.

Just a recap, here is my (work-in-progress) synopses for Not By Blood:

Brian Colt is seventeen years old and alone. After losing his family in an automobile accident he is forced to leave Alaska and is sent to live with his uncle in Washington State. What’s super awkward is that Brian has never met this side of his family because there was a major fallout that no one ever talks about it. What’s even more awkward is when Brian meets his cousin Rebecca Colt (step-cousin, thank God) he is reluctantly attracted to her. Brian plans to go back to Alaska and take over his family’s logging operation as soon as he turns eighteen, but first he must survive senior year and live with an unforeseen, violent opponent.

Rebecca Colt dreams of becoming a marine biologist. She knows that the odds are stacked against her and nobody believes she will amount to anything. Her nickname at school is “Hot Garbage” because her family is trash. The trailer she lives in is less sanitary than some of the dumpsters in town. Her step-father tells her exactly what he thinks of her with his fists, and her mother is lost in her pill addiction. Rebecca’s one-saving-grace is her best friend.. That is until her cousin… (eh hem) …step cousin comes to town…

I’ve almost completed my first edit, and to tell you the truth, it was overwhelming. There are so many things that I want to change. I realized that I needed to break the editing down into toddler-sized chunks. This first edit I simply looked at the story aspect of my manuscript. I asked myself: Do you like the story? Does the timeline work? Is it believable? Do you want to keep reading?

I’m happy to report that I do indeed still love the story. I’m going to go in and cut some scenes and add a few more for clarity, but overall I’m happy with it.

This is the plan-of-focus for future edits:

Second Edit-Character development.

Third Edit-Scene building.

Fourth Edit-Add more poetic language/descriptive detail.

Fifth Edit-Remove clichés.

Sixth Edit-Grammar.

Seventh Edit-Formatting.

I’d love to hear other writer’s editing process. If you would like to share, please comment below.

-Rachel McKee

100 Followers?!?!?

A big congratulations to Lynn over at The Inked Autist for reaching 100 followers. Check out his site today, he a great blog buddy!

The Inked Autist

Hey guys, today I got my 100th follower. I have to say I’m truly blown away.

When I started this blog I had a feeling it was going to be little more than a personal journal and that nobody would really read it. Or at least that’s been my experience on this site before. I’ve grown far beyond what I ever expected.

So what now? Well, how about a little Q and A? Do you want to know something about me? Feel free to ask. In a week’s time I’ll answer any questions (assuming I get any). I think this will be fun for everyone.

Ask away!

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Picture Pick FriYAY: The Details Of Snow

Happy FriYAY!

Today I wanted to share some pictures that Miles took when it snowed awhile ago. It’s currently 19º and icy here. No more snow, but it’s so cold and clear and crisp.

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Have a wonderful weekend.

-Rachel

 

Post-Holiday Post

Happy Monday.

Is everyone recovered from their post-holiday hangover? I’m still getting there.

If you hadn’t noticed, I was M.I.A last month. Here are a few things I did over the month of December:

  • Started working on a Guest Post Questionnaire for the lovely blog M.Miles. I’m looking forward to reading her post and I will make sure to link to it so that you can read it.
  • I read A Court Of Thorns And Roses by Sarah J. Maas. (Book review coming soon.)
  • I’m currently reading a novel called A Journal For Damned Lovers by S.K. Nicholas. I’ve been following his blog for a year now. He is a fantastic writer. His blog is also called A Journal For Damned Lovers.
  • I’ve had more people volunteer to beta read my book.
  • I missed you all.

Here is what I did not do last month:

  • Look at my own novel.

But yesterday I picked up where I left off in November and started editing and rewriting.

Did I mention I missed you?

-Rachel

New Year, New Focus

I went to a psychic once in Las Vegas. (Bare with me.) I was there with a group of friends for a bachelorette party, this was about five years ago. On a whim, we decided to visit Old Town and as we were walking we spotted a little shack in the middle of the sidewalk. We stepped inside the tiny trailer and huddled around a woman and her table. The trailer was clean and tidy. No unnecessary frills, thrills, skulls, or crystal balls. Each girl took a turn and to my surprise, instead of predicting the future she dug into our pasts and advised us on the current predicaments in our lives.

My hands were sweaty when it was my turn. She asked me whether I wanted my palm read or if I wanted the tarot cards. I chose the cards. She gave me a lot of sage advice, but the one aspect of our session that stood out to me was when she looked me in the eyes and said, “You have a lot of chaotic but powerful energy bouncing around inside of you, but you have no idea how to control it. You could achieve amazing things if you can find a way to wrangle and focus that energy.”

Obligatory disclaimer: I realize that her observation can apply to just about any creative soul, but hey, it’s a good reminder right?

So what does this have to do with 2017? My mission, my goal, my pledge to myself is to take that energy and focus it on my book(s). I haven’t been taking myself seriously as a writer. I have had multiple offers from people to beta-read my current novel and I haven’t allowed anyone to see it yet. Every time I think it’s ready to be handed off, my heart starts racing and I remember ten different things that MUST be changed before anyone else can read it. I get overwhelmed with my ideas and it all becomes too much. So I sit on my couch and binge-watch Gilmore Girls and waste time. I’m not focusing my energy. I let it get out of control and to cope, I ignore it. I ignore everything creative in my life because it’s too much work to harness that chaotic energy.

2017 has a lot in store for me, I can feel it in my core. I’m excited to learn, grow, share, love, and focus.

Thank you for following.

Happy New Year.

-Rachel

Do you have any resolutions or thoughts about the new year? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

 

Picture Pick FriYAY: Winter Solstice

Happy Winter Solstice.

This year we participated in the luminary walk that our little town sponsors. People walk the candle-lit path and reflect on their year and gaze at the festivities, the river, and listen to a band play Christmas carols.

It was peaceful and serene.

Winter Solstice

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Wishing you peace and happiness today and always.

-Rachel

Photos by Miles McKee.