A Peek Inside my Random Brain

I sometimes get what feels like a grand idea. 
Last night I was imagining being able to crochet with my feet. See, I’ve been crocheting with my hands long enough that I do it all the time without looking or even paying attention to what I’m doing.  My thought was if I got good enough then I could crochet with my hands and my feet at the same time and that way I could be making two blankets at once. 
Another semi-dream I have is of being able to read a book while holding it upside-down. I remember back about a decade ago I watched a documentary about a man who wore a special contraption that made everything flipped around so it looked upside down. After a few weeks of that his brain had switched it back so everything looked right side up again. I’ve been rather fascinated with upside-down stuff ever since then. Plus, I figured that reading an upside-down book would possibly trigger a different part of my brain and I’d get new ideas.
Then I got excited at the possibility of multitasking. Was it possible to get good enough that I could crochet with my hands and feet and read an upside down book, all at the same time? The idea was enchanting so this morning I started out with trying my feet at crocheting. 
Let’s just say it’s harder than it sounds.
My toes aren’t very flexible. Nor are they long and able to grasp small objects like yarn. I ended up being able to crochet a little bit using one hand and one foot, but the hand had to do far more than its share of the work. It didn’t take me long to decide it was a waste of time and move on to reading an upside-down book. 

I started out with Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder. It’s one of the writing books I bought a couple weeks ago and I’m only a few pages in. Unfortunately it has a slightly different font that messed mightily with my brain while looking at it upside-down. Plus, do you have any clue how confusion “n” “u” “p” “q” “b” “d” and all those types of letters are while trying to read them upside-down? Let’s just say it gave me a headache.

So, I switched tactics and decided try something else. I choose Go Teen Writers by Stephanie Morrill and Jill Williamson which is another writing book of mine. I’ve read this book before, but not recently so I had it by my writing chair so I could re-read it. Thankfully it has a normal font, so I spent some time reading it upside-down while crocheting with my hands. Thankfully that venture went a lot better than the first two. I’ll probably be doing it again in the near future.

I like doing random things like this because it gives me new prospectives on life. Besides, who knows, some day I might have a character who is in a life and death situation and has to do something crazy with their feet while reading a book upside-down…

So there y’all have it: A little peek inside my brain.

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What about you? What are some random, crazy ideas you’ve had recently?

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Non-Fiction Books On Your To-Be-Read-List

This morning I’m linking up with The Broke and Bookish for their Top Ten Tuesday weekly feature. This week’s prompt is: Ten Books You Recently Added To Your To-Be-Read List. My problem is my list hasn’t changed much since this post. Therefore I thought I’d change the prompt to: Ten Non-Fiction Books On Your To-Be-Read-List because even though I read a lot this month I didn’t finish any non-fiction books so I need to ramp up my non-fiction reading during April. 
**I don’t have links for most of these books because I’m running on tight Internet usage**
1. Go Teen Writers by Stephanie Morrill and Jill Willamson 
I’ve already read this book, a lot of it more than once. But me oh my, it’s so helpful! Totally worth re-reading several times.

2. Finding the Core of Your Story by Jordan Smith 
Same with this book. Amazingly helpful when you’re trying to really tack down just what your story’s about.
3. The Plot Skeleton by Angela Hunt 
I have a hard time with plots and it’s been a while since I read this book, so I thought it was time for a re-read. 
4. Evoking Emotion by Angela Hunt  
Can you tell that I’m pretty focused on writing at this time? Yep. 
5. Leadership 101 by John Maxwell
To all you people who might be new to Noveltea, I’m a big John Maxwell fan and almost always have at least one of his books part-way eaten. 
6. Be a People Person: Effective Communication by John C. Maxwell 
I’m part way through this book and figured it was time to finish it off. 
7. Getting Things Done by David Allen 
Ahem. This book isn’t exactly my cup of tea. I’m reading it for work and eagerly await the last chapter. 
8. Love Does Bob Goff 
I started this book and OH MY WORD. Yeah, you should read it. Mr. Goff has such a unique outlook on life and it’s so inspiring. 

9. Pushing People Up by Art Willams 
This is a book that was recommended to me and I have it waiting in my office, all ready to gobble up. I really like Mr. William’s writing style, so I’m excited about diving into Pushing People Up
10. Hand of Providence by Mary Beth Brown 
This book was recommended (and given) to me by my mom and since that doesn’t happen extremely often (and since Mom’s amazing), I’m eager to read it for myself. 
* * * 
What about you? Do you have any books on your non-fiction reading list? Do any of these books look interesting to you? 

Arriving – Finding Joy in the Journey

I used to wonder when I would finally feel like I’d ‘arrived’ as an author. When I finished my first book? Got self-published? Tradionally-published? Or maybe it would be when I became a bestselling author, was internationally recognized or could support myself on my royalties. It’s an elusive thought that I sometimes want to peg down and other times I’m happy to forget about. 
Last night I was discussing with a good friend how sometimes I look at people who haven’t made it as far as I have in the journey as an author and I wonder how they can be satisfied. Because I’m not satisfied. 
What I’ve been realizing is that although I need to continue pressing on and moving forward with my writing, I also want to be happy with where I am. I don’t want to continually be thinking Well, when I reach this next milestone I’ll have made it… Because really, knowing me, the only way I’ll ever ‘make it’ is by changing my mindset. 
So, I’ve decided to be thrilled for my fellow writers who are content at the place they are in life and at the same time I’m going to embrace my own accomplishments, knowing that God has brought me a loonnggg way from a little daydreaming girl. 
One of the things that has helped me most with my writing is the Go Teen Writers blog. I’ve been following this blog since soon after I entered the blogging world as a teenager. There were about 500 followers then and that number has been more than doubled. 
This blog is packed full of resources for writers of any age, although it does focus on teenagers. I’ve been inspired, encouraged, realized my errors and learned so much from this amazing blog. They also have a Facebook group where lots of great writer-ily interaction goes on. I’m really not sure how far along my writing would be if it weren’t for Go Teen Writers
That’s why I was so very excited when Stephanie, the founder of Go Teen Writers, asked me to guest post on her blog. I had written her an email thanking her for all her work and telling her where I was on my writing journey, and next thing I knew, we were discussing me guest posting. Talk about freaking out with joy.

My post went live today, and I just have to keep looking at it, and looking at it, and looking at it. My picture, my author bio, my words are actually being featured on Go Teen Writers. Other young, aspiring authors are going to look at what I wrote and be inspired. It’s an amazing feeling.

So, while I may not have reached ‘bestselling author’ status or completed a book tour across the USA, I am on the right track and I’m going to rejoice and be excited about these ‘little’ steps, which really aren’t so little after all.

I’ve discovered being a writer is much like living life. It’s not as much about the point I’ll eventually reach, as it is about living each day how I was meant to live it and working at making my God-given dreams a reality.

A huge, big, ginormous thank-you to Stephanie and all the work she’s done for the hundreds of young writers who have learned from her and her blogging team. You rock. 

Interview With Author Stephanie Morrill

Ok, y’all! I’m totally thrilled to have one of my writing mentors, Stephanie Morrill here today for an interview! She’s the one who started the much-talked-about-by-me blog/Facebook group, Go Teen Writers. So, without further ado, here the interview is! 

First off, can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

Sure! I live in Overland Park, Kansas with my husband and two kids. I’m the author of five books for teens – The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series, Go Teen Writers: How to Turn Your First Draft Into a Published Book, and The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet. My sixth book, The Unlikely Debut of Ellie Sweet, comes out this November. I have samples of all my books on my website, http://www.StephanieMorrill.com


1. How old were you when you began writing? 

I started writing stories in first grade. We were given writing time everyday in class and could write about whatever we wanted. When we finished our stories, we turned them in and someone (a teacher or volunteer parent, maybe) would type them for us. We got to pick the color of our cover and binding, and then they printed out our “book” for us to illustrate and read to the class. I loved it and from then on I started telling people I wanted to be a novelist when I grew up.

2. Who would you consider your writing mentor? 

Jenny B. Jones. We don’t talk very often, but she’s totally been there for me with her support, encouragement, and kindness in my confusing career moments.

3. How much time do you devote each (day or week, whichever is easier for you) to writing (including proofreading, marketing, etc…)?

It fluctuates as my children grow up. My daughter is in kindergarten now and my son is in preschool two days a week. With my parents and my husband’s parents living in town, I also regularly have babysitters one morning a week. I use that time for writing (and writing related stuff) and nothing else. I don’t meet friends for lunch or stop by the grocery store – I write. And I work most evenings for at least an hour after the kids have gone to bed, but I’m trying to get out of that habit now that their school schedule allows me more time during the day. So probably about 25 hours a week?

4. Do you snack and/or drink while writing? If so, what? 

I don’t snack a lot, but I do always have something to drink. Mostly coffee and water, but iced tea (or hot tea) from time to time as well.

5. What was your best “author moment”?

I had a book signing for So Over It, which is the third book in the Skylar Hoyt series, two weeks after I gave birth to my son. I hadn’t slept well, I felt gross, and I just really didn’t want to do it.

But I was really glad that I did, because about halfway through it a teenage girl stepped up to my table. She seemed rather shy, and I was trying to draw conversation out of her. Fortunately, her parents were with her because her father told me that they lived in a small town that didn’t have a bookstore, and when So Over It came out, they’d driven an hour to go get a copy. And then she had seen I was having a book signing and begged to come.

When I got home, I looked it up on a map and saw they lived over two hours away from Kansas City. I felt so humbled by that since I’d been a bit grumbly about doing the signing in the first place. It reminded me that I’m very lucky to have writing and that because of it I get opportunities to meet lots of wonderful people.


6. Which season is your favorite? Why? 

I’m an autumn girl. I love getting out my jeans, taking walks in crisp air, and busting out all the soup recipes I’ve collected over the summer. And the leaves. I adore the changing leaves, even more now that I can play in them with the kids!

7. What is one of your favorite quotes? 

“Be a voice, not an echo.” I’m not sure who said that first, but I first heard it a month ago, and I’ve been dwelling on what that means ever since.

8. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? Why? 

I’ve lived in California, Florida, and Kansas, and I love it here in Kansas City the most because it’s a great combination of affordable city life, great schools, (I’m at the age where I have to think about those kinds of things), and great culture. Plus both our families are here in town, and that’s hard to beat.

But if I didn’t have to factor in family or affordability, I think I’d be pretty tempted to move back out west. I visited Sonoma, California a couple years ago and totally fell in love with it. Great food, great weather, great culture. Loved it.

9. If you could travel anywhere in the world where would it be? Why? 

Funny story. My parents recently told my husband and I that for our tenth wedding anniversary (which is next May) they’ll fly us anywhere we want to go, so I’ve actually been thinking about this question quite a bit! Right now it’s looking like we’re going to tour Italy. Other places we contemplated were New Zealand, Austria, Switzerland, and Greece.

10. You have a ebook sampler that can be downloaded for free right now, can you tell us about it?

Love discovering new teen fiction? Download this FREE ebook sampler from Amazon!

Featuring some of today’s strongest indie author voices, this fall teen reads sampler is sure to connect you with your next page-turning read. Perfect for fans of Sara Zarr, Meg Cabot, Jennifer Hubbard, Melody Carlson, and more.

Download the drama before it’s too late! Offer expires September 17.

For even more of today’s best indie teen fiction, visit PlaylistFiction.com.

Thank you so much, Stephanie, for joining us! I had so much fun learning more about you! 

Free Book, Y’all!!!

You know how I like telling you about the blog, Go Teen Writers
Well, I’ve got some pretty cool news.
Stephanie Morrill, the amazing person who started the blog has one her books,
Me, Just Different, for free on kindle right now! Isn’t that great?
Instead of telling you what the book is about, I thought I’d show part of one of the reviews: Stephanie’s writing is fresh, relevant, and fearless. She tackles tough subjects, and asks the tough questions. Me, Just Different strikes at the heart of being a Christian teen in an un-Christian world. Skylar’s struggles at the crossroads of faith and life are spot-on. 
Sounds great, doesn’t it? Why don’t you check it out!
Those of us over at GTW’s are trying to move her book up on kindles free top 100 list as far as possible. When we began working on it less than twenty-four hours ago, it was book number 1,259. Now it’s all the way up to number 61! Isn’t that amazing? So why don’t you download the book (you can do so on devices other than an actual kindle), and pass the word along! I mean, who doesn’t want to get an interesting, engaging and free book???

If you do blog about it, why don’t you leave a comment so I can check the post out on your blog? Plus, I’ll publicly thank you in a blog post on here, because seriously, it would mean a lot!

{Note: While I do think this was a great book, I don’t recommend it for everyone. Use discretion while reading it.}