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January 11 Writing Prompt

Happy Friday! It’s snowing at my house today, so “ice” is definitely fitting for this morning’s writing prompt. Here are today’s words: ice, shed, clay, fight, tiptoe, subway, Venus. Maybe today there is a fight on the subway and someone slips on the ice. Maybe Venus has tiptoed through your shed. Have at it and let me know how it goes. Happy writing!

4 years of writing, publishing…and life!

path of the thunderbird

4 years, 2 months, and 25 days! That’s how long it’s been since I’ve posted. Bet you thought I’d given up on writing. There were several times when I thought I’d given up on it, too. And then there were the times that I put my nose down and just did the work. So much life has happened. No apologies. No excuses. Just life…and writing…and not writing…and more writing…and publishing…and more writing!

Here are the highlights. In that last four years, I…

  • turned 40 years old!
  • moved to a new house;
  • took six months off from writing to throw myself into volunteering at my sons’ school;
  • stopped writing my freelance column for the newspaper because…
  • signed a book contract for a Middle Grade book;
  • co-wrote that book—Path of the Thunderbird (more on that in a minute);
  • became a published fiction writer;
  • went back to work full-ish time for 18 months, and then cut back to part time because…
  • spent a year touring elementary schools teaching students about writing and about Grand Canyon National Park;
  • was the keynote speaker at a writing conference for students in grades K-5;
  • was a finalist in the Juvenile category of the Colorado Book Award;
  • went into a second printing on the book;
  • earned out my advance!
  • and, dove back into writing—tentatively at first and then with renewed enthusiasm.

That’s the short version of the last four years. About a week ago, I felt this overwhelming urge to start blogging again. No promises on how often, but I missed having this space to write about writing—mine and other people’s. So, here I am!

I’ll publish a longer post about the adventure of writing Path of the Thunderbird from idea to publication and all the steps and missteps along the way. For now, I’ll say two things about it:

  • It was a dream come true for me, and I consider myself even luckier because my co-writer was my mom, Pat Toole. Pat is a tireless researcher, an unmatched plotter, and a prolific writer in her own right. It was the chance of a lifetime to share the experience with her.
  • If you like Middle Grade adventures, love the National Park Service, or both, please consider purchasing a copy of the book. Here’s a link. Lord knows the NPS can use all of our support right now. The publisher of Thunderbird was Grand Canyon Conservancy, the official nonprofit partner of Grand Canyon National Park. GCC raises private funds, operates retail shops within the park, and provides premier guided educational programs about the natural and cultural history of the region. GCC supporters fund projects including trails and historic building preservation, educational programs for the public, and the protection of wildlife and their natural habitat. A portion of the sales of Path of the Thunderbird directly support GCC and Grand Canyon National Park.

That’s it for now. Tune in tomorrow when I launch a writing prompt series I’ve been cooking up. As I’ve jumped back into writing regularly, I look for things to get my synapses firing. After searching for prompts that work for me, I decided to create my own. Then I thought, “Why not share these with other writers.” Happy writing!!

January 10 Writing Prompt

january 10 writing prompt 365

How did yesterday’s horror story play out? Today’s background makes me think of the publicity photos for The Shape of Water. Maybe these words will inspire an other-worldly fairy tale for you. Today’s words are: memorial, sleep, discipline, motivation, doll, cream, analyst. 

Please let me know in the comments what you created. Happy writing!

January 9 Writing Prompt

january 9 writing prompt 365

Happy Hump Day! Today’s words are: pie, complain, horror, beg, cooperate, mask, sin. That’s some dark stuff. What will it inspire today?

Please let me know in the comments what you created. Happy writing!

January 8 Writing Prompt

january 8 writing prompt 365

It’s Tuesday. How did your writing week start off? Yesterday was a prescribed day of brainstorming for me. I’m juggling two manuscripts—and have been for way too long if I’m honest about it. One is a Middle Grade mystery/puzzle adventure. The second is a YA contemporary about some pretty heavy issues. Many people would say it’s a big no, no to jump between stories, but on the days when the YA feels too heavy, it’s nice to have my fun, twisty puzzle book where I can lose myself in codes and red herrings. Sometimes though, juggling two books begs for a day of brainstorming and getting things figured out so I can spend another week plowing ahead with the drafting. At least for me because I’m a planner through and through.

Today’s words are: loop, minor, victory, left, common, sculpture, bear.

Please let me know in the comments what you created. Happy writing!

January 7 Writing Prompt

january 7 writing prompt 365

It’s the last day of the first week of 2019. The days will pass whether you do the work or not. Have you started? I saw this Ted Talk video in October of last year, and it really hit home for me. Although I achieve so many things on a daily basis, I still feel like a master procrastinator. The part at the end where he shows the check boxes for the rest of your life is pretty sobering. Now I ask myself, “What are you doing to fill today’s checkbox. Is it something that makes you happy and further’s your goals?” Have you furthered your goals this week?

There’s no time better than right now to start. Today’s words are: summer, color-blind, convince, youth, exotic, folk, eyebrow.

Please let me know in the comments what you created. Happy writing!

January 6 Writing Prompt

january 6 writing prompt 365

Let’s start the week off right with at least 20 minutes of free writing. Today’s words are: persist, equip, highlight, bend, cabinet, helmet, bubble. “Cabinet” and “bubble” are your only nouns today—although I suppose “highlight” could work as a noun, too. What are the bubbles in your cabinet be doing today?

Please let me know in the comments what you created. Happy writing!

January 5 Writing Prompt

january 5 writing prompt 365

It feels fitting that I’m in the mountains and today’s prompt has a mountain in the background. Maybe the image will inspire your writing as much as the words will this morning. Today’s words are: grace, ideology, breakdown, solid, win, surprise, auditor.

Please let me know in the comments what you created. Happy writing!

January 4 Writing Prompt

january 4 writing prompt 365

I just love the flowers for the Friday prompts—something about that bright pinkish/purple makes me happy. I hope you’re prepping for an exciting weekend. We are heading to the mountains to ski, but I’ll carve out some time for my morning pages. Today’s words are: fall, welcome, fairy, payment, ball, viable, reward.

Please let me know in the comments what you created. Happy writing!

January 3 Writing Prompt

january 3 writing prompt 365

January 3! Can you believe we are three days into the new year? Today’s words are: terrify, nominate, stay, knife, relinquish, faint, rung.

Please let me know in the comments what you created. Happy writing!

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