Tag Archives: silki

Don’t Just Sit There . . . WRITE!


Don't Just Sit There . . . WRITE!

Don’t Just Sit There . . . WRITE!

My personal advice to budding writers is not simply . . . WRITE! but dang near it.

Like all writers and novelists, I followed a myriad of roads to be where I am today. I can see that many of my roads were constructed of circumstances. Yet, the gritty asphalt of the highway leading to the inkwells of corporate writer, humor columnist, scribe, and author was built from pure tenacity.

Writing in the library, the car, in bed, on the toilet . . .

I’ve always written. In school, I loved nothing more than getting essay questions. I’d fill up the page and write on the back or in the margins of the test questions. Off and on, I kept diaries and journals. I wrote Christmas letters, poems, free verse. My letters to friends and family were dubbed “epistles.”

I volunteer-wrote for charities and ministries and rewrote safety manuals for an insurance company. I simply wrote . . . before I had children, while I was raising children, and after my children were adults.

What happened?

A little book happened.

Wherever I volunteered, I was always given some kind of writing task. Researching how to write press releases for my children’s school one fateful day, a little book practically fell off the library bookshelf and into my trembling hands. It was Brenda Ueland’s If You Want to Write, an archaic book written in 1938, of which Carl Sandburg said was “the best book ever written on how to write.”

Ueland essentially said that if a person wants to write, she or he will. By hook or crook, they will plow ahead. I can’t explain it, but that book inspired me to return to college and get my Business Management degree. Naturally, I had to sign up for something related to writing, and I decided on a journalism class.

It was the best decision I ever made.

Before long, I was a campus editor, and soon I was making professors laugh with my crazy brand of humor columns. I learned how to interview and take my own human-interest Journalistphotographs. I took a summer job at a small, local newspaper where we set up our own columns on an old Apple computer.

It turned into a circus-worthy balancing act with two children, a husband, and my penchant for keeping a dirt-free habitation, but I never stopped smiling!

What a ride!

If you ask, I will answer

It’s awesome to be honored with a question about your journey to an accomplishment. Recently I received a personal message on my author Facebook page from Skylar. She had just completed her sophomore year in high school, and she aspires to write books. She asked for my advice.

Skylar agreed that I could use her name, so here, in microchip fashion, is my advice for her and all budding authors:

Hi Skylar! Thank you for writing me. I’m happy to offer you a bit of writing advice. My journey to becoming a corporate writer and author came through journalism.

My college journalism courses taught me to “hook” my audience with my very first sentence, my first paragraph, and my first page. I highly recommend studying journalism because it also teaches you to write succinctly and to the point.

Let me also say that a highly developed sense of grammar and proper sentence structure/syntax undergirds all types of writing.

Creative writing course do not get my stamp of approval since they seem to focus on writing wildly descriptive sentences that, though fun to read, are not popular in our sound-bite culture. Learn to say a lot using powerful adjectives and few words.

Whenever you can, attend writing seminars and take online writing classes for fiction and/or non-fiction.

I was always a non-fiction writer, but I decided to challenge myself to take a fiction magazine-writing course with the Institute of Children’s Literature — a great institute, by the way. At the end of the course, my mentor, Chris Eboch, encouraged me to write a novel. I didn’t think it was possible, but she believed in me.

She was right! My third novel comes out this summer, and I’m already working on another one.

It hasn’t been easy, but nothing worthwhile falls into our laps without sweat equity and a burning desire to improve. If you really want to write, you will, and you’ll take every opportunity to get better at your craft. We writers never stop learning!

Good luck, Skylar, and keep me posted on your progress. Never hesitate to ask me anything, and if I can answer it, I will.

The Sky's the Limit, so WRITE!

The Sky’s the Limit, so WRITE!

 

And I’ll do the same for you.

 

 

 

 

 

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Feel free to wander around my website. It's guaranteed non-toxic.

If you like Sassy, Danger and Mystery, you'll love my any-age novels. Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT and Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: CANYON OF DOOM are available at your nearest Barnes & Noble Bookseller, on this website, Amazon, B&N.com and more. For your convenience, it’s also available on Kindlethe Nook and most other eBook readers.

Book Three of the Silki trilogy, VALLEY OF SHADOWS, launches summer 2016. Here's a quick synopsis:

Bummed that yet another summer has passed all too quickly, Silki and her best friend Birdie head out for one last hurrah at the Navajo Nation Fair. When the fun is overshadowed by the theft of a famous horse, Silki is plunged into a baffling adventure teeming with international undercurrents and intrigue. What’s more, boy-crazy Birdie is fluttering her eyelashes at Silki’s good-looking, visiting cousin at every turn, and Rez legend Old Man Concho is coughing up secrets dating back to 1942. What possible connection could he have to the Japanese tourists, and will Silki discover an ancient truth about the Valley of Shadows in time to save Lava, the leader of the Ghost Herd, as well as salvage her own broken heart?

Meet my CANYON OF DOOM AND VALLEY OF SHADOWS illustrator, the Drawing Hands.

Jodi Lea Stewart was born in Texas and grew up in Apache County on a cattle ranch near Concho, Arizona. She left the University of Arizona in Tucson to move to San Francisco, where she learned about peace, love and exactly what she didn't want to do with her life. Since then, Jodi graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Business Management, raised two children, worked as an electro-mechanical drafter, penned humor columns for a college periodical, wrote regional western articles and served as managing editor of a Fortune company newsletter. She currently resides in Texas and New Mexico with her husband, two Standard poodles, two rescue cats and numerous gigantic, bossy houseplants. SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT is Jodi's debut novel and Book One of the Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves trilogy. CANYON OF DOOM came next, and VALLEY OF SHADOWS hits the shelves summer of 2016, completing this exciting and fun adventure-mystery set in the Navajo Nation. Next on the horizon? A historical mystery novel set in the 1930s told through the eyes of a sharecropper's daughter.

Movies and the Lucky 7


I’m traveling a different path with this blog as I discuss movies and the Lucky 7 (which I’ll explain later). How do they relate? They don’t!

Bear with me, and we’ll have a little fun.

The movie experience

A fellow writer in our Facebook writing group recently posted a blog about how going to the movies was a cruddy experience and that no movies are worth seeing anyway.

I respectfully disagree.

PopcornEvery Friday night, my hubby and I put on our sweats or jeans and tennis shoes, put our dogs in charge of the house (yes, we let them use weapons!) and head for the movies. I have to admit that my husband and I are both workaholics in our chosen fields, so this Friday night ritual is more than entertainment – it’s a rite of passage into the weekend.

Sitting in the plush, comfortable seats of our favorite theatre with a big bag of delicious popcorn and our cold drinks, we allow our minds to relax and refresh as we totally engage in another world for that brief stretch of time.

I’m the emotional, sensitive type, so I go through the whole gamut of emotions as I munch and crunch my once-a-week popcorn splurge.  I laugh, cry, expect, worry, hope. I sit on the edge of my seat to aid the good guy in his pursuit of justice. I inwardly cheer when a parent understands, a love is reunited, a boy defeats a bad villain, a girl finds her long-lost mother, a country is saved, an evil plan is thwarted.

Sometimes, I lean over and whisper the next line to my hubby. He whispers, “How did you know that?” I whisper back, “I’m a writer.”

It feels wonderful to guess exactly what the screenwriters will “say” next. Try it sometime – you’ll like it!

When hubby and I are not pleased with the ending of a film, we spend many happy moments on the way home discussing how it could have been written differently to give x, y, or z results. That’s better than medicine for a writer’s soul, let me tell you!

I admit that not all movies are worth seeing.  

We’re very selective about the content and intent of what we feed our brains. Additionally, we cringe at some of the trash movies we see adults taking their young children, pre-teens and teens to watch. I feel sorry for those young minds and spirits having to absorb garbage that isn’t productive or positive. End of subject.

People at the Movies

My fellow writer I mentioned earlier said babies cry and people leave their cell phones on and it’s just a generally awful experience in the movie theatre itself. Again, I disagree.

It has been years since I’ve heard a cell phone ring or a baby cry during a movie. Once, a baby started fussing, and the mom immediately took the baby out of the auditorium. End of problem. One time, I forgot to turn my phone off and it rang! I almost died of mortification, but people turned to me and smiled. They understood. No big deal. Hey, we’re out to have fun, not get our rears tied in a knot.

Popcorn

If the popcorn is lousy, I’m not going back. A theatre chain that rhymes with “shave” used to be our favorite, until they started serving popcorn that tasted like cereal. Put it in a bowl, add milk and sugar and you could have breakfast with that dry, tasteless stuff.

To make matters worse, they cut out providing *free* Kernel Season’s Popcorn Seasoning (White Cheddar is to die for), or even making it available to buy in the itty bitty shakers. Big mistake. With so many choices available, why would a business go backward in providing the best for their customers? Mind-boggling.

You knew it was coming:  For whatever reasons…Jodi Lea Stewart’s humble list of favorite movies for 2011.

  • The Iron Lady (what can I say? It’s Meryl Streep in a fascinating role)
  • Water for Elephants (almost as good as the book – rare, indeed)
  • Moneyball (Brad’s best)Water for Elephants
  • Soul Surfer (most inspirational)
  • Sherlock Holmes 2 (lots of sleight-of-hand fun)
  • Hugo Cabret (amazingly imaginative)
  • Larry Crowne (Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts? I’m there)
  • The Ides of March (makes you wish we could have government without politicians)
  • Captain America (standing up for mom, apple pie, and the American way!)
  • Real Steel (you’ll cheer at the end)
  • The Help (fab, except for the pie thing…should have just added ex-lax)
  • Thor (Chris Hemsworth is just so…so…well, anyway)
  • Tower Heist (stupid, corny and makes you laugh)
  • Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas – enough said.)
  • Limitless (if you read my blog about Squeeze, this guy got into it and added steroids!)
  • The Lincoln Lawyer (more Matthew McConaughey movies, please)

What is Lucky 7?

Lucky 7 is a little tornado that blew into our WANA112 writing group recently.Lucky 7 Meme

Here are the rules of the game:

1. Go to page 77 of your current MS/WIP
2. Go to line 7
3. Copy down the next 7 lines, sentences, or paragraphs, and post them as they’re written.
4. Tag 7 authors, and let them know.

If you don’t yet have 77 pages of your current work in progress completed, just choose the first seven sentences.

I’m tagging my authors first. Only one author is in our writing group, but that adds a nice bit of seasoning – sort of how Kernel season’s White Cheddar seasoning livens up popcorn, you know?

Nikki McCormack, Kristen Lamb, J.r. Sanders, Chris Eboch, Carol Buchanan, Sue Cauhape, Dutch Henry

Here are the nine (shh!) seven sentences from my current Work in Progress: Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: CANYON OF DOOM

A shaky sigh rose from my stomach and leaked out as a sob.

“Stop bawling!” Talastic ordered, frowning at me like I had two heads. Her scowl dissolved into quivers. “I don’t want to live, Silki…I just…”

She closed her eyes. Teardrops pushed past her eyelashes and raced down her dirty cheeks. Her whole body shook as she shrieked and pounded the ground with her fists. I stared at the sky so Talastic and her sorrow could be alone.

Would her outburst cleanse her soul of its torment?

So there you have it – my blog featuring two very different subjects that purposely don’t tie into each other. I had oodles of fun, and I hope you did, too.

 

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Of course, a visit isn’t a visit without a two-way conversation. I know you’ll have lots to say after reading  our seven tagged authors’ Lucky 7 lines, so fire away!

I truly hope you’ll pick up a copy of my novel Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT. The print version is on sale at Amazon for only $11.21!!! For your convenience, it’s also available for Kindle, the Nook and for most other eBook readers. If you love the Southwest and kooky little characters that make you laugh aloud as authentic danger and mystery swirl at every turn, you’ll love this novel! The second book in the series, CANYON OF DOOM, debuts in early 2013.

While you’re here, please have a look around my website. To sign up to receive notices of my new blogs, recipes, appearances and media news, just leave your email address above. I’ll take care of the rest. Y’all come back soon … I miss you already!

 

Jodi Lea Stewart was born in Texas and grew up in Apache County on a cattle ranch near Concho, Arizona. She left the University of Arizona in Tucson to move to San Francisco, where she learned about peace, love and exactly what she didn't want to do with her life. Since then, Jodi graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Business Management, raised two children, worked as an electro-mechanical drafter, penned humor columns for a college periodical, wrote regional western articles and served as managing editor of a Fortune company newsletter. She currently resides in Texas and New Mexico with her husband, two Standard poodles, two rescue cats and numerous gigantic, bossy houseplants. SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT is Jodi's debut novel and Book One of the Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves trilogy. CANYON OF DOOM came next, and VALLEY OF SHADOWS hits the shelves summer of 2016, completing this exciting and fun adventure-mystery set in the Navajo Nation. Next on the horizon? A historical mystery novel set in the 1930s told through the eyes of a sharecropper's daughter.

Ya’at’eeh and Howdy! Sure nice of you to stop by…


Since this is the first blog of the rest of my life…

…can we pretend we just met at a backyard barbeque and we’re hugging a couple of those aluminum chairs crisscrossed in greenish-blue nylon straps and we’re small talking to get to know each other?

What’s that? You don’t like the heat? All right, hon. Get yourself up and follow me—we’re going inside. Have a seat on that big ‘ol fluffy sofa and make yourself at home. I’ll go get us some tea.

Do you want Navajo tea, Sassafras tea, Sweet tea or Texas-style tea?

Dark or light?

Hot or cold?

Cup or glass?

Real sugar or sweetener?

A little cinnamon?

Cream?

Dash of chocolate?

Now isn’t that funny? I just reminded myself of why I’ve started this blog. Did you know life is like a 16th Century English Sampler?

A few hundred years ago, Samplers were greatly treasured for their different needlecraft styles and the mixture of threads used in creating elaborate art with needles. Women spent a lifetime collecting stitch examples and patterns.

What does that have to do with a blog? Well, a blog, unless it’s about a specific subject like writing or pickling beets or whatnot, can be a sampling—or collection—of one’s life journey.

Recently, I had an epiphany. I could write novels (fiction) and write a blog (non-fiction) from the Sampler of my Life – thus satisfying both sides of my little brain. That way, my life would continue gathering illustrious EMBROIDERED stitches not only from my own adventures, but also from experiences my readers share with me.

Who am I, and why am I talking?

Ten-second tour: I grew up on an Arizona ranch with an Okie mom, brothers, cowboys, Angus and Hereford cattle, horses, chickens, and an eclectic mix of Native American and Hispanic friends. I fell in love with everything southwest and southern, and I weave those elements into every facet of my life.

If we share blog time together, what will we talk about?

Since I grew up next door to the Navajos, I like sharing interesting things about their culture, art and sense of humor. We’ll talk about country topics too, everything from windmills to fried okra to Buck Brannaman.  Then there’s stuff like crazy cakes, king snakes, growing jewelry and Spanish treasures. It’s all southwest and southern – a literal gold mine of sparklers waiting for us to explore.

Speaking of gold mines – you’ve heard the ghost stories about the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine in the Superstition Mountains, haven’t you? Spooky! We’ll dig into some of the best lore about it one of these days.

So back to my earlier offer of tea…what’s your favorite kind? Do you know which soft drink used to have sassafras root tea in it?

Hang out with me and you’ll find out why my granddad made us all drink sassafras tea in the spring and about his personal cure for snakebite. Works, too. Saved my mom’s life when she was five years old.

So…come back often. We’ll put the little pot in the big pot, brew up some coffee or tea and have ourselves a grand ole time!

 

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Of course, a visit isn’t a visit without a two-way conversation. I really want to hear from you.

I truly hope you’ll pick up a copy of my novel Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT. The print version is on sale at Amazon for only $9.85!!! For your convenience, it’s also available for Kindle, the Nook and for most other eBook readers. If you love the Southwest and kooky little characters that make you laugh aloud as authentic danger and mystery swirl at every turn, you’ll love this novel! The second book in the series, CANYON OF DOOM, debuts in early 2013.

While you’re here, please have a look around my website. To sign up to receive notices of my new blogs, recipes, appearances and media news, just leave your email address above. I’ll take care of the rest. Y’all come back soon…I miss you already!

 

Jodi Lea Stewart was born in Texas and grew up in Apache County on a cattle ranch near Concho, Arizona. She left the University of Arizona in Tucson to move to San Francisco, where she learned about peace, love and exactly what she didn't want to do with her life. Since then, Jodi graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Business Management, raised two children, worked as an electro-mechanical drafter, penned humor columns for a college periodical, wrote regional western articles and served as managing editor of a Fortune company newsletter. She currently resides in Texas and New Mexico with her husband, two Standard poodles, two rescue cats and numerous gigantic, bossy houseplants. SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT is Jodi's debut novel and Book One of the Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves trilogy. CANYON OF DOOM came next, and VALLEY OF SHADOWS hits the shelves summer of 2016, completing this exciting and fun adventure-mystery set in the Navajo Nation. Next on the horizon? A historical mystery novel set in the 1930s told through the eyes of a sharecropper's daughter.