Caffeinated Convo: Camp NaNo or Time for a Vaca?

Hey guys! Guess what time it is? You guessed it–Camp NaNoWriMo! With July 1 just around the corner, it’s time to prep for that once a year writing camping trip a la internet! The only question is: Are you joining me for camp, or is it time for you to take a vacation? 

If your answer is no, I totally understand! I hadn’t actually planned on doing NaNo camp this year, simply because I feel like my brain is going to explode (some days) and I was really looking forward to summer break. Buuut, then I got a great idea for (another) book and a friend invited me to join. So in, I am! I’m ready for meeting new cabin-mates, encouraging other writers, racing to win Word Wars, and meeting my word count goal! Woot!

What about you? Will you be writing with Camp Nano this year? Please leave a comment below if you are–I’d love to connect! And even if you aren’t, feel free to discuss what fun vacation plans you have coming up!

Happy camping, friends!

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The Secret to a Good Sidekick

It’s time to head on over to AlmostAnAuthor to check out my latest blog post in the fantasy/sci-fi arena. This month we discuss sidekicks–why you need one and the role they can play within your story. My sincerest apologies to Jar-Jar Binks–(It’s not you, it’s me. Promise.)–but the truth had to come out. We all desperately want a Samwise. (In fact, I’ve long suspected that it’s ingrained in our human psyche to continue to search for a pal like Sam until our dying day. But that’s for another post…) Anywho, don’t miss out on some of the other great posts on the A3 website while you’re there!!

Happy writing, friends!

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Photo credit Unsplash by NASA

Flash Fiction Friday: The Sock Monster

“The Sock Monster was at it again.” Susan placed a pile of folded laundry on her son’s twin bed, a set of mismatched socks right on top.

“He’s been hungry, lately,” Kyle said. The seven year-old sat crossed legged on his bed, a comic book before him. “Can we get more?”

Susan bent to put some t-shirts in the dresser. “Get more what, hon?”

“Socks. For The Sock Monster.”

“We’re not buying more socks for a fictional character, Kyle.”

“But he’s not fix-chinal—”

“Fictional.”

“Yeah, whatever. He’s not, mom. Mr. Socks is real.”

“Mr. Socks?” Susan hung a pair of jeans in the closet.

“Yep. It’s what I named him. ‘Cause he’s not a monster, he’s—”

“Okay, okay. I get it. You’ve had your fun. Now get ready. We need to hit the store.”

“But what about Mr. Socks? We need to get more socks so—”

“Feed him the leftovers.” She dangled the two mismatched socks in front of Kyle with a smile.

“He doesn’t like eating the same thing every day. It’s boring—”

She headed toward the door. “No socks for something that’s not real.” Then, “Get those shoes on. I mean it.”

Kyle frowned as his mom left. He picked up the odd socks and shuffled to the laundry room. His shoulders slumped as he yanked the dryer door open and tossed them in before shutting it again.

“Sorry, Mr. Socks. This is all I’ve got for you.”

The dryer jerked, then it lunged, then it went still. Kyle opened the door to the dryer. It was empty.

He smiled. At least Mr. Socks wouldn’t go hungry, even if leftovers weren’t his favorite. Then Kyle ran to get his shoes on.

 

©Laura L. Zimmerman 2017

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Guest Blog Post: Five Courses of the Rough Draft

Hey guys! I’m on the road again, back in Delaware and ready to head into Pennsylvania, as well. (I know! I just can’t stay put! *wink*)

Today I have the privilege of Guest Posting on fellow writer Kellie M Parker‘s blog! Check out my post “Five Courses of the Rough Draft” and stick around to see what other fun things Kellie has to say about her writing journey!

Hope you all had a good Memorial Day! Happy writing, friends!

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Photo credit Unsplash by Annie Spratt

Flash Fiction Friday: Insomnia

Five hours. If I fall asleep now I can still get five hours sleep.

Rhonda rolled over in her bed with a grunt, her pillow tossed over her head.

**

“Dad said this house is mine.” Dean held a jar in the air.

“But you got the last two,” Colin whined.

“You can sprinkle Sleep Dust on the next client.”

“No!”

The invisible fairies scuffled, jar crashing to the floor.

“Look what you did,” Dean scolded. “We have to hit headquarters for another bottle, now.”

“Jeez,” Colin mumbled.

**

Rhonda sighed. Four hours, fifty minutes. I can still get sleep tonight. 

 

©Laura L. Zimmerman 2017

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Goals for Writers: How to set them; How to keep them

We all have our bad writing days. You know, the ones where you spend twelve hours of the day thinking about what you might write when you actually sit down if those ideas come to mind? Yeah. But sometimes those days stretch past a single day. The next thing you know it’s been a week then maybe even a month, since you’ve written or edited any of your work. You’ve neglected your social media. And when was the last time you connected with another writer? Your confidence drops, which gives you no motivation to actually do that one thing you intended on doing in the first place: write. 

Don’t beat yourself up about it. It happens to everyone–not just writers–and it won’t be the last time it happens, either. Life happens. Stuff happens. Sometimes we just get sidetracked and need a good kick in the tush to get moving again.

Setting realistic goals–and having a system to keep yourself accountable–can really help get you motivated so you can finish that manuscript! There has never been a day where I’ve thought, “Man. Sure wish I hadn’t set those goals. What a waste of time!” But I have definitely reflected, “Wow. Look at all I accomplished today! I got so much more done than I thought I would!” If that’s not motivation enough for the next day, then I don’t know what is!  Continue reading

Four Ways to Give Your Fantasy or Sci-fi Character a Name

Hello friends! The SFF post I wrote over at AlmostAnAuthor has gone live! Visit here to glean a few ideas on how to choose a name for your characters. I’ve had a busy week moving into my new home in North Carolina! Yesterday was official “signing” day and today we have a team of people coming to help us unload our moving pods! Yippee! Hopefully the next post I write will be from my official writing desk!! Prayers appreciated!

Happy writing friends!

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Photo credit Unsplash by NASA

Our Journey through the Desert and Back Again

It’s been a while since I’ve given an update on our journey across America. In fact, it’s been a full ten months since I wrote the last blog post. (You can find that here.) I know many of you have been wondering, “What about Hawaii?”, “When will they get to Hawaii?” And to be honest? We were wondering the same thing for almost half a year. This is one of the reasons I’ve taken so long to give an update–any update–on where/how/when we were going. It’s hard to tell others what the plan is, when you don’t even know yourself, right? Right.

To sum up the past few years (for those that my have missed it or just plain forgot!) our adventure west began shortly after Tim’s mother, Irene, passed away in 2011. Over a matter of months both Tim and I felt led by God to begin selling our stuff and pairing down what we owned. We also sold our house and moved into a rental so we could be ready to “go where God led” when the time was right. Fast forward to January 2015, and we finally felt like we got a clear answer on exactly where to go: Hawaii. It took a year and a half and countless confirmations to finally get us out the door and headed in that direction. We landed in Phoenix, AZ simply because the logistics of moving a family of five (and the possessions we still had) across the pond to an island was much easier said than done. We decided to move in faith and let God handle the details, as He had been doing thus far. 

But what do you do when God has given you a direction and then things don’t turn out the way you had planned? What is a family supposed to think when God has laid it on their hearts to adopt a child, yet at every turn the paperwork is denied and the process seems to move backwards and not forwards? Or what about that person who feels led to begin a ministry, yet each time they seek to begin the work, something stands in the way and brings things to a halt? For years I’ve known countless Christians that have faced these very situations, even though God has clearly given them the desire and motivation to do what they were called to do. What do we do with that?

Where has God gone when He falls silent? Continue reading

Guest Post: 8 Ways to Find Brilliant Story Ideas by Kellie M. Parker

Hello, readers of Caffeinated Fiction! I’m delighted to join you here today. One of the things people often ask me when they find out I’m a writer is, “How do you come up with your story ideas?”

Great question! I’ve put together a list of 8 different techniques I’ve used to find inspiration for my stories. Hopefully they’ll help you too!

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Photo credit PEXELS

  1. Asking “What if?” questions

The world is full of interesting possibilities when you start asking questions, and you can use this tactic to look for ideas wherever and whenever you have time to think.

What if the magnetic poles suddenly reversed? What if everyone born in 1999 had superpowers? What if a future version of you shows up in a time machine in your living room?

There are so many things in life we take for granted, like gravity and running water and the weather. Turn some of those things upside-down and see what happens. Once you start asking questions, you never know where your imagination will take you! Continue reading

Caffeinated Convo: Early Bird or Night Owl?

Ahhh, the age-old question: Are you an early bird or a night owl? Google this topic and you’ll find a plethora of posts defending why one is better than the other, or which great historical figures fell into what category. But despite what the media might lead you to believe, there has never really been one correct answer when it comes to our creativity, right? Whether you are more productive as an early bird or as a night owl depends entirely on you as an individual. You just need to figure out which category you fall into and roll with it!

Where do I land? Well, if you’d asked me that fifteen years ago, the answer would’ve been absolutely, undeniably, whole-heartedly a night owl! For most of my life, the bulk of my creative inspiration always seemed to hit sometime around the midnight hour. I had no problem staying awake into the wee-hours of the morning if the creativity was flowing. Since my children have been born? Not so much. I’ll never know if it was all those nights I stayed awake against my will (as a baby wailed her lungs out) or if my body just decided it needed a change. But all I ever feel after the 10pm timeframe is tired and brain dead. Zombie-time! Furthermore, I was shocked to discover a few years ago that I actually work amazingly well in the early morning! (And by this I mean 6am-ish. I’m not that much of a crazy-person!) Give me 30-60 minutes before breakfast and I can have 1000-1500 words written, no problem. Boo ya! Apparently, I’m an “early bird writer”. 

What about you? Do you think best early in the morning or does the dark of night work for you? I’d love to hear the different routines you have that keeps your creativity flowing! Please leave a comment below! 

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Photo credit Unsplash Korney Violin