Welcome to the blog of writer M.G. Ainsworth who currently finds her muse to write after nine....

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Follow me Friday Blog Hop (and a little bit of validation!)

What an exciting week and welcome to my new followers from last week's hop! Normally on a Thursday nights I update my Blog for the fabulous Follow Friday Blog Hop. This week I'll be answering the hop question but also blogging a little bit about my great news and a book series I really enjoyed and I never see discussed. There is no featured Author this week so maybe I'll pretend it's me :-)

The question this week is:

Who has been the most supportive of your writing? Hands down I would have to say my husband. He really encouraged me to finally get started and is the one who picks up the slack around the household or suffers most when I am busy writing. He's been telling me to write for almost nine years now. I should have listened sooner. We have almost 2 acres. The outside has traditionally been his responsibility and the interior mine. He's had to pick up the slack inside, find ways to entertain the kids while doing the outside chores (although playing in the manure compost pile would not have been my first choice) and spends evening such as this one being ignored while I write away. If he wasn't willing to do this things would be much more difficult. I'm not saying he doesn't get frustrated, but him entertaining the kids is the key to me accomplishing anything on the weekends or before 9 PM. Love you hubby!

First for my great news: 4 Corners Press (http://www.4cornerspress.com/) had several contests for their launch. I entered their short story contest and as you can probably guess since I'm blogging about it, I was one of two winners. My prize is to have my story published in their anthology: Dream On an Anthology of Dreams to be released this summer. I've been given the opportunity to expand my story up to 10,000 words and have my very first writing deadline that is not self imposed. I am so excited to have my story in print! I write because I enjoy doing it. I am finally fulfilling a dream that I have talked about for years. I'd like to think I'm good at it,  but have to admit the validation that comes with winning and having something published doesn't hurt. I definitely have my moments of self doubt when it's late at night and I've had a long day at work, my two year is fighting sleep once again, the house is a disaster zone and I'm drop dead tired and I wonder, what am I accomplishing sitting down to write so late.Is it hopeless? Is it worth it?  Moments like this reassure me - yes, it is. I

I still try to squeeze in some time to read. One of the best series I've read in the past year is the Grace series by SL Naeole. It is a complete YA series of 4 books, all published and available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.com for $2.99. I love to start a series when they are all published because I can follow the ride from beginning to end without gaps in space. I also love feeling like I'm getting my money's worth and at 400-500 print pages of beautiful writing these are well worth the $2.99 and enjoyable for adults (I hate to lump myself in that group) as well as the YA audience. The first in the Series, Falling From Grace introduces us to Grace Shelly, her best friend Graham and the angelic Bellegarde family. The Publisher description reads:

"Grace Shelley's about to face the worst day of her life. Her best friend has left her, her father's starting a new family, and she's the most unpopular girl in school. She's going to need a miracle to survive the first day back to school. That miracle comes in the form of angel named Robert, whose life is changed more by her than she is by him."

 There is romance, there is heartbreak, there is both beauty and violence.There are a host of other creatures besides Angels. SL's website is http://slnaeole.com/. I'd encourage you to visit and take a look or give Falling From Grace a chance.It is rated 4.5/5 stars on both Amazon & Barnes & Noble and I can't understand why nobody is talking about it.

As always, thanks for following!


P.S. If you're interested in participating in the Follow Friday Blog Hop here are the rules:

Your rules
1)      Follow this blog.
2)      Follow Elizabeth Sharp, the originator of this hop
3)      Follow the featured author of the week, MD Christie.
4)      Go to Sharp words and copy the image code found there and paste it in your blog. Add your name to the link at the bottom of the post while you are there.
5)      Copy and paste the rules in your blog, as well as this week’s question.
6)      Answer the question
7)      Follow, follow, follow. This is about networking, people, making connections with people in your community. So talk to us. We don't bite!
8)      If someone stops by, says hi and follows you, the polite thing to do is follow back.
9)      Comment here and introduce yourself and you just might find a new follower or two.




Tuesday, April 26, 2011

4 Corners Press: Congratulations to Our Winners

I'm a winner! Look forward to reading my short story in 4 Corners Press' upcoming anthology!

4 Corners Press: Congratulations to Our Winners: "We have our winners. Thank you all for your support of 4 Corners Press. Continue to check in with us for company updates and other service..."

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Follow Friday Blog Hippity Hop

It's time again for the Follow Friday Blog (Hippity) Hop.This week's featured Author is Michelle Ferguson. I am going to begin with an apology, directed especially towards my new followers, that I have not updated my blog since last Friday. I have a good excuse though, I've been busy writing and editing in an effort to make  my weekly word count goals. I am editing the prologue and first few chapters with the goal of having them featured here on my blog by my turn to be the featured author in a few weeks. In addition to my full time job I've been busy around the house as well plotting and planning a chicken coop with my Hubby with the hopes of bringing home some baby chicks in time for Easter. Wish they had multicolored chicks around here like they did in Oklahoma. The purple and pink ones were so cute.... We have almost 2 acres so it is a shame not to engage in something farm related. We also celebrated my daughter's 6th Birthday. My husband, Mr. Betty Crocker, baked a 4 layer cake with homemade strawberry filling. 

Now, onward to the question of the week:

For Elizabeth Sharp, one of the most useful tools in her writing arsenal is Urban Dictionary. What is your most referred to website for your writing?

The answer to this depends on whether Google is a Website or a Search Engine. If it is a Website than I unequivocally and unoriginally select Google as the most referred to website for my writing. Why? It allows me to find the answer to everything quickly. Even if I have only the beginning of an idea it can pull answers together for me. Where else can I go to research famous European Plagues other than the Bubonic, French surnames,  the histories of blood letting and transfusions, the sites of Quebec City and whether Zinc Oxide can be delivered in a clear aerosol form. These are all topics I have Googled while writing SPF. Without the internet I shudder to think of how many books I would have checked out to answer these questions. 

If I had to pick something other than Google I would probably select Wikipedia which is where Google generally takes me, or on a lighter note Seventeen.com which helps me keep current on teen trends for my character development and is a lot cheaper than buying the magazines. It also saves me the trauma of having to carry it through the checkstand. It is so embarrassing I have to hide it under a box of tampons ;-)

Want to participate in the Follow Friday Blog Hop? Here are the rules:

The rules
  • 1)      Follow this blog.
  • 2)      Follow Elizabeth Sharp, the host of this hop
  • 3)      Follow the featured author of the week: Michelle Ferguson.
  • 4)      Go to Sharp words and copy the image code found there and paste it in your blog. Add your name to the link at the bottom of the post while you are there.
  • 5)      Copy and paste the rules in your blog, as well as this week’s question.
  • 6)      Answer the question
  • 7)      Follow, follow, follow. This is about networking, people, making connections with people in your community. So talk to us. We don't bite! This post serves as a perfect place for you to say hello!
  • 8)      If someone stops by, says hi and follows you, the polite thing to do is follow back.
  • 9)      Comment here and introduce yourself and you just might find a new follower or two.

Finally add your name to this list of wonderful blog authors by clicking the frog link at the bottom and adding your name and blog address. Make sure you actually answer the question and link to the hop. And please comment, we all like to hear someone out there is listening. 

Thanks for following!


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Follow me Friday hop. What's in a name?

This week's Follow Friday blog hop topic is "What's in a Name."

I have a first name, a last name, a middle name and a maiden name as well as a pen name, however, this blog is about my blog name and how I came up with it. My blog is relatively young, only a couple of months in age. I came up with the idea to start one through my writing group, many of whom participate in this Follow Friday blog hop. I hoped that by creating my blog it would help me create my identity as as MG Ainsworth, the writer as well. It would be a place to share a little bit about myself: my background, my current projects, my progress and my goals.

Easy blog names could have been MGAinsworth.blogspot, WriterMGAinsworth.blogspot or MGAinsworthbooks.blogspot. I have never been one to take the easy way. I wanted a blog name that could stand out. I wanted it to have a little more pizazz and to identify with who I am as a writer. In my very first blog entry I explained that given my work and family commitments I find the majority of my writing happening after 9 PM and on weekends. It is not easy and would not be possible if I wasn't a bit of a night owl. I don't function in the morning without a lot of Pepsi and never really get in my groove until at least 10 or 11 AM, but I can really get the creative juices going in the evening. When my book is complete there will be very liitle, if any, that was written on a weekday before 9 PM. My blog is always updated after 9 PM. I am literally living my dream of being a writer after 9 PM. Alternately, I am writing after nine hours of work at my day job that currently pays the bills. In either case I am writing after nine, and this gave birth to the name of my blog. It's part of my identity as a writer and describes when I write. Thankfully my muse is a night owl as well.

So when 9 PM rolls around you'll know what I am doing: writing and occasionally updating my blog. Thanks for following writingafternine!

Want to join in the Follow Me Friday Fun? Here are the rules:

The rules
1)      Follow this blog.
2)      Follow Elizabeth Sharp, the originator of this hop
3)      Follow the featured author of the week: Paige W. Pendleton
4)      Go to Sharp words and copy the image code found there and paste it in your blog. Add your name to the link at the bottom of the post while you are there.
5)      Copy and paste the rules in your blog, as well as this week’s question.
6)      Answer the question
7)      Follow, follow, follow. This is about networking, people, making connections with people in your community. So talk to us. We don't bite!
8)      If someone stops by, says hi and follows you, the polite thing to do is follow back.
9)      Comment here and introduce yourself and you just might find a new follower or two.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Let's do the Time Warp Again

My life is crazy. I wake up before the sunrise, commute an hour in the morning to work, complete a daycare drop off, work nine hours, take a walk at lunch if I'm lucky, pick up from daycare, commute an hour home, fix dinner around 7 PM, try to get the kids to bed by 8:30, get things ready for the following day and then finally after 9 PM I think about things like writing. This includes writing SPF, writing my blog or working on a critique for my great crtique partner J.A. Titus. I try to take 10 minutes before I go to bed to read. My head may not hit the pillow until after 11 PM and I never have problems falling asleep.

I am always thinking about the future. My kids are growing up. My daughter, Cassie, will turn 6 next week and start First Grade next year. Her little brother Cyrus will turn 3 in July and I constantly pray that he will be out of diapers by then. I think about the future financially. How will we afford things when gas reaches $5 per gallon, will our school loans ever be paid down, should we start putting more aside for retirement. I think about the upcoming weekend and what needs to be accomplished. I think about the number of Scentsy parties I need to book in the next two months to make extra money to pay for my Kindle and Sephora addictions. I think about the camping trip we have planned this summer and  worry about the weather. I think about how I should be trying to get in shape for the Portland to Coast Walk in July.

Other than a few teary eyed journeys down memory lane looking at the kids' baby pictures I haven't had much time to think about the past, and have almost forgotten what it was like to be 17. Since my heroine/female lead in SPF is Seventeen I've been trying to get in touch with my lost 17 year old self. I've pulled out the old Shillalah yearbooks from Waldport High School and my Letterman Jacket which is rather tattered with some of the patches and medals MIA. To get in the spirit I've searched for CD's of music I liked to listen to back then (and by back then I mean 1994) hoping they'll evoke the memories and feelings of being 17. I've thought long and hard about what being 17 means. When I was 17 my whole future stretched out in front of me. I had the freedom of a newly licensed driver with a car (thanks dad and please don't mention what happened to the car). I had dozens of college possibilities and was itching to get out of my small town. I looked forward to living on my own with no rules and no curfews. I thought about careers from Doctors to Diplomats. I hated triginometry and had to worry about finishing my homework before watching TV. I ran competitively and spent my after school hours at practice or hanging out with my friends. I had crushes and thought I'd met "the one" only to have my heart broken, sometimes more than one (I am not proud of this). I had fights with friends that spread to other friends and was convinced on at least one occasion my social life was over. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was certainly one full of emotion and change.

When  I started writing SPF I actually purchased both Seventeen and Teen Vogue magazines for "research" and character development. A lot has changed in the last 17 years, reminding me that I was 17 half my lifetime ago. No one had cell phones in 1994, the only texts I knew about were textbooks and I still had a supply of cassette tapes. I listed to Ace of Base, Bell Biv Devoe, Boyz to Men, 10,000 Maniacs, Madonna, Counting Crows, The Gin Blossoms and Toad the Wet Sprockett. I watched Friends and ER. We no longer had sky high bangs but no one had highlights unless they came from a bottle of Sun In. Apples were the computer to by because who could figure out how to use a PC? And what was email or the Internet? I didn't send my first email or search the Web till college. Cell phones, texting and sexting, iPhones and iPods, highlights and fake nails, Lil Wayne and Justin Bieber, Gossip Girls and Jersey Shore were just a few of the things in which 17 years olds today partake. 

By attempting to call forth my long forgotten 17 year old self and some highly academic reasearch on the current social and dating/mating habits of the American teenager I have been working hard to make sure my characters are believable and well developed. In the first chapter Nikki listens to Placebo. She also tells me (yes she talks to me sometimes and no I'm not crazy) that she likes Death Cab for Cutie and Broken Bells but when she's in the mood for fun it's all about The Black Eyed Peas. Since she's a bit of a shut in she would die without her computer but she's never had her nails done, no highlights and a tanning bed would **gulp** kill her. She's had no use for a cell phone but would like one (with a pink case) anyways. And she shares the same excitement about the future, frustrations with the rules and roller coaster of emotions I did in 1994. Someone pass the box of tissues please. Puffs plus with lotion is preferred by both Nikki and I.

Doing the Time Warp to 1994 has been eye opening and has given me some time to reflect on my past and not just the present and the future. I've taken the time out of my busy schedule to reconnect with myself. I hope when I post the first chapters in few weeks you'll find Nikki real and believable (and hopefully likeable) because there is quite a bit of my 17 year old self present in her with some 21st century style.

Thanks for following!


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

April showers bring May showers and other reasons I hate Spring

April the 5th. Another gloomy Spring day. Yes, I realize I just used gloomy and Spring in the same sentence. For most Spring brings to mind bucolic scenes of budding flowers and baby lambs frolicing under a smiling sun. Children splash in puddles wearing brightly patterned rain coats during the occasional rain shower. Throw off the cold and oppressive mantle of Winter and work in the garden. That may be true unless you happen to live in Oregon. We like to joke that Winter lasts until after the 4th of July when the sun finally decides to come out. No one would ever plan an outdoor wedding for Oregon in June. We foolishly camped in June last year and had sleet fall on our summer weather tent.

Let me tell you a sad fact. In Oregon it rained 30 out of 31 days in March. The mercury has yet to rise above 60 degrees save for one day last week. The forecast for tomorrow? 46 and rainy. As I write this blog with a cheery fire in the woodstove it is 42 and rainy. Even better, tomorrow night the forecast is for 34 with a chance of snow showers. I should be used to this. Other than the 2 Springs I experienced in Oklahoma they have all been cold and rainy. However the 2 Springs in Oklahoma gave me a taste of what I"m missing along with every other resident of the State with a Slug Queen (and no, I am not the Slug Queen although I've considered candidacy): bursting pink and white magnolia blossoms dripping from their branches to carpet dry lawns and Red Buds in bloom, people pulling out their t-shirts and capris and bursting into song because it's 73 degrees, birds coming out of hiding to warble merry tunes, freshly planted flowers and mulch, sipping sweet tea with extra lemon in the sun while getting an early start on the summer tan. Some places parents and athletes stay dry at track meets and baseball games. Some places children play outside after school. But not here.

So what does this have to do with writing other than being my current blog topic? I just don't feel very inspired to write when it's cold and dreary outside. After a full day at work my warm bed and a cup of tea sound divine. But if I stopped writing because of the weather I would never finish the book and I woul disappoint not only myself but those of you kind enough to follow along. I rewrote my prologue over the weekend and was able to borrow some of the gloom outside to set the mood. I am very satisfied with it now. I am trying hard to find some cheer despite the weather: yellow daffodils instead of yellow sun, a few early hyacinths in a mason jar on the dining room table, Rio Beach in my Scentsy warmers, brightly colored Nerds jelly beans, and my bright pink rain coat that positively screams Spring.

By creating an artificial Spring around me I hope to keep the chill away and keep SPF moving towards completion.  I hope to have the Prologue and first two chapters posted on my blog by the end of April, or as I have renamed it the 5th month of Winter. I wish I had a definite date for publication of the book itself but since I don't write full time I don't want to make any promises I can't keep. I am writing though, so please keep following. Your support is the best cheer in this gloomy weather, even better than the pink raincoat!

:-) Melanie