Friday, November 16, 2012

the writer's dojo

the writer's dojo: Community: Ninjas Write Community

This is an excellent place to meet and mingle with others who share your writing passion. With a forum you can post on anytime, helpful tips from fellow writers and a weekly live chat, it has something for everyone. I've met some awesome writers through this network. Ali Cross, Kathleen, Amy and Stephanie are just a few of the whackies (Yes, that is a word. Meant in the best possible way should any of the aforementioned read this) who continue to inspire me and help me stay on task.
I know networking can often be frustrating and time consuming, but this is a great stop to add to your list. The many writers who talents contribute to the site keep you entertained and informed. They are a great source for other blogs, critiques, motivation and just some good stress relief and laughs for days when you feel like this:

In the weekly Ninja Chat, Thursdays at 2pm MST,  we've been known to discuss everything from our latest projects to amoebas.

(Lest you sneer at that lovely debate, I want you to know that it inspired a great scene in my latest writing project.) 

Whether you are just beginning your very first project, or have already published a thousand books, we all need a support system to keep us going. Those who inspire us, who dare us to do better, who root for us even from our crappy first drafts and those who don't let ourselves get in the way of our dreams. The task of creating one can be daunting at first, with all the writers, authors, blogs, and sites you could join. But once you find the right one, or two, or three, for you, you'll wonder how you ever thought you could do this writing journey alone.

Happy Writing!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Open Heart, Open Adoption Guest Post

My wife and I had a tendency to burn through those home pregnancy tests like crazy. If one came up negative we’d say, “Maybe we tried at the wrong time of day” or “Maybe that test strip was too old.” We’d go get a new one and try again later, always with the same result. We wanted so badly for my wife to be pregnant that we interpreted just about anything to mean we’d finally succeeded. If she wasn’t feeling well- that had to mean she was experiencing some “morning sickness,” right? If she expected her period to start at a certain time and it was 10 minutes late, “Hooray, we did it!” Of course, that was never the case for us.
Meeting with infertility specialists was both wonderful and frustrating at the same time. It was frustrating because they could never find anything wrong with either of us. Sperm count- check. Sonogram- check. No runny nose- check. Check check check. Ugh. I know it’s usually supposed to be good news when a doctor or nurse tells you you’re looking nice and healthy, but we were hoping to be told otherwise. Not that we didn’t want to be healthy, of course, but it was really frustrating to be trying for years and years to get pregnant and nobody could tell us why. We wanted some doctor to say, “Oh, there’s the problem. Take this pill and you’ll be pregnant by dinner time.” That wasn’t in the cards, though. All we got was test after test without finding a problem, and then procedure after procedure without finding any results.
That was good, though. Sure, it was frustrating at the time- really frustrating, demoralizing, and sad- but it lead us to where we are today. It was important for us at the time to feel like we WANTED adoption, and we felt like we should try it the “normal” way first. We could have kept going with the infertility stuff- yes. But we came to a point where we didn’t want to ride the infertility train anymore. Lots of people continue, taking the next step to try the next procedure that may or may not work (and often times it does work for them), but we were done. We just didn’t want to do it anymore. Of course, that didn’t stop our friends (and even people who we barely knew) from offering up their unsolicited advice about sure ways to get pregnant, but we were done. Sure, we would have been happy to end up pregnant, but we were done making it our main focus. We WANTED to adopt.
Adoption was something that had been in the back of our mind ever since we first started to realize we weren’t getting pregnant like all of our family and friends seemed to be able to. It was our choice to hop off the train during the infertility treatments. It was our choice and that gave us a tiny bit of satisfaction knowing we were finally in charge of something rather than hoping and waiting and hoping and waiting for the stork to come the “normal way.” We were in charge and guess what! We were excited.
I know a lot of couples that always knew they wanted to adopt, so the decision was easy for them. That wasn’t us, though. We are infertile and we don’t know why. Eight years of trying has pretty much left us assuming it’s not in our cards. Adoption is the best thing to happen to us, and we did it because we wanted to! We didn’t “resort” to adoption because we felt it was our only choice. We just realized one day that God was calling us to something else and we embrace that.  As a friend of mine always says- Adoption isn’t our plan B, it’s the plan that was meant to be.

Tour Schedule

Open Adoption, Open Heart

The world of adoption has changed dramatically over the past twenty years. No longer do biological parents have to say goodbye to their child forever. They now have more options when deciding the type of adoption to pursue, such as open adoption. Open adoption creates the opportunity for a special relationship between biological parents, the adoptive parents, and the child.

 Open Adoption, Open Heart is an inspiring and true story, which takes the reader deeper into the feelings and emotions experienced by adoptive parents. As you read this incredible story, you will experience the joys, difficulties, and amazing victories facing adoptive couples. Russell and his wife, Jammie, invite you to share in their inspiring and heartwarming journey.


Book Trailer:

From the Author: While my book's primary audience was thought to be those hoping to adopt, close to half of the books I've sold are simply people who want to read about our story and how adoption is different now than it used to be- and they have not adopted nor do they plan to adopt.

About the Author:

Russell Elkins was born on Andrews Air Force Base near Washington, D.C., in the fall of 1977. Along with his five siblings, he and his military family moved around a lot, living in eight different houses by the time he left for college at age 17. Although his family movedaway from Fallon, Nevada, just a few months after he moved out, he still considers that little oasis in the desert to be his childhood hometown. He and his family now live in the Boise, Idaho area.

Russell has always been a family man at heart, looking forward to the day when he could be a husband and a father. It took him a little while, but eventually his eyes locked onto a beautiful blonde, and he has never looked away. Russell and Jammie were married in 2004. Years of struggling with infertility left Russell and Jammie with a decision to make and their lives changed dramatically when they decided to adopt.

Russell and Jammie have adopted two beautiful children, Ira and Hazel, and have embraced their role as parents through open adoption. Both are actively engaged in the adoption community by communicating through social media, taking part in discussion panels, and writing songs about adoption. Russell also writes a weekly post for and contributes regularly to Adoption Voices Magazine.


Tour Giveaway:
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash from Author Russell Elkins
Ends 12/23/12
Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent's permission. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour Schedule: open-adoption-blog-tour.html

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Hi everyone! Sorry about the super late post. It was a crazy night and morning of writing and critiquing for me. :)

My insecurity matches one that is common among beginning writers and probably many established writers. What is it you may ask? *dramatic pause* It is the struggle to believe in your own voice.
You write a manuscript, it is beautiful, it is aggravating, it is a piece of you. Then you submit it to others.
You wait, nails bit so low drops of blood stain your keyboard. The day arrives when your baby comes back to you and it is marred. Scenes are crap, too many adverbs, scars mark your pristine pages. You are forced to admit that, perhaps, more revisions are required. At first you rant, you cry, you may feel hopeless. You spent weeks, maybe months, on this thing that doesn't ever seem good enough. Do you give up and accept that no matter how many edits and revisions it will never be ready?
 NO! Get up, wipe off your keyboard and keep writing. One day you will see that glossy cover, that gripping title and realize that inside is the story no one else could tell. Better yet, people are actually reading it and they, shocking I know, like it. But you are not done, because new voices fill your head and a new tale spills onto your page. The whole process begins again.

What do you tell yourself when that gloom of failure raises its ugly head? What inspires you to keep writing?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Kindle Giveaway

The awesome Andrea Pearson has partnered with other bloggers and authors to give away a Kindle to one lucky US winner!

The winner will also receive five of Andrea's eBooks:
The Key of Kilenya
The Ember Gods
August Fortress
(I've read these first three. They are a great read for teen and adult fans of clean, fun fantasy. Her characters are real and engaging, and the plot leaves you on the edge of your seat the whole time. I'm anxiously awaiting book four in the series!)
The Music of Anna Morse
Britnell Manor

 Andrea, a Brigham Young University graduate, is an avid reader and outdoor
enthusiast (hiking, boating, biking, spending time in the Rocky Mountains,
and taking walks). She spent a year and a half serving the Spanish
speaking community in Toronto, Canada, and fluently speaks 2 ½ languages.
She plays several instruments, not including the banjo, and loves putting
together musical arrangements.

Andrea is always in the mood for a good movie with close friends and
family (especially her husband and mom), with a large glass of milk and a
bowl of overly buttered popcorn nearby. She also enjoys oil painting,
making earrings, and she hopes to someday travel to Italy and Alaska. She
loves writing clean fiction for youth and adults and is the author of nine
books, including the Kilenya Series (fantasy for readers ten and older), a
Kilenya Romance (teen readers), and the Katon University Series (soft teen


To enter the giveaway, check out this blog here!