Yeah…I’m not that excited about it, but the kids have this week off. The Snowpocalypse hit our little part of the world, and everything’s at a standstill. No school, closed businesses…not even Starbucks! My chickens (I have six ladies) refuse to come out of their coop. I don’t blame them. I don’t want to walk on that evil, white crap, either. Yesterday, I had to let them out and feed them, and ended up falling on the garage floor. I have a lovely bruise on my wrist now.

It could be worse. I don’t have anywhere to go, and the house is warm. Plus, we thought far enough ahead to get groceries. We had to go anyway, so we didn’t need to hoard milk or bread. The best part is that I can snuggle up on the couch, under the covers, with my pups…and write.

It’s an awesome job to have.

Speaking of writing, I’ve broken the 30,000 word mark on my work-in-progress! It’ll be harder to get good numbers this week with the kids home and providing distractions, but it’ll be a good test of the “Don’t Bother Mom When She’s Writing” rule. I’ll have to report back next week with the new total.

Anyone else dealing with snow days? What do you do to keep your kids busy while you’re working at home? Older kids, younger kids…even furkids!

The neighbor’s house from my bedroom window

Crafty Monday: Food Edition

I love baking. Cooking, somewhat. But baking? I LOVE it. I used to own a home-based bakery in Michigan, and taught cake decorating for a year once I got down to Kentucky. It’s kind of funny that, for my first Crafty Monday: Food Edition entry, I’m posting about something that isn’t baked.

Like many people, I’ve discovered the addictive joy of Pinterest (I’m “Mary Lynne Gibbs” there…creative, I know). I’ve spent many hours adding things to my boards (called “pinning”). Last night, I decided to try one of my pins. My first attempt: The Peanut Butter Energy Bites from Anna over at Crunchy Creamy Sweet. Taking simple ingredients and putting them together in ball form, these energy bites give us something amazingly easy, delicious, and healthy. My pre-teen daughter is hooked. I daresay, I am too.

At work (I’m a very part-time sales associate at a local craft store), I help people find what they need to do the crafts they love. More often than not, people come in who’ve decided to try something for the first time. One older couple decided to try a sun catcher made from melted pony beads…that they found on Pinterest. They looked so excited to try something new! I hope they come back. They promised they’d bring pictures to show me.

This year, I want to try to do something new, and hopefully healthy, every week. It’s been a month so far, and I’m having fun with it. “Healthy” doesn’t have to just be for the body. It could be for the brain. Heck, it could be a craft or hobby, too. In writing, I decided to take part in my first Twitter contest (see last week’s “Sun VS Snow” entry). Doing things like this keeps me on my toes. I find that I’m more engaged, excited, and adaptable by spicing up what could be a dull winter period. I’ve found it’s great for my writing, too.

What, if anything, are you trying for the first time this year? Have you tried anything from Pinterest?  Go ahead and list it here! If it’s not on Pinterest, that’s cool, too.

Sun VS Snow Recap

This one’s primarily for the writers out there, but others can learn from it, too.

On Twitter, I’ve recently discovered the joy of something called “pitch parties.” Follow a hashtag, post your (completed) novel’s “pitch.” It’s a way to increase readership, make friends, and possibly catch the attention of an agent or editor. There are also contests that are similar. Winners can receive query critiques (among other things). There are several out there: #PitchMad, #AdPitch, #PitchMas, just to name a few. The most recent one I had the pleasure of participating in was #snowvssun.

In #snowvssun, you email your query, first twenty-five of your manuscript, and what your main character would prefer: sun…or snow. For my personal choice, my main character (Lex Jensen of “Cake or Death” – still trying to find a home!) chose “sun.” Hunting vampires in the snow isn’t fun. I made it into the contest, but no further. I’m good with it, though. I got to meet some great people. They’ve been incredibly  helpful, offering great ideas and valuable advice. It’s my understanding that the next step is the mentor round. Then, the coveted agent round. This isn’t the only way to get an agent or publisher to look at your work. This is, though, awesome for improvement and connections. That’s where the real prize is.

I’ve since updated my query, based on ideas I’ve seen from successful queries. I’ve got new people to use as a sounding board. I’ve got more followers on Twitter. I think I’ve won.