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Because…Life

I don’t want to make excuses. I’m just going to be honest. If you follow my blog regularly, you know I’m not a regularly type writer, but over the last year my blogging has been fairly steady…until recently.  I hate to admit, but I’ve had to put my writing on hold for a short time while I adjust to a new life situation (sure, that’s probably the time I need to write most, but I just haven’t had time).  This won’t last long.  After all, writing is essential for me to function properly. I contemplated giving it up, thinking maybe it just isn’t important anymore, in light of my new role in life. Maybe I could come back to it later sometime, but that’s ridiculous.  I’ve always loved writing, even when I only do it for myself or to work through my emotions.  Since I left teaching over a year ago, I finally found time to do it freely and I cannot give it up now; it’s part of who I am.  It would be like cutting off an arm, and just as painful in a different sense.

What does all this mean, and what am I rambling on about? I’m just stating that the regularity of my posts will come again, though for now, they may be slow and erratic.  I’ll be in Guatemala next week on a mission trip, so no posts will come during that time.  When I return and for a couple weeks following, I’ll be adjusting to a new routine and schedule, but I’ll be back, so check in on me from time to time.  I had also planned to begin writing the next book in my Memoirs of an Ordinary Girl series in August, though I may now wait until September.  I have a few other projects floating around in my head and throughout various files on my computer. This is just a short pause.  I’m not hitting the stop button. I (and Drew) will be back.

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You Can [should] Never Go Back

Some people say you can never go back. I can’t imagine why anybody would want to anyway. Still, there are ties in our lives that will bind us forever to our pasts, and I just knew I could never completely sever mine.
 
I was twelve when I moved to that dreadful little town. Out of all the places we could have moved to, my parents chose an obscure town tucked in the foothills of Virginia. It wasn’t really a bad town. It just wasn’t me. I had dreamt of a city to live in, or at least a suburb where I could peddle my bike up and down the road and go for walks around the neighborhood with my friends, up and down the sidewalk. What did I get? A house five miles outside of a town that seemed no bigger to me than a small village as seen only on TV… you know, the weird freaky towns on the Syfy network. I was born and raised in California, only to experience the biggest culture shock of my entire existence.
 
We got rid of my bike. There would be no smooth surfaces for riding where we moved. And forget sidewalks. When the roads aren’t even paved, what’s the use of a sidewalk? Nothing but gravel and steep hills from that point on. How was I going to cope?

 

This comes from the opening (after my prologue- or disclaimer) of my first book about Drew Hotchner (Memoirs of an Ordinary Girl: The Middle-ish Ages), a girl who just happens to be a version of me, and so as my husband and I drove towards Front Royal, Virginia on our vacation a bit over a week ago, these were the lines running through my head.

Trivia- Florntayor, the name of the town in my book, is actually made up of the scrambled letters from Front Royal, the town where I actually did live.

Trivia- Florntayor, the name of the town in my book, is actually made up of the scrambled letters from Front Royal, the town where I actually did live.

 

Writing these books means reliving my past to some degree.  Sure, the books are fictitious, yet based on some truth, some actual people, and some real places and events.

There must have been something about that little store and bad weather and adventure, because once we got out of there with our Fudge Rounds and sodas, ominous clouds formed on the horizon. Nothing was going to stop us though. We were having a picnic! So onward we continued. “So, what do we do if it rains?” Emily asked us.
 
“It won’t rain. And if it does, so what? We’ll just have to get wet,” Adrienne teased her sister. Shortly after, we found a secluded place under the trees, on an empty lot by the river. We spread our food around and began snacking.
 
Sitting on a fallen tree limb, I felt something wet hit my nose. “Uh, I think it’s starting to sprinkle.”
 
“Yeah, I felt it too,” Emily agreed.
 
“A little bit of drizzle won’t hurt you,” Adrienne replied.
 
“No, but a whole bunch of drizzle might,” I yelled as the rain suddenly tore through the sky and began to fall in sheets. The tree covering was of little help, as the rain only hit harder once it had a chance to collect on one leaf before it dropped in heaps. Frantically, we picked up all we could and started running. Adrienne was wearing her prized leather jacket and didn’t want it to get ruined in the rain, so she turned it inside out and wore it home like that. As it turned out, we later discovered that we had left behind the crackers nobody wanted, and every time we visited that spot thereafter, there they were, though the box faded over time from exposure to the weather. It became a silly inside joke.
-Memoirs of an Ordinary Girl: The Middle-ish Ages
 
Several references are made in each book to this little store.  I was a bit surprised to see it still exists, but not so surprised that it rained when we got there.

Several references are made in each book to this little store. I was a bit surprised to see it still exists, but not so surprised that it rained when we got there.


Another discovery I made on this trip was that where there had once only been five houses on my old road, with only three of them actually inhabited by humans, there is now a total of ten houses, and all but one appear to be lived in. The most dilapidated of all was finally gone.

My first encounter happened while walking to the bus stop one morning. Since it was fall and an early morning, fog hung suspended in the air along and across the road. Two rarely visited and quite run down summer homes sat on my road, their dead eyes of windows staring at one another from either side. One of these houses, the faded and sickly yellow one, probably should have been condemned as I’m sure other than the rodents and snakes that lived in it, the shell of a house was unsafe for much else.
 
But on this morning a strange creaking sounded from behind the should-be-condemned house, and some angry squirrels chittered and ran in all directions. I heard a slam and saw the shadowy figure of a boy slinking up the hill from the rear of the house, wading through the thick fog. He reached the edge of the road just as I was passing that spot. He was about a foot shorter than me, and though I’m bad at guessing ages, I figured he was a sixth grader or so. He avoided eye contact with me, picked up his Star Trek decorated backbag and began to practically goose step down the road in front of me.
 
What the heck had this weird kid been doing in that house? And why was his hair cut like Spock’s?
-Memoirs of an Ordinary Girl: Fresh-meat Year
 
I do not think this house met the same fate I wrote for it towards the end of my book, but it is certainly now gone.

I do not think this house met the same fate I wrote for it towards the end of my book, but it is certainly now gone.

My Place in a Mega-Event

Authors are known for their creativity, right?  Most people think of that as all part of the writing process; however, we also have to use our creativity beyond writing, and into the promotion process.  Books simply do not sell themselves, no matter how good they are.  People must discover them, and we (authors) have to create ways for people to do this. So, when I was asked if I’d like to join in a Facebook mega event with several other authors, I jumped at it.

Memoirs on Dreams event

I do feel maybe a bit out of place, as most of the other authors are writing in the genres of the supernatural, horror, mystery and the like, while my books are really only scary in the sense of the middle school and high school awkwardness that still makes most of us cringe to this day. Everyone has been inviting and hospitable, though, and maybe I can somehow bring balance to the Force.   Meeting other authors is an experience in and of itself, so I really can’t lose.

An excerpt from Memoirs of an Ordinary Girl: Fresh-meat Year

The Discovery of the Trekkie Newbie

With all the changes and girl drama happening in my life again, it had somehow slipped my awareness that a new family had moved in down the road from me. All the way down the road. Down the hill at the bottom of the gravel cul-de-sac we lived on. In my own defense, they really kept to themselves and we hardly saw them. There appeared to be only one child, and he was exceptionally quiet. Of course, he was also exceptionally creepy. I probably should have been keeping an eye on this kid from the beginning. Once I discovered him, I personally checked all the door and window locks before bed every night.

My first encounter happened while walking to the bus stop one morning. Since it was fall and an early morning, fog hung suspended in the air along and across the road. Two rarely visited and quite run down summer homes sat on my road, their dead eyes of windows staring at one another from either side. One of these houses, the faded and sickly yellow one, probably should have been condemned as I’m sure other than the rodents and snakes that lived in it, the shell of a house was unsafe for much else.

But on this morning a strange creaking sounded from behind the should-be-condemned house, and some angry squirrels chittered and ran in all directions. I heard a slam and saw the shadowy figure of a boy slinking up the hill from the rear of the house, wading through the thick fog. He reached the edge of the road just as I was passing that spot. He was about a foot shorter than me, and though I’m bad at guessing ages, I figured he was a sixth grader or so. He avoided eye contact with me, picked up his Star Trek decorated backbag and began to practically goose step down the road in front of me.

What the heck had this weird kid been doing in that house? And why was his hair cut like Spock’s?

Adrienne and her little sister Emily had already reached the spot where our ends of the road met that morning, and they were early enough to see the kid coming down the hill ahead of me. I had stopped to let him get a good distance ahead and away before I started down the hill. Both tossed a confused look past the kid at me. Apparently, they had not noticed him before this day either. I shrugged my shoulders to them as we all watched his abrupt stop, the placement of his left toes behind his right foot, and his deliberate, military style left turn.

“So, what’s with Data there?” Adrienne inquired.

“Don’t you mean Spock?” I corrected.

“No. I’m pretty sure his t-shirt has Data on it. Don’t forget, my dad watches that crap.” It’s true. Her dad watched Star Trek or the preview channel of television listings whenever he wasn’t fishing or hunting.

“I guess I must have missed that when I was freaking out at the weirdo popping out in front of me back there. He was messing around in the basement of the old yellow house,” I disclosed, pointing my thumb over my shoulder towards the decrepit hovel.

We speculated on several possibilities of what he might have been doing in that basement, letting our imaginations linger a bit too long on the storage of dead bodies. How many sixth graders have ever been serial killers anyway? Of course, we guessed it had to start somewhere. I would certainly keep an eye on Milton.

He did nothing at the bus stop or on the bus to help us feel any relief about our theories. He just stood at the front of the line at parade rest, staring straight ahead, a blank expression on his face. His feet made deliberate and exaggerated movements up the bus steps and when he sat down in the second seat he looked only at the tall seat back directly in front of him…the entire ride. Though we were sitting further back, we positioned ourselves to be able to at least catch glimpses of this new, odd child. Mrs. Nelson would love having this still and quiet kid on her bus route, and then they could team up to murder the rest of us, burying our bodies in the basement of the house right on my very own road.

I took out a notebook and we began writing out the story as we traveled towards our other doom, school. We hadn’t written any stories about Mrs. Nelson yet this year, but it was a pastime we had enjoyed during middle school. When we picked up Nadine, she had some great ideas to add. Apparently she had seen this creepy child wandering around all the way on her end of the neighborhood. She was relieved that he didn’t live closer to her and she swore she would never spend the night at my house again. High school kids got dropped off first so we all had to walk past him to disembark. He continued to stare at the bus seat in front of him, but now he was making noises like R2D2. (obviously this is copyrighted since it came directly out of my book)

 

We should be quite the mix of authors for this 5 day mega multi-author event. Come check us out afternoons/evenings from June 18-22. Also, enter our giveaway.  So many prizes!

 
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Aint too Proud to Beg Book Blog Tour DAY SIX

This is my final stop on my blog tour.  Thank you to Willow’s Author Love Blog for hosting me for my final day and many thanks to all the great bloggers who allowed me to “stop by” to promote my new release.

http://willowsauthorlove.blogspot.com/2014/06/terri-klaes-harper-blog-tour.html

Ain’t too Proud to Beg Book Blog Tour STOP FIVE

A grateful thank you to Jeniann Bowers for hosting me today.

http://thecatchall72.blogspot.com/2014/06/introducing-terri-klaes-harper-blog.html

Ain’t too Proud to Beg Book Blog Tour STOP FOUR

Many thanks to Jennifer Pickrell, a former creative writing classmate from our high school days, for hosting me for day four.  Check out today’s post and explore the rest of her blog.

http://jenniferpickrell.wordpress.com/2014/06/04/giveaway-excerpt-of-memoirs-of-an-ordinary-girl-fresh-meat-year-by-terri-klaes-harper/

Ain’t too Proud to Beg Book Blog Tour STOP THREE

Thank you to Kaycee at Wonder Struck for hosting today’s blog stop and for the wonderful book review.

Please follow the link to Kaycee’s blog: http://wonderstruck-kcks.blogspot.com/2014/06/terri-klaes-harper-blog-tour-book.html

Also, you can enter to win a copy of my ebook from here or Kaycee’s post
a Rafflecopter giveaway