Writers!!:)

I have neglected writing on the topic writing long enough. No more! I’m back to talk about the goals and ambitions I have as a writer:)

Change of Plans! I am not completely abandoning the idea of turning the story I have been working on into a book but I have done some serious re-evaluating lately and I have decided to change my focus.  The simple fact is that I’m inexperienced as a writer and don’t have any platform so I really want to try to start getting smaller things published and entering contests. A full blown novel as my first project is just proving to be really hard and a little overwhelming. And there are so many great writers websites that I thought it would be kind of fun to just work on smaller things and work on honing my basic skills before attempting something as big as self publishing a novel.

So for now, I am going to be searching for contests and new writer websites and sharing the best of them with you:) And I’m sure that you know many great ones two which I would love to hear! Let me know of any websites for new writers, contests, or magazines that you think would be really great for a new writer:)

Thanks and Happy Writing!!

Actually, before I go write, let me share with you what I’m working on right now: a contest on http://www.fantasy-writers.org. I’m doing the June challenge. If you like writing fantasy you should really go check it out and maybe try it to:)

 

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First Impressions of California

I am back from a 270 mile bike ride along the gorgeous Pacific Coast in Southern California. I have grown physically, spiritually, and much deeper in my friendships. I wasn’t able to blog during my trip because my phone died and now I have so much I would love to post about….so much that I don’t have any idea on where to start.

If you have a travel blog, I would love to check it out. If you have tips about how to capture some of the awesomeness of traveling in little bite sized posts, I would love to hear those to:)

For now, I plan on just starting where I left off blogging:) Where was that? Utah. I guess the next stop on the trip was Vegas. Actually, I am going to save Los Vegas for a later post as well:) What I want to tell you about is my first experience of the desert and California:

I had a very clear picture of what I thought a desert was. I knew all about it from books. I knew there was sand and nothing else as far as you could see. Deserts are desolate empty dangerous places that the sun shines down hard on. As I was leaving Vegas, I was pretty excited about seeing a desert in real life but after being stuck in the traffic between Los Vegas and Los Angelos for about an hour, I decided deserts were not my favorite places in the world –too many cars. There were a lot of plants so you didn’t get the glistening stretch of sand like I had imagined but most of them were very grey and I felt like I was in the bottom of the ocean because the cactus looked kind of like sea weed. Sea weed that was paralyzed in the air..twisted into odd shapes as if they were in lots of pain. No pictures, sorry.

Alright, you get the idea. The desert was a little monotonous and a tiny bit creepy with the sea weed cactus. So you can imagine my feelings when we drove into the lush hills of Southern California. Rolling green waves of paradise. My first impulse was to gasp at joy when I saw the deep green shrouded in “mist.” I was quickly informed that cloud like substance was actually “smog.” Hehe, Minnesota girl here. I still thought/think it’s beautiful. And there were a bunch of purple flowered trees in bloom. Purple carpet lay across the park that we ate dinner in and layered on the trees above us. California. Beauty. So much beauty.

So that was my first impressions of Southern California:) Anyone else been to southern CA? What were your impressions?

I felt that it was harshly landscaped at first but after that pure magnificence. You will find that beauty is a big theme on this trip which I hope to post more soon:)

Traveling Days

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Sunset dust scatters over rolling hills,
Turning green to gold.
The hazy light stretches shadows out
And drives light into my eyes.

Friday the 8th 8:58pm, After 14 hours in the car and years of wanting to be there, I finally got to see Colorado!!!:) It was dark when I got there but waking up in the morning was incredible. I saw mountains for the first time! I still can’t believe I’m actually here. I walked out on my friends porch, a cup of incredible coffee in hand and stared at the foothills in the truly fresh air:)

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Yesterday we drove through the Rocky Mountains and the incredible hills and plains of Utah. After only 3 hours of sleep, I desperately needed a nap but sleep was hardly possible! I didn’t want to close my eyes for second and miss part of the beauty rushing by the window or the incredible conversations I was having with the other 3 girls in the car:) I tried to take pictures but there is so much more in every moment then a single frame and eventually I just stopped trying and savored the moments.

Tips for those going through high altitudes for the first time:
It can be painfully beautiful, literally. So drink lots of water and chew gum to stop ears popping. Also, stop by the town of Empire’s ice cream shop and get a small thick shake because they are huge and the start the trip off the right way.

I also realized that it is tricky to blog while traveling–no service on my phone for half the time and we just want to be in the moment but I hope you enjoy the pictures! I hope to speak to you soon about California. Praise God for all His beauty!!

And So Begins the Adventure

I just wanted to share in a little more detail, what I’ll be doing in June:)

First off: I’m biking 250 miles in five days on a Bike for the Unborn Trip. For a girl who realizes she is in horrendous shape physically, this is quite the ordeal. Let me emphasize: this is a big ordeal!:) I’ve gone from no exercise to biking 40 miles in a very short time so I thinking I have a chance at surviving:)

Second: It is also a pilgrimage. In America these really aren’t as common but they are just beautiful times of journeying both physically and growing spiritually (think of El Camino from the movie The Way). I will be traveling to Southern California to make this journey so I’ll get to see a lot of the country and while I’m in California we will not only bike but pray and talk about the deeper things in life–I’m pretty pumped!:)

Also, it’s a fundraiser. I have been asking people to pledge to a cause that I am biking for. I am biking for the Sisters of Life and am pretty excited to support them!:)

I will try to blog each day I am gone, even if it is a short post because I LOVE to read about people’s travels, and I hope you will enjoy hearing about my journey as well:)

Writing What You Know (about biking):

Ok, you know that phrase, “Write what you know about” ? Because I always figured, why write what you know about? That’s boring. The reason you write is to explore. But really, you have to know something about what you are writing about…for obvious reasons. And biking, I have realized that there is a lot I didn’t know about biking. I couldn’t have written about a serious biker before now and sound remotely realistic.

I guess it is true that you really have to know at least a little something about what you are writing. Another reason that authors should travel a lot. They should know about as many people and places as they can, first hand:)

Anyways, back to biking which has been my life lately. I wish to tell you about a few things that I didn’t know about biking that  I do know now.

– Did you know that bikers can have clip in shoes so they are basically stuck to their bike? It gives the biker more power apparently:) I had never tried using these shoes but contrary to my former beliefs, they aren’t actually scary. I can clip out easily and it does allow you to bike in a new way.

These are the tops of them…pictures of them clipping into the bike would probably look cooler but there they are:)

–Did you know that my back get’s more sore then my legs when I bike? I seriously lack any muscle in my core area (and that is really going to bite me eventually if I don’t do something about it). But it isn’t something I would have expected.

–Ok, you probably knew this but a brand called stingers (I think) makes all kinds of nutritious foods which are extremely tasty and I’m thrilled that I am actually working our hard enough where I can justify the calories they contain:) There is this really cool instant energy honey waffle thing that I call lembas because that is seriously what it looks like:) There are also instant energy fiber gummies which are incredibly delicious.

–I’m also learning a lot of little important things like the importance padded shorts (really weird wearing those tight little things for the first time! but extremely helpful after an extended period of time) and the importance of really light shirts. I am also learning a little biking etiquette. Some one told me that MN is one of the biggest biking states in the US which surprised me.

Anyways, the point is that I love learning all these random little how-to’s of biking:) I’m leaving for my bike trip on Thursday so I only have a little more training time in which I plan on learning/training to the most of my ability!:)

Duluth/Stillwater Top Five:)

If you are in Minnesota, there are two great cities that you should see. Ok, really, the Twin Cities are packed full of fun great things to do and see and eat but I mean there are two of my favorite cities to take little road trip vacations to:) Some friends pile in a car and we leave for the day, leaving troubles behind and just having a great time. I love these because they are the perfect little mini vacations.

Duluth 

1. Split Rock–We didn’t go this last time but it’s an awesome looking lighthouse. You can get tours and climb on the rocks that surround it and explore pure Minnesota beauty. The classic craggy rocks and towering pines surround it:)

2. Glensheen Mansion–We did go to this place! Ok, get this: the sitting room has a golden ceiling. It is covered in gold that is scrapped so thinly over it that if you were to pile it all into one place it would be about the size of a golf ball but they spread it out and made it a covering for the ceiling! Talk about crazy! It’s a rather historic place and is now owned by a university but would apparently take 32 million to build today. And it has beautiful gardens and is right up against lake superior:) We found this gorgeous stone bridge on the property and took a picture.

I know, it’s amazing one of us didn’t fall of and die, lol. But really, get a healthy dose of beauty and wealth and story inspiration from this place;)

3. The Rocks….I actually have no idea what this place is called. Basically it’s right by the bridge. The big bridge. There are a bunch of big rocks and you can walk around on them. We sat there forever just talking and letting the water wash around us as we sat on a rock by the deep blue. Awesomeness:)

4. Grandma’s Restaurant–I don’t know why but people say here is the best place. And it was pretty awesome. And you can eat on the roof and watch the big bridge lift up.

5. Tobies. Ok, this isn’t in Duluth but it is in-between the Boundary Waters (sp?) and the cities so people always stop here as a half way point. I was surprised how tiny it was. EVERYONE but me knew about it and it’s this tiny little place that you could think was just part of a gas station but they have cinnamon rolls which will make the drive that much better!

Stillwater

1. Leo’s Malt Shop–You get thrown into the 1950’s and the food is my FAVORITE! And the decorations are adorable. But seriously, if you have tastebuds, you need to check it out if you ever go to Stillwater!:)

2. Loomes–If you are a book lover, this place is epic.

Its a Catholic book store that is built inside an old church and the only book store that I know of that has stained glass windows!

I found a book that was old and looked like it had been burnt. This person loves collecting the oldest rarest books he can find:) Which means awesome books are everywhere. There are a few cheaper newer things but I try to look at the ancient parchment looking things in different languages! Maybe I’ll see if I can get the pictures from Lisa some time…amazingness. So much intense interesting books in so many different languages that I feel like I’m getting more intelligent by process of osmosis! Seriously! I need to own something like this someday! (Not to mention my story has an ancient library in it so I need some ideas for descriptions of old books;)

3. The cruise–there is a cruise place that you can go to which is awesome! We didn’t go this time (poor starving college students that we are) but I did go on it for my high school senior cruse. There was a live little jazz band and we swung danced on the roof of the boat as it glided along between the gorgeous tree covered hills of the wisconsin and minnesota.

4. German store–If you go to Leo’s Malt shop, there will be a German gift shop right beside it. Go there because everything is so cool inside! (and expensive but you can at least take a look:) The cuckoo clocks they have are incredible and they have fantastic Christmas ornaments. Yeah, Christmas is a pretty big thing for Germans so you will see a lot of stuff with that them:)

5. The trolley ride–I went when I was really little and it was great. It’s just fun getting a great tour of the city and going up and down those crazy hills. Ok, funny fact about cities with hills. I cannot stand driving on hills but all of my favorite places are super hilly. San Fran is the hilliest and it is my favorite. But I refuse to drive up steep drive ways. Go figure!

So that is what I have been doing lately:) I mean, other than biking (I biked 40 miles yesterday 0.0) And writing my story. I have 30,00 words…and that many to write still before I leave this Friday:/ Where are some of your favorite summer vacation places? Any little day trip places that I should definitely see if I’m ever around?:)