Success only flourishes in perseverance -- ceaseless, restless perseverance.
--Baron Manfred Von Richtofen

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Pretty Please

Something annoying happened to me yesterday. I do my blog reading on Mondays by coming to my dashboard reading list and opening all the blogs that I want to read. It's a lot of blogs. Then I read each one and close it as I go. I came to a blog that had posted a video I wanted to watch. I turned on my speakers (which are usually off) and was surprised to find music playing. Seems one of the blogs I had open had music which comes on automatically. I had to shut off the music before I could watch the video, and it took me quite some time to find the offending blog and turn off the music. It wasn't bad music. It was actually  playing songs that I like, but still, I was annoyed. I prefer to choose what I listen to and when. So, I'm asking pretty please, if you have a playlist on your blog that comes on automatically, please turn it off.  Let me decide if I want to hear it or not.

Thank you.

Friday, June 25, 2010

I'm No Gordon Lightfoot

He's my favorite singer and songwriter. He writes the most beautiful poetry. How about this one:

Now the pages have faded, the story grows cold
And the plot falls to ashes like the ruins of old
Those rats in my rafters, they're after my shoes
And anything else they can find on the shelf
I've said they could use  --Long Way Back Home

Or this:

The minstrel of the dawn is here
To make you laugh and bend your ear
Up the steps you'll hear him climb
All full of thoughts, all full of rhymes
Listen to the pictures flow
Across the room into your mind they go
Listen to the strings
They jangle and dangle
While the old guitar rings --The Minstrel of the Dawn

My own attempt at songwriting did not produce such wonderful results, but I'm going to go out on a limb and share it with you anyway. Here is the love song that belongs in this scene of The Ransomed Returning:

Find the Stars
By Angie Lofthouse

Living in the darkness, cut off from the light,
Distances between us more vast than space and time.
We never tasted freedom, each a captive in our way.
What turn of fate of fortune's wheel brings us here today?

Was it Heaven's hand that led you?
Did it take you by surprise?
Because I could never find the stars
'Til I saw them in your eyes.

Don't hide yourself away, my love. Don't turn from me and run.
Take my hand and breathe the wind, taste the rain, and touch the sun.
Take my hand and let's explore this world we've never known,
And when I take you in my arms, you'll know that you've come home.


Come now, close the distance.
Shatter the spaces that keep us apart.
Feel the laughter, feel the love
That's hidden in your heart.

The stars will roll above us, the earth beneath our feet.
We'll find our way along the path to make us both complete.
Life is ripe now for the plucking. Don't let it go to waste.
The love that you and I could share will have the sweetest taste.


Well, there you go. I doubt I'll take up poetry any time soon, but it was kind of fun for a change of pace. I gave up on trying to write music for it. I think I'll give it to my songwriting son and let him come up with a melody for me. I don't think I'll include the entire song in the book. It's too long. I'll just insert a verse and the chorus or something like that.

I'll leave you with a little Gordon Lightfoot, if you like

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Here It Is

I finished the typing and printed out the manuscript for my chief proofreader (and #1 fan) to read. It was kind of fun to listen to my  husband and son argue over who gets to read it first. =D The printed version is 506 pages long. I printed it double-sided for proofreading, so in standard manuscript format is would be twice as thick. Yikes. I know it's a little on the long side, but for sci-fi, it's an acceptable length. I wrote the thing in 14 months and 18 days, which comes out to 62.6 weeks, and it was 626 pages (by hand), so despite many ups and downs, I managed to average my goal of 10 pages per week. It was nice of the math to work out so easy like that.

I have been contemplating what to work on next. I feel lost with nothing to write. I did a little work last night on love song lyrics. Sigh. I am not great at lyrics, but I'll keep trying. I think the front-runner for my next writing project is a novella called Renegade, but I may write a Christmas story first. I just don't really have any Christmas story ideas right now. I've been spending my normal late-night writing time lying on the grass in the backyard staring up at the stars. It's so nice. I love that, but I'd love to get back to writing too. Soon!

P.S. If you haven't entered my 200 followers contest, you have until June 30. All you have to do is comment on the post (oh, and be a follower), so pop over there and enter now!

Friday, June 18, 2010

A Reason to Celebrate (And prizes too!)

Yesterday I mentioned that I had almost 200 followers, and now I have exceeded that. (210 as of this writing!) Add in the fact that I finished my novel (and will soon be finished typing the novel), and I think it's time for a party! So come on in. Enjoy some virtual summer treats. Don't those look delish? I prefer the cherry limeade flavor. Mmmmm.

Now for a party game. (I totally stole this from Shallee McArthur. Go check out her blog too.) Here are some titles based on Facebook security phrases:

The Tipsier
Easel Insurers
Had Virtues
Persons Patching
Bill Poises

Make up a short pitch for a book based on one of these titles. Leave it in the comments if you like. (This is totally just for fun, not mandatory or anything.)

Now on to the prizes!

First of all for being my 200th follower, Melissa at Through the Looking Glass wins a chapter/short story critique from me! Congrats, Melissa and thanks for pushing me over the top. Email your chapter or story to angloft-at-gmail-dot-com in doc or rtf format, and I'll get right to it.

Now for some more lucky winners I have the following totally cool prizes:

Prize #1--Science Fiction/Fantasy Reading Pleasure Package

A copy of Mindflights Issue #5, which contains my novella, "The Bearer's Oath," and Unparalleled Journeys which contains my story, "Fidelity." Both of these contain many other great stories for your reading pleasure.

Prize #2--Christmas in July

A copy of Stolen Christmas and Other Stories of the Season, which contains my award-winning story, "Shepherds and Kings," plus a bag of my homemade English toffee, one of my favorite Christmas treats. Get a little Christmas spirit in the heat!

Prize #3--Manuscript Therapy

A critique of the first 50 pages of your manuscript from a published author and editor of a spec-fic magazine. (Um, that's me.)

To enter the giveaway, be or become a follower and leave a comment here. That's it. If you want to include your pitch from the party game above, cool. If not, that's fine. Make sure I have an email address or some other way to contact you, and if you have a preference in prizes, tell me that too. You're not required to promote the giveaway for me, but if you want to, it would be appreciated. The contest will run through June 30, and I'll pick three winners at random on July 1.

So, thanks for stopping by. Thanks for following the blog! While you're here, be sure to check out the sidebar for links to my published stories or for the latest features at Mindflights. 

Thanks for partying with me!

Breaking the Rules Blogfest (well, this is embarrassing)

Stay tuned for the 200+ followers celebration coming shortly!

The fabulous Elizabeth Mueller is hosting the Breaking the Rules blogfest today, in which we get to show off our early attempts at writing when we didn't know, or didn't care about the rules. Here's an excerpt from one of my early short stories in which I ignore the show-don't-tell rule,and it's a flashback no less:

The day had been one of those perfect spring afternoons, sunny and warm and bright.  Carly could remember how the grass and the sky had gleamed with vibrant color as she watched Jakey run around on the lawn chasing rainbow colored soap bubbles and laughing.  Laughing and running. 

And running and screaming when the aliens' android soldiers had come crashing around the corner and ransacked the street, searching the houses for children.  Then it seemed that everyone was screaming.  Mothers and fathers chasing after their children.  The teachers from the school across the street.  But worst of all, the screams of the children themselves, as they watched the soldiers shoot down their parents and teachers with their deadly rifles that turned the adults into twisted masses of melting, burning flesh before the children's innocent eyes...

They didn't know why the Invaders' soldiers had taken all the children, but it was rumored that the Invaders (who apparently couldn't stand earth's atmosphere themselves) intended to make brainwashed slaves of the children, who would willingly and gladly mine all the earth's resources for the murdering Invaders, once the aliens had rid the world of their parents.  Carly thought she would rather see Jakey dead, than think of him as a slave for those monsters.
Yikes, huh? Would you rather see it in scene instead of summary? I took this story back out a while back and rewrote it entirely. It went from a 2300 word telling-fest to a 23,000 word novella. Here's the redo of this scene, not shown in flashback. (Jakey got his name changed to Caleb):

Carly Emerson sat cross-legged on the grass on a bright Indian summer day in Provo, and blew a long stream of soap bubbles into the air. Two-year-old Caleb laughed with delight. He stretched his pudgy hands over his head and skipped across the front lawn, under the shade of the cottonwood tree, chasing the bubbles as the sweet September breeze lifted them up and out of his reach. Carly laughed, too, watching him. The bubbles glimmered with iridescent rainbows.

Carly sent another lazy stream floating in Caleb's direction. A rumbling arose like distant thunder. It couldn't be thunder, though. Not from a sky as endless blue as this one. The rumbling went on. Carly swiveled to look over her shoulder, but could see nothing.

"More bubbles, Mommy!" Caleb shouted. Carly obliged, but uneasiness marred her enjoyment. Caleb's giggles clashed against the growing thrum of . . . something. Carly stood up. It sounded like an army of heavy machinery approaching. Something wasn't right. She started toward Caleb.

Screams and cries and the sharp crack of gunfire arose in the distance.


He was at the far edge of the yard. Carly dropped the bottle of bubbles and ran toward him. Her only thought was to get him inside.

"Mommy!" He ran with his arms outstretched, his face twisted with fear.

Giant metallic men, pitch black and faceless, came pounding around the corner onto their little street. There were a dozen or more of them. They carried weapons Carly didn't recognize. Some of them carried children; shrieking, frightened children. She saw little Ethan Parker among them, from the next street over. Her gut twisted with primal fear. They had nearly reached Caleb.


She almost had him. Her fingertips brushed against his waist as a cold, dark hand closed around his arm and snatched him away from her. "Caleb!" She couldn't think, couldn't breathe. His terrified cries shattered her heart.

 She started to run after him, but the great black soldier was already beyond her. Another of the soldiers swung its weapon in her direction. She dropped just as it fired. A tree limb cracked and fell, smoldering, beside her. The leaves and branches came down on top of her. She threw her arms over her head, waiting for another shot, but it didn't come. The tumult quieted as the unnatural soldiers moved on. She couldn't hear Caleb crying anymore. He was too far away. She'd never get to him now. A crushing weight of pain held her in its grip. She curled into a ball against the tree limb, pressed her face into the grass and prayed to die.
A little better, I hope! Be sure to check out Elizabeth's site to read the other participants' broken rules moments.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Brand New Awesomesauce Award!

Aubrie Dionne created this wonderful award for blogs that promote the genres of Fantasy and Science Fiction through writing, interviews or reviews, and was kind enough to bestow it upon me! Pretty, isn't it? I am so tickled with this award. I've been thinking recently that I need to get connected with more authors and blogs in my own genre. (Not that I don't love all you guys who write other stuff too. I totally do!)

The rules are that you must state five favorite sci-fi/fantasy books or movies that have inspired you in some way. Easy! Or, well, hard to narrow down to five. In no particular order:

1. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. This is the book that really ignited my love for science fiction. I have an interesting story about how I stumbled upon it, but I won't bore you with it right now.

2. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle. This book fired my imagination as a child and continues to wow me today.

3. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. I read it for the first time at age twelve and was unimpressed. Read it again just before the first movie came out and it knocked my socks off!

4. Star Wars. Yep. I just love it.

5. The Mistborn Series by Brandon Sanderson. These books rekindled my love for fantasy. (I like his other books too.)

I would like to pass this award on to:

T.M. Hunter at The West(ern) Chronicles.
Terry Ervin at Up Around the Corner.
Lyndon Perry at ResAliens Blog.
David J. West at Nephite Blood, Spartan Heart.
Brandon Barr at Christian Science Fiction.

Visit their blogs and you'll see why they deserve the award!

Thanks again, Aubrie. What a sweet award.

(P.S. Look at that. I have 199 followers! I think I'll have to do something special when I hit 200. Hmmm. Making plans!)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

I've got a feelin'

It's an itchy, squirmy, tingly, excited all over kind of feeling. It's almost an ache. It's the feeling that I must write something new! I can't wait to start creating again. You might think I have some fabulous idea that I want to start, but I don't. I don't really know what I'm going to do next. Maybe a Christmas story, maybe those novellas I've been pondering. Maybe I'll dive right into another novel. I don't know. It doesn't really matter. The anticipation of coming up with a new idea is just delightful. The pull to write is so strong I can hardly resist it.

I have to, though. I have to get the rest of my novel typed up. I really don't like the typing part. It wouldn't be so bad if I weren't so dreadful at it. I'll type along happily for a few sentences, then look up and see the screen all full of red and green squiggles because I've messed up nearly every word. Sigh. It's coming along, though. I'll be finished typing next week and then it's on to the fun stuff again!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

By Hand

You may have seen in my last post that I just finished writing 626 pages long hand. I like to write by hand. I like to take my notebook with me wherever I go, so I can write whenever I can. I like to curl up in my writing chair and get comfy. I can't really get comfy sitting at the computer, and even a laptop just isn't as portable as paper. Besides, I think there's just something special about actually forming the letters with my own hand. There is something about moving my hand across the page and watching the ink flow. Actual ink, not just pixels on a  screen. Yeah, my handwriting is bad and I have to type the whole thing in to the computer at some point, which I really hate, but I don't think I'll give up writing by hand anytime soon. For me, that bit of physical creation to go along with the mental creation is part of the joy of writing.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

I Did It!

626 handwritten pages (approx. 125k words) in two five subject spiral notebooks (one purple, one pink) with an uncounted number of black gel pens over a period of 14 months and 18 days, and I have reached

My second novel, The Ransomed Returning, is finished at last. Now I just need to figure out some appropriate way to celebrate. What would you suggest?

Of course, finished is a relative term. I still have to type 190 pages, proofread, get beta readers, collect critiques, revise, write a synopsis, a query, a one sentence pitch, and so on. Still the entire thing is there on paper on not just in my head.

Up next: I'm going to switch gears totally and try writing a love song. Remember my kissing scene? Well, I'm going to attempt to write the song that belongs in that scene. I've never done song lyrics, so we'll see how that goes. I even bought new guitar strings so I can write some music to go with it. Should be fun!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Never Judge a Book by it's Movie

I had a bookmark once that said that, and I loved it. You could also say Never Judge a Movie by it's Book. After all, books and movies are completely different storytelling methods and it really isn't fair to expect them to be the same. Still, when it comes to the books we love, we want the movies to be true to them, don't we? And what writer hasn't wished to see their books turned into movies? I know I have.

My favorite book to movie adaptation hands down is The Lord of the Rings. We just had another Lord of the Rings movie marathon to celebrate the end of school, and I fell in love with the movies all over again. Despite the many and often major differences between the movies and the books, I felt that Peter Jackson and gang were true to the heart of the story that I love.

I also really like all the Harry Potter movies. I didn't even start reading the books until the first movie was about to come out. I knew my son loved the books, and would want to see the movie, so I thought I'd better read them. Well, I loved them of course and I like the movies too.

I've never read The Lightning Thief, but I absolutely hated the movie. It was boring, trite and cliched. I'm told the book is better, so I may give it a try, but my experience with the movie makes me reluctant to do so. Sad, huh? Ditto for Eragon.

A couple of movies that I loved, despite bearing almost no resemblance to their books are Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and How to Train Your Dragon. Completely adorable movies, but they almost have nothing in common with the books. That's okay. I love both the movies and the books in different ways.

I could go on, of course, but I won't. What are some of your favorite book to movie adaptations. Which ones did you hate?