Monday, May 11, 2015

Life's Been Good

A lot has happened since my last post, as I'm sure you would imagine. My baby is now 6-1/2 years old, and I almost cried looking at her baby pictures today. Life got pretty crazy in 2009 which necessitated a move to New Mexico, and I didn't have much room to stamp in my new rental, and like many of you desperately needed a creative outlet, which led me to writing as therapy.

I started my first novel in January 2010 and loved the ability to create beauty, develop intrigue, and kill off rotten characters. Hahaha. Most of the characters I resurrected by deleting their demise, but it sure was therapeutic and helped me through my often difficult personal struggles. And somewhere during that time, my three tiny girls grew up into big girls (my oldest is nearly 12) and left me wondering where the time went. Now it's 2015 and I'm mostly finished with the 4,879th draft (I might be exaggerating slightly) of my novel Starlight Legend: Seeking Realm, and I'll be looking for an agent soon. I am aiming for a triology, and Book 2: Shadow Realm is in the prewriting stage.

I know authors aren't supposed to design their own book covers, but graphic design is also my therapy, and here is the cover I have settled on with the feedback of my friends and family. Starlight Legend: Seeking Realm is a YA Fiction/Fantasy with clean romance that appeals to both teens and women of all ages because it takes the reader to a magical place where life's problems are put into perspective, and the stubborn questions of life can find answers.

After her first heartbreak, a teenage girl discovers a forgotten realm where she must save a dying star while battling betrayal, or the emotion of love will be lost forever. STARLIGHT KISS is a YA Fantasy Romance complete at 109,000 words.

Elliana has never forgiven herself for speaking five cruel words in seventh grade. She probably deserves her recently broken heart, and she swears off love completely. 

On the anniversary of her parents’ fatal car accident, Elliana is distracted and accidentally backs her car into Cai, the son of a personal injury attorney. Cai flirts with her and suggests a certain star is dimming from the lack of heartfelt kisses. She’s not ready to test his theory, so she agrees to kiss him only if and when the kiss means something. But the next day she discovers a portal to a fantasy Realm connected to Star, Idaho, where she is stunned to learn she must save the same dying star from her deal with Cai—or the emotion of Love will die as well. 

Now motivated by her growing relationship with Cai, she accepts the challenge and becomes a target of sabotage aimed at her by a jerk-face ex-friend who belongs to the enemy realm. Barely escaping several life-threatening circumstances, Elliana determines to save the Star and pursue her first romantic relationship with the help of the Seeking Realm—but that means more risks, and risks really haven’t worked out well for her yet. (Think tension. Lots of tension.)

STARLIGHT KISS will attract readers aged 12-24 and those who enjoy clean romance and HEA fairytales with great dialogue and compelling characters (think modern Goose Girl meets The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe). This is a stand-alone book and a great selection for book clubs because it deals with relationship struggles and other setbacks that will resonate with many readers. 
I hope to see Starlight Legend hit the shelves eventually, and maybe it will be a book that speaks to your soul.

Life has been good--the world is full of wonderful people, fun, joy, work, stress, and rotten times, but life has been most beautiful through it all. I hope you are all doing well. What have you been up to? What genres do you like to read? What are some of your favorite books?


About Alana: I earned my BS in Sociology in 2001 and my Masters of Organizational Behavior in 2003, and I currently teach First-Year and Advanced Composition at San Juan College in Farmington, NM. I attended the StoryMakers conference in May 2015. And when I’m not teaching nor sweeping up after my three girls, I enjoy calligraphy, oxford comma memes, and eating large bags of sour patch kids. 

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Baby Lyla is Here

She is such a sweetheart! Mother and baby are doing well. Although it was my longest labor (22 hours--most of it early labor), it was a much easier delivery and far. I can't complain.

Monday, July 28, 2008

I'm Here

Hello, my favorite fellow stampers. I am so sorry to leave you all hanging for so long. I haven't stamped in many months (I think it's pregnancy brain and nesting instincts), so I forgot to post anything on this blog. I maintain 5 blogs, so I've let some things slip in the blogging area to make room for other things that I need to get done. For example, I make all of my own bread and grind my own wheat. Today, Monday, is bread day. I haven't bought bread from the store since February. And I feel healthier and don't have any blood sugar problems with this pregnancy (unlike the last two).

Here's an update on me. I am 37 weeks pregnant now. I've been really busy just trying to get ready for the baby and trying to maintain the household. I've been doing graphic design here and there and writing a column for a local paper, but my stamps are in hibernation for now. I'm feeling healthy and anxious to trade my kicking belly in for a kicking baby. I've gone over due with both of my previous pregnancies, so who knows when our little one will come.

Here's the update on my cousin, Stuart. Stuart is doing great considering the circumstances. He got himself a wheelchair--the kind that he can play basketball in (he didn't want the regular kind, he still wants to be active). He's definitely got a long struggle ahead of him, but he seems to be approaching it in a healthy way. I saw him at the end of June and he says he's gotten feeling back in his upper thighs. That is a miracle! He's still a paraplegic for now, but he is making progress. His wife and immediate family have pulled together and he has a great support group. Thanks for all the cards and prayers. I know every little bit counts.

I hope to join the stamping and blogging world some time in the near future, but for now I'm still growing a little girl...waiting.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

RAK Request

To all of my talented fellow stampers:

On April 10, 2008, my cousin, Stuart Wride, was in a tragic accident and thrown from his car. He is now a paraplegic. Stuart and his wife, Julie, have two boys, ages 5 and 8. Naturally, his entire family is in need of comfort and support in dealing with this difficult turn of events. If you feel inclined, please send one of your beautiful hand-stamped sympathy cards to shower my cousin and his family with heartfelt wishes and support in this trying time. They would be overwhelmed with gratitude.

Stuart Wride's Story:
Last Thursday morning, April 10, 2008, Stuart left for work. It had snowed the night before. His son usually rides with him to get dropped off at school, but this time Julie decided to drive him (meaning Julie was behind Stuart and both were headed to Victor, ID.) Stuart was driving his little SUV. He always uses his lap seatbelt, but didn't put it on when he left. When he was only about 400 yards from home he hit black ice and his auto spun around and around on the ice. When it hit the berm, the car rolled over and over (it was completely smashed on top, so, had Stuart been wearing his lap belt that morning the outcome may have been more tragic than it is). Stuart had his two dogs in the auto, too.

A woman witnessed the accident and said she saw Stuart and the dogs being flung from the auto. Stuart landed on his back. (I have heard that the dogs are both okay.) When the woman got to him with her cell phone he said he felt lightening go down both legs when he hit the ground, and then he felt nothing. He told her that he thought he had broken his back and that he was a paraplegic. Julie arrived soon and he said to Julie, "I am sorry Julie, but I think I am a paraplegic."

The second person at the scene of the accident was a nurse (family members feel this was a miracle). She immediately sat in the snow, straddled Stuart's head and held it. As others arrived to help she took charge and directed all of their efforts. The snow he was laying on acted like an ice pack to minimize swelling. She knew how to handle someone with a spinal cord injury and was able to make sure he was not further injured while being transported to the ambulance. He has had two surgeries. The doctor removed bone shards from his spinal cord and said the spinal cord had been compressed (it was not severed). The only broken bone he had was the 12th vertebrae which was shattered. The doctor replaced the shattered vertebrae with a titanium vertebrae. He will be in intensive care for 4 more days then be moved to the hospital wing for 10 more days. At that point he will go into a rehabilitation facility.

The good news is that their friends in the little town of Victor are trying to help him all they can. The men he works with (building houses) have all visited him and offered their love and support. They even talked to the owner of a little hardware store in their town, told the owner he needed to hire Stuart to work the construction help desk. They said Stuart knows everything about construction, he can do amazing drawings, and knows all about the materials needed to do building projects. The hardware store owner agreed to hire Stuart as soon as he is able to go back to work. Then, one of the men said he owns a ranch-style home right across the street from the school Stuart's son goes to. He has already asked his rental people to vacate the house by the first of the month. He and the other construction workers are going to adjust the home to be wheelchair accessible, and Stuart and Julie can live there rent free as long as they need to. (Stuart owns a house in Victor that is up for sale, but that house has bedrooms upstairs.)

He does NOT have insurance.

Please send your cards to*:
The Stuart Wride Family
572 S. 50 W.
Victor, ID 83455

*Although they will be moving in May, they will surely have their mail forwarded.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

No Ink Stains

I'm sorry that I haven't posted recently. I've had my ups and my downs. I've been nesting, deep cleaning, reading classic novels, planting seeds for my garden, learning how to make homemade yogurt, learning about sourdough starter, grinding my own wheat and making fresh bread a few times a week, and I just haven't felt like stamping. It's crazy. I feel like sewing and organizing and lots of other things, but no card groove has caught me. Also, I've been summoned to jury duty for the second half of April--so who knows when I'll get good and inky. This is by far the longest dry spell.

I'm 21 weeks and the doctor says I'm having another girl. That makes three. My husband feels outnumbered already. But the baby seems to be healthy and growing well--I can't ask for much more than that.

Today is what I term "my mom's survival anniversary." She was in a near-fatal car accident on this day 11 years ago and should have died. But they saved her. She spent more than a month in the ICU, months in a wheel chair, and many more months with a walker and cane. It's a special day for me because my mom is one of the most wonderful people I've ever known. She's my best friend. She has shown me how to overcome. Her life has gotten harder since her accident because people close to her have forgotten how fragile life is and treat her badly (which breaks my heart), but she keeps going. And I am extra grateful that God spared my mother this day 11 years ago.

I hope you're all doing well and I'll be blog hopping to get some inspiration from all of you talented ladies.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Springy Day

So this is not the best picture, but I'm too lazy to take another picture. I used some SU! incentive stamps. I was feeling like Spring today now that I'm on the downward slope of my sickness. I got the flu about 9 days ago, got really sick and thought I was going to die (such the drama queen I can be), and then got a bad sinus infection that made me feel like I had 10 rotten molars. Only for the past two days have I been able to do more than shower and feed the kids.

And today I felt like stamping. It's been too long. The darker green paper is textured--which never seems to stick to anything. So I tried Alene's tacky glue and it seems to have worked. I colored using blender pens and ink pads. I used dimensionals to make the little chick and flower images pop. The flowers and umbrella and boots are glazed with glitter. It makes me smile. Hopefully it will make someone else smile when I figure out who to give it to.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Another Update

Sorry my posts have been sparse lately. I've been busy with freelance editing, reading Jane Austen for the first time, and I finally succumbed to the head cold that's been going around. And I don't get to take any good medicine. My youngest has been sick for three weeks--so I'm hoping that this one passes quickly. BTW, I get my first ultrasound on Thursday, and I met my new OB last week. He seems great. Let's hope the baby isn't being modest so we can get a peak to see if it's a boy or girl!

Edit added Feb 29th: My ultrasound went well. I am NOT carrying twins (big sigh of relief). Just one little fetus. Because the baby was still so small, the doctor wasn't 100% sure, but made an educated guess that it's another girl. And she wasn't being the least bit modest. So I guess I'm taking after my mom. She had five girls in a row.

My two little girls both got some bad flu bug--not what I have. Their fevers don't respond well to medicine, so I've been rubbing tea tree oil on them. Poor sick little girls just want to lie around and watch Barbie movies.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Mini Ice Cream Cones

I love these colors with the ice cream cones. It makes me hungry. I want some mint chocolate chip right NOW! Oh the cravings. (Lately I've been craving V8 and salads with Walmart's Great Value Zesty Italian dressing--wierd, huh?)

Anyways, this card used two textured cardstock layers, thus the eyelets. Not that eyelets aren't fun and cute, but I was forced into it. By the way, I wrapped some SU! cardstock with the sentiment "Happy Birthday" around the bottom of the textured red paper--it's hard to tell.

And aren't those little ties around the cones fun?

Stamp Set: CTMH Birthday Party
Cardstock: Chocolate Chip, Gable Green, Real Red, Whisper White, DCWV textured Red and Gable Green
Ink: Pretty in Pink, Regal Rose, Real Red, Basic Black, Chocolate Chip
Accessories: Gable Green eyelets, dimensionals, linen thread

Friday, February 15, 2008

Last-Minute Anything Card

This one was fun to make. It only measures about 4" by 3-1/2" and would be perfect for those last minute birthday/congratulations gifts. I am using up my DCWV textured cardstock that I've had for two years--I like the colors and texture and it doesn't fade like my SU! papers, but it is so annoying to try to adhere to anything. The color is perfect for this card though.

How do you adhere textured paper? I have tried mono adhesive, glue stick, glue dots all without luck. The only things that work for me are dimensionals or metal fasteners: staples, brads, eyelets. Please share your secrets.

Stamp Set: CTMH Birthday Party
Cardstock: Pretty in Pink, Gable Green, Whisper White, DCWV textured in a shade like Gable Green
Ink: Pretty in Pink, Regal Rose, Real Red, Chocolate Chip, Basic Black
Accessories: Gable Green eyelets, Green Galore button, linen thread, aquapainter

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Off-Topic: Pregnancy Update

I don't mean to leave you all wondering what has happened to me. Pregnancy is going well. My morning sickness has subsided significantly. Still some queasy moments if I try to drink water as soon as I wake up (I'm always SOO thirsty). I'm 13 weeks, measuring 18 or so. Pretty sure I'm not having twins, we just have over-excited uteruses (uteri is also an acceptable plural form, but it sounds creepy) in my family. I haven't gotten an ultrasound yet, but hopefully soon.

We will be finding out the sex of the baby as soon as we can. The Braxton-Hicks contractions have already started, as usual. I need about 8-9 hours of sleep each night or I "pass out" during the afternoon. But if I nap, I can't fall asleep at night. And I would stamp, but I have no energy. Curses.

I usually crave tomatoes during my first trimesters, and this is no exception. I've been drinking large amounts of V8 on a daily basis and eating yummy salads. Salads are a rare treat at my house. My DH is allergic to lettuce, so the closest we get is spinach--which isn't my favorite.

I don't like staying up past 10 pm because then I feel snacky... and then chubby the next day. I'm reading baby name books. My mother's intuition, which has been wrong 100% of the time in the past, says that this is a boy. We'll see. Hope you're all doing well!

Another Valentine

Here's another feeble attempt at a Valentine's card that would be good for someone with whom you are not close or romantically involved. It uses unisex colors. I like this set, but the truth is that the bubblegum image is so huge that you can barely make it fit on a card without it taking up the whole thing. It is fun to stamp the pieces-parts inside it though.

Stamp Set: Treat Yourself
Cardstock: Ballet Blue, Black, Bashful Blue, Whisper White, DCWV textured red (hate trying to adhere this to anything)
Ink: Black, Real Red, Ballet Blue
Accessories: Hemp, Aquapainter and Blender Pen, Red staples (to hold the darned DCWV textured cardstock to the card--all four corners)

Love Card for a Guy

The past few weeks I've been so busy that I'm too worn out to do stamping. Very sad. I did finish my taxes (finally) and completed two freelance editing gigs, so I can't really complain.

Given that Valentine's day is less than 48 hours away, I thought I had better come up with a manly Valentine's card for my hubby and quick. These are good colors for my man, and I think the hemp-wrapped edges are perfect. I know it's not terribly mushy or lovey-dovey, but it totally works, I think.

Stamp Set: A is for Adorable (Hostess set from 2 years ago)
Cardstock: Ballet Blue, Real Red, Brilliant Blue, Whisper White
Ink: Ballet Blue
Accessories: Hemp twine, hot glue gun (to secure the edges of the twine), dimensionals, red staples