Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Hello everyone! 

Thanks for being patient while I work toward getting Flavor Brand Strategies off the ground.  Overall, my writing has slowed significantly.  

With the warmer weather on the weekends, I'm wanting to go outside and DO things rather than write.  I'm sure I'm not the first to struggle with time management of my writing, but I'm finding it increasingly difficult.

I know I need to just choose a time that works and write every day.  Is there anything that seems to work really well for you?  


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas Tree Hunting, Writing Update and Introducing a Little Flavor

I can't believe it's been more than a month since my last post!

Thanks to those who commented about having "Writer's Knot," it helps to know that I'm not alone in how difficult this process of writing can sometimes be.

Let me first start by saying that I had a blast Christmas tree hunting with family this past weekend.  Matt and I went up to Winter Park with my brother Bryan, his wife Lindsay, their son Tanner, Lindsay's sister and her family.

The two of us in Winter Park.

We sang Christmas carols on the way up, to which my 18 month old nephew Tanner would clap, smile and say "Yay!" at the end of each song.  SUPER cute.

Tanner in the car

We experienced gorgeous, clear, cold weather.  The snow was dry and powdery and we had such a wonderful time hiking through the forest in search of the perfect Christmas tree.  Last time, we discovered the trick is to try and find a tree that is standing alone- that way, all of the branches have had a chance to develop without hinderance from other trees that are too close.  The challenge is:  almost all the trees seem to like to grow in the buddy system.

Here's Matt with our Christmas tree "kill"

We ended up finding a spruce or fir of some kind and decorated it as soon as it was thawed out enough.  I did have to fill in some of the holes on our tree with ribbon and large ornaments.  Some of our ornaments were too heavy for this little tree, so they'll stay protected in their boxes another year.

Christmastime in our house is fun for all.  I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned my two cats' affinity for water, but they are now obsessed with drinking the tree water rather than the water out of their bowl.
And our dog, Axle can't seem to stand the excitement of what is in those boxes!  He has since "unwrapped" two of Matt's presents already and is now, not trusted to be alone with the tree or the gifts.
Ah, the joys of pets.

Writing is coming along, slowly but surely.
I am completing about a chapter every two weeks with a writing buddy who is much more disciplined than I am.  It's good.  I love my story, but I need a little motivation from time to time - someone to say, "Hey!  Where's my chapter?"
The holidays are always a busy time, but I believe writing is like working out.
To make it affective, you need to write on a regular basis- plus, it's easier to stay in the groove if you're writing every day and exercising that creative muscle.
I'm working on Chapter 11 right now and the story is really starting to shape up with some exciting additions from the first version.

Another bit of news:

I have started my own business.  Flavor Brand Strategies.  We're not at full capacity yet, (this link will only send you to our temporary splash page), but we do have some clients and I'm working on developing our brand identity with the help of a talented creative shop, Similar Blue Productions in Boulder.

A little about the company:  From the market research, to the logo, to the unique positioning and brand voice, to space articulation and developing a website, to helping employees really understand what the brand is all about and training each of them to become Brand Ambassadors, Flavor is dedicated to helping our clients create crave-able customer experiences.  Brand Ambassadors are key.  Employees are the secret ingredient to building and maintaining a successful brand experience because they are the ones who interact on a daily basis with customers.  

So, if you or someone you know needs help refurbishing a current brand or perhaps there's a new company that needs some help articulating their unique brand experience, feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and are able to slow down and take some time to truly enjoy this time of celebration.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Writer's Knot

So, I don't actually get writer's block very much (despite the impression the name of my blog may give).  I actually get what I will affectionately refer to as "Writer's Knot," where I get so wrapped up in all the details of my story that I don't actually write because I'm trying to connect all of these neat ideas and threads. 

A friend from my critique group says I need to forget about all of that stuff and just write the story.  I can sprinkle in all of my cool details later, he says. 

The problem is, I really like all my details and character back stories and all the little things that make the story unique, and, I'm worried that if I don't include at least some of this stuff now, it's not going to fit in so well later on.  

I hear all of this advice of "Just finish." and "write the first draft, then go back and polish," but I want to polish now.  It's difficult to go in a straight line and finish the first draft when I want to circle back and make the story more than it is in the current state.

I am now trying to stick to a schedule to keep me producing something every two weeks so I don't let the knot tie me up too tight.  And, even though I haven't finished the first draft of the story, and I have already written hundreds and hundreds of pages, I am currently re-working Chapter 10.  "That's it?" was all my husband said the other day when I told him what chapter I was working on.  But I've gotta say, I like the story so much better in the direction it's going AND I've been able to include some of my more creative ideas.      

Is this the "right" way to write?  I'm not sure.  Probably not.  This isn't exactly something I've ever experienced before- but that's the point of the blog:  to document this process of discovery.   I just need to keep pushing through and work toward a goal until I finish.  Maybe I'll figure out the right way for me and writing books will become easier and more streamlined for future projects.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Inspiration for Writing: Fall

I'm back with some fun photos of Fall in Colorado.  
There's something about Fall that just gets the creativity going, and I'm loving every minute of it.

Here's our crazy ninja dog with his favorite piece of driftwood:

Matt's parents made a huge contribution to buying me a new camera for my birthday and this is one of the shots I was able to get with the macro setting.  When I zoom in, I can see the little hairs on his legs!  Pretty awesome.  Hopefully no one will be using the macro setting on my legs. 

Honey bee on our green onion flowers:

We spent a weekend up in the mountains to celebrate our birthdays with friends and we had a great time.  

Here's a cuddly chipmunk that Axle had a great time chasing: isn't he photogenic?

Beautiful view at Kenosha Pass: nothing I can say could possibly add to this.

Axle resting on our hike:  he did a great job considering he hasn't been able to be too active with his leg surgeries.  He is now 100% healed and we are working with him to bring his endurance back up and his weight back down.   

Me and Matt hiking at Kenosha Pass:

Gorgeous Aspens:

Lake Dillon: it was pretty chilly, but the weather made for some great photos.

Another update:  our home is getting close to being finished.  I am so excited to have our home whole again.  We have to finish the floor in the kitchen and dining room and do quite a bit of detail work, but we are shooting to have it all finished in October.  

Thanks to everyone for your thoughts, prayers and encouragement.  It's been a tough year all around it seems- but we're keeping our spirits up and starting to get life back to normal.  

Thursday, August 13, 2009

First Impressions-New Post on The Stampede

Good morning everyone! 

Yesterday, I had a piece about "First Impressions" posted on my company blog.

It's all about that short amount of time you have as a company brand to make a good first impression on your potential customers and how the initial impression can lead to success or failure.  

Please take a look and feel free to comment on the piece. 


Monday, August 10, 2009

Andrea Marchant's New Song

Hello all! 

I know I've now devoted this site to writing - BUT I have to let you all know about my friend Andrea Marchant's new song. 

The song is called "Bella, Horrida Bella" and is a hopeful for the "New Moon" movie soundtrack coming out in November.  The beautiful piano and emotional (sometimes haunting) delivery is amazing.  

Well done Andrea!    

You can also check out her other songs here.

Let me know what you think! 


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Five Reasons to Have an Agent

This has been a hot topic of conversation among the writers I know for quite some time now. 
With a lot of unpublished hopefuls, we want to know if it's worth getting an agent.  

They get 10-20% of your book deal depending on what you employ them to do.  Maybe even a little more if they are helping you sell your book internationally.  And the question has been, "what exactly do they do for me?"  

So for those of you who aren't sure, here's what I've discovered:  

1.  An agent believes in your work.

2.  An agent helps get your manuscript ready to send to a publisher.

3.  An agent peddles your book around to the right people.  They know what publishers are looking for and they have the contacts to get your book into the right hands of larger, legitimate publishers.  An editor is more likely to notice the work of someone who has an agent, and even more likely to read the piece if it's an agent they know. 

4.  An agent negotiates your book deal.  They understand the ins and outs of the publishing world much more than we ever could.  The very first writer's meeting I attended, the leader of the group said that even if the agent doesn't initially get your manuscript into the publisher's hands, that they are still worth their weight in gold in the actual negotiations of the deal itself because they know about contracts and how much your book is worth to them.  

5.  An agent helps their authors have a voice.  I was just reading a post on Nathan Bransford's blog about book covers and how authors usually don't have a say of what their cover looks like.  This brings up an interesting point that once the publisher purchases your book, they own it and from what I've been learning, they could make edits to an author's story without their knowledge or approval.   

There are agents that aren't so good, of course.  And some that are downright con-artists.  The best thing to do is research before you sign with anyone and make sure the agent you're considering actually has a track record, and isn't making money by charging you fees, but by selling your book.  A great place to start is here, on the Writer Beware site.

After you've become your own, successful brand, you may not need to have an agent to represent you.  But for a first-time author wanting to be represented by a big publishing house, it's essential. 

The more I learn more about this strange world of publishing, the more I will share with you. 
What do you want to know about?  

Thanks for reading! 

I'll also do a follow up blog on reasons to go with a publisher- rather than self publishing or partner publishing as a new author.