Thursday, May 31, 2012

Now I Can Say I'm Stylish!

Chris Fries at A Writer's Expanding and Slightly-Warped Universe has conferred upon me the Stylish Blogger Award.  Thanks!  Anyone who hasn't should totally check out his blog!  I'm particularly fond of his blog's look, though I think you can probably guess why.

I never thought a day like this would come.  I've been called a good many things in my time, but stylish has never been one of them.  Strange, crazy, creative, annoying, nice, some other things that I probably shouldn't put up here without also putting a content advisory on my blog, but never stylish.  So yay!  Something positive to add to my list!  And all you naysayers who know me well enough to say that in real life I'm anything but stylish . . . well, yeah.  But in my writing and blogging, I care very much about its appearance.

Accepting this award requires me to tell you about the last time I got dressed-up.  As a mother of two who spends most of her spare time in the world of words, I don't get really dressed-up all that often.  The last time was at my grandfather's funeral.  The last time before that was at my other grandfather's funeral.  The time before that was my mother's funeral.

I'm noticing a pattern here.

Anyway, I might normally forego those and tell you about a happy occasion, but something memorable did happen at the most recent funeral.  I was dressed up and ready to attend the third major funeral I'd been to in the last year.  However, on the way to the church, the car overheated.  We had to pull over.

To top it off, we had almost no cell phone minutes to contact anyone, and we were in the middle of the country.

We made it to the church eventually.  It was a lot of stop and go, driving a little further after the car cooled down just enough.  Finally, we made it to the nearest town and were able to add water.  From there, though horribly late, we made it to the church.  The original plan was to sneak in and sit in the back, hoping that no one would notice.

We walked through the door . . . just in time to run into everyone leaving the church.  All eyes were on us, and there was no hiding the fact that we missed the entire thing.

I wonder if my family believed us when we explained what happened.  And it's a true story, take my word for it.  I felt horrible about it, but some things are just outside our control.

Okay.  Now I get to nominate five others.  I tried to find people who didn't have this award yet, but sometimes awards hide on people's pages.  Either way, your blogs are all cool.
  1. Anna Smith @ Universal Gibberish
  2. Kellie @ Delightfully Ludicrous
  3. Melanie Stanford @ Daydreamer to Writer
  4. Melodie Wright @ Forever Rewrighting
  5. Chelsea Kelly @ My Interior Window
Two of these blogs are really new, especially the last one, which was just started by a good friend.  However, her artwork alone is enough to warrant a stylish award.  And I only discovered #2 on my list this morning, but I started reading and I was hooked.

Anyway, must dash.  I have more writing to do.  And more cleaning.  Ugh!

Final Blog Me MAYbe! And A New Baby!

May I tell you about someone else?

This is the final post for the Blog Me MAYbe blogfest!  It's going to feel strange, because I've gotten quite used to writing these entries.  Oh well!  We all must move onto new things.  I'm excited to start my new posting schedule, and I have all new graphics to go along with it!

Anyway, the end of this month also came with a new addition to our family.  It was nice to go to the hospital to see a new baby knowing that I wasn't the person in labor.  The new mommy in question is my sister-in-law, which means I'm an aunt!

My nephew Asher was born Friday, May 25, 2012.  He weighed 8lbs. 7oz.  And he is cute!  I can't say much more about him, because he's brand new.  But that's okay.  We have years to get to know each other.  My boys are excited about getting to play with him, but convincing my oldest that it'll be awhile before he's big enough to wrestle might take some work.

I also want to say that my husband was so funny about this whole thing.  He LOVES babies.  Each time he sees one, he gets excited and automatically starts talking in high-pitched baby talk.  He's eager to hold any new baby.  I find this amusing because, while he always told me he wanted to have children, the idea of taking care of a baby used to scare him.  It wasn't until our first child was born that he got used to the idea.  Now he's crazy about babies.  I guess that just means I'm lucky.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

My New Page

This is a just a brief post to let you know that I added a page with my posting schedule.  The schedule will go into effect this Friday, which is June 1st.

I did some graphics to go with each day of the week.  It sounded like fun, and maybe it was a way of procrastinating.  They're on the new page, but I'll also put them up here for you to look at.  Keep in mind, this is the first time I've ever used Photoshop, and I'm not a designer by nature.  Either way, I welcome your critiques.  Criticism is, after all, one of the ways we learn.

I hope you enjoy them, anyway.

Now A Question For You

May I ask you something about yourself?

Chelsea's beautiful profile pic
features her daughter Charlotte.
I'd like to start off this post with a bit of a promotional plug.  My friend Chelsea Kelly has started a new blog called "My Interior Window."  She is a history buff and a freelance artist, and she started this blog to share her passions with the world.  All of you should seriously check it out.  Her artistic talents have always amazed me.  Of course, I can't draw a straight line to save my life, but that doesn't mean I don't recognize talent when I see it.

Anyway, to tie in this promotion with the rest of this post, I'll ask you this question.

Can you tell me a little about one of your closest friends?

I have a lot of good friends that deserve mention, but I can't include everyone in a short post.  I'll just say this about Chelsea.  She's been around the longest.  When we were little kids, her dad worked at the same place as my parents, so we saw each other at work functions.  We also attended the same small school.  Though she was two years behind me in school, we always did a lot together.  We did school plays together.  We were in band together.  She was the maid of honor at my wedding, and I was the maid of honor at hers.  And her entire family seems to be attached to me somehow, because my first pregnancy corresponded with her sister's pregnancy, and when I got pregnant the second time, Chelsea was calling me less than two months later with her good news.  Maybe if I get pregnant a third time, I should send all of them a courtesy email to warn them of the impending addition to their own family.

Anyway, Chelsea is the same kind of crazy creative person that I am.  We may use a different medium to express ourselves, but put us in the same room, and the creative frenzy is palpable.  You can feel it in the air.

Plus we love the same shows, like Red Dwarf and The Red Green Show.  In high school, we used to drink tea while watching them at my house.  We were party animals!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Apparently I'm Versatile!

I was just checking my comments after having a nice Memorial Day out with my family, and I was pleased to learn that I've been awarded the Versatile Blogger Award.  Thanks to Spacerguy for this honor!  Anyone who hasn't checked out his blog should definitely do so.  He is a true expert on all things Star Trek and it's always fun to read his posts.

According to the rules as I understand them, I need to list 7 facts about myself.  Since I love science fiction, and I was nominated by a fellow science fiction fan, I'll try to list facts that reflect that part of my personality.

  1. When I was a kid, I told my mom to drive warp speed because I wanted to get home fast.  I wasn't even sure why she laughed at me.
  2. As a kid, I also used to scan the sky for Borg cubes.  You can never be too careful!
  3. One of my favorite science fiction quotes ever: "Klaatu barada nikto."  I learned this from the 1951 film The Day the Earth Stood Still.  My dad and I used to watch that movie regularly, and I still love it.
  4. I do love special effects, but for me, good exciting special effects are nowhere near as important as the story.  I enjoyed the film The Man From Earth for the ideas it presented.  I know a lot of people who can't sit through a movie that's 100% dialogue driven, but I love dialogue!
  5. I always knew I wanted to write science fiction.  I didn't just know that I wanted to be a writer.  From the age of 6, I knew I wanted to be a science fiction writer.  There was never even a question in my mind.
  6. It would be hard to pick my absolute favorite alien species.  There are so many worthy candidates from so many worthy shows, but I have a soft spot for the Vorlons from Babylon 5.  They're mysterious, they speak cryptically, and their ships are creepy.
  7. One of my favorite episodes of Star Trek TNG is "Darmok."  It combines my love for sci fi and language.  
Now to nominate 15 worthy bloggers for this award.  This is always the hardest part. This by no means includes all of the blogs that I've come to love, but what else can I do?  We all must choose in life, though we may not know how to do it.
  1. Chris Fries at A Writer's Expanding and Slightly-Warped Universe
  2. Gina Gao at Modern World
  3. McKenzie McCann at The Ubiquitous Perspective
  4. Misha Gericke at My First Book
  5. Morgan Shamy at Inner Thoughts of a Redhead Writer
  6. Jeremy at Geeky Tendencies
  7. Gossip_Grl at Just You Wait!! One Day I Will . . .
  8. Julie DeGuia
  9. Jeff Hargett at Strands of Pattern 
  10. Michael Offut
  11. Summer Ross at My Inner Fairy
  12. Jenn at Scribbles From Jenn
  13. Mina Lobo at Some Dark Romantic
  14. Julie at Blueberry Dreams
  15. Cassie Mae at Reading, Writing, and Lovin' It!
Anyway, that was difficult.  All of the people I picked are deserving, but so are many that I didn't.  If I didn't pick you, please don't take it personally because I love you all!

Have a great Tuesday!

Sending My Words Around the World

May I tell you something about myself?

Free images from
This is the last time I'll have to lay myself out for all to see for the Blog Me MAYbe blogfest.  Not that I've minded sharing these things.  I find that I write better when I let down my defenses and take the risk of sharing myself with the world.  After all, isn't it the same kind of thing when you send a piece of fiction out there for the world to read?  You know they'll judge it.  Some will like it.  Some will not.  And, at least for me, I put a part of myself into each piece of fiction I write.  When someone doesn't like what I've written, it feels like they're rejecting me.  That's my work.  It's more than just a story to me.

This rambling leads into what I wanted to talk about today.  I promise.  I don't like to fail.  In the realm of academics and the written word, it's especially difficult for me to deal with failure.  In fact, each time I don't succeed in meeting my goals, it feels more like a brutal assault to me than it does a skinned knee.

As a child, I may not have been socially successful, but I was always academically successful.  I was used to writing stories that impressed my teachers, and this gave me a sense of optimism.  If I could do well there, why wouldn't I do well in the real world of writing?  Then I did well in college too.  Yes, I saw people around me who seemed to have more writing skills than I did, but I also received enough encouragement to reassure me.

Then, I sent out my first novel to a publisher.  It seemed to take forever, and what did I receive?  My first rejection.  Don't get me wrong.  I'd certainly read enough accounts of published authors to know what to expect.  Everyone gets rejected.  Yet knowing those stories and experiencing the rejection are altogether different realities.  I wouldn't say I was devastated, but it isn't easy to feel that sting for the first time.  That novel is something you put a lot of your time, energy, and feeling into.  Sending it out into the world and having it sent back as unworthy is frustrating.

Does that mean I'm going to give up?  No.  Half the reason I'm writing a blog is to send my words out into the world.  I can share my stories here without having to gain the acceptance of a publisher.  And here, I can work up my courage to keep sending my work out into the shark infested waters of the publishing world.

Do I need to work on how I deal with rejection?  Yes.  Do I need to learn how to brace myself for the inevitable bad reviews?  Yes.  Failure is a part of life, but failure in the writing world always feels personal to me.  Yet I know I could never give up writing, no matter how many rejections I get.  It's too much a part of who I am, so I guess I'll keep it up and grow my thicker skin as I go.

Monday, May 28, 2012

June Posting Schedule

May I tell you something about writing?

Since May is quickly coming to a close, the Blog Me MAYbe blogfest is also about to end.  I've been pleased with my regular posting and the results I've been seeing as a result of it.  Therefore, I decided to come up with my own posting regimen for the month of June.  I'll try this schedule for at least a month.  If I like it, I just might stick to it.

So, here's a glimpse into my writing future.

Monday: Meeting With My Muse
To start out the week, I'll try to sit down with my muse Pleiades so we can set a reasonable writing goal for the week that will work for us both.  Of course, Pleiades isn't always reasonable.

Tuesday: Tuesday Treat
 This is a reward for surviving Monday.  Each Tuesday I'll try to post either a short piece of writing or something light and entertaining to fortify you for the rest of the week.

Wednesday: Worldly Wednesday
I'll spend the middle of the week examining something language related.  After all, this is a writing blog, is it not?  I might focus on anything from the etymology of a particular word to the way words are used in the world.  Be it freedom of speech or the limitations of language, anything is fair game!

Thursday: Tea Time
This is an optional day.  Like Arthur Dent in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, I've never been able to get the hang of Thursdays.  If I decide to post, it will be on any topic of my choosing.  Otherwise, consider it my tea break.

Friday: "I'll Flash You" Friday
Trust me, it's not as dirty as it sounds!  On Friday I'll post a short piece of fiction to lead you into your weekend.  It may be a stand-alone piece of flash fiction, or it may be part of a serial.  If it's a serial, I may post the next part on the following Tuesday for your Tuesday Treat.  Or I may not.  It depends on how the week is going.

The rest of the month I'll also participate in some blogfests, and I may post random updates on my WIP whenever I decide to do so.  It all depends on how I feel.

If anyone has any thoughts about my ideas, feel free to comment.  I always welcome feedback.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

D@mned If You Do, D@mned If You Don't

Blogspiration: You Can't

This is my first time posting for Blogspiration, but it looked like fun.  Anyway, when I saw this week's Blogspiration posted by Kristen Feliz, I felt like it was written for me specifically and I just had to respond to her post.  I never fit in when I was growing up.  It seemed like everything I did was seen as slightly wrong by the people around me.   I seemed to be living on a different wavelength than everyone else.  Those judging eyes seemed to be on me all the time.  Maybe that's why this spoke to me, and I just had to address that.  You know how it feels when you're just compelled to write something?  It's like an itch that just has to be scratched.

The truth of the matter is, extremes are unhealthy.  If you eat too much or too little, it's genuinely bad for you.  And though reading is wonderful, at least in my humble opinion, if you never do anything else, you'll miss out on a lot that life has to offer.  Even so, most people who find themselves cast under the harsh light of judgment are not behaving in an extreme way.  People often make an assumption based on imperfect data.  It can come from one look at what the person is wearing, or from hearing a rumor.  People jump to conclusions all too often and use that as a justification for dismissing an entire human being.

In writing this, I hope that people who may be too quick to rush to judgment carefully consider all the other possibilities for what they see or hear.  When you see a single mother of two using food stamps in the store to buy groceries, there's no need to write her off as lazy or promiscuous, because you don't necessarily know her story.  Maybe she's a widow who's struggling to pick up the pieces.  Maybe she can only work part time while she goes to school so she can end up getting a better job to support her kids.  And sure, maybe she was promiscuous.  After all, it's always possible.  Now here's the question.  Does that make her any less of a human being?  Does that mean she can't ever make anything of herself?  We all make mistakes.  We all stumble sometimes.    We don't like it when strangers point out our mistakes, do we?

So why do we do it?  Why do we seek out the faults of others?  I think we judge others we don't know so we can feel better about our own mistakes.  We can't forget the things that we've done wrong, but we can assume the worst in others so, in comparison, we don't look so bad.  I may have crashed the car, but at least I didn't XYZ . . .

I think we're all guilty of it.  I know I've done it, though I'm not proud of that fact.  What I take away from all this is it's pointless to agonize about how others see us, because people rush to judgment without all the facts anyway.  You're d@mned if you do and d@mned if you don't, as they say.  You cannot please everyone, so it's a fruitless endeavor to try, and in the end it will only wear you down.  The only judgments we can trust are made by those who care enough about us to know who we really are.  And even then, those judgments are rarely as important as the ones we make about ourselves.  If you're happy with who you are, what's the point of worrying about whether the woman behind you in line thought the shirt you were wearing was just a bit too tight?

The other half is this: if you're tired of people judging you based on some superficial observation, help make the world a friendlier place by refraining from doing it to others.  Ultimately, any sense of self-satisfaction gained by comparing ourselves to others is shallow and short-lived anyway.

There's my two cents.  Or, more accurately given the length of this post, my two dollars.  Feel free to let me know if you agree or disagree with any point that I made.  I'm always open to dialogue.  That's half the fun!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday Fun Time!

May I share something funny?

Well, I can't promise it's funny, but I created a fun little illustrated poem to usher in the weekend.  I won't lie, I had Dr. Seuss in mind when I wrote it.  That's what happens when you write something after reading to your children.

So it's Friday again, and it's time for some fun!

Let's go and chill with some friends in the sun!

  funny gifs

Get on your groove, forget your pride.

Let's hop on my bike and go for a ride!

funny gifs

Who knows where we'll go, or what we'll see?

Even our most brooding heroes have to get jiggy!

funny gifs

But please, don't let your fun get out of hand.

The hospital isn't the destination you might have planned.

  funny gifs

Have a great holiday weekend everyone!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Meeting With My Muse

May I tell you about someone else?

Today I am not going to talk about a specific person, but about a group of mythical persons with which writers are intimately familiar.

The muses.

In the ancient world, they were thought to be "the source of knowledge" and informed literature and the arts, as well as other disciplines like science.  We see many references to them throughout history.

The following is from the one and only Shakespeare, Sonnet 38.
"How can my Muse want subject to invent,
While thou dost breathe, that pour'st into my verse
Thine own sweet argument?"
This is how it often feels when, as writers, we are filled with creative zeal.  It often feels as if the words are not coming from us, but are rather flowing through us.  In this moment, we are not the creators, but rather the instrument of a muse we cannot necessarily see.  It may ultimately be illusory, but the power of that moment sticks with us nonetheless.

We may not believe in the existence of the muses as physical beings.  More often, we call a specific person or object that inspires us our muse.  Muses are called such due to their ability to inspire us.

But for a moment, let's pretend the muses ARE real.  What would yours look like?  Would it have a name?
RGB Stock Photo, user mzacha

Mine would be difficult to pinpoint, because inspiration is mean to me.  It withholds itself when I have the time to write, then it leaps out at me when I'm not paying attention and shouts "BOO!"

Therefore, I've come to the conclusion that my muse is a shapeshifter.  That may explain why I write science fiction.  She returns to me with some of the most bizarre concepts.  Concepts that are so out there that I have to stop and think "What?  How in the WORLD do you expect me to do THAT?"

She's sassy though.  She fights back and says "Listen, I'm just doing my job.  If you don't like it, find someone else!  But I must warn you.  I'm not sure anyone else would be as patient with you as I've been."

Pleiades in her other incarnation.
Image from
I sigh in defeat.  She's probably right.

Her name is usually Pleiades, probably because the seven sisters cover most of her multiple personalities.  However, sometimes she irritates me by pulling another name out of her frustratingly stylish hat.

That's another thing.  How in the world is my muse so stylish when I'm not?  It makes no sense!

I think her favorite place to live is in my coffee cup, though.  She frequently catches me off guard there.  One time she jumped out and hit me so hard that I nearly spilled the hot liquid all over my lap.

Rude, but I forgave her for it.  That was one hell of a creative night.

Whew!  That's enough fun for one day.  For those of you who read that all the way through without questioning my sanity, I thank you.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Who Are You?

May I ask you something about yourself?

From RGB Stock user xymonau
It's time once again to become nosy and devise an inquiry for my readers.  This time I actually went into this knowing what I want to ask, which is an accomplishment in and of itself.  I plot books, but blog entries can be a little more tricky.

Anyway, here is my question.  Well, it's not phrased as a question, but it's still prompting a response nonetheless.

Describe yourself in one sentence.  I'm not going to impose a word limit.  I know that sentences can get long and cumbersome at times.  You can only compound them so many times, no matter how creative you are with punctuation.  Being the writers you are, I trust you to police yourselves on this one.

I am a geeky writer, wife, and mother who doesn't have her head in the clouds because it's out there amongst the stars.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Writing Feelings Away

May I tell you something about myself?

I once read that the impulse to write comes from an inability to cope with the world in some way.  It is the result of a personal malfunction.  This is certainly a less flattering take than calling it a coping mechanism.  When you call it a coping mechanism, it sounds more like writing is a personal tool that we use to deal with an imperfect world or life situation.  In reality, the two ways of describing it aren't so different.  Either way, you as a person find yourself unable to deal with something in life, and you are free to cast the blame where you may.

When something really bad happens, I don't feel like I can cope with it.  Some things just seem too big for me to handle.  Once I acknowledge that this terrible thing has indeed occurred, that makes it real, and I'm not ready for it to be real.

This was the case when my mom died last May.  The circumstances were chaotic to begin with.  My son Lyle was born only six days before that.  Not only did I have the normal hormone issues and sleep deprivation that comes from having a newborn, his birth was also a bit rough.  Since he had the cord wrapped around his neck, the doctors had to get him out quickly.  He had to spend a few hours in the NICU, though he ended up being fine.  The rapid delivery also took it out of me, and I ended up losing a lot of blood post delivery.  My hemoglobin dropped by about 25%.  I felt lightheaded and weak.

Six days later when my mom passed, I was still anemic.  I felt the effects of everything piling up on me at once. All I could do to get through it was focus on taking care of my kids.  I poured all of my energy into that for the following weeks, because I didn't have it in me to do much else.  People kept remarking about how well I was dealing with the situation.  I wish that were true.

I just wasn't dealing with it at all.

I couldn't face my feelings, because I felt like my life would fall apart if I did.  I had people telling me I had to stay strong for my kids.  Of course I already knew that, but it felt like I didn't have permission to be a human being.  And once the feelings started to catch up with me weeks later, it felt like there was a black hole opening up inside me.  It made it so much harder to move through the world.

When someone dies, we're sad they're gone.  We also have regrets.  Things we wish we'd said, things we wish we didn't say.  Those regrets pile on to make things even worse.  I felt all of these things, though I refused to acknowledge it.

Writing about my feelings directly didn't feel like a viable option at the time either.  It felt too real that way.  So I wrote them into the lives of my characters.  I put them in painful situations, and I let my poisonous feelings flow into them through my keystrokes.

It was cathartic.  Of course, my writing has been somewhat dark as of late.  But I'd be lying if I said it wasn't always a little on the dark side.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Fiction Flashed: "Nuance"

Lightning flashed across the darkened sky.  The bolt landed beside Ilk, and within moments, Kin stood in its place.  The humanoid shape glowed slightly.

Ilk glanced down at its own foot, noting how it looked upon the broken rocks and dust.  This is where they lived.

The words weren’t any language the inhabitants of this dead world would have understood.  All such languages were dead, preserved only in relics that survived the Cataclysm.

They brought it upon themselves, Kin replied.

Kin’s signal felt harder than the others, yet it was also familiar.

We came from them.  Ilk felt something indistinct stir within.

The connection is distant.

We should try to remember.  Ilk stooped and ran its own glowing hand through the dark soil.  With the sun overhead, the lack of atmosphere drove the surface temperature too high for liquid water.  The heat diffused harmlessly through Ilk’s form.

They had war.  They killed over petty differences.  Why should we care?

Ilk recalled when Din, from whom Ilk spawned, spoke of Tin.  Tin was spawned many millennia ago, as far back as post-Cataclysm records went.  Much information about their ancestors still existed then, but was lost over time.

Tin’s words, recited by Din, resonated in Ilk’s mind.  Our reasons to fight are gone.  There is no sex, no color, no shape.  We gained peace, but we lost nuance.

Ilk’s goal was to understand those words.  Kin shared no similar goal.  Why did you come?

You asked me to.  The hard edge of the signal had lessened.

Whatever Tin meant about nuance, Ilk knew the answer wasn’t on Earth’s scorched remains.

No reason to stay.  Ilk put its arms over its head and allowed the transformation to take hold.

Kin did the same.

Twin lightning bolts flashed across the sky.

Upcoming Blogortunities

May I tell you something about writing?

This month has been flying by.  MAYbe it's all this blogging I've been doing!

Not funny?  Oh well.  I had to try.

Anyway, I thought I'd take the opportunity to highlight some of the writing opportunities that are coming up in June.  There are always blogfests to look forward to, and by bringing attention to them, I hope to bring more people in on the fun.

The first one I want to mention is the Giving Voice Blogfest on June 4th.  Imagine you have difficulty speaking.  It could be anything from a speech impediment to a loss of speech inflicted by trauma.  The ability to communicate through the spoken word is something most of us take for granted.  This blogfest will give you the opportunity to express, in 400 words or less, show how your character struggles because of this obstacle.  How do they feel?  How do they cope?

I think this is a good writing opportunity because it gives you a chance to step in someone else's shoes.  Communication is essential.  It's something we all crave.  After all, that's why most of us write to begin with.

The next is the First Fight, First Kiss Blogfest on June 12th and 14th.  If you have a piece of fiction that has a good fight scene and a good first kiss, share those things.  We all love a bit of action and a bit of romance, after all.  On June 12th, post your fight scene.  Then take a day off to read some of the other entries, then follow it up with your first kiss scene on the 14th.  Simple enough, and lots of fun!

There's also an opportunity to share your own story as well.  All you need is a picture and a 100 word or less description of how you and your significant other first met.  The rest of the details can be found on the page for the How We First Met Blog Hop.  The blog hop is on June 30th, so that gives you plenty of time to dig out those photos and choose your words.

Anyway, I'm sure there are many more good ones out there.  Feel free to let me and others know about any good ones you find.

Writing opportunities are everywhere.  You just have to be ready for them!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Happy Friday, Funny Video!

May I share something funny?

Here's a funny, but sweet, story of star-crossed lovers in the modern world of technology.  Hopefully this video will make your Friday a little brighter.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

My First Award!

I was surprised to get a message this morning telling me that I've been given my first blogging award.  That little piece of news is a good addition to an otherwise difficult day.  Thanks to Gossip_Grl for giving me the honor of this award.            

Of course, these things come with responsibility.  I have to answer ten questions and share ten random facts about myself.
1. What is your favorite song?  There are so many to choose from, but I'll offer one that says something important about me.  I'd have to pick "The Scientist" by Coldplay.  Why, you may ask?  Listen to the lyrics.  It talks about going back in time to change something.  It may sound sad, and it certainly is, but as a science fiction writer, time travel is a possibility, and I envision a happy ending every time I hear it.  The music video is also good, so I recommend checking it out.

2. What is your favorite dessert?  Tossup between two wonderful pies: French Silk and Lemon Meringue.

3. What ticks you off?  So many pet peeves to choose from.  I think I generally disdain hateful people who have no problem lying to make their point.  They're impossible to argue with, and our world seems to be crawling with them.

4.  When you're upset, what do you do?  Listening to music helps me channel my emotions nicely.  Depending whether I'm sad or angry, I have a playlist designed to put me back into balance.

5.  What is your favorite pet?  Jessie, my big yellow lab/golden retriever mix.  Big and lazy, friendly and lovable.  She was a great dog.  When I was in sixth grade, we accidentally ran her over in the driveway.  She had a broken leg, and the vet suggested we have her put to sleep.  We didn't, and she lived a few more years after that.  She had a limp, but she was still happy.

6.  Which do you prefer, black or white?  I guess it depends.  I prefer most of my electronics to be black, and most of my clothes because white stains.  However, white brightens things up.  A fresh white sheet of paper sure brightens my day.

7.  What is your biggest fear?  Losing my ability to write would be terrible.  I also worry about all the bad things that could happen to my family, though these certainly aren't productive fears.  Maybe I should be afraid of being too afraid.

8.  What is your attitude?  Attitude?  Are you saying I have an attitude?  Just kidding!  I think I try to find the funny things in life when the sad, heavy moments of life really hit me.  And I put most of my emotions into writing so they don't get in the way of the rest of my life.

9.  What is perfection?  It is a Borg concept, and one I know I will never achieve.  You need cybernetic implants for that, and I just don't have the money to buy them right now.

10.  What is your guilty pleasure?  Dark chocolate with raspberry filling, eaten with fresh dark roast coffee.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

10 Random Facts About Me

1.  I LOVE spinach!

2.  When I was a teenager, I invented the perfect man in a novel I wrote.  He's still one of my favorite characters, and I fear my husband may have been jealous of him at one point.

3.  I actually enjoy peanut butter and pickle sandwiches.

4.  I enjoy watching bad science fiction movies almost as much as I enjoy good ones.  Maybe I've seen too much MST3K.  There are, however, some movies in this world that are still too bad for even me to watch all the way through.

5.  Though I can't sing, I do it when no one else is around.

6.  I have entire conversations with the fictional characters I create.  I know they aren't real, but my dialogues with them wouldn't show that.  One of these days I may end up in a padded room by mistake.

7.  Yes, my hair is naturally this shade of red.  I've had so many people ask that question and grab my hair to examine my roots, it's insane.

8.  Every time I write something, I second guess myself.  I really need to quit doing that.

9.  The fact that there are so many good people in the world and so many bad people in the world is mind boggling to me.

10.  Every time I see reality TV, I wonder what an alien race who'll eventually receive that transmission will think of us.  The same goes for those really bad gross-out comedy movies.

Wow, it was hard to think of all those things.  Now, here's the even harder part. Picking 7 others to get this award.

It took me forever to compile this list, because there are so many deserving blogs I love to read.  I tried to give it to people who haven't gotten it before, but I may have failed once or twice.  I'm not really sure.

1.  Gina at Modern World
2.  Super Earthling
3.  Lil Dreamer at Reality Challenged
4   Andrea Teagan at The Enchanted Writer
5.  Miss ALK at Confessions of a Maine Teenager
6.  Donna Hole
7.  Krista McLaughlin at The Jelly Beans of Writing 

I love so many of your blogs, it really was hard to choose.  Keep up the good work everyone!

Meet My Mom

May I tell you about someone else?

Today is going to be one of those days.  This past Sunday was Mother's Day, and today is Thursday, the day where I'm supposed to share someone with you.  May 17th is a loaded day for me anyway.  I'm not quite sure how to feel, and I figured I would only really get to confront my feelings as I write this post.

Wow, I'm having trouble even working up to this.

Okay.  Here it is.  Today I need to tell you about my mom.  Her name was Leona, and she was born on January 31, 1964.  She died May 17, 2011 at the age of 47. One year ago today.

The most recent picture I have of my mom.
There are things about her I won't share with the world.  Let's be honest.  We all keep some things to ourselves, and that's all right.

Here's what I will tell you.

She loved knitting.  She could knit or sew almost anything.  I can sew too, but the talent she had with knitting needles mystified me. Give me two knitting needles, and I'll try to start a sword fight.  She actually made something worthwhile with them.

She also loved to write.  Did she ever become famous for it?  No.  But did she love to do it all the same?  Absolutely.

Her favorite color was green, and her favorite gemstone was the emerald.

Anyone who knew her also understood that she had a sense of humor.  I have no way to accurately describe it beyond that.  Just trust me.  Her jokes were memorable.

She loved France and learned French in high school.  Her fear of heights, however, made visiting impossible.  When I went to France at age 17, all of the souvenirs I brought her came from France.  It only made sense.

My mom got really sick in 2008, though I could see the symptoms as early as 2007. She could barely eat anything, but she was stubborn and refused to go to the doctor until she was almost incapable of moving.  I know my dad tried to convince her several times that she needed to go, but my mom was unyielding.  Another aspect of her personality that sticks out in my mind.

Her health was never the same after that.  She was diagnosed with a blood disease, and it wore her down steadily over the next three years.  She died six days after my youngest son was born.  My oldest was two at the time, and I know he won't remember much, if anything, about her.  It sucks knowing that your own children will never know your mother, but that's the way life goes sometimes.

I could say a lot about how I felt about all of this as it was happening, but this post isn't supposed to be about me.  This is supposed to be about her.  I might cover my feelings in one of next week's posts, but for now I'll share something from one of her favorite T.V. shows, The Red Green Show.

This is an entire episode called "Twinning."  It's special because it features Iowa, where our entire family was born and raised.  If you ever have the time, I suggest watching the entire thing.  The segment I wanted to point out, however, is only a couple of minutes and deals with death in a more humorous way.  It begins at 5:17 (like May 17, the day she died . . . the strangeness of that isn't lost on me).

Anyway, enjoy.  I had to lighten up the mood somehow, and this will give you an idea of the kind of sense of humor she had.


Hopefully I have't offended anyone. Trust me, if my mom were here, she would have laughed about this last part.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Broad Question and Plea For Response

May I ask you something about yourself?

All right.  It's once again time to dust off my brain and devise a question to ask all of you.  Hmmm . . .  What evil, mad scientist query can I make of all of you?

All right, I should play nice.  For those of you who are kind enough to read what I have to say, it wouldn't be fair to subject you to anything too cruel.

Okay, I've got it.  And I truly am coming up with this as I write this post, because nothing gets my creative juices flowing better than actually putting pen to paper, or in this case, fingers to keyboard.  Since I'm attempting to be a real, bona fide writer, this is probably a desirable thing.

What influences or inspires you?  This seems like a good question, because I'm not hunting for anything specific.  You can run with it any way you like. You may share a person who has helped guide you, you may recount a certain event that shaped you, or you may tell me about a hobby that brings you joy and informs your writing.  Anything!

See, it shouldn't be too painful.  No worse than ripping off a band aid.  Although, if you haven't shaved and the hair comes off with the band aid . . .YIKES!  (wincing)

One activity that inspires me is stargazing. Looking at the sky, I see so many stars, and I can scarcely dream how many planets there must be.  The grandness of it all opens my mind, and the ideas, though not as numerous as the stars, come nonetheless.

Now that I've shared, hopefully some of you will share as well.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Piece Out of a Puzzle

May I tell you something about myself?

I've never felt like I fit in anywhere.

I know I've mentioned this a few times before, but I haven't gone into much detail about the actual feeling.  Growing up in a small town, I was seen as strange for loving science fiction.  I never knew quite how to interact with the others in my class.  I was the kid who always said the wrong thing.  I never dressed like the others.  And where I come from, once someone decided to pick on you, it seemed you could never shake that reputation.  Everyone knew that it wasn't okay to be friends with me.  Luckily I found some friends anyway, but it seemed that most people never even took the time to get to know me.

That shaped the way I view the world more than I could ever understand at the time.  To be honest, I never even thought about it too much until my senior year in college.  My final class for my writing major required a long writing project.  Big surprise, huh?  The class was about literacy, and we had to write about something in our lives that shaped our literacy.  In this sense, literacy means more than just the ability to read text.  It meant, in a broader way, how you read and relate to the world.  My lifelong challenge, in a way.  I learned a lot about myself in those months.

Image: Master isolated images /
Here's what I walked away with.

I couldn't not relate in some way.  Even if I didn't know how to relate with the people around me in a way that made them like or understand me, I had to relate to them somehow.  In dealing with my classmates, I felt like the lone puzzle piece that just doesn't fit right.  My place never seemed to be there.  I was different, and I stuck out like a random red blob in a black and white video.

Since I constantly felt like an observer in a world that didn't really want me, I began to feel like the omniscient narrator in a novel.  I discussed this in a previous post when I described my love for tall things.  There I talked about why I ended up loving my role as narrator, but I think this is how I came to be in that role to begin with.

Granted, though I considered myself as a narrator of sorts, there was plenty I didn't know.  I still didn't know just how to change my social standing or what the people I saw everyday were really thinking, but what I didn't know, I made up.  I carried a notebook around with me and wrote.  In enduring a school where people never accepted me, I watched and tried to figure them out.  I attempted to interpret their interactions.  This gave me a great deal of practice.  I am effectively the narrator of my own life.

To this day, I still don't always feel like I'm an actual part of the world around me.  This isn't to say that I can't navigate it like a normal human being, and I certainly care for most of the people around me.  When it comes to my personal life, and my family especially, I do fit.  I love caring for them.  I accept that most people don't understand me, and that's okay.  With my narrator's perspective, it doesn't bother me that they don't know what makes me tick.  It gives me a sense of power in life I might not otherwise have.

I suppose that narrator's perspective is something I'll have for the rest of my life, and I'm glad.  Being a writer, I can use that to my advantage.

Monday, May 14, 2012

First Loves Blogfest!

Welcome to my blog, where I will tell you about my first loves.  It seems a bit intimidating to open myself up to you this much, but I'm up to the challenge.

First up: film.  It's safe to say I love a lot of films, and there are those I loved as a child, but the love didn't last over time.  I decided to choose one that I loved from childhood, and continue to love to this day.

The Dark Crystal (1982)

I was born in 1985, so this came out a little before my time, but it was a film that my dad always loved.  We've watched it together many times over the years.  The story is the classic good vs. evil, but the sets are so beautiful and strange that I can't help but immerse myself in the experience.  To me, it doesn't come across as a 'been there, done that" movie experience.  The music is also phenomenal.

Next up, is favorite song or band.  I'll briefly share both so I can demonstrate the odd spectrum that represents my musical love.  There are some kinds of music that I simply don't get into, but the ones I do love are all over the place.  My first favorite song was Joy to the World by Three Dog Night.  It's upbeat and happy, and hearing it always put me in a good mood.

My first love as far as a band goes was Metallica.  They have a great sound, and I just plain love their stuff.  During my middle school years, they were my favorite by far.  The Metallica song Nothing Else Matters was the first song my husband and I danced to at our wedding.  Ah, memories.

I still love Metallica to death, although I also have a profound love for The Beatles too, and they may well be my favorite nowadays.

So much great music, so little time.

The first book I remember loving as a child was The Night Book by Mark Strand and William Pene Du Bois.  The illustrations were well done, and there's never been a time when I didn't love the night.

The first adult novel I ever loved was Jurassic Park by Micheal Crichton.  I read it when I was eleven.  Though I was a bit too young to understand the more scientific parts of the novel, I felt so grown up reading it, and I absolutely loved the story.  I mean, come on.  Dinosaurs!  How could you go wrong?

Now, my first love.  The answer would depend upon the kind of love you mean.

If puppy love is an acceptable answer, that takes me back to Kindergarten.  Yes, many people might not count their Kindergarten boyfriends, but you don't understand.  This was special.  This little boy named Adam used to chase me around the playground, and when he caught me, he would kiss me.  He even asked me to marry him when we were in first grade.  Come to think of it, we never officially got un-engaged.  Hmmm . . .

And he only kissed two other girls (that I know of) while we were together.  Let's face it, that's better than some full grown men do.

Then came Jerry O'Connell in Sliders.  My first celebrity crush, and my first glimpse of what puberty meant.  He was cute, and he played Quinn Mallory, a geeky science genius who traveled through dimensions. How could I not fall for that?

Anyway, the first "I can trust you with anything, I know you'll always be there for me" kind of love would have to go to my husband.  He is, after all, the father of my children for a reason.  He's geeky in all the right ways, and I also think he's cute, though he playfully insists he's not.

Character Profile ?'s: Ultimate Questions

May I tell you something about writing?  

Last week I posed this question to you, my readers, and I said that I would explain how this says a lot about your characters in a future post.  Well, here's the post I promised you.  Since these profile questions are a part of the writing process, it seemed to coincide well with my MAYbe Monday post.

Image: xedos4 /

Question #3: If your character could ask any question, no matter how big, and get an answer, what would he/she/it ask?

To begin, I would like to address the he/she/it options for gender.  I write science fiction, and in some instances, the question of gender isn't so easy to answer in itself.  There is even a spectrum of possibilities in our own world, so it would be silly to limit ourselves too much if we're going to throw alien species into the mix as well.

Anyway, to get to the point, knowing the kind of question a character would ask says a lot about who they are.  Some common questions might be: What is the meaning of life?  Am I going to be successful?  Does God exist?  Will I always be with the person I love?  How will I ever get through this?

The question is revealing because it shows what that person's priorities are.  Someone who wants to know the meaning of life is clearly not concerned with material gain so much as acquiring knowledge.  Someone who asks if God exists is more concerned perhaps with whether or not there's an afterlife, or if their faith grounded in something real.  These are the more intangible concerns in life, but they have a lot of meaning for many people.

Those who ask about success in the future are clearly more oriented toward Earthly goals.  Maybe they don't have faith, or perhaps they take God and the meaning of life for granted and are therefore free to worry about other things.

Someone who asks about an immediate problem they are facing may be at a critical juncture in their life.  They know that no matter what happens, the outcome will determine the course of the rest of their lives.

We all have our own pressing questions, and they may change over time.  The way they change is also revealing of our character and the circumstances in our lives that have shaped us.  A tragic event, like the loss of a loved one, is just the kind of occurrence that may shift our entire outlook, and therefore, the question which is ultimate for us.

As you write your newest character, or as you go about your daily life, it may be useful to consider what the ultimate question is or should be.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Thesaurus Club

I don't have time to write much right now, but I just had to share this.  It's from Facebook.  All of the writers out there should appreciate this.

Friday, May 11, 2012

More Friday Hilarity

I know I already posted some funny stuff, but I just couldn't resist when I saw these e-cards.  Some of them are a bit too inappropriate to post here, but funny, so if you're not easily offended, go check them out.

As I said, trying to keep it clean here.

In honor of Mother's Day, here are some that the moms out there can relate to.

We've all had those days.

At least the kid's learning to read!

And we all know people like this, don't we?  That's why social networking is often easier.  People don't know when you're lying to get away from them.

Yeah, we know, you rock.  Now go away!

        I might be one of these people, actually.  Oops.

                                                           Why the internet rules!

Oh, the joy that is humanity.  And now .  .  .

How politicians make me feel.

Friday Funnies: Political and Otherwise

May I share something funny?

First, I thought I'd like to share a few funny quotes.  As a writer, I'm all about quotes.

The first is from the movie The Lost Boys.  The last line in the movie, it comes from the grandfather, and it painted the rest of the film in a whole new light for me.

"One thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach, all the damn vampires."

This is something worth mentioning before your daughter and grandchildren come to stay with you, but then again, if you have a mild rat infestation, you might not say anything.  Maybe it really was nothing more than a nuisance.

It's always nice when people can be honest about themselves, even writers.  We aren't all ego maniacs, though I'm not sure which category I fall into yet.

"I am the literary equivalent of a Big Mac and fries" -Stephen King (he's still making lots of money, so there's no need to complain, at least)

"My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She's ninety-seven now, and we don't know where the hell she is." -Ellen DeGeneres

Now, here's a quote from a man who was a wonderful writer, and it may be funny to writers.  Personally I find it funny and disconcertingly true.

"Writing is easy.  You only need to stare at a blank paper until your forehead bleeds." -Douglas Adams

Now, here is one that is funny, but also exemplifies how politicians do their jobs.

"Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please." -Mark Twain

In all fairness, politics is often funny even when it doesn't intend to be.  Comedians often just point out what was already funny to begin with.  This clip from The Daily Show is no different.  No matter what your political or personal views about same-sex marriage are, Jon Stewart makes some good points in this clip.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

My Boys

May I tell you something about someone else?

It took me a few minutes of thought to decide who to tell you about today.  I didn't feel like writing about any of my characters today, because, let's face it, I spend plenty of time with them as it is.  And it's always a delicate matter when you write about someone you know, because it's possible they'll take offense at something you say.  I've been in that boat more than once.  Sometimes I think my very existence is enough to offend some people, but I've decided I'm not willing to do anything to remedy that one.

Ultimately, since my youngest son's first birthday is tomorrow, I decided to write about my kids.  Yes, I know them, and yes, I see them everyday, but I don't get tired of talking about them for some reason.  And they aren't old enough to read this on their own yet.  I have a few years before I have to worry about them being upset by this.

Of course, I have nothing bad to say.  They're holy terrors sometimes, but well within the boundaries of normal childhood behavior for their age.  They keep me constantly cleaning.  Sometimes it feels like I'm just following behind them, sweeping away the trail of mess they leave in their wake.  The rest of the time, I'm running interference, trying to keep them from killing each other.  They love to wrestle.  At least until someone gets hurt.  Then Mommy is the most popular person in the world.

Big brother meets little brother for the first time.
Jude just turned three in April.  When Lyle was born, he was new to being two.  While often jealous of the new addition to the family, he still seemed to think that Lyle was pretty neat.

At this point, Lyle didn't seem to have any real opinions on his big brother.  He just cared that he had attention, and that someone was around to feed him and change his diaper when necessary.

Batman Jude mops Mommy's floor.

I suppose Jude will always be protective of his little brother.  Jude may play rough, but he's also the first one to kiss your boo-boos better.  He's a little hero, and he has a passion for mopping the floor.  I can only hope he'll maintain that passion for housework, but somehow I doubt it.

Lyle charms the camera.

Lyle loves to perform for the camera.  Every time he sees me bring it out, I am rewarded with expressions like this.

He's plotting something.

Lyle started out as a calm baby, which suited me fine.  However, as he gets older, I see more and more of a devilishly playful side in him.  Of course, he's my child, so I can hardly be shocked by this.

What's he thinking here?  It can't be good.

Jude has always had a devious side to him.  I've heard I was the same way at his age.  After reading him a book about space recently, he took issue with the fact that Earth rotates.  "Stop spinning Earth!  Stop spinning!" he commanded.  I may have a mad scientist on my hands.

Squirming kids at Christmas.

How do I keep up with the two of them and clean the house and work on my writing?  Good question.  I wish I had an answer.  I just kind of fly by the seat of my pants some days.  I'm so busy I didn't even have time to think of a way around using that cliche term.  Geez!

I think I'd settle for knowing how to get the two of them to hold still for a picture!

Being a mother of two energetic boys may be difficult, but I wouldn't trade them for the world.

My boys.