Friday, November 29, 2013

Celebrate the Small Things-November 29, 2013

It's time to once again Celebrate the Small Things with VikLit!

All in all, I had a good week.  On Sunday, we met up with my in-laws at Pizza Hut for dinner, and afterwards my husband and I got to see The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.  We both thoroughly enjoyed the movie, and it was nice to have a couple of hours without the kids tugging at our sleeves.

On Wednesday, I put up the Christmas tree.  My boys tried to help, though they merely succeeded in getting in the way.  Needless to say, they were ecstatic about putting the tree up, and Jude promptly began to ask where the presents were.  Afterwards, the kids located a leftover roll of wrapping paper from last year and started wrapping their toys just so they could have something to unwrap.  They made a massive mess in the process, but the entire activity was too cute for me not to allow it.

We spent Thanksgiving with my dad and had a great meal.  I ate WAY too much! And even as I write this, I find my mind wandering to the leftovers that got sent home with us.  I don't have the willpower to ignore the yummy food!  Help!

What would you like to celebrate?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

FSF: Picking Up the Pieces

So, this is the final chapter of my "Unchained" saga.  I'll continue to do Five Sentence Fiction, of course, but there are other stories to tell.

The word for this week is PIECES.

The entire story, from start to finish, can be found on this PAGE.


Chapter 54: Picking Up the Pieces

Ylana spent the next few weeks reconnecting with old family members, many of whom despised her for her sudden, unannounced departure.  When she’d left, she’d been engaged, and her whole life had been planned out, a series of predetermined milestones that she had, at one time in her life, never thought to question.
Image courtesy of
Stuart Miles/

Luckily, Nara had agreed to stay for a while, doing what she could to help her friend figure things out, though she did so with a hint of sadness in her eyes, and it was a sadness that Ylana could understand far too well.

So Nara announced that she would be leaving the following day, Ylana confidently asked, “Would you mind if I came with you?”

As it turns out, picking up the pieces of a former life is often all but impossible, but when Ylana saw Nara’s face break into a glowing smile, she knew that she didn’t need to rebuild her old life, because her current life suited her just fine.

Express Yourself: Who Do You Look Up To?

The Express Yourself Weekly Meme is made possible by Jackie @ Bouquet of Books and Dani @ Entertaining Interests.

The question for this week is: Who is someone you look up to?

We all need those people who inspire us to be or do better.  We need those people who support us and stick with us through the good and the bad.  In my everyday life, that's my family, and I will be thankful for them as I celebrate Thanksgiving.

Still, I wanted to take the time in this post to highlight another group of people I look up to.  The friends I've made in the blogging community are a wonderful source of support and inspiration.  I look up to so many of you who, like me, are writers looking for avenues of expression.  Fellow writers who are seeking publication, or are newly published, or who bravely self-publish their work.  It takes a lot of courage to share your stories with the world, and watching as you continue to do this on a daily basis keeps me going as well.  As long as you continue to pursue your dreams, I know with certainty that I can also pursue mine.

Thanks to all of you for being awesome!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Celebrate the Small Things-November 22, 2013

It's Friday, and I'm here to Celebrate the Small Things with VikLit!

I'm posting a tad late today.  It's hubby's payday, which means I had errands to run and bills to pay.  I don't think anyone enjoys paying bills, including me, but I'd like to celebrate the fact that it's done.  Sure, they'll come due again soon enough, but for now, I no longer have to worry about them.

My 2nd blogging anniversary is coming up in January, and I'm currently dreaming up blogfest ideas to celebrate.  So I'll take this opportunity to celebrate that, because I think concocting and hosting blogfests is quite fun.

Cold weather and snow have arrived where I live, but while it snowed last night, it could have been far worse.  This is the time of year where I'm actually somewhat uncaring that we don't have a driveway.  Most of the year I find it ridiculous that we don't have a driveway, but during the winter, it means we have one less thing to shovel.  That part isn't so bad.  Hey, celebrating the small things can mean finding the bright side in things that are otherwise annoying, right?

What would you like to celebrate?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Stephen Fry Discusses the Language of Nazi Germany

I just saw this short video about language and how it can be used to coerce people into committing horrible atrocities.  It's true that language is a powerful force, and while we should be free to speak, we should also remain aware of the power of the words we use.  The old saying that "words will never hurt me" is simply not true.

Also, I think Stephen Fry is a brilliant human being.  I just had to say that.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Cosmic Wordle

I know I've gone on and on about how amazing I think Carl Sagan was and how his words still resonate today.  Some people may grow weary of my fangirling, but I will continue to live in amazement of the poetry of his words, and the way they throw into sharp relief the scale of the universe and the fragility of our world.

Below is a Wordle I created using a quote of his as he referred to our world as a pale blue dot.  The entire quote I used follows.

“Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.” 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Express Yourself: Contents of My Purse

The Express Yourself Weekly Meme is brought to you by Jackie @ Bouquet of Books and Dani @ Entertaining Interests.

The question for this week is: What do you carry around in your purse or wallet? Pictures would be nice.

I'm not one to carry a whole lot in my purse like some people I know, though I do tend to hoard papers far longer than I should.

Below is a picture of my purse.  I've had it for a few years now.  I'm not one to spend money on a new purse, though I should probably make the investment once in awhile.

Below is a picture of what is currently to be found in my purse.

-Pouch for odds and ends
-A handful of pencils
-Lead for pencils
-Pouch of pop rocks
-A necklace
-A bracelet
-Pouches of sunscreen

I also usually have a small notebook and my flash drive, but those items were not in my purse when I sat down to do this.

Exciting, huh?

What do you carry in your purse or wallet?

Friday, November 15, 2013

Celebrate the Small Things-November 15, 2013

The calendar tells me that it's Friday, so let's Celebrate the Small Things with VikLit!

I know I've been a tad neglectful of my blog this week.  I could try to make excuses for that, and while I've certainly been keeping myself preoccupied, I can't say I absolutely couldn't have posted more.  My motivation was simply elsewhere.  I'm sure you all know how that goes.

I'd like to celebrate that this Tuesday, my friend Chelsea gave birth to a healthy baby boy.  His name is Felix, and he's absolutely adorable!  It's cool that he was born on 11-12-13.  It's also interesting that he was born at 2:12pm.  Had he been born 3 minutes later, he would have come into the world on 11-12-13 at 14:15 (yes, I'm using military time here because that would have been cool).  Chelsea says that while it would have been neat to have him come that 3 minutes later, the little guy simply had other plans.  Babies come when they come and there's no fighting it.

On the flipside, as new life comes into the world, it is also lost.  I wanted to take this opportunity to offer warm thoughts to Nick Wilford and his family.  They suffered the devastating loss of Andrew, whom many in the blogging community found to be an inspiration.  While we mourn a great loss, we also celebrate the life of a wonderful human being, short though it may have been.  In honor of Andrew and all he added to the world while he was here, red balloons took to the sky all over the world.  And one of them took flight in the small town of Radcliffe, IA.

What would you like to celebrate?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Express Yourself: Top 5 TV Shows

The Express Yourself Weekly Meme is made possible by Jackie @ Bouquet of Books and Dani @ Entertaining Interests.

The question for this week is: What are the top 5 shows you currently watch?

The following are the shows that I currently record so I can watch them with my husband.

I love that each season is a different story altogether, and this season is particularly engrossing for me.

The zombies are that ever-present threat that keeps coming for you while everything else falls apart.  This show looks at all the repercussions of an apocalyptic scenario.  This includes deadly illnesses, lack of supplies, and the monstrous people who will happily kill you for their own purposes.

You don't know who you can trust in this world.  Since the power went out, dynamics have changed, and politics can be downright brutal.

The lives of heroes are not glamorous here, and there's more to everyone's past than they're willing to tell. This keeps the surprises coming.

As the series draws to a close, we get closer to the meeting that the entire series has been based upon.  We know who the mother is, so it's only a matter of time. Plus, Neil Patrick Harris is one of my favorite actors ever, so that helps.

Those are the shows that are currently on.  I'm also looking forward to more Falling Skies and Game of Thrones.  I have awhile to wait yet, but at least I have plenty to entertain me in the meantime.

What shows do you currently watch?

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Second Annual Oh, How I Miss You Blogfest

Today is the second annual Oh, How I Miss You Blogfest!  Hosted by Andrew Leon, Alex J. Cavanaugh, and Matthew MacNish, this blogfest gives us a chance to celebrate the important bloggers in our lives.  

The bloggers we really miss…and the ones we would really miss! 

Do you have a couple blogger buddies who aren’t posting as often? Those who’ve pulled back and seem absent from the blogging world? Do you have blogger buddies you are grateful they are still around and would miss if they vanished? Now is your chance to show your appreciation and spotlight them!

On November 8, list one to three bloggers you really miss and one to three bloggers you would miss if they stopped blogging. Then go leave a comment on those blogs.

Our blogger friends are special – time to let them know! 

There are a couple of blogger buddies I've missed seeing around the blogosphere.  Saz101 and Growing Up YA used to host the Blogspiration Meme, which was a fun way of sharing something inspirational with our blogging friends.  I enjoyed those weekly posts, because it pushed me to pick something interesting, cool, or just plain fun.  Earlier this year, they retired the meme.  Since then, they've been largely absent from blogging, and I do understand that they have other things going on in life that keep them busy.  Still, they were a lot of fun.

As for bloggers I would miss were they to suddenly vanish, there are too many to list here.  Each blogger has a unique voice and something interesting to share. Still, I must choose.

Side note: If Alex J. Cavanaugh were ever to disappear from the blogging world entirely, I fear it would fall to pieces.  I sometimes wonder if his ninja skills are the force that binds us all together.  So I won't even entertain the idea of him ever leaving us.  It's simply too horrifying!

Anyway, here are three bloggers I would definitely miss if they stopped blogging.

Bev over at The Beveled Edge.  Her writing skills are seriously epic.  If you haven't read any of her work, you're missing out!

Mina Lobo over at Some Dark Romantic is not only a wonderful writer and a supportive blogging pal, but she also hosts the best blogfests around!  She's seriously awesomesauce!

Kyra Lennon over at Write Here, Write Now is also an amazing writer.  She also hosts cool blogging events.  And she recently wrote an incredibly interesting post titled "Dominance, Alpha Males and Sex in Fiction."  Enough said.

Are there any bloggers that you miss, or would miss?

Celebrate the Small Things-November 8, 2013

It's Friday, and that also means it's time once again to Celebrate the Small Things with VikLit!

First of all, I'd like to celebrate the awesome Jackie @ Bouquet of Books for awarding me a $10 Amazon gift card for being a Spooktoberfest Runner Up! Both Jackie and Dani are awesome for making such a cool blogging event possible, so I'd like to thank them once again!

Second of all, I've been sick most of this week.  It started out hard core with a severe tightness in my chest.  Every time I coughed, it felt like someone had thrown a lit match down my throat, and the burning spread all the way through my ears.  Seriously, it was not cool.  Now, the burning and tightness are gone.  I still have a cough, but it doesn't cause me any pain, and my head is super stuffy. Still, compared to how I started the week, I'm feeling WAY better.  That's a good enough reason to celebrate.

Also, while I was sick, hot tea helped my symptoms, but coffee made me feel worse.  I can now drink coffee again!  Yay!  I mean, I love hot tea with a passion and all, but I was still starting to miss my coffee.

What would you like to celebrate?

FSF: Dancing Beneath the Stars

It's time once again for Five Sentence Fiction!  The prompt for this week is DANCING.

For those of you who have missed previous installments of the "Unchained" saga, go to this PAGE to read it all from the beginning.

Chapter 53: Dancing Beneath the Stars

On some level, Ylana worried about what their return to her home world would be like, and whether the Kryllians would put up more of a fight here, which could wreak havoc on the people caught in the crossfire.

Image courtesy of
Sujin Jetkasettakorn/
It seemed that the Rehani “death blossom” was actually a ship that produced a very specific kind of radiation, one that disrupted Kryllian metabolism so dramatically that they died on the spot.  The Kryllians must have known what it was, and that perfectly explained their hasty retreat last time.

On Ylana’s world, there was no time for them to escape, and all Kryllians who inhabited the planet perished quickly, and those who were hosted left the hosts free of their influence.

That night, while the freed women of her world danced beneath the stars in celebration, Ylana considered that their freedom came at a high price: the genocide of a race that had been created to be the aggressors in the first place.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Resurrection Blogfest II

The fabulous Mina Lobo is celebrating her second blogoversary with the Resurrection Blogfest II!  Congratulations on two years in the blogosphere!

Last year for this blogfest, I posted some science fiction poetry, and this year, I'm posting another sci-fi poem.  What can I say?  I just like to write odd-ball things (sci-fi poetry being one of them), and I want to make sure people get a chance to see the results of my madness!

This was originally posted on Wednesday, February 27, 2013.  You can find the original post HERE.

And now, here is my resurrected post!  (Forgive me if I haven't managed to knock all the dirt off of it for you.  That's what happens when you go digging through the depths of your blog late at night.)

Today I gave myself the word REPLICATION.  Why?  I don't know.  The word just spoke to me this week.  Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I've been delving into the philosophy of identity this week, in part in preparation for my first post as the Weekend Philosopher.  I won't say more about that here, because I don't want to spoil anything for you!

The word led me to write this poem.  I could talk forever about why I wrote this, but Ill let the poetry speak for itself.


All the forms were signed,
informed consent obtained.
Not till the deed was done did I
wish that we’d refrained.

Unsettled by the sight,
unnerved by the implication,
of standing there before
such a perfect duplication.

I looked into my own eyes,
so much more than a mirror.
Never had I planned
to see things so clear.

She was me, yet not.
A different path before her lay.
Yet DNA and memories copied.
I yearned to cast her away.

I turned my gaze to steel,
though my heart still did leap.
Was I threatened by this duplicate?
Was my nature mine to keep?

Forever bound will I be
to this moment in time.
This reflection of myself resonates
with my features like a rhyme.

My reaction was revealing,
far more than I can defend.
So rooted in me was my identity,
my new lack of uniqueness did offend.

Curiosity led me here.
I didn’t foresee the complication
of standing toe to toe with her:
a person whole and real, yet a replication.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Insecure Writer's Support Group: November 2013

It's time once again for the Insecure Writer's Support Group!  This group was formed by none other than the Ninja Captain himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh.  This month, he is receiving co-hosting assistants from the following bloggers/minions: C.D. Coffelt, Tina Downey, Isis Rushdan, and Michelle Wallace.

If you haven't checked it out already, go to the new IWSG webpage.  It's awesome!  Kudos to the amazing people that made it possible!

I'm currently under the weather, so my motivation to write is currently suffering somewhat, but I'm doing the best that I can.  I haven't stopped completely.  As a result of this illness, however, my level of hot tea consumption has skyrocketed.  Not that this is in any way a bad thing.

Anyway, I've been struggling with what to write for this post.  My mind is simply scattered right now.  So I looked up some writing quotes in the hope that one of them would inspire me.  And guess what.  It worked!  Inspiration can be found anywhere.  Sometimes you simply have to seek it out.

"The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress."  -Philip Roth

I can relate to this.  I have more works-in-progress than I feel like I should, probably because my head is overflowing with ideas, and I often wonder if I'll complete them all.  I'm sure I'm not alone in this, although it sometimes feels like I am when I see others finishing wonderful books left and right.

Does anyone else out there ever feel this way?  How do you handle it when too many ideas come to you all at once?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Express Yourself: Favorite School Subjects

The Express Yourself Weekly Meme is hosted by Jackie @ Bouquet of Books and Dani @ Entertaining Interests.

The question for this week is: What was your favorite subject in high school and/or college?

Hmm.  Overall, I loved school.  I was admittedly quite unpopular, but my love of learning more than made up for any problems I had.  So it isn't easy to pick a favorite subject.  As a writer, English is an obvious answer for me.  And it definitely tops the list of favorite subjects.

Still, in high school I also loved science, and in particular, my anatomy and physiology class.  I loved coloring the many diagrams of the human body.  I actually enjoyed memorizing the names and locations of all the bones and muscles, though I'm admittedly rusty on the subject now.  Perhaps I would have even become a doctor if I wasn't too scared of the idea of making a mistake and accidentally killing someone.

Image URL
By Mikael Häggström (All used images are in public domain.)
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
In college, I majored in writing and philosophy, and I loved those classes.  I even took two classes specifically about science fiction, and those were obviously two favorites for me.  Yet I also have to mention that during my freshman year, my major was astronomy.  That year, I enjoyed my introductory astronomy class so much it was ridiculous.  There was also a lab for that class, which means I got class credit for looking through a telescope.  How cool is that? Alas, at the end of that year I changed my major because my college level physics classes and Calculus 3 were not quite so nice to me.  Oh well!  It was good experience anyway, and I still thoroughly enjoy amateur astronomy.

Image URL
By Sky trackers and Astronomy researchers club, Bhopal (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
What were your favorite subjects in school?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Musing About Titles and Things

I'm feeling pretty inspired to work on the tragedy I've been working on.  I don't know if I can exactly classify it as a tragedy, though there is a lot of tragedy happening in it, but that's beside the point.  Classification can be important or helpful, but I don't want to worry so much about pigeon-holing it that I let that get in the way of telling a good story.  As a writer, I feel like my main concern should be about telling a good story, and more specifically, the story that I want to tell.

So, all that aside, I have a working title down on paper, though I always feel hesitant about titles.  I never know if they fit just right.  A title, after all, is the first representation to the world that your story has.  It's your first attempt, through words, to draw potential readers in.

Not that I'm fretting too much about this.  Not at all!  I swear!  (Fret, fret, fret. Fret, fret, fret.)  What?  What are you looking at?

Okay, seriously though, a title is worth some thoughtful consideration.  I'm using the working title Silent Soliloquy because I feel like it reflects the narrator's situation.  I can't say too much lest I give everything away, but she has a story to tell and no one to listen to it.  Hence the name.  So, it works on that level for me, but at the same time, it doesn't feel attention-grabbing enough.  Oh well.  I have time to consider that while I work on the more important piece of this puzzle: the story itself.  And that part, I feel, is going well.

Thanks for letting me vent a little.  Now, I should get back to work!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Dr. Seuss, Writer and Philosopher

I don't have time for a lengthy post.  It's been a busy day.  Still, I was thinking about childhood, and I started reflecting on how philosophical Dr. Seuss could be.  His philosophy on life was a positive one for kids, and it's presented in such a lyrical and fun way that it sticks with you.

That's why I decided to acknowledge this by sharing some of my favorite Seuss quotes.

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.” 

― Dr. Seuss

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...” 

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” 

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.” 

“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” 

― Dr. Seuss

“You're off to Great Places!

Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So... get on your way!” 

“I am weird, you are weird. Everyone in this world is weird. One day two people come together in mutual weirdness and fall in love.” 

― Dr. Seuss

Do you have any favorite quotes from childhood that helped shape your personal philosophy?

Friday, November 1, 2013

Scales of Time

Here's a bit of poetry I wrote in about twenty minutes while my kids were eating lunch.  Hope you enjoy!  Or not, because it's not the most cheerful thing in the world.  I'm just hoping you'll consider it for a little while.

Scales of Time

Image courtesy of Tactician/
Seconds stretch on, seemingly to infinity
as you await the dreaded news, clinging to hope.
You feel the shadow of death lurking about you
as your own mortality becomes a stark reality.

Days fly by in a whirlwind, blending
one into the other as the joys of a life
fulfilled elevate you above the clouds
and you feel, for the moment, invincible.

Weeks drift into months, months to years
and part of you wonders where it all goes.
The limitless possibilities the once lay before you
dwindle bit by bit, so you reflect on the good things.

Then a century has passed, in which generations
rose and fell, each with their own joys and sorrows.
Some continue and with memories of you, but that
will also turn to ash as time marches relentlessly on.

Centuries turn into millennia as the drumbeat of
the universe keeps on, marking the rise and fall
of entire civilizations now, heedless of how many lives
have crumbled beneath its heavy, uncaring feet.

Epochs have passed us by now, and no one even
recalls much of the species from whence you came,
never mind the choices you once made with such care
and deliberation, for they were everything to you.

The steady beat of time will wear away all you know
and will ever know until it is dust, such is the harsh
reality of it all, regardless of your feelings about it,
or any protests you may launch on your behalf.

Yet, if anything, this is not cause for despair.
Odds to the contrary, for you are the result of
countless choices made by your ancestors before,
you are here now, and thus can make the best of it.

Live for now, do what you can to make life better
for those around you, for though it will all turn to dust
that will never obliterate the fact the you were once here
and in spite of some rough patches along the way,
you were happy.