Friday, May 24, 2019

Celebrate the Small Things-May 24, 2019

It's Friday! Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain! I am her co-host.

Sorry I'm posting this a bit late today. Life has been pretty busy. 

For those of you who may not know, our new baby Daisy had some health issues and had to stay in the hospital for the past several days. You can read more about the details in this post. She finally got to come home yesterday, so we're celebrating that. Needless to say, we've been preoccupied with adjusting to home life with a new baby. We've also been feeling a bit on edge, hoping that Daisy stays healthy. It'll probably take a little while before we feel like we can relax on that front.

I'm also celebrating the fact that the awesome Alex J. Cavanaugh presented me with the You Rock Award. When I received the news on Monday, I was feeling pretty overwhelmed with Daisy being sick and all the life complications that came along with that. This news definitely helped brighten my mood, so thanks for that Alex!

What would you like to celebrate?

Monday, May 20, 2019

A Stressful Time

This isn't an easy post for me to write. The last one I wrote was upbeat and ecstatic. It's hard to believe so much has happened since I wrote and scheduled it.

As many of you may know, my daughter Daisy was born last Wednesday. I may be biased, but I think she's absolutely adorable.

Anyway, when I last posted on Friday morning, I was in good spirits because we were scheduled to take Daisy home. I never thought anything would happen to change that. Unfortunately, life likes to throw you the occasional curve ball. Just before we were about to be discharged, the doctor noticed that Daisy was breathing a little fast. Not alarmingly fast, but enough that she wanted to get an x-ray to make sure things looked good. Unfortunately, they didn't look good. The x-ray and follow up blood tests revealed she was starting to develop pneumonia.

Now, I have no idea how she got sick, and I've been driving myself crazy second guessing myself. I'll likely never know how it happened. In the end, it probably doesn't matter. I'm just grateful the doctor caught it before it got worse. Treatment started early enough that she should recover easily. She doesn't even look sick apart from the giant IV she has attached to her head. If she were a little older, she'd be able to take medicine at home without a problem. However, since she's a newborn, she needs to stay in the hospital until she's done with antibiotics.

Needless to say, it's been a stressful time. I've been splitting myself between the hospital and home. When I'm at the hospital with Daisy, I feel guilty for neglecting the rest of my kids. When I'm home taking care of my other kids, I feel guilty for not being there with Daisy. No matter what I do, I feel like I'm doing something wrong. I'm trying not to beat myself up over it, but I can't seem to stop myself.

I'm trying to focus on the positive things. She's eating well. She's been improving every day. The nurses keep commenting on how strong she is. She is going to be okay, and she should finally be home by the end of the week. Sure, it'll be a week later than planned, but better late than never.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Celebrate the Small Things-May 17, 2019

It's Friday! That means it's time to Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain! I am her co-host.

I'm going to keep today's post brief as I've been extremely busy the last couple of days. My daughter Daisy was born on Wednesday, May 15th at 6:57 P.M. She weighs 8 lbs 6 oz. and is 21 inches long. She's healthy and happy, and I'm also doing well.

Here are some pictures of each of her siblings holding her for the first time! They're all super excited!

If all continues to go well, Daisy and I will be heading home from the hospital today. I can't wait to get settled in at home and get into a new routine.

What would you like to celebrate?

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Damien Larkin, Author of Big Red, Talks About Reframing

From an early age, right into my teenage years, I used to go to Tae Kwon Do class twice a week. My best friend had been training for far longer than me, had been to numerous competitions and was a skilled fighter. We fought probably an estimated three hundred times against each other and of those three hundred bouts, my friend’s skill, speed and strength prevailed two hundred and ninety-seven times.

That’s right, I won a grand total of three bouts against him.

Years later, my friend still gets rankled when I bring that up in conversation. The fact that he beat me two hundred and ninety-seven times goes out the window; he just begrudgingly remembers my three victories.

‘Reframing’ is a technique I picked up on years ago and one that has not only changed my perception of life but has been of massive assistance with understanding characters’ points of view in writing. It essentially means changing your point of view of an event, to a different outlook. The above example is a tongue-in-cheek jab at one of my best friends, but the premise is the same. At looking at the stats, it’s clear he’s a far better fighter than I am, yet by that same logic (and to my friend’s chagrin) he still has to live with the fact that I beat him three times.

This can be helpful when exploring a character whose values or goals may not align to your own. To try and get a better understanding of a character’s point of view, I try to see and hear things entirely from their perspective. I essentially build a frame around it and based on that character’s beliefs, try to understand how and why they react the way they do.

Likewise, reframing can come in handy in everyday life and day-to-day situations. When my first self-published novel crashed and burned after a very promising start, my initial response was to see it as an absolute failure. Afterwards, I reframed it as a learning experience. I took a cold, surgical look at everything I had done for this project, from the cover design, to the marketing, even to the pacing and flow of the story. Within a week, I had identified a dozen amateur mistakes I had made and vowed to learn from the experience, rather than look back on it as something traumatic.

Unfortunately, we all have to deal with negative experiences but changing how we view them can be a powerful aid to improving our outlook. Without reframing, there are countless things I probably never would have achieved. I certainly wouldn’t be celebrating my debut novel Big Red being released worldwide!

Big Red
By Damien Larkin

We have always been here...
Traumatized by the effects of Compression travel, soldier Darren Loughlin holds the key to the fate of Earth's Martian colonies. With his Battalion decimated, his fractured memory holds the only clues to the colony-wide communications blackout.

With time running out, Darren pieces together his year-long tour of duty with the Mars Occupation Force. Stationed in the Nazi-founded New Berlin colony, ruled by the brutal MARSCORP, he recounts his part in the vicious, genocidal war against the hostile alien natives and all who question Terran supremacy.

But as his memories return, Darren suspects he is at the centre of a plot spanning forty years. He has one last mission to carry out. And his alien enemies may be more human than he is...

Damien Larkin is a part-time Planning Analyst and a full-time stay-at-home father of two young children. He enjoys turning terrifying nightmares into novels and currently resides in Dublin, Ireland.


Friday, May 10, 2019

Celebrate the Small Things-May 10, 2019

It's Friday! Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain! I am her co-host.

First of all, I'm celebrating the fact that I'm 39 weeks pregnant. That means our newest little girl will be making an appearance sometime soon. I honestly cannot wait. I don't really walk anymore. I waddle like a penguin. That's made keeping up with an active toddler much more interesting.

My boys had their spring concert for school last night. They always love performing on stage, and they did such a great job!

My son Lyle is turning 8 tomorrow! He's been counting down the days for the last month. I jokingly told him that his birthday gift will be his new baby sister. He replied that while he's excited about a baby sister, what he really wants is a hoverboard.

Finally, the live Author Q & A event for Masquerade: Oddly Suited is also tomorrow! Here's the link for you to follow if you're interested in taking part.

What would you like to celebrate?

Friday, May 3, 2019

Celebrate the Small Things-May 3 2019

It's Friday! Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain. I am her co-host.

One super exciting thing happened this week, but most of you will already know about this. For anyone who may not, I'll say it again! The fourth IWSG anthology Masquerade: Oddly Suited came out on Tuesday. It's great seeing my story "Oddly Suited" in print. What author doesn't love that feeling?

My fellow authors and I have set up a Rafflecopter giveaway to help promote the book, and there's still a little time to join in for a chance to win. What's the prize? A $50 Amazon gift card! Who wouldn't want a chance at that?

We had a chance of snow a few days ago, but it didn't really happen. At least, not where I live. People living north of my neck of the woods weren't quite so fortunate. I'm glad we avoided the worst of the weather, although it was still quite chilly and rainy here. I'll still take that over a snowstorm at this point.

The process of editing my WIP has been slow over the last couple weeks, but I've gotten back into it again. I don't know how much work I'll actually get done in the near future since I'm having a baby soon, but I'll embrace whatever progress I can make.

What would you like to celebrate?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

The Insecure Writer's Support Group: May 2019

It's the first Wednesday of the month, and you know what that means! Let's convene another meeting of The Insecure Writer's Support Group. Our leader Alex J. Cavanaugh has rounded up another great bunch of co-hosts: Lee Lowery, Juneta Key, Yvonne Ventresca, and T. Powell Coltrin.

Be sure to check out the IWSG website for lots of great resources!

One piece of big news is that the latest IWSG anthology came out yesterday!

Masquerade: Oddly Suited
An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology
Release date – April 30, 2019
Young Adult Fiction: Romance - General/Paranormal/ContemporaryPrint ISBN 9781939844644  $14.95
EBook ISBN 9781939844651  $4.99

Find love at the ball…

Ten authors explore young love in all its facets, from heartbreak to budding passion. Featuring the talents of L.G. Keltner, Jennifer Lane, C.D. Gallant-King, Elizabeth Mueller, Angela Brown, Myles Christensen, Deborah Solice, Carrie-Anne Brownian, Anstice Brown, and Chelsea Marie Ballard.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these ten tales will mystify and surprise even as they touch your heart. Don your mask and join the party…

Founded by author Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group offers support for writers and authors alike. It provides an online database; articles; monthly blog posting; Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram groups; #IWSGPit, and a newsletter.


Now let's move on to the optional question for this month.

What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

Language is indeed powerful. I think I knew this from an early age when I listened to stories of adventure and imagined myself taking part in those adventures. Language can inspire. It can motivate. It can educate. These are all wonderful things, and even though I was too young to put that into words, I knew I wanted to be a writer so I could harness that ability for myself.

That power goes both ways, though. I learned a lot about how destructive words could be after I started Kindergarten. I've always been socially awkward, and that caused me a lot of problems as a kid. I had a hard time making friends, and a lot of other kids made fun of me. The old saying "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me" sounds great in principle, but it really isn't true. Words can inflict a tremendous amount of hurt.

Fortunately, writing has always been a source of strength for me. When times get tough, I write. I use my writing to fashion new realities. It's a way of escaping reality. It's also a way of coming to terms with difficult things and trying to make the world a better place.

How did you learn about the power of language?