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Monday, January 28, 2013

Monique Bucheger, Middle Grade author

Want a chance to win an Amazon gift card or a free set of books? Check out the blog of Monique Bucheger. She's a great author and friend.  moniquebucheger.blogspot.com

*The giveaway ends On February 1st. * Monique is an author who knows how to work hard. It's been incredible to watch her journey in the literary world.  She's not the kind to let success go to her head. She's helped many people along the way. And many a times she's helped me figure out what to do with my own writing. 

At the moment, Monique's running a blog tour to promote her books. Her most current one, Simply West of Heaven is something that my little niece adored. She wants horses so she can be like Ginnie West. My niece is anxious for Monique to return to Utah so she can meet her fave author. (I don't blame her, I wanna see Monique too.)

Major congrats, Monique. We're rooting you on all the way.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Attention-Seeking-Missile

See the dude on the right? He has more bla bla bla's than the dude on the left. I can totally relate to that.

I have recently realized that I am an attention-seeking-missile when I write. Or okay, all the time, writing or not. I laugh and joke loudly, sometimes verging on obnoxiously. I can't resist inserting that perfect little zinger when someone else is talking (hopefully when they've paused for breath, not in the medias res of a sentence.) I make faces when I tell stories, and I can't imagine telling one without appropriately placed accents. I love drawing out a tale to the last possible second before dropping the bomb, or twist, or punchline, and watching people's faces morph from curious waiting/slow connecting, to the nearly audible click of understanding and the involuntary guffawing that follows. I. Heart. That.

Does that make me bad? I used to think so. Did NOT like how much I talked. Worried about my hyper brain making all these whackadoo connections that I was so dying to share with someone. Stressed that I cannot tell a tale without waving my arms about and tourettes-ing my face and voice beyond all recognition.

So I worked on it. Tried to pull back. Felt like I made progress. And then I started writing.

Ack. ACK. I can't write normal. I can't not be a spaz when I write. AND I can't not care if someone isn't reading it. Especially that. I care a lot if someone is reading. And enjoying. And possibly even commenting.

Oh. My. Gosh. It's clinical. I'M A WRITING NARCISSIST! I mean, pure writers don't do that, right? My Gnomies don't do that. Seriously. These two chickiewickies write for the pure joy of writing. They don't die if no one reads or comments. They don't feel all sad inside.  They just want to improve their craft. They're freaking healthy. I want to smack them.

Well, I was on the verge of checking myself into an Audienc-aholic Detox center, when my sister-in-law came over and had a chat with me. She asked how I feel when I don't get audience feedback. Is it important to me? Do I feel all woebegone if I don't know that people (or even person) are reading my words and maybe getting something out of them? Or am I happy to write just to be writing. 

Pretty sure you know the resounding answer to that.

"Well," she said, in a rough summation of what she actually said, because it was a few days ago and I can't really remember correctly because I've been super busy and have Hashimoto's and adrenal fatigue and isn't that a handy excuse? "Well then. You're a performer who writes. Not a writer who writes. You love audiences. You love the connection and the bonding you get with your audience. You love to know you've made them laugh and smile and think and feel better. When you write you want that too. It's just a different writing personality, that's all."

Oh.

OH!

So I'm not mentally and morally deficient? I'm not self-absorbed? (Well, not completely.) I'm not obnoxious? OKAY, OKAY, LETS NOT PUSH IT A'IGHT?

You know, sometimes, even though you can't really do anything to change a thing, it really helps to know what that thing is. Makes  it easier to deal with. You know, like that old saying: "The devil you know is better than the devil you don't." Or something like that.

So, dearest darlings. Know that I write because I love you. And I want to bring joy to you. Laced with spazziness. And I'll try not to weep if no one reads it. And I'll rejoice if even one person does, and hope that it made their life a little brighter. And I'll embrace that part of me. While totally recommending -- from this new and wondrous place of wisdom in which I now reside -- that you do the same thing with your own self. Figure out why you do things, and embrace it rather than reject it. Leverage it for good and happiness for yourself and others. Figure out how it brings joy and be cool with that. Not saying we can't change, but we can change from a place of positiveness. And maybe who we are is great enough, and it doesn't need to change at all. Just be accepted.

Right. That's my nugget for today. I'll try to chat at you again sometime this week, since it's my week and I'm the boss of it.

Have a great one, my friends!


(all artwork by hikingartist.com - allowed for public use)

Monday, January 14, 2013

A fave Author and believe in your self


I've been in a serious reading mood lately and my fave author's right now is Candace Gleave. She has a way with writing fresh and real characters. Plus, she always chooses stunning scenery to mesh with her books. In her latest short story, Scarecrows: The Jilted Bride, she combined weddings and freaky scarecrows to make for a freaky ambience.

All her books make for a good read.
Here's a link if you are curious. http://www.amazon.com/Screams-Night-Terror-Prose-Design/dp/1479190497/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1357605916&sr=8-7&keywords=screams+in+the+night


The New Year has brought many surprises. My little brother gave me a card that read: I will always believe in you. One little sentence struck such a nerve with me. I needed to hear his words. We all have a dream that we are pursuing. We give our heart and energy toward this one goal. We need people to believe in us but we also have to believe in ourselves.

Maybe you want to be a writer, artist or whatever just know that your dream is not out of reach.

You can be whatever it is you want to be but you have to believe in yourself.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Sherlock, Xena, and Non-Resolutions


Happy New Year, Gnomeslayers! This was my first view of 2013 last Tuesday morning.



Even though I don't believe in resolutions, I can't help but think of a new year as a chance for a fresh start. I've been doing some thinking. I don't like New Year's resolutions because I never keep them. It's just setting myself up to start a new year feeling like a loser. However, this doesn't mean I don't have goals. I love to finish things, almost to a pathological degree. For example: I've had an impressive stack of books on my desk for months. My Goodreads to-read list is about a mile long. I can't pick up a new book without thinking, "Okay, gotta finish this baby as fast as I can so I can go on to the next one so I can go on to the next one so I can get rid of this giant pile of books because I SWEAR THEY'RE STARING AT ME WONDERING WHY I HAVEN'T READ THEM YET."

There is something wrong about that.

Another example. I was feeling a little under the weather this weekend, so I finally started watching Sherlock to pass the time. (Thank you, Netflix streaming!) (And yes, I totally get what all the fuss is about.) Sherlock only has six episodes so far, so that won't be too difficult to finish. But when I needed a break from the cerebral writing, dry British wit, dense (in a good way) plots, and even the adorable Martin Freeman who I'd like to carry around with me in my pocket, I started browsing for something lighter.

I landed on  . . . Xena: Warrior Princess. Yes, she of the leather armor, icy blue eyes, and fierce battle ululation who tore through an ancient Greece that looked nothing like ancient Greece because it was actually New Zealand. Her courage will change the world, you know.

 Man, I loved that show as a kid. Clicking "play" made my inner twelve-year-old very happy. And I got to thinking, I should watch the whole series again! That would be so fun! Except there are six seasons, one hundred and thirty-four episodes in all. For a moment, I was seized by my fiendish need to finish something again. Suddenly it wasn't about enjoying some mindless entertainment to distract myslef from the fact I wasn't feeling well. It was about getting through the entire show as fast as possible.

See what I mean? People, it ain't right.

Which brings me to my 2013 non-resolution. I'm not going to be so focused on finishing anymore. I know this is a cliché, but I'm going to focus on the journey. I'm going to enjoy the books I read, get lost in them, drink in what they have to offer and learn from the authors' craft. And I'm not going to worry about how long it takes. I'm going to be open to whatever this year has in store, rather than trying to control everything all the time. I might even finish all of Xena, but in small bites, having discovered the hard way that you can only watch so much Xena at once before your brain starts dribbling out of your ears.

I have some new writing plans too. I've signed up for a screenwriting class, something I've never tried before. I'm also going to back away from the blog a little bit. In fact, Janiel, Russo and I are all going to try a new blogging schedule for awhile. Not to worry - we're not going away. We love this blog, and we love you, our readers. But our writing energy and focus are limited, plus we've all got tons of other stuff going on in our lives, just like everyone else. For now, I'll be posting the first week of the month, Russo will post the second, and Janiel the third. The fourth post will be a surprise of some kind - a guest poster, or a group post. Who knows. Either way, it'll be fun. We'll see how it goes.

What are your plans for 2013? If you feel like sharing, I'd like to hear about your resolutions, or non-resolutions, in the comments.




Aye, Captain.


Friday, January 4, 2013

World Peace in a Quilt

View from my porch. My house would love to cuddle up and sip orange-cocoa inside that house. :) We ended up with about a foot of snow and my nephew's car.
You know what it's like to wake up after a really satisfying nap, or all-night sleep, and look out the window where the wind is blowing and the snow is piling up on your garbage can lid and fence posts, and you smile and snuggle into your pile of fourteen quilts, close your eyes, and dream about waking up much later and making hot cocoa? Without disturbing the kids? Or the dogs? Or the whatever-else-lives-in-your-house-with-you? Just you alone with the cocoa and the snowy yard. For like five minutes, until the aforementioned whatever-else-lives-in-your-house jumps out of bed and piles onto you?

Yeah. That was the entire Christmas holiday for our family.

There were no explosions of any kind--either people or chocolate. There was plenty of snow--which we love--and my tree didn't die--which I really love. Psychotically love. Like, I can't take the dead-after-two-weeks-and-now-my-house-might-burn-down trees anymore. And this year I threatened to get a fake tree but was mutinied against until I found a place where we chopped down our own, thus guaranteeing a live tree through Easter. Anyway, tree-angst was gone--and we spent Christmas Eve with family, eating hot-wings and trading embarrassing stories and laughing our guts out until all hours. (Which at our ages and road conditions was only until about 9:00 p.m.) It was grand. We did wrap the whole thing up at New Year's with a rather distasteful gastro-bug, but even then, we stayed friendly. It stayed snowy. And we stayed cozy.

That is the way to start a new year. And I'd like it to stay that way. I'd like us as a world to dump all the spazziness of the past decade or so--and especially the past year--and just be a nice, happy, friendly, kind, laughter-filled population for a while. I'm sure we're more than capable of doing that. We live in a generally civilized world after all.

So, can we do that for the new year? Set a goal to keep it nice. And respectful. And happy to be different from one another. Not threatened. Working to help each other. It's what will make the world keep going 'round. I'm willing to throw that out there and give it a try. You?

If we do it and make it another year, then you're all invited to come snuggle under my fourteen blankets and watch season 3 of Sherlock and season 4 of Downton. I'll provide the cocoa. You can bring the French toast.

Happy 2013, peeps. Time to prove the Mayans wrong.


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

My holiday filled with 50 Shades, erupting chocolate pots and more

Before I forget, I wanted to send a major congrats to a good writing friend, Monique Bucheger. Her first novel The Secret Sisters Club was nominated for a 2012 Whitney Award. For anyone who wants to read her novel here is a link on Amazon.http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Sisters-Club-Adventure-ebook/dp/B007IK2WF6/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1357177594&sr=1-1&keywords=the+secret+sisters+club

So my good friends, did ya survive the holidays? I hope the festive season treated you well. Me on the other hand, the holidays were an adventure. I got covered in chocolate while sitting at the dinner table.

Here are the details; every Christmas eve my family does a fondue meal. We have boiling pots of cheese, beef broth and more. This year we decided to try a chocolate pot. And that didn't work. Did you know that a boiling pot of chocolate will explode? Well, it does.

I was the first to try the pot of chocolate. I had my marshmallow on my fork ready to dip it in the chocolate. Looking back, I should've lightly plopped the marshmallow in the chocolate but nooo, I had to all out jam the marshmallow in the pot. Needless to say, the pot erupted like a volcano. I had chocolate in my hair and dripping down my cheek.

If that wasn't bad enough we all had an enlightening dinner discussion, my cousin gave the whole story line of Fifty Shades of Grey. Aren't you jealous?

The holidays are always filled with hijinxs. I hope you had a great holiday season. Here's hoping 2013 treats everyone well.