Time to Celebrate!


Welcome to week 15 of the MFRW blog hop.

This week’s prompt: How I celebrate completing my manuscript.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How appropriate since I just completed Break Line!

I have different levels of celebration for completion. For instance,  I finished Faere Warrior: Passion’s Price and celebrated by doing an online giveaway party, going out to lunch with author friends, and of course the happy dance at home. Faere Warrior was accepted by a small house publisher along with Faere Guardian, Faere Mage, and Realm Wars with the stipulation that I do a prequal. I’m still working on the prequal –Rift, but the series has developed a lot more since that manuscript and I’ve learned a great deal since then.  I didn’t meet the deadline for submitting Rift, so the offer was withdrawn. My own fault there.

Releasing Book One for Realm Wars series, Rift is written in my planner –  in ink! I’m hoping to finish revisions on Faere Warrior by the end of the year as well.

I completed Break Line and am going today to celebrate with a luncheon with a fellow author,  the instigator of the anthology as a matter of fact! AND, to celebrate:

With Red Wine & Roses,  I didn’t celebrate until I received my box of books from Createspace. I made a steak dinner and Red Wine Chocolate Cake for dessert.

After completing Roxy Sings the Blues, I rewarded myself with a mani-pedi, and a fresh haircut to tame the short growth into a manageable coif! This one was a huge accomplishment for me after going through cancer treatment. I needed the pampering!

I will have Valkyrie’s Curse: The Awakening completed in May. What do you think I should do to celebrate? I’m trying to get away from food as a reward, although . . . I cook at home most of the time and we rarely go out to restaurants. Maybe something in addition to a night out?

 

Go check out what others are sharing on this topic: MFRW BLOG HOP. Be sure to leave comments!

Write on my friends, write on!

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Win, Lose, or Draw


Welcome to week 12 of the MFRW blog hop.

This week’s prompt: My contest experience: Win Lose or draw!

 

How far back do you want to go? Hmmm . . .

In Junior High, there were essay contests.  I won 2nd place in our 8th-grade competition out of 120 students. I think I won a gift certificate to Spinning Wheels for a season pass. Disco Skating was all the rage and the roller rink was where the in-crowd hung out.  It was an essay about exploring, modern-day Tom Sawyer girl scout entrepreneurial adventure! I reread that about a year ago as I was clearing out some of the junk, and tossed it.  It would make you shudder to see the poor grammar. In a way, it brought a smile to my face as I was obviously very naive, had an idealistic view of the world, with childish expectations. Remind me again, why were we in such a hurry to grow up???

In my high school days, I took the obligatory English Composition but then took 2 creative writing classes. I loved those classes. The teacher,  a 5-foot tall lady named Mrs. White, who was married to the girls’ basketball coach – obviously Mr. White who was 6′ 6″. They were quite a pair! Anyway, Mrs. White encouraged me to submit a couple of my short essays to competitions in the region.  I got an honorable mention in a competition hosted at Lindenwood College.  It was a humorous piece, but I don’t have a copy of it anymore.

My passion for writing continued to a degree, I wrote several more short essays between 1000 and 5000 words. Most of which didn’t even get honorable mentions. During my college years,  who has time to write for fun??? I wrote term papers, assigned reports, and other miscellaneous papers that were required for my classes.  I usually got A’s on my term papers.

One mention here,  I wrote a report on the Battle of Antietam for a US History class.  I got an A on the paper,  but the instructor wrote a note on the side that it wasn’t necessary to be quite so graphically descriptive in my report, that it nearly made him sick reading my descriptives.  The Battle of Antietam was the bloodiest battle of the Civil War. It isn’t my fault that he assigned that one to me. I wasn’t about to copy verbatim the research I read before writing my version.  It isn’t my fault that the weaponry of the day didn’t kill a man with one shot.  At least it wasn’t a medieval battle with broadswords and hatchets. The fact that he could connect to the horrors of battle as described in my paper means that I nailed that scene,  right?

Then the years went by while working for the defense department,  working in the corporate world,  raising my children and there wasn’t any time for writing or pursuing my writing dreams. Once my kids were in school,  I had a little more time that I could put my thoughts down and started entering contests again.   I sent in a few submissions to Writer’s Digest contests and other contests. I had a few responses but few wins.  Then I entered a competition for the opinion column and won. It was a rotating position with 3 others and mine got a LOT of feedback. That was really the turning point when I started putting more efforts into my writing whether it’s fiction or humor.

It’s been a long bumpy road for me from those early efforts to now. If I had it to do over I may make some changes but since I don’t,  these are life lessons along my highway. Live, Learn, do better!

 

 

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Write on my friends, write on!

If Only!


Welcome to week 11 of the MFRW blog hop. This week’s prompt is: If Only I Never Had to Do This One Task again . . .

 

When I sell enough books on a regular basis to hire a personal assistant,  I will.  Then, I will never have to . . . . Oh wait,  I still would probably have to do those things. Top on my list would be writing the cover blurb. UGH!

I find it ironic that I can write a blurb for a friend or tweak their starting efforts enough that it’s back cover worthy.  When I start to write my own blurb, however . . . *crickets*.

Why is that? Is it because I am too familiar with the story?  I know too much and tend to want to give out details? I know two amazing authors who are fantastic with blurbs.  I can send them a starting point and they will send me back something I can use! This is one of the reasons I have done pro bono work for those friends.

*Will trade editing for blurbs and elevator pitch!*

Blurbs would definitely be at the top of my list,  but then there is also mailing the packages – I have carried packages around in my car for days before actually stopping at the post office.

* hangs head in shame*

On a more personal note,  if I never had to wash another dish in my life, I would be all too happy.  Same goes for rinsing/loading/unloading the dishwasher. There are days when I consider investing in the paper plate industry and buying an industrial-sized case at Costco. That’s right,  I hate doing dishes! If it weren’t for my eco-friendly daughter that has us consistently recycling, nope,  I just can’t see the point of adding to the landfills because I don’t like doing dishes. If it’s just my lunch, I’ve been known to just use a paper towel for a sandwich. Eliminate the need to wash more!

You were probably expecting something deep and earth-shattering, but nope –  just the dishes. I don’t think I could get away with serving a can of peaches in the can, or persuading the hubs to just use a napkin instead of a plate. . .  never going to happen.

Maybe when I have the resources to hire a personal assistant,  then I can hire a maid as well!

Everyone has their dreams,  mine in this area are pretty simple.

Go check out what others are sharing on this topic at: MFRW BLOG HOP. Be sure to leave comments!

Write on my friends, write on!

Memoires from the Quarry Girl


Welome to week 10 of the MFRW blog hop. Yeah, yeah, yeah,  I’ve missed a few but I’ve had mostly good reasons. We’ll get to that in a bit. This week’s prompt is: Things Only my Family would understand.

OH, now y’all are getting personal. You know, there are some things about my personal life that I’d rather not share. I’ve got issues.  My issues have issues. those issues have itty bitty baby issues of their own.

I have to ask myself,  what does this have to do with writing?  What does this matter to anyone besides embarrassing the life out of me????? Whatever, let me grab a cup of joe and we’ll jump in with the top 5 Things Only My Family Would Understand. You might want to take this opportunity to run to the bathroom,  just in case you find these funny and have a laughing fit.

Alright, here we go –

Top 5 Things Only My Family Would Understand

  1. Don’t Move My Table We have a small eat-in kitchen. When my daughters were teens,  they developed this habit of pushing themselves away from the table. As they were nearly adult sized,  they pushed the table about three inches, and suddenly the plate my husband and I were eating from is three inches to the right.We’ve gone round and round about this. It’s a major pet peeve of mine. Sometimes I come in from doing whatever and my table has been moved on purpose, or one end of the table is angled closer to the wall. I’ve been known to bellow from the kitchen down the hall “Who moved my table?” in a not so pleasant voice. They usually just snicker which then ticks me off more.
  2. Radioactive Turkey Everytime Thanksgiving comes around, or Dad is cooking,  I hear the pathetic cries of  “You’re not going to make us eat radioactive turkey again are you?” Long story – when my girls were in 4th and 2nd grades, I went away for a ladies retreat weekend – actually it was like five days of bliss, with a spa day,  and luxury massages, dinner out for the duration that I didn’t have to ook or clean up –  it was heaven!  Yeah, I was glad to get back to my family,  but oh those days of being pampered. . . anyway, I digress.  So, while I was away, the hubs was in charge of feeding our children. They had such luxury foods such as beenie weenies, frozen pizza, burnt scrambled eggs,  ravioli from a can, you get the idea. I do 99% of the cooking in our household. So, on Saturday afternoon, after a busy morning of cooking cleaning and laundry, time got away from him and they were like “We’re hungry” around 2 o’clock. He checked my menu – because I made sure they had three meals and snacks for the time I was away.  Come on, I’m not a horrible mom. So he read the menu – chicken broccoli with rice. He opens the fridge, and there are not Chinese takeout boxes of Chicken broccoli. Hmmm, so he calls and asks –  the chicken breasts are in the freezer,  the veggies –  carrots celery, bok choy, and broccoli are in the vegetable drawer –  just in case they wanted stir fry and not just the broccoli. Then I told him since you didn’t thaw the chicken out this morning,  you’ll have to switch the dinner for lunch and have that later. Too much work,  so he took out this frozen family dinner thing that we had gotten from a monthly food box plan for a while.  I have no idea how long it had been up there because honestly,  it sounded disgusting. Turkey and dressing, frozen in a cardboard box.  When he peeled the top off,  the “Gravy”  was a chartreuse radioactive color. Of course, when I arrived home Sunday afternoon,  the girls clung to my leg. “Dad tried to feed us radioactive turkey!”
  3. Crow sandwiches – I think I’ve shared this tale before,  but here goes again. Back in 2009 when my mother passed away, she left the house to my siblings and myself.  Five of us to have to agree on everything. The chances of the planetary alignment happening again in this century has better odds. I got into a heated discussion with my second sister. They are both older,  but she’s the younger of the two.  Anyway,   after a few hours,  I knew I had to make amends.  I was standing at the kitchen counter, slicing chicken breasts to make filets for sandwiches. My husband called to say he would be a little late, and I told him that I was going to have to eat some crow. My youngest was sitting at the kitchen table coloring. When I served the pan fried chicken breast filets on kaiser rolls,  she cried.  “I don’t want to eat crow.”  I didn’t understand what she was talking about, then through sobs, she told me:  “This morning you told dad he was going to have to go shoot those crows because they kept eating Ginger’s food. Then I heard you tell dad we were going to have to eat crow.” Now keep in mind that my husband was laid off for 18 months and things were unbelievably tight. So since then when I fix chicken filets,  they are crow sandwiches.
  4. Bleeding Out Your Eyeballs When my kids were school aged, specifically junior high and high school they started the wanting to skip shool thing.  “I’m sick.” “I don’t feel good.”  Hey, I knew all the tricks.  back when I was in school,   my parents left the hosue before our bus came. I have to admit,  there were a few days that I took advantage of it.  But,  I had things I really enjoyed at school. For one,  if you missed school the week of a track meet, you couldn’t participate.  You still had to go, but you were benched.  I hated being benched.  Anyway,  so the kids are pleading with me,  their stomach hurts,  they have cramps they feel feverish (always I mean always have the thermometer ready!) So after the assessment,  my standard answer was. take some Pepto, aspirin, Tylenol, eat a piece of toast,  go poop – followed by “You’re not bleeding out your eyeballs so you’re going to school!”  They hated it then and still hate it now.
  5. Quarry Girl This is my husband’s favorite nickname to tease me with. I grew up in a small town smaller than the one I live in now. My parent’s home was in a valley just below a quarry. every Tuesday morning and Friday morning,  they would blast dynamite and the whole house would rattle,  sometimes pictures fell off the wall. The walls were plaster,  so my father was reluctant to even put things on the walls. The quarry was a dangerous place so of course as kids,  we snuck under the gates as often as we could. The mounds of sand and gravel were ideal for sledding, or in the summertime we would run up the ramp that the trucks would dump their loads down and jump as far as we could. Other times we climbed on the rocks or scaled the cliffs.  I can’t laugh at the stupid things kids do today because we did stupid things too. One particularly hot summer,  we were jumping down the face of the sand pile –  you would sink up to your hips at times – and just after my friends and I finished that round of jumps, a big cavity caved in, and snakes and tarantulas poured from this “air pocket”.  I have to say,  it was the last time we did those jumps. I got bit by a copperhead climbing on the rocks in that quarry. I sprained my ankles more than a few times.  We were chased off of the premises more than a few times and were lucky to not have charges pressed against us. But, my husband thought it was hysterical as he grew up on a farm. He teases me about being a redneck quarry girl. *Shrugs* I guess I am.  Not everyone can claim the title, or get it.

So there it is,  a whole lot more about me than you ever wanted to know!  Hope that it offered a few laughs. So, back to the reason I have been AWOL, . . . I shared the other day about the anthology that I have been asked to be a part of,  and I’ve been plotting, drafting and rewriting my short story for this anthology.

I am pleased to say that a few days ago, I typed THE END!!! It’s gone to a couple beta readers and is now in the hands of my wonderful editor. WHEW!  Can’t wait to share the cover reveal – soon!

Go check out what others are sharing on this topic at: MFRW BLOG HOP. Be sure to leave comments!

Write on my friends, write on!

Twain, The Muse, and Hannibal


twain

It had been a difficult week, and lining up to be a difficult month.  I didn’t want it to continue to a year.  Rejection is part of a writer’s career, but six rejections in one day were too much.  The strain of rejection flowed into the strained relationship with my muse.  No matter how I begged and pleaded, she remained silently aloof, watching me flounder.

            After several days of writing and rewriting the same chapter to the same book I’d been working on for over a year, I reached an epiphany.  Maybe I wasn’t cut out for this writing thing after all and my delusions of grandeur were as much fantasy as those published writings I’d been reading.

            Mom was right after all.  I was just wasting time daydreaming and avoiding responsibility.  My muse must have had her ears attuned to the despair and negative vibes that surrounded me.  The fickle minx chose that as a cue for her departure.

            I knew the moment she had abandoned me, it was for someone whose talent was providing them with a generous income; an income that would keep the traitorous muse in chocolate, silk, and pearls.  I could see her in my mind’s eye lounging on a chase in a tropical location inspiring one of my favorite authors.  She stared back at me in a familiar smugness, lowered her sunglasses and smirked.  She lifted her glass of champagne to me as a sun-bronzed server named Javier brought her a sumptuous platter of crab legs and assorted tropical fruits.  I stared at the tuna salad sandwich on my plate and lost my appetite.

            Feeling like a miserable failure, I’d lost my appetite for just about everything in my life.  Not being prone to depression, my mental state obviously showed.  My husband decided we needed a change of scenery for the weekend.  Money is tight as always but sanity is worth the investment.

            We found ourselves in Hannibal, Missouri.  The term quaint was coined for this small town that is approximately one hundred miles north of St. Louis.  I wanted to be on a beach somewhere tropical–sticking my tongue out at Ms. Fickle Muse – not on the banks of the muddy Mississippi River.  I could hear her riotous laughter at my expense. Inwardly I pouted at the unfairness of the whole situation.

            Best known as the birth place of Mark Twain, this riverfront town has definitely retained the charm of history.  There is a nearly palpable sense of the slower, peaceful pace that is so foreign in our high tech instant world today.  A welcomed sense of lazy summer days offered retreat to the stressful state of mind I had been caught up in.

            A dinner cruise on the Mark Twain riverboat eased us into the relaxed atmosphere of Hannibal.  The soothing rumble of the engine as the boat chugged slowly over the water worked like a massage for our minds.  The spectacular sunset viewed from the top deck with a gentle breeze coming off the water offered the perfect sigh of relaxation to end the day.

Mark Twain riverboat            Back at our hotel, the hot tub offered further relaxation and real conversation, something we hadn’t actually engaged in for some time.  We discussed our job frustrations, family troubles, our growing teenagers, and our future.  It had been so long since we had considered, much less actually talk about our dreams for the future, it seemed strained at first.  It didn’t take long for us to look past the current circumstances to find hope again.

            As I reconnected with my soul-mate, it occurred to me that I hadn’t realized how disconnected we had become.  The busy state in which we lived, the stress we accepted as part of everyday life, and the pressure we were both feeling had been robbing us of enjoying life.  How did we get so caught up in the mess that we forgot to live?

            The next day we visited the Mark Twain museum, Samuel Clemens boyhood home, and Mark Twain Cave.  There was a walking tour of numerous Victorian homes which cost nothing, except a bucket of sweat from the sweltering July temperatures. Ironically the walking tour was far more satisfying than the other tours.

            Over cold drinks and hot pizza, we talked about Twain. I was reminded in the museum that Twain’s Adventures of Tom Sawyer was the first book  I had read voluntarily.  I became fascinated by the adventure of the book.  A whole new world was opened to me through literature.  That book sparked a life long passion of reading, which led to a passion for writing.

            I contemplated this on a deep intimate level, suddenly aware that Ms. Fickle Muse was nowhere to be found when inspiration struck in my childhood.  Multiple notebooks filled with the tales of dragons, knights, monsters, and ordinary people that turned out to be heroes and heroines popped into my mind.  There was certainly not a lack of imagination on my part, so when did she (the muse) show up?

            We discussed the difficulties of Twain’s life.  The adversity that Mark Twain went through in his life could have easily been overwhelming to most people.  Yet, through all of it he managed a certain sagacious wit that is distinctly Twain.

All copyrights to this photo belong to Rockcliff Mansion management.

All copyrights to this photo belong to Rockcliff Mansion management.

            The final day we visited a turn of the century manor called Rockcliffe Mansion. Although renovations were going on in parts of the manor, the tour was well worth it.  It was full of lavish furnishings that were original to the home.  There were crystal chandeliers in numerous rooms.  A very large stained glass window on the landing of the stairwell was designed by Tiffany.  The servants’ quarters were more spacious than the master bedroom of our modest home.  Rockcliffe is a 13,500 square foot American Castle built to showcase Mr. John J. Cruikshank’s wealth.

All rights reserved to management of Rockcliffe mansion.

All rights reserved to management of Rockcliffe mansion.

            The millionaire lumber baron and his wife had four daughters that they raised in this mansion.  There were handles on the fireplace for the girls to hold while their corsets were being tightened by their attendants.  It was a lavish contrast to the austere home that Samuel Clemens lived in as a boy and not five miles separated the two homes.

            Twain came from very humble beginnings and a life of tragedy yet he became one of America’s most loved and recognized authors.  Very few people remember the millionaire lumber baron Cruikshank.

            I’ve heard it said that tough circumstances don’t last, but tough people do.  I’ve also heard the saying “It’s not how you start, but how you finish.”  Winston Churchill stated “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”     These are statements made by men who have succeeded in their lives.  These were men who overcame adversity in their own life by applying diligence and following their moral convictions to achieve success.

            It struck me like a wrecking ball upside my head that success is achieved, achieved being an action word.  It seemed so simple, so obvious, that I began to laugh.  The tension began to uncoil as I laughed at my own foolish behavior, my own deceptions and frustrations.  It was at that moment my husband chose to return.  The timing was so imperfect, I laughed harder, realizing he must think I’m as crazy as a loon.

            Such is my life. A series of unfortunate and inconvenient incidences, the worst timing, and a knack for outbursts of laughter at the wrong moment that could either cause constant embarrassment or the source of great writing material.  Who needed a muse when I was comedy central-live, twenty four/ seven? What I needed was to slow down and relax.

            I had a goldmine inside me!  I already had the mining tools and the raw material.  I just needed to start the mining process.  Being abandoned by my muse turned out to be one of the best things that could have happened.  When left to my own devices I was faced with the reality that finding out whether I am made of the right stuff is totally up to me and no one else.

            This modest weekend getaway wasn’t at a tropical resort, or even anywhere I would have chosen.  It was in fact exactly where I needed to be to get myself straightened out mentally and emotionally.  After reading about the adversities that Twain overcame in his own life, I felt embarrassed with myself for the pity party I had been indulging in.

            I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel and quit, and I had yet to begin  singing.  The secret to Twain’s success was an old tried and true method.  He didn’t wait for a muse to inspire him. Twain worked many varied jobs.  He worked and he kept at it, never giving up.  He wrote at every opportunity provided and created a few for himself.  “Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.” (Winston Churchill)

            Zig Ziglar, a well known motivational speaker, states that success is made of the following characteristics:  conviction, commitment, hard work, love for what you do, integrity, character, consistency, persistence, discipline, heredity, environment, humor, luck, faith, passion, and connections.

            Mark Twain had commitment; he kept at it when people told him he couldn’t or that he was a hack.  Yes, even Mark Twain had to deal with rejection.  Twain has been quoted as saying: “There are basically two types of people; people who accomplish things, and people who claim to have accomplished things.  The first group is less crowded.”

            As I went through the list checking all the facets that Mark Twain had, I realized that not one of them was having a muse.  Luck didn’t count in his life, unless you counted bad luck. Overcoming adversity provides confidence that the next adversity may be conquered as well.

            That fact had me wondering how my husband and I lined up against the list.  We had lengthy discussions.  We evaluated our strengths, our weaknesses, areas that we needed to improve, and realized there were things we had no control over.  We also realized that there were many more things we could do to achieve our own goals.

            “Do the thing you fear the most and the death of fear is certain.” This quote by Mark Twain is one of my favorites.  It now held new meaning for me.

            Our circumstances do not define who we are.  What we do with those circumstances determines where we end up.  Armed with that bit of information, I made a new plan.  The drive home was enjoyable with real conversation, laughter, smiles (something neither of us had done in a while) and the sense that we were going to get through this mess that we called our lives.  We decided we need to laugh more often and seek the brighter side.  After all, sometimes it comes down to whether you laugh or cry and laughing is much more enjoyable.  The choice is ours.

            That is the whole key.  It is our choice how we handle adversity. Even though Mom always said I was a dreamer, she also took every opportunity to remind me I came from strong stock.  We are stronger than we think we are and able to do much more than we think we can.  It was time to revisit my dreams, and apply myself to achieving them.  Those dreams became a vision.  The vision became a plan to which I added the determination and perseverance.  I made up my mind to pursue those dreams, and not let anything stop me.

           I posted the words of Winston Churchill next to my desk: “Never, never, never give up.” 

            Less than a week later that fickle muse returned in her lazy manner.  She made a grand entrance.  The large brimmed white sun hat tossed on the sofa, she sank into the easy chair with a resolved sigh.  I ignored her.  She brushed an imaginary piece of fuzz from her gloriously tanned arm, then smoothed her designer dress over her flawless figure.  I continued to work.  There was a great deal of gesticulations and posturing before the slightest whisper of exhaled breath as she stated “Well, I’m here.  I guess we can get started now.”

            I mentally told her to go back to where she’d been.  I politely stated there were other writer’s who were waiting for her and she was wasting her time with me.  That mischievous smirk of hers appeared.  She was rather dense and didn’t catch on for a few minutes.  Never looking away from my screen as my fingers flew fast and furious trying to keep up with my brain, I reassured her she could go.

            Several minutes later she sidled up beside me to critique whatever tripe I had been working on while she’d been away.  That was when I had to be blunt.  “This just isn’t working out.  It’s me, not you. You’re fired.  You can let yourself out.”

            As I continued working on the scene that played out on the screen before me, a sense of achievement and a new-found freedom settled in.  Even if I fail, I’ll give it my best efforts.  It won’t be for lack of trying, or from fear of failure.  My conviction is that I will succeed; it’s only a matter of time.

            “History is” as Churchill stated, “written by the victors”.

Write on my friends – I know I will!

I’m Plotting


Yes I am plotting.  I’m not plotting a new novel, I have plenty of thsoe to work on.  I”m not plotting a cemetary into individual graves for the dead horse – that’s just futile.  What I am plotting however is a Grand Mayan end of the World Party!

Yes that’s right!  Prince was a little premature in his “Party like it’s 1999” song.  The purple years have passeed without incident.  Now, however even the national weather bureau is talking of the mayan calender ending summarily on December 21st.  Perhaps my zombie horse was a predictor, it does say in the Bible that the dead shall rise  in the end times.  Hmmmm.

Regardless, we’ve decided that a grand festive Mayan party is in order. Hot chocolate will be served, as will a giant chocolate fountain to cover whatever you will, even the cute guy in the corner! (That’s right I’m talking to you!)   Chocolate coins will be plentiful as the Mayans were rich with gold, and er,  chocolate.  Tortilla chips and salsa will be upon every table, and a tequila fountain flowing in the front corner. Other refreshments will be made available I am just undecided at the moment.

One of those “yule logs” will be burning on the computer screen where the great effigy sacrifice will be made to the jaguar god.  A paper effigy pattern will be made available, so that the guests may attach whoever’s picture on it that they are going to offfer in sacrifice.  At a specified time, effigies will be offered in mass burning on the yule log to appease the great jauguar god and hopefully delay the end of the the world. If that doesn’t work we will offer 10% of the Twinkie stash that was hidden for post apocolyptic survival.

I’m sure some hackers out there somewhere will come up with a Mayan trojan or some other virus to destroy laptops and tablets.  I have no such deviousness planned. Simply a last chance party.  Last chance to live it up if it truly is the end.  Last change to believe that perhaps the Mayans really knew what they were doing an they didn’t die off  becausee some other tribe killed them. I always thought perhaps the calendar maker died and no one else knew how to finish, then of course the Spaniards came in and took over.

Whatever reason, I’m really tired of this whole end of the world thing.  Here’s a news flash – none of us get out of here alive!  I know sounds like a pessimistic view but it’s not.  Everyone has to die eventually.  It’s all just part of the great circle of life. (cue the Lion King music) While everyone is refusing to attend a myriad of holiday parties for religious reasons, my party will be the smash hit of all time – becasue it’s the LAST party of all time!   ROFL  The end of the world does not discriminate for race, creed, color, sex, sexual preference, religious views, or age.

Tribal dancing, effigy sacrifices, mass consumption of chocolate – what can possibly go wrong with that?  Let the tequila fountain flow!

Write on while you can my friends, write on!

 

 

 

 

Same Difference


There are times when people say the stupidest things, and you’re suppose to play it cool.  Grammatical errors are common place. Some have become the norm.  This happens to be one of my “pet peeves” .

While attending a barbecue, one of the guests–Sue– announced she would not be eating the meat, she had become vegetative.  I couldn’t help it, I sprayed tea all over my daughter in an instantaneous reaction.  So much for playing it cool.  The woman spoke volumes.

In my defense, I respect those individuals have decided to live a vegan lifestyle.  Maybe it’s health concerns, maybe it’s moral conscience, whatever it is I applaud you.  It leaves more meat for me.  And yes, I know where meat comes from.  My parents raised poultry, and  I gathered eggs.  I’ve seen the big brown eyes of cows.  I’ve seen the adorable baby pigs.  And yes, I even like venison.

I eat meat.  There!  I’ve said it, and I’m not changing my mind.  Grilled, baked, fried, roasted, smoked, and especially barbecued; I enjoy meat.  Of course, I’m not prejudice, I eat veggies too.  They fill in the space beside the meat on the plate. Let’s not forget the fruit and dairy.  I do have a fondness for dairy.  Ted Drew’s’ livelihood depends on dairy, and I fully support his career choice. If you visit St. Louis, you must have a Ted Drews! While my omnivorous diet isn’t for everyone, it’s definitely for me.

I thought about going vegan once.  Ten minutes later, I heard the honey-glazed ham calling my name and resigned myself that it was destiny.  It’s good to be at the top of the food chain.

In Sue’s defense, she may have actually been commenting about her mental state.  I’ve questioned her brain activity before but figured that since she was able to walk and talk–not necessarily at the same time–she was merely clueless.  Sue is a very beautiful woman who is tall, slender and could easily be a model.  I have a theory that really thin beautiful women are actually so starved of nutrients that their brains can’t function and have shut down the intellectual synapses to conserve life-sustaining functions.

After apologizing for my faux-pas and trying to wipe up the tea, I explained that I thought her misuse of words humorous.  She looked at me like I was a Cretin, and said “It’s the same difference.”

For the record vegetative refers to the absence of brain functions. This condition usually requires life support systems.  Vegetarian refers to the dietary choice to not eat animal flesh or animal byproducts, sometimes  including milk and eggs.

Apparently to Sue, they are one and the same.

Have a great day and go eat some barbecue!

Write on my friends, write on!

Top Ten Reasons Writers Rock!


Welcome to my Monday pep talk. It seems the naysayers and critics are out in force. Why is it the common masses have devolved into grumbling malcontents?  It seems the greater percentage of the population spends more time complaining than anything else.  ARRRGGGHHHH!  Which is why I give myself these pep talks.  What if malcontentment was the first sign of zombification?  I’d have to learn to survive!  So in the preventative  effort of avoiding being turned into a zombie, here’s my top ten reasons why being a writer rocks.

  1. Imaginations:  Who else can come up with the stuff that makes excellent movies, excellent books?  Regardless of the genre, the worlds that writers create takes us to magical places. Whether it’s Neverland, Narnia, or Middle Earth,  the deep magic of the writer’s imagination fuels the reader to experience dangerous thrilling situations without ever being in physical danger.
  2. Deep Pools:  Writer’s tap those deep inner recesses that common folk lock away behind padlocked doors. Some suppress it with Xanax, some with Seagram’s.  You know all those times in movies when you are yelling at the actor on the screen “Don’t go in there!”?  Writers are the twisted individuals that put the “scare” behind the door.  A writer’s mind has more twists and turns  and underground tunnels than the world’s best rollercoaster.  Don’t go into the deep – it’s where the monsters reside.  Unless you’re the writer, then they are your pets.
  3. Power:  Depending on what we write, writers can rule the world.  Disagree? Consider the following: the Harry Potter phenomenon,  created by writer J.K. Rowling; True Blood – Charlaine Harris; Game of Thrones – George R. R. Martin;  The Twilight phenomenon – Stephanie Meyers.  This is the type of success the rest of us strive for.  The power to influence the minds of an entire generation; and crossover to some of the other generations as well.  We really can rule the world.  At least the world we create in our minds.
  4. Therapy:    Both sides of this coin:  those that employ therapists, therefore helping the economy by keeping at least one therapist employed. and those that avoid therapy by the cathartic by-product of their writing.  I’ve heard arguments for demonic exorcism, but I’m not convinced.
  5. Pride:  You know all those people who tell you “Get a real job” ? Think about the pride that we provide for them.  Without a creative, specifically a writer, those working stiffs might not feel so high and mighty about themselves that are so inclined to criticize our daily pursuit.  When the big day comes, and they are scratching their heads or their butts, wondering how it suddenly happened for us, we can take pride in every single hour that we have labored in our pursuits, knowing that we didn’t give up our dreams.  Yeah, like sweating blood is for wimps.
  6. Tensile:    (tnsl, -sl)
    adj.

    1. Of or relating to tension.
    2. Capable of being stretched or extended; ductile.
    • 3. capable of being shaped or bent or drawn out; “ductile copper”; “malleable metals such as gold”; “they soaked the leather to made it pliable”; “pliant molten glass”; “made of highly tensile steel alloy”  There is no way on this green earth that a writer can endure the hardships, the financial strains, and emotional frustrations of the writer’s life without developing some brass. Yeah, notice those descriptives?  Bent, gold,  malleable – oh yeah, I could so go on a tangent there .  * OK secret huddle – yeah, I’m telling you that writers learn to grow a pair, whether they be cahoneys or casabas*  Don’t piss off your writer friends, they are made of tougher stuff than you think.
  7. Sense of Humor  If you don’t learn to laugh, you’ll end up back at number four paying for Dr. Flabio’s Ferrari.  We develop our sense of humor, laughing at ourselves and our failures.  You know that old thing of “this will be funny – someday.”  At the moment the situation may seem bleak, but it’s subject to change.  Circumstances always change.  Great writers learn to not take life so seriously.
  8. Observative Powers  We live in the same world as everyone else, well mostly. We observe the same daily routines as those around us, yet we can see inspiration all the time.  Example:  That little old man who lives down the street using a walker.  Most people see him as a harmless old man, maybe a cranky old man who doesn’t like the neighborhood boys in his yard.  A writer however can create an entire life for the man.  What if he was a former criminal?  Maybe he robbed banks. Maybe he was a murderer that served time, or never got caught.  What if he was the romantic sort in his youth? He romanced his wife, spent several happy years until cancer took her and now he fights putting a bullet in his brain every day. Raw material is all around us.  The non-writer walks by and never sees it, but a writer takes notice of details.
  9. Devious Minds  Refer back to Number 6 when I said don’t piss off your writer friend.  Yeah, we have devious minds.  We will kill you in our books.  It fuels our antagonists, and provides plot points to our work.  Devising torturous methods for the character you become to suffer.  It’s usually not a quick death either.  That would be too simple, too compassionate.  It’s best really that you don’t find out what lurks behind door number 3.
  10. We Are Writers!  Come on, did you really have to read all ten to realize that we as writers are more than the average bear.Most of us work other jobs. Sometimes multiple other jobs.  It’s not what gives us satisfaction.  For a writer, satisfaction will never come without engaging in the act of writing. It’s our life blood poured onto the pages, oozing out from our finger tips, casting a magical spell over the reader as well as a euphoria within ourselves.  It may sound weird for some – but the writers will get it.  Even if we do take a day job, we still write;  sometimes in secret, sometimes in public.  It’s our obsession.

Dark Shadows


Jonathan Frid, who played vampire Barnabas Collins on the cult classic TV show “Dark Shadows,” has died. He was 87.

Frid died  weeks before the release of the feature film adaptation of the show starring Johnny Depp and directed by Tim Burton.

Frid and Kathryn Leigh Scott, along with their castmates, traveled to England in July to shoot cameos for the film, which  is releasing today! During the filming, Frid met Depp, who is taking on the role of Barnabas.

The new film is an update of a show as beloved for its spooky tone and languid pacing as it was for its sometimes slipshod production values. Fans obsess over mistakes that somehow made it to air. The daytime serial ran on ABC from 1966 to 1971.

OK, enough promoting for the movie.  When I was a kid I loved, loved, loved Dark Shadows. Jonathon Frid scared the bejeebers out of me and I loved it.  Barnabas Collins lived in my closet at night, and I was terrified.  It was cheesy, it was campy but I had to watch.  Come on, it was either that or Gidget.  I was glued to that set faithfully, laying in the floor on my belly, propped on my elbows until Barnabas took the stage.  Then I scooted back and sat up, back arrow straight and practically held my breath.

Flying monkeys weren’t scary.  Frankenstein’s monster wasn’t scary.  But the Creature from the Black Lagoon, Bela Lugosi, and Jonathon Frid terrified me.  I was a officionado of everything vamp before vamps were cool.  I knew all the septs, and variations of vamps.  Trust me, none of them sparkled, but considering the glitz and glam of the 80’s it’s not surprising that the current vamps sparkle.  Stranger things could happen.

I watched every B movie about vampires.  Every book about vamps was consumed.  When I entered college, you could almost say vamps were an obsession. ( And this new generation thinks they are  cutting edge –  vampire stories have been around for ages.)  I read vamp stories with a critical eye.  If the author deviates from historical ideology, I don’t mind as long as they have a good reason.

There’s only two things I’ve asked for this Mother’s Day. (They asked!)  A kindle, as my book library is approaching the size of The Library of Congress, and a movie date.  OK, technically the movie date consists of three things but it’s a package deal.  Dinner out, Dark Shadows, then  Ice Cream.  Hey I’ve been on a very restricted diet for a while lately, and I want a splurge day.  I’m willing to forego the theatre popcorn for a good pizza, and some ice cream.  Is it really a date if you’re taking the kids? Hmmmm, maybe I’ll have to modify that. Unconventional, but I never claimed to be amongst the average crowd.

Johnny Depp is a talented actor.  I think the only think I didn’t like him in was Cry Baby.  That whole movie was just wrong.  I am curious as to how he portrays Barnabas, and the trailers look intriguing.  I’m thinking that Johnny Depp’s version is going to be a little more similar to Michael Meyer’s Austin Powers than Bela Lugosi’s Dracula, but hey it works for me.

What does this have to do with writing? Not one bloody thing, unless you’re writing a vampire story.  There are a few in the future projects file, but when there’s  Eric Northman, so what’s the point in writing another?  I may pursue them, eventually.  Vampires are after all eternal.  They never truly go out of vogue.

The Zombie fad will fade, but Nosferatu are immortal.

Happy Mother’s Day to all moms!

Write On!

 

Stirring the Pot(ter)


Apparently I struck a few nerves yesterday with my post mentioning Harry Potter.  I knew that Potter fans were fanatical, but I suppose I didn’t take into account the vehemence with which they defend their fervor.  (If Christians were as fervent, they could make a true difference.) I left some of the comments up if you care to read them, but had to delete many, the vulgarity of language did nothing to substantiate their claims of why Harry Potter rules the known world.

The suggestions of where I should put my crutches were, of course omitted. I won’t even begin to go into the ones that had sexual overtones; thanks for the invitation but no thanks!

As “powerful webmaster”, a term one of my commenters used to describe me (really? maybe I should break out my wizardly robes after all) I have the power to post or not post comments that I find offensive like the aforementioned offers, or post those that I feel contribute intelligent thought processes.  Yes, fear the all-powerful webmaster Ellie!  Hmm, somehow it just doesn’t have that sense of awe does it?

Anyway, moving on . . . Potter fans have expressed their outrage at my faux pas of not having read the books and daring to share my opinion of my favorite author.  Ever heard the garbage pail theory?  Opinions are like garbage pails and they all stink!  It’s my blog, my opinion and I don’t expect everyone to agree with me.  Even if we don’t agree, can’t we just be civil here?  “Can’t we all just get along?”

The point was brought up that Harry Potter does have dragons in it.  My interest has suddenly been piqued!  Dragons?  J.K. Rowling wrote dragons in it?  I may just have to read it then on the basis of dragons and all so that I can give a more objective view next time.  ROFL!  Seriously?  Do you come here to my blog for an objective view?  Do you think I’m going to remain serious at all times?  NOT BLOODY LIKELY! (And yes Raymond, I yelled that!)

Amidst the comments I have to give a rundown of an assessment I’ve made.  Twelve rather rude comments and um, invitations  came from the southern United States.  I’m glad you’re reading, but just because I don’t share your passion is no reason to be rude!  Three comments came from other locations in US, and were fine.

Two comments were made from Pakistan, and honestly you need a better translating tool!  My friends in the UK are the most objective and made intelligent comments, although most didn’t actually apply to the current post.  One was very eloquent in his defense of why Rowling should rule the free world and my American idiocy should be cut short through some reference to HP that quite frankly I didn’t get, because – pay close attention here – I haven’t read the books!  Therefore the very eloquent insult was completely wasted.  The art of insult is that the person whom you are insulting at least comprehends the insult even if the full impact of it hits them in a delayed reaction! (at 2 am: Tomato juice!)

If you’re going to hurl insults at me, do it right!  Which although the very eloquent dissertation was in fact well written prose and snappy dialogue, apparently insult is an American talent.  No, we’re not talking about my momma either!  As one commenter mentioned I miss out on some of the jokes because I don’t get the Potter references.  Hurling Potter insults at me is like bringing a knife to a gunfight!  Of course, that’s an American reference as well.

I don’t believe at any time I dissed Harry Potter or the subculture that it has become, I simply admitted that I missed it.  I chose other books, other avenues of entertainment during this wave of Potterism.  I did reference that many of the people I know haven’t read classic materials.  It was a blanket statement interpreted as every person that read Potter isn’t widely read.  That’s just crazy because we all know that absolutes are never absolute.

Just imagine the turmoil I will create when I start discussing the faults of plotline in Star Trek, and the lack of creativity in the alien races that appear throughout the Trek universe.

I guess I am regressing to my  opinion column days.  One of the reasons the editor liked me is that I managed to whack the hornet’s nest and stir the pot regardless of the topic, usually in 500 words or less.  Sarcasm, it’s a true talent for some of us, and unfortunately not something that can be taught.

To Potter or not to Potter that is the question.  I will take it into consideration if someone can prove that it does indeed have dragons in it. Or, are the Potterites actually Borg in disguise, sort of pod-potters and I will be assimilated?  Maybe it’s a bacterial infection on subcellular level of tiny nanoborgs that are implanted during nano month, screaming through the veins that resistance is futile!  Attack of the podBorg zombies, quick throw the Twinkies!!!  Run for the hills – no wait, those have eyes.  Kittencalendar, kittencalendar, kittencalendar, kittencalendar. Shh, shh, shh. . . ok, what were you saying?

Maybe I’ve had too much coffee and all my sci-fi storage units are cross-contaminated!  System overload reaching critical mass, self destruct will begin in thirty seconds!  (halon alarm sounding)

Um, I think I better get the Twinkies and maybe some sleep.  If the NanoBorg haven’t overtaken you by Monday, I’ll see you then!