Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Midweek Miscellanea - Quiet Books, a Contest, and a Craft Project


Over at Writer Unboxed, Robin Lafevers has written a wonderful post - Some Thoughts on Quiet Books, Timing and the Ever Elusive Market:

"So this conversation we’re having is not about selling out your artistic vision to get a contract. Nor is it about watering down your artistic integrity in order to find readers. It’s about finding the largest, widest doorway into your story so that you can to draw in as many readers as possible, and then tell them exactly the core story you’re driven to tell."

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For all you flash fiction writers out there, mark your calendars for Flash Fiction Chronicles' String-of-10 SEVEN Flash Fiction Contest starting February 8th. Use the randomly selected string of words and write your best 250 words or fewer story. The contest runs for one week only so on your mark . . . get set . . . . 

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For the artsy and crafty among us, check out DIY By The Book: Lighted Book Boxes. Speaking as someone who has trouble working a simple glue gun, I wish you good luck!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Motivational Monday


IF I'M GOING TO ERR AS A WRITER,
I DON'T WANT IT TO BE BECAUSE
I WAS CAUTIOUS WITH MY HEART, 
THAT I LOVED WRITING A LITTLE
BUT NEVER TOO MUCH.

MY RESOLUTION IS TO WANT TO WRITE, 
TO DESIRE IT, DEEP DOWN.
TO BE JEALOUS OF MY TIME WITH THE PAGE 
WHEN I'M AWAY FROM IT.
TO LONG FOR IT. 
TO BE TORRID.
TO LOVE IT TOO MUCH
AND TO ACCEPT THE PAIN THAT
MIGHT COME FROM THAT.
(Julianna Baggott)

Yes. Just...yes. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Midweek Miscellanea - Madness, Breakthrough Books, and Snacks

I'm a huge fan of YA author Mindy McGinnis. I absolutely loved Not a Drop to Drink, and I enjoyed its companion novel, In a Handful of Dust, so I was thrilled to see she has a new stand alone novel - A Madness so Discreet - coming out in October 2015. Can't. Wait.

Also, check out this post - Blogging for Writers - where she talks about why she blogs and how she uses social media.  

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This post - What Age Did the Greatest Authors Publish Their Most Famous Works - will probably make you either laugh or cry, depending on how old you are when you read it. I focused on all the authors who were in the 40s or older when their "breakthrough book" hit the stands. Made me feel better. A little.  

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Do you snack while you write? I'll occasionally munch on dark chocolate covered powerberries or espresso beans (both from Trader Joe's.) Check out what some famous authors enjoy eating while working - 9 Famous Authors' Favorite Workday Snacks. I'm all for cheesecake but raw eggs in coffee? Not so much.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Motivational Monday


NOTHING I'VE EVER LEARNED OR SAID IS AS
IMPORTANT AS KNOWING THAT THE
CONSTANT CHATTER IN YOUR HEAD HAS ONLY
THE POWER YOU CHOOSE TO GIVE IT.
LEARNING NOT TO LET YOUR THOUGHTS BE A
RUNAWAY TRAIN LEADING YOUR LIFE OFF TRACK IS
THE KEY TO A MASTERFUL EXISTENCE THAT'S
PERPETUALLY GETTING BETTER.
(Oprah Winfrey)

Since I let unproductive worrying and negative thoughts derail me far more often than I'd like to admit, this quote strikes incredibly close to home. Doubt and fear and guilt snake their way into my positive thoughts, flaying my focus with mealy mouthed whining, insidious darkness, manipulative finger pointing. 

Some days, I give in. I give up my power. I let that constant chatter beat me. 

But.

There are days when I don't give in. There are days when I am the victor. And, as time goes on, there are more and more of those good days.

Let's stay on track as much as possible. Let's make sure we're giving our power to the thoughts that will make us the best we can be.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Goodbye, Garbage!

I don't read a lot of nonfiction. When I do, it's usually about the craft of writing, about someone inspiring, or about some way to improve myself and my life. I was recently inspired by The Law of the Garbage Truck by David J. Pollay

The basic premise is that by not letting others dump their "garbage" (negativity, fear, etc) on us, we can be better, happier people. Some words from the book jacket:

* Avoid getting dumped on by rude, thoughtless, and angry people
* Stop reliving the negative in your past, and fearing the future
* Focus on what you can control, not the negative things you can't 
* Gain the courage to enjoy every day, do what you love, and make a difference

Two quizzes really opened my eyes to how I was living my life and how I was letting others influence me. I try very hard not to burden others with negativity and drama, so I was pleased when I got a good score - "dump a light load" - on "Are You a Garbage Dumper?" However, I was shocked to see the "heavy load" of garbage I accept in my life on "Are You a Garbage Accepter?" - "Almost every day you are set back by the negative behavior of others and bothered by the things you can't control. You let too many Garbage Trucks dump on you, and you create too much of your own garbage." Whoa!

So, I'm trying to do better, be better, with all of that. And I think it's working, too, at least most days. I definitely recommend this book, especially if you're anything like me - soaking up way too much garbage, whether that of others or of your own making. 


* I received nothing in exchange for this mini review/recommendation. I enjoyed the book, learned from it, and wanted to share it. *

Monday, January 12, 2015

Motivational Monday


YOU BETTER [START WRITING] NOW
BECAUSE YOU KNOW HOW TO WRITE,
AND YOU HAVE FINGERS,
AND YOU HAVE THIS ONE LIFE,
AND DURING THIS ONE LIFE YOU SHOULD PUT
YOUR WORDS DOWN,
AND MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD,
AND THEN LET OTHERS HEAR YOUR VOICE.

AND THE ONLY WAY ANY OF THAT IS GOING
TO HAPPEN IS IF YOU ACTUALLY DO IT.
PEOPLE CAN'T READ THE THOUGHTS IN YOUR HEAD.
THEY CAN ONLY READ THE THOUGHTS YOU PUT DOWN,
CAREFULLY AND WITH GREAT LOVE, ON THE PAGE.

SO YOU HAVE TO DO IT, GODDAMNIT.
(Dave Eggers)

So . . . what are we waiting for?

Let's do this!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

IWSG: A Room of One's Own


CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION

Since it's the first IWSG post of 2015, we're introducing ourselves - briefly! - for all new members: I read, write and breathe fiction in all its forms, from flash to novels. My work tends to be dark, often with a horror bent, but I do write a "nice" story now and then. I say this is my blog but everyone around here knows the tortoises are really in charge.  

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My husband and I - and the tortoises, of course! - will be moving this spring. We're not going far - just down the road - and while a lot will stay the same for the us - the grocery store, the library, the beach, our favorite restaurants, etc - it still feels like a new beginning, one full of hopes and dreams . . . and the chance to set up my writing space from scratch. 

As amazing as that opportunity is, it's freaking me out a little. I don't know where to begin. The color of the walls? Where I put my desk? Do I even take my desk or do I search for something different, like a table? Do I use this opportunity for a totally fresh start or do I keep everything I have and just move it all into the new space? Is this my chance to shake up my writing, my creativity, my imagination? Or is it better to keep as much familiar stuff around me so my muse doesn't run away and hide?

What do you all think? Any advice would be appreciated! Do you have any decorating suggestions? What do you wish you had in your writing space? What do you love about where you create?