Thursday, December 1, 2016

This Certainly Looks Like A Lot Of Words

The title of this post comes from an episode of Seinfeld, and it's one of my favorite J. Peterman moments -




And it pretty much explains my November. I moved though National Novel Writing Month mostly slow and steady, like a tortoise. Occasionally, I wrote fast and furious, like a tortoise attacking a basil plant (I'm looking at you, Larry!) I ended up with a "win" and a pretty solid draft. I have a beginning, a middle, and an end - something I haven't achieved during my last few NaNo attempts. I actually have a story.




Speaking of words and stories, I don't know about you, but I love to get and to give books as gifts. Maria Zannini has A Gift Guide for The Reader over on her blog. (You might recognize one or two of the authors listed!)

So, here we are at the beginning of December. If you started a project - a story, a novel, revisions, classes, an art project, a goal of some sort - way back in the beginning of November, you now have something that did not exist before. You created something new, and that is awesome! You won, too! 🏆

Happy December, everyone!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Gratitude, Passion and NaNo

"TO ME, 
NORMAL IS THE ABSENCE OF PASSION.
I WANT TO CRAVE AN EMBRACE,
LOSE MYSELF IN THE TASTE OF A
DELICIOUS PIECE OF DARK CHOCOLATE,
FEEL EVERY HAIR ON MY ARM STAND ON END 
FROM THE LICK OF A COOL BREEZE.
NORMAL?
NAH, KEEP IT.
I'M TOO BUSY 
BEING GRATEFUL AND PASSIONATE 
ABOUT THIS LIFE I'M LIVING."
(Kristin Cast)

Busy being grateful and passionate? That's me! Hopefully, it's all of you, too. 

For the rest of the month, I'm throwing myself into my NaNo novel. I will come up for air. And turkey. And chocolate. And to remind my husband and the tortoises who I am. But otherwise, I'm pretty much on a blogging break.

I wish you all a wonderful rest of the month and a very happy Thanksgiving! See you in December!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Bite-Size Fiction for Your . . . um, Sweet Tooth

Halloween has come and gone, but it's never too late for a little creepy, a little crawly. Treat yourself to a couple of fun-size candy bars - don't pretend they're all gone! - and snack on these two new 100-word stories. You know, like before it gets really dark . . . .

*****

Hide-n-seek takes a turn for the worse in "Game" (101 Fiction, Issue 13) 

*****

In "Concealed," (p. 125, The Sirens Call, Issue 29) helping the neighbors has serious consequences. Download the entire issue FREE.


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

IWSG: It's All in the Attitude


For More Information

In October's IWSG post, I mentioned being anxious about participating in my first ever 5K. I asked for advice and encouragement, and you all stepped up and cheered me on so much and so loudly, I felt like I could actually hear you all as I ran (and that was even over my whining and desperate gasping for air!) Thank you all so much! I appreciate it more than you know.

The end results were not as good as I'd hoped. I didn't run nearly as much of it as I wanted, and it was a lot harder than I'd thought. But I finished the entire thing - something I wouldn't have been able to do in recent years - so I'm counting it as a win. 

Do you know what else I'm counting as a win? The fact that I'm still exercising, still training. I even signed up for another 5K (that sound you hear is the "dreadmill" cackling maniacally - bwahaha!) I'm not giving up - on losing weight, on writing, on dreams.  

Don't you give up either. Whatever it is you're working on - your health, NaNo, learning something new, dealing with a difficult situation - Keep. Going. 

I am. You can, too.

*****

Participant Medal and T-Shirt from the 5K

A Gift from My Husband

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Shine On, People. Shine On.

Many of us are gearing up for National Novel Writing Month. Some of us are throwing ourselves into November armed with scene cards and a caffeine IV drip. Some of us are winging it with a pen and a prayer. Maybe you're not participating in NaNo, but you're diving into a different project.

Wherever our creativity takes us the rest of this year, the rest of our lives, let's make sure we remember this quote from Nic Stone: 

"DON'T LET SOMEONE DIM YOUR LIGHT,
SIMPLY BECAUSE IT'S SHINING IN THEIR EYES.

NOT EVERYONE WILL BE SUPPORTIVE 
OF WHAT YOU'RE DOING.

SOME WILL BALK.

SOME WILL TELL YOU NOT TO WASTE
YOUR LIFE ON PIPE DREAMS.

SOME WILL TREAT YOUR DESIRE TO WRITE
LIKE IT'S NOTHING MORE THAN A HOBBY,
AND WILL JUDGE THE WAY YOU USE YOUR TIME.

KNOW THAT IT'S NOT YOU. IT'S THEM.

SHINE ON."

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Horror! The Horror!

The Plan: Buy this book - Frightlopedia: An Encyclopedia of Everything Scary, Creepy, and Spine-Chilling, from Arachnids to Zombies by Julie Winterbottom - for my nephew and niece for Halloween. They love to read, and they're pretty okay with scary things. Besides, each section in the book has a Fright Meter to gauge the scare-factor. 


What Actually Happened: Aunt Madeline decided she did not want to be responsible for terrifying her nephew and niece. (Adults, on the other hand, are fair game.) So, at great sacrifice to her own sanity, she read it instead and promptly freaked herself out.   

(To be fair, the kids might've been fine with it. It's just you never know what will trigger a nightmare, a fear, a phobia, especially when you're young. Take it from someone who was scared so badly by an innocent Popeye cartoon that she had bad dreams for a week.) 

All that being said, I really did enjoy the book. It's creepy, with photos that haunt me still, but it's also entertaining and informative. 

Did you know . . . about the waste water treatment center where scientists found 107 million spiders had woven a four acre web - the size of four soccer fields! - inside the building? 

Did you know . . . that claustrophobia is the fear of enclosed spaces, but cleithrophobia is the fear of being trapped? Check out these two real-life situations:

- A man got stuck in an elevator for two full days with nothing to eat but Rolaids.

- A woman got stuck in her bathroom for 20 days. She banged on the pipes, but neighbors thought the noise was construction. She lived on nothing but water.

And finally, a place I will NOT be going to on my next vacation:

Gomantong Caves is on the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia. It houses two million bats. The cave floors are ten feet deep in guano, but you can't see any it because of all the cockroaches. Yep, a giant mass of cockroaches feasts on all that poop, along with the occasional bat that falls from the ceiling. And you can watch it all from the wooden walkway that will supposedly keep you safe from all but the errant cockroach and the three-inch-long centipedes that crawl along the handrail. 

Yeah, my sister should sooooo thank me for not sending this book.

*****

So, what scared you as a kid? What scares you now? Plan on taking a trip to those caves? If so, please don't bring me back a souvenir . . . . 

*****

(I talked about this book purely because I enjoyed it. I didn't receive any compensation, etc.)

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Pursuit of Passion . . . and Possibly Salt and Pepper Shakers.

Back in July, I read an interesting article by Maura Rhodes in Parade Magazine called "Robots, Gnomes and Beatniks - Oh My!" about people who collect things.  One person collects desk service bells. Another, exotic beads. An eight-year-old boy is really into garden gnomes. 

My Dad collected salt and pepper shakers. They were on shelves all over the house. He would buy them at garage sales. People would bring ones back from trips. Some were from my grandparents' time. My sister and I rolled our eyes and teased him, saying when he died we'd have a fistfight over who would get them. That didn't happen, of course. (Although I could take her. If I had to. Just saying.) But some came home with me, just as a keepsake. I don't think I'll start collecting them myself, but I guess you never know.

After all, my Dad didn't collect salt and pepper shakers until he was older. I don't know why he started when he did and why this particular thing. A lot of people in the article seemed to get started almost by accident. The person with the service bells originally bought one as a gift then ended up keeping it. The boy with the gnomes discovered them at an environmental center.

I don't really collect anything. Sure, I've got lots of books, tons of seashells, more beads and crafty things than I know what to do with, but none are true collections. I'm missing out! I want that passion, that drive, so many collectors have. I want to go on a hunt! 

Hmm, maybe I'll pull out those salt and pepper shakers, give them another look . . . .

*****

Do you collect anything? What do you collect? Why? Do you enjoy the hunt? How about your characters? Are they big collectors of anything? What do you think it says about them?