I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas, and has an amazing year to come.
My Christmas present to myself was a new computer. Friday my computer died and this time it wasn't worth replacing. So we bought a new one from Best Buy, upgraded it with the video card and power supply from my old one, and Voila! I have a new and improved machine. Still working on moving files over from the old drive.
Yesterday I posted over on Poetic Muselings. I shared the imagery exercise I use for discovering fun, unique description for whatever mode of art it inspires.
Time to start thinking up goals for the new year. How was your holiday?
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas, and has an amazing year to come.
Ramblings of Mary Jensen at 9:00 AM
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Today is the last day of November’s NaBloPoMo. With this post I have successfully blogged every day this month! It’s not a pace I can keep up regularly, but it did inspire me to attend to my blog again. I will be sure to post something on a weekly basis. I hope you’ve enjoyed my diverse entries this month, and that you will stick around.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
I’d like to showcase two of my favorite theme songs with some fan renditions.
Another epic theme is the opening to HBO’s Game of Thrones. Here is a violin rendition, all done by one man.
And we’ll end with some lighter entertainment. The Sith Who Stole Christmas.
Monday, November 28, 2011
Sunday, November 27, 2011
I am thankful for my husband. He understands my quirks. He has expanded my video game comfort zone by introducing me to games like Rock Band and Gears of War. Often he will buy me flowers or treats just because he loves me, and not only for special occasions. He supports my writing, is a helpful critiquer and also good to talk through story ideas with. For my birthday, not only did he buy me awesome boots, he got me Sims 3 Pets, and these lovely glass figurines of a hummingbird and a butterfly. Love you, Jeff! Thanks for all you do.
Saturday, November 26, 2011
I am thankful for coupons.
Due to a late, and filling, lunch yesterday, we put off birthday dinner until tonight. We went to Sizzler (yummy and very filling). Thanks to one of the summer reading programs, B had a coupon for a free kid’s meal. We have coupons for free kid meals just about anywhere we want to eat now, between summer school, reading programs, and school.
Friday, November 25, 2011
I am thankful for early Black Friday deals. I don’t like the early hours and super business of Black Friday. I’m glad some stores begin their deals early, and that a lot of deals are also online. Wednesday we took advantage of Home Depot’s early deals to buy a new washer and dryer. Much needed!
Thursday, November 24, 2011
I am thankful for family. I’m from a big family (nine kids) and it’s amazing how close we still are. As glad as I am for technology to make keeping in touch easier, it’s still great to get together for holidays like these. Got to see all but two of my siblings today. Love you all!
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
I’m thankful for my neighbors. I may not know the ones living right next door, but there are a few women in the area that I’ve become close to. They keep an eye out for me in bad weather to offer me a ride home from the school. I also teach their little four year olds in Sunday school, which gives us another connection.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
I am thankful for hugs. One of my major love languages is physical touch. So hugs are the best thing in the world.
I am so grateful to have both a mom and dad who give plenty of hugs, both as I was growing up and now that I’m an adult.
I’m cherishing the fact that my son still gives me a hug and “love you” before going into school each morning. I know I won’t get that much longer.
Monday, November 21, 2011
To celebrate Thanksgiving, I’m doing a week of gratitude on my blog. Now through Sunday my posts will focus on things I am thankful for. Feel free to join me!
I am thankful for Sparks.
Our kitty, Sparks, provides much entertainment. From his funky sleeping positions, to his snoring, to ambushes from beneath the edge of the couch or a blanket. Sparks got our attention at the shelter by swatting through the bars of his cage, hitting my husband when he walked by. He loves people, loves to play with my son, and is currently warming my lap. We didn’t name him, but his name is quite appropriate, as he rolls on the floor lots for attention, and rubs against everything, thus creating plenty of static electricity.
We love you, Sparks!
Sunday, November 20, 2011
“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” ~Scott Adams
Saturday, November 19, 2011
My husband’s computer has died. Motherboard problem, so we are declaring it dead dead. At least he was using Mozy to backup important files. Like those for school. And since he has more school work to do… and research for a laptop to replace his desktop, I haven’t been able to use my computer much today. Hopefully my computer lasts at least a few more months!
Friday, November 18, 2011
My husband stopped by mid-day to bring me flowers, so I sent him back to work with some business cards and a copy of the book. His coworkers had a potluck today, so he shared it then. Got some nice comments. One coworker actually wanted to take the book over the weekend and read it! Hubby said no. She needs to get her own copy. He was, however, able to whip out my business card with all the book info on it so she wouldn’t have to write it down.
People were very impressed by the cover, and even more so to find out one of our group members created the picture (kudos to Lin!).
If you read Lifelines, do consider leaving reviews on Amazon and/or GoodReads. The more feedback the merrier.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
My local writers group, Writers of the West, is using our weekly meetings as write-ins for NaNoWriMo this month. As I am not participating in NaNo, I have been using the meetings for reading through last year’s NaNo story (still incomplete) to refresh myself on it and do some editing.
We have another meeting tonight, so the story is on my mind. And since it is a Thursday, what better time to have a Thursday’s Tale.
Without further ado, here is the opening page of The Minotaur Staff:
"Hey, Weed, I found something!"
Wesley "Weed" Larkin squinted toward Ahmed's location. Fair enough, the sun glinted off something shiny in all that sand. He pulled the rim of his fedora down, and adjusted the scarf over his mouth. This better be good. Wes stepped into the roped enclosure. As he approached Ahmed, his foot hit something harder than sand. "A structure?"
"Na'am." Yes. Ahmed pointed to the cleared spot at his feet.
Wes knelt and brushed the sand away with his hand. Metal, not stone, glinted from beneath. "This could be it. Our city of gold. Clark!" The Irishman rushed over, red hair too bright, glaring in the sun. "Get a sample of this metal. I'll need it analyzed before I can inform Danvers."
While Clark extracted some metallic flakes and transferred them to his lab tent, the rest of the team moved in to start digging. Wes wanted to know what was in that building. It could be a temple, a throne room, a nobleman's house. Hopefully with something valuable preserved inside.
He grabbed a shovel and dug in with the rest of the team. His robes were covered in sand by the time Clark hollered. Wes took off his face scarf and used it to wipe the dirty sweat from his brow as he walked back to the tents.
Clark's brow was creased, making his glasses slide down his nose. He pushed them up as he looked up from the computer. "Not gold."
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
As I’ve been focusing on blogging and marketing, I haven’t felt like I have energy left for writing. The first month of a new book release is the most important in getting the word out. But I am not a publicist or a marketing guru. I am a writer. I found something I wrote years ago, back when I was struggling with finishing my first book. I found inspiration in a song. I’m hoping it will inspire me again, to not forget who I am.
Song lyrics in orange, interspersed with my own thoughts at the time:
Reach for the light
Deep in the night the winds blow cold,
And in a heartbeat, the fear takes hold.
The fear can freeze me—
fear of failure, rejection, even success.
Deep in the storm, there's a place that's soft and still,
Where the road waits to be taken, if you only will.
The potential is in me,
all I have to do is find the iron will within.
The voices inside you can lead you so astray,
Believe in what you dream,
don't turn away, don't you turn away.
I must overcome the doubts that haunt me;
I’ve wanted this my entire life, I won’t give it up.
Reach for the light,
you might touch the sky.
Stand on a mountain top, and see yourself flying.
Reach for the light,
To capture a star,
Come out of the darkness and find out who you are.
I know who I am—I am a writer.
So many dream but don’t follow through.
I can never be published if I don’t finish writing the book.
Somewhere in time the truth shines through,
And the spirit knows what it has to do.
This is my purpose in life; without it, I am not complete.
Time will show my dedication. Time will bring success.
Somewhere in you there's a power with no name,
It can rise to meet the moment and burn like a flame.
My muse will lead me if I give it the chance;
I simply need to set her free.
And you can be stronger than any fear you know,
Hold onto what you see don't let it go, don't you let it go.
I’ve made it this far. I have it in me.
Nothing will stop me.
There's no turning back.
Your destiny is calling.
Listen to the thunder roar,
And let your heart break free.
Whether I chose this path, or it chose me, it is the path I’m meant to be on.
The thunder of my accomplishments shall roar, and my heart shall break free from fear.
Oooh, Reach for the light!
Yeah! Yes reach for the light.
If I don’t reach for the light, for my dreams, then the light may as well go out.
I will finish my book. I will get published. I will reach for the light.
** Music: James Horner. Lyrics: Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil. Singer: Steve Winwood
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
My brain is fried from all the marketing stuff at the moment, so relying once again upon that strange, very long survey.
711. What is your favorite store that is open 24 hours?
712. Do you find that sleep is just so much sleepier when you are supposed to be doing something else?
Absolutely. My body helping me to procrastinate. My brain retaliates though, as I tend to be thinking when I'm supposed to be sleeping.
713. Do you also find that the books you chose are so much more luscious when you have a stack of actual assignments that you Should be reading?
Indulgent reading for the win. Probably why I didn't do homework in high school. If it didn't get done during school hours, it tended to not get done.
714. If you have had the chance to compare the original 5000 Question Survey to this edited version, what is your opinion?
This is the only version I know. Taking me years to complete as it is!
715. What's the most creative answer you can think of for 'what is black and white and red all over'?
Your eyesight after I punch you for making one of those jokes! (Figuratively of course. I do not condone violence.)
716. Why do people slow down on the highway when they pass a cop car pulling someone else over?
People are innately curious. And a subconscious need to not be the ones caught speeding next.
717. Are they afraid that the cop will STOP pulling over whoever he is pulling over and pull them over instead?
Yup. Didn't I just say that?
718. It's daddy's birthday. What do you get him?
Chocolate and a book.
719. What's your 5,000 question survey nickname?
Look at the word [or phrase] next to the 2nd letter of your first name
A anything but
H heaps of
M Mr. (or Mrs.)
T the one and only
W wishing for
Y yearning for
Now take the first letter of your last name.
C creme pie
D drag queen
M mannish boys
Put the two words together for your nickname.
“anything but juice”. (could be worse, but could certainly be better!) Can I pick my own? Funky Octopi.
720. You know that shaky feeling that you get when it's all coming to a climax, and everyone involved is breaking into the good kind of cold sweat, working as individuals and at the same time as a single force of energy, and it all meshes together, and for a brief moment, you're holding your breath and tingling all over, and after it's done you're on an explosive and dizzying high for the rest of the night?
What does that feeling come from?
creative endeavors ;)
Monday, November 14, 2011
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Not tired of saying that: My Publisher.
So go check out Betty’s side of the story.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
It seems that at one point or another I try most social networking avenues. I’ve tried MySpace. I’m currently on Facebook and Twitter. I have profiles on LibraryThing and Goodreads (though don’t use either much anymore). I now have blogs on Blogger, WordPress, and LiveJournal.
My new venture? Google+. If you have any experience with this one, or want to connect, speak up. It’s certainly not the most intuitive process. Don’t even know what questions to ask!
Friday, November 11, 2011
Just ordered business cards from VistaPrint. Finally took advantage of one of their many specials. I also got an online business card.
Having a book out is a very good reason to get a business card. Met a bunch of new writers at my local writers meeting last night. The NaNoWriMo write-in brought in plenty of new faces. Also talked to another local writer and fellow poet and wished I had a card to share.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Wasn’t sure what to write about today, so dug up the 5,000 Questions and found where I’d left off.
701. What is your favorite mixed drink? Strawberry Daquiri
702. When answering these questions are you often pulled in different directions, as if committing to one answer eliminates the possibility for all others? no. If I feel more than one applies, I say so. :)
703. Chicken Masala, Pasta Primavera, Veal Cutlet Parmesan or Linguini with Clam Sauce? Pasta Primavera
704. If you were alone in your friend's house/room/apartment would you look in their drawers and notebooks? Ooh. Tough one to say without being in the situation. I think that would totally depend on the friend. I probably wouldn't poke into drawers, but would more likely peruse things more in the open.
705. What would you really like to do but you don't because you are afraid of getting caught? hitch-hiking. It appeals to my sense of adventure, and that itch to travel that I haven't been able to fulfill.
706. Of the following, which word best describes you:
responsible, spontaneous, tactful, uninhibited. tactful
707. Which band would you most likely check out?
The Smiths (indi-pop 80's-90's)
The Lords of Acid (acid/house/dance 90's)
Front 242 (80's-90's industrial/dance)
Not being familiar with any of those, based off the names and description, I'd go with Front 242.
708. How can one put an end to procrastination, as a bad habit? Hah! Wouldn't I like to know. Seriously. If you have an answer to this one, do share.
709. What feature would you want on your car that is not currently offered? Self-driving.
710. What kind of poetry speaks to you? lyrical, emotion. My favorite classic poets are Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
I am not a shoe person. I own about half a dozen pairs, and wear them as little as possible. And heels? Why would anyone want to wear heels?! I am all about comfort and style.
So for me to want boots with 4-inch heels? Have I gone insane? Possibly. But while browsing Amazon for Steampunk fashion, I found these awesome Steampunk Butterfly Boots. And I simply had to have them. I initially shrugged it off. Oh, they look cool, but they’re not for me.
Then I bought a new skirt. Knee length, frilly… and I had the thought “Now I have a skirt to justify those boots.” So when my husband actually offered to buy them for my birthday? I gave in to the insanity.
They arrived yesterday evening:
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Since my website was way out of date, and focused on one of my books rather than myself, it’s gotten a makeover! It’s now my author website. Check out the new look! I’ll be adding a weekly writing tip and a new article each month in the effort to keep up fresh content.
There are ads, but, until I’m making actual money on my writing, they’ll have to stay. Other than that, feedback is welcome!
Monday, November 7, 2011
The Poetic Muselings is a group of poets who formed from the Muse Conference to share poetry, push boundaries, and support each other. We complied a book of our best poems, worked as a group to make them even better, and pulled them together in a cohesive theme. The result? LIFELINES poetry anthology. Our collection was picked up by InkSpotter Publishing and is now available! You can order it through Amazon or request it at your local bookstore.
Our poems and purpose kept us afloat through the years. We became each others' Lifelines.
LIFELINES plays off both meanings: those on the palm of your hand, as well as those linking us adrift.
Our poems flow with the tides of the sea as they follow the ebb and tide of life itself. Childhood and friendship. Romance and loss. From death to new life and inspiration.
Sunday, November 6, 2011
SAGA is now officially open to writers of YA fantasy. We’d love to have more people join us.
Saturday, November 5, 2011
We all have things that inspire us. Excite us. Images that take our breath away. Some people do collages or create vision boards. I use a nifty site called Pinterest to organize mine.
I have a board for my wish list, one for favorite places, books I love, anything Gamer Girl, and a newly added one for my Inspiration Room I hope to have someday.
Friday, November 4, 2011
Was trying for the poem-a-day challenge this month. Doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. Maybe there’s just too much other stuff going on. Or my poetry muse is still sleeping. But I still want to surround myself with that spirit of creativity. So, instead, I will share an older poem of mine.
A R T
I pull the cardboard box off the shelf
too long dusty
set it on the cleared table
trace my finger over the markered three letters
and open creation in a box
I remove the items one by one
too long neglected
set them in their proper place
next to water, canvas, towel
creation in a box
I see pencils, paints, stencils,
too long idle
set by projects incomplete
search for a paint brush
creation in a box
I wet the brush and moisten paints
too long dried out
set colors to a scantily clad canvas
bringing life to the scene
creation in a box
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Today, we ordered my birthday present from Amazon. Yes, I do mean we. For once I actually know what I am getting. It’s something I don’t have now, and never thought I’d want. Guess it’s true that you don’t always know what you want until you see it. And no, I’m not saying what it is. I will show them off when my package arrives in the next week or so. I am so excited!
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Know that new writers group I wanted to start? Now that it’s been up and running for a few weeks, I’m opening it up to new people.
SAGA stands for Society for Arcane Gibberish Authors. We are a fledgling critique group for fantasy writers, started in October of 2011. This is currently a group for adult fantasy only. If you write YA fantasy and are interested in a critique group, you can still apply. If there is enough interest I will create a sub-group. There are already a couple of us with YA projects that could use the company.
We have room for three more people. Membership is capped at ten. I’ve been part of some very successful online critique groups. May be crazy for starting my own, but I wanted something small. And something less structured. We do have a forum, but no deadlines. Our own lives and writing come first. Just fellow writers grouping together for support and feedback.
If you're interested in joining, send me an email or post below. Would love to get a few new faces.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
I’m not doing NaNoWriMo this year, but I am participating in some challenges.
Every November, in the same spirit as NaNoWriMo, Robert Lee Brewer (editor for Writer's Digest) hosts a Every November, in the same spirit as NaNoWriMo, Robert Lee Brewer (editor for Writer's Digest) hosts a Poem-A-Day Challenge. Each day he’ll post a prompt on his Poetic Asides blog, and the task is to write a poem based on that prompt.
National Blog Posting Month helps set the habit of blogging by posting every day for one month. If you’re interested, you can sign up through November 5th. There are even prizes! I figure if I write posts in advance, then my weekends are still free—just hit publish and I’m good to go.
This is more a year round commitment than a challenge. PubSub3rdFri means submitting something every month, on the third Friday, and was started by Joan Y. Edwards. I definitely need to get back into regular submitting, for both poetry and fiction, and this should give me the encouragement and support I need.
In addition to these challenges, my poetry group is staring a group blog in anticipation of the publication of our anthology. More on that later.
Busy can be good. Hopefully this birthday month will be a good one. What are your plans this month? Good luck to everyone who is doing NaNoWriMo or any of the other creative challenges.
Monday, October 10, 2011
I'm considering starting up a new critique group for fantasy / paranormal writers. Looking for dedicated members that would be able to critique monthly. I've had three people express interest so far. Would be great if I could get two or three more. Open to going up to ten if there's enough interest, but no higher.
Age category: adult fiction. If you write Young Adult fantasy and are looking for a group, I do have some YA fairy tales that are itching to become books so maybe I could do a subgroup or sister group.
Still working on details. If you’re interested let me know. If I can get one more person I’ll go ahead with this.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Yesterday I received the sweetest blog award from Saronai:
She said: “Looks alone make this site irresistible to me. Even if the posts were uninteresting, I could just admire the eye-grabbing layout cradling the finer, more fanciful header. I also enjoy her muse theory.”
Aww, thanks so much! I’m glad someone enjoys my layout as much as I do.
I am to share seven random facts about myself, and then pass the award along to five blogging friends.
Randomness About Me
- I am a plotter. I usually have to have at least a vague idea of a scene before I start writing it. I have one chapter written of a book that isn’t plotted AT ALL. And it scares me and fascinates me at the same time.
- Thanks to Netflix streaming on Xbox Live, I have watched 50 episodes of Charmed in seven weeks.
- I started writing poetry in fifth grade. I have written well over 200 poems.
- I have seven different email accounts.
- I have a phone phobia. My mind goes blank whenever I’m on the phone. I can never remember the things I was supposed to ask, or info to pass along. Yay for an era of email, blogs, Facebook, and texts!
And This Award Goes To…
The top five sites I find irresistible (in no particular order):
- Nikki – Always amazed at how much she manages to get done with 7 kids and a husband in the military! She shares her challenges and provides helpful household tips.
- The Steampunk Home – I love Steampunk, the aesthetics, the genre, the clothes. This blog feeds my appetite with pictures and links of household items that fit that Steampunk vibe.
- Epbot – Jen is always sharing wonderfully geeky things. Her skills at do-it-yourself projects are envious!
- Alina – Love, love her whimsical header. And her posts are totally relatable as a fellow introvert writer and mom.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
|You Are 20% Left Brained, 80% Right Brained|
Left brained people are good at communication and persuading others.
If you're left brained, you are likely good at math and logic.
Your left brain prefers dogs, reading, and quiet.
The right side of your brain is all about creativity and flexibility.
Daring and intuitive, right brained people see the world in their unique way.
If you're right brained, you likely have a talent for creative writing and art.
Your right brain prefers day dreaming, philosophy, and sports.
More on this later. Just easing back into blogging.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Now that B is old enough to really listen and pay attention without pictures, I’ve been reading a chapter book to him. We’re going through OF MICE AND MAGIC by David Farland. I first read the sample chapter online to see if it would be something he’d like. We’re half way through the book now and really enjoying the story. We’ll definitely be checking out the other books in the Ravenspell series when we’re done.
I have good memories of me and my siblings sprawled on the couches and floor, listening to my mom read WATERSHIP DOWN. I wanted to create that same experience for my son.
In addition to our family reading time, we have plenty of incentives to read this summer.
- Our library is having a Summer Reading program where we can record reading sessions for B and books read for me to earn a book at the end of Summer.
- Barnes and Noble has a challenge for kids to read eight books for a free book
- Borders has their Double-Dog Dare Challenge again to read ten books and earn a free book.
- Scholastic online has a minutes tracker with weekly challenges to spin for prizes and an overall sweepstakes.
- Our state governor is doing Read with a Child. Read 20 hours together over the summer and get a Certificate of Achievement.
- I even have a challenge just for me. The library is also doing an event through Goodreads. Read five books, each set on a different continent, before the end of August. Any suggestions for those?
That’s a guaranteed three free books for B if he completes the challenges, and one for me, with chances to win more prizes.
What are your reading plans this summer?
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
This is one of the posts that I started a while back, and forgot about. Still relevant though.
I finished reading CHARACTERS AND VIEWPOINT by Orson Scott Card. Awesome! Needed it at this point in my career. I had lots of aha! moments of how to fix my first novel. I had a moment where I wondered “Why didn’t I read this years ago??” Then I realized I’m probably only now at a point as a writer where I’m actually “getting” the info on the right level.
My battle plan:
- Write at least 1000 words per day, across any of my three stories. With a minimum of 250 words (one page) in each for any given week.
- Finish books (goal: this year!) then give FM some undivided attention for a final serious revision.
I even made myself an awesome Excel worksheet. I put in the project I work on each day, and how many words. It calculates my weekly word count, yearly total, and what total and percentage is for each project. Pretty cool if I do say so myself.
Ramblings of Mary Jensen at 10:03 AM
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
While my sick brain has a hard time forming sentences, my Muse doesn’t rest. Apparently she decided a week off was plenty. Yesterday I got some dialogue and character notes for one of my stories (better yet, one of the three I’m not focusing on…). And last night, or this morning, whatever you want to call 2 AM, I woke up from a dream and had to write down some of the images.
In my dream, the world was ending and yet the sight of a couple mermaid children playing in the water still brought joy. I couldn’t let that image go to waste.
Some say the Muse isn’t real. That it’s merely hard work and a good imagination. But moments like these make me wonder. When ideas seem to come from nowhere, or at least no where inside myself. Especially when I’m not feeling an iota of creativity in my sick slump. And somehow the Muse gets through.
I may not have the energy or brainpower to put these ideas to much use right now, but I have certainly been taking notes. Do you ever get inspired at the least likely of times?
Friday, May 13, 2011
After my kid was sick all weekend, and stayed home Monday, I wasn’t surprised when Tuesday I was the one sick. I actually got it worse than he did. Feeling a bit better today, so hopefully I’ll be good by weekend. And ready to write again next week.
I’ve heard of people who use sick days to do writing, and are quite productive. I am not one of them. The creative side of my brain does not work when I’m sick. Not for writing, or even for the interior decorating I’m doing in my Sims dream home. I envy those that can write poetically even when totally out of his mind.
I’m all fuzzed when sick. How about you?
Monday, May 2, 2011
a multitude of authors. Which is to say that I write like none. After seeing Liana’s post, I plugged each of my novels into this analyzer. The results varied. I suppose that means that no two of my books are alike.
For TRINITY COVEN, my paranormal romance:
For FEY MOON, my traditional fantasy:
For FLY WITH ME, my contemporary fantasy:
For RACE TO 100 DEATHS, my dark fantasy:
For THE MINOTAUR STAFF, my urban fantasy:
And my smallest writing sample, TWILIGHT RAIN, a portal fantasy:
Though, interesting enough, the writers do seem to correlate to the genres of my books. So maybe the analyzer isn’t completely bunk after all. I’m not familiar with James Joyce or William Gibson, but I can see the connections for the rest.
And, I’m sure the algorithm hates me, but I ended with throwing them all in at once. So overall I write like… Anne Rice.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Yesterday, B and I went on a walking field trip down to Family Dollar. He bought a new monster truck and a pen and pads of paper. I bought some goodies, of course. The best ever shortbread cookies (especially for the $1 price) and a pack of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
Or, at least goodies was all I planned to get. While looking through the store, I saw this box. Beautiful, with butterflies and music notes and flowers, and that vintage looking background. I held it, caressed it, oohed and ahhed. Set it back on the shelf and moved on.
I changed my mind a few times as we wandered the aisles. My practical side argued that I had no use for it. Didn’t know what to put in it, or where to display it. Just pretty clutter.
My pink side said: buy it for yourself! Like when you bought that gorgeous notebook last year. You deserve it. Why do you need a reason for everything? It’s only five dollars. Looking at it will make you happy, even if you never fill it. It’s like a 3-D bliss book. So many things that just make you happy. Any buyer’s guilt would vanish as you gaze at it. This box is simply YOU.
So I bought the box.
It’s 9.5” x 11.5”, and 5.5” deep. Any suggestions on what I could put in it?
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
With the exception of frozen meals or restaurant ordered, this is the easiest lasagna I’ve ever had. Simple prep, traditional taste, and reheats well. Best part: don’t have to worry about pre-cooking those pesky noodles.
My recipe card says I got the original recipe from Recipe4Living.com, but I can’t find it to link to.
1 lb. of ground beef
1/2 onion chopped
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
2 15 oz. cans tomato sauce
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. oregano
1 12 oz. carton cottage cheese*
1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese
12 oz. lasagna noodles, uncooked
12 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
Brown meat and onions in a skillet. Add garlic powder, tomato sauce, tomato paste, salt and oregano. Cook to warm.
In bowl, mix cheeses.
Spoon thin layer of meat sauce onto bottom of crockpot. Add double layer of noodles (break to fit) and top with cheese mix. Repeat layers two more times. Top with remaining sauce.
Cover and cook on low for 3 1/2 hours.**
* the smallest I’ve actually find at the store is 16 oz. so I estimate about 2/3 a carton.
**May vary per crockpot. First time, start checking after 3 hours. Want to cook noodles, but not burn the sides.
Serve and enjoy!
Friday, April 8, 2011
Saw this on Nikki’s blog and decided to play along. :)
Bed Size: Queen
Chore You Hate: Cleaning bathrooms. Eww.
Essential Start of Your Day: Claritin (at least for a good chunk of the year)
Favorite Color: Purple
Gold or Silver: Silver
Instruments You Play: Piano, Microphone
Job Title: Mother, wife, writer.
Kids: One, a seven-year-old boy
Mom's Name: Super Mom
Nicknames: M, M&M, Mar-Bear, MJ
Overnight Hospital Stays: Birth of my son
Pet Peeve: people who jay walk when the crosswalk or streetlight is a mere four car lengths away. Really, people. It would be quicker to walk down and make use of the light than wait for a gap in traffic. Not to mention safer.
Quote From a Movie: “I don’t care what you believe, just… BELIEVE.”
Right- or Left-Handed: Right
Siblings: 9. Three older brothers, an older sister, and four younger sisters.
Time You Wake Up: 6am to make my husband’s lunch, then back to bed until 7:30am (unless, like this morning, B gets up around 7). Weekends, usually around 8am.
Veggie You Dislike: turnip
What Makes You Run Late: Losing track of time. My son’s stalling.
X-Rays You Have Had: Dental, ultrasound, spine.
Yummy Food You Make: crockpot lasagna
Zoo Animal You Like Best: monkeys. I miss the monkey island they had at Hogle Zoo when I was a kid.
Monday, April 4, 2011
Many years ago, I would get excited for the mail to come. Waiting for letters from friends, and responses from mailed poetry submissions. I would run out barefoot to the mailbox, eager to be the first one to open it and see what delights may be inside. Not often was something for me, but those moments I would find an envelope with my name would get me bouncy. Yes, even when the poetry responses were rejections. I was young and eager. And when I got a letter from my childhood friend who rarely wrote, my entire family knew about it. So great was my joy.
One of my novels on the backburner seeks to capture that joy again, with the added thrill of eavesdropping on someone else’s mail. In Fly With Me, Vincent gets intrigued by a handwritten letter to his roommate, which is discarded without being opened. With permission, he reads the letter and gets a glimpse into the life of a woman who still believes in magic.
In my own life, it seems mail brings burdens more than joy. You know what I mean: the bills that never end, advertisements which overflow my recycling box. Most of the good things are now self-activated rather than surprises. These last few days just happened to bring more of those than usual. Saturday: check I had forgotten was coming; a package from Disney Movie Rewards that was redeemed months ago. And today my Barnes and Noble order arrived. I’ve been wanting the book for Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog ever since I saw it listed last October. After a few delays, it finally came out on March 29, and today I hold it in my hands! Full script and sheet music, behind the scenes info, commentary by cast and crew. Love!
What do you love and hate about the mail?
Monday, March 21, 2011
The one that irks me the most is that as an introvert I am anti-social. Not true!
2. We are not anti-social.
Quite the contrary! We have many close, dear friends, but we also recognize that being with people just for its own sake does nothing for us and, in fact, drains our batteries right quick. We love to connect with people, but not just mingle with hoards of people for its own sake.
I love going to big social events, I just get overstimulated and fatigued if I stay too long. It doesn’t energize me, it drains me. Too many social events in a short period of time can do the same thing. I like that I have been more socially active this year, but still need to balance it with ME time, which does NOT involve interacting with others.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
I've been reading CHARACTERS & VIEWPOINT by Orson Scott Card. The part that's really helped me figure out what's wrong with my first novel is on story type. There are four types of story, summarized by MICE: Milieu (setting), Idea, Character, and Event.
"Within the first few paragraphs or pages, you tell the reader implicitly what kind of story this is going to be; the reader then knows what to expect, and holds the thread of that structure throughout the tale."
My story is apparently a Character type story, but the opening doesn't reflect that. My first version opened with a dream, which would reflect an Event story. Currently, it opens with describing the setting, culture. That's more fitting of a Milieu structure. I'm starting in the wrong place for this type of story. I need to start where Marian realizes her world has changed and she no longer belongs where she’s been. Her moment of change, not anything that has to do with the Enchanter/Fey conflict.
Cutting most of the first three chapters would also help with the problem I got with my last rejection: the opening is too slow. It will also get Marian meeting Jex sooner. Win-win. When my husband offered to read through my story again, I had no idea if I even WANTED to look at it again, let alone have a clue how to revise it. I was so sick of my story, I was ready to not just shelve it but burn it and bury the ashes. But now that I have ideas to fix it, it’s interesting again. Will I ever be done with this story??
Monday, March 14, 2011
A few minutes ago, I heard the door bell ring. Not expecting company I opened the door expecting a salesman of some sort. Instead, I got greeted by a woman holding this:
Aren’t they beautiful? My husband still has the power to surprise me. We’ve definitely come a long way as a couple in the last few months. Thank you, dearest husband, for brightening my day.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
About a month ago, I read a blog post that really spoke to me. Are You a Renaissance Soul? Use It to Your Advantage. I easily answered yes to the initial questions. Once again, I am recognizing and accepting. I took some time thinking about my answers to the rest of the questions posed, and here’s my musings.
How long can I work until I get antsy?
An hour at a time. Any more than that and my attention wanders. On a day to day basis, NaNoWriMo has shown me that I tend to get distracted after about two intense weeks on one project.
How would I react if I was told that I had to work on 1 thing until it gets done?
My urge would be to rebel, and every other project would seem more exciting than the one I have to do. I don’t like should and have to. I would likely have a secret project to at least make notes on.
What about 2 things? 3? 4? Find your optimal number
Four seems to stretch it. I wouldn’t be making enough progress to make it worthwhile. With two I’d still risk getting bored. So three feels like it will be a good balance.
Where do you feel the biggest sense of accomplishment/happiness/growth: starting a project, working on it, or finishing it?
Working on a project. I thrive off that sense of progress. The process of creation. Seeing my ideas come to fruition. I love the sense of discovery, all the things that surprise me despite having plotted the basic story. Starting is always hard, intimidating. Finishing may have a nice rush, but it’s accompanied by a sadness as the story is no longer new and fresh to my own eyes.
What structure will let me live in that place the longest?
After answering the previous questions, I believe I will be most comfortable working on three projects at a time. Since I have the freedom of not answering to an agent or editor, I can get away with multitasking.
As super excited as I am about Twilight Rain, I’m going to let that one simmer a bit longer. Finish at least one of my other projects first. I have three stories that are hovering around the 30,000 words mark: Trinity Coven, Race to 100 Deaths, and The Minotaur Staff. It will be an awesome rush if I can make progress on all three of those each week. By some logic, it will take me longer to finish a WIP this way. In reality, it will be more productive to switch between projects when I get bored or stuck, rather than stress over one story and go a month or more without writing anything.
Monday, February 28, 2011
I’ve been stuck for months now on Trinity Coven. I know how it ends, and know a few key points along the way, but there didn’t seem enough conflict in the meantime. Nothing seemed to be happening main plot wise.
Then this last week, while lying in bed trying to sleep of course, I realized what the problem is. It’s not that things aren’t happening, but that the focus hasn’t been the fantasy witches, warlocks, end of the world. The major events and conflicts were relationship and romance oriented. I was inadvertently writing a paranormal romance rather than a contemporary fantasy. And there is nothing wrong with that. It is just what it is. Which is not a straight fantasy. So now that I know what I’m actually writing, hopefully I’ll stop fighting it and trying to make it something it’s not.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Last Saturday my husband and I went to Life, The Universe and Everything (LTUE), a fantasy and science fiction writing symposium. What a blast!
We started off the day with Tracy Hickman’s KILLER BREAKFAST. No food involved. Many souls killed. It’s extreme roleplaying, and players would get killed off at the whim of the DM. All quite entertaining. I did not participate as a player, but my cheeks were hurting by the end of the two hours. So hilarious! If you ever get a chance to attend one of these, DO IT! From a tavern that ends up exploding, to Castle Ravenloft and zombies that do the thriller dance. You never know what will happen between the players and the DM. Tracy Hickman is a vicious dungeon master. If you’re interested in what one of these looks like, check out the vlog of a previous event. At one point they threw two smiley face balls into the crowd. Whoever ended up with them won a book. As they were bounced around, I got hit in the head by one. Too bad I didn’t catch it instead!
Next was James Dashner’s main address. He talked about his journey as a writer. Always inspiring to hear how an author starts out.
After a two hour break for lunch, we attended the panel on Fractured Fairy Tales. I love fairy tales. This was more of an indulgence for me than a needed-to-learn-something. I love listening to Paul Genesse speak, got introduced to Jessica Day George, and ended up with a list of recommended authors and notes on how to make fairy tale adaptations fresh.
Also a cool moment: during the Fairy Tales panel, Elana Johnson came and sat by my husband! I’m a regular blog follower, and was already planning to attend her panel next. I didn’t say hi, as the panel had already started. But there was inner squeeing. And she had a copy of her book POSSESSION in front of her. LOVE the cover.
Elana’s workshop was on Pitching to Agents and Editors. I’ve never had an opportunity to pitch to an agent or editor in person, but want to be prepared if the time ever does come. She made it seem so simple! I love how she broke it down into bullet points. Easier to build a pitch from single words and phrases than trying to boil down a huge novel. I’m going to apply her 5 sentence pitch method to all of my projects, complete and in progress. Then I’ll know what to say if someone asks about my books. Rather than flubbing.
The final presentation I went to was the one I needed most. Fights and Weaponsmasters: What to do when your character knows more about fighting than you. I took three pages of notes. Got some good info on different types of weapons and armor, and their uses and weaknesses. Learned that armor use really is a skill. And learned the mentality of a Master. Did you know the average reaction time is .5 seconds, but the reaction time of a Master is .12 to .2? Boggling. No wonder it seems like they could read your mind. Was a very cool class.
I was very happy with my choices for LTUE. I had a great time. Maybe next year I’ll be able to attend more than one day. Thank you Mom for watching my boy! He had an awesome day as well, so it was a win for everyone.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
My husband took half a day off yesterday. He brought home lunch from Taco Time, then shut me in the bedroom while he prepared his surprise. When I was allowed out, he stood against a wall with a yellow exclamation mark taped to the wall above his head.
I accepted the quest. The first part of the chain had me searching the corner room for 15 lost Kisses. I came back to find the exclamation mark replaced with a question mark. I turned in my quest items and got my reward: a heart box of chocolates and little teddy bear to keep in my bag so I’d have him wherever I go.
Alas, now pink cranes had stolen 10 treasures! My objective was to seek out these cranes in their nearby nesting grounds and retrieve the Treasures. My quest reward this time was a wrapped gift: Ray Bradbury’s ZEN IN THE ART OF WRITING. I <3 that book. Checked it out from the library a few months ago and was incredibly inspired. Now I can take it off my wish list.
The third and final part of the quest chain was to seek out an object of much good n plenty. Once found, my final reward was another book: CHARACTERS & VIEWPOINT by Orson Scott Card. This book was highly praised at the literary conference a few weeks ago. My husband proved that he listens, and that he supports my writing.
It was a great Valentine’s event, from one gamer geek to another. I love you, dear husband. Thank you for your unconditional love and support.
Monday, January 31, 2011
My calendar for the next few months is actually pretty full compared to usual. My poetry group started up again, and I joined a local writers group. My husband is taking me on weekly dates. I’m getting more involved with the school and PTA. Also spending more time with family.
I’ve also had some last minute events, such as me and B going to the circus with his grandma and cousins last week.
Upcoming events to look forward to:
- First meeting with writers group on Feb 2
- local Literacy Fair on Feb 5, along with writing contest
- LTUE: science fiction and fantasy symposium on Feb 19
- Boyz II Men concert on March 4
- Vegas with my sisters in March
I also entered Fey Moon into ABNA. Wish me luck! I’ll try to neglect my blog less in the future.
Friday, January 21, 2011
Shabby Blogs retired some of their old backgrounds, so I updated my look. New background, a post divider/signature. Hope you like. I know I do.
Monday, January 10, 2011
This year I didn’t want to set concrete goals and deadlines. There is a big branch in life up ahead, and so much will depend on which path I take. With that in mind, I wanted to focus instead on aspects of wellness. Ways I can improve my life without relying on what else is going on around me.
The site I took this idea from has seven aspects of wellness: Emotional, Intellectual, Physical, Environmental, Social, Occupational, and Spiritual. I have eight. Creativity is such a major part of my identity that I want to focus on it separate from Occupational or Intellectual.
When I first discovered these last year, I took time and visualized, then wrote down, an overall statement for ideal wellness for each aspect. With this new year, I wanted to set my goals/resolutions around those. I’ve gone into more detail in my journaling, but here are my basic goals for each:
- Positive journaling
- Monthly date nights
- Daily music time – piano, Rock Band, dance
- Read one non-fiction book each month.
- Drink more water and less soda.
- Go for a walk once a week, to get sunlight and fresh air.
- Join a local writing group.
- Las Vegas trip with sisters
- Look into continuing education, such as Library Science or Editing.
- Take time each week to relax, be quiet and alone. Retune with spirit, soul, nature.
- Know myself so I may know my future.
- Write one hour every day – doesn’t have to be in one session
- Finish at least one novel before starting anything new.
- Main focus: finish The Minotaur Staff (NaNoWriMo 2010)
Monday, January 3, 2011
I haven’t touched this since NaNoWriMo, but figured I’d join in on the blogfest last minute. New year, new motivation. This is from The Minotaur Staff, a (mostly) modern supernatural adventure.
Akua gave out a battle cry of her own, feinted, and as he put down his horns to block her blow, she kicked out, slamming her foot toward the injured leg. Light flashed in her face, but she heard bone crunch. What stupid trick was this? She felt her opponent fall and put a foot on his torso, aimed her sword at his neck. No magic would keep her from her win.
The form beneath her became clear as the light faded. Her foot rested on a naked chest, but her opponent had changed. Shrunk. This man had no bull head, but a man's face and long hair the color of wheat. The arena was gone, replaced with a square room. Strange objects, fireless lights.
Akua pressed her sword into the man's neck. "What magic is this? Are you an illusionist? Am I drugged?"
The man groaned.
She pressed the tip harder, until blood came. "Who are you?"
He took a breath and coughed, pointing at her foot. Must be hard to answer with her obstructing his air. Very well. She stepped back, but kept her sword ready. "Speak!"
He sat up and cried out. "Shit. What did you do, break my leg? And how did you get in here? Didn't I lock the door? This is my room. You're the one who should be answering questions." He winced as he pulled himself up to sit on the bed. An object fell out of his hand as he supported himself.
"The Oracle's Eye! Forgive me, I did not realize."
He frowned and rubbed his head. Then said something in gibberish. Must have hit his head when he fell. She picked the Eye off the floor. "Where is your staff, Oracle?"
He shook his head. "That I understand. What did you say before that?"
"I am sorry for injuring you, Lord. I asked your forgiveness. Then you spoke gibberish. I am glad it was only temporary." She frowned. "Or was it one of your spells?"
"No, you're the one who spoke gibberish. Whatever. Give me that artifact. I need it."
"The Eye? Of course." His hand was as death against her dark skin. She had never seen an oracle, or any Atlantean, with such skin.
"What are you doing here?"
"I know not. I was fighting in the arena, triumphing over my opponent. Then the light came, and I was here. I assume you summoned me somehow, Oracle. What have I done to displease thee?"
"Oracle? That's the second time you've called me that. What arena? You look like you came out of a history book."
"You are no Oracle?" She lifted her sword. "Then you have no right to that. Are you even an Atlantean?"
His eyes widened. "Atlantean? Like Atlantis?"
"I meant not the Atlantis. The city of Atalanta. Are you from either?"
"I didn't even know they existed. Atalanta lived thousands of years ago."
"Do not lie about Queen Atalanta! Rise and I shall take you to her and the Oracle. You will be punished for your theft and blasphemy. Give me back the Eye."
"No! This is my key to freedom from my debts."
"You took me from my battle, my chance to win freedom for myself and my family! Give. It. Back." She raised her sword and pressed it to his throat.
"Whoa, that's sharp."