Friday, September 30, 2011

Punctuation Saves Lives

Hey everyone! I'm preparing for some family to come visit this weekend so I didn't have a time to write a huge long post. Instead you get a little writing funny. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

How to Create a Favicon

What in the world is a Favicon? I hear you asking. Well, see that little stack of books up my URL? That's a Favicon. I just wanted to take you all on a quick tutorial of how I created mine. I like Favicon's becasue it sets your blog apart from a sea of orange B's.

Just start with an image: 
The image must be a .jpg (most images are).  As you can see, this image is much too large to fit up in the teeny-tiny space up in the blog address bar. So the next step is to shrink it.

I used Shrink-pictures .com. All you have to do is add the image and select the smallest size setting (100 pixels in this case). It will then send you to a page where you must download the image, this will be sent to a temp file so make sure you save it to your hard drive.

This is what it looks like after.

Of course, it is still too big. Plus the favicon has to be square, and this image is not. The solution? Iconj.

Just insert your image in this nifty looking box -


and out comes the code link for your favicon. (You'll probably want to download the pic and save it too.)

Next, go to your design tab (or if you're using the new blogger layout the template button on the left sidebar) then click the link "edit HTML" button. Next use ctl+F to find this line - <title><data:blog.pageTitle/></title> (copy and paste this into the ctl+f search box)


Directly below this you will want to insert the link iconj gave you. This is what it will look like -

Then your image should appear by your URL!

You'll also see in the design tab (or the layout button on the new interface) a place for a favicon - this is just for when your blog appears in blog rolls on other sites. If you want this then just add the downloaded image from iconj to the spot directed.

I know this can be confusing, I had a hard time figuring it out myself. If you have any questions just ask me and hopefully I'll be able to help you make your blog beautiful!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wednesday Update #8

Maybe I should change the title of this post to "Venting about the WIP Wednesday" becasue it feels like that's all I do. Then again, I so need to get this off my chest and you guys are a great audience. Thanks for being here for me :)

Like I said last week, I found a new fervor for Earth Song after the writers conference. This is in large part due to the two events I talked about yesterday (not to mention the awesome support system of writers attending). With that passion I wrote 10,000 words in a week.

But then I had part of my manuscript critiqued again.

First, let me say that I appreciate harsh critiques. How can I improve my writing if I have no feedback?  Even so, I am not the thickest skinned when it comes to my writing. I got two critiques back to back that pointed to the same thing - my world building skills severally lack.

Of course this made me ask myself if I am really cut out to write high fantasy. I'll even admit that I cried at the thought.

After some wallowing I decided to take my day one step at a time and I came here to edit my post for yesterday. Just remembering what I learned there boosted my spirits again.

I want to enjoy my writing, not struggle through it. I decided that in the state I'm in right now - having invested so much time and Energy into Earth Song, that I'm not ready to make the changes I need to so that book can shine.

To get my mind off of things I'm going to be working on another book for a while. Some of you may remember a short story contest I entered a few months back were I wrote a piece titled Existence. Well I'm taking those characters and writing a YA paranormal based loosely on the same concept. Here's a little blurb - 

Chrissie Fox has been training to curve time since she was a toddler. A centuries old pocket  watch is what has helped her travel to some of the most important events in world history, but lately the watch hasn't been working. When Chrissie's father gets mortally wounded she makes the choice to break the rules of time and go back to save him. Only then does she discover the a deadly secret in history.
Does it sound good, bad, overdone? Be honest with me!

On a different note, I was given the Liebster Blog Award again. Thanks Scott Bryan!

I technically shouldn't be able to receive this award becasue I have more than 200 followers, but I appreciate the gesture none the less :D

I also got the 7X7 award again from Caitlin Vincent, if you haven't checked out her blog you should, it is really fantastic!

What are you working on this week?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Putting the joy back into your writing

Hello and welcome to part II of my four part series on The Leagues of Utah Writers Roundup. As you can guess by the title we are going to be talking about finding the happy in your writing again.

Sarah Fitzgerald taught the class with that title and we also heard a very inspirational speech from Rudy Ruettiger.

If you've never seen the movie Rudy then you won't know who he is. So I'm going to give a quick recap of his younger life.

This is a picture of the actor that played him (also known as Sam Wise Gamgee)

This ---
is the real guy. 

Anyway, Rudy had a dream. He wanted to play football for Notre Dame, only he wasn't cut out for it. He was short, thin, and not athletic enough. Did that stop him? Not in the least. After a lot of hard work and never-ending persistence, he got his chance.

He never gave up. His football story is amazing in itself, but he didn't quit dreaming. He got the idea in his head that his story should be made into a film. He didn't think he could write a script, he had zero connections in Hollywood, and with the way the movie industry works, he had a next to nothing chance of every seeing his story on the big screen.

Did that stop him? No. He went to Hollywood, he knocked on doors until he made the connections. The producer that eventually took the deal didn't even show up at the lunch date he promised to be at. Rudy had to find him!

Now, he's written a book about his life's story and speaks all over the country inspiring as he goes. 

One powerful lesson he taught us is that if you want something, you have to stand up and get it. He held up a copy of his book and asked who wanted it. We all raised our hands, but it wasn't until someone actually stood up to claim it that he gave it away. 

No one is going to published if they don't put in the work in first.

Switching Gears to Sarah Fitzgerald, who wrote this awesome book - 


Sometimes it feels like we have worked our butts off and what do we have to show for it? But really, are we writing becasue we want to be bestseller? If that is the only reason you write than you can count on disappointment.

I'm not saying you can't dream about it, but it shouldn't be your reason for writing. She talked about, back talk in our heads (one of my biggest problems) It's not good enough, no one's going to love it, I am failure before I have even tried.

But the fact is, you are not going to die if someone doesn't like your book. It doesn't mean that is end of the road or even the last book you will ever write. It only means that you have given in to the demon on your shoulder.

Write for you, and someday you will find your place in the writing world.



Monday, September 26, 2011

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner.

I'm just popping in real quick to announce the winners of Friday's giveaway!

The books go to -



Chantele from My Writing Bug! Wahoo!


And the winner of the critique is -


Peggy from Will Write for Cookies! (Can I tell you I'm excited she won becasue I want to read her work?)


Congrats guys! Shoot me an e-mail jenniefire (at) yahoo (dot) com to claim your prize!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Goal Progress and a Giveway

I can hardly believe it, but it has been three months since the #lifelistclub began. In celebration, we're going to have little party.
 

Wait, how did all those people get in here? I only made enough cookies for three dozen. 

Hum, I might just have to horde them for myself. 

As a checkpoint to when our goals began, we are all doing a little recap of what we've accomplished so far (or haven't accomplished in my case) 

As far as writing/revising goes, I think I've kept you well updated. I'm nowhere near the place I wanted to be, but I am learning to be patient so that my book can shine :)

Here are my other goals and my progress:

1. Play with my kids everyday, get down and dirty -- I've been trying to take them somewhere everyday that disconnects me from the computer and allows me to really enjoy them. I'm going to keep on, keeping on.

2. Workout for at least one half hour three times a week -- I actually got pretty close to my goal weight, but I haven't been sticking to an exercise routine. Although, since my son started Preschool I have been walking him which I think is pretty darn close enough.


3. Use the Dave Ramsey plan to get out of debt -- This is a slow and ongoing process, but I'm sticking to it!

4. Be more involved in my church and community -- hum, I haven't been great about this one, but I have been trying.

Now for the reason you all came. The Giveaway! To one lucky U.S. Resident I am giving away paperback copies of Oliver Twist, The Secret Garden, and A Little princess.

Aren't they so pretty?

Since the books can go to U.S. residents only I am also giving away a 10 page, in depth, critique.

All you have to do to win is be a follower of this blog and leave a comment below telling me which prize you want. I'll be doing the drawing using Random.org. The winner will be posted on Monday. 

And as if that wasn't enough, each of The Life List Club writers has a gift for one of more subscribers/commenters on today's post. Check individual writers blogs (below) for how many winners will be chosen and when their drawings will end. 


Jess – Prize to 1 winner
-Signed copy of Shifting by Bethany Wiggins

Pam – Pkg of prizes to 1 winner
-Winner's choice of excerpt from my novel-in-progress or a copy of my short story   
    "Elevated."
- I will interview the winner on their goals and ambitions for a future post in Hawleyville.
- Option to publish a piece of their own fiction/essay (up to 2,000 words) or do a guest
     post at my blog.

David – 2 Prizes, 2 winners
-to a commenter, a copy of a short story, Bubba’s First Cruise
-to a subscriber, a guest post swap.

Marcia – Pkg of prizes to 1 winner
-a copy of flash fiction - Night Moves
-invitation to guest post or be interviewed on my blog
-winner's name used for a character in my trilogy, The Dance and The Dancer

Sonia – Prize to 1 winner
-Larry Brooks’ Story Engineering Ebook

Jenny H. – 2 winners-choice of prizes
-Choice of a guest post from Jenny for the winner’s blog OR an interview of the winner  on Jenny’s blog. Two winners – 1 subscriber and 1 commenter

Violeta – Prize to 1 winner
-In-depth Critique of two WIP chapters

Diana
-a copy of Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces
-an in-depth critique for fiction up to 15,000 words.

Emily – 1 prize, 1 winner
-a 5 piece (4X6) photo series by Kate Moir.
Happy hopping!
 


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Challenge Time!

Alright folks, it's time for another challenge from Rach Writes. Here are the rules -

Write a blog post in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, whether flash fiction, non-fiction, humorous blog musings, poem, etc. The blog post should:
  • include the word "imago" in the title
  • include the following 4 random words: "miasma," "lacuna," "oscitate," "synchronicity,"
If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional and included in the word count), make reference to a mirror in your post.
For those who want an even greater challenge (optional), make your post 200 words EXACTLY!
Ready for the challenge? Here we go!

Imago Sunset


"Listen up! We have one more sweep and then we're done.This time no one better oscitate along the way. Grange just got his stomachpumped; I can't imagine he'll be better anytime soon."

The group of men nod but I raise my hand. "Sir,wouldn't a mask be helpful on this expedition? I've heard of others talkingabout the miasma ---"

"Do you really believe in those fools tales?" Thecommander says, spitting. "Quit acting like a child."

I straighten my spine and set my jaw "Yes sir."

The troop marches in pairs out of the cave and into thecicada infested night, extermination guns in hand.

The sweep starts out as planned, each pair taking a sectionuntil the bugs no longer blanket the sky.

"What is that?" My partner asks.

I look up and see the cicada separate out forming a large, empty,circle in the night.

"Lacuna, the miasma formation…" I whisper.

My partner turns to me, "What?"

"This is no accident. Look, they're dividing intomirror images with perfect synchronicity. We're too late!"

"You mean ---"

"I mean the imago has occurred. If we don't leave now,we will be their next meal."

***
I'm #48 if you want to vote for me *nudge*

Interview with Author E. A. West

CANCELLED is free on Smashwords CODE WR45A but only through tomorrow!

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/88799

Today's post is super special becasue I have blogging buddy and new author E. A. West with me. This is her first interview and I feel honored to have her around. Her book Cancelled is now available on Smashwords and Kindle.

For those who don't know, tell us about your book, Cancelled.

CANCELLED is the first title in my Red Ink Collection, stories that echo the real-life romantic wrecks we gossip about at the brunch table. Johnathan Michaels is a robotics engineer in love with his business partner, Alexis Rodriguez. It's finally good timing for them to begin a relationship, and they bond over saving their company's first multi-million dollar defense contract. But just as they capitalize on the three years of friendship and transition to a romance, a previous one-night stand visits Johnathan to return his shirt. Pregnant. And it's his. From there, Johnathan struggles to sort out his love life with one woman as his fiancée, and another as the future mother of his child.

What inspired you to write this book?

Directly, a man I sat next to on a plane around Christmas 2006 when I was flying my stepson back to his mom in Texas. We were trading stories, and his drama definitely beat mine, hands down. He had a six month child, but he wasn't married to the mother.

His wife had wanted to separate, and they both dated other people. After a few months, they repaired their marriage. Only, the woman he was dating was pregnant. My jaw literally dropped when he told me his wife was there, at the hospital, as another woman gave birth to his son! Like I said, his drama beat my drama.

Indirectly, I am a stepmother. My stepson is an amazing young man, and believe it or not, he saved the ending of my novel! When I met my husband in 2003 and found out he not only had an ex-wife, but a three-year-old, I can't say I was jumping for joy. No one dreams of Prince Charming coming with a visitation schedule. CANCELLED, and the other stories I have planned, reflect many of the real feelings people face when they have a non-traditional romantic situation on their hands.

Why did you choose to self-publish?

I decided in January of this year I was going to write a novel and by September, my debut novel was selling copies. I devoured as many fiction writing books as I could, including Writing Fiction for Dummies, and researched my options. Originally, I was going to seek traditional publishing. But after selling hundreds of articles in three years, making 65% of the price I set, and selling more than 80% of the titles, the royalty break down of traditional publishing made me mouth vomit. I've sold my writing on my own before, quite successfully, I knew I could do it again!

The economics of traditional publishing made sense when we didn't have real-time inventorying and most document transfers were by mail, not a push of a button. But times have changed and are changing. I'm afraid if I was a lucky one to make it out of the slush pile, I would be lost in the current shuffle. Once traditional publishing has settled down, and I have more fiction writing experience under my belt, I will be more comfortable holding my own in a publishing relationship with an agent or publisher. And that's a big IF I'm a good fit for the agent or publisher.

What author has influenced you the most?

This is a hard question. Purposely setting out to break the rules of traditional romances and chick-lit, I don't think my book imitates anyone. While I think, and hope, I have my own style, different aspects of various authors have inspired me to give writing fiction a chance. Stephenie Meyer, while not the best mechanical writer in the world, really demonstrates that we forget stories are for the reader. What the reader wants, the reader gets! I enjoyed Twilight less for the paranormal aspect and more for the reminder of what it felt like being a high-school overachiever and everything feeling like a life or death moment.

Sophie Kinsella's Shopaholic series saved me from the melancholy of one of my husband's naval deployments. Her stand alone titles are hit or miss with me, but I recently read Mini-Shopaholic and having a two-year-old myself, laughed to tears. I know it's not going to win me any cool points with other writers to name commercially successful writers, and I do have favorite literary fiction authors, but at this point in my life, when I read, I want to be entertained. As a mom, I never get the remote control, so reading is my escape.

Tell us about the character that was favorite to write.

I loved writing the scenes with Anna, Johnathan's stepmother. I first began making notes about the story in 2009 when I was struggling with infertility and we had just fought for custody of my stepson. In some ways, not many, Anna represents the "bright-side" I was thinking could be my life if I never received the opportunity to have additional children. Getting pregnant with my daughter didn't change who Anna is as a character, and I definitely teared up writing the scene near the end of the book when Johnathan demands to read his father's will. I can't say more about that because it will give too much away.

Just for fun: Do you like to cook? If so, what is your favorite food? If not, what is your favorite restaurant?

I DO! But not bake. I can't bake. If you read the banana bread post on my reader site, you'll understand why. :) I am a great sauce maker. My favorite dish to cook is probably tarragon chicken with rice and steamed asparagus on the side. Don't ask me for a recipe, it's a pinch of this and a dash of that! LOL.

***
Elizabeth Ann West is a Jane-of-all-trades, mistress to none. Herdebut novel  is a contemporary romancewith a twist, told from a male point-of-view. It is available in all majorebook formats for $2.99.












***


P. S. This is one last reminder to be here tomorrow for the giveaway of AWESOME.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wednesday Update #7

Thanks to the Utah League of Writers Conference I have a new take on my book. I was starting over because I was unhappy about my inciting incident, but this conference made me change my mind about that. So now I'm going back to my old manuscript and hammering it out again, but this time with a more positive outlook.

Onto this weeks business!

I've gotten two awards this week -- the first is the Versatile Blogger Award from Elizabeth Varadan at Her Fourth Wish Blog.

The second is the 7X7 award from awesome blogger friend Kelly over at Writtled.


Since I've already done the Versatile award several times and you had endure the ten facts about me last week I'm only going to be highlighting the 7X7 award. With this award we are suppose to talk about a blog post that matches the description given to us.

Most Beautiful: First Steps - This is the story of what got me into writing, and every time I read it I am inspired again.

Most Helpful: Probably Editing tools becasue a lot of us critique and we don't even know what is at our finger tips.

Most Popular: My most popular post is actually a guest post from another blogger, so I'm skipping that and going to the next most popular one written by me, and that one is my story Premonition from the campaign challenge. Thanks guys for making that #1!

Most Controversial: I would say Inadequate becasue in that one I totally beat myself up and basically called myself worthless. Which I know is not true, that's just how I felt.


Most Surprisingly Successful: I'm going to say the meme Writing is like... becasue I wasn't really expecting a response and it's in my top five most viewed posts. Pretty Cool :)

Most Underrated: I wrote the post Gone with the ending as newbie blogger (a post about book-to-movie adaptions) , but I still really like it :)

Most Prideworthy: Probably my flash fiction about Motherhood. I wrote it on mother's day and it is a perfect testament to how my daughter was at the time.

Alright folks, that's it! Rather than passing these on I want to know what post of yours you want me to read. (excluding today's) If you tell me, I'll hop on over and leave you some comment love :)

***
Party. Here. Friday. I'm giving away a few books and a critique so you won't want to miss it!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The problem of the story, a driving force.

As promised, today I am going to talk about the writing conference I went to - the league of Utah Writers Roundup.

The best part about it was meeting awesome blogging friends --


From left to right Abby, David, and me.

But I learned so much too! I want to share some of my knowledge with you so I am going to be doing these posts in four part series. Today (as you may have guessed from the title) we are going to talk about problem in our story.

If you haven't heard of John Brown it's high time you looked him up. Not only did he write this book -

But he is a great speaker as well. He compared the problem in the story to the engine of the car. If you don't have a problem you aren't going anywhere.

Yes, we need to have Character, setting, plot, and text, but without the problem there is nothing to drive the story forward.

He gave some great examples to prove his point. In Jurassic Park if there where no dinosaurs what would the story be? Everyone goes to the zoo, the end.

More so than that, problem is what can help us through plot holes. If we ever come to place in our books when we say "what happens next?" we should look at the problem and make a decision based on that. Then will have no problems writing a cohesive story.

Now, not all problems have to be as obviously threatening as a dinosaur out to kill everyone but there can be more subtle ways of creating tension. Here are the three categories John mentioned to us.

1. Danger or Threat - Think Jurassic Park and Hunger Games.
2. Hardship/ Lack of Opportunity - Think Beautiful Mind and Jane Austen
3. Mystery - Think National Treasure and Da vinci Code

Of course, most stories combine more than one element of these.

What I took from it: When writing, we should think less about what we want to achieve and more about how the characters would handle their situation and what problems they are faced with.

What kind of problem is your favorite to read?

***

Just another reminder about the awesome party/giveaway coming up this Friday for the Life List Club. DON'T MISS IT!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Organizing Your Blog Reading List

Happy Monday! I had a great time at The League of Utah Writers Conference and I promise to tell you all about it tomorrow, but today I wanted to talk about organizing your blog reading list.


First up, if you haven't already meet, let me introduce you to Google Reader.






I came into the blogging world already knowing about this gem. Therefore, I assumed everyone else did. (I'll give you a hint, I was wrong) This, my friends, is a life saver when it comes to reading blogs. It's almost like having an e-mail inbox just for the blogs you follow.


I like to keep all the blogs I'm reading in list style (not expanded view) so I can quickly scroll through and see what each blog is offering. There was a long time when just scrolling through and reading worked for me, but now that I'm following 400+ plus blogs, the whole thing can get a little overwhelming.
 
So last weekend I was bemoaning this to new blogger and next-door-neighbor Krista at I Take the Pen. Now, Krista is a computer person, her job is in computers, she understand things we casual bloggers take for granted.


So when she told me that you could organize your Google Reader into folders I said "I tried that, I couldn't figure it out."


Since Krista is a very lovely person, she told me how she did it, and now I'm here to pass the knowledge onto you.  


I went through each blog on my list and separated them into six categories. First was my Favorites - these are blogs I like to read everyday and keep a good relation with it's my biggest folder :) The Second is New Blogs, these are blogs I just started following that I will keep track of to see where they fit.








The Third is Once a Week, these are bloggers who only post once or twice a week. I stick them in there and pick a day to go through them all. The forth is Once a Month (same idea) and the fifth is Never. I only have a never folder because some people who I began blogging with no longer blog, therefore there is no need to check them. My Guilty Pleasure one is blogs that have nothing to do with writing, but I still like to visit.


The way you put your blogs in these folders is by clicking the little arrow you see on the right side on the blog name.





The first time around you have to click on New Folder. 


But after that you can just click on whichever folder you want it to go in. Happy blog reading!!

***

On  another note I just want to let you all know about some exciting stuff going on this Friday. The Life List club is doing a progress update day with lots of prizes. Every blog you see on my left side bar (under the tag life list club) will be giving away something, so be sure to stick around!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Sayonara!


I have my bag packed and I'm leaving for the League of Utah Writer's Roundup! But don't worry, I'll be back on Monday, and I'll make sure to let you all know how it went and what I learned! Happy writing :D

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Inspiration Through Pictures

As writers I think it's important to be in touch with our emotions. I want you to take a moment and really think about how you feel when you write. Most of the time it should be a good feeling.

Now, I know that sometimes those feelings get stuck. I most often turn to music for my inspiration (as you know if you've follow me for a while) but sometimes images do the work just as well. Here are a few pictures that I think tell a story for themselves.


In this one I can just imagine something terrible is about to come out and get her.


Just think of the journey this bear must have taken to get to this place, all alone.


Could this be the start of some great concert pianist?
Flirting - with books. That's the best kind.

And this one is representative of my life.

I found all of these images on We Heart it. What has inspired you today?


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wednesday Update #6

Today's update is going to be short and sweet becasue I need to get busy writing!

Starting over feels amazing and I can't believe how easy the words are coming compared to before. I'm learning to be patient with the whole process and just enjoy.

To spread the happiness here is a fun video to keep y'all laughing. Have a great day!


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

True Love

Good morning! (or afternoon, or evening, or whenever you happen to be viewing this post). Today I have decided to enter the end of The Summer of Bloggerly Love over at Michelle Simkins blog. The challenge is to write a TRUE story about some kind of love. Since I want this super cute fantasmic pink heart -

I am going to share a story of platonic love (this not really a platonic story, but it's not romance either). The entries need to be e-mailed, but I wanted to share mine with you.

***

First Sight

The day I found out about you I felt queasy in my stomach. There were so many questions and no answers. Others had been through this before, and I expected them to know how I felt. They didn't. No one could know how I felt about you.

My head was still spinning the first time we went to the doctor. How was I going to do this? I didn't know if I was ready. Yet, I had made the choice. There was no turning back now.

A salt and pepper image and the thump of your heart. I thought you where beautiful, even then. I didn't feel worthy to have you in my life, and now I could see that you where a living, breathing, thing -- something I helped create.

The more time that passed the more I wanted you with me, not just inside me. I wanted to hold you and smell you and feel your little fingers curl around mine. I wanted to know what you sounded like, even if all you did was cry. I wanted you to know how much I loved you.

The moment you where born you took my breath away. I still remember the first time I held you to my chest. You felt so small and fragile I was afraid, but I knew I was going to do the best I could.

I made a promise to you then, a promise that I would always love you. I want you to know that, becasue it hasn't changed. Not even when you make me so mad I want to curse. I wouldn't trade you for anything in the world.

After all, that's the meaning of motherhood.



Monday, September 12, 2011

Time to Play Some Tag ^_^

Happy Monday! Today we're gunna have a little fun, and what is funner than tag?



Kerri Cuevas over at Craft Junkie tagged me. The mission, to tell 10 random facts about myself. The timing couldn't be more prefect with the campaign going on.

I was trying to figure out a way to get to know everyone, and what is better than this? After I've posted my facts, I'm going ask a questions about you guys that I want you to answer in the comments, then I can feel like everyone got a fun tag. :)

Ready for the randomness? Let's go!

1. I took dance classes from age 3 - 18 (with a couple years off in between) and I seriously miss it.

I'm the one with the short poofy hair in the middle. (The 80's called and they want my hair back)

2. In high school I accidentally took the most advanced art class without any pervious art experience. In my defense, the class was called Drawing I. Here is a little sketch from that class :



3. I have a picture of myself worthy of Awkward Family Photos.


Pretty bad, huh? It was Halloween, but still.

4. I love musicals, and my favorite one is Children of Eden. Click on this link to hear one of the songs.


5. This is the best cake ever -

Chocolate Zucchini cake, yum!

6. I cannot craft. I'm sure if I had the desire and I wanted to spend my time on it I could, but I have no natural talent. It's pretty sad.

7. I have only had one cat in my life. She ran away a few years ago. She was a Russian Blue named Topaz.


8. Who likes water chestnuts? Seriously the grossest food ever.

9. My favorite board game is Settler's of Catan. I always lose, but I still like it :)



10. My favorite season is spring. I love all the new life around me.


Okay that's it folks. Your turn - If you had to pick one favorite possession (not family) what would you pick?

(Cake, cat, board game, and spring via google images) 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Living A Significant Life



Hello and welcome to another Life List Friday! This month is uber special becasue in two weeks all the blogs will be doing giveaways and reporting on their goal progress. And I have a couple books that you guys might like to win! 
This week I'm hanging out at Sonia Mederios's blog, so check that out when your done here :)
Today I have the honor of have #lifelistclub co-founder Marica Richards with me again. Wahoo! Take it away Marcia --
Some say, "Live in the moment or you'll miss out on what'shappening around you". Others say, "Steer toward your goals and don'tveer off the path".
I say, 'Focus on what matters most and you'll have the best ofboth worlds'.
Choosing what matters most will allow you to live a life ofsignificance.
The single-minded folks heading for success in all things willtell you not to get distracted by anything and keep your sights on your list oftasks to reach your goal.
The laid-back, creative types will encourage simplification ofyour life. Don't strive for better housing or more money, a change in careers,big vacations, new furniture, etc. Be satisfied with your current existenceand...oooh, look at the pretty bird!
Which camp are you in? I fall somewhere in the middle, believinggoals are a useful way to discipline yourself to move forward toward creating asignificant, fulfilling life. Whether written down on paper or in your memory,I think we all have many goals. I co-founded The Life List Club topromote the strategy to attain those dreams.
I personally have never know anyone who started out adult lifewith everything they could ever want and never felt a need to  'have more'or something different. Whether that 'more' is: time with family, money,friends, a better job, bigger home, stress-free time, travel, etc, depends onwho you are and where you are in your life.
Most people could not be happy with a life that is static. Weall want to learn, experience and feel new things throughout life.Enhancing our world keeps us motivated and engaged in everyday happenings.
I also believe that we should be wary of missing out on 'TheMoment'. What wondrous, significant thing is happening right now? 
*Spending your days with a narrow focus on your goal to, say,travel to Europe next Spring, is like putting on blinders to daily occurrenceslike watching your toddler using a spoon for the first time withoutspilling his food down his shirt and basking in the glow of his proudgrin.
*The day you wake up before dawn to get in an hour of writing, inorder to meet your daily word count goal before your day job, would beamiss if you failed to take a few minutes to watch the sun come up in all itsglory or listen to the first birdsong of the day.
*If your goal was to read 4 books per month and you read just toget through it, without becoming involved in the story and falling in love withthe characters, your world would be far less enriched.
When you set goals, write them down and begin working toward them,you should keep another list at hand: your list of what matters most toyou in life.
 For me, that list would include creating pockets of time: 1.to connect with my husband, 2. to visit with my aging mother, 3. to play withmy grandchildren, 4. to talk with my children and step-children, 5. totake care of my health, and 6. to get out in the world-out of my office-to seesomething fresh and new and replenish my creativity.
What would it be for you?
The moments during breakfast with my husband are savored. We talk,laugh and focus on each other - priceless. I would not interrupt that momentfor anything. After our time together, I go back to working toward my writing,exercise or other goals.
What's your daily moment to savor?
Don't feel as though you're missing out on anything bysetting goals and working toward them, because there's a time for everythingand everything has its time. Listen. See. Breathe. Love. Work.
Life is too short to overlook those precious moments in life.It's so short we shouldn't procrastinate on working toward our dreams,either. We can have both!
Note: If you don't reach every goal you set, have no regrets.Celebrate your efforts and your progress and all you have learned.Sometimes the quality of the journey is more important than reaching thedestination.
So, tell me. For you, is it eyes on the goal, live in themoment, or a little of both? Do you feel like you're missing out on anything? Ireally want to know.
***
Thanks for joining us on LifeList Club Friday. Thank you, Jennie, for being a wonderful hostess!
Marcia Richards is a veteran blogger and author of Marcia Richards’ Blog…Sexy.Smart. With Heart. She is interested in health andwellness, fitness, mid-life and life planning. She enjoys fun stuff, too, likewriting historical fiction, playing with the grandkids, traveling and turningold furniture into works of art. She believes there is always something new tolearn.
Hang with me on Twitteror on Facebook

Thursday, September 8, 2011

More Music Please


About a month ago a friend invited me to use Spotify. Apparently it's all the rage in the UK. So, I looked at it. I thought it had some cool music, but than gave it up. I almost uninstalled it because I wasn't sure what purpose I would use it for.

For the past few years I have been depending on iTunes for my music fix. I had set up a small budget each month to buy new music when I wanted it. I always used that money very carefully. I made sure I wanted the song in my library forever. Basically, it had to be a song that I just could not live without.

Back to my story. I went back on Spotify one day because I was looking to see if they had a certian song that I didn't really want to buy, but I did want to listen to for bit. Then it struck me, "If this app is going to let me listen to whatever songs I want, why won't it let me make a playlist?"

I right clicked on the song and guess what? I could add it to a playlist.

Even better, it pulled in my iTunes songs and playlist. I had a playlist already going that I called "writing music" and suddenly I could add any song I wanted for *free. Let me tell you, it is awesome.

The launch page shows you new music everyday and I have been adding songs like crazy. Songs that I have loved forever and never bought, songs that I like today that may not like tomorrow, and songs that I would have bought anyway. It is music heaven. I'm not even getting paid for writing this, that's how much I love it.

If you're a music lover, I would go take a look.

I leave you with song that I probably wouldn't have bought, but I love listening to. The lyrics are good for deep preponderance, and it has a catchy tune.



See-ya on the flip side. (Yes, I am a nerd)

_______________________________________________________________
*There are occasional ads, and the songs you can add are limited to the Spotify library, but the library is HUGE. (Spotify logo found via Google Images)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wednesday Update #5

After trying for several weeks I finally won The Might Pen Award over at Krista Wayment's blog. I'm seriously stoked! Thank you Krista, it's a real honor :)

As far as my novel goes I've come to a new conclusion. (I know, fickle me.) But the thing is, I have felt over and over that I am forcing it way too much. You probably haven't noticed but my word count hasn't budged. Why? Forcing. I've read two blog posts this weeks that have confirmed this to me. The first was from a blogger I just meet who happens to live in my small town, Quinn Header.

In his post he talks about answering the questions of a Fifteen-year-old aspiring writer. Of course I saw myself as the girl wanting to know how I can get un-stuck. The post was about using other characters to hold your MC up, but that's not what struck me. It got me thinking about how I love all my characters and how I am pushing a few of them into the story. The plan from the beginning has been to make this makes this four books and I now see that some of my characters need to be in later stories.

This was confirmed to me yesterday when I read E. R. Kings blog Get Busy Writing.  So I took out one of my beloved characters and tried using the Ten Scene Plotting Outline (Thanks AVA!) and guess what? The problems where revealed to me. The story line is staying the same, but so many major changes have to be made that I'm starting from scratch again.

Whew. It feels so good to get that off my chest. Have told you guys how much I love talking to you? Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Goats, and Panites, and Chocolate, oh my!

I made the mistake last week of asking the #goatposse what they were all about. They responded by hog tying me to the ground and telling me that I must participate in the #EVILpanymeme if I ever wanted to see my secret stash of chocolate again.



After yelling "Uncle" three times they let me go. To make up for it they gave me some super cool goat bling.





Oh wait, how did that get there? I meant this goat bling -





Anyway, I can't legally be in possession of such awesomeness without going through with the flogging of evilness. If I'm found carrying said bling, the cops are going to take all the chocolate out of my local grocery stores.



Then I'll have to drive forty minutes to the nearest city to get my fix. Since I can't endanger my small town in such a manner, I'm going through with it.




What do you call your panties/underwear/undergarments? Do you have any commonly used nicknames for them?



I'm kinda vintage (that's a good way of saying old-fashioned) so I stick to underwear. (What is that under there?... there... no under there... Ha! I bet I made you say underwear.)



Have you ever had that supposedly common dream of being in a crowded place in your underwear?



Hummmm... nope sorry. I have, however, dreamed of killer crabs. True story.



What is the worst thing you can think of to make panties out of?



Have you seen those Victoria Secret jewel encrusted bras? That looks totally uncomfortable. Who wants rocks riding up their butt?



If you were a pair of panties, what color would you be, and WHY?



Pink, just becasue I'm all happy like that.



Have you ever thrown your panties/underwear at a rock star or other celebrity? If so, which one(s)? If not, which one(s) WOULD you throw your panties/underwear at, given the opportunity?



You know, the only concert I've been to of someone "famous" is 'N Sync (I was there for free, don't judge) and there was plenty of panting throwing going on without my encouragement. I only like to go see indie bands live becasue you know their gunna rock it! But still, throwing panties is gross.



You’re out of clean panties. What do you do?



I totally stay on top of my laundry, what are you insinuating?? *snicker*



Are you old enough to remember Underoos? If so, did you have any? Which ones?



What the heck are Underoos? Do I seriously want to know? That name frightens me.



If you could have any message printed on your panties, what would it be?



Property of Jennie Bennett becasue I don't want anyone stealing my underwear. The days of the week would be pretty cool to.



How many bloggers does it take to put panties on a goat?



I've heard that Cherie at Ready. Write. Go. has a lot of experience in this area. So, I guess my answer is one, tee hee!

***



Okay, I am so glad I got that done. Junior Mints are calling me.