Monday, June 29, 2015

#Mondayblogs: The Liebster “Award" #amwriting

Fellow blogger and writer Teddi Deppner tagged me for this fun Liebster “Award.”. Here are my answers to her questions:

When did you know that you were really a writer?
In college I kept changing my major: theater, biology, psychology, English, and so on. Throughout all of that, my minor stayed the same—creative writing. It took me a while to figure out that the reason the writing part hadn’t changed was because I loved it most—it was the core of me. So after I realized that, I committed to it.

What would it take for you to quit writing?
A billion dollars—and even then I’d likely do it in secret when no one was looking…

Favorite music for writing?
NIN, Florence and the Machine, Lana del Ray

Favorite music for working out or waking up or partying (whichever of those three you do the most)? Of the three, I suppose I “wake up” the most, considering I have so far, in the last 30+ years done so every day, often more than once a day. And I don’t listen to music when I wake up unless you count my ringtone, which is usually some kind of somber classical music. Like Satie’s gnossienne no 1.

What things in life make you feel most alive?
Walks in the rain. Kissing. Exploring foreign cities/travel.

What is the deepest relationship you’ve had with a fictional character (yours or another author’s)? The deepest relationship I have with fictional characters are my own. I get to know them and love them and sympathize with them as I tell their stories. Telling their stories is incredibly intimate.

Whose fiction did you enjoy the most growing up? Anne Rice and Laurell K. Hamilton. Though my first love was Madeleine L'Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time and Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet—both serving as my introduction to science/survivalist fiction.

What new author (first published in the past 5 years) do you admire the most, and why?
Uhhh. A brand-new author that hasn’t been published before 2010? I’m struggling here. I honestly can’t think of an amazing writer who hasn’t been doing their thing for more than five years.

If you could gather a dream team for life or business, what kind of people would you surround yourself with?
People who say “how do we do make this happen?” Rather than “this can’t be done.”

What do you secretly wish would happen to you someday?
If I told you, it wouldn’t be a secret, now would it?

Tell us about a tender moment with a family member.
When I was younger I lived with my mother and we were moderately poor. She never finished school (dropped out in 8th grade to sell drugs for her father) and so the best job she was qualified for was factory work, when it was available. As you can imagine, it didn’t pay well. By fifteen or so, I was already well into my own addiction problems—books. And my favorite author at that time was Anne Rice. I was desperate for her latest vampire chronicle, The Vampire Armand I believe, but our little library in Coffee County didn’t have it and wouldn’t for a while. I fully expected that I would have to wait a long time to read it or at best, scrape up the coins for the paperback by the time the mass market edition was released.

Imagine my utter surprise when one night—late because my mother always worked late—I heard a soft knock on my bedroom door. It’s my mother, telling me she had a surprise for me. The surprise was the hardback copy of my heart’s desire, which I knew for a fact having drooled over it at the racks of the local bookstore, was nearly $30. $30 was a helluva expense for us. After all, do you know how many boxes of macaroni and hamburger helper could be bought for $30? (About 30 because we shopped at the dollar store).

I turned the book over in my hands, loving it with my fingers: the smell of it, the cool feel of the dust jacket, the unforgiving stiffness of its spine. I was really touched. Really touched because when my mom made a joke about just read your book when you start to get hungry—I was old enough to hear the truth behind her smile.

The 11 Nominees & My 11 Questions

If you’ve been tagged above, here are the 11 all new, original questions I have for you to answer if you choose to participate in this Liebster Award.
Here are the rules I need to share:
– Answer the 11 interview questions
– In that post, link back to the person who awarded you.
– Choose 11 other bloggers to award, focusing on those with 200 followers or below.
– Link to those bloggers in your post, then go and leave them comments to share the good news!
– Be sure to ask them 11 original questions.

1. What fictional character do you want as your best friend?
2. When you are writing/blogging, do you have to have a snack? If yes, what?
3. What is your first memory of writing/blogging?
4. Who has been your biggest fan so far?
5. If you could have one super power what would it be?
6. What “gets you in the mood” to write/blog?
7. What book has been most influential to you and your writing/blogging?
8. What job would you HATE to have?
9. Do you want to be a rich, famous, or admired? (Only 1 and why?)
10. How long have you been writing/blogging and how long do you think you’ll write/blog?
11. Tell us about your real or imaginary “happy” place.
Here are the brave 11 I choose to answer the questions:

Kriss Morton
Rebecca Poole
Elizabeth Poole
Monica La Porta
Angela Roquet
A.B. Shepherd
Tiffany H
Kimberly Benedicto
Charles Colp
Mike Melville

Thanks again to Teddi for tagging me. I had a fun answering and I’m excited to see the answers my tag-ee’s will come up with. :)

Friday, June 26, 2015

I'm Getting Married! #Lovewins

I'm thrilled to hear the fantastic news that I can now legally get married whenever I want. And while my partner (of five years) and I agree that we do want to get married, we are not yet sure when exactly that will be. Soon sure (probably engaged within the year), but right now, we can't help but feel a little bit like  Key in this funny, but legit Key and Peele skit:

Key and Peele-Gay Marriage Legalized

On one side we are absolutely caught up in the infectious celebration of this monumental day. On the other side, we are not prepared for a wedding at all. My love even said verbatim "there are many hidden costs to a wedding"...and I agree that if we are going to get married, it will be a once in a lifetime event. Might as well do it in high style!

Let the saving begin. :)

Friday, June 19, 2015

Do You Know You're White?

If you happen to be white, but never think about your "whiteness"--then you are probably absolutely unaware of your white priviledge. 

If so, this post is just for you! 

I'm not picking on you. I too was once a white person who had no idea that she was white. In fact, one of my white priviledges, is that I can forget that I'm white whenever I want! 

Worse, I was a super poor white person, who was then not so poor. So this led me to say incredibly dumb shit like "anyone can succeed if they just try hard enough!" My apologies now to all the non-white, non-able-bodied people out there. I'm a dumbass, I know).

But you have a chance to be even smarter, even more compassionate than you were when you started reading this post. All you have to do are watch these videos and read these links and educate yourself.

This is BY NO MEANS a comprehensive list, but it is a great start in the right direction. They are videos that I've personally watched that really changed how I viewed race and discrimination. So much so, that I've become that crazy white lady in a sweater vest.

So, if you want to be better educated about race, racism, and why #BlackLivesMatter (and every other race to be clear), it starts here:

Introduction to Systematic Racism
Prison or College?
The Problem I Had Renting a House
How to Raise a Black Son in America
What Does My Headscarf mean to you?

Does Racism Affect the Way You Vote?
Racism is Real

Is it all in your head?
White priviledge: What is it?

And this is just a start. If you have great websites or videos, please share them below.



Wednesday, June 17, 2015

#Reblog: The Miracle of Suspending Mis-Belief #amwriting #zenhabits

Here is Leo being awesome again.
"Would it seem miraculous if you could dissolve anxiety, fears, stress, frustration, anger … by making a small mental shift?
The answer might lie in thinking about how we watch films."

Monday, June 15, 2015

#Mondayblogs: Finding #Motivation When You're the Boss

As someone who is is charge of her own time (no start time for work, no children, undemanding live-in partner), it can be really hard to find motivation!

Too often I find myself thinking: "I don't have to be anywhere today! This isn't due today, so why don't I play Sims and watch Sense8 instead?" (I haven't actually started watching Sense8 yet, but it looks AMAZING!)

This great blog post by Leo of Zen habits got me thinking about this and the many faces of procrastination when dealing with "nonurgent" tasks.

If you're self-employed, self-published, or just a writer, it might worth a read.

So what do you do to create urgency? Well, here is what I did. I asked myself some questions:

Why does this book/project matter?
Why is it important to me? 
What do I love about it? 
What is the COST of procrastination? The consequences?
What’s stopping me from getting to work?

If you were to answer all of these questions about your current, task/project/book, it might provide some powerful insight into your work habits and as my charming mother would say "light a fire under your ass."

What do you do to motivate yourself when the deadline is nonurgent?

Friday, June 12, 2015

5 Fab #Free #Books #amreading

 Over 1100 ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ reviews 

A phone call from an old friend sets Dr. Giovanni Vecchio back on the path of a mysterious manuscript he's hunted for over five hundred years. He never expected a young student librarian could be the key to unlock its secrets, nor could he have predicted the danger she would attract. 

Now he and Beatrice De Novo follow a twisted maze that leads from the archives of a university library, though the fires of Renaissance Florence, and toward a confrontation hundreds of years in the making. 

Kindle (FREE)  Kobo (FREE) Nook (0.99) 

On Sale For A Limited Time Only! 

Cameron Winters is a freak. Fortunately, no one but her family knows the truth …that Cameron can read minds. For years Cameron has hidden behind a facade of normalcy, warned that there are those who would do her harm. When gorgeous and mysterious Lewis Douglas arrives he destroys everything Cameron has ever believed and tempts her with possibilities of freedom. Determined to embrace her hidden talents, Cameron heads to a secret haven with Lewis; a place where she meets others like her, Mind Readers. 

But as Cameron soon finds out some things are too good to be true. When the Mind Readers realize the extent of Cameron’s abilities, they want to use her powers for their own needs. Cameron suddenly finds herself involved in a war in which her idea of what is right and wrong is greatly tested. In the end she’ll be forced to make a choice that will not only threaten her relationship with Lewis, but her very life. 

On Kindle (Free), Nook (Free), Kobo (Free), iBooks

Jeff Resnick hardly knew his well-heeled half-brother. But after suffering a fractured skull in a vicious mugging, he reluctantly accepts the fact that he has a long and brutal recovery to face--and his closest of kin can provide him with the time and place to do it.

Now, Jeff is haunted by unexplained visions of a heinous crime--a banker, stalked, killed, and eviscerated like a ten-point buck. When Matt Sumner's murder is discovered, a still-recovering Jeff realizes this was what he had seen. Jeff must not only convince himself of his new-found psychic ability, but also his skeptical brother Richard Alpert. Since Sumner was Richard's banker, both brothers have a stake in finding out what happened. With Richard's reluctant help, Jeff's investigation leads him to Sumner's belligerent family and hard-nosed business associates, none of whom want him snooping around.

Free on Kindle, Kobo, Nook, iBooks

Eric can't remember the recurring dream that keeps waking him in the middle of the night with an overwhelming urge to leave, yet he spends each day feeling as if he desperately needs to be somewhere. With no idea how to cure himself of this odd compulsion, he decides to let it take its course and go for a drive, hoping that once he proves to himself that there is nowhere to go, he can return to his normal life. Instead, he finds himself hurled headlong into a nightmare adventure across a fractured Wisconsin as the dream reveals itself one heart-pounding detail at a time. 

Free on Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Kobo

Also for a limited time visit to receive a free copy of Jeremy's novella BLACK CANYON*** 

American movie star Scarlett Cox and her husband, hotel tycoon Salvador Brazza, head to Africa to get away and resuscitate their ailing marriage. When robbed of their money and passports, they seek help from the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam on the very day Al Qaeda chooses to bomb it. In an eyeblink they are taken hostage and whisked across the border deep into the Congo, one of the last truly wild places left on earth. 

Battling terrorists, deadly wildlife, and cannibalistic rebels, Scarlett and Sal must find a way to survive in a violent, primeval world. And the only person who may be able to save them is the assassin sent to kill them. 

Kindle, Nook, Kobo

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

#Recipes for Your #Vegan Sweet Tooth #amnotwriting

I was going to say something else about writing, publishing, or poetry. Then I thought nah! You know what this blog needs? SUGAR! That's right. I'm having a super sweet tooth attack right now. So instead of writing meaningful blog posts, I'm shoveling spoonfuls of ice cream into my mouth AND googling recipes.

Here are the five most promising ones I've found:

Raw Walnut Fudge

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough "Larabars" (totally making these for our roadtrip to Colorado next week!)

Smlove Pie (If Paula Deen--the chubby version--made vegan pies)

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Maple Creme--I rolled the cookies in sugar before baking. Because I'm hard core!

Lavender Lemon Cookies--ERMERGERD

Okay, so I'm drooling on myself.

Excuse me.

Monday, June 8, 2015

#Mondayblogs: Tom Wore Red. #amwriting #craft #description

Writers often have a penchant for describing clothing in their work. Tom wore a red shirt and jeans. Jack had a blue button down with rolled up sleeves. 

The only problem is that while color IS a vivid descriptor, it's boring as *&^%. 

You say: "But I want them to know what (s)he looks like Kory!" and I can't say too much because I'm guilty of falling into this kind description of clothing as well.

But let's consider this:

Perhaps it will be more useful to describe clothing that lends depth to the character. Make the clothes (or lack thereof) count.

What does the clothing say about a person? 

It can reveal their socio-economic status (thrift store T-shirts with
              peeling lettering)
personal habits (stains, tears, missing buttons)
personality (pants frayed a hem= doesn't care about details or is too
       poor/frugal to pay for tailoring. 
Beliefs or passions (sports jerseys, homemade sweaters by loved
       ones or self, WWJD/Namaste sayings, or geek/nerd references)
How the clothes fit/condition (poorly because of sudden weight
       gain, or loss), wrinkles or pleats, 
       personal alterations such as a cut collar or a sown up whole can
       reveal personality traits

Any of the above tells us more about the character and what is going on with them--resulting in a far more interesting character development than just saying: "Tom wore a red and jeans".

Friday, June 5, 2015

#FridayReads: T.S. Eliot's "The Wasteland" #amreading #poetry

Recently someone asked me what I thought the best horror/fantasy poems were out there and I must admit I was totally stumped. While I rectefy that by quickly expanding my knowledge of great SFF poetry, I do want to share what my first gut reaction was to the question: "T.S. Eliot's 'The Wasteland'". It is a beautiful, apocalytic poem if I ever read one. And if you haven't, you need to read it yourself as soon as possible.

Here's the first section (it's roughly a 14-page poem) to start you off:


APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing 
Memory and desire, stirring 
Dull roots with spring rain. 
Winter kept us warm, covering         5
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding 
A little life with dried tubers. 
Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee 
With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade, 
And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten,  10
And drank coffee, and talked for an hour. 
Bin gar keine Russin, stamm’ aus Litauen, echt deutsch. 
And when we were children, staying at the archduke’s, 
My cousin’s, he took me out on a sled, 
And I was frightened. He said, Marie,  15
Marie, hold on tight. And down we went. 
In the mountains, there you feel free. 
I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter. 
What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow 
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,  20
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only 
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats, 
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief, 
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only 
There is shadow under this red rock,  25
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock), 
And I will show you something different from either 
Your shadow at morning striding behind you 
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you; 
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.  30
        Frisch weht der Wind 
        Der Heimat zu, 
        Mein Irisch Kind, 
        Wo weilest du? 
“You gave me hyacinths first a year ago;  35
They called me the hyacinth girl.” 
—Yet when we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden, 
Your arms full, and your hair wet, I could not 
Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither 
Living nor dead, and I knew nothing,  40
Looking into the heart of light, the silence. 
Öd’ und leer das Meer. 
Madame Sosostris, famous clairvoyante, 
Had a bad cold, nevertheless 
Is known to be the wisest woman in Europe,  45
With a wicked pack of cards. Here, said she, 
Is your card, the drowned Phoenician Sailor, 
(Those are pearls that were his eyes. Look!) 
Here is Belladonna, the Lady of the Rocks, 
The lady of situations.  50
Here is the man with three staves, and here the Wheel, 
And here is the one-eyed merchant, and this card, 
Which is blank, is something he carries on his back, 
Which I am forbidden to see. I do not find 
The Hanged Man. Fear death by water.  55
I see crowds of people, walking round in a ring. 
Thank you. If you see dear Mrs. Equitone, 
Tell her I bring the horoscope myself: 
One must be so careful these days. 
Unreal City,  60
Under the brown fog of a winter dawn, 
A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many, 
I had not thought death had undone so many. 
Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled, 
And each man fixed his eyes before his feet.  65
Flowed up the hill and down King William Street, 
To where Saint Mary Woolnoth kept the hours 
With a dead sound on the final stroke of nine. 
There I saw one I knew, and stopped him, crying “Stetson! 
You who were with me in the ships at Mylae!  70
That corpse you planted last year in your garden, 
Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year? 
Or has the sudden frost disturbed its bed? 
Oh keep the Dog far hence, that’s friend to men, 
Or with his nails he’ll dig it up again!  75
You! hypocrite lecteur!—mon semblable,—mon frère!”

Well, don't stop now. Read the rest.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Working the Tension in ALL. THE. WAYS. #amwriting #craft

One of the panels at the RT Booklovers convention hosted Patricia Briggs (amazing author of the Mercy Thompson series) and several other amazing women to talk about how to increase tension in your writing. Many things were said, but what I took away from this talk was that only you (as the creator of your characters) will know how to create tension in your own work.

Here are the questions you should be asking yourself 
(because only you can answer them). The answers will help you create tension in your writing:

1) What stands between your character and their goal?
2) What happens when two characters want the same thing or the opposite thing?

3) Is your character trying to reject their nature or embrace it?
3a) What are the repercussions of rejecting/embracing their true nature?
4) What happened in the past to create their present goal(s)?
5) What are your character's disadvantages in trying to reach their goal?
6) What lie does your character believe about himself/herself?
7) In what way is your character broken or flawed?
8) In what areas are your character(s) struggling to grow?
9) Put different characters together and see what happens. 
 a.) How do their personalities clash? 
 b.) How do their ambitions (or lack thereof) create tension?
 c.) If they must work together, what are all the pitfalls of that partnership?
 d.) If they oppose each other, in what ways do they sabotage the other's schemes?

Hope this helps! :)


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Monday, June 1, 2015

#Mondayblogs: June (Part 1 of 2) #Writing #Contests #amwriting #fiction #poetry

So there is a lot of information here! And it can certainly be frustrating if your pocketbook will not allow you to enter every competition available to you. Therefore, I suggest that you think about what work you have ready (what is your best?) Submit those few perfect/near-perfect stories/poems to the competitions you like best or think are best suited--however many your budget allows. Also, don't forget that entry fees are tax-deductable, writers ;)

Good luck!

This list is arranged by deadline:

June 5
Writer's Digest Annual Writing Competition

June 15

Bitter Oleander Press (poetry)

FenCon Young Authors Story Contest

Apocalypse Chronicles Short Story Competition

The Galtelli Literary Prize

Tishman Review Poetry Contest

PULP FICTION’s The Hummingbird Prize for Flash Fiction

December Curt Johnson Prose Awards

New American Press Fiction Prize

New Rivers Press Short Story Award

Philadelphia Stories Marguerite McGlinn Prize for Fiction

Ropewalk Press Chapbook contest

Towson University Prize for Literature