The Liebster Award

Hi ya! I was nominated for The Liebster Award by CREATIVITY✒📃😍✌

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What is a Liebster Award?
Well, it’s an award that typically recognizes up and coming bloggers recognizes bloggers, by helping others discover new blogs and facilitate community building.

How does one get it?
In order to receive a Liebster Award, you must be nominated by a fellow blogger.

Here are the rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and answer the 11 questions they’ve written for you.
  2.  Nominate 11 people and give them 11 different questions to answer.

Thank you Ankita!

Here are Ankita’s questions:

1. Why did you start with blogging?

I was told that blogging was great for authors as a starting point in creating an author platform. And so it began…

2. Which three hashtags best describe your blog?

#autism #family #writing

3.How do you get new ideas for blog posts?

They just sorta show up. Usually I use things that are happening in our family that might help others in similar situations.

4. Who or what inspires you (to blog and in general)?

To blog: usually my kids or my husband. In general: music, beauty, and irony

5. Which talent don’t you have, but want it?

I want to paint. I can sketch a pretty good picture but when it comes to color and paint, I am utterly defeated.

6.What makes you smile?

People. They are such a funny animal, always doing things for weird reasons and yet they have the capacity for such greatness and love.

7.Who is a hero in your life?

There are so many people that I look up to and admire as heroes, but the one that stands out is my theatre teacher from college, Richard Kuebler (R.I.P.). He recruited me in high school and set me on the path I’m still traveling. He showed me what I wanted out of life and taught me a whole new perception of life through theatre.

8. Are you a planner? Or are you spontaneous?

I plan. Like a general. With an autistic son, I have to. I usually have plans A-Z and then, just in case, a few contingency plans.

9.What is the most amazing thing you’ve seen while traveling.

Dunnottar Castle in Scotland. There is room underneath it that has the darkest dark I’ve ever seen.

10.Is there a sport you’d love to try, but haven’t yet? What is it and why?

Boxing. The closest boxing gym that has classes for women is an hour away and that won’t work with our family’s schedules.

11. What’s your biggest weakness?

Low self-esteem. I struggle with the idea that I’m good enough. I guess I never developed an ego lol.

And so, here are my nominations for the Liebster Award…

davecenker

Raising 5 Kids With Disabilities and Remaining Sane Blog

Storytime with John

Big Red Carpet Nursing

Mytwosentences

theGoodVader

Scale it Simple

Squeeze the Space Man’s Taco

Just A Small Town Girl

Destination Humanity

Aesthetic Miradh

Here are my questions….

  1. What would you choose as a profession if you could do anything?
  2. When did you know what you wanted to to with your life?
  3. What is your favorite song?
  4. Name somewhere you want to visit but have never been to yet.
  5. What would be your perfect vacation spot?
  6. What do you want to be remembered for after you’re gone?
  7. Have you ever practiced random acts of kindness (you know, running up and giving a stranger a hug or sent anonymous notes of appreciation, that kind of thing)?
  8. Have you ever helped a stranger and if so what happened?
  9. What is your favorite meal to cook and why?
  10. Do you have a guilty pleasure and if so what is it?
  11. If you could tell younger self to change one thing, what would it be?

If you’ve been nominated already, sorry. You can ignore me. You don’t have to do it again.

Thanks again, Ankita!

Flathead Writers Conference 2016

Just attended the Flathead Writers’ Conference in beautiful Kalispell, MT this weekend. There was a great turn out. Got to see a lot of old friends and made some new ones. 
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It felt a little different this year, maybe because a lot of the presenters were so laid back and relaxed. The presentations were very informative but also informal and funny. Author of The Riddle in Ruby, Kent Davis even pulled his agent, Susanna Einstein, in on his presentation to do a little play acting with him. img_8495

The meet and greet held at the Hampton Inn gave everyone a chance to get up and socialize. Drinks and finger foods kept normally introverted writers from sneaking back to their rooms and hiding. Instead we laughed and talked about anything that came up.
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As a writer of Fantasy and Science Fiction, I often feel a bit out of tune with other writers. Most I meet are either non-fiction, mystery, or romance writers. I don’t often get to meet writers of my own genre. However this time…

Monica Poole, author of the Science Fiction book Fourth Son, was one of the presenters. She was an absolute kick to listen too. Her topic was World Building for All Genres and I am pleased to say that I realized that I know a lot more about world building than I thought. So yay me!
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But when all is said and done it was time to head home and apply all my new knowledge to my current works. I look forward to attending again next year, who knows I might even be published by then…

Writing Prompt: 5 Tornadoes in 5 Days

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5 Tornadoes in 5 days

Day six dawned with clear skies and no wind. Maybe we would be lucky today.

Not that there was much of the town left.

Five tornadoes in five days all in the same town, all at 5 o’clock.

Wind had turned the buildings to debris then to rubble then to complete devastation by day five. There was hardly enough dirt left to blow.

We watched the white clad team of scientists swarming like ants around the magic weather machine. It was going to save us.

Ha! They acted so smart flooding the town with their shiny government trucks. Unnatural phenomenon, they called it.  Five tornadoes, five days, 5 o’clock .

“Maybe its aliens,” Fred hawked and spat.

It ain’t aliens,” Joe sneered. “This is Oklahoma. Aliens stick to New Mexico.”

“Maybe God don’t like our new mayor.”  Fred eagerly looked to Joe.

“God don’t care about our mayor,” Joe smacked Fred on the arm, “preachers, yeah, but not mayors”

“Well then, what do you think it is?” Fred rubbed his arm.

“Jehovah witnesses.” Joe said with complete surety.

“It ain’t Johovah witnesses.” I scoffed. “They use pamphlets and they’d blow away in the wind.”

“Well, you’re so smart what do you think it is?” Joe crossed his arms and stared me down.

“Maybe it’s the Democrats!” Fred interrupted.

Joe smacked Fred on the back of the head, “Shut up, stupid.”

“You’re stupid.” Fred mumbled.

I shook my head thinking it was probably just Mother Nature trying to rid the world of stupid people like Fred and Joe.

Writing Prompt: The Camera Adds…

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The writing prompt this week was…

I play back the recording but what I saw on the screen wasn’t what I remembered.

Once again 15 minutes of writing. Let’s see what you get. Leave a link or paste it in the comments.

Here’s is what I wrote.

The Camera Adds…

I play back the recording but what I saw on the screen wasn’t what I remembered.

It was just her and I when we filmed the interview. She had sat in the chair under the lights and I had sat just out of camera view. The interview had been a simple Q&A nothing fancy. I was getting the lowdown on the new research facility. So many people in the community were against the opening of the Cross Corp that my producer wanted a comprehensive info spot just to settle the rumors.

Betty Miles was an ordinary research scientist but she had a face the camera would love. So Cross Corp had sent her over. The interview had been quick and professional but now as I review the tape I am disturbed.

I watch Betty nod and answer questions but something seems to be there with her. I lean closer squinting at the screen doubting my eyes. I wasn’t sure if it was a trick of the light or maybe a bad placement of the camera. I was about to stop and call Betty back to reshoot when the shadow moved.

I shake my head. I had to be seeing things. I rewind the tape squinting at the shadow.

Just as Betty smiles it moves. I jump. This is impossible! I watch it again: same smile-same shadow movement.

I slow the tape to watch it again. I pause it just as Betty smiles. There it is, a shadow shifting behind her right shoulder. It is human shaped. A distinct head and shoulders are visible. I zoom in on the image but it becomes too distorted. I zoom back out and punch play again letting the interview play out. I keep my eyes on the shadow.  It hovers just over her right shoulder for most of the interview but as we bring the Q&A to a close the shadow starts shifting closer to the camera. I lean forward curiously. Suddenly the shadow rushes forward at the camera. I jump back reflexively.

Then it is gone. I move forward and stretch out a shaking hand feeling silly. I push the rewind button. I had to be hallucinating. I press play and watch the slow-motion movement of the shadow as it reaches the camera.

There is a face. My heart pumps as if I’d been running for my life. A face. There’s a face. What the Hell did the camera catch that Betty and I hadn’t even know was there?

Writing Prompt: Craft Terrorists

glitterHere’s the prompt:

She showed up at his door soaking wet, battered, bruised, and covered in glitter.

Feel free to use the prompt to create a short flash fiction. As usual time limit is 15 minutes. Once you have your piece paste it in the comments or leave a link back to your post. Have fun!

 

Craft Terrorists

She showed up at his door soaking wet, battered, bruised, and covered in glitter.

He opened his mouth and closed it again then opened it again.

“Not one word,” she snarled holding up a finger dripping globs of wet glitter on the tiles.

His mouth snapped shut. He stepped back to let her by. She squelched past him leaving a trail of sparkling footprints for him to follow to the bathroom.

“Stupid,” she growled she tried to pull a towel out of the linen closet without getting glitter on it.

“I thought…” he began but faltered when her death ray glare focused on him.

“I thought you were babysitting,” he choked out.

“I was,” she turned back to the sink and tried to scrape the glitter out of her hair.

“Did the kids do that to you?” He pointed to her blackening eye and the cut on her chin.

“Kids?” She snorted. “Evil demons from the pits of kindergarten hell!”

Something between snarl and a scream ripped from her teeth as she pulled on her hair. Glitter rain bombs exploded against the mirror.

“How did you get covered in glitter?”

“I thought we could make their parents a Valentine card. I thought it would be fun, but oh no!” She yanked the door the shower open. “Those little craft terrorists started a war!”

“They covered you in glitter?” He gaped.

She shed clothes like a stripper and stepped into the shower. “Oh no, nothing so simple.”

“They thought it would be fun to start lobbing craft supplies,” she pointed to her eye, “took a glue canister to the face.”

“Jeez!”

“The glue bottle burst open. Then the little creatures of doom decided to throw glitter at me shouting that I was a witch! A witch!” She scrubbed at her scalp trying to get the sparkles out of her hair.

He shook his head still confused. “But…how did you get wet?”

“They dumped a bucket of water on me!” she screeched.

“Were they trying to clean you up?”  He shook his head trying not to laugh.

“No! They thought I was a witch! Like from the Wizard of OZ.”

“I’m sorry, honey.”

“It’s ok. I have them again next week and I’m bringing my flying monkeys!” She hissed.

 

 

A Writer’s Platform.

I have been working on this blog for a while now. I started because “writers must have an online presence” and a blog is something that is top on the suggestions. It was supposed to create a habit of writing and allow a place for readers to get to know me. Well…

I’m not really sure what I thought was going to happen. I know that a lot of people use blogs to promote work or to advocate for something in particular or just to vent the unfairness of life in general. I had no idea what I was going to write about, just that I was supposed to do something.

Well, write what you know. I know a lot about nothing. I am a mom with an outdated theatre degree. The only thing I’m good at is making do with what I’ve got. So I have been blogging for two years this month. I started out with a quote. “Not all those who wander are lost.”  I hate to admit it, but after two years. I’m still lost in the blogging world.

I have had some success with a few posts, but mostly I think the only people who see my posts are family. lol

I want this blog to be something else. Something more.

I have been getting closer and closer to getting published. I have written three books and I’m still trying to get someone to take them. I have hundreds of stories circulating through my head. I feel like I’m spending too much time trying to figure out what to write for my blog than actually writing. If I have to keep a blog rolling I want it to be more writing-centric.

I want to try something different. Our writing group has a little free writing session every meeting. We pick a writing prompt and write for fifteen minutes. So far I’m digging what I’ve come up with. I’ve never really bothered with writing prompts. I always had enough story ideas that I didn’t think I needed them, but they are kind of fun. So starting in March I will be doing a little something different.

I intend to post the results of any writing prompts that I work on. I hope that this will help my actual writing career goals. I know some bloggers who have segued into books just from their fiction pieces in their blog. I hope this will also start a readership of my brand of storytelling.

I can’t promise great works but I will guarantee that they will be from the ridiculous and crazy land called my head. From time to time I might still post about my family or other pressing bits of inspiration. I hope you will all stick with my on this new adventure.

Thanks to all of you for reading so far.

Authors of the Flathead Writer’s Conference 2015

Once again it is September and I got the chance to sneak away from the house and attend the Authors of the Flathead Writer’s Conference in Kallispell MT. It is my one and only getaway each year. This is the third year that I have been able to attend and it happened to be the 25th Anniversary for the conference. Awesome huh? 25 years of writer’s helping writers learn and hone their craft.

Luckily the first day started at 8am with registration and beverages.

Thank goodness for the beverages part because alarm hadn’t worked and I didn’t get up on time. My cell phone had decided to become a doorstop for no apparent reason. It was fully charged and yet decided to lock up so I couldn’t even get the screen to come up. So after rushing around with my heart pounding in that “I’m late! I’m late! I’m late!” way I finally got my phone reset and headed to the conference to finally meet up with some coffee.

IMG_6428Dennis Foley, Novelist, Screenwriter and Lecturer, opened the conference and then introduced Les Standiford.  Lovely man. He spoke twice once on Saturday and once on Sunday about narrative and putting your character in charge of your story.

He Spoke about focusing on the efforts of one person trying to do something significant against escalating problems. He recommended the movie “The Bicycle Thief” as a great example of how your story can be really simple but so far reaching. He also managed to make a connection about narrative in non-fiction that was one of those foundation shaking revelations for me. The reader is the protagonist of the self-help book. For example, the 30 lbs in 30 days diet book. The reader is trying to accomplish something significant (losing 30 lbs) and comes against escalating problems at they try to reach the ultimate goal of losing the weight. I had never been able to understand narrative and non-fiction until that comment. Maybe I’m slow but I thought it was new and pretty cool.

There were sessions with Agent Annie Hwang about the role of agents in the new marketplace and about self-publishing. Editor Kerri Buckley spoke about Carina Press and about being your own publicist. Some authors were able to meet with them one on one about their individual pieces. Those meetings were based on first come first serve registration earlier in the year. I’m was unable to take advantage of these sessions because I’m unable to plan out my life that far in advance.

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Lavonne Mueller, playwright and author offered information on winning grants and
fellowships for writers all over the world. She described the beautiful villas and cottages all over the world in which writers, artists, and poets could spend anywhere from a month the nearly a year living in these exotic locations for the sole purpose of uninterrupted work.

 Cathy Scott, journalist and author spoke about movie IMG_6427deals and media and also how to brand yourself in this online culture we inhabit.

She also spoke about how her life has been affected by her published works on such famous true crime events.

IMG_6433B.J. Daniels, A New York Times and USA Today bestseller who writes for both Harlequin Intrigue and HQN, spoke about writing series. She gave many good reasons why writing a series is so effective, including the possibility of multiple book deals and fan base growth. She also pointed out that they author can save time by writing a series based on a world that was already created for the first book and can write subsequent books quicker and in much richer detail because the world is already established. It also allows room for the characters to grow with a longer story arch.

She had a  workshop about writing sex scenes. She had the whole room giggling and steaming up the windows as we all attempted to write a kiss scene. Even the guys were getting into that one!

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Adam Pitman and David Blair of BadFritter Films gave a workshop on horror screenwriting. They were a lot of fun. I had met them last year and I was glad to see them again. My daughter is a major fan and now thinks I’m the coolest mom ever because I know some of her heroes.

We had a great time discussing things that scare us and why they scare others as well as picking apart movies to find the secret of horror success. Afterward I chatted with David a little about our favorite scary movies and the possibility of trying to bring back the classic B Sci-Fi comdey creature feature like Attack of the Killer Tomatoes or Black Sheep.

Other workshops on Sunday afternoon included Ina Albert:  Presenting Yourself Professionally at Signings and Other Appearances and Debbie Burke: 17 Tips for Effective self-Editing. I wan’t able to attend these two because I had chosen to attend B.J. Daniels’ lecture and Adam Pitman and David Blair’ workshop. I heard that they were also very informative.

IMG_6437The last event of the day is First Impressions. It is the most informative and the most traumatic event of the entire conference. Some of us brave souls brought copies of our first page from our manuscripts and submitted them to the panel anonymously for review. The panel then listens and reads along while the piece is read out loud to the room. As each member comes to the place on the page where they would have stopped reading for whatever reason they raise their hand. Once several hands go up they stop reading. The panel then explains why they wanted to stop.

It is a great way to understand how your writing is perceived and what can be done to change it for they better. Some pieces were stopped after a few sentences and other were stopped half way through. A couple made it all the way through. It is said that the first page must be worked and reworked more than any other chapter in your book because if the reader isn’t snared and interested by the first page then they will never read the rest.  First Impressions shows the truth of that belief.

I nearly died from heart failure waiting to see if they would read mine.  My heart was pounding so hard that I started to feel faint. It’s a very scary thing to put yourself out there so publicly knowing that the whole point is to invite criticism. However, I am happy to say that they read nearly half my page. I know that doesn’t sound great but their advice on why will help me craft it into a better piece. And it was only a first draft anyway.

I highly recommend attending a conference if you are serious about writing or even if you are not serious. Conferences are the best way to get your feet wet. It is a wonderful experience and it really opens your eyes to how things really work for the authors of your favorite books. They struggle just like you do. It is also a great place to make connections and start that networking that is so vital to the survival of authors in today’s literary world. No man (or woman) can write alone. I’m glad I have made so many great connections and I look forward to seeing them again next year.

Destined to be a writer

When I think back to my childhood, I realize that I was always writing even without paper. I remember coming up with ridiculously intricate narratives as I went about my daily playing.

I know that most kids do that and it is simply imagination. However, I used to play out the scene I was imagining and if it wasn’t quite right I would start over. I remember playing the same scenario over and over until it worked out perfectly. Even if it was only a single line it word.
Needless to say I didn’t play well with others. They said it was just me being picky or a perfectionist. I know different now.

I also remember playing with my GI Joes and Star Wars toys. (This was the 70s and early 80s). I realized that it was more trouble to set them up and play than it was to just set them out and play it out in my head.

Now I play out entire plots and subplots in my head. Which is a good thing because I have barely any time to actually sit down and write it out.

I just know that everything that I have done has brought me to this point and I have learned more in the last year than I have in the ten before it. A year ago I knew nothing of author platforms or Wattpad or even NaNoWriMo and now look at me… I have a website, readership following on Wattpad, a social network as a writer, and a stack of rejection letters. Who knew I could get this far? Fulfilling a destiny is painful and hard but totally worth it.

My apologies!

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I am so sorry to all of you who commented on my posts and I didn’t get them. I didn’t know about the Ham filter thing. There was a message that 34 comments were deleted before I even knew about them.

I truly didn’t know that they were even there. I feel awful about that. I know know to look for them.

I hope that I didn’t offend anyone by not responding to their comment. If I did I sincerely apologize.

I’ll try to do better from now on.