Whaddaya Mean I’m Not Superwoman?

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It’s painful to admit that I think I’ve reached the end of my multitasking capabilities. Everyone’s lives are busy and we all juggle overflowing plates–but to those who can be mom/dad, work full time, keep house, be rushed through back-to-back edits while battling a nasty head cold bent on destroying our planet and still find time to tweet every five minutes, I bow before you, and in the wise words of Wayne & Garth declare:

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The good news is that I am recovering from the head cold at long last and hopefully will be getting back into my blogging routine, at least. I have a lot to catch up on, so bear with me…

Here’s to a better week for all!

 

Single-Minded

That’s how I feel.  I used to pride myself on being more of a multitasker, but lately I can only seem to stay focused on one thing at a time – and that has obviously not been my blog!  It’s a good thing I wasn’t trying to run this thing for a living!  I seriously don’t know how professional bloggers do it.  I couldn’t come up with something to talk about every day, let alone several times a day, but that’s alright.  I’m still writing and that’s the important part.

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In fact, I finally figured out where to find those nifty little word count widgets so I can share my progress here, and hopefully it will give me more of a push toward re-balancing my writing/blogging life.  Until then, I’m trying to stay focused on my current project, because I’ve given myself until the end of this month to at least have a first draft done!  (And of course, I’d pick the shortest month of the year to set a goal, LOL) I work better under pressure… at least, that’s what I tell myself. 😉

Have A Great Weekend!

 

Still Here!

I haven’t dropped off the face of the planet, honest.  I’ve actually been writing! Yay! I’m just horrible about splitting my focus, but I’ll try to get back into the swing of blogging more often soon.

The kids and I spent our weekend decorating for the holidays and catching up on some movies, so without much else to blog about, here’s my brief (no spoilers) review on those films:

Fast & Furious 6

FF6Loved it! Of course, this franchise is now one of the hottest, most popular in the world and I think they’d have a hard time making a bad movie (knock on wood) especially with their all-star cast. Speaking of which, it was a bonus to see Luke Evans getting even more screen time.  I haven’t seen The Raven or Dracula Untold yet, but it seems like ever since I watched The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, I’ve been seeing this awesome actor everywhere!  Of course, I knew him when he was just a lowly God by the name of Zeus in Immortals.

p.s. Adding Jason Statham to this action-packed franchise is like getting a Christmas present in July.  I can’t wait to see FF 7!

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters

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I wasn’t prepared.  I remember seeing the previews for this movie when it first came out and thought, that looks good, but we all know my OCD when it comes to new twists on the old tales, so even though I’m drawn to them, I’m always a little leery about watching Fairytale movies. It’s very reminiscent of The Brothers Grimm starring Matt Damon and our beloved, dearly missed Heath Ledger, with it’s attempt to be both a fantasy adventure and a satire, using weapons and other inventions completely unheard of for the historical setting.  But I have to admit, this clip near the beginning of the movie is what caused me to both laugh in surprise and keep watching all of the way through: Warning: This clip includes violence and foul language!

p.s. Is it just me, or is Jeremy Renner the only actor who can maintain on screen presence, while possibly having the least amount of lines in every movie he plays in?

Star Trek: Into Darkness

star-trek-into-darkness-quadIt’s a sequel.  That alone usually makes people wince as they’re pushing play, but I really, really liked this movie!  I think it showed James T. Kirk’s infamous personality remarkably well, and continued the insight into the strange friendship between him and Spock seamlessly.  The only issue I had with this movie was the excessive overplay on how many times McCoy can say “Dammit, I’m a doctor not a ____!”  That got really old, really fast.  The banter between Kirk and Scotty was also a delightful positive, easily adding comic relief and some really surprising drama to the movie.

My favorite: Benedict Cumberbatch!  I just recently started watching the UK’s most popular Sherlock Holmes to date and let’s just say that as an actor, he’s got a vast skill set! It was not a side of Sherlock I was ever expecting.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Captain-America-The-Winter-Soldier-HD-WallpaperThis movie started great and then got extremely slow compared to the first one.  It wasn’t horrible, but it was a lot like Thor 2; just not as great as the first one.  It tried too hard to cover too many angles at once, I think.  Delving into Steve Roger’s depression for outliving all of his 1930’s friends and love, while touching on modern day Vet’s suffering with PTSD, all while shoving friction between Fury and Rogers in our face without much of a preamble, perhaps in hopes of showcasing how morally sound Rogers’s beliefs and values are(?) when it comes to right and wrong.   I’m not even sure what the purpose of the movie was in the grand scheme of things, other than to introduce even more characters into the ever-growing ensemble of Marvel heroes and villains.

It was nice seeing Robert Redford on screen again, but his role was predictable from the get go.  We got a little more insight into the character of Nick Fury, as well as seeing him in action at last, but I was a little put off by the plot’s multiple routes, especially when you thought they were going somewhere and didn’t. Like the fact that for a minute, we were forced to get involved with a SHIELD agent, played by a well-known actress, and then… nothing.  No hint as to what came of her or why we were supposed to see her at all.

And, of course that famous clip at the end of the credits that these movies are known for only promises more villains and a possible third installment of Captain America to follow.  Yay, I’m so excited. 😐

My final conclusion is: No matter what, you have to watch this movie if you’re into Marvel, because it’s good enough to keep you entertained, has some surprising great parts and may be vital to the storyline as a whole (I hope).  However, Iron Man and the X-Men are still the best Marvel movies for sequels, the rest need to take notes and catch up.  I really hope the new Avengers movie isn’t disappointing, otherwise I may have to start comparing them to the likes of Transformers…just stop making them, already!

p.s. Can someone please fire hair & makeup for making Scarlet Johansson look like a drowned rat with that straight, no-volume hairdo?  This is Natasha Romanov for the love of Pete, show some respect!

Okay, peeps, that concludes my break from writing, now I must get back to work.  Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Writing Controversy

controversyToday’s NaBloPoMo Prompt asks: What is the most controversial thing you’ve ever written on your blog? 

For the most part, I try my hardest to avoid controversial subjects, because this is my professional blog, not a personal one.  I believe I may have even written that exact sentence in a previous post.  However, I’m not always immune to touching on things that affect me both personally and professionally.  As, you can read in what I feel is my most controversial post: “Sex & Romance in Epic Fantasy/SciFi.

For the record, I’m not even sure the post would be considered controversial, since it doesn’t talk about anything political, religious or theoretical in nature.

What compelled you to write it?

Honestly?  I was hurt by someone I thought cared about me, because it was made painfully clear that they felt my chosen genre wasn’t considered ‘real’ literature.  That I was wasting my time and talent on ‘trash’ rather than novels any intellectual reader would spend their money on.  That there was no way I’d ever see the NY Times Best Sellers List, unless I gave up writing what I loved and started writing something that I, and my family, could actually be proud of.

I’m not going to get into my reaction to all of that again, since I already covered it – for the most part – in my controversial post.  I will only state here that my views and choices have not changed and I am very proud of my work regardless of what others think about it.  The rest, you’ll just have to read for yourself.

Lost Signal

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Today’s NaBloPoMo prompt feels like a recurring theme for me lately, so I’ve decided to break the questions apart in order to inspect them each as personally and honestly as I can:

Have you ever had extended writers’ block?

What writer hasn’t?  Okay, I know that’s not making it personal.  So, the answer is yes.  Painfully, uncontrollably, frustratingly, yes.  Unfortunately, my creativity seems to be on vacation far more frequently than it’s at work and the length of the former always outlasts the length of the latter.  In fact, I’ve been experiencing a bout of writer’s block for the last week or so. Which leads us to the next part of the question…

How long did it last?

Months.  Literally months upon months.  Those are the worst times.  When I’m lucky, it will only last a few weeks or less.  Sadly, I’m typically not that lucky, but I have been attempting to correct that issue by applying those ‘tools’ others advise to use or claim to work for them.  I’ve even gone so far as having my kids choose words for me to use in some way on my blog, whether it be in a poem or short story, anything to try and kick-start that inspiration back into working order again.  So, now we’re left with the last part of this question…

What did you do to break out of it, and do you have tips for other bloggers?

The best way to explain my version of hell writer’s block is that it’s like the cell tower to my creativity goes down, causing the signal to my brain to completely drop.  Not only do I lose my ability to connect words together into a decent sentence, I lose my drive to.  My desire to.  I will sit and stare at my computer screen like a brainless zombie, absolutely no activity going on upstairs.  No sparks firing through the old lobes to assist in my dilemma.

I’m still trying to figure out how to ‘break’ out of it, as it were.  In all honesty, I generally just have to wait it out.  Wait for that invisible crew to get the cell tower back up and running again.  Inspiration will come slowly or in one, powerful burst.  I guess it just depends on that blasted signal.  As such, I don’t really have any tips for other bloggers, only a few things I do to try and put a rush on the process:

♠ Read.  I will use my writing downtime as an excuse to get caught up on my reading, because I’m always behind on it. Sometimes, I get lucky, and reading will cause inspiring ideas about my own books to start forming in my mind.  When I can’t wait to finish a book in order to start applying those ideas to my own, I know I’m in a good place.

Blog Daily.  Even when I’m not participating in NaBloPoMo, I still try to blog every single day.  Even if it’s just to complain about having writer’s block, at least I’m writing something!

♣ Take Advantage.  Rather than stressing about not being able to write, I use the time off to get caught up on other things I enjoy (or that desperately need my attention, like housework!) I hang out with friends, get my holiday lists together, read that mail that’s been piling up in the ‘it can wait’ bin…   If you have other hobbies, like painting, drawing, needlework, etc., then try to relax into one of those.  Who knows, maybe those other things will help inspire you faster than staring at the cursor blinking on your story’s document like a ticking time bomb mocking your every attempt to think coherently.

Or if you’re a gamer, like me, you might even enjoy turning the old PS3 on and blowing stuff up to work some of those frustrations out in a non-destructive manner.  Plus, it’s just plain fun and writing is work.  Life can’t be all work and no play, even creatively.

My Voice

Do you feel you have found your voice on your blog? What techniques have you tried to develop your voice in your writing? What are some characteristics of your personality in your writing?

Funny you should mention that when I was just reading about having a ‘writing voice’ on my blog.  The truth is that I don’t blog like I write books… I blog like I’m talking to my friends.  There’s a real style difference there, and that’s probably why I hardly ever get any comments and even though I’ve been here for over a year, I just reached 200 followers.

It’s okay.  My ‘live and in person’ friends ignore me most of the time, too.  I do have a tendency to ramble on about trivial things.  I guess it’s just time to start rethinking about the way I blog…

Happy Anniversary!

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Apparently, today is my and WordPress’s 1 year anniversary.  I’m a horrible blogger.  I didn’t get WP anything!  Not even a card.  Would Hallmark cover this kind of relationship, I wonder?  I mean, it seems like any other kind of relationship.  It takes time, patience, dedication and loyalty to successfully navigate the ins and outs, ups and downs of this world that I have built around WP.

I feel like I’ve put too many hours into it to just give up now, so I guess I should rightfully feel guilty for forgetting, especially when WP gave me this awesome trophy widget to express its gratitude for my on-going commitment.

Maybe, I can find a balloon somewhere in my left over party supplies…

1 year ago today, I wrote this as my very first WP post.  What was your first WP post?  Do you feel like your blogging skills have evolved since you started out?  For better or worse, or just completely different altogether?  Curious minds want to know, so leave a comment!

The Downside of Blogging

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Recently, I’ve been looking around at magazines to possibly submit my poems and/or chapter series.  Only, I’m learning that I can’t.  Admittedly, I’ve kept myself in the dark, by not researching enough when it comes to the ever-changing rules of publishing – And I guess I failed to recognize that anything I post on my blog is now considered “Published.”

Why does that matter?

Because, no one wants previously published work submitted to them.  That includes from your own personal blog, or any other place online with the (possible) exception of critiquing group forums.

How could you not know that already?

In a way, I Publishing-Contract1did.  I first read the legal jargon about not having my work previously on the internet in my contract for The Zen Lounge.  Luckily, I hadn’t found the addicting world of WordPress before my publisher took an interest and everything you’ve seen here regarding that book has been pre-approved by them.  But, what about all of the other story bits and poems I’ve posted since my arrival to WP last October?

Apparently, excerpts of books are in a gray area where publishers might still be willing to accept submission.  It’s only ‘complete’ works that are pretty much a solid: “No Way! No How! No Exceptions!”  I suppose that would include poems, since they are, in and of themselves, complete works.

Does this mean that blogging has forced the hand of writers to self-publish?  The rise in Indie authors is difficult to ignore and while I can understand the appeal, I never considered it would be my only option, simply because I blog.  Sure, I could stop posting poems or bits and pieces of my books, I could stop talking about my characters or using my own work when discussing various styles – but then what is the point in having this blog?  It’s my author blog!  It’s under my pseudonym!  That would be like a chef having a blog, and never once posting about cooking or baking.  A fashionista who writes about politics, rather than the latest gossip out of Parsons.  manuscript

And while I understand the reasons behind these fluctuating rules – I don’t like the fact that I have to hold back, be careful about what I post just in case I might – someday – want to submit it to a magazine or publisher.  Nor am I too crazy about the fact that now all of these works already posted on my blog are considered useless in the eyes of the literary authorities; sterile.  Cut down before their time and the only way they’ll ever reach actual Bookdom is if I self-publish.

Yes, I said it.  Bookdom.

Personally, I don’t think anything should be considered a ‘published work’ unless said author is actually getting compensated for it, but that opens a whole new arena of technicalities that publishers simply don’t want to tangle with – and I can begrudgingly sympathize with that.  So, for myself and all the other unsure or beginning writers out there – be aware and be cautious of what you blog,  unless you’re already planning on going Indie or have one of those rare publishers that doesn’t mind ‘reprints.’

A Rosey Ray of Sunshine

sunshine-award-2I logged in this morning to find that Rose from RoseRedStories had nominated me for the Sunshine Award!  Now, that’s a splendid way to enjoy your first cup of coffee in the morning, I say!  Thank you so much for your nomination, Rose and for your continued encouragement and kind words for my posts, I truly appreciate it!

The rules for accepting the Sunshine Award are as follows:

1. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
2. List 10 facts about you!
3. Nominate 10 other blogs for this award.
4. Announce the nominations to the nominees.

10 Random Facts You Never Wanted to Know About Me:

1. I held dual citizenship between the U.S. and Germany until I was 18.

2. I got kicked out of ballet at age 6 for not being able to accomplish the splits…

3. … I took up clogging, instead. 😐

4. My mom had an ‘extended’ family member that could’ve been Steve Perry’s twin brother.

5. Journey was the first concert I ever went to.

6. I spent 3 nights a week, every week, line dancing at a country bar during my early twenties, and now I can’t stand country music.

7.  I’ve stood on the edge of the Grand Canyon.

8. I’ve never been to Disneyland… but one of my flannels has.

9. I took Drafting & Architecture in college.

10. I’m a huge gamer and have played on countless gaming systems to include the Commodore 64, Atari, Nintendo, Nintendo 64, Game Cube, Sega Genesis, Sega Saturn, Panasonic 3DO, Nintendo Gameboy (original, color & Advance SP), Nintendo DS, Playstations 1,2, & 3, Xbox 360, Wii, and that’s not including the old portable Mrs. Pacman arcade games from the mid-80’s.  I’m a die-hard, InFAMOUS Tomb Raider always searching for Uncharted territory. 😀

Stay tuned for my nominations…

Loving the Liebster

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I have just received notice that the wonderful Alienora (www.alienorajt.wordpress.com) has nominated my blog for the Liebster Award.  Something about my writing managed to snag her attention awhile back and she has been a source of regular encouragement and inspiration ever since.  Some may have even caught my post thanking Alienora for her previous, generous recommendation.

According to the rules she posted on her blog, I’m supposed to do the following:

1. Each nominee must link back the person who nominated them.
2. Answer the 10 questions which are given to you by the nominator.
3. Nominate 10 other bloggers for this award who have less than 200 followers.
4. Create 10 questions for your nominees to answer.
5. Let the nominees know that they have been nominated by going to their blog and notifying them.

Here are the questions Alienora has asked of her nominees, and my responses to them:

1. What birth sign would you like to be born under? Or month, if birth signs aren’t your bag!

I’m a Sagittarius and I love it, wouldn’t change it for any other sign.

2. What is your favourite food? Don’t feel you have to limit yourself on this one!

First and always, Italian.  Manicotti over everything else, though it’s all good in my eyes (taste buds?)

3. What makes you angry?

This is a difficult one.  Many things make us mad, or tiffed, are pet-peeves, but true anger… I would have to say injustice.

4. How do you relax in your busy life?

Reading.  I can’t say writing, because that’s anything but relaxing when you’re trying to create.  When I read, it allows my whole body and mind to utterly relax and simply enjoy someone else’s imagination.

5. What sort of music do you listen to/play/enjoy?

Everything except for modern country, just not a fan.  For relaxing I listen to new age or classical; For fun, I listen to hip-hop or R&B; When I’m housecleaning, I like 80’s or classic rock; When I’m feeling it, I listen to jazz and bluegrass and when I’m driving, I like alternative rock, because I am guilty of having a bit of road rage.

I took beginners piano lessons, but circumstances arose and I haven’t returned to it.  But, I love the piano!

6. If you were an animal, which one would you be – and why?

It’s a toss up between a dolphin or a wolf.  Both are compassionate, community animals that work together and protect one another, not to mention possess intelligence beyond our comprehension.

7. What are you favourite colours?

Red always captures my attention, I think it’s a beautiful color, but I tend to wear a lot of blues.

8. And what, in your opinion, do these colours say about your personality?

I think they say I tend to appear conservative, but on the inside, I’m an author of erotica! 🙂

9. How do you get your blog out to the wider world?

I have been attempting the help of ‘About.me’ which, insofar, has generated a lot of compliments and views of my about.me bio, but not very many blog followers.  I’ve found that commenting on blogs that I find and like has earned my blog the most notice.

10. What do your family and friends think of your blogging habit? (example: a relative of mine has referred to my addiction as, ‘…the Crack Cocaine world of blogging…’ – and, whilst it was said jokingly, there may be an element of truth in the assertion!)

Alienora, blogging is crack!

Both of my parents are faithful followers of my blog and think it’s great.  My kids think I spend far too much time on my laptop and my friends are used to me dedicating 98% of my time to one form of creativity or another.  In essence, I suppose not much differently than they feel toward my book writing!

I’d like to thank Alienora again for her nomination.  Stay tuned for my list of nominees and their questions…