ONE DAY BLITZ STARTS TOMORROW!!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR WOW!!!

(World of WordPress… hehehe)

First, I really hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday!  Ours was great, hectic, fun and then I got a little stomach bug right afterward, or I would’ve been back sooner.  I do have an exciting announcement, though, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that everyone’s hangovers aren’t too bad in the morning, because…

The Zen Lounge - Blitz Banner

It’s time for The Zen Lounge’s one day blitz hosted by My Family’s Heart Book Tours! Starting tomorrow morning and spanning 28 blogs, you’ll have the opportunity to catch exclusive author interviews, character bios, never before released excerpts and of course, a rafflecopter for prizes – to include a FREE e-book copy of The Zen Lounge!

I will be keeping my Twitter (@AuthorACMelody) and Facebook pages updated all day long with links to each of the different blogs that have been amazing enough to host this event!

Hope to see you there!

Winters Deep

(an Ode to Yule) Yule2Dry the berries and pop the corn
There’s boughs of Pine hung to adorn
In darkening days and snow felled form
Melted candles and hearths doth warm

The harvest is stored and meat be cured
Our long laboring days have granted award
Of Holiday so loving and blessedly shared
We forgive of our foes, wrongs they once dared

Traditions have passed from eldest to young
In tales ne’er told, but carols doth sung
How the Mother she slumbers in Winters Deep
While legendary brothers sentry her keep

One golden Oak and one sable Holly
These fabled Kings are not for folly
For twice a wheel, the Solstice doth come
The fate of seasons can crown only one

‘Round trees of presents and Yule logs bright
From elder’s mouths for childrens delight
The battle unravels, on this longest of nights
As they cheer for a victor who’ll hasten the light

~A.C.M.

hollykingOakKing

A Fear of Reading?

Have you ever stopped reading a book, because you were afraid of what was going to happen next?

I can’t recall if I’ve ever experienced this situation before. I started reading this book (won’t name names. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone else) awhile ago and can’t seem to bring myself to pick it back up again. The crux: It’s not only my favorite genre [erotic romance. Surprise!] It’s by one of my all-time favorite authors!

The dilemma I’m having is that I fear the protagonist is on a downward spiral into ultimate ruin. A total train-wreck of self-destruction that I simply can’t bear to witness. Have you ever been too empathetic to watch one of your beloved characters crumble?  Do you feel embarrassed for them when they embarrass themselves?  (I do that mostly with movie characters, ha-ha!)

In truth, there’s a lingering mystery surrounding the main character’s misadventure that’s alluring and will probably tempt me back into the book, but it seems I’m using whatever excuse I can to put it further and further off into the future. I have this problem with not being able to not finish a book once I’ve started it – even if it’s a really bad book (again, I won’t name names).

That isn’t the case in this situation, of course. The writing, as always with this particular author, is phenomenal, the characters are intriguing, the scenery perfectly detailed, etc, etc, etc. I know, “just pull up your big girl panties and read the book, already!” I’m getting there. Eventually.

Until then, what books are you enjoying over the Holidays?  Any recommendations?

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

Hansel&Gretel

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!

Afterglow

He-he… Okay, that was a naughty play on words, but sex isn’t the only thing that brings you that feeling of utter relaxation and mindless bliss.  Sometimes, it’s just the release of all the stress and frantic running that grinds us down during the holidays, making the day after feel so….ahhhhhhhh.  There’s no more rushing, the kids are content with their new gifts (for now), there’s no large feast to prepare and plenty of delicious leftovers to make you smile.  I’m personally looking forward to a piece of the Dutch Apple Pie I was too full to attempt yesterday.

I’m also feeling pretty darn good about how much I’ve accomplished over the Winter Break so far.  34 Character Bios!  That’s quite a bit, right?  I’ve completed all of the bios for the book I’m working on, and have moved on to a few other books.  What classifies a sub-character for other writers?  I found myself wondering this, as I was filling out the fifteenth sub bio sheet and shaking my head over how little information I had on that particular character.

To me, there are “filler” characters (the teen waitress at the sandwich shop during a scene who has one or two lines) and then there are Sub-Characters.  Filler characters are not getting a Bio Sheet, I’m not that meticulous – in fact, if you’ve been reading my posts this long, you already know that getting me to do any kind of character bio is like a Christmas miracle!  In my humble opinion (stop laughing) Sub-characters play a more significant role in the story that can range from mildly involved/somewhat present to the Main Character’s constant companion/friend/sidekick.  It’s no different than a movie with a full cast of sub-characters surrounding the Main people, and all of the “extras” roaming around to make everything feel more authentic.

Then there are the “absentee” characters.  What in the hell is that, you ask?  The absentee character is talked about, mentioned, suspected, given a characteristic rundown by all of the other characters in the book, yet will never make a personal appearance.  I don’t know who else might do this, or why it happens to me, but it does.  I have a very big “absentee” character in my book, The Zen Lounge, (because I had to cut out the only scene he was ever in just to make the word count limit for my publisher).  It wasn’t until I was doing these character bios, that I realized I had done it again with a much smaller absentee in the book I’m working on.  Is that common?  Is it viewed as good or bad?

Authors & Readers: What are your opinions regarding absentee characters?  What makes a character fall under your idea of Sub-characters vs Filler characters? Do you bother making bio sheets for characters outside of your main protagonist?

Let The Party Begin!

T.G.I.F.F.F.E.  (That’s Great, It’s Friday For Freaking Ever!)  Seriously, that’s what it’s going to feel like here in 3 days, when my kids don’t go back to school come this Monday OR the Monday after that!  When the boredom and cabin fever sets in after all of the holiday parties are over and presents unwrapped.  The new and shiny toys will last a few hours and then my youngest will be pulling his best Lurch impression, appearing out of nowhere with his gloomy face and solemn demeanor.  “Mom, can I… have a friend over, go to a friends, anything other than just be here at home without someone to entertain me 24/7, huh?  Can I?  CanIcanIcanIcanI, mom, mom, mom, mommy, mommy, mommy, mother, mother, mother, Lois, Lois,” – oh, sorry got carried away. 🙂

Meanwhile, my oldest – who totally spoiled me rotten and left me utterly defenseless for when my youngest came along, will be curled up with a book somewhere, or a Kindle – or both – and I’ll probably be bugging him.  “Hey you, kid I gave life to, stop being a broody teenager for like FIVE SECONDS and pay attention to me!”

Taking his sweet time, he’ll close the book over and look up at me, nonplussed.  “What, mom?”

“Go entertain your brother.”

(Eye roll, book opens, Mom is back to being ignored.)

*Sigh*  Gotta love the holidays! 😀

No, Thank You!

I resolved awhile ago to stop making New Year’s Resolutions.  Why set myself up for failure?  Life has that well enough in hand without any help from little ol’ me.   Instead, I try to make both yearly and shorter-term goals, with the acceptance that shit happens, so if they don’t get done, it wasn’t meant to be.

Some will view that as laziness or lack of drive, ambition – I call it letting yourself off the hook for those things beyond your control, because you already have this lovely world to contend with, so why in the hell would you join the ranks against yourself?  Let it go.  Believe it or not, YOU ARE the ONLY ONE expecting you to be perfect – everyone else loves you for who you are – and if they don’t, they don’t deserve to be a part of your amazing life.

I can tell you that I’m aiming to get another book submitted to my publisher ASAP.  Possibly even before New Year’s, but most certainly before Spring.  (See how I give myself leeway, there?) I pray every day that both me and my wonderful children make it through their teen years (long-term) and strive every day not to trade them in for new, upgraded models (short term).  🙂

There are a lot of things I wish for, but I refuse to put them into the category of resolutions or goals, because in my opinion, they’re simply not realistic.  Weight loss, breaking bad habits, eating better, volunteering, donating – anything you only seem to think about heavily at this time of year – don’t bother putting them on your list of Resolutions.

If you were that dedicated to seeing them done, they’d already be done.  You’d already be on a better diet, going to the gym, volunteering at the local food drive, not biting your nails and donating to a wonderful charity.  I’m not saying that attempting to improve your life is a bad thing or even a waste of time – I do attempt to improve myself and my life – I just refuse to do it in a way that makes me feel like a big fat failure when it doesn’t get done either as quickly as I wanted, or at all.

Change your negative stresses out, turn them into something positive – celebrate the small steps, rather than holding off for the trophy at the end – give yourself happy incentives, rather than self-berating lectures.  Honestly, if you can’t cut yourself some slack or give yourself a break every once in awhile – then how can you expect anyone else to?  We teach other people how to treat us.  Start being your best friend, not your drill sergeant, and just watch how others start reacting to you.

So, wasn’t intending for this to be a self-help post, or whatever you want to call it – but here it is.  Hey, look, I accomplished something I hadn’t even set out to do! Yay, me!  I just really enjoy the crazy, brilliant, creative, wonderfully diverse community we have here, so I hope maybe this is found a little useful by someone.  If not – no big – I’m sure I’ll be rambling about something else next week! 😉